O Thou! Whose Friendship bless’d my earliest Years,
Whom every rolling Season still endears,
How shall this languid inexpressive Lay
The tender dictates of my Heart convey?
No pleasing form this artless hand can paint,
Rude are its outlines and its Colours faint.
Nor can my untaught numbers flow like thine,
Where Energy and Harmony combine.
Yet tho’ unskill’d in every Act to charm,
Still is this Heart with faithful Friendship warm.
Not Painting’s fairest tints or warmest Glow,
Not all the Graces that in Language flow;
Not all their Pow’rs united can impart
The fond fond Wishes of a grateful Heart.
No changeful scene in life’s uncertain Clime,
Nor the cold hand of softly stealing Time
Shall thy lov’d Image from my Heart efface,
Or of thy Friendship blot one living trace.
O may my Myra still her Love extend!
Still bless me with that Dearest nameless Friend!
Nor Time nor Death those tender ties divide
Which long have form’d my Happiness and Pride.
Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, STE 5/5/iv; see also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, pp. 98.