To Miss Coltman, on her leaving Broughton, 1810

Oh! could I scatter on thy way

The sweetest, fairest flowers,

Or bid the Sun’s perpetual ray

Irradiate all thy hours.

Presumptuous thought – Alas in vain

Would this impoverish’d heart

Strive to avert one moment’s pain,

One moment’s bliss impart.

Yet still within this bosom glows

Affection’s sacred flame,

Nor change nor interruption knows,

In every scene the same.

No, I retract the word – to me,

The more my Friend is known,

Still heightening excellence I see,

And she is dearer grown.

Ye precious hours, how fast ye fly,

This parting one, how near!

Down swelling heart – repress that Sigh,

And check that starting tear.

Wouldst thou with selfish wish confine

Within thy narrow bound

The influence of that Soul benign

Which blesses all around?

With soothing voice and aspect kind,

Hope points to Scenes above,

Where thy weak heart and erring mind

May more deserve her love.

Text: STE 5/3; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, pp. 165-66.