To Miss Scott, 1788

“Friend of my Heart, and Sister of my Choice,”

Indulge with me the Dream of former Days,

Listen to Memory’s softly soothing Voice,

And catch the fleeting pleasures she pourtrays.

Oh could it soothe thy sorrows and my own,

And charm that constant sense of loss away,

Which though by others unperceived, unknown,

Still makes the mourner’s Heart its secret prey.

Mingling with every Object, every thought,

The Scene however fair, however bright,

Some sad Idea by Remembrance brought

Effaces still each dream of short Delight.

Oh, happy Hours forever, ever fled!

When the spontaneous strain alternate flow’d,

By nature prompted and by Friendship fed,

What pleasure each received and each bestow’d.

Where are the glowing hues that nature wore?

Where the resistless power her Charms possest?

Alas! the loveliest Landscape now no more

Can thrill with rapture this cold lifeless breast.

As fades at closing Day the prospect round,

Farther and farther, stealing from the view,

Thus fade the Scenes Youth’s early mem’ry crown’d

As Life’s sad Journey farther we pursue.

Oh when the alter’d Landscape prompts the tear,

May the bright future in perspective rise,

And Scenes of Immortality appear

Beyond the narrow Circle of the Skies.

If thence a Ray of Glory beam around

And Hope with tints celestial paints the scene,

Verdant and smooth will seem the roughest Ground

And short the longest Interval between.

Friend of my Soul! One pleasure yet remains

Which Time hath only render’d more secure,

Friendship its pristine Energy retains,

And my heart tells me ever shall endure.

Text: STE 5/3; also 5/1 (transcribed by Mary Steele Tomkins, and titled ‘To Myra’).