On Friendship

Friendship! thou powerful sov’reign of the mind;

Thou greatest joy and grief of human kind;

I feel thy power! – I own thy sacred name!

And all my soul is subject to thy flame.

Whilst in my dear Aurelia’s converse blest, )

Each baneful passion leaves my raptur’d breast; )

By joy and Friendship ’tis alone possest. )

Wing’d with delight the circling hours roll on,

Too swift, alas! too ready to be gone!

How late I felt their joys! – but ah! they’re fled: –

Yet still, by fond imagination led,

I’ll wander o’er their tombs – and hope to find

Some gleams of happiness they left behind. –

In vain the search – for nothing there remains

But keenest anguish, and tormenting pains:

And if again those happy hours return,

I must again their dreadful period mourn!

But there’s a world, where bliss and Friendship join –

Thither, my friend, let us direct our sight:

There, freed from disappointment, care, or pain,

Myriads of happy minds in mutual love unite.

There, parting pangs shall rend the soul no more,

But joys divine, in one eternal round

Flow from the sacred fount – while all adore;

And through the blissful plains, exalted praises sound.

There, my Aurelia, at some distant hour,

If heav’n, indulgent, hear my ardent pray’r,

Our souls shall meet, and ne’er be parted more;

Eternally the mighty power adore,

Who led us through the maze of life,

And kindly fix’d us there.

Text: The Christian’s Magazine 5 (1764), p. 423, ‘by Amynta’; a portion of this poem can be found in STE 10/1, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford, and was printed in Volume 4, poem 47 (prior to the discovery of the printed version of the poem); see Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 8, p. 97. The "Amynta" who appears in some poems by Mary Steele Wakeford (she may be the "Aurelia"of this poem) was most likely Hannah Towgood, who became the first wife of Joseph Wakeford.