Ere yet suspense has still’d its throbbing fear,
Or melancholy wiped the grateful tear,
While e’en the miseries of a sinking state,
A monarch’s danger, and a nation’s fate,
Command not now your eyes with grief to flow
Lost in a trembling mother’s nearer woe;
What moral lay shall poetry rehearse,
Or how shall elocution pour the verse
So sweetly, that its music shall repay
The loved illusion which it drives away?
Mine is the task, to rigid custom due,
To me ungrateful as ’tis harsh to you,
To mar the work the tragic scene has wrought,
To rouse the mind that broods in pensive thought,
To scare reflection, which, in absent dreams,
Still lingers musing on the recent themes;
Attention, ere with contemplation tired,
To turn from all that pleased, from all that fired;
To weaken lessons strongly now impress’d,
And chill the interest glowing in the breast—
Mine is the task; and be it mine to spare
The souls that pant, the griefs they see, to share;
Let me with no unhallow’d jest deride
The sigh, that sweet compassion owns with pride—
The sigh of comfort, to affliction dear,
That kindness heaves, and virtue loves to hear.
E’en gay Thalia will not now refuse
This gentle homage to her sister-muse.
O ye, who listen to the plaintive strain,
With strange enjoyment, and with rapturous pain,
Who erst have felt the Stranger’s lone des pair,
And Haller’s settled, sad, remorseful care,
Does Rolla’s pure affection less excite
The inexpressive anguish of delight?
Do Cora’s fears, which beat without control,
With less solicitude engross the soul?
Ah, no! your minds with kindred zeal approve
Maternal feeling, and heroic love.
You must approve: where man exists below,
In temperate climes, or midst drear wastes of snow:
Or where the solar fires incessant flame,
Thy laws, all-powerful Nature, are the same:
Vainly the sophist boasts he can explain
The causes of thy universal reign—
More vainly would his cold presumptuous art
Disprove thy general empire o’er the heart:
A voice proclaims thee, that we must believe—
A voice, that surely speaks not to deceive:
That voice poor Cora heard, and closely press’d
Her darling infant to her fearful breast:
Distracted dared the bloody field to tread,
And sought Alonzo through the heaps of dead,
Eager to catch the music of his breath,
Though faltering in the agonies of death,
To touch his lips, though pale and cold, once more,
And clasp his bosom, though it stream’d with gore:
That voice too Rolla heard, and greatly brave,
His Cora’s dearest treasure died to save;
Gave to the hopeless parent’s arms her child,
Beheld her transports, and, expiring, smiled.
That voice we hear—oh! be its will obey’d!
’Tis valour’s impulse, and ’tis virtue’s aid—
It prompts to all benevolence admires,
To all that heavenly piety inspires,
To all that praise repeats through lengthen’d years,
That honour sanctifies, and time reveres.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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