Passion’s Cry (To Mrs McLehose alias Clarinda)

[Passion’s Cry]
“I cannot but remember such things were,
And were most dear to me”------

IN vain would Prudence, with decorous sneer,
Point out a cens'ring world, and bid me fear:
Above that world on wings of love I rise:
I know its worst and can that worse despise.
“Wronged, injured, shunned, unpitied, unredrest;
The mocked quotation of the scorner's jest”------
By all I lov’d neglected and forgot,
No friendly face e’er lights my squalid cot:
Shunn’d, hated, wrong’d, unpitied, unredrest:
The mock’d quotation of the scorner’s jest:
Even the poor support of my wretched life,
Snatch’d by the violence of legal strife.
Oft grateful for my daily bread
To those my Fam’ly’s once large bounty fed:
A welcome inmate at their homely fare,
Mt griefs, my woes, my sighs, my tears they share;
(Their vulgar souls unlike the souls refin’d,
The fashion’d marble of the polish’d mind!)
Let Prudence' direst bodements on me fall,
Clarinda, rich reward! o'erpays them all.------
As low-borne mists before the sun remove,
So shines, so reigns unrivalled mighty LOVE.
In vain the laws their feeble force oppose;
“I burn, I burn, as when thro’ ripened corn
By driving winds the crackling flames are borne!”

Now maddening wild, I curse that fatal night;
Now bless the hour that charm’d my guilty sight:
In vain the Laws . . . .
Chained at his feet, they groan Love's vanquished foes;
In vain Religion meets my shrinking eye;
I dare not combat, but I turn and fly:
Conscience in vain upbraids th' unhallowed fire;
Love grasps his scorpions, stifled they expire:
Reason drops headlong from his sacred throne,
Thy dear idea reigns, and reigns alone;
Each thought intoxicated homage yields,
And riots wanton in forbidden fields.--------

By all on High, adoring mortals know!
By all the conscious villain fears below!
By, what, Alas! much more my soul alarms,
My doubtful hopes once more to fill thy arms!
E'en shouldst thou, false, forswear each guilty tie,
Thine, and thine only, I must live and die!!!

Mild Zephyrs waft thee to life’s farthest shore,
Nor think of me and my distress more,------
Falsehood accurst! No! still I beg a place,
Still near thy heart some little, little trace;
For that dear trace the world would I resign:
O let me live, and die, and think it mine!