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To Estrina

To thee, Estrina, empress of my heart
Ere far from hence my wand'ring footsteps part
Deprest by fortune, rent with bitterest woe
The last sad accents of my sorrows flow.

   Tho' now nor life, tranquility or joy
My words can ask for, or my lines destroy
Yet as to thee, than all on earth more dear,
They bear the farewell of a heart sincere.
Not with a breast where no distraction strays
My spirit dictates, and my hand obeys
For all the warm affection of my heart,
With you appear, and as you go depart,
To you tends each sensation of my soul:
True as the needle trembles to the pole.
Ten times an hour my thoughts review th'days,
Which gave your beauties to my eager gaze
As oft the impressions which delighted fame,
Made on my heart; united with your name,
E're first revealed you blest my ravish'd eyes
Come to my soul, and in my mem'ry rise.

   I call to mind what sweet sensations thrill'd
Thro' all my frame, what joy, my bosom fill'd
Mid the dim gloom where hush'd each whispering noise,
I heard the soft sweet accents of your voice
Oft I review the hours, in thought beguil'd,
With you employ'd when all creation smil'd
The social evenings, whose too swift career
Converse and Books combin'd to render dear.
The pleasant walks, when spring awoke the day,
When beauty triumph'd & the world was gay,
O then array'd in heav'nly beauty bright,
You looked all lovely to raptur'd sight.
Visions of night, and images of day
Back o'er my soul your lov'd idea stray.
And ev'ry hour that fancy made you mine
Was taught with some resplendant bliss to shine.
Deceitful views that still awoke the sigh
Still fill with tears the melancholy eye,
With pale and livid agues shake my frame
And fire my bosom with a fever's flame.

   We should have liv'd the happiest pair on earth
Form'd for each other, nature gave us birth;
And minds, and manners, taste & fortune strove
Alike in each to warm with mutual love.
What joys, what raptures, what transporting hours
Blest in our love, Estrina had been ours!
The rolling sun, had run his annual course,
And seen, return'd their undiminished force,
Month after month, had lightly passed away
Not known one instant, unrejoicing stray.
Days in succession had delighted view'd,
With love unceasing, all our joys renewed.
And ev'ry hour with feathery foot that hies
And winged moment; that so swiftly flies.
Laden with bliss, and ecstasy had mov'd
And to the admiring world our wond'rous passion prov'd,
But now dark clouds these prospects over cast,
Their beauties shrink from sorrow's blighting blast,
With lion rage, destruction treads the green,
And desolation hovers o'er the scene;
That bright succession of supernal joys,
One dire misfortune instantly destroys;
And from the height of beatific bliss,
Hurls me to sorrow's terrible abyss.

   I fondly thought domestic joys to prove,
The sweets of filial and connubial love,
And fancy open'd on my ravish'd view
A fairy land of pleasure always new.
But with stern eye, and desolating hand,
Fell disappointment waves her frigid wand.
Before its powers my promis'd joys decay,
And expectations transports flit away.

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See thee coldly unrelenting led
Drawn like a victim to the marriage bed,
Of one to whom fair nature ne'er designed;
Or gen'rous passion thou should'st e'er be join'd
To thee unlike—who feels no genial heat
Dilate his heart, and in his pulses beat.
Whose soul alike unmoved by joys, or woes,
One dull unvarying temper only knows,
And when, nor taste nor genius, save in dress
And in mechanic arts have deigned to bless,
Coldly he takes thee to his languid arms
With face phlegmatic, gazes on thy charms.
Who all my soul with frantic passion fill
Whose charms my breast with Joys tumultuous thrill,
Whose love to heav'n might teach my soul to aspire
Warm'd with the influence of celestial fire.

   O call to mind the energies of speech,
Which lively passion taught my voice to reach,
The change of feature gesture and of air,
By hope supported or depressed by care.
And call to mind that dire, that fateful day,
Which rent my hopes of happiness away;
When your cool manner, and your face sedate,
To my strict searching eyes proclaim'd my fate.
And for a time (both speed and motion fled.)
I sat, a living image of the dead.

   Call them to mind, and let your mem'ry trace,
With care minute the history of his face.
His words and actions, whose more happy lot,
Gives him your love, my passion, truth forgot.
And own no strong emotion have you seen,
No transcient glow of passion, intervene.
Instant of joy, or momentary grief,
To give the eternal sameness some relief,
But in their place one fixed unchanging look
Has from the first his features ne'er forsook.
Save for some loud unmeaning burst of mirth,
Short as the trifling course which gave it birth.
His, are the empty honors of a name
Which chance, not merit, has awak'd to fame.
A taller person, a more perfect health,
Productive business, and profuser wealth.

   Are these, O woman! these the glorious fires,
And these the altars, where at once expires,
Each great emotion, ev'ry thought refin'd,
The glow of genius, energy of mind,
And wondrous pow'rs, which winged thy soul to rise,
And mix in kindred fervor with the skies!
Must ev'ry nobler passion of the heart,
Perish uprooted by degenerate art?
And love the heav'n born souls peculiar fire,
At Mammon's shrine, a sacrifice expire.

   Go——in the dull, & tasteless round of Life,
You'l lead with him, who soon shall call you Wife.
In empty show, a solace seek to prove,
For the lost raptures of a genuine love.

   When comes the day, as sure the day must come,
For life that takes you from your present home,
When to a husband's unresisted claim
You yield the honors of your virgin name
You shall be led with an untrembling hand
To where your freinds & priest uniting stand.
From lips which never glow'd, a cold faint kiss,
Shall be your welcome to connubial bliss,
The pomp of servants, carriages and show,
The charms, and fopperies that from fashion flow
This shall be yours, and all the bliss that lies
In place, in riches, or from rank can rise.

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   But my Estrina, lovely Woman say
Where do the hours of fond endearment stray.
Where are the days devoted to your will,
The times you converse, yours alone can fill?
Seasons with you employd to search the lore
Of ancient sages, and the times of yore?
Seasons with you directed to the care
Of smiling offspring happily to rear;
To form their manners, and their minds improve
In all the modes of science and of love?
You know them not, a staid punctilious form
A strict attention ne'er with feeling warm.
Sollicitude, which which tenderness forgot
In deeds appear, not occupies the thought.
And low submission, where not ease, nor grace,
Nor manly dignity retain a place.
An empty converse, where no science shines,
Nor wit enchants, or elegance refines.
These are the precious substitutes you gain,
For faith sincere and love's delightsome reign
Nor look for confidence that heart so cold
A secret, never to another told.
Of friendship ne'er conceiv'd, for self it feels,
And to its self alone its thoughts reveals.

   I had receiv'd you, with transporting joy,
Of grief our days had witness'd no alloy,
One course alone had seen the minutes move,
Of fond endearment, confidence and love.

   Where do I run? Ah! Whither I am borne,
That love you own not, nay, you laugh to scorn;
Which can with ecstasy the breast distend,
Or with distracting woe, the Bosom rend.
Blest with success which bids the man excell
Unblest, transfixes with the pains of hell.
Or leaves condemn'd a life of woe to bear,
Lost to the world the victories of despair.

   Wretch that I am, Ah! who do I address,
One that disdains my endless Truth to bless,
Who disbelieves that truth, that lover contemns
With cold unfeeling heart as feign'd condemns.
Pierced as I am, and hopeless of a cure
The very sorrows I, for her endure.

   Insensate Woman, is her bosom stone
All virtue, passion, all sensation gone?
Feels not her heart? or feeling shrinks with shame
That love to acknowledge, which it dares disclaim?
O say, Estrina, where has Nature fled?
My youth, thy warmth, thy passion—are they dead?
Or yet with wicked, mean and cursed art,
Or dar'st thou stifle nature in the heart,
Root out the best affections of the soul,
For wealth to flaunt & influence to controul?
And with unblushing impudence deny,
Love's pow'r and being with an impious lie.
Beneath affection's mask, to hide a heart,
Which mad for Riches feigns a lover's part?
Each way presents to my distracted brain,
A dark enigma which I can't explain.
Can there to such a face so fair be join'd
A weak, unthinking, and unfeeling mind?
A face, which looks so destitute of art,
Can it conceal a dark insidious heart?
And Judas like the lips with kindness glow
While the soul meditates the secret blow.

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Is this Estrina, this the peerless maid
Whose love my bosom fir'd, my bosom sway'd?
O let me bless the fortunate Decree
Which set my spirit from her bondage Free.
Yes,—let her go, and glorying in her shame
Of love connubial gain the idle name.
And of the idol of the heart possest.
Revel in wealth and fancy she is blest.
Let pomp, distinction, equipage and show,
Raise her self flatter'd o'er the world below,
A while the vain delusions to enjoy,
Which truth shall chase, possessions shall destroy.
As the light melts, which dim the morning sky
Before the sun's returning radiance fly
So shall they pass, and not desir'd return
Banish the follies, they shall leave to mourn,
   Deceitful passion, which my soul ensnares,
Which blasts my hopes, my peace, my life impairs.
Bear me to where thy frenzy wills to bear
But shield from woe, from Estrina spare!
For tho' destruction o'er me left his Arm
Her love inspires me, and her beauty's charm
I view her form, I gaze upon her face
Truth, virtue, honor, there I trace.
Heaven bids unequall'd charms around her move
Friends, country, Glory, What are you to love.

   Come then thou dark and damned fiend despair
With dire distraction all my bosom tear.
O bid the tears of agony to roll,
And with spasmodic amguish rack the soul.
Come with thy frantic furious demon train,
Bear me to some drear cave, or darksome glen.
Where ravens croak, ghosts yell, and serpents hiss,
And Hell seems open'd in the dread abyss.
There join'd with thee, forever let us dwell
And avail that passion which I cannot quell.
But fly Estrina, nor with ruffian force,
Presume to touch her bosom with remorse.

   O beauteous woman! who while life shall last
(So in the future, as in all the past,)
Unchanged shall view, my constant love remain
Farewell—and endless pleasure be thy gain.
I go from happiness, from comfort hurl'd,
To plunge me in the dark tempestuous world;
Sadly to mingle with the motley throng
Borne wildly by the eddying waves along,
By sorrows woes and agonies distrest,
With those I loathe, to places I detest.
With forc'd solicitude the gain to woo
My heart contemns, my fate commands pursue!
I leave that happy mean, that peaceful way
Where on thro' life, my feet would wish to stay.
To sink forgotten in the drear retreat,
Where bleak chill poverty, has fix'd her seat;
Or else to rise with wealth opprest & cloy'd
Wealth tasteless, empty hated unenjoy'd.
Yes, unenjoy'd since without you no ray,
Of cheering joy shall gild my gloomy day.
But be you happy, may your husband prove
More than you hope, more worthy of your love
O May your children, rich in ev'ry grace,
Catch the bright features of their mother's face,
And live adorn'd with all that can engage,
Joy of your youth, and solace of your age
While I shall sink intimely to the grave,
No eye to pity, outstretch'd arm to save.
Lost to ennobling praises of the good
Nor in my offspring happily renew'd;
In life afflicted desolate unpriz'd
In death unknown neglected and despised.

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