Written in an HORACE given on my birth-day by H. Vaughan. 1804

Written in an HORACE
given on my birth-day by
H. Vaughan.
1804 [1] 

Could ere the genius, sense, or skill
Of thus by Phoebus lov'd avail,
To bid, in spite of fate's firm will,
The medicinal art prevail
Then had health's precious gifts been mine5
On this auspicious natal day,
Nor should I languid thus repine,
While life's sad hours consume away.
For, favorite of Apollo's care,
And richly gifted as thou art,10
The God his science bad thee share,
And nature gave the feeling heart.
Nor gave in vain -- since, tho' too oft
Sweet health resists thy potent sway,
And her gay smiles, and slumbers soft15
Refuse thy mandate to obey,
Yet well thou know'st with gentle swell,
To smooth the couch of pain & fear,
The darkest shades with hope dispel,
Th'oppress'd console, the languid cheer.20
Nor did the partial God deny
The soothing charm of eloquence,
And bid its powers assuasive try
To lull the pang-awaken'd sense.
And thee, with mildest manners blest,25
Enlighten'd skill, & polish'd mind,
Our confidence secure to rest,
Propitious fortune bid us find.
Whate'er thine art could do, is done,
With each attentive, flattering care,30
And pleas'd I proudly wish to own
A more than common interest there.
That grateful, on some future day,
If skill at length have power to save,
Delighted memory may say,35
It was a friend these comforts gave;
Who on my natal day bestow'd
The bard thy faultless taste approv'd,
Whose lyre with sweetest numbers flow'd,
By thine own Phoebus most belov'd.40
Dear valued gift! full many an hour
Of weary suffering thou shalt cheat,
Thy mildly philosophic power
Shall charm dark care from reason's seat.
The fell usurper thence shall flee,45
Contentment all my grief beguiling,
And Hope, thro' heaviest nights shall see
To-morrows sun still brightly smiling.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Written in an Horace given on my birth-day by H. Vaughan. 1804" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary; the London Royal College of Physicians Library autograph copy (the source text for Collected Poems and Journals) dates the poem to London October 9, 1804 and contains an epigraph from Catullus's Carmina 12.12-13: "Quod me non movet oestimatione / Verum ut Muypoouvov" ("Which does not concern me for what it is worth, but because it is keepsake," Francis Cornish translation). Tighe saw Henry Vaughan (later Sir Henry Halford) while she was pursuing treatment in England. BACK

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