STANZAS Written at the Hotwells of Bristol July 1804.

Written at the Hotwells of Bristol
July 1804. [1] 

The grey light of young day just beginning to dawn,
Thro' my casements proclaim'd the long night had withdrawn;
And the nightingale's song that had sooth'd me before
From the rocks of St Vincent resounded no more.
Now wearied with watching, exhausted by pain,5
Aurora with pity beheld me complain,
With her fresh, dewy wand light-sprinkling my breast,
"Poor sufferer," she whisper'd, "at length thou shalt rest.
From her train of sweet slumbers, and truth-giving dreams,
She takes a soft veil to oppose her strong beams,10
The kind welcome gift o'er my pillow suspends,
And at once every sense of uneasiness ends.
Its weight of oppression no more loads my breast,
My eyes gently close, and my temples have rest,
While a form all celestial appears to my view15
Array'd in bright silver, and heav'nly blue.
Her locks of pure amber with roses were bound,
Such roses ne'er glow'd on terrestrial ground;
But inhal'd the rich dews of ambrosia above,
Where Spring is eternal, unfading is Love.20
On her light, graceful form with enchantment I gaz'd,
And methought was so charm'd, that I scarce felt amaz'd,
For attraction, and tenderness liv'd in her sight,
Her voice was persuasion, her eye was delight.
But her smile, Oh, what words can the magic impart,25
Which taught her soft smile the swift road to the heart?
When the gates of pure coral dividing awhile,
Their rich, pearly treasures display'd by a smile.
Thus, extending her hand, as all radiant she smil'd,
While her brow brightly beam'd with benevolence mild,30
"Droop no longer," she cried, "thou poor fading flower"
"But receive my embrace, and revive from this hour."
As she bent o'er my pillow with peace-giving air,
A white rose gently shower'd its light leaves from her hair; [2] 
"They are thine," she exclaim'd, "they will yield thee repose,"35
And she breath'd on them fragrance more sweet than the rose.
Then clasp'd in her arms she embrac'd me benign,
And health seem'd reviv'd in the pressure divine,
Methought its mild influence new life could impart,
And remove the oppression that heav'd on my heart.40
O'er her bosom more white than the down of a swan,
A blue scarf of soft texture was gracefully drawn,
Its virtues and warmth it had stolen from her breast,
By kindness 'twas woven, by health it was blest.
This she gave from henceforward my bosom to deck,45
With the jewel that circled her beautiful neck;
"Receive them," she cried, "and thy sufferings remov'd,"
"Let these tokens of favor be gratefully lov'd."
"My fair earthly image by these thou shalt know,"
"When indulgent on thee she like gifts shall bestow,"50
"When her smiles the kind spirit of Health shall recall,"
"And on thee shall the sweet glance of tenderness fall."
She ceas'd, and behold the bright vision was gone,
And all the dear gifts with the giver had flown;
And once more I awoke from my anguish unceas'd,55
For the daemons of sickness their victim had seiz'd.
At noon, with regret while revolving my dream,
I languidly stray'd by the Avon's dark stream,
I started at once with delight and surprise,
For lo! the lov'd vision [3]  again bless'd my eyes.60
With what dullness profess'd could I doubt it before,
'Twas her figure the spirit benevolent wore?
Oh how in that form could I fail to retrace
That beauty resistless of sweetness and grace?
Nor was wanting the smile of compassionate love,65
Nor the look that would fain every suffering remove,
Nor the gifts, the dear pledges of friendship to come,
A friendship that sweetly unfading shall bloom.
Be the omen confirm'd: may the Spirit who came,
And assum'd the fair form of so cherish'd a name,70
Be the spirit of Health to my beautiful friend
And to me her bless'd favors benignant extend!


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Stanzas Written at the Hotwells of Bristol July 1804" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals); dated July 1804, it was composed shortly after Tighe left Ireland for England to seek treatment for her failing health. The hot springs emerging from the rocks beneath the Avon river at Bristol's Hotwells (depicted in the illustration) were never quite as popular as the spas at Bath. BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe's note: "A white rose &c] In allusion to the rose lozenges which were the first gift of that kind friend, in whose lovely form the Spirit of Health then appear'd." BACK

[3] EDITOR'S NOTE: The E.I. Fox manuscript transcription of this poem in the Belfast Public Library footnotes the identity of the loved friend as follows: "The loved vision then was Mrs. Uniacke - Miss Nannette Beresford that had been - and Mrs. Doyne that now is." BACK