Verses Written in Sickness Dec.

Written in Sickness
Dec.r 1804. [1] 

O thou whom folly's votaries slight!
Domestic love! assuasive power!
Life's ruby gem, which sheds its light
Thro' age, and sorrow's darkest hour.
Sweeter than pleasure's syren lay,5
Brighter than passion's fever'd dream!
Still round my pillow soothing stay,
Still spread thy kindly lambent beam.
Alas! for him whose youth has bow'd
Beneath th'oppressive hand of pain;10
Whose claim to pity unallow'd
Bids him th'unheeded groan restrain.
Alas! for him who droops like me,
Who mourns life's faded vigour flown,
But finds no soothing sympathy,15
No tender cares his loss atone.
For him no wakeful eye of love,
Resists the slumbers health would shed,
With kind assistance prompt to move,
And gently prop the aching head.20
With delicate attention paid
In hope to minister relief,
He sees no sacrifices made;
He sees no mother's anxious grief!
But I, poor sufferer, doom'd in vain25
To woo the health which Heav'n denied,
Tho' nights of horror, days of pain
The baffled opiates force deride.
Yet well I know, and grateful feel,
How much can lenient kindness do,30
From anguish half its darts to steal,
And faded hopes sick smile renew.
That love which brighten'd gayer hours,
When light youth danc'd to pleasure's strain,
Exerts ev'n yet unwearied powers,35
The sweet support of nights of pain.
Oh how consoling is the eye
Of the dear friend that shares our woes!
Oh what relief those cares supply,
Which watchful, active love bestows!40
And these are mine! shall I then dare
To murmur at so mild a lot?
Nor dwell on comforts still my share
With tenderly contented thought?
Though destin'd to the couch of pain,45
Though torn from pleasures once too dear,
Around that couch, shall still remain
The love that every pain can cheer.
And o'er that couch, in fondness bent
My languid glance shall grateful meet,50
The eye of love benevolent,
The tender smile, the tear most sweet.
And still for me affection's hand
Shall o'er that couch her roses shed,
And woo from ease her poppied band55
To twine around this throbbing head.
Oh pitying Heav'n! these comforts spare,
Tho' age untimely chill gay hope,
May love still crown the sufferer's prayer,
And gently smooth life's downward slope.60


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Verses Written in Sickness Dec.r 1804" is printed in Psyche, with Other Poems, which omits lines 32-36 in the third edition but includes them in the fourth edition. The transcription in NLI MS 49,155/1 dates the poem to Brompton 1804. BACK