31 August 1779 (3)

Letter 33. John Eccles to Mary Hays, Tuesday, 31 August

1779.1

 

Beneath the melancholy shade,

Form’d by drooping willow’s head;

A maid of pure angelic mind,

Of sense and sentiment refin’d,  [f. 130]

Of every softer charm possess’d,

(A soul etherial warm’d her breast,)

Reclining sate; and thus begun

To pour the sweetly pensive strain.

(The wind was still, a general hush

Reigned on each tree, calm’d every bush;

The nightingale’s2 and linnet’s lay

No longer warbled from the spring,

The little charmers listened round,

And caught the soft melodious sound.)

    “Can then my Jockey faithless prove?

And will he perjur’d quit his love?

His solemn vows can he forget?

With scorn will he my passion treat?

Will he no longer court these arms?

And will he slight my humble charms?

(And yet these humble charms he loved,

Oft o’er this face his eyes have roved;

Till fix’d, ecstatic with delight

He lost his soul, and blest his sight)

Will he no more with eager haste,

Fly from the world to my embrace?

This hand, will he not softly press?

These lips will he no more caress?  [f. 131]

Sure he is false – yet no, my heart!

He ne’er can act th’ inconstant part;

He swore, (and can I doubt the swain?)

I, in his bosom still should reign.

Oh! would he ease this aching breast!

Complete my woe, or bring me rest!

“Oh! my Maria, doubt no more,

’Tis Jockey comes, he owns thy power;

He comes to ease thy troubled breast,

To soothe thy pains, to give thee rest,

Look up my fair, thy smiles dispense

His soul to cheer, to charm his sense:

He is thy Jockey, and his heart

Will never from thy bosom part.”

    Not distant far, the attentive swain,

Delighted heard the maid complain,

And anxious to repress her grief

He ran, he flew to her relief.

    Oh! my Maria, doubt no more,

’Tis Jockey comes, he owns thy power;

He comes to ease thy troubled breast,

To soothe thy pains, to give thee rest,

Look up my fair, thy smiles dispense

His soul to cheer, to charm his sense:

He is thy Jockey, and his heart

Will never from thy bosom part.”

                                                                    J. Eccles. –

 

August 31st 1779. 


1 Brooks, Correspondence 89-90; Wedd, Love Letters 67-68.

2 nightingage’s] MS