The Female Philosopher

YOU tell me, fair one, that you ne'er can love,
And seem with scorn to mock the dangerous fire;
But why, then, trait'ress, do you seek to move
In others what your breast can ne'er inspire?

You tell me, you my friend alone will be,
Yet speak of friendship in a voice so sweet,
That, while I struggle to be coldly free,
I feel my heart with wildest throbbings beat.

Vainly indiff'rence would you bid us feel,
While so much languor in those eyes appear;
Vainly the stoic's happiness reveal,
While soft emotion all your features wear.

O, form'd for love! O, wherefore should you fly
From the seducing charm it spreads around?
O why enshrine your soul with apathy?
Or wish in frozen fetters to be bound?

Life is a darksome and a dreary day,
The solitary wretch no pleasure knows;
Love is the star that lights him on his way,
And guides him on to pleasure and repose.

But oft, forgetful of thy plan severe,
I've seen thee fondly gaze—I've heard thee sigh;
I've mark'd thy strain of converse, sadly dear,
While softest rapture lighten'd from thine eye.

Then have I thought some wayward youth employ'd
Thy secret soul, but left thee to despair,
And oft with pleasing sorrow have enjoy'd
The task of chasing thy corrosive care.

Yet pride must save me from a dastard love,
A grov'ling love, that cannot hope return:
A soul like mine was never form'd to prove
Those viler passions with which some can burn.

Then fear not me; for since it is thy will,
Adhere with stubborn coolness to thy vow;
Grant me thy philosophic friendship still—
I'll grant thee mine with all the powers I know.

by Charlotte Dacre

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