Written For A Gentlewoman In Distress, To Her Grace Adelida, Dutchess Of Shrewsbury.
Might I inquire the Reasons of my Fate,
by Mary Barber
Or with my Maker dare expostulate;
Did I, in prosp'rous Days, despise the Poor,
Or drive the friendless Stranger from my Door?
Was not my Soul pour'd out for the Distress'd?
Did I not vindicate the Poor oppress'd?
Did not the Orphan's Cry with me prevail?
Did I not weep the Woes I could not heal?
Why then, Thou gracious, Thou all--pow'rful God,
Why do I feel th' Oppressor's Iron Rod?
Why thus the Scorners cruel Taunts endure,
Who basely fret the Wounds, they will not cure?
O Thou, whose Mercy does to All extend,
Say, shall my Sorrows never, never, end?
Let not my Tears for ever, fruitless, flow;
Commiserate a Wretch, o'erwhelm'd with Woe;
No longer let Distress my Bosom tear:
O shield me from the Horrors of Despair!
Forgive me, Madam, that I thus impart
The Throbs, the Anguish, of a breaking Heart.
Oft, when my weary'd Eyes can weep no more,
To sooth my Woes, I read your Letters o'er.
Goodness, and Wit, and Humour, there I find;
And view with Joy those Pictures of your Mind;
With Pleasure on the lov'd Resemblance gaze,
Till peaceful Slumbers on my Eye--lids seize.
Then, then, Imagination glads my Sight
With transient Images of past Delight;
My aking Heart of ev'ry Care beguiles;
Then Talbot lives, and Adelida smiles.
Delightful Forms! why will you fleet away,
And leave me to the Terrors of the Day?
In vain from Reason I expect Relief;
For sad Reflection doubles ev'ry Grief.
Some of my Friends in Death's cold Arms I see;
Others, tho, living, yet are dead to me?
Of Friends, and Children both, I am bereft,
And soon must lose the only Blessing left;
A Husband form'd for Tenderness and Truth,
The lov'd, the kind Companion of my Youth;
With him, thro' various Storms of Fate I pass'd;
Relentless Fate!--And must we part at last?
O King of Terrors, I invoke thy Pow'r;
Oh! stand between me and that dreadful Hour;
From that sad Hour thy wretched Suppliant save;
Oh! shield me from it!--Hide me in the Grave!