Poems on Various Subjects (1787), pp. 49-53.
INDIFFERENCE come! thy torpid juices shed On my keen sense: plunge deep my wounded heart, In thickest apathy, till it congeal, Or mix with thee incorp'rate. Come, thou foe To sharp sensation, in thy cold embrace A death-like slumber shall a respite give To my long restless soul, tost on extreme, From bliss to pointed woe. Oh, gentle Pow'r, Dear substitute of Patience! thou canst ease The Soldier's toil, the gloomy Captive's chain, 10 The Lover's anguish, and the Miser's fear. Proud Beauty will not own thee! Her loud boast Is VlRTUE--while thy chilling breath alone Blows o'er her soul. bidding her passions sleep. Mistaken Cause, the frozen Fair denies Thy saving influence. VIRTUE never lives, But in the bosom, struggling with its wound: There she supports the conflict, there augments The pang of hopeless Love, the senseless stab Of gaudy Ign'rance, and more deeply drives 20 The poison'd dart, hurl'd by the long-lov'd friend; Then pants with painful victory. Bear me hence, Thou antidote to pain! thy real worth Mortal can never know. What's the vain boast Of Sensibility but to be wretched? In her best transports lives a latent sting, Which wounds as they expire. On her high heights Our souls can never sit; the point so nice, We quick fly off--secure, but in descent. To SENSIBILITY, what is not bliss 30 Is woe. No placid medium's ever held Beneath her torrid line, when straining high The fibres of the soul. Of Pain, or Joy, She gives too large a share; but thou, more kind, Wrapp'st up the heart from both, and bidd'st it rest In ever-wish'd-for ease. By all the pow'rs Which move within the mind for diff'rent ends, I'd rather lose myself with thee and share Thine happy indolence, for one short hour, 40 Than live of Sensibility the tool For endless ages. Oh! her points have pierc'd My soul, till, like a sponge, it drinks up woe. Then leave me, Sensibility! be gone, Thou chequer'd angel! Seek the soul refin'd: I hate thee! and thy long progressive brood Of joys and mis'ries. Soft Indiff'rence, come! In this low cottage thou shalt be my guest, Till Death shuts out the hour: here down I'll sink With thee upon my couch of homely rush, 50 Which fading forms of Friendship, Love, or Hope, Must ne'er approach. Ah!--quickly hide, thou pow'r, Those dead intruding images! Oh, seal The lids of mental sight, lest I abjure My freezing supplication.--AII is still. Idea, smother'd, leaves my mind a waste, Where SENSIBILITY must lose her prey.