Familiar Epistle to a Daughter

Communicated by Miss Beslee

South Foreland Sepr 1810

O! think not Maria, while distant I prowl
 That I bear thee no longer in mind
Not such is the make of thy Father’s fond soul
Which since he possess’d it, has known no control
 But feelings all tender and kind.

There’s magic Maria in names that we prize
 And the sound of some letters alone
Will throb in the bosom and stream in the eye,
As memory events that are long-lost supplies
 And scenes that for ever are flown.

Such, such is thy name dear Maria to me
 For early in life, e’er its woes
Had bruis’d and assailed this susceptible heart
She who bore it, occasion’d its every smart
 And made or destroyed its repose.

She taught me affection, and friendship, and love
 And gave to my bosom a charm
It raised me each selfish sensation above
(For in truth she was tender and soft as the dove)
 And led me from error and harm.

All heaven was in this! but it spoilt me, my dear
 And made me unfit for this earth,
For my passions were ardent, were true and sincere
And I loved far, far more sensibility’s tear
 Than splendour and riches, and mirth.

Thus biass’d, as life had commenced its bright day
 With Maria was coupled each joy;
To my every happiness she led the way
Without her, e’en Nature herself look’d not gay
 And with her there was not alloy.

Say then my loved girl bearing this dearest name
 My daughter, my boast and my pride
To my comfort thus link’d, to my joy and my fame
How doubly thou hast to my bosom a claim
 Thus by sympathy fondly allied.

At this moment O! how would thy presence delight
 While on Freedown’s delicious assent
The gay coast of Gallia gladdens the sight
And boldly the Fareland extends to the sight
 To the left, all the beauties of Kent.

Below in the Downs a forest behold
 Of ships, from each climate and land
While alternately tinged with azure and gold
The Channel rolls sparkling, extensive and bold
 And the spreading sail glides ’long the strand.

The sun is declining, the glad shepherd boy
 To the valley is driving his sheep
To pen them secure from attack or annoy
And around us is heard the cricketer’s joy
 As skillful their stations they keep.

At a distance beneath, the spire ’bove the trees
 And the farm at the bottom appear
While the loaded team bounds o’er the grattan with ease
And the farmer returning, exultingly sees
 His Harvest Lane now very near.

Thus as every beauty by sea and by land
 Enraptures this bosom of mine;
I pour out my soul, lov’d Maria to thee
Regretting alone thou art not here to see
 All that’s beautiful, grand and sublime.

Farewell! to your Brothers and Sisters so dear
 All that’s kind and affectionate say
And to her, whom he cannot but ever severe
To our Mother, our Wife, and our Friend, most sincere,
For amid all our pleasure is still mix’d a tear
 That the best belov’d is away.