To a Freind [erased underneath a previous To [possibly] Flavio, both MS's]. In Praise of the Invention of writing Letters
MS's: F-H 283, 110-3; Folger, 12.
Blest be the Man (his memory at least)
Who found this art, thus to unfold his brest,
And taught succeeding times, an easy way
Their secret thoughts, by Letters to convey.
To baffle absence, and secure delight,
Which 'till that time, was limitted [sic] to sight.
The parting farwell [sic] spoke, the last Adieu,
The less'ning distance past, then loss of veiw [sic],
The freind was gon [sic], which some kind moments gaue
And absence, separated like the graue.
The Wings of Loue, were tender too till then
No quill thence pull'd was shap'd into a pen,
To send in paper sheets, from town to town,
Words smooth as they, and softer then his down.
O're such he Reign'd, whom Neighbourhood had Joyn'd,
And hopt from bough to bough supported by the wind.
When by the Patriarch's Son, once farther sent,
The Camells, Jewells, and the Steward went
A wealthy Equipage, though graue and slow,
But not a line, that might the Lover shew
The Rings, and Bracelets, woo'd her tender arms,
But had she known of melting words, the Charms
That under secret Seals, in Ambush lye,
To catch the Soul, when drawn into the eye,
Ne're had the fair Assyrian took this guide,
Nor her soft heart, in chains of Pearl been tied.
Had these conveyances, been then in date,
Joseph had known his wretched Fathers fate
Before a famin [sic], which his Life persues,
Had sent his other Sons, to tell the News.
Oh! might I liue, to see an art arise
As this to thoughts, indulgent to the Eyes,
That the dark powers of distance cou'd subdue,
And make me see, as well as talk to you,
That tedious miles, nor tracts of Air might prove,
Barrs to my sight and shadows to my Loue.
Yett were itt granted, such unbounded things
Are wandring [sic] wishes, born on fancys Wings,
They'd stretch themselves, beyond this happy case,
And ask an art, to help us to embrace.
1713 Misc, 251-2; rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 110- 11; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1930 Fausset, 55-6; 1987 Thompson, 29-30.
Rpt of 1713/1903: 1905 Wordsworth (compiled 1819), 27, lines 31-40 (concluding passage)
Reynolds printed the new or changed line 17 in 1713 Misc: "When for a Wife the youthful Patriarch sent"; original line 17 of F-H 283: above "When by the Patriarch's Son, once farther sent". Clearly to Heneage.
Page Last Updated 7 January 2003