To Fanny Burney

Oh, Author of my being!-far more dear To me than light, than nourishment, or rest, Hygeia’s blessings, Rapture’s burning tear, Or the life-blood that mantles in my breast! If in my heart the love of Virtue glows, ’T was planted there by an unerring rule; From thy example the pure flame arose, Thy life, my precept,-thy good works, my school. Could my weak pow’rs thy num’rous virtues trace, By filial love each fear should be repress’d, The blush of Incapacity I’d chace, And stand, Recorder of thy worth, confess’d: But since my niggard stars that gift refuse, Concealment is the only boon I claim; Obscure be still the unsuccessful Muse, Who cannot raise, but would not sink, thy fame. Oh! of my life at once the source and joy! If e’er thy eyes these feeble lines survey, Let not their folly their intent destroy; Accept the tribute-but forget the lay.

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