William Hamilton, “The Wish”

WILLIAM HAMILTON

 “The Wish”

If join’d to make up virtue’s glorious tale,
A weak, but pious aid can aught avail,
Each sacred study, each diviner page
That once inspired my youth, shall sooth my age,
Deaf to ambition, and to interest’s call;                                                        5
Honour, my titles, and enough, my all;
No pimp of pleasure, and no slave of state,
Serene from fools, and guiltless of the great,
Some calm and undisturb’d retreat I’ll chuse
Dear to myself and friends. Perhaps the muse                                        10
May grant, while all my thoughts her charms imploy,
If not a future fame, a present joy,
Pure from each feverish hope, each weak desire;
Thoughts that improve, and slumbers that inspire,
A steadfast peace of mind, rais’d far above                                               15
The guilt of hate and weakness of Love
Studious of life, yet free from anxious care,
To others candid, to myself severe,
Filial, submissive to the sovereign will,
Glad of the good, and patient of the ill,                                                      20
I’ll work in narrow sphere, what heaven approves,
Abating hatreds, and increasing loves,
My friendship, studies, pleasures, all my own
Alike to envy, and to fame unknown:
Such in form blest asylum let me ly,                                                           25
Take off my fill of life, and wait, not wish to dy.

NOTES:

 3 Diviner “Given by or proceeding from God; having the sanction of or inspired by God” (OED).

19 Filial “Of sentiments, duty, etc.: due from a child to a parent” (OED).

25 Asylum “A benevolent institution affording shelter and support to some class of the afflicted, the unfortunate, the destitute” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Bangor 1760) pp. 95-96. [Google Books]

Edited by Haley Walker


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