Elizabeth Carter

The Midnight Moon serenely smiles,
     O’er Nature’s soft Repose;
No low’ring Cloud obscures the Sky,
     Nor ruffling Tempest blows.

Now ev’ry Passion sinks to Rest,
     The throbbing Heart lies still:
And varying Schemes of Life no more
     Distract the lab’ring Will.

In Silence hush’d, to Reason’s Voice,
     Attends each mental Pow’r:
Come dear Emilia, and enjoy
     Reflexion’s fav’rite Hour.

Come: while the peaceful Scene invites,
     Let’s search this ample Round,
Where shall the lovely fleeting Form
     Of Happiness be found?

Does it amidst the frolic Mirth
     Of gay Assemblies dwell?
Or hide beneath the solemn Gloom,
     That shades the Hermit’s Cell?

How oft the laughing Brow of Joy
     A sick’ning Heart conceals!
And thro’ the Cloister’s deep Recess,
     Invading Sorrow steals.

In vain thro’ Beauty, Fortune, Wit,
     The Fugitive we trace:
It dwells not in the faithless Smile,
     That brightens Clodio’s Face.

Perhaps the Joy to these deny’d,
     The Heart in Friendship finds:
Ah! dear Delusion! gay Conceit
     Of visionary Minds!

Howe’er our varying Notions rove,
     Yet all agree in one,
To place it’s Being in some State,
     At Distance from our own.

O blind to each indulgent Aim,
     Of Pow’r supremely wise,
Who fancy Happiness in ought
     The Hand of Heav’n denies!

Vain is alike the Joy we seek,
     And vain what we possess,
Unless harmonious Reason tunes
     The Passions into Peace.

To temper’d Wishes, just Desires
     Is Happiness confin’d,
And deaf to Folly’s Call, attends
     The Music of the Mind.

From Elizabeth Carter, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1766), 65-67.

Source: Eighteenth Century Collections Online