On Mrs. Montagu (1785)
O MONTAGU! Forgive me if I sing
Thy wisdom tempered with the milder ray
Of soft humanity, and kindness bland:
So wide its influence, that the bright beams
Reach the low vale where mists of ignorance lodge,
Strike on the innate spark which lay immersed,
Thick clogged, and almost quenched in total nightó
On me it fell, and cheered my joyless heart.
† Unwelcome is the first bright dawn of light
To that dark soul: impatient, she rejects,
And fain would push the heavenly stranger back;
She loathes the cranny which admits the day;
Confused, afraid of the intruding guest;
Disturbed, unwilling to receive the beam,
Which to herself the native darkness† shows.
† The effort to quench the cheering flame
Was mine . . .