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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

223. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, [? late 1807]* 

The Power of Innocence.

a true story

When first the nuptial state we prove,
We lead the happy life of love;
But when familiar charms no more
Inspire the bliss they gave before,
Each less delighting, less is lov'd;
First this, then that, is disapproved;
Complaisance flies, neglect succeeds;
Neglect disdain and hatred breeds.
Twas thus a pair, who long time prov'd
The joys to love and be belov'd,
At length fell out for trifling things
From trifles, anger mostly springs.
The wish to please forsook each breast,
Love's throne by baseless rage possess'd:
Resolv'd to part, they'd meet no more;
Enough—the chariots at the door.
The mansion was my Lady's own,
Sir John resolv'd to live in town:—  [1] 
Writings were drawn, each clause agreed
Both vow'd they'd ne'er recall the deed.
The chariot waits—why this delay? [2] 
The sequel shall the cause display.
One lovely girl the lady bore,
Dear pledge of joys she tasts no more;
The Father's, Mother's, darling she,
Now lisp'd and prattl'd on each knee.
Sir John, when rising to depart
Turn'd to the darling of his heart
And cried with ardour in his eye,
'Come Betsey, bid Mamma good bye.'
The Lady trembling answerd—'No'—
'Go, kiss papa, my Betsey, go.
'The child shall live with me,' she cried [3] 
'The child shall chuse,' Sir John replied.
Poor Betsey lookd at each by turns,
And each the starting tear discerns,
My Lady who with doubt and fear
'Will you not live with me my dear'?
'Yes'—half resolved, replied the child,
And half supprest her tears, she smiled.
'Come Betsey,' cried Sir John, 'you'll go,'
'And live with dear papa I know.'
'Yes'—Betsey cried,—the Lady then
Addrest the wondering child again.
'The time to live with both is o'er
'This day we part to meet no more: [4] 
'Chuse then.'—Here grief o'erflow'd her breast,
And tears burst out, too long supprest.
The child, who tears and chiding join'd,
Suppos'd pappa displeas'd, unkind;
And try'd, with all her little skill,
To sooth his oft relenting will.
'Do,' cried the lisper, 'Papa,! Do
'Love dear Mamma! Mamma loves you!'
Subdued the source of manly pride,
No more his looks his heart belied;
The tender transport forc'd its way;
They both confess'd each other's sway;
And prompted by the social smart,
Breast rush'd to breast, and heart to heart.
Each clasp'd their Betsey o'er and o'er,
And Tom drove empty from the door.

————————————

Mrs Lloyd Baker

I have, Madam, at your request, copied for you the above esquisite morsel;—who wrote it? How did the same hand write nothing else? These are questions I should like to have solved, but at present have no clue. There are, however, two concluding lines which I have omitted above, because they appear to me to be something like sounding a Jews Harp to help out the concluding tones of one of Handels Choruses. I will not neither, wrong the author of his lines (if he wrote them,) so here they are,

Ye that have passions for a tear,
Give Nature vent, and drop it here.

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 449–50; the poem, 'The Power of Innocence' is undated but is written on paper watermarked 1806. BACK

[1] Marginal note: Sir John must ride to town BACK

[2] Marginal note: Something about Tom filling/his pipe & wondering at the/delay BACK

[3] Marginal note: 'Sir John the child/shall live with me'/'The child herself/shall chuse' said he BACK

[4] Marginal note: And we must part to/meet no more BACK

Published @ RC

September 2009