On Virtue

O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach. 
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound. 
But, O my soul, sink not into despair, 
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head. 
Fain would the heaven-born soul with her converse, 
Then seek, then court her for her promised bliss. 

Auspicious queen, thine heavenly pinions spread, 
And lead celestial Chastity along; 
Lo! now her sacred retinue descends, 
Arrayed in glory from the orbs above. 
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years! 
O leave me not to the false joys of time! 
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss. 
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee, 
To give an higher appellation still, 
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay, 
O Thou, enthroned with Cherubs in the realms of day!

(1773)