Oblivion; From la Harpe

I T 's call'd an opiate of regret,
That man is able to forget ,
And yet this mine of hidden treasure
Owes all its uses to its measure .
Oblivion's charm no boon is found,
That is too prompt, or too profound;
If thus we part with Sorrow's pain,
The chastening hand is felt in vain;
Instruction, the unwelcome guest,
Finds but an Arab's tent at best.
Nor blam'd nor envied be their lot,
Whose tears, when shed, are quite forgot;
Whose claims on time command relief
Against the sympathies of grief.
But me they'll pity, not condemn,
Who cannot reach or copy them;
A Fury's torch, a Giant's feat,
That hurl'd Astraea from her seat,
Glares on my desert, claims my den,
Weighs on my heart, and goads the pen,
Whose last avenging mark shall trace
This blot upon the human race.
It's that afflicting state of mind,
That, if it could a respite find
In polish'd works and graceful arts,
Revulsion to its pain imparts,
But, still arrested by its theme,
Bids Fancy paint the hideous dream,
Or Eloquence the tale rehearse
Of desolated Nature's curse,
Or Melody embalm the tear
That still the good and just revere.
But those who can the past command,
And shake its tablets from their hand,
Have not a guess what I can mean,
When they are tranquil and serene.
Yet I have my companions too,
And say to them , " I'm one of you;
If you can weep — no tear disown,
But share my sorrows with your own! "
A susceptible nature's grief
Rejects with scorn its own relief;
It is the lamp's religious light,
Guard of the sepulchre at night;
What ruffians, in their lust of prey,
Would rob the dead of such a ray?
Or envy the survivor's part,
In this devotion of the heart?
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