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Anna Jane Vardill

Address to the Patrons of
the Refuge for the Destitute

The following beautiful and elegant composition has been sent to a gentleman connected with this Magazine, by a respected friend to the fair authoress. We do not delay one moment its insertion; as we are persuaded that, exclusive of its laudable purpose, its language, animation, and truly poetic spirit will be admired by the public, as much as the lovely writer is by the circle of her acquaintance.

Written by a YOUNG LADY, at the Desire of a Friend to the Institution, for the Anniversary Dinner on the 26th January, 1809.

 As the worn pilgrim, parch’d by pois’nous gales,
’Midst Lybian sands the balmy fountain hails;
The wand’rer, lost in Guilt’s eternal wastes,
From Mercy’s source reviving nectar tastes;
Then to the calm abode returns again,
Where social arts and social order reign:
Starts at the pathless wilds he trod before,
Rejoins the blissful throng, and strays no more.
Thus at your shrine the rescu’d sinner kneels,
Shares the rich balm, and vital vigour feels.
Beauty’s frail flow’rs, by chilling damps o’er-spread,
Here bloom again, and purer incense shed:
The sire, by Mercy’s gentle precept won,
Clasps to his soften’d breast his erring son;
Bids the young bud of contrition live,
And blesses those who taught him to forgive.

 Perhaps beneath the wreck of vice and woe,
Some sparks divine of stifled virtue glow;
As ’midst the ruins of a fallen pile,
A beauteous relic crowns th’ inquirer’s toil;
His skilful touch its former grace renews,
Recalls its spotless gloss and vivid hues;
’Till the fair work reclaims its destin’d place
And shines a model for the rising race.

 Briton’s!—’tis yours th’ illustrious truth to prove,
The last, best precept of almighty love!—
Bid Mercy’s voice imperial justice guide,
To Mercy’s hand her awful sword confide:
To you their well-united pow’r they lend,
Their noble charge—to rescue and amend.
You!—who with wisdom’s hallow’d bounty gave
Health to the captive, freedom to the slave,
To Guilt’s pale victims grant your guardian cares.
The basest chain, the darkest death is theirs.

Blest is the hand whose bounteous efforts save
A brother sinking in the wat’ry grave,
But tenfold happier they, whose cares redeem
A soul involv’d in Guilt’s unfathom’d stream!
He who from death detains his trembling prey,
Adds but to fev’rish life another day;
But you the noblest pow’r of heav’n assume,
And snatch th’ immortal spirit from its tomb!
’Tis yours!—Afford the glorious impulse scope
Lend strength to virtue, to repentance hope:
Already on this roof with light benign,
The brightest stars of favour’d Albion shine:
To you the pillars of her pow’r are giv’n,
The love of man, the best applause of heav’n!

The European Magazine, Vol. 55, January 1809, p. 78