Ode to Sensibility by Elizabeth (Eliza) Ryves

The sordid wretch who ne’er has known,
To feel for miseries not his own;
Whose lazy pulse serenely beats,
While injur’d worth her wrongs repeats;
Dead to each sense of joy or pain,
A useless link in nature’s chain,
May boast the calm which I disdain.

Give me a generous soul, that glows
With others’ transports, others’ woes;
Whose noble nature scorns to bend,
Tho’ Fate her iron scourge extend:
But bravely bears the galling yoke,
And smiles superior to the stroke,
With spirit free and mind unbroke.

Yet, by compassion touch’d, not fear,
Sheds the soft sympathizing tear,
In tribute to Affliction’s claim,
Or envy’d Merit’s wounded fame.
Let Stoics scoff! I’d rather be
Thus curst with Sensibility,
Than share their boasted Apathy.

From: Ryves, Elizabeth, Poems on Several Occasions, 1777, J. Dodsley: London, pp. 20-21.

Date: 1777

By: Elizabeth (Eliza) Ryves (1750-1797)

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