Oft I've implor'd the gods in vain

First Line Oft I've implor'd the gods in vain
Author Frances Macartney Greville
Date 1763

Lyric [Passions, sentiments]. 

See also Countess Carlisle's Answer "Without preamble, to my friend..."

Transcribed from Mrs. G, "A Prayer for Indifference." The annual register... 1762, 1763, pp. 200–201. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0125074759.



Oft I've implor'd the gods in vain,

And pray'd till I've been weary!

For once I'll strive my wish to gain,

Of Oberon, the fairy.


Sweet airy being, wanton sprite,

Who liv'st in woods unseen;

And oft, by Cynthia's silver light,

Trip'st gaily o'er the green;


If e'er thy pitying heart was mov'd,

(As ancient stories tell)

And for th' Athenian maid, who lov'd,

Thou sought'st a wond'rous spell;


Oh! deign once more t'exert thy pow'r,

Haply some herb or tree,

Sov'reign as juice from western flow'r,

Conceals a balm for me.


I ask no kind return in love,

No tempting charm to please; 

Far from that heart such gifts remove,

Which sighs for peace and ease.


Nor ease, nor peace, that heart can know,

That like the needle true,

Turns at the touch of joy or woe,

But, turning, trembles too.


For as distress the soul can wound,

'Tis plain in each degree;

Bliss goes but to a certain bound,

Beyond 'tis agony.


Then take this treacherous sense of mine,

Which dooms me still to smart;

Which pleasure can to pain refine,

To pain new pangs impart!


Oh! haste to shed the sov'reign balm,

My shatter'd nerves new string;

And for my guest, serenely calm,

The nymph, Indifference, bring!


At her approach, see hope, see fear,

See expectation fly;

With disappointment, in the rear,

That blasts the purpos'd joy.


The tears which pity taught to flow,

My eyes shall then disown;

The heart which throbb'd for others woe,

Shall then scarce feel its own.


The wounds which now each moment bleed,

Each moment then shall close;

And peaceful days shall still succeed,

To nights of sweet repose.


Oh, fairy elf! but grant me this,

This one kind comfort send;

And so may never-fading bliss,

Thy flowery paths attend!


So may the glow-worm's glimmering light

Thy tiny footsteps lead,

To some new region of delight,

Unknown to mortal tread!