Where the loveliest expression to features is join'd

First Line Where the loveliest expression to features is join'd
Author Charles James Fox
Addressee Frances Anne Greville Crewe
Date c1775

Sonnet [Celebrities; Friendship; Love]. 

Transcribed from Fox, Charles. "Verses upon Mrs. Crewe." The festival of wit: or, the small talker..., 1783, pp. 166–168. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0124736774.



Where the loveliest expression to features is join’d,

By nature's most delicate pencil design’d;

Where blushes unbidden, and smiles without art,

Speak the softness and feeling that dwell in the heart,

Where in manners inchanting, no blemish we trace,

But the soul keeps the promise we had from the face:

Sure philosophy, reason, and coldness must prove

Defences unequal to shield us from love:

Then tell me, mysterious enchanter, oh tell!

By what wonderful art, by what magical spell,

My heart is so fenced, that for once I am wise,

And gaze without raptures on Amoret’s eyes:

That my wishes, which never were bounded before,

Are here bounded by friendship, and ask for no more?

Is’t reason? No; that my whole life will belye,

For who so at variance as reason and I?

Is’t ambition that fills up each chink of my heart,

Nor allows any softer sensation a part?

Oh no! for in this all the world must agree,

One folly was never sufficient for me.

Is my mind on distress too intensely employ’d,

Or my pleasure relax’d, by variety cloy’d?

For alike in this only, employment and pain

Both slacken the springs of those nerves which they strain.

That I've felt each reverse that from fortune can flow,

That I've tasted each bliss that the happiest know,

Has still been the whimsical fate of my life,

Where anguish and joy have been ever at strife,

But, tho’ vers’d in extremes both of pleasure and pain,

I'm still but too ready to feel them again:

If then for this once in my life I am free,

And escape from a snare might catch wiser than me;

‘Tis that beauty alone but imperfectly charms,

For, tho’ brightness may dazzle, ‘tis kindness that warms:

As on suns in the winter with pleasure we gaze,

But feel not their warmth, tho’ their splendor we praise;

So beauty our just admiration may claim,

But love, and love only, the heart can inflame.