The Poet’s Answer,

To a Lady’s Question Respecting the Accomplish-
ments Most Desirable in an Instructress of

O’er wayward childhood would’st thou hold firm rule,1
And sun thee in the light of happy faces ;2
Love, Hope, and Patience, these must be thy Graces,3
And in thine own heart let them first keep school.4
For as old Atlas on his broad neck places5
Heaven’s starry globe and there sustains it : so6
Do these upbear the little world below7
Of Education, Patience, Love, and Hope.8
Methinks, I see them group’d in seemly show,9
The straiten’d arms uprais‘d, the palms aslope,10
And robes that touching, as adown they flow,11
Distinctly blend, like snow emboss’d in snow.12
O part them never !  If Hope prostrate lie,13
Love too will sink and die.14
But Love is subtle, and will proof derive15
From her own life that Hope is yet alive.16
And bending o’er, with soul-transfusing eyes,17
And the soft murmurs of the Mother Dove,18
Woos back the fleeting spirit, and half supplies :19
Thus Love repays to Hope what Hope first gave to Love.20
Yet haply there will come a weary day,21
When over-task’d at length22
Both Love and Hope beneath the load give way.23
Then with a statue’s smile, a statue’s strength24
Stands the mute sister, Patience, nothing loth,25
And both supporting does the work of both.26