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First Line: Will my dear brother, and indulgent friend
Last Line: With lovely error crown my worthless lays.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Anna Letitia
Subject(s): Brothers & Sisters; Letters

Will my dear Brother, and indulgent friend
Forgive a fault I strive not to defend;
For oft remorse has touch'd my conscious breast,
My careless hand so ill my heart express'd,
And, idly busy as the moments flew,
I thought, and only thought alas! of you.
But what, if now your penitent confess
Your kind upbraidings made her sorrow less;
And own, that when she shed the tender tear,
The grief that caus'd it was not half sincere.
What if she half enjoy'd the anxious care,
And almost triumph'd in the jealous fear,
Those fond misgivings, which thy bosom prove
As much alive to friendship as to love.
Not that our friendship needs such feeble aid,
Or draws its lustre from the fleeting shade;
In life's young dawn the impulse first begun,
And gather'd strength from ev'ry circling sun:
The first warm impulse which our breasts did move,
'Twas sympathy, before we knew to love.
As hand in hand with innocence we stray'd
Embosom'd deep in Kibworth's tufted shade;
Where both encircled in one household band,
And both obedient to one mild command,
Life's first fair dawn with transport we beheld,
And simple pleasures, hardly since excelled.
How like two scions on one stem we grew,
And how from the same lips one precept drew:
"Let love for ever join your hearts," they said,
And well our hearts the gentle law obey'd.
Beyond the law, the fair example mov'd,
What had we been, if then we had not lov'd?
By stronger ties endear'd, what were we now,
Could dark suspicion sit upon our brow;
Could angry thoughts arise, or envy stain,
Or selfish passions in our bosoms reign?
They never did -- Oh! trust the muse who vows
By all the sacred springs whence friendship flows,
By all the holy bands of brotherhood,
And ev'ry social tye that binds the good;
By the long train of mutual gentle deeds,
Whence faith confirm'd, and dearer love proceeds,
Sweet fruits of love on which affection feeds;
By all the soft endearing hours of youth,
By riper converse, and maturer truth,
Our hearts shall ne'er such gloomy tyrants own,
But friendship triumph on her steady throne.
Those hours are now no more which smiling flew
And the same studies saw us both pursue;
Our path divides -- to thee fair fate assign'd
The nobler labours of a manly mind:
While mine, more humble works, and lower cares,
Less shining toils, and meaner praises shares.
Yet sure in different moulds they were not cast
Nor stampt with separate sentiments and taste.
But hush my heart! nor strive to soar too high,
Nor for the tree of knowledge vainly sigh;
Check the fond love of science and of fame,
A bright, but ah! a too devouring flame.
Content remain within thy bounded sphere,
For fancy blooms, the virtues flourish there.
To thee, fair fate the pleasing task decrees,
To bring the sick man health, the tortured ease;
With potent drugs the spring of life renew,
And bid the drooping roses bloom anew:
To bid the half clos'd eye its fire resume,
And of its prey defraud the greedy tomb.
The hardy soldier, who, with conquest crown'd
Pours the warm blood thro' many an honest wound,
By thee restor'd shall only shew the scar,
The seal of glory which he boasts to wear.
O'er the wan cheek where death's pale flag display'd
With dreadful omen, chill'd the languid maid,
Shall love once more his rosy banners wave,
And beauty triumph in the charms you gave.
Nor be thy skilful care to this confin'd,
But soothe the fears and anguish of the mind;
Join to the sage advice, the tender sigh;
And to the healing hand the pitying eye.
Beyond thy art thy friendship shall prevail
And cordial looks shall cure, when drugs would fail:
Thy words of balm shall cure the wounds of strife,
And med'cine all the sharper ills of life.
So on thy cheek may health unbroken glow,
May'st thou ne'er want relief but still bestow;
So shall thy name be grac'd with fairer praise
Than waits the laurel or the greenest bays:
Yet shall the bays around thy temples twine,
And make thine own Apollo doubly thine;
For both our breasts at once the Muses fir'd,
With equal love, but not alike inspir'd.
To thee, the flute and sounding lyre decreed,
Mine, the low murmurs of the tuneful reed;
Yet when fair friendship shall unloose my tongue,
My trembling voice shall ne'er refuse the song;
Yet will I smile to see thy partial praise,
With lovely error crown my worthless lays.

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