See where the Thames, the purest stream

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See where the Thames, the purest stream
That wavers to the noon-day beam,
   Divides the vale below:
While like a vein of liquid ore
His waves enrich the happy shore,
   Still shining as they flow.

Nor yet, my Delia, to the main
Runs the sweet tide without a stain,
   Unsullied as it seems:
Thy nymphs of many a sable flood
Deform with streaks of oozy mud
   The bosom of the Thames.

Some idle rivulets, that feed
And suckle ev'ry noisome weed,
   A sandy bottom boast:
For ever bright, for ever clear,
The trifling shallow rills appear
   In their own channel lost.

Thus fares it with the human soul,
Where copious floods of passion roll,
   By genuine love supplied:
Fair in itself the current shows,
But ah! a thousand anxious woes
   Pollute the noble tide.

These are emotions known to few;
For where at most a vap'ry dew
   Surrounds the tranquil heart,
Then, as the triflers never prove
The glad excess of real love,
   They never prove the smart.

Oh then, my life, at last relent,
Though cruel the reproach I sent,
   My sorrow was unfeign'd:
Your passion, had I lov'd you not,
You might have scorn'd, renounc'd, forgot,
   And I had ne'er complain'd.

While you indulge a groundless fear,
Th' imaginary woes you bear
   Are real woes to me:
But thou art kind, and good thou art,
Nor wilt, by wronging thine own heart,
   Unjustly punish me.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.