Second Book
Various Subjects,

Ann Yearsley.

Price Five Shillings


Various Subjects,

By Ann Yearsley,
Milkwoman of Clifton, Near Bristol;
Being Her Second Work.

Printed for the author,
and sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinson,
Pater-Noster Row.

To the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Frederick, Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry, &c. &c.

My Lord,

As a singular, not a conspicuous character, I approach you. Unadorned by art, unaccomplished by science, and, consequently, undeserving of popular applause, I humbly claim your Lordship’s protection.

The few insignificant pieces which compose this volume, are the effusions of nature only; yet, convinced of your Lordship’s liberality of soul, I presume to lay them at your feet with all their imperfections. On perusing them, you will remember, that they were written in the short intervals of a life of labour, and under every disadvantage which can possibly result from a confined education.

With the highest veneration for your virtues,

I am, My Lord, Your Lordship’s obliged, Ever grateful, and Very humble Servant,

Ann Yearsley


A Prefatory Letter to Mrs. Montagu. By Miss Hannah More.

Dear Madam,

There is nothing more inconvenient than a high reputation, as it subjects the possessor to continual applications, which those of a contrary character entirely escape. The delight which you are known to feel in protecting real genius, and in cherishing depressed virtue, exposes you to the present intrusion, from which a cold heart, and an illiberal spirit, would have effectually secured you. On viii

On my return from Sandleford, a copy of verses was shewn me, said to be written by a poor illiterate woman in this neighbourhood, who sells milk from door to door. The story did not engage my faith, but the verses excited my attention; for, though incorrect, they breathed the genuine spirit of Poetry, and were rendered still more interesting, by a certain natural and strong expression of misery, which seemed to fill the heart and mind of the Author. On making diligent enquiry into her history and character, I found that she had been born and bred in her present humble station, and had never received the least education, except that her brother had taught her to write. Her mother, who was also a milk-woman, appears to have had sense and piety, and to have given an early tincture of religion to this poor woman’s mind. She is about eight-and-twenty, was married very young, to a man who is said to be honest and sober, but of a turn of mind very different from her own. Repeated losses, and a numerous family, for they had six children in seven years, reduced them very low, and the rigours of the last severe winter sunk them to the extremity of distress. For your sake, dear Madam, and for my own, I wish I could entirely pass over this part of her story; but some of her most affecting verses would be unintelligible without it. Her aged mother, her six little infants, and herself (expecting every hour to lie in), were actually on the point of perishing, and had given up every hope of human assistance, when the Gentleman, so gratefully mentioned in her Poem to Stella, providentially heard of their distress, which I am afraid she had too carefully concealed, and hastened to their relief. The poor woman and her children were preserved; but— (imagine, dear Madam, a scene which will not bear a detail) for the unhappy mother, all assistance came too late; she had the joy to see it arrive, but it was a joy she was no longer able to bear, and 7 it b1r ix it was more fatal to her than famine had been. You will find our Poetess frequently alluding to this terrible circumstance, which has left a settled impression of sorrow on her mind.

When I went to see her, I observed a perfect simplicity in her manners, without the least affectation or pretension of any kind: she neither attempted to raise my compassion by her distress, nor my admiration by her parts. But, on a more familiar acquaintance, I have had reason to be surpised at the justness of her taste, the faculty I least expected to find in her. In truth, her remarks on the books she has read are so accurate, and so consonant to the opinions of the best critics, that, from that very circumstance, they would appear trite and common-place, in any one who had been in habits of society; for, without having ever conversed with any body above her own level, she seems to possess the general principles of sound taste and just thinking.

I was curious to know what poetry she had read. With the Night Thoughts, and Paradise Lost, I found her well acquainted; but she was astonished to learn that Young and Milton had written any thing else. Of Pope, she had only seen the Eloisa; and Dryden, Spenser, Thomson, and Prior, were quite unknown to her, even by name. She has read a few of Shakespeare’s Plays, and speaks of a translation of the Georgics, which she has somewhere seen, with the warmest poetic rapture.

But though it has been denied to her to drink at the pure wellhead of Pagan Poesy, yet, from the true fountain of divine Inspiration,b tion, b1v x tion, her mind seems to have been wonderfully nourished and enriched. The study of the sacred Scriptures has enlarged her imagination, and ennobled her language, to a degree only credible to those, who, receiving them as the voice of everlasting Truth, are at the pains to appreciate the various and exquisite beauties of composition which they exhibit. For there is, as I have heard you remark, in the Prophets, in Job, and in the Psalms, a character of thought, and a style of expression, between Eloquence and Poetry, by which a great mind, disposed to either, may be so elevated and warmed, as, with little other assistance, to become a Poet or an Orator.

By the next post, I will send you some of her wild wood-notes. You will find her, like all unlettered Poets, abounding in imagery, metaphor, and personification; her faults, in this respect, being rather those of superfluity than of want. If her epithets are now and then bold and vehement, they are striking and original; and I should be sorry to see the wild vigour of her rustic muse polished into elegance, or laboured into correctness. Her ear is perfect; there is sometimes great felicity in the structure of her blank verse, and she often varies the pause with a happiness which looks like skill. She abounds in false concords, and inaccuracies of various kinds; the grossest of which have been corrected. You will find her often diffuse from redundancy, and oftener obscure from brevity; but you will seldom find in her those inexpiable poetic sins, the false thought, the puerile conceit, the distorted image, and the incongruous metaphor, the common resources of bad Poets, and the not uncommon blemishes of good ones. If b2r xi

If this commendation be thought exaggerated, qualify it, dear Madam, with the reflection that it belongs to one who writes under every complicated disadvantage; who is destitute of all the elegancies of literature, the accomodations of leisure, and I will not barely say the conveniencies, but the necessaries of life: to one who does not know a single rule of Grammar, and who has never ever seen a Dictionary. Chill Penury repress’d her noble rage,And froze the genial current of her soul.

Though I have a high reverence for art, study, and institution, and for all the mighty names and master spirits who have given laws to Taste, yet I am not sorry, now and then, to convince the supercilious Critic, whose mass of knowledge is not warmed by a single particle of native fire, that genius is antecedent to rules, and independent on criticism; for who, but his own divine and incomprehensible genius, pointed out to Shakespeare, while he was holding horses at the play-house door, every varied position of the human mind, every shade of discrimination in the human character? all the distinct affections, and all the complicated feelings of the heart of man? Who taught him to give to the dead letter of narrative the living spirit of action; to combine the most philosophic turn of thinking with the warmest energies of Passion, and to embellish both with all the graces of Imagination, and all the enthusiasm of Poetry? to make every description a picture, and every sentiment an axiom? to know how every being which did exist, would speak and act in every supposed circumstance of situation; and how every being, which did not exist but in imagination, must speak and act, if ever he were to be called into real existence?

b2 But b2v xii

But to return to the subject of my Letter: When I expressed to her my surpise at two or three classical allusions in one of her Poems, and inquired how she came by them, she said she had taken them from little ordinary prints which hung in a shop-window. This hint may, perhaps, help to account for the manner in which a late untutored, and unhappy, but very sublime genius of this town, Chatterton. caught some of those ideas which diffuse through his writings a certain air of learning, the reality of which he did not possess. A great mind at once seizes and appropriates to itself whatever is new and striking; and I am pursuaded, that a truly poetic spirit has often the art of appearing to be deeply informed on subjects of which he only knows the general principle; by skilfully seizing the master feature, he is thought artfully to reject the detail with which, in fact, he is unacquainted; and obtains that credit for his knowledge which is better due to his judgment.

I have the satisfaction to tell you, dear Madam, that our poor Enthusiast is active and industrious in no common degree. The Muses have not cheated her into an opinion, that the retailing a few fine maxims of virtue, may exempt her from the most exact probity in her conduct. I have had some unequivocal proofs that her morality has not evaporated in sentiment, but is, I verily believe, fixed in a settled principle. Without this, with all her ingenuity, as she would not have obtained my friendship, so I should not have had the courage to solicit for her your protection.

I already anticipate your generous concurrence in a little project I have in view for her relief. It is not intended to place her in such b3r xiii such a state of independence as might seduce her to devote her time to the idleness of Poetry. I hope she is convinced, that the making of verses is not the great business of human life; and that, as a wife and a mother, she has duties to fill, the smallest of which is of more value than the finest verses she can write: but as it has pleased God to give her these talents, may they not be made an instrument to mend her situation, if we publish a small volume of her Poems by subscription? The liberality of my friends leaves me no room to doubt of success.—Pressing as her distresses are, if I did not think her heart was rightly turned, I should be afraid of proposing such a measure, lest it should unsettle the sobriety of her mind, and, by exciting her vanity, indispose her for the laborious employments of her humble condition; but it would be cruel to imagine that we cannot mend her fortune without impairing her virtue.

For my own part, I do not feel myself actuated by the idle vanity of a discoverer; for I confess, that the ambition of bringing to light a genius buried in obscurity, operates much less powerfully on my mind, than the wish to rescue a meritorious woman from misery, for it is not fame, but bread, which I am anxious to secure to her.

I should ask your pardon for this dull and tedious Letter, if I were not assured that you are always ready to sacrifice your most elegant pursuits to the humblest claims of humanity; and that the sweetness of renown has not lessened your sensibility for the pleasuressures b3v xiv sures of benevolence, nor destroyed your relish for that most touching and irresistible eloquence, the blessing of him who was ready to perish.

I am, Dear Madam, Your much obliged, and very faithful humble Servant,

Hannah More.

b4r xv

To the Noble and Generous Subscribers, who so liberally patronized a book of poems, published under the auspices of Miss H. More, of Park-Street, Bristol, The following narrative is most humbly addressed.

I am said to have proved ungrateful to my patroness—The charge I disclaim. Every return that powerless gratitude could make, I have offered; but have fatally experienced, that simple expression only was inadequate to Miss More’s extensive and superior mind.—To exculpate myself from the monstrous charge of ingratitude falls to my lot. Most irksome the task! yet, with the most humble deference to the noble patronage I am honoured with, I will pursue it. Highly b4v xvi

Highly meritorious would it have been in Miss H. More, not to have urged me to the task, by injuring my character, after chaining me down by obligations. And, great as those obligations are, which that Lady has conditionally laid on me, I would gladly resign every advantage resulting from them, for that untainted and happy obscurity I once possessed.

When the first edition of my book came out, and the balance was paid by the bookseller to Miss H. More, she ordered her Attorney to prepare a deed of trust, appointing Mrs. Montagu (for whom I will ever retain the highest veneration and respect) with herself, the trustees. It was sent to Bristol the day my books came here, with an order for it to be signed by my husband and me immediately, and returned to London the next morning.—I had no time to peruse it, nor take a copy; and from the rapidity with which this circumstance was conducted, I feared to ask it. The eldest Miss More read the deed, who, in a conversation some time before, had told me, that if her sister chose to say she had but twopence of mine, she might, for the world could not get it out of her hands.—My feelings were all struck at—I felt as a mother deemed unworthy the tuition or care of her family; and imagined my conduct and principles must of necessity be falsely represented to a generous public, in order to justify the present measure.—Even the interest was not allowed me, but on the capricious terms, that she should lay it out as she thought proper; without any condition in the deed whereby my children might have an undeniable claim in future. In short, every circumstance was calculated to depress a mind naturally despairing; and in despair I signed this incomplete and unsatisfactory deed; and I vainly imagined, by this submission, I had secured my character from the imputation of ingratitude, as I 7 relin- c1r xvii relinquished all, even the rights of a mother, at Miss H. More’s request. When that lady came to Bristol, we had several interviews, in one of which her sister mentioned my owing a little money. Miss H. More said she was sorry I owed any money; adding, If it is much, I cannot pay it—Will you give me an account, to a shilling, what you owe?—I told her, I believed it was about ten pounds. She said it should be paid. I was invited to sup with her a few nights after, and she then gave me the above sum; addressng me, after supper, in the following words: Mrs. Yearsley, now you know what you have to trust to. I can do no more, if any thing should happen; the money lodged in the funds is three hundred and fifty pounds, which nobody but myself or Mrs. Montagu can ever call out. You have complained much of being in debt—we hear it from every quarter.Madam, said I, I From this time, I became very obnoxious to Miss H. More, on account of a very trifling additional circumstance, the discovery of my buying what is called the hogwash of her kitchen; and I am charged with the publication of it. I told her, when se charged me with it, that I could not see how it could offend her, as it was the perquisite of her Cook, and had been paid for by the person who had it before I had the honour of knowing her. complain of nothing, but for the want of a declaration of the deed for the future security of my children; therefore shall be much obliged to you for it, and a copy of the deed itself.Miss H. More exclaimed, Are you mad, Mrs. Yearsley? or have you drank a glass too much? Who are your advisers? I am certain you have drank, or you would not talk to me in this manner.

I replied, Madam, you are very wrong to think I have drank. I am only anxious on my children’s account. Circumstances c “may c1v xviii may change, ten or twenty years hence, when perhaps I am no more; and I only wish for a copy of the deed, as a little memorandum for my children; nor do I think the requisition unreasonable.

Miss Betty More said, I don’t think you unreasonable, Mrs. Yearsley; but there is a manner of speaking.—I told her, As to the manner of speaking, I fear I shall always err in that, as I have not been accustomed to your rules of polished life.Miss H. More said, I wonder you can suspect Mrs. Montagu, if you suspect me.—I answered, Far be it from me to suspect either; nor do I think I have acted as if I was suspicious.Miss H. More replied, How would you have acted if you were?Different from what I have, Madam, said I.—[My answer here alluded to my confidence in giving Miss More all the presents I had received, from time to time, from those generous friends who visted me while I was writing my poems; often leaving myself without a shilling. My motive was, that no person’s generosity might be concealed.]

Miss H. More then said, Why it is your openness of heart, Mrs. Yearsley, that has always charmed us.

I felt more emotion from this trifling commendation, than from all she had haughtily expressed; and, finding I could not conceal it, hastily withdrew, only wishing the ladies a good night.

Three weeks elapsed before I again saw Miss H. More, though I went daily to the house for the dish-washings. I am greatly hurt in obliging my readers to descend to this poor circumstance; but the explanation will further elucidate Stella’s friendly letter to a lady in London, wherein she says, At the time this wretch is arraigning my conduct, she is fetching the wash every day from my house.—It was in the course of these three weeks her letter was wrote, and, in this interval, the servant offered me the money which I had paid for the year past, which I did not accept. wherein c2r xix

Miss More, from that period, intirely altered her conduct to me. Though, after the most diligent enquiry, she had given me the most flattering character, in her letter to Mrs. Montagu, informing that lady, That it has been denied this poor recluse to drink at the pure well-head of pagan poesy; yet, from the true fountain of divine inspiration, her mind has been wonderfully cherished and enriched; nor has the retailing a few fine maxims of virtue cheated her of the most exact probity of heart: industrious in no common degree, pious, unambitious, simple and unaffected in her manners, of which I have received incontestable proofs.

These, with many more perfections, are the ornaments with which this very consistent lady has thought fit to adorn the Milkwoman of Clifton! But, alas! how fallacious is eloquence! how inconstant capricious affection, when steady principle is not the basis!—From elaborate commendation, the elevated Stella descends to low scurrility, charging me with drunkeness, gambling, extravagance, and terming me wretched, base, ungrateful, spendthrift; boasting, in the same letter, of her charity to a departed mother, whom, I solemnly declare, Miss More never saw, nor ever relieved. My mother quitted this life in March; the first time I saw Miss More was in September following, when she presented me with a guinea, from the worthy Mrs. Montagu, which was afterwards charged to the subscription, and added to the money which Miss More allowed me while I was writing my poems. c2 The c2v xx

The last and final interview between Miss More and me, took place in July, when three gentlemen were present, and all took a part in the conversation. I spoke but little, my spirits were depressed, but I carefully concealed my emotion.—Miss More appeared to be greatly moved, and told me imperiously, that I was a savage—that my veracity agreed with my other virtues— that I had a reprobate mind, and was a bad woman.—I replied, that her accusations could never make me a bad woman—that she descended in calling me a savage, nor would she have had the temerity to do it, had I not given myself that name!

Miss More then gave me her account of the money she had advanced me since her friendship first commenced, which was twentyeight pounds fourteen shillings, and offered me the dividend for the first half-year; which, with so much insult, I could not accept; Stella wrote to London, that I dashed the money in her face, and that I was otherwise very violent. I declare those charges to be totally without foundation: the money lay on the table, but was not touched by me. but told her calmly, that she had rendered obligation insupportable already, and I never would make it more oppressive; but should be obliged to her if she would return my MS. copies.

Miss More replied, They are left at the Printer’s, Mrs. Yearsley—Don’t think I shall make any use of them—They are burnt.Burnt! said I!!—She seemed confused—my heart felt for her;—those short pauses convinced me that she was hurt, and from that consideration I was silent; but am still concerned that she would not return those poems which are not published.—Miss More gave me a copy of the deed. I told her I desired no more, and took my leave. Motives c3r xxi

Motives the most powerful and natural that can possess the female breast, urged me to require a copy of the deed; nor can I now, at this present period, repent the requisition, though it has been attended with so much calumny, and so many false representations.— My character, which in one moment appeared so bright, and in the next tinged with every vice that can disgrace the sex, excited many gentlemen and ladies to visit me. To these I simply rehearsed the real fact; and produced the copy of the deed. None could justify it:—but I am particularly indebted to Mr. Shiells, for his generous and disinterested friendship. On reading the copy, that worthy gentleman immediately wrote to Miss H. More; but received no answer. Instead of answering his letter, the ingenuous Stella wrote to a lady in London, desiring her letter might be read to Mr. Shiells.—It was; and contained all those false charges on my character which I have here mentioned.—Mr. S. immediately wrote to Miss More, desiring he might be allowed a copy of this scurrilous letter; but received no answer.—Three months elapsed before any thing more was done. Miss More was advised either to grant a new deed, or resign the trust; both which she peremptorily refused, declaring, that no power upon earth should oblige her to give up the trust. But my friends becoming still more in earnest and determined, she at last resigned; but still continues to justify her conduct, by defaming mine.—Deplorable extremity! when innate principle condemns the varnished tale.

Every cause of difference being now removed, my generous friend (Mr. S.) wrote to Miss More, through the channel of her bookseller, not knowing where to address her.—The contents of his impartial letter may not be unpleasing to the mind that dare profess itself candid and unprejudiced. “Mr. c3v xxii

Mr. S— presents his compliments to Mr. C—, and informs him, that by a letter he has lately received from a friend at Bristol, he is agreeably informed, that by the interposition and good offices of the friends of Miss More and the Milkwoman, the difference which unfortunately took place some months ago, has been happily brought to a conclusion; Miss M— having complied with the requisition of Mrs. Yearsley, and both their friends. It is therefore to be hoped that Miss M— will how herself, or permit some friend of both to draw up a short paragraph, to wipe away the ill-founded charges too hastily thrown upon that poor woman’s character—he is persuaded, not from a badness of heart, but in the warmth of resentment for her hasty requisition of a copy of the deed of trust, (which all her friends thought she ought to have had a declaration of that deed, instead of the copy.) That business may now be happily terminated, by the insertion of a paragraph in the Public Advertiser, this being the proper period for the purpose, as the public opinion on the subject has been arrested for some months, as to the cause of such altercation between the Patroness and Client, which produced that invidious paragraph in the Public Advertiser, on the 8th of September last, which is strongly suspected to come from Miss H. M— (she having been called upon to disavow it, without effect) and the consequent appearance of that of the 10th of the same month, in reply. —Here is now a fair opportunity of putting the whole matter upon a pleasant footing, if Miss M— possesses the mind she is generally allowed to have; but if she should decline, at least a public reconciliation, she can blame none but herself.—This application proceeds from no other motive than that of being instrumentalstrumental c4r xxiii strumental in opening again that source of kindly intercourse between minds so congenial. If this hint be adopted, it must certainly create very pleasing emotions, as well in the breast of Miss M—, as in every one of those who are held in suspence till it happens; but must have a contrary effect if it is neglected. By complying with this advice, the interest and happiness of this poor woman, whom she has brought into public view, may still receive the advantage of her future patronage, and her own character be preserved from the strong suspicion of jealousy, pique, or interested views.

But to proceed to the narrative.—Instead of benefiting from the friendly advice given by the above note, she still remained inexorable; and returned her answer in the following lines to her bookseller:

Miss More’s compliments to Mr. C—; will be obliged to him to let Mr. Sheills know, that, as nothing has happened to alter her opinion of the Milk-woman, there never can be any more communication between them: and she thinks she has a right to desire, that no use may be made of her name in any news-paper or publication whatever; at least it never will be with her consent. 5 This c4v xxiv

This very generous and ultimate note was conveyed to my friend by the bookseller:—who has paid me the cash in his hands, after deducting all expences, with his declaration, that he will not engage any farther with me.—And, being by him informed, that my poems are out of print, I have presumed to publish this fourth edition, with a faithful slate of facts as they successively arose.

Shielded by popular opinion, the ungenerous Stella aims at a defenceless breast—her arrows are of the most malignant kind—yet her endeavours to crush an insignificant wretch need not be so amazingly strenuous; for I should have sunk into obscurity again, had not my reputation been so cruelly wounded.—I have to lament, that it does not require one short hour for this expeditious lady to make her wonderful transit from the zenith of praise to the center of malicious detraction.—For all the perfection, fame, or virtues she can boast of possessing, I would not be so much a Proteus!

It having been represented that my last work received great ornament and addition from a learned and superior genius, and my manuscripts not existing to contradict it, I have ventured, without a guide, on a second volume of poems, and will complete them with as much expedition as the more important duties of my family will permit.

Here let me close this true but unpleasant narrative, with the humble hope of your forgiveness, for obtruding on your attention so insignificant a tale: but, as character is more precious than life itself, the protection of that alone compelled me to the task.— And, in order to wipe away the suggestion of having been aided by other d1r xxv other assistance, I will lose as little time as possible in laying before you and the public the promised work, and rest in full confidence of your future protection and support.

I am, With the utmost respect and gratitude, Your devoted and faithful servant,

Ann Yearsley.

Clifton Hill, 1786-10-12October12th, 1786.

The above narrative was prefixed to a fourth edition of my poems, which I have had the satisfaction to hear has been well received; but the non-publication of the Deed of Trust occasioned many to doubt, whether there was any thing unreasonable in it: to vindicate my own character, I shall now submit an exact copy to the consideration of the public.—Mrs. Montagu’s name I think profaned in a proceeding of this nature; nor do I suppose that lady was ever made acquainted with the contents of the Deed before it was signed.

d Deed d1v d2r xxvii

Deed of Trust.

To all to whom these presents shall come, John Yearsley, of Clifton, near Bristol, in the county of Gloucester, labourer, and Ann his wife, send greeting. Whereas the said Ann Yearsley hath written and composed a volume of poems, which have lately been published by Subscription, and whereas Hannah More, of Bristol aforesaid, spinster, having patronized the said Ann Yearsley, hath obtained voluntary contributions and subscriptions, from sundry persons, who at her request, and under her influence, have encouraged the publication of the said Poems to a considerable amount. And whereas the said John Yearsley, and Ann his wife, have agreed, That after payment of the expences of printing and publishing the said volume of Poems, and other charges incident thereto, the balance, or sum, which shall then remain in the hands of the said Hannah More, on account of the aforesaid subscriptions and voluntary contributions, shall be laid out, and invested by her, in some, or one, of the Parliamentary Funds, or Government Securities of Great Britain, or any other security which the said Hannah More shall think fit, in the joint names of Elizabeth Montagu, of Portman-square, in the county of Middlesex, widow, and her the said Hannah More; and that they, the said Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, shall be at liberty to lay out, expend, apply, and dispose d2 of, d2v xxviii of, as well the principal sum, as the interest thereof, from time to time, in such way and manner as they shall think most for the benefit and advantage of her, the said Ann Yearsley, and her children.

Now these presents witness, And the said John Yearsley doth, for himself and the said Ann his wife, their heirs, executors and administrators, covenant, promise and agree, to and with the said Elizabeth Montagu, and Hannah More, and with their executors, administrators and assigns, by these presents, that it shall and may be lawful to, and for the said Elizabeth Montagu, and Hannah More, and they are herby authorised and empowered, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to pay, apply, and dispose of all, and singular, such sum and sums of money as shall remain in the hands of the said Hannah More, on account of the beforementioned subscriptions, and voluntary contributions, after payment thereout of the expences of printing and publishing the aforesaid volume of Poems, and other charges incident thereto, together with the interest of such sum or sums of money, in such way and manner as they, the said Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, shall judge most for the benefit of, and advantage of, the said Ann Yearsley and her children, and that the same, or any part thereof shall not be subject or liable to the debts, controul, or engagements of him, the said John Yearsley, her present, nor of any future husband she may hereafter marry.

And further, That such application and disposal of the said principal-money, and interest, from time to time, by the said Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, and all and every sum and sums of money which they shall thereout pay, lay out, and expend, for the use, benefit, or advantage, of the said Ann Yearsley and her children, one characterobscured shall d3r xxix shall be as good and effectual payment, as if such sum and sums of money was, or were, paid unto him, the said John Yearsley; and they, the said Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, shall not be subject to any claim, or demand, of him, the said John Yearsley, on account thereof, or of the monies which shall, at any time, remain in their hands, it being the true intent and meaning of these presents, and of the said John Yearsley and Ann his wife, that they, the said Elizabeth Montagu and Hannah More, shall continue possessed of such monies until the same shall be wholly paid, applied, and disposed of, for the purposes above-mentioned, without being subject to any claim, or demand, either at law, or in equity, of him, the said John Yearsley, his executors, administrators, or assigns, on account thereof. And that the same, or any part thereof, shall not be subject to the debts, controul, or engagements, molestation, hindrance or interruption of him, the said John Yearsley, his executors, administrators, or assigns.

In witness whereof, they, the said John Yearsley and Ann his wife, have hereunto set their hands and seals this tenth day of June, in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of our Sovereign, Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the faith, &c. and in the year of our Lord 1785one thousand, seven hundred and eighty-five.

John Yearsley.

Ann Yearsley.

Sealed and delivered (being first duly stamped) in the presence of Mary More, John Ford.
Mrs. d3v xxx

Mrs. Yearsley’s Proposals, in Behalf of her Children, presented to Miss Hannah More, and rejected.

The money to continue in the future disposition of Mrs. Montague and Miss H. More, allowing Ann Yearsley to be admitted as a joint trustee, the money to be equally divided according to the number of her children, and subject to their demand on their arrival at the age of twenty-one years. Ann Yearsley, her present, or any future husband, never to have the least demand on the principal sum, but wishes to receive the interest without controul.

A List d4r xxxi

A List of Subscribers.

  • A.

    • Right Hon. Lord Arden
    • Mrs. Arnold
    • Colonel Ackland
    • James Ackland, Esq;
    • Rev. Mr. Ansley
    • Mr. Arthur
    • Mr. Alder
    • Mrs. Alder
    • Miss Atkinson
    • Rev. W. Atkinson, M.A.
    • Mr. Anderson
    • Miss Jane Anderson
    • Miss Jannet Anderson
    • Mrs. Alder
    • Mrs. Allen, Surrey-place.
  • B.

    • Rt. Hon. the Earl of Bristol, 20 copies
    • Lady Beard
    • Mr. J. Burnett, Vauxhall
    • Mr. Robert Burnett, Vauxhall
    • Miss Burnett, Union Place
    • Mrs. J. Burnett, Kensington-lane
    • Mr. Brown, 4 copies
    • Mrs. Ann Baylis
    • Mrs. Borham
    • B. Anonymous
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    • e2 Right e2v xxxvi
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N.B. The Names of several Subscribers not having come to Hand time enough for Insertion, were unavoidably omitted in the above List— but the Books shall be carefully delivered to their Order.

Con- e3v e4r xxxix


  • Page 96, line 8, for that’s, read that is.
  • 156, line 4, for grief, read griefs.—
  • Ditto for reigns— reign.
Poems, B1r

Poems, &c.

Addressed to Sensibility

Oh! Sensibility! Thou busy nurse

Of Inj’ries once receiv’d, why wilt thou feed

Those serpents in the soul? their stings more fell

Than those which writh’d round Priam’s priestly son;

I feel them here! They rend my panting breast,

But I will tear them thence: ah! effort vain!

Disturb’d they grow rapacious, while their fangs

B strike B1v 2

Strike at poor Memory; wounded she deplores

Her ravish’d joys, and murmurs o’er the past.

Why shrinks my soul within these prison Bedlam. walls,

Where wretches shake their chains? Ill-fated youth,

Why does thine eye run wildly o’er my form,

Pointed with fond enquiry? ’Tis not Me,

Thy restless thought would find; the silent tear

Steals gently down his cheek: ah! could my arms

Afford thee refuge, I would bear thee hence

To a more peaceful dwelling. Vain the wish!

Thy pow’rs are all unhing’d, and thou wouldst sit

Insensible to sympathy: farewell.

Lamented being! ever lost to hope,

I leave thee, yea despair myself of cure.

For, B2r 3

For, oh, my bosom bleeds, while griefs like thine

Increase the recent pang. Pensive I rove,

More wounded than the hart, whose side yet holds

The deadly arrow: Friendship, boast no more

Thy hoard of joys, o’er which my soul oft hung;

Like the too anxious miser o’er his gold.

My treasures all are wreck’d; I quit the scene

Where haughty Insult cut the sacred ties

Which long had held us: Cruel Julius! take

My last adieu. The wound thou gav’st is death,

Nor can’st e’en thou recall my frighted sense

With Friendship’s pleasing sound; yet will I clasp

Thy valued image to my aching mind,

And viewing that, forgive thee; will deplore

The blow that sever’d two congenial souls!

B2 Offi- B2v 4

Officious Sensibility! ’tis thine

To give the finest anguish, to dissolve

The dross of spirit, till all essence, she

Refines on real woe; from thence extracts

Sad unexisting phantoms, never seen.

Yet, dear ideal mourner, be thou near

When on Lysander’s tears I silent gaze;

Then, with thy viewless pencil, form his sigh,

His deepest groan, his sorrow-tinged thought,

Wish immature, impatience, cold despair,

With all the tort’ring images that play,

In sable hue, within his wasted mind.

And when this dreary group shall meet my thought,

Oh! throw my pow’rs upon a fertile space,

Where B3r 5

Where mingles ev’ry varied soft relief.

Without thee, I could offer but the dregs

Of vulgar consolation; from her cup

He turns the eye, nor dare it soil his lip!

Raise thou my friendly hand; mix thou the draught

More pure than ether, as ambrosia clear,

Fit only for the soul; thy chalice fill

With drops of sympathy, which swiftly fall

From my afflicted heart: yet—yet beware,

Nor stoop to seize from Passion’s warmer clime

A pois’nous sweet.—Bright cherub, safely rove

Thro’ all the deep recesses of the soul!

Float on her raptures, deeper tinge her woes,

Strengthen emotion, higher waft her sigh,

Sit in the tearful orb, and ardent gaze

On joy or sorrow. But thy empire ends

Within B3v 6

Within the line of spirit. My rough soul,

O Sensibility! defenceless hails,

Thy feelings most acute. Yet, ye who boast

Of bliss I ne’er must reach, ye, who can fix

A rule for sentiment, if rules there are,

(For much I doubt, my friends, if rule e’er held

Capacious sentiment) ye sure can point

My mind to joys that never touch’d the heart.

What is this joy? Where does its essence rest?

Ah! self-confounding sophists, will ye dare

Pronounce that joy which never touch’d the heart?

Does Education give the transport keen,

Or swell your vaunted grief? No, Nature feels

Most poignant, undefended; hails with me

The Pow’rs of Sensibility untaught.

7 On B4r 7

On the Death of Her Grace, The Duchess Dowager of Portland. Her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Portland subscribed twenty guineas to the Author’s first work, and was the only subscriber with whose generosity Mrs. Yearsley was ever made acquainted.

That sigh’s the last! Illustrious spirit fly,

Nor pause, nor cast one ling’ring look behind.

The doors of life are clos’d: the harps on high

Vibrating wait till with thy raptures join’d.

Upborne B4v 8

Upborne on soaring exstasy she dares

Her flight progressive, ting’d with heav’nly rays;

Behold! refulgence on her form appears,

More bright than that which Iris’ bow displays.

Beneath her far, wide beds of waters lie,

Distant she sees obedient lightnings bound;

Whole seas of fire strike on her wond’ring eye,

And winds, and thunders, breathe a dying sound.

Celestial beings gliding to and fro,

Hail the fair stranger, and with smile divine,

Point where the dazzling emanations flow

From Deity,—where worlds of glory shine.

With C1r 9

With angel troops thro’ light she roves afar,

And her lov’d Lord with added raptures spies,

Reclin’d in bliss, while seraphs sing the war,

When Heav’ns bright rebel lost his native skies.

The happy spirits, each with transport hail’d,

Both join the seraphim’s exalted tone,

Whose beauteous faces, tho’ with pinions veiled,

They ne’er oppose to Great Jehovah’s Throne.

Hail, Portland, hail! and should’st thou pause in joy,

In that short moment to my numbers bend;

Time ne’er my strong effusions shall alloy,

My soul exults that thou wert once her friend.

C To C1v C2r 11

To a Sensible But Passionate Friend.

Trivial circumstances rising

Strike thy soul with lightning’s haste;

Quick sensations, Rule despising,

Give thee strongest, keenest taste.

Exquisite thy mental pleasure,

Common transports are not thine;

Far surpassing vulgar measure,

All thy joys are near divine.

C2 Keep C2v 12

Keep thy heights of bliss, nor venture

On the scene of painful thought;

Think how deeply grief must center

In a soul so finely wrought.

Oft I’ve seen thy bosom heaving,

Oft have mark’d the sigh suppress’d;

Still the senseless eye deceiving,

When the pang has rack’d thy breast.

****** such souls as thine must languish,

Like majestic ruin lie;

None but equals share thine anguish,

Fools deride thy deepest sigh.

Yet C3r 13

Yet Philosophy despairing,

Mourns thy richest feelings lost;

When from self-denial veering

Thou’rt on storms of passion tost.

Shou’dst thou view a weaker spirit,

Moving in her sphere confin’d,

Be it still thy greatest merit

To forgive, and be resign’d.

To C3v C4r 15

To the Bristol Marine Society.

Come, thou unconquer’d pow’r! that aid’st the line,

And boldly bidd’st the wild idea rise,

Rush on my sense! swift o’er my tranquil soul

Breathe thy strong influence, till her deepest springs

Are all in motion set. Lo! the calm sea,

Like me, inactive, waits the breath of Heav’n;

Once caught! obedient to his cause, he rolls

His aged billows to their destin’d shore,

Bearing the wishing rover to his home.

4 But C4v 16

But you! who mourn the majesty of man,

Too early marr’d in the fair shameless youth;

You, who have sigh’d, when in the list of sin,

A blooming champion in her cause he stood,

Till vengeance met him in her full career,

And hurl’d him blotted to a timeless grave;

To you I bend, to you I strike the lyre,

Rustic and unharmonious—from your walls

Lo! shrieking Infamy for ever flies,

Whose poisons long sate heavy on the winds,

While from her blister’d tongue the furies fell,

More thick than motes, which revel in the sun.

Fame bears your plaudit o’er the freezing wave,

Where shiv’ring seamen wait their friendly star

Which warns them from the statue-forming coast,

1 Nor D1r 17

Nor there alone, beyond the burning line,

Her breath more fragrant than Arabia’s gale,

Shall waft your name, and sing the social joy

That vibrates on the heart, when Pity strikes

The trembling chords. Ah! what the transient gleam

Of falsly-glaring Greatness—what the bliss

Of loud unfeeling Mirth—opposed to this

Of reaching out your friendly hand, to save

The sinking form of Innocence, ere Vice

Hath dragg’d her down to misery and shame?

What roaring hurricane, or lightning blue,

Can fright the soul, who, thro’ the op’ning clouds,

Discerns the arm of Deity? Oh, Faith!

Thou buoy of mortals, firmly fix’d on thee,

Triumphing, we bestride the storms of life,

Nor quit thee wreck’d on Death’s unjoyful shore.

D Tremen- D1v 18

Tremendous scene! when the unwieldly hulk

Sleeps on the breast of Ocean, nor obeys

The eager efforts of despairing man.

Bereft of her tall mast, and friendly sail,

Like a too stubborn beauty stript of pride,

She disobeys, or runs to wild misrule.

Then, what’s her giddy motion? Who shall steer

The crazy helm of Hope? Yon liquid hills

She lazily attempts, or having gain’d

Their wanton summit, lo! she sinks again,

More faintly moves. The next approaching wave

Breaks on her bosom, and she strives no more.

In that sad moment, the devoted youth,

Whom your strong hand snatch’d early from the jaws

Of soul-devouring Guilt, shall tranquil meet

2 The D2r 19

The death he cannot shun; and hope to rise,

When Jesus, walking on the wave, shall bid

The deep throw up her treasures. Awful thought!

Then shall old Ocean end his wonted toils,

And wond’ring, hail Omnipotence: huge seas,

Rise o’er the promontory’s hoary brow,

Where girt by pow’r, they never more shall rush

Down to their long-lov’d beds, but leave exposed

The monst’rous phocæ with their horrid forms.

Here mingled atoms in formation pant,

Impatient for perfection; here the whale,

Rapacious shark, and crocodile, more false

Than lover’s tears, are suddenly arouz’d

By the tremendous uproar; loathing air,

They beat their fins and die. The em’rald, dropt

From Celia’s ear, is seen; the lovely maid

D2 Long, D2v 20

Long, long, forgotten! Ingots rare, and gems

Of wond’rous price, by surly Nabob priz’d,

All meet the eye in vain. Oh hideous world!

Where ceaseless motion reigns; whence the wild roar

Of Chaos, chain’d to thy foundation, sounds

Thro’ all thy regions; while triumphant Death,

Amid the lawless anarchy, awaits

The struggling mariner, and bears him down.

Ah! hapless Marcius! long thy faithful arm

Bore up thy sinking bride, till lost to hope,

Swift ye descended in a fond embrace:

Arise, ye pair! this is the fated hour,

When dreary Death throws ope his prison doors,

While spirits rush on day; and in this hour

The Sons of Commerce may with firmness gaze

On Heav’ns recording angel; who, with smiles,

Holds D3r 21

Holds high their institution: strike, ye throngs

Of winged cherubims! yet louder sound

The strain of mercy, mix’d with grateful praise.

Hail, sacred few! who bade the sea-boy fix

His eye on attributes which strike his soul

With deep amazement! See he stands aghast!

While the red thunder-bolt is swiftly borne

Near his astonish’d ear: the dreadful sound

With horror chills his blood, nor dares weak sense

Rest on th’ avenging herald, but shuts out

The image of his threaten’d dissolution.

’Tis past! and now the humbled soul would turn

Most willing to her cause. Hark, silent joy,

In the unbidden sigh, with force ascends;

The short ejaculation’s breath’d in haste,

And D3v 22

And half-pronounced, lest the loud crew should feel

An unavailing fear. O hard Despair!

Too oft thou sitt’st in darkness on the mind

Of the old seaman, stubborn in his woes;

Who, when he braves the death he’s sure to meet,

Will seldom own Religion. Happy ye!

Who gently shed on poor neglected youth

The joys of social love; but chiefly thou,

O Burke, Recorder of Bristol whose sensibility is pain,

Melting with keenest agony, accept

The praises of this long-forgotten race.

Bristol shall hail thy name, and sacred hold

Thy records from oblivion’s deep abyss,

While Glory, nurs’d within her merchants arms,

Shall blaze refulgent on a wond’ring world.

D4r 23

Familiar Epistle to a Friend,

Who appeared hurt on the Author’s desiring him to Live upon Remembrance.

Lucius, suppress the sigh, nor let the pang

Rend thy too soften’d bosom: from my tongue

No accent, that envenom’d meaning bears,

Shall ever cut its passage to thine heart.

Why then this keen sensation? Why on earth

Fix thy late chearful eye, whose beams were wont

To light fresh rapture in the soul refin’d?

They D4v 24

Thy mind so nice, starts at a feign’d alarm,

And shudders at an injury suppos’d.

Fatal mistake! for who would wound thy breast,

That feel by sympathy the pangs they give?

The subject was peculiar, and my friend

Sullenly trembled for his well-earn’d fame;

Yet why?—no vict’ry was by me pursued,

Nor would I, for her trophies, bid thee yield.

Ah! Lucius, think how rich the hoarded joys

Of dear remembrance! think when jocund youth

Sate on the cheek of Delia, how her eye,

Struck silent on thy heart, bidding it heave

With transport undefin’d, while mutual love

Taught her soft bosom to return thy sigh,

Sooth- E1r 25

Soothing the guiltless rapture. Mem’ry holds

The charts of Innocence, when, through the shade,

Relying on thy virtue, and her own,

The Virgin, fearless, wander’d; Truth, like thine,

Chac’d ev’ry horror from the midnight hour;

Nor could the surly future blast your scene.

’Tis past! Time leaves the tender hour behind,

When Delia, borne upon the blasts of Fate,

Reluctant, left thine arms—nor fills them more.

Thus rent the fabric of thy promis’d joys,

E’er thy young mind could form her little plan.

Yet, shall poor Memory clasp thy Delia’s form,

When stealing on thee, in the pensive hour,

She leads thee back to pure, untainted bliss.

E The E1v 26

The present is not valu’d; restless man

Lives for the past, and future, fix’d his eye

On op’ning prospects that shall never end,

Till, in the vast pursuit, the rover falls.

And would the future tempt the ardent wish

Did not completion live within the past?

Ask the old miser if he’d grasp at wealth,

Cou’d he but once forget it? Ask the youth,

Who melts in softest languishment of woe,

Why he adores the maid? Ah! he shall own

His soul can ne’er forget her. Would the sage

Tempt Nature’s mineral depths, or trace the stars

Thro’ their nocturnal course, was he deny’d

The joys of memory? Would the hero glow

Amid the mingled sound of Death and War?

8 Did E2r 27

Did he not hope to conquer, and reflect

On danger, bravely dar’d?—or could my soul

Keep up her friendly intercourse with thine,

Was bright remembrance lost? With pleasing strength

She bears me back, thro’ Time’s once beaten path,

Again to thee, and to thy social hearth.

Hail, happy spot! where Friendship strove to heal

The wound of recent woe, and to my soul

Apply’d her softes t balm. Oh! ’twas the tear

Of Sympathy that fill’d thy manly eye,

When Mem’ry brought the long-lost smiling boy,

In haste to thy fond mind, bidding thee feel

For sorrows like thy own. Sink! sink! my pen,

Nor jar the soul with unavailing strains.

May dark Oblivion’s widest cavern ope,

E2 And E2v 28

And all our mis’ries hail the deep profound;

But Memory, keep thy more than vestal fire,

Burning eternal at the shrine of joy!

Song E3r 29


What ails my heart when thou art nigh?

Why heaves the tender rising sigh?

Ah, Delia, is it love?

My breath in shorten’d pauses fly;

I tremble, languish, burn and die;

Dost thou those tremors prove?

Does thy fond bosom beat for me?

Dost thou my form in absence see,

Sill wishing to be near?

Does E3v 30

Does melting languor fill thy breast?

That something, which was ne’er exprest,

Ah! tell me—if you dare.

But tho’ my soul, soft, fond, and kind,

Could in thy arms a refuge find,

Secur’d from ev’ry woe;

Yet, strict to Honour’s louder strains,

A last adieu alone remains,

’Tis all the Fates bestow.

Then blame me not, if doom’d to prove

The endless pangs of hopeless love,

And live by thee unblest:

My joyless hours fly fast away;

Let them fly on, I chide their stay,

For sure ’tis Heav’n to rest.

To E4r 31

To Mr. V—,

On his pronouncing the Author to be in Love, when she wrote the preceding.

On the axis of Love, wheels the Universe round,

In rotation continued, and thrifty;

While some tender minds at fifteen feel the wound,

And some hold it out till they’re fifty.

O ye Gods, then defend me from fifty, in love,

When that language has left the bright eye,

Which speaks to the soul, tho’ our tongues never move,

And shall conquer, when accent must die.

Love E4v 32

Love was ever the touchstone to try the fine mind,

Sterling Virtue ’twill never debase;

No alloy can we know, from a passion refin’d,

But to Beauty it still adds a grace.

Corrosive, curst Av’rice, still preys on the heart;

Ambition high stretches the mind;

Loud Fame may awhile her false transport impart,

Yet all leave their torment behind.

But to love, and be lov’d, does the soul ask for more?

No; here to her summit she’s rais’d:

With scorn she looks down on old mammon’s bright store,

She’s bless’d, and her Maker is prais’d.

And F1r 33

And now, my good friend, your conclusion to prove,

(Perhaps, too, I hint it in spite)

From Precept, write Sermons; from Nature write Love;

And then you’ll be sure to do right.

Yet, say, if on Love I most aptly define,

By that, can you fathom my soul?

No passion shall ever my spirit confine,

Independent, I smile at controul.

While a bosom like yours, soft emotions perplex,

When bright objects strike full on your eye;

And may Love’s transitions continue to vex,

’Till in age ev’ry rapture must die.

F Epitaph, F1v F2r 35

Epitaph, on the Sudden Death of an Accomplished Youth,

Designed for a Tomb-Stone.

Death (deem’d abrupt) sits on my mortal frame;

But can aught fall as sudden from a God?

Does not his pitying eye in mercy view

Man in his swift progression? What avails

The early year, or date of lengthen’d age?

Merely to live, boasts a Creator’s hand,

And life’s first moment stamp’d my soul immortal.

F2 “Then F2v 36

Then trust Infinity, ye weeping friends,

Nor spend that moment, in a fruitless sigh,

Which to your soul belongs; already lodg’d

Beyond the grasp of Death; my warfare’s o’er,

Then mourn but for yourselves, and own a God.

Elegy, F3r 37


Written on the Banks of the Avon, where the Author took a last Farewel of her Brother.

Oh! thou false wave, that seemd’st so wondrous smooth,

When a lov’d brother press’d thy yielding bosom,

What shall be said of thee? Shall I arraign

Thee, simple instrument, that proudly bore

A darling boy from his fond mother’s arms?

Ah, no! far, far remote th’ all-powerful cause

Of thy officious zeal.—Yet in thy depths

Lives F3v 38

Lives there a Nereid, or a Sea-god, stern,

Who bore the mandate down thy fatal stream,

Or, with their tridents, push’d the wand’ring youth

To his last port? O God, what tremors shook

The strongest pow’rs of my reluctant soul,

When, from his eyes, I took their farewel gaze;

So pensive, yea, so full of promis’d death,

That my sad bosom slow responses beat,

And all my mother shudder’d in my breast;

For her fond hopes I felt; for her my soul

Forgot its resolutions: sure, the pang

Of pity, pointed with another’s woe,

Is then most strong. But, ah, too fatal wave!

Why tempt so oft the wild despairing wretch

To thy cold bed? Here sad Maria Mary Smith, who in a fit of despair, plunged into the Avon. sought

Oblivion F4r 39

Oblivion; here she dar’d the dreadful change,

From which poor Nature starts. Now o’er the mead,

Her shade, light-bearing on the silver dews,

Perhaps, may hail my pensive pitying lay.

Ah, hapless maid! should thy wan ghost be near,

And with me sigh to Cynthia’s chilling beam;

Yet list, nor fly mortality; my soul,

Heedless of horror, mid the starless gloom,

Would hang on thy shrill sound: Oh! could’st thou dare

Unfold the charts of never-ending space,

How would my spirit strike the eager wing,

To claim her new creation! ’Twill not be:

Here must I joyless rove; yet, not like thee,

Will I throw off my Being. Mercy gave

4 Existence, F4v

Existence, as the origin of bliss,

And shall I cast it lightly? Shall I dare

This life-subduing wave? Yea, farther, dare

Presumptuously my God? No; ’tis enough

That I, one day, may find thee; near thee find

A kind Creator, who in pity strikes,

From thy account, this heav’n-opposed act.

Why glide thus swiftly from my mental eye?

Wouldst thou escape yon pale dejected form,

Who lightly treads on the unyielding stream?

It comes with tardy step; Ah! tis the shade

Of thy lov’d Brother: See! he waves his hand,

And beckons thee again to prove the deep.

Abrupt, G1r 41

Abrupt, he sunk in Friendship’s strongest act;

When bearing young Philander to the shore,

He sigh’d his soul away. Oh! ’twas a scene,

Where Horror revell’d; on the margin stood

Horatio, R. Smith, (Brother to Maria) who seeing their younger brother sinking, plung’d into the river with his clothes on; he saved the youth, but was drowned himself. smiling at the sportive youth,

Who fain would lash the wave with strengthless arm.

Ah, effort vain! Down! down! he hopeless sinks:

While in Horatio’s bosom Nature swell’d

More strong than tempest wild; dauntless he plung’d

’Mid liquid death. Yet shall this wat’ry world

One day her cold inhabitants resign

To the demand of Mercy. Charming truth!

Here thou may’st blazon Virtue unrefin’d,

And in a vulgar breast: Where shall romance

Strike weeping Fancy with an act like this?

G Oh, G1v 42

Oh, Pity, dear tormentor! ’tis not now

My soul would hail thee; strike not my weak sense

With all thy pomp of sorrow. Why bend o’er

Yon wave-drench’d boy, Son to R. Smith, drowned two years after, near the same place, with his father. who sinks with seeming smile,

To clasp his much lov’d sire; in playful mood

The chearful rover felt the chilling death,

Nor paus’d repentant, listless of his fate.

Gone! ever gone! ye kindred souls: yet hear

My plaintive lay, should Cromartie’s The Author’s brother. wan ghost

Flit thro’ your airy paths, oh, bear my sigh

To that fond brother! Whither, whither fled,

Thou long-lov’d youth! ’tis dreary silence all;

No answer, save the hoarse-resounding Avon.

Yet G2r 43

Yet here, with me, thou trodd’st the dewy mead,

When the bright daisy woo’d our infant hand,

In life’s young hour; and oft the flow’ry wreath

I wrought for thy dear brow, when laughing May

Danc’d o’er the gay Creation; faded long

The blooming garland, wither’d soon, they fell,

Like thee, neglected, and are seen no more.

Ah, when! or where shall I now hail thy shade,

Or clasp thee to my bosom? Fancy, come!

Haste! haste! with all thy sorrow-soothing hues,

And paint the scene which yields a long embrace.

Oh, bear my spirit thro’ the gulph of Death!

Where Being, from oblivion instant springs

Eternity’s firm Heir; pointing my soul

To where a mother hangs on her lov’d boy;

Yet trembling with her change****

G2 To G2v G3r 45

To Miss Eliza Dawson, of Oxton, Yorkshire.

Come, fair Eliza! bless the vale,

And realize what fancy forms:

I hear thee in the whisp’ring gale;

I see thee weep the wint’ry storms,

Which on Lactilla’s bosom beat,

While fleecy snows in haste descend:

They seek my heart—melting retreat,

For there’s the image of my friend.

3 All G3v 46

All glowing, ’mid immortal fire,

Eliza owns my rustic soul,

Before her light’nings pale expire,

And thunders seek the distant pole.

Oh! thou canst cheer the dreary wild;

Rememb’ring thee, my sorrows die:

Thy friendship renders horror mild,

And calms the rude inclement sky.

When wand’ring o’er yon rugged rocks

Unseen, Eliza hovers near.

Ah, no!—the lovely phantom mocks

My eager soul—she is not there!

Idea, G4r 47

Idea, die, nor falsely play

With tints which my Eliza grace;

You Eastern blush must sure display

A guiltless emblem of her face.

Yet deathless Fancy, near me live!

Lo! grateful Ardour lends her flame,

Bidding Eliza’s charms survive,

And dying accents sigh her name.

To G4v H1r 49

To Indifference.

Indiff’rence come! thy torpid juices shed

On my keen sense: plunge deep my wounded heart,

In thickest apathy, till it congeal,

Or mix with thee incorp’rate. Come, thou foe

To sharp sensation, in thy cold embrace

A death-like slumber shall a respite give

To my long restless soul, tost on extreme,

From bliss to pointed woe. Oh, gentle Pow’r,

H Dear H1v 50

Dear substitute of Patience! thou canst ease

The Soldier’s toil, the gloomy Captive’s chain,

The Lover’s anguish, and the Miser’s fear.

Proud Beauty will not own thee! her loud boast

Is Virtue—while thy chilling breath alone

Blows o’er her soul, bidding her passions sleep.

Mistaken Cause, the frozen Fair denies

Thy saving influence. Virtue never lives,

But in the bosom, struggling with its wound:

There she supports the conflict, there augments

The pang of hopeless Love, the senseless stab

Of gaudy Ign’rance, and more deeply drives

The poison’d dart, hurl’d by the long-lov’d friend;

Then pants with painful Victory. Bear me hence,

Thou H2r 51

Thou antidote to pain! thy real worth

Mortals can never know. What’s the vain boast

Of Sensibility but to be wretched?

In her best transports lives a latent sting,

Which wounds as they expire. On her high heights

Our souls can never fit; the point so nice,

We quick fly off—secure, but in descent.

To Sensibility, what is not bliss

Is woe. No placid medium’s ever held

Beneath her torrid line, when straining high

The fibres of the soul. Of Pain, or Joy,

She gives too large a share; but thou, more kind,

Wrapp’st up the heart from both, and bidd’st it rest

In ever-wish’d-for ease. By all the pow’rs

Which move within the mind for diff’rent ends,

H2 I’d H2v 52

I’d rather lose myself with thee, and share

Thine happy indolence, for one short hour,

Than live of Sensibility the tool

For endless ages. Oh! her points have pierc’d

My soul, till, like a sponge, it drinks up woe.

Then leave me, Sensiblity! be gone,

Thou chequer’d angel! Seek the soul refin’d:

I hate thee! and thy long progressive brood

Of joys and mis’ries. Soft Indiff’rence, come!

In this low cottage thou shalt be my guest,

Till Death shuts out the hour: here down I’ll sink

With thee upon my couch of homely rush,

Which fading forms of Friendship, Love, or Hope,

Must ne’er approach. Ah!—quickly hide, thou pow’r,

7 Those H3r 53

Those dear intruding images! Oh, seal

The lids of mental sight, lest I abjure

My freezing supplication.—All is still.

Idea, smother’d, leaves my mind a waste,

Where Sensibility must lose her prey.

Song H3v H4r 55


Hark!—Chloe, swells strong Vict’ry’s ardent sound,

While Wolfe, and Manners, viewless hover round;

Music’s harmonious God her bosom fires,

And Pallas bends, when War’s loud strain inspires.

Wildest ardour strikes the breast,

Thro’ the shiv’ring frame confest;

High the panting spirits fly,

Cut the air, and seek the sky!

Floating on her buoyant strain,

Ah!—no more they sink again.

8 For H4v 56

For see, her much-lov’d youth with joy appears,

Her yielding soul dissolves in soft’ning cares;

Confus’d she trembling plays, the dying sound

First sooths, then melts each list’ning spirit round.

Now she breathes the pleasing woe;

Hark! her sounds are soft and slow;

While the tone of languid pleasure

Vibrates soft in Sappho’s measure;

Sinking from the arduous strain,

She sighs, nor chants the bleeding plain.

To gentler love fair Chloe’s heart’s resign’d,

Lo, on the youth her tender eye reclin’d;

To hear his vows the loud delight is o’er:

Thus Music, hush’d by Love, is heard no more.

To I1r 57

To those who accuse the author of ingratitude.

You, who thro’ optics dim, so falsely view

This wond’rous maze of things, and rend a part

From the well-order’d whole, to fit your sense

Low, groveling, and confin’d; say from what source

Spring your all-wise opinions? Can you dare

Pronounce from proof, who ne’er pursu’d event

To its minutest cause? Yet farther soar,

In swift gradation, to the verge of space;

Where, wrapt in worlds, Time’s origin exists:

I There I1v 58

There breathe your question; there the cause explore,

Why dark afflictions, borne upon the wing

Of Love invisible, light on the wretch

Inured and patient in the pangs of woe?

Or Wisdom infinite with Pride arraign;

Rebuke the Deity, and madly ask,

Why Man’s sad hour of anguish ever ends?

What are your boasts, ye incapacious souls,

Who would confine, within your narrow orbs,

Th’ extensive All? Can sense, like yours, discern

An object, wand’ring from her destin’d course,

Quitting the purer path, where spirit roves,

To sip Mortality’s soul-clogging dews,

And feast on Craft’s poor dregs? What tho’ she own’d

An I2r 59

An office, would have borne her to the stars

While list’ning Angels had the plaudit hail’d,

And bless’d her force of soul, unequal prov’d

Her strongest pow’rs, to top fair Virtue’s height,

Or, on the act, to fix the stamp of Merit.

What’s noos’d opinion but a creeping curse,

That leads the Idiot thro’ yon beaten track,

When keener spirits ask it? Which of you

Dare, on the wing of Candour, stretch afar

To seize the bright sublimity of Truth?

A wish to share the false, tho’ public din,

In which the popular, not virtuous, live;

A fear of being singular, which claims

A fortitude of mind you ne’er could boast;

I2 A love I2v 60

A love of base detraction, when the charm

Sits on a flowing tongue, and willing moves

Upon its darling topic. These are yours.

But were the stedfast adamantine pow’rs

Of Principle unmov’d? Fantastic group!

Spread wide your arms, and turn yon flaming Sun

From his most fair direction; dash the stars

With Earth’s poor pebbles, and ask the World’s great Sire,

Why, in Creation’s system, He dare fix

More orbs than your weak sense shall e’er discern?

Then scan the feelings of Lactilla’s soul.

To I3r 61

To Frederick Yearsley,

On his return from the Sacred Font, where the Right Honourable the Earl of Bristol stood Sponsor, the Child being distinguished by taking his Lordship’s Name.

Smiling, unconscious Boy! thy angel-mind

No great ambition fires; yet shall this hour

Be penn’d by Fame in thy unsully’d annals,

While Bristol’s glories, blazing on the day

By strong reflection, strike thine infant brow.

Exulting rapture, strain’d to painful thought,

Yet is not thine, else would thy gentle soul

O’erstretch Olympus, pant to catch the flame

Which I3v 62

Which lights him down to ages. My fond heart

Throbs with unusual motion. O my babe!

This hour, Affliction, Poverty, or Ill,

Shall never own: then come, ye brightest forms,

Who, viewless, from the bosom of the air,

Behold fond man stretch out the web of Hope,

Ne’er to attain completion: quick direct

My lovely Boy to catch the pious deed,

White-wing’d Idea, Faith, and firm Resolve.

Point his dear eye to Bristol’s wond’rous mind,

Where steady Principle, more fix’d appears

Than hoary Atlas, where the mighty thought,

With Virtue on its awful front, is seen

By souls congenial—by the slaves who gaze

Thro’ optics false, Virtue is ne’er discern’d.

Spirits like his (my Fred’rick) calmly view

8 Grim- I4r 63

Grim-visaged Woe uplift her keenest dart;

To her worst anguish ope their dauntless breasts,

And boldly cry, Thy Pangs were made for Man.

Unyielding Fortitude! bright Cherub, haste!

Early support my Boy’s infantine sense

With all thy stubborn pow’rs; be thine the task

To shut up ev’ry passage of his soul,

When guilty Mis’ry, dress’d in artful guise,

Would trifle with his justice: bid him sit

On Truth’s most rugged point; his spirit guide

Thro’ all the storms of wild tumultuous passion,

Nor grant him self-applause by ease obtain’d.

Yet, who would dare, for all the wealth of Ind,

Quench that bright spark which burns, and still shall burn

Eternal I4v 64

Eternal in the soul? To Glory dead,

Creation must be desart! Virtue sleeps

While all the finest faculties of mind

Rust, like the iron long unus’d; then turn,

My dearest Fred’rick, turn, when glory calls,

But seize that point which trembles to the soul,

With sympathy magnetic. Self-applause

Is her most valu’d gem; she holds it high;

For who the spirit-raising gift receives

From aught, but just conviction, falsely boasts.

For me the wing of Time is nearly plum’d;

For thee, yet scarcely fledg’d; yet, when the hour

Of Judgment comes, with filial feeling join’d,

Remember, Frederick, ’twas a Mother’s wish,

That self-denying Virtue, rigid Rule,

And Heaven-attempting Hope be ever thine.

7 On K1r 65

On the Death of Frederick Yearsley.

Obdurate angel! spare my Fred’rick’s heart;

Ah, yet forbear! Behold the infant smile!

His innocence will dull thy barbed dart,

And ev’ry horror of its sting beguile.

Oh clasp him not within thine icy arms!

But give him to my tender warm embrace;

Let me but breathe upon his op’ning charms,

And call the flying beauties to his face.

K Down! K1v 66

Down! down! he sinks on Death’s ungentle breast,

Nor lists attentive to the voice of Fame;

While Glory weeping, from his infant crest,

Bears back to Bristol his too mighty name.

Distinguish’d Babe, farewel! a few short years,

And I will meet thee on a happier shore;

Thy angel smile shall there repay my tears,

Then shall this anguish of the soul be o’er.

Ode, K2r 67

Ode, To Miss Shiells, on Her Art of Painting.

Long, dear Idea, gentle Love’s soft nurse,

Lay silent, inexpressive in the mind;

Long did the Spirit wrestle with its force,

Till, dress’d by Art, it rises unconfin’d.

Lo, the tints of Clara flow;

Thoughts embodied, ardent glow;

Gently breathes the pleasing form,

And passions truly painted warm.

K2 Ah! K2v 68

Ah! lovely Artist, see

The heav’nly band

Of Graces stand

In beauty clad by thee.

There, dire Alecto! stung by madness, shakes

Her gory ringlets, while her burning hand

Grasps in a twisted knot the writhing snakes,

Whose slender forms seem restless in command.

Hurl’d to poor Philander’s breast,

In the ghastly look confest,

Deep they sink; awhile his heart

Swells with the strong envenom’d smart.

Ah! now he fainter feels

The furies die,

His placid eye

Returning peace reveals.

3 Thus K3r 69

Thus bright Idea mingles with the shade,

Till Nature pausing, claim’d the pleasing line:

So true her beauties were, by Art display’d,

She gaz’d with extacy, and cry’d—’tis mine!

Hold a moment, Clara cries,

Love and Virtue still shall rise;

Friendship too, assist my Piece,

And Industry its charms increase.

The pleading eye of Love

Shall silent wound,

Tho’ tender sound

Must ne’er the bosom move.

But, ah! what solemn beauty now appears!

’Tis Virtue; Love reluctant feels controul,

Dear social Pity hers—no more she dares!

But chains the Passions deep within the soul.

Lo! K3v 70

Lo! Resolve directs her eye,

Chill’d she sees the murm’rer die;

Yet with Love her pow’rs oft blend

To form the Husband, and the Friend.

Happy Union hail!

Ah, Carlos, see!

She points at thee;

With thee her pow’rs prevail.

Again, my Clara’s pencil strongly forms

Friendship, the noblest proof of manly minds,

In whose soft arms, from life’s afflicting storms,

The faint, despairing wretch a refuge finds.

Surely this is more than shade;

Quickly say, enchanting Maid,

From what substance hast thou stole

The flame which burns but in the soul?

“From K4r 71

From Carlos, she reply’d,

His gen’rous breast,

Is here exprest,

And Nature is my guide.

Last, Industry, with features coarse and strong,

Rises behind, shaking his blister’d hand;

The slow unwilling plough he drives along;

The dews of Labour on his forehead stand.

Seize him, Clara!—make him thine!

Health and Beauty soon shall join;

With him o’er yon hillocks run,

To meet the early blushing sun!

Now down the pencil’s laid;

At rising dawn,

She hails the lawn,

And Nature charms the Maid.

Lines, K4v L1r 73

Lines, composed in a Carriage, on seeing an Half-blown Primrose in the Mouth of a Peasant; the Author being on the Road to Bath.

Upon the Rustic’s ruddy lip,

I’ve seen the Primrose mourn

That ruthless hand, which thus could nip

Its beauty—soon as born.

The lovely Flow’r, emblem of Youth!

Struck on my pensive mind;

Whisp’ring, there’s nought but blooming Truth,

Shall leave a rack behind.

L To L1v 74

To thee, my Clara, Fancy flew,

Painting thy faded cheek,

On which the Rose, with pride once grew,

Nor richer soil could seek.

Ah! fell Disease, no more return!

Bid all thy pangs retreat;

Let vital warmth yet gently burn,

And leave her pulse to beat.

Else, like yon Flow’r, she soon must fade,

Before thy chilling breath;

Her beauties strew the dreary shade,

Press’d by the foot of Death.

Forbid L2r 75

Forbid it Heav’n! Come, blooming Spring,

Re-cheer her guiltless soul;

While hoary Winter plumes his wing,

To seek his frozen pole.

Let him fly on! Unwelcome guest!

I hate his freezing toils;

But Rapture fills my rural breast,

When beauteous Flora smiles.

L2 To L2v L3r 77

To Mr. ****, an Unlettered Poet, on Genius Unimproved.

Florus, canst thou define that innate spark

Which blazes but for glory? Canst thou paint

The trembling rapture in its infant dawn,

Ere young Ideas spring; to local Thought

Arrange the busy phantoms of the mind,

And drag the distant timid shadows forth,

Which, still retiring, glide unform’d away,

Nor rush into expression? No; the pen,

Tho’ L3v 78

Tho’ dipp’d in awful Wisdom’s deepest tint,

Can never paint the wild extatic mood.

Yet, when the bolder Image strikes thine eye,

And uninvited grasps thy strongest thought,

Resolv’d to shoot into this World of Things,

Wide fly the gates of Fancy; all alarm’d,

The thin ideal troop in haste advance,

To usher in the substance-seeking Shade.

And what’s the Shade which rushes on the world

With pow’rful glare, but emblem of the soul?

Ne’er hail the fabled Nine, or snatch rapt Thought

From the Castalian spring; ’tis not for thee,

From embers, where the Pagan’s light expires,

To L4r 79

To catch a flame divine. From one bright spark

Of never-erring Faith, more rapture beams

Than wild Mythology could ever boast.

Pursue the Eastern Magi through their groves,

Where Zoroaster holds the mystic clue,

Which leads to great Ormazes; there thou’lt find

His God thy own; or bid thy Fancy chase

Restless Pythag’ras thro’ his varied forms,

And she shall see him sitting on a heap

Of poor Absurdity; where chearful Faith

Shall never rest, nor great Omniscience claim.

What are the Muses, or Apollo’s strains,

But harmony of soul? Like thee, estrang’d

From Science, and old Wisdom’s classic lore,

5 I’ve L4v 80

I’ve patient trod the wild entangled path

Of unimprov’d Idea. Dauntless Thought

I eager seiz’d, no formal Rule e’er aw’d;

No Precedent controul’d; no Custom fix’d

My independent spirit: on the wing

She still shall guideless soar, nor shall the Fool,

Wounding her pow’rs, e’er bring her to the ground.

Yet Florus, list! to thee I loudly call;

Dare thee, by all the transport Mind can reach,

Yea, by the boasted privilege of Man,

To stretch with me the spirit-raising wing

Of artless Rapture! Seek Earth’s farthest bound,

Till Fancy panting, drops from endless space.

Deep M1r 81

Deep in the soul live ever tuneful springs,

Waiting the touch of Ecstasy, which strikes

Most pow’rful on defenceless, untaught Minds;

Then, in soft unison, the trembling strings

All move in one direction. Then the soul

Sails on Idea, and would eager dart

Thro’ yon ethereal way; restless awhile,

Again she sinks to sublunary joy.

Florus, rove on! pluck from the pathless vale

Of Fancy, all her loveliest, wildest sweets;

These best can please; but ah! beware, my Friend:

Timid Idea shrinks, when coldly thou

Would’st hail the tender shade; then strongly clasp

The coy, reluctant fugitive, or seize

M The M1v 82

The rover, as she flies; that breast alone

Is her’s, all glowing with immortal flame;

And that be thine.

On M2r 83

On Being Presented With a Silver Pen.

Fair proof of Friendship! be thy numbers strong,

Paint high her raptures in thine artless Song;

Her beauties ask, Idea all divine,

While Passion daunted, drops beneath the line.

But can thy lovely form pointed by Art

More deeply strike the feelings of the heart

Than this poor quill? Which now neglected lies,

Tho’ oft it bade the willing transport rise?

M2 No M2v 84

No; avaricious souls alone can know

Superior ardours, if from thee they flow.

Yet, Friendship consecrates thee at her shine,

And while her blaze ascends, the off’ring’s mine.

O, Friendship! social angel, never seen,

But thro’ the mists of woe and anguish keen;

Soul of this lower world! whose genial ray

Strikes more refulgent than the God of Day;

On gloomy space thy brightest glories rest,

With flaming light on firm Rinaldo’s breast:

Come then, thou emblem of his purest thought!

First-born of sentiment, with essence fraught;

Warm my chill’d soul, from Insult languid grown;

Seize all her pow’rs, and seal them for thine own.

8 I hold M3r 85

I hold thee! on thy strongest plume I go!

Before thee melt vast worlds of frozen woe.

Lo! down they sink—while clasp’d in thy embrace,

Old Time smiles on me and forgets his race.

My God! what is this life to Friendship lost?

Like spirits stranded on a joyless coast,

We solitary pine our hours away,

To Doubt, Suspicion, and Despair a prey.

We see those virtues, which we dare approve,

In some unnotic’d mind; our wishes move,

With rapid haste, her kindest thought to share,

And lose Affliction in her pitying tear.

But oh, Distrust! thou basilisk most fell,

In whose death-darting eye destructions dwell,

Thou, fast’ning on the soul, freezest her joys,

While thy curst breath her infant hope destroys.

What’s M3v 86

What’s Wealth enjoy’d, unsocial and unknown,

Meeting the tear of Merit with a frown?

Ungenial Miser! thou shalt never know

The secret raptures which spontaneous flow

From Friendship’s bosom; but thy date expir’d,

Sink down, nor lov’d, lamented, nor admir’d.

But, ah! what wild emotions fill the breast,

When we behold a valu’d friend distrest!

Rule, from the ardent soul is quickly thrown,

She rushes on, makes every woe her own;

Strangles the images of grief which lie

At his sad heart—by Friendship’s hand they die;

Lull’d by her voice the sigh forgets to rise,

And the full torrent leaves the trembling eyes.

Extatic, M4r 87

Extatic, dear employ! would gracious Heav’n

Add to those blessings it has kindly given,

These raptures should be mine; but who can prove

Thy force, O Friendship, in ideal Love!

Too pow’rful Wealth, thou must this Angel guide,

Yea, raise her hand to Mis’ry’s bleeding side;

Else all her tender murmurs are in vain,

For pow’rless feelings must support their Pain.

Yet, Friendship! without thee, who would receive

That balm, which haughty Wealth with scorn may give;

Her cures may reach externals, leave them whole,

But never! never! heal the wounded soul.

1 The M4v 88

The cooly-wife, with self-applauding glance,

And taunting air, cries, Friendship’s all romance:

It ne’er existed, but in pleasing sound;

Nor has it been, or ever will be found.

Have we not seen the World? Do we not know,

How far its rapid streams exactly flow?

’Tis to relieve Distress—this is the sum,

But let your Prudence point out what’s to come.

Keep wretches humble, for when once reliev’d,

They oft-times prove our Charity deceiv’d:

Therefore be cautious, nor their merits trust;

They may have very few—if poor—they must.

Think not a savage virtuous—but confine,

His future acts by obligation’s line:

He surely must be humble, grateful, true,

While he’s dependent—the superiour you.

Hence N1r 89

Hence, hoary caitiff! where’s the gen’rous flame

Which fills two bosoms, lively and the same;

That dear seraphic ardour, strength of soul,

On which we shoot from Indus to the Pole?

Grant me, ye Pow’rs, the sympathetic bliss;

Oh! let my highest privilege be this,

To snatch my Friend from Mis’ry’s iron breast,

And point his joyless eye to future rest,

When, in lethargic woe, the Passions sleep,

When all we own, is but to think and weep,

Soft Friendship’s voice is heard: but you, who rest

On doubtful colours; you, who make a jest

Of purer Friendship—conscious of your fault,

It is not souls like your’s, I would assault.

N With N1v 90

With sentiment unknown, by you unfelt,

Virtue alone could ne’er your bosoms melt.

But giving Passion her delusive reign,

With bandag’d eyes she drives you o’er the plain;

Nor know you when to pause, or where decline;

But by your hasty journey—measure mine.

Away, ye dupes! yet hail, ye sacred few,

Who feel those mental joys to Friendship due,

And on them moveless rest; to you, my lay,

Tho’ rough, congenial, would its tribute pay.

My late-discover’d soul, like Nature’s mine,

With gems, you boast, may yet too faintly shine;

But N2r 91

But give your polish’d lustre, tho’ I claim

No native glory, I will catch your flame;

Like Luna shine, rememb’ring whence I stole

The brightest ardours of the Female Soul.

Ah, valued Pen! why thus the task decline;

Will not thy beauties swell the glowing line?

Lo, Rapture dies!—hast thou the magic pow’r,

To raise my spirit in her drooping hour?

No; rest—while thought to rural toil descends,

Resigning ev’ry Image—but my Friend’s.

N2 Addressed N2v N3r 93

Addressed to Ignorance,

Occasioned by a Gentleman’s desiring the Author never to assume a Knowledge of the Ancients.

Lend me thy dark Veil.—Science darts her strong ray;

In the orb of bright Learning she sits:

Haste! haste! Cloth’d by thee, I can yet keep my way,

Still secure from her Critics, or Wits.

All N3v 94

All slight thee; no Beauty e’er boasts of thy pow’r;

No Beau on thy Influence depends;

No Statesman shall own thee; no Poet implore,

But Lactilla and thou must be friends.

Then come, gentle Goddess, sit full in my looks;

Let my accents be sounded by thee:

While Crito in pomp, bears his burden of books,

On the plains of wild Nature I’m free.

When Ign’rance forbids me in ambush to move,

Or to feed on the seraps of the Sage,

I am blind to the Ancients—yet Fancy would prove,

That Pythagoras lives thro’ each age.

She N4r 95

She shews me blind Homer, who ne’er must be still,

To motion perpetual decreed;

Forgetful of Ilium, he now turns a mill,

While old Nestor, quite dumb, roves the mead.

In a Tyger, Achilles bounds o’er the wide plain;

As a Fox, sly Ulysses is seen;

Doubly horn’d, Menelaus now scorns to complain,

But more blest, in a Buck skips the green.

Fond Paris, three changes with sighs has gone through,

First a Goat, then a Monkey compleat;

Enrag’d, to the river Salmacis he flew,

Wash’d his face—and forgot his fair mate.

5 But N4v 96

But Zeno, Tibullus, and Socrates grave,

In the bodies of wan Garreteers,

All tatter’d, cold, hungry, by turns sigh and rave

At their Publisher’s bill of arrears.

Diogenes lives in an ambling old Beau;

Plato’s spirit is damp’d in yon fool;

While the soul of Lycurgus to Tyburn must go,

In yon Thief that’s hang’d by his rule.

Longinus now breathes in a Huntsman, and swears

That each Critic rides over his brother;

That Muses are jilts, and that poor Garreteers

Should in Helicon, drown one another.

3 There’s O1r 97

There’s Virgil, the Courtier, with hose out at heel,

And Hesiod, quite shoeless his foot;

Poor Ovid walks shiv’ring, behind a cart-wheel,

While Horace cries, sweep for your soot.

Fair Julia sees Ovid, but passes him near,

An old broom o’er her shoulder is thrown;

Penelope lends to five lovers an ear,

Walking on with one sleeve to her gown.

But Helen, the Spartan, stands near Charing-Cross,

Long laces and pins doom’d to cry;

Democritus, Solon, bear baskets of moss,

While Pliny sells woodcocks hard by.

O In O1v 98

In Billingsgate Nell, Clytemnestra moves slow,

All her fishes die quick in the air;

Agamemnon peeps stern, thro’ the eye of old Joe,

At Egysthus, who, grinning, stands there.

Stout Ajax, the form of a butcher now takes,

But the last he past thro’ was a calf;

Yet no revolution his spirit awakes,

For no Troy is remember’d by Ralph.

More modern Voltaire joyless sits on yon bench,

Thin and meagre, bewailing the day

When he gave up his Maker, to humour a wench,

And then left her in doubt and dismay.

Wat O2r 99

Wat Tyler, in Nicholson, dares a King’s life,

At St. James’s the blow was design’d;

But Jove lean’d from heaven, and wrested the knife,

Then in haste lash’d the wings of the wind.

Here’s Trojan, Athenian, Greek, Frenchman and I,

Heav’n knows what I was long ago;

No matter, thus shielded, this age I defy,

And the next cannot wound me, I know.

O2 Addressed O2v O3r 101

Addressed to Revenge.

A Fragment.

Why dost thou glare at me! holding the brand

Of Insult to my sight? Its burning pow’r

Scorches the eye of Virtue. Oh, be gone!

Thou dire tormentor of the injur’d soul.

I loathe thy curst acquaintance: urg’d by thee,

The wounded Victim plucks the arrow forth,

3 Writhing O3v 102

Writhing with anguish strikes the guilty Foe,

Then groans in horrid sympathy. ’Tis thine,

To hang up human frailty to the view,

Of a poor pitiless World. Seize Virtue, fled,

And place the Fugitive full in the eye

Of the fond Fool that scorn’d her. O, Revenge!

This were a prospect, where thy tints would glow

With fatal warmth; but my cool spirit turns

From fire-ey’d Fury, tho’ refulgent Truth

Might mingle with her flames. Cruel the hand!

Which tears the veil of Time from black Dishonour;

Or, with the iron pen of Justice, cuts

Her cypher on the sears of early Shame.

I charge thee not with Inj’ries; ’tis not thou,

Canst ease my lab’ring heart: the wounds I feel,

7 In O4r 103

In base Revenge, shall never find their cure.

My soul sits conscious of a nobler claim,

Firm in her full meridian, thence looks down,

Smiling on thy dark labours. Her strong height

Thou shalt not reach.—Then fly me, fell Revenge;

Seize more defenceless holds, where Honour mourns

Internal desolation. There assume

Malignant empire; fix thy burning throne

On injur’d Innocence; press thy hot foot

Upon the martyr’d friend; thy sceptre deck

With Serpents, while, with Gorgon pow’r, thou turn’st

The heart to adamant. Whole legions there

Shall hail thee; there vile Calumny sends forth

Red blasts of pestilence, which dim the eye

Of fair Opinion, while her pois’nous dews

Fall heavy on the frugal crop, that springs

From O4v 104

From rough, uncultur’d Virtue. But, beware,

Ungentle Fiend! Ah, spare the slave of Fame,

Whose wishes, ’mid ideal banquets pine:

Be not loquacious on a tender fault,

Nor whisper aught of inadvertent Love.

The P1r 105

The Materialist.

Behold yon wretch with silent horror fill’d,

And sullen in extreme! His doubts are hell,

Whilst each discordant pow’r of his dark soul,

Performs its office but to yield him woe.

Vile ravager of Order! who shall hold

Thy line of false Mortality? Who boast

Of Virtues which exist without a cause?

P Perfection, P1v 106

Perfection, be it trifling as the mote

Which revels in the Sun-beam, cannot own

Its essence self-originating. Vain

Are all thy pleas to social rules of Man!

Vain are thy toils in Science! Vain the web

Hoary Philosophy shall ever spin,

If, in thy future views, thou ne’er canst form

Some good to hope for!

Lucy, P2r 107

Lucy, A Tale For the Ladies.

When first young Reason lends her ray,

We chearful hail each rising day;

Raptures our guiltless bosoms fill,

Whilst roving o’er the lawn or hill.

The bird, the lamb, the fearful fawn,

The starry night, the breaking dawn,

Dew-drinking cowslip, primrose pale,

Each trifling flow’ret of the vale,

P2 All P2v 108

All give us joy, when tender Thought,

With careless innocence is fraught.

The dream is pure, the slumber light,

No fears add horror to the night;

But shelter’d by paternal care,

No forms of future woe appear.

Hail, sacred shades of fondest love,

Where Infancy may safely rove

Unheedful, tho’ the distant storm

Destroys a king, or whelms a worm.

Beneath a Father’s rev’rend arms,

Young Lucy slept secure from harms:

On her soft cheek bright Beauty sate,

To melt the frown of surly Fate;

For P3r 109

For swift her infant moments waste,

While blushing Youth approach’d in haste;

Bidding her quit the lov’d retreat,

Each self-conducted joy to meet:

Whispers, that Knowledge swells the Great,

That Fortune must the Busy wait;

Yea, more, that Love shall crown her hour,

Nor dark Distrust the blessing sour:

Then adds, that Precept, long possess’d,

From Guilt defends the virtuous breast.

New wishes now exulting play;

The doll with scorn is thrown away:

Romance she reads, and gently sighs,

When weak impatient Werter dies.

Deplores P3v 110

Deplores Philosophy profan’d,

Religious duties deeper stain’d;

But pities Charlotte, and defends

The Lady ’mid her prudish friends:

Pleads loudly for Platonic Love,

Is sure her bosom ne’er could prove

A passion of less spotless kind,

Than that which sooths the noblest mind.

Alas, dear Maid, thy gentle soul

Views nought but Virtue thro’ the whole;

But coarser wretches will not join,

Their pois’nous breath to pleas like thine.

When at the Altar thou hast bow’d,

And Hymen’s rites with awe avow’d;

From P4r 111

From friendly converse thou must haste,

Tho’ ev’ry thought is coldly chaste.

Tho’ Lelius proves, from sense refin’d,

That Honour fills his manly mind;

And that each wish from guilt is free,

Yet Malice strikes at him and thee.

Hard lesson!—Yet, dear girl, ’tis true,

For marriage-rights are very few.

Lelius had bid each passion bend,

In him the richest virtues blend;

And when, at morn or ev’ning pray’r,

Lucy each vagrant sigh would share;

But from the lap of Fortune thrown,

By a stern Father’s rigid frown,

5 He P4v 112

He scorn’d that Lucy e’er should share,

With him, the bitter bread of care:

Big Silence swell’d his noble breast,

His eyes, Despair and Love confest;

Yet from his lip no accent flow’d,

That purest Friendship disallow’d:

Hopeless, at length, he sigh’d, adieu,

And o’er the distant hills withdrew.

Lucy oft sought the leafy shade;

Her Father sees the pensive maid;

He, from Experience, cold and wise,

Now lightly weigh’d a Lover’s sighs;

But in warm youth, for Celia’s sake,

Had restless mourn’d whole nights awake.

And Q1r 113

And ere the midnight bell had rung,

While Philomel yet loudly sung,

That mimic witch, we Fancy call,

Would bear him o’er this gloomy ball,

To where fair Celia sleeping lay,

In dreams of love dissolv’d away:

He heard the sigh, which gently stole,

Scarce-breathing from her gentle soul;

Ran swiftly o’er each graceful charm,

Which can the gen’rous bosom warm;

Then proudly cry’d, tho’ sunk to rest,

I ever fill my Celia’s breast.

’Twas Fancy all, for Celia’s heart

Was fix’d on one less wise, but smart;

Q For Q1v 114

For him she murmur’d thro’ the night,

For him she curst approaching light,

That chas’d his lovely form away,

While hated lectures waste the day.

Nor did her poorest thought e’er fix

On Mevius, but contempt would mix.

He knew his worth,—was mighty sure

That Wisdom must the heart allure;

That thro’ her ear he could impart,

A genuine passion to her heart;

Nor once suspects—most women prize

The arrow pointed thro’ the eyes.

By Celia scorn’d—he sought the grove,

And liv’d awhile on mental love;

4 But Q2r 115

But as her Image left his mind,

Susceptibility declin’d.

He weds,—but holds this frigid rule,

Who weds for Love, is quite a fool.

Nat’ral effect! for Age came on,

And all his dear delights were gone:

That glowing Passion, which had fed

His youthful joys, is ever dead:

Nor can it leave a trace behind,

When Av’rice chills the hoary mind.

Thus wise, by past infatuation,

He views his daughter with vexation;

Yet independent Love would rise,

In silent wishes to her eyes.

Q2 Why Q2v 116

Why should it not?—’tis Nature’s plea,

And struggles strong with you and me.

But throwing all her hopes aside,

Old Mevius dooms her Cymon’s Bride,

A stupid money-loving man,

Whose soul ne’er stretch’d beyond the plan

Of vulgar sense, and customs own’d,

Nor one rich mental joy had found;

She sighs!—yet hopes one day to prove,

The fair, once wed, may learn to love.

Heroic thought! dear Self-denial,

Sure proof of Virtue’s strongest trial!

May future conflicts ne’er molest

Thy mind, of Honour thus possest!

The Q3r 117

The joyless hours now slowly roll;

Confin’d Idea swells her soul:

She pants for converse, soft, yet strong,

In vain!—none flows from Cymon’s tongue.

They silent sit; he sinks to sleep,

Leaving the choice—to think, or weep.

Ah! fatal leisure, lost in thought;

Of woe she drinks a deeper draught:

She sees her prospects waste and drear,

In anguish paints each coming year.

Heav’n sympathetic Joy denies,

While Sentiment expressly dies;

Yet oft, with smiles, she strove to cheer

The gath’ring frowns which would appear

On Q3v 118

On Cymon’s brow; the sullen Brute

Can find no joy, but in dispute.

Soon to his Gothic mansion rude,

Built in the breast of Solitude,

In haste he hies; and near the seat,

Lelius unknown, had hail’d Retreat.

Wealth smiling came, but came too late

To render wish’d-for joy compleat:

Tho’ o’er the hills his flocks were spread,

And Ceres strew’d th’ extensive mead.

The golden harvest, fleecy tribes,

Refulgent store which Av’rice bribes,

Eve’s gentle hour, or blushing morn,

Ne’er sooth, for he was doom’d to mourn:

Books Q4r 119

Books gave relief, to those he slew;

While Virtue nourish’d, strongly grew.

Cymon retir’d, no joy can find;

His best support, a vacant mind:

His gentler neighbour soon addrest,

And Lelius was his chosen guest.

When Husbands choose a pleasing friend,

Much, sure, must on the Wife depend;

Yet surly tyrants ne’er will own,

Platonic Love exists alone.

In this the Men are fairly out,

For Sterling Virtue solves the doubt.

Lelius on Lucy fix’d his eyes,

But check’d the painful, vain surprise.

A fix’d Q4v 120

A fix’d despair was now his own,

Whilst Honour bade him stand unknown:

From his wan cheek fair Health was fled;

Resistless Languor o’er him spread;

And oft the deep-laid sigh would start,

Unbidden from his burden’d heart:

Yet the soft converse pleas’d he hears,

When Cymon’s wife the story shares:

And when the charming pleader ends,

He ev’ry moral proof defends.

Congenial Sentiment appears,

In all he sees, in all he hears.

The gentle balm sooths ev’ry grief,

Granting a poor, a short relief;

For still a prey to latent Woe,

Death’s stride was sure, tho’ seeming slow.

To R1r 121

To Lucy oft he’d faintly read,

Athwart the lawn and dewy mead;

Or gaze, reflecting on the stream,

Emblem of life’s too fleeting dream;

On which Event is borne away,

Scorning with fool, or sage, to stay;

But when the thunders roll’d around,

While Nature trembled at the sound;

He rais’d her timid Fancy higher,

To catch the pale electric fire.

Hark, Lucy! Censure lifts her tongue;

On its fell point thy name is hung.

Now striding o’er the villa’s near,

Nor thee, nor Lelius, will she spare;

R But R1v 122

But breathing strong the venom’d blast,

Fame’s brighter trophies down are cast.

Good Wives, whose wishes ne’er were try’d,

And therefore on the surest side;

Who ne’er could dare e’en Friendship’s ray,

Lest weak Resolve should melt away;

Now meet, and whilst the dish goes round,

Their darling topic loudly sound:

Religion, Politics, they hate;

Their early faults they throw on Fate:

But Scandal! dear delightful strain,

Sounds thro’ the roof—nor sounds in vain.

To Cymon’s ear it wings its flight;

He, conscious of a husband’s right,

Stares R2r 123

Stares full on Lucy with vexation,

Talks loudly of lost Reputation;

Swears he’ll no British husband prove,

And coarsely rails at Wives and Love.

With cold contempt, the fair one hears

Her husband’s threats and jealous fears;

Yet the weak sigh, or tear, restrains,

For real Virtue ne’er complains.

A chillness o’er her bosom stole,

While blank Indiff’rence fill’d her soul:

But Cymon ne’er knew how to prove,

The languid spark of dying love;

He snatch’d from Duty’s with’ring hand,

Pale Joy, which shrunk from stern command.

R2 To R2v 124

To Lelius flew the line severe,

Enrich’d with Lucy’s silent tear:

The mandate rous’d his fainting thought,

Which back each guiltless pleasure brought.

Conscious of injur’d Fame, he tries

His rectitude of soul, but flies

The task—for public Fame he knew,

To secret Virtue ne’er was true.

To heav’n he cast his mournful eyes;

All joyless seem’d the earth and skies:

It’s past, he cry’d, Friendship’s no more;

Nor dare I murmur, or implore.

Oh! stubborn Honour, fix’d on thee,

Th’ immortal spirit dares be free:

’Tis R3r 125

’Tis thou canst bid my soul ascend,

Far o’er the weak or guilty friend.

And when my shorten’d voyage is past,

Thy bright reflection still shall last.

More languid grown; his heaving breast,

By pond’rous death, is closely prest:

He gives the struggle o’er, and cries,

A last adieu,—then groans, and dies.

Now stab his Mem’ry! ye that quote

Cold lines from slighted prudes, by rote;

Or ye, who preach in language faint,

Of early dupe, since made a saint;

Be this your task: for well you know,

Quick to convert our bliss to woe;

Be’t R3v 126

Be’t yours to blast Life’s purest joy,

And Friendship’s dear delights destroy.

The Parthian thus from conflict flies;

Yet flying still, the foe defies.

He backward shoots the random dart,

And wounds a more deserving heart.

Our flight is conquest;—true, my friends,

When Vict’ry’s wreath on flight depends:

But when the glory must be won,

By conflict, or the mind undone;

Then, dare you conquer? Dare you own

Poor Virtue for herself alone?

No; ’tis not your illiberal souls,

The angel on her list enrolls.

Lelius R4r 127

Lelius is gone; sad Lucy hears

His passing bell at morning pray’rs;

Her spirit faints; Devotion fled

Before the Image of the dead;

Lelius usurps the vacant seat,

Bidding e’en charming Faith retreat.

Ah, unavailing Mem’ry, cease!

Nor thus intrude on wounded peace;

But bid thy tints of pleasure last!

Ah, animate the joy that’s past!

Ne’er let thy Pencil fainter grow,

But give to Time thy richest glow:

Then shall thy Images delight,

And Fancy sooth the wretches’ night.

4 Intent R4v 128

Intent on present grief, the mind

Ne’er heeds her hoard of bliss behind:

Or taught by freezing precept, deems

Her once-lov’d pleasures, fleeting dreams;

Ye Sages say, which should we mourn,

Those valu’d joys that ne’er return?

Or ills, which passing swell the store,

Of hated sorrow gone before?

To me, thy joys, dear Mem’ry give!

For while thy purer transports live,

Anguish shall fade at Friendship’s name,

Till Death’s fell dews shall quench her flame.

Now Lucy joyless spends the hour,

Still Cymon grew more stern and sour:

8 She S1r 129

She reads, and o’er her prospect mourns;

He burns her book, her mildness scorns.

Repeated insult wounds her mind;

Too swift her lovely form declin’d.

Bright wit in languid silence dies;

The pointed rapture leaves her eyes;

Her heart with deep affliction heaves,

Whose pang soft sympathy relieves;

But wanting that congenial tear,

Ne’er hails the gross or vulgar ear.

She dies! and Cymon’s poignant grief,

Is finely wrought in bas-relief.

To prove he does his wife lament,

How grand, superb, her monument:

S There S1v 130

There weeping angels cut in stone,

The rose snapt off ere fully blown,

The empty urn—must surely prove,

Cymon’s deep sorrow, and his love.

On S2r 131

On Jephthah’s Vow, Taken in a Literal Sense.

What sudden impulse rushes thro’ the mind,

And gives that momentary wild resolve

Which seals the binding vow? Alas, poor man!

Blind to a dark futurity, yet rash

To mad extreme; why thus, with impious soul,

Throw up to Heav’n the edict of thy will;

Erase humility, and madly call

Events thy own, which may be born in woe?

S2 Or S2v 132

Or what sad wretch dare lift th’ accusing eye

To an insulted Deity, when torn

By dire effect, recoiling Nature feels

Those horrors he with loud presumption claim’d?

O, Jephthah! the soft bosom melts for thee;

When stung with ardour ’mid the din of war,

Thy spirit panted for the wreath of glory,

Trembling, and eager, lest her trophies crown

The brow of Ammon’s King. In blind despair

Thou bargain’dst with thy God. Ah, yet retract!

In vain! the vow is breath’d, and, awful, borne

Most rapidly to Heaven! Now the deep groan

Of dying foes reverb’rate on the ear

With pleasing horror. Israel’s hero feels

Fresh inspiration from his ill-tim’d faith.

Dealing S3r 133

Dealing each stroke with death, the thirsty plain

Drinks deep of Ammonitish blood: their Chiefs

Yield with reluctance to the chance of war,

And murm’ring kiss the ground. The tawny slave,

With faithful arm, supports his dying Lord,

Heedless, in grief; while whizzing thro’ the air

The arrow flies, which soon shall meet his heart.

’Tis come! See how it revels in the flood

That carries life away. Jephthah returns

With vict’ry nodding on his gaudy plume;

While his exulting troops, with ruthless foot,

Press out the soul, yet quiv’ring on the lip

Of Ammon’s sons, disfigur’d in the dust.

Hark! babb’ing Echo, riding on the blast,

Bears far the plaudit. Ammon, sunk in death,

Heeds S3v 134

Heeds not the sound: hush’d as the infant babe,

The Warriour slumbers in eternal rest.

Now Mizpeh’s native spires salute the eye;

While Jephthah’s bosom swells with glowing thought,

The soft parental rapture, fond embrace,

Kind gratulation, smile of filial love,

All form a deep impression; quick his soul

Dissolves in pleasing imag’ry. Arriv’d!

Behold his gates are widely thrown; the song

Of joy is louder, with the clarion shrill,

The cymbal, psalter, and the fav’rite harp.

Hence, Jephthah! turn thine eye;—yet, yet prolong

The S4r 135

The hour of Fate! for lo! thy daughter comes

Rich in the sweets of Innocence: ah, turn!

Nor meet the blooming maid. Unconscious she,

With fatal haste, now rushes to thy arms.

He droops! the soft sensation instant dies,

And awful terrors shake his inmost soul.

Swift from his brow, in anguish torn, he hurls

The laurel dearly won; yet, in his arms,

For one fond moment, clasps the tender maid.

Short transport! Recollection blasts the scene.

He holds her from him; and with looks of woe,

In which the pangs of Pity, Love, and Death,

Alternately appear. He murmurs loud

1 Against S4v 136

Against assiduous Duty; wildly asks,

Why She, the first, to welcome Jephthah home?

Alas! the question freezes; these are sounds

Stern and unusual to her list’ning ear,

Which oft had hung on accents breath’d in love.

She stands amaz’d: her fire, with sighs, exclaims,

Oh, thou hast brought me low! my soul desponds,

For I have pledg’d thee to the Lord of Hosts,

A victim to my conquest and ambition;

Yes, thou must die: the registers of Heav’n

Are ope’d, nor dare I trifle with my God.

The blush in haste forsook her lovely cheek

At the too rigid sentence: yet resign’d

To T1r 137

To all a father ow’d, or Heav’n would ask,

She meekly cry’d, Thy will was ever mine.

An off’ring chearful on the altar laid,

This frame shall soon consume; my soul to God

Shall fly with speed; yet will I slowly rove

O’er yon high mountain, till the moon hath spent

Two portions of her light. Ye Virgins, come!

Let your soft notes the fatal vow deplore,

Without accusing Jephthah. On she goes,

Leaving her father fix’d in speechless grief.

Bright Cynthia twice had fill’d her wasted horn:

When the sad hour approach’d, she quits the hills,

And Israel’s priests lead on the charming maid.

The fillet, censer, frankincense, and myrrh,

Are all prepar’d; the altar’s blaze ascends

T In T1v 138

In curling flame; while bigots dare pronounce

The sacrifice acceptable to Heaven.

Hence, dupes! nor make a Moloch of your God.

Tear not your Infants from the tender breast,

Nor throw your Virgins to consuming fires.

He asks it not; and say, what boasting fool,

To great Omnipotence a debt can owe?

Or owing, can repay it? Would’st thou dare

Barter upon equality! Oh, man!

Thy notion of a Deity is poor,

Contracted, curb’d, within a narrow space,

Which must on finite rest. Hark! Jephthah groans!

And ’tis the groan of horror. Virgins, sigh

For the fair victim: vain the melting tear!

She’s gone, while Jewish records hold the vow

To future ages, penn’d with cruel pride.

Written T2r 139

Written on a Visit.

Delightful Twick’nham! may a rustic hail

Thy leafy shades, where Pope in rapture stray’d,

Clasp young-ey’d Ecstasy amid the vale,

And soar, full-pinion’d, with the buoyant maid?

Ah! no, I droop! her fav’rite Bard she mourns;

Yet Twick’nham, shall thy groves assist my song;

For while, with grateful love my bosom burns,

Soft Zephyr bears the artless strain along.

T2 Through T2v 140

Through Maro’s peaceful haunt with joy I rove:

Here Emma’s spotless lamb forgets to bleat;

Nor heeds her native lawn, or woolly love,

But gently breathes her thanks at Beauty’s feet.

Emblem of whitest Innocence! how blest!

No cruel mastiff on thy heart shall prey,

Nor sanguine steel e’er rend thy panting breast;

But life, with happy ease, still glide away.

Far be the hour that must demand thy breath;

For ah! that hour shall claim my Emma’s tear:

E’en Maro’s manly eye shall grace thy death;

Nor will the pang Lactilla’s bosom spare.

But T3r 141

But hence, Melpomene! to cells of woe;

I would not now thy melting languors own:

Here Friendship bids exulting Rapture glow,

While Sorrow, list’ning, stills her deepest groan.

Protected thus from ev’ry barbed dart,

Which oft from soul-corroding passion flies,

I own the transport of a blameless heart,

While on the air the pow’rless fury dies.

Hail! steady Friendship, stubborn in thy plea!

Most justly so, when Virtue is thy guide:

Beneath your mingled ray my soul is free,

And native Genius soars with conscious Pride.

See, T3v 142

See, Maro points the vast, the spacious way,

Where strong Idea may on Rapture spring:

I mount!—Wild Ardour shall ungovern’d stray;

Nor dare the mimic pedant clip my wing.

Rule! what art thou? Thy limits I disown!

Can thy weak law the swelling thought confine?

Snatch glowing Transport from her kindred zone,

And fix her melting on thy frozen line?

As well command the hoary Alps to bear

The Amaranth, or Phoebus-loving flow’r!

Bid the Behemoth cut the yielding air,

Or rob the Godhead of creative pow’r!

7 Yet, T4r 143

Yet, Precept! shall thy richest store be mine,

When soft’ning pleasure would invade my breast;

To thee my struggling spirit shall resign;

On thy cold bosom will I sink to rest.

Farewel, ye groves! and when the friendly moon

Tempts each fair sister o’er the vernal green,

Oh, may each lovely maid reflect how soon

Lactilla saw, and sighing left the scene.

Elegy, T4v U1r 145

Elegy, on Mr. Chatterton.

Forgive, neglected shade! my pensive lay,

While o’er thy tomb I hang my rural wreath;

The modest violet to thee I’ll pay,

That bloom’d and dy’d upon yon barren heath.

Bring, artless Virgins, ev’ry rural sweet,

And cull the hare-bell from the mountain’s brow;

On whose brown breast, untrod by cautious feet,

The languid flow’r is fainting seen to blow.

U Ah! U1v 146

Ah! see in vain it plays on Zephyr’s wing,

In vain it humbly bends to ev’ry blast;

Its beauties drop ungather’d as I sing,

And oe’r the precipice by winds are cast.

Emblem of Merit in a frozen world,

Thine azure tints shall yet our garland grace;

Like thee this joyless Youth was quickly hurl’d,

From Hope’s fair height, to Death’s unlov’d embrace.

Blush! blush! ye patrons of the tuneful Nine,

(Hark! his sad Ghost sings on the buoyant air)

Ye saw me feebly grasp Apollo’s shrine;

Ye saw the God ’mid all his rays appear.

“Wrapt U2r 147

Wrapt in his glories did my Spirit stand;

Breathless I panted with the transport new;

But Mis’ry came and seiz’d my helpless hand:

She led me on; I vainly shriek’d to you.

Why did you see the haggard fiend prevail,

When Phœbus gave whate’er a God could give?

With cruel Mis’ry, Song could ne’er avail;

She pierc’d my heart, my raptures ceas’d to live.

Scorning to fawn at laughing Insult’s knee,

My woes were doubled, deeper rais’d my groan;

More sharp, more exquisite, came Agony;

And latent Anguish seal’d me for her own.

U2 “I ask U2v 148

I ask no laurel, claim no late-born sigh;

Yet should some rustic Muse, in Nature drest,

Strike her soft bosom with a tearful eye,

While keen Emotion’s in her strain confest,

Resting on yon white cloud, I will be near.

Hush’d dies the sound, shrill as the midnight wind;

Now deck the garland, nor your flow’rets spare,

With mournful Cypress, and the Yew entwin’d.

High on this Willow hangs the silent lyre,

So late attun’d to faithful Ella’s woe;

Still is that finger, quench’d that heav’nly fire,

Whose touch commanded our best tears to flow.

Yet U3r 149

Yet soft, ye Maids! press the green turf with heed,

Where hapless Genius lies by Pride opprest;

Nor hail yon pow’rful Wretch who urg’d the deed,

But leave to Heav’n his cold ungentle breast.

Here strew your flow’rs—here plant the earliest rose Primrose.

That grew unknown near Clifton’s green-clad hill:

Her languid hue shall cank’ring Grief disclose;

Her fall—the mind with just reflection fill.

Now rest, too hapless Chatterton, whose strain

My bosom warms while singing Bawdin’s fate;

Yet shalt thou live! nor shall my song be vain

That dares not thine, but dares to imitate.

Absence, U3v U4r 151

Absence, A Juvenile Piece.

Why droop my thoughts inactive, calm and low?

Or why this languor on my sinking mind?

Deaf, when from converse trifling accents flow;

I wander pensive, but no joy can find.

Ah! why does Fate congenial spirits form,

Who rush to meet each other from the eye?

In vain does Sympathy each bosom warm,

For, oh! her transports are but born to die.

3 Bid U4v 152

Bid Silence sit upon the trembling tongue;

Yet shall the look pierce to the melting heart:

Till then unconscious, whence the sigh had sprung;

Till then unconscious, what could joy impart.

Ah, doubtful Joy! poor pleasing pain at best,

When all our soft emotions swiftly rise;

To ask Expression while the pang supprest,

To the fond heart ebbs back and silent dies.

Silence, mute blessing, covert of our woes,

Soft nurse of dear Idea, near me stay;

To thy dark bosom ev’ry sorrow flows,

On which the vulgar mind would furious prey.

Be X1r 153

Be ever mine; with thee I’ll gently rove

O’er Clifton’s native heights, or flow’ry plain:

And when cold Absence desert makes the Grove,

My Soul may languish, but thou still shalt reign.

Hence, ye fair fools! who noise with nonsense join,

My spirit lists not to your witless tale;

Nor will her long-lov’d Images resign,

But silent bears them to the dewy vale.

Pure is that sigh unwilLing breath’d in air,

When Hope denies and Absence chills its flight;

When nought assists it but a true despair,

Ye Prudes, forgive the breast it renders light.

X The X1v 154

The Mind that’s form’d to Virtue, silent mourns

The object she had dress’d in mental charms;

Yet scorns the wish with which that bosom burns,

Whom Love with wilder tumult still alarms.

On X2r 155

On being introduced to a Gentleman, who had laboured under an Affliction sixteen Years.

Why mourns my soul thy cureless woe;

Why heaves my vain unwilling sigh;

Why sould my tear of anguish flow

For thee, whom Joy must ever fly?

I see thee struggle to conceal

The inward pang with watchful care.

Ah, well thou know’st how few can feel,

How few dear sympathy can share.

X2 Yet X2v 156

Yet shall thy calmness teach my soul

Silent to bear her lot of pain;

And when tumultuous passions roll,

Or latent Grief more deeply reigns,

I’ll think on thee, lamented youth,

With thine compare each trivial ill;

Like thee repose on sacred Truth,

And with thee own an heav’nly will.

What less supports thee?—What the boast

Of hoary self-denying Sage,

To all but stoic wisdom lost,

He vainly fills the study’d page.

3 His X3r 157

His stubborn soul resists the plea

Of Mis’ry when she owns her God:

Checking with pride the bending knee,

He feels, yet scorns th’ uplifted rod.

Hence, stern Philosophy!—or turn

And see how Patience owns thy guise:

Here view a victim, taught to mourn,

Ere thy rough precept made him wise.

Then hush thy sounds of classic lore,

Where demonstrations seldom join;

Religion boasts a stronger pow’r,

Proving her ardours all divine.

When X3v 158

When rack’d with pain, thro’ tedious nights,

The frame no balmy comfort shares;

Estrang’d from ease, or soft delights,

We wake to nurse a brood of cares:

Much do we need a pitying friend,

To sooth and share distracted thought;

In whose soft breast the virtues blend,

To fill the sympathetic draught.

Ah! wish too vain—yet ever new,

For where resides the equal mind?

Ye sons of woe, I ask of you,

Where shall the wretch this comfort find?

8 Each X4r 159

Each born to bear his load of ill,

He weakly dares the surge of Fate;

Time swiftly does Life’s journal fill,

And trembling Sorrow seals his date.

Then where’s the bulwark of the soul,

When close besieg’d by troops of woe;

Who shall her horrid band controul,

Or turn aside the destin’d blow?

Exulting Faith! Heav’n’s strongest child,

Shall, in her arms, thy spirit bear;

While soothing Hope, with accent mild,

First chides, then dries the fruitless tear.

Yet X4v 160

Yet calmly suffer—quickly flies

Time’s shuttle on, for thee and me.

Reflect: like us the monarch dies;

Like him we share Heav’ns grand decree.

On Y1r 161

On the Remembrance of a Mother.

Still wilt thou hang upon my joyless soul

That clasps thy dear impression;—who shall prove

Thou art not borne beyond the gloomy grave,

When thou art ever living to my mind?

Ah, yet be with me, kind instructive shade,

And sooth the mis’ries of successive hours;

Rove with me through the vale; paint the sad scene

When dreary Winter sits upon the world.

Chilling creative pow’r, such cruel Time

Y That Y1v 162

That robb’d me of a mother. Painful thought!

With what reluctance did my soul discern

Thy faculties decline; thine eye, thine ear,

Thy long-try’d mem’ry, sentimental pow’rs,

All sunk in calm gradation, while the sigh

Stole in soft silence from my youthful heart.

Mine was th’ improving melancholy task,

To guide with pensive care thy feeble foot

Down life’s descent, tho’ I with horror saw

The grave that op’d beneath. Ye giddy minds,

Who place the essence of fallacious joy

In gaudy pomp, to you it is deny’d

To feel with pining Age, or sooth the pangs

Which Mem’ry leaves behind of jocund Youth.

Why Y2r 163

Why pass ye by the venerable head,

Grown white with age and sorrow? Why despise,

In flippant mirth, the period ye must find,

With all its cold companions? Hard the heart

Who smiles at hoary weakness; base the soul

Who scornful throws at dear declining Age

Her weak petitions. Think, my youthful friends,

That Time, to purity attunes the thought,

Robs the warm breast of passion, points the soul

To her last refuge, bids her hate the day

When Pleasure met her on the silken wing,

That droops beneath Remembrance. Oh, beware,

Impetuous youth, and taste the draught of joy,

With Meditation sitting on the cup.

Yet will I hold thee, kind lamented shade,

That whisper’st o’er the grave: there didst thou sink,

Y2 And Y2v 164

And there I’ll follow thee; but while I tread,

In pensive mood, the tedious round of life,

Let Fancy bring thee to my humble hearth.

There, hear unseen, my blooming boys repeat

Thy name half-broken, with unconscious sighs,

While thy firm precepts vibrate in their ear.

Transporting Thought, preserve the pleasing view!

Tho’ Reason flies the scene for colder shades

Of rigid demonstration, which, more rough

Than frowning Alps, o’er-shadows warmer joy.

How oft, with thee, when life’s keen tempest howl’d

Around our heads, did I contented sit,

Drinking the wiser accents of thy tongue,

Listless of threat’ning ill! My tender eye

Was fix’d on thine, inquisitively sad,

8 Whilst Y3r 165

Whilst thine was dim with sorrow; yet thy soul

Betray’d no innate weakness, but resolv’d

To tread thy sojourn calm and undismay’d:

Thy fortitude threw on my weaker cheek

Confusion’s tinge; even now I faintly feel,

Thus wanting thee, wrapt in whose fost’ring wing,

I found a shelter from inclement skies.

Now who shall shield me, who direct the storm,

When mental conflicts rend my suff’ring soul,

Hurling her far from ever-gentle Peace!

Ah, unavailing question! Fancy paints

A Mother’s frown on her denying brow,

That bids me rest on virtures all my own.

To Y3v 166


To the Right Honourable the Earl of Bristol, &c.

Bristol, my soul hangs back on thee, and breathes

Her sorrows o’er the past; yet while I droop,

Thy gentle voice sounds in each passing hour,

Till Melancholy lull’d, gives transient ease.

Ah, who shall sit on Meditation’s height,

With stoic firmness, when the piercing shriek

Of Y4r 167

Of Agony is heard? In vain we boast

A fortitude of soul, in vain we turn

From sad obtruding Mem’ry. Oh, my friend!

Thine are the stores of ev’ry classic sage,

Thine ev’ry virtue which the mind can own,

When strong Resolve would fix—but all is weak,

Oppos’d to latent Woe; yet shall my soul

Sing ever-mournful notes o’er Mis’ry’s stream,

Frighting soft Peace? No, Bristol’s arm has borne

My spirit from the scene, placing it high

On Hope’s unmeasur’d height; and here I’ll stand

Till Time shall roll his thousand worlds, in rage,

Down vast Eternity: in that loud hour,

When Nature throws her dark foundations up

To meet the liquid skies, thy form rever’d

Shall strike my grateful soul; no livid glare,

7 Mingled Y4v 168

Mingled convulsion, element unhing’d,

Swift-falling orb, when old Creation reels,

Shall hide thee from my view; of essence form’d,

More pure than ether in its finest sphere.

I then may hail thee; but till then accept

The language faint of an untutor’d mind,

Whose pow’rs have found their best support in thee.