Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers
(1809), lines 755-64.
"Sonnet on Seeing Miss Helen Maria Williams Weep at a Tale of
She wept.--Life's purple tide began to flow
In languid streams through every thrilling vein;
Dim were my swimming eyes--my pulse beat slow,
And my full heart was swell'd to dear delicious pain.
Life left my loaded heart, and closing eye;
A sigh recall'd the wanderer to my breast;
Dear was the pause of life, and dear the sigh
That call'd the wanderer home, and home to rest.
That tear proclaims--in thee each virtue dwells,
And bright will shine in misery's midnight hour;
As the soft star of dewy evening tells
What radiant fires were drown'd by day's malignant pow'r,
That only wait the darkness of the night
To cheer the wand'ring wretch with hospitable light.
AXIOLOGUS [William Wordsworth]
The European Magazine 40 (March 1787) 202.
"Address to Benedict"
Away, my heart, with bashful cunning,
Let simple truth thy woes explain;
And tho' each Muse, thy courtship shunning,
Refuse, let Love inspire the strain!
Go, artless limbs, in heavy sadness,
Surprise his dear expressive eyes,
(Whose speaking glance to me is madness
Tho' for another maid he sighs.)
My love! ah, quit the frozen creature
Who mingles caution with her love;
Ah, turn to me, whose ev'ry feature,
Denotes the heart which fear can't move!
Yes, tho' unknown to thy discerning,
I long have felt the tender smart;
Long my sobbing bosom burning,
Has spoke the arrow in my heart.
If you, my love, but once invite me,
To frozen Zembla's coast I'll rove,
E'en Lybia's sand would then delight me,
Supremely happy in thy love!
But if Melissa's charms have pow'r,
To hold thee constant to her breast,
I'll hasten to some lonely bow'r,
And find in death my long-lost rest!
The World, June 25, 1787
"The Adieu and Recall to Love"
Go, idle Boy! I quit thy pow'r;
Thy couch of many a thorn, and flow'r;
Thy twanging bow, thine arrow keen,
Deceitful Beauty'd timid mien;
The feign'd surprise, the roguish leer,
The tender smile, the thrilling tear,
Have now no pangs, no joys for me,
So fare thee well, for I am free!
Then flutter hence on wanton wing,
Or lave thee in yon lucid spring,
Or take thy bev'rage from the rose,
Or on Louisa's breast repose:
I wish thee well for pleasures past,
Yet bless the hour, I'm free at last.
But sure, methinks, the alter'd day
Scatters around a mournful ray;
And chilling ev'ry zephyr blows,
And every stream untuneful flows;
No rapture swells the linnet's voice,
No more the vocal groves rejoice;
And e'en thy song, sweet Bird of Eve!
With whom I lov'd so oft to grieve,
Now scarce regarded meets my ear,
Unanswer'd by a sigh or tear.
No more with devious step I choose
To brush the mountain's morning dews;
"To drink the spirit of the breeze,"
Or wander 'midst o'er-arching trees;
Or woo with undisturb'd delight,
The pale-cheek's Virgin of the Night,
That piercing thro' the leafy bow'r,
Throws on the ground a silv'ry show'r,
Alas! is all this boasted ease,
To lose each warm desire to please,
No sweet solicitude to know
For other's bliss, for others' woe,
A frozen apathy to find,
A sad vacuity of mind?
O hasten back, then, heav'nly Boy,
And with thine anguish bring me joy!
Return with all thy torments here,
And let me hope, and doubt, and fear.
O rend my heart with ev'ry pain!
But let me, let me love again.
The World June 29, 1787
"To Della Crusca: The Pen"
O! seize again thy golden quill,
And with its point my bosom thrill;
With magic touch explore my heart,
And bid the tear of passion start.
Thy golden quill APOLLO gave--
Drench'd first in bright Aonia's wave:
He snatch'd it flutt'ring thro' the sky,
Borne on the vapour of a sigh;
It fell from Cupid's burnished wing
As forcefully he drew the string;
Which sent his keenest, surest dart
Thro' a rebellious frozen heart;
That had till then defy'd his pow'r,
And vacant beat thro' each dull hour.
Be worthy then the sacred loan!
Seated on Fancy's air-built throne;
Immerse it in her rainbow hues,
Nor, what the Godheads bid, refuse.
APOLLO, CUPID, shall inspire,
And aid thee with their blended fire.
The one, poetic language give,
The other bid thy passion live;
With soft ideas fill thy lays,
And crown with LOVE thy wintry days!
The World, July 10, 1787
"To Anna Matilda"
I know thee well, enchanting Maid,
I've mark'd thee in the silent glade,
I've seen thee on the mountain's height,
I've met thee in the storms of night;
I've viewed thee on the wild beach run
To gaze upon the setting sun;
Then stop aghast, his ray no more,
To hear th' impetuous surge's roar.
Hast thou not stood with rapt'rous eye
To trace the starry worlds on high,
T' observe the moon's weak crescent throw
O'er hills, and woods, a glimm'ring glow:
Or, all beside some wizard stream,
To watch its undulating beam?
O well thy form divine I know--
When youthful errors brough me woe;
When all was dreary to behold,
And many a bosom-friend grew cold;
Thou, thou unlike the summer crew
That from my adverse fortune flew,
Cam'st with melodious voice, to cheer
My throbbing heart, and check the tear.
From thee I learnt, 'twas vain to scan
The low ingratitude of Man;
Thou bad'st me Fancy's wilds to rove,
And seek th' ecstatic bow'r of Love.
When on his couch I threw me down,
I saw thee weave a myrtle crown,
And blend it with the shining hair,
Of her, the Fairest of the Fair.
For this, may ev'ry wand'ring gale
The essence of the rose exhale,
And pour the fragrance on thy breast,
And gently fan thy charms to rest.
Soon as the purple slumbers fly
The op'ning radiance of thine eye,
Strike, strike again the magic lyre,
With all thy pathos, all thy fire;
With all that sweetly-warbled grace,
Which proves thee of celestial race.
O then, in varying colours drest,
And living glory stand confest,
Shake from thy locks ambrosial dew,
And thrill each pulse of joy a-new;
With glowing ardours rouse my soul,
And bid the tides of Passion roll.
But think no longer in disguise,
To screen thy beauty from mine eyes;
Nor deign a borrow'd name to use,
For well I know----thou art the Muse!
The World, July 31, 1787.
"On the Recent Departure of Miss P---- from Kentish Town"
From this lov'd village when swee P---- retir'd;
Whose virtue charm'd us, as her beauty fir'd,
Dejected Nature, with a general sigh,
The loss regretted--but could not supply.
O, chaste as fair! O; elegant of form!
Born to enslave, to captivate and charm!
Thy lovely features, and thy winning art,
Seize my rapt sense, and fascinate my heart.
O, Maid ador'd! possess'd of ev'ry grace--
The mind of Dian with fair Venus' face:
What tho' with easy step you rivet, and enslave each Swain;
Say, shall not one kind thought pervade your mind,
For Friends, for Lovers, you have left behind?
And one fond sigh spread sweetly its alarms,
For those who honour and adore thy charms?
Return, sweet Girl! and never to depart--
Oh, swift return--or, oh! return my heart.
The World, 3 August 1787 (#183):
"To Della Crusca"
THOU bidst!--"my purple slumbers fly!"
Day's radiance pours upon my eye.
I wake--I live! the sense o'erpays
The trivial griefs of early days.
What! tho' the rose-bud on my cheek
Has shed its leaves, which late so sleek,
Spoke youth, and joy--and careless thought,
By guilt, or fear, or shame unsmote;
My blooming soul is yet in youth,
Its lively sense attests the truth.
O! I can wander yet, and taste
The beauties of the flow'ry waste;
The nightingale's deep swell can feel,
Whilst from my lids the soft drops steal;
Rapt! gaze upon the gem-deck'd night,
And mark the clear moon's silent flight;
Whilse the slow river's crumpled wave
Repeats the quiv'ring beams she gave.
Not yet, the pencil strives in vain,
To wake upon the canvas plain,
All the strong passions of the mind,
Or hint the sentiment refin'd;
To its sweet magic yet I bow,
As when Youth deck'd my polish'd brow.
The chisel's feath'ry touch to trace,
Thro' the nerv'd form, or soften'd grace,
Is lent me still. Still I admire,
And kindle at the Poet's fire--
My torch, at Della Crusca's light,
And distant follow his superior flight.
O Time! since these are left me still,
Of lesser thefts e'en take thy fill:
Yes, steal the lustre from my eye,
And bid the soft Carnation fly;
My tresses sprinkle with thy snow,
Which boasted once the auburn glow;
Warp the slim form that was ador'd
By him, so lov'd, my bosom's LORD----
But leave me, when all these you steal,
The mind to taste, the nerve to feel!
Tuesd. Morn. July 31
The World, Aug. 4, 1787
"To Anna Matilda"
And art thou then, alas! like me,
OFFSPRING of frail mortality?
Must ruthless Time's rude touch efface
Each lovely feature's varying grace?
And must tow'rds earth that form incline,
And e'en those eyes forbear to shine?
Yet, when with icy hand he throws,
Amonth thine auburn locks, his snows,
The freezing influence ne'er shall dart,
To chill thy warmly-beating heart;
And scorning Death's obvlivious hour,
Thou shalt exult----beyond his pow'r.
Me thinks, as Passion drives along,
As frantic grown, I feel thy Song;
Eager I'd traverse LYBIA's plain,
The tawny Lion's dread domain
To meet thee there: nor flagging Fear,
Should ever on my cheek appear;
For e'en the Forest's King obeys
Majestic WOMAN's potent gaze.
Or left on some resourceless shore,
Where never ceasing billows roar;
With teeming clouds, and heavy hail,
And furious hurricanes assail,
Far to the Pole--while half the year,
On Ebon throne sits NIGHT severe;
And to her solitary court,
Sea-fowl, and monsters fierce resort--
E'en there, MATILDA! there with thee,
Impending horrors all should flee;
Thy lustre of poetic ray,
Should wake an artificial day.
Sure thou were never doom'd to know
What pangs from care, and danger flow;
But fairest scenes thy thoughts employ,
And Art, and Science, bring thee joy.
The quick'ning sense, the throb divine,
Fancy, and Feeling, all are thine;
'Tis thine, by blushing Summer led,
A show'r of roses round thee shed,
To hie thee forth at Morn's advance,
In wild excess of rapt'rous trance;
And see the Sun's proud deluge stream;
In copious tides of golden beam;
While faint his Sister-Orb on high,
Fades to a vapour of the sky.
When gradual evening comes, to hide,
In sabling shades, CREATION's pride;
When heaving hills, and forests drear,
And less'ning towns, but scarce appear;
While the last ling'ring western glow,
Hangs on the lucid lake below;
Then trivial joys (I deem) forgot,
Thou lov'st to seek the humble cot,
To scatter Comfort's balm around,
And heal pale Poverty's deep wound;
Drive Sickness from the languid bed,
Raise the lorn Widow's drooping head;
Render the new-made Mother blest,
And snatch the Infant to thy breast.
O ANNA, then, if true thou say,
Thy radiant beauties steal away,
Yet shall I never fail to find
Eternal beauties in thy mind.
To those I offer up my vows,
And Love, which Virtue's self allows;
Unknown, again thou art ador'd,
And once by him, thy "bosom's Lord."
The World, Aug. 21, 1787
To SOMEBODY at MARGATE
The Watch you left behind you, goes infinitely too fast.
O! that Time, eager like your Watch,
The coming moments would but snatch,
And make them past ere yet begun--
Running before the tardy Sun!
Then, hours compress'd, would moments be,
And I should retrospective see
Those weeks, which now in prospect hover,
Heavier than tales told twelve times over.
Now, prithee Time, this Watch obey,
Which many a lagging, ling'ring day,
Thy lazy pace hatch humbly kept,
Whilst mortals danc'd, or mortals slept:
Which ne'er, till now, presum'd to shew
Impatience of your gait, so slow--;
But keeping near you cheek-by-jole,
Tick, tick, thro' fifteen summers stole.
Now then be civil--dart away,
O'ertake the Watch, nor bid it stay!
O! one short fortnight keep its pace;
And, for an act so full of grace,
The Watch shall ne'er outstrip thee more,
But tick, tick, tick, as heretofore.
The World, 15 Sept 1787
"Stanzas to Della Crusca"
has the following note preceding it, Della Crusca getting his own heading:
"O matra Pulchra, filia Pulchrior"
In consequence of the last fine flight of this transcendant Poet, on the
PLAIN OF FONTENOY--and not forty hours after!--the WORLD was very
highly favoured with the FOLLOWING STANZAS!
Greater praise they cannot have--less praise, they should not have, than
this--to rank them, with the Genius which is thus described to have excited
In poetic energy, and philosophic truth--in all the grace and force of
numbers--the one predominates equally with the other.
It will be easily understood, nothing but a perverse accident, which is at
once to be pitied and excused, could have prevented such an obligation, being
thus sooner owned.
"Stanzas to Della Crusca"
"Hush'd, be each ruder note!--Soft silence spread,
With ermine hand, thy cobweb robe around;
Attention! pillow my reclining head,
Whilse eagerly I catch the golden sound.
Ha! What tone was that, which floating near,
Seem'd Harmony's full soul--whose is the lyre?
Which seizing thus on my enraptur'd ear,
Chills with its force, yet melts me with its fire.
Ah dull of heart! thy Matilda's touch not know,
What Bard but DELLA CRUSCA boasts such skill?
From him alone, those melting notes can flow--
He, only knows adroitly thus to trill.
Well have I left the Groves, which sighing wave
Amidst November's blast their naked arms,
Whilst their red leaves fall flutt'ring to their grave,
And give again to dull May's vernal charms.
Well have I left the air-embosom'd hills,
Where sprightly Health in verdant buskin plays;
Forsaken sallow meads, and circling mills,
And thyme-dress'd heaths, where the soft flock yet strays.
Obscuring smoak, and air impure I greet,
With the coarse din that Trade and Folly form,
For here the Muse's Son again I meet--
I catch his notes amidst the vulgar storm.
His notes now bear me, pensive, to the Plain,
Cloath'd by a verdure drawn from Britain's heart;
Whose heroes bled superior to their pain,
Sunk, crown'd with glory, and contemn'd the smart.
Soft, as he leads me round th' ensanguin'd fields,
The laurel'd shades forsake their grassy tomb,
The bursting sod its pallid inmate yields,
And o'er th' immortal waste their spirits roam.
Obedient to the Muse the acts revive
Which Time long past had veil'd from mortal ken,
Embattled squadrons rush, as when alive,
And shadowy falchions gleam o'er shadowy men.
Ah, who art thou, who thus with frantic air
Fly'st fearless to support that bleeding youth;
Bind'st his deep gashes with thy glowing hair,
And diest beside him, to attest thy truth?
"His Sister I; an orphan'd pair, we grieved,
"For Parents long at rest within the grave,
"By a false Guardian of our wealth bereav'd----
"The little ALL parental care could save.
"Chill look'd the world, and chilly grew our hearts,
"Oh! where shall Poverty expect a smile?
"Gross lawless Love assumed its ready arts,
"And all beset was I, with Fraud and Guile.
"My Henry sought the war, and drop'd the tears
"Of love fraternal as he bade farewell;
"But fear, soon made me rise above my fears,
"I follow'd--and Fate tolls our mutual knell."
Chaste Maiden, rest; and brighter spring the green,
That decorates the turn thy bloom will feed!
And oh, in softest mercy 'twas I ween,
To worth like thine, a Brother's grave decreed.
The dreadful shriek of Death now darts around,
The hollow winds repeat each tortur'd sigh,
Deep bitter groans, still deeper groans resound,
Whilst Fathers, Brothers, Lovers, Husbands die.
Turn from this spot, blest Bard! thy mental eye;
To hamlets, cities, empires bend its beam!
'Twill there such multiplying deaths descry,
That all before thee'll but an abstract seem.
Why wast thy tears o'er this contracted Plain?
The sky which canopies the sons of breath,
Sees the whole Earth one scene of mortal pain,
The vast, the universal BED OF DEATH!
Where, do not Husbands, Fathers, dying moan?
Where, do not Mothers, Sisters, Orphans weep?
Where, is not heard the last expiring groan,
Or the deep throttle of the deathful Sleep!
If, as Philosophy doth often muse,
A state of war, is natural state to man,
BATTLE's the sickness bravery would choose--
Noblest DISEASE in Nature's various plan!
Let vulgar souls stoop to the fever's rage,
Or flow, beneath pale atrophy depart,
With Gout and Scrophula weak variance wage,
Or sink, with sorrow cank'ring at the heart;
These, be to common Minds, th' unwish'd decree!
The FIRM select an illness more sublime;
By languid pains, scorn their high souls to free,
But seek the Sword's swift edge, and spurn at Time.
The World, Nov. 23, 1787
"To Anna Matilda"
On the sea-shore with folded arms I stood,
The Sun just sinking shot a level ray,
Luxuriant crimson glow'd upon the flood,
And the curl'd surf was ting'd with golden spray.
Far off I faintly track'd the feath'ry sail;
When thy sweet numbers caught my yielded ear,
Borne on the bosom of the flutt'ring gale,
They struck my heart--and rous'd me to a tear.
Yet flow'd no bitter anguish from mine eye,
A while rmembrance left my wayward state;
And the soft cadence of thy warbled sigh,
Pour'd healing balm into the wounds of Fate.
What tho' grim Winter's desolating frown,
The wild waves uproar when rough Eurus blows,
The tangled forest, and the desart down,
Be all the solace DELLA CRUSCA knows:
Yet from MATILDA's pure celestial fire,
One ruby spark shall to his gloom be given,
Lur'd by its light, his fancy may aspire,
And catch a ray of bliss--a glimpse of Heaven.
Vain in the morn of life, and thoughtless too,
He rush'd impetuous as strong passion drove,
But soon each flatt'ring prospect fled his view,
Deceiv'd by Friendship much, but more by Love.
Yes, he has lov'd to Transport's dire excess,
Has felt the potent eye inflict the wound;
Has felt the female voice each pulse oppress,
And grown a breathless status at the sound.
But why recall the moments that are fled?
For ever fled, like yonder sweeping blast;
With Love, each active principle is dead,
And all, except its sad regret, is past.
Ah! had he met thee in his happier hour,
Ere yet he languish'd in the gripe of Care,
Thy Minstrel then had fondly own'd thy pow'r,
Thy Minstrel then might have escap'd Despair.
O diff'rent lot! for he who daily grieves,
Then with thy beauty blest, and gen'rous mind,
Had not, like sallow Autumn's falling leaves,
Been shrunk, alas! and scatter'd in the wind.
Haply, he had not roam'd for ling'ring years
On many a rugged Alp, and foreign shore;
He ne'er had known the cause of all his tears,
The cherish'd cause, that bids him--hope no more.
He would have led thee with attentive gaze,
Where the brown hamlet's neighb'ring shades retire,
Have hung entranc'd upon thy living lays,
And swept with feebler hand a kindred lyre.
While the dear Songstress had melodious stole
O'er ev'ry sense, and charm'd each nerve to rest,
Thy Bard, in silent ecstacy of soul,
Had strain'd the dearer Woman to his breast.
Or had she said, that War's the worthiest grave,
He would have felt his proud heart burn the while,
Have dar'd, perhaps, to rush among the brave,
Have gain'd perhaps, the glory--of a smile.
And 'tis most true, while Time's relentless hand,
With sickly grasp drags others to the tomb,
The soldier scorns to wait the dull command,
But springs impatient to a nobler doom.
Tho' on the plain he lies, outstretch'd, and pale,
Without one friend his stedfast eyes to close,
Yet on his honour'd corse shall many a gale,
Waft the moist fragrance of the weeping rose.
O'er that dread spot, the melancholy Moon
Shall pause a while, a sadder beam to shed,
And starry Night, amidst her awful noon,
Sprinkle light dews upon his hallow's head.
There too the solitary Bird shall dwell
With long-drawn melody her plaintive throat,
While distant echo from responsive cell,
Shall oft with fading force return the note.
Such recompense be Valour's due alone!
To me, no proffer'd meed must e'er belong;
To me, who trod the vale of life unknown,
Whose proudest boast was but an idle song.
The World, Dec. 5, 1787
"To Della Crusca"
I hate the tardy Elegiac lay--
Chuse me a measure jocund as the day!
Such days as near the ides of June
Meet the Lark's elaborate tune,
When his downy fringed breast
Ambitious on a cloud to rest,
He soars aloft; and from his gurgling throat
Darts to the earth the piercing note--
Which softly falling with the dews of morn
(That bless the scented pink, and snowy thorn)
Expands upon the Zephyr's wing,
And wakes the burnish'd finch, the linnet sweet to sing.
And be thy lines irregular and free,
Poetic chains should fall before such bards as thee.
Scorn the dull laws that pinch thee round,
Raising about thy verse a mound,
O'er which thy muse, so lofty! dares not bound.
Bid her in verse meand'ring sport;
Her footsteps quick, or long, or short,
Just as her various impulse wills--
Scorning the frigid square, which her fine fervor chills.
And in thy verse meand'ring wild,
Thou, who are FANCY's favourite Child,
May'st sweetly paint the long past hour,
When, the slave of Cupid's power,
Thou couldst the tear of rapture weep,
And feed on Agony, and banish Sleep.
Ha! didst thou, favour'd mortal, taste
All that adorns our life's dull waste?
Hast THOU known life's enchanting pain--
Its hopes, its woes, and yet complain?
Thy senses, at a voice, been lost,
Thy madd'ning soul in tumults tost?
Ecstatic wishes fire thy brain--
These, hast thou known, and yet complain?
Thou then deserv'st ne'er more to FEEL;--
Thy nerves by rigid, hence, as steel!
Their fine vibrations all destroy'd,
Thy future days a tasteless void!
Ne'er shalt thou know again to sigh,
Or, on a soft idea die;
Ne'er on a recollection gasp;
Thy arms, the air-drawn charmer, nerver grasp.
Vapid Content her poppies round thee strew,
Whilst to the bliss of TASTE thou bidst adieu!
To vulgar comforts be thou hence confin'd,
And the shrunk bays be from thy brow untwin'd.
Thy statue torn from Cupid's hallow'd niche,
But in return thou shalt be dull, and rich;
The Muses hence disown thy rebel lay--
But thou in Aldermanic gown, their scorn repay;
Crimson'd, and furr'd, the highest honours dare,
And on they laurels tread--a PLUMP LORD MAYOR!
The World, Dec. 22, 1787
Sonnet. On an AIR BALLOON
By Mrs. PIOZZI
In empty space, behold me hurl'd,
The sport and wonder of the World;
With eager gaze, while I aspire,
Expanded with aerial fire!
And since Man's selfish race demands,
More empire than the Sea's or Land's;
For him, my Courage mounts the Skies,
Invoking Nature while I rise!
Mother of all! if thus refin'd,
My flights can BENEFIT MANKIND;
Let them by Me, new realms prepare,
And take possession of the Air.
But if to ILLS alone I lead,--
Quickly, oh quick, let Me recede!
Or blaze, a splendid exhibition,
A BEACON, for their mad AMBITION!
The World, Feb. 11, 1788
Some Men there are love not a --------
And as such men love not such Poetry, we take the earliest opportunity of
presenting them with a little specimen we received yesterday, of Verse in
praise of a Young Lady, whose merits we doubt not are more than equal to the
Lay--which is certainly original.
"To Miss Leary"
Where Virtue and Modesty doth dwell,
It is them that most people wishes well;
I wish every one would her pattern take,
It would be much better for their own sake;
She is blessed with merit, virtue, modesty, and health,
Which in due time does produce much wealth.
Many of the Female Sex though at present great may be,
In future times they may some small difference see.
I sincerely love Justice for to do,
I will not just myself but leave that for you,
For fear my judgement should not prove too true;
I think perhaps that I do make too free,
But I will dropt the subject, as it is nothing at all to me.
The World, 9 April 1788
Nor--to Miss Leary;
But--KING CHARLES the FIRST
But, for Refusal they destroy my Thrones,
Distress my Children, and devour my Bones--
I fear, they'll force me to make Bread of Stones.
But Sacred Saviour, with thy words I woo
Thee to forgive, and not be better too
Such as thou know'st, do not know what they do.
Augment my Patience, nullify my State--
Preserve my Issue--and spire my Mate--
But, tho we Perish, bless THIS CHURCH AND STATE!
The World, 15 April 1788:
On 17 May 1788 The World publishes a letter from Della Crusca,
E. TOPHAM, ESQ.
It is now nearly a year ago, when at a distance from England, I
heard you mentioned as a Proprietor of the Paper of the WORLD. A sentiment
of personal regard to you, led me to offer you some Poetry, under the
signature of DELLA CRUSCA. The Author being unknown to you, approbation
could not be distrusted.
The Public, I understand, have deigned to think these Poems not
unworthy of their notice: this might lead me to continue them; but the
distance to which I am removing, would render communication difficult and
hazardous. I now therefore close, perhaps for a long time, my Correspondence;
but as you know me not, you cannot complain.
As to the Poems, if you think proper to collect and reprint them
in a more durable form, I submit them, with some other Productions
here adjoined, to empower you to make over my right to Mr. BELL, or
any other person you may approve.
The World, 17 May 1788
"Sonnet. To Leonardo"
Chill blows the blast, upon the mountain's brow,
In murmuring cadence way the silv'ry woods,
The feath'ry tribe mope on the leafless bough,
And icy fetters hold the silent floods;
But endless Spring, the POET's breast shall prove,
Whose Genius kindles at the Torch of LOVE.
For him, unfading blooms the fertile Mind,
The current of the Heart florever flows,
Fearless his bosom braves the wint'ry wind,
While through each nerve eternal Summer glows;
In vain would chilling apathy controul,
'The feast of Reason, and the flow of Soul.'
To me, the limpid Brook, the painted Mead,
The CRIMSON DAWN, the TWILIGHT's PURPLE CLOSE,
The mirthful dance, the Shepherd's tuneful reed,
The musky fragrance of the op'ning rose--
To ME, ALAS! all pleasures senseless prove,
Save, the sweet Converse of THE FRIEND I LOVE.
The World, 28 February 1789
O we have met, and now I call
On yon dark clouds that as they fall,
Sweep their long show'rs across the plain,
Or mingle with the clam'rous main.
Alas! I call them, here to pour
Around my head their gather'd store,
While the loud gales which sped away
To the far edge of weeping day,
Mid the tumultuous gloom shall bear
On their wet wings my sigh'd despair.
OF LATE--where confluent torrents crash,
I paused to view the mazy dash
Of waters, shattering in the twilight beam;
While oft my wand'ring eye would trace
The distant forest's solemn grace,
As o'er its black robe hung the tawny gleam.
Nor then on joys gone by, my Mem'ry dwelt,
Nor all the pangs which wounded Friendship felt;
But ANNA, tho' unknown, usurp'd my mind,
Alone she claim'd the tributary tear,
For ev'ry solace, ev'ry charm combin'd
In the sweet madd'nings of her song sincere.
Sudden I turn--for from a young grove's shade,
Whose infant boughs but mock th' expecting glade,
Sweet sounds stole forth--unborne upon the gale,
Press'd thro' the air, and broke amidst the vale,
Then silent walk'd the breezes of the plain,
Or lightly wanton'd there the corn-flow'r blows,
Or 'mongst the od'rous wild-thyme sought repose,
Or soar'd aloft and seized the hov'ring strain.
As the fond Lark, whose clear and piercing shake,
Bids Morning on her crimson bed awake,
Hears from the greensward seat his fav'rite's cry,
Drops thro' the heavens, and scorns the glowing sky:
So I, soul-touch'd, th' impetuous Cat'ract leave,
And almost seem th' ethereal waste to cleave;
Allured, entranc'd, I rush amidst the wood,
AND THERE THE SOFT MUSICIAN STOOD.
Ah! 'twas no visionary Fair,
Imagination's bodied air,
That now with strong illusion caught,
Mental creations fled from thought,
A living Angel blass my sight,
Strung ev'ry nerve to new delight,
With Joy's full tide bedew'd my cheek,
'Twas ANNA's self I saw, NOR HAD I POWER TO SPEAK.
O then I led her to the woven bow'r,
Where slept the Woodbind's shelter'd flow'r,
Where bending o'er the Violet's bed
The Rose its liquid blushes shed;
While near the feater'd Mourner flung
Such plaints from his enamour'd tongue,
That all subdued at my MATILDA's feet
I sunk but with an agony more sweet,
Than favor'd mortal e'er before had proved,
Or ever yet conceiv'd, unless like me he loved.
SHE SPOKE but O! no sound was heard
Of the wanton, rap'rous bard,
That climbs the morning's upmost sky,
When first the golden vapours fly;
But fainter was the moving measure,
Than the Linnet's noontide leisure
Lets the sultry breezes steal----
Dar'st thou, my tongue! the tale reveal?
"ILL-FATED BARD!" she cried, "whose length'ning grief
Had won the pathos of my lyre's relief,
For whom, full oft, I've loiter'd to rehearse
In phrenzied mood the deep impassion'd verse,
Ill-fated Bard! from each frail hope remove,
And shun the certain Suicide of Love:
Lean not to me, th' impassion'd verse is o'er,
Which chain'd thy heart, and forced thee to adore:
For O! observe where haughty DUTY stands,
Her form in radiance drest, her eye severe,
Eternal Scorpions writhing in her hands,
To urge th' offender's unavailing tear!
Dread Goddess, I obey!--------
Ah! smooth thy awful terror-striking brow,
Hear and record MATILDA's sacred vow!
Ne'er will I quit th' undeviating LINE,
Whose SOURCE thou art, and THOU the LAW DIVINE.
The Sun shall be subdued, his system fade,
Ere I forsake the path thy FIAT made;
Yet grant one soft regretful tear to flow,
Prompted by pity for a Lover's woe,
O grant without REVENGE one bursting sigh,
Ere from his desolating grief I fly.----
'Tis past,--FAREWEL! ANOTHER claims my heart,
Then wing thy sinking steps, for here we part,
WE PART! and listen, for the word is MINE,
ANNA MATILDA NEVER CAN BE THINE!"
She ceas'd, and sudden, like an evening wind
Rushing, from prison'd tempest to unbind,
And all regardless of the scenes it leaves,
Skimming o'er bending blooms, and russet sheaves,
MATILDA fled! the closing Night pursued,
And the cold INGRATE scarce I longer view'd!
Her form grew indistinct--each step more dim,
And now a distant vapour seems to swim,
Her white robe glistens on my eye no more,
Its stranings all are vain--THE FOND DELUSION's O'ER.
MY SONG SUBSIDES, yet ete I close
The ling'ring lay that feeds my woes,
Ere yet forgotten DELLA CRUSCA runs
To torrid gales, or petrifying suns,
Ere bow'd to earth my latest feeling flies,
And the big passion settles on my eyes;
O may this sacred sentiment be known,
That my adoring heart is ANNA's OWN;
YES, ALL HER OWN, and tho' ANOTHER claim
Her mind's rich treasure, still I love the same;
And tho' ANOTHER, O how blest! has felt
Her soften'd soul in dear delirium melt,
While from her gaze the welcome meaning sprung,
As on her neck in frantic joy he hung,
Yet I will bear it, and tho' Hell deride,
My pangs shall soothe, my curse shall be my pride.
Nor can HE boast like me; O no, HE found
The tranquilizing balm that cures the wound;
He never knew the loftier bliss, to rave
Without a pow'r to aid, a chance to save;
He never bath'd him in the Nightshade's dew,
Nor drank the pois'nous meteors as they flew,
Nor told his rending story to the Moon,
Link'd with the demons of her direst noon;
He never smiled Distraction's ills to share,
Nor gain'd exalted glory of despair.
Then be it HIS, for many a year t' enfold
Those charms, and wanton in her curls of gold,
Drain the sweet fountain of her eye's fond stream,
And fancy suff'rance but the wretch's dream;
Was born for anguish, and was form'd for hate,
With such transcendent woe will breathe my sigh,
That envying fiends shall think it EXTACY,
And with fierce taunts my cherish'd griefs invade,
Till on my pow'rless tongue the last "MATILDA" fade.
The Oracle, April 1789
The HEAVEN-BORN DAY!
O THOU, whose pen with magic grace reveals
All that the tender bosom feels,
MATILDA, come from FANCY's fairy Urn!
Awhile from Della Crusca turn:
Draw to one centre all thy genial fire,
And seize the SUBJECT worthy of thy Lyre--
First in notes attun'd to woe,
Bid the tear of PITY flow;
Whisper in the thoughtless ear;
Bid the SONS of Bliss beware--
Tell, how many a slumbering year repos'd,
Or faintly to the world disclos'd,
Deep in her murdery cell pale MELANCHOLY lay,
Brooding the triumphs of some future day--
Resolv'd that when she struck her deadly blow,
CONTRAST should deepen every woe--
--SHE saw her time, SHE rush'd to light,
Eager to vindicate her dormant right:
Threw to the winds her sullen moan,
And sprang triumphant to the BRITISH THRONE--
That Throne, where long in union sweet
The social VIRTUES found retreat:
Where each domestic bliss retir'd,
By conjugal or filial love inspir'd.
----There PAUSE, MATILDA, pause awhile,
Or bid some moral truth the pangs of grief beguile--
But fly the chamber of Despair;
And oh! the sad description spare--
Strive not to paint the varied woes,
Nor dare the agonizing scene disclose;
Nor draw the fatal curtain back,
Lest the strain'd nerve of Sympathy should crack--
Nor overleap the sacred found;
Nor plunge into the vast profound;
But lightly borne with gentle sweep
Just skim the surface of the dreadful deep----
Then blend thy mildest tints to paint
The more than widow'd weeping SAINT:
Exert they pencil's softest grace
To paint the soul expressive in her face,
When by the cruel mandate led,
She drew reluctant from the afflicted bed;
Still turn'd to look again--still ling'ring gaz'd--
Then to the Throne of GRACE her fainting eyelids rais'd--
Tell, how with more than female softness warm'd
She felt the blow--with more than manly reason arm'd,
She pour'd the balm of comfort on the wound;
Sooth'd all the weeping family around,
And smil'd soft Hope into the infant train,
That rais'd to HEAV'N their little hands in vain!--
Tell, how the pangs of sorrow to controul,
Conscious Virtue propt her Soul----
As shrinks the tender sensitive, nor meets
The touch, but coy into THYSELF retreats,
Nor till withdrawn the rude assailing hand,
Its living fibres dares again expand----
So SHE, against this load of care,
Sought shelter in HERSELF, and found it THERE--
Resolv'd with trembling hope to wait,
In RESIGNATION's arms, a milder fate.--
In colours then of bold relief,
Display the portraiture of manly grief--
Behold the SON in silent sorrow bend,
Mourning the FATHER and the FRIEND--
Paint the big tear just starting from the ball,
Check'd at his suppliant country's call;--
Tell, how with patriot awe
He bow'd submissive to the SENATE's Law:
And equal to th' incumbent weight,
LENT his firm band to prop the TOTTERING STATE.
--But hark! from yonder opening sphere
What sound seraphic strikes the ravish'd ear?
--"HE lives, HE reigns! the trial's o'er,
"SONS of Freedom, weep no more!"
HEAV'N gives the word--MATILDA rise, and fling
Thy hand inspir'd, along the warbling string;
Join'd to the clarion voice of Fame,
In strains of rapture the great truth proclaim:
Attentive to the mellow sound,
Reviving NATURE smiles around--
Harmoniz'd to joyful notes,
Breathes each gale that round thee floats,
As mounting to the skies, it glows
With all a grateful Nation's vows--
Then touch again with magic art
The nerve that vibrates at the heart;
While to thy softest key's celestial tone
Sinks the veil that hides the throne.
There full before the public glare
Place the happy, happy PAIR--
Then pause--and bid the feeling breast
In silence fancy all the rest:
Since ELOQUENCE herself must prove
Unequal to this scene of Love--
Butt turn not yet thy sweet poetic stream,
Nor quit so soon the darling theme--
Still dwell upon the tender tale,
Still let the soften'd notes prevail--
For lo! no longer bath'd in tears,
The smiling PROGENY appears!
See them rush with eager pace
To share the long-lost fond Embrace.
HE speaks! they gaze in silence round,
With uplift eyes devour the sound;
Round his neck their arms they fling,
Round his knees enraptur'd cling,
And closely clasp'd, the band retain,
Fearful to lose him ONCE AGAIN.
--NOR THOU, fond Parent, hide the tear,
Nor blush to let the PRECIOUS DROPS appear.
No brighter jewel decks the CROWN
Than the soft limpid pearl that trickles down
From SENSIBILITY's rich store, to grace
With dewy ray the heart ennobled face.
To strains like these, MATILDA, tune the Lyre,
And grateful millions shall applaud thy fire.
The World, 23 April 1789
"To Her Whom I Saw Weep"
AND by the tear which dew'd thy cheek!
And by the sigh which swell'd thy breast,
AH! pity what I must not speak,
Yet feel too much, if unexprest.
Long as the vital spark shall glow,
May PEACE and PLEASURE wait on thee;
Unruffled ev'ry rapture know,
Nor lose one precious thought on ME!
Though long inur'd to all the woes
Which pensive Lovers fondly bear,
For THY dear sake I'll seek repose,
And find it in AFFECTION's PRAY'R.
Perhaps, when absence must divide
The Youth who loves so well--so true!
REMEMBRANCE at thy lovely side,
May whisper what I felt and knew.
The World, 9 June 1789
"On a Tear"
Oh! that the CHEMIST's magic art
Could christalize this sacred treasure!
Long should it glitter near my heart,
A secret source of pensive pleasure.
The little brilliant, ere it fell,
It's lustre caught from CHLOE's eye;
Then, trembling, left its coral cell--
The spring of SENSIBILITY!
Sweet drop of pure and pearly light!
In thee the rays of VIRTUE shine
More calmly clear, more mildly bright,
Than any gem that gilds the mine.
Benign restorer of the soul!
Who ever fly'st to bring relief,
When first she feels the rude controul
Of LOVE, or PITY, JOY or GRIEF.
The SAGE's and the POET's theme,
In every clime, in every age;
Thou charm'st in FANCY's idle dream,
In REASON's Philosophic page.
That very LAW which moulds a tear,
And bids it trickle from its source,
That law preserves the EARTH a Sphere,
And guides the PLANETS in their course.
WILLIAM GIFFORD, THE BAVIAD (1791; selections)
Yet wen I view the follies of that engage
The full-grown children of this piping age;
See snivelling Jerningham, at fifty, weep
O'er love-lorn oxen and deserted sheep;
See Cowley frisk it to one ding-dong chime,
And weakly cuckold her poor spouse in rhyme;
See Thrale's grey widow with a satchel roam,
And bring, in pomp, her labour'd nothings home;
See Robinson forget her state, and move
On crutches tow'rds the grave, to "Light o' Love" (19-28)
Lo, Della Crusca! In his closet pent,
He toils to give the crude conception vent.
Abortive thoughts, that right and wrong confound,
Truth sacrificed to letters, sense to sound,
False glare, incongruous images, combine;
And noise and nonsense clatter through the line.
'Tis done. Her house the generous Piozzi lends,
And thither summons her blue-stocking friends;
The summons her blue-stocking friends obey,
Lured by the love of Poetry--and Tea.
The Bard steps forth, in birth-day splendour drest,
His right hand graceful waving o'er his breast;
His left extending so that all may see,
A roll inscrib'd "The Wreath of Liberty."
So forth he steps, and with complacent air,
Bows round the circle, and assumes the chair;
With lemonade he gargles next his throat,
Then sweetly preludes to the liquid note:
And now 'tis silence all. "Genius or Muse"
Thus while the flowery subject he pursues,
A wild delirium round the assembly flies;
Unusual lustre shoots from Emma's eyes,
Lururious Arno drivels as he stands,
And Anna frisks, and Laura claps her hands.
O wretched man! And dost thou toil to please,
At this late hour, such prurient ears as these?
Is thy poor pride contented to receive
Such transitory fame as fools can give?
Fools, who unconscious of the critics' laws,
Rain in such show'rs their indistinct applause. (39-68)
Lost in amaze at the language so divine,
The audience hiccup, and exclaim, "Damn'd fine!" (101-2)
--Is it not giv'n to Este's unmeaning dash,
To Topham's fustian, Reynolds' flippant trash,
To Morton's catch-word, Greathead's ideot line,
And Holcroft's Shug-lane cant, and Merry's Moorfields whine. (133-6)
Ev'n Bertie burns of gods and chiefs to sing--
Bertie, who lately twitter'd to the string
His namby-pamby madrigals of love,
In the dark dingles of a glittering grove,
Where airy lays, woven by the hand of morn,
Were hung to dry upon a cobweb thorn!
Happy the soil, where bards like mushrooms rise,
And ask no culture but what Byshe supplies!
Happier the bards, who, write what'er they will,
Find gentle readers to admire them still!
Some love the verse that like Maria's flows,
No rubs to stagger, and no sense to pose;
Which read, and read, you raise your eyes in doubt,
And gravely wonder--what it is about.
These fancy "BELL's POETICS" only sweet,
And intercept his hawkers in the street;
There, smoking hot, inhale MIT YENDA's strains,
And the rank fume of Tony Pasquin's brains.
Others, like Kemble, on black letter pore,
And what they do not understand, adore; (174-92)
WILLIAM GIFFORD, THE MAEVIAD (1795, selections)
In vain, for Crusca and his skipping school,
Cobbe, Reynolds, Andrews, and that Nobler Fool;
Who nought but Laura's tinkling trash admire,
And the mad jangle of Matilda's lyre.
But Crusca still has merit, and may claim,
No humble station in the ranks of fame;
He taught us first the language to refine,
To crowd with beauties every sparkling line
Old phrases with new meanings to dispense,
Amuse the fancy,--and confound the sense! (101-10)
Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), lines
Far be't from me unkindly to upbraid
The lovely ROSA's prose in masquerade,
Whose strains, the faithful echoes of her mind,
Leave wondering comprehension far behind.
Though Crusca's bards no more our journals fill,
Some stragglers skirmish round the columns still,
Last of the howling host which once was Bell's
Matilda snivels yet, and Hafiz yells,
And Merry's metaphors appear anew,
Chained to the signature of O. P. Q.