1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

James Boaden, "To Mrs. Robinson" 1796 ca.; Robinson, Poetical Works (1806) 1:xxiv.



"But LAURA still shall dress the bay,
In all the lustre of the day,
With such sweet pensiveness complain,
That mortals are in love with pain;
And while the tender notes they scan,
SCARCE SEE the writer IS A MAN."

LAURA! the lightnings of thy scorn
That pierc'd the timid breast of morn,
Borne thro' the vap'ry fields of air,
Struck, and rous'd me to a tear.
It fell, for who unmov'd could be
When the muse sings, and sings BY THEE?
What wretch, by every muse disclaim'd,
Can speak of verse when thou art nam'd,
And, not as liberal as the day,
Pour forth the paean of the lay?
Does it not fall like fleecy snow
Upon the bright'ning plain below?
Is it not mild as the blest morn,
That empties Amalthea's horn?
Sure, in some niggard barren soil
Of vexing stubbornness and toil,
With scanty sustenance scarce fed,
This rude barbarian must be bred,
Whose soul its tribute can refuse,
To heav'nly beauty and the muse!
But THOU pursue thy radiant way,
Cheer'd by thy own meridian ray;
Around thee let the beams be hurl'd,
That shed a lustre on our world.
Blest, that the flashes of thy fire,
That soul's congenial best admire:
The beauty splendours that they give,
No FOOL can bear to see, and live.