1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Anonymous, "Mr. Hayley to Miss Seward" The Argus (12 March 1790).



Hail Nymph of wailing song whose toiling care
Thy gloomy Lyre has ton'd to sad despair;
Thou who hast pour'd the sadly swollen verse,
Soft blind attendant to the Muse's hearse,
'Tis thine to raise the sombre pall of song,
And shew thy death-cold subject stretch'd along:
To make pale sorrow wear a dimmer eye,
And melancholy's fate a deeper dye.
To darken all the hues of brooding woe,
For the lone tear — bid streaming torrents flow;
To bid dark mists and scowling clouds arise,
And summon all the horrors of the skies:
As when the blear-ey'd Muse in feeble lay,
Wept for great CORK and Britain's loss — ANDRE!
But when affection wakes another strain,
Thy toiling line can numb the force of pain.
Thy dear epistle spread a sweet controul,
A downy charm around my wounded soul,
Made every prospect brighten into day,
Check'd the rude wish, and swept my cares away.
No broken slumbers wear away the night,
Nor playhouse visions rave before my sight,
Nor does EUDORA in her wonted form,
Stalk o'er the stage amid the hissing storm,
Or the fear'd comment of that novel sage,
Yclept BLUE STOCKING tempt me into rage;
But calm Vacuity with her blank wand,
Now sits astride on my pineal gland.
Sweet rhiming maid thy proffer'd meed of praise,
Deserves the tribute of my grateful lays;
And if the Fates — (avert it powers divine!)
Should cut thy thread before they fever mine,
Thy talents rare shall live in spight of death,
The Muse shall chaunt them with her latest breath;
Shall fondly dwell on thy sepulchral song;
Each beauty strengthen and each thought prolong,
Pour from her mourning shell thy letter'd fame,
And bid huge stanzas swell with SEWARD'S name.