1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Darwall

William Hamilton Reid, "Ode on reading Poems by Miss Whateley; now Mrs. Dorwell, of Walsal, in Staffordshire" Gentleman's Magazine 58 (August 1788) 733.



Not to the Isis or the Thames
The Muses walks are now confin'd,
Since other urns produce their gems,
Invalued as the pearls of Ind;
Rich as the ruby in its raging blaze,
When garish day concenters all its rays.

E'en where tann'd labour ceaseless ply'd,
And but the Cyclops din was heard,
The Muse could their concerns divide,
Mild as the love-lamenting bird;
When tuneful Whateley with her Lesbian strains
Charm'd every ear on Wrottesley's flow'ry plains.

Bold was the young advent'rer's hand,
When female pow'rs were here unknown,
To tempt the Critics wreckful strand,
Almost defenceless and alone;
When scarce a precedent the day could spare,
T' assert her claim, or legalize the fair.

And tho' we boast that partial Jove
To many hath since indulgence giv'n
Thro' all the ethereal bow'rs to rove,
And gain the Empyrean heav'n;
Soaring such heights, as where the solar gold
From wing of Seraphim doth first unfold!

Yet in the meed of fair applause
The panegyric strings should sound;
Tho' meteors admiration cause,
Or stars that track a nearer bound;
Tho' Barbauld's strength the charmed bosom prove,
Or Whateley's strains in softer descant move.

Langhorne, with finest taste endu'd,
Pure as the bard of Arun's flame,
Whose deep-embosom'd haunts he view'd,
Unenvious own'd her measur'd claim,
Own'd, and accordant to each lib'ral mind,
For Whateley's brow a garland gay entwin'd.