1740 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jane Brereton

Anonymous, "To the Memory of Mrs. Brereton" Gentleman's Magazine 10 (October 1740) 518.



To noblest sentiments our sorrows rise,
When bright distinguish'd merit seeks the skies.
To Virtue's slef the generous tears refine
That flow, Melissa! o'er a fate like thine.

O lost too early! as too late acquir'd!
Yet, ev'n thus lately, honour'd and admir'd.
Though by no forms of dull acquaintance prov'd,
Superior worth at once is known and lov'd;
At once with full convictive light appears,
Nor waits the slow discovery of years.

Such worth was hers, nor dreads the vulgar lot
To be at once lamented, and forgot;
While in her lines, with bright unfading bloom,
She triumphs o'er th' oblivion of the tomb,
Here ever new the fair ideas rise,
Enchant with beauty, and with strength surprise;
United here the rival graces meet,
The force of judgment and the fire of wit.
While softer strokes of more affecting art
Flow from the gentler dictates of the heart,
(The whole, with each engaging charm design'd,)
Compleats the lasting picture of her mind.

To thee! her fondest care, her justest pride,
Not less by genius, than by blood ally'd,
Best guardian of thy lov'd Melissa's fame,
The Muse inscribes this sad pathetic theme.
'Tis thine, with happier knowledge, to express
What these imperfect sketches faintly trace.
O may her spirit all thy breast inspire,
The same soft music harmonize thy lyre,
And, while above, in yon etherial plains;
She tunes her voice to more exalted strains,
On thee may heav'n her ev'ry gift bestow,
T' improve and charm the list'ning world below.