1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Russell Mitford

M. C., "To Miss Mitford" The Sun (13 June 1815).



Say, sweet enchantress, whence thy magic art,
That steals the soul and captivates the heart?
Whence are thy spells, that with resistless skill
Sublime our tears to pleasures dearest thrill?
When plaintive Philomel at close of day
Pours all her tuneful soul into her lay,
Th' enraptured ear insatiate would prolong,
At every sinking close, the mournful song;
So, when we read thy sorrow-christened strains;
Thy woe that in such melody complains,
Our souls entranced, their proper griefs suspend,
And hang on lines by artless feeling penned:
The pain is pleasure beyond joy to give,
And thus we wish to sorrow while we live.
Reading.