1854 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Tighe

Robert Shelton Mackenzie, Note in Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 1:75n.



She was the lovely and accomplished wife of an Irish gentleman, and was herself a daughter of Erin. She wrote a beautiful poem, in the Spenserian stanza, entitled "Psyche," which did not appear until after her death. The touching lyric on "The Grave of a Poetess," was written by Mrs. Hemans, in view of her last resting-place, and one of Moore's Irish Melodies, ("I saw thy Form in Youthful Prime,") was suggested by her early death. There was as much truth as poetry, if all that is related of Mrs. Tighe be true, in the concluding stanzas,

If souls could always dwell above,
Thou ne'er hadst left that sphere;
Or could we keep the souls we love,
We ne'er had lost thee here, Mary!
Though many a gifted mind we meet,
Though fairest forms we see,
To live with them is far less sweet,
Than to remember thee, Mary!

Moore admits that, in the closing lines, he endeavored to imitate that exquisite inscription of Shenstone's, "Heu! quanto minus est cum reliquis vesari quam tui meminesse!"