1772 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Sheridan

Amicus, "Ode, inscribed to Miss L." St. James's Chronicle (21 April 1772).



Loveliest Maid that every sung,
As Venus fair, as Hebe young,
Will you these humble Lays excuse?
The Tribute of an artless Muse,
Which charm'd by Merit, runs at Praise,
Yet neither flatters nor betrays;
Do you but deign to smile, the World beside
Alike to me, may censure or deride.

'Tis your's to captivate the Soul,
And make the Moments blissful roll;
Whether in sweetly-plaintive Strain,
You sooth the Lover's heart-felt Pain;
Or, join in sprightly Mirth, and Glee,
Festive Song and Gayety,
Or more pathetick swell the varying Notes,
While on each Sound soft warbling Musick floats.

Hark! what heavenly Sounds I hear!
Still they vibrate on mine Ear—
Attentions seizes every Vein
To catch the thrilling, melting Strain;
All's silent as the Land of Death!
E'en envious Winds such in their Breath;
Echo scarce dares attempt the Sound,
And listening Angels hover round.
Some Hand divine sure strikes the trembling Strings!
Some voice divine I hear! — or L—n—y sings.

'Tis she! the Queen of Harmony,
Of matchless Song and Melody!
There's Musick in the Liquid name;
Let all conspire to swell her Fame.
The choicest Flowers we'll cull and join,
A never-fading Wreath to twine.
O may it long thy conscious Brow adorn;
And the Rose Bloom, without the prickly Thorn.

All, in the Dance's mystick Maze,
On your fine Form admiring gaze.
Where Innocence and lovely Youth;
Simplicity and native Truth;
Sweet Condescension, graceful Ease,
And all the artless Powers to please,
With each fair Virtue of the spotless Mind,
Are nicely blended, soften'd, and refin'd.

But ah, my charming Friend, beware
Of false Ambition's tinsel'd Glare!
Nor let Persuasion's luring Voice,
E'er warp Eliza's prudent Choice.
Oh! may some dear, some generous Youth,
Rever'd for Virtue and for Truth,
With never-dying Passion burn,
And you the Flame sincere return:
Kind may he ever prove and true,
Worthy of Love and worthy you.
In such a Choice you'll true Enjoyment find,
Which never cloys, or leaves a Sting behind.

Nay, those are blest, and those alone,
Whose genial Hearts are twin'd in one;
Whom Love had bound in silken Bands,
Before bright Hymen join'd their Hands;
Who glowed with a mutual Flame,
With every under Wish the same;
Whose love-fraught Eyes alone impart,
The genuine Feelings of the Heart;
What Bliss (if there is Bliss below)
From such an Union sure must flow!
Oh may it dwell with you, my lovely Friend,
Grow with your Years, and with Life only end!