1755 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Susanna Duncombe

Hester Mulso Chapone, "To Stella" 1755 ca; Chapone, Works (1807) 4:156-59.



No more, my Stella, to the sighing shades,
Of blasted hope and luckless love complain;
But join the sports of Dian's careless maids,
And laughing Liberty's triumphant train.

And see, with these is holy Friendship found,
With crystal bosom open to the sight;
Her gentle hand shall close the recent wound,
And fill the vacant heart with calm delight.

Nor Prudence slow, that ever comes too late,
Nor stern-brow'd Duty, check her gen'rous flame;
On all her footsteps Peace and Honour wait,
And Slander's ready tongue reveres her name.

Say, Stella, what is Love, whose tyrant pow'r
Robs Virtue of content, and Youth of joy?
What nymph or goddess, in a fatal hour,
Gave to the world this mischief-making boy?

By lying bards in forms so various shewn,
Deck'd with false charms or arm'd with terrors vain,
Who shall his real properties make known,
Declare his nature, and his birth explain.

Some say of Idleness and Pleasure bred,
The smiling babe on beds of roses lay,
There, with sweet honey-dews by Fancy fed,
His blooming beauties open'd to the day.

His wanton head with fading chaplets bound,
Dancing, he leads his silly vot'ries on
To precipices deep o'er faithless ground,
Then laughing flies, nor hears their fruitless moan.

Some say from Etna's burning entrails torn,
More fierce than tigers on the Libyan plain,
Begot in tempests, and in thunders born,
Love wildly rages like the foaming main.

With darts and flames some arm his feeble hands,
His infant brow with regal honours crown;
Whilst vanquish'd Reason, bound with silken bands,
Meanly submissive, falls before his throne.

Each fabling poet sure alike mistakes
The gentle power that reigns o'er tender hearts!
Soft love no tempest hurls, nor thunder shakes,
Nor lifts the flaming torch, nor poison'd darts.

Heav'n-born, the brightest seraph of the sky,
For Eden's bow'r he left his blissful seat,
When Adam's blameless suit was heard on high,
A beauteous Eve first cheer'd his lone retreat.

At Love's approach all earth rejoic'd, each hill,
Each grove that learnt it from the whisp'ring gale;
Joyous the birds their liveliest chorus fill,
And richer fragrance breathes in ev'ry vale.

Well pleas'd in Paradise awhile he roves,
With Innocence and Friendship, hand in hand;
Till Sin found entrance in the with'ring groves,
And frighted Innocence forsook the land.

But Love, still faithful to the guilty pair,
With them was driv'n amidst a world of woes,
Where oft he mourns his lost companion dear,
And trembling flies before his rigid foes.

Honour, in burnish'd steel completely clad,
And hoary Wisdom, oft against him arm;
Suspicion pale, and Disappointment sad,
Vain Hopes and frantic Fears his heart alarm.

Fly then, dear Stella, fly th' unequal strife,
Since Fate forbids that Peace should dwell with Love!
Friendship's calm joys shall glad thy future life,
And Virtue lead to endless bliss above.