1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Sheridan

Incognitas, "Addressed to Miss Linley" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (14 April 1773).



Why, my dear girl, that melancholy air,
Dejected eyes, and frequent throbbing breast?
What inward grief attends my lovely fair?
What hateful daemon robs thy soul of rest?

Say — does a parent's more than cruel mind,
Presume, severe, thy tender wish to blight?
Or still more harsh, injurious strive to bind
Thy fate, repugnant to the proffer'd plight?

Born his delight, and bred his chief support,
Can avarice accurst direct his power,
To make thy charms a libertine's resort,
And in a moment all thy wishes sour?

Hear then thy friend. — Be virtue still thy guard,
Stedfast to truth and gratitude remain;
The mead of honor seek as your reward,
And by true merit social joys attain.

Arm'd with fresh pow'rs the little world despise,
Whose fretful malice may attempt your fame;
Sweet, conscious innocence the only gift to prize,
On earth is happiness, in heav'n the fame.