1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

W. H., "To Miss —; on her elegant Poem, entitled A Search after Happiness" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (27 May 1773).



Ye Nymphs, who guard this unpolluted stream,
List to a feeble poet's weak essays;
Permit a while, his warm enraptur'd theme,
To give impartial and deserved praise.

And thou, Pastora, Goddess of these plains,
Leave your retreat in yonder shady grove:
Leave to their fleecy care the rural swains,
And hear the worthiness of her we love.

This chrystal mirrour, gently as it flows,
Reminds me of her pure unspotted mind;
Softly meandering, kindly it bestows,
That benefit for which it was design'd.

So from her soft and sympathetic breast,
Compassion thro' each sanguine vein ascends,
And while her pity flows for the distress'd,
With inborn joy, beneficence she blends.

This Sylvan scene, and yon Romantic grove,
Those rising hills, and that declining vale,
Have witness'd oft her "Narrative of Love,"
And oft re-echo'd "The Poetic Tale."

O cou'd my muse from her attract one ray
Of that seraphic undiminish'd fire,
My song might serve ideas to convey,
Perfections — Envy and her train admire.

How rare to find, in this degen'rate age,
A heart so virtuous, with a taste refin'd,
Where, through the simple, yet energiac page,
We see the picture of a god-like mind!

As dew from heaven, at the approach of day,
Refreshes and enlivens all the fields,
So does her verse o'er every heart display,
A cheering joy which only virtue yields.

Ye fair, from heaven, at the approach of day,
Who sing with every grace, who dance with ease;
Go learn of her the road to happiness,
By her be taught a surer way to please.

By her be taught to leave the giddy throng,
To think, to read, and to reflect aright;
To hear, enamour'd, her improving song,
Which blends harmonious, knowledge and delight.

With her conversing, I forget all care,
In her sweet converse, grief no more appears;
No gloomy visitor e'er enters there,
But sorrow quickly dries her briny tears.

Her form is unaffected elegance,
Her face the index of a heav'nly mind,
Her manners the effect of real sense,
Like nature, gentle; and like art, refin'd.

Long may she live to charm the list'ning ear,
To sing, in numbers, that engage the heart;
To soothe the oppress'd, keep back the coming tear,
And in her song, benevolence impart.