1754 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hester Mulso Chapone

John Duncombe, in The Feminiad (1754) 26-28 & n.



Returning now to Thames's flow'ry side,
See how his waves in still attention glide:
And, hark! what songstress shakes her warbling throat?
Is it the nightingale, or DELIA'S note?
The balmy Zephyrs, hov'ring o'er the fair,
On their soft wings the vocal accents bear;
Thro' Sunbury's low vale the strains rebound,
Ev'n neighbouring Chertsey hears the chearful sound,
And wond'ring sees her Cowley's laurel'd shade.
Transported listen to the tuneful maid.
O may those nymphs, whose pleasing pow'r she sings
Still o'er their suppliant wave their fost'ring wings!
O long may Health and soft-ey'd Peace impart
Bloom to her cheek, and rapture to her heart!
Beneath her roof the Red-breast shall prolong,
Unchill'd by frosts, his tributary song;
For her the Lark shall wake the dappled morn'
And Linnet twitter from the blossom'd thorn.
Sing on, sweet maid! thy Spenser smiles to see
Kind Fancy shed her choicest gifts on thee,
And bids his Edwards, on the laurel spray
That shades his tomb, inscribe thy rural lay.

Of this lady I shall say little more than that the happiness of her genius is only excell'd by the goodness of her heart. The Muses have attended her in the few poetical excursions she has made, viz. her Odes to Peace, Health, and the Robin Red-breast, which are here alluded to; and she has been celebrated in a sonnet by Mr. Edwards, author of the Canons of Criticism.