1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ann Yearsley

Astrea, "To the Author of some elegant Verses addressed to Mrs. Yearsley" Felix Farley's Bristol Journal (5 December 1789).



Hast thou e'er seen the gentle bird of morn
First trim her plumage on the dewy thorn,
Then seek with thrilling sound the middle sky,
And on the breast of viewless rapture lie?
So YEARSLEY dar'd from Care's black shade to rise,
Borne on the plaudits of the good and wise!
But Malice, rous'd by Friendship's heav'nly sound,
Moves ev'ry snake, with which her forehead's bound;
Eager for venom, they assault their nurse,
She feeds her speckled brood, and feeds them with a curse;
Bloated with poison, lo! she brings them forth,
They belch pollution o'er the path of worth;
Genius they follow to her fragrant bow'r,
And in their way blast ev'ry beauteous flow'r.
Daunted the infant cherub views the pest,
Her guileless ardors die within her breast;
Fearful to struggle with th' unequal foe!
Fearful to pause where dire contagions flow!
The veil of purity she wraps around
Her radiant form, and raising from the ground,
Is by the Angel, Truth, for ever crown'd.