1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ann Yearsley

E. Fushs, "To Mrs. Yearsley, upon her beautiful Epistle to Miss H. Moore" Bath Chronicle (3 March 1785).



Tho' birth or fortune, fate or chance, inspire
The lineage of the long-descended Squire;
Whose luscious dainties grace a silver board,
That only knows the relish of a lord:
Let it be thine — O Yearsley! born to share
Some emanation of Apollo's care!
To live unbiass'd by a courtly state,
Above the vulgar, but beneath the great.

Tho' once depress'd thy fate obscurely lay,
Unseen, unbrighten'd by the powers of day,
It soon shall soar above the vulgar sphere,
Thro' the dark cloud of indigence of care:
Soon shall the influence of thy dearest Moore
Point the blest path her bounty shall explore;
Illume thy powers with her auspicious ray,
And that shalt dawn upon eternal day;
Thy talents shine, thro' all the world explor'd,
And hidden merit find its just reward.
Go on! proceed — renew thy vital strain,
That lyre once stopp'd may never breathe again.
Pour all thy soul on Moore's immortal praise,
And add thy "wreath of ivy to her bays!"
Then blooming honours shall thy lines receive,
And all thy gratitude shall dare to live!
Lo! Genius points thy blest immortal road,
And tells the Atheist that there is a GOD.

If e'er Achilles shall his fury lend,
To 'venge the murder of his dearest friend;
If mighty Hector shall again be slain,
And drawn inglorious thro' the bloody plain;
Let it be thine, in every action skill'd,
To paint the mighty heroes of the field!
And then shall Britain boast a YEARSLEY'S name,
That animates the Graecian Beggar's fame:
And thou — O thou! shall Britain's deeds rehearse,
And Moore and Montague adorn thy verse!
Tetbury, Feb. 25, 1785.