1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ann Yearsley

Tetburiensis, "On Mrs. Yearsley" Bath Chronicle (17 March 1785).



Scarce had Aurora with her genial light
Dispell'd the gloomy terrors of the night;
Unbarr'd the gates of Heav'n, with purple stream
Of splendor liquid with its various gleams;
Scarce was it morn: the messenger of the day
Had scarcely broken the silence with his lay,
When to my mount with hasten'd steps I flew,
And brush'd the grass bespangled o'er with dew,
Where a tall oak affords a spreading shade,
(A lovely seat for contemplation made)
There on the verdant bank I lay reclin'd,
Whilst roving fancy pleas'd my wand'ring mind;
With various thoughts my senses were employ'd,
But one alone each other sense destroy'd;
Before my eyes, lo! Fancy brought to view,
A female circled with a babbling crew;
As ancient spectre cold with silver years,
Void of support, with trembling locks, appears;
Remorse and anguish ev'ry face oppress'd,
But not with greater care outvied the rest;
With gushing tears she heav'd a frequent sigh,
And groan'd aloud, "alas! my children die!"
"My aged mother dies — all comfort's past,"
She sobbing said: — her mother breath'd her last.
But spite of poverty, or niggard doom,
Deserted merit will survive the tomb;
For ah! far yonder now the female crown'd,
With laurels cover'd, and with ivy bound;
Phoebus himself a lasting chaplet wove,
To deck a Yearsley in his sacred grove;
Hannah: the tender patroness of worth,
Rescued the same from too ignoble birth,
Weave then another chaplet, Hannah crown
And let kind Charity her Hannah own;
With Yearsley's merit fame herself shall swell,
And Hannah's kindness ev'ry tongue shall tell;
With gentle quills they each shall strike the lyre,
And ev'ry verse shall be the poetic fire.
The one with gratitude shall touch the chord,
The other chaunt the wonders of the Lord.
March 5th, 1785.