1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

Ann Yearsley, "Some of her Stanzas on the Castle of Otranto" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (23 June 1785).



Stella — if Walpole's spectres thus can scare,
Then near that great magician's walls ne'er tread,
He'll surely conjure many a spirit there,
Till, fear-struck, thou art number'd with the dead.

Oh! with this potent sorcerer ne'er converse;
Fly, Stella, quickly, from the magic storm,
Or soon he'll close thee in some high-plum'd hearse,
Then raise another angel in thy form.

Yet whisper not, I've call'd him names, I fear
His ariel would my hapless sprite torment;
He'd cramp my bones, and all my sinews tear,
Should Stella blab the secret I'd prevent.

But hush, ye winds, ye crickets chirp no more,
I'd shrink to bed, nor these sad omens hear:
An hideous rustling shakes the lattic'd door,
His spirits hover in the sightless air.

Now Morpheus shut each entrance of my mind,
Sink, sink Otranto in this vacant hour;
To thee, O balmy God! I'm all resign'd;
To thee e'en Walpole's wand resigns its power.

But, oh! swift-footed Time, thou ceaseless racer,
Thou who hast chac'd five thousand years before thee,
With all their great events, and minute trifles,
Haste, with redoubled speed — Bring on the hour,
When dark Oblivion's dusky veil shall shroud
Too painful memory.