1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Samuel Johnson of Shrewsbury, "Verses addressed to Miss Seward, upon her Monody on Major Andre" Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (13 April 1781).



Above the frigid etiquette of form,
With the same animated feelings warm,
I come, fair maid, enamour'd of thy lays,
With tribute verse to swell the note of praise;
Nor let the gentle Julia's hand disdain
The bold intrusion of an honest strain;
Nor is it mine alone — 'tis the full voice
Of such as honor with no vulgar choice;
Of such as feel, each glowing line along,
The tender impulse of thy tuneful song!

When Cook unfurl'd his enterprising sail,
With eagle-pinion to the freezing gale,
Thy muse attendant on his daring soul
Through the bleak chambers of the southern pole,
Amazement listen'd — doubtful most t' admire
The Hero's spirit or the Poet's fire!
And down her cheek the frequent tear wou'd stray
While delicacy deck'd his lone morai;
Soft sigh'd the heart of sympathy — but oh!
'Tis dumb distress, unutterable woe!
While thy pathetic Genius hovers o'er
The tragic horrors of the western shore;
In holy numbers eloquent to tell,
How gracefuly the gallant ANDRE fell;
More pleasing to his dear departed shade,
Than all the tears which grateful Britain paid—
Shedding sweet honors on his hallow'd bier,
Thy pen, more potent than Ithuriel's spear,
Strips from the ruthless Chief his corselet's pride,
And shews his heart of Nero's colour dy'd!

Oh, would that pen its guardian aid extend
To grace the innocent, the fair befriend;
Wou'd Julia's hand the generous task essay!
(Once the bright subject of an humbler lay)
The treasures of the female breast make known,
By copying the soft movements of her own,
Woman should walk, array'd in her own robe,
The hope, the boast, the blessing of the globe!
Shrewsbury.