1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Helen Maria Williams, "Sonnet to Expression" Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (17 September 1782).



Expression, child of soul! I love to trace,
Thy strong enchantment, when the Poet's lyre,
The painter's pencil, catch the vivid fire,
And beauty wakes for thee, each touching grace!
But from my frighted gaze thy form avert,
When horror chills thy tear, thy ardent sigh,
When frenzy rolls in thy impassion'd eye,
Or guilt lives fearful at thy troubled heart:
Nor ever let my shudd'ring fancy hear,
The wasting groan, or view the pallid look,
Of him the muses lov'd* when hope forsook
His spirit, vainly to the muses dear—
For charm'd with heav'nly song, this bleeding breast,
Mourns it could sharpen ill, and give despair no rest.

*CHATTERTON.