Charlotte Smith

L'Inconnu, "To Mrs. Charlotte Smith, Impromptu" The Star, Daily Evening Advertiser (9 January 1792).

Dear lovely Moralist, whose virtuous Muse
At once instructs, at once delights the mind!
Whilst with warm int'rest I thy lines pursue,
I feel myself more virtuous, more refin'd.

As long as virtuous worth has charms to please,
And meek-ey'd Candour to the world is dear;
So long shall WILLOUGHBY excel in these,
So shall Virtue be transplanted here.

Whilst conscious Innocence, and Virtue's glow,
Throughout thy CELESTINA'S life appear;
Philosophers and Rakes alike shall know,
That all must love — but, whilst they love, revere!

When BELLEGRADE paints the horrors of the scene,
Doom'd by paternal frowns to undergo;
Each feeling heart then bleeds like mine, I ween,
To hear of such accumulated woe!

But when a Nation, struggling to be free,
To shatter'd Tyranny gives lib'ral laws;
Who feels not for his Country's fate like me?
"What bosom beats not in his Country's cause?"

Pursue, then, Queen of Novelists! pursue
This virtuous track, adapted to thy pen;
So shall the lays, so well becoming you,
By vindicating Women, teach the Men!
Oxford, January 5.