1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Jane West, "On Miss Seward" Miscellaneous Poems (1791) 98-99.



Strik'st thou thy lyre, Calliope, again?
The magick of these numbers must be thine:
Such the bold choral of thy potent strain,
The glow of thought, and energy divine.

No mortal ear hath ever heard its tone,
Since Thracian dames depriv'd thy son of breath;
Who sang divided love's heart-rending groan
In numbers sweet as thine on Andre's death.

Vain is the subterfuge, which seeks to hide
The latent goddess with a mortal veil;
Let genius, let poetic taste decide,
To whom belongs Louisa's plaintive tale.

Hast thou not heard that Britain, favour'd long
By all thy sisters of the tuneful tribe,
Has nurs'd the bold purloiner of thy song,
The felon nymph, who dares thy lay transcribe.

Rise, injur'd Muse! thy pristine rights display,
Thine is the strain which captivates mankind;
Usurping Seward shall resign the bay,
By Britain's erring voice to her assign'd.