1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah Cowley

Tottenham-Court-Roadiensis, "Anna Matilda and Castalio, a Poetical Effusion" Whitehall Evening Post (30 September 1800).



MATILDA hail! soul-breathing maid!
Of sentiment, thou tender blade!
To me, kind Muse, Oh grant to learn
And seek the path MATILDA trod,
And kiss the flow'ry, fragrant sod:
That path! from whence on ev'ry side
Walks shady and enchanting glide:
Where'er he turns, the trav'ller meets
A mazy labyrinth of sweets;
Where'er he bends his raptur'd eye,
Skim fairy phantoms flitting by;
Where'er he twists his eager nose,
He sniffs the vi'let and the rose;
Where'er he opes his ravish'd ear,
The nightingale is warbling there;
Within her path, nose, ear, and eye,
Uniting objects gratify.
But not for me 'tis giv'n to gain
Her smile, nor sighing call her Quean:*
A worthier youth has pleas'd her eyes,
A youth e'en worthy such a prize.
CASTALIO hail! to thee I yield,
O'eraw'd by thee I quit the field;
And envying thy harmonious lays,
Which 'gainst my will draw forth my praise,
To thee I yield the virgin and the bays.

MATILDA and CASTALIO, then unite,
United shine, united flow:
United mount Parnassus' topmost height,
And with poetic influence glow.

When death, alas! — The melancholy thought overcomes my feelings: the Muse has left me: I can no more! but something within assures me, that the red-breasts and turtle-doves shall drop their favours on their bier, and affectionately cover them, like the pretty children in the wood, with leaves.

* Mistake of the Printer — should have been Queen.