1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

William Hayley, "To Miss Seward" Whitehall Evening Post (16 June 1781).



As Britain mourn'd with all a Mother's pain,
Two sons, two gallant Sons, ignobly slain!
Mild COOKE, by savage fury robb'd of breath,
And martial ANDRE doom'd to baser death;
The Goddess, plung'd in grief too vast to speak,
Hid in her robe her tear-disfigur'd cheek.

The sacred Nine with sympathetic care
Survey'd the nobler Mourner's dumb despair;
While from their choir the sighs of pity broke,
The Muse of Elegy thus warmly spoke:
"Take, injur'd Parent, all we can bestow,
To sooth thy heart, and mitigate thy woe!"

Speaking, to earth the kind Enthusiast came,
And veil'd her heavenly power with SEWARD'S name;
And, that no vulgar eye might pierce the truth,
In that fair semblance, with such plaintive fire
She struck the chords of her pathetic lyre,
The weeping Goddess owns the best relief,
And fondly listens with subsiding grief:
Her loveliest daughters lend a willing ear,
Hon'ring the Latent Muse with many a tear.
Her bravest sons, who in their every vein
Feel the strong pathos of the magic strain,
Bless the inchanting lyre by Glory strung,
Envying the dead, who are so sweetly sung.