1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Smith

Rev. William Lisle Bowles, "On reading Fragments by a young Lady lately deceased" Poems (never before published,) written chiefly at Bremhill (1809) 133-34.



Oh! wert thou then some gentle spirit pure,
Sent on earth to teach, exalt, allure;
And, scarce the task perform'd, to close thine eyes
On human griefs, and human vanities?

Yes! GENTLE SPIRIT! in the bloom of youth
'Twas thine to teach Faith, Meekness, Wisdom, Truth;
To look on Nature with a Poet's glance,
Yet scorn the sickly fopp'ries of Fomance;
With modesty and learning, side by side,
Win without art, excell, yet feel no pride!

Alas! a harder task remain'd, — to bear
Meekly, the weight of sickness, and of care;
The long-lov'd landscapes of the peaceful WYE,
And PIERCEFIELD'S rocks, to leave without a sigh;
In disappointment and distress, to cheer
A Mother's grief, and steal away her tear;
Then sink thyself, consuming by degrees,
Beneath the wasting touch of slow disease;
Sick, pale, and paler still, yet wear the while
The same calm sweetness, the same gentle smile!

HE who could see, slow sinking into shade,
Virtues like these, unfolded but to fade,
Nor feel one tear of gen'rous pity start,
Tho' to thy name unknown, has not a human heart!