1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lady Catherine Rebecca Manners

William Seward, "To M. Mosnier, Painter to the King of France, on his Portrait of Lady Manners" European Magazine 26 (November 1794) 367-68.



Painter of elegance and taste,
To Britain's happy island haste;
For ever quit the Gallic shore,
The din of arms, the rabble's roar,
Where rages war, more deadly far
Than each fam'd murd'rous civil war;
Where, 'midst those scourges of mankind,
Nor age nor sex compassion find;
Where (each known horror to exceed)
Two Sov'reigns on the scaffold bleed.
Scenes like to these but ill agree
With thy sweet mind's amenity.
Thy palette's gaily-tinted hues
Delight and rapture should diffuse.
Leave then, O leave the daemon's seat,
In Anglia fix thy safe retreat;
Anglia, to whom the Fates impart
Each gift of nature and of art;
The land of Angels, long since nam'd,
By Rome's High Priest in story fam'd;
Well-nam'd, for there with radiance bright
Each mode of beauty charms the sight:
There, to its powers thy pencil true,
(Unknown at Paris or at Rome)
Mocking the peach's downy bloom,
That decks the British virgin's cheeks,
Whose blush her inmost soul bespeaks;
How ill exchang'd, ye tasteless fair,
For the vermillion's lurid glare!
There, then, my friend, each charm combine
That gilds the human face divine;
The lip of lovely crimson dye,
The liquid lustre of the eye,
The bosom with young rapture warm,
The roseate finger's gracile form,
The snowy arm, the tap'ring waist,
The mouth where ev'ry grace is plac'd;
The neck of shining burnish'd white,
Too dang'rous for frail mortals sight,
That with its varied turns pursues
The Swan's bright undulating hues:
These, these alone, should own thy skill,
These, these alone, thy canvas fill.
'Tis well, my friend (abstract of all
That men or fair or beauteous call)
The accomplish'd ETHELIND demands
The efforts of thy matchless hands—
'Tis done. Thy work may now compare
With Guido's dignity of air,
With Titian's nature and his truth,
Albano's purple light of youth;
With what of grace Corregio's soul,
Prometheus-like, from heaven stole.
'Tis done; and now we see combin'd,
To Venus' form Minerva's mind.