1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Dodsley

J. C. H., "Sent to a young Lady, with Dodsley's Collection of Poems" European Magazine 47 (January 1805) 59-60.



In this fair chaplet of the Muses, blow
In all their purple pride,
The brightest, sweetest flow'rs that grow
On Aganippe's laurel-fringed side.
Here has the blue-ey'd goddess deign'd to pour
Her sober philosophic lore;
Here sweetly from the rural reed,
Touch'd by the finger rude of shepherd swain,
O'er many a cowslip-chequer'd mead,
Floats the wild music of the Doric strain.
Here Clio builds the lyric lay
Fair Virtue's dearest, best reward;
Here, softest sister of the lyre,
Sweeps Erato her love-sick chord;
Around the heart her melting measures play,
And in a sigh expire.

Hark! in sweetly plaintive strains
Love lorn Lyttleton complains,
And with the fairest, sweetest wreath
The Muse e'er fram'd, hangs Lucy's hearse!
Yes! he has taught the Graces soft to breathe
Th' impassion'd sigh sincere;
And, wet with many a chrystal tear,
Pity to weep, all melted with his verse.

Amid the moud'ring mansions of the dead
Gray loves to listen to the hollow wind,
And, stretch'd beneath yon yew-tree's solemn shade,
Pensive to weep the mis'ries of mankind.

Yet from the thoughtless, ever-idle throng,
Awhile let Delia to the shades retreat;
There listen to his sadly-pleasing song,
There court with him the pensive pleasures sweet.

Ah! see all pale Musaeus lies,
Upon his fun'ral couch reclin'd;
Ah! see! he gasps — he dies!
Around, with grief-distracted mind,
Stands idle each Aonian maid,
His virtues all unsung, his eulogy unpaid.
Sorrowing young Mason saw them stand
Inanimate with generous grief,
And snatching from her listless hand
Her silver-chorded lyre,
He lent Melpomene relief,
And sung Musaeus' dirge with all Musaeus' fire.—

Along the solitary glade
Where Isis' waves in liquid silver glide,
How oft has hopeless Hammond stray'd,
And with his tears increas'd the passing tide?
When with a voice so sadly sweet
He told his love-lorn tale,
That Echo, from her airy seat,
Loves his soft sorrows thro' the vale.
In mournful music to the Deep,
All melted by the tender song,
Fair Isis murm'ring flow'd along,
And bade her willows weep.

Such are these sweetly-varied strains,
Which Delia's gen'rous, gentle mind,
Shall with a smile approve;
Conscious that her fair bosom entertains
Each softer sentiment refin'd
Of pity and of love.