1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah Cowley

J. W., "On the Literary Contest between Mrs. Cowley and Miss More" Gentleman's Magazine 49 (September 1779) 462.



Are there two nymphs that grace this favourite isle,
On whom the Tragic Muse had deign'd to smile;
To whom fair Nature gave her chaste design,
Fancy's rich tints, and Judgment's sober line;
Both born alike to glow with Friendship's flame,
Both born alike to gain an honest fame;
Both born to tread, by turns, where Fancy leads,
Her silent grottoes, and enamel'd meads;
To catch the strokes that Nature's pencil wrought,
The wing'd idea, and extatic thought!
To these should every lovely grace be given,
That favour'd mortals can obtain from Heaven;
A taste exact; an elegance of soul;
While (loveliest still) good-nature crowns the whole.
Yet in two such should some small difference find
Too easy entrance in th' unwary mind;
Or o'er each breast a gloomy empire keep;
Shall not the Muses sigh, and Friendship weep!
Or say, shall Envy's glance the scene explore,
Or guess the name — a COWLEY, or a MORE?