1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Helen Maria Williams

Anonymous, "To Miss Helen Maria Williams, on reading her Novel of Julia" Gentleman's Magazine 60 (April 1790) 355.



What beauties animate thy page,
Thou chaster Sappho of our age!
Oh! who so well the heart can move,
And soften every thought to love?
Can all its fond illusions spread,
And wake the tear 'tis bliss to shed?—
But when thy soothing work I close,
Afraid of such bewitching woes,
Far from thyself, ah let me fly,
From that sweet smile, that speaking eye:
Oh! rather in thy melting page
Still teach me Love's delicious rage;
'Tis safer there its power to trace,
Than learn that lesson from thy face!