1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Lisle Bowles

Louisa S. Costello, "On Reading the Beautiful Poem of The Missionary, By the Rev. W. L. Bowles" The Literary Chronicle 1 (11 September 1819) 269.



Sure there are wand'ring minstrels of the air,
Whose golden harps the hands of angels string,
For mortal sight their forms too pure and fair,
For mortal ears too sweet the strains they sing,

Who yet with human minds communion hold,
But such alone whose essence is refined;
Above the common sons of earthly mould,
Whose heavy sense is to enchantment blind.

To these they tell, in accents thrilling sweet,
Tales to delight their fav'rite chosen few,
And grant them power those numbers to repeat
In tones as soft as from their harps they drew.

One such, oh happy bard! inspired thy song
With her own melody — entrancing — wild—
And as she swept the yielding chords along,
Charm'd with the harmony, delighted smil'd.

What varied notes of tenderness and grief,
Of glory withered, and of faith betray'd,
The sorrows of the injured warrior chief,
The lovely — the deserted Indian maid!

Ah, oft fair spirit! yet thy visit pay,
And thou sweet minstrel! charm the world again;
Thy song yields new-born pleasure to the gay,
And makes the mourning heart forget its pain!
August 20.