1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

Mrs. Villa-Real Gooch, "Elegiac Lines on the late Mrs. Robinson" Lady's Monthly Museum 6 (March 1801) 243-45.



Oh! Genius, Fancy, hover nigh,
And shield her fame from vulgar eye!
Oh! Genius, Fancy, drop a tear
O'er her beloved ashes here!
So shall each Muse, and ev'ry Grace,
Come sorrowing to this sacred place;
Wit, too, shall come, her vigils keep;
E'en blue-ey'd Wit will learn to weep.
All shall their sweetest flow'rets bring,
Rais'd by the first-born breath of Spring;
And, sure, they'll here for ever bloom,
For ever shade their Mary's tomb!

Oh! rose of May, who could sustain
The wrongs of man, and not complain;
And let concealment, like the worm,
Prey on thy animated form!
Oh! beauteous lily to behold,
Why not thy griefs long since be told?
But delicacy, too refin'd,
Supprest the sorrows of thy mind,
Which, timely known, alone could save
Its victim from th' untimely grave!
"The rose is wither'd!" deep she sigh'd;
The lily droop'd its head, and died!

Accurst the base, ungen'rous breast,
Which could insult a heart opprest!
No Hero he, tho' clad in arms,
Who triumphs over female charms;
Whose callous nature could withhold
Protection, dearer far than gold!
But, what expect from such a heart,
Who smiles upon the Negro's smart?
Constituent mandates could obey
To prove his own — a heart of clay!
Sink, then, his name, with scorn repaid,
Nor mention of him more be maid.

The beaut'ous Mary, drooping fast,
From 'cumulated sorrows past,
Invok'd the Muses to her aid—
The Muses instantly obey'd!
She took her lute, the lyre she strung,
And lyric measures sweet she sung;
Now Genius, Fancy, Taste, attend,
And all their various powers lend!
Thus, while to numbers giving birth,
Behold her sinking fast to earth!
Seraphic warbler, do not grieve,
Thy memory shall ever live!

Tho', still, her gentle heart was wrung,
With undeserv'd misfortune stung,
The spark of pure celestial fire
Her bosom ever did inspire;
But, form'd for friendship and for love,
What here she lost, she sought ABOVE!
No false friend there to meet at last,
The friendship of this world was past!
She bow'd submissive, hist'ry saith,
And hail'd th' approaching stroke of Death.
Which bore her to — from Sorrow's rod—
The bosom of a LENIENT GOD!

What, tho' some foibles she possess'd,
(And who without them stands confess'd?)
Her virtues, like the God of Day,
Dispel the envious cloud away;
For nought but envy cou'd reveal
The errors which the tomb should seal!
Live, then, her fame, and spotless class'd,
By few competitors surpass'd;
For all her qualities combin'd
Exhibited exalted mind!
Deceiv'd — on earth — in friendship, love,
She now enjoys them both — ABOVE!

Sweet Passenger! whoe'er thou art,
If brilliant parts could fire thy heart;
If tend'rest sentiment could charm,
Or liveliest wit thy bosom warm;
Or, if thy breast hath sorrow known
In ev'ry feeling, as its own,
Here bid it flow, — for She's no more,
Whom gen'rous minds must long deplore:
Here will they meet at earliest day,
And with their tears bedew her clay;
To her the tender sigh shall heave,
While Genius, Science, Fancy, live!