1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Jackson Pratt

William Meyler, "To Mr. Pratt, Author of Gleanings, Sympathy, The Poor or Bread, &c. &c." 1802; Lady's Monthly Museum 10 (January 1803).



Oft has my heart with transport beat,
'Midst yellow Autumn's gen'rous heat,
When o'er the stubble field I've seen
The rustic train intensely glean;
Pace o'er each furrow, ridge, and border,
And put their full-fraught ears in order;
Then bear with joy the precious load,
To their poor mother's thatch'd abode,
Who stores it 'neath her humble shed,
To yield, in dreary Winter, bread.

Thy GLEANINGS, gentle Pratt! impart
An equal transport to my heart!
Yield all that can amuse the mind,
And make us taste of joys refin'd;
Such as the feeling heart must know,
When bounty dries the springs of woe!
Thy well-glean'd pages are a hoard
That days of nurture will afford,
To want, to misery, and pain—
Exhaustless source of mental gain!

FRIEND OF MY YOUTH! when erst we strove
To sport in MILLER'S myrtle grove;
When each, with emulation big,
Aspir'd to gain the envied sprig;
Thou 'mongst the Muses still has sported;
Oft' courting them — as often courted;
Whilst I — a drudge to plodding care,
But seldom to their haunts repair;
For when I press'd, with youthful joy,
I thought I found them somewhat coy;
Nor with my presence much delighted,
Slighted by them — in turn I slighted.
Then giving up each rhyming maid,
I 'su'd that sober matron — TRADE,
And, hopeless of their smiles of pity,
Sought civic honours from the city.

Yet, now and then, my fond heart roves,
And heaves a sigh to former loves;
When I thy graceful offspring see—
The Muse's genuine progeny,
With envious wish, I'm anxious rather,
The pretty things would call me FATHER.
Alas! I've hapless touch'd a strain,
That shiv'ring thrills my ev'ry vein—
FATHER! oh thought! oh name most dear!
That instant starts affection's tear,
Whilst my dread darling's beauteous shade
Strong to my mem'ry is convey'd;
I feel it agonize in my breast,
"And all the Father stands confest."
Dear, dear, lost Boy! — just mourn'd by thee,
In strains of sweetest poesy!
Kind strains! which would consoling flow—
Ye but perpetuate our woe;
Yet give — humanity's relief—
Unnumber'd sighs, and streams of grief!
The Mother's more than grateful praise!
The Father's warm, though feeble lays!
As tribute to such strains divine,
Be, dearest PRATT, for ever thine!
Bath, Nov. 6th, 1802.