1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Smith

Arthur St. John, in The Weft of the Wye (1826) 102-03 &n.



O Piercefield's pious, soul-illumined maid
He, to whom tales resembling thine are balm,
Speaks, "Rest to thy manes, bliss to thy shade!"
Thy simple history breathes a very calm
O'er suffering spirits, chasing the qualm
By showing woe so meekly borne: the charm
Of pure devotion meting out the palm
With genius: together twined, tame, yet warm,
The fabled serpent came to thee without his harm.

Thou wert of people of a gentle kind,
Who live as the veiled dwellers of the grove,
Whose days of thought and elegance, inclin'd
To peace, pass like the being of a dove;
Fitted, in the throng, nor to shine nor move,
A nature beautiful within its shade
Of inward stealth, below, and yet above
The world; congruous in its fashion, made
To these haunts, ariel like, hov'ring but to fade.

Lift ye to her an ivy'd sepulchre,
Where the humid atoms of the eve shall weep,
And, fretted with the gust, the high boughs stir,
In melancholy murmurs, dirge-like and deep,
That he, who shall his nightly vigils keep
In Piercefield's whispering groves and shades, may meet,
In all the strains which thro' those mazes creep,
The fancied echoes of the kindred feet
The poet's spirit most would welcome there and greet.

Miss Smith, see Remains of. — The acquirements of this young lady were superior to her invention. Her mind was delightfully cultivated, but its season of bearing had not arrived. Her simplicity, genuine piety, and humility of mind, were characteristic of native superiority of intellect, and genuine, pure, religious feeling. Living at Piercefield, she naturally enough made Ossian the favourite of her imagination. She rushed to the top of Snowdon to see the sun rise. One moment she talks of a hundred cataracts in her letters, and the next moment passes a familiar compliment to a friend. She is said to have spoken rather vainly of her facility of learning languages. Mr. L., of Bristol, travelled to seek a relic of her, and at last procured a shoe.