1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Aikin

H. Fletcher, "Written on a blank Leaf in Dr. Aikin's Letters to a Young Lady on a Course of English Poetry" Universal Magazine NS 2 (July 1804) 70-71.



Go, little book, let Stella's eyes
On thy instructive pages beam;—
And, veiling truth in fiction's guise,
Teach her to love the poet's dream:
Bid her confess its magic power,
When Genius dares, in fancy's stolen hour,
To virtue dedicate the moral theme.

Be thou her guide, her footsteps lead,
Where Inspiration's blooming flowers
Enamel Learning's cultur'd mead,
Or deck Imagination's bowers;
Where never-failing springs supply
Their streams of life, and where an April sky
Smiles, like the tender Muse, thro' rainbow showers.

Do thou select for Stella's breast
The flowers that glow with brightest hues;
Her gentle heart, with feeling blest,
Shall wash their leaves in Pity's dews.
Oh! blossoms, cull'd from gardens fair,
Where lyres, unseen, salute the murmuring air,
You'll find in Stella's breast another muse!

And point out Folly's gaudy weeds,
That hail with noxious breath the morn;
And Dulness, too, whose poppy seeds
O'er Cultivation's fields are borne;—
The varnish'd fruit that tempts the eye,
But mocks the touch — oh! hollow Flattery!
And Envy's nightshade fenc'd by Satire's thorn.

And now explore the cypress grove,
Where Sorrow wakes, with mournful strings,
The verse that tells of faithful love,
And feeds the hopeless flame it sings:
As Stella's eyes the tear reveal,
Teach her to pity, and she'll learn to feel;—
—So Music mounts to sympathetic spring.