1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Smith

John Gwilliam, "Quatorzains. Written in the first Volume of Miss Elizabeth Smith's Fragments in Prose and Verse" Universal Magazine NS 12 (September 1809) 223-24.



The plaintive Muse who strung her simple lyre,
At midnight hour, on *Henry's lowly tomb,
When swiftly rushing with appearance dire,
The lightnings pierc'd the circumambient gloom,
And the loud thunders with portentous roll,
Shook the huge pillars of the triple sky,
Yet once again, with an inspir'd soul,
To Death's cold ear attunes her minstrelsy!
How vain is man, though blest with every charm,
To form the taste and captivate the heart!
How truly vain is even Learning's arm,
When stretch'd against th' inevitable dart!
But here together Death and Learning smil'd,
While Heaven look'd down and blest its lovely child.
* H. K. White.

As late I roam'd the tangled grove along,
What time the twilight decks the western sky,
Methought I heard sweet Philomela's song
Burst from the rustling foliage on high:
Then all was silent as the hour of night,
A sullen gloom involv'd the distant scene,
As troops of spirits rush'd upon my sight,
Winding their progress to the neighbouring green:
Anon a sound thrill'd gently on mine ear,
And still it seem'd most exquisitely wild;
Then a loud voice seraphically clear,
Exclaim'd above "Behold th' immortal child!"
A sudden splendor broke the lofty skies,
Where blest Eliza charm'd my wond'ring eyes!
Grafton-street, Sept. 1809.