1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, "Stanzas presented, with Cowper's Poems, to Mary Viscountess Bernard, on the Day of her Marriage" Poetical Register for 1808-09 (1812) 220-21.



Lady! were Cowper's spirit here,
That sainted spirit, sure 'twould breathe
A fervent wish, a vow sincere,
And twine it with thy bridal wreath.

He would not of thy goodness tell,
For purest virtue loves the shade;
He would not on thy features dwell,
For Beauty's short-liv'd flower must fade.

No, Lady! cease thy modest fears:
More pleas'd his artless Muse would feel,
To consecrate the filial tears
That from thy trembling eyelids steal;

To cherish, on this joyful day,
The glist'ning tribute of thy heart,
For years of mild parental sway,
For cares that made thee what thou art.

Then would he pray that white-rob'd Truth,
And purest Peace and Joy serene,
Blest guardians of thy vernal youth,
May shield thee through life's various scene.

But Cowper lives in realms of light
Where kindred seraphs ceaseless sing:
Far other hands this wreath unite,
Far other hands this offering bring.

Yet, Lady! wilt thou kindly deign,
'Tis all th' unpractis'd Muse can give,
Accept this rudely warbled strain,
And let it, bound with Cowper, live?

These volumes too, I fondly ween,
May for their author's sake be priz'd,
When thine own hearth shall match the scene,
By Weston's bard immortaliz'd.

For sure thou lov'st domestic joys,
And hours of intimate delight,
And days retir'd from vulgar noise,
And converse bland that cheats the night.

Such joys be thine, — be his, — and still,
In heart united as in hands,
Blessing and bless'd, may each fulfil
The glorious task your place demands.

Lights of the world! may each dispense
New lustre through your ample sphere;
And very late be summon'd hence,
To shine through Heaven's eternal year!