1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Tighe

Anna Maria Porter, "Lines written after reading the Corinne of Madame de Stael, and the Psyche of the late Mrs. Henry Tighe, of Rosanna" 1811; Ballad Romances (1816) 123-27.



Magic omnipotent! resistless power
Of Genius, seraph-lipp'd! how doth thy force
Seize the most fixed soul, and bear it on
Thro' every change of passion, pain, or joy!—
How mighty is thy sway! how wide its range!
How varied, even in uniform design!—
Lo! now thro' different lips, thy voice inspired,
Speaks to my heart; transports, depresses, fills!—
In rapt amazement lost, the same fond theme
Wondering I hear, and mark how different each!—
Methinks from deep shades, swells th' Aeolian lyre;
While from some twilight grove, soft Philomel
Warbles her rival song. — Hark to the strains!—
That magic instrument which Heaven's own breath
Wakes to mysterious music, that sweet harp,
Low to the breeze in dying languor sighs!
Now louder mused, rings like the trumpet's blast
To Glory calling! — next, with temp'rate swell,
Gentle, and soft, and calm, in lulling tone,
Spreads rest and tender bliss o'er all things round,
Tuning the mind to dreams of holy peace.—
Now, whispering voices like the heavenly choir,
Scarce breathed, scarce heard, suspend my thrilling heart:
Then moanings, as of melancholy shades,
Chill Rapture's pulse. — Anon, from yon dark pass,
Rusheth the wind, and borne on wailing wing,
With piercing blast of sound, sweeps all the strings
In Phrensy's sudden shriek, or demon's yell:
Now resting on one deep and dismal note,
Continuous, strange, and wild, it loads the ear
With loud lament of hopeless, fixed despair.—
The strain is o'er! — mute now, the mystic breath!—
Sadness and stillness reign; alone disturbed
By the heart's beatings; — ceased! — in silence fix'd!—
———*———*———*———*———*———
Ah, sounds divine! whence flow ye, from yon copse,
Steal on the depth of night, melodious sighs
From Love's own bosom heaved: the warbled lay,
First softly wooing, then lamenting sad,
Now trembling with delight, with hope, half bliss,
With dear persuasion of partaken joy,
Soars and descends by turns: all nature melts
To softer charm, beneath its influence pure;
With tenderer light, looks down the pensive moon;
With gentler murmur glide the silver streams;
More balmy breathe the flowers; and stiller stand
The listening trees; the human breast o'erflows
With holy rapture; virtue, love, and joy,
All swell together, till in tears dissolved,
The sweet emotions find their happy way.—
Nightingale of Rosanna! thou art gone!
Snatched 'mid thy tuneful life, to sing above!—
Earth's guilty echoes, dared not answer thee;
(Echoes, so oft devote to Passion's voice,
Tuneful indeed, but lawless, and profane.)
Wondering we saw the stream o'erflowing Love,
Yet pure from mortal dross; as tho' it well'd
Strait from the fount of Heaven! — ah, sure it did!
And to that sacred source hath back returned.—
How happy they, who 'mid thy native shades
Roved near thee ever, and with tranced ear
Or heard thy liquid notes thro' joyous clay,
Mixed, (still preeminent,) with Nature's band
Of varied minstrels; or with deeper draught.
Drank their rich nectar 'mid the lonely scenes
Of night and silence! happy they! whilst we
(Thro' deep embowering woods, at distance far,)
But heart thee once, tho' never to forget!—
And thou, O harp of strange and wondrous mould!
Thou lyre Aeolian! may the air that wakes
Again thy cords, come fraught with peace or joy!
May never blast of madd'ning anguish shake
Those chords nor the life-with'ring sighs of grief,
Nor blighted hopes, in sad vibration dwell
Upon thy mournful strings! when next they speak,
May all blest Araby's innumerous sweets
Hang on the breeze that sweeps thee into sound!
May breath of angels aid the blissful gale,
And while thou warblest love, awake the soul
To thought of Love's best world, the world of Heaven!