1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Anonymous, "An Elegy to the Memory of Lady Miller, inscribed to Miss Seward" Weekly Miscellany [Sherborne] 17 (11 March 1782) 575-76.



Again the planets' lord with temper'd ray
From Leo's realms his fiery coursers bend;
While, veil'd in amber clouds that gild the day,
Mild autumn from his radiant car descends.

The changeful glories of the boreal skies,
With waving rays her bright-hair'd brow adorn;
And earth, where'er she turns her azure eyes,
Glows with the purple blushes of the morn.

See, Julia! see the peaceful, white-wing'd hours,
With smiling plenty frolic in her train,
As Ceres, from her orb of silver, pours,
Her golden treasures o'er the russet plain.

Sweet season! soothing to the pensive soul,
Thy presence cheers the languid muse and me;
Joyless I view'd the gorgeous summer roll,
But turn a lover's fondest looks on thee.

Alas! what joy could gorgeous summer bring,
When death's pale ruins dim'd his shining way?
For filial tears bedew'd the parting spring,
And friendship sigh'd the year's gay prime away.

But ah! no pious hands the wreath entwine;
No dirge I hear across the cypress gloom,
Where mercy droops beneath her Delphic shrine,
Where silent genius weeps at Laura's tomb.

Unlike the festive rosy-pinion'd hours,
When the twin'd myrtles on his brow were bound;
When ev'ry muse repair'd to Laura's bow'rs,
And their lyres dulcet echoes floated round.

O! born to emulate their tuneful name,
That, like the stars in Heaven's blue concave, burn
O'er the wide sapphire firmament of fame,
Why droops her Julia's lyre on Laura's urn?

Think her soft voice in friendship's ear still breathes
Plaintive and sweet, like sighs the leaves among;
Asks from her fav'rite's hand the cypress wreathes,
Her soothing requiems, and funereal song:

The song will Delius from his shrine inspire;
He shone propitious on thy infant days,
Bade the muse nurse thee on his golden lyre,
And shade thy temples with his sweetest bays.

The muse that taught thee with a parent's care,
O'er the bright wires thy finger taught to run;
The loves and graces prais'd the tuneful air,
And hail'd the bright-ey'd daughter of the sun.

Ne'er with more fire the Theban beauty rung
Her deep-ton'd shell that foil'd the lofty foe;
Ne'er with more grace impassion'd Sappho sung
To melting airs, an hapless lover's woe.

Why then, secure the laurel meed to gain,
As round her head the recent myrtles bloom,
Why slumbers Julia with the muses train?
Why droops her lyre still mute on Laura's tomb?

See where the spirit soars with pure delight
To happier climes, where love perennial burns;
Where angels sing 'mid orbs of living light,
That ask no suns to feed their golden urns.

There as thy strains she sings to glitt'ring choirs,
Of Andre's mournful Pyre, and Cook's Morai,
Mute are the weeping angels o'er their lyres,
And sooth'd the heroe's shades that wak'd thy lay.