1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Phemius, "To Mrs. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, on her beautiful Hymns, in Prose, for Children, and other excellent Productions in Prose and Verse" New British Lady's Magazine 3 (December 1819) 329.



Barbauld, illumin'd by the sacred ray,
Thine is sublime instruction to convey;
Thine is an energetic style to teach
Truths, which learned casuists often fail to reach:
Thine is the babe, the suckling, to inspire,
With themes deserving of the golden wire:
Thine in those themes exalted to rehearse,
In prose harmonious: in harmonious verse:
Thine is to guide, with notes of music sweet,
The infant's footsteps to the blissful seat:
The great highway of holiness to shew,
And bring the bright eternal scene to view:
To aid the lisping tongue the pray'r to raise,
And tune the youthful voice to hymns of praise.

Oh, when completed is the spacious dome,
And the loud trumpet calls the exiles home;
When shall, reveal'd, the glorious fabric stand,
And its wide gates on ev'ry side expand,
Then may'st thou, circled by the faithful train,
In robes of triumph, tread the heav'nly plain;
Amidst that train with favour be receiv'd,
Who in the Saviour of the world believ'd;
Who, fraught with kindness, and with zeal benign,
Prepar'd thy pupils for the realm divine.
Nov. 26, 1819.