1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Helen Maria Williams

Essex, "To Miss Williams, on the perusal of her animating Letters on the Cause of Liberty" Massachusetts Magazine or Monthly Museum 6 (February 1794) 113.



Helen Maria Williams — peerless maid,
Alli'd to beaming Liberty,
Each patriot knee, shall bend to thee,
In virtue's robe, and truth's bright garb array'd.

Benignant goddess, hence we ken
Thee, high exalted o'er earth's regal thrones;
Blest Freedom's equal, who, with ardour owns
Her power excell'd by thy all magic pen.

Sweet is thy influence — yet it thrills—
And the nerv'd system vibrates as it runs;
Ah! now it burns — and now it chills—
Impedes each thought — and hurries them by turns.

Such is thy power, enchanting fair,
Where'er thou mov'st soft sympathy shall bloom;
Benevolence ambrosial fill the air,
And despotism find an early tomb.