1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lydia Huntley Sigourney

Anonymous, "To the Authoress of Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse, lately published at Hartford, in Connecticut" Port Folio [Philadelphia] S3 5 (June 1815) 585-86.



From whence those notes so soft and clear,
That drop their sweetness on my ear!
Some shepherd's pipe, whose little flock,
Reclines beneath the shelving rock,
That echoes back the sylvan sound,
And bears its plaintive murmur round.
Full well I ween that strains like these,
May float upon the evening breeze,
And as the shadowy forms arise,
Mingle soft music with their sighs!
Whate'er thou art, thy gentle strain,
Has rous'd my dying Muse again—
But soft! Ah! yes, I know thee now,
No mountain shepherd boy art thou,
That tend'st thy sheep on summits rude,
Tuning thy pipe in solitude;
And yet, a shepherdess thou art,
Thy precious flock, the infant heart!
I too, like thee, am called to bend
The plient osier to its end,
And may it grow beneath my guide,
Like willow by the water side.

Sweet shepherdess, my Muse has spoke,
And in thy cause her silence broke,
Full many a year has pass'd its round,
Since her wrapt spirit breath'd a sound;
Nor will she turn again to stone,
Without one lesson from thy own,
She knows the witching arts that bind,
In fancy's chain the ardent mind.

Yes! ever let thy youthful care,
First in thy heart their influence bear;
"And, when thy Muse, with syren smile,
Shall bring her sweetest rhyme,
Still, coldly, bid her go away,
And come another time."