1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Frances Wright

E., "Miss Frances Wright" Ladies' Literary Port Folio [Philadelphia] 1 (19 August 1829) 284.



O lost to all the female heart holds dear,
Lady, why should thy haughty soul despise
All that can light our dreary pathway here?
All that can shield us from the storms that rise
O'er mortal strife — how canst thou break the ties
Of social love, that death alone should sever?
And crush affection's kindred sympathies,
That, trampled once, shall spring no more forever?

Nor be it ours to censure, but deplore;
Ah! who can boast a heart from error free?
Could we thy truth and innocence restore,
We, with a sister's love, would welcome thee;
But in the Pride of Infidelity,
Tread not the shores of our pilgrim father's trod,
Where from the scourge of persecution free,
They reared their temples to the Christian's God.

Thou canst not here thy Pagan altar raise
Thy *temple would be worshipless and lone,
And dimly would thy taper, reason, blaze,
Where the refulgent lamp of truth has shone.
We would our errors and our frailties own
Not to thy goddess, but to the God of heaven,
And kneeling low at his eternal throne
Would through a Saviour, hope to be forgiven.

Thy foot aspires to climb a lofty steep,
But not where fame's unfading laurels grow;
'Tis but a height that trembles o'er the deep
Where round its base oblivion's waters flow.
And vain thy toil; no evergreen is there;
Man's firmer hand has pluck'd the loftiest bough
And Infidels like Shelly, Paine, Voltaire,
Have left no chaplet for the female brow.

O strive no longer, in thy night-shade bower
To rear a plant that cannot bloom below,
Whose verdant leaf and amaranthine flower
Shall stem the storms, and brave the blasts of wo;
For in the fields where Sharon's Roses glow,
Thou yet mayest rove, and "all may yet be well,"
Thou there mayest plant the seeds of bliss below,
And rear a flower to bloom where angels dwell.
Shrewsbury, June, 1829.
From The Worcester Yeoman.

* Miss Wright has purchased a small Baptist Church in the upper part of the city, which is to be dedicated to the "Goddess of Reason." — New York Commercial Advertiser.