1772 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Epithalamium.

The Works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld. With a Memoir by Lucy Aikin. 2 Vols.

Anna Laetitia Barbauld


Five irregular stanzas "designed for the opening of a Tragedy," first published in Works (1825). This charming lyric is surely written in imitation of a seventeenth-century model — perhaps something reprinted in the Elizabeth Cooper's Muse's Library?

Eric S. Robertson: "She had been casting off verses from time to time, and at the urgent request of her brother these had been published in 1773. They passed through four editions within a year. Thus encouraged to use the pen, she next engaged herself, together with her brother, upon a volume which appeared as Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose, by J. and A. L. Aikin (1773). This book was also received very favourably, and was several times reprinted" English Poetesses, a Series of Critical Biographies (1883) 81.

William McCarthy and Elizabeth Kraft: "A footnote (whether in LA's or ALB's is not clear) states that it was 'designed for the opening of a Tragedy,' and its placement in the book (between 'Ode to Spring' and 'Verses on Mrs. Rowe') suggests composition c. 1772" Poems (1994) 253n.

Westminster Magazine: "With regard to Mrs. Barbauld's poetical compositions, there is a masculine force in them, which the most vigorous of our poets has not excelled: there is nothing, indeed, feminine belonging to them, but a certain gracefulness of expression (in which dignity and beauty are both included) that marks them for the productions of a Female Hand. Her style is perfectly Horatian, elegantly polished, and harmoniously easy. The 'curiosa felicitas dicendi,' which Genius alone and the ear that Nature has harmonized can produce, is frequently to be found in her beautiful Poems" "Particulars relating to Mrs. Montagu and Mrs. Barbauld" 4 (June 1776) 284.



Virgin, brighter than the morning,
Haste and finish thy adorning!
Hymen claims his promised day,—
Come from thy chamber, come away!

Roses strew, and myrtles bring,
Till you drain the wasted Spring;—
The altars are already drest,
The bower is fitted for its guest,
The scattered rose begins to fade,—
Come away, reluctant maid!

See what a war of blushes breaks
O'er the pure whiteness of her cheeks;
The shifting colours prove by turns
The torch of Love unsteady burns.
Pleading now, now lingering, fainting,
Her soft heart with fear is panting;—
Cling not to thy mother so,
Thy mother smiles, and bids thee go.

Mind not what thy maidens say;
Though they chide the cruel day,
Though they weep, and strive to hold thee
From his arms that would enfold thee;
Kiss, and take a short farewell,—
They wish the chance to them befell.

Mighty Love demands his crown
Now for all his sufferings done;
For all Love's tears, for all his sighs,
Thyself must be the sacrifice.
Virgin, brighter than the day,
Haste from thy chamber, come away!

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