A Spenserian sonnet. An Irish clergyman educated at Trinity College Dublin, Joseph Sterling was a self-professed disciple of Spenser. Little is known of his life.
When late I stray'd where winding SLANEY flows,
(The skirts of evening fring'd with ruddy gold,)
Blue, like the mist, a lovely Naiad rose,
Fair was her form, her silver zone unroll'd,
Her radiant semblance, glorious to behold
"Awake (said she) thy vocal shell for fame.
Thy fire unchill'd by wayward fortune's cold,
Emblaze thy page with HENRIETTA's name,
Her gen'rous worth shall fan the muse's flame
The loves and graces to her train belong.
Her friendship steady, beautiful her frame,
Nor e'er shall mem'ry wish to blot the song."
The nymph descends — the sparkling waves divide,
And her last accents murmur tho' the tide.