1793
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

L'Allegro.

Poems. Dedicated to the right honourable the Earle of Mansfield.

Lady Sophia Burrell


A brief retirement ode after Milton's L'Allegro. The sentiment expressed by author — "Here the muse, remote from noise, | Soft tranquility enjoys" — is belied by the several hundred essays in society verse contained elsewhere in these two volumes. The book was anonymously published. There are also verses such as a hermit-Allegro might write in the Chattertonian vein, including the poem that follows this, The Knight of the Silver Shield. Lady Burrell was romantic enough to marry her son's tutor shortly after this volume was published.

John Wolcot: "Lady Burrell's poetical talents ... we will venture to say, do honour to her pen. Some of the lines, it must be confessed, are too prosaic to be called poetical: but, as they are possibly attempts at simplicity, (for Lady B. has, in a number of places, discovered powers of energy,) what critic can be so fastidious, and so destitute of taste, as not to forgive the failure? 'Ubi plura nitent, non ego paucis offendar maculis,' is a maxim with Horace, and must ever be with Monthly Reviewers. Lady Burrell has also attempted the ludicrous and the satirical, not without success; and, in several sketches from Nature, she has shewn herself a poetical Teniers" Monthly Review 11 (August 1793) 449.

Samuel Austin Allibone: "Lady Sophia Burrell, d. 1802, a daughter of Sir Charles Raymond, married in 1773, 'with a fortune of £100,000,' Sir William Burrell, who died in 1796. In 1797 she married the Rev. William Clay of Nottinghamshire" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:303.



Hence! avaunt, corroding care!
Let content and peace be here;
Ease (ally'd to sisters three,
Leisure, hope, and liberty,)
Winged mirth, who laughing flies,
With dimpled cheeks and roguish eyes;
Or in more methodic hour,
Welcome contemplation's power.

Lo! the muse, by fancy led,
Joyous seeks the rustic shed,
Flys from what the world calls gay,
Here the hermit's part to play;
At her beck the Dryads move,
Sporting thro' the "checquer'd grove;"
(Fauns with ivy garlands crown'd,)
Gambol o'er the verdant ground,
While, constrain'd by fancy's spell,
Sylphs and fairies haunt the cell.

Here the muse, remote from noise,
Soft tranquility enjoys;—
Envys not the fair and vain,
Who mix in fashion's busy train,
But wishes, undisturb'd, to prove
A life of reason, and of love.

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