1807
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Sonnets modernized from Spenser by a Lady of Fashion.]

Gentleman's Magazine 77 (February 1807) 152.

Elizabeth Trefusis


The four adaptations develop Spenser's conceits in an entirely original manner. They appear without a signature. These poems were later republished, with substantive changes and four additional Spenser adaptations, in Elizabeth Trufusis's posthumous Poems of 1808. Compare the earlier adaptations published in Gentleman's Magazine 73 (February 1803) 159-60.



SONNET THE TWENTY-EIGHTH.
See, on the bosom of my smiling maid,
With various sweets, the laurel too reclines!
The laurel that encircled Damon's head
Glows on her ivory breast, and brighter shines.
All hail, blest augury of growing love!
Her Poet's badge the mild Dione wears!
Teach her, sweet Laurel, teach the maid to prove
A tender pity for her Damon's tears.
And when her beamy eyes are bent on thee,
Bid her remember hapless Daphne's fate,
A blooming virgin stiff'ning to a tree;
Sad victim of her unrelenting hate!
Then fly not, fairest, from thy Damon's charms!
A son of Phoebus woes those angel-charms!

FORTY-SIXTH SONNET.
'Tis night, my love; — the Tempest roars!
The hail descends! the lightning glares!
Yon cloud incessant torrents pours!
And Nature thus Heaven's will declares.
Yes! Nature thus commands my stay,
But, ah! Dione bids me fly;
O tell me, which must I obey?
Can'st thou too cruel see me die?
Since lov'd Dione wills, I go!
Then pitying Heaven refrain thine ire!
Cease, cease, ye stormy winds to blow!
Ye forked lightnings hide your fire!
Why on a hapless Lover's head,
Relentless Heaven, thy fury shed?

TENTH SONNET.
Torn, rack'd with anguish since that hapless hour,
When bright Dione wing'd the fatal dart,
Ah! cruel Love, by what despotic pow'r
Thus dost thou torture this perturbed heart?
Alas! my lovely Tyrant joys to see
The daily conquests of her victor eyes;
Derides my sorrows, scorns thy pow'r and thee,
And proudly triumphs o'er her vanquish'd prize.
Bend, Cupid, bend this rebel to thy sway,
Teach her to feel the passion she inspires;
Bid her some vulgar conqueror obey,
Or sorrowing consume in hopeless fires:
That Damon, now the object of her scorn,
May see her tears, and triumph in his turn.

FIFTY-SIXTH SONNET.
True she is fair, but cruel and unkind
As the fell tiger growling o'er his prey;
O Love! is this the emblem of that mind
Whose winning sweetness smil'd my peace away!
True she is fair, but pityless and cold
As the wild storm that sweeps the wintry plain;
If chance some lonely tree its leave unfold,
Bleak blows the blast, and makes its promise vain.
True she is fair, but hard and obstinate
As the rough rock that waves in vain assail!
'Gainst which some ship, of succor desolate,
Wounds its tough sides, while human efforts fail,
The storm, the tiger, and the rock is she,
And I, alas! the stag, the ship, the tree!

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