Stanzas on perusing Psyche, a Poem, by the late Mrs. Tighe.

Metrical Effusions; or Verses on Various Occasions.

Bernard Barton

Four Spenserians in the first volume published by Bernard Barton. "Psyche," a Spenserian allegory by the Irish poet Mary Tighe (1772-1810) was posthumously published to great acclaim in 1811. Tighe's preface expresses great concern lest critics find fault with her use of the Spenserian stanza, which was not particularly popular in the first decade of the nineteenth century. It is notable that Barton would use it for eleven poems in Metrical Effusions, poems written prior to the publication of Childe Harold. He would adopt it as his regular medium for the next twenty-five years.

British Critic: "Amidst the mass of dull and uninteresting matter falsely called Poetry, which perpetually obstructs our progress, and too often wastes our time, we are occasionally induced to pause, admire, and enjoy some lovelier flower, which we are delighted to distinguish among innumerable weeds. We do not on all occasions feel in unison with the elegant author of these Metrical Effusions, but it is impossible not to allow him praise of refined taste and much genuine poetical feeling" 39 (June 1812) 635.

"Fond dreamer! meditate thine idle song,
But let thine idle song remain unknown:"
O guard its beauties from the vulgar throng,
Unveil its charms to friendship's eye alone.
To thee shall friendship's partial praise atone
For all the incense of the world beside;
Unthinking mirth may slight thy pensive tone,
Folly may scorn, or ignorance deride:—
The lay so idly sung, let prudence teach to hide.

Sweet Minstrel! couldst thou think a song like thine,
With grace replete, with harmony inspir'd,
Thy timid modesty could e'er confine
Within those limits which thy fears desir'd?
Ah no! by all approv'd, by all admir'd,
Its charms shall captivate each listening ear;
Thy "Psyche," by the hand of taste attir'd,
To virtue, grace, and delicacy dear,
Shall consecrate thy name for many a future year.

Oh! had indulgent heaven but spar'd thy Lyre,
Which first it strung and tun'd to melody,
How many a heart had felt encreasing fire,
Dwelling enraptur'd on its minstrelsy:
How many an ear had drank its harmony,
And listen'd to its strains with sweet delight;
But He, whose righteous will is sovereignty,
Hath bid thy sun of glory set in night,
And, though we mourn thy loss, we own his sentence right.

Yet, plaintive Songstress! on thy gentle lay
Fancy with pensive tenderness shall dwell;
Memory shall snatch from Time thy transient day,
And soft regret each feeling breast shall swell.
But, why regret? Let faith, exulting, tell
That she, whose tuneful voice had sung before,
In allegoric strain, love's witching spell,
Now sings HIS love whom wondering worlds adore,
And still shall chaunt his Praise when time shall be no more.

[pp. 55-57]