1814
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Miss Charlotte N * * *.

Stanzas, by the Author of "Dunluce Castle."

Edward Quillinan


An amatory ode in eight Spenserians: "That form, in chaste Simplicity's array, | Upon whose pensive elegance had smil'd | The taste of Athens in her classic day, | That pale cheek's hue of innocence, so mild | 'Twould seem as it belong'd to some aerial child."

Author's note: "It may not be easy to understand the allusions of the foregoing Poem, without the statement of a few genealogical facts, that might otherwise appear impertinent. These allusions begin with the name of Richard Wodvile, Earl Rivers, of whose daughters, Elizabeth was married to King Edward IV.; and Jane to Lord Strange. His son Anthony, Earl Rivers, was the gallant and accomplished peer, whose character is drawn in such lively colours by Lord Orford, in his 'Royal and Noble Authors.' Elizabeth, daughter of Elizabeth Wodvile, by King Edward IV. married King Henry VII. and was mother of Mary, wife, first, of Louis XII. of France, and afterwards of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by whom she had two daughters; Frances, married to Grey, Marquis of Dorset, who had issue by her, Lady Jane Grey, &c. Eleanor Brandon, the other daughter, married Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, and was mother of Margaret, married to Henry Stanley, Earl of Derby, (which Earl's mother was sister to the Earl of Surrey, the Poet.) This Margaret, Countess of Derby, was mother of Ferdinando, Earl of Derby, a Poet also, whose Countess, Alice Spenser, was the patroness of Edmund Spenser and John Milton. By her Earl Ferdinando had three daughters his coheirs, of whom Jane was married to Grey Brydges, Lord Chandos; and Frances to John Egerton, first Earl of Bridgwater. John Egerton, (son of this marriage) second Earl of Bridgwater, married Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, the loyal Duke of Newcastle; and their son was great greatgrandfather of the subject of this Poem, whose mother is paternal niece to the celebrated Mrs. Montagu. The Author has been induced by the personal merits, rather than by the high titles of this series of Worthies, to deem them fit subjects for the Muse" 26n.



Thy beauty, Lady, hath not lost a grace,
Since first my gaze was fix'd in worship there;
The same Divinity inspires thy face,
Talks in thine eye, and governs in thine air;
Yes, Thou art still beyond all language fair!
The Feelings only that my peace distrest,
These, lovely Lady, are not what they were;
Warm'd by the heaving whiteness of thy breast,
They once awaken'd pain, but now they are at rest.

My Heart long since, by first affection sway'd,
Return'd to feel its own congenial heat,
Beneath the gentle influence of a Maid,
Whom, like thyself, the Graces ever greet,
And in whose bosom all soft virtues meet;
Her fancied coldness chased away my mind
On wings of Pride, to seek some new retreat.
How could I fly, with phrensied passion blind,
A Soul so firmly true, a Heart so softly kind!

'Twas then, a Truant from the sweetest bower
Of Bliss, that artless Beauty ever wove,
I felt, bright Lady, thy seductive power,
And with thy Heart in bold encounter strove;
And sometimes dream'd that I had taught it Love;
For as I urg'd that Heart's surrender, Thou
Didst with such sweet benevolence reprove,
And wear so soft a shade upon thy brow,
I half believ'd Thee mine, and yet I scarce knew how.

Where could I build my gallant Hope so high?
Not on the base of coxcomb arrogance;
For Thou wilt own I might mistake thine eye,
And deem Approval's what was Pity's glance.
Sweet were with Thee the walk, the ride, the dance;
The long departing look, and smile of meeting,
And sweet the wreath I fram'd for Thee, perchance,
Of minstrel-flowers, thy morning Beauty greeting,
Though far the frailest they, of all that's frail and fleeting.

Well, that is past; false joy and false regret!
Days of delight, how falcon-wing'd they flew!
Dost Thou remember the last morn we met?
The tears we mingled at that sad adieu?
We parted; Thou, fair Planet, to pursue
Thy course of heavenly loveliness; and I
At Zelia's shrine my homage to renew,
Wind closer round my heart its earliest tie,
Recal each wandering vow, abjure each vagrant sigh.

Those raven tresses beautifully floating,
Those long-lash'd eyes turn'd timidly away,
That gentle air a gentle heart denoting,
Those balmy lips where smiles of meekness play,
That form, in chaste Simplicity's array,
Upon whose pensive elegance had smil'd
The taste of Athens in her classic day,
That pale cheek's hue of innocence, so mild
'Twould seem as it belong'd to some aerial child;

I've wonder'd oft how I could these resign,
E'en to the witching force of thy controul;
For though Her beauty scarce may rival Thine,
She was the first subduer of my soul.
Else had the mischief of thy look, that stole
Awhile into my heart, for ever there,
Like subtle poison drank from Pleasure's bowl,
Infus'd the slow consuming canker, Care,
Till faint with baffled Hope, it yielded to Despair.

Or, for in Nature tender as the Dove,
Thou could'st not bear to be the cause of pain,
Perhaps thy friendship had repaid my love,
And strove to soothe my misery in vain.
But now with joy I'll clasp that blessed chain
Of Friendship with Thee, that shall never part,
And dare to meet that powerful glance again,
And give a Brother's, not a Lover's, heart,
All soft, and fair, and bright, and gentle as Thou art!

[pp. 23-26]