Partly in Spenserians; not seen. By Sibella Elizabeth Hatfield, afterwards Sibella Elizabeth Miles, who kept a boarding school in Penzance.
Literary Chronicle: "Poor Gustavus Vasa! of what crimes wert thou guilty, besides those of courage and patriotism, that thou shouldst be made the butt of so many puny rhymesters! We can recal to memory at least a dozen heavy volumes of verse, in which thou and thine have been mercilessly tortured, and scarcely one in which the poet has proved himself either master of his subject, or worthy of his theme" 8 (5 August 1826) 486.
Monthly Review: "A poem, filling near two octavo volumes, and tending most suspiciously to the dimensions of an epic, is more than could be expected from the most ambitious of spinsters. Miss Hatfield, however, throughout this prodigious effort of industry and talent, has shewn that she possesses considerable powers of fancy, and a happy facility at harmonious versification. The life of Gustavus Vasa, the hero of the poem, abounds with incident, but nothing short of supreme powers could sustain the interest of his fortunes through five long cantos. If Miss Hatfield never rises to the true dignity of heroic song, she never sinks into the tameness that would disgrace it: and though poetical energy may not be the characteristic of her strains, still they are remarkable for grace and propriety of diction. Whilst we regret that this lady did not select a theme more adapted to the powers of her yet untried muse, we have no hesitation in saying, that she has manifested abilities and acquirements in this poem, which, if prudently directed, will secure to her no small share of literary distinction" S3 6 (November 1827) 413-14.
Then trembling lyre, from thee fair freedom's strain,
Will burst like torrent from its native bed,
Impetuous, strong, when contest ploughs the plain,
Glidingly sweet, where softer scenes are spread;—
Then, bright reveal'd, will stand each mountain's head,
Each valley's bosom and each forest deep,
Rob'd in their stole of snow, while o'er them shed
Smile the moon's midnight beams, as in the steep
Of the clear sparkling heaven she doth her station keep:—
Shine in thy lay the northern summer's beam,
Bloom the bright flowers it wakes to instant birth,
Dash the unfetter'd torrent, the calm stream,
Flow bright between its banks of green-clad earth;
With sudden verdure stand the forest forth,
The pine-crown'd hill arise, down whos dark sides
Roll the white flakes before spring's sunny mirth,
That like compassion's once unfrozen tides,
Turn to a fruitful flood, that glads where'er it glides.
Yes — as the varied scenes by nature given,
Or fancy, nature-taught creates around,
Call out thy strains to paint in earth or heaven,
All that she gives below, or in the bound
Of yon bright arch appears — thou wilt be found,
Still faithful to her hues, her feelings still—
Whether the battle gleam, the battle sound,
The maiden's eye with secret tear-drop fill,
Or the rous'd patriot's voice each burning bosom thrill.
[Literary Chronicle 8 (5 August 1826) 486]