1765 ca.

Address to Simplicity.

Gentleman's Magazine 55 (October 1785) 787.


A posthumously published imitation by an anonymous lady of Milton's L'Allegro, published in 1785. In addition to the usual images, "Dorothy" as the goddess to lead her muse "to thy sacred Power, | There thy softest influence shower, | Which inspired the bards of yore, | Rich in Nature's genuine lore; | And of late, with heavenly fire." This is followed by a catalogue of modern poets who have followed the Muse of Simplicity: Gray, Goldsmith, Shenstone, Gay, and the pastoral poet John Cunningham. The poem was printed in the Saint James's Chronicle for 10 November with the signature "Miss Dorothy Enys." The "Cornubiensis" of the 1785 headnote is probably Richard Polwhele.

Headnote: "The lady last mentioned [Dorothy, of Enys, in Cornwall, d. 1784, aet. 38], was an extraordinary example of every quality that adorns a highly cultivated and benevolent mind. With an understanding equal to the highest pursuits (in her earlier years), she amused herself with the milder arts of poetry: with what success, let the following article (never before made public) shew. I am, Sir, Yours, Cornubiensis" p. 787.

Nature's first born, hail to thee,
Rustic Nymph, Simplicity!
Drest in robes of russet gray,
Sprightly as the month of May:
Fairer than the Graces three,
Rural Goddess, hail to thee!
Come, and smiling bring with thee
Mildly blushing Modesty:
Innocence with brow serene;
Rosy Health, the woodland Queen:
Calm Content, with chearful air:
Piety, the heaven-born fair:
Virtuous Love, devoid of guile,
Tripping on with infant smile;
Blessing on the happy plains,
Artless nymphs, and constant swains:
Votaries true to Love and thee,
Rural Queen, Simplicity!

Goddess come; and sit with me
Underneath some aged tree;
Listening to the woodlark's lay,
Sweetly warbling on the spray;
Or the milkmaid in the dale,
Tripping on with brimming pail;
Whilst her swain, with eager feet,
Hastes his much-lov'd fair to meet;
Now he bears her frothing pail,
Jocund homeward thro' the vale;
Now they sit beneath the shade,
Nature kind for love has made;
Breathing fresh, with harmless glee,
Tales of pure Simplicity.

Or we'll join the harvest train
Shouting jovial o'er the plain;
Hear them jest, and sing, and laugh,
While their nutbrown ale they quaff;
When the farmer all the while
Views their mirth with heartfelt smile,
Pleas'd to see the ripen'd year
Rich repay his honest care;
Scenes like these, best suit with thee,
Rural Queen, Simplicity.

Thee my Muse shall still attend;
Thee, the Muses fairest friend;
Lead her to thy sacred Power,
There thy softest influence shower,
Which inspired the bards of yore,
Rich in Nature's genuine lore;
And of late, with heavenly fire,
Gray and Goldsmith did inspire:
Happy Bard, belov'd of thee,
Queen of Verse, Simplicity.

Goddess, still to to thee I sue,
And my earliest prayer renew:
Give me Shenstone's gentle lay,
Or the tuneful lyre of Gay;
Or at least the Doric reed,
Cunningham's inferior meed,
Breathing strains inspired by thee,
His best-belov'd Simplicity.

Let me charm the nymphs and swains,
Pleas'd with Nature's artless strains;
Let me draw the silent tear,
From the shepherd's eye sincere;
Or in strains that softly move
Melt the maid to virtuous love;
Or on country festal days
Tune my reed their mirth to raise:
Thus, unenvied let me sing,
Jocund as the smiling Spring;
Happy, if approv'd by thee,
Rural Queen, Simplicity.

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