1812
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Stanza on Mary Tighe's Psyche.]

The Leadbeater Papers. The Annals of Ballitore, by Mary Leadbeater, with a Memoir of the Author.

Mary Leadbeater


One Spenserian stanza, by the Irish Quaker Mary Leadbeater, inclosed in a letter to the poet's friend Melesina Chenevix Trench dated "2nd of Third-month, 1812." Melesina Trench was an Irish absentee whose tenants were sometimes looked after by Leadbeater; the two women carried on a literary correspondence for many years. The untitled stanza was written in reply to the gift of Mary Tighe's famous Spenserian poem, and refers to the author's recent death from tuberculosis in 1810. "Rosanna" was one of the Tighe estates. The reference in the letter is to lines appended to the Psyche volume, by "W. T." — the poet's brother-in-law, William Tighe.

Mary Leadbeater to Melesina Chenevix Trench: "I mentioned in my last the arrival of Psyche. The lines following 'The Mezereon' are so beautiful, so original, and so pathetic, that it is not difficult to guess who wrote them, and they make me almost ashamed to transcribe my own attempt at a stanza.... I am a little jealous of Psyche's evident attachment to the guardian knight; it was rather too tender for friendship; but grateful friendship let us suppose it, when there is so much to admire and approve" 2:234.



Genius of Spencer, dost thou hover near
The favoured banks of Mulla's pastoral stream?
Or midst Rosanna's groves, to science dear,
Lovest thou to bid thy former lustre beam?
Alas! how short-lived this delicious gleam!
How soon are closed in everlasting sleep
Those eyes which caught new radiance from the theme!
Now, while their tears the flowers of fancy steep,
Sad Psyche and her love o'er the pale marble weep.

[2:234]