1808
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On E. S. leaving Ballitore.

Poems by Mary Leadbeater, (late Shackleton) to which is prefixed her Translation of the Thirteenth Book of the Aeneid; with the Latin Original, written in the Fifteenth Century, by Maffaeus.

Mary Leadbeater


A pastoral lyric in four anapestic quatrains. This Irish poem is part of the series of emigration pastorals. Since Mary Leadbeater's maiden name was Shackelton, "E. S." is possibly a kinsman. Her first poems were written in the 1770s when the pastoral ballad sequence begun by Shenstone was at the height of its popularity; this poem may thus have been written several decades before its publication. The poet later gained a degree of fame for her prose sketches of village life in Ireland.

Critical Review: "The longest and worst of the poems in the present volume is the translation from Maffeus; which, however, is as good as the original deserves, notwithstanding the praises bestowed upon him by Julius Scaliger and Vossius. The fair author certainly possesses considerable talents, which we are sorry to find she employs on subjects too trivial to be perused by indifferent readers, and which claim attention only from those who have the pleasure of her intimate acquaintance" S3 15 (October 1808) 217-18.

John Herman Merivale: "As for the original poems subjoined, they are generally on trite and uninteresting subjects: but they bear witness to powers of correct versification and to some poetical imagery. Poetry cannot exist without enthusiasm; and Mrs. Leadbeater possesses no inconsiderable share of that volatile and essential, though perilous, qualification" Monthly Review 57 (December 1808) 373.



When Corydon left the sweet vale,
Where first he beheld the fair light,
Soft sorrows were heard in the gale,
And sighs broke the silence of night.

It was not the grace of his form,
Nor his skill when he pip'd on his reed,
Which thus could the villagers charm,
Which won their hearts for his meed:

'Twas that Wit, which, so sportive and gay,
By Good-nature was ever restrain'd;
'Twas that mind, which in youth's slipp'ry way
By Honour and Truth was sustain'd.

Now the ocean our Corydon ploughs;
Now a city receives the lov'd youth:
But faithful for aye be his vows
To Good-nature and Honour and Truth.

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