1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Stella.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 26 (15 December 1774) 370.

C. K.


C. K. responds to his rejection by Stella in what might be interpreted by some as a churlish manner: "Blest Wisdom thy paths will bestrew | With joy-buds of virtuous desire: | May ye late to the world bid adieu, | Then join the celestial choir." Thus concluded one of the odder verse conversations of the century. That between Robert Merry and Hannah Cowley, another younger-man married woman exchange, would receive a good deal more attention as it unfolded two decades later.

Both parties continued to contribute verse to the Weekly Magazine, though on January 5 was published "Pastoral Verses to Mr. C. K. on his intention of leaving his Native Country, to go in quest of Fortune on a foreign Shore."



Dear Stella, thou'rt friendly and kind;
My thanks, like fair Truth, are sincere:
I could almost say, curse on my mind,
If Ingratitude e'er harbour'd there!

The praises you're pleas'd to bestow,
Are too high for so humble a swain:
But your friendship has taught them to flow,
For my love to the Pride of the plain.

Believe me, I highly admire
Your goodness and candour conjoin'd:
O would ev'ry nymph but aspire
At such true elevation of mind!

Since my friendship so worthy you deem,
Your's gives a reciprocal joy:
The friendship that's built on esteem,
Is the friendship that never can cloy.

Gentle STELLA shall always be nigh,
Tho' distant as far as the Pole;
My regard will all distance defy;
Nor can time my affection controul.

Be each tender endearment to you,
In conjugal union join'd:
May your swain as the turtle be true;
May your offspring be gentle and kind.

Tune often your sweet flowing lays,
For your tears will serenely be spent;
The Muses have crown'd you with bays,
And virtue has giv'n you content.

Blest Wisdom thy paths will bestrew
With joy-buds of virtuous desire:
May ye late to the world bid adieu,
Then join the celestial choir.

[p. 370]