1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Melancholy

Westminster Magazine 3 (October 1775) 552.

J. O.


A descriptive and allegorical ode after Milton's Il Penseroso, signed "J. O." Though tame by the standards of later-century poetry, its gothic elements are beginning to come to the fore: "Thro' rows of elms, or ancient oaks, | Where the ominous raven croaks, | Or mournful nightingale complains | To shady woods and silent plains." In the 1770s the Westminster Magazine, alone with its competitor the Town and Country Magazine, was a first-tier journal for sentimental poetry.



Melancholy, mournful maid!
Seeker of the silent shade,
Foe to empty noise and strife,
Lover of a lonely life!
Come, lov'd Nymph, with me to dwell
In dreary waste, or midnight cell!
Come to one who courts thy charms,
Equal foe to vain alarms.
Ever welcome here to rest,
Weep recumbent on my breast;
Where indulg'd, and free from fear,
Discontent and deep Despair,
Companions of the silent tear,
All await thy coming here.
We'll attend thy moonlight walks,
Where the pensive Spectre stalks;
O'er the mansions of the dead,
Where Ambition droops her head;
Thro' rows of elms, or ancient oaks,
Where the ominous raven croaks,
Or mournful nightingale complains
To shady woods and silent plains;
In the peaceful, gloomy grove,
Where the branches gently move,
Or, if tempted o'er the dew,
We'll thy lonely steps pursue,
When the moon's reflected beam
Silvers o'er the sylvan scene;
While the grass-born insect hops,
Feeding on the pearly drops;
And the dogs affrighted howl
At the shrill foreboding owl;
Then, in some sequester'd bow'r
Retir'd, enjoy a pensive hour.

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