1793
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Neglect.

New York Magazine and Literary Repository 4 (September 1793) 568-69.

Clara


A lover's complaint in fourteen anapestic quatrains signed "Clara, September 18." Clare, once free in her emotions, finds herself suddenly given to unaccountable bouts of sadness. The cause, it appears, is young Anselm: "Unfeeling and cold as he is, | He has found out the way to my heart; | The laurel of conquest he wears, | But I the keen arrow's deep smart." In the best pastoral-ballad fashion, she resolves to seek relief in the cold grave. At this period the poetry column of the New York Magazine (titled "The American Muse") was thronged with Della Cruscan verses.



Ah! why is my heart so opprest?
And why from my friends do I fly?
I know not the cause of my grief,
And yet every breath is a sigh.

The day steals in sorrow away,
And at night I'm a stranger to sleep;
I quit the gay circles of glee,
And when I should smile, then I weep.

Once, when an affliction would rise,
I'd give a full vent to my grief,
And my sorrows in time would subside,
But now I am shut from relief.

The morning when beaming so bright,
Could chase from thy cheek the big tear;
But now morn and evening, alike
Perceive its humidity there.

Along the green valley I've stray'd,
To list to the whip-o-will's note;
Its sadness would chord with my own,
'Twould follow me home to my cot:

But now, though she chirp in the grove,
Or fill the deep vale with her moan,
Alas! I regard not the strain,
So dismally dull am I grown.

Ah! sure I have found out the cause,
Young Anselm, the stranger, I fear,
Whom all the fair maidens admire,
And whose pipe they delighted to hear.

Unfeeling and cold as he is,
He has found out the way to my heart;
The laurel of conquest he wears,
But I the keen arrow's deep smart.

A rose so soft blushing was mine,
It bloom'd by the side of a stream,
By which all dejected I roam'd,
And weeping made Anselm my theme.

Its beauty suspended my woe,
I kiss'd its soft bosom at morn;
But, ah! when I sought it at eve,
The rude winds had left but the thorn.

Just so the fair blossom of youth
Is blasted and withers away;
Beneath the cold storm of Neglect,
'Tis thus that it hastes to decay.

Oh! come ere the chill hands of Death
This frame to the valley consign,
And deign, if thou canst not approve,
To pity a passion like mine:

For soon will this body so frail,
To the grave by the shepherds be borne;
And soon will my spirit so sad,
To the hands of its MAKER return.

The valley perhaps may be cold,
And the sod may lie hard on my breast,
But the cheek of the spirit shall glow
That enters its region of rest!

[pp. 568-69]