1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elegiac Tribute to Parental Tenderness.

Literary Magazine and American Register 5 (April 1806) 316-17.

Sabina


An elegy in the pastoral ballad mode in eight double-quatrain stanzas signed "Sabina." The poet observes Eliza kneeling beside her mother's tomb and expressing warm emotions of filial piety: "The friend of my youth is no more! | Yet why should I endless repine? | Her precepts I'll ever adore, | Her virtues I'll strive to make mine." The poet was a regular contributor to Philadelphia's Literary Magazine.



Chill winter's appearance was past,
Its reign so unfeeling was done;
The breeze had succeeded the blast,
The twins had received the sun;
And daisies had chequer'd the scene,
Impurpled by violets in bloom,
When Eliza mov'd over the green,
And knelt by the side of a tomb.

A willow bent over her head,
The emblem of grief and despair,
Whose branches luxuriantly spread,
And hung with a sorrowful air.
She said, my lov'd parent so dear,
No tablet I need to explain,
My heart would have told me 'twas here
Its first dearest object was lain!

The bosom on which I have slept,
The arms that entwin'd me so oft,
The eyes that so frequently wept,
So sweet, so endearingly soft,
Are cold, and enclos'd in the tomb;
Unseen are the tears which I shed,
Yet here for to weep I am come;
How low lies, my parent, thy head!

Yet mine has found ease on thy breast,
When lain has invaded my frame;
When Grief's heavy hand has oppress'd,
My pillow was ever the same.
Ye tender, ye feeling of heart,
Who have writh'd beneath agony's steel,
O say, can affliction impart
A sorrow more deep than I feel?

When we view a dear object of love
To pain or to anguish a prey,
The pangs we by sympathy prove
Make us faint and feeble as they;
For O, when the passion is pure,
When love from pure tenderness flows,
We would die, so our deaths would impart
A lasting contentment to those.

But oh, when a friend of the heart
Lies pallid and panting for breath,
O say, does the view not impart
A feeling more painful than death?
Dear saint whose abode is above,
For angel in heaven thou art,
Send down from the regions of love
Relief to my agoniz'd heart!

Is it fancy that steals on my mind?
Or is it thy form that I view?
So tender the look, and so kind,
Past scenes it appears to renew.
But ah, sad reflection appears,
And tells me I'm destin'd to mourn;
The scenes which have cheated my tears
Will never, no never return.

The friend of my youth is no more!
Yet why should I endless repine?
Her precepts I'll ever adore,
Her virtues I'll strive to make mine.
Which said, she withdrew from the scene,
From the marble her tears had bedew'd,
Again she mov'd over the green,
And daily the scene was renew'd.

[pp. 316-17]