1815
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Elegy. Dedicated to the Memory of Miss E. W.

The Port Folio S3 6 (December 1815) 634-35.

Anonymous


A pastoral elegy, not signed, in ten anapestic quatrains: "For gone is the virtuous maid, | The pride of thy village has fled, | Its charms are in sadness array'd, | Sweet Emily sleeps with the dead." There is no explicitly pastoral imagery in this American poem, the meter and the sentiments being sufficient to set the tone through their long association with sentimental elegy. A note informs readers that Emily, of Norristown, Pennsylvania, had died in 1807, which is perhaps also the date of composition.



Sweet Schuylkill, thy soft moaning stream
Responds to our heart-rending wo,
Oh, melted in Memory's dream,
Our tears with thy waters shall flow.

Flow'ry banks by warm Friendship endear'd
How oft on thy margin we've stray'd,
Then verdant and bright ye appeared,
But now every beauty shall fade.

Oh then with what pleasure we heard,
Her converse, that angels might hear,
From her heart's pure recess flow'd each word,
Which remembrance now seals with a tear.

For gone is the virtuous maid,
The pride of thy village has fled,
Its charms are in sadness array'd,
Sweet Emily sleeps with the dead.

Oh Death! could pure Innocence save,
Could Mind from thy grasp the maid keep,
Could Friendship preserve from the grave,
Thou could'st not have doom'd us to weep.

Devoid of all guile was her heart,
Her soul by soft feeling refined,
Her words could persuasion impart,
With manners so gentle and kind.

And bright in her mild beaming eyes,
The soul of devotion still shone—
That soul which was form'd in the skies
To its Father in Heaven hath flown.

And her's was the dignified mind,
Every action discretion portrayed,
In wit by chaste feeling refined,
How few could compare with the maid.

As an angel of pity she seem'd
To mourn with the child of distress,
And her eye with sweet joy ever beam'd
A sorrowing victim to bless.

Soft peace be with those she has left,
May that God who directed the dart
Yield them comfort, of comfort bereft,
Resignation, blest Heaven impart.

[pp. 634-35]