1803
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Elegiac Tribute, to Parental Tenderness.

Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer (30 July 1803).

Mira


A pastoral elegy in eight double-quatrain stanzas signed "Mira, Alexandria." Eliza weeps over the marble sepulcher of her beloved mother: "The bosom, on which I have slept, | The arms that intwin'd me so oft, | The eyes which so frequent have wept, | So sweet, so enchantingly soft, | Are mould'ring, ah me, in the tomb!" The mother bestows some comforts from above, and we learn that Eliza renews her visits daily. For a time Mira was contributing verse to this Virginia newspaper on a weekly basis.

On 18 February 1804 the poet wrote to the editor of the Advertiser, "The writer of the enclosed article, tenders her most grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Snowdon, for the continued attentions shewn to her very trifling productions generally bearing the signature of MIRA, and as he has a variety of correspondents in the same line, will, for the future, appear but under the signature of ELIZA."



Chill Winter's appearance was past,
It's reign so unfeeling was done,
The breeze had succeeded the blast,
The twins had received the sun;
And dasies had chequ'rd the scene,
Impurpled by violets in bloom;
When ELIZA mov'd o'er the green,
And knelt by the side of a tomb.

The willow bent over her head,
True emblem of grief and despair,
Whose branches luxuriently spread,
And hung with a sorrowful air:
My parent, my parent, so dear,
There needed no tablet, she said,
My heart would have told me 'twas here,
It's first, dearest object was laid!

The bosom, on which I have slept,
The arms that intwin'd me so oft,
The eyes which so frequent have wept,
So sweet, so enchantingly soft,
Are mould'ring, ah me, in the tomb!
Unseen are the tears which are shed,
But still to weep o'er thee I've come—
How low lies, my parent, thy head!

Yet mine, has found ease on thy breast,
When pain has invaded my frame;
When grief's heavy hand has opprest,
My pillow was always the same!
Ye tender, ye feeling of heart,
Who have writh'd beneath agony's steel!
O say, can affliction impart,
A pang yet more deep than I feel?

To view a dear object of love,
To pain or to sorrow a prey,
The cruel sensation we prove,
Makes us faint, and as feeble as they:
For oh! when the passion is pure,
When love from true tenderness flows,
We would die, so our deaths would ensure,
A lasting contentment to those.

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

Is it fancy which 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,
Tho' daily the scene was renew'd.

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