Category Archives: Poems

Laetitia Pilkington, “Sorrow”




While sunk in deepest solitude and woe,
My streaming eyes with ceaseless sorrow flow,
While anguish wears the sleepless night away,
And fresher grief awaits returning day;
Encompassed round with ruin, want and shame,                               5
Undone in fortune, blasted in my fame;
Lost to the soft endearing ties of life,
And tender names of daughter, mother, wife;
Can no recess from calumny be found?
And yet can fate inflict a deeper wound!                                              10
As one who, in a dreadful tempest toss’d,
If thrown by chance upon some desert coast,
Calmly awhile surveys the fatal shore,
And hopes that fortune can inflict no more;
Till some fell serpent makes the wretch his prey,                               15
Who ‘scap’d in vain the dangers of the sea;
So I who hardly ‘scap’d domestic rage,
Born with eternal sorrows to engage,
Now feel the pois’nous force of sland’rous tongues,
Who daily wound me with envenom’d wrongs.                                   20
Shed then a ray divine, all gracious heav’n,
Pardon the soul that sues to be forgiven,
Though cruel human-kind relentless prove,
And least resemble thee in acts of love;
Though friends who should administer relief,                                     25
Add pain to woe, and misery to grief,
And oft! too oft! with hypocritic air,
Condemn those faults in which they deeply share:
Yet thou who dost our various frailties know,
And see’st each spring from whence our actions flow,                       30
Shalt, while for mercy to thy throne I fly,
Regard the lifted hand and streaming eye.
Thou didst the jarring elements compose,
When this harmonious universe arose;
O speak the tempest of the soul to peace,                                           35
Bid the tumultuous war of passion cease;
Receive me to thy kind paternal care,
And guard me from the horrors of despair.
And since no more I boast a mother’s name,
Nor in my children can a portion claim,                                                40
The helpless babes to thy protection take,
Nor punish for their hapless mother’s sake.
Thus the poor bird, when frighted from her nest,
With agonizing love, and grief distress’d,
Still fondly hovers o’er the much-lov’d place,                                       45
Through strengthless, to protect her tender race;
In piercing notes she movingly complains,
And tells the unattending woods her pains.
And thou, my soul’s once fondest, dearest part,
Who schem’d my ruin with such cruel art,                                            50
From human laws no longer seek to find
A pow’r to loose that knot which God has join’d,
The props of life are rudely pull’d away,
And the frail building falling to decay,
My death shall give thee thy desir’d release,                                        55
And lay me down in everlasting peace.


9 calumny Slander, “a false statement about a person that is made to damage their reputation” (OED).

16 ‘scap’d Escaped.

25-26 friends… add pain to woe, misery to grief The poet Jonathan Swift, once patron and friend to Pilkington, would after her divorce disavow her and call her “’the most profligate whore in either kingdom.” (History Ireland, vol. 17, no. 2, Mar/April 2009).

39-40 And since no more I boast a mother’s name,/Nor in my children can a portion claim Post divorce Pilkington’s husband assumed all their possessions and disallowed her seeing their children. (History Ireland, vol. 17, no. 2, Mar/April 2009).

49 And thou, my soul’s once fondest, dearest part “Mem. My Husband, who was then suing for a divorce” [Author’s Note].

SOURCE: Poems by Eminent Ladies, vol. II (London, 1755), pp. 255-57. [Hathitrust]

Edited by Carina Thanh-Ngoc DeLorenzo



Thomas Blacklock, “An Irregular Ode”



 Sent to a LADY on her Marriage-Day.



With all your wings, ye moments, fly,
And drive the tardy sun along;
Till that glad morn shall paint the sky,
Which wakes the muse, and claims the
raptur’d song.                                                                    5


See nature with our wishes join,
To aid the dear, the blest design;
See Time precipitate his way,
To bring th’ expected happy day;
See, the wish’d for dawn appears,                                                10
A more than wonted glow she wears:
Hark! Hymeneals sound;
Each muse awakes her softest lyre;
Each airy warbler swells the choir;
‘Tis music all around.                                                                15


Awake, ye nymphs,  the blushing bride,
T’eclipse Aurora’s rosy pride;
While virgin shame retards her way,
And Love, half-angry, chides her stay:
While hopes and fears alternate reign,                                           20
Intermingling bliss and pain;
O’er all her charms diffuse peculiar grace,
Pant in her shiv’ring heart, and vary in her face.


At length consent, reluctant fair,
To bless thy long-expecting lover’s eyes!                                 25
Too long his sighs are lost in air,
At length resign the bliss for which he dies:
The muses, prescient of your future joys,
Dilate my soul, and prompt the chearful lay;
While they, thro’ coming times, with glad surprize,                         30
The long successive brightning scenes survey.


Lo! to your sight a blooming offspring rise,
And add new ardour to the nuptial ties;
While in each form you both united shine;
Fresh honours wait your temples to adorn:                                      35
For you glad CERES fills the flowing horn,
And heav’n and fate to bless your days combine.


While life gives pleasure, life shall still remain,
Till death, with gentle hand, shall shut the pleasing
scene:                                                                                           40
Safe, sable guide to that celestial shore,
Where pleasure knows no end, and change is fear’d
no more!


8 precipitate “Relating to haste or speed” (OED).

12 Hymeneals Wedding hymns  (OED).

14 airy warbler A song bird (OED).

17 Aurora “Roman goddess of the dawn” (OED).

19 chides  “To compel”  (OED).

28 prescient “Having knowledge of the future” (OED).

33 ardour “Enthusiasm” (OED).

36 CERES “Roman goddess of the growth of food plants” (Britannica).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1754), pp. 51-53. [Google Books]

Edited by Kamaiya Brown-Simsisulu

Thomas Gray, “Ode on the Spring”


“Ode on the Spring”


Lo! where the rosy-bosom’d hours,
Fair VENUS’ train, appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,                                 5
Responsive to the cuckow’s note,
The untaught harmony of spring:
While, whisp’ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs thro’ the clear blue sky
Their gather’d fragrance fling.                                         10

Where-e’er the oak’s thick branches stretch
A broader browner shade;
Where-e’er the rude and moss-grown beech
O’er-canopies the glade;
Beside some water’s rushy brink                                   15
With me the Muse shall sit, and think,
(At ease reclin’d in rustic state),
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the great!                                                   20

Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how thro’ the peopled air
The busy murmur glows!
The insect youth are on the wing,                                  25
Eager to taste the honied spring,
And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o’er the current skim,
Some shew their gayly-gilded trim
Quick-glancing to the sun.                                              30

To Contemplation’s sober eye
Such is the race of man:
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay                                             35
But flutter thro’ life’s little day,
In Fortune’s varying colours drest:
Brush’d by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill’d by Age, their airy dance
They leave in dust to rest.                                              40

Methinks I hear, in voices low,
The sportive kind reply;
Poor Moralist! and what are thou?
A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glitt’ring female meets,                               45
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone—
We frolic while ‘tis May.                                                    50


2 VENUS Roman goddess of beauty and love (OED).

9 Zephyrs Personified west wind (OED).

14 O’er-canopies the glade “A bank/O’er-canopied with luscious woodbine. Shakesp[eare] Mids[ummer] Night’s Dream” [Author’s Note]. Act II, scene 1, ll. 257, 259.

16 Muse “Patron goddesses of poets” (Britannica).

27 And float amid the liquid noon “Nare per aestatem liquidam—/Virgil. Georg[ics]. lib [Book] 4” [Author’s Note]. Line 59: “beholdest their army floating on high,/And the marvelous dusky cloud trailed down the wind afar” (Arthur Way, The Georgics of Virgil in English Verse, p. 91.)

30 Quick-glancing to the sun “sporting with quick glance,/Shew to the sun their wav’d coats dropt with gold. Milton’s Paradise Lost, book 7” [Author’s note]. Lines 405-06.

31 To Contemplation’s sober eye “While insects from threshold preach, &c./M[atthew] Green, in the Grotto./Dodsley’s Miscellenies, Vol. 5, p. 161” [Author’s Note].  Gray’s poem was first published in Robert Dodsley’s A Collection of Poems by Several Hands (1748).

37 Fortune “Chance, hap, or luck, regarded as a cause of events and changes in men’s affairs. Often…personified as a goddess” (OED).

38 Mischance “Bad luck; ill fortune” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems by Mr. Gray. A New Edition (London, 1778), pp. 43-47. [Google Books]

Edited by Katherine Szarata

Margaret Cavendish, “A Dialogue betwixt Wit and Beauty”


 A Dialogue betwixt Wit and Beauty”

Mixt Rose and Lilly, why are you so proud,
Since Fair is not in all Minds like allow’d?
Some do like Black, some Brown, and some like White;
Some Eyes in all Complexions take delight.
Nor doth one Beauty in the World still reign;                                    5
For Beauty is created in the Brain.
But, say there were a Body perfect made,
Complexion pure, by Nature’s Pencil laid;
A Countenance, where all sweet Spirits meet;
A Hair that’s thick, and long, curl’d to the Feet:                                   10
Yet, were it like a Statue made of Stone,
The Eye would weary grow to look upon:
Had it no Wit, the Mind still to delight,
It soon would weary be, as well as Sight.
For, Wit is fresh and new, doth sport and play;                                  15
And runs about the Humour every way.
With all the Passions, Wit can well agree;
Wit tempers them, and makes them pleas’d to be.
Ingenious ‘tis, doth new Inventions find,
To ease the Body, and divert the Mind.                                                 20
When I appear, I strike the Optick Nerve;
I wound the Heart, and make the Passions serve.
Souls are my Pris’ners, yet do love me well:
My Company is Heav’n, my Absence Hell.
Each Knee doth bow to me, as to a Shrine;                                          25
And all the World accounts me as Divine.
      Beauty, you cannot long Devotion keep;
The Mind grows weary, Senses fall asleep:
As those which in the House of God do go,
Are very Zealous in a Pray’r or two;                                                       30
But, if they must an Hour-long kneel to pray,
Their Zeal grows cold, nor know they what they say:
So Admirations are, they do not last;
After Nine days, the greatest Wonder’s past.
The Mind, as th’ Senses all, delights in change;                                      35
They nothing love, but what is new and strange.
But subtil Wit, can please both long, and well:
For, to the Ear, Wit a new Tale can tell.
And, for the Tast, doth dress Meat several ways.
To th’ Eye, it can new Forms and Fashions raise.                                   40
And for the Touch, Wit spins both Silk and Wool,
Invents new ways, to keep Touch warm, and cool.
For Scent, Wit Mixtures and Compounds doth make,
That still the Nose, a fresh new Smell may take.
I, by Discourse, can represent the Mind                                                   45
With several Objects, though the Eyes be blind.
I’th’ Brain I can create Idea’s, and
Those make to th’ Mind seem real, though but feign’d.
The Mind’s a Shop, where sorts of Toys I sell;
With fine Conceits, I fit all Humours well.                                                 50
I can the Work of Nature imitate,
And, in the Brain, each several Shape create.
I Conquer all, am Master of the Field,
And make fair Beauty, in Love’s Warrs to yield.


Title Wit “The faculty of thinking and reasoning in general; mental capacity, understanding, intellect, reason” (OED).

16 Humour “A particular temperamental inclination” (OED).

29 House of God A church or place of worship (OED).

50 Conceits “A fanciful or ingenious expression, metaphor, turn of thought” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems, Or, Several Fancies in Verse: With the Animal Parliament in Prose, Part II, Third Edition (London, 1668), pp. 117-18. [Google Books]

Edited by Izabella Garcia

Michael Bruce, “Ode: To a Fountain”


“Ode: To a Fountain”


O Fountain of the wood! whose glassy wave
Slow-welling from the rock of years,
Holds to heav’n a mirrour blue,
And bright as ANNA’S eye,

With whom I’ve sported on the margin green:                                5
My hand with leaves, with lilies white,
Gaily deck’d her golden hair,
Young NAIAD of the vale.

Fount of my native wood! thy murmurs greet
My ear, like poets heav’nly strain:                                                 10
Fancy pictures in a dream
The golden days of youth.

O state of innocence! O paradise!
In Hope’s gay garden, Fancy views
Golden blossoms, golden fruits,                                                  15
And EDEN ever green.

Where now, ye dear companions of my youth!
Ye brothers of my bosom! where
Do ye tread the walks of life,
Wide scatter’d o’er the world?                                                    20

Thus winged larks forsake their native nest,
The merry minstrels of the morn;
New to heav’n they mount away,
And meet again no more.

All things decay; the forest like the leaf;                                            25
Great kingdoms fall; the peopled globe,
Planet-struck, shall pass away;
Heav’ns with their hosts expire:

But Hope’s fair visions, and the beams of Joy,
Shall chear my bosom: I will sing                                                      30
Nature’s beauty, Nature’s birth,
And heroes on the lyre.

Ye NAIADS! blue-eyed sisters of the wood!
Who by old oak, or storied stream,
Nightly tread your mystic maze,                                                     35
And charm the wand’ring Moon,

Beheld by poet’s eye; inspire my dreams
With visions, like the landscapes fair
Of heav’n’s bliss, to dying faints
By guardian angels drawn.                                                            40

Fount of the forest! in thy poet’s lays
Thy waves shall flow: this wreath of flow’rs,
Gather’d by my ANNA’S hand,
I ask to bind my brow.


7 Gaily “Airily; cheerfully” (Johnson).

8 NAIAD “A nymph of fresh water, thought to inhabit a river, spring, etc.” (OED).

9 Fount “Fountain, a well; a spring” (Johnson).

11 Fancy Poetic imagination.

21 larks “A small singing bird” (Johnson).

27 Planet-struck “Blasted” (Johnson).

32 lyreA harp; a musical instrument to which poetry is, by poetical writers, supposed to be sung” (Johnson).

41 poet’s lays “A lay may be a song, a melody, a simple narrative poem, or a ballad” (Britannica).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1770), pp. 45-47. [Google Books]

Edited by Yaneli Lopez

Matthew Prior, “To a Gentleman in Love. A Tale”


“To a Young Gentleman in Love.  A Tale”


From publick Noise and factious Strife,
From all the busie Ills of Life,
Take me, My CELIA, to Thy Breast;
And lull my wearied Soul to Rest:
For ever, in this humble Cell,                                                       5
Let Thee and I, my Fair One, dwell;
None enter else, but LOVE——and He
Shall bar the Door, and keep the Key.

To painted Roofs, and shining Spires
(Uneasie Seats of high Desires)                                                   10
Let the unthinking Many croud,
That dare be Covetous and Proud:
In golden Bondage let Them wait,
And barter Happiness for State:
But Oh! My CELIA, when Thy Swain                                            15
Desires to see a Court again;
May Heav’n around This destin’d Head
The choicest of its Curses shed:
To sum up all the Rage of Fate,
In the Two Things I dread and hate;                                          20
May’st Thou be False, and I be Great.

Thus, on his CELIA’s panting Breast,
Fond CELADON his Soul exprest;
While with Delight the lovely Maid
Receiv’d the Vows, She thus repaid:                                           25

Hope of my Age, Joy of my Youth,
Blest Miracle of Love and Truth!
All that cou’d e’er be counted Mine,
My Love and Life long since are Thine:
A real Joy I never knew;                                                                30
‘Till I believ’d Thy Passion true:
A real Grief I ne’er can find;
‘Till Thou prov’st Perjur’d or Unkind.
Contempt, and Poverty, and Care,
All we abhor, and all we fear,                                                      35
Blest with Thy Presence, I can bear.
Thro’ Waters, and thro’ Flames I’ll go,
Suff’rer and Solace of Thy Woe:
Trace Me some yet unheard-of Way,
That I Thy Ardour may repay;                                                     40
And make My constant Passion known,
By more than Woman yet has done.

Had I a Wish that did not bear
The Stamp and Image of my Dear;
I’d pierce my Heart thro’ ev’ry Vein,                                           45
And Die to let it out again.
No: VENUS shall my Witness be,
(If VENUS ever lov’d like Me)
That for one Hour I wou’d not quit
My Shepherd’s Arms, and this Retreat,                                    50
To be the PERSIAN Monarch’s Bride,
Part’ner of all his Pow’r and Pride;
Or Rule in Regal State above,
Mother of Gods, and Wife of JOVE.

O happy these of Human Race!                                             55
But soon, alas! our Pleasures pass.
He thank’d her on his bended Knee;
Then drank a Quart of Milk and Tea;
And leaving her ador’d Embrace,
Hasten’d to Court, to beg a Place.                                             60
While She, his Absence to bemoan,
The very Moment He was gone,
Call’d THYRSIS from beneath the Bed;
Where all this time He had been hid.


WHILE Men have these Ambitious Fancies;                              65
And wanton Wenches read Romances;
Our Sex will——What? Out with it. Lye;
And Their’s in equal Strains reply.
The Moral of the Tale I sing
(A Posy for a Wedding Ring)                                                        70
In this short Verse will be confin’d:
Love is a Jest; and Vows are Wind.


15 Swain A shepherd, here figured as a young lover or suitor.

23 CELADON A pastoral name for a shepherd.

33 prov’st Have proved to be; Perjur’d “A person that has committed or is guilty of perjury; that has deliberately broken an oath, promise, etc.” (OED).

47 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love” (OED).

54 Wife of JOVE “Jove, a poetical equivalent of Jupiter, name of the highest deity of the ancient Romans; Jove’s wife is Juno, a woman of stately beauty” (OED).

63 THYRSIS A pastoral name for a shepherd; used by Virgil in his Seventh Eclogue.

70 Posy “A small bunch of flowers…a nosegay or small bouquet” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1718), p. 99-101. [Google Books]

Edited by Kaori Okamoto

Matthew Prior, “The Wandering Pilgrim”


“The Wandering Pilgrim, or, Will Piggot’s Merry Petition to be Sir Thomas Frankland’s Porter”

Humbly address’d to Sir THOMAS FRANKLAND, Bart. Post-Master, and Pay-Master-General to Queen ANNE.


WILL PIGGOT must to Coxwould go,
To live, alas! in Want,
Unless Sir THOMAS say No, no,
Th’ Allowance is too scant.

The gracious Knight full well does weet,                  5
Ten Farthings ne’er will do
To keep a Man each Day in Meat,
Some Bread to Meat is due.

A Rechabite poor WILL must live,
And drink of ADAM’s Ale,                                      10
Pure Element, no Life can give,
Or mortal Soul regale.

Spare Diet, and Spring-water clear,
Physicians hold are good;
Who diets thus need never fear                                 15
A Fever in the Blood.

Gra’mercy, Sirs, y’ are in the right,
Prescriptions All can sell,
But he that does not eat can’t sh***
Or piss, if good Drink fail.                                       20

But pass —— The AEsculapian Crew,
Who eat and quaff the best,
They seldom miss to bake and brew,
Or lin to break their Fast.

Cou’d Yorkshire-Tyke but do the same,                         25
Then He like Them might thrive;
To starve Thou do’st Him drive.

In WILL’s Old Master’s plenteous Days,
His Mem’ry e’er be blest;                                          30
What need of speaking in his Praise?
His Goodness stands confest.

At his fame’d Gate stood Charity,
In lovely sweet Array;
CERES, and Hospitality,                                                    35
Dwelt there both Night and Day.

But to conclude, and be concise,
Truth must WILL’s Voucher be;
Truth never yet went in Disguise,
For naked still is She.                                                 40

There is but One, but One alone,
Can set the PILGRIM free,
And make him cease to pine and moan;

Oh! save him from a dreary Way,                                     45
To Coxwould he must hye,
Bereft of thee he wends astray,
At Coxwould he must die.

Oh! let him in thy Hall but stand,
And wear a Porter’s Gown,                                           50
Duteous to what Thou may’st command,
Thus WILLIAM’s Wishes crown.


Subtitle Porter “A gatekeeper or doorkeeper,” in this case for the building which houses the Postmaster General’s offices.

Dedication Sir Thomas Frankland  2nd Baronet (1665-1726), politician, served as joint Postmaster General from 1691-1715; Queen Anne Reigned 1702-1714.

1 Will Piggot “This merry Petition was written by Mr. Prior, for Will Piggot to obtain the Porter’s Place” [Author’s Note]; Coxwould Coxwold, “Twelve Miles, North, beyond the City of York” [Author’s Note].

4 scant “Existing or available in inadequate or barely sufficient amount, quantity, or degree; stinted in measure, not abundant” (OED).

5 weet “To know, to know of something” (OED).

6 Farthing “The quarter of a penny” (OED).

9 Rechabite “According to the Old Testament and Hebrew scriptures:  A member of an Israelite family descended from Rehab, which refused to drink wine, live in houses or cultivate fields and vineyards (see Jeremiah 35)” (OED).

10 ADAM’s Ale “Water, (as a drink)” (OED).

17 Gra’mercyThe salutation ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you.’ Hence in phrases, as worth gramercy, worth giving thanks for, of some value or importance” (OED).

21 Aesculapian “Relating to medicine or doctors” (OED).

22 quaff  “To drink (a liquid) copiously or in a large draught” (OED).

24 lin “To cease, leave off” (OED).

25 Yorkshire-Tyke “A person from Yorkshire (OED).

27 FORTUNE “Chance, hap, or luck, regarded as a cause of events and changes in men’s affairs. Often…personified as a goddess, ‘the power supposed to distribute the lots of life according to her own humour’ (Johnson)” (OED).

35 CERES Roman Goddess of agriculture.

43 pine “Physical pain, discomfort, or suffering” (OED).

46 hye “Go quickly” (OED).

47 Bereft “Deprived of” (OED); wends “To go, proceed…in an unhurried manner or by indirect route” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions, Volume the Second, Fourth Edition (London 1742), pp. 95-97.  [Google Books]

Edited by Belinda Ortiz

Charlotte Lennox, “To Moneses Singing”


To MONESES Singing


 Be hush’d as Death, Moneses sings,
Moneses strikes the sounding Strings;
Let sacred Silence dwell around,
And nought disturb the Magick Sound;
Let not the softly whisp’ring Breeze                                             5
Sob amidst the rustling Trees;
Murmur, ye plaintive Streams, no more,
But glide in Silence to the Shore:
Even Philomel thy Note suspend,
And to a sweeter Song attend;                                                      10
Ah! soft, ah! dang’rous, pow’rful Charm,
An Angel’s Voice, an Angel’s Form;
Attentive to the heav’nly Lay,
I hear and gaze my Soul away;
Now tender Wishes, melting Fires,                                                15
Infant Pains, and young Desires,
Steal into my softned Soul,
And bend it to the sweet Controul;
Yet, let me fly, e’er ‘tis too late,
The sweet Disease, and shun my Fate.                                          20
But ah! that softly, dying Strain
Arrests my Steps, I strive in vain.
Again I to the Syren turn,
Again with gentle Fires I burn;
Cease lovely Youth th’ inchanting Sound,                                       25
Too deep already is the Wound;
Thro’ all my Veins the Poison steals,
My Heart the dear Infection feels:
I faint, I die, by love opprest,
The Sigh scarce heaves my panting Breast;                                     30
Before my View dim Shadows rise,
And hides Thee from my ravish’d Eyes:
Thy Voice, like distant Sounds, I hear,
It dies in murmurs on my Ear:
In the too pow’rful Transport tost,                                                      35
Ev’n Thought, and ev’ry Sense is lost.


Title MONESES A made up pastoral name for an unidentified addressee.

7 plaintive “Mournful, sad” (OED).

9 Philomel “A poetic or literary name for the nightingale,” known for its sweet song (OED).

23 Syren “One who, or that which, sings sweetly, charms, allures, or deceives like the Sirens” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp. 23-25. [Google Books]

Edited by Tomas E. Raudales-Beleche





Sarah Fyge Egerton, “To Mr. Norris, on his Idea of Happiness”


To Mr. Norris, on his Idea of Happiness



If Pythagorick notions would agree,
With sublimated Christianity;
What mighty Soul, shall I allow,
Informs thy Body now;
For when did such appear,                                                       5
Sure the belov’d Disciple’s Soul is here.
Not us’d since then, but kept above,
And taught a more extatick Love;
The Understanding more inlarg’d and free,
Each generous Faculty                                                           10
Refin’d, Improv’d, made more compleat,
In the seraphick Seat.
The brightest warmest of th’ exalted Quire,
Flaming with Rays of beatifick Fire;
Such seems thy elevated Soul to be,                                           15
And not the usual sort gave to Mortality.


The great, the Eternal God of Love,
Took Pity on us from above;
He could no longer see,
Our Souls wrapt in Obscurity:                                                       20
But sent thee like, a bright celestial Ray,
To clear our Sight, and to direct the Way;
To the Etherial Courts of Bliss,
The only great, and lasting Happiness.
The active native Principle of Love,                                              25
We found did move
By an internal Influence,
But ‘twas toward some object of the Sense:
Effects and Causes were not understood,
We only knew we wisht for Good,                                                30
And would with Joy each glimpse pursue,
Resolve to fasten there, and think ‘twas true.
In vain we thought our Love was fixt,
For all those Joys were intermixt
With Disappointments and Deceit,                                              35
Our strugling Souls themselves did cheat:
Still they desir’d and lov’d, but were not blest,
Nor found they Rest,
Till thy bright Pen markt out the happy Prize,
Taught us at once to love and to be wise.                                   40


Thou dost dissect our weak distemper’d Soul,
Discover’st the Disease and mak’st us whole;
Prescrib’st such Methods, which if we obey,
We shall no longer doat on Clay,
Which long our vitiated Souls have fed,                                      45
But shall have Appetite to Celestial Bread.
We shall no longer fondly play,
With Trifles on the way,
But climb the Hill with a delightful hast,
And feast our Souls at thy divine Repast.                                    50
But lest, like doubtful or unthankful Guest,
We should neglect the Royal Feast;
Thou, to incourage our appearance there,
Hast kindly given us a Bill of Fare.


By powerful Energy of Thoughts divine,                                    55
Thou didst thy Soul raise and refine,
With strong Impulse it did upward move,
Mounting on eager Wings of Love;
Through all th’ inferior Courts it made its way,
To the bright Spring of everlasting day;                                        60
Did all the amazing Glories see,
And what it shou’d hereafter be,
Saluted by the soft Seraphick Quire,
Who’s Anthems all its Faculties inspire,
But flasht to might Rays of sacred Fire.                                          65
For the refulgent Glories were too great,
It could not bear such Raptures yet,
Till Immortality had made it more compleat:
It could no longer stay, no longer view,
Then down again it flew,                                                           70
Did with Angelick Radiance shine,
Inspir’d with Sapience divine.
It doth its bright Etherial Voyage tell,
And in what Bliss departed Souls do dwell:
All this in pure and pregnant Elegance we hear,                           75
Plain as Corporeal Organs can declare,
That when we read thy Lines we almost think we’re there.


 Title The reference is to John Norris (1657-1711), Anglican priest and philosopher and his poem titled “An Idea of Happiness, in a Letter to a Friend enquiring wherein the Greatest Happiness attainable by Man in this Life does consist” (1684) (Britannica).

1 Pythagorick “Of, relating to, or characteristic of Pythagoras, his followers, or their philosophy” (OED).

12 seraphick Seat This appears to be a reference to heaven, where seraphim “hover above the throne of God” (OED).

13 Quire “Figurative of angels” (OED).

45 vitiated “Corrupted, spoiled” (OED).

48 Trifles Insignificant things (OED).

50 Repast “Figurative, as the type of something providing nourishment for the spirit, intellect, etc.” (OED).

54 Bill of Fare “Menu; a programme” (OED).

66 refulgent “Illustrious” (OED).

72 Sapience “Spiritual wisdom, knowledge of divine things” (OED).

76 Corporeal “Of the nature of the animal body as opposed to the spirit; physical; bodily; mortal” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions, Together with a Pastoral, By Mrs. S. F. (London, [1703]), pp. 27-31. [Google Books]

 Edited by Madison Maraspini



Elizabeth Tollet, “To my Brother at St. John’s College in Cambridge”


To my Brother at St. John’s College in Cambridge”


Blest be the Man, who first the Method found
In Absence to discourse, and paint a Sound!
This Praise old Greece to Tyrian Cadmus gives;
And still the Author by th’ Invention lives:
Still may he live, and justly famous be,                                                          5
Whose Art assists me to converse with thee!
All Day I pensive sit, but not alone;
And have the best Companions when I’ve none:
I read great Tully’s Page, and wond’ring find
The heav’nly Doctrine of th’ immortal Mind;                                               10
An Axiom first by Parent Nature taught,
An inborn Truth, which proves itself by Thought.
But when the Sun declines the Task I change,
And round the Walls and antick Turrets range;
From hence a vary’d Scene delights the Eyes,                                             15
See ! here Augusta’s massive Temples rise,
There Meads extend, and Hills support the Skies;
See ! there the Ships, an anchor’d Forest ride,
And either India’s Wealth enrich the Tide.

Thrice happy you, in Learning’s other Seat!                                           20
No noisy Guards disturb your blest Retreat:
Where, to your Cell retir’d, you know to choose
The wisest Author, or the sweetest Muse.
Let useful Toil employ the busy Light,
And steal a restless Portion from the Night;                                                  25
With Thirst of Knowledge wake before the Day,
Prevent the Sun, and chide his tardy Ray:
When chearful Larks their early Anthem sing,
And op’ning Winds refreshing Odours bring;
When from the Hills you see the Morning rise,                                             30
As fresh as Lansdown’s Cheeks, and bright as Windham’s Eyes.

But when you leave your Books, as all must find
Some Ease requir’d t’indulge the lab’ring Mind;
With such Companions mix, such Friendships make,
As not to choose what you must soon forsake:                                             35
Mark well thy Choice; let Modesty, and Truth,
And constant Industry adorn the Youth.
In Books good Subjects for Discourse are found;
Such be thy Talk when friendly Tea goes round:
Mirth more than Wine the drooping Spirits chears,                                      40
Revives our Hopes, and dissipates our Fears;
From Circe’s Cup, immeasur’d Wine, refrain,
Start backward, and reject th’ untasted Bane.

Perhaps to neighb’ring Shades you now repair,
To look abroad and taste the scented Air:                                                      45
Survey the useful Labours of the Swain,
The tedded Grass, and Sheaves of ripen’d Grain;
The loaded Trees with blushing Apples grac’d,
Or hardy Pears, which scorn the wintry Blast.
Or see the sturdy Hinds from Harvest come,                                                  50
To waste the setting Suns in rural Mirth at Home.
Now on the Banks of silver Cam you stray;
While thro’ the twisted Boughs the Sun-Beams play,
And the clear Stream reflects the trembling Ray.

Think, when you tread the venerable Shade,                                           55
Here Cowley sung, and tuneful Prior play’d.
O! would the Muse thy youthful Breast inspire
With charming Raptures and Poetick Fire!
Then thou might’st sing, (who better claims thy Lays?)
A tributary Strain to Oxford’s Praise:                                                                  60
Thy humble Verse from him shall Fame derive,
And grac’d with Harley’s Name for ever live.
First sing the Man in constant Temper found,
Unmov’d when Fortune smil’d, undaunted when she frown’d.
A Mind above Rewards, serenely great,                                                             65
And equal to the Province of the State:
Thence let thy Muse to private Life descend,
Nor in the Patriot’s Labours lose the Friend.


3 Tyrian Cadmus Greek mythological figure who founded the city of Thebes.  According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Cadmus was also responsible for introducing the Phoenician alphabet to the Greeks. Tollet follows the tradition that Cadmus came from Tyre (Britannica).

9 Tully Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE), Roman statesman and philosopher. Tollet appears to reference Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, Book I of which addresses the immortality of the soul.

11 Axiom “A proposition that commends itself to general acceptance” (OED).

14 antick “Grotesque or fantastic ornamental representation of a person, animal, or thing” (OED).

16 Augusta Ancient Roman name for London.

17 Meads Meadows.

31 Lansdown Mary Granville (nee Villiers) (c. 1668-1735), married George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1666-1735) in 1711; Windham Probably Elizabeth Grenville, (nee Wyndham) (1719-1769), artist and writer, married George Grenville (1712-1770) in 1749.

37 Industry “Intelligent or clever working; skill, ingenuity, or cleverness in the execution of anything” (OED).

42 Circe’s Cup “In Greek and Latin mythology the name of an enchantress who dwelt in the island of Aea, and transformed all who drank of her cup into swine; often used allusively” (OED).

44 repair “To return to or from a specified place” (OED).

46 Swain A shepherd figure in pastoral poetry.

50 Hinds “Agricultural labourers” (OED).

52 Cam The town of Cambridge lies on the River Cam (Britannica).

56 Cowley Abraham Cowley, (1618-1667), poet and essayist “who wrote poetry of a fanciful, decorous nature,”; Prior Matthew Prior, 1664–1721, English poet and diplomat (Britannica). Cowley and Prior attended Cambridge colleges, St. John’s and Trinity College respectively.

60, 62 Oxford…Harley Both references are to Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford, (1661-1724, London), “British statesman who headed the Tory ministry from 1710 to 1714” (Britannica).

SOURCE: Poems On Several Occasions with Anne Boleyn to King Henry VIII An Epistle, Second Edition (London, 1760), pp. 25-27. [Google Books]

 Edited by Gabriela Torres