Tag Archives: Charlotte Lennox

Charlotte Lennox, “The Rival Nymphs. A Tale”

[CHARLOTTE LENNOX]

 “The Rival Nymphs. A Tale.”

 

Clarissa blest with ev’ry Grace,
A Shape divine, and charming Face,
Had triumph’d long o’er many a Swain,
And oft’ been woo’d, but woo’d in vain;
Not so Amanda, blooming Youth,                                                  5
Soft Innocence, and artless Truth,
Were all the Beauties she cou’d boast,
Not form’d by Nature for a Toast;
Yet some there were, who in her Mind
A thousand nameless Charms cou’d find:                                    10
She lov’d not Visits, Park, or Play,
But mop’d, and read her Time away;
Insensible to a Degree,
Her Heart was all her own, and free;
Yet oft of Love’s soft pleasing Pains,                                             15
The Nymph wou’d write in melting Strains.
The lambent Flame that warm’d her Breast,
Each tender flowing Line confess’d;
Moneses, whose enchanting Form
Was one continu’d endless Charm:                                               20
To whom indulgent Heav’n had join’d,
All that cou’d beautify a Mind;
Had often own’d bright Beauty’s Power,
Had sigh’d and lov’d — for half an Hour.
But yet the lovely Youth confess’d,                                               25
Whoe’er could wound his destin’d Breast,
Her Charms must over Time prevail,
Her Wit must please when Beauty fail’d;
Yet since he cou’d not hope to find,
One blest with all those Charms of Mind;                                    30
He thought Clarissa worth his Care,
And all the Hours he had to spare;
Soft Vows, and tender speaking Eyes,
Pleading Looks, and melting Sighs;
Make the believing Maid approve                                                  35
His false, but well dissembled Love.
But while Clarissa’s Charms he own’d,
He with a secret Passion burn’d.
Amanda found the Way to win
His Heart, and let her Image in;                                                      40
His Pain the lovely Youth conceals,
All but what his Eyes reveals:
His Eyes, that all his Passion tell,
And speak the Love he felt so well.

Amanda heard the Youth complain,                                        45
She heard and felt an equal Flame;
But still with native Shyness arm’d,
She shuns the lovely Swain she charm’d;
His Looks, his Sighs, his Actions move,
And in soft Language plead for Love.                                             50

Clarissa still exults, and cries,
He’s yet a Victim to my Eyes;
He neither will, nor can be free;
Me he still loves, and only Me:
Ah! cease to claim my charming Prize;                                            55
Amanda, to the Fair replies,
Cou’d I, Clarissa, cou’d I boast,
The Hearts that to thy Charms are lost,
With Joy I wou’d them all resign,
To keep my lov’d Moneses mine.                                                        60

In vain the Nymph declares her Flame,
Clarissa still asserts her Claim;
And ‘till the lov’d Moneses owns,
The conqu’ring Maid for whom he burns;
‘Till he’ll the happy Fair unfold,                                                           65
The Sequel must remain untold.

NOTES:

 Title Nymphs “Any of a class of semi-divine spirits, imagined as taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc., and often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a particular god” (OED).

3 Swain In pastoral poetry, synonymous with a young shepherd.

 17 lambent “Of a flame (fire, light): playing lightly upon or gliding over a surface without burning it, like a ‘tongue of fire’; shining with a soft clear light and without fierce heat” (OED).

 19 Moneses Here a masculine pastoral name, the object of Amanda and Clarissa’s desire.

35 Maid A virgin (OED).

54 loves Corrected from “love’s,” a printer’s error.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp. 7-11. [Google Books]

 Edited by Sydney Brunner

Charlotte Lennox, “A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

CHARLOTTE LENNOX

“A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

 

OH! tell me, thou who all my Soul inspires,
Source of my Joys, and Partner of my Fires,
By what clear Stream, or nigh what flow’ry Mead
Thy tender Flocks with wanton Pleasure feed:
Where does my Dear, my lovely Wand’rer stray;                                       5
Tell me, and guide my weary Steps that Way.

In vain I trace the Plains, each winding Grove;
No Swain directs me to my absent Love:
Close in the Covert of some Shade he lyes;
Some envious Shade conceals him from my Eyes:                                    10
Bear then my soft Complainings to his Ear;
Ye whis’pring Winds, let him my Accents hear;
The well-known Sounds will wake the lingering Swain,
And bring him panting to my Arms again.

Alas! not yet my cruel Love returns:                                                        15
I rave; my Breast with jealous Fury burns:
Cold Tremblings seize on ev’ry vital Part;
The Blood runs freezing to my panting Heart;
Dim Shadows swim before my closing Sight,
And my griev’d Soul prepares to take its Flight.                                            20

Hark; what sweet Accents breaks the ambient Air;
Sure ’tis my Love’s melodious Voice I hear:
Now to my Arms my charming Shepherd flies;
Heaven to my Arms, and Transport to my Eyes,
Oh! on thy panting Breast let me recline,                                                      25
And let thy folding Arms around me twine;
With Vows of Love my anxious Fears controul,
And whisper Ease to my distracted Soul.

Arise, my Love, the Enslaver cries,
My beauteous Maid, my lovely Fair, arise;                                                     30
For lo, the Rain is o’er, the Winter’s past,
And balmy Sweets perfume the southern Blast,
Like thee, all Nature smiles; the Fields around,
Are with a new returning Verdure crown’d:
Hark what sweet Musick fills the vocal Grove;                                               35
Each feather’d Songster tunes its Notes to Love:
What Odours do these op’ning Buds exhale,
Yet cannot o’er thy greater Sweets prevail,
Or their enchanting Beauties thine excell.
That Lilly shines but with a borrow’d Grace,                                                  40
And Roses blush to emulate thy Face;
Nor can the Violet’s admired Dye
Match the bright Azure of thy shining Eye;
See where you tread, fresh blooming Flowers arise,
New Charms appear where’er you turn your Eyes;                                       45
For thee the Streams in softer Murmurs flow;
For thee sweet Airs the whisp’ring Zephirs blow;
For thee the Cedars form a grateful Shade,
And brighter Colours paint th’ enamell’d Mead:
Oh! come then thro’ these sweet Meanders stray;                                         50
Arise, my Love; my fair One, come away.

Yes, dearest Object of my soft Desire,
Thou sweet Inspirer of my endless Fire;
With thee I’ll trace the Groves, each winding Mead,
And follow where thy charming Footsteps lead:                                            55
Yet let me view thee; on that lovely Face
Let me with fond extatic Rapture gaze;
Let thy Voice charm me with its Magick Sound,
And my fond Soul with thrilling Pleasure wound;
For sweet’s thy Beauties to my ravish’d Sight,                                                60
And thy dear Voice my list’ning Ears delight.

See on that Couch, with Nature’s Bounties spread,
At Ease reclin’d, my lovely Shepherd’s laid:
What Beauties in that smiling Form appear;
How soft, how mild, how more than heavenly fair.                                        65
Ye tender Virgins, awful Silence keep;
Ye sighing Gales prolong his balmy Sleep:
Thou sleep’st, my Love; but still thy waking Heart
Bears in my soft Inquietudes a Part.
My Image every present with thee seems,                                                        70
Haunts all thy Slumbers, and informs thy Dreams,
In ev’ry Wish, in ev’ry Thought I’m thine;
And oh! be thou for ever, ever mine.

Behold, he wakes, and here with Transport flies;
What streaming Glories sparkle from his Eyes:                                                75
Oh, turn them from me, hide their beauteous Beams;
The Sun with less refulgent Brightness gleams:
Do not such sweet, such magick Rays dispence,
Like pow’rful Sweets they overcome my Sense;
Oh, set me, as a Seal upon thy Heart,                                                                80
Mark’d for my own, I claim the smallest Part;
Shou’dst Thou (but sure the wounding Thought is vain)
For any other lovely Maid complain;
Take from me, Heav’n, the fleeting Breath you gave,
For Love’s as strong as Death, and pow’rful as the Grave.                              85

NOTES:

Title Song of Solomon A Biblical reference; “This book has no theology — it is devoted instead to a single subject, the love and passion between woman and man” (Carl W. Ernest, Interpreting the Songs of Songs: The Paradox of Spiritual and Sensual Love,” UNC Chapel Hill (http://www.unc.edu/%7Ecernst/sosintro.htm).

4 wanton Undisciplined, ungoverned; unmanageable, rebellious” (OED).

8 Swain “A country gallant or lover; a lover, wooer, sweetheart, esp. in pastoral poetry” (OED).

21 Hark “To give ear or listen to; to hearken to, hear with active attention” (OED).

34 Verdure “The fresh green colour characteristic of flourishing vegetation; greenness, viridity” (OED).

47 Zephirs “A soft mild gentle wind or breeze” (OED).

49 Meanders “To follow a winding course” (OED).

57 Rapture “A state, condition, or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).

67 Gales “A gentle breeze” (OED).

69 Inquietudes “The fact or condition of being inquieted or having one’s quiet disturbed; disturbance” (OED).

77 refulgent “Shining with, or reflecting, a brilliant light; radiant, resplendent; gleaming, lustrous” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp.1-6. [Google Books]

Edited by Sydney Brunner

[Charlotte Lennox], “A Song”

                                 [CHARLOTTE LENNOX]

                                         “A Song”

I.

In Vain I strive with Female Art,
To hide the Motions of my Heart;
My Eyes my secret Flame declare,
And Damon reads his Triumph there.

II.

When from his fond, his ardent Gaze,                             5
With Frowns I turn aside my Face;
My Cheeks with conscious Blushes glow,
And all my Soul’s Disorder show.

III.

Or when with seeming Scorn I hear
The Youth his tender vows prefer;                                    10
From my fond Breast reluctant steals
A sign, and all the Truth reveal.

IV.

Oh, Love, all-powerful  o’er the Mind,
Art thou, to rigid rules confin’d?
And must the heart that owns thy sway,                          15
That Tyrant Customs Laws obey?

V.

Oh! let me break the cruel Chain,
And freely own my tender Pain:
By harsh Restraint no longer sway’d,
Confirm whate’er my Eyes have said.                                 20

NOTES:

 1 Female Art Artifice; “the action of an artificer; the making of something by art or skill (OED).

4 Damon A male figure from Greek mythology that represents a good friend, mate, or cherub (Johnson).

16 Tyrant Customs Laws Laws that are based on traditional, or customary practice; habitual behavior. Often personified by women poets in this period as a “tyrant” because oppressive to women generally.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1747), pp. 56-60. [Google Books]

Edited by Larica Fantasia Jacko

[Charlotte Lennox], “The Language of the Eyes to Lady J—- F—-“

[CHARLOTTE LENNOX]

“THE LANGUAGE of the EYES to LADY J—– F——”

I.

IF forc’d by Tyrant Custom, we
The Anguish of our Souls conceal,
Our Eyes yet boast their Liberty;
Let them the tender Truths reveal;
In soft persuasive Glances speak our Grief,                                                                     5
And from that silent Language find Relief.

II.

Those sweet Betrayers of the Mind,
Can always lend their welcome Aid,
The Thoughts by harsh Restraint confin’d,
By them are all to View betray’d;                                                                                   10
The doubtful War, which Hope and Fear maintain’d,
Are by those charming Orators explain’d.

III.

See Anger in that sparkling Eye,
This in soft Shades of Sorrow drest;
Love, smiling Hope, and tender Joy,                                                                               15
In those inchanting Looks exprest;
The conqu’ring Eyes correct the Lover’s Heart,
And as they Smile or Frown, their Hopes and Fears impart.

IV.

Ye Fair, who strive with Darts to arm,
The languid Beauties of your Eyes,                                                                                 20
Of Isabellas learn to charm,
Like hers the ravish’d Soul surprize ;
Her Mind does all their glorious Beams dispense,
Bright as they are they owe their Rays to Sense.

NOTES:

1 Tyrant Custom Custom, defined as “a habitual or usual practice; common way of acting;…(either of an individual or of a community),” is often personified and blamed for certain forms of gendered oppression in eighteenth-century women’s writing (OED).

14 drest Pre-standardization spelling of “dressed.”

16 inchanting, exprest Pre-standardization spellings of “enchanting” and “expressed.”

20 Darts A word commonly used to refer to the arrows of Cupid, the Roman God of desire and attraction, which caused their targets to fall in love (Britannica.com).

22 Isabellas At age 15 Lennox became companion to Lady Isabella Finch, to whom this volume of poems is dedicated (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady. London: S. Patterson, 1747. pp 26-27. [Google Books]

Edited by Hailey J. Scandrette