“To Aurelia, on her attempting to write Verses.”
Long had Aurelia vainly stove
To write in melting strains of Love;
Ambitious of a Poet’s Name,
She wept, she sigh’d, she long’d for Fame;
While of the great Design possest 5
She thus the Delian God addrest:
Brightest of heavenly Powers above,
Immortal Son of thund’ring Jove;
Oh glorious Deity impart
To me the soft poetic Art; 10
Vouchsafe to me thy sacred Fire,
And with thyself my Soul inspire.
She Spake — the God indulgent hears
The beauteous Maid, and grants her Prayers.
On Clio turns his radiant Eyes, 15
And to the tuneful Goddess cries,
Fly hence to fair Aurelia’s Aid,
In heavenly Strains instruct the Maid:
The Muse obeys the God’s Commands
With Joy, and swift as Thought descends, 20
And at Aurelia’s Side attends.
Conscious of her new Power, the Maid
With Thanks the glorious Gift repay’d:
Now Waller’s Sweetness, Granville’s fire,
At once her tuneful Breast inspire: 25
No more she vainly strives to please,
The ready Numbers flow with ease:
All soft, harmonious and divine;
Apollo shines in every Line.
The Delian God with Rapture fill’d 30
Upon his lovely Pupil smil’d.
Daphne, his once-lov’d charming Care,
Appear’d to him not half so fair:
For the lost Nymph he mourns no more;
Nor in his Songs her Loss deplore; 35
But from the slighted Tree he tears
It’s Leaves, to deck Aurelia’s Hairs.
A Poet now by all she’s own’d,
And with immortal Honour crown’d.
6 Delian God Apollo.
8 Jove Jupiter, also known as Jove, is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. He is also remembered as Zeus, his name among the Greeks (New World Encyclopedia).
11 Vouchsafe “To give or grant something to someone in a gracious or condescending manner” (OED).
15 Clio The muse of history.
24 Waller’s Sweetness Edmund Waller (1606-1687), poet and politician, known in the period for his panegyric verse and “sweet” lyric poetry (Britannica); Granville’s fire George Granville, Baron Lansdowne (1666-1735), poet, playwright, and politician, a poetic imitator of Waller, but also known for his fiery political speeches (Britannica).
29 Apollo In this context, the god of song and poetry.
30 Rapture “A state, condition or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).
32 Daphne In Greek mythology, to escape Apollo’s pursuit, Daphne was turned into a bay laurel tree, whose leaves formed into a garland symbolize poetic excellence (Brittanica).
Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1747), pp. 28-30. [Google Books]
Edited by Astrid Regalado Sibrian