Mary Masters, “To Clemene”


“To Clemene”

To the same, early in the Spring, occasioned by
her taking a journey, and my retiring into
the Country soon after.

Wheree’er I go, or whatsoe’er I do,
How pleasing ’tis to tell it all to you!
Hear then, auspicious Mistress of my Theme,
What now I dictate by a purling Stream.
The Grief, by your Departure first imprest,                                            5
Encreasing grew a Burden at my Breast:
Depriv’d of you, I sought no new Delight,
Nothing could please but Solitude and Night:
These suited best my melancholy Mind,
Which no Redress in length of time could find:                                     10
Pensive and sad, in secret still I griev’d,
Till soothing Scenes my anxious Pain reliev’d.

By a kind Friend oft courted, I repair
To breathe the Fragrance of the Country Air:
Here oft in Silence by myself I rove,                                                         15
In Paths perplex’d thro’ all the naked Grove,
Yet find a Pleasure in the sylvan Scene,
Void as it is of ornamental Green.
The Primrose oft I see, scented and pale
Adorn the rising Hill, or sinking Vale:                                                        20
Near it (for Nature stains with various Dies)
The Violet does in purple Odours rise,
Which with descending Hand I strait arrest,
Pluck the young Flow’rs, and plant them in my Breast:
And then reflect, were my CLEMENE here,                                              25
How soon would I the Vernal Pride transfer?
Pleas’d, if I could the early Buds convey
To Thee more sweet, to Thee more fair than they.
The Charms of Nature, wheresoe’er I go,
In lovely Negligence her Beauties show.                                                   30
A Flood transparent in Meanders glides,
The silver Swan upon its Surface slides.
Within its Current sports the scaly Breed,
And on its Bank up shoots the bending Reed:
Around, the verd’rous Meads extended lye,                                            35
And with new Graces catch my wand’ring Eye.

Sometimes I mark th’ Inclosures wooded Rows,
Whose swelling Banks luxurious growth disclose:
And on their sloping sides display to view,
A thousand Shrubs of diff’rent size and hue.                                            40
A Mind contemplative has Joy in these,
Whose various Figures can so justly please.
For while I view the Products of the Spring,
I find a GOD in the minutest Thing.
I grow inspir’d, and hardly can restrain                                                      45
The struggling Muse, that would begin again,
Prompts me again to view the Wonders round,
The genial Springs and ornamented Ground.
Bids me behold but with astonish’d Eyes
The bright Expansion of the vaulted Skies;                                               50
The radiant Planet, that enkindles Day,
And warms the World with his benignant Ray:
From Causes numberless I might explore
The CAUSE SUPREME, and as I write, adore.

Oh! had I Time and Judgment to indite,                                             55
The pious Muse should not in vain excite:
Her noble Dictates gladly I’d rehearse,
And dress my Theme in the sublimest Verse,
Expatiate on the Miracles I see,
And dedicate the finish’d Piece to Thee.                                                   60


 Title  Clemene  Although “Clemene” has not been identified, this name appears, either in title or text or both, in at least nine of Masters’ poems in this volume, which suggests that Clemene must have been an important friend.

10  Redress  “A remedy for or relief from troubles or loss” (now obsolete) (OED).

13  repair  “To return to or from a specified place or person; to come back again” (OED).

33  scaly Breed  Fish.

35  verd’rous Meads  Green fields.

44  I find a GOD in the minutest Thing  Possibly an allusion to Ephesians 4:6: “God…who is over all and through all and in all.”

54  The CAUSE SUPREME  An indirect allusion to God.

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 34-38.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Tyrone C. Ellingberg

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