Tag Archives: iambic tetrameter

Susanna Blamire, “Hope”

SUSANNA BLAMIRE

 “Hope”

 

SEE, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending!
“Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles;”
Fancies light that tread on air,                                                                          5
Building fairy castles there;
Aeolus his harp new stringing,
Tuning to the breezes singing;
Zeph’rus sweeping softest chords;
Fancy setting airs to words;                                                                              10
Words that seem another sound,
And lighter than a breath are found.
Here Morpheus comes, a wandering guest,
By plaintive murmurs lull’d to rest;
Round him painted vapours stream,                                                              15
Weaving soft the chequer’d dream,
Which on silken wings they spread,
Shaking o’er his drowsy head;
Subtile fumes waft round the brain,
And fan these joys so light and vain,                                                               20
Which soft slumber loves to dress
In long robes of happiness.
See where come the dancing Hours,
Sprinkling Hope’s gay path with flowers;
“Thyme that loves the brown hill’s side,”                                                        25
Heath in lasting colours dyed;
Feathery sprays that softly blow,
And load the sweet gales as they go
Unheeded,—though the scented air
Fragrance steals we know not where.                                                             30
Sweet Hope! lightly dost thou tread,
Bending not the weak flower’s head;
Watching every changeful scene,
Sliding gilded shows between
Where new prospects open still,                                                                     35
Rising fair behind the hill.
‘Tis true stern Reason scorns thy sway,
Nor basks beneath thy sunny ray;
Nor hears thy accents clear and sweet,
Where sprightly airs and softness meet,                                                        40
Mixing with harmonic chords,
Pouring melody on words.
Nor will his fix’d eye deign to glance
On the mirthful mazy dance,
When the Hours, all hand in hand,                                                                  45
Link with thee, a jocund band;
When thy white robes float on air,
Catching rays that tremble there,
Tinted with the varying beam,
Ending in prismatic stream.                                                                              50
On thy head a wreath of flowers
Nods in time to dancing Hours,
Feathery-footed, trim, and light,
Flitting round from morn till night;
From morn till night, thou gaily leads                                                              55
Through dark green woods and painted meads,
With rose-ting’d cheeks, and clear blue eye
Looking through another sky,
Till we reach th’ enamell’d lawn
Round which a river journeys on,                                                                    60
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to,
While here and there an ashling weaves                                                        65
Verdant knots of summer leaves.
Now we reach thy mansion high,
Spiral turrets climb the sky,
Gilding clouds of varied light,
Changing underneath the sight.                                                                       70
See what crowds surround the gate,
See what Expectations wait;
And, running out, surround their queen,
Ask all at once where she has been ;
And if the promis’d Hours were found                                                           75
With Elysian garlands crown’d;
Or if yet she’d leave to tell
Where true Happiness would dwell;
Or yet had seen the promis’d Day
When Expectation, grave or gay,                                                                     80
In happy, blissful bands should be
United into Certainty.
She sweetly smil’d, and wav’d her hand,
At which a specious flattering band
(Quick through the ear their credence reaches)                                            85
Bow’d round, —and, full of soothing speeches
Declar’d the Hours would soon appear;
Then, whispering softly in the ear,
Taught smiles along the cheek to glow,
As if those Hours they well did know.                                                              90
Ye Promises! ye Flatterers vain!
That dress out Hope and varnish Pain,
And make the dullest things appear
Of shining surface, smooth and clear;
Handing the cup to Hope’s sweet lip,                                                               95
Of which we guests so fondly sip,
While seeing all the bottom shine,
Ne’er think there’s poison in the wine:—
Dark Lethe’s cup each grief subdues,
That used on former joys to muse;                                                                  100
For to Hope’s enchanted dome
Dreaded Ills dare never come;
Not one mask’d Sorrow can you see
In all her court of revelry: —
What though ye pull the careless sleeve,                                                       105
And would tempt us to believe
These noon-joys are waning fast,
Form’d only for an hour to last;
Hence, miscreants!—let me, while I may,
Enjoy the gewgaws of my day.                                                                         110
Descend, sweet Hope, from thy bright throne
Glittering with each precious stone,—
Rubies red, and sapphires blue,
Amethysts of purple hue,
Topazes of sun-like blaze,                                                                                 115
And diamonds with their thousand rays;
Descend! and mount yon hill with me,
There let me opening prospects see,
Which, step by step, shall fairer grow
The while as fades this scene below.                                                               120
Forests of immortal oak;
Rocks by tumbling torrents broke;
“Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Verdant meads, with daisies pied;”
Distant cities, large and proud;                                                                         125
Mountains dim, that seem a cloud;
Castles high, that live on hills;
Little cots, that seek the rills;
Upland grounds, where flocks are seen
Mixing white with darkest green;                                                                     130
What! though painted on the air,
Still they look serene and fair.
Though my foot be left to tread
Barren heaths with brambles spread,
Yet if thou check one falling tear,                                                                     135
Or bathe the eye till it grow clear,
I’ll freely pardon all thy wiles,
And fancy good in all thy smiles;
Still pleas’d to find the ills we dread
Thy fairy wing can overspread;                                                                        140
And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see!
For happy they who doubt not thee.

NOTES:

3 Quips, and cranks “A sharp, sarcastic, or cutting remark, esp. one cleverly or wittily phrased” (OED).

3-4 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 27-28.

7 Aeolus  Greek keeper of the winds, and king of the island of Aeolia.  His musical instrument was a harp played by the winds instead of human hands (OED).

9 Zeph’rus Greek god of the West Wind (OED).

13 Morpheus Greek god associated with sleep and dreams; in Ovid’s Metamorphosis he is the son of Sleep (OED).

19 Subtile Variant spelling of “subtle” (OED).

25 A variant quotation from John Langhorne’s “Owen of Carron:” “With thyme that loves the brown hill’s breast,” l. 105 (The Poetical Works of J. Langhorne, D. D. with the Life of the Author [London, (1789?) ], p. 104).

44 mazy “Giddy, dizzy, confused” (OED).

46 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

50 prismatic “Brightly colored, colorful, brilliant” (OED).

56 painted meads Meadows, bright and picturesque (OED).

62 Gothic “Belonging to, or characteristic of, the Middle Ages; mediæval, ‘romantic’, as opposed to classical. A style of architecture”; Chinese From Chinoiserie, “a Western decorative style, popular in the 18th century, that drew from Chinese forms, motifs and sometimes techniques,” and which was part of a trend of Orientalist architecture (OED).

65 ashling A young ash tree (OED).

76 Elysian “Relating to Elysium, an imagined, idyllic place often identified with Pastoral poetry; indicates Pastoral qualities” (OED).

99 Dark Lethe’s cup  “In Greek mythology Lethe is a river within Hades, whose water, when drunk, produces forgetfulness” (OED).

110 gewgaws  “A gaudy trifle, plaything, or ornament, a pretty thing of little value, a toy or bauble” (OED).

118 prospects “The view (of a landscape, etc.) afforded by a particular location or position; a vista; an extensive or commanding range of sight” (OED).

123-124 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 75-76.

124 with daisies pied Daisies multiplied.

128 Little cots A small house, a little cottage, now chiefly poetical, and connoting smallness and humbleness; rills A small stream, a rivulet, or a brook (OED).

SOURCE: The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire (Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 148-153. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Emily Nicol

Anonymous, “Reasons against deifying the Fair Sex”

 

ANONYMOUS

 “Reasons against deifying the Fair Sex.”
By another Hand.

Madam, I own I was so smit
What with your Beauty and your Wit,
That I began, which very odd is,
To think of making you a Goddess;
I talk’d of building you a Temple,                                       5
And off’ring up for an Ensample,
My own dear Heart in low Prostration,
With all the Cant of Adoration.
But thinking closely on the Matter,
I’ve since concluded, ‘twoud be better                            10
You’d be above such Vanity,
And keep to your Humanity.

For first, if you a Goddess be,
What will become of Mortal Me?
Cloath’d in your Majesty Divine,                                       15
I tremble to approach your Shrine.
At awful distance, lo ! I stand
With quiv’ring Lip and shaking Hand;
Or beg, on bended Knee, to greet
With humble Kiss your heav’nly Feet.                              20
For VENUS can’t descend to any
So low as romping like—Miss NANNY.

Again, consider, shou’d you rise
To the high rank of Deities;
You cannot long support your Reign,                                25
Nor long your Goddess-ship maintain:
For you must know, Deification
Is brought to pass by Incantation;
By Words of elevating Sound,
From Lips of Lover on the Ground                                     30
Utter’d in Raptures; Flames and Darts,
Altars, Worship, bleeding Hearts,
Sun, Venus, Quintessence of Worth,
Extasies, Heav’n, and so forth.
Now when you condescend to wed,                                  35
And take the Mortal to your Bed,
One Moon has scarce her Period crown’d;
Ere the rude Creature turns him round,
And with familiar Airs of Spouse,
(Reverse of what he wont to use)                                        40
Treats you like one of this our Earth:
You, conscious of Your heav’nly Birth,
Th’ irreverent Liberty disdain,
And tell the Wretch “He turns prophane;
At this th’ audacious Thing grows hot,                                45
Calls you Chit, Woman, and what not?
Mumbling, in direful retribution,
Some other Forms of Diminution
Malign; your Glories vanish quick,
Olympus turns to house of Brick.                                          50
Instead of Cupids and the Graces,
Plain earthly Betty takes their places:
Your Altars (which who won’t recoil at?)
Change to Tea-table or a Toilet:
The Goddess sinks to Flesh and Blood;                               55
While Husband in the cooing Mood,
Gives you a Buss, nor cares who sees it,
And fondly cries, “My Dear how is it?

Thus, Madam, not to keep you longer,
(For I can urge no Reasons stronger)                                    60
You plainly see, it is not fitting,
That you among the stars be sitting.
Wherefore, I think, you won’t desire
To leave our Species for a higher.
But be content, with what’s your due,                                   65
And what your Rivals think so too;
That, for soft Charms and Sense refin’d,
You shine the Pride of Woman kind.

NOTES:

Subtitle Unable to trace.

1 smit a poetic construction for “smitten”.

6 Ensample “An illustrative instance” (OED).

8 Cant “The special phraseology of a particular class of persons, or belonging to a particular subject; professional or technical jargon (Always depreciative or contemptuous)” (OED).

21 VENUS “The ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love (esp. sensual love), or the corresponding Greek goddess Aphrodite” (OED).

46 Chit “A person considered as no better than a child. ‘Generally used of young persons in contempt’ (Johnson); now, mostly of a girl or young woman” (OED).

50 Olympus “More fully Mount Olympus. The home of the greater gods and goddesses in ancient Greek mythology, traditionally identified with a mountain in northern Thessaly at the eastern end of the range dividing the Greek regions of Thessaly and Macedonia. Also in extended use: the home of the gods; heaven” (OED).

51 Cupids “Cupid, ancient Roman god of love in all its varieties, the counterpart of the Greek god Eros and the equivalent of Amor in Latin poetry”; Graces “Frequently the Graces were taken as goddesses of charm or beauty in general and hence were associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

52 Betty “A female pet name or familiar name, once fashionable (as in Lady Betty), but now chiefly rustic or homely” (OED).

57 Buss “A kiss, esp. a loud or vigorous one” (OED).

Source: Mary Masters, Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 206-10. [Google Books]

Edited by Lauren Cirina