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When eve, her dewy star beneath,
Thy balmy spirit loves to breathe,
And every storm is laid;
If such an hour was e'er thy choice,
Oft let me hear thy soothing voice
Low whispering through the shade.

Washing Day.

The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come, then, domestic Muse,
In slip-shod measure loosely prattling on,
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or droning flies, or shoes lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face-
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded washing day.
Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,
With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day
Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on
Too soon; for to that day nor peace belongs,
Nor comfort; ere the first gray streak of dawn,
The red-armed washers come and chase repose.
Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,
Ere visited that day; the very cat,
From the wet kitchen scared, and reeking hearth,
Visits the parlour, an unwonted guest.
The silent breakfast meal is soon despatched,
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the louring sky, if sky should lour.

From that last evil, oh preserve us, heavens !
For should the skies pour down, adieu to all
Remains of quiet; then expect to hear
Of sad disasters-dirt and gravel stains
Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once
Snapped short, and linen horse by dog thrown down,
And all the petty miseries of life.

But grant the welkin fair, require not thou
Who call'st thyself, perchance, the master there,
Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat,

Or usual 'tendance; ask not, indiscreet,
Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents
Gape wide as Erebus; nor hope to find
Some snug recess impervious. Should'st thou try
The 'customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue
The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs,
Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight
Of coarse-checked apron, with impatient hand
Twitched off when showers impend; or crossing lines
Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet
Flaps in thy face abrupt. Wo to the friend
Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim
On such a day the hospitable rites;
Looks blank at best, and stinted courtesy
Shall he receive; vainly he feeds his hopes
With dinner of roast chicken, savoury pie,
Or tart or pudding; pudding he nor tart
That day shall eat; nor, though the husband try-
Mending what can't be helped-to kindle mirth
From cheer deficient, shall his consort's brow
Clear up propitious; the unlucky guest
In silence dines, and early slinks away.

When butter was forbid; or thrilling tale
Of ghost, or witch, or murder. So I went
And sheltered me beside the parlour fire;
There my dear grandmother, eldest of all forms,
Tended the little ones, and watched from harm;
Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles
With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins
Drawn from her ravelled stocking might have soured
One less indulgent.

At intervals my mother's voice was heard
Urging despatch; briskly the work went on,
All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,
Or fold, and starch, and clap, and iron, and plait.

Several other poetesses of this period are deserving of notice, though their works are now almost faded from remembrance. With much that is delicate in sentiment and feeling, and with considerable powers of poetical fancy and expression, their leading defect is a want of energy or of genuine passion, and of that originality which can alone forcibly arrest the public attention. One of the most conspicuous of these was MISS ANNA SEWARD (1747– 1809), the daughter of the Rev. Mr Seward, canonresidentiary of Lichfield, himself a poet, and one of

Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack, the editors of Beaumont and Fletcher. This lady
And Montezuma smiled on burning coals;
But never yet did housewife notable

Greet with a smile a rainy washing day.

was early trained to a taste for poetry, and, before she was nine years of age, she could repeat the three first books of Paradise Lost. Even at this time, she says, she was charmed with the numbers of Milton. Miss Seward wrote several elegiac poems-an Elegy to the Memory of Captain Cook, a Monody on the Death of Major André, &c.-which, from the popular nature of the subjects, and the animated though inflated style of the composition, enjoyed great celebrity. Darwin complimented her as the inventress of epic elegy;' and she was known by the name of the Swan of Lichfield. A poetical novel, entitled Louisa, was published by Miss Seward in 1782, and passed through several editions. After bandying compli ments with the poets of one generation, Miss Seward engaged Sir Walter Scott in a literary correspondence, and bequeathed to him for publication three volumes of her poetry, which he pronounced execrable. At the same time she left her correspondence to Constable, and that publisher gave to the world six volumes of her letters. Both collections were unsuccessful. The applauses of Miss Seward's early admirers were only calculated to excite ridicule, and the vanity and affectation which were her besetting sins, destroyed equally her poetry and prose. Some of her letters, however, are written with spirit and discrimination. In contrast to Miss Seward was MRS JOHN HUNTER (1742-1821), a retired but highly accomplished lady, sister of Sir Everard Home, and wife of John Hunter, the celebrated


Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope
Usual indulgences; jelly or creams,
Relique of costly suppers, and set by
For me their petted one; or buttered toast,

Then would I sit me down, and ponder much
Why washings were; sometimes through hollow hole
Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft
The floating bubbles; little dreaming then
To see, Montgolfier, thy silken ball

Ride buoyant through the clouds, so near approach
The sports of children and the toils of men.
Earth, air, and sky, and ocean hath its bubbles,
And verse is one of them-this most of all.


I well remember, when a child, the awe
This day struck into me; for then the maids,

I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from surgeon. Having written several copies of verses,

which were extensively circulated, and some songs that even Haydn had married to immortal music, Mrs Hunter was induced, in 1806, to collect her pieces and commit them to the press. In 1802, MRS AMELIA OPIE, whose pathetic and interesting Tales

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are so justly distinguished, published a volume of miscellaneous poems, characterised by a simple and placid tenderness. Her Orphan Boy is one of those touching domestic effusions which at once finds its way to the hearts of all. In the following year a volume of miscellaneous poems was published by MRS ANNE GRANT, widow of the minister of Laggan, in Inverness-shire. Mrs Grant (1754-1838) was author of several able and interesting prose works. She wrote Letters from the Mountains, giving a description of Highland scenery and manners, with which she was conversant from her residence in the country; also Memoirs of an American Lady (1810); and Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders, which appeared in 1811. The writings of this lady display a lively and observant fancy, and considerable powers of landscape painting. They first drew attention to the more striking and romantic features of the Scottish Highlands, afterwards so fertile a theme for the genius of Scott. An Irish poetess, MRS MARY TIGHE (1773-1810), evinced a more passionate and refined imagination than any of her tuneful sisterhood. Her poem of Psyche, founded on the classic fable related by Apuleius, of the loves of Cupid and Psyche, or the allegory of Love and the Soul, is characterised by a graceful voluptuousness and brilliancy of colouring rarely excelled. It is in six cantos, and wants only a little more concentration of style and description to be one of the best poems of the period. Mrs Tighe was daughter of the Rev. W. Blackford, county of Wicklow. Her history seems to be little known, unless to private friends; but her early death, after six years of protracted suffering, has been commemorated by Moore, in his beautiful lyric

When, fair as their young flowers, thy infant frame
To our glad walls a happy inmate came.
O summer morning of unrivalled light!
Fate wrapt thy rising in prophetic white!
June, the bright month, when nature joys to wear
The livery of the gay, consummate year,
Gave that envermiled dayspring all her powers,
Gemmed the light leaves, and glowed upon the flowers;
Bade her plumed nations hail the rosy ray
With warbled orisons from every spray.
Purpureal Tempe, not to thee belong
More poignant fragrance or more jocund song.
Thrice happy day! thy clear auspicious light
Gave future years a tincture of thy white;'
Well may her strains thy votive hymn decree,
Whose sweetest pleasures found their source in thee;
The purest, best that memory explores,
Safe in the past's inviolable stores.
The ardent progress of thy shining hours
Beheld me rove through Lichfield's verdant bowers,
Thoughtless and gay, and volatile and vain,
Circled by nymphs and youths, a frolic train;
Though conscious that a little orphan child
Had to my parents' guidance, kind and mild,
Recent been summoned, when disease and death
Shed dark stagnation o'er her mother's breath.
What not the tears of innocence restore;
While eight sweet infants' wailful cries deplore
And while the husband mourned his widowed doom,
And hung despondent o'er the closing tomb,
To us this loveliest scion he consigned,
Its beauty blossoming, its opening mind.
His heartfelt loss had drawn my April tears,
Find all their griefs as vanishing as keen ;
But childish, womanish, ambiguous years
Youth's rising sun soon gilds the showery scene.
On the expected trust no thought I bent,
Unknown the day, unheeded the event.

'I saw thy form in youthful prime.'

We subjoin some selections from the works of One sister dear, from spleen, from falsehood free, each of the above ladies :

Rose to the verge of womanhood with me;
Gloomed by no envy, by no discord jarred,
Our pleasures blended, and our studies shared ;

And when with day and waking thoughts they closed,

On the same couch our agile limbs reposed.

The Anniversary.

[By Miss Seward.]

Ah, lovely Lichfield! that so long hast shone
In blended charms peculiarly thine own;
Stately, yet rural; through thy choral day,
Though shady, cheerful, and though quiet, gay;
How interesting, how loved, from year to year,
How more than beauteous did thy scenes appear!
Still as the mild Spring chased the wintry gloom,
Devolved her leaves, and waked her rich perfume,
Thou, with thy fields and groves around thee spread,
Lift'st, in unlessened grace, thy spiry head;
But many a loved inhabitant of thine
Sleeps where no vernal sun will ever shine.

Why fled ye all so fast, ye happy hours,
That saw Honora's eyes adorn these bowers?
These darling bowers, that much she loved to hail,
The spires she called the Ladies of the Vale!'
Fairest and best !-Oh! can I e'er forget

To thy dear kindness my eternal debt?

Life's opening paths how tenderly it smoothed,
The joys it heightened, and the pains it soothed?
No, no! my heart its sacred memory bears,
Bright mid the shadows of o'erwhelming years;
When mists of deprivation round me roll,
'Tis the soft sunbeam of my clouded soul.

Ah, dear Honora! that remembered day,
First on these eyes when shone thy early ray!
Scarce o'er my head twice seven gay springs had gone,
Scarce five o'er thy unconscious childhood flown,

1 Honora Sneyd, the object of Major André's attachment, afterwards Mrs Edgeworth, and mother of the distinguished novelist, Maria Edgeworth.

Amply in friendship by her virtues blest,
I gave to youthful gaiety the rest;
Considering not how near the period drew,
When that transplanted branch should meet our view,
Whose intellectual fruits were doomed to rise,
Food of the future's heart-expanding joys;
Born to console me when, by Fate severe,
The Much-Beloved' should press a timeless bier,
My friend, my sister, from my arms be torn,
Sickening and sinking on her bridal morn;
While Hymen, speeding from this mournful domne,
Should drop his darkened torch upon her tomb.
"Twas eve; the sun, in setting glory drest,
Spread his gold skirts along the crimson west;
A Sunday's eve! Honora, bringing thee,
Friendship's soft Sabbath long it rose to me,
When on the wing of circling seasons borne,
Annual I hailed its consecrated morn.

In the kind interchange of mutual thought,
Our home myself, and gentle sister sought;
Our pleasant home,2 round which the ascending gale
Breathes all the freshness of the sloping vale;
On her green verge the spacious walls arise,
View her fair fields, and catch her balmy sighs;
See her near hills the bounded prospect close,
And her blue lake in glassy breadth repose.

To the maternal room we careless walked,
With arms entwined, and smiling as we talked,

1 Miss Sarah Seward, who died in her nineteenth year, and on the eve of marriage.

2 The bishop's palace at Lichfield.

Where sat its honoured mistress, and with smile
Of love indulgent, from a floral pile
The gayest glory of the summer bower
Culled for the new-arrived-the human flower,
A lovely infant-girl, who pensive stood

Close to her knees, and charmed us as we viewed.

O! hast thou marked the summer's budded rose, When 'mid the veiling moss its crimson glows? So bloomed the beauty of that fairy form, So her dark locks, with golden tinges warm, Played round the timid curve of that white neck, And sweetly shaded half her blushing cheek. O! hast thou seen the star of eve on high, Through the soft dusk of summer's balmy sky Shed its green light, and in the glassy stream Eye the mild reflex of its trembling beam? So looked on us with tender, bashful gaze, The destined charmer of our youthful days; Whose soul its native elevation joined To the gay wildness of the infant mind; Esteem and sacred confidence impressed, While our fond arms the beauteous child caressed.


[From Mrs Hunter's Poems.]

The season comes when first we met,
But you return no more;
Why cannot I the days forget,

Which time can ne'er restore?
O days too sweet, too bright to last,
Are you indeed for ever past?
The fleeting shadows of delight,
In memory I trace;

In fancy stop their rapid flight,
And all the past replace:
But, ah! I wake to endless woes,
And tears the fading visions close!

[From the same.]

O tuneful voice! I still deplore

Those accents which, though heard no more,

Still vibrate on my heart;

In echo's cave I long to dwell,
And still would hear the sad farewell,
When we were doomed to part.
Bright eyes, O that the task were mine
To guard the liquid fires that shine,

And round your orbits play;
To watch them with a vestal's care,
And feed with smiles a light so fair,
That it may ne'er decay!

The Death Song, Written for, and Adapted to, an
Original Indian Air.

[From the same.]

The sun sets in night, and the stars shun the day,
But glory remains when their lights fade away.
Begin, you tormentors! your threats are in vain,
For the son of Alknomook will never complain.
Remember the arrows he shot from his bow,
Remember your chiefs by his hatchet laid low.
Why so slow? Do you wait till I shrink from the


No; the son of Alknomook shall never complain.
Remember the wood where in ambush we lay,
And the scalps which we bore from your nation away.
Now the flame rises fast; you exult in my pain;
But the son of Alknomook can never complain.

1 The lustre of the brightest of the stars (says Miss Seward, in a note on her ninety-third sonnet) always appeared to me of a green hue; and they are so described by Ossian.

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'While others laugh and shout with joy?' She kissed me and with such a sigh!

She called me her poor orphan boy.

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[On a Sprig of Heath.] [From Mrs Grant's Poems.]

Flower of the waste! the heath-fowl shuns For thee the brake and tangled woodTo thy protecting shade she runs,

Thy tender buds supply her food; Her young forsake her downy plumes, To rest upon thy opening blooms. Flower of the desert though thou art! The deer that range the mountain free, The graceful doe, the stately hart,

Their food and shelter seek from thee; The bee thy earliest blossom greets, And draws from thee her choicest sweets. Gem of the heath! whose modest bloom Sheds beauty o'er the lonely moor; Though thou dispense no rich perfume, Nor yet with splendid tints allure, Both valour's crest and beauty's bower Oft hast thou decked, a favourite flower. Flower of the wild! whose purple glow Adorns the dusky mountain's side, Not the gay hues of Iris' bow,

Nor garden's artful varied pride, With all its wealth of sweets could cheer, Like thee, the hardy mountaineer. Flower of his heart! thy fragrance mild

Of peace and freedom seem to breathe; To pluck thy blossoms in the wild,

And deck his bonnet with the wreath, Where dwelt of old his rustic sires, Is all his simple wish requires.

A writer in the Edinburgh Review styles this production of Mrs Opie's one of the finest songs in our language.

Flower of his dear-loved native land!

Alas, when distant far more dear! When he from some cold foreign strand, Looks homeward through the blinding tear, How must his aching heart deplore, That home and thee he sees no more!

[The Highland Poor.]

[From Mrs Grant's poem of The Highlander."] Where yonder ridgy mountains bound the scene, The narrow opening glens that intervene Still shelter, in some lowly nook obscure, One poorer than the rest-where all are poor; Some widowed matron, hopeless of relief, Who to her secret breast confines her grief; Dejected sighs the wintry night away, And lonely muses all the summer day: Her gallant sons, who, smit with honour's charms, Pursued the phantom Fame through war's alarms, Return no more; stretched on Hindostan's plain, Or sunk beneath the unfathomable main; In vain her eyes the watery waste explore For heroes-fated to return no more! Let others bless the morning's reddening beam, Foe to her peace-it breaks the illusive dream That, in their prime of manly bloom confest, Restored the long-lost warriors to her breast; And as they strove, with smiles of filial love, Their widowed parent's anguish to remove, Through her small casement broke the intrusive day, And chased the pleasing images away!

No time can e'er her banished joys restore,
For ah a heart once broken heals no more.
The dewy beams that gleam from pity's eye,
The still small voice' of sacred sympathy,
In vain the mourner's sorrows would beguile,
Or steal from weary wo one languid smile;
Yet what they can they do-the scanty store,
So often opened for the wandering poor,
To her each cottager complacent deals,
While the kind glance the melting heart reveals;
And still, when evening streaks the west with gold,
The milky tribute from the lowing fold
With cheerful haste officious children bring,
And every smiling flower that decks the spring:
Ah! little know the fond attentive train,
That spring and flowerets smile for her in vain :
Yet hence they learn to reverence modest wo,
And of their little all a part bestow.

Let those to wealth and proud distinction born,
With the cold glance of insolence and scorn
Regard the suppliant wretch, and harshly grieve
The bleeding heart their bounty would relieve:
Far different these; while from a bounteous heart
With the poor sufferer they divide a part;
Humbly they own that all they have is given
A boon precarious from indulgent Heaven:
And the next blighted crop or frosty spring,
Themselves to equal indigence may bring.

[From Mrs Tighe's 'Psyche.']

[The marriage of Cupid and Psyche in the Palace of Love. Psyche afterwards gazes on Love while asleep, and is banished from the Island of Pleasure.]

She rose, and all enchanted gazed On the rare beauties of the pleasant scene: Conspicuous far, a lofty palace blazed Upon a sloping bank of softest green; A fairer edifice was never seen;

The high-ranged columns own no mortal hand, But seem a temple meet for Beauty's queen; Like polished snow the marble pillars stand, In grace-attempered majesty, sublimely grand.

Gently ascending from a silvery flood, Above the palace rose the shaded hill, The lofty eminence was crowned with wood, And the rich lawns, adorned by nature's skill, The passing breezes with their odours fill; Here ever-blooming groves of orange glow, And here all flowers, which from their leaves distil Ambrosial dew, in sweet succession blow, And trees of matchless size a fragrant shade bestow. The sun looks glorious 'mid a sky serene, And bids bright lustre sparkle o'er the tide ; The clear blue ocean at a distance seen, Bounds the gay landscape on the western side, While closing round it with majestic pride, The lofty rocks mid citron groves arise; 'Sure some divinity must here reside,'

As tranced in some bright vision, Psyche cries, And scarce believes the bliss, or trusts her charmed eyes.

When lo a voice divinely sweet she hears, From unseen lips proceeds the heavenly sound; 'Psyche approach, dismiss thy timid fears, At length his bride thy longing spouse has found, And bids for thee immortal joys abound; For thee the palace rose at his command, For thee his love a bridal banquet crowned; He bids attendant nymphs around thee stand, Prompt every wish to serve-a fond obedient band.' Increasing wonder filled her ravished soul, For now the pompous portals opened wide, There, pausing oft, with timid foot she stole Through halls high-domed, enriched with sculptured pride,

While gay saloons appeared on either side,
In splendid vista opening to her sight;
And all with precious gems so beautified,
And furnished with such exquisite delight,
That scarce the beams of heaven emit such lustre bright.

The amethyst was there of violet hue,
And there the topaz shed its golden ray,
The chrysoberyl, and the sapphire blue
As the clear azure of a sunny day,

Or the mild eyes where amorous glances play; •
The snow-white jasper, and the opal's flame,
The blushing ruby, and the agate gray,

And there the gem which bears his luckless name Whose death, by Phoebus mourned, insured him death

less fame.

There the green emerald, there cornelians glow, And rich carbuncles pour eternal light, With all that India and Peru can show, Or Labrador can give so flaming bright To the charmed mariner's half-dazzled sight: The coral-paved baths with diamonds blaze; And all that can the female heart delight Of fair attire, the last recess displays, And all that luxury can ask, her eye surveys.

Now through the hall melodious music stole, And self-prepared the splendid banquet stands, Self-poured the nectar sparkles in the bowl, The lute and viol, touched by unseen hands, Aid the soft voices of the choral bands; O'er the full board a brighter lustre beams Than Persia's monarch at his feast commands: For sweet refreshment all inviting seems To taste celestial food, and pure ambrosial streams.

But when meek eve hung out her dewy star, And gently veiled with gradual hand the sky, Lo! the bright folding doors retiring far, Display to Psyche's captivated eye All that voluptuous ease could e'er supply To soothe the spirits in serene repose: Beneath the velvet's purple canopy, Divinely formed, a downy couch arose, While alabaster lamps a milky light disclose.

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And now with softest whispers of delight,
Love welcomes Psyche still more fondly dear;
Not unobserved, though hid in deepest night,
The silent anguish of her secret fear.
He thinks that tenderness excites the tear,
By the late image of her parent's grief,
And half offended seeks in vain to cheer;

Yet, while he speaks, her sorrows feel relief,
Too soon more keen to sting from this suspension brief!
Allowed to settle on celestial eyes,

Soft sleep, exulting, now exerts his sway, From Psyche's anxious pillow gladly flies To veil those orbs, whose pure and lambent ray The powers of heaven submissively obey. Trembling and breathless then she softly rose, And seized the lamp, where it obscurely lay, With hand too rashly daring to disclose The sacred veil which hung mysterious o'er her woes. Twice, as with agitated step she went,

The lamp expiring shone with doubtful gleam, As though it warned her from her rash intent: And twice she paused, and on its trembling beam Gazed with suspended breath, while voices seem With murmuring sound along the roof to sigh; As one just waking from a troublous dream, With palpitating heart and straining eye, Still fixed with fear remains, still thinks the danger nigh

Oh, daring Muse! wilt thou indeed essay

To paint the wonders which that lamp could show! And canst thou hope in living words to say The dazzling glories of that heavenly view! Ah! well I ween, that if with pencil true That splendid vision could be well expressed, The fearful awe imprudent Psyche knew Would seize with rapture every wondering breast, When Love's all-potent charms divinely stood confessed.

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