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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey
1 occurrence of Once more, O! ye Muses, from Pindus descend, And bid all the Graces your Footsteps attend, Who oft at Elections are wont to prolong
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A LETTER
  
  
  
  
  
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1 occurrence of Once more, O! ye Muses, from Pindus descend, And bid all the Graces your Footsteps attend, Who oft at Elections are wont to prolong
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109

A LETTER

To Miss Jenny W---d---r, at Bath; from Lady Eliz. M---d---ss, her Friend in the Country;

A young Lady of neither Fashion, Taste, nor Spirit.

Oft I've invok'd th' Aönian quire,
And Phœbus oft in vain,
Like thee, my friend, to tune my lyre,
Like thee to raise my strain:
And when of late I sought their aid
The flow'ry bank beside,
Methought, along the silent glade,
I heard a voice that cry'd,
“Mistaken maid! why idly waste
“Your hours in fruitless toil?
“You ne'er the hallow'd brook can taste,
“Or tread poetic soil:

110

“For since your friend pursues the path
“Where wit and pleasure reigns,
“With her has fled each Muse to Bath,
“From these neglected plains:
“There many a bard's inspir'd with song,
“With epigram and ode;
“And one, the meanest of the throng,
“Takes satire's thorny road;
“For him Bath's injur'd genius now
“The hemlock juice prepares,
“And deadly nightshade o'er his brow
“For laurel wreaths he wears:
“Him, like the Thracian bard, shall curse
“Each nymph, each angry dame;
“Tho' far inferior be his verse,
“His hapless fate the same;
“Torn be the wretch, whose impious strains
“Profan'd their beauty's pride,
“No Muse to gather his remains
“That flow down Avon's tide;

111

“But him shall many a drone pursue
“That hums around the stream;
“Him frantic priests, an insect crew
“That cloud Light's heav'nly beam.
“Then, lest his destiny you share,
“Rash nymph, thy strains give o'er!
“Be warn'd by me, of rhyme beware!”—
The voice was heard no more.
Yet tho' I cease my artless lay,
Nor longer court the Nine,
This faithful tribute will I pay
At friendship's sacred shrine.
Here will I offer incense sweet,
Here light the hallow'd fires:
And oh! with kind acceptance meet
What true regard inspires.
Nor let my friendly verse offend
That poor deluded maid,
Whose faith I ne'er can comprehend,
Or grace in dreams convey'd.

112

May no such grace my thoughts employ,
Nor I with envy view
Those scenes of dissipated joy,
So well describ'd by you!
Think not a parent's harsh decrees
From me those scenes withhold;
His soft request can ne'er displease
Who ne'er my joys control'd,
But pining years opprest with grief
My tender care demand;
The bed of sickness asks relief
From my supporting hand.
Well do I know, how sorrow preys,
E'er since the hour that gave
The partner of his happier days
To seek the silent grave.
In that sad hour my lips she prest,
Bedew'd with many a tear;
And “Take,” she cry'd, “this last bequest,
“A dying mother's pray'r.

113

“O let the maxims I convey
“Sink deep into thy breast,
“When I no more direct thy way,
“Retir'd to endless rest.
“Look on thy aged father's woe!
“'Tis thine to sooth his pain;
“With Grace like this, Religion shew,
“And thus her cause maintain.
“Nor is't enough that Grace displays,
“Or Faith her light divine;
“In all thy works, in all thy ways,
“Let heav'nly Virtue shine:
“Q! may the Fountain of all truth
“Each Perfect Gift impart,
“With Innocence protect thy youth,
“With Hope support thy heart!
“So may'st thou learn thyself to know,
“Of all extremes beware,
“Nor find in age thy cup o'erflow
“With shame, remorse, and care:

114

“Then shall no madmen Light reveal,
“No visionary priest,
“With falsehood, ignorance, and zeal,
“Torment thy peaceful breast:
“Then shall no fears thy soul distress,
Religion's doubts shall cease;
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
“And all her paths are peace.”—
Such were the truths, ere lost in death,
Her parting voice convey'd;
Such may I keep 'till latest breath,
Thou dear lamented shade!—
What tho' no Muse will deign, my friend,
My homely joys to tell;
Tho' Fashion ne'er will condescend
To seek this humble cell;
Yet freedom, peace, and mind serene,
Which modish life disdains,
(Perpetual sweets!) enrich the scene
Where conscious virtue reigns:

115

Blest scenes! such unrepented joys,
Such true delights ye give,
Remote from fashion, vice, and noise,
Contented let me live.
Eliz. Modeless.
 

Miss Prudence B---nd---rh---d.