To Her Who Deserves It
Addressed, and Inscribed to Miss V · · · · · ·
“No envy mingles with my praise,
Though could my heart repine;
At any Poet’s happier lays,
It would,—it must at Thine!”
Round the cloud-kissing margin of Helicon’s spring,
To the lute of Apollo the Graces were dancing;
But the Muses had quarrell’d, and now to their King,
To beg his decision, their steps were advancing,
Yet deem not, that theirs was that contest of hate,
Which sours with its passions all mortal debate;—
No!—Harmony e’en from their discord arose,
And when friends thus dispute, they can never be foes!
—But now for the cause,—To a daughter of earth,
Whom Science, and Poetry, blest at her birth,
The Sisters had given so much of their art,
And so much with their protegée’s skill were delighted;
That, while each wish’d to rule unrestrain’d in her heart,
They all were averse to sway o’er it united.
Cried Thalia, “She’s mine!—every trace of her pen
Has shewn it already, will prove it again,—
Lampidosa’s wild Legends, all genius, are glowing
With wit, like our Helicon’s rill, ever flowing;
Not dismal, and sad, like a Melo-drame, darkling!
But lively and bright, with my gaiety sparkling,—
While Humanity’s pleasures proclaim in each line,
That their Authoress must be a pupil of mine!”
With an air somewhat proud,—like a Goddess when vext,
Stern Melpomené spoke, and her claim advanced next;
To her Sister she said, “Flirting trifler! away,—
Shall the mind which I’ve form’d for all hearts to admire;
Yield its powers to the fancies of thy fickle sway,
And be ruled by the whims of the laughing Thalia?
Forbid it, those feelings inspired by her lay,
When the Rosebud of Britain had faded away!
When the Bride’s Dirge of death round the Green Island floated,
And its voice o’er the Silver Sea,—woe had denoted!—
Like my Byron she thrills every nerve of the soul,
Terror, pity, and love, own her magic controul,
And spell-bound by me, with dark Tragedy’s zone,
The strains of fair Anna, are strains of my own!”
’Twould be useless to tell, all the con’s, and the pro’s,
And the pleadings, which long before Phœbus arose,
How Clio,—Euterpé—Calliopé, join’d
To establish their claims to the realm of her mind,
Till at length, said Apollo,—“Let jarring no more,
Be heard from those lips, which all Music should be;
But soften your glances, and peace to restore,
Attend my decision, and mark my decree.
To none but to me can your Anna belong,
Who dare claim without rival, this votary of song?
When, e'en by yourselves it is own’d, that Earth’s daughter
Excells all alike, in the arts ye have taught her;—
No more then, betwixt ye, her talents shall lay,
She must be your equal,—the Muse of her day!
And, trust me, her genius your own will advance,
For all gifts shall unite, in—The Muse of Romance!”
Thursday, Sept. 24, 1818