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TO THE PIOUS MEMORY OF THE ACCOMPLISHED YOUNG LADY,
EXCELLENT IN THE TWO SISTER-ARTS OF POESY
THOU youngest virgin-daughter of the Skies,
Made in the last promotion of the bless'd;
Whose palms, new pluck'd from Paradise,
In spreading branches more sublimely rise,
Rich with immortal green above the rest:
Whether, adopted to some neighbouring star,
Thou roll'st above us in thy wandering race,
Or, in procession fix'd and regular,
Moved with the heaven's majestic pace;
Or, call'd to more superior bliss,
Thou tread'st, with seraphims, the vast abyss:
Whatever happy region is thy place,
Cease thy celestial song a little space;
Thou wilt have time enough for hymns divine,
Since Heaven's eternal year is thine.
Hear, then, a mortal muse thy praise rehearse
In no ignoble verse;
But such as thy own voice did practise here,
When thy first fruits of poesy were given
To make thyself a welcome inmate there;
While yet a young probationer,
And candidate of Heaven.
If by traduction came thy mind,
Our wonder is the less to find
A soul so charming from a stock so good;
Thy father was transfused into thy blood:
So wert thou born into a tuneful strain,
An early, rich, and inexhausted vein.
But if thy pre-existing soul
Was form'd, at first with myriads more,
It did through all the mighty poets roll,
Who Greek or Latin laurels wore,
And was thatSappho last, which once it was before.
If so, then cease thy flight, O heaven-born mind!
Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore;
Nor can thy soul a fairer mansion find,
Than was the beauteous frame she left behind:
Return to fill or mend the choir of thy celestial kind.
May we presume to say that, at thy birth, [earth?
New joy was sprung in heaven, as well as here on
For sure the milder planets did combine
On thy auspicious horoscope to shine,
And e'en the most malicious were in trine.
Thy brother-angels at thy birth
Strung each his lyre, and tuned it high,
That all the people of the sky
Might know a poetess was born on earth;
And then, if ever, mortal ears
Had heard the music of the spheres.
And if no clustering swarm of bees
On thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew,
"Twas that such vulgar miracles
Heaven had not leisure to renew:
For all thy bless'd fraternity of love
Solemnized there thy birth, and kept thy holiday
O gracious God! how far have we
Profaned thy heavenly gift of poesy!
Made prostitute and profligate the Muse,
Debased to each obscene and impious use,
Whose harmony was first ordain'd above
For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love!
O wretched we! why were we hurried down
This lubrique and adulterate age,
(Nay, added fat pollutions of our own)
To' increase the streaming ordures of the stage?
What can we say to' excuse our second fall?
Let this thy vestal, Heaven, atone for all:
Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd,
Unmix'd with foreign filth, and undefiled;
Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
Art she had none, yet wanted none,
For Nature did that want supply;
So rich in treasures of her own,
She might our boasted stores defy :
Such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
That it seem❜d borrow'd, where 'twas only born.
Her morals, too, were in her bosom bred,
By great examples daily fed,
What in the best of books, her father's life, she
And to be read herself she need not fear;
Each test, and every light, her Muse will bear,
Though Epictetus, with his lamp, were there.
E'en love, for love sometimes her Muse express'd,
Was but a lambent flame which play'd about her
Light as the vapours of a morning-dream; [breast,
So cold herself, while she such warmth express'd,
"Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream.
Born to the spacious empire of the Nine,
One would have thought she should have been con-
To manage well that mighty government; [tent
But what can young ambitious souls confine?
To the next realm she stretch'd her sway,
For Painture near adjoining lay,
A plenteous province, and alluring prey.
A Chamber of Dependencies was framed,
(As conquerors will never want pretence,
When arm'd, to justify the' offence)
And the whole fief, in right of poetry, she claim'd.
The country open lay without defence;
For poets frequent inroads there had made,
And perfectly could represent
The shape, the face, with every lineament, [sway'd;
And all the large domains which the dumb sister
All bow'd beneath her government,
Received in triumph wheresoe'er she went.
Her pencil drew whate'er her soul design'd,
And oft the happy draught surpass'd the image in
The silvan scenes of herds and flocks,
And fruitful plains, and barren rocks,
Of shallow brooks that flow'd so clear,
The bottom did the top appear;
Of deeper too and ampler floods,
Which, as in mirrors, show'd the woods;
Of lofty trees, with sacred shades,
And perspectives of pleasant glades,
Where nymphs of brightest form appear,
And shaggy Satyrs standing near,
Which them at once admire and fear.
The ruins, too, of some majestic piece,
Boasting the power of ancient Rome or Greece,
Whose statues, friezes, columns, broken lie,
And, though defaced, the wonder of the eye;
What Nature, Art, bold Fiction, e'er durst frame,
Her forming hand gave feature to the name.
So strange a concourse ne'er was seen before, But when the peopled Ark the whole creation bore.
The scene then changed, with bold erected look
Our martial King the sight with reverence strook:
For, not content to' express his outward part,
Her hand call'd out the image of his heart:
His warlike mind, his soul devoid of fear,
His high-designing thoughts were figured there,
As when, by magic, ghosts are made appear.
Our phoenix Queen was pourtray'd, too, so bright,
Beauty alone could beauty take so right:
Her dress, her shape, her matchless grace,
Were all observed, as well as heavenly face.
With such a peerless majesty she stands,
As in that day she took the crown from sacred hands;
Before a train of heroines was seen
In beauty foremost, as in rank, the Queen,
Thus nothing to her genius was denied,
But like a ball of fire, the farther thrown,
Still with a greater blaze she shone,
And her bright soul broke out on every side.
What next she had design'd Heaven only knows :
To such immoderate growth her conquest rose,
That Fate alone its progress could oppose.
Now all those charms, that blooming grace,
The well-proportion'd shape, and beauteous face,
Shall never more be seen by mortal eyes;
In earth the much-lamented virgin lies.
Not wit, nor piety could Fate prevent;
Nor was the cruel Destiny content
To finish all the murder at a blow,
To sweep, at once her life and beauty too;