To Serena on her Birth Day in the year 1769

Ungratefull Girl! can you expect

My Compliments this day

When you my fond request neglect

Nor write the Friendly Lay?

That Lay which you Twelve-Months ago

Promised to dedicate,

Yet you forget what now you owe

Or cry, “It’s out of Date?”

Tho’ of your Pen unworthy far

The Subject of your Verse,

The fewer her perfections are

The easier to rehearse.

You need not prostitute your Muse

I Flattery despise,

Nor praises of a Friend I chuse,

Sincerity I prize.

What her Maria does require

Serena can deny,

Our Love I to the World desire

Your Verse should testifie.

My motive I confess is this

I’m of your Friendship proud,

Nor is the vanity amiss

If any is allow’d.

Tho’ nothing moves you to comply

You’d justly take it ill

Did I not on your Birth Day try

The Muses’ feeble skill.

Should I in sharp Satyric Lay

Lampoon you for your slight?

Instead of Panygyric – say,

Should I not serve you right?

But ne’re this Annual Sun shall shine

Neglected while I live,

Nor shall the day unsung decline

Which such a Friend did give.

The moment that I saw thy Face

Sweet Partner of my Breast,

And view’d each soft enchanting Grace

Of which thou art possess’d,

My Sympathetic Soul did greet

Thine as its kindred Heart,

Since which we still with pleasure meet

And with regret we part.

Thy Sensibility of Care

Makes pain seem less severe,

And you alleviate while you share

And drop the pitying Tear.

And as you sooth each anxious thought

It doubles ev’ry bliss

To see those Eyes with pleasure fraught

Or feel the Friendly Kiss.

May you even to your Wish be blest

With Pleasure and with Wealth;

But Oh! by far above the rest

With Peace of Mind and Health.

That Peace which does from Virtue flow

And recollection sweet,

Which Health contributes to bestow

And make both Blessings meet.


Text: Box 28, Reeves Collection, Bodleian Library; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 4, pp. 169-71. Serena is unidentified, but according to another poem by Attwater, she turned 16 in 1769.