Written in Mary Steele’s Friendship Book, 1773

Long hath this Hand forgot the Pencil’s Art,

Its nerves released by unremitting pain,

But trust me Sylvia, still this faithful Heart

Thy lovely and dear Idea shall retain.

O say, when life’s vain hopes and fears are o’er,

And this pale form in Death’s dark shade shall sleep,

Wilt thou my Exit with a tear deplore,

And by my Urn one mournful vigil keep?

Then be it thine my Mem’ry to defend

From each attack of slander’s venom’d Tongue,

Tell to the world I was thy chosen Friend,

And let me live in thy harmonious Song!

Mary Scott

Milborne Port Somersetshire

Novr 3d 1773

Text: STE 5/14; Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 4, pp. 74-75. The poem was transcribed by Marjorie Reeves and placed among the three letters of Mary Steele to Mary Scott. Unfortunately, the friendship book from which the poem was taken is missing from the Steele Collection at the Angus Library. Since Mary Steele contributed to Mary Scott’s friendship book in 1774, it is not surprising that Scott would have written some lines in Steele’s book. Steele visited her uncle in Yeovil in November 1773 and apparently took her book with her for the purpose of recording Scott’s poem. The poem was also seen by Moira Ferguson when she visited Hugh Steele-Smith in preparation for her articles on Mary Scott. See Ferguson, ‘Mary Scott’, p. 31.