Invitation to Amira

If rural simplicity, Nature and ease,

Green fields and lone Walks and soft quiet can please,

The Muses invite you, Amira: draw nigh:

They promise their favor and Muses don’t lie.

Though once you forsook them, ungrateful, ’tis true They’ll forgive the affront and old friendship renew.

Come seek your acquaintance and soon you will find

They are good sort of company, harmless and kind.

Perhaps you will tell me Parnassus is high;

Your wings are too weak or too lazy to fly;

But like other females, they ramble abroad

And sometimes descend – to this humble abode.

Here they’ll chatt or they’ll sing t’ye, choose which you like best,

In variety give conversation a zest;

If you chance to be merry, or chuse to be witty,

The laughing Thalia with smart things will fit ye,

As idle as once (you remember the chatter)

When in the dark Castle you threaten’d to shut her;

For then, though in frolick, she made such a rout,

Like a witch thro’ a crevice she’d soon have crept out.

Whene’er you are gloomy or mournfully wise,

Melpomene gently will echo your sighs;

Complain in the Nightingale’s solemn sweet airs,

And touch you with Music to soften your cares,

Then Clio can tell you a story so true And Battles and Wonders shall rise to your view,

’Tis she makes immortal each Hero’s bright name:

Without her how mean is that gossip call’d fame!

But if (which is likely) a love fit shou’d seize ye,

And Portius’s image shou’d follow and teaze ye,

Erato shall dictate the tender kind lay:

She can sooth the soft passion, as loving folks say;

And when Portius receives the poetical letter

(How lucky a thought – this is better and better),

O how will he wish were but Pegasus by )

To leave his lov’d Devon and instantly fly )

To chat with Amira the Muses and I! )

Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College, STE 3/3/1, p. 76; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 163-64.