To Silvia (4)

How faint the joy the blooming season yields,

To spirits worn with grief and nerves unstrung!

Yet sweet the flowers, yet verdant are the fields,

As when those flowers and fields I raptur’d sung.

Around me Nature spreads her charms in vain,

Those charms no more my languid breast inspire:

In vain I try to raise one cheerful strain,

No sound of joy awakes the silent lyre.

Come Silvia, come, for you the muses wait,

For you the flowers unfold their beauteous dyes;

O come, with lively youth and health replete,

And bid to Heaven the grateful transport rise.

Methinks in Silvia I revive again,

And led by Fancy’s magic power, I stray

O’er the green corn field and the flowery plain,

And call the birds to join the artless lay.

Yes, in my Silvia I again enjoy

Those long-lost pleasures oft with sighs deplor’d:

Come then, dear maid, resume the sweet employ,

And tune the votive song to nature’s bounteous Lord.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 102-3; also STE 3/3/5, sheet 30, MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2 (ed. Julia B. Griffin), p. 67.