On Reviewing my Verses for Publication

As o’er the various page I bend

Approve dislike or strive to mend

Chagrin arose & frowning spread

Her gloomy pinions oer my Head

The baleful Dew her plumes distill’d

My Mind with dark Ideas filld

How low the Line How dull the page

What Ear can rhymes like these engage

The Press Ah No! suppress the thought

By just reflection better taught.

They write with Life who write to please

Let lines so spiritless as these

To dark Oblivion be unsign’d

Be wise & learn a humbler Mind

So spake Chagrin imperious Sprite.

And snatchd the papers from my sight

But Friendship came with cheerful Air

And smiling stood behind my Chair

Her presence shed a cheering ray

And drove the gloomy powr away

In haste she fled & left her prize

Which friendship view’d with partial Eyes

And shall Chagrin she eager cry’d

Presume to censure & decide

That Priviledge alone is mine

I to the Press the work consign

Come raise your head & droop no more

If candid Minds the page explore

They will confess that Lines like these

Tho far from faultless yet may please

The Lay which Piety approves

Which virtue guards & friendship loves

Which asks no smile of flattering fame

Oblivion cannot dares not claim

Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College, STE 3/3/1; this poem first published in Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, vol. 2 (ed. Julia B. Griffin), pp. 146-47.