Occasioned by reading Miss Coltman's "Journal of a Hasty Ramble to the Lakes" (1800)

Oh! my Eliza, could this swelling Heart

But paint its feelings, while with Thee it strays

O’er Nature’s wonders unprofan’d by Art,

And contemplates the Scenes thy Hand portrays.

Others can tamely tell me they have view’d

The Dale abruptly sink, the Mountain rise;

Thy Wand of Genius, with strange powers endued,

Brings the whole scene to my enraptur’d Eyes.

Thus o’er the Landscape veil’d in partial night

When the bright Orb of Day his radiance throws,

A new Creation bursts upon the Sight,

And Nature’s self in brighter beauty glows.

Text: STE 5/3; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, p. 159. Elizabeth Coltman’s ‘Journal, written during a hasty Ramble to the Lakes’, appeared in the Monthly Magazine 10 (August and September issues, 1800): 11-16; 119-23. This poem also appeared (with slight variations) in the Monthly Magazine 11 (1801), p. 423, signed "M.D." Coltman’s excursion to the Lakes occurred in August of 1796; Catherine Hutton Beale provides an account: ‘In the month of August, 1796, Mrs. John Coltman [of Nicholas Street, Leicester, the other Coltman family], with her younger daughter [Ann] and son [Samuel], set out on a journey to the Lakes. At Lancaster they were to be joined by their friends, Mrs. Houseman [wife of an Anglican minister at Lancaster] and Miss Coltman [of the Newarke], but some little delay occurring, it was decided that instead of proceeding at once, they should spend a week at Heysham, a little romantic bathing place, on the shore of Morecambe Bay’. Mrs. Coltman wrote back to her daughter, Elizabeth Heyrick, from Heysham on 7 August 1796, and mentions Elizabeth Coltman: ‘Mrs. Houseman spends half her time here, and Miss Coltman talks seriously of taking up her abode here, while we go to the Lakes. Ann seems to be recruited by bathing’. Samuel Coltman’s reminiscences reveals that Miss Coltman and he, though many years her junior, where greatly attracted to each other, and gave considerable cause for concern to Samuel’s mother. Fortunately for Mrs. Coltman, on this trip Samuel would meet his future bride, Mary Smith, and soon forgo the alluring charms of Elizabeth Coltman. See Catherine Hutton Beale, Catherine Hutton and her Friends (Birmingham: Cornish Brothers, 1895), pp. 97-99; Journal of Samuel Coltman, Leicestershire Record Office, 15D56/449; Introduction to Elizabeth Coltman, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 4; and "Elizabeth Coltman," in Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766-1840 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 155-97.