On being presented by Miss Coltman with an Eolian Harp made by Robert Bloomfield, 1807

Spirit of harmony, whose power extends

O’er Nature’s vast domain; – whose voice is heard

In every breeze, in every murmuring rill,

In every sound when evening’s placid smile

Lulls the rude discord of the world to rest.

Oh breathe thy influence o’er my soul, and teach

A language to its feelings! – hallowed Harp,

How shall I dare profane thee with my touch,

Genius and friendship o’er thee spread a charm

Sweeter than ev’n thy own mellifluous tone.

Come lingering Spring, ye gentle breezes come

And wake these magic strings, and whilst my Soul

Feels their soft cadence soothing every sense,

The ardent wish, the silent prayer shall rise,

That Heaven’s incircling presence may preserve

And whispering Angels soothe her every grief

Who with an Angel’s kindness softens mine.

Text: STE 5/3; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, p. 162. Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823) left his father’s farm in Suffolk for London in 1781, where he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. His poem, The Farmer’s Boy (1800), a blend of neoclassic pastoralism and romantic love of nature, produced considerable popularity for the semi-educated Bloomfield. His fame continued with his next two collections of poems, Rural Tales, Ballads, and Songs (1802) and To the Banks of Wye (1811). During these years he began making his own distinctive version of the aeolian harp, named after the Greek god of the wind, Aeolus, for the ‘music’ produced by the wind as it blew across the harp’s strings stretched across two bridges on a sound board situated inside a wooden box.