Sonnet to Miss Coltman, 1792

Ah ’tis in vain! in vain thy generous heart

Subdues its own to chase another’s Grief,

Yet could ought Earthly minister Relief

Thy Kindness would that needed Balm impart.

But the deep wounds of Death’s envenom’d Dart

Have spread their Poison to Life’s secret Spring;

Her wonted Succours Hope no more can bring

To this exhausted Heart and weakened Mind.

Yet if one vivid feeling still remains

’Tis Gratitude: if e’er a transient Glow

Warm this cold Bosom, thy enchanting Strain

And more enchanting Friendship these bestow;

Ah let me still this soothing Influence find,

Teach me to live, if Joyless, yet resign’d.

Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, STE 5/3; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, p. 152. The poem may be the result of a visit by Coltman to Broughton, most likely to comfort Steele in the loss of her stepmother.