Sonnet, 1795

Oh long neglected Poesy, to Thee

I give my Soul! – and woo those viewless Powers

Whose sweet Enchantments in Life’s early Hours

Could from each low born care my Spirit free.

Ye beauteous Forms, ye Dear Illusions stay,

Ah no! They fade, they vanish into Air;

See in their stead pale Grief and haggard care

Advancing quick to seize their wonted prey.

Oh spread thy dark impenetrable veil,

Pitying Oblivion, o’er the painful past!

Must parting Agonies forever last?

Will no kind Hand yon Scene of Death conceal?

Ah no, with Consciousness must Anguish live

Nor Time himself a kind Exemption give.

Text: MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, STE 5/3, where the poem appears as two quatrains followed by a sestet; also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, pp. 154-55.