Mary Robinson ( )

To the Muse of Poetry

EXULT MY MUSE! exult to see 
Each envious, waspish, jealous thing, 
Around its harmless venom fling, 
And dart its powerless fangs at THEE! 
Neer shalt THOU bend thy radiant wing, 
To sweep the dark revengeful string; 
Or meanly stoop, to steal a ray, 
Een from RINALDOS glorious lay, 
Tho his transcendent Verse should twine 
About thy heart, each bliss divine. 

O MUSE ADORD, I woo thee now 
From yon bright Heaven, to hear my vow; 
From thy blest wing a plume Ill steal, 
And with its burning point record 
Each firm indissoluble word, 
And with my lips the proud oath seal! 

I SWEAR;OH, YE, whose souls like mine 
Beam with poetic rays divine, 
Attend my voice;whateer my FATE 
In this precarious wildring state, 
Whether the FIENDS with rancorous ire 
Strike at my hearts unsullied fire: 
While busy ENVYS recreant guile 
Calls from my cheek THE PITYING SMILE; 
Or jealous SLANDER mean and vain, 
Essays my minds BEST BOAST to stain; 
Should all combine to check my lays, 
And tear me from thy fostring gaze, 
Neer will I quit thy burning eye, 
Till my last, eager, gasping sigh, 
Shall, from its earthly mansion flown, 
Embrace THEE on thy STARRY THRONE. 

Sweet soother of the pensive breast, 
Come in thy softest splendours dressd; 
Bring with thee, REASON, chastely mild; 
And CLASSIC TASTEher loveliest child; 
And radiant FANCYS offspring bright, 
Then bid them all their charms unite, 
My minds wild rapture to inspire, 

I ask no fierce terrific strain, 
That rends the breast with tortring pain, 
No frantic flight, no labourd art, 
To wring the fibres of the heart! 
No frenzyd GUIDE, that maddning flies 
Oer cloud-wrappd hillsthro burning skies; 

That sails upon the midnight blast,
Or on the howling wild wave cast,
Plucks from their dark and rocky bed
The yelling DEMONS of the deep,
Who soaring oer the COMETS head,
The bosom of the WELKIN sweep! 
Neer shall MY hand, at Nights full noon, 
Snatch from the tresses of the moon 
A sparkling crown of silvry hue, 
Besprent with studs of frozen dew, 
To deck my brow with borrowd rays, 
That feebly imitate the SUNS RICH BLAZE. 

AH lead ME not, dear gentle Maid,
To poisond bowr or haunted glade;
Where beckning spectres shrieking, glare
Along the black infected air;
While bold fantastic thunders  leap
Indignant, midst the clamrous deep,
As envious of its louder tone,
While lightnings shoot, and mountains groan
With close pent fires, that from their base
Hurl them amidst the whelming space;
Where OCEANS yawning throat resounds,
And gorgd with draughts of foamy ire,
Madly oer-leaps its crystal bounds,
And soars to quench the SUNS proud fire.
While NATURES self shall start aghast,
Amid the desolating blast,
That grasps the sturdy OAKS firm breast,
And tearing off its shatterd vest, 
Presents its gnarled bosom, bare,
To the hot lightnings withring glare! 

TRANSCENDENT MUSE! assert thy right, 
Chase from thy pure PARNASSIAN height 
Each bold usurper of thy LYRE, 
Each phantom of phosphoric fire, 
That dares, with wild fantastic flight 
The timid child of GENIUS fright; 
That dares with pilferd glories shine 
Along the dazzling frenzyd line, 
Where tinsel splendours cheat the mind, 
While REASON, trembling far behind, 
Drops from her blushing front thy BAYS, 
And scorns to share the wreath of praise. 

But when DIVINE RINALDO flings
Soft rapture oer the bounding strings;
When the bright flame that fills HIS soul,
Bursts thro the bonds of calm controul,
And on enthusiastic wings
To Heavens Eternal Mansion springs,
Or darting thro the yielding skies,
Oer earths disastrous valley flies;
Forbear his glorious flight to bind;
YET oer his TRUE POETIC Mind
Expand thy chaste celestial ray,
Nor let fantastic fires diffuse
Deluding lustre round HIS MUSE,
To lead HER glorious steps astray!
AH ! let his matchless HARP prolong
The thrilling Tone, the classic song, 
STILL bind his Brow with deathless Bays, 

But, if by false persuasion led, 
His varying FANCY eer should tread 
The paths of vitiated Taste, 
Where folly spreads a weedy waste; 
OH ! may HE feel no more the genuine fire, 
That warms HIS TUNEFUL SOUL, and prompts THY SACRED LYRE.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  2. The Widows Home
  3. To Cesario
  4. Sonnet 44. Here Droops the Muse
  5. The Poor Singing Dame

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