SONNET In reply to M.

In reply to Wilmot. 1807. [1] 

Lady! forgive, if late the languid lyre,
At length responsive to thy sweetest lay,
Breathe the low, trembling strain with weak essay
To utter all which grateful thoughts inspire;
Forgive, if vacant of poetic fire,5
I seem with frigid heart, and dull delay,
The flattering summons careless to obey;
Woo'd, kindly woo'd, so highly to aspire,
And echo the soft name of friend. For me,
Alas! for me, in anguish & in fear,10
The darkling days have since roll'd heavily;
But let my Psyche in thy partial ear,
Whisper the sad excuse, & smiling see
In hers the lovely sister form most fair, most dear.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Sonnet In reply to Wilmot. 1807" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary but was published by Barbarina Brand, Lady Dacre under the title "Psyche's Answer" (dated May 7, 1807) in her 1821 two-volume Dramas, Translations and Occasional Poems (the source text of Collected Poems and Journals). It offers a belated response to Dacre's complimentary sonnet "To Psyche, on Reading Her Poem":

Who hears the lark's wild rapturous carol shrill,
Nor feels with kindred joy his bosom glow?
Who, the lone owl's loud dismal shriek of woe,
Nor starts as with a sense of coming ill?
The mingled bleatings that at evening fill 5
The dewy air with tender sounds, that flow
From mother's love, all answering hearts avow,
Such sympathy does nature's voice instill!
What wonder, then, if the enchanting lay
In which the soul of love and virtue blend 10
Their force resistless, and thy heart pourtray,
While all the Nine their fascination lend,
That the rapt fancy the strong spell obey,
Greeting thee, unknown Psyche! as a friend?" (2:237)
Lady Dacre (née Ogle) was first married to Valentine Henry Wilmot and then Thomas Brand. BACK