XIV Addressed to the LADIES of Langollen Vale

Addressed to the LADIES of Langollen Vale [1] 

Is a there a heart, which scenes of rural peace,
And rural beauty never yet have charm'd?
Whose breast the fire of genius never warm'd?
Let him approach; let mental blindness cease,
Oh let him see this bower of polish'd taste;5
Where graceful Nature, aided, not opprest,
With sportive hand each varied scene hath drest.
In her own vivid colours, bright, but chaste.
And you! best skill'd in all the Muse's art,
Pardon these notes, as free and unconstrain'd10
As your own lyre, [2]  which claims no guiding hand.
Uncheck'd effusions of a feeling heart!
Oh, could they but with equal sweetness flow,
What strains of rapture would they here bestow!


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Addressed to the Ladies of Langollen Vale" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals); the illustration suggests that the poem was written in 1796, but Anna Seward praises it as "an elegant and accurate sonnet" in a letter to Rev. Henry White dated April 7, 1795 (Seward, Letters 4.108). The illustration depicts the famous home of the Ladies of Llangollen, Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby (a cousin to Tighe's aunt and mother-in-law Sarah Tighe), bookended by four lines from Petrarch's Sonnet 10: "qui non palazzi, non teatro o loggia; / ma 'n lor vece un abete, un faggio, un pino-- / tra l'erba verde e 'l bel monte vicino / levan di terra al ciel nostr' intellecto" (lines 5-7, 9). Mark Musa translates these lines as follows: "there are no palaces, theaters, or loggias here; / instead a fir, a beech, a pine tree stand-- / between green grass and mountainside nearby, / to lift our intellects from earth to heaven." BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe's note: "The Aeolian harp." BACK