THIS neat diminutive volume, containing 185 pages, is thus modestly introduced to the Publick by the fair Authoress, the relict of Opie, the late excellent painter, who had the singular good fortune to unite the sister Arts of Poetry and Painting by his marriage with this lady: “The Poems which compose this little volume were written, with two or three exceptions, several years ago; and to arrange and fit them for publication has been the amusement of many hours of retirement.” The contents are, The Warrior’s Return; Julia, or the Convent of St. Clair, a Tale, founded on Fact; The Mad Wanderer, a Ballad: Lines Written in 1799; Song, I am wearing away like the Snow in the Sun; To Lorenzo; Ode to Borrowdale, in Cumberland: The Lucayan’s Song; Song, Was it for this I dearly loved thee? Ballad founded on Fact; Song, Yes, thou art changed; Stanzas to Cynthio; The origin of the Sail; Sonnet on the Approach of Autumn; To Laura, and a Love elegy to Laura; Love Elegy to Henry; To Henry; To Henry; Lines on the Opening of a Spring Campaign; Lines on the Place de Concorde, at Paris; the Moon and the Comet, a Fable; To Lothario; To Henry; To Anna; Remembrance; Secret Love; To a Maniac; Lines on Constantinople; Song; To Henry; and the work concludes with five other Songs.
A neatly-engraved frontispiece is prefixed to the volume.
There is a description of Poets and Poetesses who become such through strong retentive powers of memory; those persons, extremely fond of the productions of our best writers, read them till they are enabled to repeat whole poems, and quote correctly the most beautiful passages from twenty different authors; they then proceed to write sonnets, elegies, and speak impromptus, which they publish, and the Publick immediately discover that every thought and every image may be appropriated, without the least difficulty, to the original owners from whom they were borrowed, almost unconsciously, by the unfortunate retailer, doomed to sink with his or her books into oblivion. This fact, undoubted and incontrovertible, induces the real friend of the Muse to exult when he meets with originality and polished metre, animated by the genuine fire of the Poet; such is the case in the present instance. Mrs. Opie, possessed of a mind disdaining imitation, and conscious of its own resources, has presented the community with the means of passing a leisure hour innocently and delightfully, an assertion we shall support by two short extracts which would do honour to the pens of our best modern Poets.
[quotes from Lines Written in 1799]
The following lines are the application to the fable of the Moon and the Comet, told with equal ease and spirit; unluckily for the Arts, the satire is but too well founded. Wilke, the modern Teniers, whose works are the admiration of all persons of judgement, is thus addressed:
[quotes from The Moon and the Comet, a Fable]