Say Lovely Nymph, where dost thou dwell?


To the Echo in a clear night upon Astrop Walks

Primary Texts:

MS's: F-H 283, 68-9*; Folger, 18.
Say Lovely Nymph, where dost thou dwell?
Where is that Secret Silvan Seat,
That Melancholy, Sweet retreat,
From whence, thou dost these notes repel?
And moving Syllables repeat?
Oh! Lovely Nymph, our Joyes to swell,
Thy hollow, leafy Mansoin tell.
Or, if thou only Charm'st the Ear,
And never wilt to sight appear,
But dost alone in voice, excell,
Still with it, fix us here.

Where Cynthia, lends her gentle light,
Whilst the appeas'd, expanded air
A passage for thee, does prepare,
And Strephon's tunefull voice, invite,
Thine, a soft part with him to bear.
Oh! pleasure, when thou'dst take a flight
Beyond thy common mortall height,
When to thy Sphere above thou'dst press,
And men like angels, thou would'st bless
Thy season be, like this faire night,
And Harmony thy dresse.

(MS F-H 283, pp. 68-69)

Secondary Eds:

1903 Reynolds prints F-H 283 text, 264-5; rpt of 1903 Reynolds: 1930 Fausset, 113


Rpt of 1713/1903: 1939 Bredvold, 154.


Sense of waking clarity as from a bad dream; intense relief at silver beauty of world. There were two spas with this name in the later 17th and early 18th century, one just outside London, one in Northamptonshire (where the Haselwood estates are).


There is a maturity and lilt in the basically trochaic flow of the octosyllabic verses which suggests this poem is much later than the similar early "The Bird"; the music or prosody here anticipates "To the Nightingale" (see below 1707-9). I think it records an unexpected break during Anne's profound depression in the late 1690's; she apparently refers to a place in Northampton, a spa hamlet, see, Ischam 134n28
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Page Last Updated 7 January 2003