A Celebration of Women Writers

"Love, the Soul of Poetry" by Mrs. Anne Killigrew (c.1660-1685).
From Killigrew, Anne. Poems 1686. Facs. edn., ed. R. E. Morton. Gainesville, Florida: Scholars, 1967. pp. 22-23.

Love, the Soul of Poetry.

WHen first Alexis did in Verse delight,
  His Muse in Low, but Graceful Numbers walk't,
And now and then a little Proudly stalk't;
  But never aim'd at any noble Flight:
The Herds, the Groves, the gentle purling Streams,
Adorn'd his Song, and were his highest Theams.

  But Love these Thoughts, like Mists, did soon disperse,
Enlarg'd his Fancy, and set free his Muse,
Biding him more Illustrious Subjects choose;
  The Acts of Gods, and God-like Men reherse.
From thence new Raptures did his Breast inspire,
His scarce Warm-Heart converted was to Fire.

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  Th' exalted Poet rais'd by this new Flame,
With Vigor flys, where late he crept along,
And Acts Divine, in a Diviner Song,
  Commits to the eternal Trompe of Fame.
And thus Alexis does prove Love to be,
As the Worlds Soul, the Soul of Poetry.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom