1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 139-40.



This Gentleman who is one of the Wits at Buttons, at this time writes an Entertaining Paper call'd, The Free Thinker; has, besides his Pastorals, given us the following Poems.

I. An Epistle to a Friend, who desir'd him to write on the Death of King William.

II. An Epistle to Mr. Secretary Craggs, at Hampton-Court.

III. Upon the Toasts of the Hanover Club.

While These, the chosen Beauties of our Isle,
Propitious on the Cause of Freedom Smile,
The rash Pretender's Hopes we may despise,
And trust Britannia's Safety to their Eyes.

IV. Upon a Company of bad Dancers to good Musick. This is an Excellent Epigram.

How ill the Motion with the Musick suits!
So Orpheus Fidled, and so Danc'd the Brutes.

His Pastorals, six in Number are esteemed some of the best Pieces of the kind this Age has produced. The first Pastoral begins with these Lines.

If we, O Dorset, quit the City Throng,
To Meditate in Shades the Rural Song
By your Commands; be present: And, O, bring
The Muse along! The Muse to you shall sing.
Begin. — A Shepherd Boy, one Ev'ning fair,
As Western Winds had cool'd the sultry Air;
When as his Sheep within the Fold were pent,
Thus plain'd him of his dreary Discontent;
So pitiful, that all the Starry Throng
Attentive seem'd to hear his mournful Song.