1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Scott of Amwell

Robert Chambers, in Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:121.



JOHN SCOTT (1730-1783) was our only Quaker poet till Bernard Barton graced the order with a sprig of laurel. Scott was the son of a draper in London, who retired to Amwell, in Hertfordshire, and here the poet spent his days, improving his garden and grounds. He published several poetical pieces, of mediocre merit. The following seems to have been dictated by real feeling, as well as Quaker principle:—

[ODE ON HEARING THE DRUM.]
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall in foreign lands.

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns, and ruined swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widows' tears, and orphans' moans;
And all that misery's hand bestows
To fill the catalogue of human woes.