1798 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Wesley

William Cowper, in "Conversation" 1798 ca.; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:113.



Oh I have seen (nor hope perhaps in vain,
Ere life go down, to see such sights again)
A veteran warrior in the Christian field,
Who never saw the sword he could not wield;
Grave without dulness, learned without pride,
Exact, yet not precise, though meek, keen-eyed;
A man that would have foil'd at their own play
A dozen would-bes of the modern day.
Who, when occasion justified its use,
Had writ as bright as ready to produced,
Could fetch from records of an earlier age,
Or from philosophy's enlighten'd page,
His rich materials, and regale your ear
With strains it was a privilege to hear;
Yet above all his luxury supreme,
And his chief glory was the gospel theme;
There he was copious as old Greece or Rome,
His happy eloquence seem'd there at home,
Ambitious not to shine or to excel,
But to treat justly what he loved so well.