1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

William Sotheby, "To his Majesty's Ship Barham, appointed by the King to convey Sir Walter Scott to Naples" The Athenaeum (31 December 1831) 849.



Go forth, thou gallant ship! — a King's command
Has honour'd thee, in peaceful prowess sent,
To bear along thy subject element
The Northern Minstrel from his mournful land.
Speed in proud safety, though tempestuous gales
Though severed Continents around thee roar,
Speed, where Health beckons to her Syren shore,
And genial airs, that fan the Orange Vales,

Him, who unlocks the heart, the Passions' Lord,
Powerful alike to lead mankind along
By linked sweetness of melodious song,
On the free force of his unfettered word:
Him, who strikes truth from Fancy's fairy lyre:
The skilful Moralist, whose latent art
Charms while it chastens, and exalts the heart
By generous feelings and heroic fire.

A stranger, from his far and frozen clime,
Goes forth to woo thy breath, Parthenope!
A Stranger, yet by fame long known to thee.
The world has rung of the Enchanter's rhyme;
Thy realm has rung of him. His wide renown
Gathers fresh glory as the years roll on.
Who has not heard of dauntless Marmion?
Of her whose charms illum'd stern Scotia's crown?

Of the wild witch's dark sublimity?
Of one who swerved not from her hard career
To save a sister? and the burning tear
That gush'd through flame from Douglas' iron eye?
Who has not thrill'd o'er the unbroken flow
Of purest Poesy, that sweetly wound
The hunter's horn lone Katrine's like around,
When through the Trossacks burst the antler'd brow?

Bright son of Italy! soft Southern clime!
Ye gales that breathe of health, refresh his frame!
Not yet consummated his glorious aim;
Forms yet unseen, the beauteous, the sublime,
From his creative spirit, life implore—
Them — gallant Ship! — ere long — exultant bear
From soft Parthenope's reviving air,
The Bard to Caledonia's joyful shore.—
Not Britain thy return alone shall hail;
For then the Nations wait, and watch afar thy sail.
W. S.
Fair Mead Lodge, Epping Forest,
18th Nov. 1831.