1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, "The Poet Laureate. An Ode Expostulatory on the Late Royal Marriages" Morning Chronicle (20 August 1818).



What! shall the Greeks in numbers shine,
And all unsung, the Trojan line
Inspire no Poet subtle?
Is this to be our hapless lot,
Brunswick and Hanover forgot,
And even Wolfenbuttel?

How on the sense their glories throng,
To fill an ardent Laureate's song,
And crack his strings asunder!
The MAGNUSSES, the HENRIES crowd,
"The Black," — "the Lion," — and "the Proud,"
All sprung from CUNEGUNDA.

At such a time, with such a theme,
To charm a Poet in his dream,
In vain our Bard is staid for—
He sleeps, while purple Love prepares
To give the BRUNSWICK line new heirs;—
And yet his song is paid for!

Alas, too well! — A Poet dead
Is just as good as when full fed;
His Muse that instant freezes:—
Not so, her light and airy strain,
When he, on high, through broken pane,
Was "fann'd by gentle breezes!"

But yet there's hope — fiction, his forte,
Would with such virtues ill assort,
And this may make him dawdle;
Or Sack with flatness fills his pen,
And, like the City Aldermen,
He waits to taste the Caudle.