1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Richard Polwhele

Nicholas Toms Carrington, "On Reading the Revd. R. Polwhele's beautiful Poem, on the Influence of Local Attachment" Banks of Tamar (1820) 109-11.



Bless'd is the ideal charm attach'd to PLACE
That thus throws round it an illusive grace,
The LOCAL LOVE that with resistless force
Wings the plum'd bird, and nerves the noble horse;
O'er sky-wrapt crags the eagle's pinions wave,
The monarch lion loves his forest cave;
Each has a sympathy for den or nest
Some dear retreat — the scene of play or rest;
And humbler names with anxious care provide
One spot — preferr'd to all the world beside.

Man more intensely feels the Local Flame,
Fir'd by the charm of HOME'S electric name;
He gives his bark to all the waves that roll,
Burns on the line, or shivers near the pole,
Braves the loud battle, dares the midnight storm,
And smiles at danger in its fiercest form;
Yet even he who fronts or storm, or war,
Thinks on one cherish'd scene which lies afar,
And the bold spirit that defies the gale,
Sighs for his leaf-wreath'd cot and tranquil vale.

But Memory gilds that spot with brightest ray
Where first his vision drank the light of day;
In fancy still he views it, yet the trees
That bless'd his youth are waving in the breeze;
The fields where erst he wandered, free from care
As the gay volatile that skims the air,
The hill, the dale, the stream that purls between
Are still before him, fair, and fresh, and green;
And a strange tear that oft bedews his eye
Attests the power of Local Sympathy.

Such is the Love of Home that fires the brave,
And, ocean-parted, quits not e'en the slave—
The passion of all clime — and thine the lay,
POLWHELE, that sings its all resistless sway,
And Memory sketches faithful, vivid, strong,
Her powers refreshed by thy master song;
There is no charm in this our pilgrimage,
More dear — aye, even the heart of age,
Than when that fond remembrancer displays
The fair localities of early days:
Delightful are her visions — at her call
They rise — of youth the hopes and pleasures all;
The entrancing joys, the griefs, the groundless fears,
That brighten'd, darken'd, all our infant years;
Her's still the task, wherever man may roam,
To paint in tenderest hues, his distant HOME,
Waking fond Sympathy, and thou hast sung
Sweet Bard, its influence with syren tongue.
The UNIVERSAL FLAME — the LOCAL FIRE
Was worthy of the magic of thy lyre,
And long shall England hail the Poet's name,
And bind around thy brows the unfading wreath of fame.