1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Richard Polwhele, from draft of "Epistle from an Undergraduate at Oxford" 1779; St. James's Chronicle (17 March 1785).



SIR,
Since a late Correspondent of your's, who signs his Name Baccataureus, has thought proper, in Referene to the "Follies of Oxford," to mention its concluding Lines on Warton as a Passage not unworthy of Notice, you will oblige a constant Reader by inserting them in your Poet's Corner.
An Admirer of Warton.
Feb. 10, 1785.

Pensive around the common Room,
While Warton "snuffs his Pipe's Perfume,"
See C—, whose inglorious Name
Will never grace the Rolls of Fame,
Strut dignified — with not a Sprig
Of Bays Leaves stuck about his Wig!
Lo there (indignant Genius cries)
In yon clipt Shade, a Warton lies.
How oft while Eve her Landscapes drew,
He hail'd my Steps to yonder Yew!
For him I wove in Fancy's Loom,
A Texture of perennial Bloom!
For him with joy the assembled Nine
Their amplest Wreath conspir'd to twine!
Yet what, alas! but idle Praise,
Rewards my sweetest Minstrel's Lays!
Thus droop my Sons, with Scorn repaid,
Listless amidst the sombre Shade.
That though I raise the Muse's Flame,
With ardent Hopes of deathless Fame;
Yet cold Neglect's severe Control
Chills the warm Current of the Soul!
And see the Silver-slipper'd Maid—
Her Robes of glossy Verdure fade!
See, to yon urn in Anguish prest
To yon pale Urn her heaving Breast!
Still Nature's Hand, her Streams around
Scatters with simple Flowers the Ground;
But mark'd by no poetick Eye,
Their Hues in breathing Incense die!
Well may the faded Virgin glow
With varied Energies of Woe!
Long has she deem'd her "Triumphs" vain,
Tho' her loved Poet fram'd the Strain—
Happy e'en he may breathe e'er long
The Spirit of despairing Song;
And own, reclined his throbbing Head,
The TTears of Isis," justly shed.