1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

John Taylor Esq., "To William Gifford, Esq." The Sun (24 July 1820).



GIFFORD, to thee a Nation's thanks are due,
For justice rendered to our RARE OLD BEN,
His merit placing in the fairest view,
Among our nobler Bards and Classic men.

SHIRLEY, another Wit of former days,
We hear with pleasure now employs thy care;
His proper standard of renown to raise,
That hence unfading laurels he may wear.

But why thy fav'rite SHAKESPEARE cast aside,
Who all thy shrewd research might well engage?
SHAKESPEARE — his country's wonder and her pride,
Theme of delight, for every future age!

When all our earlier pleasures charm no more,
Well might we wish to stretch life's narrow span,
His pregnant page to ponder e'er and o'er,
And learn from him to know THE WHOLE OF MAN!

None for the task more fit than thee, my friend,
Combining all the subject can require;
In whom experience taste, and knowledge blend,—
The Critic's judgment, and the Poet's fire.

MURRAY, whose lib'ral course and fost'ring care
Tell GENIUS where to find a ready aid,
With patriot pride will in thy labours share,
And deem in BRITAIN'S thanks his zeal o'erpaid.

Then from the mists of Time those beauties clear,
That far o'er Greece and Rome triumphant rise,
Hence in unclouded glory shall appear
The brightest Orb that fires poetic skies.