1684 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Oldham

Nahum Tate, "In Memory of the Author" Oldham, Remains (1684) sig. A2-A2v.



Take this short-summon'd loose unfinisht Verse
Cold as thy Tomb, and suddain as thy Hears
From my sick Thoughts thou canst no better crave,
Who scarce drag Life, and envy thee thy Grave.
Me Phoebus always faintly did inspire,
And gave my narrow Breast more scanty Fire.
My Hybla-Muse through humble Meads sought Spoil,
Collecting little Sweets with mighty Toil;
Yet when some Friend's just Fame did Theme afford,
Her Voice amongst the tow' ring Swans was heard.
In vain for such Attendance now I call,
My Ink o'erflows with Spleen, my Blood with Gall,
Yet, sweet Alexis, my Esteem of thee
Was equal to thy Worth and Love for me.
Death is thy Gain — that Thought affects me most,
I care not what th' ill-natur'd World has lost.
For Wit with thee expir'd, how shall I grieve?
Who grudge th' ingrateful Age what thou didst leave,
The Tribute of their Verse let others send,
And mourn the Poet gone, I mourn the Friend.
Enjoy thy Fate — thy Predecessors come,
Cowley and Butler to conduct thee home.
Who would not (Butler cries) like me engage
New Worlds of Wit to serve a grateful Age?
For such Rewards what Tasks will Authors shun?
I pray, Sir, is my Monument begun?

Enjoy thy Fate, thy Voice in Anthems raise;
So well tun'd here on Earth to our Apollo's Praise:
Let me retire, while some sublimer Pen
Performs for thee what thou hast done for Homer and for Ben.
N. T.