1709 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

Thomas Tickell, "To the Author of Rosamond, an Opera" Poetical Miscellanies: the Sixth Part (1709) 413-16.



The Op'ra first Italian Masters taught,
Enrich'd with Songs, but innocent of Thought.
Britannia's learned Theater disdains
Melodious Trifles, and enervate Strains;
And blushes, on her injur'd Stage to see
Nonsense well-tun'd, and sweet Stupidity.

No Charms are wanting to thy artful Song,
Soft as Corelli, and, as Virgil, strong.
From Words so sweet new Grace the Notes receive,
And Musick borrows Helps, she us'd to give.
Thy Stile hath match'd what ancient Romans knew,
Thy flowing Numbers far excels the new.
Their Cadence in such easie Sound convey'd,
That Height of Thought may seem superfluous Aid;
Yet in such Charms the noble Thoughts abound,
That needless seem the Sweets of easie Sound.

Landskips how gay the bow'ry Grotto yields,
Which Thought creates, and lavish Fancy builds!
What Art can trace the visionary Scenes,
The flow'ry Groves, and everlasting Greens,
The babling Sounds that Mimick Echo plays,
The Fair Shade, and its eternal Maze?
Nature and Art in all their Charms combin'd,
And all Elysium to one View confin'd!
No further could Imagination roam,
'Till Vanbrook fram'd, and Marlbro' rais'd the Dome.

Then thousand Pangs my anxious Bosom tear,
When drown'd in Tears I see th' imploring Fair;
When Bards less soft the moving Words supply,
A seeming Justice dooms the Nymph to die;
But here she begs, nor can she beg in vain,
(In Dirges thus expiring Swans complain)
Each Verse so swells expressive of her Woes,
And ev'ry Tear in Lines so mournful flows;
We, spite of Fame, her Fate revers'd believe,
O'erlook her Crimes, and think she ought to live.

Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's Shade,
And Wreaths of Myrtle crown the lovely Maid.
While now perhaps with Dido's Ghost she roves,
And hears and tells the Story of their Loves,
Alike thy mourn, alike they bless their Fate,
Since Love, which made 'em wretched, makes 'em great.
Nor longer that relentless Doom bemoan,
Which gain'd a Virgil, and an A—n.

Accept, Great Monarch of the British Lays,
The Tribute Song an humble Subject pays.
So tries the artless Lark her early flight,
And soars, to hail the God of Verse, and Light.
Unrival'd as unmatch'd be still thy Fame,
And thy own Laurels shade thy envy'd Name;
Thy Name, the Boast of all the tuneful Quire,
Shall tremble on the Strings of ev'ry Lyre,
Who reads thy Work shall own the sweet Surprize;
And view Thy Rosamond with Henry's Eyes.