1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

John Taylor Esq., "Sonnet, to William Gifford, Esq." The Sun (29 September 1823).



SHIRLEY, dear GIFFORD, waits that chast'ning hand
Which rescu'd MASSINGER'S time-injur'd page,
And sturdy BEN'S, to charm each future age;
High 'mid poetic glories of the land:
'Gainst whom no modern scenic Bards can stand.—
Nor 'gainst thee, friend, a Critic just and sage,
Can hosts of modern Scholiasts dare engage,
For texts by thee are all profoundly scann'd.
Since skilful thus dramatic paths to clear,
Urge thy bold Muse dramatic heights to trace,
With added splendour she will then appear,
As none more deeply search Man's motley race,
And such a Muse, to truth and Virtue dear,
Can give to Truth and Virtue novel grace.

* This Gentleman has been prevented by severe indisposition, now happily abated, from completing a New Edition of the Plays of SHIRLEY, an Author of great, yet neglected, merit.