1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

Andrew Macdonald, "New Probationary Odes for the Laureatship VI. By William Mason M.A." Macdonald, Miscellaneous Works (1791) 89-90.



For tuneful THOMAS WARTON gone,
The turtle tells her plaintive moan;
The lark in radiant aether floats,
And swells his wild extatic notes:
Meanwhile, on yonder hawthorn spray,
The linnet wakes her temp'rate lay.

Luxuriant Fancy, pause; an hour so drear
Demands a serious song — if not a tear.
The bell of Death beats slow, and all around
Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
Heard ye the notes from out the antique spire?
If not, O listen, and — ye must admire!

Thrice they pause, and thrice they sound
The central bell, and now they ring
(By measur'd lore profound)
A sevenfold chime, and sweep, and swing
Above, below, around;
To mix their music with the spheres,
That warble to immortal ears.

While o'er my head this laurel-woven bower
Its arch of glitt'ring verdure wildly flings,
To Laurels and the LAUREAT'S final hour,
I fain would tune my harp's melodious strings;
While quench'd in crimson curtains sinks the day,
And twilight slowly sails and waves her banners grey.

But ah! what holy harpings could relate
The Laureat's triumph over Death and Fate?
His exit cost him not one single sigh;
Prepar'd alike, as seem'd, to sleep or die.

I long, ye pow'rs, with step profound,
To dive into the cavern deep,
Twice twelve fathom under ground,
Where the BUTT OF SACK doth sleep,
Whence should lustily be borne
Many a flask and flowing horn.

I know my duty, if the WREATH by mine;
But to some novice it may cause alarm;
Speak, lifeless WARTON, breathe a strain divine:
Ev'n from the grave thou shalt have pow'r to charm!

Bid him be tame, be innocent like thee;
Bid him job on a sober loyal hack;
And if so bright, from Vanity as free,
As firm in flatt'ry, and as fond of Sack.

Tell him, tho' 'tis an aweful thing to lie,
'Twas ev'n to thee; yet the dread path once trod,
From P—tt—n and P—tt, examples high,
He'll learn the business is not quite so odd!