1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Richard Polwhele, "Extempore Lines to Miss W— on her Vindication of Gray's Ode to Spring, against the Charge of Obscurity" Polwhele, Sketches in Verse (1796) 48.



To vindicate a Poet's strain
When female accents flow;
With sullen wrinkles frowns in vain
The hypercritic brow.
'Tis thus thy bright ideas check
The asperser's weak essay;
While, gentle pleader, not a speck
Obscures the page of Gray.
Yet spare the task: to grace thy bard
The tuneful ode rehearse—
Thy liquid voice alone, sweet W—!
Gives clearness to his verse!