1723 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Anonymous, "To Mr. Philips, on his Humphrey Duke of Gloucester; by a Gentleman of the House of Commons, present when the Granadier wept who stood on the Stage whilst it was acted" The British Journal (9 March 1723).



What tho' thy Play a crowded Audience drew;
This, Philips, only proves the Work was new.
Nor much with me would that slight Proof avail,
If, Dennis' pleas'd, the Criticks cease to rail.
The Green-sick Maid, who loaths all wholsome Food,
Can relish Trash, and reckons Chalk as good.
Scarce of it's Worth is this an Argument,
That Zealots of both Parties are content.
Some bring thy honest Statesmen on the Stage
To represent, some to reproach, our Age.
When France and Rome mislead the reigning Queen,
Feign both would guess at him behind the Scene;
Draw diff'rent Comments from the wrested Text;
This says that —, this, Oliver comes next.
One sees in Mar'gret more than is express'd;
The other's pleas'd, you've truly drawn the Priest.
This, in thy Beauford R—r can trace,
Whilst that concludes Duke Humphrey's out of Place.
Both in thy Hero diff'rent Beauties see,
What Gloucester was, what Regents ought to be;
Reflect on later Senates, when they're told,
That Beauford's Counsel's back'd with Suffolk's Gold.
Both pleas'd when England's Worthies overcome
The Bribes of France, and Politicks of Rome:
Clap with unusual Transport when they see
The British Council set their misled Monarch free.
What e'er they please, thy Scenes must represent;
Or Priests we have, or Patriots we want.
Most pleas'd with Beauties they themselves invent;
They both admir'd most what you ne'er meant.

Thy Play, it's Worth, by surer Marks can prove,
And shews it's Beauties by it's Pow'r to move.
At Gloucester's Fall those Eyes with Pity flow'd,
Not us'd to feign'd, but real Scenes of Blood:
He, who intrepid stood in Blenheim's Plain,
Relentless saw th' unnumber'd Thousands slain;
He, who pursu'd the Gallick Troops that fled,
Waded in Blood, and stradled o'er the Dead;
Relenting views more moving Scenes of Woe,
And weeps to see what Crimes more bloody Priests can do:
His Tears, his Soul from — Vices freed,
Gave praise to thee, and Horror to the Deed.