1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Scott

George Daniel, "Horace Ode III. Book II. To Walter Scott" Virgil in London, or, Town Eclogues (1814) 103-06.



Though fortune crown the labors of thy Muse
With present fame, and profit to excess,
Though Hypercritics hail, and Scotch Reviews,
Thy heavy quartos issuing from the press:

Though prudent L—g—ns puff with all their might,
Each trick revive, each low expedient try,
Short is their passage to eternal night,
For Rokeby, spite of all, was born to die.

Yet some applause is due — nor let thy pride
From unbought, honest, approbation shrink;
I love thy open type, thy margin wide,
And much admire the color of thine ink;

For one am I, in these degen'rate days,
Who give the palm to Dryden's magic shell;
Yet own thy splendid volume (meagre praise!)
Like Peter Pindar's razors — made to sell.

Whether, a deep recluse, you strike the lyre
In Scotland's bleak inhospitable land;
Or, Brother of the ancient Grub-street choir,
You warble from a garret in the Strand;

Still rhyme, and print, nor heed what Critics say,
Let perseverance prompt the golden hour;
Infatuation's charm will soon decay,
And fame and fortune now are in your pow'r.

Let Pope, in notes so musically clear,
In virtue's cause the moral strain prolong;
Let Prior's flowing numbers charm the ear,
And nature bloom again in Thomson's song;

Let Goldsmith tell of Auburn's simple train,
And Churchill's manly sense our wonder raise;
Do thou, my Scott, pursue thy northern strain,
Be thine the profit, theirs the empty praise.

'Twas Darwin's fate, with Della-Cruscan verse,
To please the varying whimsy of the town,
A huge imperial quarto fill'd his purse,
And fashion gave the laurell'd Bard renown.

But Fame, capricious being! comes and goes,
For mark, Oblivion steals o'er ev'ry line;
On dusty shelves his pond'rous works repose,
With Blackmore, Godwin, Carr — and so shall thine.