1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Aaron Hill

John Dyer, "To Aaron Hill, Esq; on his Poem call'd Gideon" Richard Savage, Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1726) 117-21.



Tell me, wondrous Friend, where were you
When Gideon was your lofty Song!
Where did the heav'nly Spirit bear you,
When your fair Soul reflected strong
Gideon's Actions, as they shin'd
Bright in the Chambers of your Mind!

Say, have you trod Arabia's spicy Vales,
Or gather'd Bays beside Euphrates' Stream,
Or lonely sung with Jordan's Water-falls,
While heav'nly Gideon was your sacred Theme.

Or have you many Ages giv'n
To close Retirement and to Books!
And held a long Discourse with Heav'n,
And notic'd Nature in her various Looks!

Full of inspiring Wonder and Delight,
Slow read I Gideon with a greedy Eye!
Like a pleas'd Traveller that lingers sweet
On some fair and lofty Plain,
Where the Sun does brightly shine,
And glorious Prospects all around him lie!

On Gideon's Pages beautifully shine,
Surprizing Pictures rising to my Sight;
With all the Life of Colours and of Lines,
And all the Force of rounding Shade and Light,
And all the Grace — of something more divine!

High on a Hill, beneath an Oak's broad Arm,
I see a Youth divinely fair,
"Pensive he leans his Head on his left Hand;
His smiling Eye sheds Sweetness mix'd with Awe,
His right Hand, with a Milk-white Wand, some
Figure seems to draw!
A nameless Grace is scatter'd thro' his Air,
And o'er his Shoulders loosely flows his Amber-colour'd Hair!
Above, with burning Blush the Morning glows,
The waking World all fair before him lies;
Slow from the Plain the melting Dews,
To kiss the Sun-beams, climbing, rise, &c."

Methinks the Grove of Baal I see,
In terrass'd Stages mount up high,
And wave its sable Beauties in the Skie,
"From Stage to Stage, broad Steps of half-hid Stone,
With curling Moss and blady Grass o'ergrown,
Lead awful—"

Down in a Dungeon deep,
"Where thro' thick Walls, oblique, the broken Light
From narrow Loop-holes quivers to the Sight,
With swift and furious Stride,
Close-folded Arms, and short and sudden Starts,
The fretful Prince, in dumb and sullen Pride,
Revolves Escape—"

Here in Colours glowing bold,
A warlike Figure strikes my Eye!
The dreadful sudden Sight his Foes behold
Confounded so, they lose the Pow'r to fly;
"Back'ning they gaze at Distance on his Face,
Admire his Posture, and confess his Grace,
His right Hand grasps his planted Spear, &c."

Alas, my Muse, thro' much Good-will you err:
And we the mighty Author greatly wrong;
To gather Beauties here and there,
As but a scatter'd few there were,
While ev'ry Word's a Beauty, in his Song!