1714 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

Anonymous, "To the Author of Cato" Steele, Poetical Miscellanies (1714) 143-44.



Is Britain rescu'd from th' Italian Chain,
And the dear Song neglected for thy Strain?
Are ev'n the Fair reclaim'd? And dare they sit
Intent on Virtue, and be pleas'd with Wit?
What Muse, but thine, could thus redeem our Taste,
With Show deluded, and with Sound debas'd?
Hard was the Task, and worthy of your Rage,
You seem the great Alcides of the Age;
How gloriously you Rise in our Defence!
Your Cause is Liberty, your Amour, Sense;
The Brood of tuneful Monsters you controul,
Which sink the Genius, and degrade the Soul:
Those Foes to Verse you chase with manly Arts,
And kindle Roman Fires in British Hearts.
Oh! fix, as well as raise that Noble Flame,
Confirm your Glory, and prevent our Shame;
The routed Opera may return again,
Seduce our Hearts, and o'er our Spirits reign:
Ev'n Cato is a doubtful Match for All,
And Right, opprest with Odds, again may fall;
Let our just Fears your second Aid implore,
Repeat the Stroke, this Hydra springs no more.