1714 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Laurence Eusden, "To the Author of the Tatlers" Steele, Poetical Miscellanies (1714) 251-55.



At last is granted, what we wish'd for long,
The Roman Arts have learn'd the British Tongue.
The sweet Venusian Bard could lash the Crimes,
And ridicule the Follies of his Times:
Yet the sly Satyr mov'd with so much Ease,
The Sting, while wounding, never fail'd to please.
Nature, we fear'd, had here her self out-done,
Too weak again to raise so great a Son:
But now in Fame we dare with Rome engage,
A second Horace has adorn'd our Age.
Hail You! whose ev'ry Thought, and every Line
Our Judgments ripen, and our Tastes refine.
Who reads your Works, knows what the World e'er knew;
All human Life lies open to his View.
Old Age with Tears sees artfully display'd
Those fruitless Pleasures which they once obey'd;
While by too dear Experience, Youth, untaught,
Fly from the Snares, in which their Sires were caught:
And by your Labours double their Delight,
Learn how to Live, as well as how to Write.

O! in what beauteous Elegance of Dress
Th' immortal Bloom of Virtue you express!
How sweetly Mild she looks in all her Rules!
The Choice of Wise Men, tho' the Scorn of Fools.
How Vice can never with true Reason suit!
The Man degraded, sinks into the Brute.
Our Bliss is lost, when Ill we once begin,
There is not Eden in the Paths of Sin.

If sacred Thirst of Glory you inspire,
Each lab'ring Breast glows with a gen'rous Fire.
Had Fate reserv'd young Ammon for this Age,
We had not seen him with wild Frenzies rage:
His vain Descent from Heav'n he would disclaim,
To shine the foremost in your Court of Fame.

While the Coquet her airy Motions tries,
The Man has Humour, gay Emilia cries:
Laughing goes on, and hugs the faithless Glass,
Pleas'd with the true Reflection of her Face.
But grave Althea reads the Prude with Spleen,
And wonders how her secret Faults were seen.

When Rules of Honour, in the married Life,
You strictly fix to Husband, and to Wife,
The Libertine from Chloe's Arms retires,
Forgets to Lust, and burns with nobler Fires.

Or when the flutt'ring Coxcombs of the Town,
And all their nauseous Fopperies are shown,
Such is the Wit, as needs no Critick fear,
And the chast Vestal, unconcern'd, might hear.
Such as can never Innocence defile,
Yet from the most severe extorts a Smile.

The happy Delicacy of your Plays
I pass in Silence, nor attempt to praise.
O Charlotte! who thy Character can read,
But soon must languish, sigh, and secret bleed?
Is it your Fancy, that thus boundless roves,
Inflames our Passions, yet eludes our Loves?
Or to the World are living Charlots known,
Or she, th' unrival'd Phoenix, reigns alone?
To Wealth, to Pow'r I ev'ry Wish resign,
If only that dear Charlotte might be mine.

Go on, great Man! if you need farther go,
Whose bright Meridian can no brighter show,
Still you the Fav'rite let the Muses call,
All Arts adorning, and adorn'd by all.
So variously you write, yet still so well,
We know not where to judge you most excel:
Nor can you, tho' you multiply the Store,
Add to your Glory, or our Wonder more.