1735 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Thompson

Josiah Relph, "An Epistle to Mr. [Thompson?] at Oxford" 1735 ca.; Relph, Miscellany of Poems (1747) 111-13.



When country Beaus at some great Fair
Strut up the street with clumsy air,
What peals of laughter fill the shops,
Rais'd by more fashionable Fops:
So fares it with my rustic strain,
(Tho' prais'd by criticks of the plain)
When I rough Bard! to Oxford write,
The seat of Muses more polite;
But if my friend I pleasure you,
'Tis not a farthing matter how.

Say, shall I draw some rural scene,
A shady grove, a verdant green,
Or show how sweet the Thrushes sing,
Or speak the bubbling of a spring?
Or I shall tell (if you think meet)
How snug I live in this retreat:
How close I conjure ev'ry care,
Without a wish — I wish I were—
Ah me! 'tis all an empty boast,
There's one — I find it to my cost,
There's one rebellious wish in arms
In spite of verse and all it's charms.

Thrice happy, who by Isis stream
Enjoys the Muses — in a dream;
In classic grottoes melts away
In visions of poetic day.
Oh waft me gentle gale of air!
Oh! quickly, quickly waft me there;
And place me underneath a shade
Where Addison and Tickel laid!
Nay tho' I'm pen'd in garret vile,
Tho' Duns be rapping all the while;
Ev'n tho without (which still is worse)
One splendid shilling in my purse:
All this I willingly could bear,
'Tis nothing all — since thou art there.
"Vade sed incultus—
Hei mihi quod Domino non licet ire tuo."