1740 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Aaron Hill, "To the unknown Author of the beautiful new Piece, call'd Pamela" 1740; Hill, Works (1753-54) 3:348-50.



Blest be thy pow'rful pen, whoe'er thou art!
Thou skill'd, great moulder of the master'd heart!
Where hast thou lain conceal'd? or why thought fit,
At this dire period, to unveil thy wit?
O! late befriended isle! had this broad blaze,
With earlier beamings, bless'd our fathers days.
The pilot radiance pointing out the source,
Whence public wealth derives its vital course;
Each timely draught, some healing pow'r had shown,
E're general gangreen blacken'd to the bone.
But fest'ring, now, beyond all sense of pain,
'Tis hopeless, and the helper's hand is vain.

Sweet Pamela! for-ever-blooming maid!
Thou dear, unliv'ning, (yet immortal) shade!
Why are thy beauties flash'd upon the blind!
What, tho' thy flutt'ring sex might learn, from thee,
That merit forms a rank above degree?
That pride, too conscious, falls from ev'ry claim,
While humble sweetness climbs beyond its aim?
What, tho' religious, smiling, from thy eyes,
Shews her plain pow'r, and charms, without disguise?
What tho' thy warmly-pleasing moral scheme
Gives livelier rapture, than the loose can dream?
Maid, child, friend, mistress, mother, neighbour, wife?
Tho' taste, like thine, each void of time can fill,
Unsunk by spleen, un-quicken'd, by Quadrille?
What, tho' 'tis thine, to bless the lengthen'd hour,
Give permanence to joy, and use to pow'r?
Lend late felt blushes to the vain, and smart,
And squeeze cramp'd pity, from the miser's heart?
What, tho' 'tis thine, to hush the marriage breeze,
Teach liberty to tire, and chains to please?
Thine, tho' from stiffness, to divest restraint,
And to the charmer, reconcile the saint?
Tho' smiles, and tears, obey thy moving skill,
And passion's ruffled empire waits thy will?
Tho' thine, the fancy'd fields of flow'ry wit,
Thine, art's whole pow'r, in nature's language, writ?
Thine, to convey strong thought, with modest ease,
And, copying converse, teach its stile to please?
Tho' thine, each virtue, that a God could lend?
Thine, every help, that every hart can mend?
'Tis thine, in vain! thou wak'st a dying land;
And lift'st departed hope, with fruitless hand.
Death has no cure — thou hast mis-tim'd thy aim;
Rome had her GOTHS — and all, beyond, was shame.