1701 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nicholas Rowe

William Shippen, "An Epistle to N. Rowe, Esq; translated from the Latin by H. Lloyd" Gildon, A New Miscellany of Original Poems (1701) 42-46.



Dear Phosphorus, the Muses best belov'd,
While Thou'rt to Country Solitude remov'd;
While all serene within, without secure,
Thou with thy Friend enjoys each smiling hour;
Like thy own Phoebus with alluring strains,
Chasing a kinder Daphne o're the Plains:
Unhappy I, to City-cares condemn'd,
Divided am from ev'ry Muse, and ev'ry Friend.

And now unintermitting Feavers boyl
Within my Veins, inflaming all my Soul,
O that I was from hence to Thee convey'd,
To some Devonian Hills extended shade;
Where never-ceasing breezes might asswage
The Aetnaen heat, that in my Breast does rage!
But nothing can relieve the restless flame,
Nothing its unrebating fury tame.
For oft with force of Argument I've strove
To overcome the follies of my Love;
To reason down the charm of Womankind,
As objects far beneath mans nobler mind.
For Nature when she form'd the Sex took care,
Not to produce them wise, but only fair.
He then deludes himself, who hears and sees
Loud Thunder in their Tongues, keen light'ning in their eyes.

Since such wild phantoms no existence have,
But what from blinded Reason they receive.
As when mistaken Votaries adore,
In wooden Images, Almighty Pow'r,
Not the Artificer that carv'd the Tree,
But those, that worship, make the Deity.
These Arguments, tho strong, successless prove,
When e're I hear the sweeter sounds of Love:
Behold the beauteous Nymph's transcendent height,
Whose milder beams not wound, but heal the sight!
Behold the Virgin lustre of her face;
Her youthful bloom, fairer than morning rays!
Behold how Vertue's self improv'd appears,
A more divine, more lovely habit wears!
Vertue indeed, from others, seldom gains,
In its own Nature ev'ry good contains;
But here its harsh authority you find
To gentle sweet humanity refin'd,
And here with double charms it decks the mind.
Such soothing soft Ideas soon inspire,
Soon melt my kindling breast to new desire.
And now redoubled fires inflame my heart,
Diffusing thro my blood intolerable smart.
As when quick Poyson rankles in our veins,
No Herbs, no Remedies can ease our pains;
The fatal foe pursues th' intestine strife,
And by degrees works down the fainting springs of life.

To Thee these hapless secrets I disclose,
To Thee, companion of my griefs and joys;
Whose well weigh'd counsels always could controul
The wild pursuits of my misguided Soul:
Once more assist, and Thou shalt be to me
A faithful Friend, a guardian Deity.