1723 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Leonard Welsted, "To Mr. Philips, on his Tragedy of Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester" 1723; Welsted, Epistle and Odes on Several Subjects (1724) 87-89.



To rural Lays, e'er yet in Manhood ripe,
A Shepherd, didst thou tune thine Oaten Pipe;
The Groves, and Streams, and daisy-painted Plains,
The Joys and Griefs of unambitious Swains,
Employ'd thy Verse; thy Verse, whose magick Force
The Severn charm'd, and stop'd his silver Course.

Thus play'd thy Youth: But weightier Cares engage
Thy more experienc'd Life, and learned Age;
Thy Country's Love thy Tragic Strains infuse;
And the free Britons bless thy Patriot Muse.
Who has not repin'd for Gwendolen, the Fair?
What Freeman, but her Woes, in Thought, redrest,
And felt his own enflam'd, like Vanoc's Breast.

And lo! the Realm's Protector, now, we view!
Thy Country's Glory, still, thy Thoughts pursue;
A Briton, still, thy manly Scenes adorn,
And warm the Soul with Virtues, English-born:
To foreign Lands nor need we vainly roam,
In search of Glories, to be found at Home:
In our own Climate does the Lawrel grow;
A Climate fruitful of Heroic Woe!

At length, kind Fate has rais'd the Poet's Song,
Indulgent to repair brave Gloucester's Wrong:
At length his Virtue in a Blaze appears,
From the dark Night retriev'd of monkish Years:
And now, thro' every Age his Worth shall shine,
And Humfrey's Name be, still, rever'd with Thine.