1770 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

W. Willis, "Address to Oliver Goldsmith" Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (21 July 1770).



"Dear charming nymph, neglected and decry'd,
My shame in crouds my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so:
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excell,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!"

GOLDSMITH be mute! forbid ye tuneful Nine!
Each feeling heart laments the sad design.
Ye generous souls, who plume the sacred wing,
And taste with pleasure the Pierian spring;
Who haunt with well-pleas'd steps the sacred groves,
The sweet resorts of Genius and the Loves;
Who paint the various passions as they rise,
And draw the pitying tear from human eyes;
Who strangely charm, and humanize the soul,
And by enchantment all its rage controul;
Whose useful labours in the historic page
Have been the darlings of each clime and age,
Shall he be mute, who well your pow'r displays,
And stamps on Poetry deserved praise?
O let his merit be with joy confest!
Envy's too mean to fill a Poet's breast.—
Ye brighter Fair! who grace Britannia's plains,
Who sigh, approving, when the Bard complains;
Whose lovely breasts with softest passions glow,
And deeper feel the energy of woe!
When your bright eyes with chrystal sorrows stream,
We feel the pungency of grief extreme;
From you each tuneful Bard desires applause,
Your soft indulgence the reward he draws
For all his toil; if you approve his strains,
Not unrewarded then the Bard complains.
Join then, ye Fair, your soft assistance lend,
Be still the Muses darling, and her friend.

Exalted Bards may soar the boundless sky,
I, in a lower sphere my pinions try:
Sad gloomy care has cramp'd my youthful wing,
Unstrung my lyre, I've long forgot to sing;
Yet smit with love of the Aonian Maids,
I long to range your sweet sequester'd shades;
My captiv'd soul your gentle sway approves,
Source of delight, true Genius, and the Loves.

Forgive, sweet Bard, this tribute to thy praise,
Base flatt'ry never shall debase my lays;
(Unknown thy face) thy genius I admire,
And feel by sympathetic force poetic fire.
W. WILLIS, M.D.
July 20, 1770.