1714 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Blackmore

Mr. Ridout, "To Sir Richard Blackmore, on his Poem entitl'd Creation" Poems and Translations by Several Hands (1714) 199-204.



Dress'd in the Charms of Wit and Fancy, long
The Muse has pleas'd Us with her Syren Song,
But weak of Reason, and deprav'd of Mind,
Too oft on Vile, Ignoble Themes we find
The Wanton Muse her Sacred Art debase,
Forgetful of her Birth and Heav'nly Race;
Too oft her flatt'ring Songs to Sin entice,
And in false Colours deck delusive Vice;
Too oft She condescends, in Servile Lays,
The Undeserving Rich and Great to praise.
These beaten Paths thy Loftier Strains refuse
With just Disdain, and Nobler Subjects chuse:
Fir'd with Sublimer Thoughts, thy daring Soul
Wings her aspiring Flight from Pole to Pole,
Observes the Footsteps of a Pow'r Divine,
Which in each Part of Nature's System shine,
Surveys the Wonders of this Beauteous Frame,
And Sings the Sacred Source, whence all Things came.

But O! what Numbers shall I find, to tell
The mighty Transports which my Bosom swell,
Whilst, guided by thy tuneful Voice, I stray
Thro' Radiant Worlds, and Fields, of Native Day,
Wafted from Orb to Orb, unweary'd fly
Thro' the blue Regions of the yielding Sky,
See how the Spheres in States Courses roll,
And view the Just Composure of the Whole!
Such were the Strains by ancient Orpheus sung,
To such, Musaeus Heav'nly Lyre was strung:
Exulted Truths in Learned Verse they told,
And Nature's deepest Secrets did unfold.
How at th' Eternal Mind's Omnific Call,
Yon Starry Arch, and this Terrestrial Ball,
The briny Wave, the blazing Source of Light,
And the wan Empress of the silent Night,
Each in its Order rose, and took its Place,
And fill'd with recent Forms the vacant Space;
How rolling Planets trace their destin'd Way,
Nor in the Walls of pathless Aether stray;
How the Pale Moon with Silver Beams adorns
Her changeful Orb, and gilds her sharpen'd Horns;
How the Vast Ocean's swelling Tides obey
Her distant Reign, and own her wat'ry Sway;
How erring Floods their Circling Course maintain,
Supply'd by constant Succours from the Main;
Whilst to the Sea the refluent Streams restore
The Liquid Treasures, which She lent before;
What dreadful Veil obscures the Solar Light,
And Phoebe's darken'd Face conceals from mortal Sight.

Thy Learned Muse I with like Pleasure hear
The Wonders of the Lesser World declare,
Point out the various Marks of Skill Divine,
Which thro' its complicated Structure shine,
In tuneful Verse the Vital Current trace
Thro' all the Windings of its mazy Race,
And tell how the rich purple Tide bestows
Vigor and kindly Warmth wheree're it flows,
By what Contrivance of Mechanic Art
The Muscles Motion to the Limbs impart,
How, at th' Impartial Mind's impulsive Nod,
Th' obedient Spirits thro' the Nervous Road
Find to their Fibrous Cells their ready way,
And the high Dictates of the Will obey,
From how Exact and Delicate a Frame
The channell'd Bones their nimble Action claim
With how much Depth and Subtilty of Thought,
The curious Organ of the Eye is wrought,
How from the Brain their Root the Nerves derive,
And Sense to ev'ry distant Member give.
Th' extensive Knowledge You of Man enjoy
You to a double Use of Man employ;
Nor to the Body is your Skill confin'd,
Of Error's worse Disease You heal the Mind.
No longer shall the hardy Atheist praise
Lucretius' piercing Wit and Philosophic Lays;
But, by your Lines convinc'd and charm'd at once,
His impious Tenets shall at length renounce,
At length to Truth and Eloquence shall yield,
Confess Himself subdu'd, and wisely quit the Field.