1699 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Yalden

Charles Hopkins, "To Mr. Yalden in Oxon." 1699; Nichols, Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 2:218-20.



Londonderry, August 3, 1699.

My labouring Muse, grown tir'd of being hurl'd
And tost about in a tempestuous world,
Prays for a calm, implores some quiet seat,
And seeks what yours has found, a sweet retreat.
Now your blest fields the summer livery wear,
Their fruits your loaded trees in season bear;
But Learning flourishes throughout the year;
From your full spring o'er Britain's isle it streams,
And spreads like Isis when she meets the Thames.
Rear'd on her banks, the Muses' laurel grows,
Adorn'd by yours, adoring others brows.
Sweet are her streams, sweet the surrounding air,
But sweeter are the songs she echoes there.
There the great Ormond's daily praise is sung,
There Addison's harmonious harp is strung,
And there Lucretius learnt the English tongue.
Well might I here the large account pursue,
But you have stopt me — for I write to you.

Methinks I see the tuneful sisters ride,
Mounted like sea-nymphs on the swelling tide;
The silver swans are silent while they play,
Augusta hears their notes, and puts to sea,
Dryden and Congreve meet them half the way:
All wafted by their own sweet voices move,
And all is harmony—
And all that's harmony is joy and love.
All are in all the tuneful numbers skill'd,
And now Apollo boasts his concert fill'd.

Here listen while our English Maro sings,
Borne like the Mantuan swan on equal wings:
Mark the great numbers, mind the lofty song,
The sense as clear and just, the lines as strong.

Hark yonder where the Mourning Bride complains,
And melt with pity at the moving strains:
Wait the conclusion, then allay your grief,
Vice meets with ruin, Virtue with relief:
Walk thither, and the charming musick leads
To murmuring waters and enchanting meads:
Mark by the river-side, along the plain,
The dancing shepherdess and piping swain,
Then see him take the kiss that crowns his pain.

Then hearken where the knowing poet sings
Mysterious nature, and the seeds of things;
How in the teeming earth hard metals grow,
From what far distant fountains rivers flow,
What moves the stars above, and seas below.

Now see the charming concert sail along,
Each tunes his harp, and each prepares his song:
To the Museum see them all repair,
And see them all receive their laurels there.
A learn'd and reverend circle ready stands,
To crown the candidate with willing hands.

Aldrich, who can the first large portion boast,
Knows, loves, and cherishes the Muses most:
Who gives ev'n Christ Church its peculiar grace,
The first in merit, as the first in place.
O! friend, have I not reason to complain
Of Fate, that shut me out from such a train?
For that who would not shift the tragic scene?

Though tir'd of restless rambling up and down,
Or a more restless settlement in town;
Chang'd in the rest, let this my love commend,
Yalden, believe I never chang'd my friend.