1792 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, "Westminster Deliciae!" Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (3 March 1792).



Seven or eight young gentlemen of this School have united in one literary effort, and a publication is now commenced by their untried pens. Their ages are from twelve to sixteen; their exertions are independent of each other, except in the adoption of one title for their labours; and they reject, in this instance entirely, both the advantages and humiliation of tutorage.

The title of their production is,

THE FLAGELLANT,

applicable, they say, from the penance, which they mean to inflict upon VICES and FOLLIES. The distinctions assumed by themselves are those of

ST. PETER THE HERMIT,
ST. BASIL.
ST. BARDULPH,
GUALBERTUS,

and their first number tells in elegant and well-governed language, a resolution to dispense the discipline of their order, though their "persons and experience are confined within the same walls."

They conclude their preface with the desire

Spectemur ab annis

and then offer, as their first specimen, a poetical pice, entitled "SUPERSTITION," containing the following good lines:

"Where Ruin's hand in these time-honoured walls,
Leaves the faint traces of the long-drawn aisle;
The eye of Contemplation oft recalls,
The former tenants of the mouldering pile."

———*———*———*———*———*———*———

Him, whose delight is peace and general rest,
In strife to worship and in blood revere!
Vain thought! his altar is a contrite breast;
His noblest incense a repentant tear.

Is this the land, is this the Latian plain
Where Junius conquer'd, and where Junius bled?
Where Scipio strew'd the field with hostile slain?
And Brutus sent the robber to the dead?

Is this the land where Maro struck the lyre?
Where Horace bade the lyric glories rise?
Where Tully hurl'd his patriotic ire,
And bar'd a villain's guilt to Roman eyes?

O sad reverse! behold the iron rod
Of Superstition keep that realm in awe:
All there despise the mandates of their God,
Though all would seem to venerate his law.

For a design to humbly offered, and hitherto so well executed, who does not breathe the wish "Felix Faustasque fit!"