1728 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Durant Breval

Thomas Cooke, "To Mr. D. B. [Durant Breval?]" Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables (1729) 50-53.



Would Heav'n propitious to my Vows attend,
You ask what Course of Life would please your Friend.

Bless'd with a plentous Fortune would I live,
Indulging of my Heart the will to give.

Place Me, O! place Me soon, ye guardian Powrs,
Amid the Meads, cool Springs, and sylvan Bowrs,
Healthful my Body, and my Mind serene,
A willing Pris'ner to the rural Scene;
From servile Flatt'ry, from Detraction far,
And party Rage, that dire domestic War!
Where no unhallow'd Bard grows madly proud
Of the false Praises of a tasteless Croud.
Free from the Eye of Malice let Me rove
Thoughtful from Wild to Wild, from Grove to Grove.
Now on the mossy Bank, beneath the Shade,
For Hours of Love, or Meditation, made,
To the soft Passion I my Heart resign,
And make the long obdurate Maiden mine:
Hence ye prophane, be gone, far hence remove,
Nor listen, Cens'rers, to the Voice of Love!
Arise, my Fair, all cheerful as the Morn,
And let the myrtle Wreath thy Brows adorn!

Now in my Breast I feel poetic Fires,
And chant mellifluous what the God inspires.
Or into Nature for her Secrets pry,
And trace her Workings with a curious Eye.

To mend my Virtues, and exalt my Thought,
What the bright Sons of Greece and Rome have wrote
I canvass o'er; elate with Joy I see,
Albion, their Equals all arise in Thee.
But as at once the fertile Country breeds
The golden Harvest, and the rankest Weeds,
Among the British Sons of Verse we find
In Pope a Bavius and a Labeo join'd.

But hold; I think I hear my Friend complain,
And tell Me Satire but pollutes the Strain.
Once more attend, the Caution I obey;
To the sweet Solitude returns the Lay.

To crown the Blessings, now in Thought possess'd,
There with a Friend like Thee I would be bless'd,
What Converse can, to give Relief inclin'd,
When the dull Blood works Sadness to the Mind.
O! what is Life, or what of Wealth the Powr,
Without the Comforts of the social Hour!

If, while in this delightful Calm I'm lay'd,
The groaning Nation should demand my Aid,
Should the fierce Kingdoms rouse to War again,
And Justice call Me to th' embattel'd Plain,
Farewel ye craggy Mountains, fragrant Flowrs,
Ye painted Meads, cool Springs, and sylvan Bowrs;
Far hence I go to horrid Scenes of Blood,
Where not Ambition calls but public Good;
Whence if my Stars a kind Return deny,
Without Reluctance in the Field I dy:
But should the wise Disposer, to compleat
My Wish, refix Me in the bless'd Retreat,
There with my Friend I would resign my Breath,
And close my Eyes, without a Fear, in Death.
June, 1728.