ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Sir Richard Steele
, "On Sr. Richard Steele's Christian Hero" Thompson, Collection of Poems (1731) 143-45.
Sir Richard Steele:
1708: Thomas Bishop
1711 ca.: Anonymous
1712: Rev. Thomas Newcomb
1713: Henry Needler
1713: Rev. Jonathan Swift
1714: Thomas Hearne
1714: Rev. Laurence Eusden
1715 ca.: Nathaniel Lloyd
1719: Jane Brereton
1723 ca.: Anonymous
1723: Leonard Welsted
1724: James Heywood
1729: Benjamin Victor
1729: Joseph Mitchell
1731: Isaac Thompson
1745 ca.: Rev. William Dodd
1759: Oliver Goldsmith
1762: Y. X.
1763: Rev. Charles Churchill
1791: Isaac D'Israeli
1809: Isaac D'Israeli
1818: William Hazlitt
1831: Leigh Hunt
1843: Lucy Aikin
1853: W. M. Thackeray
1855: Walter Savage Landor
1731: John Milton
1731: Alexander Pope
1731: Sir Richard Steele
'Twas nobly dar'd in these degen'rate Days
By such a Work as this to merit Praise:
To free the Soul from prejudic'd Mistake,
And teach the Mind it's Errours to forsake.
To set up Christian Strength before our Eyes,
And learn us, Roman Greatness to despise.
Methinks I now the modern Deist see,
Arm'd with his REASON and PHILOSOPHY,
Unfold thy Page, and with malignant Leer,
Survey the Name, and read it with a Sneer.
And bent on Mirth, or to divert his Spleen,
Resolves to view the stupid Stuff within;
But charm'd with Eloquence, and manly Prose,
Soon graver turns and more attentive grows.
He shortly finds his hasty Censure vain,
And feels less Joy in Sentiments profane.
Surpriz'd, he sees new Arguments prevail,
And REASON prove itself, as Nature, frail.
His dictates of Morality less lov'd
He finds, and bright RELIGION stands approv'd;
When he beholds firm Cato's Constancy,
His Strength, his Precepts, and Philosophy,
The steady Hate of Cassius, Brutus' Zeal,
And ev'ry boasted Roman Virtue fail,
When destitute of all his self supplies,
The Heathen HERO basely sinks and dies.
Abash'd, he feels a Sting of gen'rous Pain,
That bids him own his Principles are vain,
Than Artifice, his Fortitude no more.
That flies the Crisis of a trying Hour;
But vacant of himself, he now pursues
A glorious Path, and more extended Views:
New Scenes of awful Goodness strike his Eyes,
For here he sees the CHRISTIAN Hero rise;
What e'er the Roman in his Theory taught,
Is here improv'd and into Practice brought.
Here Grace perfects, what Reason first began,
And GOD supplies the weak Defects of Man.
The Hero bravely dares with just Disdain
The Perils of the Land, and of the Main.
And what the baffled Heathen sought to flie
The Gallant Christian meets with Smiles of Joy:
No Bolts, or Chains, are grievous to his Limbs,
But where the Roman groan'd, the Christian Hymns.
With strength of Faith he beats his Sorrows down,
And firmly Eyes his bright immortal Crown.