1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Nichols

Anonymous, "To Mr. Urban, on his completing the LIIId Volume of The Gentleman's Magazine" Gentleman's Magazine 53 (front-matter, 1783) ii.



With bee-like skill, from flower to flower,
Improving every fleeting hour,
Pleas'd I behold my URBAN rove
Through field and forest, vale and grove,
And hail his ample hive, replete
With every variegated sweet;
Antiquity's abundant store,
Philosophy's instructive lore,
The sculptor's draught, the statesman's scheme,
What critics think, and poets dream.

And now, when heaven-born Peace again
Expands her wings o'er earth and main,
Recalling to the love of truth,
Of arts and verse, our warrior youth,
In tented fields detain'd too long
From Chloe's charms, and Clio's song,
A calm retreat in studious hours
They find in your Parnassian bowers;
Where Phoebus and th' inspiring Nine
Their scientific powers combine.

But, ah! what sudden tempest shrouds
This hopeful dawn with gathering clouds!
What dire monsoon from Ganges brings
Distrust and discord on its wings,
And scatters round Britannia's throne
The thorns that musnuds* long have known!

These tempests soon may Heaven dispell,
And drive them to their native hell!
These thorns may India only know,
And roses still in Windsor blow!
With no mean selfish ends in view,
The public good may all pursue;
And of each HOUSE the only contest prove,
Which most shall share in King's and country's love.
Dec. 31, 1783.

* The thrones of Nabobs, &c.