1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Nichols

J. N., "To Mr. Urban, on his completing the LIVth Volume" Gentleman's Magazine 54 (front-matter, 1784) ii.



URBAN, thy skill matur'd by mellowing Time,
Thy pleasing toil, thy well-conducted page,
Through Britain's realms, and many a foreign clime,
Have charm'd the last, and charm'd the present age.
Unnumber'd rivals, urg'd by thy renown,
To match thy useful labours oft have tried;
In vain they tried; unnoticed and unknown,
In cold oblivion's shade they sunk and died.
Chear'd by the fostering beams of public praise,
Continue still "to profit and delight:"
Whilst Learning all her ample store displays,
Her "varying" charms at thy command "unite."
Hence future HAWKESWORTHS, WARTONS, GRAYS, may sing,
Where virtuous JOHNSON* plum'd his eagle wing.

* To whom the writer of these lines had the pleasure of shewing them in the last interview with which he was honoured by this illustrious pattern of true piety. "Take care of your eternal salvation," and "Remember to observe the Sabbath; let it never be a day of business, nor wholly a day of dissipation;" were parts of his last solemn farewell. "Let my words have their due weight," he added; "they are those of a dying man."