1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Erasmus Darwin

William Bagshaw Stevens, "To the Author of the Poem on the Loves of the Plants" 1788; Darwin, The Botanic Garden (1799) v-vi.



Oft tho' thy genius, DARWIN! amply fraught
With native wealth, explore new world of mind;
Whence the bright ores of drossless wisdom brought,
Stampt by the Muse's hand, enrich mankind.

Tho' willing Nature to thy curious eye,
Involv'd in night, her mazy depths betray;
Till at their source thy piercing search descry
The streams, that bathe with Life of mortal clay;

Tho' boldly soaring in sublimer mood
Through trackless skies on metaphysic wings,
Thou darest to scan the approachless Cause of Good,
And weigh with steadfast hand the Sum of Things;

Yet wilt thou, charmed amid his whispering bowers,
Oft with lone step by glittering Derwent stray,
Mark his green foliage, count his musky flowers,
That blush or tremble to the rising ray;

While FANCY, seated in her rock-roof'd dell,
Listening the secrets of the vernal grove,
Breathes sweetest strains to thy symphonious shell,
And "gives new echoes to the throne of Love."
Repton, Nov. 28, 1788.