1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

William Tooke, Note to The Candidate; Poetical Works of Charles Churchill (1804) 2:231-32n.



Let those, who without genius write, and write,
Versemen or prosemen, all in Nature's spite,
The pen laid down, their course of folly run
In peace; unread, unmention'd, be undone.
Why should I tell, to cross the will of Fate,
That Francis once endeavour'd to translate?
Why, sweet oblivion winding round his head,
Should I recall poor Murphy from the dead?
Why many not Langhorne, simple as his lay,
Effusion on effusion pour away,
With Friendship, and with Fancy trifle here,
Or sleep in Pastoral at Belvidere?
Sleep let them all, with Dulness on her throne,
Secure from any malice but their own.

John Langhorne, D.D. the translator of Plutarch, and author of some poetical pieces of merit. His writings are correct and delicate, but are deficient in force of thought and expression. He was author of the answer to the Prophecy of Famine, intitled Genius and Valour, noticed in our preliminary remarks on the former poem. His Fables of Flora are elegantly told, and are deservedly the most popular of his productions. He was on the most intimate footing with General Crawford, and laid the scene of many of his pastoral and other poems at Belvidere in Kent, the seat of that gentleman. Dr. Langhorne was also the author of a tragedy, called the Fatal Prophecy, and of a very feeble mixture of prose and verse, intitled, Effusions of Friendship and Fancy. He died, in 1779, a victim, as it is said of him in Baker's Biographical Dictionary, to his too frequent visits to the Peacock, a Burton ale-house, in Gray's-Inn-lane.