1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

B., "On Mr. Addison's Campaign" The Edinburgh Miscellany (1720) 36-38.



What wondrous Art, what Genius brightly shine
Within the bounds of few elaborate Lines!
So just each Image, with such Beauty wrought!
So strong the Sense, so delicate the Thought!
The narrow Piece with so much Action swells,
Such Sweetness in each artful Labour dwells,
Such lively Strokes upon the Fancy glow,
So smooth, so plain the tow'ring Numbers flow:
Heav'ns! how my Heart is ravish'd as I read!
'Tis not the Product of a single Head:
Or, the great Author had his Bosome fir'd
With Heat, that nothing less than Heav'n inspir'd.

A whole Campaign th' immortal Lines rehearse,
That might raise Volumes of less polish'd Verse.
Surprizing Scenes before the Reader rise:
His Mind's amaz'd whilst Nature's in his Eyes.
Successive Pleasures swell his ravish'd Breast
As Wonders stand in Thoughts so well exprest.
He thought at first, and, as he thought, complain'd
The Book a Skirmish and no more contain'd:
Sweetly decevi'd, he stares, and stares again,
And owns he reads a whole well wrought Campaign.

The more my Mind surveys the glowing Charms,
The more with Wonder and Delight it warms.
The rich Epitome new Treasure shews,
When o'er and o'er my longing it renews.
Such Harmony at ev'ry Turn appears
As neither dulls, nor disappoints the Ears.
Thus when all Nature vernal Blooms array
We hate the Night, and wish eternal Day.
The various Beauties of the Fields ne'er cloy,
But, as we gaze, the more enhance our Joy.

Short Period contract the dreadful War,
Which trembling Kingdoms found dilated far,
Join distant Regions, and unnumber'd State,
And deal to Armies their unequal Fates,
Make Legions fight, and valiant Thousands die,
Battallions stand, and vanquish'd Millions fly:
The glorious Events of the far fam'd Year
In their refulgent Splendour all appear,
In Light and Shade, thus the great Judgment stands,
Display'd in short by Raphael's artful Hands:
The World, alarm'd, in wild Confusion lies,
While scatter'd Mortals in Effigie rise;
And on the Day, with Hopes and Terrour wait,
Till Heav'ns high King pronounce their diff'rent Fate.

Behold with rage the British Leader swells!
In Smoke and Thunder yet serenely dwells:
With awful Force the furious Battle rules,
And, where he moves, the daring Foe controuls!
Thus undistrubed, JOVE, (as Tales record)
Thro' stormy Clouds with vengeful Thunder roar'd.
His Eyes glanc'd dreadful from the darkned Sky;
Here Lightnings flash'd, there Bolts destructive fly,
While haughty Giants wag'd the guilty Fight,
And dar'd high Heav'n with their aspiring Might.

How many Heros, who for Glory ran,
And reap'd the Harvest which their Bravery wan,
In Sighs and Tears the Muse's haste regret,
That taries not their Honours to relate,
That they might to the latest Age remain,
And shine with Marlborough in the grand Campaign!

Long may the mighty Poet wear the Bays,
And bless BRITANNIA with his heav'nly Lays!
But he no higher can advance his Fame,
Since Homer's self is scarce a greater Name.
The Iliad might be wrought with lesser Pain
From ten Years War, than out of one Campaign.