1721 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Tickell

Anonymous, "A Letter to Mr. Tickell, occasion'd by the Death of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison" Miscellaneous Collection of Poems, Songs, and Epigrams (1721) 192-98.



Along with Me in Oxford-Groves confin'd,
In social Arts, and sacred Friendship join'd;
Fair Isis Sorrow, and fair Isis Boast,
Lost from her side, but fortunately lost;
Thy wonted Aid, my dear Companion, bring,
And teach me thy departed Friend to sing.
A Darling Theme! once pow'rful to Inspire,
And now to Melt the Muse's mournful Choir;
Now, and now first, we freely dare commend
His modest Worth, nor shall our Praise offend.

Early he bloom'd amid the Learned Train,
And ravish'd Isis listen'd to his Strain;
See, see, she cry'd, old MARO'S Muse appears,
Wak'd from her Slumber of Two Thousand Years:
Her finish'd Charms to ADDISON she brings,
Thinks in his Thoughts, and in his Numbers sings.
All read transported his pure Classick Page,
Read, and forget their Climate and their Age.

The State, when now his rising Fame was known,
Th' unrival'd Genius challeng'd for her own;
Now wou'd, that one for Scenes of Action strong,
Shou'd let a Life evaporate in Song.
As Health and Strength the brightest Charms dispense,
Wit is the Blossom of the sounded Sense;
Yet few, how few with lofty Thought inspir'd,
With Quickness pointed, and with Rapture fir'd;
In conscious Pride, their own Importance find,
Blind to themselves, as the hard World is blind!
Wit they esteem a gay, but worthless Pow'r,
The slight Amusement of a leisure Hour;
Unmindful, that conceal'd from vulgar Eyes,
Majestick Wisdom wears the bright Disguise.

Poor Dido fondled thus, with idle Joy,
Dread Cupid lurking in the Trojan Boy;
Lightly she toy'd, and trifled with his Charms,
And knew not that a GOD was in her Arms.

Who greatest Excellence of Thought cou'd boast,
In Action too have been distinguish'd most.
This SOMMERS knew, and ADDISON sent forth,
From the malignant Regions of the North,
To be matur'd in more indulgent Skies,
Where all the Vigour of the Soul can rise,
Through warmer Veins where sprightlier Spirits run,
And Sense-enliven'd Sparkles in the Sun.
With secret Pain the prudent Patriot gave
The Hopes of Britain to the rolling Wave;
Anxious, the Charge to all the Stars resign'd,
And plac'd a Confidence in Sea and Wind.

Ausonia soon receiv'd her wond'ring Guest,
And equal Wonder in her turn confest,
To see her Favours rival'd by the Pole,
Her Lustre beaming from a Northern Soul:
In like Surprise was her Aeneas lost,
To find his Picture grace a Foreign Coast.

Now the wide Field of Europe he surveys,
Compares her KINGS, her Thrones, and Empires weighs,
In ripen'd Judgment, and consummate Thought,
Great Work! by NASSAU'S Favour cheaply brought.

He now returns, to Britain a Support,
Wise in her Senate, graceful in her Court:
And when the Publick Welfare wou'd permit,
The Source of Learning, and the Soul of Wit.
O WARWICK! (whom the Muse is fond to Name,
And kindles, conscious of her future Theme:)
O WARWICK! by Divine Contagion bright,
How early didst thou catch his Radiant Light!
By him inspir'd, how shine before thy Time,
And leave thy Years, and leap into thy Prime!

On some warm Bank thus fortunately born,
A Rose-bud opens to a Summer's Morn;
Full blown e'er Noon, her fragrant Pride displays,
And shews th' Abundance of her Purple Rays.

WIT, as her Bays, was once a barren Tree,
We now surpriz'd, her fruitful Branches see;
O Orange-like, 'till his Auspicious Time
It grew indeed, but shiver'd in our Clime:
He first the Plant to richer Gardens led,
And fix'd indulgent in a warmer Bed.
The Nation pleas'd, enjoys the rich Produce,
And gathers from her Ornaments her Use.

When loose from Publick Cares the Grove he sought,
And fill'd the leisure Interval with Thought;
The various Labours of his easy Page,
A Chance-Amusement polish'd half an Age.
Beyond this Truth, old Bards cou'd scarce invent,
Who durst to frame a World by Accident.

What he has sung, how early, and how well,
The Thames shall boast, and Roman Tyber tell.
A Glory more sublime remains in store,
Since such his Talents, that he sung no more.
No fuller Proof of Pow'r th' Almighty gave,
Making the Sea, then curbing her proud Wave.

Nought can the Genius of his Works transcend,
But their fair Purpose and important End;
To rouse the War for Injur'd Europe's Laws,
To steel the Patriot in great BRUNSWICK'S Cause;
With Virtue's Charms to kindle sacred Love,
Or paint th' Eternal Bow'rs of Bliss above.
Where hadst thou room, great Author! where, to roll
The mighty Theme of an Immortal Soul?
Thro' Paths unknown, unbeaten, whence were brought
Thy Proofs so strong for Immaterial Thought?
One let me join, all other may excel;
"How cou'd a Mortal Essence Think so well?"

But why so large in the great Writer's Praise?
More lofty Subjects shou'd my Numbers raise:
In him (Illustrious Rivalry!) contend,
The Statesman, Patriot, Christian, and the Friend!
His Glory such, it borders on Disgrace,
To say he sung the best of Human Race.

In joy once join'd, in Sorrow now for Years,
Partner in Grief, and Brother of my Tears.
TICKELL, accept this Verse, thy mournful due,
Thou farther shalt the sacred Theme pursue;
And as thy Strain describes the matchless Man,
Thy Life shall second what thy Muse began.
Tho' sweet the Numbers, tho' a Fire Divine
Dart thro' the whole, and burn in ev'ry Line;
Who strives not for that Excellence he draws,
Is stain'd by Fame, and suffers from Applause.

But haste to thy Illustrious Task; prepare
The Noble Work well trusted to thy Care;
The Gift bequeath'd by ADDISON'S Command,
To CRAGGS made sacred by his dying Hand.
Collect the Labours, join the various Rays,
The scatter'd Light, in one united Blaze;
Then bear to him so true, so truly lov'd,
In Life distinguish'd, and in Death approv'd,
Th' Immortal Legacy. He hangs a while
In gen'rous Anguish o'er the glorious Pile:
With anxious Pleasure the known Page reviews,
And the dear Pledge with falling Tears bedews.
What tho' thy Tears pour'd o'er thy God-like Friend,
Thy other Cares for Britain's Weal suspend:
Think not, O Patriot, while thy Eyes o'erflow,
Those Cares suspended for a private Woe;
Thy Love to him is to thy Country shown,
He mourns for her, who mourns for ADDISON.