1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Parsons

Bertie Greatheed, "Part of a very elegant Poem: Portraits of Mrs. Piozzi, Mr. Merry, and Mr. Parsons, at that Time writing together, in Italy" The World (28 December 1787).



As such delights my fancy cheer'd,
A BARD OF ALBION'S ISLE appear'd,
Who here had loiter'd down the day,
While sixty moons had waned away;
And at his lyre's majestic sound
The shepherd train would flock around,
Beneath a wood's extensive shade,
Where many a fragrant zephyr play'd.

A ROVING NYMPH so lightly trod,
She scarcely mark'd the velvet sod,
And with her numbers charm'd the ear
Of list'ning Eve, who stay'd to hear!
Hush'd was the lonely lover's flute!
The doleful nightingale was mute,
Whene'er she struck her British lyre
With Grecian force, and Sappho's fire!

Nor distant far a YOUTH recin'd
Whose wild harp warbl'd to the wind,
So softly sweet, so clearly strong,
That Arno's self admir'd the song.

And now with eager haste I strove,
To join the Band that charm'd the grove;
But Ah, my labour all was vain,
For adverse powers my course restrain.
Confus'd at length my vision grew,
Fantastic phantoms rose to view;
Envy I saw, in yellow vest,
Malignant, tear her shrivell'd breast;
And there the sullen race appear,
Who scorn the glowing verse to hear;
Amaz'd, I found the tumult rise,
And Sleep, on hasty pinion flies.