1767 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

Jael Mendez, "On Mr. Walpole's House at Strawberry Hill" Moses Mendez, Supplement to Dodsley, A Collection of Poems (1767) 223-24.



When Envy saw yon Gothic structure rise,
She view'd the fabric with malignant eyes:
With grief she gazes on the antique wall,
The pictur'd windows, and the trophy'd hall.
Thro' well-ranged chambers, next she bends her way,
Gloomy, not dark, and chearful, tho' not gay;
Where to the whole, each part proportion bears,
And all around, a pleasing aspect wears.
Towards the study then her footsteps tend,
Where columns rise, and sculptur'd arches bend:
Here soothing Melancholy holds her seat,
And Contemplation seeks the lov'd retreat.
The garden next displays a magic scene
Of fragrant plants and never-fading green:
Each various season, various gifts bestows,
The lilac, woodbine, and the blooming rose;
Hence, in clear prospect to the gazer's eye,
Woods, hills, and streams, in sweet confusion lie.
The silver Thames, as he pursues his way,
Seems here to loiter, and prolong his stay.
These matchless charms, her indignation move,
She weeps to find she cannot but approve:
Then sorely sighing, from her canker'd breast,
Thus the curst fiend her impious woes exprest:
Am I in vain the foe to all thy race?
'Twas I that wrought thy patriot sire's disgrace;
In vain I strove to blot his honour'd name,
Brighter it shines, restor'd by endless fame:
And must another Walpole break my rest,
And must thy praises, my repose molest?
'Tis thine, by various talents, still to please,
To plan with judgment, execute with ease;
With equal skill, to build, converse and write,
To charm the mind, and gratify the sight.
Ah! could I but these battlements o'erthrow,
And lay this monument of genius low?
But vain the wish, for art and nature join
To add perfection to the fair design:
It must proceed, for so the fates decree,
Yet mark the sentence that's pronounced by me:
Thousands that view it shall the work despise,
And thousands more shall view it with my eyes;
Th' applause which thou so gladly wouldst receive,
The candid and the wise alone shall give:
Taste, tho' much talked of, is confin'd to few,
They best can prize it, who are most like you.