1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Philo-Musa, "A Recipe for making a Birth-day Ode" Morning Chronicle (24 June 1776).



Take of the western gales a pound,
Add of the verdant-liveried ground,
And sultry heats a grain;
A scruple of the setting sun
(To qualify the heats of noon)
And tears of morning, twain.

Of Aether take a portion ample,
And of dilated breasts a sample,
Of flowing joys a gill;
An ounce or two of dubious skies,
Of out-spread wing, and eager eyes,
And grind them in a mill.

Pluck expectation from the air,
And mix it well with hope and fear,
Drop in some great event;
Then smooth it with th' unruly flood,
And add a drachm of Conquest's blood,
With breezy balm for scent.

Take general calms thro' nature spread,
With pauses by fell Discord bred,
Of soft repose QUANT. SUF:;
Lest it your genuine powers defy,
Now with poetic bellows try
To nick th' obdurate stuff.

Mix a kind bosom pulverized,
Throw in a heart that's humanized,
Propitious gales shall cool it.
Ye Laureat: rightful is your sway,
Yet tempered Freedom sure may say,
How notably ye fool it.

Thus have I write for future times,
The art of making Birth-day rhimes,
How Poets plume their wings,
Can Britain fail? — The thought were vain!
While George is Emperor of the main,
And gentle Billy sings.