1777 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

W. H., "An Impromptu, on seeing the Tragedy of Percy" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (15 December 1777).



Long had Melpomene, in vain,
Beheld her dull and gloomy train,
On Britain's happy shore;
When lo! to claim a nation's praise,
Genius emits his vivid rays
Around his favourite More.

Long had the kind indulgent town
Paid bards for what was not their own,
For ancient classic lore;
But now a British female's pen
Displays to sense and Englishmen,
The diction of a More.

Pathos with poetry she blends,
While every gentle muse attends,
Her numbers to adore;
And tho' the heart, with many sighs,
Bids each conflicting passion rise,
We fondly wish for More.

Fearful and diffident she came,
Till Garrick countenanc'd her claim,
To learning's real store;
Thus, that great effort of the mind,
To write correctly, and refin'd,
Was deem'd by him for More.

She cry'd, "What Quixote of the land
Can hisses, critics, groans, withstand?
Such vengeance will they pour:
Methinks I hear the catcall shrill,
And every hiss to wound — to kill—
With, off, off, off; no, More.

At length the destin'd trial came,
When Merit blew the trump of Fame,
And Echo said encore;
Each auditor, with loud applause,
Confess'd the Fair had won the cause,
And cry'd More! More! Yes, More!
Martlet Court, Thursday.