1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hannah More

Philo-Musa, "On Miss H— M—'s Tragedy, translated from the French of M. de. Belloy" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (2 March 1778).



Hannah, "whom every play-house bill
Stiles great, divine, or what you will,"
Can most adroitly cater,
And these our sapient times require
No sterling genius, native fire,
But only a translator.

Belloy with me shall join in praise
Of her unrivall'd tragic lays,
And sure most high we rate her;
For she hath given his sense exact
In English dress, and is in fact
An excellent translator.

Seeing her magic scenes, I die—
(Yet almost old enough am I
To be the fair-one's Pater,)
How then must every younger spirit
Adore the energy and merit
Of our sublime translator?

For her shall morning presses teem,
And newspapers thro' many a team
Be Roscius, and be Bate her;
Woodford a corner shall supply,
For an Impartialist am I,
And so is our translator.

Forth issuing from their laurel groves
The Muses, Graces, and the Loves,
And eke their lovely Mater,
Her hand shall take, then bid her hop,
And flat upon Parnassus' top
Our marvellous translator.

Or else who knows another year,
Whether in Mac's throne-aping chair
Old Wilson may inflate her,
Graham's soft strains thro' aether float,
And Dragon's wild sonorous note
Applaud our great translator.

Dragon, a bug-bear fierce and grim
Shall tear with pleasure limb by limb
The yelping curs who hate her,
And Roscius' self, (for who'll deny
That Roscius hath a speaking eye)
Shall ogle our translator.

Then too my panegyric song
Shall echo Avon's banks along,
Or, (tho' no idle prater)
At least unblamed I may be found
Uniting in the general sound,
"All-hail Divine Translator!"

Softener of Belloy's horrid tale,
Each dainty master cries all-hail
Sweet, tender-natured cratur!
Shakespeare! — tremendous works of death!
Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Macbeth,
All yield to our translator.

Gallic succeeds to Gallic play,
The mushrooms live their little day,
May Percy's fate be later!
As long as Eldred shall be bought;
Or e'en her happiness be sought,
So long live our translator!