1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

A Native American, "On the Neglect of Native Genius" City Gazette and Daily Advertiser [Charleston] (30 September 1819).



"Occasioned by reading in the Gazette, of Saturday last, a description of the Monument erected in England, by a gentleman of Boston, to the memory of HENRY KIRKE WHITE."

What friend of genius, bids the marble weep
O'er the lone grave where CLIFTON'S ashes sleep?
What Albion "Wanderer" seeks the sacred spot,
And mourns the worth by all but him forgot?
Alas! unwept, unnoticed and unknown,
Nor friend, nor stranger, rears the Poet's stone.
To other climes the friend of genius speeds,
To pluck from foreign graves the noisome weeds;
While native genius, science, taste refin'd,
Virtue and elegance at once combin'd,
Unheeded, mingle with their native clay,
Or, but excites some Poetaster's lay.
To other climes Columbia's Artists fly,
Triumph abroad — at home, neglected die.
Arouse, my country! living worth protect;
Departed genius, rescue from neglect.
Pay to acknowledg'd powers, the tribute due,
Embryo genius then may rise to view:
Some youthful Barlow pen the lofty lay,
Some matchless West, his magic art essay:
To foreign climes, no more thy sons shall roam,
Fame, honor, wealth, by taste confer'd at hom.

For some account of CLIFTON, (whose fate resembled that of WHITE) see a work entitled "The Hermit of America."