1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Robert Lowth

J. W., "Learning, Genius, and Virtue: A Fable, humbly inscribed to the Lord Bishop of London" St. James's Chronicle (12 August 1779).



As late with Genius Virtue stray'd,
Beneath the Laurel-woven Shade,
Where fam'd Castalia's Naiades pour
From crystal Urns the Silver Shower,
Fair Genius join'd the Muses' Train,
That ever hymn th' immortal Strain;
Her favourite Votaries grac'd the Theme,
And lull'd the gently-falling Stream.
Of Milton, Gray, the Goddess sung,
In Strains enchanting as their Song;
Whose Laurels crown their generous toil,
Immortal Newton, Locke, and Boyle;
There twin'd the Bays to grace his Name,
Whose Merits claim'd an equal Fame;
While Virtue, 'midst the heavenly Choir,
Tun'd her Voice, and strung her Lyre:
She sung the Good of every Age,
Whose Lives adorn th' historic Page;
Who ne'er their Truth, their Honour sold,
Whose Hands refuse the venal Gold;
Undazzled by the Pomp of State,
Greatly poor, and humbly great;
These by no lordly Power oppress'd,
The Widow and the Orphan bless'd;
Of Names like these her Verse compos'd,
Nor clos'd the Song till Evening clos'd;
Then twin'd the Bays to grace his Name,
Whose Merits claim'd an equal Fame:
These from their Hands fair Virtue took,
With placid Eye, and modest Look;
Then, sweetly-smiling, twin'd them both,
To grace the Brows of classic Lowth.
Bedford.