1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Herbert

Mary Russell Mitford, "To the Hon. William Herbert" 1810; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 1:84-85.



Of gifted bard! Awake again
For Hafnia's wrongs thy lofty strain;
Awake again that night of woe,
That laid her friendly turrets low:
When wide o'er Northern seas the flame
Spread Denmark's wrongs and England's shame;
When Folly lit the funeral pyre,
And Albion's glory fed the fire:
Awake the strain where keen and high
Glows "all the poet's ecstasy;"
The ardent strain that soars sublime,
And spurns the bounds of space and time;
Now softer than the Tuscan breeze
Murmuring through clustered olive-trees:
Now wilder than the storm that roars
Round Iceland's desolated shores.
For me — unskillful to prolong
The finely modulated song—
Whose simple lay spontaneous flows
As Nature charms or feeling glows,
Wild, broken, artless as the strains
Of linnets on my native plains,
And timid as the startled dove,
Scared at each breeze that waves the grove;
Still may that trembling verse have power
To cheer the solitary hour,
Of spring's life-giving beauties tell,
Or wake at friendship's call the spell.
Enough to bless my simple lays,
That muse-loved Herbert deigned to praise.
March 31, 1810.