1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Thomas Cooke, in "The Battle of the Poets" Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables (1729) 145-47.



Now Phoebus paints with golden Streaks the Skys;
The Forest warbles; and the Bards uprise;
They view their Forces, and review, with Care,
And see th' avenging Hand of Phoebus there;
Some own the Justice of the God's Decree;
And some with Eyes of Grief reproachful see.
While for his ravish'd Verses Pope complain'd,
And Heav'n, and Earth, and Hell, by Turns arraign'd,
Philips approach'd with a selected Throng,
From Cells and Courts, judicious Sons of Song:
His Helm was made with more than human Care;
And Pindar, with his Theban Lyre, is there.
Lo! on his Shield the deathless Mantuan stands,
And bowing gives his Pipe to British Hands;
There stands Orestes in his wild Despair,
Humfrey the good, and Gwendolen the fair.
Swift, who foresaw the Danger of his Stay,
Posted reguardless of his Friend away.

Pope, swell'd with Malice, Vanity and Pride,
Thus, with the Voice of Pray'r, to Phoebus cry'd.

Lend Me, great God of Verse, thy timely Aid,
By Foes surrounded, and a Friend betray'd,
Restore my Arms, restore my plunder'd Lays,
And annually thy Bard shall sing thy Praise;
Or whelm me in the Center of the Ball,
Rather than Philips should behold my Fall.

Apollo hear'd the wretched Suppliant's Pray'r,
Prefer'd in vain, for all his Vows were Air.
At last the desp'rate Bard the Foe defy'd,
And on the past'ral Lay his Hopes rely'd;
Which, now to perish, such the God's Command,
Escap'd the Vengeance of the Critic's Hand.
The Deity inspir'd th' attendant Throng
With Wisdom to decide this Strife of Song,
Who judge, illfated Pope, thy rural Note
Like a Clown aukward in Sir Fopling's Coat;
But Philips charms all Hearers with his Strain,
A skilful, pure, and unaffected, Swain;
His Numbers flow with Harmony and Ease,
And like the Country in her Beauty please.
This Commendation, Philips, is thy Due,
And this the Sentence of the judging few.
The Scene with Paeans loud to Philips rung;
Nor could the Song prevail to Granville sung.