1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Blackmore

Thomas Cooke, in "The Battle of the Poets" Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables (1729) 134-36 &n.



While in their Camp retir'd both Armys lay,
Some panting, many fearful, for the Day,
Eusden a laurel'd Bard, by Fortune rais'd,
Who has by few been read, by fewer prais'd,
From Place to Place forlorn, and breathless flys,
And offers Bribes immense for strong Allys.
In vain he spends the Day and Night in vain;
All to his Offers deaf his Bribes disdain.
To Blackmore, aged Chief, who bears the Scars
Of dreadful Wounds receiv'd in former Wars,
He most apply'd for Aid; to whom the Sage
Thus spoke, delib'rate from the Fears of Age.

No longer Son my Arms ally'd implore;
In Fields of Fight I shall appear no more.
E'en now I feel, not heal'd by Length of Days,
What I have suffer'd from great Dryden's Lays;
Nor Patience, nor devouring Time, can cure
What from immortal Garth I now endure;
Say therefore what of Glory can I hope,
From Garth and Dryden to descend to Pope?
Or what Renown could the Insulter gain,
To have reported he has slay'd the slain?

His Words effected much the Laureat's Mind,
Who thus repuls'd by all the War declin'd;
With Heart dejected he return'd alone,
Upon the Banks of Cham to make his Moan,
Resolv'd to pass his future Days in Ease,
And toil in Verse himself alone to please,
To fly the noisy Candidates of Fame,
Nor ever court again so coy a Dame.

Blackmore] What Degree of Merit can we attribute to any one who immediately vents his Rage on an Author, who had before been humbled by Dryden, Garth, and other Cotemporarys? the same which we would allow such as should, fifty Years hence, attack the Ruins of Pope wrought so long before by Theobald, Moore, Welsted, &c.