1728 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Spence

William Somervile, in "To Mr. Ramsay, upon his publishing his second Volume of Poems" 1728 ca.; London Magazine 25 (December 1756) 605.



In vain shall canker'd Zoilus assail,
While Spence presides, and candor hold the scale.
His gen'rous breast, nor envy sours, nor spite,
Taught by his founder's motto how to write,
Good manners guides his pen. Learn'd without pride,
In dubious points not forward to decide,
If here and there uncommon beauties rise,
From flow'r to flow'r he roves with glad surprise.
In failings no malignant pleasure takes,
Nor rudely triumphs over small mistakes.
No nauseous praise, no biting taunts offend,
W' expect a censor, and we find a friend.
Poets, improved by his correcting care,
Shall face their foes with more undaunted air,
Strip'd of their rages shall like Ulysses shine,
No pomp of learning, and no fund of sense,
Can e'er attone for lost benevolence.
May Wickham's sons, who in each art excel,
And rival ancient bards in writing well,
While from their bright examples taught they sing,
And emulate their flights with bolder wing,
From their own frailties learn the humbler part,
Mildly to judge in gentleness of heart.
Such criticks, (Ramsay) jealous for our fame,
Will not with malice insolently blame.