ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. Joseph Spence
, "To the Rev. Mr. Spence" 1759; Poems (1793) 188-89.
Rev. Joseph Spence:
1726: Elijah Fenton
1726: Rev. Christopher Pitt
1728: Rev. Christopher Pitt
1728: William Somervile
1730: George Woodward
1738: Rev. James De La Cour
1747: Thomas Gray
1748: Robert Dodsley
1750: Horace Walpole
1750 ca.: Rev. Glocester Ridley
1758: William Shenstone
1759: Rev. Thomas Blacklock
1760: Joseph Highmore
1764: James Woodhouse
1768: W. S. T
1768: Bp. Robert Lowth
1772: Rev. John Duncombe
1773: Samuel Johnson
1779: Rev. Vicesimus Knox
1780: Horace Walpole
1790 ca.: Edmond Malone
1797: Rev. Joseph Warton
1800 ca.: Robert Southey
1818: Lord Byron
1820: Isaac D'Israeli
1820: Rev. Luke Booker
1820: William Hazlitt
1828: Leigh Hunt
1834: John Wilson
1842: C. H. Timperley
1892: Austin Dobson
1910: Ralph Straus
Rev. Thomas Blacklock:
1746: Alexander Pope
1754: Robert Dodsley
1759: Rev. Joseph Spence
1770 ca.: Dr. Hugh Downman
1775 ca.: James Beattie
1789: Robert Burns
1793: Rev. John Ogilvie
To tomes of dull theology confin'd,
(Eternal opiates of the active mind)
Long lay my spirits, lull'd in deep repose,
Incapable alike of verse or prose.
Unmark'd by thought or action, every day
Appear'd, and pass'd in apathy away.
Our friend, the Doctor, view'd with deep regret,
My sad catastrophe, my lifeless state;
Explor'd each ancient sage, whose labours tell
The force of powerful herb, or magic spell.
Physic in vain its boasted influence try'd;
My stupor incantation's voice defy'd:
No charm could light my fancy's languid flame,
No charm but friendship's voice and Spence's name.
So from the cold embraces of the tomb,
Involv'd in deep impenetrable gloom,
Should heav'n's great mandate bid some wretch arise,
How would he view the sun with ravish'd eyes;
Admire each part of nature's beauteous scene,
And welcome life and happiness again!
Amaz'd the Doctor stood, and lost in thought,
Nor could believe the wonder he had wrought;
Till, fir'd at last with sacerdotal pride,
"'Tis mine; — the work is all my own," he cried.
"Henceforth some nobler task my might shall prove,
I mean some lofty mountain to remove,
With woods and fountains bid it wing its way
Thro' yielding air and settle in the sea."
But recollecting, whence the virtue flow'd
To which returning life and sense I ow'd,
He snatch'd his pen, and with majestic tone;
"Hence Indolence and Sloth," he cry'd, "be gone;
Me Friendship's spirit, Spence's name inspire,
My heart is pregnant, and my soul on fire;
Thought crowds on thought, my brisk ideas flow,
And much I long to tell, and much to know."
Thus exorcis'd, to Lethe's dismal shore
Fled Indolence, and sought her haunts of yore,
With all her train forsook the poet's breast,
And left the man completely dispossess'd.
If to your very name, by bounteous heav'n,
Such blest, restoring influence has been giv'n,
How must your sweet approach, your aspect kind,
Your soul-reviving converse, warm the mind!