1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Pan, "A New Year's Ode, addressed to Mr. Thomas Warton" Public Advertiser (5 January 1790).



Oh Tom! what havoc has thy goose-quill made
With England's honor and old Windsor's pride!
Thou seem'st to glory that her laurels fade,
And strik'st thy exulting lyre that ancient valor died!
Is it "far nobler that the tissued train,"
The "soft attractive orbs" that round us play,
Should "lure in love the peopled plain,"
And dim her bolder "Baron's buckler'd ray?"

"Vast are the themes of Britain's nobler boast"—
But thou "shalt swell the tide of regal praise"
In piping of her "silken yoke," around her coast,
Tell of her "bounteous George," and spurn those "elder days:"
Alas! thy prowess crumbles all! — forlorn
E'en "LIBERTY" herself "delusive" seems,
Her "CIVIC BAY" thou fondly tear'st in scorn
And the vain lust of Kings o'er all thy fancy beams.

Alas! poor "GAUL!" for thee our Warton weeps;
Whilst thou, in all thine iron rage of joy,
Can'st burst the cell where injur'd virtue sleeps,
Bid tyrants tremble and their pride destroy!
Are these the "mystic dreams" "from ruffian" tribes,
The "DEMAGOGUES" thy tory fancy forms?
Alas! poor Tom! thy "plausive power" imbibes
A fruitful pity for thy Si**'s alarms!

Now the tall climax from thy plastic power
Bids "hoary Ocean cleave the briny wave,"
Tells when "enraptur'd" — but ne'er tells the hour—
When Ocean "yields his fasces" — ceasing to be brave!
When lo! "the peasant pours, without a groan,"
His "voted" pittance, "and in fond surprise,"
"Glad that the lesser share is all his own,
Confessing loud the wisdom of TRADUC'D EXCISE!"

How do I laugh to see e'en Warton's self,
The pride of schoolmen and poetic fame,
Plunge deep in falsehood, for ungracious pelf,
And wake the frown that shuns inglorious shame!
Yes, Tom! illustrious Bard! great Laureat, oh!
Thy fame shall mount on "burning eagle's wing,
While place-struck minions groveling here below,
Shall learn from thee to hail the TRIUMPH OF THEIR KING!
Jan. 2, 1790.