ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Richard Owen Cambridge
, "To Mr. Whitehead on his Being Made Poet Laureate" 1757; Dodsley, Collection of Poetry (1758) 6:3-09-10.
1755: Rev. William Mason
1757: William Shenstone
1757: Richard Owen Cambridge
1757: Bp. Richard Hurd
1757: Rev. John Free
1757: Horace Walpole
1761: R. S.
1762: Rev. Charles Churchill
1762: Thomas Gray
1765: Cuthbert Shaw
1769: W. G. E.
1770 ca.: William Cole
1772: Paul Pinchwell
1773: Christopher Anstey
1774: Rev. John Langhorne
1774: The Bellman
1785: C. J.
1785: Edmond Malone
1785: Anna Seward
1786: Rev. Robert Potter
1788: Rev. William Mason
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1804: Joseph Dennie
1804: Rev. William Tooke
1806: Rev. George Richards
1807: Robert Southey
1809: Dr. Nathan Drake
1824: Bryan Waller Procter
1851: Dr. David Macbeth Moir
1860: George Gilfillan
1880: Thomas Humphry Ward
1910: Ralph Straus
Richard Owen Cambridge:
1757: William Whitehead
'Tis so — tho' we're surpris'd to hear it:
The laurel is bestow'd on merit.
How hush'd is every envious voice!
Confounded by so just a choice,
Though by prescriptive right prepar'd
To libel the selected bard.
But as you see the statesman's fate
In this our democratic state,
Whom virtue strives in vain to guard
From the rude pamphlets and the card;
You'll find the demagogues of Pindus
In envy not a jot behind us:
For each Aonian politician
Whose element is opposition,
Will shew how greatly they surpass us,
In gall and wormwood at Parnassus.
Thus as the same detracting spirit
Attends on all distinguish'd merit,
When 'tis your turn, observe, the quarrel
Is not with you, but with the laurel.
Suppose that laurel on your brow,
For cypress chang'd, funereal bough!
See all things take a diff'rent turn!
The very critics sweetly mourn,
And leave their satire's pois'nous sting
In plaintive elegies to sing:
With solemn threnody and dirge
Conduct you to Elysium's verge.
At Westminster the surpliced dean
The sad but honorable scene
Prepares. The well-attended herse
Bears you amid the kings of verse.
Each rite observ'd, and duty paid,
Your fame on marble is display'd,
With symbols which your genius suit,
The mask, the buskin, and the flute:
The laurel crown aloft is hung:
And o'er the sculptur'd lyre unstrung
Sad allegoric figures leaning—
(How folks will gape to find find their meaning!)
And a long epitaph is spread
Which happy You will never read.
But hold — The change is so inviting
I own, I tremble while I'm writing.
Yet, WHITEHEAD, 'tis too soon to lose you;
Let critics flatter or abuse you,
O! teach us, ere you change the scene
To Stygian banks from Hippocrene,
How free-born bards should strike the strings,
And how a Briton write to kings.