ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. Thomas Blacklock
, "To Rev. Thomas Blacklock" 1760 ca.; Blacklock, Poems (1793) xxxiv-v.
Rev. Thomas Blacklock:
1746: Thomas Blacklock
1749: William Lauder
1755: Rev. Joseph Spence
1758: G. G.
1760 ca.: James Beattie
1760 ca.: Richard Hewitt
1765: Alexander Dick
1768: Dr. Hugh Downman
1770 ca.: Dr. Hugh Downman
1787: Robert Burns
1791: Samuel Johnson
1793: William Taylor of Norwich
1794: Robert Alves
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1798: Alexander Campbell
1806: Anna Seward
1806: Joseph Dennie
1808: Sir Walter Scott
1822: Joseph Robertson
1831: John Wilson Croker
1860: George Gilfillan
1882: Margaret Oliphant
1759: Samuel Richardson
1760 ca.: Rev. Thomas Blacklock
1763: John Hoole
1765: Rev. Charles Churchill
1765: Thomas Gray
1768: Alexander Ross
1768: Alexander Ross
1770: Dr. John Armstrong
1770: William Collins
1771: Samuel Johnson
1772: Sir William Jones
1773: George Lyttelton
1774: Rev. William Cameron
1774: Lord Chesterfield
1774: Rev. Alexander Gerard
1774: Bp. Beilby Porteus
1775: John Hawkesworth
1775: John Pinkerton
1776: Abraham Cowley
1776: John Dryden
1776: John Milton
1776: Alexander Pope
1776: Allan Ramsay
1776: Rev. Jonathan Swift
1778: James Thomson
1779: Rev. Robert Potter
1780: John Scott of Amwell
1781: Samuel Jackson Pratt
1783: Lord Kames
1784: Elizabeth Montagu
1784: Hannah More
1786: Bp. Richard Hurd
1787: Jane Bowdler
1788: Oliver Goldsmith
1789: Rev. William Wilkie
1791: Horace Walpole
1798: John Pinkerton
1800: Elizabeth Montagu
Hail to the poet! whose spontaneous lays
No pride restrains, nor venal flattery sways.
Who, nor from critics, nor from fashion's laws,
Learns to adjust his tribute of applause;
But bold to feel, and ardent to impart
What nature whispers to the generous heart,
Propitious to the moral song, commends,
For Virtue's sake, the humblest of her friends.
Peace to the grumblers of an envious age,
Vapid in spleen, or brisk in frothy rage!
Critics, who, ere they understand, defame;
And friends demure, who only do not blame;
And puppet-prattlers, whose unconscious throat
Transmits what the pert witling prompts by rote,
Pleas'd to their spite or scorn I yield the lays
That boast the sanction of a Blacklock's praise.
Let others court the blind and babbling crowd:
Mine be the favour of the wise and good.
O thou, to censure, as to guile unknown!
Indulgent to all merit but thy own!
Whose soul, though darkness wrap thine earthly frame,
Exults in virtue's pure ethereal flame;
Whose thoughts, congenial with the strains on high,
The muse adorns, but cannot dignify;
As northern lights, in glittering legions driven,
Embellish, not exalt, the starry heaven:
Say thou, for well thou know'st the art divine
To guide the fancy, and the soul refine,
What heights of excellence must he ascend,
Who longs to claim a Blacklock for his friend;
Who longs to emulate thy tuneful art;
But more thy meek simplicity of heart;
But more thy virtue patient, undismay'd,
At once though malice and mischance invade;
And, nor by learn'd nor priestly pride confin'd,
Thy zeal for truth, and love of human kind.
Like thee, with sweet ineffable controul,
Teach me to rouse or soothe th' impassion'd soul,
And breathe the luxury of social woes;
Ah! ill-exchanged for all that mirth bestows.
Ye slaves of mirth, renounce your boasted plan,
For know, 'tis sympathy exalts the man.
But, midst the festive bower, or echoing hall,
Can riot listen to soft pity's call?
Rude he repels the soul-ennobling guest,
And yields to selfish joy his harden'd breast.
Teach me thine artless harmony of song,
Sweet, as the vernal warblings borne along
Arcadia's myrtle groves; ere art began,
With critic glance malevolent, to scan
Bold nature's generous charms, display'd profuse
In each warm cheek, and each enraptur'd muse.
Then had not Fraud impos'd, in Fashion's name,
For freedom lifeless form, and pride for shame;
And, for th' o'erflowings of a heart sincere,
The feature fix'd, untarnish'd with a tear;
The cautious, slow, and unenliven'd eye,
And breast inured to check the tender sigh.
Then love, unblamed, indulged the guiltless smile;
Deceit they fear'd not, for they knew not guile.
The social sense unawed, that scorn'd to own
The curb of law, save nature's law alone,
To godlike aims, and godlike actions fir'd;
And the full energy of thought inspir'd;
And the full dignity of pleasure, given
T' exalt desire, and yield a taste of heaven.