1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Henry Kirke White, "On Reading the Poems of Warton" 1799; Remains (1807) 1:304-05.



Oh Warton! to thy soothing shell,
Stretched remote in hermit cell,
Where the brook runs babbling by,
For ever I could listening lie;
And catching all the muses' fire,
Hold converse with the tuneful quire.

What pleasing themes thy page adorn!
The ruddy streaks of cheerful morn,
The pastoral pipe, the ode sublime,
And melancholy's mournful chime,
Each with unwonted graces shines
In thy ever lovely lines.

Thy muse deserves the lasting meed;
Attuning sweet the Dorian reed,
Now the lovelorn swain complains,
And sings his sorrows to the plains;
Now the sylvan scenes appear
Through all the changes of the year;
Or the elegiac strain
Softly sings of mental pain,
And mournful diapasons sail
On the faintly-dying gale.

But ah! the soothing scene is o'er!
On middle flight we cease to soar,
For now the Muse assumes a bolder sweep,
Strikes on the lyric string her sorrows deep,
In strains unheard before.
Now, now the rising fire thrills high,
Now, now to heaven's high realms we fly,
And every throne explore;
The soul entranced, on mighty wings,
With all the poet's heat, up springs,
And loses earthly woes;
Till all alarm'd at the giddy height,
The Muse descends on gentler flight,
And lulls the wearied soul to soft repose.