1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

George Butt, "To Edmund Burke" Poems (1793) 2:159.



Heroic worth, O Burke, implies a mind
Fearless and firm, laborious, kind, and just,
But in a deedless prison is confin'd,
Nor is accomplish'd to fulfil its trust,
Where (Understanding's higher pow'rs deny'd)
It sleeps a stagnant lake depriv'd of wind and tide.

When these perfections are combin'd, we see
The godlike friend of nations, Time,
Enrich'd with genial lustre, rise like thee,
Till up to Glory's noon his radiance climb,
Far o'er the earth salute the raptur'd sight,
And yield its goodliest fruits the largess of his light.

Tho' Dulness blink, and shun the glorious blaze
Which Envy's hazy veil would hide from view,
Its Heav'n-born force but wider shoots its rays,
Exults its healing journey to pursue,
The more obstructed struggles more to shine,
Nor yields to Hell-born Hate its destiny divine.

'Tis thine to know, 'tis often thine to feel
How Virtue lifts thee, Burke, above despite,
Guards the great guardian of the public weal,
Nor grants the rage of foes thy fame to blight,
When o'er life's wild thy Virtue's march they blame,
Still clouded from their view, tho' lit by Heav'n's own flame.