1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Dodd

G. B. H., "To Dr. Dodd, on hearing him preach at Margaret Chapel for the Bath Hospital" Bath Journal (18 October 1773).



Tho' the GREAT GOD has graciously assign'd
The pleasing power of speech to all mankind,
'Tis wonderful to think, how few excel
In that high art — the art of speaking well:
How few in tones mellifluous can impart
Their just ideas to the feeling heart;
How few the subject passions can controul
And influence, when and how they please, the soul.

Wonder not then, Great Preacher, that we hear
Thy tuneful periods with attentive ear,
Doubtful which most to praise or most admire,
Thy moving eloquence and manly fire,
Thy varying tones, that all harmonious flow,
Now rouse to action, and now melt to woe;
Of the just language and the polish'd phrase,
Persuasion's softness and strong reason's blaze,
Which powerful to our hearts thy pleasing voice conveys!
Oh still go on, and while you bless us here,
Still mend the soul, and charm the captive ear;
For as you preach, in virtue we improve,
And catch your glow of universal love!
While for the poor, "those sinews of the land,"
Resistless advocate, you pleading stand,
Your just, your generous pity you impart,
We feel your wish, the wish of every heart;
And long, that thro' the land, to every woe
Our fam'd Bethesda's balmy streams may flow!
That wish to second, and attain that end,
Our well-meant efforts farther still befriend:
And to the work of Charity engage
All readers by your animated page!
Nor to the Pulpits narrow bounds confine
Those rays diffusive which on all should shine.
So may the poor, reliev'd from racking pain
Commend thee to their God in grateful strain:
So may thy own deliver'd Prisoners join
That grateful strain: and their best vows be thine:
So may thy Magdalens from vice set free,
In each thanksgiving still remember thee
These are thy works — true Patriot works which raise
Above all monuments thy name and praise:
Works, which from heaven can never fail to share
The future blessing and the present care:
And works — which as they merit, may they bring
The highest honours of a Patriot King!
Bath, Oct. 16.