1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Jackson of Exeter

Hugh Downman, "To Mr. Jackson" Gentleman's Magazine 44 (August 1774) 379.



As long as tender sentiment shall please,
And warm expression captivate the mind,
As long as native beauties, genuine ease
Shall with the nicer few acceptance find:

While Taste shall live in spite of savage Art,
And tyrant Custom's supercilious sway;
While Genius shall inspire the human heart
By Affectation vile untaught to stray:

So long the Muse, her strains impassion'd freed
By Jackson's magic touch from base controul,
Shall melt with love, cause Pity's bosom bleed,
And with redoubled force, invade the soul!

Who thro' the mazy labyrinths of sound
Hath walk'd before with chaste untainted ear!
Return'd in safety from th' enchanted ground,
Unwarp'd by vanity, uncheck'd by fear?

'Tis thine, 'mid Harmony's extensive reign,
To cull each soft, each energetic tone,
Each note unsullied by the vulgar train,
Which Nature whispers in thy ear alone.

'Tis thine, Simplicity's much-boasted grace
Truly to feel, to scorn the praise of fools,
Who view with rapture the distorted face,
Strangers to modest Sense, and all her rules.

'Tis thine, unbiass'd by a transient fame,
Not stupid wonder, but the heart's applause
Nobly to claim, by this t' exalt thy name,
While Reason, Passion, Truth, assert thy cause.