1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Richard Polwhele, "Lines, said to have been addressed to Mr. Cowper, with a Present of The Devonshire and Cornwall Poems" Gentleman's Magazine 65 (July 1795) 600.



Cowper! to thee the Muse of Devon bears
A rustic offering. On the green hill tops,
Or in the hollow combes, beside the rills,
She gather'd many a wild-flower; and retir'd
Beneath a Druid's chasm'd rock, whose base
Was fretted by the foaming Teign, she wove
This wreath to the pale moon; while, scarce discern'd
(Where open'd, far within, th' o'erhanging wood),
The circling fairies twinkled. — Such the wreath
She consecrates to thee! And, though its hues
Be oft too glaring to thy purer eye,
Perchance the primrose or the bluebell there
May lurk, in modest tints, not unperceiv'd.

But Cowper will accept, with fav'ring glance
This votive gift. For, where true Taste resides,
Where ardent Genius sheds th' unborrow'd ray,
And unaffected Learning tempers all,
There Candour reigns. And long, exalted Bard,
Long may thy fine originalities
Illume our minds! Still may thy TASK delight,
And be thy HOMER'S lustre unobscur'd
Till thine own epic Muse eclipse its orb!