1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Jones

Thomas Maurice, "To the Author of Poems and Translations from the Asiatic Languages" Maurice, Poems (1779) 9-10.



Whither does fancy stretch her rapid wing,
Through what new regions of serener spring?
My ravish'd sense an opening Eden greets,
A waste of treasures, and a wild of sweets—
And now I seem through fairy bow'rs to stray,
Where scatter'd rubies pave the spangled way;
Transparent walks, with polish'd sapphires bright,
And fountains, sparkling with ambrosial light.

A sweeter lyre no Eastern swain hath strung,
More softly warbled, or more boldly sung;
Whether, great Bard, thy vigorous muse rehearse
Solima's deathless praise, in deathless verse;
Paint the bright virtues of her generous mind,
Great as thy own, and as thy own refin'd;
Or, tun'd to grief, the melting numbers move,
Breathing the softest tales of plaintive love:
Tender as Petrarch's flows th' impassion'd line,
Nor Vida boasts a chaster page than thine.

Yet not that Britain's laurels round thy head,
And Arab's palms, with rival lustre spread,
For this I sing — but, that, with fix'd disdain,
Thy Roman soul refus'd the flatterer's strain;
And dar'd prefer, (unvers'd in courtly guile)
Virtue's just praise beyond a Monarch's smile.