1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Robert Anderson

Henry Boyd, "Ode to Robert Anderson, M.D." Poetical Register for 1802 (1803) 134-38.



We spent at Campbell's friendly board
Of social hours, alas! the last;
Campbell, by commoner or lord
Of that illustrious name, surpast
Seldom in sense and worth and taste—
And Percy's health and praise went round—
—How is the prospect all o'er-cast—
Since you have left Uladia's bound!
—Even tuneful Hafiz seems to mope,
Like Patrick's Dean bereft of Pope!

Deserted by the sinking gale,
Since you forsook the northern shore,
Like ships becalm'd, with furled sail,
Unmov'd by canvass or by oar
We lie, nor longer now explore
Those Islands where the Muses play;
The potent magic acts no more,
And all our glimmering fires decay.
That strand, which late we trod with you,
Seem'd to presage a long adieu!

We saw Mount Catherine o'er the tide
Salute the cloudy range of Mourne,
We saw Rosstrevors sylvan pride
The foamy spray indignant spurn,
Where on the beach by Neptune worn,
From pendent bowers and billows hoar,
Sapphire and emerald tints adorn,
In fairy dance, the winding shore.
Yet still the parting scene display'd
O'er all a melancholy shade.

Ah! little thought the mingled throng
That on the barren strand we spy'd
Saunt'ring in Pleasure's search along,
Or sporting in the wavy tide,
What nobler joys, by thee supplied,
Might raise their minds above the scene
Of all that Fancy yet descried,
In moon-light wave, or woodland green,
Or where the golden shafts of day
Thro' chequer'd shades on Ocean play.

For, like thy country's pride of yore,
The peerless Knight of Ellerslie,
Who wav'd on Ayr's romantic shore
The beamy torch of Liberty;
And roaming round from sea to sea,
From glade obscure, or gloomy rock,
His bold compatriots call'd to free
The realm from Edward's iron yoke,
You rouse the Heliconian train,
The cause of virtue to sustain.

Thy banded minstrels march along,
The descant rolls from hill to hill;
Fond Zephyr propagates the song,
And charmed Echo answers still;
While you conduct, with studious skill,
The pomp, where'er the varied lay
May best the general bosom thrill;
Or where their files in broad display,
As thy sage guidance they pursue,
May give their pageantry to view.

The swains from many a hamlet round
Croud the fine melody to hear,
And list'ning stand, in awe profound,
As the full concert charms the ear;
While more than music from the sphere
Descends, their waken'd soul to raise
Above the shadows dim and drear,
Where Comus rules the murky maze,
And lures, by Sin's bewitching themes,
Fallen Reason, in the land of dreams.

Thine is the heaven-distinguish'd boon,
The soul of music to explore,
And to the blazonry of noon
Her buried treasures to restore,
Hid by malignant critics lore,
Or ne'er by mole-ey'd stupor seen;
And Elegy's sweet muse once more
Wanders with thee thro' vallies green;
And paints the varied joys and pains
Of life, in cities and in plains.

Sages and Legislators old,
Their honours earn'd by toils like thine,
Before the learned hand unroll'd
The noble tale of Troy divine;
His claims to Sparta's regal line
Lycurgus left, to cull the stores
By Homer given to chance malign,
To scatter round on Asia's shores,
He brought complete the matchless strains,
To harmonize Laconia's swains.

Belov'd by Science and the Muse!
While others with a partial ray,
The light of Helicon diffuse,
Thou giv'st the cloudless blaze of day,
And all its genuine stores display;
And East and West thy labours bail,
And oft thou call'st the lofty lay
From the sequester'd humble vale;
Young minstrels catch celestial fire
From thee, and Rapture crowns the lyre.

Like thee, O Jessy! could I sing
Our Friend, now sailing on the main,
Could I pursue thy rapid wing,
Or emulate thy swelling strain,
I would not toil to paint, in vain,
His soul with varied stores replete,
But ah! — the Muse must now refrain
And rest awhile her feeble feet!
And on her lonely hill reclin'd
Survey the picture in her mind.