1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Fergusson

William Woods, "Lines, addressed to Mr. R. Fergusson on his Recovery from severe Depression of Spirits" 1774 ca.; Poems of Robert Fergusson, ed. James Gray (1821) 203-04.



And may thy friends the joyful news believe?
Dost thou to perfect sense and feeling live?
Has pain, despair, and melancholy fled,
That shook their gloomy horrors round thy bed?
Has reason chas'd the troubles of thy brain,
And fix'd her native empire there again?
Has health, first bliss! her saving arm inclined,
And given thy body strength to suit thy mind?

Yes! it is true — again I see thee smile;
Again I view thee in the Muses' file,
With artless grace along their gardens move,
And twine wild wreaths as sportively you rove:
For all those friends, in thy affections join'd,
By sympathy, by sentiment refin'd,
No words can justice to their joy afford,
To see a portion of themselves restor'd!
Even friends unknown — friends by thy merit earn'd,
Rejoice — while dulness only's unconcern'd:
Wit, sense, and fancy, all their powers display,
To celebrate thy second natal day.

So when some river, trembling with the storm,
Which sudden does its beauteous face deform,
Its wonted course no longer can maintain,
But burst its banks and sweeps along the plain;
Soon as the angry whirlwinds cease to roar,
And sunny skies proclaim the tempest o'er,
No more on stronger shores the surges foam,
But creep in murmurs to their native home;
Untaught by art, their parent waters know,
And once more freely and unruffled flow.
W.