1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Nathan Drake

Bernard Barton, "To Nathan Drake, M.D. on reading the opening Paper in his Winter Nights" Literary Gazette (24 June 1820) 412.



With witching eloquence and truth,
Hast thou describ'd the dear delights,
Accessible to age and youth,
In frowning winter's stormiest nights.

While turning o'er the first essay,
My heart so warmly feels its spell,
It cannot for an hour delay
The thanks which thou hast won so well.

Such pictures, — whether they describe,
In truth's own simple eloquence,
The frolics of a youthful tribe,
Happy in early innocence;—

In whose bright eyes the vivid gleam
Of Home's lov'd fire-side gaily glances,
While the more mild and chasten'd beam
From older ones — their mirth enhances;—

Or whether they portray, the charm,
Which erst o'er Cowper's spirit stole;
When evening's pensive, soothing calm,
Sheds its own stillness o'er the soul;—

Such pictures do not merely pass
Before the eye, — and fade in air;
Like summer-showers on new-mown grass,
They call back living freshness there.

Aye! e'en to lonely hearts, which feel
That these things were, and now are not,
Not poignant, only, their appeal,
But fraught with bliss, yet unforgot.

Yes, bliss! — for joys so calm, and pure,
Leave blessings with the heart they bless'd;
And still unchangeably endure,
E'en when not actually possess'd.

For thee, my friend! if wish of mine,
A bard obscure, could call down bliss;
Could I implore for thee, or thine,
A more delightful boon than this?

Than — that my mother's green old age,
May be her child's, or children's too;
And that each charm that decks thy page,
Thy own fire-side may prove is true.
Woodbridge, Suffolk.