1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hookham Frere

Francis Hodgson, in Childe Harold's Monitor (1818) 37.



Time was, when Scholarship and Taste refined,
And some prepared nobility of mind,
Were deemed essentials in the Poet's task:
And those who read, such qualities would ask
In those who wrote: — for then, the polished few
Included all; the bard, and critic too.
Then, like some high magician from his throne,
Ruling a fair creation of his own,
The Poet rose — and sights and sounds of rest
Charmed weary life; as blow o'er Ocean's breast
Soft airs, and sunbeams fall, from islands of the blest.
But now! — Oh Heavens! — see harlot Fancy blaze
In faded finery o'er the public ways;
Lavish on all her worthless smiles, and crown
The skull of every idler in the town.
Nor rests she here; — but, lower still, invades
Shops of the men, and dairies of the maids;
Calls boys from flocks, the miner from his shaft,
And makes immortal song a "whistling craft."