1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

Robert Millhouse, in Sherwood Forest (1827) 70-71.



Meek in thy lap the youthful White was born,
But early blighted, like the primrose pale,
Which bears its breast beneath the leafless thorn,
And yields its beauties to the evening gale:
His unproved, fragile bark was all too frail
To stem the fury of tempestuous waves;
And, ere the breakers spent their deadly bale,
Foundered amidst the ocean's whelming caves,
Struggling to compass fame in sight of yawning graves.

Fame's barren plaudits were his dirge in death;
Neglect and coldness froze his mortal fire;
As when from melting snows the north wind's breath
Congeals the icicle's inverted spire;
At spring's return the northern gales retire,
And the warm sunbeams loose the curdled snows,
And bid them in ten thousand globes aspire
To fall in dew-drops where the violet blows,
Or bathe the blush of June with incense from the rose.

So has it ever been, and still shall be!
Let genius pine and struggle through life's stage,
And drain, unseen, the cup of misery
Through the defiles of nature's pilgrimage;
Collecting jewels to adorn the page
That lives a monument of boast and shame,
Unshrinking in the grasp of wasting age,
While, to oblivion, falls each grovelling name
Which raised the blighting gale to chill the generous flame.