1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bryan Waller Procter

Ellen Janet, "To the Author of the Poem Marcian Colonna" New Monthly Magazine 14 (October 1820) 444.



Hail! star of promise, hail! whose radiance bright
Shines 'mongst the brightest with the loveliest light:
Fain would this weak and tributary lay
That homage to thy wondrous genius pay,
Which sure from sterner hearts thy verse would steal;
For where's the heart but must its influence feel?
When chilling fear reproves the vain desire,
And whispers, still be silent and admire,
Then grateful memory brings to mind the hours
Enliven'd, cheer'd, instructed by thy powers,
And bids me, tho' unknown, undaunted raise
The voice of warm, sincere and ardent praise.
Sacred and dear for aye that hour shall be
Held in the annals of sweet poesy,
When on the ear of favour'd England first
The magic music of thy numbers burst:
With sound like that half mournful, and half gay,
Some meek brook murmurs as it rolls away
Beneath the placid moon-beam, who the while
Illumes its surface with her silver smile.
Still tho' the beauty of thy early song
Gave promise fair of nobler themes ere long,
Yet none nor deem'd, nor hoped, so soon you'd twine
A lay so grand, so tender and divine,
That it alone would wreath thy brows with fame,
And with our proudest bards enroll thy name.
Go on, and with a genuine poet's fire
Still sweep the chords of thy enchanted lyre:
And could I tell what chord thou strik'st the best,
I'd bid thee touch it oft'ner than the rest;
But it were easier, when on high we view
The rainbow's painted arch, to say what hue
Looks to the eye most lovely, than to tell
When most you shine, and where you most excel.
London, Sept. 1820.