1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen

Alaric Alexander Watts, "To J. H. Wiffen, on receiving a Copy of Aonian Hours" Gentleman's Magazine 89 (August 1819) 162.



Though many a Minstrel's Harp now ringeth
With tones, the ear of Taste must love;
And many a Muse her chaplet bringeth
From Fancy's golden bowers above;—
More passionate strains than those thou breathest,
Perchance the melting heart hath owned,
And brighter blooms than what thou wreathest
Round thy wild chords, some lyres crown'd;
But none may boast, mid the tuneful throng,
A lovelier garland, or purer song.

'Tis true, not seldom, hues of sadness
Pervade thy flowers, and tinge thy lay;
But who, for Mirth's broad glare of gladness,
Would wish that tenderer gloom away?
Not I, on sooth: — thy pensive numbers,—
Than Joy's light music sweeter far,—
Can rouse my bosom's deepest slumbers;
Or when its inmates wildly war,
On my world-vexed, turbulent spirit break
Soothing, — as bells on a twilight lake!

Lover of rivers, woods, and mountains!—
Haunter of Nature's green recesses!—
When sparkles in eve's glassy fountains
The light of Luna's silver tresses,
Companionless 'tis thine to wander,
And watch the starry host assembling;—
On scenes above — around — to ponder;
Till every pulse with love is trembling,
For HIM — who from darkness called up light,
And wrought from Chaos a world so bright!

For whilst thine eye with rapture dwelleth
On the varied charms of Heaven and Earth,
With gratitude thy bosom swelleth
To HIM — who spoke them into birth!
And, with thy waking visions blending,
RELIGION breathes her holiest balm;
In each storm-troubled moment lending
A sweet, and peace-compelling calm:—
Oh, ever thus — till life's latest day,
May thy tempests of grief to that power give way!

Minstrel, and friend, farewell! — though lightly
'Vaileth such meed of praise as mine;
Though the rude wreath may ill requite thee;
For beauty-breathing strains like thine;
Yet, whilst that tie remains unbroken
Which kindred souls account so dear;
Not valueless thou'lt deem the token
Thus offer'd from a heart sincere:
Farewell! — 'twill be joy enough for me
If it guile but an hour of gloom for thee!
A. A. W.
July 20, 1819.