1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bertie Greatheed

William Parsons, "Ode to Mr. Greatheed" The Florence Miscellany (1785) 107-08.



O blest with Taste, with Genius blest,
Sole mistress of thy BERTIE'S breast,
Who to his love-enraptur'd arms art given,
The rich reward his virtues claim from Heaven!
What tho amid this wreath of flowers
Poetic, cull'd from Tuscan bowers,
In union twin'd at Friendship's mild command,
None boast the gath'ring of thy gentle hand;
Their blossoms yet you help'd to raise,
And fed them with the dew of praise;
Yet did your nice perceptive sense exclude
Weeds of disgusting scent, or semblance rude.
Can then my harsh, and tuneless lyre,
Misled by ardent zeal aspire
With rough address to court thy critic ear?
Yes — for from thee I dread no frowns severe,
While Wit enthron'd on Judgement's base,
Is temper'd by each milder grace;
And such the bias of thy vig'rous mind,
To Friendship's failings only art thou blind!
O still may Hymen's flame improve
Fann'd by the purple wings of Love,
While led thro' Gallic, or Italian plains,
A British pair his blissful pow'r maintains!
Behold the soft voluptuous fair,
Tho' deck'd with pearls, and jewels rare,
How poor, how low, by ANNA'S modest side,
Adorn'd with conscious worth, and honor's pride.
So when chaste Dian, mounting high,
Displays her full orb'd majesty,
Lost in her blaze the twinkling stars retire,
And Venus pales her meretricious fire!
And when at Mercy's throne I bend,
The boon I ask is such a friend,
On my remaining hours of life to smile,
In distant Albion, that most favor'd soil,
Where thrives the plant domestic joy,
Which Passion's gusts shall ne'er destroy,
While sweet oblivion drowns preceding time,
And the vain pleasures of this softer clime!