1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Anonymous, in The Grove of Fancy (1789) 26-27.



But now a race obtrusive shone,
Whom FANCY blush'd to call her own.
O say what mean this learned train,
These Bards of metaphysic vein!
Of nature void, as void of grace;
No passions know this scholar race.
Their woe no bosom e'er oppress'd;
Their love shall ne'er inflame the breast.
Who draw from books, and not the heart,
In vain shall boast the tuneful art.
Some strong hyperbole supplies
The Poet's bold sublimities.
Forsaking Reason, high they spring,
While wearied Fancy wants a wing:
And where the tender note should move
The soft complaint of gentle Love;
The Bard, perplex'd, with awkward Art,
Relies on mem'ry, not the heart.
Some Hermit cold aspires to write,
Whose frigid lays the Loves affright.
Ingenious DONNE, whose learned page,
Belov'd by ev'ry rhyming sage,
With harsher JONSON, led the way,
Till COWLEY clos'd the long array.