1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Chalmers

John Taylor Esq., "On the Collection of British Poems, by Alexander Chalmers" 1810; Poems on Various Subjects (1827) 2:81-82.



While learning, genius, virtue, notice claim,
JOHNSON will shine amid the realms of fame,
In mind capacious, and in judgment clear,
Instructive always, though at times severe,
For oft he left the Poets for the Men,
And politics controll'd his potent pen,
Urg'd by the secret bias of his youth,
For still he sought, and strove to issue, truth.
While yet he liv'd the willing world must own
His right to rule the biographic throne.—
CHALMERS, to virtue an impartial friend,
With just pretensions may that throne ascend:
Not less acute than JOHNSON, more refin'd,
No early habit warps his steady mind,
Each Bard's true worth in equal scales he weighs,
And deals the well-earn'd meed of rightful praise:
Nor, while to measure justice, he designs,
Toil's humbler task of fixing dates declines.
Genius he traces, from the dawning light,
To the full blaze of its meridian height.
Not critic cares alone his mind engage,
A nobler impulse animates his page,
The Moralist due dignity maintains,
Enforcing virtue, while he vice arraigns.
CHALMERS, thy truth, taste, knowledge, all must please,
While Justice ratifies thy sound decrees,
And joins with Fame to make thy merits known,
As heir to JOHNSON'S biographic throne.