1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Emanuel Empty, "Probationary Ode, for the Laureate" English Chronicle (3 June 1790).



Great Caesar's praise I fain would sing,
But find my Muse a cup too low;
Good Salisbury step and tell the King,
That I begin my Ode with — O!

O! for a cup of cordial sack,
My lazy Pegasus to spur,
And drive him o'er each vulgar hack,
Like mastiff straddling o'er a cur!

Thy noble nostrils from afar
Can catch the scent of Fortune's gale,
Each rising hope to make or mar,
To Courtly sack turn College ale.

Ale, thin or thick, contends in vain
With Sack, more energetic matter;
Witness TOM WARTON'S maudlin brain,
Truant from Charley o'er the Water.

When Isis languish'd, like his lays,
Cam flow'd along in loyal pride;
Now we behold far other days,
And Tories for their poor provide.

Arm'd with thy wand, like Mercury,
To drive damn'd Wits and Whigs about,
I dread to meet thy towering eye;
O be as merciful as stout!

If thou wilt only wet my whistle,
The peerless Peer shall be so prais'd
In Poem long, in long Epistle,
Old Hatfield House shall stand amaz'd.

Say but the word, or nod thy nob,
I have materials ready by me,
To do as workmanship a job,
As e'er was finish'd; — only try me.

I'll lend St. James's such a lift,
As sober Poets little think of;
But first inspire me with the gift
Of something good to eat and drink of.