1744 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Christopher Pitt

Anonymous, "To the Rev. Mr. Christopher Pitt" Gentleman's Magazine 14 (August 1744) 447-48.



When modest merit seems to shun that praise
Th' admiring world to merit ever pays,
It takes, unknowingly, the road to fame,
And, by declining, gains a surer name.

While Pitt, from smoke and tumult far remote,
His wishes bounded to his rural lot,
Deaf to the many, and their just applause,
Conducts an happy few with wholesome laws,
Heedless how church or state-preferments pass,
In calm retirement deals the social glass,
And charms with converse the selected friend,
The wond'ring many but the more commend!
Unstung by satire they revere the bard,
For seldom satirists acquire regard,
Who write thro' peevishness, or write for bread,
Detested living, and unwept when dead!

This treasure, Pimperne, boast not sole in thee,
Th' exalted spirit unconfin'd we see:
In Vida's form he gives us rules to write,
And, while he profits, yields a large delight!
In Virgil's too his presence we confess,
The Mantuan splendid in a British dress!
Idea joins him to the shouting train
That hail'd their patriot-monarch on the plain,
When Sarum's happiness, in George, he sung,
And the freed captives to his tuneful Young!

A muse, unequal to the task, essays
To speak, officiously, sweet bard! thy praise;
Too weak her numbers, and too faint her fires,
Check'd in her flight, reluctant she retires.

To make thy excellence, superior, known,
Demands a pen as nervous as thy own;
Genius, like beauty, best itself displays,
Much art thou prais'd in wanting equal praise!
London, August 23, 1744.