1749 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Edwards

Hester Mulso Chapone, "Occasioned by reading Sonnets written in the Stile and Manner of Spencer, by T. Edwards" 1749; Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, by Mrs. Chapone (1775) 126-27.



Blest Bard! to whom the Muses, grateful, gave
That pipe which erst their dearest Spenser won,
As once they found thee, pensive and alone,
Strewing sweet flowers upon his hallow'd grave;
Then had thy fancy glow with sacred fire,
And softest airs thy rural verse inspire.

Again the elfin Faies and Sylphids come,
At dusky eve, or in the moon-light pale,
To the accustom'd mead, or shadowy dale,
Or where the wild wood sheds a browner gloom,
Where oft, unseen, they listen'd to the lay
Of their loved Colin-clout, till peep of day.

Once more they listen, while with mimic hand
Thou tun'st his rustic reed; and oft their feet,
Charm'd by thy simple verse and music sweet,
Forget the dance, and all in silence stand;
They hush the breeze, and chide the brook to peace,
And Philomel is mute till Damon cease.

But most thy strains my raptur'd spirits raise,
When love of virtue prompts thy tuneful tongue;
When Richardson's lov'd name adorns thy song,
What honest heart but echoes back thy praise!
Sing on, sweet bard! prolong the darling theme!
Hush'd be the breeze! and mute the babbling stream!

Fain would I, shepherd, catch the pleasing note,
And vainly try to learn thy wond'rous skill;
So the young linnet, when with varied trill
The Woodlark shakes his wildly-warbling throat,
Delighted, flutters quick her trembling wing,
Tries her weak voice, and twitt'ring, aims to sing.