1732 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leonard Welsted

P. B., "Once Welsted to th' Aonian mountain came" Grub-Street Journal (28 September 1732).



Once W— to th' Aonian mountain came,
And thus asserted his pretence to fame.
As PHILIPS with immortal MARO — I
With celebrated FLACCUS justly vye:
O PHOEBUS! him I've imitated well,
And modern Poets I by far excell:
Whom former ages knew, and present see,
Britons are barb'rous, if compar'd with me:
By fit examples I the means dispense,
To smooth their numbers, and refine their sense,
With utmost purity of word and thought;
Style is by me to full perfection brought:
With equal worth and modesty I aim,
Mark, O LATONA'S son, my double claim!
Let, son of JOVE, my title be allow'd,
Who gain abhor, and ne'er to falshood bow'd.

The bold pretension grave APOLLO mov'd
To wrath — and thus the trifler he reprov'd:
FLACCUS I know, and his desert allow,
Some moderns too commend — but what art thou?
Can'st thou, can'st thou to lasting fame aspire,
Devoid of sense, or elegance, or fire?
O mortal! thou hast little art, or grace,
Or any thing — but a Corinthian face.
Pragmatic Bard! far other practice try,
And title bring, e'er thou presume so high;
Take my advice to modulize thy strain,
(Tho' much I fear my council is in vain)
Never, fond Bard! from nature's rules depart;
Chuse those, altho' thou slight'st the rules of art.
Rough be thy satire, arm'd with scourge, or sling,
And do not softly, as to CELIA sing;
On ev'ry subject be concise and clear,
Aim more to move the soul, than charm the ear:
Thy sentiments from partial blindness free,
From affectation let thy diction be:
Let justice lead thee, let not interest guide,
Court plain desert, nor flatter pamper'd pride;
In worth's true cause majestically flow,
Nor tell in frothy Cant a tale too low:
With curious search find out the path to fame;
By truly-worthy precedent reclaim,
And this way bring misguided men to shame.

But LEONARD, glowing with disdainful thought,
(Enrag'd and startled to be check'd and taught,
Out of all patience, — in a furious haste
Withdrew — and swore — APOLLO had not Taste.