1755 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James Hervey

Matilda, "To the Rev. Mr. James Hervey (written some Years before his Death)" 1755 ca.; London Chronicle (20 August 1765) 174.



Accept, great Hervey, what thy thoughts inspir'd,
My Muse is by thy MEDITATIONS fir'd:
I sing, tho' well I know I should not dare;
My strains can't with thy eloquence compare.

I lov'd to walk among the tombs before,
But, since thy hallow'd lines I read, far more;
Now oft I haunt about the awful bed
Of once my kindred, now the righteous dead.
Thou, wond'rous Man! hath from the garden drawn
Sweets never known before: — The bloomy lawn,
With far more than its native beauty shines;
Ev'n Heav'n appears more splendid in thy lines.

The starry night, and Winter's frozen womb,
Afford us pleasure; ev'n the ghastly tomb
Itself, thou mak'st an object of delight,
No more the skulls and skeletons affright;
No more the tender virgin's blood runs chill,
Nor dreads the sepulchre as some great ill.

Oh blest physician, thousands sav'd shall tell
How far thy med'cines Paeon's stores excel!
Proud babbling Greece in vain essay'd her art,
Vain was her lore to cure the wounded heart:
All nature mourn'd, till Great Messiah rose;
Strait o'er each land the oil of gladness flows,
And Gilead's balm immortal health bestows.

Oh, how I view, with pity and disdain,
The prattling Atheist and the leud prophane,
Who give their passions Reason's awful name,
And, blind to truth, the laws of heav'n blaspheme!
That Saviour's laws which far, oh far, outdo
All Socrates or Plato e'er could shew.