1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Philip Sidney

William Hayley, in A Poetical Epistle to an Eminent Painter (1778) 41-42.



Shall BAYARD, glorious in his dying hour,
Of Gallic Chivalry the fairest Flow'r,
Shall his pure Blood in British colours flow,
And BRITAIN, on her canvas, fail to shew
Her wounded SIDNEY, BAYARD'S perfect peer,
SIDNEY, her Knight, without Reproach or Fear,
O'er whose pale corse heroic Worth should bend,
And mild Humanity embalm her Friend!
Oh! ROMNEY, in his hour of Death we find
A Subject worthy of thy feeling Mind;
Methinks I see thy rapid Hand display
The field of ZUTPHEN on that fatal day,
When arm'd for Freedom, 'gainst the guilt of SPAIN,
The Hero bled upon the Belgic plain!
In that great moment thou hast caught the Chief,
When pitying Friends supply the wish'd relief,
While Sickness, Pain, and Thirst his pow'r subdue,
I feel the draught he pants for in his view:
Near him the Soldier that expiring lies,
This precious Water views with ghastly eyes,
With eyes that from their sockets seem to burst,
With eager, frantic, agonizing Thirst:
I see the Hero give, oh! generous Care!
The Cup untasted to this silent Pray'r;
I hear him say, with Tenderness divine,
"Thy strong Necessity surpasses mine."