1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Melmoth

William Hayley, "Sonnet to William Melmoth, Esq." Poems and Plays (1785) 1:164.



Melmoth! in talents and in virtues blest!
Pleas'd I contemplate thy attractive page,
Where thy mild Pliny, and Rome's guardian Sage,
Of purer eloquence, thy powers attest,
And rare felicity: — near half an age
Our polish'd tongue has rank'd thee with the best
Of England's classics; yet detraction's rage
Has fail'd to point her arrows at thy breast:
Rich in those palms that taste and truth bestow,
Who praise in learning's field thy long career,
By what nice skill, that worth can seldom shew,
Hast thou eluded slander's envious sneer?
Blest who excel! but tenfold bliss they know,
Who in excelling live without a foe.