1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

Samuel Jackson Pratt, "Verses hung on the Boughs of a venerable Walnut-Tree ... in Beaconsfield Church-yard" Morning Chronicle (10 September 1787).



Stranger, if virtue or if verse be dear,
With pious caution pay thy visit here.
Planted by him, whose sacred dust has laid
Twice fifty summers underneath my shade,
Protector of the hallow'd spot I stand,
To guard this vault from each unhallow'd hand;
Spare then each branch that canopies the tomb,
A part of Waller feeds my verdant bloom;
Oh! spare each leaf that bow'rs the poet's grave,
For in each leaf a part of him you save;
And on the fruits which clust'ring round me grow,
A more than vulgar destiny bestow:
Taste, but with rev'rence kneeling at the shrine,
So may'st thou eat, and Waller's muse be thine;
A second Tree of Knowledge may I be,
And unforbidden wisdom shine in thee.