1725 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leonard Welsted

P. Chamberlen, "To Mr. Welsted, occasion'd by the last Edition of his Poems" London Journal (20 March 1725).



While Britain makes thy matchless Works her Boast,
And rival Bards strive, who shall grace thee must:
Forgive, great Writer, these spontaneous Lays;
The Tribute paid to Worth! the Song of Praise!
Nor does my Verse the vain Design pursue,
To place thy Honours in a fairer View:
Who hopes to brighten the Sun's genuine Ray,
Or bids a Diamond sparkle to the Day?
Thy Glory shall, tho' I were silent, last
To every Age, unhurt by Envy's Blast:
E'en in this Age, when Poesie declines,
The Poet's Name in Thee surviving shines:
Nor want there yet, with Rapture who peruse,
The chaste Delights of Thine and Waller's Muse:
Selected Spirits! rais'd above the Throng,
Who taste no Musick, but an Eunuch's Song!

In those bright Times, when Absolom was writ,
To Verse auspicious, and that smil'd on Wit,
Then did the Way lie open to Renown,
And any Hand might seize the Myrtle Crown;
A Sonnet chronicled its Author's Name,
And little Phillisers aspir'd to Fame:

But Thou, blest Bard, dost daily rise in Praise,
Against the Bent, and spite of tasteless Days:
Thy polish'd Strains Barbarian Hearts engage,
And flourish in this unpoetick Age.

Lo! thy sweet Muse, so fam'd! behold her soar,
With Dove-like Ease, thro' Fields untry'd before!
All full of Charms, tho' seeming void of Care,
Like thy Lavinia negligently fair,
While we admire, with Acon, and despair!
O! that I, like that Youth, in any Shape,
Cou'd on her Beauties act a willing Rape;
Then in thy own soft Strains thou shou'dst be sung,
And to thy Fame a living Lyre be strung.