1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Thelwall

T. Walsh, Jun., "To Mr. Thelwall, on reading a Dramatick Poem, entitled The Humane Society" Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (9 November 1787).



Too long the Muse by Dissipation's side,
Has loosely wanton'd thro' lascivious plains
Where lewd desire each blandish'd art supplied,
Instilling poison with her dulcet strains.

But see, fair Virtue, reasserts her claim,
From wanton lust recals the tuneful lyre,
And bids young Thelwall vindicate her fame,
With strains where honour chastens soft desire.

The Institution which the good must praise,
Which blest philanthropy has rear'd on earth,
Shall gain fresh laurels from the polish'd lays,
And Hawes and Stamford shall revere thy worth.

Hail glorious names, which Britons when they speak,
Should feel fresh ardor animate their hearts,
To sound their worth all human praise is weak,
Unless each Muse her sacred aid imparts.

To know the honours which their efforts claim,
Go search the records of their pious pains,
To learn with justice to declare their fame,
Go pore with eager eye o'er Thelwall's strains.

Forgive, great Bard, the tribute which I pay,
To those with ev'ry gen'rous feeling blest;
Altho' my humble and unpolish'd lay,
Ill speaks the ardor glowing in my breast.

Sweet sensibility, by thee pourtray'd,
Acquires new beauties in thy flowing line;
And while we pity the deluded Maid,
We glow with rapture at thy strain divine.

The cares of Albert rouse the dormant fires
Of soft affection in the parent's breast;
While the coy Maid just wak'd to young desires,
From Sophy learns how love should be supprest.

But hark! a pleasing sound assails my ears,
'Tis fame's loud trumpet spreading far thy worth;
While sensibility enraptur'd hears,
And Virtue's guardians hail thy happy birth.

Adieu! then Thelwall, may thy future years
Glide thro' the halcyon paths of virtuous peace;
And at thy death may Britain bath'd in tears,
Mourn that a voice so pleasing e'er should cease.
Inner Temple, Nov. 8, 1787.