1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Jackson Pratt

Clara Reeve, "To the Unknown Author of a Poem, called Sympathy" Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (2 July 1781).



What son of Phoebus strikes the heavenly lyre,
With sweetest strains of nature, and of art?
What sounds that sacred harmony inspire,
Strike on the ear, and vibrate thro' the heart?
While this new candidate for virtuous fame
Like a coy lover, hides the secret flame,
Enjoys the plaudit, and conceals his name!

Hear thou, my Clio — hear, my favorite muse!
Let not this artifice remain unknown,
Tho' modest merit shou'd our praise refuse,
Detect the poet, and his labors crown;
The moral lay shou'd ne'er be sung in vain;
Shou'd the sweet swan unknown, unprais'd remain,
While the pert goose loud gabbles o'er the plain?

Within each generous heart, the song enshrin'd
Shall rouse the SOCIAL passions to appear,
Shall wake to SYMPATHY each feeling mind,
Adorning pleasure's smile with pity's tear;
Clio, at length disclose this poet's name,
Freed from the fears of envy's dart or blame,
Joining the wreath of VIRTUE, and of FAME!