1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Rogers

Anonymous, "To Samuel Rogers, Author of the Pleasures of Memory" Morning Post and Gazetteer (15 January 1799).



Sweet Bard of Memory! accept the lay,
Thy merit prompts a distant Muse to pay.
Permit th' admiring stranger to intrude,
And greet thee sitting in some fav'rite shade,
By Taste for Song and Meditation made;
Or, haply, wand'ring by some winding stream,
Clear, like thy mind, and soothing, like thy theme.

The soft effusions of thy polish'd lyre
Each mild emotion of the heart inspire,
I feel thy influence now pervade my breast,
And charm the cares of busy life to rest.
With thee, a pensive view I fondly cast
On scenes of innocent amusement past:
The top, the kite, the marble I recal,
The hunted slipper, and the bounding ball,
The blindfold boy, that, in the centre plac'd,
Around the room the nimble taunters chas'd,
With various other sports that cheer'd the throne,
As gaily roll'd youth's vacant hours along.
And oft my fancy, by thy pencil led,
Seems to forget her vernal years are fled—
Begins again to act youth's frolics o'er—
Spurns time's controul — and turns a romp once more.

Great master of the sentimental strain!
Skill'd to command grief, pity, pleasure, pain;
Whate'er the tenor of thy varied tale,
Still Nature owns each elegant appeal:
There no discordant sounds offend the ear,
Nor lurks a line which modesty might fear,
Nor breathes a thought that virtue would alarm,
Make honour blush, or do religion harm.