1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

Anonymous, "Horace, Book II. Ode 14. imitated. To the Rev. Mr. Langhorn" St. James's Chronicle (17 July 1764).



With how impetuous a Career
Runs out of Sight, the rapid Year!
Believe me, Langhorn, though we pray,
Like my good Grannum, thrice a Day,
Old Age, and Rheums, and Gouts, and Agues,
In spite of Piety will plague us.

Trust me, I mean not to disjoint
Whate'er Religion's Laws appoint;
I only tell you Time is mad,
And gallops over Good and Bad.

Tityus and Geryon, triple-fold,
The Broughton and the Slack of old,
Felt both at last a fatal Day—
And are we half as hard as they?
Assiduous Charon waits on Shore
To ferry all Men fairly o'er,
Nor will Old Square Toes bate the least
To George a King, or thee a Priest.

What, tho' you 'scape the Wind and Rain,
Nor teaze for Gold the fretful Main,
Ne'er be by Grace or Sense forsook,
To cut a Purse, or make a Book;
You soon must quit your Cure, and go
To Messrs. Sysiphus and Co.

Ah! then to please the Maids no more
You'll sing the harmless Sweets of Yore!
You'll — won't you think on many a Day
That you and I have laugh'd away?
And won't you, think you, look askew
Upon the Cypress and the Yew?

Indeed, if Grapes or Barley grow,
Or Snipe or Woodcock fly below,
The Sight of some small Relief may be—
But not a single Trout you'll see.
"I've lost, you'll cry, how clear a Flood!
O odious Cocytaean Mud!
Was it for this I wore my Eyes
In forming artificial Flies?
Was it for this, that better far
I made a Verse than J—y C—?"

When you are dead, and fair and clear
Our Sheets of youthful Song appear,
Your Son will think they serve to show
Your Brains and mine were but so, so!
He'll see how you have slily stole
From Seed and South your Sermons whole;
He'll wonder how you cou'd for Shame!
Then shake his Head — and do the same.