1763 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

Richard Shepherd, in "Epistle to Robert Lloyd" St. James's Magazine 2 (May 1763) 197-98.



Ye mighty names of STANHOPE, LITTLETON,—
Rise and support fair learning's sinking throne.
Lov'd by the Muse, the Muses' fastest friends,
On you she calls, on you she still depends:
See, O ye guardians of the laurell'd band,
See drooping genius want a fost'ring hand;
Behold in monthly drudgery misemploy'd
The wit and classic elegance of —
How shall the bard bright fancy, doom'd to eke
With sense or nonsense thro' five sheets the week;
How shall he wait for those auspicious hours,
When the Muse beckons to Parnassian bow'rs;
And as e'erwhile, informs the happy strain
With all the native ease of FLACCUS' vein?
The merciless exactors, in demand
Instant as those, who Israel's servile band
Plied with Aegyptian toils, no pity shew,
Or smooth or turbid still the verse must flow.
The poet's fancy, like their porter's back,
They think is ever ready for the pack.
They never felt persuasive fancy's beam
Dart on the raptur'd mind the enliv'ning gleam:
In vain the absence of the Muse you plead,
The quota must be furnish'd, as decreed;
Thus jaded genius writes what it must blush to read.