1761 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

Anonymous, "Epistle from the Country, to Mr. Langhorne in Town" Public Ledger 2 (25 December 1761) 1129.



What, Langhorne! leave the limpid stream,
The groves where fancy wont to dream,
For London's empty show!
Has then the shining pomp of art
Allur'd thy unsuspecting heart
To scenes of splendid woe?

In vain, my friend, for lost on thee
Were all that fools with rapture see,
And all the fops admire.
The Muses on thy birth that smil'd,
And mark'd thee for their fav'rite child,
Ordain'd thee to retire.

Unfit, alas! thy open heart
To act an ill-dissembled part,
And all its feelings hide!
'Tis thine, with noble plainness born,
To late a knave with honest scorn,
And folly's plume deride.

Hence, trust me, Langhorne, shalt thou know
Each conscious knave a lurking foe:
Each fool with feeble spite,
Shall, cur-like, bark amidst the crowd,
With tail alert, and tongue aloud,
When thou art out of sight.

Then quit those scenes of motley shew,
Of wealth and pride, of want and woe;
To C—'s groves repair.
No envy there shall break thy rest,
No misery wound thy tender breast,
For love and peace are there.

And there in friendship's sacred shade
May'st thou "in easy silence laid"
Indulge the careless day;
"Where never fools or knaves intrude,
Enjoy the sweets of solitude,"
And tune thy tender lay.