1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Butt

Philaretes, "To G— B-tt, Esq; F.L.S. & Stud. of Ch. Ch. Oxon" St. James's Chronicle (21 June 1764).



When Malice, Ignorance, and Pride, unite
To damp each Satisfaction Virtue feels,
Their Sons with duteous Zeal provoke the Fight,
"Bulls aim their Horns, and Asses lift their Heels."

As late on Isis' osier-fring'd Side
Pale Science exil'd melancholy stray'd,
A few, unaw'd by Threats of empty Pride,
Met, and in private woo'd the lovely Maid.

Dullness alarm'd, view'd with suspicious Eye
The pensive Fair returning to her Crown,
Fear'd for her tott'ring State, and eagerly
Muster'd her Vassals to defend her Throne.

In S—pe's Shape march'd Dulness in the Van,
Her tatter'd Ensigns waving in the Wind,
Close at her Side stalk'd drowsily V—e C—n,
Beadles before; Sophs, ragged Rout, behind.

Sage N—n, that hoary Head of thine,
Full fraught with many a goodly Maxim shows,
Erst known in Ariconium's Vales to shine,
How cam'st thou marshall'd under Learning's Foes?

But, scowling L—n, 'midst thy northern Care,
Why from the glorious Toil didst thou retire?
Pompous to stalk along the Hall, and hear
Thy scare-crow Crew thrum Aristotle's Lyre?

Stranger to all the civil Charms of Life,
Thou ne'er didst pant for literary Fame;
Whence then thy Absence in the generous Strife,
When Folly pointed out the Road to Shame?

Hail! gentle St—n! learn'd! polite! — the Muse
Along thy fav'rite Haunts oft pleas'd has ran;
Fain would thy Zeal, mistaken Youth, excuse,
And own Perfection not the Lot of Man.

Tongue-doughty N—b press'd the Heroes on,
In petulant Harangues his Rage reveal'd;
'Till frighted Science, trembling, pale, and wan,
Borne off by faithful M—rr—s left the field.

'Twas then, ingenious B—tt, thy generous Care
Each rising Want to Science did supply,
From Insult to protect the injur'd Fair,
And stop th' Incroachments of Mock Majesty.

'Twas thine to form the well-selected Band,
To which thy Science lends her sacred Name,
No visionary Scheme by Fancy plann'd,
The Child of Reason, and the Heir of Fame.

'Tis thine in sweetest Numbers to inspire
The noblest Sentiments the Heart can move,
Each honest Breast with Indignation fire,
Or tune the Soul to Harmony and Love.

With amiable B—rt—n by thy Side,
Sweet Partner in thy literary Toil,
The rude Assaults of Pedantry deride,
And on the Muse's humble Off'ring smile.

While thine the glorious Task to lead to Fame,
She, still to Merit just, the Song shall raise,
Her pious Care shall fan the glowing Flame,
And bid expanding Bosoms pant for Praise.