1727 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leonard Welsted

A. Zouch, "To Mr. Welsted, on his Comedy, called, The Dissembled Wanton" Weekly Journal or British Gazetteer (4 March 1727).



If Poets only must thy Works commend,
What way is left for thy admiring Friend?
Now from the Vale of Prose myself I raise,
And dare the Critic's Frown, to give thee Praise.
While others, strong in Verse, their Tribute pay,
Be not regardless of this humble lay.

Forgive me, if to do thy Merit Right,
Without a Genius, or the Stars, I write;
While fond, I tell thee, thou hast pleas'd me more
Than all the shining Sons of Fame before:
More thy Zelinda's Charms my Passions move
Than Ovid's Belles, or Bion's Queen of Love.
In ev'ry Song of Thine we Beauties see,
Thy ev'ry Line has Charms, my Friend, to me.

And now at length, thy Comic Scene, in View,
Commands my Admiration forth anew:
With stale Dramatic Jests we've long been cloy'd,
To Virtue baneful, and of Humour void.
You now advent'rously refine our Mirth,
And give the Comic Muse, her Second Birth:
Your Scenes at once, with Wit, and Virtue fraught,
Are what in English, Terence would have wrote.

The Fair, the Brave, who now to Op'ras throng,
Charm'd with the Softness of Italian Song,
Will from our Stage themselves no more divide,
Since Humour, Wit, and Virtue, are ally'd:
But if, ungrateful to their Country's Fame,
They, resolute in wrong, deny thy Claim,
Like a true Patriot in the Cause of Sense,
Go on, and glory in the brave Offence;
Show them, what Wit was on the Roman Stage,
And what wou'd charm in an Augustan Age.