1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Joseph Spence

Anonymous, "On An Essay on Pope's Odyssey" Weekly Miscellany (7 April 1733).



'Tis done — Restor'd by thy immortal Pen,
The Critic's noble Name revives agen,
Once more that great, the injur'd Name we see
Shine forth alike in Addison and Thee.

Like Curs, our Critics haunt the Poet's Feast,
And feed on Scraps refus'd by every Guest;
From the old Thracian Dog they learn'd the Way
To snarl in Want; and grumble o'er their Prey.
At tho' they grudg'd themselves the Joys they feel,
Vext to be charm'd; and pleas'd against their Will.
Such their inverted Taste! That we expect
For Faults their Thanks, for Beauties their Neglect;
So the fell Snake rejects the fragrant Flow'rs,
But every Poison of the Field devours.

Like bold Longinus of immortal Fame,
You read your Poet, with a Poet's Flame,
With His, your generous Raptures still aspire;
The Critick kindles, when the Bard's on fire.
But when some lame, some limping Line demands
The friendly Succour of your healing Hands;
The Feather of your Pen, drops Balm around,
And plays and tickles, while it cures the Wound.

While Pope's immortal Labour we survey,
We stand all daz'd with Excess of Day;
Blind with the glorious Blaze — to vulgar Sight
'Twas one huge Mass of undistinguish'd Light;
But, like the tow'ring Eagle, you alone
Discern'd the Spots and Splendors of the Sun.

To point out Faults, yet never to offend,
To play the Critic, yet preserve the Friend,
A Life well spent, that never lost a Day,
An easy Spirit, innocently Gay,
A strict Integrity, devoid of Art,
The sweetest Manners, and sincerest Heart,
A Soul, where Depth of Sense and Fancy meet,
A Judgment brighten'd with the Beams of Wit,
Were ever your's; — Be what you were before;
Be still yourself; The World can ask no more.