1705 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Philips

J. C., Westminster Scholar, "On Mr. Phillips's Poem, occasion'd by the Votes of the House of Commons to do something to perpetuate the Duke Marlborough's Memory" Diverting Post (17 February 1705).



Ye can't a Monument more lasting raise,
Long to perpetuate your Churchill's Praise;
Not costly Pyramids of Pride, which must
With their frail Hero moulder into Dust;
No bright Emblazonary, or proud Array,
A gawdy Pomp that lasts but for a Day.
In Phillips Numbers he'll forever shine,
He breathes in ev'ry Word, and lives in ev'ry Line.
O! with what Spirit does the Poet write!
Not with a greater did his Hero fight:
He scorns a tedious Journal to rehearse,
Set off with nothing but the Chinque of Verse:
That dull-sweet Ornament let others use
T' adorn their thoughtless Work, and humble Muse.
Great Phillips soars Aerial, and sings
Sublime in mighty Numbers, mighty things.
Not in a loftier Strain, nor louder String,
Did Homer once his great Achilles sing.
For such a Bard as this in youthful Pride
Young Ammon nobly long'd, and fondly cry'd
He knew the Tripod where the Priestess stood,
Could never make him half so great a God;
Nor artful Phidias, with his utmost Care,
Could e're a Monument so lasting rear:
'Tis on the Poet's Pen the Hero flyes,
And on his Pinion tow'ring, mounts the Skies.
The very Pillars which the Artists make,
Are only lasting for the Inscription's sake;
And if a while the brittle Structure lives,
The Life, the Poet, not the Artist gives.