1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Julius Mickle

Anonymous, "To Mr. Mickle, on his Translation of The Lusiad" 1778; Whitehall Evening Post (27 May 1780).



Hail, happy Bard! No more let chilling Fear
Wide o'er thy heart its horrid influence shed;
Thy Lyre's secure of every critic's ear,
Save those, who long to Nature's feelings dead,
Envy the laurel'd honours of thy head:
Those, ever on the wing of cold Disdain
The daring flights of ev'ry Muse upbraid;
And always deem that Minstrel's labour vain,
Who sings without their aid the softly soothing strain.

Accept these Lays, tho' from a hand unknown,
Fresh as they flow forth from a candid breast:
Warm as they rise, accept them as thine own,
Thy Merit's meed — for sweetly hast thou drest
The Poet's thoughts — and justly hast express'd,
If right I ween, great Camoen's Epic Song.
Now rouz'd by thee from long unheeded rest,
High on the roll of fame his lays are hung,
Tun'd to a British ear, form'd for a Briton's tongue.

Unblest the Bard who erst on Tagus' shore,
Wander'd with curious eye the meads along;
And treading near the Poet's hallow'd bower,
Pluck'd from its native soil the deathless song.
O never more may Genius suffer wrong;
Ne'er may the Critic's pen depress the Muse,
Or stand enroll'd illustrious names among—
Those who the due reward of praise refuse,
And in dull Prose immortal Verse abuse.

MICKLE, the praise, the merit, all is thine,
Gama's great name on Albion's isle to bring;
Pleas'd with the task, behold the saced Nine
Quick to thy lyre apply each sounding string:
Now hark, the mellow notes responsive ring;
Now the full choir their varied voices raise;
The Lusian Hero's glorious deeds they sing:
And whilst the Muse each virtuous art displays,
The echoing air spreads round a thousand ways.

When from the rolling surge, on Mehon's shore,
This Gem alone the shipwreck'd Poet sav'd;
This only lost; — he homeward looks once more;
A Poet's meed was all the boon he crav'd.
Tho' o'er his head the Warrior's wreath had wav'd,
Yet well he knew, the Muse alone could climb;
And thus the various storms of life he brav'd.
And o'er misfortunes raised his head sublime,
Assured the Muse would live, and bloom in ev'ry clime.

And now transplanted to Britannia's soil,
Thy Camoen's laurels, Mickle, thou shalt tend;
Whilst faithful history records the toil,
The various labours of the Muse's friend.—
As down the stream of time your names descend,
O may they mingle, as they onward glide;
May no rude blast their tender union rend!
Serene the gale, and gentle be the tide
Which spread your fames thro' many a region wide.