1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Thomas Stott, "To Mr. Southey, on reading his beautiful, but seductive Ode, written on Sunday Morning" The Oracle (2 October 1801).



Go, SOUTHEY, to the House of Pray'r,
And humbly and devoutly there
Adore the GOD of Goodness and of Love;
Let the loud organ's peal,
With corresponding zeal
Thy tuneful bosom ev'ry Sunday move.
Sweet Bard of Bristol! who canst wake the lyre
With so much energy and fire,
To captivate Attention's heart,
Ah! let not thy enchanting art
Be exercis'd to lead astray
The young, the giddy, and the gay,
Too prone by nature to neglect and spurn
RELIGION'S holy call, and from her temple turn.

Go, SOUTHEY, to the House of Pray'r,
And set a good example there
To those who wander in the world's wild ways;
Devote a portion of thy precious time
To Piety as well as Rhyme,
And socially assist in thy CREATOR'S praise.
Six days, each week, are surely long
Enough for all the other aims of song—
And gath'ring sweet poetic flow'rs
Along each sunny bank and silver stream:
Then to the House of Pray'r
Each seventh day repair,
And let JEHOVAH'S praise that day be thy sole theme.

Go, Southey, to the House of Pray'r;
'Tis likelier on a Sabbath-day
Thou'lt meet RELIGION there:
She loves not always in the wilds to stray;
The friend of man, she loves among mankind to stay.

Tho' sometimes she her vot'ries lead
To heathy hill or cowslip'd dale,
Or shady grove, or sunny mead,
Or by the streamlet in the vale;
Yet she's no savage wand'rer, SOUTHEY, no!
No Anchoret, of gloom and silence fond;
No hippish matron, clouded still in woe,
And subject to despond;
But social, cheerful, and serene,
Of simplest manners, sweetest mien,
Her mild instructions she imparts,
To mend our morals, and to cheer our hearts
With brightest prospects of perennial bliss
In future worlds, if we act right in this.
HAFIZ.