1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

J. C. H., "To William Gifford, Esq. on his Translation of Juvenal" Gentleman's Magazine 73 (February 1803) 156.



When Satire's sly insinuating dart
Redounded, blunted, from the callous heart,
And Rome, despoil'd and prostituted, lay,
At once, of tyrants, and their slaves, the prey;
Her strains terrific vengeance to disclose,
Th' indignant Muse of Juvenal arose,
And, on the baseness of an impious age,
Hurl'd execration from his furious page.
What Muse, matured in some congenial clime,
Is found to trace the Roman's flight sublime?
To roll the thunder of his verse along,
And wake its noble rage, in British song?
The best have failed — e'en Dryden's nervous line,
Unequal, sinks beneath the bold design;
Around the sense in devious measures plays,
And flows, perplex'd, amidst the tuneful maze.

Thy talents, GIFFORD, to the trial bring
Exuberant stores from Learning's sacred spring;
And blend, as Genius and as Taste inspire,
The Critic's judgment with the Poet's fire.
Tho' on thy arduous work th' harmonious Nine
Have shed the influence of their smiles divine,
Yet o'er thy brow a fairer wreath shall wave
Than e'er the favour of the Muses gave:—
Thy Christian zeal shall brighter fame bestow,
And round thy name a purer radiance throw.