1803 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Reginald Heber

F., "On hearing the Prize-Poem, Palestine, recited in the Theatre at Oxford, June 15, 1803" Gentleman's Magazine 73 (July 1803) 668.



Heber! thy Muse so pleasing, exquisite,
So rich in fancy, and so bold in flight,
At once call'd forth love, adoration, fear,
And charm'd to transport every listening ear;
For not from sources Pagan or profane,
But Sion's holy hill deriv'd the strain;
Whence, clear as chrystal, streams do gently flow,
That murmuring teach thee how to tell her woe:
Then didst thou shed the sympathetic tear,
And mourn, like Israel's ever-weeping seer,
Mourn o'er the crimes, the ruin, and disgrace
On the once faithful, now apostate, race.
But Hope descending, by soft Pity led,
Cheer'd the thick gloom, reviv'd the hopeless dead;
Proclaim'd the promise; shew'd how Salem's king,
His gather'd outcasts soon again will bring;
To pristine splendor Palestine restore,
To double bliss, and life for evermore.
On themes like these intent, bright Youth,
(Themes that erst tun'd the harp of Jesse's son);
Break forth again — quench not the hallow'd fire,
Nor change thy own, but for an Angel's lyre.