1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

John Abraham Heraud, "To Robert Southey, Esq. Poet Laureate, on his Approbation of my Poem called The Legend of St. Lay" Gentleman's Magazine 91 (September 1821) 266.



Thy voice is an encouragement indeed,
To urge me up the steep hill of renown,
Me who have but begun, and that too soon,
Striving for the great Bard's immortal meed,
To travel up the precipice. I bleed
Inly with toil — and for the promis'd boon
Pine while neglect still keeps me from the crown;
But thy voice is prophetical — thy reed
Not to be doubted, thou who ledst young White,
With whom I claim a fellowship in fate,
On in the noble path by the near light
Of high Apollo's smile irradiate,
Till he did conquer from his brow the bright
Wreathe of undying Fame — may I not be too late!

[When Heraud republished this sonnet in the second edition of The Legend of St. Loy (1825) the concluding couplet was modified to: "Till he did conquer from his brow the bright | Wreath of undying fame — I wait in hope — but wait!" p. 224]