1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James De La Cour

W. Walsh, Esq., "To Dr. De-La-Cour; on his Prospect of Poetry" European Magazine 4 (September 1783) 232.



From rural scenes, where fame detests to stay,
Or if she comes, is hurrying still away;
Where once an age your Phoebus will come down,
To do us honour in a country town;
Accept a gen'rous, but a poor return,
From broken fortunes, and a life forlorn.

'Tis now some years, and age may tell the truth,
Since first I trod this fairy land of youth;
That fire I found misfortunes could remove,
And all my verses vanish'd with my love:
I view'd green fields as unregarded things,
And talk'd like other folks of groves and springs;
Could smell a rose, and dream not of the fair,
Or praise a snow-drop, though the nymph was there:
At length I met your unaffected strain,
My soul dissolv'd, and I grew young again.

O! ever friendly, ever worthy praise!
Lov'd for thyself, and lov'd for all thy lays!
Add that behaviour that endear'd thee long,
Add thy own temper sweeter than thy song;
Those manners still that make thee more belov'd,
Yet ev'n those virtues pass not unreprov'd;
For this thy soul in bitterness repines,
Or smiles indignant at the world's designs.

On Cupid's pinions sure thy fancy flew!
Ev'n beauty palls when not describ'd by you:
Picture invites the touches of thy pen,
And look, Apelles' Venus lives again;
The Graces work upon th' unfinish'd piece,
And put the last-hand to the pride of Greece.
Nor could Apelles paint a piece so true—
In silent colours still his pencil drew;
But you add words, and all at once express,
Music and painting by a vocal dress:
There pictur'd life in all its motions stirs,
And speaking picture with the eye confers;
The fluid sounds swell out with ev'ry tide,
The full notes fluctuate, and the waves divide;
The verse becomes a channel to the main,
And the strong current fills the stronger strain.

Still from thy fingers let new graces spring,
Still shake more music from the sounding string;
Swan-like continue warbling to the last,
And for the future please, as in the past;
That all mankind may help to make thee blest,
And thy own virtue far above the rest;
Prevailing goodness prove so much thy friend,
And so much honesty thy heart attend,
The world must own, with anger envy see,
How good men love to praise themselves in thee.
County of Clare, Ireland.