1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Eyles Irwin

William Hayley, "To Eyles Irwin, on receiving his Portrait in Mezzotinto, July 1780" European Magazine 8 (December 1785) 470-71.



Thou, my kind friend, hast in the bounteous East
Seen splendid presents crown the social feast,
But never hast thou seen that world supply
Off'rings more grateful to an Arab's eye,
Than those dear gifts which speak thy warm regard,
Appear, my Irwin, to thy brother bard;
Who in thy portrait with fond pride surveys
A gem that glows with friendship's living rays,
And sweeter than the wealth of spicy climes,
The heart's rich incense in thy friendly rhymes.
While rival poets, tho' in genius great,
Grow little by their mean and jealous hate,
Well may we boast our amity arose
From that dear dangerous art which makes such foes.
Thanks to thy lib'ral soul so clearly shewn,
Whose partial kindness made this heart thy own,
And planted friendship there, where Envy might have grown.
Hence for thy fame it breathes a brother's vow,
And holds the wreath (if such a wreath there be)
Which public favor has decreed to me.
Go, then, and while thy active genius calls
Thy daring step to Bagdat's distant walls,
Still may the Muse, thy patroness and pride,
Chear the lone hour, thy bold adventure guide,
And 'midst the waste, or in the flow'ry clime,
Teach thee to spring new mines of radiant rhyme,
That safe returning to thy native shores,
Thou still mayst bring, with thy collected stores
Of growing riches and unfailing health,
The rarer gifts of her immortal wealth.
Mean time our eyes how often shall we bend
To the dear image of our distant friend?
The gift we value to each guest display,
And o'er the strong resemblance proudly say:
"Behold our bard! with Indian laurels crown'd,
Who made the desart with his Song resound;
Who the rich beauty of his Muse encreas'd
With robes embroider'd in the splendid East;
The Bard whose images, from Nature caught,
Breathe the bold spirit of unborrow'd thought."
Ye climes of Asia that he crosses now,
Restore him safe to Love's repeated vow!
O let his wish'd return ere long impart
The swell of rapture to his fair-one's heart!
Let her whose charms his softest notes inspire,
When love connubial tunes his tender lyre,
Let her, with all a mother's proud delight,
Give his young darlings to his eager sight;
And while her tongue encreasing transport ties,
Bless her recover'd lord with speaking eyes;
With eyes that say, "In thee again we live,
Thou richest treasure that the East can give."