1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

William Hayley, in Essay on Epic Poetry (1782) 89-90.



Nor leads the Poet's path to that throng'd gate
Where crouching Priests on proud Preferment wait;
Where, while in vain a thousand vot'ries fawn,
She robes her fav'rite few in hallow'd Lawn:
Else, liberal MASON, had thy spotless name,
The Ward of Virtue as the Heir of Fame,
In lists of mitred Lords been still unread,
While Mitres drop on many a Critic's head?
Peace to all such, whose decent brows may bear
Those sacred honors plac'd by Learning there;
May just respect from brutal insult guard
Their Crown, unenvied by the genuine Bard!
Let Poesy, embellish'd by thy care,
Pathetic MASON! with just pride declare,
Thy breast must feel a more exulting fire,
Than Pomp can give, or Dignity inspire,
When Nature tells thee that thy Verse imparts
The thrill of pleasure to ten thousand hearts;
And often has she heard ingenuous Youth,
Accomplish'd Beauty, and unbias'd Truth,
Those faithful harbingers of future fame,
With tender interest pronounce thy name
With lively gratitude for joy refin'd,
Gift of thy Genius to the feeling mind.
These are the honors which the Muse confers,
The radiant Crown of living light is her's;
And on thy brow she give those gems to blaze,
That far outshine the Mitre's transient rays;
Gems that shall mock malignant Envy's breath,
And shine still brighter thro' the shades of death.