1739 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

David Mallet

Anonymous, "To Mr. Mallet, occasioned by being at the Representation of Mustapha" Scots Magazine 1 (February 1739) 87.



To trace the workings of a monarch's mind,
Hurry'd by passions of the gloomy kind;
Instance the dire effects from thence proceed,
Where pow'r gives sanction to the blackest deed;
Where dastard slaves the sov'reign's nod obey,
And yield up all their rights to lawless sway:
To picture virtue in its truest light,
And shew that what is good is always right:
Vice in its native colours to reveal,
And mark the secret pangs the vicious feel,
Such as too oft ambition does impart,
To stab the guilty statesman to the heart:
These hast thou, Mallet, beauteously display'd,
With nature to conduct, and art to aid.
Nor is thy tow'ring genius here confin'd,
Boundless as nature acting on the mind:
'Tis thine to bid the tend'rest passions rise,
And call the gen'rous tear from pitying eyes;
To wake soft sorrows in the breast humane,
That feels for suff'ring virtue nameless pain;
Refin'd and chastest morals to impart,
At once to charm and to improve the heart.
Be Mustapha the proof, where pleas'd we find
Sense, conduct, beauty, wit and judgment join'd.