1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Beattie

Buchanensis, in "Verses on the Approach of Winter" Scots Magazine 33 (April 1771) 209-10



But chief, O BEATTIE, Fancy's darling son,
Mine eyes hang on thy page with ceaseless rapture.
What heavenly spirit, friend to mortal man,
Attunes thy magic lyre, and guides thy hand
To touch the string in concord with the heart!
Bold is thy lay in favour of thy country:
Thy satire, potent as the flash of heaven,
Humbles Sedition's daring crest to earth.
But who can hold the tear, while Beattie mourns
For beauty, virtue, gentleness, and youth,
Untimely snatch'd by unrelenting fate.
Hail, mighty champion! sent by Heaven, to save
From foul revolt 'gainst virtue, truth, and God,
The souls of men, and boldly fight the cause
Of Science, Virtue, Immortality,
Against th' imbattled hosts of infidels.
Sweet are thy accents, as the strains that flow'd
From Plato's honey'd lip; thy eloquence
Resistless, as the voice of him who rous'd
'Gainst haughty Philip Athens' slumb'ring sons.
More grateful is thy page to every good
And every feeling heart, than morning-light
To him whose harrass'd soul has all night long
Been fancy-rid by a disast'rous dream.
Kind Heaven with choicest blessings crown his head;
O crown with health, and joy, and peace the man
Who peace, and joy, to men restored, and on
The night of Sceptic darkness pour'd the day.
Accept, O Beattie, from a mind sincere,
Though much unfit to celebrate thy praise,
This mite of gratitude. Thy name shall live
With honour, as thy virtue fair, adorn'd,
When all the tome of Metaphysic lore,
And all the Atheist's, all the Sophist's dreams,
Shall, with their authors, and their vot'ries, sink
In dark Oblivion's bottomless abyss.