1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Hugh Blair

F. D., "Verses written on a blank Leaf of Dr. Blair's Sermons" Scots Magazine 42 (March 1780) 151.



When Rhetoric preaches every man would hear;
Wits, Politicians, Sceptics bend their ear.
Go on, distinguish'd teacher: — all attend;
Exert thy talents, and the world shall mend.
Th' important truths which dignify thy page
Command th' attention of a thoughtless age.
Here heaven-descended Piety, serene,
Leads on the Virtues as their native queen:
Truth in her heart, and Candor in her eyes,
Her voice, "I point to an immortal prize."
Vice droops her crest: — if moral truth prevails,
Her empire totters, and her magic fails.
While Superstition, growling in her cell,
Sees love, and peace, and harmony prevail.

Resume the pen. In easy copious flow
Pour wisdom forth. To thee 'tis given to sow
The precious seed; may Heaven th' increase bestow!
Let winding Sophists boast their tinsel blaze,
Thy plain good-meaning is thy highest praise.
Youths emulous to tread the uphill-way,
And point the paths which lead to future day,
Youths yet unborn, shall listen to thy lore,
Their model thou, as FARQUHAR was before.
Like his thy life, and like his doctrines thine,
Pure from the source where truth and beauty shine.
Distinguish'd both for manly eloquence,
Mild-judging candor, a deep fund of sense;
Both skill'd in every pleasing honest art
That charms the ear, or captivates the heart.

While Piety and Candor guide thy pen
Proceed, secure to mend the hearts of men:
Nor dread the feeble sting of party-rage,
Virtue shall shield thy fame, and Truth thy page.
For once, the public to an author just,
Takes not the merit of his work on trust;
Read and approv'd, thine spreads from shore to shore,
The oftener read, we value it the more.
'Tis read where sermons ne'er were read before.
Abbots Inch.