1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

Y., "On Seeing Strawberry-Hill, the Seat of Horace Walpole, Esq." Gentleman's Magazine 48 (April 1778) 183.



When Walpole's genius watch'd Britannia's fate,
And held with steady hand the helm of state,
Her commerce flourish'd, and, throughout the world,
To ev'ry gale her streamers were unfurl'd.
Long had her sons war's fiercest dangers brav'd,
And vic'try follow'd where her banners wav'd.
At vict'ry's sound each British heart beats high,
Throbs ev'ry pulse, and sparkles ev'ry eye:
And yet what heart the widow's tear but grieves!
What splendid ruin war behind it leaves!
The victor's triumph is extended spoil,
The waste which mocks the peasant's fruitless toil.
Not such his boast! — 'twas his mankind to bless,
Give wealth the England, and to Europe peace;
'Twas his from faction's dark designs to save,
To fix that crown the voice of freedom gave.
Beneath his feet in iron fetters bound,
Rebellion lay, indignant bit the ground:—
Remov'd that hand, whose pow'r the fury fear'd,
Her chains she broke, her snaky head she rear'd.

Yet 'midst these cares, to shew what art could do,
At his command a Houghton rose to view;
There shines the moderns' skill — in Twick'nham's bow'rs,
Where his son spends in learned ease his hours,
And throws new light upon th' historic line,
Or holds (too short) a dalliance with the Nine,
See battled tow'rs and spiry fanes arise,
What fairest seem'd in our fore-father's eyes.
Here may you view whate'er was wont of old
To grace the mansion of the Baron bold,
Or at religion's altars zeal inspire,
When pealing anthems sounded thro' the choir.

A Houghton's grandeur strikes the wond'ring sight,
But Strawberry-hill is seen with pure delight;
With rapture we the sweet retreat survey,
Abode of soft content, inspirer of the lay.