1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Wolcot

Alexander Balfour, "Verses to Peter Pindar, Esq." Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Miscellany NS 8 (October 1796) 307.



Would Heav'n, indulgent to my early choice,
Give me to sing in Nature's simple strain,
To sooth sad mis'ry, with persuasive voice,
And from the bosom banish mental pain,

Thy path, O Pindar, I would never trace;
Proud of the richest treasures of the Nine,
Sharp Satire's dart should ne'er my page disgrace,
Nor Tours, nor Lousiads, pollute the line.

Heav'ns! that a Muse by nature taught to soar
"Far as the solar walk or milky way,"
Should stoop to ridicule's fantastic roar,
Or, in the devious wilds of folly stray!

The silken strings that vibrate thro' thy frame,
Are finely form'd by Nature's nicest hand;
Tho' false ambition, and mistaken fame,
Have marr'd their concord with Circean wand.

Yet, should the tear of Sorrow catch thine eye,
Or suff'ring Virtue her sad tale impart,
Soft Pity's hand across the chords would fly
The trembling strings in unison would start.

Since then the softest of Apollo's train,
Vouchsafe's a Bard to guide thy song sublime,
No more to censure rouse thy sportive pen,
But purchase Fame that scorns the rage of time.
Arbroath.