1736 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Moses Browne, "To Mr. Thomson on his excellent Poems" Gentleman's Magazine 6 (August 1736) 479.



Strange is the muse's pow'r, whose force divine
Can awe unruly passions, and dissolve
The magick bonds of fear, of grief, of rage,
Rescuing th' enchanted soul. Such powerful strains
O! Thomson! warble on thy moving Lyre,
While full of the inspiring god you play
Before the list'ning graces, and invite
Aonian hills to echo with thy lays.
Thrice happy thou, amid the sacred groves
Allow'd to walk, and taste Castalian sweets,
To none but favour'd bards allow'd: with thee,
Converse the Grecian and the Roman shades,
Familiar, and their flame celestial breathe
In thy selected breast, as did of old
By flow'ry Jordan the translated Seer
On his prophetick Follower: doubly hail!
Restorer of the poets sinking name!
Not thee the sons of vanity engage
Skill'd in the trifling mode, affected mien,
And empty elegance of dress and form.
Thou better know'st t' employ the amusive hour
Contemplative of nature's ample page
While with the various scenes you deck your song.
Philosophy! what graces you inspire,
That swell the poets heart and tune his lays!
Harmonious numbers, energy, of thought,
Each are thy gift, and ev'ry high regard
That lifts the soul from trivial cares below.
And such pure prophet of the muse! reward
Thy labours, wisdom's most conspicuous son!
A mind where ev'ry passion lies subdued
And ev'ry virtue reigns — Friendship and truth
And sweet humility, the moral crown.
O Britain's happier Orpheus! born to charm
A senseless iron offspring: timely born
To rouse her genius and redeem her fame.

Thus, I untuneful, my impartial lay
Attempt to sing, by cross-disposing fates
Deny'd the lot my peaceful choice approves,
Of friend and ev'ry-pleasing hope forlorn,
Yet not deserted by th' etherial guest
Who cheers my midnight pillow and diverts,
With sweet amuse, my lonely anxious day.
Inspiring suff'ring patience, hope enlarg'd,
And joys unmixt with earth's impure alloy.
But thou with ease indulg'd, with favour blest,
Receive unblushing what a generous warmth
Due to thy worth demands. Not small the love
Tho' unadorn'd the praise — this rural wreath
Pluck'd by the banks of Thames, my native stream,
Permit me on thy honour'd brow to place;
Mean tribute to thy long accomplish'd fame.
ASTROPHIL.