1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James De La Cour

J. G., "To Mr. Dalacourt, on his taking Orders and going into the Country" Gentleman's Magazine 8 (November 1738) 597.



Midst the calm Pleasures of a sweet Retreat,
Where Peace inthron'd bids Wisdom guard her Seat,
Where Virtue makes Life's Current smoothly roll,
Refines each Rapture, and improves the Soul;
Say, whether South thy Moments shall detain,
Inspire thy Genius, and enrich thy Vein;
Or whether graver Tillotson must please,
And moralize the Fictions of thy Lays:
Shall Beveridge point thee out a nobler Road,
And lead thy trembling Fancy to thy God?
Or must the Muse her Poet still employ,
The Muse! sweet Friend of Innocence and Joy?
Must she anew engross thy sacred Time
With the gay Trifle of a jingling Rhime?
Or shall some nobler Scenes inspire thy Thought,
Thy Loves neglected, and thy Songs forgot?

Melodious Friend, for ever let the Muse
Reign the chief Blessing that thy Soul shall chuse:
Let her, attendant at Religion's Shrine,
Its Glories brighten, and its Joys refine;
Paint Man's low Grandeurs crumbling into Dust,
And sing th' eternal Triumphs of the Just!
Calm black Despair, a soothing Peace impart,
And pour a balmy Comfort on the Heart,
Swell the full Soul with strong seraphick Lays,
And tune each Organ to its Maker's Praise.

To Love's soft Converse yet some Hours impart,
And leave one Place for Friendship in thy Heart;
And when far hence retir'd, thy Feet shall stray
'Mid the still Silence of the sultry Day,
When in the Depth of dusky Vales reclin'd,
Where matted Trees indulge the pensive Mind,
When thou shalt (weary with some serious Book)
Hum to the murm'rings of a neigh'bring Brook;
Let Joys recall'd, thy Solitude unbend,
And think one moment on a distant Friend,
When pleas'd we o'er a fav'rite Author sat,
Dwelt on each Beauty, and each Fault forgat;
When Wit and Sense beguil'd the short'ning Day,
Along the Riv'let of some flow'ry Way.

Oh! let me nigh thee spend my latter Days,
Amid the Charms of Poetry and Ease;
Partake each Blessing that e'er made thee dear;
Enjoy thy Genius, and thy Fancy share,
Tune all my Soul to Music more refin'd,
And learn thy softer Harmony of Mind;
And when harsh Sickness hastens Age along,
And ev'ry Verse runs heavy thro' my Song;
When each lov'd sweet each wearied Sense shall cloy,
A Load my Life, and languid every Joy;
When pangs on pangs my shatter'd frame shall tear,
Becalm each Anguish with the Voice of Prayer;
Teach my embolden'd Conscience to the last,
To look unruffled on each moment past,
Give all the Love thy Kindness ever gave,
And lead the Friend in Calmness to the Grave.

Or, if this best of Comforts must not be,
And cruel Fate shall rob me too of thee;
When Heav'n's black Angel aims the dreaded Dart,
And Death sinks heavy on my fainting Heart;
Then may thy faithful Image still attend
The bitt'rest moments of thy dying Friend;
Bid every sharpest Torture rage in vain,
And arm Devotion against every Pain;
And when thy Soul burst from its gasping Clay,
Be thou its Leader to the Realms of Day:
May we together there our Songs employ,
And chant Hosanna's thro' the Courts of Joy,
Together there our fragrant Censers load,
And waft up kindred Incense to our God.