1750 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

W., "To the Author of the Roman Father" Gentleman's Magazine 20 (April 1750) 183.



As when brave Publius — on the verge of fate
Preserv'd his country's freedom, and her state;
The youths and virgins wreaths of flowrets bring,
And round the hero grateful paeans sing;
So now each lover of the tragick scene
Shou'd offer laurels of unfading green
To you, who in this dull, declining age,
Revive the glory of the British stage!

Before your strokes each modern quits the field,
Nay all, but Shakespeare's glorious self, must yield.
Like him you draw soft nature's tender part,
And in live colours paint the human heart.
Such as it was ere vice began to reign,
And spread her follies o'er our Albion's plain:
Such as it was when Romans durst be brave,
When ev'ry Briton scorn'd a fashion's slave!
When honest satyr did not fear to lash
That atom Fribble, and that nothing Flash!

What thinking man beholds the godlike sire,
Whose bosom burns not with congenial fire,
What fair one can refrain from streaming eyes,
When warm in youth the last Honoria dies!
In each pathetick scene, who can refuse
To hail with loud applause your virtuous muse?