1750 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Lauder

Anonymous, "To Mr. Lauder, on reading his Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns, and some satirical Remarks" Gentleman's Magazine 20 (May1750) 231.



Tho' Witlings sneer, and angry Bigots frown,
And wild Enthusiasts Reason's power disown,
It boots not: Truth, array'd in native grace,
Still with the wise and just maintains her place,
She still triumphant lifts her torch on high,
And Pride, and Prejudice, before her fly;
Thro' darken'd minds she darts her lightning ray,
And on the blind pours intellectual day.
Such force has Truth — I now behold it rise,
Dispel the clouds, and sparkle to the skies.
Long, long unread remain'd these sons of praise,
Their fame forgot, or lost in Milton's blaze,
Till you arose, delusion to confound,
And lead o'er all the maze of classic ground;
By them old Chaos, Pandaemonium rose,
By them Messiah spurn'd his rebel foes;
To them, to them, those tow'ring thoughts belong,
Tho' surreptitious plac'd in Milton's song.
Here Scotch and German bards adorn the scene,
Nor does Batavia's aid not intervene;
France, Italy, and Spain, their pow'r combine,
To crown the triumphs of the work divine:
The work which claims each wond'ring nation's praise,
Each wond'ring nation lent its aid to raise;
From them he store of rich materials drew,
By them, 'bove this diurnal sphere he flew;
By them he baffled all the sons of rhime,
And fabrick rear'd beyond th' attacks of time:
You show from whence was rais'd this mighty plan,
Such is the critick — friendship speak the man.

Tho' keen his quill, to mercy still resign'd
Is his warm breast, which glows for all mankind.
For Truth he writes indiff'rent of applause,
Nor dreads he censure in this glorious cause.
Such worth as his disdains the Witling's sneer,
The Bigot's frown, or surly Critick's jeer.
Raillery, the weapon of unheeding youth,
Which proves no error; and confirms no Truth,
Is try'd in vain; for Truth he took the field,
And but by argument must stand or yield.