1783 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Anonymous, "Verses addressed to Mr. Mason" Gentleman's Magazine 53 (October 1783) 871.



Long have I seen the injur'd Muse of GRAY,
At MASON'S desk, angry and mournful stand,
With asking eyes, that flash'd th' indignant ray,
The pen extending with impatient hand.

I heard her awful voice reproach the bard,
That rude malicious hands, permitted, tear
From her fair brows the wreaths he ought to guard
With gratitude, and friendship's sacred care;
That unrepell'd the brazen falchion flies,
Whose blade is steep'd in envy's venom'd dews,
From that Philistine critic, who defies
The chosen armies of the heavenly Muse.
Blush, loiterer, blush! that from thy able arm
Truth's victor pebbles are not slung ere now,
The giant's noisy prowess to disarm,
And sink deep buried in his shameless brow!

MASON, canst thou the vulture talons spy,
Mark the dread eagle's noble bosom gor'd,
Who taught thy Muse to build her aerie high,
And on whose guardian-wing aloft she soar'd;
To glory soar'd, in sun-bright fields of fame?
O! canst thou mark, and let ungenerous dread
Unnerve thy arm, and quench the sacred flame?—
Then shall ingratitude her mildew shed,
And stain thy garlands, to remotest years,
With all the canker'd spots of basely selfish fears.