1753 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. James Hervey

N. N., "On Reading Mr. Hervey's Meditations, in the West Indies" 1753; London Magazine 23 (January 1754) 39-40.



In life too far advanc'd to taste again
The sweets of that dear soil I left with pain;
Busy'd so long, so long endur'd this clime,
I to it now consign'd the dregs of time;
When passions cease, and reason takes the lead,
Small is the difference on what ground we tread.
With the Creator's bounties largely blest,
Contented here, and thankful too, I rest;
Yet oft I pant for a religious friend,
Whose converse might my serious hours attend;
Might help to smooth the last, rough, rugged stage,
And fix a chearfulness on wrinkl'd age;
Like him — (but O! where may his like be found?)
Whose Meditations with applause are crown'd;
Whose writings breathe, in ev'ry sprightly line,
A heart sincere, and warm'd with truths divine;
In whose pathetick strains we closely trace,
An ardent love to the whole human race.
Humble, tho' learn'd; tho' pious, yet polite;
His dictates profit, while they give delight.
New thoughts still in each charming page appear,
His stile correct, and all his comments clear;
A piercing critick, whose exalted mind
Can feast on beauties, and to faults be blind.

His honest breast no pride or envy knows;
From him how frank the just encomium flows!
Great talents solely hear, and classick skill,
The duties of his function to fulfil.
How wise the choice, such parts, how well employ'd!
Sacred to him, through whom they are enjoy'd.
Happy the place around; and Hervey's name
Will ever give to Weston-Flavell fame.
Thrice happy all within that pastor's care,
Who can, with him, celestial banquets share.
But sad, alas! my much lamented lot,
Far, far remote from the auspicious spot;
Had gracious Heav'n indulg'd us too in this,
I could, methinks, anticipate its bliss.
May'st thou, good man, long live to teach the way;
Eternity will compensate thy stay;
Whene'er I wish my native shore to see,
'Tis but to know, and to be known to thee.
Barbadoes, Oct. 25, 1753.