1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Fanshawe

Richard Fenton, in "To Mr. Mickle" Fenton, Poems (1773) 48-50.



Long had the Muses mark'd th' advancing gloom
Of Gothic night, and fear'd the LUSIAD'S doom.
But fate forbade, and thou wer't sent to save
The wreck just whelm'd beneath oblivion's wave.
'Till now obscure the beauteous work had lain,
Like the new world, ere Gama dar'd the main;
Or, if e'er touch'd on, only known in part,
But faintly shadow'd out in Fanshaw's chart.
Unhappy Fanshaw! whose ill-favour'd rhimes
Had caught the aukward spirit of the times;
Whose ev'ry number with its neighbour jars,
As if the Muses dealt in Civil Wars.
Ill-fated poet! destin'd to an age
Of bigot jargon, and of factious rage;
When ev'ry page with quibble was o'er-run,
And sense tormented writh'd itself to pun.
When persecuted science stood aghast,
And arts, for want of patrons, breath'd their last;
And ev'ry other trade but that of blood,
In famish'd tortures gasp'd in vain for food.
That, and but that alone, luxurious far'd,
Nor more than monarch, than the subject spar'd.
And would the Muse not desert a land,
By crimes of such notorious hue profan'd?
Yes, heav'n descended, they forbore to stay,
And to the realms of peace re-trac'd their way.
Then let this prospect vindicate his lays,
Nor spleen abridge him of his share of praise;
Unenvy'd let him claim the first design
Which sketch'd the situation of the mine:
To thee 'twas left the treasures to explore,
And give a sterling impress to the ore;
That current it might pass through ev'ry clime,
And bear its value to remotest time.