1766 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Dodsley

Anonymous, "Verses to a young Lady, with Dodsley's Collection of Poems" London Magazine 35 (November 1766) 584.



Dear Chloe this poetic treasure,
I'm sure, will be receiv'd with pleasure;
Because you, with a taste refin'd,
Are much to poetry inclin'd,
And ne'er your leisure moments waste,
In pinking, politics, or paste;
Like half the females of the age,
Whom vain pursuits alone engage.
Here you will find a feast indeed
In ev'ry polish'd page you read:
For here with mingled lustre shine,
Bards highly favour'd by the nine,
Bards, who by Phoebus self inspir'd,
Can never be too much admir'd.
In Johnson's strong, satiric lines,
All Juvenal's free manner shines:
With what a noble zeal he draws
His pen in sinking virtue's cause;
With what a bold, becoming spirit,
Pleads he for persecuted merit!
In Shenstone's rural lays we see,
All rural life's simplicity,
His shepherds talk like shepherd swains,
The artless language of the plains:
And never by too high a style
Provoke the critic's scornful smile.
Who can the pitying tear refuse
O'er Lyttelton's pathetic muse,
When in soft elegiac verse
He sobs o'er lovely Lucy's hearse?
The pitying tear bedims my eye
Moist with the dew of sympathy,
Nor would I, if I could, suppress
The sudden start of tenderness;
Nor envy I the heart of steel
Too hard another's griefs to feel.
For spirit, elegance, and ease,
Jenyns can never fail to please
His rhymes, like those of flowing Prior,
The reader's patience never tire:
Whether a comic tale he tells,
Or on more serious subjects dwells,
In ev'ry grave, or hum'rous line,
The touches of a master shine.
With joy I frequently sit down
And take a peaceful pipe with Browne;
And to each mode of imitation,
Give hearty puffs of approbation.
In these six volumes, each replete
With nervous sense, and numbers sweet,
Where Warton, Mason, Whitehead, Gray,
Their bright, poetic parts display;
Where Collins, Akenside, and Dyer,
With master-strokes the bosom fire;
A thousand beauties you will trace
Of grandeur, harmony, and grace;
Which ne'er like fleeting flow'rs decay,
The short-liv'd charmers of a day,
But in the brightest bloom appear
Throughout the variegated year.