1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Anonymous, "An Ode humbly inscribed to William Whitehead" London Magazine 43 (July 1774) 351.



Hark! or does the indignant ear
Form the sounds she hates to hear?
Hark! from the laureate's venal pen,
O'er the nation echoing far,
Praises on the "best" of men—
To Britons worse than notes of war.
The laureate again returns,
And on his annual sheet reclines;
With rebel shame his bosom burns,
And dullness now affected shines—
Shines through lines at once that prove
Whitehead's genius and his love.

Dullness, stop the stupid verse,
Nor a tyrant's praise rehearse!
Praise fitter far for Gallia's plain,
Disgraceful to Thamesis' stream;
Though but transient be the pain,
Like a laureat's birth-day dream!
For soon shall Freedom, calm and bold,
Detect the statesman's impious wiles,
Who from America those rights withhold,
At which, withheld, the tyrant smiles—
Smiles indignant. See him prove
The people's grief, and not their love!

Oh, prophetic be the Muse!
May her monitory flame
Wake their souls to noblest views,
And point the way to patriot fame!
No submission! no commands!
Mutual, firm, intrepid move;
Form indissoluble bands,
Ye sons of Freedom and of Jove!
In close phalanx all unite;
Freedom lifts her standard high:
For your charter firmly fight—
Bravely be free; or bravely die.
And see, the beam of glory breaks!
Hear, for prophetic Chatham speaks!
They fight, they conquer! Join the choral lay,
And hail, with him, fair Freedom's natal day.