1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Hugh Downman

Luke Booker, "To a Lady with Doctor Downman's Poem on the Management of Children" Miscellaneous Poems (1789) 67-69.



Th' Aonian Maidens (with spontaneous gift
Of Elegance and sweetest-sounding Lyre)
Hygeia, blushing nymph, to Downman sent,—
Downman, Apollo's doubly-favour'd son,
Endued with truest Aesculapian skill,
And sacred Poesy's ethereal fire.

Blest with the gift, he struck the dulcet strings
To themes accordant with parental breasts—
Their Infant Charge. — How to upraise (secure
From countless Ills which crowd their early day)
The blooming race, in tender strains he sings.
To Thee he sings, fair Mother! needing much
His lay preceptive. — By Affection rul'd,
Thy gentle Heart indulgences, which verge
On fatal Fondness, haply may bestow.
For 'tis not strength of Intellect that forms
The perfect Parent — or this gift is Thine.
Affection triumphs o'er the strongest mind,
And leads its Pow'rs in chains. Where liveliest glows
This tender Principle, from Nature drawn,
Fond Error reigns most frequent. — Bless'd by Heav'n
With Offspring blooming like the roseate morn
In wish'd succession, from thy Friend receive
Th' attendant Tribute: and, to Thee and Thine,
May it (perus'd by thy maternal eye,
And stor'd within thy soul refin'd and pure)
A lasting Blessing prove! — Around thy Form
(Beauteous as her's who wak'd the warring world)
May Loves and Graces, knit in sportful dance,
Smile, and reflect into thy glist'ning eye
Each happy Semblance of thy native Charms.