1730 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Isaac Watts

James Hervey, "Written in a Blank Leaf of Dr. Watts's Lyric Poems (being a Present to a Lady)" 1730 ca.; Universal Magazine 29 (Supplement, 1761) 166.



Attend, fair maid, nor conscious blushes fear,
While Watts and virtue entertain the ear.

The Nine, forgetful of their glorious rise,
Oft sink to slaves, and basely pimp for vice;
Tho' sent from heav'n, with nicest strokes of art
At once to please and to reform the heart,
They toil in drudg'ry to a shameful stage,
Poison the music, and pollute the page;
Lewdly jocose, or blasphemously bold,
Tempt to new sins by gilding o'er the old.

Here shines the muse, with spotless beauty grac'd,
Bright as an angel, as a Vestal chaste;
No scenes of lust defile the sprightly lay,
Grave though polite, without profaneness gay;
No trifling themes debase the nobler song,
Here soft as is your sex, there as your glances strong.

No more let comic wit attention find,
It strikes the fancy, but corrupts the mind.
No more to tragic flights applauses grant,
They raise the genius, but retard the saint.
On these choice lines your curious taste regale,
Where ease and strength, where sense and sound prevail;
Where ev'ry grace of speech, each lively thought,
Each just idea's to perfection wrought.

Oh! would you drink the sweetly-pious strains,
Till the glad soul seraphic ardour gains;
Till the soft notes o'er all the passions rove,
And sooth and calm, or turn them all to love,
To pure to sacred love, that greatly springs
To highest objects and immortal things,
And soars and mounts the skies upon the poet's wings:

Oh! would you read, learn, and live o'er the muse,
The fire, the source of ev'ry line transfuse
To your own breast, and be what you peruse!
No more I'd vainly think, or falsly call,
The giver tasteless, or the present small;
But modesty itself should own, "I send
This, the best token of the truest friend."