1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Seward

Francis Noel Clarke Mundy, "Verses written after reading Miss Seward's Ode to Lord Heathfield, and hearing that he had paid her a Visit" Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (7 December 1787).



Yes, on his war-worn rock the Chief remain'd
Deaf, though fond Fame her golden clarion strain'd;
Her palms, Britannia panting to bestow,
Lean'd from her shore to greet his rising prow
In vain; no lust of triumph warp'd his thought;
Calm in his victory as while he fought.
At length he seeks, and only seeks repose
In her lov'd shades; around him copious flows
The fount of honour; while he taste the wave
But from his reverence of the hand that gave.

Conqueror of Bourbon's pride, and of thy own,
Whilst the world's praises at thy feet are thrown,
Firm as thou art, ah, think not to refuse
All Fame can give! Lives not the heavenly Muse?
She lives, and, wakeful to the public weal,
Tells in immortal strains what Britons feel.
Pathetic with their sorrow flows her song;
Or, fir'd by joy, exults and bounds along.

Not sweeter warblings her soft skill supplied,
To sooth th' afflicted world when Sydney died,
Than when of late her voice divine was heard,
And Cook's morai in lasting verse she rear'd:
Cook, whom respectful war forbore in vain,
In the false moment of his mercy slain.

Another Lycidas she sees expire,
And grief and friendship string again the lyre.
Fair in a funeral robe, with tints inwove
Of youth's attractive form, and weeping love,
O'er Andre's corse sepulchral sweets she strows,
And mocks the barb'rous malice of his foes.
Snatch'd from th' abhorred night they strove to give,
She lifts his name, and bids his virtues live,
More than a brave man's loss we learn to rue,
And human pity sheds its softest dew.

And now, even now, her bolder notes ascend!
Elliot, on thee her magic power they bend;
Resistless as thy thunder sweeps their force,
And thy own fire seems glowing in their course.
Now hurling vengeful deaths we see thee stand;
In mercy now stretch'd forth thy saving hand;
O'er each proud scene the verse as proudly leads,
Dwells on thy name, and riots on thy deeds.
O let thy bosom soften to such praise!—
The vanquish'd victor listens, and obeys—
From crowds, from courts he hastes; his speed in vain
Fam'd Isis sons with honours would detain—
Hastes, in her bright-eyed form the Muse to greet,
And graceful takes his laurels at her feet.

Thus the great master of the Grecian chord
Charm'd warlike Macedon's victorious Lord;
Could sooth to pity, or with rage inspire,
And taught the sweet dominion of the lyre.