1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Scott of Amwell

John Gwilliam, "Rhapsody, on reading the Poetical Works of John Scott" Universal Magazine NS 11 (May 1809) 421.



Scott lov'd the soft elegiac song,
That mourn'd for charms untimely fled;
He loath'd the trifler's empty strain,
Where feign'd — imaginary pain,
And emblems of a sickly head,
Were seen the puny lines among!

He lov'd to hear the Muse rehearse
Some genuine woe in genuine verse;
He sought the soul-dissolving rhyme,
Energic — pure — devout — sublime;
For ah! his heart was taught to know
The summit of superior woe;
To feel the loss of one he lov'd,
By all the smiles of Heaven approv'd!

So I delight the song to hear,
(Replete with unaffected woe)
That's form'd to charm the dullest ear,
And make the coldest bosom glow!
But hence with all those flowery strains,
The offspring of romantic brains!
Avaunt! with all those lays of "fire,"
Where Love's succeeded by "Desire!"
And all those Della Cruscan rhymes,
That please the ear to spoil the times!
O! leave us the impressive song
That flows devoid of studied art;
Where reason charms, and numbers strong,
Melt into love the critic's heart!
Give then the lays of Shenstone sweet,
Where sense — affection — learning meet;
Or plaintive Pope's emphatic lyre,
Whose mellow sounds can never tire!

O! how delightful 'tis to be,
When Midnight rides on her raven plumes,
Sublim'd in mournful reverie,
Amid the ivy-circled tombs!
To ponder there, by man unseen,
On Nature's swift decay;
And every hollow blast between,
Save when the loud lapwing intervene,
To pour the requiem lay.

Though from me Death has snatch'd my Love,
Has hurl'd her to the lonely tomb,—
Th' eternal Essence lives above,
Scorning the grave's ungenial gloom:
Yet every year that steals along
Shall prompt at least one simple song;
While Recollection brings to light
The charms that Heaven beheld unite,
And in one frame preside:
Then Cynthia, by whose argent beam
We rambled near the brawling stream,
So oft at even tide,
Shall watch the place where Virtue sleeps,
Where meek-ey'd Contemplation weeps,
Shall lure my wistful eyes from earth,
Unfolding the joys of the Second Birth;
Then looking to the lowly tomb,
I'll think of happier days to come!
Grafton-street, May 1809.