1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Robert Anderson

William Preston, in "Epistle to Robert Anderson, M.D. on receiving from him a Present of various Poetical Works" 1806; Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry for 1805 (1807) 169-70.



To thee, my friend, be granted length of days
In social converse, and Pierian praise;
With serious elegance, or polish'd mirth,
The smiling circle, the domestic hearth.
Howe'er, at first, the embodied mental band
Flash into being from their Maker's hand,
Ere yet confin'd within this earthly frame,
Some spirits are allied in kindred flame;
Some spark congenial, some fraternal tie,
Attends the circumstance of birth on high;
Tho' cloth'd in mortal weeds they wander wide,
Tho' fortune sep'rates, and tho' seas divide,
Still the primordial traces they retain,
The loves, the likeness, of a kindred train;
And when they meet, a moment will appear
Like the long intercourse of many a year.
By such alliance, I thy friendship claim;
I trace the pedigree of kindred aim;
And, when I seek that undiscover'd bourn,
Around my bier when weeping children mourn,
Shouldst thou survive, thou wilt not then refuse
Thy friendship to the children of my muse;
Thy care, a pledge of kindred, I demand,
And may they grow mature beneath thy hand.

Yet, what are rhymes? and wherefore should they share
An anxious moment, in a world of care?
What wafts alike the vicious and the good,
Why should we catch at straws and leaves that flow
Along the surface, while we sink below?
Gloucester Street, Dublin, August 8, 1806.