1760 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Walter Raleigh

W., "On Sir Walter Raleigh" Royal Magazine 2 (May 1760) 322-23.



When fam'd Eliza fill'd Britannia's throne,
And chiefs confess'd her sway, till then unknown;
When states oppress'd for her protection su'd,
And papal tyrants found themselves subdu'd;
Then Raleigh rose, and sought an honest fame,
With every worth that dignify'd its flame.
Good Cecil's sapience, Drake's far thundering ire,
Bacon's cool judgment, temp'ring Spenser's fire,
A Selden's mind to trace primeval gloom,
Restore lost time, and rescue from the tomb:
Tho' these in him, like suns reflected, shone,
And honours crown'd him which his merits won;
Tho' round his brow unfading laurels twin'd,
With blooming bays and flow'ring myrtles join'd;
Yet who, alas! could honest worth defend,
When only fools and flatterers found a friend?
When unassuming worth was sought no more,
And all those suns eclips'd that shone before?
Nay, such the rancour in the following reign,
To blast those laurels they could ne'er attain;
That by mean arts, O ignominious deed!
Bade him, the barrier of his country, bleed.
Whilst vanquish'd Spain exulted o'er his fate,
The British genius mourn'd her darling state;
With shelt'ring pinions hover'd round no more,
But stretch'd her wings, and left the abject shore.
Norwich, May 18, 1760.