1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Anonymous, "Lines addressed to Mr. Southey" British Lady's Magazine NS 1 (July 1817) 81.



Thou planet of Genius! that bright in thy sphere
Surpassest the stars of thy rival compeers,
Thou boast of our island; all hail to thy name,
And hence may thy bliss be, as great as thy fame.

Oh shame! to the man, that would lessen thy praise,
Or blazon light errors, in envy fed lays.
Is he more than mortal? is he from fault free?
That he seeks to find more than a mortal in thee.

Oh shame! to the hand, that would blacken his brother,
And rear his own song, on the wreck of another,
Who thy wreath of applause with his malice would dim,
Because it out-sparkles that given to him.

And shall he succeed? Yes — when the Sun's ray,
Obscur'd by his breath, shall in darkness decay;
When the glow-worm which shines on its moss bed of green,
Excels in its splendour, Night's beautiful queen.

Till then wear thy glory, thy laureate crown,
For a brow more deserving it never has bound;
And with bands who our country's annals adorn,
Thy name shall be worshipped in ages unborn.

Thy name shall be worshipped when History's page
Yields no vestige of theirs to enlighten the age;
Unless as some plank serves a wretch out at sea,
They escape from oblivion, by clinging to thee.