1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Jones

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 101-02.



From a Picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the possession of Lady Jones.

SIR WILLIAM JONES, the acute and elegant orientalist, was the original, as the reader will perceive, of as elegant a picture. He has the look of a patient and sensible inquirer, and he was so. He was an excellent man, learned, indefatigable, acute. He walked like Spring into the dryest and most barren regions of learning, and scattered flowers wheresoever he trod. As a poet, however, he cannot be considered as taking a high stand: his mind was too lunch engrossed by other things; yet his song to the "Damsels of Cardigan" is pretty, and his well known translation from Hafiz is replete with grace.

Sweet maid, if thou would'st charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Bocara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.

Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say;
Tell them their Eden cannot shew
A stream so pure as Rocnabad,
A flower so sweet as Mosellay.