1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ambrose Philips

Anonymous, "To Mr. Ambrose Phillips" Weekly Register (10 February 1733).



Bloom of Wit, and choicest Flow'r
Of the Muses blissful Bow'r;
Thou, of Jove the fond Delight,
Brightest Offspring of the Bright,
Pledge of fair Latona's Love;
Phoebus seeming from above,
Were it not, thou Day by Day
Dost thy very self betray,
Mortal more and more appear,
Mortal, more than Phoebus dear:
How, to speak thy Praise and Style,
(Far too courtly for this Isle!)
How shall I, or shall the Muse,
Language of Resemblance chuse?
Language, like thy Style and Phrase,
Full of Sweetness, full of Grace!

By the next returning Spring,
When again the Poets sing;
When again the Witlings chime
Pretty Sonnets, full of Rhyme;
When their Past'rals next they write,
Sweet Enamel! black and white;
And the Year, in fresh Attire,
Welcomes the poetick Choir;
Chiming on shalt thou appear
More harmonious than the Year;
Fairer Sight than Shepherd shows,
When on oaten Pipe he blows.
Yet, another Spring I see,
And a sweeter Chime in thee;
And another Round of Time,
Circling, still improves thy Rhyme;
And beneath the vernal Skies,
Yet a Verdure more shall rise;
Ere thy Genius kindling slow,
In each finish'd Number glow;
Ere, in the poetick Strain,
Thou exert thy manly Reign,
Readers absolutely to keep
Awake, or kindly lull asleep.

Then, the graceful moulded Lines,
Which Venus' Girdle soft entwines;
And the Swell of every Metre,
And the Rising sweet and sweeter;
And the Words so neat and round,
(Little Words with Measure bound!)
And the Store of Thoughts divine,
Smoothly pencil'd in each Line,
Crowding in from ev'ry Part,
To compleat the DESP'RATE ART:
These alluring Pow'rs, and more,
Shall the petty Wits adore;
These and more, in little Lays,
Many an humble Bard shall praise.

Happy thrice, and thrice agen,
Happiest thou of happy Men,
Who, by Phoebus greatly sped,
Hast won the Muses to thy Bed,
Born the Virgin-Prize away,
Sportive still in wanton Lay!
For, the fine Imagination,
Deck'd with dainty Decoration,
Gently through the Verses flowing,
With poetick Ardour glowing;
And the Smoothness of the Numbers,
Witchingly inviting Slumbers,
And the Sense that finely shows,
Thin as thinnest Blossom blows;
And the hazy-lucid Grace,
Glancing sweet through every Phrase;
And that manly Force of Thought,
In soft-blended Colours wrought;
And the Similes, that glow
Round the Words that neatly flow;
And the Softness of thy Lay,
That does thy softest Soul betray:
These Endowments (heav'nly Dow'r!)
Brought thee, in an happy Hour,
Shall for ever bind them to thee—
Sure no mortal can outdo thee!