1741 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Isaac Watts

Mather Byles, "Verses prefix'd to the late Boston Edition of Dr. Watts's Hymns" General Magazine [Philadelphia] 1 (March 1741) 209-10.



Say, smiling Muse, what heav'nly strain
Forbids the waves to roar;
Comes gently o'er the main,
And charms our list'ning shore!

What angel strikes the trembling strings;
And whence the golden Sound!
Or is it WATTS — or GABRIEL, sings
From your celestial Ground?

'Tis thou, seraphick WATTS, thy lyre
Plays soft along the floods;
Thy notes, the answ'ring hills inspire,
And bend the waving woods.

The meads with dying musick fill'd,
Their smiling honours show,
While, whisp'ring o'er each fragrant field,
The tuneful breezes blow.

The rapture sounds in ev'ry trace,
Ev'n the rough rocks regale,
Fresh flow'ry joys flame o'er the face
Of ev'ry laughing vale.

And thou, my soul, the transport own,
Fir'd with immortal heat;
Whilst dancing pulses driving on,
About thy body beat.

Long as the sun shall rear his head,
And chase the flying glooms,
As blushing from his nuptial bed
The gallant bridegroom comes;

Long as the dusky ev'ning flies
And sheds a doubtful light,
While sudden rush along the skies
The sable shades of night;

O WATTS, thy sacred lays so long
Shall ev'ry bosom fire;
And ev'ry muse, and ev'ry tongue,
To speak thy praise, conspire.

When thy fair soul shall on the wings
Of shouting seraphs rise,
And with superior sweetness sings
Amid thy native skies.

Still shall thy lofty numbers flow,
Melodious and divine;
And choirs above, and saints below,
A deathless chorus! join.

To our fair shores the sound shall roll,
(So Philomela sung)
And east to west, and pole to pole,
Th' eternal tune prolong.
New-England, Boston, March 15.