1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

Thomas Dermody, in "The Retrospect" Poems Moral and Descriptive (1800) 11-12.



Nor small the task with no frail varnish fraught,
To deck in sylvan dress, the sylvan thought,
Peculiar art it claims, and oft requires
Than the bold epic more exalted fires,
Fires, that each fibre to their purpose wrest,
Electric, rushing on the ravish'd breast;
Hence, unoppos'd, in full despotic fame,
Sweet AUBURN'S BARD must ever be the same,
Hence, the fair descant wove in MEMORY'S loom,
Perennial rose and myrtle shall perfume,
Hence, wayward minstrel of th' attentive vale,
The VILLAGE CURATE pour his pleasing tale,
Hence, too, the heart its choicest incense breathe
On warbling SYMPATHY'S immortal wreath.
Tho' here no foreign wonders I rehearse,
Tuneful enchantment in each vary'd verse;
Here, tho' no bright resistless magic shines,
Which rapture moulds, and classic care refines,
Nor mystic melodies of measur'd sound
That wild'ring, lead the servient passions round,
Yet, unambitious of a larger claim,
My subject not less humble than my aim,
Perchance, I hold, with pardonable grace,
The muse's mirror up to nature's face;
For me enough; (if aught my verse may boast
Of genuine feeling, where refinement's lost,)
From the dull crowd my straggling sense to wean,
To charm the critics of the village-green;
To bid their innocent amusements shew
All public vice the source of private woe;
And to the lewd metropolis unfold
These laws, to love, which is but to behold.