1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Thomas Percy

Anonymous, "Ode occasioned by reading an Ode to Bishop Percy, on the Reliques of Ancient Poetry" Port Folio [Philadelphia] NS 6 (10 September 1808) 176.



When Conway's surge with horrid roar,
Had whelm'd the Druid's tresses hoar,
Hovering o'er the haunted flood,
The Genius of the sacred wood,
High the dripping mantle shook,
And floating lyre uplifted took,
Where bards immortal, mid the tuneful spheres,
Chant to Heroick shades the songs of elder years.

"Mantle, erst by Merlin given,
Dipt in rainbow tints of Heaven,
Fraught with many a wizard spell,
Mortal language dare not tell;
Spells that human hearts control,
Awe the sense and melt the soul;
At Terrour's voice bid Health's bright rubies fly,
Or gem with pearls divine soft Pity's angel eye.

"Relick of the awful Seer,
Wond'rous key of Joy and Fear;
Who can boast a kindred spirit?
Who thy magick power inherit?
What child of Earth shall now aspire
To touch the doom-denouncing lyre?"
The Minstrel Choir in mute attention hung,
Whilst to his airy harp thus Taliessin sung:

"Bear them from that fatal shore,
(Mona's melody is o'er)
To the Nymph of fairy song,
Caledonia's groves among,
Bid her build the lofty rhyme;
Bid her raise the hymn sublime,
Fit for the King of Bards in days of yore;
Fit for the mighty Lord of legendary lore."

Worthy of the high command,
Hark! the Virgin's potent hand
Strikes the chords of pain and pleasure,
In a sweetly-varied measure;
She with Pythick ardour firing,
Felt within the God inspiring;
And whilst the shell resounded PERCY'S praise,
We heard the heaven-born strains of Arthur's golden days.