1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Ebenezer Elliott, "Stanzas Spenserian, by the Author of Corn-Law Rhymes" New Monthly Magazine 43 (March 1835) 292.



I saw a horrid thing of many names
And many shapes: some call'd it wealth, some power,
Some grandeur. From its heart it shot black flames
That scorch'd the souls of millions hour by hour,
And its proud eyes rain'd everywhere a shower
Of hopeless life and helpless misery;
For, spous'd to fraud, destruction was its dower!
But its cold brightness could not hide from me
The parent base of crime, the nurse of poverty!

All-unmatch'd Shakspeare, and the blind old man
Of London, hymn in every land and clime
Our country's praise; while many an artisan
Spans for her glory school-taught lays sublime.
Them in her bosom, be they blank or rhyme,
Oblivious spirits gently will inter:
But three unborrow'd strains will to all time
Give honour, glory, highest laud to her—
"Thalaba!" "Peter Bell!" "The Ancient Mariner!"

Even here, on earth, not altogether fade
The good and vile. Men, in their words and deeds,
Live, when the hand and heart in earth are laid;
For thoughts are things, and written thoughts are seeds—
Our very dust buds forth in flowers or weeds.
Then let me write for immortality
One honest song, uncramp'd by forms or creeds;
That men unborn may read my times and me,
Taught by my living words, when I shall cease to be.