1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. John Armstrong

Thomas Furlong, in "Vindication of Poetry" The Misanthrope, with other Poems (1821) 33.



True, the fair page of fiction may reveal
Scenes that low-minded prudence might conceal:
True, the wild walks of genius may disclose
The weed and flower, the bramble and the rose!
For once the bard his character may stain,
Where scandal points, or lust excites a strain!
For once, from nature he may start aside,
While bright'ning guilt, or soothing childish pride!
This we admit, but candour tells us still,
To place, with care, the good against the ill;
To bring, at once, the varying parts in view,
To hold the bright, but shew the gloomy too.
Perhaps a Sedley, with seductive art,
May pour his poison through the throbbing heart!
A Prior, perchance, may bid the bosom glow
With such desires as youth should never know!
A winning Armstrong tempt the soul to rove,
Uncheck'd thro' all the labyrinths of love;
Or Swift confirm, and sanction with his name,
Lines that will put plain decency to shame!