1714
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Picture.

Poems and Translations. By several Hands. To which is added, The Hospital of Fools; a Dialogue; by the late William Walsh, Esq.

John Hughes


John Hughes, who was a painter as well as a poet, emulates Milton's powers of description in L'Allegro: "Queen of Fancy! hither bring | On thy gaudy-feather'd Wing | All the Beauties of the Spring." I do not know from whence De Maar obtained the date of 1704 for this poem; it may be a misprint.

William Duncombe: "In Pindarick and Lyrick Poetry, he had, perhaps, no Superior, and few Equals. Tho' he enjoy'd all that Fire of Imagination and divine Enthusiasm, for which Some of the ancient Poets are so deservedly admired, yet did his Fancy never run away with his Reason, but was always guided by a superior Judgment; and the Musick of his Verse is exquisite. Cowley's Pindarick Odes are indeed writ with great Strength and Spirit; but then they want that Harmony of Numbers, which Horace requires as essential to a good Poem" Poems (1735) 1:viii-ix.

Joseph Warton: "But was the Author of such a Tragedy as the Siege of Damascus one of the 'mediocribus'? Swift and Pope seem not to recollect the value and rank of an Author who could write such a Tragedy. May I venture, on this occasion, to give a little table of the different sorts of Poets, ranged in order according to their merits? — Writers of occasional and miscellaneous Family-things, and tea-table Miscellanies; writers of Pastorals; of Epistles; of Satires, of didactic Poems; of Odes; of Tragedies; of Epic Poems" in Works of Alexander Pope, ed. Warton (1797) 8:269n.

Harko Gerrit De Maar: "In The Picture (1704) Hughes imitated L'Allegro with considerable effect.... Hughes was not only Miltonic, he also possessed many of the qualities of romance. He wrote admirable songs; his love of nature and of the countryside was genuine; he devoted loving care to Spenser and in his opera Calypso and Telemachus he attempted to show 'that the English language might be very happily adapted to music'" History of Modern English Romanticism (1924) 181.



Come, my Muse, a Venus draw;
Not the same the Grecians saw,
By the fam'd Apelles wrought,
Beauteous Offspring of his Thought.
No fantastick Goddess mine,
Fiction far She do's outshine.

Queen of Fancy! hither bring
On thy gaudy-feather'd Wing
All the Beauties of the Spring.
Like the Bee's industrious Pains
To collect his Golden Gains,
So from ev'ry Flow'r and Plant
Gather first th' immortal Paint.
Fetch me Lillies, fetch me Roses,
Daisies, Vi'lets, Cowslip-Posies,
Amaranthus' Parrot Pride,
Woodbines, Pinks, and what beside
Do's th' embroider'd Meads adorn,
Where the Fawns and Satyrs play
In the merry Month of May.
Steal the Blush of op'ning Morn;
Borrow Cynthia's Silver White,
When She shines at Noon of Night,
Free from Clouds to veil her Light.
Juno's Bird his Tail shall spread,
Iris' Bow its Colours shed,
All to deck this Charming Piece,
Far surpassing Ancient Greece.

First her Graceful Stature show,
Not too Tall, not yet too Low.
Fat She must not be, nor Lean;
Let her Shape be Straight and Clean;
Small her Waste, and thence increast,
Gently swells her rising Breast.
Next, in comely Order trace
All the Glories of her Face.
Paint her Neck of Ivory,
Smiling Cheeks, and Forehead high,
Ruby Lips, and sparkling Eyes,
Whence resistless Lightning flies.

Foolish Muse! what hast thou done?
Scarce th' Outlines are yet begun,
Ere thy Pencil's thrown aside!
'Tis no matter, Love reply'd;
(Love's unlucky God stood by)
At one Stroke behold how I
Will th' unfinish'd Draught supply.

Smiling then He took his Dart,
And drew her Picture in my Heart.

[pp. 166-68]