1710 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace. Book II. Ode IX.

Miscellanies, in Verse and Prose. By George Jeffreys, Esq.

George Jeffreys


An elegy adapted from Horace in five stanzas (ababcc). The choice of the stanza possibly owes something to Spenser's Astrophel. Matthew Prior's Ode to the Queen (1706) had recently imitated Horace in his invented Spenserian stanza. George Jeffreys was an acquaintance of William Duncombe, and may have been part of the coterie of archaizing writers that included Hughes, Hinchliffe, Needler, and Say. Horatian Spenserianism was not uncommon in Augustan verse prior to mid century. The poem was belatedly published in 1754.

"Mordaunt" is General Charles Mordaunt (1658-1735), third earl of Peterborough, courtier and friend of Swift, Pope, and Gay. His wife died 13 May 1709, his youngest son 24 February 1710, and his eldest son, 6 April 1710. "Blandford" was the son of the Duke of Marlborough, whose death was marked in a famous pastoral elegy by Congreve. John Nichols prints a somewhat different version of the poem in Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) which may derive from the papers of William Duncombe.

John Duncombe: "George Jeffreys, Esq; M.A. fellow of Trinity-college, Cambridge, from 1701 to 1709, sub-orator of that university, &c. He was nephew to James Lord Chandos, and lived in the families of the two last dukes many years. His Miscellanies in verse and prose, were published in one volume quarto, in 1754; among them are two tragedies, Edwin and Merope, (both acted at the theatre-royal in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields) and the Triumph of Truth, an oratorio. He was also author of the anonymous verses prefixed to Cato. He died in 1755, aged 77" Letters from ... Dr. Thomas Herring, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (1777)126n.

Robert Watt: "This Collection, as the Author observes in his Dedication to the late Duke of Chandos, then Marquis of Carnarvon, includes an uncommon length of time, from the Verses on the Duke of Gloucester's Death in 1700, to those on his Lordship's Marriage in 1753" Bibliotheca Britannica (1824) 2:544.

R. Davenport Adams: "George Jeffreys, poet (b. 1678, d. 1775), published in 1754 a volume of Miscellanies in prose and verse, including Edwin and Merope, tragedies; and The Triumph of Truth, an oratorio. Some odes of his are included in Nichols' Collection" Dictionary of English Literature (1878) 313.



Tho' tempests long may toss the sea,
And winter make Armenia mourn;
Yet all its snow will melt away,
When Zephyr's genial gales return;
When birds and flowers the sullen year restore;
It sighs in winds, and weeps in rain, no more.

But you, eternal mourners, you,
Amyntor gone where all must go,
With ever-streaming eyes pursue,
Dwell on his grave, and doat on wo;
Amyntor is by day the darling theme;
And dear Amyntor still the nightly dream.

Yet Mordaunt dries his tears at last,
Tho' robb'd of all his soul's desire,
Ere twelve revolving moons were past,
The Husband once, and twice the sire:
His fam'd Valencia's doom in his we trace,
A stroke as signal in as short the space.

Of matchless Blandford's early fate
The Parents now no more complain;
The Sisters, sunk beneath the weight
Of pious Sorrow, shine again,
Bright as the moon reflected by the tide,
Or you, Clemene, ere your Brother dy'd.

Then mourn no longer, heav'nly Maid,
Amyntor snatch'd in Nature's prime;
Must Beauty too, by grief decay'd,
Be lost, like him, before the time?
Think on those eyes, and then from tears refrain;
Or must Philander always sue in vain?

[pp. 31-32]