1740
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Sketch of a Subject for Verse.]

Biographical Memoirs of the late Revd. Joseph Warton, D.D. Master of St. Mary Winton College; Prebendary of Winchester Cathedral; and Rector of the Parishes of Wickham and Upham, Hants: to which are added a Selection from his Works; and a Literary Correspondence between eminent Persons, reserved by him for Publication. By the Rev. John Wooll, A.M.

Rev. Joseph Warton


College juvenilia by the future master of Winchester College: Joseph Warton's Spenserian predilections already very apparent in this allegory of the passions composed while he was a student at Oriel College, Oxford: "Then came Sorrow, with a dead babe in her arms: — she was often seen in charnels and by graves, listening to knells, or walking in the dead of night, and lamenting aloud; nor was she absent from dangerous dungeons and galley slaves. After her Courage, a young man riding a lion, that chafed with indignation, yet was forced to submit" p. 11. Warton's biographer incorporated several unpublished works into his 1806 memoir.

John Wooll: "Did no other proof exist of his genuinely poetical mind, of his capacity as a maker and inventor, the following sketch, laid out by him as a subject for verse, at eighteen (the year in which he left Winchester school), and dated from his father's house, would be sufficient to establish his reputation.... Were the passions ever more happily personified? or the 'vivida vis animi' more unquestionably portrayed in a boy of eighteen? When the intimacy between Collins and Warton is recollected, it is no improbable surmise that the above sketch furnished the former with the idea of writing an Ode on the Passions" Biographical Memoirs of Joseph Warton (1806) 10-13 &n.

Francis William Blagdon: "Wool's BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS of Dr. Warton, ought to have been termed 'critical' memoirs; they are barren in fact, and stiff, turgid, and pedantic, in language" in Flowers of Literature for 1805 (1806) xlvii.

J. W. Courthope: "The protagonists in the new lyrical movement were Joseph and Thomas Warton, the sons of Thomas Warton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford during the years 1728-38, and Vicar of Basingstoke, himself a writer of verse, which here and there foreshadows the romantic tendencies of the family in the next generation. Joseph was born at Dunsfold, Surrey, in 1722. He was educated first at Winchester, proceeding thence on the 16th of January 1739-40 to Oriel College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. on the 13th of March 1743-44, and became curate to his father at Basingstoke in 1746" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 5:379.

Edmund Gosse: "The brothers began very early to devote themselves to the study of poetry, and in spite of the six years which divided them, they appear to have meditated in unison. Their writings bear a close resemblance to one another, and their merits and failures are alike identical. We have to form what broken impression we can of their early habits. Joseph is presented to us as wandering in the woodlands, lost in a melancholy fit, or waking out of it to note with ecstasy all the effects of light and colour around him, the flight of birds, the flutter of foliage, the panorama of cloudland. He and Thomas were alike in their 'extreme thirst after ancient things.' They avoided, with a certain disdain, the affectation of vague and conventional reference to definite objects" "Joseph and Thomas Warton" in Some Diversions of a Man of Letters (1920) 67.




The Subjects of Reason having lately rebelled against him, he summons them to his court, that they may pay their obedience to him; whilst he sits on his throne, attended by the Virtues, his handmaids. The first who made her appearance was Fear, with Superstition, a pale-faced, trembling virgin, who came from Gallia, and was ever present at earthquakes, fires, sieges, storms, and shuddered at every thing she saw. Not so Anger, whose harbinger was Cruelty, with dishevelled hair; and whose charioteer, Revenge, drove wheels reeking with blood. He himself stood upright, brandishing a sword, and bearing a shield on which was engraven Achilles dragging the carcass of Hector, with Priam and Andromache lamenting on the walls; round his girdle he tied the head of an enemy just slaughtered, and his chariot was drawn by tigers. Next came Joy, chanting a song, crowned with vine leaves, waving a rod in his hand, at whose touch every thing smiled; he was attended by Mirth and Pleasure, two nymphs more light than Napaeans: he was the institutor of feasts and dances amongst shepherds, at a vintage, at marriages and triumphs. Then came Sorrow, with a dead babe in her arms: — she was often seen in charnels and by graves, listening to knells, or walking in the dead of night, and lamenting aloud; nor was she absent from dangerous dungeons and galley slaves. After her Courage, a young man riding a lion, that chafed with indignation, yet was forced to submit — not a fiercer roars in Aegypt whilst the pyramids reecho to his voice: naked, like an Englishman, blowing an horn, he was seen to attend Regulus to Carthage, Henry the Fifth to Agincourt, Moluc, Charles of Sweden, Kouli Khan, &c. He led Cowardice chained, who shuddered violently whenever he heard the horn, and would fain run away — so the beasts run when they hear the rattle-snake. Next came Emulation, with harp and sword: he followed a phantom of Fame, that he might snatch the crown she wore: he was accompanied by a beautiful Amazon, called Hope, who with one hand pointed to the heavens, and in the other held an optic which beautified and magnified every object to which it was directed. Pity led her old father Despair, who tore his grey locks, and could scarce move along for extreme misery; she nursed him with her own milk, and supported his steps, whilst bats and owls flew round his head. She frequents fields of battle, protects the slain, and stanches their wounds with her veil and hair. Next came Love, supported on each side by Friendship and Truth, but not blind, as the poets feign. Behind came his enemies, Jealousy, who nursed a vulture to feed on his own heart. Hatred also, and Doubt shaking a dart behind Love, who, on his turning round, immediately vanish'd. Honour, twin'd round about with a snake, like Laocoon. Then Ambition in a chariot of gold, and white horses, whose trappings were adorned with jewels, led by Esteem and Flattery. Envy viewed him passing, and repined like a pard with a dart in his side. Contempt, too, like a satyr, beheld, and pointed with his finger; but he too often reviled Heaven, whence plagues, pestilences, wars, and famines. When these were all met, Reason (sitting grander than Solomon), on whom the man Justice, and the woman Temperance, attended, thus addressed them.


[pp. 11-13]