Ode to Piety. In the Person of a young Clergyman.

The Student or Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany 1 (31 January 1750) 31-32.


A truncated imitation of Milton's Il Penseroso, the body of the poem consisting of a catalogue of admired sermon-writers. The ode is dated "Trinity Sunday, 1748" and was published in The Student, a literary periodical jointly edited by Bonnell Thornton (and possibly Thomas Warton) at Oxford and Christopher Smart at Cambridge.

Oliver Elton: "That gay and spirited production, the Student, ran from January 1750 till June 1751. The original editor was Thomas Warton the younger, then aged twenty-two; but after the fifth number Christopher Smart became his coadjutor, the words 'and Cambridge' being inserted in the second title, 'The Oxford Monthly Miscellany.' The contents are pleasingly variegated. Here are to be seen the 'Panegyric on Ale,' and the 'Address to an Elbow Chair'" here, too, the 'Ode on the Fifth of December,' and the lines 'To an Eagle Confined in a College Court.' There is as much verse as prose; light-hearted jibes and parodies abound, as well as serious rhymes and translations from Horace. A brisk impropriety grins out from some of the pages, and once the stanza of Spenser is sadly profaned" Survey of English Literature 1730-1780 (1928) 1:91.

Hence, ye irreligious, hence,
Foes to reason and to sense!
Hence the crew whose abject minds
Tyrant susperstition binds!
Seeming hypocrites, that cloak
Heart prophane with pious look!
Atheists, that with scoffing pride
God's creative pow'r deride!
Puritans with solemn face,
Whining cant, and sly grimace!
Hence of ev'ry appellation,
Ev'ry sect, and ev'ry nation!

Come, O come and dwell with me,
White-rob'd nymph, sweet PIETY:
With heavn'ly grace inspire my breast,
Such grace as once those saints possest,
Whose eloquence each hearer charm'd,
And with religious rapture warm'd.
Such TILLOTSON, whose reason shines
Manly in his polish'd lines;
BEVERIDGE, in whose thoughts we see
Nature's sweet simplicity;
SOUTH, who only knew to fit
Sense severe with poignant wit;
Mildly-charming ATTERBURY;
BENTLEY, with a pious fury;
And many a sage, whose silver tongue
Was oft with strong persuasion hung.
Then teach me, nymph, their heav'nly art
To charm and to inform the heart.
So on this earth a deathless fame
Shall crown my ever-honour'd name,
And I in perfect bliss divine
A saint among the saints shall shine.