1748
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode on the Death of the Author.

Poems on Several Occasions. By the Reverend Mr. Thomas Warton, Batchelor of Divinity, later Vicar of Basingstoke in Hampshire, and sometime Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford.

Rev. Joseph Warton


Six stanzas. Joseph Warton likely intended this as a "simple" imitation of Astrophel, to which he alludes in the fourth stanza. The final poem in the volume is an appropriate tribute to a man who had himself imitated Astrophel in his Spenserian Philander (1706), first published in this volume.

Alexander Chalmers: "he published by subscription, a volume of his father's poems, partly to do honour to his memory, but principally with the laudable purpose of paying what debts he left behind him, and of raising a little fund for himself and family. Whether this scheme answered his full expectations is uncertain, but he appears to have been encouraged by some of his father's opulent friends, and probably was no loser. The correspondence Mr. Wooll has published, shows with what prudence the two brothers husbanded their scanty provision, and with what affection they endeavoured to support and cheer each other while at school and college" Works of the English Poets (1810) 18:145-46.

The fact that many of the poems in the volume were not by the putative author may explain Joseph Warton's request to John Nichols that nothing be included his Select Collection: "I must now earnestly entreat you, for many strong reasons, not to select any thing out of the collection you mention of my Father's, 1748. And I am sure you will oblige me by believing that I do not ask this without reason" 7 May 1780; in Nichols, Anecdotes of the XVIII Century (1812-15) 6:171.



No more of Mirth and rural Joys,
The gay Description quickly cloys,
In melting Numbers, sadly slow,
I tune my alter'd Strings to Woe;
Attend, Melpomene, and with thee bring
Thy tragic Lute, Euphranor's Death to sing.

Fond wilt thou be his Name to praise,
For oft' thou heard'st his skilfull Lays;
Isis for him soft Tears has shed,
She plac'd her Ivy on his Head;
Chose him, strict Judge, to rule with steady Reins,
The vigorous Fancies of her listening Swains.

With Genius, Wit, and Science blest,
Unshaken Honour arm'd his Breast,
Bade him, with virtuous Courage wise,
Malignant Fortune's Darts despise;
Him, ev'n black Envy's venom'd Tongues commend,
As Scholar, Pastor, Husband, Father, Friend.

For ever sacred, ever dear,
O much-loved Shade accept the Tear
Each Night indulging pious Woe,
Fresh Roses on thy Tomb I strew,
And wish for tender Spenser's moving Verse,
Warbled in broken Sobs o'er Sydney's Herse.

Let me to that deep Cave resort,
Where Sorrow keeps her silent Court,
For ever wringing her pale Hands,
While dumb Misfortune near her stands,
With downcast Eyes the Cares around her wait,
And Pity sobbing sits before the Gate.

Thus stretch'd upon his Grave I sung,
When strait my Ears with Murmur rung,
A distant, deaf, and hollow Sound,
Was heard in solemn Whispers round—
"Enough, dear Youth! — tho' wrapt in Bliss above,
Well-pleas'd I listen to thy Lays of Love."

[pp. 226-28]