1751
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Imitation of Spenser.

The Seasons. In Imitation of Spenser.

Moses Mendez


Three Spenserians in which Moses Mendez bids defiance to critics: "See! how the Tribe of Witlings shun the Place, | And deep in Shades conceal their Fronts of Brass; | The Coxcomb talks of Feathers, Cloaths, and Lace, | Nay Codrus un-impeach'd doth let me pass."

William Lyon Phelps: "Mendez was an enthusiastic admirer of Thomson's poetry, and in The Seasons he imitated him doubly, by writing on nature and by adopting the Spenserian stanza" Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement (1893) 77.

Oliver Elton: "The writers who use Spenser's own stanza are usually the most faithful to him in other ways and are duly rewarded. They have a freer sprinkling of his diction, which thus becomes the revival of a revival, or archaism at two removes; and they have more of his richness, of his imagery, and of his atmosphere. But whether they keep his measure or not, they are never his disciples for all the time. The so-called Augustan language and temper are never far away; and the two styles, try as the poet may to beat them together, will never mix" Survey of English Literature 1730-1780 (1928) 1:362.



Ye baleful Follow'rs of the Blatant Beast,
Who censure Matters far beyond your Ken,
Behold, I now present you with a Feast;
Rush forth like Wolves from your sequester'd Den,
And mangle all the Labors of my Pen.
Show, ye rude Louts, your lewd unhallow'd Rage,
In this I share the Fate of greater Men;
Pale Envy ever knaws the laurel'd Page,
And 'gainst all worthy Wight doth War perpetual wage.

If thee, sweet Nymph, these simple Lines aggrate,
If I may hope to merit thine Esteem,
Not with the proudest would I change my State
Of those who deeply drink Castalia's Stream,
And on Parnassus catch th' inspiring Sream.
Say, thou dear Noursling of the Paphian Queen,
Wilt thou, ah! wilt thou patronize my Theme,
So shall this Measure blunt the tooth of Spleen,
Nor Critic's Tongue shall blast such favor'd Lines, I ween.

See! how the Tribe of Witlings shun the Place,
And deep in Shades conceal their Fronts of Brass;
The Coxcomb talks of Feathers, Cloaths, and Lace,
Nay Codrus un-impeach'd doth let me pass,
Codrus, of Pride and Spite a mighty Mass.
Thus when a Set of Imps at Midnight play,
And tear the Coarses from the hallow'd Grass;
Soon as the Sun unbars the Gates of Day,
They fear his heav'nly Light and melt in Air away.

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