1751
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "What time the Fields bedight with Gold were seen."]

Epicedia Oxoniensia in Obitum Celsissimi et Desideratissimi Frederici Principis Walliae.

Philip Rashleigh


A near-Spenserian sonnet, the first of two, contributed to the Oxford anthology mourning the death of Prince Frederick. The poem is doubly unusual, as an early romantic sonnet and as an obvious imitation of Spenser. Both poems were later reprinted in John Nichols's Select Collection. Philip Rashleigh, of Menabily in Cornwall, was afterwards a long-time member of Parliament and an early friend to John Wolcot ("Peter Pindar").



What Time the Fields bedight with Gold were seen,
Cliefden! well-pleas'd I trod thy beauteous Brow,
Mark'd thy green slope, thy Trees and Meadows green,
And glitt'ring Thames in silver Veins below.
Came drear December clad in wintry Snow:
Bare were thy Trees, thy flowery Meads unseen;
Impetuous Thames had giv'n his Urn to flow,
And reft each Glory of thy rural Scene.
Emblem too sad of Change and baleful stowre,
Full sore to rend thy honour'd Lady's Breast!
Sunk is her Sun, that cheer'd each golden hour,
And mute the Tongue that charm'd her cares to rest.
Her Love, her Joy, her Life's best Treasure gone;
Sure Woe succeeds and piteous plaintive Moan!

[Sig Ii]