1753
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rural Happiness.

A Collection of Original Poems, Essays and Epistles. By John Werge, A.B.

Rev. John Werge


An imitation of L'Allegro and Il Penseroso that combines both characters. It is not clear whether "Colin Clout" refers to Spenser specifically, or to poets at Cambridge, where John Werge, like Spenser and Milton, was a student: "Nymphs and swains a joyful train | In mazy circles tread the plain. | While Colin Clout in aukward measure | Tunes his oaten pipe of pleasure."

Compare Thomas Warton's Morning. The Author confined to College, published in The Student in 1750. John Werge's ode On Sleep, pp. 16-17, just might recall Spenser, though the Spenserian-Miltonic manner typical of mid-century poetry has yet to be fully assimilated — despite the fact that Werge quotes from Joseph Warton's Ode to Fancy in the correspondence portion of the volume, p. 286.



Hence moping melancholy!
Enormous birth of black Cocytus' flood,
And nurs'd by stealth-suck'd blood
'Mongst ghastly sights and scenes unholy;
Waste the lazy, lagging hours,
Where darkness visible expands her wing,
And birds ill-boding sing;
There joyn self-knawing care,
Associate too with pale despair,
Sequester'd from all joy-creating powers.

See, in yonder sacred grove
Form'd for scenes of mirth and love,
Where Ivies with a close embrace
The Oaks their ancient husbands bless,
Nymphs and swains a joyful train
In mazy circles tread the plain.
While Colin Clout in aukward measure
Tunes his oaten pipe of pleasure.
See them hop and dance, and play
Void of sorrow — blith and gay;
While their eyes untaught by art
Speak with the language of the heart;
While simplicity and truth
Heighten ev'ry charm of youth;
And the lips unskill'd in guile
Speak amorous thro' a melting smile;
While their hearts with raptures melt,
Raptures blest by peasants felt.

Come, my FLORIO, come alone,
Let us joyn the happy throng!
Let us fly ambition's haunts,
Where fawning adulation cants.
To the country let us haste;
There partake the sweet repast
Of cordial friendship; in some vale
Far from noisy pomp we'll dwell,
And when inclination moves
Share the joys the country proves:
Or if contemplations wings
Waft our souls to nobler things,
Knit in friendship's sacred tye
Together to her shrine we'll fly;
There with Bee-like skill explore
The richest sweets in all her store;
And in memory's magazine
Hoard our luxury of gain.
Then return, and in our cott
Trace the mazy turns of thought;
And with Ant-like zeal prepare
Mental food for all the year.

[pp. 21-22]