1760
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Garden Inscriptions: I. In Il Spenseroso.

Garden Inscriptions. By William Thompson, M.A. Late Fellow of Queen's College, Oxon.

Rev. William Thompson


A Spenserian sonnet included among the "Commendatory Verses" in Todd's Works of Spenser (1805). It was the fashion in eighteenth-century gardens to include inscriptions, or statues, of the poets; the Prince of Wales had presented Alexander Pope with marble busts of Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton though the poet did not place them in his garden. Other inscriptions in William Thompson's series have the titles "Shakespeare's Walk," "Milton's Alcove," "Laurel Hill," "Chaucer's Bower," "Cowley's Shade," etc.

Author's note: "The first two Inscriptions are in the Measure of Spenser's Sonnets. To close the Sonnet with an Alexandrine is not indeed so common, but he has done it twice in his Amoretti, and oftner in his presentation Sonnets at the End of his Faerie Queene."

William Shenstone to Lady Luxborough: "I am upon the Search for a Motto to my Gothick Building, which I wou'd have consist of a Stanza or two of old English Verse; and which I wou'd cause to be inscrib'd in old English Letters. I've been looking over Spenser, but cannot yet fix upon one to my mind. Perhaps your Ladyship may chance to find one. I begin to prefer English Mottoes in general. There is scarce one Gentleman or Clergyman in Fifty that remembers any thing of Classick Authors" 20 August 1749; in Letters, ed. Mallam (1939) 159.



Lo! here the Place for Contemplation made,
For sacred Musing, and for solemn Song!—
—Hence, ye profane! nor violate the Shade.
Come, SPENSER's awful Genius, come along,
Mix with the Music of th' aerial Throng!
Oh! breath a pensive Stillness thro' my Breast,
While balmy breezes pant the Leaves among,
And sweetly sooth my Passions into rest.
Hint purest Thoughts, in purest Colours drest,
Ev'n such as Angels prompt, in golden Dreams
To holy Hermit, high in raptures blest,
His Bosom burning with celestial Beams.
Ne less the Raptures of my Summer Day,
If SPENSER deign with me to moralize the Lay.

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