1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "At length the gallant Navy from afar."]

Epithalamia Oxoniensia, sive Gratulationes in Augustissimi Regis Georgii III. et Illustrissimae Principissae Sophiae Charlottae Nuptias Auspicatissimas.

Bp. Robert Lowth


"With kindred accents in Teutonic lays" Robert Lowth's notable ode pays homage to Germany, Britain's ally in the last war, and from whence Queen Charlotte has arrived: "England to You with grateful homage pays | Filial obeysance meet: to You she owes | Her name, her tribes, her generous race; to You | Her first, her last blessings. Forth from You | Issued our Sires, old Woden's high-born sons." Neither "Merlin's spells, nor Arthur's puissant sword, | Hight Caliburn, fam'd in romantic tale, | Could long withstand th' impetuous onset bold | Of our great sires in battle." The poem is signed "Joseph Spence, M.A., Regius Professor of Modern History," and as such reprinted in Fawkes and Woty, Poetical Calendar (1763). The first stanza alludes to the exploits of Admiral George Anson (1697-1762), who circumnavigated the globe in 1744.

Samuel Weller Singer: "Besides the literary productions already noticed, Mr. Spence published some occasional verses; particularly the concluding copy in the Oxford collection, on the Birth of the Prince of Wales; an Epistle from a Swiss Officer to his Friend in Rome, in Dodsley's Museum; and some few others, which are to be found in Mr. Nichols's collection. But verse was not Mr. Spence's talent, though he wrote much for his amusement; and Dr. Lowth acted with truly friendly regard to his reputation, when he decided that not a verse which he left behind him should be published" Life of the Author in Spence, Anecdotes (1820) xxxvi.



At length the gallant Navy from afar
Rises in prospect, with expended wings
Improving the kind gale, so long delay'd;
And wins in pompous pride her easy way
To Albion's shore, charg'd with the precious freight
Of England's dearest hopes, and GEORGE'S love.
Not so desir'd, nor with such treasure fraught,
Arrives the wealthy convoy, from the coast
Of Ceylon or Golconda; laden deep
With spicy drugs, barbaric gems, and gold.
Nor He who circled in his daring course
The globe entire, old ocean's utmost round,
Brought back so rich a prize, tho' with the spoils
Of proud Iberia loaded he return'd;
Or captive in his halsers when he drag'd
The vanquish'd Gallic fleets; as now he brings,
More welcome, from Germania's friendly shore.

Hail kindred regions, dear parental soil,
Saxonian plains! where deep Visurgis flows,
Where Leina's doubly-honour'd waters glide,
Where mighty Albis draws his humid train!
England to You with grateful homage pays
Filial obeysance meet: to You she owes
Her name, her tribes, her generous race; to You
Her first, her last blessings. Forth from You
Issued our Sires, old Woden's high-born sons;
Great Woden deem'd a God, with uncouth rites
By his rude offspring worship'd: they their course
Adventurous steer'd to these alluring shores.
First Hengist, valiant chief; nor yet less wise
Than valiant: he the Cantian wold obtain'd,
His new dominion; yielded by social league,
Or won by fair Rowena's conquering charms.
Next Ella, Cerdic, and th' intreptid race
Of Anglians from Eydora's northern stream,
Pour'd in their numerous hosts: nor British prowess
Nor Merlin's spells, nor Arthur's puissant sword,
Hight Caliburn, fam'd in romantic tale,
Could long withstand th' impetuous onset bold
Of our great sires in battle. Soon they rais'd
On Britain's ruins seven imperial thrones;
Seven thrones conjoin'd at length in Cerdic's race:
From whose high source the stream of regal blood,
Down to th' illustrious House of Lunenbourg,
From antient Brunswic nam'd, (Brunswic, the seat
Primeval of Saxonian chieftains old)
To GEORGE, great heir of Anglo-Saxon Kings.

And Thou, great heir of Anglo-Saxon Kings,
Erewhile, now England's boast, and highest pride,
Welcome to these congenial shores; to this
Ambiguous land, another Saxony.
See thine own people, thy compatriot tribes,
With heart-felt joy, and zealous loud acclaim,
Thy blest arrival hail. Tho' sever'd long
From their original soil, on foreign stock
Tho' grafted, not degenerate: still within
Works the wild vigour of the parent root.
Rough, hardy, brave; by force intractable,
Or lawless rule; patient of equal sway;
With civil freedom tempering regal pow'r.
Be this thy better country; nor regret
Thy natal plains, tho' dear: here Thou shalt find
What largely shall o'erpay thy loss. Lo! here
Thy Parent, Brother, Friend, all charities
Compris'd in one, thy Consort, with fond wish
Expects Thee; scepter'd GEORGE, with every grace
Adorn'd; yet more renown'd for virtue's praise,
Faith, honour, in green years wisdom mature,
True majesty with awful goodness crown'd.
He shall asswage thy grief: his thoughtful breast,
Studious of England's glory and Europe's weal,
Thou in return shalt sooth; with tender smiles,
Endearing blandishment, and equal love.
Nor shall, Heaven's gift, fruit of the genial bed
Be wanting; pledge of public happiness
Secure; dear source of long domestic joys.
Here Thou shalt reign a second CAROLINE;
Diffusing from the throne a milder ray,
Soft beauty's unexpressive influence sweet.
Prompt to relieve th' opprest; to wipe away
The widow's tears; to call forth modest Worth;
To cherish drooping Virtue: patroness
Of Science and of Arts; friend to the Muse,
Of every grateful Muse the favourite theme.

Hail, Sovran Lady, dearest Dread! accept
Ev'n now this homage of th' officious Muse,
That on the verge extreme of Albion's cliff
With gratulation thy first steps prevents,
Tho' mean, yet ardent; and salutes thine ear
With kindred accents in Teutonic lays.

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