1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Hymeneal. On the Marriage of his present Majesty.]

Gratulatio Academiae Cantabrigiensis Auspicatissimas Georgii III. Magnae Britanniae Regis, et Serenissimae Charlottae Principis de Mecklenburgh-Strelitz Nuptias Celebrantis.

Rev. John Langhorne


Nine irregular stanzas of decorative allegorical imagery, perhaps recalling Spenser as a Cambridge poet: "While her rocks echo to this strain, | The friends of freedom and of Britain reign." John Langhorne, who signs himself "J. Langhorne, Scholar of Clare-Hall," later edited the poems of William Collins, wrote sonnets and hymns in the mid-century manner of William Collins. Langhorne's effusive poetry was popular enough to have been an influence on the Della Cruscan poets a generation later.

Richard Alfred Davenport: "He celebrated the royal nuptials, in an Ode, which was first printed among the Cambridge poems, and afterwards in Solyman and Almena. Little can be said in favour of this Hymeneal, except that it flows in smooth verse. It consists of the merest commonplaces in poetry, not rendered tolerable by any peculiar grace of language. The lines are crowded with Aonia's rosy pride, and Hymen, and Jove, and Juno, and old Ocean, and much more of the same hackneyed imagery; and the reader must find it impossible to not to yawn before he reaches the conclusion of a piece in the composition of which neither Nature nor Fancy has borne a part" Chiswick British Poets (1822) 65:9-10.



Awake! thou everlasting Lyre,
That once the mighty Pindar strung;
When rapt with more than mortal fire,
The Gods of Greece he sung.
Awake!
Arrest the rapid foot of Time again
With liquid notes of joy, and pleasure's towering strain.

Crown'd with each golden flower that blows
On Acidalia's tuneful side;
With all Aonia's rosy pride,
Where numerous Aganippe flows:
From Thespian groves and fountains wild,
Come, Thou yellow-vested Boy,
Redolent of youth and joy,
Fair Urania's favour'd Child!
GEORGE to thee devotes the day:
Io Hymen! haste away!

Daughter of the genial main!
Queen of youth and rosy smiles,
Queen of dimple-dwelling wiles,
Come with all thy Paphian train!
O! give the Fair, that blooms for Britain's Throne,
Thy melting charms of Love, thy soul-enchanting zone.

Daughter of the genial main!
Bring that heart-dissolving power,
Which once in Ida's sacred bower
The soul of Jove oppos'd in vain.
The Sire of Gods thy conquering charms confess'd,
And vanquish'd sunk, sunk down on Juno's fostering Breast.

She comes: the conscious Sea subsides;
Old Ocean curbs his hundred tides:
Smooth the silken surface lies,
Where Venus flowery chariot flies:
Paphian airs in ambush sleep
On the still bosom of the deep:
Paphian maids around her move,
Keen-eyed Hope, and Joy, and Love.
Their rosy breasts a thousand Cupids lave,
And dip their wanton wings, and beat the buxom wave.

But mark, of more than vulgar mien,
With regal grace and radiant eye,
A form in youthful Majesty,
Britain, hail thy favour'd Queen.
For Her the conscious Sea subsides;
Old Ocean curbs his hundred tides;
O'er the glassy-bosom'd main
Venus leads her laughing train;
The Paphian Maids move graceful by her side,
And o'er the buxom waves the rosy Cupids ride.

Fly, ye fairy-footed Hours!
Fly with aromatic flowers;
Such as, bath'd in orient dews,
Beauty's living glow diffuse:
Such as in Idalia's grove
Breathe the sweets, the soul of Love.

Come, genial God of chaste delight!
With wreathes of festive roses crown'd,
And Torch that burns with radiance bright,
And liberal Robe, that sweeps the ground.
Bring thy days of golden joy,
Pleasures pure, that never cloy:
Bring to Britain's happy Pair
All that's kind, and good, and fair.
GEORGE to thee devotes the day:
Io Hymen! haste away!

Daughters of Jove, ye Virgins sage,
That wait on Camus' hoary age;
That oft his winding vales along
Have smooth'd your silver-woven song;
O! wake once more those lays sublime,
That live beyond the wrecks of time.
To crown your Albion's boasted Pair,
The never-fading wreath prepare:
While her rocks echo to this grateful strain,
"The friends of Freedom, and of Britain's reign."

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