1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Prologue, intended to have been spoken at Drury-Lane Theatre, on His Majesty's Birthday, 1761.

The Poetical Works of Robert Lloyd, A.M. To which is prefixed an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author. By W. Kenrick, LL.D. In Two Volumes.

Robert Lloyd


Robert Lloyd sarcastically summarizes the themes of the poems celebrating the coronation of George III: "Thus, when Eliza fill'd Britannia's throne, | What arts, what learning was not then our own?" Several in the Oxford and Cambridge Gratulatio volumes had indeed compared the imperial ambitions of the new reign to the glories of the Elizabethan age.

Samuel Johnson: "It has now been fashionable, for near half a century, to defame and vilify the house of Stuart, and to exalt and magnify the reign of Elizabeth. The Stuarts have found few apologists, for the dead cannot pay for praise; and who will, without reward, oppose the tide of popularity?" 1760; in Life of Johnson, ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 4:410.



Genius, neglected, mourns his wither'd bays;
But soars to heav'n from virtue's generous praise.
When Kings themselves the proper judges sit
O'er the blest realms of science, arts and wit,
Each eager breast beats high for glorious fame,
And emulation glows with active flame.
Thus, with Augustus rose imperial Rome,
For arms renown'd abroad, for arts at home.
Thus, when Eliza fill'd Britannia's throne,
What arts, what learning was not then our own?
Then sinew'd Genius, strong and nervous rose,
In Spenser's numbers, and in Raleigh's prose;
On Bacon's lips then every science hung,
And Nature spoke from her own Shakespeare's tongue.
Her patriot smiles fell, like refreshing dews,
To wake to life each pleasing useful Muse,
While every virtue which the Queen profess'd,
Beam'd on her subjects, but to make them blest.
O glorious times! — O theme of praise divine!
—Be happy, Briton, then — such times are thine.

Behold e'en now strong science imps her wing,
And arts revive beneath a Patriot King.
The Muses too burst forth with double light,
To shed their lustre in a Monarch's sight.
His cheering smiles alike to all extend—
Perhaps this spot may boast a Royal Friend.
And when a Prince, with early judgment grac'd,
Himself shall marshal out the way to taste,
Caught with the flame perhaps e'en here may rise
Some powerful genius of uncommon size,
And, pleas'd with nature, nature's depths explore,
And be what our great Shakespeare was before.

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