1762
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "Breathe with soft melody, ye Dorian flutes."]

Gratulatio Academiae Cantabrigiensis Natales Auspicatissimos Georgii Walliae Principlis Augustissimi Georgii III. magnae Britanniae Regie et serenissimae Charlottae Reginae Filii Celebrantis.

Rev. Michael Tyson


A blank-verse Miltonic ode. Michael Tyson, a distinguished antiquary, celebrates the birth of the Prince of Wales by recalling Edward the Black Prince, Prince Henry ("Second Arthur") and the recently deceased Prince Frederick. All of the English verse in this collection is written in the "academic gothic" becoming almost fashionable in the new reign.

Oliver Elton: The mid-century romantics "were all votaries of the Greek ode, or of the Horatian, or of the youthful poetry of Milton. Their verse is often only an enthusiastic exercise; but most of them have a critical sense, and give reasons either in prose or rhyme for their tastes. They have many companions, such as Richard West, Gilbert West, William Mason, and some of these have their shadowy followers too. The whole band form what is called a 'movement,' which means a body of more or less similar literature, surrounded with a penumbra of what is not literature" Survey of English Literature 1730-1780 (1828) 2:38.



Breathe with soft melody, ye Dorian flutes;
And thou deep-sounding lyre, whose strings can wake
Of Harmony, that heaven-descended Nymph,
The numbering soul, and rouse Attention's ear.
For well I ween thy magic notes can charm
Of sable Night the stern and rugged brow;
And raise the pallid form of prostrate Fear.
Great source of joy! thou lead'st the sprightly dance,
When buxom virgins on the velvet green
Trip with light feet the mazy, frolick round:
And sooth'st with Orphean art the ruffled soul,
When rage usurps fair Reason's goodly throne,
Ruling the passive breast. O! Fancy sweet,
Come, Parent dear of every ancient Muse.
Thee first, some lonely swain, midst desert rocks
And falling streams, where Nature wild and rude
In dreadful majesty on horrid throne
Exalted sits, Thee first he call'd to chear
With golden ray the dark and savage waste.
By Thee was led that train of comely Nymphs,
That on the banks of old Ilissus danc'd
To the soft accents of Apollo's harp:
Whence sprung those Bards, whole glorious song proclaim'd
High deeds of worth, and feats of bold emprize.
Greece heard the sound; and, emulous of praise,
Each infant Warrior with his feeble arm
Uprais'd the Falchion, and in mimic war
Defied the rebel foe. — And well, ye Brave!
Your glowing breaks with generous ardour gleam'd,
What time in martial pride the Trophy, deck'd
With choicest laurels by the Muse's hand,
From dark oblivion sav'd the Victor's fame.
Virtue's bright flower the Muse forbids to fade:
In Heaven it blooms a fragrant Amaranth,
That never knows decay. Reject not then
Her glorious meed, ye who in valour's plain
Display the arm of war, when Freedom calls.

And chiefly Thou, of Albion's peerless Isle
Great Prince, mark how her faithful hand pourtrays
The radiant lustre of Thy godlike race;
Where all that's great and good she ever blends,
To form the picture true, — From Cressy's field
Your Edward comes: lo! deep Dismay and Death,
And purple Conquest proud with Gallic spoils
Before him march. Yet gentle Mercy shines
With mildest ray; and Piety that drops
The tear humane, and saves the wretch from woe.
Hail! mighty Lord, by whom the captive first
Was taught to drag with joy the servile chain,
And seem himself the Victor of the Day.
Nor second Arthur, whose prolific mind
Fair Science graced with all her learned train.
Oh! flower, too sudden cropt: on whose young stem
The White and Red, that source of woe, was twin'd.
The Muse her tear still drops to Henry's shade.
Oh! stay, and let not Albion e'er lament
That hour, when cruel fate destroy'd the Prince
Of Liberty and Peace. But ah! He's gone:
Foul Discord, civil War, and Death succeed;
And sacred Freedom trembles on her throne.
Witness, each Nymph, with what a duteous care
Ye strew'd the cypress black on FRED'RIC's urn;
And in the faithful page of history
Ye mark'd him as the Great. — Such were the Chiefs,
Whose mould'ring tombs the pious Muse oft decks
With every blooming flower of earliest prime;
And oft lamenteth on her Dorian reed,
That the dull, clay-cold arm of death could stop
Their course of glory e'er it's full Career.

But some there were, whose splendour long did shine;
And, like the parting ray of western Sol,
Which plays and quivers on the purple cloud,
Serenely vanish'd at the close of day.
E'en thus descended GEORGE's setting sun,
Lovely and bright: whose last, dread hour was sooth'd
With all that Virtue, Wisdom, Power could give.
Each distant nation, from the western land
Of Canada to where the Ganges rolls
His depth of tide, their various treasures brought;
And blest the hour they own'd a British King.

Whate'er sweet Fancy, on her airy throne,
Can form of Piety, that soar, on wings
To heights empyreal, far from mortal ken;
Or her, that's clad in stole of purest white,
Sweet Clemency; or Valour stern in war:
May these, and every good that greatly flows
From the rich fountains of eternal bliss,
Crown Thee with radiance of ethereal light,
O! Prince of Cambria. And, when length of time
Shall tear the sceptre from thy Father's arm,
And stop his honey'd stream of eloquence;
Pale Science drooping then shall sink appall'd,
And every Muse lament her Patron's care.
May'st Thou receive their Honours; and be call'd
Thy Country's Father, and the Muse's Friend.

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