1763
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Epithalamium.

An Epithalamium, on the most sacred Marriage, of his most gracious Majesty King George the Third, to her serene highness Princess Charlotte, of Mecklenburgh Strelitz. And a Panegyric on the Coronation of their sacred Majesties, King George the Third, and Queen Charlotte. By George Pooke.

George Pooke


An imitation of Spenser's Epithalamion in 34 unusual stanzas: a modification of rhyme royal (ababbbcc). If admiration for Spenser could make one a poet, George Pooke would a poet be; as it is, he struggles mightily to find his rhymes, resulting in more unmeaning lines for a poem of this length than one is likely to find anywhere else. Though he had court connections (the preface informs us that his wife performed for Prince Frederick), Pooke apparently did not attend either of the universities — no great surprise, given the quality of his verses. Might he have been a servant?

James Kirkpatrick: "Did not Mr. Pooke assure us that he is quite disinterested in the entertainment he occasionally affords the Public, and that the thoughts of gain is the least motive of his writing, we should be apt to suspect he had a distant view of being some time or other promoted at court; of obtaining a pension; or of being made, perhaps, Poet-Laureat to the Queen: this latter, indeed, may possibly be the height of his ambition. There is one piece of advice, however, we would give him, and that is, not only to make a proper choice of his subjects, but to time his performances with the same propriety. His conduct in the former point is, indeed unexceptionable. An Elegy on the old King, a Panegyric on the new one, now an Address on the Queen's arrival, and we are promised soon an Epithalamium on their Majesties Marriage, together with a Panegyric on the Coronation. All these are notable subjects, and so far to the purpose; but, Sir, they come the Day after the Fair. Instead of being behind-hand with your pieces for the Marriage and the Coronation, you ought to have set forth a Lyric Ode on the Birth of the Prince, a week ago, and a Pindaric on the Christening ready cut and dried in your pocket. What do you think, man, to make of your poetry at this rate? All the places will be filled up, and the pensions given away, before you have sufficiently displayed your talents, to be taken notice of. Or should you be so lucky as to succeed in obtaining the Laureat, only think what a figure you will make, coming out with a New-Year's Ode at Midsummer; or a Birth-day Compliment on her Majesty, when, the good Queen being down in the straw, your Muse should have celebrated the birth of an Heir to Brunswick's royal Line. Think on these things, and spur your tardy Pegasus, or depend on it, he will beat all hollow, by the other galloway Nags and ambling Jades of Parnassus" review of Pooke, An Address to his most gracious Majesty; in Monthly Review 27 (August 1762) 159.



My Lyre is tun'd by you ye sisters nine,
And in your ring I'll this day merry be;
Of your estate, I farm a part as mine,
Tenant for life no change, but death can see
Happy all such, thrice happy! happy me!
Happy all such, that with your art agree:
Bless'd are all those, that for your friends you take,
But few there are can such acquaintance make.

Thus when you led me, to your sacred feast,
What store of comfort, offered to my view;
I lik'd the relish, and as such ne'er ceas'd,
And ev'ry day I found a dish as new,
And ev'ry day my relish higher grew,
As different thoughts did various fancy brew:
Old pindar's rhime did first my soul delight,
Juvenal's stile did most attract my sight.

When mournful lays of death, degenerate age
In lamentable accents loud did cry;
When grief and sorrow fill'd each anxious page,
To see dear England sacrific'd full nigh
Then to relax my mind, love songs did try,
And found your help as ready to comply:
And last, I sung of GEORGE, our virtuous King,
When you as readily me help did bring.

So this my verse is of as great concern,
Subject the same their Majesties I sing;
Let all the earth stand round, both read and learn,
This is the nuptial day of our dear King.
And will to England, nuptial blessings bring,
By spiritual sacrifice offering:
By sacramental vow for Christ! his sake,
Which he first honoured; Christians all to make.

Ne'er was a day before, of such import,
For England's glory! thro' our gracious King;
Whom God has sent, to make the chastest court,
By solemn marriage the most sacred thing
Then let us praise the Lord our God benign,
And fill our mouths, his praises loud to sing:
'Tis he has brought us, to this glorious day,
And to him e'er is due, a sacred lay.

He makes and rules, all kingdoms by his choice,
And puts them in his paths, that they should walk;
And sure will guide them, while they know his voice,
And of his mercies while they love to talk:
So for our Sovereign, has he blest his folk,
And for his righteousness, our cause don't balk:
He's chose a Queen, who has a heart the same,
Both hand in hand, to raise our country's fame.

Ne'er was religion, equal match'd before,
In royal marriage, for our precious crown;
Saving the scepters, which our Georges bore,
And now goes popery intirely down,
But this we place to George the Third's renown,
King of three Kingdoms, with fair London town:
Blest GEORGE and CHARLOTTE, protestants at heart,
Who from such exercise will ne'er depart.

See yonder bustle! how the people run,
CHARLOTTE is come, alighting now to walk;
All out of breath, the nuptial joys begun,
All hail our Queen, is now the general talk
Hymen is ready with the bridal folk,
And mercury prevents all idle stalk:
Our King is here, to straight embrace his Queen,
With hearty welcome and majestic mien.

Ye sacred nine, ye sisters of delight,
Each one assist, this happy day to grace;
Quick to the royal chamber, take your flight,
And at the door await, with this your case:
Till time shall have elaps'd a proper space,
But first while standing in this very place:
With you i'll loud repeat, their nuptial song,
That all around us, shall rejoice among.

By this our Queen has took her royal seat,
With her attendants standing round the room;
When after ease and some refreshing meat,
They ready are to deck her maiden bloom:
When each will have their proper tending groom.
While you'll away and wait the doom:
And i'll go singing this their nuptial song,
That all around me shall rejoice among.

How happily this day goes on to end,
Phebus shines bright, but still our Queen more fair;
The Lord of Host, has sent him to attend,
Great GEORGE and CHARLOTTE, the most happy pair:
The gathering throng dance through the serene air,
With haste to chapel royal, they repair:
Come fellow subjects, hither take your flight,
And sit with comfort, for your royal sight.

Young men and maidens, of ev'ry degree,
Hasten to view such sight, that ne'er was seen;
This is a day in which all ranks are free,
The best example, of our King and Queen:
And now but little space remains between,
The grand performance, of the royal scene:
While i'll sing more of this their nuptial song,
That all around me shall rejoice among.

How fill'd the chapel, not a space is bare,
How the soft whispers, show the sacred place;
How eagerness does just idea's compare,
Our royal marriage, next to angels race:
As no preceding likeness we can trace,
Nor none such solid virtue, can deface:
Still i'll sing more, of this their nuptial song,
That all around me, shall rejoice among.

Hark! hark, their Majesties, begin to move,
The door will open straight, and they'll advance;
From their apartment, with conjugal love,
O happy Omen, when true complisance:
When no deceptions vow, can have entrance,
But truth and equity, their maintenance:
O happy still to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Look ye they come, in royal steps of grace,
With chearful modesty, with melting hearts;
True love and friendship, hangs around each face
And wisdom her Sincerity imparts:
True wisdom all her faculties exerts,
And tells the wicked, dreadful their deserts:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among,

The well conducted order of the day,
Brings joy unparallel'd, in ev'ry breast;
Swift expedition, maketh no delay,
But orders ev'ry matter, for the best:
And ev'ry matter bears a true contest,
To end the day in harmony and rest:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

The nobles see precede, the royal pair,
The short compact procession, follow close;
The six sweet bride maids, blooming young and fair!
I hope such happy day, not one will lose:
But may some swain, a life companion chuse.
Who sacred wedlock never will abuse:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Within the sacred chapel, now they tread,
Attracting ev'ry eye, with dear delight;
To see their Majesties, by free choice led,
To vow before the sovereign of all might:
The great recorder of all wrong and right,
Maker of ev'ry season, day and night:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Here the loud organs, voluntary strains;
The softer mingled bands, united found;
The plaintiff concord, in your ear remains,
And does our monarch's praises, much redound:
Whose praise in ev'ry mouth, does much abound,
And does the real truth, in one voice expound:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

All hush! now see them at the altar stand,
See sacred Secker! bless the royal pair;
See George the righteous, take fair Charlotte's hand,
And with his pledge, his royal troth declare:
Unspotted Queen, with whom none can compare,
Joins in the sacred vow, with equal care:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

How pleasantly, the ceremony ends,
How decently, has each perform'd their part;
What blessings rises, from such numerous friends
When each rejoices, with a loyal heart:
When each will Emulate, to get the start,
And chuse fair Marriage, as the best desert:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Strike up sweet band, another heav'nly strain,
For nought but harmony, becomes this day;
Becomes this evening, let your merry vein,
Run in the channel, of our royal may:
For which great blessing, let us every pray,
And God forbid, that any should gainsay:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Join the procession, you that close attend,
Have back in triumph, ENGLAND'S matchless pair!
By whose examples lewdsters must amend,
Or of forgiveness they may quite dispair:
For neither King nor Queen, will use their care,
Nor none to recommend them will once dare:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Now all withdraw, the night is just at hand,
On which we must intrude, to celebrate;
The blessings God, has brought unto our land,
In joining George, and Charlotte's bridal state:
On whom when e'er you look, new joys create,
And still more loth, to leave the present date:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

See the sweet Jessamin, the season flower,
All strew'd along, beneath their royal feet;
Such grew around, our father Adam's bow'r,
But joy ne'er greater, than you now see meet:
See Majesty, of Majesty, intreat,
To show us love, in them has took his seat:
O happy still to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Look them once more, and take your nights fairwell,
Love will in them, his daily warmth renew;
Look ye again, their presence does foretell,
That from them blessings; will to us acrue:
Will daily come, if evil we eschew,
And give the Lord our God, his praises due:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Now safe return'd, within their nuptial pow'r,
Where joys unbounded, weary call for rest,
But nature first, calls a refreshing hour,
And then sweet consummation, Crowns the quest:
Hasten the supper, sloth dares not molest,
The same extending, North, South, East, and West:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Now all repair, unto our rendevouz,
And there with wondrous mirth, think whats forepast;
And think 'tis God, that these great wonders does,
And he will fix them, to for ever last:
Thus BRITONS free from an unspotted cast,
Will ne'er consume, by an untimely blast:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Think of the month, in which these blessings come,
Just at the time, of equal day and night;
Think on the day, that brought bright CHARLOTTE home,
But more on this, that still adds new delight:
O blest September! bearer of this plight,
Where goodness makes the part, of all their might:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Think of their going to their royal bed,
The young fair Virgins, first attend the Queen;
The Lords in waiting, lay the Bridegroom's head,
And no one order, does the rest demean:
Now by themselves, by ev'ry one unseen,
Happy their night, for Doves ne'er rest unclean:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Still is the night too short, to end our joy,
To end our wishes, drink our glass around;
Then let us all the morrow, well employ,
In grateful sense, without the thought unsound:
Wishing our monarch, may on earth be found,
To live at least, a century around.
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

Then will religion be so fully fix'd,
Then will our laws, so well be exercis'd;
That ENGLAND ne'er will be so intermix'd,
But to our body all will be advis'd.
Then how like Angels, shall we live compris'd,
Until the general day, by none despis'd:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

And from them may a royal race spring up,
To be a blessing, to the best of sires;
Who always tasted, of fair virtue's cup,
The taste of which, but every heart inspires:
And has our sovereign fill'd, with chaste desires,
How vice before him minutely expires:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

And now I come to a conclusive end,
My wishes still the same, employ my pen;
While extasy, does ev'ry mind unbend,
Nor any cry, how shall I end, or when:
But God unite us, till the end and then,
The holy Trinity, keeps with us all Amen:
O happy still, to sing their nuptial song,
While all around me, so rejoice among.

[pp. 16-31]