1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Rhapsodist; a Poem.

The Rhapsodist; a Poem. By the Rev. Joseph Sterling.

Rev. Joseph Sterling


As its title implies, the "Rhapsodist" belongs in the group of "enthusiast" poems begun by the Wartons. Joseph Sterling, who in his first volume had devoted poems to the several arts, returns to the theme by dividing his poem in three parts, devoted to oratory, poetry, and painting. As the poet tells us, the use of blank verse, unusual in a verse epistle, is modelled after James Thomson's Liberty (1735-38), as is his device of organizing the material as a series of "progresses."

In the first part Sterling traces the progress of rhetoric from the ancients to its modern triumph in Fox, Sheridan, and Burke; the second part traces the history of romantic verse, with characters of the leading Italian poets and an apostrophe to Spenser, "With Tuscan greens he shades his Mulla's shore, | They brave the cold blasts of the freezing north, | Nor seem to sicken for Hesperian skies." Sterling laments the absence of ancient painting, and writes characters of the leading old masters. He concludes by announcing a plan to compose an epic on Richard Coeur de Lion — possibly La Gierusalemme Soggettita.

"Thalia's favourite son" is Richard Brinsley Sheridan; "Young" is identified as Matthew Young of Trinity College, Dublin. The poem was afterwards "inscribed to Samuel Hayes, Esq." — not Robert Southey's teacher at Westminster School.

Critical Review: "The title ... is the Rhapsodist; the subject, eloquence, poetry, and painting. It is desultory and unequal. The first part is most exceptionable, and what relates to poetry in general beautifully descriptive descriptive or sublime" review of Poems, 67 (May 1789) 367.



Prone o'er the crimson'd deep, the setting sun
Broadens his orb; the burnish'd mountain-top,
The waving forest, and the lofty spire,
Catch the last glances of the fading day;
And yellow lustre gilds the deeper green.

Along the windings of the Avon-more,
From where it mingles with its sister wave,
Avoca then yclep'd, in musing lost,
Let me indulge my solitary walk.
Gay laughs the landscape round; the sloping lawn,
The wood-crown'd mountain, and the deep'ning vale,
In splendid prospect meet the ravish'd eye.

Thy worth, O Hayes, a much-indebted swain
Would gladly sing: for thee his rural muse
Would watch the radiance of autumnal moons,
And the keen lustre of a star-light eve,
When the quick fancy has its brightest flow:
But far thy worth transcends her Doric reed.

Beneath the umbrage of thy friendly oaks,
Now, for a moment, let me lonely sit,
And catch the vision as it sweeps along.

What is our theme? Come, heav'n-born Eloquence,
The muse commands you claim each muse's song;
Not my weak verse, but mighty Homer's strain;
Or Thomson's, by true liberty inspir'd.

Without thee, what were all the gen'rous thoughts,
Which glow within th' exalted patriot's breast?
What were philosophy's exhaustless stores,
That queen of nations, daughter fair of heav'n?
What was the raptur'd heat, the noble rage,
Of the sublime enthusiastic Bard,
Unless gay damask'd o'er with the rich hues
Of Eloquence, smooth-flowing from the tongue?

Incomprehensible her pow'rs divine!
How clear, how strong, when arm'd in virtue's cause!
Strong as the lustre of the mid-day sun,
Clear as the azure of the cloudless sky.

Tremble pale Vice, now screen thy guilty head,
Call night's black gloom to shade thy flagrant crimes,
Nor stem the torrent of her virtuous rage:
The tyrant, arm'd with settled confidence,
Breathing defiance against Heav'n itself,
Stain'd with the gen'rous patriot's sacred blood,
Loaded with curses from thy afflicted heart,
Which felt the scourge of his o'er-bearing pride,
Pierc'd by her arrows, shudders at himself;
All all his guilty soul is on the rack,
Keen conscience flashing her vindictive day.

Hail! virtuous Eloquence, all-potent queen,
Thou firm support of kingdoms, and of kings,
Inciter fair to every noble deed;
By thee and Honour, link'd in diamond chain,
Long have fair-visag'd Fraud, base Bribery,
Corruption vile, and Avarice been foil'd:
Though by those hell-wrought engines close besieg'd,
Oppressed Freedom shall uphold her head,
By innate worth, and love of thee sustain'd,
As long-defended Athens well can prove.

Her glorious splendor now was all bedimm'd;
Lull'd in the lap of mean inglorious ease,
Calmly she slumber'd; sunk her martial fame;
Sunk her ambition for the public good,
And ev'ry virtue silent as the grave.
No more her gates pour'd forth th' embattled war,
Firm band of patriots, souls fix'd as fate,
To nobly conquer, or to nobly die:
No more her naval power choak'd up the deep,
Nor reign'd unrivall'd o'er the mid-land main:
Nor was she honour'd as the queen of Greece,
Now deep in golden luxury and ease,
Breast-high, she swam, and gaily floated on:
The names of Marathon and Salamis
No more were foster'd in her grov'ling thoughts:
The pleasures of the theatre employ'd
Her gliding moments: the well-manag'd scene
Was deem'd of greater, greater moment far
Then her own liberty, and life itself.

Unsinew'd Greece the Macedonian ey'd;
From the chill north he pour'd a num'rous train,
A hardy band, inur'd to toilsome war.
Swiftly he seiz'd the far-fam'd mountain pass,
At once the glory and the stain of Greece.
The black-brow'd tempest now came low'ring on,
Frowning destruction; awaken'd Athens rear'd
Her nodding head, and wish'd to nod again;
But now a heav'n-inspired sage arose,
The sun of eloquence now shot his beams,
And rouz'd the nations: swell'd with all his rage,
Fierce the Athenians rush'd, and call'd for arms.
Bright in each breast burn'd patriotic zeal,
Impeded was the subtle tyrant's course,
Stopp'd was his headlong torrent of success:
The force of steel, the stronger force of gold,
By virtuous Eloquence, was here disarm'd.
That glorious phalanx, terror of the plain,
Invincible, infrangible itself,
Broke twisted hauberk, plated helm and shield;
Stretch'd the proud steed and rider in the dust:
In vain the wild mountain, horrid and sublime,
Heav'd his huge wood-clad summit to the clouds;
In vain the full-swoln river roar'd between;
In vain the barren wild; in vain the storm
Blew rattling rain, and shot the moulded hail;
In vain the sea of ice, and hill of snow;
The northern nations, trembled at its name,
Fell'd soon beneath the vigour of its arm,
Thrace, and Illyria, and their barb'rous son;
Unconquer'd Phalanx! yet, 'twas thine, to yield
To eloquence and virtue, for a time,
Till their last stand on Cheronaea's plain.

Hail! glorious sage, who conquer'd nature's self,
Tho' alien-born to harmony divine,
And all the soft persuasions of the tongue;
But, yet, by care and assiduity,
Unconquerable, he enjoy'd his wish,
The scourge of Philip and the boast of Greece.
How oft he stray'd beside the hoarse sea-shore,
Suiting the cadence of his untun'd voice
To the wild murmurs of the sounding main!
Thus the lone heath, the barren mountain-top,
Till'd by the hand of the industrious swain,
Floats with the golden waves of Ceres gay,
Or smiles envermeil'd with the dyes of Spring
What will not unremitting toil effect,
In Virtue's cause, and by her soul inspir'd?

Great Rome had fallen from her tow'ry height,
When her own bowels with fierce rage rebell'd,
And adverse eagles glitter'd o'er the field,
Had not the second founder of her walls,
By his persuasive nervous eloquence,
Hurl'd headlong down the base perfidious tribe
To raven-wing'd perdition's dreary reign.

Thy energy how great, ecstatic maid!
Bright and resistless as the summer noon;
But let us view thee in thy noblest pride.

To dim those radiant lights of Greece and Rome,
From the north-west a tide of glory flows,
And streams of splendor blush along the sky;
Like the impetuous torrent, loud and strong,
Borne on a courser of etherial speed,
August Britannia, hail thy honour'd Fox!
The flashing bolts of Jove he deals around,
Arm'd with the terrors of the rushing blaze;
Clear and concise his manly eloquence,
The trifling thought, the tinsel'd phrase disdains;
Each period bound by adamantine chain,
Pours on the mind conviction's fullest day.

Now the deep river rolls majestic on,
Thro' golden landscapes, and thro' lofty woods:
Bright is his wave, his banks with plenty crown'd;
The sacred genius of the flood appears,
(His sea-green garment floating in the wind)
And emulates Thalia's fav'rite son,
Whose gay, whose rich, whose wondrous pow'rs subdue
Applauding crowds, by more than magick sounds.

Tow'ring in Albion's sea-encircled reign
Ierne's fame for eloquence is known;
Behold her Burke, — sublime and beautiful,
Whom senates rev'rence, and whom nations love.
The time will come, when party shall approve
His honest heart, and his unshaken zeal;
Ev'n blushing Bristol shall confess his wrongs.

Through verdant meads, and groves of ever-green,
The lone enthusiast still pursues his walk,
Lull'd by the murmurs of the haunted brook:
Now in too daring numbers has he sung
Persuasive eloquence, the patriot sage,
Who, fir'd by freedom, and his country's love,
Speaks the free language of the honest breast.
All nature's still — but why this quiv'ring blaze?
Seraphic forms now glide athwart the dusk,
(Celestial brightness waving o'er their plumes)
I'll sweep the lyre, and, what they dictate, sing.

Child of the east, and daughter of the sun,
Thou spring of pleasures, heav'nly Poesy,
How thy idea swells my raptur'd breast!
Words feebly paint the transports of my soul:
O thou eternal sun-shine of mankind,
Their spring-tide blossom, and autumnal crop!
Still let my genius ripen in thy beams,
And reap the fruits of thy delicious clime.

Whate'er is great, whate'er is wonderful,
Whate'er can boast etherial beauty's bloom,
'Tis thine, immortal goddess, to bestow.

'Tis thine, angelic maid, 'tis thine to raise
The kindling soul, to bid her walk the skies
Above the circle of the sun and moon,
To visit comets, and remotest stars:
Th' enlighten'd mind of man, by thee inspir'd,
Pervades stupendous Nature's utmost round,
And casts a glance into immensity.

By thy prevailing magic, dread amaze
Reigns uncontroll'd o'er all the sons of men!
Gigantic heroes, whose enormous size
Surpass'd the just proportion, whose vast strength
Shook Nature's self on her eternal throne!
Oft have they tore the mountain from his base,
(In vain his rivers, and his waste of woods)
They rent the azure concave with their voice,
And echo'd thunder in a louder sound!
Lo! fell inchanters (a tremendous train!)
Ride on the viewless coursers of the air,
Call forth the shrouded spectre from the grave,
Send him to glide beneath the dusky moon,
And shake the curtains of the death-sick man!
Thine are the Sylphs, the Gnomes, and dapper Elves,
Who sport by star-light o'er the evening dew,
To the daz'd eye of the lone traveller!

'Tis thine to deck each hill, and fertile vale
With the green honors of the smiling spring,
Or crown the plain with autumn's waving gold.
O in thy lay how flows the limpid rill!
How gay the landscape! and how cool the shade!
How wild, and how romantic is the grot,
Hung with the tap'stry of the ivy green!
The still and pleasing scenes of rural life,
The tender shepherd, and his shepherdess,
The flocks wide-spreading o'er the velvet lawn,
The turf-built cottage, and each past'ral sport,
(Scenes in themselves, that with an innate joy
To ev'ry soft sensation woo the soul)
Yet in thy page a double worth obtain.
Ting'd by the dyes of Fancy's gorgeous bow.

First in the golden east the dawning beam
Of Poesy gleam'd forth — Those shepherd swains,
Who dwell'd beside Euphrates' silver flood,
First felt the vigor of her cheering ray.
'Twas the conspiring genius of their clime,
'Twas the sequester'd rural life they led,
That swell'd their souls with such exalted themes;
Nature for them pour'd forth her waste of sweets,
Green'd ev'ry grove, and gave each flow'r its bloom,
Breath'd all her aromatic gales around,
Gave liquid numbers to the gliding brook,
And arch'd the show'ry bow — For them the morn
Don'd her fair virgin blush, and shed her dews;
For them the sun rose from the hoary sea,
And wav'd his crimson banner thro' the sky.
On Sion's hill, by Jordan's reedy shore,
Midst Carmel's shades, by Siloa's hallow'd fount,
The kingly harp, and the prophetic lyre
Resounded wide — O'er all the turban'd east
Is not the force of melody supreme?
It is the sacred charm of num'rous verse,
That keeps the haughty Arab unsubdu'd,
And makes him own no master but his sword
Swift as the whirlwind's blast he rushes on,
Chaunts his shrill matins, and insults the foe.
The various labours of a thousand bards,
Who sing the praises of the brave and fair,
Round the Caabba's sacred walls are hung.
Encircled by a depth of gloomy woods
The distant Indian owns thy sov'reign sway,
Divine Calliope — oft has he sung,
While Indus and the Ganges, from their urns
Have lean'd attentive, and forgot to flow.
Bold is the genius of the eastern bard,
Vast as the boundless ether is his soul,
Wild and prodigious is his ev'ry thought:
His, too, is fair simplicity, which pours
Her modest charms, and softens the sublime:
Divinely noble is his glowing stile,
His are the whispers of the vernal breeze,
And his the thunders of the summer sky.

Nor did the wide-extended east alone
Bask in the smiles of golden Poesy;
Borne on the morning's wing, she soar'd aloft,
And journey'd onward with the circling day;
At length, in Greece, she staid her rapid course,
Pleas'd with the genius of that sunny clime:
The soul of poetry, hence, Homer sprung;
Hence the soft Bard, who sings the Colchian maid,
And the sweet numbers of the Doric swains.

Next in Hesperia's soil the muse appear'd,
To blazon wide the deeds of haughty Rome.
Then Lucan shone, then lofty Statius sung,
Then flow'd spontaneous Claudian's golden lines,
And gentle Ovid told his courtly tale.

Now o'er a tract of twice five hundred years
We pass, for Gothic darkness veil'd the land:
Deeds of high powess, and fair chivalry,
In tilt and tourney, and embattled field,
Between the peers of lordly Charlemagne,
And the proud Saracen, were then achiev'd.
Hence flow'd the theme of the Provencal bard.
From the rough Rhone to Arno's laurel'd shore,
From Vallembrosa to Parthenope,
The Paladine and Paynim knight were sung
In the great baron's banner'd hall; meanwhile
His armed vassals, with attentive ear,
Caught the enkindling tale, and grasp'd the sword.

Once more each shady grove, and flow'ry vale,
Resound the vocal song. Where Mantua's swain
To rural reed once tun'd Sicilian lays,
Those shades which whisper'd Amaryllis once,
Those streams which murmur'd to Menalcas' song,
Now wave their boughs to tender Petrarch's voice,
Now smoothly flow to Laura's honor'd name.

O Petrarch, thine was love's unsullied flame;
Thine was the pleasing languor of the soul,
The tear full-springing, and the heart-felt sigh:
Oft, when the evening spread her sober veil
O'er nature's face, the lover pensive mused
Thro' falling glooms beside Valclusa's spring;
And then the sadly-pleasing scene inspir'd
The melting sonnet to his Laura's praise.

In great Boiardo, Scandiano's count,
(That radiant morning of a glorious day)
The epic muse with dignity appear'd.
Now stout Orlando, and fierce Agrieane,
(The haughty Tartar king) dire combat wag'd
Round fam'd Albracca, for Cathaya's queen.
Brave Sacripante, and Gradasso bold,
And Mandricardo (names of high renown),
From the good count to Ariosto came.

Hail, Ariosto! first of poets, hail!
Thine the attractive beauties of romance:
Lo! through a wildly-pleasing labyrinth
Of knights, of fairies, and gigantic deeds,
We tread perplex'd; yet, ev'n thy errors please.
So fares the man, who, in some lonely clime,
Led by an evil spirit, has miss'd the path
Which guides his footsteps to the wish'd-for way;
Yet, scarcely could he choose, his hap revers'd:
Hurry'd thro' mazy scenes of endless bliss,
The steep-ascending mountain, and the vale
Unfolding all the treasures of the spring;
The stream meand'ring thro' the verdant lawn,
And the brown forest stretching wide around.

Tasso! to thee each muse a tribute owes,
Illustrious offspring of that lofty bard,
Who sings of Amadis and Oriane;
To thee belongs each elegance and grace;
Nature from thee receives her finest tints;
Pale are the roses on the virgin cheek
Of fair Clorinda; — the revengeful sword
Of fierce Argantes flames while Tancred sighs,
And blames the luckless valour of his hand.
Perfection's thine — in thee sublimity
Mingles with mildest beauty's orient hues.
So the great master of the clear-obscure,
In just proportion blending light and shade,
Bids ev'ry soft and amiable grace
Flow from his pencil — Thee, Marino now,
With brightest wreath shall Cytherea crown,
For her Adonis shall for ever bloom;
Sebeto's banks have mourn'd the lover's sate,
And pitying virgins wept along the Seine.

While o'er the south the tide of fancy flows,
And ev'ry Latian wears the poet's bay,
"Under the foot of Mole, that mountain hoar,"
The loves of Arthur and his Fairy Queen,
By gentle Spenser, to the nymphs are sung:
With Tuscan greens he shades his Mulla's shore,
They brave the cold blasts of the freezing north,
Nor seem to sicken for Hesperian skies.

The silver-footed maids of Tajo's stream,
The sacred sisters of Mondego's spring,
To bold Camoens lent their willing aid.
Whether he fought on Afric's barb'rous coast,
Or, exil'd, stemm'd rough Mecon's adverse wave,
They sooth'd his sorrows, and assuag'd his toil
With the bright prospect of a fair renown,
Which god-like Virtue gives to all her sons

Fam'd be the orator's and poet's skill;
Let the Phoebean laurel shade their brow
With smiling chaplets of perennial green.
But shall not great Apelles grace our song,
Whose heav'n-wrought pencil bade the Paphian queen
Rise in a blush of beauty from the main?
Shall not bold Raphael crown our raptur'd page,
Whose manly touches strike like Homer's flame,
And milder Titian, whose unrivall'd skill
Vies with the polish of the Mantuan lay?

First Greece, the queen of ev'ry gen'rous art,
Of sacred science and philosophy,
In her kind bosom nurs'd the lovely Maid,
When liberty exalted ev'ry thoughts
And made the tyrant tremble at her name;
When her proud navy triumph'd o'er the deep,
And aw'd the monarchs of remotest lands;
'Twas then the spacious portico display'd
The glorious battles, which their sires had won,
The martial aspect, and heroic scar.
Then was decypher'd the pavilion'd field,
The marshall'd hosts, the shock of iron war,
And the long series of historic deeds.
The artist, kindling with his country's love,
Upon the breathing canvas boldly drew
The prostrate Persian, and the conqu'ring Greek.
Gods! how he wish'd to have beheld the day,
That glorious day — had his thrice-happy sword
Been stain'd with eastern blood — Oh had his spear
Fell'd some barbaric satrap to the ground,
His picture then had nature's self outdone.

When the great genius of the public good
With radiant flame illum'd each god-like breast,
Nor in-bred discord shook the tott'ring state,
With highest bloom the sister arts then smil'd,
And smooth'd the hardy warrior's roughen'd soul.

The glorious sons of heav'n then shone below,
Robed in celestial dyes — all-mighty Jove
Aim'd the red lightning-shaft — the riven oak,
See! where it withers on the blasted hill,
Smote by his vengeful hand — gigantic Mars
Impell'd his fiery steeds, clashing his shield,
While Discord madden'd at the brazen sound,
And wav'd her torch — the trident-bearing Neptune
Above the green surge rear'd his awful front,
Expressing majesty; — and Pallas bound
Her shining temples with the olive bough.
Thus the enthusiastic painter form'd
Etherial scenes to vulgar ken unknown.

Still was perspective's magic lore conceal'd:
None, nobly studious of great nature's works,
Painted the dark'ning horrors of the grove,
The pendant mountain, and the falling stream,
And the mild blushes of an evening sky—
Such as now tinge thy woods, fair Avondale;
Dale romantic! where rosy spring still finds
New lawns to vermeil, and new groves to green.

If e'er the gods have granted poet's wish,
In some such scene, oh! may I close may days,
With smiling friendship, and with thee, my Young;
With thee, my earliest, and my matchless friend.

Whate'er of Tempe, fam'd Thessalian vale,
Of dripping rock with richest foliage crown'd,
Of tinkling rill, of wild fantastic oak,
The god-like masters of the lyre have sung,
Here woo the muse, and there the Gothic pile
Courts Rosa's pencil: shall not picture now
Shake off her dust, and brighten from the tomb?

When not one hero more fall'n Greece could claim,
The lib'ral arts with flight precipitate
Sought the protection of imperial Rome,
And gayly flourish'd in Ausonian land.
Anon, from the dark chambers of the north,
Loud Boreas rush'd; upon his stormy wings
The barb'rous nations rode with wild career.
The Goths and Vandals from their icy hills
Pour'd down resistless on th' enfeebled south;
In one promiscuous ruin swept away
The Roman learning, and the Roman name.
Blind superstition, and dark ignorance,
With cumbrous shackles chain'd the soul of man,
And o'er his reason cast a misty cloud:
No ray of learning then dispell'd his gloom:
Unhappy mortal! like the savage beast,
He sought for sustenance, but sought no more.

At length the morning star of science rose,
Leo! whose honor'd name the muse shall sing—
(For to the muse he was a stedfast friend)
Immortal Leo, hail! thy spirit rous'd
The sons of science from their heavy trance:
Then glow'd the bard, and then the painter shone
In their meridian blaze that knew no cloud;
Then the green laurel lent its sacred shade;
Then the rough Alps and pine-clad Appennine,
In more exalted grandeur met the skies;
Then roll'd the Po a more majestic wave.

Then godlike Raphael burst upon the day;
At once his daring pencil vanquish'd Greece
Something so noble in his forming touch,
Something so manly in his bold design;
'Twas his in composition to excel;
'Twas his alone to paint th' historic tale,
T' express the passions, in their strongest glow,
To bid the picture kindle into life.

Now the fam'd master of Venezia's school
Into perfection the smooth portrait wrought,
The whole so finish'd, that base Envy pin'd
To view a piece, which she herself must praise:
His were the bright tints of the various bow;
With mellow'd lustre the red-blushing rose,
And the white lily's native hue combin'd
Fair nature's fair carnation to excel.

Hail, great Correggio! whose unequal'd touch
Breathes matchless grace and harmony divine;
With what nice judgment light and shade are join'd!
Thy vivid tints th' angelic choir invest
With roseate beauty's smile; thy pencil paints
Their soften'd splendors, and celestial bloom;
Veil'd in a robe of light the melt away,
Like show'rs descending in an April sun.

The page of nature was unfolded fair
To her Lorrain: what rich ideas sprung
In bright succession on his raptur'd mind!
Beneath his touch uprise the moss-grown cave,
The smooth-reflecting surface of the stream,
Th' inverted forest, and the downward sky;
The torrent tumbles from the green cascade,
The white waves picture the tremendous roar;
His golden clouds, that fleece th' etherial vault,
They shed the splendid, yet the meeken'd day—
The full-moon from her star-bespangled throne,
With bright'ning silver streaks the dusky green,
And streams mild radiance o'er the russet hill
To the waste castle's summit, where the owl
Chaunts her sad sonnet from the ivy'd wall.

Conceive illustrious Raphael's bold design
Join'd to the mellow'd style of Titian's school;
To these Correggio's skill in light and shade,
Rosa's bold touch, and Guido's graceful air.
Behold the sun of picture — but, alas!
So bright a sun shall ne'er ascend our skies.

But hark! the loudly-rushing cataract
Shoots down the steep — Fancy awaken'd, starts
From her fond dream, and views the awful scene.
Smooth to the summit of the sloping hill,
Thro' groves of lofty fir, and beechen shade,
'Tween flow'ry banks with daffodillies crown'd,
The rose and violet of impurpled hue,
Rolls the blue stream, till opposition rears
His frowning barrier; then the tortur'd wave,
Lash'd into foam, raves o'er the mighty rocks,
Bounding from fall to fall thro' Gothic glooms,
O'er-arch'd by stateliest trees of forest-growth,
Until it mingles with the Avon-more:
Where the broad river sweeps a mighty arch,
Beneath a crescent of aspiring hills,
Waving with wild woods in theatric pride.

Here, in the sultry summer noon, O Hayes,
With the fair partner of thy happy lot,
(The prospect bright'ning in the lover's eye)
Oft wilt thou court the freshness of the breeze,
And of the amaranth and crocus wild
Entwine a garland for thy shepherdess;
While the three Syren Graces sweetly sing,
The green grove echoing to their matchless lay.

Thus have I sung in secret shade reclin'd,
Where polish'd Hayes and all the virtues dwell,
The lofty orator's commanding voice,
The poet's fancy, and the pencil's bloom.
Ye blue-eyed nymphs of silver Avon-more,
Ye green-rob'd dryads of the fairy dale,
To solemn sounds ye tun'd my slender reed,
And bound with laurel-wreath my rustic brow.

Oh! if the gods would give a length of years,
Poetic leisure, and the smile of Hayes,
Then would I boldly sing in martial strain
The puissant force of Coeur de Lion's sword,
Fierce deeds of arms, and feats of hard emprize:
The distant east should hear the trumpet blast,
The startled, Sar'zan should arrest his lance,
And turban'd sultans tremble at the sound.

[(1789) 117-37]