1802
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sonnet, to a Blackbird.

Poems on Various Subjects, by Thomas Dermody.

Thomas Dermody


A Spenserian sonnet concluding "Ah! never may the wretch, who wrong'd thy nest, | Know the rich bliss of careless liberty!"

Advertisement: "The other pieces being, in general, theamusive recreations of a youthful mind, must not aspire to any marked instances either of implicit censure, or unalloyed favour. It will be found that they are neither licentious, or immoral; and, though sparingly illuminated by the vivid coruscations of wit, not frequently destitute of ethic observation, and salutary precept. Though I am a most zealous advocate for pure and natural expression, yet I sincerely despise that present degenerate vulgarity of phrase, which many not be inaptly termed cant; and which has often induced me to suppose that some moderns had proposed to themselves Goldsmith's humorous 'Elegy on a Mad Dog,' as a model for their Lyric, nay their Epic labours. This is refinement with a witness, but savours much more of the Nursery than of the School; of De Foe, or Tom Brown, or Tom Durfey, than of Quintilian, or Blair, or Beattie" viii-ix.

Monthly Mirror: "The principal poems in this collection are, a poetical romance called Love's Legend, or Aribert and Angela, in three parts; the Extravaganza, the Pleasures of Poetry, and the Enthusiast; the two latter in the stanza of Spenser. The remainder of the volume consists of odes, sonnets, songs, elegies, epigrams, &c. A few of the smaller pieces appeared originally in the Monthly Mirror"13 (May 1802) 334.

Poetical Register for 1802: "Dermody formed his style on our early poets, and it has many of the excellencies of his masters. His descriptions are lively and rich, his ideas and combinations of them are frequently original and striking, and his versification has often much sweetness and spirit. This character is justified by many poems in the volume now before us. Some complimentary verses, the offspring of gratitude or necessity, might have been omitted with advantage" (1803) 425-26.



Hard was the heart that, from thy native spray,
Bore thee, sweet bird, that cruel cage to fill;
How languid, now, thy once melodious lay!
Tho rich thy prison, 'tis a prison still:
The glossy radiance of thy golden bill
Is pale; and ruffled all thy sloe-black breast;
Lost like thy mellow note's ecstatic trill,
Wont, by its wild extravagance, t' attest
Thou wert beyond thy plumy brethren blest;
Once more, thou sigh'st, amid the woodlands free,
Thy glib eye brighten'd, and thy garb new-drest,
Thy old compeers, and little loves to see,
Ah! never may the wretch, who wrong'd thy nest,
Know the rich bliss of careless liberty!

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