1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Rev. Edward Copleston, M.A. Fellow of Oriel College and Professor of Poetry.

Poems, by the Rev. Richard Mant, M.A. and late Fellow of Oriel College.

Bp. Richard Mant


Richard Mant, Oxford poet and biographer of Joseph Warton, declares to the then Poetry Professor his will to emulate those wearing the laurel crown, identified in a note as "Shakespeare, Spenser, Gray, Milton": "There, Avon stream, thy Muse of fire, | And, Mulla, thine is there; | And he, who wak'd th' Aeolian lyre; | And he, who durst from earth aspire | Into the heav'n of heav'ns." Today Richard Mant, later an Irish bishop, is remembered, if at all, as the editor of Thomas Warton's poetical works (1802), and as the author of the Simpliciad, a satire on the Lake Poets (1808).

Edward Copleston (1776-1849) was professor of poetry (1802-12), provost of Oriel College (1814-28), and Bishop of Llandaff and Dean of Saint Paul's (1828-49).



Think not, my Friend, I trivial deem
The meed of high renown;
Or muse with light regard on them,
For whom th' ennobling hand of fame
Hath wove of Delphic bays an ever-verdant crown.

On a tall mountain's craggy height
Fame's tow'ring portals shine;
There to my visionary sight
High bards, array'd in robes of light,
Their laurell'd temples wave, and gird the golden shrine.

There, Avon stream, thy Muse of fire,
And, Mulla, thine is there;
And he, who wak'd th' Aeolian lyre;
And he, who durst from earth aspire
Into the heav'n of heav'ns, and draw empyreal air.

Fir'd by the sight, with zeal I glow
To spurn the grov'ling throng;
Upward on eagle wings to go,
To seat me mid the high-soul'd few,
And smite the golden chord, and swell the echoing song.

But not to me the soul divine,
And sounding voice are given;
Nor mine with plastic hand to join
In one harmonious grand design
Wild Fancy's forms and paint with colours dipt in heaven.

While Oxford then with eager voice
Thy bright career pursues;
Be mine, my Friend, th' inglorious choice
In lowly valleys to rejoice,
And meditate the calm but not ungrateful Muse.

Be mine the less ambitious care,
Nor vain that care shall prove,
To win fond friendship's partial ear,
And in the lonely hour to cheer
With many a simple strain the heart of her I love.

[pp. 69-71]