1814
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Spenserian Sonnets.]

Gentleman's Magazine 84 (February 1814) 166.

John F. M. Dovaston


Two Spenserian sonnets by John Freeman Milward Dovaston, a country gentleman who took a strong interest in natural history.

Note: "Mr Urban, the two following Sonnets were composed on the way home, in consequence of seeing a Glow-worm, after hearing a Sermon in Whittington Church on the night of last Trinity Sunday. John F. M. Dovaston" p. 166.

Joanna Richardson: "Though Dovaston was a minor Romantic poet, he had a much stronger claim to remembrance as a naturalist. The Victoria County History of Shropshire records that he was a close friend of the Rev. W. A. Leighton, with whom he studied botany and other branches of natural history.... Dovaston was a pioneer of field ornithology" Letters from Lambeth (1981) 140.



Worm of the night, thee let the Poet view,
And learn to point his mental spark aright,
When on the way-side bank, light sprent with dew,
Thou kindlest thy green lamp of emerald bright,
Pure, self-illum'd; not with the borrowed light
Tinsel'd, like busy insects of the day,
Thou giv'st a brilliance to the silent night
That cheers the homeward traveller on his way.
Poor worm, (the pensive Poet well might say)
Ev'n HE that lit thee on this humble soil,
Hung all yon lamps that His high dome array,
And feeds their fires with everlasting oil,
And ev'n my lamp, poor worm, like theirs and thine,
Shines not in vain if in HIS praise it shine.

Lord, when I look upon thy starry sky
With pearls enpath'd like scatter'd dust of gold,
I humble me, lost in amazement high
To think what he, thy gifted son, hath rold,
Far-sighted NEWTON; that round each are roll'd
Unnumber'd worlds. — And then I marvel sore
That any eye can Thy works behold
Should in the schoolmen's tangled volumes pore,
That every age may garble o'er and o'er,
Yet cannot blot from Thine the smallest part.—
GOD! though I cannot comprehend their love,
I bless thy hallow'd name with humble heart,
And hope with them, uncumber'd of my clay,
Sabbath'd in peace to see thy bright eternal day.

[p. 166]