1813
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "Farewell, vain hope of an enlarged fame."]

Poems on Several Occasions: by Edward, Lord Thurlow. The Second Edition: considerably enlarged.

Edward Thurlow


A Spenserian sonnet bidding farewell to dreams of lasting fame. Edward Thurlow's reputation did not survive the ridicule of his contemporaries.

Anti-Jacobin Review: "We are, with a gravity well suited to the importance of the subject, informed, that the 'verses prefixed to the Defence of Poesy,' have been already printed in a late edition of that beautiful work. Now, we are really of opinion, and we cannot consent, even in favour of a British peer, to sacrifice our sincerity at the shrine of courtesy; that the noble bard might have been satisfied with a single appearance of these verses in print; and, we are sorry to add, for we know we shall be deemed uncourteous, that this was once too often, to use a homely expression. Not so, however, thought Lord Thurlow, and he certainly had a right to reprint his own verses as often as he pleased — at his own expence" 45 (July 1813) 61.

Robert Shelton Mackenzie: "This is the Lord Thurlow, whose volume of middling rhymes, in 1813, so much excited the ridicule of Byron, that he perpetrated some satires on them, which are to be found in his poems, and place some of Thurlow's lines, therein quoted, in a situation akin to that of flies in amber" Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 1:225n.



Farewell, vain hope of an enlarged fame,
That may endure, when brass and stone decay,
Fenc'd against Envy's rage, and Season's blame,
Built in opinion, which no tongue can slay;
Most dear imagination of true sway
In souls, that 'gainst their chequer'd ages sleep,
E'en to the sharp edge of the dooming day,
Farewell, I say, but as I say it, weep.
For I with thee did dear communion keep,
False though thou art, a painted forgery;
And yet for all my love no good I reap,
That day and night had only thought of thee;
O frail diminish'd dream, to thee farewell,
No soul, that lives, can love thee half so well!

[Appendix, p. 61]