Verses written for the Fourth Day of January, 1814.

Poems by George Crabbe. 3 Vols [Adolphus William Ward, ed.]

Rev. George Crabbe

A patronage poem, partly in Spenserians.

George Crabbe: "When Mr. Crabbe was writing the "Borough," his second publication, (at least the second fruits of his riper years,) he was resident on his benefice of Muston, and had once more the happiness of seeing the noble family at Belvoir Castle, by whom he had been so highly favoured in the former part of his life. He now petitioned for the honour of dedicating the poem he was writing to his grace of Rutland, who granted his request, and was pleased to receive into his notice the chaplain of the late duke, although he had for many years, in an earlier part of his life, been a stranger to the country. Her grace the duchess dowager was likewise pleased to remember him, and to allow him to express his sense of her goodness by dedicating his last works (his "Tales") to her grace. These were honours to which he looked, and rewards which his respect for the family might have some claim to; but his grace did not confine himself to these proofs of his favour; he presented Mr. Crabbe to the rectory of Trowbridge, in the diocese of Salisbury, and with it to a smaller benefice in that of Lincoln, which the indulgence of the bishop enabled him to hold" "Account of Crabbe" in New Monthly Magazine 4 (January 1816) 517.

Norma Dalrymple-Champneys: "4 January, 1814, was the fifth Duke's birthday, and the day on which his eldest surviving son, the Marquis of Granby, born 20 August 1813, was christened. The christening, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury officiated, took place in the chapel of Belvoir Castle, with the Prince Regent, the Queen — who did not attend but was represented by the Dowager of Rutland — and the Duke of York as the infant's godparents. The celebrations began with the arrival of the Prince on 2 January and terminated with his departure on the 7th. C. does not seem to have been present at the christening or at the celebrations on that day 'when', as he wrote to his friend, the Dean of Lincoln, 'my own Verses were (privately, I hope) read' ... but he dined at the castle on the last night (6 January). Writing to Alethea Lewis on 10 March ... he confided to her that the poem had been 'a sore plague' to write and contained only one good stanza" Poetical Works (1988) 3:415.

Thomas Campbell: "We have formed a Poets' Club, in which I hope Scott, Byron, and Miss Baillie will join us, as invited. Crabbe is to be president, and myself secretary. We are to have a meeting at Mr. Rogers's, on Monday, to settle the election of members. Crabbe, at this time, is about sixty-five, with a very expressive countenance and benignant manner" 15 July 1817; in Beattie, Life and Letters (1849) 334.

Adolphus William Ward uses the title, "Verses Written for the Duke of Rutland's Birthday."

When Poets kindle at some noble View,
The Muse is said t' inspire the ardent Mind;
The Muse is feign'd, the Inspiration true;
Poets their Ardours in their Subjects find.
Yet he to whom the Noblest is assign'd
Must feel what much alarms him, yet delights:
His Views indeed are of a glorious Kind;
But there is danger in those lofty Flights,
And Hope and Fear at once each bold attempt excites.

Be honour freely paid, where justly due;
And where is Honour due if here denied?
What happy Place can yield a nobler View?
In what fair Seat can nobler Race abide,
And o'er what happier Act can Man preside?
Place! Persons! Action! All engage the Mind,
And all the Heart with glad Emotions fill;
Where shall I Language for my Subject find;
Where glowing Thoughts, apt Words and curious Skill?
Oh[, that] the humble Verse could match th' inspiring Will!

Great Lady! Fair as great, and good as fair,
Receive a People's Praise, their Love, their Prayer;
Blest Parent to thy Granby, born to Shine
An Honour to thy Rutland's House and thine!
Accept the Homage grateful Numbers pay,
Exulting all in this triumphant Day;
When all in one event rejoice,
And mine is as the public Voice—
An Echo to the general Joy
That thanks thee for the noble Boy!
All join in Wishes for the generous Race,
That through revolving Ages it may run—
Blest each lov'd Daughter with the Mother's Grace
And with the Father's Virtue every Son;
Whilst [you, the] happy Parents, look around,
With love rewarded and with Honour crown'd.

Who has not heard of [Howard's] noble Blood:
Which, tho' it cannot, as the Poet tells,
Ennoble Sots and Cowards, is a Flood
That Vice and Folly from the Soul repels;
And that which cannot the Disease endure
Is nobler still than if it wrought the Cure.

Howards were seen in Times of civil strife
In Honor's Cause to hazard all and bleed;
May Peace in England spare thy Granby's Life,
Since the same Cause would prompt the kindred Deed!
The Virtue still will in his Breast abide;
But Heaven forefend it be so harshly tried!

Great Prince, the Ruler of a People free,
While bound in Duty and in love to Thee;
Supreme in Britain's happy Days;
Endued with Princely Grace and Power,
To win by Worth the Meed of Praise,
To share with Ease the festive Hour!
The Infant Granby thy Attention sees,
And smiles, the Tokens of his feeling shows,
As conscious of thy boundless Power to please,
And happy in the pleasing Debt he owes.

Soon shall his opening Mind for Knowledge seek,
When Time his Prince's Favours shall reveal;
And, what the infant Tongue wants Power to speak,
The grateful Man will never cease to feel.
The Royal Brother too appears
And to the Scene new Pleasure gives,
Past in One Day, but in successive Years
To be recorded long as Memory lives.
Belvoir! This Day shall be thy Boast and Pride,
While o'er the Subject Vale thy lofty Towers preside!

And thou, the Father of a Noble Race,
In whom we now thy Form and Features trace,
But in succeeding years whose Worth shall shine
A just and fair Epitome of thine:
Behold thy Granby! His a Name
Already in the Rolls of Fame,
Not Plac'd amid a dubious Class—
Names heard but for the fleeting Day,
Who then to dark Oblivion pass.
This will no Time nor Accident decay,
Nor Envy blot, nor Malice tear away.
Such are the Men to whom, when troubles rise,
A prudent People turn their anxious Eyes;
Who love their Prince, and whom their Princes love;
The Wise and Virtuous ever but approve—
They who are stedfast in their Country's Cause,
The Sovereign's Power respect, nor less the Guarding Laws.

Fresh as the Showers of Eden and as fair,
Thy lovely Daughters wake a Father's Pride.
Great were such gifts; and, if thou wish'd an Heir,
It was with Hope that still on Heaven relied—
Thankful if blest, and patient if denied.
Vast the Reward; for thee thy Granby lives,
And noble Promise of the future gives;
Strength, Health and Beauty in his Form combine,
And all the Grace that grows with ripening years;
The best Affections in his features shine,
And all that love could ask for he appears.

Be this blest Day in future Years renown'd,
Mark'd as the chosen, the auspicious One;
In this thy Birth the fondest Wishes crown'd—
And thou wert hail'd with joy th' expected Son;
Thou too wert Granby; but thy Fate
Soon gave thee Title to a greater Name.
Not so thy Granby — may his Change be late,
Differing in this, in all beside the same!
Let the same Honours on the Name attend;
As Life advances, may its Joys increase;
Upon its Progress may no cloud descend,
But, ris'n in glory, may it set in Peace;
And still another and another Race
Preserve the Honours of the Name and Place!

See a third Parent Granby at thy Side,
Thy present Pleasure and thy future Pride,
Thy never failing Friend, thine ever watchful Guide!
The same her Title — Rutland's Princely Name,
That Sons of Kings alone with Manners claim.
Smile, Granby, now; thus only can'st thou prove
For her unwearied care awakening Love!
But, when succeeding Years impart
Strength to thy Form and Feeling to thy Heart,
Then shall her Value to the View arise,
That thou shalt dearly love and richly prize.
Nor shalt thou need a Verse to show
The Truths admiring Numbers know;
For, when the willing Muse is weak,
Then shall a thousand Voices speak.
Go, ask where Virtue, Beauty, Merit, dwell—
All that Mankind approve, applaud, revere—
And hear what Numbers shall delighted tell
Their Pride, Their Glory in a Name so dear!

Heir to thy noble House, this Day to thee
Shall be, while Memory lives, a joyful Date;
Thou wilt look backward on the time, and see
The First, the Greatest, in the Church and State.
All take an Interest in their Granby's Fate:
What happy Infant in the World is found,
Whom so much Grace and Dignity surround?
What favour'd Being through his Life shall say:
"I had like Honours and as great a Day?"

Smile, Son of Rutland, in a Day of Bliss;
While Praise and grateful Thanks to Heaven arise,
And happy Nations for a Time like this
Make public Joy and private [sympathies].
As thou art nam'd, and each glad Voice repeats,
"Granby, the Heir of his Forefather's Fame!"
'Tis then the troubler of the World retreats
From his lost Kingdoms, fill'd with Rage and Shame;
Foil'd and disgrac'd, he to his People goes,
To veil his Loss and aggravate their Woes.

What Happy Language shall describe the Times,
When British Virtue bade the World be free,
Mark'd with a Tyrant's Fall, his Flight, his Crimes,
And with our Hope, Heaven-favour'd Boy, in thee?
Thus all Things happy in the Date agree,
When Charms that grace the Land, and Powers that sway,
Give Triumph to the Deed and Pleasure to the Day.