1818
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nelson's Pillar. Written on the Beach at Yarmouth on a stormy Evening.

Literary Gazette, and Journal of the Belles Lettres (1 August 1818) 490-91.

Rev. George Croly


Two Spenserians on Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), the hero of Trafalgar. The poem, originally anonymous, was much revised for George Croly's Poems (1830). The version of the poem republished in Angel of the World (1820) is considerably toned down.

Lord Byron to John Murray: "Pray send me no more poetry but what is rare and decidedly good. There is such trash of Keats and the like upon my tables, that I am ashamed to look at them. I say nothing against your parsons, your Smedleys and your Crolys: it is all very fine; but pray dispense me from the pleasure, as also from Mrs. Hemans" 12 September 1820; in Letters and Journals ed. Prothero (1898-1901) 5:92-93.



There is a gloomy splendour in the Sun,
That levels his last beam along the shore;
The clouds are gathering o'er the Ocean, dun,
And stain'd with crimson streaks, like new-shed gore
On some broad field of battle; and the roar
Of wave and wind comes like the battle's sound.
From the Sea's verge a Column seems to soar,
A shaft of silver, on whose summit, wound
With golden beams, sits Britain's Image thron'd and crown'd.

And now the Sun sinks deeper, and the clouds,
In folds of purple fire, still heavier lour;
'Till sudden Night the shore and Ocean shrouds;
But thro' the tempest gleams that stately tow'r,
A giant height, on which the Sun-beams show'r
Their undiminish'd glories. NELSON's name
Is on the pillar. — Thus the stormy hour,
The clouds of battle, shew'd his spirit's flame,
Brighter and broader. — Thus shall blaze the Hero's fame.

[pp. 490-91]