1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Queen.

Gratulatio Academiae Cantabrigiensis Auspicatissimas Georgii III. Magnae Britanniae Regis, et Serenissimae Charlottae Principis de Mecklenburgh-Strelitz Nuptias Celebrantis.

Sir James Marriott


In an unusually candid poem, James Marriott praises the new queen for her beauty and virtue while all but demanding her support for polite letters and the two universities. To enforce his point, he calls to mind Edmund Spenser, who though neglected, had bestowed immortal praises on Queen Elizabeth: "To grot, hill, valley, lawn, and shades around | Of Gloriana's name he taught the sound: | There every Muse and every Grace was seen | To crown with Fancy's wreath the British Queen" Sig. E2. The poem is signed, "James Marriott, LL.D. Fellow of Trinity Hall, and one of the Advocates of Doctors-Commons."

Thomas Gray to James Brown: "As to the Queen, why you have all seen her. What need I tell you that she is thin, and not tall, fine, clear, light brown hair (not very light neither), very white teeth, mouth —, nose straight and well-formed, turned up a little at the end, and nostril rather wide; complexion little inclining to yellow, but little colour; dark and not large eyes, hand and arm not perfect, very genteel motions, great spirits, and much conversation. She speaks French very currently. This is all I know, but do not cite me for it" 1761; Correspondence of Gray and Mason ed. John Mitford (1853) 263.



Amidst the thunder of victorious arms,
While British valour either world alarms,
On this fair Isle, the glory of the main,
Have Peace and Hymen fix'd their happy reign.
It's tranquil shores no bold invader know;
On distant plains the British laurels grow:
The shouts of conquest from each Pole rebound,
And Gallia's lilies wither at the sound.

O! doom'd a nation's general joy to share,
To shine bright object of the public care,
Princess, whom Britain welcomes to her shore,
To bless a Monarch whom her sons adore;
Hail! to a land, where Plenty lifts her horn,
Hail! to a land which all the arts adorn;
To which the empire of the main is given,
The nurse of Heroes, and delight of Heaven.

No scenes like those thy native land bemoans,
No Virgin's tears, no dying Warrior's groans
Await Thee here: but Hymen's altars flame,
And soft affections all thy Bosom claim.
Fate, of thy Life that draws the sacred clue,
Spreads the fine texture of a brighter hue;
That wins the reason, or subdues the heart.
No feverish passion thy lov'd Youth inspir'd;
Where Virtue pointed, there his Soul was fir'd:
Skill'd in those arts which all that's fair pusue,
He saw their object was compleat in You.
While his pleas'd Eyes survey th' illustrious store,
The breathing Busto and Medallic ore;
Of antient forms You rival every grace,
Faustina's form and Cleopatra's face:
Their vicious beauties no true lustre gave;
The wanton Roman soil'd them, and a slave:
But modest charms your pleasing whole refin'd,
Bright emanations beaming from the mind:
And Britain's Lord, in You supremely blest,
For one fair living image scorns the rest.

To You the polish'd arts their homage pay;
Their colours blend, or tune the sounding lyre;
For You the marble feels Promethean fire;
For You their tribute all the Muses bring,
From Isis' grot, and Granta's sacred spring.
Nor scorn your cultivated mind the strain,
Which oft has flow'd for other ears in vain.
For know on this depends a nation's fame,
Tho' vulgar minds contemn the Poet's name:
The victorious reverence what embalms their praise.

Where'er the Muse by Heaven inspir'd has sung,
Immortal sounds have grac'd her native tongue.
She taught the stile of animated sense,
And all the energy of eloquence:
Then Arts which soften life, and Commerce came;
Historic pages rais'd the Hero's flame:
The Patriot's counsels claim'd th' eternal strain,
And rising empire spread its wide domain.
Thus over Greece the Muse display'd her light;
And with the Roman Eagles urg'd her flight:
Thus play'd on Gallia's once illustrious plain,
Where but one Poet now attunes the strain.
Such now the tributary verse she pours
Wide o'er the World from Britain's sounding shores:
Pleas'd to record for ages yet unborn
How Strelitz' charms her favourite Isle adorn.
Yet even here she mourns with tears the past,
The frowns of Power, and Envy's chilling blast.

On Mulla's shores when Spencer tun'd the strain,
Soft flow'd the stream, and hush'd was all the plain:
To grot, hill, valley, lawn, and shades around
Of Gloriana's name he taught the sound:
There every Muse and every Grace was seen
To crown with Fancy's wreath the British Queen.
For dying hopes his silent bosom pin'd;
Faithless they woo'd his young ambitious mind.
While cold neglect and lingering long suspence,
More fell than baneful drug that lulls the sense,
And sharper far than death's destroying dart,
Consum'd with care his great deserving heart.
Then sure no Muse of him will dress the grave
With holy verse, who, negligent to save,
Turn'd from the Muses gifts with scornful eye;
Saw Merit bloom, then droop forgot, and die.

The wise may counsel, and the brave may bleed:
Unless the Muse bids envious Time recede,
And near their tombs eternal Vigils keep,
Their glorious actions must in silence sleep.

With better hopes the Nine their homage pay,
And hail the influence of Your orient ray.
CHARLOTTA'S smiles above ELIZA'S days
Shall lift a Monarch's and a Nation's praise.
In your soft court the Muses shall be found,
And Wit direct the dart that gives no wound.
No savage dagger there shall Faction draw;
But Virtue give to every passion law:
Far off shall Satyr point its venom'd sting;
But Love his torch with smiling Beauty bring.
Pleas'd at Your feet each Muse's child shall sit,
Safe from the vengeance of malignant Wit.
No beating storms the Monarch Eagle move,
When couch'd he sleeps beneath the throne of Jove.

Your beauties not alone our Youth engage
To touch the string: but warm the breasts of Age.
The faithful Servant of the throne appears;
Nor feels the weight of labours and of years;
Happy the object of his cares to view,
The BRUNSWIC line confirm'd, and grac'd by You.
Amidst the general voice and duteous strain,
He asks Your smiles to bless his Granta's train.
Alike the Sons of honour'd Isis claim
To make the verse immortal by Your fame.
Nurs'd in these learned shades around You stand
Who shine in Senates now, th' illustrious band;
O'er Britain's fleets, or armies who preside;
Or who the reigns of mighty Empire guide;
Proud of the wreaths which classic bands have wove
Due to your Charms, to Loyalty, and Love.

Thus when the Sages of the Trojan state
Of war or peace were met to fix the fate;
As Helen pass'd, the hoary Chiefs admir'd,
And prais'd the passions which her Eyes inspir'd.

Henceforth our labours, and our fame be one;
And Cam's and Isis' streams together run:
To distant climes convey the pleasing tale;
While Britain's Muses like her Arms prevail,
And shine their Monarch's pride, their Country's boast;
Their only contest to applaud You most.

[sigs Ev-F]