1760
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Friendship.

The Shrubs of Parnassus. Consisting of a Variety of Poetical Essays, Moral and Comic. By J. Copywell of Lincoln's Inn, Esq.

William Woty


An allegorical ode twelve in blank-verse quatrains. "J. Copywell" is the ubiquitous William Woty, a young barrister much taken with the odes of William Collins.

Preface: "The Author of the following Pages in not conscious of having therein injured or offended any Person; and as he is by no Means qualified, or reduced, to write for Subsistence, he can smile at the illiberal Contempt of Ignorance, and at the same Time kiss the Rod of candid Criticism. The moral Subjects (however feebly executed) 'tis hoped will compensate for the Levity of the others, and as nothing directly immodest is introduced in the light Pieces, he flatters himself that they will not be altogether disagreeable. They are all the Produce of a few leisure Hours, the Writer having made Poetry (if it may be called such) his secondary View, his Amusement, not his Business; he therefore presumes to hope that every candid Reader will consider his Endeavours to please, in a favourable Light" pp. 3-4.

British Magazine: "Arch, senible, and sarcastic" 2 (July 1761) 382.



I.
Come, Friendship, come — expand thy wing
And fan pale-visag'd Grief away;
Perch on my wounded breast, sit hov'ring there,
And let me taste th' alternative of joy.

II.
Chear'd by thy look, Misfortune smiles,
And dark Despair recurs to Hope.
Elated Sorrow checks the rising tear,
And Pleasure's radius brightens in her eye.

III.
Come, Nymph, with meekness on thy brow,
With open heart, with ample palm,
And with thee bring Advice, of sober mien,
Fair Truth, and lib'ral Generosity.

IV.
But oh! admit not in thy train
That fiend, who dare to usurp thy name,
Hypocrisy — who mimicks well thy step,
But wants thy soul-felt pow'r of Sympathy.

V.
Perish the wretch, whose busy thought
Premeditates unmanly fraud!
Tho' Nature's plastic hand had form'd us twins,
I'd stab the lurking serpent in his heart.

VI.
Yet — let me quit the rash design
And leave him to Reflection's ire.
Go! base assassin of thy neighbour's peace,
Go! feel that the pangs that conscious Guilt inflicts.

VII.
But come, thou star of human kind,
Well-temper'd Honesty, appear!
And I will clasp thy substance in my arms,
For thou to Friendship ever art allied.

VIII.
Tho' Education, learned nurse,
Ne'er tutor'd thy unpupil'd youth,
Rude as thou art — yet welcome to my soul,
Whilst book-taught villains tremble at my frown.

IX.
With thee, O Friendship, let me live,
For social virtues, round thee wait,
Thine is the tear, that damps Compassion's cheek,
And thine the pathos for another's woe.

X.
Thine is the hand, that pours the dole
Into the lap of Poverty.
Thine is the heart that prompts thee to relieve,
And thine the tongue that whispers peace to pain.

XI.
Beneath thy hospitable roof
In jocund converse let me sit,
Each low idea shall thy voice refine,
And what was abject lift into sublime.

XII.
Do thou but let me feel the breeze
That's wafted from thy sacred tongue,
And I shall rise from Misery's profound,
To reign in regions of true Happiness.

[pp. 73-5]