1785
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Hymn to the Moon: written by Moonlight.

Poems on Subjects Sacred, Moral, and Entertaining. In Two Volumes. By Luke Booker.

Rev. Luke Booker


A blank-verse ode by Luke Booker, a Staffordshire poet. The poet, at least in conceit, attempts to draw directly "from nature." Perhaps the conclusion indicates that this is in fact the case: "Alas! a sable, broad, impervious cloud | Moves like a shrouded fleet, | 'Neath heaven's starry space, | And wraps in darkness my celestial theme, | Whence light and genius flow" — in other words, it had become too dark to put pen to paper. The measure is that of Collins's Ode to Evening.

Critical Review: "We have very little to say in favour of these poems, though we occasionally meet with some good lines, but never for any continuance. They abound with a strange jumble of absurd epithets, and incongruous phrases. — 'Unwrapp'd his halcyon mind' — 'pipe-arm'd' — 'age-cold blood' — 'sensual shrine' — 'visual graces' — 'corrugate each face' — 'embronzes o'er with gold' — 'indign desarts' — 'pallid gloom' — 'sympathizing harebells' — 'cloud-brush'd mountains' — 'firmamental worlds.' — A deer is said to have 'surface-skimming legs;' and fancy to 'unconfine her glowing faculties.' Many instances of the same kind might be selected.... In justice, however, to the author, we must acknowledge, that his diction is, in general, sufficiently harmonious" 60 (October 1785) 314.



Hail! Orb magnificent, whose lucid beams
Illume with glory the cerulean sky;
By whose refulgent light
My feeble pencil moves!
Propitious prove; nor hide in cloudy veil
The just circumf'rence of thy golden form;
But aid my youthful muse
To hymn thy lofty praise.
When thro' the vast — the boundless space I gaze,
Which thou, in thy nocturnal journey tread'st,
With silent majesty,
Mid trains of waiting stars—
Divine confusion fills my wond'ring soul,
And sweet amazement meets my heav'n-ward eye.
Around thy face benign,
What countless glories beam,
Spreading a splendid ocean o'er the skies!—
Or, if below, o'er nature's wide domain,
I take an humbler view,
What scenes of beauty rise!
Creation, in an amber vest array'd,
Displays, in silence, her dew-spangled works.
Not ev'n a zephyr moves
The slender flow'r or tree:
No wanton gale "disturbs the deep serene,"—
No noisy clamours "pierce the night's dull ear,"
Nor sound — save distant rill,
Or harmony of birds
Which nightly sing. — O'er yonder dewy vale,
Thy lamp, O CYNTHIA! sheds its friendly ray,
And shews the flocks and herds
Promiscuously at feed;
Or folded, sleeping on the glist'ning lawn.
A harmless lamb just then sad Silence 'woke
From her soft, peaceful nap,
With trembling bleat — again!
Sweet Echo answers from a distant cave.—
Far, o'er the lofty hills, and sparry rocks,
Whose shining tops thy beam
Embronzes o'er with gold,
Th' enraptur'd eye sees many a cottage rise,
Where sleep the sons of toil in sweet repose.—
Now contemplation spreads
Her heav'n-ascending wings,
And sheds her magick influence o'er the mind.
With cooling dews refresh'd, unnumber'd flow'rs
Spontaneous around
Their balmy breaths exhale:
Sweet-burthen'd, Zephyr, from a woodbine bow'r,
Slow passing, sighs, and drops his pilfer'd store.
On devious walks neat shorn,
With partial shades embrown'd,
The glow-worms light their little golden lamps
Mid evanescent, rival gems of dew.—
Soft! — then a gentle breeze
Sigh'd thro' the stately pine,
Which shook each tree, and plant, and tend'rer flow'r.
Alas! a sable, broad, impervious cloud
Moves like a shrouded fleet,
'Neath heaven's starry space,
And wraps in darkness my celestial theme,
Whence light and genius flow — Now cease my Muse.

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