1773
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On seeing the Figure of Death in a Dream.

Annual Register (1773) 253.

Dr. Henry Harington


An allegorical ode in four couplet stanzas, signed "Dr. Harington." The date and place of first publication is not given. The stanzas of irregular line-lengths may be intended as Spenserian, though the imagery is Miltonic. Perhaps the poem may be related to the Despair sequence of Spenser imitations: "Tho' clad in vesture of affright, | Thou prowl'st beneath the pall of night, | Thy famish'd form doth quash alarm, | Unpoise that daring strengthless arm, | Bow thy diminish'd head."

Richard Warner: "Dr. Harington indulged his turn for gay versification, and unoffending humour, on a variety of occasions and characters, which occurred or appeared from time to time, within the city where he resided. Some of them were printed in the local papers. A few years before he died, he collected them together, and presented me with copies of the whole. They will be found in the Appendix" in Literary Recollections of the Rev. Richard Warner (1830) 2:90n.



Avert, proud Death, thy lifted spear,
Nor vaunt thee King of Terrors, here;
Shorn of thy first envenom'd sting,
Vain are all terrors thou canst bring:
Smite, monster, smite; nor spare thy deepest wound;
From Jesse's root our sovereign balm is found.

When o'er the world's wide misery,
Coeval darkness sway'd with thee,
Creation shrunk beneath thy frown,
And horror mark'd thy ebon crown,
Those downcast kingdoms, whelm'd in ruins lie,
Smote by the beaming day-spring from on high.

Tho' clad in vesture of affright,
Thou prowl'st beneath the pall of night,
Thy famish'd form doth quash alarm,
Unpoise that daring strengthless arm,
Bow thy diminish'd head — stern tyrant, flee,
For thou art swallow'd up in victory.

Sweet mercy hath her triumph shown,
Thy darken'd host of fear o'erthrown:
Now to behold thee — vanquish'd slave,
No power's left beyond the grave;—
We greet thee kind! — O wonderous friendship this!
Welcome, good herald! — to announce our bliss.

[p. 253]