1760
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Quantock-Hill.

London Magazine 29 (June 1760) 316.

J. Glasse


An imitation of John Dyer's Grongar Hill (1726), written in the measure of John Milton's L'Allegro, also a source for the imagery: "Here, from the breezy ridge, we view | The Cambrian mountains ting'd with blue, | Which seem, at distance vast, to shroud | Their heads within some hov'ring cloud." The poem is signed "J. Glasse, Kingston, near Taunton." I have not identified the poet, who has a poem under the same signature in the Bath Journal for 6 September 1762. He was a regular contributor to the London Magazine at this time.

Myra Reynolds: "What the eighteenth-century poets did was to give truthful expression to very many natural facts of a kind obvious to an age well versed in the lore of field and wood; but new to an age just emerged from the gates of a park. It is observation of this abundant, truthful, obvious sort that we find in Ambrose Philips, Gay, Ramsay, Shenstone, John Scott, and largely this even in Thomson. The commonest facts of Nature, the blue sky, wild flowers on a rocky ledge, rough little streams, were a wonder and a delight. Discrimination comes after general and obvious facts have been accepted and assimilated" The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry (1909) 335.



Muse, descend, and with thee bring
All the colours of the spring,
All the dyes that pleasures yield
To poet's eye, in fancy's field;
And when nicely mix'd are these
In thy landscape, form'd to please,
Let fair Quantock's tow'ring brow
Overlook the vales below;
Vales where strong-nerv'd labour treads,
With sturdy step, the green-clad meads,
And views, delighted, by his side
His flocks, in all their snowy pride.

Now, methinks, with eye intent
On the scene, I climb th' ascent,
And survey, with studious care,
Nature's works, divinely fair,
That to my raptur'd mind impart
More delight than those of art.

Let Tempe boast her pleasant shades,
And Pindus the Aonian maids,
Ida her stately groves of pine,
And nymphs and heroes half divine;
Yet what fair Quantock's fate denies
To her in fame, her site supplies.

Here, from the breezy ridge, we view
The Cambrian mountains ting'd with blue,
Which seem, at distance vast, to shroud
Their heads within some hov'ring cloud.
Here too the Severn's briny wave
Is seen the neighb'ring strand to lave,
Where commerce sits, with anxious mien,
And, thoughtful, eyes the wat'ry scene,
Till, pleas'd, at distance she espies
Some vessel's bellying canvass rise.

Oh! how delightful 'tis t' explore
The distant meadow's purple shore!
Or orchards, by Pomona blest,
That bend, with ripen'd fruit opprest,
And to the lab'ring hand afford
Fit liquor for his homely board!

Indulge me, ye propitious powers,
Who oft frequent the shady bowers;
Indulge me here, devoid of care,
To breathe the health-inspiring air,
Soon as the morn, with saffron dyes
Has streak'd th' extent of human skies,
And, gayly rising from her nest,
The lark her homage has exprest,
In notes that wildly warbled slow,
And nature's untaught music show.

O Quantock, while thy views I trace,
And, pleas'd, describe each rural grace
That round thy beauteous hill is seen,
Of seats imbower'd, and wood-lands green,
Was Dyer's descriptive muse but mine,
To make my thoughts as theme divine,
Then should thy hill, like Grongar, claim,
From poetry, a deathless name.

[p. 316]