1747
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Ode to Hope.

Gentleman's Magazine 17 (November 1747) 536.

John Hawkesworth


An allegorical Ode to Hope, after Milton's L'Allegro, signed "Philo": "O! let me, with thy poppies crown'd, | Unconscious tread this thorny ground!" While "An Ode to Hope" is in Milton's measure, there is little formal imitation beyond the concluding resolve, the poem consisting not of allegory and description in the manner of William Collins, but of argument and illustration. The sprightly measure is no doubt chosen to accord with the substance of the presentation. The "Ode" was later reprinted, again anonymously, in Fawkes and Woty, Poetical Calendar (1763). It attracted some answering verses published in the Gentleman's Magazine for January 1748. The attribution to Hawkesworth was first made in Alexander Chalmers's British Essayists (1802-03).

Annual Register: "Dr. Hawkesworth was certainly of a serious turn of mind, and his fort in writing was on subjects of the graver kind; yet his Edgar and Emmeline, several little detached pieces scattered in the Gentleman's Magazine, as well as many of his papers in the Adventurer, abound with a strain of wit and humour, which affords sufficient proof to any one of his sportive powers of fancy, whenever he gave it play" (1775) 54.

Robert Chambers: "John Hawkesworth (1715-1773) rose from being a watchmaker to considerable literary eminence by his talents and learning. He was employed to write the narrative of Captain Cook's discoveries in the Pacific Ocean, by which he realised a large sum of money, and he made an excellent translation of Telemachus. With the aid of Dr. Johnson, Warton, and others, he carried on The Adventurer with considerable success" Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1844; 1850) 2:155.



Come! lovely queen of endless smiles,
Whose art the woes of life beguiles!
With thee I'll rove, with thee I'll rest,
Amidst thy sweet enchantments blest;
O! let me, with thy poppies crown'd,
Unconscious tread this thorny ground!
Thy pleasing dreams before me spread,
And stretch thy wings to guard my head,
Secure amidst surrounding strife,
Not wak'd by all the storms of life!
The brighter side of wealth and pow'r,
Shall bless the visionary hour:
Wealth, without care, shall be possess'd,
And pow'r, without a guilty breast;
Pomp, free from flatt'ry, and from scorn,
And love's sweet flow'r, without the thorn.

Here Time with sweeping stroke destroys
Like grass, possession's transient joys,
Hope, like the pine aspiring high,
Can all the rage of time defy;
For each lopp'd branch, the vig'rous root
Ordains a double branch to shoot,
For one, a thousand items arise,
And bloom, and bear, beyond the skies.

If Hope no distant blessing shows,
In vain is all the world bestows;
If future joys her smiles display,
In vain is all it takes away.

The loss of pow'r, of fame, of wealth,
Yet more, of friends, of ease, and health,
By strength of mind we learn to bear,
And live, and smile, in spite of care;
But losing thee, all comforts fly,
We languish, we despair, we die.

Beyond our reach, but still in sight,
Thy glitt'ring objects yield delight,
If chance Possession brings them near,
We lose the fading joy in fear:
What charm'd the sight, as good and fair,
When touch'd, we mourn as clouds and air;
Yet fond the vapour to retain,
Each parting fragment gives us pain.

Thy chearful light, with guiding ray,
Thro' life directs our doubtful way,
Invites the journey to fulfil,
Before us, and before us still!
The grave we reach, thy pointing hand
Beyond it shews the promis'd land,
The last, best, effort of thy pow'r
Sustains us in the dreadful hour.
Thy charge, and all our travels, o'er,
We leave thee on the mortal shore,
On realms unknown we land, and share
A fate beyond thy influence there.
Whate'er in realms unknown I be,
Hope! let me live on earth with thee.

[p. 536]