1755
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Genius of Milton. An Invocation.

Gentleman's Magazine 25 (November 1755) 518.

H. Kiddell


An imitation of Milton with a large dose of Whiggish political sentiment. After invoking Milton in his opening lines, the poet retires to the shades, and rather than muse on poetry where more is meant than meets the ear, reviews a list of republican heroes: Locke, Newton, Seneca, Cicero, Queen Elizabeth ("that scourge of tyrants and of fools") and especially William of Orange: "Again, I'd bound beyond the reign | Of Princes dupes to France or Spain, | 'Till William lifts his laurel'd head, | Of France the foe, of Spain the dread, | When Temples rose to Liberty, | And blithsome Britons, full of glee, | Sung Albion happy, Albion free." The conclusion contrasts the warlike and amorous affections. I have not identiefied "H. Kiddell."



Genius of Milton, wake!
In all thy native majesty appear,
Sublime, concise, and clear,
As when thy strains, heav'ns battlements did shake
Or, as when o'er the urn
Of Lycidas, thou pour'dst the plaintive song,
In numbers sweet and strong:
When elegy gave all her woes away,
In each sad sighing lay,
And taught the willows, and the waves to mourn.

Or, come like Mirth, with airy train,
Lightly tripping o'er the plain;
Bid the little elves advance,
And playful form the mystic dance.
Let the sprightly loves be seen
Frolicking, on ev'ry green,
And Pan, his oaten reed display,
To pipe the shepherd's holiday.
Or else, in solemn shape arise,
With pensive brow, and fixed eyes;
Where rivers o'er their rough rocks roll,
And melancholy curfews toll.

O, quickly come, and bring with thee,
The genuine soul of Harmony!
Then pleas'd I'll wander thro' the wood,
Or near the margin of the flood,
Frequent the still embow'red shades,
Or glide along enamell'd glades:
Where oft the twitt'ring martens skim,
The silent river's crystal brim:
And oft the plover whistles shrill
To the gurgling of the rill,
And the busy humming bee,
Hives within some hollow tree.
And the healthy honest swain,
Cultivates the stubborn plain;
Or resting from his daily toil,
Marks the diff'rence of the soil.

But chief, when Cynthia shining bright,
Gives sportive Fancy full delight,
Let me all solitary rove,
Within the covert of the grove,
There Lock shou'd teach my thoughts to rise;
Or Newton lead me to his skies;
Or Seneca, with moral page,
Instruct my youth, inform my age;
Or Tully, rouse my languid soul,
While oratorical thunders roll;
Or with his pathos fill the eye;
Or softly sooth the rising sigh;
Or there, beneath some ancient tree,
I'd sit and muse on liberty.
Bid suns roll back a thousand years,
'Till virtuous Alfred's age appears;
When Freedom first began to dawn,
And shepherds safe possess'd the lawn,
And pip'd and danc'd upon the plain,
In honour of an Alfred's reign.
Then swiftly pass succeeding days,
(No fool or tyrant spots my lays,)
But stop, when great Eliza rules,
That scourge of Tyrants and of Fools:
When Wisdom held and blest this isle,
While Freedom beam'd beneath her smile;
Again, I'd bound beyond the reign
Of Princes dupes to France or Spain,
'Till William lifts his laurel'd head,
Of France the foe, of Spain the dread,
When Temples rose to Liberty,
And blithsome Britons, full of glee,
Sung Albion happy, Albion free.

But, Genius should thy touch inspire,
My glowing mind with martial fire,
To arms, to arms, the muse should cry
With flushing cheek, and sparkling eye;
To arms, should ev'ry Briton sound,
And dye with blood the dusty ground,
Bellona mount her brazen car,
And kindle all the rage of war.
And now, perhaps, thy fury o'er,
The bold notes swell with death no more:
The strings are struck, but struck in vain,
'Tis all a soft and silken strain;
The loves, and graces, now demand
The melting music of thy hand:
Beauty, all her pow'r will prove,—
The muse submits, and all is love.
While sideling glances, stifled sighs,
Heaving breasts, and languid eyes,
Murm'ring whispers, wanton wishes,
Am'rous smiles, and eager kisses,
And various other charms, conspire
To fan the flame of gay desire,
So loose and airy, soft and free,
—Love expires in ecstasie!

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