1794
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Envy.

Universal Magazine 94 (June 1794) 442-43.

Eusebius


A Miltonic allegorical ode in five sprawling, eighteen-line stanzas, signed "Eusebius." If there is any Spenserian imagery in this poem, it occurs in the third stanza, where Envy is compared to a toad. The ritually Miltonic formula is shifted from the opening to the concluding stanza of the ode: "Avaunt invidious baleful pow'r! | No more infest the genial hour! | No more from human hearts remove | The gen'rous seeds of social love." This appears to be a companion poem to the Ode to Rage which Eusebius had contributed to the Universal Magazine the previous year.



Fell muse of dark revengeful hate,
On whom vindictive furies wait,
Thy baleful arts do well demand
The angry bard's correcting hand.
O! was that hand with power arm'd,
As with the wish his breast is warm'd,
Where dire Phlegeton's fiery torrents roar,
He'd chain thee fast to vex mankind no more.—
Friendship's soft bond, or Love's endearing tye,
No more by sympathetic influence bind
If thou intrude, then Love and Friendship fly,
To sullen passions leave th' infected mind.
Thy blood-shot eye darts pestilential fire,
Destroys the genuine offspring of the heart,
The wish benevolent, the kind desire,
The friendly intercourse devoid of art.
Away! to dark Cimmerian regions fly!
In kindred glooms, revolve thy baleful haggard eye.

Where merit shines in honour bright,
Thou lov'st to dim the radiant light;
Where beauty's charms disclose their pow'r,
Thou lov'st to blast the blooming flow'r;
Wherever excellence is found,
Thy ready fangs delight to wound;
And what to all should give supreme delight,
Degraded sinks, and withers in thy sight.
Swift at thy touch Parnassian laurels fade,
And wreaths triumphal on the warrior's brow;
Thou can'st envelop virtue in thy shade,
And o'er her charms malignant darkness throw—
Yet know, base passion, Truth's unerring ray,
Spite of thy arts, can dissipate the gloom;
Place injur'd virtue fair in open day,
And bid the laurel with new vigour bloom;
Rescue from thee each justly honour'd name,
And give to modest merit its due place in fame.

Go! make thy dark unblest abode,
Hid with the twilight-loving toad;
Black, pimpled, loathsome, like to thee,
Resembling pair! ye must agree.
Yet ah! the toad, detested thing,
Has neither pois'nous tooth, nor sting.
Thou, worse than vipers, can'st diffuse around
The deadly venom, and the livid wound.
Beneath thy steps the verdant herbage dies,
Thy with'ring blast destroys the op'ning flow'r;
Swift from thy sight, each flutt'ring songster flies,
And streams roll refluent from thy hated pow'r;
The charms of beauty, and the grace of youth
Fall to thy unrelenting hate a prey;
And all envenom'd by thy cank'ring tooth,
Fair reputation blasted dies away.
Malignant passion! thy prime bliss is to destroy!
Thy greatest curse is to behold a rival's joy!

All vile and hateful as thou art,
Thou dwellest in the human heart.
What charm or magic can'st thou use,
Thy vile contagion to infuse!
And thus pervert his native mind,
From open, gen'rous, free, and kind.
To dark suspicion's cloudy restless state,
And all the sullen angry gloom of hate!
No peace the sad infected bosom knows,
Nor heeds the light that all enliv'ning shines.
But brooding o'er its self-created woes,
Deep hid in joyless shades, dejected pines.
The secret poison on his vitals preys,
Corrodes the tender root of social love,
Contaminates each hope would make his days,
Replete with joys, in bright succession move.—
This — this is all thy vot'ries' meed, at best,
To live in woes unpitied, and to die unblest.

Avaunt invidious baleful pow'r!
No more infest the genial hour!
No more from human hearts remove
The gen'rous seeds of social love;
Forbid soft pity's tear to flow,
Or teach — to smile at other's woe.
Let kind benevolence extend around
Her wish humane, and heal the wretch's wound.
Thou foe to peace, content, and harmless joy,
To gen'rous friendship, and commutual love,
Who dost the source of ev'ry bliss destroy,
What heart can harbour, or what thought approve?
Alas! by far too many of our kind
Indulg'd, thou rul'st the sullen ruthless breast;
Smother'st each warm emotion of the mind,
And reign'st supreme, by jealous hatred drest.
O'er me, ah! never wave thy sombre wing,
Nor in this heart, infix thy life-empois'ning sting.

[pp. 442-43]