1746
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Pleasure.

The Museum: or the Literary and Historical Register 2 (11 October 1746) 50-51.

Rev. Thomas Warton


Six unsigned, irregular Spenserians (ballad quatrains with appended couplets) in the spirit of Milton's companion poems: "Me let the chearful Dance engage, | Swift-urg'd along the lighted Dome; | While with new Warmth the Virgin glows, | Her Cheek all flush'd with fresher Bloom; | Motion and Musick tend'rest Thoughts inspire, | And all her yielding Soul relents to soft Desire." Thomas Warton seems to have disowned this juvenile effort at a verse character, though it was republished, again anonymously, in Fawke's and Woty's Poetical Calendar (1763). In Supplements to Dodsley's Collection of Poems (1980) Harold Forster reports an autograph manuscript of the Ode to Pleasure at Trinity College.

E. M.: "Of poetry, every reader of taste will see, he was of the school of Spencer and Milton, rather than that of Pope; and, like Milton, his favourite author was Spencer (see his ingenious essay on that author's works). It was prettily said, by an admired poet, (speaking of Mr. Warton,) 'He won the musing train, | And Spencer, smiling, lov'd his own sweet strain'" Aberdeen Magazine 3 (March 1798) 108.



Sister of Youth and laughing Joy,
Sweet PLEASURE, Sorrow-soothing Queen,
Daughter of Venus, ever young,
And Bacchus wreath'd with Ivy green;
Whom on their Laps the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
And all the Graces nurst beneath Idalian Bow'rs.

O lead me to thy blissful Vale!
Where Hope and Health in sprightly Round,
Leisure with Freedom Hand in Hand,
In Dance fantastic beat the Ground;
Where'er they tread while fairest Flowers arise,
Embroid'ring all the Green with ever-varying Dies.

Let the stern Pedant love to waste
In studious Search the tedious Night,
Attentive to the learned Page,
By musing Taper's glimmering Light,
Whose pensive Ear no wakeful Sounds alarm,
Save the lone Owl, slow Clock, or Bell-man's drowsy Charm.

Me let the chearful Dance engage,
Swift-urg'd along the lighted Dome;
While with new Warmth the Virgin glows,
Her Cheek all flush'd with fresher Bloom;
Motion and Musick tend'rest Thoughts inspire,
And all her yielding Soul relents to soft Desire.

Let the sage Hermit shun Mankind,
With pale-ey'd Penitence to dwell,
To freeze at Midnight Hours of Pray'r
Within a solitary Cell;
Penurious on the verdant Herb to sup,
And of the chilling Stream to drain the Beechen Cup.

Be mine, amid the social Band,
The Raptures of Champaign to taste,
Whose vig'rous Juice new Relish gives
To mutual Converse, Reason's Feast,
While old Anacreon seems to rise, and say,
"Begone, ye Toils of Life; ye busy Cares, away!"

[pp. 50-51]