1812
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Violet.

A Few Verses, English and Latin.

Rev. Edward Smedley


Three Spenserians: "Oh! let me find thy rich and purfled flower | There where thou liest, in some sequester'd vale; | And I will shield thee from the wintry hour, | And bear thee to my garden's quiet pale" p. 12. The verses were reprinted as part of Edward Smedley's Fragment of a projected Poem — the Subject an Allegory of the Golden Age in his posthumous Poems (1837).

Francis Hodgson: "The author of this pleasing and classical little volume is evidently a man of cultivated understanding, of considerable taste, and of much sensibility. We trust, however, that he is not really so despondent and miserable as he is here poetically represented. As to the account of his death in the preface, and the declaration that this is a posthumous work, we are too well acquainted with a species of innocent imposture that is very prevalent, to attach credit to all literary professions of a similar nature: but, be the truth what it may in the present case, the writer has no occasion to be ashamed of is compositions. He is said by his editor (or, as we conjecture, he declares himself,) to have died young; and indeed we discover many instances of incorrectness in these productions; which, as they certainly belong to a scholar, and indicate no vulgar genius, must offend in this manner solely from the hurry, carelessness, or incompletely formed taste, which are so incidental to youth" Monthly Review NS 70 (March 1813) 322.

Gentleman's Magazine: "The English Poems are principally of an Amatory kind. Those in Latin are few, but they are elegant" 82 (August 1812) 152.



The lengthen'd sand, the desart tract of life,
Which bears no landmark but a drear old age,
No waters but the troubled stream of strife
To cheer us on our weary pilgrimage,
And passion's fev'rish calenture assuage;
Ay! who can look on this, and bless the day
Which bade him in these scenes of woe engage!
No, rather let him early steal away,
And stop his course ere yet he falls, misfortune's prey!

And yet there are some thinly scatter'd flowers,
Which bud and blossom in this tainted air;
Nurs'd by the milder gales and softer showers,
The Violet rears her maiden honours there,
Far from the haunts to which rude steps repair.
Sweet flower! I love thy modest secrecy,
And ever in my garland thee will bear;
Still unregarded by the idler lie,
But still thy charms reveal to one adoring eye!

Oh! let me find thy rich and purfled flower
There where thou liest, in some sequester'd vale;
And I will shield thee from the wintry hour,
And bear thee to my garden's quiet pale,
And hide thy buds where no rude storms assail;
Then round the moss-grown stone I'll bid thee twine,
Teach thee, at nightfall clos'd, the sun to hail,
And watch thy silent growth with careful eyne:
Oh! come to me, sweet flower, and let me call thee mine!

[pp. 11-12]