1783
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Stanzas, written after some seasonable Rains.

Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (30 July 1783).

Rev. John Newell Puddicombe


Seven irregular Spenserians (ababcC) signed "J. N. Puddicombe." The poet takes the occasion of some summer rains as a pretext for physico-theological reflection: "Is heav'n thus kind to Albion's lovely isle, | And shall she not in duteous zeal improve? | In vain shall white-rob'd peace and plenty smile? | Forbid it goodness, gratitude, and love!" Puddicombe had taken his M.A. at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1781; in 1785 he would become an usher at Dulwich College.



Thanks to that pitying power, whose bounteous hand
Unlock'd the crystal sluices of the sky,
And o'er a thirsty, supplicating land
Diffus'd those liquid stores, whose kind supply
Imparts refreshment to the grateful vales,
New beauty to the plains, and fragrance to the gales!

Again the meadows smile; the languid flow'rs,
That lately droop'd upon the fervid ground,
Own the soft influence of the genial show'rs;
Erect their graceful heads, and, all around,
Waft their fresh incense through the tepid air,
And livelier odours breathe, and lovelier blushes wear.

Fierce Sirius mitigates his burning reign,
Th' imprison'd zephyrs quit their gelid cave;
Blithe as the soaring lark, th' exulting swain
Sees o'er his field the golden harvest wave.
Big with the promise of the generous year,
Hills, forests, teeming dales, and verdurous lawns appear!

'Tis joy unbounded all! where'er I stray,
Beauties on beauties meet my wondering eyes!
Unusual transports in my bosom play,
While at each step reviving odours rise,
Sweet as rich breezes steal from Persian flow'rs,
Or Abyssinian groves, or gay Arabian bow'rs!

Is heav'n thus kind to Albion's lovely isle,
And shall she not in duteous zeal improve?
In vain shall white-rob'd peace and plenty smile?
Forbid it goodness, gratitude, and love!
Oh! ever may her glowing heart renew
The warm impassion'd sense of care, so fond — so true!

Albion! to scenes of ruin turn thy eye,
Think on Calabria's woes, and doom severe!
And while soft Pity wakes the mournful sigh,
And bathes thy cheek with the condoling tear,
Bless thy own happier fate, — adore the pow'r,
Who on thy head delights his various gifts to show'r!

Who (the tremendous earthquake thundering near!)
Bids thee stand safe, with heavenly favor crown'd;
Bids the fell pestilence thy realms revere,
That, wrapt in midnight darkness, stalks around;
And, hapless thousands falling at thy side,
Deigns thy uninjur'd head with sheltering wing to hide!

[unpaginated]