1794
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Dr. Harington, Mayor of Bath, on his late Behaviour at a Musical Party in that City.

Whitehall Evening Post (20 February 1794).

Anonymous


A salute to Bath's most famous citizen, adapted from Milton's L'Allegro. The nature of the mayor's late behavior is not revealed, though perhaps it had something to do with politics. The first half of the poem, alluding the Harington's work with the Harmonic Society, contrasts Britain's harmonic polity with the discords sounding in France; the second half launches into the L'Allegro theme: "Come then, Apollo's fav'rite son, | My lov'd, my honour'd Harington, | With matchless skill who knows t' impart | The blessings of the healing art, | And with a master's hand untie | The twisted chains of harmony." I have not identified the other figures, though "classic Parsons" is William Parsons, the Della Cruscan poet.



What Passions must those bosoms fill,
Whose fury Music cannot still;
Who, whilst the bowl with roses crown'd
In sweet society goes round,
Whilst mirth, and jest, and revelry,
Each breast from care should render free;
Whilst the brisk catch and roundelay
Each pow'r of melody display;
And whilst the festive vault resounds
The Chorus' animating sounds;
Who in the gay and sportive hour,
In Dalliance's appropriate bower,
Disdain with hearts of ten-fold steel,
The charms of harmony to feel;
And touch'd alone by civil broils,
"By Treasons, Stratagems, and Spoils;"
Disdaining Britain's happy state,
How favour'd by the will of Fate!
Where all the various parts we find
In diapason just combin'd;
Where wondering, envying nations see
A People without licence free;
(A King divine by Hea'vn's own choice,
His Subjects one united voice),
Who wish to blast this blessed land
By rules for other countries plann'd;
And British Liberty appall
By systems drawn from savage Gaul;
Which like the Tyrant's bed of old,
In iron arms its victims hold;
And 'midst their threats and piercing cries,
Torture them to one common size.
Come then, Apollo's fav'rite son,
My lov'd, my honour'd Harington,
With matchless skill who knows t' impart
The blessings of the healing art,
And with a master's hand untie
The twisted chains of harmony;
These sad discordant orgies quit,
For thy bright polish'd mind unfit;
Then join our Carbo's gen'rous board,
With food for mind and body stor'd;
Where with each grace of look and mien,
The partner of his cares is seen
The dubious and well chosen feast
To vouch to each enraptur'd guest;
Where candid, well read Webster pours
In purest streams his learned stores;
Sweet-bodies Ewart, Nature's child,
By every worldly art unspoil'd,
Delights with freedom to dispense
Th' effusions of his manly sense;
Where classic Parsons, fam'd for rhymes,
A rover in all Europe's climes,
His attic eloquence displays,
And pleases in a thousand ways;
Where, tho' the last, yet not the least,
Our Watson joins the jocund feast;
In whom indulgent Fate has joined
Each excellence of heart and mind;
Acuteness, common rules defying,
Thro' time and space with keenness prying;
Kindness and tenderness of soul,
That equality disdain controul,
That know no limit, own no bound,
Where men and misery are found.

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