1789
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. —, on the Anniversary of their Wedding-Day.

Miscellaneous Poems by the Reverend Luke Booker, Minister of St. Edmund's, Dudley, Worcestershire.

Rev. Luke Booker


Four irregular Spenserians (ababccdD). In this nuptial ode Luke Booker upholds the marriage of Emma and Damon as an example for others to follow: "For Heav'n delights such deeds to bless, | Nor, long will suffer fell distress | To wring the heart where Virtue rears her throne, | Rules with benignant sway, and makes its wants her own" p. 99. The use of this form of Spenserian stanza, popularized by Gray's Hymn to Adversity, was particularly common in the 1780s and 1790s, though not for subjects like this.

William Enfield: "To be pleased with no productions in literature, excepting with those of the first order, betrays a degree of fastidiousness, which, in a reader, is indiscreet, because it deprives him of some enjoyment, and, in a critic, is unfair, because it withholds from merit, of whatever degree, its deserved tribute of praise. The author of these poems may not be entitled to rank with a Milton, nor with a Thomson: but he is not on this account to be consigned to oblivion with the herd of scribblers, with whom rhyme and poetry are synonymous terms. However deficient these poems may appear, to a reader of correct taste, in original invention and creative fancy, they must not be denied the praise of natural and tender sentiment, unaffected language, and a flow of versification, by no means inharmonious" Monthly Review NS 6 (1791) 455.

Critical Review: The author of these Poems seems to be a man of benevolence and piety, and we are willing to hope he performs the duties of his office, and sustains the various relations of life, much better than he writes verses. Of these Poems, the two most considerable are Knowle-hill and the Highlanders. The Highlanders was first published in 1787, with the design of awakening the attention of the public to the distress and poverty of that suffering race, which he strongly describes" NS 10 (1794) 39-40.



The Day returns, — the festive Day,
When Hymen to the rural Fane
His youthful Fav'rites led away,
To share and sooth each other's pain:
To make the tide of Rapture roll
Serenely o'er th' enamour'd Soul
Where Purity and wedded Love combine,
Its deathless Pow'rs to train to happiness divine.

The Nymphs beheld with envious eye,
Fair EMMA to her DAMON giv'n;
The Swains suppress'd the hopeless sigh
For EMMA, fairest gift of heav'n:
But, Nymphs and Swains! nor more repine;
For You, soon Hymen's torch shall shine
In smiling splendor from the realms above,
To light you to the Bow'r of soft connubial Love.

Then, like the Worth-ennobled Pair
Who now receive the Muse's meed,
May your defence from ev'ry care
Be ev'ry just and gen'rous deed!
For Heav'n delights such deeds to bless,
Nor, long will suffer fell distress
To wring the heart where Virtue rears her throne,
Rules with benignant sway, and makes its wants her own.

Long may her pow'r avert each harm,
And gain from Heav'n each mild decree,
Preserve them from each rude alarm,
And bid them happy happy be!
Long may their darling blooming Boys
Prove to their breast a source of Joys,
Bless them thro' Youth and Age till Life be o'er,
And meet their fond embrace, on heav'n's eternal shore.

[pp. 98-100]