1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elegiac Ode for the 1st of January, 1780.

Hibernian Magazine (February 1780) 110.

T. S.


An elegy in eight irregular Spenserians (ababB) signed "T. S., Waringstown, Dec. 1779." The stanza is an elegiac quatrain to which the Spenserian alexandrine has been added, except in the case of the last. New year's odes were typically occasions for serious reflection, the topic in this instance being the ill effects of the American war on Ireland's linen industry: "In yonder vale where melancholy's gloom, | And want's lorn look excite compassion's sigh, | Silent, neglected, stands the artist's loom, | On which he frequent casts a wistful eye, | And weeps the rueful cause that robs it of employ!"

While 1779 is much earlier than his other known publications, "T. S." is very possibly Thomas Stott (1755-1829), who twenty years later would become, as "Hafiz," one of Britain's best-known newspaper poets. He later made a comfortable fortune in the linen trade and was a member of Thomas Percy's literary circle at Dromore.



When smiling peace each happy prospect crown'd,
When shackled war in sullen bondage lay,
When arts and commerce flourish'd all around,
Oft has the muse on this returning day,
To joys exulting notes, erst tun'd her jocund lay.

Joys ah! no more! revers'd the scene appears;
To plaintive measures now she suits the strain,
The gladd'ning voice of peace no longer chears,
But war terrific clanks his broken chain,
Dejected commerce mourns, and drooping arts complain!

The bark, reluctant, tempts the hostile waves,
And quits the shelter of the friendly shore;
With doubts perplex'd, the merchant's bosom heaves,
Lest some bold foe surprize his freighted store,
And hopeless he distrusts, oft e'er to see it more!

In yonder vale where melancholy's gloom,
And want's lorn look excite compassion's sigh,
Silent, neglected, stands the artist's loom,
On which he frequent casts a wistful eye,
And weeps the rueful cause that robs it of employ!

Hard by, the wretched partner of his care,
Assiduous plies the wheel, intent to gain
A scant provision for their present fare,
While all around their helpless infant train,
Urging their little wants, increase the parent's pain!

O ye, whom Heav'n with affluence hath blest,
Let gentle pity in your breasts prevail,
Your gen'rous aid extend to the distress'd,
A kind, a fav'ring ear lend misery's tale,
And in benev'lent acts distinguish now your zeal!

And you, ye virtuous suff'rers, bear awhile,
With patience bear, the clouds will yet blow o'er
Of your misfortunes, and benignant smile
The bright return of prosp'rous days once more,
That to declining trade, new vigour shall restore.

Then, too, the muse on this returning day,
Again with joy shall hail the new-born year,
To sprightly notes, attune her laughing lay,
Nor longer woe's sad plaints wound pity's list'ning ear.

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