1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Invocation to Health. Inscribed to the Right Honourable Charles James Fox.

The Morning Chronicle (26 August 1806).

Causidicus


An allegorical ode in the manner of Milton signed "Causidicus, Aug. 22, 1806." The poet implores Hygeia to grant long life to the great Opposition leader: "Return, fair Health, and give his hand | To hold the balance of our land, | And give his gen'rous heart to glow | Once more for human weal or woe; | Once more the music of his tongue, | To soothe and charm the wond'ring throng." Fox, whose policies the Morning Chronicle had long supported, passed away a few days later; one of his last acts was to introduce a bill in Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade. He had been a regular subject of comment in newspaper verse for thirty years.

On 29 August the newspaper printed a correction: "The signature to the Invocation to Health, inscribed to Mr. Fox, and published in our Paper of Tuesday, ought to have been CAUSIDICA."



Offspring of Youth, and opening Spring,
Return, return, on rosy wing,
Return, with all thy mirthful Crew,
Whose freshness shames the morning dew,
Thy brows with healing herbage bound,
Thy cheeks with blushing honours crown'd,
HYGEIA — health, whate'er of old
Thy name by Sage or Bard enroll'd,
Where'er by palmy hillocks side,
Or watry vale, thy footsteps glide,
Return, and round the Patriot head
Soft airs and balmy odours spread.

Fast fly before thy fragrant breath,
Disease, pale harbinger of death,
And racking Pain, and pining Care,
And weary, watchful, wan Despair—
All ills that taint the lagging wind,
Which once the fatal box confin'd.

Then haste thee, Nymph, and waft along,
More sweet than Shepherds' matin song,
The cheering voice of well-earn'd Fame,
Of power to charm the languid frame,
The mingling sounds which Ether hears
Of Britain's hopes, of Britain's fears,
Where many a sympathising heart,
For Him has felt Suspense's smart,
Tho' doom'd to pass life's idle day
"Far from the tenor of his way."
Return, fair Health, and give his hand
To hold the balance of our land,
And give his gen'rous heart to glow
Once more for human weal or woe;
Once more the music of his tongue,
To soothe and charm the wond'ring throng.
Once more, with all its patriot fire,
To bid contending thrones admire;
And give (to gild his history's page,)
Long years of honourable age,
Whilst formed to merit Friendship's flame
Than peace more dear, and more than fame.
Give him to see Life's utmost bound,
With fame, with peace, with friendship crown'd.
O! if in happier ancient days,
Each Poet's were a Prophet's lays,
Prophetic prove this votive line,
And thou, sweet Nymph, of power divine,

Offspring of Youth, and opening Spring,
Return, return, on rosy wing,
Return, and round the Patriot head
Soft balms and healing odours shed.

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