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Here Poesy, from awful days of yore,
Has pour'd her genuine gifts of raptur'd lore.
'Mid oaken bowers, with holy verdure wreath'd,
In Druid songs her solemn spirit breath'd :
While cunning bards, at ancient banquets, sung
Of Paynim foes defy'd, and trophies hung:
Here Spenser tun'd his mystic minstrelsy,
And dress'd in fairy robes a queen like thee.
Here, boldly mark'd with every living hue,
Nature's unbounded portrait Shakspere drew:
But chief, the mournful group of human woes
The daring artist's tragic pencil chose ;
Explor'd the pangs that rend the royal breast,
Those wounds that lurk beneath the tissu'd vest !
Lo! this the land, whence Milton's muse of fire
High soar'd to steal from Heaven a seraph's lyre;
And told the golden ties of wedded love
In sacred Eden's amaranthine grove.
Thine too, majestic bride! the favor'd clime,
Where Science sits enshrin'd in roofs sublime
O mark how green her wood of ancient bays
O'er Isis' marge in many a chaplet strays !
Thither if haply some distinguish'd flower
Of these mix'd blooms, from that ambrosial bower,
Might catch thy glance, and, rich in Nature's hue,
Entwine thy diadem with honor due;
If seemly gifts the train of Phoebus pay,
To deck imperial Hynien’s festive day;
Thither thyself shall haste, and mildly deign
To tread with nymph-like step the conscious plain ;
Pleas'd in the Muse's nook, with decent pride,
To throw the scepter'd pall of state aside,
Nor from the slade shall George be long away,
Which claims Charlotta's love, and courts her stay..
These are Britannia's praises. Deign to trace, With rapt reflection, Freedom's favorite race ! But tho' the generous isle, in arts and arms, Thus stands supreme, in Nature's choicest charms; Tho' George and conquest guard her sea-girt thirone, One happier blessing still she calls her own ; And, proud a fresh increase of fame to view, Crowns all her glory by possessing you.
BY RICHARD OWEN CAMBRIDGE, ESQ.
'Tis so-though we're surpris'd to hear it:
The laurel is bestow'd on merit.
How hushid is every envious voice!
Confounded by so just a choice,
Though by prescriptive right prepar'd
To libel the selected bard.
But as you see the statesman's fate
In this our democratic state,
Whom virtue strives in vain to guard
From the rude pamphlet and the card ;
You'll find the demagogues of Pindus
In envy not a jot behind us :
For each Aonian politician
(Whose element is opposition), Vol. VI.
Will shew how greatly they surpass us
In gall and wormwood at Parnassus.
Thus as the same detracting spirit Attends on all distinguish'd merit, When 'tis your turn, observe, the quarrel Is not with you, but with the laurel.
Suppose that laurel on your brow For cypress chang'd, funereal bough! See all things take a diff'rent turn!
critics sweetly mourn, And leave their satire's poisonous sting In plaintive elegies to sing: With solemn threnody and dirge Conduct you to Elysium's verge. At Westminster the surplic'd dean The sad but honorable scene Prepares. The well-attended herse Bears you amid the kings of verse, Each rite observ'd, each duty paid, Your fame on marble is display'd, With symbols which your genius suit, The mask, the buskin, and the flute; The laurel crown aloft is hung; And o'er the sculptur'd lyre unstrung Sad allegoric figures leaning(How folks will gape to find their meaning!) And a long epitaph is spread, Which happy You will never read.
But hold—The change is so inviting,
I own, I tremble while I'm writing.
Yet, WHITEHEAD, 'tis too soon to lose
Let critics flatter or abuse you,
O! teach us, ere you change the scene
To Stygian banks from Hippocrene,
How free-born bards should strike the strings,
And how a Briton write to kings.