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The Book of Georgian Verse

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Book of Georgian

Chosen and Edited with Notes by
William Stanley Braithwaite

Editor of
" The Book of Elizabethan Verse," etc.

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Printed in the United States of America at the
Colonial Press : C. H. Simonds 6^ Co., Boston, Mass.



I 173






<•! IffS anthology is the second to appear in a series of
-* jour volumes designed to cover the entire range of British
poetry from the puhlication of Tottel's Miscellany, 1557, '«
tlje end of the Victorian epoch. The Hook of I'^li/abttlian
Verse, issued in H)o6, was the first published in this series,
^ nf which the present volume in chronological order is the
^ third; — the second to he the Book of Restoration Verse;
V. ^ the fourth, and conclusion of the series, the Book of Vic-
torian Verse.

This grouping of British poetry seems, to the present editor,
to furnish a very definite classification. IVith the first and
fourth hooks in the design stated, there seems little or no
?>\, difference from the accepted classification of literary history;
r\ the division between the second and third books, he realizes,
suggests the acceptance, on his part, of a theory in literary
interpretation about which many are certain to discover
matter for discussion. Some critics are likely to find fault
with the scope of a period to which he has applied the
designation ' Georgian,' beginning with the work of Ramsay
and Gray and reaching its climax and close in fVordsivorth,

This anthology, according to the editor's intention, includes
those poets born under the four Georges, who seem to repre-
sent the rise and development of a distinct poetical epoch.
It does not include such poets as Tennyson, Browning,,
Rossetti, and Arnold {horn under George IV.), who formed
by the groiuth of a new temper in their work from 1 840
onwards, the Victorian School. It is commonly a literary



tenet that the puhlicatwn of Lyrical Ballads in 1798, was
the beginning of a new note which fulfilled its wonderful
promise in the work of Wordsworth's contemporaries. The
splendid period of song which followed still remains un-
matched in any equal, indeed in any much longer count of
the calendar in any country or century, except at the ending
of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth
centuries. Early in the eighteenth century, the germ of
modern romanticism in poetry began in the Scottish capital ;
a little later Gray and Collins, in England, were writing
odes, and Thomson had constructed a theology in nature,
the freshness and the artistic finish of which failed for a time
to make any appeal against the fetich of Pope. But this,
indeed, was the faint spark of new life in British poetry
that slowly but surely burned its way through the formalism,
artifice^ and ' elegance ' of Pope's influence, flaming into
pure and unobstructed radiance in Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Keats, Shelley, Byron, and Scott. In parallel channels, the
English and Scotch poets developed their particular virtues and
qualities until merged into one broad common stream of hu-
manity and mysticism in Burns and Blake.

The selections have been divided into four books, each
quite similar in the general grouping of poems associated
in feeling. While there has been an effort to prevent any
strict formality, which seems to the editor more or less dis-
tasteful in any spontaneous expression of poetic utterance,
he has attempted to give some real coherency in their
arrangement. Thus, the poems on Spring and morning,
youth, delight, and hope, are the opening invitations to each
book, graduating through the months and hours to winter
and midnight, supplemented by each shade and aspiration
of human emotion, and contrasted at intervals with objective


verses which afford pleasure because of their action or

Included are many poems hitherto omitted from anthologies
because of their length. Smart's Song to David, and Blair's
Grave, are conspicuous examples, being moreover poems
not easily accessible in ordinary editions; others such as
Chattertons Bristowe Tragedie, Keats' Eve of St. Agnes
and Isabella, Wordsworth's Michael, Crabbe's Sir Eustace
Gray, Coleridge's Christabel, Burns' Tarn o' Shanter, and
Scott's Eve of Saint John, comprise some of the very finest
narrative poems in our literature. To add Shelley's Adonais
and Epipsychidion, Goldsmith's Deserted Village, Byron's
Prisoner of Chillon, Landor's Hamadryad, and Hogg's
Kilmeny, gives further evidence of the wealth of selections
which conform to Poe's requirement of being readable within
the limits of half an hour. The poems, with two exceptions,
are given in their entirety, and, as near as possible, with the
titles given them by their authors ; where they have been with-
out titles the first line is used to designate the verse.

I wish to tender my thanks to Mr. Burton Kline, Mr.
Laurens Maynard, and Mr. Edwin F. Edgett who have
been helpful to me with suggestions m various ways.

W. S. B.

Twelfth Night, 1908.


The Book of Georgian Verse
Book First


The Book of

Georgian Verse

On the Spring

T O ! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
-*— ' Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,

And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
The untaught harmony of Spring:
While, whispering pleasure as they fly.
Cool Zephyrs thro' the clear blue sky

Their gather'd fragrance fling.

Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch

A broader, browner shade.
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech

O'er-canopies the glade.
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclined in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great !


Still is the toiling hand of Care;

The panting herds repose :
Yet hark, how thro' the peopled air

The busy murmur glows !
The insect-youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring
And float amid the liquid noon :
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily-gilded trim

Quick-glancing to the sun.

To Contemplation's sober eye

Such is the race of Man :
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.
Alike the Busy and the Gay
But flutter thro' life's little day.
In Fortune's varying colours drest:
Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear in accents low

The sportive kind reply:
Poor moralist ! and what art thou ?

A solitary fly !
Thy joys no glittering female meets.
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone —

We frolic while 'tis May.




Ode: To the Cuckoo

T TAIL ! beauteous Stranger of the wood !
-*- -^ Attendant on the Spring!
Now heav'n repairs thy rural seat,
And woods thy welcome sing.

Soon as the daisy decks the green,

Thy certain voice we hear:
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,

Or mark the rolling year ?

Delightful visitant ! with thee

I hail the time of flow'rs,
When heav'n is fill'd with music sweet

Of birds among the bow'rs.

The schoolboy wand'ring in the wood

To pull the flow'rs so gay,
Starts, thy curious voice to hear,

And imitates thy lay.

Soon as the pea puts on the bloom,

Thou fly'st thy vocal vale,
An annual guest, in other lands.

Another Spring to hail.

Sweet bird ! thy bow'r is ever green,

Thy sky is ever clear;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,

No winter in thy year !


Alas ! sweet bird ! not so my fate,

Dark scowling skies I see
Fast gathering round, and fraught with woe

And wintry years to me.

O could I fly, Fd fly with thee:

We'd make, with social wing,
Our annual visit o'er the globe,

Companions of the Spring.

M. Bruce

Ode to the Gowdspink

"T^RAE fields whare Spring her sweets has blawn

-*- Wi' caller verdure o'er the lawn,

The gowdspink comes in new attire,

The brawest 'mang the whistling choir,

That, ere the sun can clear his ein,

Wi' glib notes sane the simmer's green.

Sure Nature berried mony a tree.
For spraings and bonny spats to thee;
Nae mair the rainbow can impart
Sic glowing ferlies o' her art,
Whase pencil wrought its freaks at will
On thee the sey-piece o' her skill.
Nae mair through straths in simmer dight
We seek the rose to bless our sight ;
Or bid the bonny wa'-flowers blaw
Whare yonder Ruin's crumblin' fa':
Thy shining garments far outstrip
The cherries upo' Hebe's lip,
And fool the tints that Nature chose


To busk and paint the crimson rose.

'Mang men, wae's-heart ! we aften find
The brawest drest want peace of mind,
While he that gangs wi' ragged coat
Is weil contentit wi' his lot.
Whan wand wi' glewy birdlime's set,
To steal far aff your dautit mate,
Blyth wad ye change your cleething gay
In lieu of lav'rock's sober grey.
In vain thro' woods you sair may ban
Th' envious treachery of man,
That, wi' your gowden glister ta'en,
Still haunts you on the simmer's plain,
And traps you 'mang the sudden fa's
O' winter's dreary dreepin' snaws.
Now steekit frae the gowany field,
Frae ilka fav'rite houlF and bield,
But mergh, alas ! to disengage
Your bonny bouck frae fettering cage,
Your free-born bosom beats in vain
For darling liberty again.
In window hung, how aft we see
Thee keek around at warblers free.
That carrol saft, and sweetly sing
Wi' a' the blythness of the spring ?
Like Tantalus they hing you here
To spy the glories o' the year;
And tho' you're at the burnie's brink,
They douna suffer j^ou to drink.

Ah, Liberty ! thou bonny dame,
How wildly wanton is thy stream.
Round whilk the birdies a' rejoice.


An' hail you wi' a grateful voice.

The gowdspink chatters joyous here,

And courts wi' gleesome sangs his peer;

The mavis frae the new-bloom'd thorn

Begins his lauds at earest morn;

And herd lowns louping o'er the grass,

Need far less fleetching till their lass,

Than paughty damsels bred at courts,

Wha thraw their mou's and take the dorts:

But, reft of thee, fient flee we care

For a' that life ahint can spare.

The gowdspink, that sae lang has kand

Thy happy sweets (his wonted friend).

Her sad confinement ill can brook

In some dark chamber's dowy nook;

Tho' Mary's hand his nebb supplies,

Unkend to hunger's painfu' cries,

Ev'n beauty canna cheer the heart

Frae life, frae liberty apart;

For now we tyne its wonted lay,

Sae lightsome sweet, sae blythely gay.

Thus Fortune aft a curse can gie,
To wyle us far frae liberty;
Then tent her syren smiles wha list,
I'll ne'er envy your girnal's grist;
For whan fair freedom smiles nae mair,
Care I for life? Shame fa' the hair:
A field o'ergrown wi' rankest stubble.
The essence of a paltry bubble.

R. Fergus son



The Enthusiast: An Ode

ONCE, I remember we)I the day,
'Twas ere the blooming sweets of May
Had lost their freshest hues.
When every flower on every hill,
In every vale, had drunk its fill
Of sunshine and of dews.

'Twas that sweet season's loveliest prime
When Spring gives up the reins of time

To Summer's glowing hand.
And doubting mortals hardly know
By whose command the breezes blow

Which fan the smiling land.

'Twas then beside a green-wood shade
Which cloth'd a lawn's aspiring head

I urg'd my devious way.
With loitering steps, regardless where,
So soft, so genial was the air.

So wond'rous bright the day.

And now my eyes with transport rove
O'er all the blue expansive grove.

Unbroken by a cloud !
And now beneath delighted pass.
Where, winding through the deep-green grass,

A full-brimm'd river flow'd.

I stop, I gaze; in accents rude
To thee, serenest Solitude,
Burst forth th' unbidden lay:


Begone, vile world ; the learn'd, the wise,
The great, the busy, I despise,
And pity e'en the gay.

These, these are joys alone, I cry,
Tis here, divine Philosophy,

Thou deign'st to fix thy throne!
Here, contemplation points the road
Thro' Nature's charms to Nature's God!

These, these, are joys alone !

Adieu, ye vain, low-thoughted cares,
Ye human hopes, and human fears,

Ye pleasures, and ye pains ! —
While thus I spake, o'er all the soul
A philosophic calmness stole,

A Stoic stillness reigns.

The tyrant passions all subside.
Fear, anger, pity, shame, and pride,

No more my bosom move.
Yet still I felt, or seem'd to feel
A kind of visionary zeal

Of universal love.

When lo ! a voice ! a voice I hear !
'Twas Reason whisper'd in my ear

These monitory strains :
What mean'st thou, man ? would'st thou unbind
The ties which constitute thy kind.

The pleasures and the pains ?



The same Almighty Power unseen.
Who spreads the gay or solemn scene

To Contemplation's eye :
Fix'd every movement of the soul.
Taught every wish its destined goal,

And quicken 'd every joy.

He bids the tyrant passions rage.
He bids them war eternal wage.

And combat each his foe :
Till from dissensions concord rise,
And beauties from deformities.

And happiness from woe.

Art thou not man .? and dar'st thou find
A bliss which leans not to mankind .''

Presumptuous thought and vein !
Each bliss unshar'd is unenjoy'd,
Each power is weak, unless employ'd

Some social good to gain.

Some light, and shade, and warmth, and air,
With those exalted joys compare

Which active virtue feels.
When on she drags, as lawful prize.
Contempt, and Indolence, and Vice,

At her triumphant wheels.

As rest to labour still succeeds,
To man, while Virtue's glorious deeds
Employ his toilsome day,



This fair variety of things
Are merely Hfe's refreshing springs
To soothe him on his way.

Enthusiast, go, unstring the lyre;
In vain thou sing'st if none admire,

How sweet soe'er the strain;
And is not thy o'erflowing mind,
Unless thou mixest with thy kind,

Benevolent in vain ?

Enthusiast, go, try every sense;
If not thy bliss, thy excellence

Thou yet hast learn'd to scan;
At least thy wants, thy weakness know.
And see them all uniting show.

That man was made for man.

W. Whitehead

A Satire

T ONG- EXPECTED one-and-twenty,
-* — ' Ling'ring year, at length is flown;
Pride and pleasure, pomp and plenty.
Great (Sir John), are now your own.

Loosen'd from the minor's tether.

Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather,

Bid the sons of thrift farewell.



Call the Betseys, Kates, and Jennies,

All the names that banish care;
Lavish of your grandsire's guineas,

Show the spirits of an heir.

All that prey on vice and folly,

Joy to see their quarry fly;
There the gamester, light and jolly,

There the lender, grave and sly.

Wealth, my lad, w^as made to wander,

Let it wander as it will;
Call the jockey, call the pander.

Bid them come and take their fill.

When the bonny blade carouses,

Pockets full, and spirits high —
What are acres ? What are houses ?

Only dirt, or wet or dry.

Should the guardian, friend, or mother.

Tell the woes of wilful waste,
Scorn their counsel, scorn their pother, —

You can hang or drown at last !

S. Johnson

6. To Mrs. Thrale

On her completing her Thirty-Fifth Tear

OFT in danger, yet alive.
We are come to ;hirty-five;
Long may better years arrive,



Better years than thirty-five.

Could philosophers contrive

Life to stop at thirty-five,

Time his hours should never drive

O'er the bounds of thirty-five.

High to soar, and deep to dive,

Nature gives at thirty-five.

Ladies, stock and tend your hive.

Trifle not at thirty-five;

For, howe'er we boast and strive,

Life declines from thirty-five;

He that ever hopes to thrive

Must begin at thirty-five;

And all who wisely wish to wive

Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.

S. Johnson

7. An Ode on Miss Harriet Hanhury,
Six Tears Old

'V\TRY should I thus employ my rime,

To paint those cheeks of rosy hue ?
Why should I search my brains for rhyme,
To sing those eyes of glossy blue ^

The power as yet is all in vain,

Thy numerous charms, and various graces;

They only serve to banish pain.
And light up joy in parents' faces.

But soon those eyes their strength shall feel;
Those charms their powerful sway shall find:


Youth shall in crowds before you kneel,
And own your empire o'er mankind.

Then, when on Beauty's throne you sit.
And thousands court your wish'd-for arms;

My Muse shall stretch her utmost wit.
To sing the victories of your charms.

Charms that in time shall ne'er be lost.
At least while verse like mine endures,

And future Hanburys shall boast,

Of verse like mine, of charms like yours.

A little vain we both may be,

Since scarce another house can show,

A poet, that can sing like me;

A beauty, that can charm like you.

Sir C. H. Wtlhams

S. To Charlotte Pulteney

TIMELY blossom. Infant fair,
Fondly of a happy pair.
Every morn and every night ^

Their solicitous delight.
Sleeping, waking, still at ease.
Pleasing, without skill to please;
Little gossip, blithe and hale,
Tattling many a broken tale,
Singing many a tuneless song.
Lavish of a heedless tongue;
Simple maiden, void of art.
Babbling out the very heart,




Yet abandon'd to thy will,

Yet imagining no ill,

Yet too innocent to blush;

Like the linnet in the bush

To the mother-linnet's note

Moduling her slender throat;

Chirping forth thy petty joys,

Wanton in the change of toys,

Like the linnet green, in May

Flitting to each bloomy spray;

Wearied then and glad of rest,

Like the linnet in the nest: —

This thy present happy lot

This, in time will be forgot:

Other pleasures, other cares,

Ever-busy Time prepares;
And thou shalt in thy daughter see,
This picture, once, resembled thee.

A. Philips

To the Honourable Miss Carteret

"DLOOM of beauty, early flower

■*-^ Of the blissful bridal bower.
Thou, thy parents' pride and care.
Fairest offspring of the fair.
Lovely pledge of mutual love.
Angel seeming from above,
Was it not thou day by day
Dost thy very sex betray.
Female more and more appear,
Female, more than angel dear,


How to speak thy face and mien,
(Soon too dangerous to be seen)
How shall I, or shall the Muse,
Language of resemblance choose,
Language like thy mien and face.
Full of sweetness, full of grace ?

By the next returning spring,
When again the linnets sing,
When again the lambkins play,
Pretty sportlings full of May,
When the meadows next are seen.
Sweet enamel, white and green,
And the year in fresh attire
Welcomes every gay desire,
Blooming on shalt thou appear
More inviting than the year.
Fairer sight than orchard shows.
Which beside a river blows:
Yet another spring I see.
And a brighter bloom in thee:
And another round of time,
Circling, still improves thy prime:
And beneath the vernal skies
Yet a verdure more shall rise.
Ere thy beauties, kindling slow.
In each finished feature glow.
Ere in smiles and in disdain
Thou exert thy maiden reign.
Absolute to save, or kill,
Fond beholders, at thy will.

Happy thrice, and thrice again.
Happiest he of happy men.



Who, in courtship greatly sped,
Wins the damsel to his bed,
Bears the virgin prize away,
Counting life one nuptial day:
For the dark-brown dusk of hair,
Shadowing thick thy forehead fair,
Down the veiny temples growing,
O'er the sloping shoulders flowing,
And the smoothly penciled brow.
Mild to him in every vow,
And the fringed lid below,
Thin as thinnest blossoms blow,
And the hazely-lucid eye.
Whence heart-winning glances fly.
And that cheek of health, o'erspread
With soft-blended white and red,
And the witching smiles which break
Round those lips, which sweetly speak,
And thy gentleness of mind.
Gentle from a gentle kind,
These endowments, heavenly dower!
Brought him in the promised hour.
Shall for ever bind him to thee.
Shall renew him still to woo thee.

A. Philips

10. To Miss Georgtana Carteret

T ITTLE charm of placid mien,
"^^ Miniature of Beauty's Queen,
Numbering years, a scanty nine.
Stealing hearts without design,


"\oung inveigler, fond in wiles,
Prone to mirth, profuse in smiles.
Yet a novice in disdain,
Pleasure giving without pain,
Still caressing, still caressed,
Thou and all thy lovers blessed.
Never teased, and never teasing.
Oh for ever pleased and pleasing!
Hither, British Muse of mine,
Hither, all the Grecian Nine,
With the lovely Graces Three,
And your promised nursling see:
Figure on her waxen mind
Images of life refined;
Make it as a garden gay,
Every bud of thought display,
Till, improving year by year,
The whole culture shall appear.
Voice, and speech, and action, rising,
All to human sense surprising.

Is the silken web so thin
As the texture of her skin ?
Can the lily and the rose
Such unsullied hue disclose ?
Are the violets so blue
As her veins exposed to view?
Do the stars in wintry sky
Twinkle brighter than her eye ?
Has the morning lark a throat
Sounding sweeter than her note ?
Who e'er knew the like before thee ?
They who knew the nymph that bore thee.



From thy pastime and thy toys,
From thy harmless cares and joys,
Give me now a moment's time:
When thou shalt attain thy prime,
And thy bosom feel desire,
Love the likeness of thy sire,
One ordained through life to prove
Still thy glory, still thy love.
Like thy sister, and like thee,
Let thy nurtured daughters be:
Semblance of the fair who bore thee.
Trace the pattern set before thee,
Where the Liffy meets the main,
Has thy sister heard my strain;
From the LifFy to the Thames,
Minstrel echoes, sing their names,
Wafting to the willing ear
Many a cadence sweet to hear.
Smooth as gently breathing gales
O'er the ocean and the vales.
While the vessel calmly glides
O'er the level glassy tides,
While the summer flowers are springing,
And the new-fledged birds are singing.

A. Philips

IIo Ode to Leven Water

C~\^ Leven's banks, while free to rove
^-^ And tune the rural pipe to love,
I envied not the happiest swain
That ever trod the Arcadian plain.


Pure stream, in whose transparent wave
My youthful limbs I wont to lave,
No torrents stain thy limpid source.
No rocks impede thy dimpling course.
That warbles sweetly o'er its bed,
With white, round, polished pebbles spread.
While, lightly poised, the scaly brood
In myriads cleave thy crystal flood —
The springing trout in speckled pride,
The salmon, monarch of the tide.
The ruthless pike intent on war.
The silver eel, and mottled par.
Devolving from thy parent lake,
A charming maze thy waters make,
By bowers of birch and groves of pine,
And edges flowered with eglantine.

Still on thy banks, so gaily green.
May numerous herds and flocks be seen,
And lasses, chanting o'er the pail.
And shepherds, piping in the dale.
And ancient faith, that knows no guile,
And Industry, embrowned with toil.
And hearts resolved and hands prepared
The blessings they enjoy to guard.

T. Smollett

12. Fail Valet Hora Bemgnt

TN myriad swarms, each summer sun
^ An insect nation shows;
Whose being, since he rose begun.
And e'er he sets will close.



Brief is their date, confin'd their powers,

The fluttering of a day; —
Yet life's worth living, e'en for hours.

When all those hours — are play.

S. Bishop

75. Song

"pERHAPS it is not love, said I,

-^ That melts my soul when Flavia's nigh:

Where wit and sense like hers agree.

One may be pleased, and yet be free.

The beauties of her polish'd mind
It needs no lover's eye to find ;
The hermit freezing in his cell

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