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[THOMAS WARTON was born in 1728 at Basingstoke, of which town his father (Thomas Warton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1718 to 1728) was vicar. He was educated at first by his father, and in 1743 became a member of Trinity College, Oxford, of which society he became a Fellow in 1751. He was Professor of Poetry from 1757 to 1767, and became Poet-Laureate on the death of Whitehead in 1785. He died in 1790. His poems, published separately from time to time, were collected in 1777, and again, in two vols. 8vo., in 1802.]

Thomas Warton is in his poetry chiefly imitative, as was natural in so laborious a student of our early poetical literature. The edition of his poems which was published by his admirer and his brother's devoted pupil, Richard Mant, offers a curious example of a poet 'killed with kindness'; for the apparatus of parallel passages from Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and others, is enough to ruin any little claim to originality which might have been put forward for him. The Pleasures of Melancholy is a cento of Il Penseroso, Comus, and The Faerie Queene; the Ode on the Approach of Summer is a mere echo of L'Allegro. Again, the influence of Gray makes itself far too strongly felt in Warton's elegiac poems and odes. But there are reasons why his genial figure should not be altogether excluded from a representative English anthology. It has often been said that his History of English Poetry, with Percy's Reliques, turned the course of our letters into a fresh channel; but what is more noticeable here is that his own poetry-or much of it, for he is not always free from the taint of pseudo-classicalism—instinctively deals with materials like those on which the o'der writers had drawn. In reaction against the didactic and critical temper of the earlier half of his century, he is a student of nature; he is even an ‘enthusiast,' in Whitehead's sense. He has two passions, well expressed in the

two sonnets here given-the passion for 'antiquity' and the passion for nature; for the Bodleian Library and for

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and, we may add, for Oxford, his home for forty-seven years, at whose service he was always ready to place his invention, his humour, and his gift of satire. The real Warton is to be looked for in the writings in which these passions find their vent; in the History, in the Sonnets (a form of composition which he revived among us), and in the Humorous Pieces; not in the 'quit-rent odes' which were wrung from him by the unhappy necessities of his laureateship.



Let Granta boast the patrons of her name,
Each splendid fool of fortune and of fame:
Still of preferment let her shine the queen,
Prolific parent of each bowing dean:
Be hers each prelate of the pampered cheek,
Each courtly chaplain, sanctified and sleek:
Still let the drones of her exhaustless hive

On rich pluralities supinely thrive :
Still let her senates titled slaves revere,
Nor dare to know the patriot from the peer;
No longer charmed by Virtue's lofty song,
Once heard sage Milton's manly tones among,
Where Cam, meandering thro' the matted reeds,
With loitering wave his groves of laurel feeds.
'Tis ours, my son, to deal the sacred bay,
Where honour calls, and justice points the way;
To wear the well-earned wreath that merit brings,
And snatch a gift beyond the reach of kings.
Scorning and scorned by courts, yon Muse's bower
Still nor enjoys, nor seeks, the smile of power.
Though wakeful Vengeance watch my crystal spring,
Though Persecution wave her iron wing,
And, o'er yon spiry temples as she flies,
'These destined seats be mine,' exulting cries;
Fortune's fair smiles on Isis still attend:
And, as the dews of gracious heaven descend
Unasked, unseen, in still but copious showers,
Her stores on me spontaneous Bounty pours.
See, Science walks with recent chaplets crowned;
With fancy's strain my fairy shades resound;
My Muse divine still keeps her customed state,
The mien erect, and high majestic gait:

This poem was written when Warton was an undergraduate, in answer


to Isis, an Elegy,' by Mason.

Green as of old each olived portal smiles,
And still the Graces build my Grecian piles:
My Gothic spires in ancient glory rise,
And dare with wonted pride to rush into the skies.



Scant along the ridgy land
The beans their new-born ranks expand:
The fresh-turned soil with tender blades
Thinly the sprouting barley shades:
Fringing the forest's devious edge,
Half robed appears the hawthorn hedge;
Or to the distant eye displays
Weakly green its budding sprays.

The swallow, for a moment seen,
Skims in haste the village green :
From the gray moor, on feeble wing,
The screaming plovers idly spring:
The butterfly, gay-painted soon,
Explores awhile the tepid noon;
And fondly trusts its tender dyes
To fickle suns, and flattering skies.

Fraught with a transient, frozen shower
If a cloud should haply lower,
Sailing o'er the landscape dark,
Mute on a sudden is the lark;
But when gleams the sun again
O'er the pearl-besprinkled plain,
And from behind his watery veil
Looks through the thin descending hail;
She mounts, and, lessening to the sight,
Salutes the blithe return of light,

And high her tuneful track pursues
Mid the dim rainbow's scattered hues.


Where in venerable rows
Widely waving oaks inclose
The moat of yonder antique hall,
Swarm the rooks with clamorous call;
And to the toils of nature true,
Wreath their capacious nests anew.

Musing through the lawny park,
The lonely poet loves to mark
How various greens in faint degrees
Tinge the tall groups of various trees;
While, careless of the changing year,
The pine cerulean, never sere,
Towers distinguished from the rest,
And proudly vaunts her winter vest.

Within some whispering osier isle, Where Glym's low banks neglected smile; And each trim meadow still retains The wintry torrent's oozy stains: Beneath a willow, long forsook, The fisher seeks his customed nook; And bursting through the crackling sedge, That crowns the current's caverned edge, He startles from the bordering wood The bashful wild-duck's early brood.

O'er the broad downs, a novel race,
Frisk the lambs with faltering pace,
And with eager bleatings fill
The foss that skirts the beaconed hill.

His free-born vigour yet unbroke To lordly man's usurping yoke, The bounding colt forgets to play, Basking beneath the noon-tide ray, And stretched among the daisies pied Of a green dingle's sloping side: While far beneath, where nature spreads Her boundless length of level meads.

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