no previous Next next

 image pending 368




The driest truths in fiction's garb when drest,
Steal on the ear and win the willing breast;
With fresh delight we read the thrice told tale,
Or hear the muse at wayworn follies rail.
Such are the charms in poetry we find,
To soothe the sorrows of the wounded mind;
At her sweet voice, the tear forgets to slow,
The Miser's bosom almost learns to glow,
The tortur'd wretch half ceases to complain,
And smiles, whilst vengeance shews the rack in

Yet, whilst we own the power of verse divine,
And for the Poet's brow the wreath entwine,
We see with sorrow half her empire lost,
Her ends perverted and her meaning crost
By bold intruders, who in every age,
Assume her mark and venture on the stage;
Then false conceits their glittering tinsel shew,
And ranting rage contends with weeping woe.
Alliteration proudly rears her head,
And o'er the laboured page her art is spread;
R's P's and Q's in every corner rise
And strike with ravishment our gazing eyes,
Yet, whilst we praise a science so profound,
We grieve that sense is sacrific'd to sound.

Are rural scenes the subject of the song,
The glittering stream must glide the glades along;
The homely hamlet rear its humble head,
And swallows swiftly sweep to gain the shed:
No lark must dare to mount the clear blue sky,
Because Alliteration is not nigh;
But chattering chaffinches may cheer the day,
Or roving red breasts run from spray to spray,
Or bulls may bellow, or a stag may stalk,
But for his life must not presume to walk,
For then to jingle there were no pretence,
And sound would quite he sacrific'd to sense;
In short, if they agree, 'tis well—if not,
Keep sound in view and let sense be forgot.

But if Alliteration's power is seen
To deck the meadows with a gayer green,
And adds new charms to cheer the darksome grove,
How much the more when winds unlicens'd rove;
When gloomy tempests wraps in clouds the sky,
And screaming sea, fowls tell the storm is nigh,
Then with delight she shews her utmost power,
And leaves the bubbling brook and beauteous bower,
The shattering waves then shake the shelving shore,
And rending rocks re-echo to the roar.
The foaming froth bedecks the billows' brow,
And mourning mariners make many a vow,
Whilst livid lightnings shoot with glittering glare,
And ten fold horrors haunt the angry air.

Thus sings Alliteration—and her theme
To some, the height of poetry may seem;
Yet may we hope this taste at length will fail,
And common sense take up the pleasing tale;
Then shall Alliteration have less power,
Yet not be banish'd quite the muse's bower,
Since still her art may have the power to please,
If well employ'd, and introduc'd with ease.

no previous Next next