The Wish. In a Letter to Mr. Needler. Sent from Cambridge, 1709 by William Duncombe

O! would that sister of th’ Aonian choir,
Who pour’d on Cowley’s soul ecstatic fire,
Inflame my breast, and my weak fancy raise,
To soar, like him, in enthusiastic lays,
Smooth as the Cam my tuneful verse should flow,
Not swell too high, nor ever sink too low;
Like him I boldly would ascend the sky,
And sing the charms of fair Philosophy!
How void of cares, ev’n from life’s flowery prime,
To languid age, her pupils pass their time!
From sorrow and perplexing business free,
They taste the sweets of virtuous Liberty;
And in their shady walks, and silent bowers,
In contemplation spend their gliding hours.
With Reason’s line, these vainly try to sound
Of Deity immense th’ abyss profound,
Yet learn enough their Maker to adore,
His bounties bless, and humbly hope for more.
Those pensive wander through the silent grove,
And o’er Parnassus’ verdant meadows rove.
On yon old domes with sacred awe I gaze,
Where Dryden first essay’d his tuneful lays;
Where Milton’s Muse her inspiration caught,
And fancy first her darling Spenser taught.
O! might I here inglorious spend my days,
Averse to busy care, nor fond of praise;
The ancient Sages’ moral page peruse,
And sometimes listen to the cheerful Muse:
Here Nature through her various windings chase,
And to the fountain-head with wonder trace:
Here trim my lamp, my faculties refine,
And deck my soul with every grace divine;
Till fit to join in heavenly hymns above,
By humble Virtue, and victorious Love,
This mouldering clay, contented, I might leave,
And at the last a fadeless crown receive!

From: http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/TextRecord.php?action=GET&textsid=33788

Date: 1709

By: William Duncombe (1690-1769)

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