Of Grub Street, and of Grosvenor Place the best,
Scrawl on, 'till death release us from the strain,
Or Common Sense assert her rights again;930
But Thou, with powers that mock the aid of praise,
Should'st leave to humbler Bards ignoble lays:
Thy country's voice, the voice of all the Nine,
Demand a hallowed harp—that harp is thine.
Say! will not Caledonia's annals yield
The glorious record of some nobler field,
Than the vile foray of a plundering clan,
Whose proudest deeds disgrace the name of man?
Or Marmion's acts of darkness, fitter food
For Sherwood's outlaw tales of Robin Hood?940
Scotland! still proudly claim thy native Bard,
And be thy praise his first, his best reward!
Yet not with thee alone his name should live,
But own the vast renown a world can give;
Be known, perchance, when Albion is no more,
And tell the tale of what she was before;
To future times her faded fame recall,
And save her glory, though his country fall.
New eras spread their wings, new nations rise,
Yet what avails the sanguine Poet's hope,
To conquer ages, and with time to cope?950
- For outlawed Sherwood's tales.—[MS. Brit. Bards. Eds. 1-4.]
So says Pope. Amen!—"Much too savage, whatever the foundation might be."—B., 1816.