Thomas Tickell

(1686 - 1740 / England)

To Mr. Addison on His Opera of Rosamond


______ Ne fortè pudori
Sit tibi Musa lyræ solers, & cantor Apollo.


The Opera first Italian masters taught,
Enrich'd with songs, but innocent of thought;
Britannia's learned theatre disdains
Melodious trifles, and enervate strains;
And blushes, on her injur'd stage to see
Nonsense well-tun'd, and sweet stupidity.
No charms are wanting to thy artful song,
Soft as Corelli, and as Virgil strong.
From Words so sweet new grace the notes receive,
And Music borrows helps, she us'd to give.

Thy style hath match'd what ancient Romans knew,
Thy flowing numbers far excel the new.
Their cadence in such easy sound convey'd,
The height of thought may seem superfluous aid;
Yet in such charms the noble thoughts abound,
That needless seem the sweets of easy sound.
Landscapes how gay the bowery grotto yields,
Which thought creates, and lavish fancy builds!
What art can trace the visionary scenes,
The flowery groves, and everlasting greens,

The babbling sounds that mimic echo plays,
The fairy shade, and its eternal maze?
Nature and Art in all their charms combin'd,
And all Elysium to one view confin'd!
No further could imagination roam,
Till Vanbrugh fram'd, and Marlborough rais'd the dome.
Ten thousand pangs my anxious bosom tear,
When drown'd in tears I see th' imploring fair;
When bards less soft the moving words supply,
A seeming justice dooms the nymph to die;

But here she begs, nor can she beg in vain
(In dirges thus expiring swans complain);
Each verse so swells expressive of her woes,
And every tear in lines so mournful flows;
We, spite of fame, her fate revers'd believe,
O'erlook her crimes, and think she ought to live.
Let joy salute fair Rosamonda's shade,
And wreaths of myrtle crown the lovely maid.
While now perhaps with Dido's ghost she roves,
And hears and tells the story of their loves,

Alike they mourn, alike they bless their fate,
Since Love, which made them wretched, makes them great.
Nor longer that relentless doom bemoan,
Which gain'd a Virgil, and an Addison.
Accept, great monarch of the British lays,
The tribute song an humble subject pays.
So tries the artless lark her early flight,
And soars, to hail the god of verse and light.
Unrivall'd, as unmatch'd, be still thy fame,
And thy own laurels shade thy envy'd name:

Thy name, the boast of all the tuneful quire,
Shall tremble on the strings of every lyre;
While the charm'd reader with thythought complies,
Feels corresponding joys or sorrows rise,
And views thy Rosamond with Henry's eyes.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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