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Poem by Anna Seward


Sonnet 53. The knell of Whitehead tolls!his cares are past


     WRITTEN IN THE SPRING 1785 
     ON THE DEATH OF THE POET LAUREAT.

The knell of Whitehead tolls!his cares are past,
    The hapless tribute of his purchas'd lays,
    His servile, his Egyptian tasks of praise!
    If not sublime his strains, Fame justly plac'd
Their power above their work.Now, with wide gaze
Of much indignant wonder, she surveys
    To the life-labouring oar assiduous haste
    A glowing Bard, by every Muse embrac'd.
O, Warton! chosen Priest of Phœbus' choir!
    Shall thy rapt song be venal? hymn the Throne,
    Whether its edicts just applause inspire,
Or Patriot Virtue view them with a frown?
    What needs for this the golden-stringed Lyre,
    The snowy Tunic, and the Sun-bright Zone[1]!

1: Ensigns of Apollo's Priesthood. 



Anna Seward


Anna Seward's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 45. From Possibility's dim chaos sprung
  2. Sonnet 80. As lightens the brown Hill to vivid green
  3. Sonnet 15. The evening shines in May's luxuriant pride
  4. Sonnet 87. Round Cleon's brow the Delphic laurels twine
  5. Sonnet 56. What bashful wildness in those crystal eyes


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