A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

HORACE WALPOLE, EARL OF ORFORD
(1717-1747-1797)

Countess Temple Appointed Poet Laureate to the King of the Fairies Written at the Desire of Lady Suffolk, January 3, 17631

BY THESE presents be it known,
To all who bend before our throne,
Fays and fairies, elves and sprites,
Beauteous dames and gallant knights,

That we, Oberon the grand, 5
Emperor of Fairy-land,
King of moonshine, prince of dreams,
Lord of Aganippe's streams,
Baron of the dimpl'd isles
That lie in pretty maiden's smiles, 10
Arch-treasurer of all the graces
Dispers'd through fifty lovely faces,
Sovereign of the slipper's order,
With all the rites thereon that border,
Defender of the sylphic faith, 15
Declare--and thus your monarch saith:

Whereas there is a noble dame,
Whom mortals Countess Temple name,
To whom ourself did erst impart

The choicest secrets of our art, 20
Taught her to tune th' harmonious line
To our own melody divine,
Taught her the graceful negligence,
Which, scorning art and veiling sense,
Achieves that conquest o'er the heart 25
Sense seldom gains, and never art:
This lady, 'tis our royal will
Our laureate's vacant seat should fill:
A chaplet of immortal bays
Shall crown her brows and guard her lays; 30
Of nectar-sack an acorn cup
Be at her board each year fill'd up;
And as each quarter feast comes round,
A silver-penny shall be found

____________________
1
Published in Works, Volume IV, 1798. Text of first edition.

-820-

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