Sonnet LIII. Written In The Spring 1785 On The Death Of The Poet Laureat.

A poem by Anna Seward

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 Phoebus' 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.

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