Tag Archives: blank verse

Phillis Wheatley, “To the University of Cambridge, in New-England”


 “To the University of CAMBRIDGE, in NEW-ENGLAND.”


While an intrinsic ardor prompts to write,
The muses promise to assist my pen;
’Twas not long since I left my native shore,
The land of errors, and Egyptian gloom:
Father of mercy, twas thy gracious hand                                         5
Brought me to safety from those dark abodes.

Students, to you ‘tis giv’n to scan the heights
Above, to traverse the ethereal space,
And mark the systems of revolving worlds.
Still more, ye sons of science ye receive                                           10
The blissful news by messengers from heav’n,
How Jesus blood for your redemption flows.
See him with hands out-stretcht upon the cross;
Immense compassion in his bosom glows;
He hears revilers, nor resents their scorn:                                       15
What matchless mercy in the Son of God!
When the whole human race by sin had fall’n,
He deign’d to die, that they might rise again,
And share with him in the sublimest skies,
Life without death, and glory without end.                                        20

Improve your privileges while they stay,
Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears
Or good or bad report of you to heav’n.
Let sin, that baneful evil to the soul,
By you be shunn’d, nor once remit your guard;                                 25
Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg.
Ye blooming plants of human race divine,
An Ethiop tells you ‘tis your greatest foe;
Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain,
And in immense perdition sinks the soul.                                            30


 Title   Harvard University, named after benefactor John Harvard (1607-1638), was established
in 1637 in Newetowne, MA, renamed “Cambridge” in 1638 (harvard.edu).

 1  ardor   “Enthusiasm or passion” (OED).

 2   muses   “The Nine Muses in Greek mythology, goddesses of the arts, literature and
science,” daughters of the Greek god Zeus and Titan goddess of memory, Mnemosyne

18  deigned   “Beneath one’s dignity” (OED).

21  improve   “Profit from” (OED).

24  baneful   “Harmful, destructive” (OED).

26  deadly serpent  Alluding to the serpent in The Garden of Eden, from the book of
Genesis (Genesis 3:14, King James Bible).

28  Ethiop “ From Latin Aethiops, Ethiopian, negro” (OED).

30  perdition   Eternal damnation, hell (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pp. 15-16. [archive.org]

Edited by Vivian Barbulescu

Phillis Wheatley, “On Virtue”


 “On Virtue”


O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound.                                                        5
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.
Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss.                                                       10

Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,
And lead celestial Chastity along;
Lo! Now her sacred retinue descends,
Array’d in glory from the orbs above.
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!                                                                 15
O leave me not to the false joys of time!
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
To give me an higher appellation still,
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay                                                                          20
O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day!


7 Virtue “A quality of people, divine beings” (OED).

9 fain “Glad, rejoiced, well-pleased” (OED).

11 pinions “The wing of a bird in flight” (OED).

12 Chastity “Purity from unlawful sexual intercourse; continence” (OED).

18 Greatness “Innate nobility or dignity,…grandeur” (OED); Goodness “The quality of being morally good; virtue; worthiness” (OED).

21 Cherubs Angels.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pp. 13-14. [Archive.org]

Edited by Joseph R. Adams

“E. B.,” “Some additional Lines, which were recited at the Caractacan Meeting…”

“E. B.”

“Some additional Lines, which were recited at the CARACTACAN Meeting, at Longnor, in Shropshire, in July, 1776.”

So sung the bard, who, in Silurian groves
Sequester’d, chaunted his prophetic strain.
Far other scenes, beyond the vast Atlantic,
Horrid with arms, and stain’d with civil blood,
The Muse with grief beholds, and with soft Pity’s                          5
Mournful eye deplores, weeping the dire ills
Of lawless Faction, blasting the fair fruits
Which Freedom and true Liberty bestow’d,
In happiest climes, on those her fav’rite sons.
Instead of regal sway, for gen’ral good,                                         10
Fierce democratic rage usurps the seat
Of Empire, spurning with rebellious pride
The hand parental, which has rais’d and nurtur’d
Their infant weakness up to the strength and power.
Yet, ‘midst the conflict of th’ impurpled field,                               15
If Victory should crown our warriors brows,
O yet may Britons, in whose gen’rous breasts
Firm Valour is with gentlest Mercy join’d,
(Noblest distinction of the brave and good!)
Learn to forgive e’en blind deluded zeal                                       20
For what was rashly deem’d their Country’s Cause.
Each real grievance, ev’ry public wound,
By Wisdom’s mild and lenient councils heal’d,
May smiling Peace, and ev’ry lib’ral art,
Return again to bless Columbia’s shores;                                     25
Commerce with swelling sails waft o’er the Main
The various bounties of each distant clime:
May Albion’s wide-extended Empire’s bounds,
In closest union link’d, defy her foes,
And kindred nations hail one Patriot King!                                  30


Title  CARACTACAN An originally Welsh society honoring Caractacus, the Briton king who led the war against Rome’s invasion of England (National Library of Wales); Longnor Village near the Welsh border.

1  Silurian “[O]f ancient southeastern Wales” (OED).

2  chaunted Chanted.

15  impurpled field A field made purple by the spilling of much blood.

25  Columbia America.

26  Main The Atlantic Ocean.

28  Albion “A poetic or literary term for Britain or England” (OED).

30  Patriot King King George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820, but possibly also a reference to Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke’s 1740 treatise, The Idea of a Patriot King, which claimed that England needed an outside-of-politics king to take power and save the country from the factional and corrupt party politics that plagued England’s government under Robert Walpole in the 1720 and 1730s.  Before he became King, George was said to have been an admirer of Bolingbroke’s tract.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 46 (September 1776), p. 427.

Edited by George Griffith

Anonymous, “Evening and Night”



NOW all is calm, and through the ambient air
The breathing zephyrs, on their balmy wings,
Ambrosial odours waft, that glad the heart
And to the nerves relax’d on their tone restore,
The sun, just hovering on the giddy verge,                                           5
‘Twixt world and world, faint and oblique, emits
His blunted rays; that tinge with golden dye
The lofty mountain’s russet head from far,
Mean while he opes on some far distant realm
The chrystal portals of the joyful morn,                                               10
Proclaiming, as he moves, returning day.
As more to these he lends his chearing beams,
Night, from the east, in majesty sedate,
And slow progression comes, with shade o’er shade
Of growing darkness; and with silent force                                         15
Expels the last reluctant ling’ring ray.
Where art thou busy world? and in what cave
Profound and dark, now hush’d to silence deep,
Sleeps your loud noise, your tumult, and confusion
That lately beat the yielding air; and where                                          20
That soft harmonious change of various notes?
Now only the sad nightingale disturbs
The solemn silence while thro’ awful shades,
Sad as the night she sings, the warbler pours
Her plaintive notes. Or from his lonely haunt,                                     25
The tott’ring ruins of some antient dome,
The midnight owl, bent on black deeds, steals forth
And with dread cries, and harsh discordant notes,
To the drear hour adds horrors not its own.
Hail! sacred silence, thou who first of things                                 30
Erst held thro’ all th’ ilimitable void,
An universal sway, ere circling worlds
Were form’d, ere yon caerulean arch began
T’ expand its recent shape, and ere the sun
Was from blended mass, formless and rude,                                       35
Sever’d, and fix’d the lucid central point
Of fair creation’s wide extended round.
Blest pow’r, I feel thy sacred influence now,
Thine is the gen’rous plan that patriots form;
Thine is the glow that warms the poet’s mind;                                     40
Led forth by thee he wanders forth, beneath
The silver moon, and conscious satyrs, to view
The gloomy night, whose dusky horrors please
And wake in studious minds the lofty thought.
Not to the sons of riot spend their hours,                                            45
Sworn foes at once to silence and to peace,
These to ill deeds the midnight revel fires
To rude intemp’rance and to lawless love.
See o’er the north a blaze of meteors spread,
In mystic dance, and convolutions wild;                                               50
Dilated now, how dens’d, now brightness all,
Now stain’d with sanguine dye, swiftly they mix,
They thwart, extinguish, and renew. On these
Pale Superstition turns her eye aghast,
And sees, or thinks she sees, portended fate.                                     55
Yet these, and whate’er else the worlds above
Meteor or storm, produce, are but thy path
Father of light and life; whate’er we see,
Whate’er we know, is but the varied God,
He in black darkness oft, and thickest gloom,                                     60
Involves his awful brow, or mounts the blaze,
Of unextinguish’d light, and round the world,
The wond’ring world, displays Almighty pow’r,
And love, which, unconfin’d, sustains, directs,
Whatever is—to him be endless praise.                                        65
Sheerness, Dec. 11, 1760


2 zephyrs A soft, gentle breeze (OED). Wind that blows from the west.

3 Ambrosial Something very pleasing to taste or smell (OED).

22 nightingale A small bird known for its rich song (OED). In literature and poetry, the nightingale and its nocturnal song are often used as symbols of love and loss.

31 Erst Formerly (OED).

33 caerulean A sky-blue color.

 42 satyrs Woodland figures of Classical mythology who resemble men with horse or goat-like physical features. Typically represented as lustful and hedonistic.

 52 sanguine Optimistic, especially in an apparently difficult situation. In medieval science,     “sanguine” referred to a ruddy complexion and an optimistic disposition symptomatic of an excess of blood in the bodily humors (OED).

66 Sheerness A coastal town in Southeast England that began as a naval fort and dockyard in the seventeenth century (BBC).

SOURCE: The Gentleman’s Magazine (December, 1760), pp. 586-87.

 Edited by Ariana Balagtas

[Mrs. Letches], “Evening Reflections on Brandon-Hill”


 “Evening Reflections on Brandon-Hill”

Soft pleasing Twilight! welcome is thy glad
Approach to weary man! he, forgetful still
Of all the toils succeeding days present him,
Salutes thee as the grey-clad harbinger
Of solemn sable night. Brutes do thee homage—                                           5
With silent cheerfulness attend thy mild
Inviting. Ev’n the lovely feather’d race,
Whose grateful melody makes groves and vales
Echo, yet cease their warbling, unoppress’d
With Care, repose their feeble frames, unconscious                                       10
Of ill, or snares by artful fowlers spread
To allure their innocence, or rash intent
Of inquisitive boys, invaders rude
Of liberty! on dew-besprinkled bough; —
Press fond the senseless clod with filial love:                                                  15
Than these; what transport must the bosoms swell
Of Afric’s sons, forlorn mal-treated tribe,
When Heav’n’s Majestic emblem they behold
Withdraw his radiance thence, to illuminate
Other worlds! When even their base oppressors                                            20
Content, permit them to recline their tortur’d
Frames on beds, inferior far to those
Prepar’d for pamper’d steeds. So absolute,
O Night! hast thou dominion o’er the
Petty tyrant? Mak’st him forget the                                                                     25
Oblivious draught infused! Men they
Doom—infringing justice and humanity—to
Feel the powerful scourge, and groan beneath
Unnatural tyranny, which God abhors.—
O merciful Disposer of events!                                                                           30
Inspire the breasts of the “Noble few,” foes
To cruelty and avarice, to crush their
Dreadful power! that distant nations may
Learn of Britain’s Senate, Justice and Mercy.


Author Mrs. Letches This attribution is based on an inscription on the title page in what appears to be a contemporary hand (see ESTC T42632). She published anonymously as “A Lady” in Bristol, one of the centers of the Atlantic “triangle” trade, and her personal history remains unknown. Throughout the eighteenth century, Bristol’s booming port not only transported goods but also enslaved African people to the Americas and West Indies. At this same time, Bristol boasted a large abolitionist movement that Mrs. Letches clearly contributed to. She dedicated her volume to “the Inhabitants of Bristol” (iii).

Title Brandon-Hill St. Brandon’s Hill is located close to Bristol city center in southwest England. It is possibly the oldest municipal open space in the country.

4 harbinger “One that goes before and announces the approach of some one; a forerunner” (OED).

5 sable Black.

9 warbling “Singing or making tuneful melody with sweet quavering notes” (OED).

15 filial “Of or pertaining to a son or daughter” (OED).

18 Heav’n’s Majestic emblem The sun.

 31 Noble few Abolitionists.

 34 Britain’s Senate Parliament.


SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Bristol, 1792), pp. 7-8. [Google Books]

 Edited by Sherry Portillo

William Hamilton Reid, “The Panic; or a Meditation supposed to be written upon the Discovery of the Plague”


“The Panic; or a Meditation supposed to be written upon the Discovery of the Plague

When the dire disease
Had on the first pale victim set its seal,
‘Twas horrid! Mute, aghast, his neighbours stood.—
The symptoms sure, the death-struck wretch they shun:
Precaution vain! like lightning flew his fate,                                5
And guilt attractive scour’d each dark recess
Where vice couch’d low, meanly submissive grown
To sad suspension now on all impos’d.
Not ev’n the court the harsh alarm evades:
Spurning the guards, the messenger abrupt                             10
Bursts on the throne: Nor Majesty itself,
Nor sycophants in courtly arts refin’d,
Such as who erst the Danish monarch urg’d
To curb the waves, could sooth the grating sound,
Or into silence bribe the dauntless truth—                                15
Quite the reverse! their flight announc’d their fears:
Whilst on the crowd by desp’rate power restrain’d
“Grim Death grinn’d horrible:” flush’d with the hope
Of mortal festival.— ‘Tis now Despair
And Desolation stalk the once-throne’d streets.                        20
Hence Poverty, and all its squalid brood,
Work general ruin, till hecatombs
Of victims gasp, and scarce a parting sigh
Surviving wretches trust the treacherous air.
Meanwhile habitual Misery verges on                                        25
To damn soft Pity’s source: nor juvenile Love,
Nor th’ Amor Patriae, save Friendship none
(That gem celestial) braves the sullen power,
Or looks beyond the present gloomy bound;
For others, midst these chilling scenes of woe                           30
Callous, distress the dying and the dead,
And, vainly hoping to outlive the storm,
Consign their treasures to the groaning earth.
Yet say, my Muse; can all the forms of Death,
That like fierce torrents sweep this mortal stage,—                  35
Can famine, war, or pestilence, compare
With keen reflection, edg’d with conscious guilt,
And time misspent, and suffering goodness scorn’d,
And dark futurity? No! This alone
Close view’d, can freeze the boiling blood of lust,                     40
And in a moment damp an age’s joy.—
Then let us hence contingences improve
By foresight prudent, and self-love refine:—
So shall true dignity adorn each brow,
Firm-footed peace with calm unruffled hours,                           45
And mental freedom with immortal youth,
Renew the soul.—Then, saturated high
With beauty inexpressive, each great mind,
In faint resemblance of all-bounteous heaven,
Shall seize officious each occurring hour                                   50
To spread the joy, and raise a “groveling world.”


Title Plague The bubonic plague destroyed much of Europe in the Middle Ages.

13 the Danish monarch An allusion to Valdemar IV Atterdag. The title Atterdag roughly translates to “New Day,” a title bestowed because of his restoration of wealth to Denmark during his reign.

18 “Grim Death grinn’d horrible:” Reid is drawing from Book II of Milton’s Paradise Lost. He is synthesizing two passages, “Grim Death, my son and foe” (l. 804) and “Death/Grinn’d horrible a ghastly smile” (ll. 845-46), perhaps for alliterative effect.

22 hetacombs In ancient times, a reference to public sacrifice of 100 oxen for a religious ceremony. By the eighteenth-century, however, it meant a great number of people dying (OED).

27 Amors Patriae Latin for love of one’s country (OED).

34 Muse In poetry, the image of the Muse was often invoked as someone who aids the poet in writing.

42 contingences Variant spelling of the word contingencies.

51 “groveling world” Quotation not traced.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 59 Pt. 2 (July 1789), pp. 650-51.

Edited by Burl S. Rices

Rev. John Langhorne, The Tears of Music. A Poem, to the Memory of Mr. Handel

The Tears of Music. A Poem, to the Memory of Mr. Handel

SPIRITS of Music, and ye Powers of Song,
That wak’d to painful Melody the Lyre
Of young JESSIDES, when, on GILBOA’s Mount,
He wept o’er bleeding Friendship; ye that mourn’d,
While Freedom drooping o’er EUPHRATES’ Stream                                  5
Her pensive Harp on the pale Osier hung,
Begin once more the Sorrow-soothing Lay.
Ah! where shall now the Muse fit Numbers find?
What Accents pure to greet thy tuneful Shade?
Sweet Harmonist! ’Twas thine, the tender Fall                                          10
Of Pity’s plaintive Lay; for thee the Stream
Of silver-winding Music sweeter play’d,
And purer flow’d for Thee, ―all silent now
Those Airs that, breathing o’er the Breast of THAMES,
Led amorous ECHO down the long, long Vale,                                         15
Delighted; studious from thy sweeter Strain
To melodize her own; when the sad Hour
She mourns in Anguish o’er the golden Breast
Of young NARCISSUS. From their Amber Urns,
Parting their green Locks streaming in the Sun,                                       20
The NAIADS rose and smil’d: Nor since the Day,
When first by Music, and by Freedom led
From Grecian ACIDALE; nor since the Day,
When last from ARNO’s weeping Fount they came,
To smooth the Ringlets of SABRINA’s Hair,                                               25
Heard They like Minstrelsy—Fountains and Shades
Of TWIT’NAM, and of WINDSOR fam’d in Song!
Ye Mounts of CLERMONT, and ye Bowers of HAM!
That heard the fine Strain vibrate thro’ your Groves,
Ah! where were then your long-lov’d Muses fled,                                     30
When HANDEL breath’d no more?—and Thou, sweet Queen,
That nightly wrapt thy MILTON’s hallow’d Ear
In the soft Ecstasies of LYDIAN Airs,
And since attun’d to HANDEL’s high-wound Lyre
The Lay by Thee suggested; could’st not Thou                                        35
Soothe with thy sweet Song the grim Fury’s Breast?
Ah! no: from Thee too, heav’d the helpless Sigh,
Thy fair Eyes floating in a mournful Tear,
When MILTON died, and HANDEL breath’d no more.
COLD-HEARTED Death! his wanly-glaring Eye                                          40
Nor Virtue’s Smile attracts, nor Fame’s loud Trump
Can pierce his Iron Ear, for ever barr’d
To gentle Sounds: the golden Voice of Song,
That charms the gloomy Partner of his Birth,
That soothes Despair and Pain, He hears no more,                                 45
Than rude Winds, blust’ring from the CAMBRIAN Cliffs,
The Traveller’s feeble Lay. To court fair Fame,
To toil with slow Steps up the Star-crown’d Hill,
Where Science, leaning on her sculptur’d Urn,
Looks conscious on the secret-working Hand                                           50
Of Nature; on the Wings of Genius borne,
To soar above the beaten Walks of Life,
Is, like the Paintings of an Evening Cloud,
Th’ Amusement of an Hour. Night, gloomy Night
Spreads her black Wings, and all the Vision dies.                                     55
ERE long, the Heart, that heaves this Sigh to Thee,
Shall beat no more! ere long, on this fond Lay
Which mourns at HANDEL’s Tomb, insulting Time
Shall strew his cankering Rust. Thy Strain, perchance,
Thy sacred Strain shall the hoar Warrior spare;                                       60
For Sounds like thine, at Nature’s early Birth,
Arous’d Him slumbering on the dead Profound
Of dusky Chaos; by the golden Harps
Of choral Angels summon’d to his Race:
And Sounds like thine, when Nature is no more,                                     65
Shall call him weary from the lengthen’d Toils
Of twice Ten Thousand Years.—O would his Hand
Yet spare some Portion of this vital Flame,
The trembling Muse that now faint Effort makes
On young and artless Wing, should bear thy Praise                                70
Sublime, above the mortal Bounds of Earth,
With heavenly Fires relume her feeble Ray,
And learn of Seraphs how to sing to Thee.

I FEEL, I feel the sacred Impulse—hark!
Wak’d from according Lyres the sweet Strains flow                                 75
In Symphony divine; from Air to Air
The trembling Numbers fly: swift bursts away
The Flow of Joy; now swells the Flight of Praise.
Springs the shrill Trump aloft; the toiling Chords
Melodious labour thro’ the flying Maze;                                                    80
And the deep Base his strong Sounds rolls away,
Majestically sweet—Yet, HANDEL, raise,
Yet wake to higher Strains thy sacred Lyre:
The Name of Ages, the Supreme of Things,
The great MESSIAH asks it; He whose Hand                                             85
Led into Form yon everlasting Orbs,
The Harmony of Nature—He whose Hand
Stretch’d o’er the wilds of Space this beauteous Ball,
Whose Spirit breathes thro’ all his smiling Works
Music and Love—yet HANDEL raise the Strain.                                        90
Hark! what angelic Sounds, what Voice divine
Breathes thro’ the ravisht Air! My rapt Ear feels
The Harmony of Heaven. Hail sacred Choir!
Immortal Spirits, hail! If haply those
That erst in favour’d PALESTINE proclaim’d                                              95
Glory and Peace: her Angel-haunted Groves,
Her piny Mountain, and her golden Vales
Re-echo’d Peace—But, Oh! Suspend the Strain—
The swelling Joy’s too much for mortal Bounds!
’Tis Transport even to Pain. Oh, lead me then,                                        100
Convey me to the sad, the mournful Scene,
Where trembling Nature saw her GOD expire.
Flow, stupid Tears! and veil the conscious Eye
That yet presumes to gaze—
Flow, stupid Tears! in vain—ye too confess                                             105
That HE alone unequal’d Sorrow bore.

BUT, hark! what pleasing Sounds invite mine Ear,
So venerably sweet? ‘Tis SION’s Lute.
Behold her Hero! from his valiant Brow
Looks JUDAH’s Lyon, on his Thigh the Sword                                         110
Of vanquished APOLLONIUS—The shrill Trump
Thro’ BETHORON proclaims th’ approaching Fight.
I see the brave Youth lead his little Band,
With Toil and Hunger faint; yet from his Arm
The rapid SYRIAN flies. Thus HENRY once,                                              115
The British HENRY, with his way-worn Troop,
Subdued the Pride of France—now louder blows
The martial Clangor, lo NICANOR’s Hoft!
With threat’ning Turrets crown’d, slowly advance
The ponderous Elephants.—                                                                    120
The blazing Sun, from many a golden Shield
Reflected, gleams afar. Judean Chief!
How shall thy Force, thy little Force sustain
The dreadful Shock!
The Hero comes— ’Tis boundless Mirth and Song                                  125
And Dance and Triumph, every laboring String,
And Voice, and breathing Shell in Concert strain
To swell the Raptures of tumultuous Joy.
O Master of the Passions and the Soul,
Seraphic HANDEL! how shall Words describe                                          130
Thy Music’s countless Graces, nameless Powers!

When He of GAZA, blind, and sunk in Chains,
On female Treachery looks greatly down,
How the breast burns indignant! In thy strain,
When sweet-voic’d Piety resigns to Heaven,                                            135
Glows not each Bosom with the Flame of Virtue?
O’ER JEPTHA’s votive Maid when the soft Lute
Sounds the slow Symphony of Funeral Grief,
What youthful Breast but melts with tender Pity!
What Parent bleeds not with a Parents woe!                                           140

O, longer than this worthless Lay can live!
While Fame and Music sooth the human Ear;
Be this thy Praise: to lead the polish’d Mind
To Virtue’s noblest Heights; to light the Flame
Of British Freedom, rouse the generous Thought,                                  145
Refine the Passions, and exalt the Soul
To love, to Heaven, to Harmony and Thee.


Title George Frederick Handel  Baroque composer, 1685-1759. He died in London, England.

3 GILBOA’s Mount  Mountain in Northern Israel. In “The Book of Samuel” of the Bible, Mount Gilboa is the location where the Philistines killed Saul and his son Jonathon. Handel composed Saul, an English Libretto, in 1738 (Cudworth, Charles. Handel. 1972. p. 28.).

5 EUPHRATES  This river appears in Handel’s Opera Belshazzar (opera.stanford.edu).

6 Osier  “A small Eurasian willow” (OED).

14 Those Airs…THAMES  The Water-Music (Author’s note). “Handel’s matchless delicacy as an orchestrator…makes him alert to the beauties of varied sonority and echo effects in the resonant clarity of a summer evening on the river [Thames]” (Keates, Jonathan. Handel: The Man and his Music. 1985. p. 77).

15-19 ECHO…NARCISSUS  From Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

21 NAIADS  Water nymphs.

22 Grecian ACIDALE  A fountain in Greece, referred to in Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene” (Hamilton, AC. The Spenser Encyclopedia. 1990. Google Books p. 4.).

24-25 ARNO’s weeping Fount…SABRINA’s Hair  An allusion to John Milton’s “Comus”. Arno is a river, and Sabrina, a nymph. In 1737, Handel “reworked Milton’s Comus for an opera, Sabrina” (Lang, Paul Henry. George Frideric Handel. 1966. p. 317.).

27 TWIT’NAM…WINDSOR  Alexander Pope’s house and his poem “Windsor Forest”.

28 CLERMONT  A mansion built in the eighteenth century in Surrey, England.

28 HAM  A suburb of London, on the banks of the Thames.

33 LYDIAN  A musical scale.

34 And since attun’d…  “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso”, set to Music by Mr. HANDEL (Author’s note).

36 sweet Song…  See MILTON’s “Lycidas” (Author’s note).

41 Trump  Trumpet (OED).

46 CAMBRIAN  Welsh.

73 Relume  To relight, rekindle (OED).

85 MESSIAH  Handel’s English oratorio, composed in 1741.

108 Sion’s  Zion.

109 her Hero  Judas Maccabeus (Author’s note). Handel composed an oratorio by the same name in 1746 (Keates 160).

110-112 JUDAH’s…BETHORAN  “The governor of Samaria, Apollonius, now assembled a large number of Gentiles into an army…to attack the people of Israel. When Judah learned of Apollonius’s movements, he went out to meet this army and defeated them, killing Apollonius…Among the spoils, Judah found Apollonius’s own sword, which he took and used in battle for the rest of his life.” (The Inclusive Bible. 2007. Google Books. p. 571.) This battle took place in Bethoran.

116 Henry  Henry V, King of England from 1413-1422, defeated the French in the fifteenth century.

118 NICANOR  A governor of Judea.

125 The Hero comes…  Chorus of Youths, in Judas Maccabeus (Author’s note).

132 When He of Gaza…  See the Oratorio of Samson (Author’s note).

137 JEPTHA  From Bible Judges 11. Handel composed his last oratorio, Jephtha, in 1751 (Cudworth 49).

SOURCE:  The Tears of Music. A Poem, to the Memory of Mr. Handel. With an Ode to the River Eden (London, 1760). [Sutro Library of the California State University Library, San Francisco]

Edited by Gerald Barr