Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, REMARKS ON DR. AKENSIDE'S AND MR. WHITEHEAD'S VERSES, by JOHN BYROM

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First Line: Whither is europe's ancient spirit fled?
Last Line: "and whitehead grasp th' exacuating fife."
Subject(s): Akenside, Mark (1721-1770); Capital Punishment; Crime & Criminals; Death; Physicians; Poetry & Poets; Punishment; Whitehead, William (1715-1785); Hanging; Executions; Death Penalty; Dead, The; Doctors

WHITHER is Europe's ancient spirit fled?
How came this query in the Doctor's head?
"Whither is Britain's?"———one had sooner guess'd
In ode to his own countrymen address'd:
But it must certainly be Europe's spirit,
As six outlandish rivers soon infer it.

Of valiant tenants on her shore 'tis said,
They from the warrior how the strong dart sped—
Let how be warrior, and let dart be strong,
Verse does not speed so speedily along;
The strong dart sped—does but go "thump, thump, thump;"
Which quick as thrown should pierce the liver plump.

And with firm hand the rapid pole-axe bore;
If it had been the rapid dart before,
And the strong pole-axe here, it had agreed
With a firm hold as well, and darting speed:
Whither are fled from Ode-versification
The ancient "Pleasures of Imagination?"

Really these fighting poets want a tutor
To teach them "Ultra crepidam ne sutor;"
To teach the Doctor, and to teach the Laureat,
"Ex Helicone sanguinem ne hauriat;"
Tho' blood and wounds infect its limpid stream,
It should run clear before they sing a theme.

Ye Britons rouse to deeds of death!—says one;
Whither, the next, is Europe's spirit gone?
While real warriors think it all a farce
For them to bounce of either Mors or Mars;
Safe as one sacks it under bloodless bay,
And sure as t' other even death must pay.

But you shall hear what Captain ***** said,
When he had heard both Ode and Verses read:
On mottos—versibus exacuit,
And proles militum—he mus'd a bit;
Then having cast his hunting wits about
In quest of rhymes, he thus at last broke out,—

"Poh! let my Serjeant when his dose is taken,
"BRITONS STRIKE HOME! with moisten'd pipe rehearse,
"To deeds of death 'twill sooner much awaken,
"Than cart loads full of such poor Ode and Verse.
"If these two bards will by a tuneful labour,
"Show without sham, their love to killing life,
"Let Akenside go thump upon a tabor,
"And Whitehead grasp th' exacuating fife."

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