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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

68. Robert Bloomfield to Capel Lofft, [16 November 1801]* 


Thy roaring tide Old Thames, who hath not seen?
Or rural banks where calm thou steal'st along;
Who hath not heard from out thy bowers so green
The sweet meand'rings of immortal song?

Gigantick spirit! From a sickly frame
Who shot forth rays of unextinguish'd fire;
Who hung upon the Clarion of Fame
Thy trophy's; — and then left us to admire.

Thou, from the heights of learning didst look down;
And sung thy 'Shepherd's Boy', [1]  and flocks so free;
Else had the stripling dreaded thy just frown,
Nor thus had poor Alexis sung to thee.

The Boat may glide at eve along the stream;
And the inverted pendant gaily fly;
Music may ravish; setting sun's may beam;
But Music such as thine — shall never die!

Thou gav'st a Willow to the moisten'd earth,
It wept its frailty; and it died away!
But in the eye of Friendship and of worth
It still survives: — the keepsake of a day!

Had from thine hand a Babel, mountains high,
Braved the four winds, and frown'd on all below;
Its vane had glitter'd in the morning sky,
But Time, the conquerer, still had been thy foe!

Twas thine the Themes of glory to rehearse;
And while the vain world's bustle slides away,
The bold identity of Heavenly Verse
Is light itself, — and never can decay.

Sir,

As I am not sure of your meaning, whither an Urn is to contain, engraved on its interior surface, such lines as may be approved; or, whither merely to be a repository of such MS pieces in honour of the Bard, I much doubt whither what I send will meet your ideas on this most interesting subject. Be that as it will, I submit a few stanzas to your candor and judgment, and if I have been guilty of any glaring impropriety trust that in good time I may be apprised of it.

Remaining Sir

Your Obedient and Humble servant

Robt Bloomfield

P.S. pray Sir, is that paper in being which I left at Troston in May, intitled 'Reasons against following my trade as a Master'? I do not want it only to know whither it might be refer'd to if nesisary

Address: Capel Lofft Esq / Troston / Bury, Suf.

* Berg Collection, New York Public Library. Postmarked: Paid Nov 16 1801. Endorsed in Lofft's hand: 'Rob. Bloomfield to Capel Lofft 1801' BACK

[1] Bloomfield is attempting a tribute to Thames-ian poet Alexander Pope (1688–1744), author of Pastorals (London, 1709), written in emulation of Virgil and Theocritus (in which Alexis appears). BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009