Best Famous Thomas Warton Poems

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Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

Ode To Sleep

 On this my pensive pillow, gentle Sleep!
Descend, in all thy downy plumage drest:
Wipe with thy wing these eyes that wake to weep,
And place thy crown of poppies on my breast.
O steep my senses in oblivion's balm, And sooth my throbbing pulse with lenient hand; This tempest of my boiling blood becalm! Despair grows mild at thy supreme command.
Yet ah! in vain, familiar with the gloom, And sadly toiling through the tedious night, I seek sweet slumber, while that virgin bloom, For ever hovering, haunts my wretched sight.
Nor would the dawning day my sorrows charm: Black midnight and the blaze of noon alike To me appear, while with uplifted arm Death stands prepar'd, but still delays, to strike.
Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

Verses on Sir Joshua Reynolds Painted Window at New College Oxford

 Ah, stay thy treacherous hand, forbear to trace
Those faultless forms of elegance and grace!
Ah, cease to spread the bright transparent mass,
With Titian's pencil, o'er the speaking glass!
Nor steal, by strokes of art with truth combin'd,
The fond illusions of my wayward mind!
For long, enamour'd of a barbarous age,
A faithless truant to the classic page;
Long have I lov'd to catch the simple chime
Of minstrel-harps, and spell the fabling rime;
To view the festive rites, the knightly play,
That deck'd heroic Albion's elder day;
To mark the mouldering halls of barons bold,
And the rough castle, cast in giant mould;
With Gothic manners Gothic arts explore,
And muse on the magnificence of yore.
But chief, enraptur'd have I lov'd to roam, A lingering votary, the vaulted dome, Where the tall shafts, that mount in massy pride, Their mingling branches shoot from side to side; Where elfin sculptors, with fantastic clew, O'er the long roof their wild embroidery drew; Where Superstition with capricious hand In many a maze the wreathed window plann'd, With hues romantic ting'd the gorgeous pane, To fill with holy light the wondrous fane; To aid the builder's model, richly rude, By no Vitruvian symmetry subdu'd; To suit the genius of the mystic pile: Whilst as around the far-retiring aisle, And fretted shrines, with hoary trophies hung, Her dark illumination wide she flung, With new solemnity, the nooks profound, The caves of death, and the dim arches frown'd.
From bliss long felt unwillingly we part: Ah, spare the weakness of a lover's heart! Chase not the phantoms of my fairy dream, Phantoms that shrink at Reason's painful gleam! That softer touch, insidious artist, stay, Nor to new joys my struggling breast betray! Such was a pensive bard's mistaken strain.
-- But, oh, of ravish'd pleasures why complain? No more the matchless skill I call unkind, That strives to disenchant my cheated mind.
For when again I view thy chaste design, The just proportion, and the genuine line; Those native portraitures of Attic art, That from the lucid surface seem to start; Those tints, that steal no glories from the day, Nor ask the sun to lend his streaming ray: The doubtful radiance of contending dyes, That faintly mingle, yet distinctly rise; 'Twixt light and shade the transitory strife; The feature blooming with immortal life: The stole in casual foldings taught to flow, Not with ambitious ornaments to glow; The tread majestic, and the beaming eye, That lifted speaks its commerce with the sky; Heaven's golden emanation, gleaming mild O'er the mean cradle of the Virgin's child: Sudden, the sombrous imagery is fled, Which late my visionary rapture fed: Thy powerful hand has broke the Gothic chain, And brought my bosom back to truth again; To truth, by no peculiar taste confin'd, Whose universal pattern strikes mankind; To truth, whose bold and unresisted aim Checks frail caprice, and fashion's fickle claim; To truth, whose charms deception's magic quell, And bind coy Fancy in a stronger spell.
Ye brawny Prophets, that in robes so rich, At distance due, possess the crisped niche; Ye rows of Patriarchs, that sublimely rear'd Diffuse a proud primeval length of beard: Ye Saints, who clad in crimson's bright array, More pride than humble poverty display: Ye Virgins meek, that wear the palmy crown Of patient faith, and yet so fiercely frown: Ye Angels, that from clouds of gold recline, But boast no semblance to a race divine: Ye tragic tales of legendary lore, That draw devotion's ready tear no more; Ye martyrdoms of unenlighten'd days, Ye miracles, that now no wonder raise: Shapes, that with one broad glare the gazer strike, Kings, bishops, nuns, apostles, all alike! Ye colours, that th' unwary sight amaze, And only dazzle in the noontide blaze! No more the sacred window's round disgrace, But yield to Grecian groups the shining space.
Lo, from the canvas Beauty shifts her throne, Lo, Picture's powers a new formation own! Behold, she prints upon the crystal plain, With her own energy, th' expressive stain! The mighty master spreads his mimic toil More wide, nor only blends the breathing oil; But calls the lineaments of life complete From genial alchymy's creative heat; Obedient forms to the bright fusion gives, While in the warm enamel Nature lives.
Reynolds, 'tis thine, from the broad window's height, To add new lustre to religious light: Not of its pomp to strip this ancient shrine, But bid that pomp with purer radiance shine: With arts unknown before, to reconcile The willing Graces to the Gothic pile.
Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

While Summer Suns Oer the Gay Prospect Playd

 While summer suns o'er the gay prospect play'd,
Through Surrey's verdant scenes, where Epsom spread
'Mid intermingling elms her flowery meads,
And Hascombe's hill, in towering groves array'd,
Rear'd its romantic steep, with mind serene,
I journey'd blithe.
Full pensive I return'd; For now my breast with hopeless passion burn'd, Wet with hoar mists appear'd the gaudy scene, Which late in careless indolence I pass'd; And Autumn all around those hues had cast Where past delight my recent grief might trace.
Sad change, that Nature a congenial gloom Should wear, when most, my cheerless mood to chase, I wish'd her green attire, and wonted bloom!
Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

Written at Stonehenge

 Thou noblest monument of Albion's isle!
Whether by Merlin's aid, from Scythia's shore,
To Amber's fatal plain Pendragon bore,
Huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile
T' entomb his Britons slain by Hengist's guile:
Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
Taught 'mid thy massy maze their mystic lore:
Or Danish chiefs, enrich'd with savage spoil,
To Victory's idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
Rear'd the rude heap: or, in thy hallow'd round,
Repose the kings of Brutus' genuine line;
Or here those kings in solemn state were crown'd:
Studious to trace thy wondrous origine,
We muse on many an ancient tale renown'd.
Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

Solitude at an Inn

 Oft upon the twilight plain,
Circled with thy shadowy train,
While the dove at distance coo'd,
Have I met thee, Solitude!
Then was loneliness to me
Best and true society,
But ah! how alter'd is thy mien
In this sad deserted scene!
Here all thy classic pleasures cease,
Musing mild, and thoughtful peace;
Here thou com'st in sullen mood,
Not with thy fantastic brood
Of magic shapes and visions airy
Beckon'd from the land of Fairy:
'Mid the melancholy void
Not a pensive charm enjoy'd!
No poetic being here
Strikes with airy sounds mine ear;
No converse here to fancy cold
With many a fleeting form I hold,
Here all inelegant and rude
Thy presence is, sweet Solitude.
Written by Thomas Warton | Create an image from this poem

On King Arthurs Round Table at Winchester

 Where Venta's Norman castle still uprears
Its rafter'd hall, that o'er the grassy foss,
And scatter'd flinty fragments clad in moss,
On yonder steep in naked state appears;
High hung remains, the pride of war-like years,
Old Arthur's board: on the capacious round
Some British pen has sketch'd the names renown'd,
In marks obscure, of his immortal peers.
Though join'd by magic skill, with many a rhyme, The Druid frame, unhonour'd, falls a prey To the slow vengeance of the wizard Time, And fade the British characters away; Yet Spenser's page, that chants in verse sublime Those chiefs, shall live, unconscious of decay.