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To The Rev. Charles Overton, Curate of Romaldkirk
by [?]


1833.

Sweet singer of Romaldkirk, thou who art reckoned,
By critics Episcopal, David the Second,[1]
If thus, as a Curate, so lofty your flight,
Only think, in a Rectory, how you would write!
Once fairly inspired by the “Tithe-crowned Apollo,”
(Who beats, I confess it, our lay Phoebus hollow,
Having gotten, besides the old Nine’s inspiration,
The Tenth of all eatable things in creation.)
There’s nothing in fact that a poet like you,
So be-nined and be-tenthed, couldn’t easily do.

Round the lips of the sweet-tongued Athenian[2] they say,
While yet but a babe in his cradle he lay,
Wild honey-bees swarmed as presage to tell
Of the sweet-flowing words that thence afterwards fell.
Just so round our Overton’s cradle, no doubt,
Tenth ducklings and chicks were seen flitting about;
Goose embryos, waiting their doomed decimation,
Came, shadowing forth his adult destination,
And small, sucking tithe-pigs, in musical droves,
Announced the Church poet whom Chester approves.
O Horace! when thou, in thy vision of yore,
Didst dream that a snowy-white plumage came o’er
Thy etherealized limbs, stealing downily on,
Till, by Fancy’s strong spell, thou wert turned to a swan,
Little thought’st thou such fate could a poet befall,
Without any effort of fancy, at all;
Little thought’st thou the world would in Overton find
A bird, ready-made, somewhat different in kind,
But as perfect as Michaelmas’ self could produce,
By gods yclept anser, by mortals a goose.

[1] “Your Lordship,” says Mr. Overton, in the Dedication of his Poem to the Bishop of Chester,” has kindly expressed your persuasion that my Muse will always be a ‘Muse of sacred song and that it will be tuned as David’s was.'”

[2] Sophocles.