For a Statue of Chaucer at Woodstock

Mark Akenside

SUCH was old Chaucer. Such the placid mien

Of him who first with harmony informed

The language of our fathers. Here he dwelt

For many a cheerful day. These ancient walls

Have often heard him while his legends blithe

He sang of love or knighthood, or the wiles

Of homely life, through each estate and age,

The fashions and the follies of the world

With cunning hand portraying. Though perchance

From Blenheim’s towers, O stranger! thou art come

Glowing with Churchill’s trophies, yet in vain

Dost thou applaud them if thy breast be cold

To him, this other hero, who in times

Dark and untaught, began with charming verse

To tame the rudeness of his native land.