Thomas Warton


(From The Triumph of Isis)


YE fretted pinnacles, ye fanes sublime,

Ye towers that wear the mossy vest of time;

Ye massy piles of old munificence,

At once the pride of learning and defence;

Ye cloisters pale, that, lengthening to the sight,

To contemplation, step by step, invite;

Ye high-arched walks, where oft the whispers clear

Of harps unseen have swept the poet’s ear;

Ye temples dim, where pious duty pays

Her holy hymns of ever-echoing praise;—

Lo! your loved Isis, from the bordering vale,

With all a mother’s fondness, bids you hail!—

Hail, Oxford, hail! of all that ’s good and great,

Of all that ’s fair, the guardian and the seat;

Nurse of each brave pursuit, each generous aim,

By truth exalted to the throne of fame!

Like Greece in science and in liberty,

As Athens learned, as Lacedemon free!

  Even now, confessed to my adoring eyes,

In awful ranks thy gifted sons arise.

Tuning to knightly tale his British reeds,

Thy genuine bards immortal Chaucer leads:

His hoary head o’erlooks the gazing choir,

And beams on all around celestial fire.

With graceful step see Addison advance,

The sweetest child of Attic elegance:

See Chillingworth the depths of doubt explore,

And Selden ope the rolls of ancient lore:

To all but his beloved embrace denied,

See Locke lead Reason, his majestic bride:

See Hammond pierce Religion’s golden mine,

And spread the treasured stores of truth divine.

Main Location:

Oxford, UK