Page images
PDF
EPUB

Engay’d, perhaps, in deep debate

Thro' every foible trace the fair, On Rich's, or on Fleetwood's fate.

Or leave the town, and toilet's care, When, on a sudden, news was brought

To chant in forests unconfin'd That Garrick had the patent got,

The wilder notes of Rosalind. And both their ladyships again

“O thou, where'er thou fix thy praise, Might now return to Drury-lane.

Brute, Drugger, Fribble, Ranger, Bays? They bow'd, they simper'd, and agreed,

O join with her in my behalf, They wish'd the project might succeed,

And teach an audience when to laugh. Twas very possible; the case

So shall buffoons with shame repair Was likely too, and had a face

To draw in fools at Smithfield fair, “ A face !” Thalia titt'ring cry'd,

And real humour charm the age, And could her joy no longer hide;

Though Falstaff ? should forsake the stage." Why, sister, all the world must see

She spoke. Melpomene reply'd, How much this makes for you and me :

And much was said on either side; No longer now shall we expose

And many a chief, and many a fair, Our unbought goods to empty rows,

Were mention'd to their credit there. Or meanly be oblig'd to court

But I'll not venture to display From foreign aid a weak support ;

What goddesses think fit to say. No more the poor polluted scene

However, Garrick, this at least Shall teem with births of Harlequin ?

Appears by both a truth confest, Or vindicated stage shall feel

That their whole fate for many a year The insults of the dancer's heel.

But hangs on your paternal care. Such idle trash we'll kindly spare

A nation's taste depends on you: To operas now—they'll want them there;

- Perhaps a nation's virtue too. For Sadler's-Wells, they say, this year

O think how glorious 'twere to raise Has quite outdone their engineer.”

A theatre to virtue's praise. “ Pugh, you 're a wag,” the buskin'd prude Where no indignant blush might rise, Reply'd, and smild; “ beside 'tis rude

Nor wit be taught to plead for vice; To laugh at foreigners, you know,

But every young attentive ear And triumph o'er a vanquish'd foe :

Imbide the precepts, living there. For my part, I shall be content

And every unexperienc'd breast If things succeed as they are meant ;

There feel its own rude hints exprest, And should not be displeas'd to find

And, waken'd by the glowing scene, Some changes of the tragic kind.

Unfold the worth that lurks within. And say, Thalia, mayn't we hope

If possible, be perfect quite; The scale will take a larger scope?

A few short rules will guide you right. Shall he, whose all-expressive powers

Consult your own good sense in all, Can reach the heights which Shakspeare soars,

Be deaf to fashion's fickle call, Descend to touch an humbler key,

Nor e'er descend from reason's laws
And tickle ears with poetry ;

To court, what you command, applause.
Where every tear is taught to flow
Thro' many a line's melodious woe.,
And heart-felt pangs of deep distress
Are fritter'd into similies?
-O thou, whom Nature taught the art

NATURE TO DR. HOADLY,
To pierce, to cleare, to tear the heart,

ON HIS COMEDY OF THE SUSPICIOUS HUSBAND. Whatever name delight thy ear, Othello, Richard, Hamlet, Lear, O undertake my just defence,

Sly hypocrite! was this your aiin? And banish all but Nature hence !

To borrow Pæon's sacred name, See, to thy aid with streaming eyes

And lurk beneath his graver mien, The fair amficted Constance' flies;

To trace the secrets of my reign? Now wild as winds in madness tears

Did I for this applaud your zeal, Her heaving breasts, and scatter'd hairs;

And point out each minuter wheel, Or low on earth disdains relief,

Which finely taught the next to roll, With all the conscious pride of grief.

And made my works one perfect whole ? My Pritchard too in Hamlet's queen"

For who, but I, till you appear’d, The goddess of the sportive vein

To model the dramatic herd, Here stopp'd her short, and with a sneer,

E'er bade to wond'ring ears and eyes, “ My Pritchard, if you please, my dear !

Such pleasing intricacies rise ? Her tragie merit I confess,

Where every part is nicely true, But surely mine's her proper dress;

Yet touches still the niaster clue; Behold her there with native ease

Each riddle opening by degrees, And native spirit, born to please ;

Till all unravels with such ease, With all Maria's charms engage,

That only those who will be blind Or Milwood's arts, or Touchwood's rage,

Can feel one doubt perplex their mind.

· Mrs. Cibber, in the character of Lady Constance, in Shakespear's King John.

Mr. Quin, inimitable in that character, who was then leaving the stage.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Nor was't enough, you thought, to write ; And, let the sides fly how they will, But you must impiously unite

The central point must needs stand still. With Garrick too, who long before

Perhaps your mind, like one of these, Had stol'n my whole expressive pow'r.

Beholds the tumult round at ease, That changeful Proteus of the stage,

And stands, as firm as rock in ocean, Usurps my mirth, my grief, my rage ;

The centre of perpetual motion. And as his different parts incline,

That Cæsar did three things at once, Gives joys or pains, sincere as mine.

Is known at school to every dunce; Yet you shall find (howe'er elate

But your more comprehensive mind Your triumph in your former cheat)

Leaves pidling Cæsar far behind. 'Tis not so easy to escape

You spread the lawn, direct the flood, In Nature's, as in Pæon's shape.

Cut vistas through, or plant a wood, For every critic, great or small,

Build China's barks for Severn's stream, Hates every thing that's natural.

Or form new plans for epic fame, The beaux, and ladies too can say,

And then, in spite of wind or weather, “ What does he mean? is this a play?

You read, row, ride, and write together.
We see such people every day.”

But 'tis not your undoubted claim
Nay more, to chafe, and tease your spleen, To naval or equestrian fame,
And teach you how to steal again,

Your nicer taste, or quicker parts,
My very fools shall prove you're bit,

In rural or mechanic arts,
And damn you for your want of wit.

(Though each alone in humbler station
Might raise both wealth and reputation)
It is not these that I would have,

Bear them, o' God's name, to your grave.
TO RICHARD OWEN CAMBRIDGE, ES2. But 'tis that unexhausted vein,

That quick conception without pain.
Dear Cambridge, teach your friend the art That something, for no words can show it,
You use to gain the Muse's heart,

Which without leisure makes a poet.
And make her so entirely yours,

Sure Nature cast, indulgent dame, That at all seasons, and all hours,

Some strange peculiar in your frame, The anxious goddess ready stands

From whose well-lodg'd prolific seeds To wait the motion of your hands.

This inexpressive power proceeds. It was of old a truth confest

Or does Thalia court your arms That poets must have needful rest,

Because you seem to slight her charms, And every imp of Phæbus' quire

And, like her sister females, fly To philosophic shades retire,

From our dull assiduity. Amid those flowery scenes of ease

If that's the case, I'll soon be free, To pick up sense and similies.

I'll put on airs as well as she; Had Virgil been from coast to coast,

And ev'en in this poetic shade", Like his Æneas, tempest-tost,

Where erst with Pope and Gay she play'd, Or pass'd life's Auctuating dream

Ev'n here I'll tell her to her face On Tyber's or on Mincio's stream,

I've learn'd to scorn a forc'd embrace. He might have been expert in sailing;

In short, here ends her former reign; But Mævius ne'er had fear'd his railing,

And if we e'er begin again Nor great Augustus sav'd from fire

It must be on another score-
The relics of a trav'ling squire.

I'll write like you, or write no more.
Had Horace too, from day to day,
Run post upon the Appian way,
In restless journies to and from
Brundisium, Capua, and Rome;

TO MR. MASON.
The bard had scarcely found a time
To put that very road iu rhyme;

BELIEVE me, Mason, 'tis in vain
And sav'd great cities much expense

Thy fortitude the torrent braves ; In lab'ring to mistake his sense.

Thou too must bear the inglorious chain; Nay he, whose Greek is out of date

The world, the world will have its slaves.
Since Pope descended to translate,

The chosen friend, for converse sweet,
Though wand'riag still from place to place, The small, yet elegant retreat,
At least lay by in stormy weather

Are peaceful unambitious views (Whate'er Perrault or Wotton says)

Which early fancy loves to form, To track his rhapsodies together.

When aided by th' ingenuous Muse, But you, reversing every rule

She turns the philosophic page, Of ancient or of modern school,

And sees the wise of every age
Nor hurt by noise, nor cramp'd by rhymes,

With Nature's dictates warm.
Can all things do, and at all times.
Your own Scriblerus never knew

But ah! how few has fortune given
A more unsettled life than you,

The choice, to take or to refuse; Yet Pope in Twit'nam's peaceful grot

To fewer still indulgent Heav'n
Scarce ever more correctly thought.

Allots the very will to choose,
In whirligigs it is confest
The middle line's a line of rest;

' Middleton Park, Oxfordshire.

And why are varying schemes prefer'd ?

From the same fount, with reverence let me boast, Man mixes with the commou herd :

The classic streams with early thirst I caught ; By custom guided to pursue,

What time, they say, the Muses reveld most, Or wealth, or honours, fame, or ease,

When Bigg presided, and when Burton taught. What others wish he wishes too ;

But the same fate, which led me to the spring, Nor from his own peculiar choice,

Forbad me further to pursue the stream: Till strengthen'd by the public voice,

Perhaps as kindly; for, as sages sing,
His very pleasures please.

Of chance and fate full idly do we deem.
How oft, beneath some hoary shade
Where Cam glides indolently slow,

And sure in Granta's philosophic shade
Hast thou, as indolently laid,

Truth's genuine image beam'd upon my sight;

And slow-ey'd reason lent his sober aid Prefer'd to Heaven thy fav'rite vow : “ Here, here for ever let me stay,

To form, deduce, compare, and judge aright. Here calmly loiter life away,

Yes, ye sweet fields, beside your osier'd stream Nor all those vain connections know

Full many an Attic hour my youth enjoy'd; Which fetter down the free-born mind,

Full many a friendship form’d, life's happiest dream, The slave of interest, or of show;

And treasur'd many a bliss which never cloy'd. While yon gay tenant of the grove,

Yet may the pilgrim, o'er his temperate fare The happier heir of Nature's love,

At eve, with pleasing recollection say, [bear Can warble unconfin'd."

'T was the fresh morn which strung his nerves to Yet sure, my friend, th' eternal plan

The piercing beam, and useful toils of day, By truth unerring was design'd;

So let me still with filial love pursue Inferior parts were made for man,

The nurse and parent of my infant thought, But man himself for all mankind.

From whence the colour of my life I drew,
Then by th' apparent judge th’ unseen;
Behold how rolls this vast machine

When Bigg presided, and when Burton taught. To one great end, howe'er withstood,

O, names by me rever'd!—till memory die, Directing its impartial course.

Till my deaf ear forget th' enchanting flow All labour for the general good :

Of verse harmonious, shall my mental eye Some stem the wave, some till the soil,

Trace back old time, and teach my breast to glow, By choice the bold, th' ambitious toil,

Peace to that honour'd shade, whose mortal frame The indolent by force.

Sleeps in the bosom of its parent earth, That bird, thy fancy frees from care,

While his freed soul, which boasts celestial flame, With many a fear unknown to thee,

Perhaps now triumphs in a nobler birth : Must rove to glean his scanty fare

Perhaps with Wykeham, from some blissful bower, From field to field, from tree to tree,

App'auds thy labours, or prepares the wreath His lot, united with his kind,

For Burton's generous toil. --Th’insatiate power Has all his little joys confin'd ;

Extends his deathful sway o'er all that breathe; The lover's and the parent's ties Alarm by turns his anxious breast;

Nor aught avails it, that the virtuous sage Yet, bound by fate, by instinct wise,

Forms future bards, or Wykehams yet to come; He hails with songs the rising morn,

Nor aught avails it, that his green old age, (tomb: And, pleas'd with evening's cool return,

From youth well spent, may seem t’ elude the He sings himself to rest.

For Burton too must fall. And o'er his urn, And tell me, has not Nature made

Wbile science hangs her sculptur'd trophies round, Some stated void for thee to fill,

The letter'd tribes of half an age shall mourn, Some spring, some wheel, which asks thy aid Whose lyres he strung, and added sense to sound. To move, regardless of thy will?

Nor shall his candid ear, I trust, disdain Go then, go feel with glad surprise

This artless tribute of a feeling mind ; New bliss from new attentions rise;

And thou, O Lowth, shalt own the grateful strain, Till, happier in thy wider sphere,

Mean though it flow, was virtuously designed ; Thou quit thy darling schemes of ease; Nay, glowing in the full career,

For 't was thy work inspir'd the melting mood Ev'n wish thy virtuous labours more ;

To feel, and pay the sacred debt Iow'd :

And the next virtue to bestowing good,
Nor till the toilsome day is o'er
Expect the night of peace.

Thou know'st, is gratitude for good bestow'd.

[blocks in formation]

Many men of less worth, you partially cry, No; still let me follow sage Horace's rule,
To splendour and opulence soar:

Who tried all things, and held fast the best ; Suppose I allow it; yet, pray sir, am I

Learn daily to put all my passions to school, Less happy because they are more?

And keep the due poise of my breast. But why said I happy? I am not at that,

Thus, firm at the helm, I glide calmly away Mere ease is my humble request;

Like the merchant long us'd to the deep, I would neither repine at a niggardly fate,

Nor trust for my safety on life's stormy sea
Nor stretch my wings far from my nest.

To the gilding and paint of my ship.
Nor e'er may my pride or my folly reflect
On the fav’rites whom fortune has made,

Nor yet can the giants of honour and pelf
Regardless of thousands who pine with neglect

My want of ambition deride, In pensive obscurity's shade;

He who rules his own bosom is lord of himself,

And lord of all nature beside. With whom, when comparing the merit I boast,

Though rais'd by indulgence to fame, I sink in confusion bewilder'd and lost, And wonder I am what I am!

ODE TO THE TIBER. And what are these wonders, these blessings refin'd, ON ENTERING THE CAMPANIA OF ROME, AT OTRICOLI, Which splendour and opulence shower ?

1755. The health of the body, and peace of the mind, Are things which are out of their power.

Hail sacred stream, whose waters roll

Immortal through the classic page!
To contentment's calm sunshine, the lot of the few, To thee the Muse-devoted soul,
Can insolent greatness pretend?

Though destin'd to a later age
Or can it bestow, what I boast of in you,

And less indulgent clime, to thee, That blessing of blessings, a friend?

Nor thoa disdain, in Runic lays,

Weak mimic of true harmony, We may pay some regard to the rich and the great,

His grateful homage pays. But how seldom we love them you know;

Par other strains thine elder ear Or if we do love them, it is not their state,

With pleas'd attention wont to hear, The tinsel and plume of the show.

When he, who strun the Latiau lyre, But some secret virtues we find in the heart

And he, who led th’ Aonian quire When the mask is laid kiudly aside,

From Mantua's reedy lakes with osiers crown'd, Which birth cannot give them, nor riches impart, Taught Echo from thy banks with transport to re

sound. And which never once heard of their pride.

Thy banks ?-alas! is this the boasted scene, A flow of good spirits I've seen with a smile This dreary, wide, uncultivated plain, To worth make a shallow pretence ;

Where sick’ning Nature wears a fainter green, And the chat of good breeding with ease, for a while,

And Desolation spreads her torpid reign? May pass for good nature and sense ;

Is this the scene where Freedom breath'd,

Her copious horn where Plenty wreath’d, But where is the bosom untainted by art,

And Health at opening day The judgment so modest and stay'd,

Bade all her roseate breezes fiy, That union so rare of the head and the heart,

To wake the sons of industry,
Which fixes the friends it has made?

And make their fields more gay?
For those whom the great and the wealthy employ
Their pleasure or vanity's slaves,

Where is the villa's rural pride,
Whate'er they can give I without them enjoy,

The swelling dome's imperial gleam, And am rid of just so many knaves.

Which lov'd to grace thy verdant side,

And tremble in thy golden stream? for the many whom titles alone can allure,

Where are the bold, the busy throngs, And the blazon of ermine and gules,

That rush'd impatient to the war, I wrap myself round in my lowness secure,

Or tun'd to peace triumphal songs, And am rid of just so many fools.

And hail'd the passing car?

Along the solitary road", Then why should I covet what cannot increase

Th' eternal Aint by consuls trod, My delights, and may lessen their store;

We muse, and mark the sad decays My present condition is quiet and ease,

Of mighty works, and mighty days ! And what can my future be more?

For these vile wastes, we cry, had Fate decreed Should Fortune capriciously cease to be coy,

That Veii's sons should strive, for these Camillus And in torrents of plenty descend,

bleed? I doubtless, like others, should clasp her with joy, Did here, in after-times of Roman pride, And my wants and my wishes extend.

The musing shepherd from Soracte's height

See towns extend where'er thy waters glide, But since 't is denied me, and Heaven best knows And temples rise, and peopled farms unite ?

Whether kinder to grant it or not,
Say, why should I vainly disturb my repose,
And peevisbly carp at my lot?

1 The Flaminian way.

They did. For this deserted plain

Fast by the stream, and at the mountain's base, The hero strove, nor strove in vain ;

The lowing herds through living pastures rove;
And here the shepherd saw

Wide waving harvests crown the rising space;
Unnumber'd towns and temples spread, And still superior nods the viny grove.
While Rome majestic rear'd her head,
And gave the nations law.

High on the top, as guardian of the scene,

Imperial Sylvan spreads his umbrage wide;
Yes, thou and Latium once were great ; Nor wants there many a cot, and spire between,
And still, ye first of human things,

Or in the vale, or on the mountain's side,
Beyond the grasp of time or fate

Her fame and thine triumphant springs. To mark that man, as tenant of the whole, What though the mould'ring columns fall, Claims the just tribute of his culturing care,

And strow the desert earth beneath, Yet pays to Heaven, in gratitude of soul, Though ivy round each nodding wall

The boon which Heaven accepts, of praise and Entwine its fatal wreath,

prayer,
Yet say, can Rhine or Danube boast
The numerous glories thou hast lost?

O dire effects of war! the time has been
Can ev'n Euphrates' palmy shore,

When desolation vaunted here her reign;
Or Nile, with all his mystic lore,

One ravag'd desert was yon beauteous scene, Produce from old records of genuine fame And Marne ran purple to the frighted Seine. Such beroes, poets, kings, or emulate thy name? Ev'n now the Muse, the conscious Muse is here; Oft at his work, the toilsome day to cheat, From every ruin's formidable shade

The swain still talks of those disastrous times Eternal music breathes on fancy's ear,

When Guise's pride, and Conde's ill-star'd heat, And wakes to more than form th’illustrious dead. Taught Christian zeal to authorize their crimes:

Thy Cæsars, Scipios, Catos rise,
The great, the virtuous, and the wise, Oft to his children sportive on the grass
In solemn state advance!

Does dreadful tales of worn tradition tell,
They fix the philosophic eye,

Oft points to Epernay's ill-fated pass, Or trail the robe, or lift on high

Where force thrice triumph'd, and where Biron fell. The lightning of the lance.

O dire effects of war !--may ever more But chief that humbler happier train,

Through this sweet vale the voice of discord cease! Who knew those virtues to reward

A British bard to Gallia's fertile shore
Beyond the reach of chance or pain

Can wish the blessings of eternal peace.
Secure, th' historian and the bard.
By them the hero's generous rage

Yet say, ye monks, (beneath whose moss-grown seat,
Still warm in youth immortal lives;

Within whose cloister'd cells th' indebted Muse And in their adamantine page

Awhile sojourns, for meditation meet,
Thy glory still survives.

And these loose thoughts in pensive strain pursues,)
Through deep savannahs wild and vast,
Unheard, unknown through ages past,

Avails it aught, that war's rude tumults spare Beneath the Sun's directer beams,

Yon cluster'd vineyard, or yon golden field, What copious torrents pour their streams ! If, niggards to yourselves, and fond of care, No fame have they, no fond pretence to mourn, You slight the joys their copious treasures yield? Noannals swell their pride, or grace their storied urn. While thou, with Rome's exalted genius join'd, Avails it aught, that Nature's liberal hand

Her spear yet lifted, and her corslet brac'd, With every blessing grateful man can know,
Canst tell the waves, canst tell the passing wind, Clothes the rich bosom of yon smiling land,
Thy wondrous tale, and cheer the list’ning waste. The mountain's sloping side, or pendent brow,

Though from his caves th' unfeeling North
Pour'd all his legion'd tempests forth, If meagre famine paint your pallid cheek,
Yet still thy laurels bloom:

If breaks the midnight bell your hours of rest, One deathless glory still remains,

If, midst heart-chilling damps, and winter bleak, Thy stream has rolld through Latian plains, You shun the cheerful bowl, and moderate feast? Has wash'd the walls of Rome.

Look forth, and be convinc'd ! 'tis Nature pleads,

Her ample volume opens on your view:

The simple-minded swain, who running reads, ELEGIES.

Feels the glad truth, and is it hid from you?

Look forth, and be convinc'd. Yon prospects wide ELEGY'I.

To reason's ear how forcibly they speak: WRITTEN AT THE CONVENT OF HAUT VILLERS IN CHAM

Compard with those how dull is letter'd pride,

And Austin's babbling eloquence how weak! SILENT and clear, through yonder peaceful vale, Temp'rance, not abstinence, in every bliss (mand.

While Marne's slow waters weave their mazy way, Is man's true joy, and therefore Heaven's comSee, to th' exulting Sun, and fost'ring gale,

The wretch who riots thanks his God amiss : What boundless treasures his rich banks display! Who starves, rejects the bounties of his hand.

PAGNE, 1754.

« PreviousContinue »