Poetical Works of Akenside
Part 4 out of 7
Makes many a painful effort. When at last
The sun and nature's face again appear'd,
Not far I found me, where the public path,
Winding through cypress groves and swelling meads,
From Cnossus to the cave of Jove ascends.
Heedless I follow'd on; till soon the skirts
Of Ida rose before me, and the vault
Wide opening pierced the mountain's rocky side.
Entering within the threshold, on the ground
I flung me, sad, faint, overworn with toil.' 540
* * * * *
THE BEGINNING OF THE FOURTH BOOK
OF THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION, 1770.
One effort more, one cheerful sally more,
Our destined course will finish; and in peace
Then, for an offering sacred to the powers
Who lent us gracious guidance, we will then
Inscribe a monument of deathless praise,
O my adventurous song! With steady speed
Long hast thou, on an untried voyage bound,
Sail'd between earth and heaven: hast now survey'd,
Stretch'd out beneath thee, all the mazy tracts
Of Passion and Opinion; like a waste 10
Of sands and flowery lawns and tangling woods,
Where mortals roam bewilder'd: and hast now
Exulting soar'd among the worlds above,
Or hover'd near the eternal gates of heaven,
If haply the discourses of the gods,
A curious, but an unpresuming guest,
Thou mightst partake, and carry back some strain
Of divine wisdom, lawful to repeat,
And apt to be conceived of man below.
A different task remains; the secret paths 20
Of early genius to explore: to trace
Those haunts where Fancy her predestined sons,
Like to the demigods of old, doth nurse
Remote from eyes profane. Ye happy souls
Who now her tender discipline obey,
Where dwell ye? What wild river's brink at eve
Imprint your steps? What solemn groves at noon
Use ye to visit, often breaking forth
In rapture 'mid your dilatory walk,
Or musing, as in slumber, on the green?-- 30
Would I again were with you!-O ye dales
Of Tyne, and ye most ancient woodlands; where,
Oft as the giant flood obliquely strides,
And his banks open, and his lawns extend,
Stops short the pleased traveller to view
Presiding o'er the scene some rustic tower
Founded by Norman or by Saxon hands:
O ye Northumbrian shades, which overlook
The rocky pavement and the mossy falls
Of solitary Wensbeck's limpid stream; 40
How gladly I recall your well-known seats
Beloved of old, and that delightful time
When all alone, for many a summer's day,
I wander'd through your calm recesses, led
In silence by some powerful hand unseen.
Nor will I e'er forget you; nor shall e'er
The graver tasks of manhood, or the advice
Of vulgar wisdom, move me to disclaim
Those studies which possess'd me in the dawn
Of life, and fix'd the colour of my mind 50
For every future year: whence even now
From sleep I rescue the clear hours of morn,
And, while the world around lies overwhelm'd
In idle darkness, am alive to thoughts
Of honourable fame, of truth divine
Or moral, and of minds to virtue won
By the sweet magic of harmonious verse;
The themes which now expect us. For thus far
On general habits, and on arts which grow
Spontaneous in the minds of all mankind, 60
Hath dwelt our argument; and how, self-taught,
Though seldom conscious of their own employ,
In Nature's or in Fortune's changeful scene
Men learn to judge of Beauty, and acquire
Those forms set up, as idols in the soul
For love and zealous praise. Yet indistinct,
In vulgar bosoms, and unnoticed lie
These pleasing stores, unless the casual force
Of things external prompt the heedless mind
To recognise her wealth. But some there are 70
Conscious of Nature, and the rule which man
O'er Nature holds; some who, within themselves
Retiring from the trivial scenes of chance
And momentary passion, can at will
Call up these fair exemplars of the mind;
Review their features; scan the secret laws
Which bind them to each other: and display
By forms, or sounds, or colours, to the sense
Of all the world their latent charms display;
Even as in Nature's frame (if such a word, 80
If such a word, so bold, may from the lips
Of man proceed) as in this outward frame
Of things, the great Artificer portrays
His own immense idea. Various names
These among mortals bear, as various signs
They use, and by peculiar organs speak
To human sense. There are who, by the flight
Of air through tubes with moving stops distinct,
Or by extended chords in measure taught
To vibrate, can assemble powerful sounds 90
Expressing every temper of the mind
From every cause, and charming all the soul
With passion void of care. Others mean time
The rugged mass of metal, wood, or stone,
Patiently taming; or with easier hand
Describing lines, and with more ample scope
Uniting colours; can to general sight
Produce those permanent and perfect forms,
Those characters of heroes and of gods,
Which from the crude materials of the world, 100
Their own high minds created. But the chief
Are poets; eloquent men, who dwell on earth
To clothe whate'er the soul admires or loves
With language and with numbers. Hence to these
A field is open'd wide as Nature's sphere;
Nay, wider: various as the sudden acts
Of human wit, and vast as the demands
Of human will. The bard nor length, nor depth,
Nor place, nor form controls. To eyes, to ears,
To every organ of the copious mind, 110
He offereth all its treasures. Him the hours,
The seasons him obey, and changeful Time
Sees him at will keep measure with his flight,
At will outstrip it. To enhance his toil,
He summoneth, from the uttermost extent
Of things which God hath taught him, every form
Auxiliar, every power; and all beside
Excludes imperious. His prevailing hand
Gives, to corporeal essence, life and sense
And every stately function of the soul. 120
The soul itself to him obsequious lies,
Like matter's passive heap; and as he wills,
To reason and affection he assigns
Their just alliances, their just degrees:
Whence his peculiar honours; whence the race
Of men who people his delightful world,
Men genuine and according to themselves,
Transcend as far the uncertain sons of earth,
As earth itself to his delightful world,
The palm of spotless Beauty doth resign. 130
* * * * *
ODES ON SEVERAL SUBJECTS, IN TWO BOOKS.
1 Off yonder verdant hillock laid,
Where oaks and elms, a friendly shade,
O'erlook the falling stream,
O master of the Latin lyre,
A while with thee will I retire
From summer's noontide beam.
2 And, lo, within my lonely bower,
The industrious bee from many a flower
Collects her balmy dews:
'For me,' she sings, 'the gems are born,
For me their silken robe adorn,
Their fragrant breath diffuse.'
3 Sweet murmurer! may no rude storm
This hospitable scene deform,
Nor check thy gladsome toils;
Still may the buds unsullied spring,
Still showers and sunshine court thy wing
To these ambrosial spoils.
4 Nor shall my Muse hereafter fail
Her fellow labourer thee to hail;
And lucky be the strains!
For long ago did Nature frame
Your seasons and your arts the same,
Your pleasures and your pains.
5 Like thee, in lowly, sylvan scenes,
On river banks and flowery greens,
My Muse delighted plays;
Nor through the desert of the air,
Though swans or eagles triumph there,
With fond ambition strays.
6 Nor where the boding raven chaunts,
Nor near the owl's unhallow'd haunts
Will she her cares employ;
But flies from ruins and from tombs,
From Superstition's horrid glooms,
To day-light and to joy.
7 Nor will she tempt the barren waste;
Nor deigns the lurking strength to taste
Of any noxious thing;
But leaves with scorn to Envy's use
The insipid nightshade's baneful juice,
The nettle's sordid sting.
8 From all which Nature fairest knows,
The vernal blooms, the summer rose,
She draws her blameless wealth;
And, when the generous task is done,
She consecrates a double boon,
To Pleasure and to Health.
ON THE WINTER-SOLSTICE. 1740.
1 The radiant ruler of the year
At length his wintry goal attains;
Soon to reverse the long career,
And northward bend his steady reins.
Now, piercing half Potosi's height,
Prone rush the fiery floods of light
Ripening the mountain's silver stores:
While, in some cavern's horrid shade,
The panting Indian hides his head,
And oft the approach of eve implores.
2 But lo, on this deserted coast,
How pale the sun! how thick the air!
Mustering his storms, a sordid host,
Lo, Winter desolates the year.
The fields resign their latest bloom;
No more the breezes waft perfume,
No more the streams in music roll:
But snows fall dark, or rains resound;
And, while great Nature mourns around,
Her griefs infect the human soul.
3 Hence the loud city's busy throngs
Urge the warm bowl and splendid fire:
Harmonious dances, festive songs,
Against the spiteful heaven conspire.
Meantime, perhaps, with tender fears
Some village dame the curfew hears,
While round the hearth her children play:
At morn their father went abroad;
The moon is sunk, and deep the road;
She sighs, and vonders at his stay.
4 But thou, my lyre, awake, arise,
And hail the sun's returning force:
Even now he climbs the northern skies,
And health and hope attend his course.
Then louder howl the aerial waste,
Be earth with keener cold embraced,
Yet gentle hours advance their wing;
And Fancy, mocking Winter's might,
With flowers and dews and streaming light
Already decks the new-born Spring.
5 O fountain of the golden day,
Could mortal vows promote thy speed,
How soon before thy vernal ray
Should each unkindly damp recede!
How soon each hovering tempest fly,
Whose stores for mischief arm the sky,
Prompt on our heads to burst amain,
To rend the forest from the steep,
Or, thundering o'er the Baltic deep,
To whelm the merchant's hopes of gain!
6 But let not man's unequal views
Presume o'er Nature and her laws:
'Tis his with grateful joy to use
The indulgence of the Sovereign Cause;
Secure that health and beauty springs
Through this majestic frame of things,
Beyond what he can reach to know;
And that Heaven's all-subduing will,
With good, the progeny of ill,
Attempereth every state below.
7 How pleasing wears the wintry night,
Spent with the old illustrious dead!
While, by the taper's trembling light,
I seem those awful scenes to tread
Where chiefs or legislators lie,
Whose triumphs move before my eye,
In arms and antique pomp array'd;
While now I taste the Ionian song,
Now bend to Plato's godlike tongue
Resounding through the olive shade.
8 But should some cheerful, equal friend
Bid leave the studious page a while.
Let mirth on wisdom then attend,
And social ease on learned toil.
Then while, at love's uncareful shrine,
Each dictates to the god of wine
Her name whom all his hopes obey,
What flattering dreams each bosom warm,
While absence, heightening every charm,
Invokes the slow-returning May!
9 May, thou delight of heaven and earth,
When will thy genial star arise?
The auspicious morn, which gives thee birth,
Shall bring Eudora to my eyes.
Within her sylvan haunt, behold,
As in the happy garden old,
She moves like that primeval fair:
Thither, ye silver-sounding lyres,
Ye tender smiles, ye chaste desires,
Fond hope and mutual faith, repair.
10 And if believing love can read
His better omens in her eye,
Then shall my fears, O charming maid,
And every pain of absence die:
Then shall my jocund harp, attuned
To thy true ear, with sweeter sound
Pursue the free Horatian song:
Old Tyne shall listen to my tale,
And Echo, down the bordering vale,
The liquid melody prolong.
FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE, DECEMBER 11, 1740.
AS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN.
1 Now to the utmost southern goal
The sun has traced his annual way,
And backward now prepares to roll,
And bless the north with earlier day.
Prone on Potosi's lofty brow
Floods of sublimer splendour flow,
Ripening the latent seeds of gold,
Whilst, panting in the lonely shade,
Th' afflicted Indian hides his head,
Nor dares the blaze of noon behold.
2 But lo! on this deserted coast
How faint the light, how chill the air!
Lo! arm'd with whirlwind, hail, and frost,
Fierce Winter desolates the year.
The fields resign their cheerful bloom,
No more the breezes breathe perfume,
No more the warbling waters roll;
Deserts of snow fatigue the eye,
Successive tempests bloat the sky,
And gloomy damps oppress the soul.
3 But let my drooping genius rise,
And hail the sun's remotest ray:
Now, now he climbs the northern skies,
To-morrow nearer than to-day.
Then louder howl the stormy waste,
Be land and ocean worse defaced,
Yet brighter hours are on the wing,
And Fancy, through the wintry gloom,
Radiant with dews and flowers in bloom,
Already hails th' emerging spring.
4 O fountain of the golden day!
Could mortal vows but urge thy speed,
How soon before thy vernal ray
Should each unkindly damp recede!
How soon each tempest hovering fly,
That now fermenting loads the sky,
Prompt on our heads to burst amain,
To rend the forest from the steep,
And thundering o'er the Baltic deep,
To whelm the merchant's hopes of gain!
5 But let not man's imperfect views
Presume to tax wise Nature's laws;
'Tis his with silent joy to use
Th' indulgence of the Sovereign Cause;
Secure that from the whole of things
Beauty and good consummate springs,
Beyond what he can reach to know;
And that the providence of Heaven
Has some peculiar blessing given
To each allotted state below.
6 Even now how sweet the wintry night
Spent with the old illustrious dead!
While, by the taper's trembling light,
I seem those awful courts to tread,
Where chiefs and legislators lie,
Whose triumphs move before my eye,
With every laurel fresh display'd;
While charm'd I rove in classic song,
Or bend to freedom's fearless tongue,
Or walk the academic shade.
TO A FRIEND, UNSUCCESSFUL IN LOVE.
1 Indeed, my Phædria, if to find
That wealth can female wishes gain,
Had e'er disturb'd your thoughtful mind,
Or caused one serious moment's pain,
I should have said that all the rules
You learn'd of moralists and schools
Were very useless, very vain.
2 Yet I perhaps mistake the case--
Say, though with this heroic air,
Like one that holds a nobler chase,
You try the tender loss to bear,
Does not your heart renounce your tongue?
Seems not my censure strangely wrong
To count it such a slight affair?
3 When Hesper gilds the shaded sky,
Oft as you seek the well-known grove,
Methinks I see you cast your eye
Back to the morning scenes of love:
Each pleasing word you heard her say,
Her gentle look, her graceful way,
Again your struggling fancy move.
4 Then tell me, is your soul entire?
Does Wisdom calmly hold her throne?
Then can you question each desire,
Bid this remain, and that be gone?
No tear half-starting from your eye?
No kindling blush, you know not why?
No stealing sigh, nor stifled groan?
5 Away with this unmanly mood!
See where the hoary churl appears,
Whose hand hath seized the favourite good
Which you reserved for happier years:
While, side by side, the blushing maid
Shrinks from his visage, half afraid,
Spite of the sickly joy she wears.
6 Ye guardian powers of love and fame,
This chaste, harmonious pair behold;
And thus reward the generous flame
Of all who barter vows for gold.
O bloom of youth, O tender charms
Well-buried in a dotard's arms!
O equal price of beauty sold!
7 Cease then to gaze with looks of love:
Bid her adieu, the venal fair:
Unworthy she your bliss to prove;
Then wherefore should she prove your care?
No: lay your myrtle garland down;
And let a while the willow's crown
With luckier omens bind your hair.
8 O just escaped the faithless main,
Though driven unwilling on the land;
To guide your favour'd steps again,
Behold your better Genius stand:
Where Truth revolves her page divine,
Where Virtue leads to Honour's shrine,
Behold, he lifts his awful hand.
9 Fix but on these your ruling aim,
And Time, the sire of manly care,
Will fancy's dazzling colours tame;
A soberer dress will beauty wear:
Then shall esteem, by knowledge led,
Enthrone within your heart and head
Some happier love, some truer fair.
AFFECTED INDIFFERENCE. TO THE SAME.
1 Yes: you contemn the perjured maid
Who all your favourite hopes betray'd:
Nor, though her heart should home return,
Her tuneful tongue its falsehood mourn,
Her winning eyes your faith implore,
Would you her hand receive again,
Or once dissemble your disdain,
Or listen to the siren's theme,
Or stoop to love: since now esteem
And confidence, and friendship, is no more.
2 Yet tell me, Phaedria, tell me why,
When, summoning your pride, you try
To meet her looks with cool neglect,
Or cross her walk with slight respect
(For so is falsehood best repaid),
Whence do your cheeks indignant glow?
Why is your struggling tongue so slow?
What means that darkness on your brow,
As if with all her broken vow
You meant the fair apostate to upbraid?
1 Oh, fly! 'tis dire Suspicion's mien;
And, meditating plagues unseen,
The sorceress hither bends:
Behold her touch in gall imbrued:
Behold--her garment drops with blood
Of lovers and of friends.
2 Fly far! Already in your eyes
I see a pale suffusion rise;
And soon through every vein,
Soon will her secret venom spread,
And all your heart and all your head
Imbibe the potent stain.
3 Then many a demon will she raise
To vex your sleep, to haunt your ways;
While gleams of lost delight
Raise the dark tempest of the brain,
As lightning shines across the main
Through whirlwinds and through night.
4 No more can faith or candour move;
But each ingenuous deed of love,
Which reason would applaud,
Now, smiling o'er her dark distress,
Fancy malignant strives to dress
Like injury and fraud.
5 Farewell to virtue's peaceful times:
Soon will you stoop to act the crimes
Which thus you stoop to fear:
Guilt follows guilt; and where the train
Begins with wrongs of such attain,
What horrors form the rear!
6 'Tis thus to work her baleful power,
Suspicion waits the sullen hour
Of fretfulness and strife,
When care the infirmer bosom wrings,
Or Eurus waves his murky wings
To damp the seats of life.
7 But come, forsake the scene unbless'd,
Which first beheld your faithful breast
To groundless fears a prey:
Come where, with my prevailing lyre,
The skies, the streams, the groves conspire
To charm your doubts away.
8 Throned in the sun's descending car,
What power unseen diffuseth far
This tenderness of mind?
What Genius smiles on yonder flood?
What God, in whispers from the wood,
Bids every thought be kind?
9 O Thou, whate'er thy awful name,
Whose wisdom our untoward frame
With social love restrains;
Thou, who by fair affection's ties
Giv'st us to double all our joys,
And half disarm our pains;
10 If far from Dyson and from me
Suspicion took, by thy decree,
Her everlasting flight;
If firm on virtue's ample base
Thy parent hand has deign'd to raise
Our friendship's honour'd height;
11 Let universal candour still,
Clear as yon heaven-reflecting rill,
Preserve my open mind;
Nor this nor that man's crooked ways
One sordid doubt within me raise
To injure human kind.
HYMN TO CHEERFULNESS.
How thick the shades of evening close!
How pale the sky with weight of snows!
Haste, light the tapers, urge the fire,
And bid the joyless day retire.--
Alas, in vain I try within
To brighten the dejected scene,
While, roused by grief, these fiery pains
Tear the frail texture of my veins;
While Winter's voice, that storms around,
And yon deep death-bell's groaning sound 10
Renew my mind's oppressive gloom,
Till starting Horror shakes the room.
Is there in nature no kind power
To soothe affliction's lonely hour?
To blunt the edge of dire disease,
And teach these wintry shades to please?
Come, Cheerfulness, triumphant fair,
Shine through the hovering cloud of care:
O sweet of language, mild of mien,
O Virtue's friend and Pleasure's queen, 20
Assuage the flames that burn my breast,
Compose my jarring thoughts to rest;
And while thy gracious gifts I feel,
My song shall all thy praise reveal.
As once ('twas in Astræa's reign)
The vernal powers renew'd their train,
It happen'd that immortal Love
Was ranging through the spheres above,
And downward hither cast his eye
The year's returning pomp to spy. 30
He saw the radiant god of day
Waft in his car the rosy May;
The fragrant Airs and genial Hours
Were shedding round him dews and flowers;
Before his wheels Aurora pass'd,
And Hesper's golden lamp was last.
But, fairest of the blooming throng,
When Health majestic moved along,
Delighted to survey below
The joys which from her presence flow, 40
While earth enliven'd hears her voice,
And swains, and flocks, and fields rejoice;
Then mighty Love her charms confess'd,
And soon his vows inclined her breast,
And, known from that auspicious morn,
The pleasing Cheerfulness was born.
Thou, Cheerfulness, by heaven design'd
To sway the movements of the mind,
Whatever fretful passion springs,
Whatever wayward fortune brings 50
To disarrange the power within,
And strain the musical machine;
Thou Goddess, thy attempering hand
Doth each discordant string command,
Refines the soft, and swells the strong;
And, joining Nature's general song,
Through many a varying tone unfolds
The harmony of human souls.
Fair guardian of domestic life, 59
Kind banisher of homebred strife,
Nor sullen lip, nor taunting eye
Deforms the scene where thou art by:
No sickening husband damns the hour
Which bound his joys to female power;
No pining mother weeps the cares
Which parents waste on thankless heirs:
The officious daughters pleased attend;
The brother adds the name of friend:
By thee with flowers their board is crown'd,
With songs from thee their walks resound; 70
And morn with welcome lustre shines,
And evening unperceived declines.
Is there a youth whose anxious heart
Labours with love's unpitied smart?
Though now he stray by rills and bowers,
And weeping waste the lonely hours,
Or if the nymph her audience deign,
Debase the story of his pain
With slavish looks, discolour'd eyes,
And accents faltering into sighs; 80
Yet thou, auspicious power, with ease
Canst yield him happier arts to please,
Inform his mien with manlier charms,
Instruct his tongue with nobler arms,
With more commanding passion move,
And teach the dignity of love.
Friend to the Muse and all her train,
For thee I court the Muse again:
The Muse for thee may well exert
Her pomp, her charms, her fondest art, 90
Who owes to thee that pleasing sway
Which earth and peopled heaven obey.
Let Melancholy's plaintive tongue
Repeat what later bards have sung;
But thine was Homer's ancient might,
And thine victorious Pindar's flight:
Thy hand each Lesbian wreath attired:
Thy lip Sicilian reeds inspired:
Thy spirit lent the glad perfume
Whence yet the flowers of Teos bloom; 100
Whence yet from Tibur's Sabine vale
Delicious blows the enlivening gale,
While Horace calls thy sportive choir,
Heroes and nymphs, around his lyre.
But see, where yonder pensive sage
(A prey perhaps to fortune's rage,
Perhaps by tender griefs oppress'd,
Or glooms congenial to his breast)
Retires in desert scenes to dwell,
And bids the joyless world farewell. 110
Alone he treads the autumnal shade,
Alone beneath the mountain laid
He sees the nightly damps ascend,
And gathering storms aloft impend;
He hears the neighbouring surges roll,
And raging thunders shake the pole;
Then, struck by every object round,
And stunn'd by every horrid sound,
He asks a clue for Nature's ways;
But evil haunts him through the maze: 120
He sees ten thousand demons rise
To wield the empire of the skies,
And Chance and Fate assume the rod,
And Malice blot the throne of God.--
O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
Thy lenient influence hither bring;
Compose the storm, dispel the gloom,
Till Nature wear her wonted bloom,
Till fields and shades their sweets exhale,
And music swell each opening gale: 130
Then o'er his breast thy softness pour,
And let him learn the timely hour
To trace the world's benignant laws,
And judge of that presiding cause
Who founds on discord beauty's reign,
Converts to pleasure every pain,
Subdues each hostile form to rest,
And bids the universe be bless'd.
O thou, whose pleasing power I sing,
If right I touch the votive string, 140
If equal praise I yield thy name,
Still govern thou thy poet's flame;
Still with the Muse my bosom share,
And soothe to peace intruding care.
But most exert thy pleasing power
On friendship's consecrated hour;
And while my Sophron points the road
To godlike wisdom's calm abode,
Or warm in freedom's ancient cause
Traceth the source of Albion's laws, 150
Add thou o'er all the generous toil
The light of thy unclouded smile.
But if, by fortune's stubborn sway
From him and friendship torn away,
I court the Muse's healing spell
For griefs that still with absence dwell,
Do thou conduct my fancy's dreams
To such indulgent placid themes,
As just the struggling breast may cheer,
And just suspend the starting tear, 160
Yet leave that sacred sense of woe
Which none but friends and lovers know.
ON THE USE OF POETRY.
1 Not for themselves did human kind
Contrive the parts by heaven assign'd
On life's wide scene to play:
Not Scipio's force nor Caesar's skill
Can conquer Glory's arduous hill,
If Fortune close the way.
2 Yet still the self-depending soul,
Though last and least in Fortune's roll,
His proper sphere commands;
And knows what Nature's seal bestow'd,
And sees, before the throne of God,
The rank in which he stands.
3 Who train'd by laws the future age,
Who rescued nations from the rage
Of partial, factious power,
My heart with distant homage views;
Content, if thou, celestial Muse,
Didst rule my natal hour.
4 Not far beneath the hero's feet,
Nor from the legislator's seat
Stands far remote the bard.
Though not with public terrors crown'd.
Yet wider shall his rule be found,
More lasting his award.
5 Lycurgus fashion'd Sparta's fame,
And Pompey to the Roman name
Gave universal sway:
Where are they?--Homer's reverend page
Holds empire to the thirtieth age,
And tongues and climes obey.
6 And thus when William's acts divine
No longer shall from Bourbon's line
Draw one vindictive vow;
When Sydney shall with Cato rest,
And Russel move the patriot's breast
No more than Brutus now;
7 Yet then shall Shakspeare's powerful art
O'er every passion, every heart,
Confirm his awful throne:
Tyrants shall bow before his laws;
And Freedom's, Glory's, Virtue's cause,
Their dread assertor own.
ON LEAVING HOLLAND.
Farewell to Leyden's lonely bound.
The Belgian Muse's sober seat;
Where, dealing frugal gifts around
To all the favourites at her feet,
She trains the body's bulky frame
For passive persevering toils;
And lest, from any prouder aim,
The daring mind should scorn her homely spoils,
She breathes maternal fogs to damp its restless flame.
Farewell the grave, pacific air,
Where never mountain zephyr blew:
The marshy levels lank and bare,
Which Pan, which Ceres never knew:
The Naiads, with obscene attire,
Urging in vain their urns to flow;
While round them chant the croaking choir,
And haply soothe some lover's prudent woe,
Or prompt some restive bard and modulate his lyre.
Farewell, ye nymphs, whom sober care of gain
Snatch'd in your cradles from the god of Love:
She render'd all his boasted arrows vain;
And all his gifts did he in spite remove.
Ye too, the slow-eyed fathers of the land,
With whom dominion steals from hand to hand,
Unown'd, undignified by public choice,
I go where Liberty to all is known,
And tells a monarch on his throne,
He reigns not but by her preserving voice.
O my loved England, when with thee
Shall I sit down, to part no more?
Far from this pale, discolour'd sea,
That sleeps upon the reedy shore:
When shall I plough thy azure tide?
When on thy hills the flocks admire,
Like mountain snows; till down their side
I trace the village and the sacred spire,
While bowers and copses green the golden slope divide?
Ye nymphs who guard the pathless grove,
Ye blue-eyed sisters of the streams,
With whom I wont at morn to rove,
With whom at noon I talk'd in dreams;
Oh! take me to your haunts again,
The rocky spring, the greenwood glade;
To guide my lonely footsteps deign,
To prompt my slumbers in the murmuring shade,
And soothe my vacant ear with many an airy strain.
And thou, my faithful harp, no longer mourn
Thy drooping master's inauspicious hand:
Now brighter skies and fresher gales return,
Now fairer maids thy melody demand.
Daughters of Albion, listen to my lyre!
O Phoebus, guardian of the Aonian choir,
Why sounds not mine harmonious as thy own,
When all the virgin deities above
With Venus and with Juno move
In concert round the Olympian father's throne?
Thee too, protectress of my lays,
Elate with whose majestic call
Above degenerate Latium's praise,
Above the slavish boast of Gaul,
I dare from impious thrones reclaim,
And wanton sloth's ignoble charms,
The honours of a poet's name
To Somers' counsels, or to Hampden's arms,
Thee, Freedom, I rejoin, and bless thy genuine flame.
Great citizen of Albion! Thee
Heroic Valour still attends,
And useful Science, pleased to see
How Art her studious toil extends:
While Truth, diffusing from on high
A lustre unconfined as day,
Fills and commands the public eye;
Till, pierced and sinking by her powerful ray,
Tame Faith and monkish Awe, like nightly demons, fly.
Hence the whole land the patriot's ardour shares:
Hence dread Religion dwells with social Joy;
And holy passions and unsullied cares,
In youth, in age, domestic life employ.
O fair Britannia, hail!--With partial love
The tribes of men their native seats approve,
Unjust and hostile to each foreign fame:
But when for generous minds and manly laws
A nation holds her prime applause,
There public zeal shall all reproof disclaim.
TO CURIO.  1744.
1 Thrice hath the spring beheld thy faded fame
Since I exulting grasp'd the tuneful shell:
Eager through endless years to sound thy name,
Proud that my memory with thine should dwell.
How hast thou stain'd the splendour of my choice!
Those godlike forms which hover'd round thy voice,
Laws, freedom, glory, whither are they flown?
What can I now of thee to Time report,
Save thy fond country made thy impious sport,
Her fortune and her hope the victims of thy own?
2 There are, with eyes unmoved and reckless heart
Who saw thee from thy summit fall thus low,
Who deem'd thy arm extended but to dart
The public vengeance on thy private foe.
But, spite of every gloss of envious minds,
The owl-eyed race whom virtue's lustre blinds,
Who sagely prove that each man hath his price,
I still believed thy aim from blemish free,
I yet, even yet, believe it, spite of thee,
And all thy painted pleas to greatness and to vice.
3 'Thou didst not dream of liberty decay'd,
Nor wish to make her guardian laws more strong:
But the rash many, first by thee misled,
Bore thee at length unwillingly along.'
Rise from your sad abodes, ye cursed of old
For faith deserted or for cities sold,
Own here one untried, unexampled, deed;
One mystery of shame from Curio learn,
To beg the infamy he did not earn,
And scape in Guilt's disguise from Virtue's offer'd meed.
4 For saw we not that dangerous power avow'd
Whom Freedom oft hath found her mortal bane,
Whom public Wisdom ever strove to exclude,
And but with blushes suffereth in her train?
Corruption vaunted her bewitching spoils,
O'er court, o'er senate, spread in pomp her toils,
And call'd herself the state's directing soul:
Till Curio, like a good magician, tried
With Eloquence and Reason at his side,
By strength of holier spells the enchantress to control.
5 Soon with thy country's hope thy fame extends:
The rescued merchant oft thy words resounds:
Thee and thy cause the rural hearth defends:
His bowl to thee the grateful sailor crowns:
The learn'd recluse, with awful zeal who read
Of Grecian heroes, Roman patriots dead,
Now with like awe doth living merit scan:
While he, whom virtue in his bless'd retreat
Bade social ease and public passions meet,
Ascends the civil scene, and knows to be a man.
6 At length in view the glorious end appear'd:
We saw thy spirit through the senate reign;
And Freedom's friends thy instant omen heard
Of laws for which their fathers bled in vain.
Waked in the strife the public Genius rose
More keen, more ardent from his long repose;
Deep through her bounds the city felt his call;
Each crowded haunt was stirr'd beneath his power,
And murmuring challenged the deciding hour
Or that too vast event, the hope and dread of all.
7 O ye good powers who look on human kind,
Instruct the mighty moments as they roll;
And watch the fleeting shapes in Curio's mind,
And steer his passions steady to the goal.
O Alfred, father of the English name,
O valiant Edward, first in civil fame,
O William, height of public virtue pure,
Bend from your radiant seats a joyful eye,
Behold the sum of all your labours nigh,
Your plans of law complete, your ends of rule secure.
8 'Twas then--O shame! O soul from faith estranged!
O Albion, oft to flattering vows a prey!
'Twas then--Thy thought what sudden frenzy changed?
What rushing palsy took thy strength away?
Is this the man in Freedom's cause approved--
The man so great, so honour'd, so beloved--
Whom the dead envied and the living bless'd--
This patient slave by tinsel bonds allured--
This wretched suitor for a boon abjured--
Whom those that fear'd him scorn; that trusted him, detest?
9 O lost alike to action and repose!
With all that habit of familiar fame,
Sold to the mockery of relentless foes,
And doom'd to exhaust the dregs of life in shame,
To act with burning brow and throbbing heart
A poor deserter's dull exploded part,
To slight the favour thou canst hope no more,
Renounce the giddy crowd, the vulgar wind,
Charge thy own lightness on thy country's mind,
And from her voice appeal to each tame foreign shore.
10 But England's sons, to purchase thence applause,
Shall ne'er the loyalty of slaves pretend,
By courtly passions try the public cause;
Nor to the forms of rule betray the end.
O race erect! by manliest passions moved,
The labours which to Virtue stand approved,
Prompt with a lover's fondness to survey;
Yet, where Injustice works her wilful claim,
Fierce as the flight of Jove's destroying flame,
Impatient to confront, and dreadful to repay.
11 These thy heart owns no longer. In their room
See the grave queen of pageants, Honour, dwell
Couch'd in thy bosom's deep tempestuous gloom,
Like some grim idol in a sorcerer's cell.
Before her rites thy sickening reason flew,
Divine Persuasion from thy tongue withdrew,
While Laughter mock'd, or Pity stole a sigh:
Can Wit her tender movements rightly frame
Where the prime function of the soul is lame?
Can Fancy's feeble springs the force of Truth supply?
12 But come: 'tis time: strong Destiny impends
To shut thee from the joys thou hast betray'd:
With princes fill'd, the solemn fane ascends,
By Infamy, the mindful demon sway'd.
There vengeful vows for guardian laws effaced,
From nations fetter'd, and from towns laid waste,
For ever through the spacious courts resound:
There long posterity's united groan,
And the sad charge of horrors not their own,
Assail the giant chiefs, and press them to the ground.
13 In sight, old Time, imperious judge, awaits:
Above revenge, or fear, or pity, just,
He urgeth onward to those guilty gates
The great, the sage, the happy, and august.
And still he asks them of the hidden plan
Whence every treaty, every war began,
Evolves their secrets and their guilt proclaims:
And still his hands despoil them on the road
Of each vain wreath by lying bards bestow'd,
And crush their trophies huge, and raze their sculptured names.
14 Ye mighty shades, arise, give place, attend:
Here his eternal mansion Curio seeks.
Low doth proud Wentworth to the stranger bend,
And his dire welcome hardy Clifford speaks:--
'He comes, whom fate with surer arts prepared
To accomplish all which we but vainly dared;
Whom o'er the stubborn herd she taught to reign:
Who soothed with gaudy dreams their raging power
Even to its last irrevocable hour;
Then baffled their rude strength, and broke them to the chain.'
15 But ye, whom yet wise Liberty inspires,
Whom for her champions o'er the world she claims
(That household godhead whom of old your sires
Sought in the woods of Elbe and bore to Thames),
Drive ye this hostile omen far away;
Their own fell efforts on her foes repay;
Your wealth, your arts, your fame, be hers alone:
Still gird your swords to combat on her side;
Still frame your laws her generous test to abide;
And win to her defence the altar and the throne.
16 Protect her from yourselves, ere yet the flood
Of golden Luxury, which Commerce pours,
Hath spread that selfish fierceness through your blood,
Which not her lightest discipline endures:
Snatch from fantastic demagogues her cause:
Dream not of Numa's manners, Plato's laws:
A wiser founder, and a nobler plan,
O sons of Alfred, were for you assign'd:
Bring to that birthright but an equal mind,
And no sublimer lot will fate reserve for man.
[Footnote 1: 'To Curio:' see _Life_.]
TO THE MUSE.
1 Queen of my songs, harmonious maid,
Ah! why hast thou withdrawn thy aid?
Ah! why forsaken thus my breast
With inauspicious damps oppress'd?
Where is the dread prophetic heat
With which my bosom wont to beat?
Where all the bright mysterious dreams
Of haunted groves and tuneful streams,
That woo'd my genius to divinest themes?
2 Say, goddess, can the festal board,
Or young Olympia's form adored;
Say, can the pomp of promised fame
Relume thy faint, thy dying flame?
Or have melodious airs the power
To give one free, poetic hour?
Or, from amid the Elysian train,
The soul of Milton shall I gain,
To win thee back with some celestial strain?
3 O powerful strain! O sacred soul!
His numbers every sense control:
And now again my bosom burns;
The Muse, the Muse herself returns.
Such on the banks of Tyne, confess'd,
I hail'd the fair immortal guest,
When first she seal'd me for her own,
Made all her blissful treasures known,
And bade me swear to follow Her alone.
ON LOVE. TO A FRIEND.
1 No, foolish youth--to virtuous fame
If now thy early hopes be vow'd,
If true ambition's nobler flame
Command thy footsteps from the crowd,
Lean not to Love's enchanting snare;
His songs, his words, his looks beware,
Nor join his votaries, the young and fair.
2 By thought, by dangers, and by toils,
The wreath of just renown is worn;
Nor will ambition's awful spoils
The flowery pomp of ease adorn;
But Love unbends the force of thought;
By Love unmanly fears are taught;
And Love's reward with gaudy sloth is bought.
3 Yet thou hast read in tuneful lays,
And heard from many a zealous breast,
The pleasing tale of beauty's praise
In wisdom's lofty language dress'd;
Of beauty powerful to impart
Each finer sense, each comelier art,
And soothe and polish man's ungentle heart.
4 If then, from Love's deceit secure,
Thus far alone thy wishes tend,
Go; see the white-wing'd evening hour
On Delia's vernal walk descend:
Go, while the golden light serene,
The grove, the lawn, the soften'd scene
Becomes the presence of the rural queen.
5 Attend, while that harmonious tongue
Each bosom, each desire commands:
Apollo's lute by Hermes strung,
And touch'd by chaste Minerva's hands,
Attend. I feel a force divine,
O Delia, win my thoughts to thine;
That half the colour of thy life is mine.
6 Yet conscious of the dangerous charm,
Soon would I turn my steps away;
Nor oft provoke the lovely harm,
Nor lull my reason's watchful sway.
But thou, my friend--I hear thy sighs:
Alas, I read thy downcast eyes;
And thy tongue falters, and thy colour flies.
7 So soon again to meet the fair?
So pensive all this absent hour?--
O yet, unlucky youth, beware,
While yet to think is in thy power.
In vain with friendship's flattering name
Thy passion veils its inward shame;
Friendship, the treacherous fuel of thy flame!
8 Once, I remember, new to Love,
And dreading his tyrannic chain,
I sought a gentle maid to prove
What peaceful joys in friendship reign:
Whence we forsooth might safely stand,
And pitying view the love-sick band,
And mock the wingèd boy's malicious hand.
9 Thus frequent pass'd the cloudless day,
To smiles and sweet discourse resign'd;
While I exulted to survey
One generous woman's real mind:
Till friendship soon my languid breast
Each night with unknown cares possess'd,
Dash'd my coy slumbers, or my dreams distress'd.
10 Fool that I was--And now, even now
While thus I preach the Stoic strain,
Unless I shun Olympia's view,
An hour unsays it all again.
O friend!--when Love directs her eyes
To pierce where every passion lies,
Where is the firm, the cautious, or the wise?
TO SIR FRANCIS HENRY DRAKE, BARONET.
1 Behold, the Balance in the sky
Swift on the wintry scale inclines:
To earthy caves the Dryads fly,
And the bare pastures Pan resigns.
Late did the farmer's fork o'erspread
With recent soil the twice-mown mead,
Tainting the bloom which Autumn knows:
He whets the rusty coulter now,
He binds his oxen to the plough,
And wide his future harvest throws.
2 Now, London's busy confines round,
By Kensington's imperial towers,
From Highgate's rough descent profound,
Essexian heaths, or Kentish bowers,
Where'er I pass, I see approach
Some rural statesman's eager coach,
Hurried by senatorial cares:
While rural nymphs (alike, within,
Aspiring courtly praise to win)
Debate their dress, reform their airs.
3 Say, what can now the country boast,
O Drake, thy footsteps to detain,
When peevish winds and gloomy frost
The sunshine of the temper stain?
Say, are the priests of Devon grown
Friends to this tolerating throne,
Champions for George's legal right?
Have general freedom, equal law,
Won to the glory of Nassau
Each bold Wessexian squire and knight?
4 I doubt it much; and guess at least
That when the day, which made us free,
Shall next return, that sacred feast
Thou better may'st observe with me.
With me the sulphurous treason old
A far inferior part shall hold
In that glad day's triumphal strain;
And generous William be revered,
Nor one untimely accent heard
Of James, or his ignoble reign.
5 Then, while the Gascon's fragrant wine
With modest cups our joy supplies,
We'll truly thank the power divine
Who bade the chief, the patriot rise;
Rise from heroic ease (the spoil
Due, for his youth's Herculean toil,
From Belgium to her saviour son),
Rise with the same unconquer'd zeal
For our Britannia's injured weal,
Her laws defaced, her shrines o'erthrown.
6 He came. The tyrant from our shore,
Like a forbidden demon, fled;
And to eternal exile bore
Pontific rage and vassal dread.
There sunk the mouldering Gothic reign:
New years came forth, a liberal train,
Call'd by the people's great decree.
That day, my friend, let blessings crown;--
Fill, to the demigod's renown
From whom thou hast that thou art free.
7 Then, Drake, (for wherefore should we part
The public and the private weal?)
In vows to her who sways thy heart,
Fair health, glad fortune, will we deal.
Whether Aglaia's blooming cheek,
Or the soft ornaments that speak
So eloquent in Daphne's smile,
Whether the piercing lights that fly
From the dark heaven of Myrto's eye,
Haply thy fancy then beguile.
8 For so it is:--thy stubborn breast,
Though touch'd by many a slighter wound,
Hath no full conquest yet confess'd,
Nor the one fatal charmer found;
While I, a true and loyal swain,
My fair Olympia's gentle reign
Through all the varying seasons own.
Her genius still my bosom warms:
No other maid for me hath charms,
Or I have eyes for her alone.
ON LYRIC POETRY.
Once more I join the Thespian choir,
And taste the inspiring fount again:
O parent of the Grecian lyre,
Admit me to thy powerful strain--
And lo, with ease my step invades
The pathless vale and opening shades,
Till now I spy her verdant seat;
And now at large I drink the sound,
While these her offspring, listening round.
By turns her melody repeat.
I see Anacreon smile and sing,
His silver tresses breathe perfume:
His cheek displays a second spring
Of roses, taught by wine to bloom.
Away, deceitful cares, away,
And let me listen to his lay;
Let me the wanton pomp enjoy,
While in smooth dance the light-wing'd Hours
Lead round his lyre its patron powers,
Kind Laughter and Convivial Joy.
Broke from the fetters of his native land,
Devoting shame and vengeance to her lords,
With louder impulse and a threatening hand
The Lesbian patriot  smites the sounding chords:
Ye wretches, ye perfidious train,
Ye cursed of gods and free-born men,
Ye murderers of the laws,
Though now ye glory in your lust,
Though now ye tread the feeble neck in dust,
Yet Time and righteous Jove will judge your dreadful cause.
But lo, to Sappho's melting airs
Descends the radiant queen of love:
She smiles, and asks what fonder cares
Her suppliant's plaintive measures move:
Why is my faithful maid distress'd?
Who, Sappho, wounds thy tender breast?
Say, flies he?--Soon he shall pursue:
Shuns he thy gifts?--He soon shall give:
Slights he thy sorrows?--He shall grieve,
And soon to all thy wishes bow.
But, O Melpomene, for whom
Awakes thy golden shell again?
What mortal breath shall e'er presume
To echo that unbounded strain?
Majestic in the frown of years,
Behold, the man of Thebes  appears:
For some there are, whose mighty frame
The hand of Jove at birth endow'd
With hopes that mock the gazing crowd;
As eagles drink the noontide flame;
While the dim raven beats her weary wings,
And clamours far below.--Propitious Muse,
While I so late unlock thy purer springs,
And breathe whate'er thy ancient airs infuse,
Wilt thou for Albion's sons around
(Ne'er hadst thou audience more renown'd)
Thy charming arts employ,
As when the winds from shore to shore
Through Greece thy lyre's persuasive language bore,
Till towns, and isles, and seas return'd the vocal joy?
Yet then did Pleasure's lawless throng,
Oft rushing forth in loose attire,
Thy virgin dance, thy graceful song
Pollute with impious revels dire.
O fair, O chaste, thy echoing shade
May no foul discord here invade:
Nor let thy strings one accent move,
Except what earth's untroubled ear
'Mid all her social tribes may hear,
And heaven's unerring throne approve.
Queen of the lyre, in thy retreat
The fairest flowers of Pindus glow;
The vine aspires to crown thy seat,
And myrtles round thy laurel grow.
Thy strings adapt their varied strain
To every pleasure, every pain,
Which mortal tribes were born to prove;
And straight our passions rise or fall,
As at the wind's imperious call
The ocean swells, the billows move.
When midnight listens o'er the slumbering earth,
Let me, O Muse, thy solemn whispers hear:
When morning sends her fragrant breezes forth,
With airy murmurs touch my opening ear.
And ever watchful at thy side,
Let Wisdom's awful suffrage guide
The tenor of thy lay:
To her of old by Jove was given
To judge the various deeds of earth and heaven;
'Twas thine by gentle arts to win us to her sway.
Oft as, to well-earn'd ease resign'd,
I quit the maze where Science toils,
Do thou refresh my yielding mind
With all thy gay, delusive spoils.
But, O indulgent, come not nigh
The busy steps, the jealous eye
Of wealthy care or gainful age;
Whose barren souls thy joys disdain,
And hold as foes to reason's reign
Whome'er thy lovely works engage.
When friendship and when letter'd mirth
Haply partake my simple board,
Then let thy blameless hand call forth
The music of the Teian chord.
Or if invoked at softer hours,
Oh! seek with me the happy bowers
That hear Olympia's gentle tongue;
To beauty link'd with virtue's train,
To love devoid of jealous pain,
There let the Sapphic lute be strung.
But when from envy and from death to claim
A hero bleeding for his native land;
When to throw incense on the vestal flame
Of Liberty my genius gives command,
Nor Theban voice nor Lesbian lyre
From thee, O Muse, do I require;
While my presaging mind,
Conscious of powers she never knew,
Astonish'd, grasps at things beyond her view,
Nor by another's fate submits to be confined.
[Footnote 1: 'The Lesbian patriot:' Alcaeus.]
[Footnote 2: 'The man of Thebes:' Pindar.]
TO THE HONOURABLE CHARLES TOWNSHEND;
FROM THE COUNTRY.
1 Say, Townshend, what can London boast
To pay thee for the pleasures lost,
The health to-day resign'd,
When Spring from this her favourite seat
Bade Winter hasten his retreat,
And met the western wind.
2 Oh, knew'st thou how the balmy air,
The sun, the azure heavens prepare
To heal thy languid frame,
No more would noisy courts engage;
In vain would lying Faction's rage
Thy sacred leisure claim.
3 Oft I look'd forth, and oft admired;
Till with the studious volume tired
I sought the open day;
And sure, I cried, the rural gods
Expect me in their green abodes,
And chide my tardy lay.
4 But ah, in vain my restless feet
Traced every silent shady seat
Which knew their forms of old:
Nor Naiad by her fountain laid,
Nor Wood-nymph tripping through her glade,
Did now their rites unfold:
5 Whether to nurse some infant oak
They turn--the slowly tinkling brook,
And catch the pearly showers,
Or brush the mildew from the woods,
Or paint with noontide beams the buds,
Or breathe on opening flowers.
6 Such rites, which they with Spring renew,
The eyes of care can never view;
And care hath long been mine:
And hence offended with their guest,
Since grief of love my soul oppress'd,
They hide their toils divine.
7 But soon shall thy enlivening tongue
This heart, by dear affliction wrung,
With noble hope inspire:
Then will the sylvan powers again
Receive me in their genial train,
And listen to my lyre.
8 Beneath yon Dryad's lonely shade
A rustic altar shall be paid,
Of turf with laurel framed;
And thou the inscription wilt approve:
'This for the peace which, lost by love,
By friendship was reclaim'd'
TO THE EVENING STAR.
1 To-night retired, the queen of heaven
With young Endymion stays:
And now to Hesper it is given
A while to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
A stream of brighter rays.
2 O Hesper, while the starry throng
With awe thy path surrounds,
Oh, listen to my suppliant song,
If haply now the vocal sphere
Can suffer thy delighted ear
To stoop to mortal sounds.
3 So may the bridegroom's genial strain
Thee still invoke to shine:
So may the bride's unmarried train
To Hymen chant their flattering vow,
Still that his lucky torch may glow
With lustre pure as thine.
4 Far other vows must I prefer
To thy indulgent power.
Alas, but now I paid my tear
On fair Olympia's virgin tomb:
And lo, from thence, in quest I roam
Of Philomela's bower.
5 Propitious send thy golden ray,
Thou purest light above:
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm:
But lead where music's healing charm
May soothe afflicted love.
6 To them, by many a grateful song
In happier seasons vow'd,
These lawns, Olympia's haunt, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk'd,
Or fix'd, while Philomela talk'd,
Beneath yon copses stood.
7 Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
That roofless tower invade,
We came while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till by a clamorous owl compell'd
She fled the solemn shade.
8 But hark; I hear her liquid tone.
Now, Hesper, guide my feet
Down the red marl with moss o'ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane,
Which leads to her retreat.
9 See the green space; on either hand
Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o'er half the level mead
Enclosed in woods profound.
10 Hark, through many a melting note
She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends,
The stars shine out, the forest bends,
The wakeful heifers gaze.
11 Whoe'er thou art whom chance may bring
To this sequester'd spot,
If then the plaintive Syren sing,
Oh! softly tread beneath her bower,
And think of heaven's disposing power,
Of man's uncertain lot.
12 Oh! think, o'er all this mortal stage,
What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage,
How often virtue dwells with woe,
How many griefs from knowledge flow,
How swiftly pleasure flies.
13 O sacred bird, let me at eve,
Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity Nature's common cares,
Till I forget my own.
TO CALEB HARDINGE, M. D.
1 With sordid floods the wintry Urn 
Hath stain'd fair Richmond's level green;
Her naked hill the Dryads mourn,
No longer a poetic scene.
No longer there the raptured eye
The beauteous forms of earth or sky
Surveys as in their Author's mind;
And London shelters from the year
Those whom thy social hours to share
The Attic Muse design'd.
2 From Hampstead's airy summit me
Her guest the city shall behold,
What day the people's stern decree
To unbelieving kings is told,
When common men (the dread of fame)
Adjudged as one of evil name,
Before the sun, the anointed head.
Then seek thou too the pious town,
With no unworthy cares to crown
That evening's awful shade.
3 Deem not I call thee to deplore
The sacred martyr of the day,
By fast, and penitential lore
To purge our ancient guilt away.
For this, on humble faith I rest
That still our advocate, the priest,
From heavenly wrath will save the land;
Nor ask what rites our pardon gain,
Nor how his potent sounds restrain
The thunderer's lifted hand.
4 No, Hardinge; peace to church and state!
That evening, let the Muse give law;
While I anew the theme relate
Which my first youth enamour'd saw.
Then will I oft explore thy thought,
What to reject which Locke hath taught,
What to pursue in Virgil's lay;
Till hope ascends to loftiest things,
Nor envies demagogues or kings
Their frail and vulgar sway.
5 O versed in all the human frame,
Lead thou where'er my labour lies,
And English fancy's eager flame
To Grecian purity chastise;
While hand in hand, at Wisdom's shrine,
Beauty with truth I strive to join,
And grave assent with glad applause;
To paint the story of the soul,
And Plato's visions to control
By Verulamian laws.
[Footnote 1: 'The wintry Urn:' Aquarius.]
ON A SERMON AGAINST GLORY. 1747.
1 Come then, tell me, sage divine,
Is it an offence to own
That our bosoms e'er incline
Toward immortal Glory's throne?
For with me, nor pomp, nor pleasure,
Bourbon's might, Braganza's treasure,
So can Fancy's dream rejoice,
So conciliate Reason's choice,
As one approving word of her impartial voice.
2 If to spurn at noble praise
Be the passport to thy heaven,
Follow thou those gloomy ways;
No such law to me was given,
Nor, I trust, shall I deplore me,
Faring like my friends before me;
Nor an holier place desire
Than Timoleon's arms acquire,
And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE FRANCIS, EARL OF HUNTINGDON, 1747.
The wise and great of every clime,
Through all the spacious walks of time,
Where'er the Muse her power display'd,
With joy have listen'd and obey'd.
For, taught of heaven, the sacred Nine
Persuasive numbers, forms divine,
To mortal sense impart:
They best the soul with glory fire;
They noblest counsels, boldest deeds inspire;
And high o'er Fortune's rage enthrone the fixed heart.
Nor less prevailing is their charm
The vengeful bosom to disarm;
To melt the proud with human woe,
And prompt unwilling tears to flow.
Can wealth a power like this afford?
Can Cromwell's arts or Marlborough's sword,
An equal empire claim?
No, Hastings. Thou my words wilt own:
Thy breast the gifts of every Muse hath known;
Nor shall the giver's love disgrace thy noble name.
The Muse's awful art,
And the blest function of the poet's tongue,
Ne'er shalt thou blush to honour; to assert
From all that scorned vice or slavish fear hath sung.
Nor shall the blandishment of Tuscan strings
Warbling at will in Pleasure's myrtle bower;
Nor shall the servile notes to Celtic kings
By flattering minstrels paid in evil hour,
Move thee to spurn the heavenly Muse's reign.
A different strain,
And other themes
From her prophetic shades and hallow'd streams
(Thou well canst witness), meet the purgèd ear:
Such, as when Greece to her immortal shell
Rejoicing listen'd, godlike sounds to hear;
To hear the sweet instructress tell
(While men and heroes throng'd around)
How life its noblest use may find,
How well for freedom be resign'd;
And how, by glory, virtue shall be crown'd.
Such was the Chian father's strain
To many a kind domestic train,
Whose pious hearth and genial bowl
Had cheer'd the reverend pilgrim's soul:
When, every hospitable rite
With equal bounty to requite,
He struck his magic strings,
And pour'd spontaneous numbers forth,
And seized their ears with tales of ancient worth,
And fill'd their musing hearts with vast heroic things.
Now oft, where happy spirits dwell,
Where yet he tunes his charming shell,
Oft near him, with applauding hands,
The Genius of his country stands.
To listening gods he makes him known,
That man divine, by whom were sown
The seeds of Grecian fame:
Who first the race with freedom fired;
From whom Lycurgus Sparta's sons inspired;
From whom Plataean palms and Cyprian trophies came.
O noblest, happiest age!
When Aristides ruled, and Cimon fought;
When all the generous fruits of Homer's page
Exulting Pindar saw to full perfection brought.
O Pindar, oft shalt thou be hail'd of me:
Not that Apollo fed thee from his shrine;
Not that thy lips drank sweetness from the bee;
Nor yet that, studious of thy notes divine,
Pan danced their measure with the sylvan throng:
But that thy song
Was proud to unfold
What thy base rulers trembled to behold;
Amid corrupted Thebes was proud to tell
The deeds of Athens and the Persian shame:
Hence on thy head their impious vengeance fell.
But thou, O faithful to thy fame,
The Muse's law didst rightly know;
That who would animate his lays,
And other minds to virtue raise,
Must feel his own with all her spirit glow.
Are there, approved of later times,
Whose verse adorn'd a tyrant's  crimes?
Who saw majestic Rome betray'd,
And lent the imperial ruffian aid?
Alas! not one polluted bard,
No, not the strains that Mincius heard,
Or Tibur's hills replied,
Dare to the Muse's ear aspire;
Save that, instructed by the Grecian lyre,
With Freedom's ancient notes their shameful task they hide.
Mark, how the dread Pantheon stands,
Amid the domes of modern hands:
Amid the toys of idle state,
How simply, how severely great!
Then turn, and, while each western clime
Presents her tuneful sons to Time,
So mark thou Milton's name;
And add, 'Thus differs from the throng
The spirit which inform'd thy awful song,
Which bade thy potent voice protect thy country's fame.'
Yet hence barbaric zeal
His memory with unholy rage pursues;
While from these arduous cares of public weal
She bids each bard begone, and rest him with his Muse.
O fool! to think the man, whose ample mind
Must grasp at all that yonder stars survey;
Must join the noblest forms of every kind,
The world's most perfect image to display,
Can e'er his country's majesty behold,
Unmoved or cold!
O fool! to deem
That he, whose thought must visit every theme,
Whose heart must every strong emotion know
Inspired by Nature, or by Fortune taught;
That he, if haply some presumptuous foe,
With false ignoble science fraught,
Shall spurn at Freedom's faithful band:
That he their dear defence will shun,
Or hide their glories from the sun,
Or deal their vengeance with a woman's hand!
I care not that in Arno's plain,
Or on the sportive banks of Seine,
From public themes the Muse's choir
Content with polish'd ease retire.
Where priests the studious head command,
Where tyrants bow the warlike hand
To vile ambition's aim,
Say, what can public themes afford,
Save venal honours to a hateful lord,
Reserved for angry heaven and scorn'd of honest fame?
But here, where Freedom's equal throne
To all her valiant sons is known;
Where all are conscious of her cares,
And each the power, that rules him, shares;
Here let the bard, whose dastard tongue
Leaves public arguments unsung,
Bid public praise farewell:
Let him to fitter climes remove,
Far from the hero's and the patriot's love,
And lull mysterious monks to slumber in their cell.
O Hastings, not to all
Can ruling Heaven the same endowments lend:
Yet still doth Nature to her offspring call,
That to one general weal their different powers they bend,
Unenvious. Thus alone, though strains divine
Inform the bosom of the Muse's son;
Though with new honours the patrician's line
Advance from age to age; yet thus alone
They win the suffrage of impartial fame.
The poet's name
He best shall prove,
Whose lays the soul with noblest passions move.
But thee, O progeny of heroes old,
Thee to severer toils thy fate requires:
The fate which form'd thee in a chosen mould,
The grateful country of thy sires,
Back to Full Books