Poetical Works of Akenside
Part 5 out of 7
Thee to sublimer paths demand;
Sublimer than thy sires could trace,
Or thy own Edward teach his race,
Though Gaul's proud genius sank beneath his hand.
From rich domains, and subject farms,
They led the rustic youth to arms;
And kings their stern achievements fear'd,
While private strife their banners rear'd.
But loftier scenes to thee are shown,
Where empire's wide establish'd throne
No private master fills:
Where, long foretold, the People reigns;
Where each a vassal's humble heart disdains;
And judgeth what he sees; and, as he judgeth, wills.
Here be it thine to calm and guide
The swelling democratic tide;
To watch the state's uncertain frame,
And baffle Faction's partial aim:
But chiefly, with determined zeal,
To quell that servile band, who kneel
To Freedom's banish'd foes;
That monster, which is daily found
Expert and bold thy country's peace to wound;
Yet dreads to handle arms, nor manly counsel knows.
'Tis highest Heaven's command,
That guilty aims should sordid paths pursue;
That what ensnares the heart should maim the hand,
And Virtue's worthless foes be false to glory too.
But look on Freedom;--see, through every age,
What labours, perils, griefs, hath she disdain'd!
What arms, what regal pride, what priestly rage,
Have her dread offspring conquer'd or sustain'd!
For Albion well have conquer'd. Let the strains
Of happy swains,
Which now resound
Where Scarsdale's cliffs the swelling pastures bound,
Bear witness;--there, oft let the farmer hail
The sacred orchard which embowers his gate,
And show to strangers passing down the vale,
Where Candish, Booth, and Osborne sate;
When, bursting from their country's chain,
Even in the midst of deadly harms,
Of papal snares and lawless arms,
They plann'd for Freedom this her noblest reign.
This reign, these laws, this public care,
Which Nassau gave us all to share,
Had ne'er adorn'd the English name,
Could Fear have silenced Freedom's claim.
But Fear in vain attempts to bind
Those lofty efforts of the mind
Which social good inspires;
Where men, for this, assault a throne,
Each adds the common welfare to his own;
And each unconquer'd heart the strength of all acquires.
Say, was it thus, when late we view'd
Our fields in civil blood imbrued?
When fortune crown'd the barbarous host,
And half the astonish'd isle was lost?
Did one of all that vaunting train,
Who dare affront a peaceful reign,
Durst one in arms appear?
Durst one in counsels pledge his life?
Stake his luxurious fortunes in the strife?
Or lend his boasted name his vagrant friends to cheer?
Yet, Hastings, these are they
Who challenge to themselves thy country's love;
The true; the constant: who alone can weigh,
What glory should demand, or liberty approve!
But let their works declare them. Thy free powers,
The generous powers of thy prevailing mind,
Not for the tasks of their confederate hours,
Lewd brawls and lurking slander, were design'd.
Be thou thy own approver. Honest praise
Oft nobly sways
But, sought from cowards and the lying mouth,
Praise is reproach. Eternal God alone
For mortals fixeth that sublime award.
He, from the faithful records of his throne,
Bids the historian and the bard
Dispose of honour and of scorn;
Discern the patriot from the slave;
And write the good, the wise, the brave,
For lessons to the multitude unborn.
[Footnote 1: 'A tyrant:' Octavianus Cæsar.]
THE REMONSTRANCE OF SHAKSPEARE:
SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL, WHILE THE
FRENCH COMEDIANS WERE ACTING BY SUBSCRIPTION. 1749.
If, yet regardful of your native land,
Old Shakspeare's tongue you deign to understand,
Lo, from the blissful bowers where heaven rewards
Instructive sages and unblemish'd bards,
I come, the ancient founder of the stage,
Intent to learn, in this discerning age,
What form of wit your fancies have embraced,
And whither tends your elegance of taste,
That thus at length our homely toils you spurn,
That thus to foreign scenes you proudly turn, 10
That from my brow the laurel wreath you claim
To crown the rivals of your country's fame.
What though the footsteps of my devious Muse
The measured walks of Grecian art refuse?
Or though the frankness of my hardy style
Mock the nice touches of the critic's file?
Yet, what my age and climate held to view,
Impartial I survey'd and fearless drew.
And say, ye skilful in the human heart,
Who know to prize a poet's noblest part, 20
What age, what clime, could e'er an ampler field
For lofty thought, for daring fancy, yield?
I saw this England break the shameful bands
Forged for the souls of men by sacred hands:
I saw each groaning realm her aid implore;
Her sons the heroes of each warlike shore:
Her naval standard (the dire Spaniard's bane)
Obey'd through all the circuit of the main.
Then, too, great Commerce, for a late found world,
Around your coast her eager sails unfurl'd! 30
New hopes, new passions, thence the bosom fired;
New plans, new arts, the genius thence inspired;
Thence every scene, which private fortune knows,
In stronger life, with bolder spirit, rose.
Disgraced I this full prospect which I drew,
My colours languid, or my strokes untrue?
Have not your sages, warriors, swains, and kings,
Confess'd the living draught of men and things?
What other bard in any clime appears
Alike the master of your smiles and tears? 40
Yet have I deign'd your audience to entice
With wretched bribes to luxury and vice?
Or have my various scenes a purpose known
Which freedom, virtue, glory, might not own?
Such from the first was my dramatic plan;
It should be yours to crown what I began:
And now that England spurns her Gothic chain,
And equal laws and social science reign,
I thought, Now surely shall my zealous eyes
View nobler bards and juster critics rise, 50
Intent with learned labour to refine
The copious ore of Albion's native mine,
Our stately Muse more graceful airs to teach,
And form her tongue to more attractive speech,
Till rival nations listen at her feet,
And own her polish'd as they own her great.
But do you thus my favourite hopes fulfil?
Is France at last the standard of your skill?
Alas for you! that so betray a mind
Of art unconscious and to beauty blind. 60
Say, does her language your ambition raise,
Her barren, trivial, unharmonious phrase,
Which fetters eloquence to scantiest bounds,
And maims the cadence of poetic sounds?
Say, does your humble admiration choose
The gentle prattle of her Comic Muse,
While wits, plain-dealers, fops, and fools appear,
Charged to say nought but what the king may hear?
Or rather melt your sympathising hearts
Won by her tragic scene's romantic arts, 70
Where old and young declaim on soft desire,
And heroes never, but for love, expire?
No. Though the charms of novelty, a while,
Perhaps too fondly win your thoughtless smile,
Yet not for you design'd indulgent fate
The modes or manners of the Bourbon state.
And ill your minds my partial judgment reads,
And many an augury my hope misleads,
If the fair maids of yonder blooming train
To their light courtship would an audience deign, 80
Or those chaste matrons a Parisian wife
Choose for the model of domestic life;
Or if one youth of all that generous band,
The strength and splendour of their native land,
Would yield his portion of his country's fame,
And quit old freedom's patrimonial claim,
With lying smiles oppression's pomp to see,
And judge of glory by a king's decree.
O bless'd at home with justly-envied laws,
O long the chiefs of Europe's general cause, 90
Whom heaven hath chosen at each dangerous hour
To check the inroads of barbaric power,
The rights of trampled nations to reclaim,
And guard the social world from bonds and shame;
Oh! let not luxury's fantastic charms
Thus give the lie to your heroic arms:
Nor for the ornaments of life embrace
Dishonest lessons from that vaunting race,
Whom fate's dread laws (for, in eternal fate
Despotic rule was heir to freedom's hate), 100
Whom in each warlike, each commercial part,
In civil council, and in pleasing art,
The judge of earth predestined for your foes,
And made it fame and virtue to oppose.
1 Thou silent power, whose welcome sway
Charms every anxious thought away;
In whose divine oblivion drown'd,
Sore pain and weary toil grow mild,
Love is with kinder looks beguiled,
And grief forgets her fondly cherish'd wound;
Oh, whither hast thou flown, indulgent god?
God of kind shadows and of healing dews,
Whom dost thou touch with thy Lethæan rod?
Around whose temples now thy opiate airs diffuse?
2 Lo, Midnight from her starry reign
Looks awful down on earth and main.
The tuneful birds lie hush'd in sleep,
With all that crop the verdant food,
With all that skim the crystal flood,
Or haunt the caverns of the rocky steep.
No rushing winds disturb the tufted bowers;
No wakeful sound the moonlight valley knows,
Save where the brook its liquid murmur pours,
And lulls the waving scene to more profound repose.
3 Oh, let not me alone complain,
Alone invoke thy power in vain!
Descend, propitious, on my eyes;
Not from the couch that bears a crown,
Not from the courtly statesman's down,
Nor where the miser and his treasure lies:
Bring not the shapes that break the murderer's rest,
Nor those the hireling soldier loves to see,
Nor those which haunt the bigot's gloomy breast:
Far be their guilty nights, and far their dreams from me!
4 Nor yet those awful forms present,
For chiefs and heroes only meant:
The figured brass, the choral song,
The rescued people's glad applause,
The listening senate, and the laws
Fix'd by the counsels of Timoleon's  tongue,
Are scenes too grand for fortune's private ways;
And though they shine in youth's ingenuous view,
The sober gainful arts of modern days
To such romantic thoughts have bid a long adieu.
5 I ask not, god of dreams, thy care
To banish Love's presentments fair:
Nor rosy cheek nor radiant eye
Can arm him with such strong command
That the young sorcerer's fatal hand
Should round my soul his pleasing fetters tie.
Nor yet the courtier's hope, the giving smile
(A lighter phantom, and a baser chain)
Did e'er in slumber my proud lyre beguile
To lend the pomp of thrones her ill-according strain.
6 But, Morpheus, on thy balmy wing
Such honourable visions bring,
As soothed great Milton's injured age,
When in prophetic dreams he saw
The race unborn with pious awe
Imbibe each virtue from his heavenly page:
Or such as Mead's benignant fancy knows
When health's deep treasures, by his art explored,
Have saved the infant from an orphan's woes,
Or to the trembling sire his age's hope restored.
[Footnote: 1: After Timoleon had delivered Syracuse from the tyranny
of Dionysius, the people on every important deliberation sent for him
into the public assembly, asked his advice, and voted according to it.
TO THE CUCKOO.
1 O rustic herald of the spring,
At length in yonder woody vale
Fast by the brook I hear thee sing;
And, studious of thy homely tale,
Amid the vespers of the grove,
Amid the chanting choir of love,
Thy sage responses hail.
2 The time has been when I have frown'd
To hear thy voice the woods invade;
And while thy solemn accent drown'd
Some sweeter poet of the shade,
Thus, thought I, thus the sons of care
Some constant youth or generous fair
With dull advice upbraid.
3 I said, 'While Philomela's song
Proclaims the passion of the grove,
It ill beseems a cuckoo's tongue
Her charming language to reprove'--
Alas, how much a lover's ear
Hates all the sober truth to hear,
The sober truth of love!
4 When hearts are in each other bless'd,
When nought but lofty faith can rule
The nymph's and swain's consenting breast,
How cuckoo-like in Cupid's school,
With store of grave prudential saws
On fortune's power and custom's laws,
Appears each friendly fool!
5 Yet think betimes, ye gentle train
Whom love, and hope, and fancy sway,
Who every harsher care disdain,
Who by the morning judge the day,
Think that, in April's fairest hours,
To warbling shades and painted flowers
The cuckoo joins his lay.
TO THE HONOURABLE CHARLES TOWNSHEND;
IN THE COUNTRY. 1750.
How oft shall I survey
This humble roof, the lawn, the greenwood shade,
The vale with sheaves o'erspread,
The glassy brook, the flocks which round thee stray?
When will thy cheerful mind
Of these have utter'd all her dear esteem?
Or, tell me, dost thou deem
No more to join in glory's toilsome race,
But here content embrace
That happy leisure which thou hadst resign'd?
Alas, ye happy hours,
When books and youthful sport the soul could share,
Ere one ambitious care
Of civil life had awed her simpler powers;
Oft as your winged, train
Revisit here my friend in white array,
Oh, fail not to display
Each fairer scene where I perchance had part,
That so his generous heart
The abode of even friendship may remain.
For not imprudent of my loss to come,
I saw from Contemplation's quiet cell
His feet ascending to another home,
Where public praise and envied greatness dwell.
But shall we therefore, O my lyre,
Reprove ambition's best desire,--
Extinguish glory's flame?
Far other was the task enjoin'd
When to my hand thy strings were first assign'd:
Far other faith belongs to friendship's honour'd name.
Thee, Townshend, not the arms
Of slumbering Ease, nor Pleasure's rosy chain,
Were destined to detain;
No, nor bright Science, nor the Muse's charms.
For them high heaven prepares
Their proper votaries, an humbler band:
And ne'er would Spenser's hand
Have deign'd to strike the warbling Tuscan shell,
Nor Harrington to tell
What habit an immortal city wears;
Had this been born to shield
The cause which Cromwell's impious hand betray'd,
Or that, like Vere, display'd
His redcross banner o'er the Belgian field;
Yet where the will divine
Hath shut those loftiest paths, it next remains,
With reason clad in strains
Of harmony, selected minds to inspire,
And virtue's living fire
To feed and eternise in hearts like thine.
For never shall the herd, whom envy sways,
So quell my purpose or my tongue control,
That I should fear illustrious worth to praise,
Because its master's friendship moved my soul.
Yet, if this undissembling strain
Should now perhaps thine ear detain
With any pleasing sound,
Remember thou that righteous Fame
From hoary age a strict account will claim
Of each auspicious palm with which thy youth was crown'd.
Nor obvious is the way
Where heaven expects thee nor the traveller leads;
Through flowers or fragrant meads,
Or groves that hark to Philomela's lay.
The impartial laws of fate
To nobler virtues wed severer cares.
Is there a man who shares
The summit next where heavenly natures dwell?
Ask him (for he can tell)
What storms beat round that rough laborious height.
Ye heroes, who of old
Did generous England Freedom's throne ordain;
From Alfred's parent reign
To Nassau, great deliverer, wise and bold;
I know your perils hard,
Your wounds, your painful marches, wintry seas,
The night estranged from ease,
The day by cowardice and falsehood vex'd,
The head with doubt perplex'd,
The indignant heart disdaining the reward,
Which envy hardly grants. But, O renown,
O praise from judging heaven and virtuous men,
If thus they purchased thy divinest crown,
Say, who shall hesitate, or who complain?
And now they sit on thrones above:
And when among the gods they move
Before the Sovereign Mind,
'Lo, these,' he saith, 'lo, these are they
Who to the laws of mine eternal sway
From violence and fear asserted human kind.'
Thus honour'd while the train
Of legislators in his presence dwell;
If I may aught foretell,
The statesman shall the second palm obtain.
For dreadful deeds of arms
Let vulgar bards, with undiscerning praise,
More glittering trophies raise:
But wisest Heaven what deeds may chiefly move
To favour and to love?
What, save wide blessings, or averted harms?
Nor to the embattled field
Shall these achievements of the peaceful gown,
The green immortal crown
Of valour, or the songs of conquest, yield.
Not Fairfax wildly bold,
While bare of crest he hew'd his fatal way
Through Naseby's firm array,
To heavier dangers did his breast oppose
Than Pym's free virtue chose,
When the proud force of Strafford he controll'd.
But what is man at enmity with truth?
What were the fruits of Wentworth's copious mind,
When (blighted all the promise of his youth)
The patriot in a tyrant's league had join'd?
Let Ireland's loud-lamenting plains,
Let Tyne's and Humber's trampled swains,
Let menaced London tell
How impious guile made wisdom base;
How generous zeal to cruel rage gave place;
And how unbless'd he lived and how dishonour'd fell.
Thence never hath the Muse
Around his tomb Pierian roses flung:
Nor shall one poet's tongue
His name for music's pleasing labour choose.
And sure, when Nature kind
Hath deck'd some favour'd breast above the throng,
That man with grievous wrong
Affronts and wounds his genius, if he bends
To guilt's ignoble ends
The functions of his ill-submitting mind.
For worthy of the wise
Nothing can seem but virtue; nor earth yield
Their fame an equal field,
Save where impartial freedom gives the prize.
There Somers fix'd his name,
Enroll'd the next to William. There shall Time
To every wondering clime
Point out that Somers, who from faction's crowd,
The slanderous and the loud,
Could fair assent and modest reverence claim.
Nor aught did laws or social arts acquire,
Nor this majestic weal of Albion's land
Did aught accomplish, or to aught aspire,
Without his guidance, his superior hand.
And rightly shall the Muse's care
Wreaths like her own for him prepare,
Whose mind's enamour'd aim
Could forms of civil beauty draw
Sublime as ever sage or poet saw,
Yet still to life's rude scene the proud ideas tame.
Let none profane be near!
The Muse was never foreign to his breast:
On power's grave seat confess'd,
Still to her voice he bent a lover's ear.
And if the blessed know
Their ancient cares, even now the unfading groves,
Where haply Milton roves
With Spenser, hear the enchanted echoes round
Through farthest heaven resound
Wise Somers, guardian of their fame below.
He knew, the patriot knew,
That letters and the Muse's powerful art
Exalt the ingenuous heart,
And brighten every form of just and true.
They lend a nobler sway
To civil wisdom, than corruption's lure
Could ever yet procure:
They, too, from envy's pale malignant light
Conduct her forth to sight,
Clothed in the fairest colours of the day.
O Townshend, thus may Time, the judge severe,
Instruct my happy tongue of thee to tell:
And when I speak of one to Freedom dear
For planning wisely and for acting well,
Of one whom Glory loves to own,
Who still by liberal means alone
Hath liberal ends pursued;
Then, for the guerdon of my lay,
'This man with faithful friendship,' will I say,
'From youth to honour'd age my arts and me hath view'd.'
ON LOVE OF PRAISE.
1 Of all the springs within the mind
Which prompt her steps in fortune's maze,
From none more pleasing aid we find
Than from the genuine love of praise.
2 Nor any partial, private end
Such reverence to the public bears;
Nor any passion, virtue's friend,
So like to virtue's self appears.
3 For who in glory can delight
Without delight in glorious deeds?
What man a charming voice can slight,
Who courts the echo that succeeds?
4 But not the echo on the voice
More than on virtue praise depends;
To which, of course, its real price
The judgment of the praiser lends.
5 If praise, then, with religious awe
From the sole perfect judge be sought,
A nobler aim, a purer law,
Nor priest, nor bard, nor sage hath taught.
6 With which in character the same,
Though in an humbler sphere it lies,
I count that soul of human fame,
The suffrage of the good and wise.
TO WILLIAM HALL, ESQUIRE; WITH THE WORKS OF CHAULIEU.
1 Attend to Chaulieu's wanton lyre;
While, fluent as the skylark sings
When first the morn allures its wings,
The epicure his theme pursues:
And tell me if, among the choir
Whose music charms the banks of Seine,
So full, so free, so rich a strain
E'er dictated the warbling Muse.
2 Yet, Hall, while thy judicious ear
Admires the well-dissembled art
That can such harmony impart
To the lame pace of Gallic rhymes;
While wit from affectation clear,
Bright images, and passions true,
Recall to thy assenting view
The envied bards of nobler times;
3 Say, is not oft his doctrine wrong?
This priest of Pleasure, who aspires
To lead us to her sacred fires,
Knows he the ritual of her shrine?
Say (her sweet influence to thy song
So may the goddess still afford),
Doth she consent to be adored
With shameless love and frantic wine?
4 Nor Cato, nor Chrysippus here
Need we in high indignant phrase
From their Elysian quiet raise:
But Pleasure's oracle alone
Consult; attentive, not severe.
O Pleasure, we blaspheme not thee;
Nor emulate the rigid knee
Which bends but at the Stoic throne.
5 We own, had fate to man assign'd
Nor sense, nor wish but what obey,
Or Venus soft, or Bacchus gay,
Then might our bard's voluptuous creed
Most aptly govern human kind:
Unless perchance what he hath sung
Of tortured joints and nerves unstrung,
Some wrangling heretic should plead.
6 But now, with all these proud desires
For dauntless truth and honest fame;
With that strong master of our frame,
The inexorable judge within,
What can be done? Alas, ye fires
Of love; alas, ye rosy smiles,
Ye nectar'd cups from happier soils,--
Ye have no bribe his grace to win.
TO THE RIGHT REVEREND BENJAMIN, LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER. 1754.
For toils which patriots have endured,
For treason quell'd and laws secured,
In every nation Time displays
The palm of honourable praise.
Envy may rail, and Faction fierce
May strive; but what, alas, can those
(Though bold, yet blind and sordid foes)
To Gratitude and Love oppose,
To faithful story and persuasive verse?
O nurse of freedom, Albion, say,
Thou tamer of despotic sway,
What man, among thy sons around,
Thus heir to glory hast thou found?
What page, in all thy annals bright,
Hast thou with purer joy survey'd
Than that where truth, by Hoadly's aid,
Shines through imposture's solemn shade,
Through kingly and through sacerdotal night?
To him the Teacher bless'd,
Who sent religion, from the palmy field
By Jordan, like the morn to cheer the west,
And lifted up the veil which heaven from earth conceal'd,
To Hoadly thus his mandate he address'd:
'Go thou, and rescue my dishonour'd law
From hands rapacious, and from tongues impure:
Let not my peaceful name be made a lure,
Fell persecution's mortal snares to aid:
Let not my words be impious chains to draw
The freeborn soul in more than brutal awe,
To faith without assent, allegiance unrepaid.'
No cold or unperforming hand
Was arm'd by Heaven with this command.
The world soon felt it; and, on high,
To William's ear with welcome joy
Did Locke among the blest unfold
The rising hope of Hoadly's name;
Godolphin then confirm'd the fame;
And Somers, when from earth he came,
And generous Stanhope the fair sequel told.
Then drew the lawgivers around
(Sires of the Grecian name renown'd),
And listening ask'd, and wondering knew,
What private force could thus subdue
The vulgar and the great combined;
Could war with sacred folly wage;
Could a whole nation disengage
From the dread bonds of many an age,
And to new habits mould the public mind.
For not a conqueror's sword,
Nor the strong powers to civil founders known,
Were his; but truth by faithful search explored,
And social sense, like seed, in genial plenty sown.
Wherever it took root, the soul (restored
To freedom) freedom too for others sought.
Not monkish craft, the tyrant's claim divine,
Not regal zeal, the bigot's cruel shrine,
Could longer guard from reason's warfare sage;
Nor the wild rabble to sedition wrought,
Nor synods by the papal Genius taught,
Nor St. John's spirit loose, nor Atterbury's rage.
But where shall recompense be found?
Or how such arduous merit crown'd?
For look on life's laborious scene:
What rugged spaces lie between
Adventurous Virtue's early toils
And her triumphal throne! The shade
Of death, meantime, does oft invade
Her progress; nor, to us display'd,
Wears the bright heroine her expected spoils.
Yet born to conquer is her power;--
O Hoadly, if that favourite hour
On earth arrive, with thankful awe
We own just Heaven's indulgent law,
And proudly thy success behold;
We attend thy reverend length of days
With benediction and with praise,
And hail thee in our public ways
Like some great spirit famed in ages old.
While thus our vows prolong
Thy steps on earth, and when by us resign'd
Thou join'st thy seniors, that heroic throng
Who rescued or preserved the rights of human kind,
Oh! not unworthy may thy Albion's tongue
Thee still, her friend and benefactor, name:
Oh! never, Hoadly, in thy country's eyes,
May impious gold, or pleasure's gaudy prize,
Make public virtue, public freedom, vile;
Nor our own manners tempt us to disclaim
That heritage, our noblest wealth and fame,
Which thou hast kept entire from force and factious guile.
1 If rightly tuneful bards decide,
If it be fix'd in Love's decrees,
That Beauty ought not to be tried
But by its native power to please,
Then tell me, youths and lovers, tell,
What fair can Amoret excel?
2 Behold that bright unsullied smile,
And wisdom speaking in her mien:
Yet (she so artless all the while,
So little studious to be seen)
We nought but instant gladness know,
Nor think to whom the gift we owe.
3 But neither music, nor the powers
Of youth and mirth and frolic cheer,
Add half that sunshine to the hours,
Or make life's prospect half so clear,
As memory brings it to the eye
From scenes where Amoret was by.
4 Yet not a satirist could there
Or fault or indiscretion find;
Nor any prouder sage declare
One virtue, pictured in his mind,
Whose form with lovelier colours glows
Than Amoret's demeanour shows.
5 This sure is Beauty's happiest part:
This gives the most unbounded sway:
This shall enchant the subject heart
When rose and lily fade away;
And she be still, in spite of time,
Sweet Amoret in all her prime.
1 Whither did my fancy stray?
By what magic drawn away
Have I left my studious theme,
From this philosophic page,
From the problems of the sage,
Wandering through a pleasing dream?
2 'Tis in vain, alas! I find,
Much in vain, my zealous mind
Would to learned Wisdom's throne
Dedicate each thoughtful hour:
Nature bids a softer power
Claim some minutes for his own.
3 Let the busy or the wise
View him with contemptuous eyes;
Love is native to the heart:
Guide its wishes as you will;
Without Love you'll find it still
Void in one essential part.
4 Me though no peculiar fair
Touches with a lover's care;
Though the pride of my desire
Asks immortal friendship's name,
Asks the palm of honest fame,
And the old heroic lyre;
5 Though the day have smoothly gone,
Or to letter'd leisure known,
Or in social duty spent;
Yet at eve my lonely breast
Seeks in vain for perfect rest;
Languishes for true content.
TO THOMAS EDWARDS, ESQ.;
ON THE LATE EDITION OF MR. POPE'S WORKS. 1751.
1 Believe me, Edwards, to restrain
The licence of a railer's tongue
Is what but seldom men obtain
By sense or wit, by prose or song:
A task for more Herculean powers,
Nor suited to the sacred hours
Of leisure in the Muse's bowers.
2 In bowers where laurel weds with palm,
The Muse, the blameless queen, resides:
Fair Fame attends, and Wisdom calm
Her eloquence harmonious guides:
While, shut for ever from her gate,
Oft trying, still repining, wait
Fierce Envy and calumnious Hate.
3 Who, then, from her delightful bounds
Would step one moment forth to heed
What impotent and savage sounds
From their unhappy mouths proceed?
No: rather Spenser's lyre again
Prepare, and let thy pious strain
For Pope's dishonour'd shade complain.
4 Tell how displeased was every bard,
When lately in the Elysian grove
They of his Muse's guardian heard,
His delegate to fame above;
And what with one accord they said
Of wit in drooping age misled,
And Warburton's officious aid:
5 How Virgil mourn'd the sordid fate
To that melodious lyre assign'd,
Beneath a tutor who so late
With Midas and his rout combined
By spiteful clamour to confound
That very lyre's enchanting sound,
Though listening realms admired around:
6 How Horace own'd he thought the fire
Of his friend Pope's satiric line
Did further fuel scarce require
From such a militant divine:
How Milton scorn'd the sophist vain,
Who durst approach his hallow'd strain
With unwash'd hands and lips profane.
7 Then Shakspeare debonair and mild
Brought that strange comment forth to view;
Conceits more deep, he said and smiled,
Than his own fools or madmen knew:
But thank'd a generous friend above,
Who did with free adventurous love
Such pageants from his tomb remove.
8 And if to Pope, in equal need,
The same kind office thou wouldst pay,
Then, Edwards, all the band decreed
That future bards with frequent lay
Should call on thy auspicious name,
From each absurd intruder's claim
To keep inviolate their fame.
TO THE COUNTRY GENTLEMEN OF ENGLAND. 1758.
1 Whither is Europe's ancient spirit fled?
Where are those valiant tenants of her shore,
Who from the warrior bow the strong dart sped,
Or with firm hand the rapid pole-axe bore?
Freeman and soldier was their common name,
Who late with reapers to the furrow came,
Now in the front of battle charged the foe:
Who taught the steer the wintry plough to endure,
Now in full councils check'd encroaching power,
And gave the guardian laws their majesty to know.
2 But who are ye? from Ebro's loitering sons
To Tiber's pageants, to the sports of Seine;
From Rhine's frail palaces to Danube's thrones
And cities looking on the Cimbric main,
Ye lost, ye self-deserted? whose proud lords
Have baffled your tame hands, and given your swords
To slavish ruffians, hired for their command:
These, at some greedy monk's or harlot's nod,
See rifled nations crouch beneath their rod:
These are the Public Will, the Reason of the land.
3 Thou, heedless Albion, what, alas, the while
Dost thou presume? O inexpert in arms,
Yet vain of Freedom, how dost thou beguile,
With dreams of hope, these near and loud alarms?
Thy splendid home, thy plan of laws renown'd,
The praise and envy of the nations round,
What care hast thou to guard from Fortune's sway?
Amid the storms of war, how soon may all
The lofty pile from its foundations fall,
Of ages the proud toil, the ruin of a day!
4 No: thou art rich, thy streams and fertile vales
Add Industry's wise gifts to Nature's store,
And every port is crowded with thy sails,
And every wave throws treasure on thy shore.
What boots it? If luxurious Plenty charm
Thy selfish heart from Glory, if thy arm
Shrink at the frowns of Danger and of Pain,
Those gifts, that treasure is no longer thine.
Oh, rather far be poor! Thy gold will shine
Tempting the eye of Force, and deck thee to thy bane.
5 But what hath Force or War to do with thee?
Girt by the azure tide, and throned sublime
Amid thy floating bulwarks, thou canst see,
With scorn, the fury of each hostile clime
Dash'd ere it reach thee. Sacred from the foe
Are thy fair fields: athwart thy guardian prow
No bold invader's foot shall tempt the strand--
Yet say, my country, will the waves and wind
Obey thee? Hast thou all thy hopes resign'd
To the sky's fickle faith, the pilot's wavering hand?
6 For, oh! may neither Fear nor stronger Love
(Love, by thy virtuous princes nobly won)
Thee, last of many wretched nations, move,
With mighty armies station'd round the throne
To trust thy safety. Then, farewell the claims
Of Freedom! Her proud records to the flames
Then bear, an offering at Ambition's shrine;
Whate'er thy ancient patriots dared demand
From furious John's, or faithless Charles' hand,
Or what great William seal'd for his adopted line.
7 But if thy sons be worthy of their name,
If liberal laws with liberal arts they prize,
Let them from conquest, and from servile shame,
In War's glad school their own protectors rise.
Ye chiefly, heirs of Albion's cultured plains,
Ye leaders of her bold and faithful swains,
Now not unequal to your birth be found;
The public voice bids arm your rural state,
Paternal hamlets for your ensigns wait,
And grange and fold prepare to pour their youth around.
8 Why are ye tardy? what inglorious care
Detains you from their head, your native post?
Who most their country's fame and fortune share,
'Tis theirs to share her toils, her perils most.
Each man his task in social life sustains.
With partial labours, with domestic gains,
Let others dwell: to you indulgent Heaven
By counsel and by arms the public cause
To serve for public love and love's applause,
The first employment far, the noblest hire, hath given.
9 Have ye not heard of Lacedemon's fame?
Of Attic chiefs in Freedom's war divine?
Of Rome's dread generals? the Valerian name?
The Fabian sons? the Scipios, matchless line?
Your lot was theirs: the farmer and the swain
Met his loved patron's summons from the plain;
The legions gather'd; the bright eagles flew:
Barbarian monarchs in the triumph mourn'd;
The conquerors to their household gods return'd,
And fed Calabrian flocks, and steer'd the Sabine plough.
10 Shall, then, this glory of the antique age,
This pride of men, be lost among mankind?
Shall war's heroic arts no more engage
The unbought hand, the unsubjected mind?
Doth valour to the race no more belong?
No more with scorn of violence and wrong
Doth forming Nature now her sons inspire,
That, like some mystery to few reveal'd,
The skill of arms abash'd and awed they yield,
And from their own defence with hopeless hearts retire?
11 O shame to human life, to human laws!
The loose adventurer, hireling of a day,
Who his fell sword without affection draws,
Whose God, whose country, is a tyrant's pay,
This man the lessons of the field can learn;
Can every palm, which decks a warrior, earn,
And every pledge of conquest: while in vain,
To guard your altars, your paternal lands,
Are social arms held out to your free hands:
Too arduous is the lore: too irksome were the pain.
12 Meantime by Pleasure's lying tales allured,
From the bright sun and living breeze ye stray;
And deep in London's gloomy haunts immured,
Brood o'er your fortune's, freedom's, health's decay.
O blind of choice and to yourselves untrue!
The young grove shoots, their bloom the fields renew,
The mansion asks its lord, the swains their friend;
While he doth riot's orgies haply share,
Or tempt the gamester's dark, destroying snare,
Or at some courtly shrine with slavish incense bend.
13 And yet full oft your anxious tongues complain
That lawless tumult prompts the rustic throng;
That the rude village inmates now disdain
Those homely ties which ruled their fathers long.
Alas, your fathers did by other arts
Draw those kind ties around their simple hearts,
And led in other paths their ductile will;
By succour, faithful counsel, courteous cheer,
Won them the ancient manners to revere,
To prize their country's peace and heaven's due rites fulfil.
14 But mark the judgment of experienced Time,
Tutor of nations. Doth light discord tear
A state, and impotent sedition's crime?
The powers of warlike prudence dwell not there;
The powers who to command and to obey,
Instruct the valiant. There would civil sway
The rising race to manly concord tame?
Oft let the marshall'd field their steps unite,
And in glad splendour bring before their sight
One common cause and one hereditary fame.
15 Nor yet be awed, nor yet your task disown,
Though war's proud votaries look on severe;
Though secrets, taught erewhile to them alone,
They deem profaned by your intruding ear.
Let them in vain, your martial hope to quell,
Of new refinements, fiercer weapons tell,
And mock the old simplicity, in vain:
To the time's warfare, simple or refined,
The time itself adapts the warrior's mind:
And equal prowess still shall equal palms obtain.
16 Say then, if England's youth, in earlier days,
On glory's field with well-train'd armies vied,
Why shall they now renounce that generous praise?
Why dread the foreign mercenary's pride?
Though Valois braved young Edward's gentle hand,
And Albert rush'd on Henry's way-worn band,
With Europe's chosen sons in arms renown'd,
Yet not on Vere's bold archers long they look'd,
Nor Audley's squires, nor Mowbray's yeomen brook'd:
They saw their standard fall, and left their monarch bound.
17 Such were the laurels which your fathers won:
Such glory's dictates in their dauntless breast;--
Is there no voice that speaks to every son?
No nobler, holier call to you address'd?
Oh! by majestic Freedom, righteous Laws,
By heavenly Truth's, by manly Reason's cause,
Awake; attend; be indolent no more:
By friendship, social peace, domestic love,
Rise; arm; your country's living safety prove;
And train her valiant youth, and watch around her shore.
ON RECOVERING FROM A FIT OF SICKNESS;
IN THE COUNTRY. 1758.
1 Thy verdant scenes, O Goulder's Hill,
Once more I seek, a languid guest:
With throbbing temples and with burden'd breast
Once more I climb thy steep aërial way.
O faithful cure of oft-returning ill,
Now call thy sprightly breezes round,
Dissolve this rigid cough profound,
And bid the springs of life with gentler movement play.
2 How gladly, 'mid the dews of dawn,
My weary lungs thy healing gale,
The balmy west or the fresh north, inhale!
How gladly, while my musing footsteps rove
Round the cool orchard or the sunny lawn,
Awaked I stop, and look to find
What shrub perfumes the pleasant wind,
Or what wild songster charms the Dryads of the grove!
3 Now, ere the morning walk is done,
The distant voice of Health I hear,
Welcome as beauty's to the lover's ear.
'Droop not, nor doubt of my return,' she cries;
'Here will I, 'mid the radiant calm of noon,
Meet thee beneath yon chestnut bower,
And lenient on thy bosom pour
That indolence divine which lulls the earth and skies.'
4 The goddess promised not in vain.
I found her at my favourite time.
Nor wish'd to breathe in any softer clime,
While (half-reclined, half-slumbering as I lay)
She hover'd o'er me. Then, among her train
Of Nymphs and Zephyrs, to my view
Thy gracious form appear'd anew,
Then first, O heavenly Muse, unseen for many a day.
5 In that soft pomp the tuneful maid
Shone like the golden star of love.
I saw her hand in careless measures move;
I heard sweet preludes dancing on her lyre,
While my whole frame the sacred sound obey'd.
New sunshine o'er my fancy springs,
New colours clothe external things,
And the last glooms of pain and sickly plaint retire.
6 O Goulder's Hill, by thee restored
Once more to this enliven'd hand,
My harp, which late resounded o'er the land
The voice of glory, solemn and severe,
My Dorian harp shall now with mild accord
To thee her joyful tribute pay,
And send a less ambitious lay
Of friendship and of love to greet thy master's ear.
7 For when within thy shady seat
First from the sultry town he chose,
And the tired senate's cares, his wish'd repose,
Then wast thou mine; to me a happier home
For social leisure: where my welcome feet,
Estranged from all the entangling ways
In which the restless vulgar strays,
Through Nature's simple paths with ancient Faith might roam.
8 And while around his sylvan scene
My Dyson led the white-wing'd hours,
Oft from the Athenian Academic bowers
Their sages came: oft heard our lingering walk
The Mantuan music warbling o'er the green:
And oft did Tully's reverend shade,
Though much for liberty afraid,
With us of letter'd ease or virtuous glory talk.
9 But other guests were on their way,
And reach'd ere long this favour'd grove;
Even the celestial progeny of Jove,
Bright Venus, with her all-subduing son,
Whose golden shaft most willingly obey
The best and wisest. As they came,
Glad Hymen waved his genial flame,
And sang their happy gifts, and praised their spotless throne.
10 I saw when through yon festive gate
He led along his chosen maid,
And to my friend with smiles presenting said:--
'Receive that fairest wealth which Heaven assign'd
To human fortune. Did thy lonely state
One wish, one utmost hope, confess?
Behold, she comes, to adorn and bless:
Comes, worthy of thy heart, and equal to thy mind.'
TO THE AUTHOR OF MEMOIRS OF THE HOUSE OF BRANDENBURG. 1751.
1 The men renown'd as chiefs of human race,
And born to lead in counsels or in arms,
Have seldom turn'd their feet from glory's chase
To dwell with books, or court the Muse's charms.
Yet, to our eyes if haply time hath brought
Some genuine transcript of their calmer thought,
There still we own the wise, the great, or good;
And Cæsar there and Xenophon are seen,
As clear in spirit and sublime of mien,
As on Pharsalian plains, or by the Assyrian flood.
2 Say thou too, Frederic, was not this thy aim?
Thy vigils could the student's lamp engage,
Except for this, except that future Fame
Might read thy genius in the faithful page?
That if hereafter Envy shall presume
With words irreverent to inscribe thy tomb,
And baser weeds upon thy palms to fling,
That hence posterity may try thy reign,
Assert thy treaties, and thy wars explain,
And view in native lights the hero and the king.
3 O evil foresight and pernicious care!
Wilt thou indeed abide by this appeal?
Shall we the lessons of thy pen compare
With private honour or with public zeal?
Whence, then, at things divine those darts of scorn?
Why are the woes, which virtuous men have borne
For sacred truth, a prey to laughter given?
What fiend, what foe of Nature urged thy arm
The Almighty of his sceptre to disarm,
To push this earth adrift and leave it loose from Heaven?
4 Ye godlike shades of legislators old,
Ye who made Rome victorious, Athens wise,
Ye first of mortals with the bless'd enroll'd,
Say, did not horror in your bosoms rise,
When thus, by impious vanity impell'd,
A magistrate, a monarch, ye beheld
Affronting civil order's holiest bands,
Those bands which ye so labour'd to improve,
Those hopes and fears of justice from above,
Which tamed the savage world to your divine commands?
1 Away! away!
Tempt me no more, insidious love:
Thy soothing sway
Long did my youthful bosom prove:
At length thy treason is discern'd,
At length some dear-bought caution earn'd:
Away! nor hope my riper age to move.
2 I know, I see
Her merit. Needs it now be shown,
Alas, to me?
How often, to myself unknown,
The graceful, gentle, virtuous maid
Have I admired! How often said,
What joy to call a heart like hers one's own!
3 But, flattering god,
O squanderer of content and ease,
In thy abode
Will care's rude lesson learn to please?
O say, deceiver, hast thou won
Proud Fortune to attend thy throne,
Or placed thy friends above her stern decrees?
ON DOMESTIC MANNERS.
1 Meek Honour, female shame,
Oh! whither, sweetest offspring of the sky,
From Albion dost thou fly,
Of Albion's daughters once the favourite fame?
O beauty's only friend,
Who giv'st her pleasing reverence to inspire;
Who selfish, bold desire
Dost to esteem and dear affection turn;
Alas, of thee forlorn
What joy, what praise, what hope can life pretend?
2 Behold, our youths in vain
Concerning nuptial happiness inquire:
Our maids no more aspire
The arts of bashful Hymen to attain;
But with triumphant eyes
And cheeks impassive, as they move along,
Ask homage of the throng.
The lover swears that in a harlot's arms
Are found the self-same charms,
And worthless and deserted lives and dies.
3 Behold, unbless'd at home,
The father of the cheerless household mourns:
The night in vain returns,
For Love and glad Content at distance roam;
While she, in whom his mind
Seeks refuge from the day's dull task of cares,
To meet him she prepares,
Through noise and spleen and all the gamester's art,
A listless, harass'd heart,
Where not one tender thought can welcome find.
4 'Twas thus, along the shore
Of Thames, Britannia's guardian Genius heard,
From many a tongue preferr'd,
Of strife and grief the fond invective lore:
At which the queen divine
Indignant, with her adamantine spear
Like thunder sounding near,
Smote the red cross upon her silver shield,
And thus her wrath reveal'd;
(I watch'd her awful words, and made them mine.)
* * * * *
ODE XVIII, STANZA II.--2.
Lycurgus the Lacedemonian lawgiver brought into Greece from Asia
Minor the first complete copy of Homer's works. At Plataea was
fought the decisive battle between the Persian army and the united
militia of Greece under Pausanias and Aristides. Cimon the Athenian
erected a trophy in Cyprus for two great victories gained on the
same day over the Persians by sea and land. Diodorus Siculus has
preserved the inscription which the Athenians affixed to the
consecrated spoils, after this great success; in which it is very
remarkable that the greatness of the occasion has raised the manner
of expression above the usual simplicity and modesty of all other
ancient inscriptions. It is this:--
EX. OU. G. EUROPAeN. ASIAS. DIChA. PONTOS. ENEIME.
KAI. POLEAS. ONAeTON. ThOUROS. ARAeS. EPEChEI.
OUDEN. PO. TOIOUTON. EPIChThONION. GENET. ANDRON.
ERGON. EN. AePEIROI. KAI. KATA. PONOTON. AMA.
OIAE. GAR. EN. KUPROI. MAeDOUS. POLLOUS. OLESANTES.
PhOINIKON. EKATON. NAUS. ELON. EN. PELAGEI.
ANDRON. PLAeThOUSAS. META. D. ESENEN. ASIS. UP. AUTON.
PLAeGEIS. AMPhOTERAIS. ChERSI. KRATEI. POLEMOU.]
The following translation is almost literal:--
Since first the sea from Asia's hostile coast
Divided Europe, and the god of war
Assail'd imperious cities; never yet,
At once among the waves and on the shore,
Hath such a labour been achieved by men
Who earth inhabit. They, whose arms the Medes
In Cyprus felt pernicious, they, the same,
Have won from skilful Tyre an hundred ships
Crowded with warriors. Asia groans, in both
Her hands sore smitten, by the might of war.
Pindar was contemporary with Aristides and Cimon, in whom the glory
of ancient Greece was at its height. When Xerxes invaded Greece,
Pindar was true to the common interest of his country; though his
fellow-citizens, the Thebans, had sold themselves to the Persian king.
In one of his odes he expresses the great distress and anxiety of
his mind, occasioned by the vast preparations of Xerxes against
Greece (_Isthm_. 8). In another he celebrates the victories of
Salamis, Plataea, and Himera (_Pyth_. 1). It will be necessary to
add two or three other particulars of his life, real or fabulous, in
order to explain what follows in the text concerning him. First, then,
he was thought to be so great a favourite of Apollo, that the
priests of that deity allotted him a constant share of their
offerings. It was said of him, as of some other illustrious men,
that at his birth a swarm of bees lighted on his lips, and fed him
with their honey. It was also a tradition concerning him, that Pan
was heard to recite his poetry, and seen dancing to one of his hymns
on the mountains near Thebes. But a real historical fact in his life
is, that the Thebans imposed a large fine upon him on account of the
veneration which he expressed in his poems for that heroic spirit
shown by the people of Athens in defence of the common liberty,
which his own fellow-citizens had shamefully betrayed. And as the
argument of this ode implies, that great poetical talents and high
sentiments of liberty do reciprocally produce and assist each other,
so Pindar is perhaps the most exemplary proof of this connexion which
occurs in history. The Thebans were remarkable, in general, for a
slavish disposition through all the fortunes of their commonwealth;
at the time of its ruin by Philip; and even in its best state, under
the administration of Pelopidas and Epaminondas: and every one knows
they were no less remarkable for great dulness and want of all genius.
That Pindar should have equally distinguished himself from the rest
of his fellow-citizens in both these respects seems somewhat
extraordinary, and is scarce to be accounted for but by the
Alluding to his defence of the people of England against Salmasins.
See particularly the manner in which he himself speaks of that
undertaking, in the introduction to his reply to Morus.
Edward the Third; from whom descended Henry Hastings, third Earl of
Huntingdon, by the daughter of the Duke of Clarence, brother to
Edward the Fourth.
At Whittington, a village on the edge of Scarsdale in Derbyshire,
the Earls of Devonshire and Danby, with the Lord Delamere, privately
concerted the plan of the Revolution. The house in which they met is
at present a farmhouse, and the country people distinguish the room
where they sat by the name of _the plotting parlour_.
* * * * *
ODE VII. STANZA II.--1.
Mr. Locke died in 1704, when Mr. Hoadly was beginning to distinguish
himself in the cause of civil and religious liberty: Lord Godolphin
in 1712, when the doctrines of the Jacobite faction were chiefly
favoured by those in power: Lord Somers in 1716, amid the practices
of the nonjoining clergy against the Protestant establishment; and
Lord Stanhope in 1721, during the controversy with the lower house
ODE X. STANZA V.
During Mr. Pope's war with Theobald, Concanen, and the rest of their
tribe, Mr. Warburton, the present Lord Bishop of Gloucester, did
with great zeal cultivate their friendship, having been introduced,
forsooth, at the meetings of that respectable confederacy--a favour
which he afterwards spoke of in very high terms of complacency and
thankfulness. At the same time, in his intercourse with them, he
treated Mr. Pope in a most contemptuous manner, and as a writer
without genius. Of the truth of these assertions his lordship can
have no doubt, if he recollects his own correspondence with Concanen,
a part of which is still in being, and will probably be remembered
as long as any of this prelate's writings.
In the year 1751 appeared a very splendid edition, in quarto, of
'Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Maison de Brandebourg,
à Berlin et à la Haye,' with a privilege, signed Frederic, the same
being engraved in imitation of handwriting. In this edition, among
other extraordinary passages, are the two following, to which the
third stanza of this ode more particularly refers:--
'Il se fit une migration' (the author is speaking of what happened
at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes), 'dont on n'avoit guère vu
d'exemples dans l'histoire: un peuple entier sortit du royaume par
l'esprit de parti en haine du pape, et pour reçevoir sous un autre
ciel la communion sous les deux espèces: quatre cens mille âmes
s'expatrierent ainsi et abandonnerent tous leur biens pour détonner
dans d'autres temples les vieux pseaumes de Clément Marot.'--Page 163.
'La crainte donna le jour à la crédulité, et l'amour propre
interessa bientôt le ciel au destin des hommes.'--Page 242.
HYMN TO THE NAIADS. 1746.
The Nymphs, who preside over springs and rivulets, are addressed at
daybreak, in honour of their several functions, and of the relations
which they bear to the natural and to the moral world. Their origin
is deduced from the first allegorical deities, or powers of nature,
according to the doctrine of the old mythological poets, concerning
the generation of the gods and the rise of things. They are then
successively considered, as giving motion to the air and exciting
summer breezes; as nourishing and beautifying the vegetable creation;
as contributing to the fulness of navigable rivers, and consequently
to the maintenance of commerce; and by that means to the maritime
part of military power. Next is represented their favourable
influence upon health when assisted by rural exercise, which
introduces their connexion with the art of physic, and the happy
effects of mineral medicinal springs. Lastly, they are celebrated
for the friendship which the Muses bear them, and for the true
inspiration which temperance only can receive, in opposition to the
enthusiasm of the more licentious poets.
O'er yonder eastern bill the twilight pale
Walks forth from darkness; and the God of day,
With bright Astraea seated by his side,
Waits yet to leave the ocean. Tarry, Nymphs,
Ye Nymphs, ye blue-eyed progeny of Thames,
Who now the mazes of this rugged heath
Trace with your fleeting steps; who all night long
Repeat, amid the cool and tranquil air,
Your lonely murmurs, tarry, and receive
My offer'd lay. To pay you homage due, 10
I leave the gates of sleep; nor shall my lyre
Too far into the splendid hours of morn
Engage your audience; my observant hand
Shall close the strain ere any sultry beam
Approach you. To your subterranean haunts
Ye then may timely steal; to pace with care
The humid sands; to loosen from the soil
The bubbling sources; to direct the rills
To meet in wider channels; or beneath
Some grotto's dripping arch, at height of noon 20
To slumber, shelter'd from the burning heaven.
Where shall my song begin, ye Nymphs, or end?
Wide is your praise and copious--first of things,
First of the lonely powers, ere Time arose,
Were Love and Chaos. Love,[A] the sire of Fate; [B]
Elder than Chaos. [C] Born of Fate was Time, [D]
Who many sons and many comely births
Devour'd, [E] relentless father; till the child
Of Rhea [F] drove him from the upper sky, [G]
And quell'd his deadly might. Then social reign'd 30
The kindred powers, [H] Tethys, and reverend Ops,
And spotless Vesta; while supreme of sway
Remain'd the Cloud-Compeller. From the couch
Of Tethys sprang the sedgy-crowned race, [I]
Who from a thousand urns, o'er every clime,
Send tribute to their parent; and from them
Are ye, O Naiads: [J] Arethusa fair,
And tuneful Aganippe; that sweet name,
Bandusia; that soft family which dwelt
With Syrian Daphne; [K] and the honour'd tribes 40
Beloved of Pæon. [L] Listen to my strain,
Daughters of Tethys: listen to your praise.
You, Nymphs, the winged offspring, [M] which of old
Aurora to divine Astræus bore,
Owns, and your aid beseecheth. When the might
Of Hyperíon, [N] from his noontide throne,
Unbends their languid pinions, aid from you
They ask; Pavonius and the mild South-west
Prom you relief implore. Your sallying streams [O]
Fresh vigour to their weary wings impart. 50
Again they fly, disporting; from the mead
Half-ripen'd and the tender blades of corn,
To sweep the noxious mildew; or dispel
Contagious steams, which oft the parched earth
Breathes on her fainting sons. From noon to eve.
Along the river and the pavèd brook,
Ascend the cheerful breezes: hail'd of bards
Who, fast by learned Cam, the Æolian lyre
Solicit; nor unwelcome to the youth
Who on the heights of Tibur, all inclined 60
O'er rushing Arno, with a pious hand
The reverend scene delineates, broken fanes,
Or tombs, or pillar'd aqueducts, the pomp
Of ancient Time; and haply, while he scans
The ruins, with a silent tear revolves
The fame and fortune of imperious Rome.
You too, O Nymphs, and your unenvious aid
The rural powers confess, and still prepare
For you their choicest treasures. Pan commands,
Oft as the Delian king [P] with Sirius holds 70
The central heavens, the father of the grove
Commands his Dryads over your abodes
To spread their deepest umbrage. Well the god
Remembereth how indulgent ye supplied
Your genial dews to nurse them in their prime.
Pales, the pasture's queen, where'er ye stray,
Pursues your steps, delighted; and the path
With living verdure clothes. Around your haunts
The laughing Chloris, [Q] with profusest hand,
Throws wide her blooms, her odours. Still with you 80
Pomona seeks to dwell; and o'er the lawns,
And o'er the vale of Richmond, where with Thames
Ye love to wander, Amalthea [R] pours,
Well-pleased, the wealth of that Ammonian horn,
Her dower; unmindful of the fragrant isles
Nysæan or Atlantic. Nor canst thou
(Albeit oft, ungrateful, thou dost mock
The beverage of the sober Naiad's urn,
O Bromius, O Lenæan), nor canst thou
Disown the powers whose bounty, ill repaid, 90
With nectar feeds thy tendrils. Yet from me,
Yet, blameless Nymphs, from my delighted lyre,
Accept the rites your bounty well may claim,
Nor heed the scoffings of the Edonian band. [S]
For better praise awaits you. Thames, your sire,
As down the verdant slope your duteous rills
Descend, the tribute stately Thames receives,
Delighted; and your piety applauds;
And bids his copious tide roll on secure,
For faithful are his daughters; and with words 100
Auspicious gratulates the bark which, now
His banks forsaking, her adventurous wings
Yields to the breeze, with Albion's happy gifts
Extremest isles to bless. And oft at morn,
When Hermes, [T] from Olympus bent o'er earth
To bear the words of Jove, on yonder hill
Stoops lightly sailing; oft intent your springs
He views: and waving o'er some new-born stream
His bless'd pacific wand, 'And yet,' he cries,
'Yet,' cries the son of Maia, 'though recluse 110
And silent be your stores, from you, fair Nymphs,
Flows wealth and kind society to men.
By you my function and my honour'd name
Do I possess; while o'er the Boetic rale,
Or through the towers of Memphis, or the palms
By sacred Ganges water'd, I conduct
The English merchant; with the buxom fleece
Of fertile Ariconium while I clothe
Sarmatian kings; or to the household gods
Of Syria, from the bleak Cornubian shore, 120
Dispense the mineral treasure [U] which of old
Sidonian pilots sought, when this fair land
Was yet unconscious of those generous arts,
Which wise Phoenicia from their native clime
Transplanted to a more indulgent heaven.'
Such are the words of Hermes: such the praise,
O Naiads, which from tongues celestial waits
Your bounteous deeds. From bounty issueth power:
And those who, sedulous in prudent works,
Relieve the wants of nature, Jove repays 130
With noble wealth, and his own seat on earth,
Pit judgments to pronounce, and curb the might
Of wicked men. Your kind unfailing urns
Not vainly to the hospitable arts
Of Hermes yield their store. For, O ye Nymphs,
Hath he not won [V] the unconquerable queen
Of arms to court your friendship You she owns
The fair associates who extend her sway
Wide o'er the mighty deep; and grateful things
Of you she littereth, oft as from the shore 140
Of Thames, or Medway's vale, or the green banks
Of Vecta, she her thundering navy leads
To Calpe's [W] foaming channel, or the rough
Cantabrian surge; her auspices divine
Imparting to the senate and the prince
Of Albion, to dismay barbaric kings,
The Iberian, or the Celt. The pride of kings
Was ever scorn'd by Pallas; and of old
Rejoiced the virgin, from the brazen prow
Of Athens o'er Ægina's gloomy surge, [X] 150
To drive her clouds and storms; o'erwhelming all
The Persian's promised glory, when the realms
Of Indus and the soft Ionian clime,
When Libya's torrid champaign and the rocks
Of cold Imaüs join'd their servile bands,
To sweep the sons of Liberty from earth.
In vain; Minerva on the bounding prow
Of Athens stood, and with the thunder's voice
Denounced her terrors on their impious heads,
And shook her burning ægis. Xerxes saw; [Y] 160
From Heracléum, on the mountain's height
Throned in his golden car, he knew the sign
Celestial; felt unrighteous hope forsake
His faltering heart, and turn'd his face with shame.
Hail, ye who share the stern Minerva's power;
Who arm the hand of Liberty for war,
And give to the renown'd Britannic name
To awe contending monarchs: yet benign,
Yet mild of nature, to the works of peace
More prone, and lenient of the many ills 170
Which wait on human life. Your gentle aid
Hygeia well can witness; she who saves,
From poisonous dates and cups of pleasing bane,
The wretch, devoted to the entangling snares
Of Bacchus and of Comus. Him she leads
To Cynthia's lonely haunts. To spread the toils,
To beat the coverts, with the jovial horn
At dawn of day to summon the loud hounds,
She calls the lingering sluggard from his dreams,
And where his breast may drink the mountain breeze, 180
And where the fervour of the sunny vale
May beat upon his brow, through devious paths
Beckons his rapid courser. Nor when ease,
Cool ease and welcome slumbers have becalm'd
His eager bosom, does the queen of health
Her pleasing care withhold. His decent board
She guards, presiding, and the frugal powers
With joy sedate leads in; and while the brown
Ennæan dame with Pan presents her stores,
While changing still, and comely in the change, 190
Vertumnus and the Hours before him spread
The garden's banquet, you to crown his feast,
To crown his feast, O Naiads, you the fair
Hygeia calls; and from your shelving seats,
And groves of poplar, plenteous cups ye bring,
To slake his veins, till soon a purer tide
Flows down those loaded channels, washeth off
The dregs of luxury, the lurking seeds
Of crude disease, and through the abodes of life
Sends vigour, sends repose. Hail, Naiads, hail! 200
Who give to labour, health; to stooping age,
The joys which youth had squander'd. Oft your urns
Will I invoke; and frequent in your praise,
Abash the frantic thyrsus [Z] with my song.
For not estranged from your benignant arts
Is he, the god, to whose mysterious shrine
My youth was sacred, and my votive cares
Belong, the learned Pæon. Oft when all
His cordial treasures he hath search'd in vain;
When herbs, and potent trees, and drops of balm 210
Rich with the genial influence of the sun
(To rouse dark fancy from her plaintive dreams,
To brace the nerveless arm, with food to win
Sick appetite, or hush the unquiet breast
Which pines with silent passion), he in vain
Hath proved; to your deep mansions he descends.
Your gates of humid rock, your dim arcades,
He entereth; where empurpled veins of ore
Gleam on the roof; where through the rigid mine
Your trickling rills insinuate. There the god 220
From your indulgent hands the streaming bowl
Wafts to his pale-eyed suppliants; wafts the seeds
Metallic and the elemental salts
Wash'd from the pregnant glebe. They drink, and soon
Flies pain; flies inauspicious care; and soon
The social haunt or unfrequented shade
Hears Io, Io Pæan, [AA] as of old,
When Python fell. And, O propitious Nymphs,
Oft as for hapless mortals I implore
Your sultry springs, through every urn, 230
Oh, shed your healing treasures! With the first
And finest breath, which from the genial strife
Of mineral fermentation springs, like light
O'er the fresh morning's vapours, lustrate then
The fountain, and inform the rising wave.
My lyre shall pay your bounty. Scorn not ye
That humble tribute. Though a mortal hand
Excite the strings to utterance, yet for themes
Not unregarded of celestial powers,
I frame their language; and the Muses deign 240
To guide the pious tenor of my lay.
The Muses (sacred by their gifts divine)
In early days did to my wondering sense
Their secrets oft reveal; oft my raised ear
In slumber felt their music; oft at noon,
Or hour of sunset, by some lonely stream,
In field or shady grove, they taught me words
Of power from death and envy to preserve
The good man's name. Whence yet with grateful mind,
And offerings unprofaned by ruder eye, 250
My vows I send, my homage, to the seats
Of rocky Cirrha, [BB] where with you they dwell,
Where you their chaste companions they admit,
Through all the hallow'd scene; where oft intent,
And leaning o'er Castalia's mossy verge,
They mark the cadence of your confluent urns,
How tuneful, yielding gratefullest repose
To their consorted measure, till again,
With emulation all the sounding choir,
And bright Apollo, leader of the song, 260
Their voices through the liquid air exalt,
And sweep their lofty strings; those powerful strings
That charm the mind of gods, [CC] that fill the courts
Of wide Olympus with oblivion sweet
Of evils, with immortal rest from cares,
Assuage the terrors of the throne of Jove,
And quench the formidable thunderbolt
Of unrelenting fire. With slacken'd wings,
While now the solemn concert breathes around,
Incumbent o'er the sceptre of his lord 270
Sleeps the stern eagle, by the number'd notes,
Possess'd, and satiate with the melting tone,
Sovereign of birds. The furious god of war,
His darts forgetting, and the winged wheels
That bear him vengeful o'er the embattled plain,
Relents, and soothes his own fierce heart to ease,
Most welcome ease. The sire of gods and men
In that great moment of divine delight,
Looks down on all that live; and whatsoe'er
He loves not, o'er the peopled earth and o'er 280
The interminated ocean, he beholds
Cursed with abhorrence by his doom severe,
And troubled at the sound. Ye, Naiads, ye
With ravish'd ears the melody attend
Worthy of sacred silence. But the slaves
Of Bacchus with tempestuous clamours strive
To drown the heavenly strains, of highest Jove
Irreverent, and by mad presumption fired
Their own discordant raptures to advance
With hostile emulation. Down they rush 290
From Nysa's vine-empurpled cliff, the dames
Of Thrace, the Satyrs, and the unruly Fauns,
With old Silenus, reeling through the crowd
Which gambols round him, in convulsions wild
Tossing their limbs, and brandishing in air
The ivy-mantled thyrsus, or the torch
Through black smoke flaming, to the Phrygian pipe's [DD]
Shrill voice, and to the clashing cymbals, mix'd
With shrieks and frantic uproar. May the gods
From every unpolluted ear avert 300
Their orgies! If within the seats of men,
Within the walls, the gates, where Pallas holds [EE]
The guardian key, if haply there be found
Who loves to mingle with the revel-band
And hearken to their accents, who aspires
From such instructors to inform his breast
With verse, let him, fit votarist, implore
Their inspiration. He perchance the gifts
Of young Lyæus, and the dread exploits,
May sing in aptest numbers; he the fate 310
Of sober Pentheus, [FF] he the Paphian rites,
And naked Mars with Cytherea chain'd,
And strong Alcides in the spinster's robes,
May celebrate, applauded. But with you,
O Naiads, far from that unhallow'd rout,
Must dwell the man whoe'er to praisèd themes
Invokes the immortal Muse. The immortal Muse
To your calm habitations, to the cave
Corycian[GG] or the Delphic mount, [HH] will guide
His footsteps, and with your unsullied streams 320
His lips will bathe; whether the eternal lore
Of Themis, or the majesty of Jove,
To mortals he reveal; or teach his lyre
The unenvied guerdon of the patriot's toils,
In those unfading islands of the bless'd,
Where sacred bards abide. Hail, honour'd Nymphs;
Thrice hail! For you the Cyrenaïc shell, [II]
Behold, I touch, revering. To my songs
Be present ye with favourable feet,
And all profaner audience far remove. 330
* * * * *
[Footnote A: '_Love,.... Elder than Chaos_.'--L. 25.
Hesiod in his Theogony gives a different account, and makes Chaos the
eldest of beings, though he assigns to Love neither father nor
superior; which circumstance is particularly mentioned by Phædrus,
in Plato's Banquet, as being observable not only in Hesiod, but in
all other writers both of verse and prose; and on the same occasion
Back to Full Books