Poetical Works of Akenside
Mark Akenside

Part 6 out of 7

he cites a line from Parmenides, in which Love is expressly styled
the eldest of all the gods. Yet Aristophanes, in 'The Birds,' affirms,
that 'Chaos, and Night, and Erebus, and Tartarus were first; and
that Love was produced from an egg, which the sable-winged Night
deposited in the immense bosom of Erebus.' But it must be observed,
that the Love designed by this comic poet was always distinguished
from the other, from that original and self-existent being the TO ON
[Greek] or AGAThON [Greek] of Plato, and meant only the
DAeMIOURGOS [Greek] or second person of the old Grecian Trinity; to
whom is inscribed a hymn among those which pass under the name of
Orpheus, where he is called Protogonos, or the first-begotten, is
said to have been born of an egg, and is represented as the
principal or origin of all these external appearances of nature. In
the fragments of Orpheus, collected by Henry Stephens, he is named
Phanes, the discoverer or discloser, who unfolded the ideas of the
supreme intelligence, and exposed them to the perception of inferior
beings in this visible frame of the world; as Macrobius, and Proclus,
and Athenagoras, all agree to interpret the several passages of
Orpheus which they have preserved.

But the Love designed in our text is the one self-existent and
infinite mind; whom if the generality of ancient mythologists have
not introduced or truly described in accounting for the production
of the world and its appearances, yet, to a modern poet, it can be
no objection that he hath ventured to differ from them in this
particular, though in other respects he professeth to imitate their
manner and conform to their opinions; for, in these great points of
natural theology, they differ no less remarkably among themselves,
and are perpetually confounding the philosophical relations of
things with the traditionary circumstances of mythic history; upon
which very account Callimachus, in his hymn to Jupiter, declareth
his dissent from them concerning even an article of the national
creed, adding, that the ancient bards were by no means to be
depended on. And yet in the exordium of the old Argonautic poem,
ascribed to Orpheus, it is said, that 'Love, whom mortals in later
times call Phanes, was the father of the eternally-begotten Night;'
who is generally represented by these mythological poets as being
herself the parent of all things; and who, in the 'Indigitamenta,'
or Orphic Hymns, is said to be the same with Cypris, or Love itself.
Moreover, in the body of this Argonautic poem, where the personated
Orpheus introduceth himself singing to his lyre in reply to Chiron,
he celebrateth 'the obscure memory of Chaos, and the natures which
it contained within itself in a state of perpetual vicissitude; how
the heaven had its boundary determined, the generation of the earth,
the depth of the ocean, and also the sapient Love, the most ancient,
the self-sufficient, with all the beings which he produced when he
separated one thing from another.' Which noble passage is more
directly to Aristotle's purpose in the first book of his metaphysics
than any of those which he has there quoted, to show that the
ancient poets and mythologists agreed with Empedocles, Anaxagoras,
and the other more sober philosophers, in that natural anticipation
and common notion of mankind concerning the necessity of mind and
reason to account for the connexion, motion, and good order of the
world. For though neither this poem, nor the hymns which pass under
the same name, are, it should seem, the work of the real Orpheus,
yet beyond all question they are very ancient. The hymns, more
particularly, are allowed to be older than the invasion of Greece by
Xerxes, and were probably a set of public and solemn forms of
devotion, as appears by a passage in one of them which Demosthenes
hath almost literally cited in his first oration against Aristogiton,
as the saying of Orpheus, the founder of their most holy mysteries.
On this account, they are of higher authority than any other
mythological work now extant, the Theogony of Hesiod himself not
excepted. The poetry of them is often extremely noble; and the
mysterious air which prevails in them, together with its delightful
impression upon the mind, cannot be better expressed than in that
remarkable description with which they inspired the German editor,
Eschenbach, when he accidentally met with them at Leipsic:
--'Thesaurum me reperisse credidi,' says he, 'et profecto thesaurum
reperi. Incredibile dictu quo me sacro horrore afflaverint
indigitamenta ista deorum: nam et tempus ad illorum lectionem
eligere cogebar, quod vel solum horrorem incutere animo potest,
nocturnum; cum enim totam diem consumserim in contemplando urbis
splendore, et in adeundis, quibus scatet urbs illa, viris doctis;
sola nox restabat, quam Orpheo consecrare potui. In abyesum quendam
mysteriorum venerandæ antiquitatis descendere videbar, quotiescunque
silente mundo, solis vigilantibus astris et luna, [Greek:
melanaephutous] istos hymnos ad manus sumsi.']

[Footnote B: '_Love, the sire of Fate_.'--L. 25. Fate is the
universal system of natural causes; the work of the Omnipotent Mind,
or of Love: so Minucius Felix:--'Quid enim aliud est fatum, quam
quod de unoquoque nostrum deus fatus est.' So also Cicero, in the
First Book on Divination:--'Fatum autem id appello, quod Graeci
EIMAPMENIIN: id est, ordinem seriemque causarum, cum causa causæ nexa
rem ex se gignat--ex quo intelligitur, ut fatum sit non id quod
superstitiose, sed id quod physice dicitur causa asterna rerum.' To
the same purpose is the doctrine of Hierocles, in that excellent
fragment concerning Providence and Destiny. As to the three Fates,
or Destinies of the poets, they represented that part of the general
system of natural causes which relates to man, and to other mortal
beings: for so we are told in the hymn addressed to them among the
Orphic Indigitamenta, where they are called the daughters of Night
(or Love), and, contrary to the vulgar notion, are distinguished by
the epithets of gentle and tender-hearted. According to Hesiod, Theog.
ver. 904, they were the daughters of Jupiter and Themis: but in the
Orphic hymn to Venus, or Love, that goddess is directly styled the
mother of Necessity, and is represented, immediately after, as
governing the three Destinies, and conducting the whole system of
natural causes.]

[Footnote C: '_Chaos_.'--L. 26. The unformed, undigested mass of
Moses and Plato; which Milton calls 'The womb of nature.']

[Footnote D: '_Born of Fate was Time_.'--L. 26. Chronos, Saturn, or
Time, was, according to Apollodorus, the son of Cælum and Tellus.
But the author of the hymns gives it quite undisguised by
mythological language, and calls him plainly the offspring of the
earth and the starry heaven; that is, of Fate, as explained in the
preceding note.]

[Footnote E: '_Who many sons ... devour'd_.'--L. 27. The known fable
of Saturn devouring his children was certainly meant to imply the
dissolution of natural bodies, which are produced and destroyed by

[Footnote F: '_The Child of Rhea_.'-L. 29. Jupiter, so called by

[Footnote G: '_Drove him from the upper sky_.'--L. 29. That Jupiter
dethroned his father Saturn is recorded by all the mythologists.
Phurnutus, or Cornutus, the author of a little Greek treatise on the
nature of the gods, informs us that by Jupiter was meant the
vegetable soul of the world, which restrained and prevented those
uncertain alterations which Saturn, or Time, used formerly to cause
in the mundane system.]

[Footnote H: '_Then social reign'd The kindred powers_.'--L. 31.
Our mythology here supposeth, that before the establishment of the
vital, vegetative, plastic nature (represented by Jupiter), the four
elements were in a variable and unsettled condition, but afterwards
well-disposed, and at peace among themselves. Tethys was the wife
of the Ocean; Ops, or Rhea, the Earth; Vesta, the eldest daughter
of Saturn, Fire; and the Cloud-Compeller, or [Greek: Zeus
nephelaegeretaes], the Air, though he also represented the plastic
principle of nature, as may be seen in the Orphic hymn inscribed to


'_The sedgy-crowned race_.'--L. 34.

The river-gods, who, according to Hesiod's Theogony, were the sons of
Oceanus and Tethys.


'_From them are ye, O Naiads_.'--L. 37.

The descent of the Naiads is less certain than most points of the
Greek mythology. Homer, Odyss. xiii. [Greek: kourai Dios]. Virgil,
in the eighth book of the Æneid, speaks as if the Nymphs, or Naiads,
were the parents of the rivers: but in this he contradicts the
testimony of Hesiod, and evidently departs from the orthodox system,
which represented several nymphs as retaining to every single river.
On the other hand, Callimachus, who was very learned in all the
school-divinity of those times, in his hymn to Delos, maketh Peneus,
the great Thessalian river-god, the father of his nymphs: and Ovid,
in the fourteenth book of his Metamorphoses, mentions the Naiads of
Latium as the immediate daughters of the neighbouring river-gods.
Accordingly, the Naiads of particular rivers are occasionally, both
by Ovid and Statius, called by patronymic, from the name of the
river to which they belong.


'_Syrian Daphne_.'--L. 40.

The grove of Daphne in Syria, near Antioch, was famous for its
delightful fountains.


'_The tribes beloved by Pæon_.'--L. 40.

Mineral and medicinal springs. Pæon was the physician of the gods.


'_The winged offspring_.'--L. 43.

The winds; who, according to Hesiod and Apollodorus, were the sons of
Astræus and Aurora.


'_Hyperíon_.'--L. 46.

A son of Cælum and Tellus, and father of the Sun, who is thence
called, by Pindar, Hyperionides. But Hyperion is put by Homer in the
same manner as here, for the Sun himself.


'_Your sallying streams_.'--L. 49.

The state of the atmosphere with respect to rest and motion is, in
several ways, affected by rivers and running streams; and that more
especially in hot seasons: first, they destroy its equilibrium, by
cooling those parts of it with which they are in contact; and
secondly, they communicate their own motion: and the air which is
thus moved by them, being left heated, is of consequence more
elastic than other parts of the atmosphere, and therefore fitter to
preserve and to propagate that motion.


'_Delian king_.'--L. 70.

One of the epithets of Apollo, or the Sun, in the Orphic hymn
inscribed to him.


'_Chloris_.'--L. 79.

The ancient Greek name for Flora.


'_Amalthea_.'--L. 83.

The mother of the first Bacchus, whose birth and education was
written, as Diodorus Siculus informs us, in the old Pelasgic
character, by Thymoetes, grandson to Laomedon, and contemporary with
Orpheus. Thymoetes had travelled over Libya to the country which
borders on the western ocean; there he saw the island of Nysa, and
learned from the inhabitants, that 'Ammon, King of Libya, was
married in former ages to Rhea, sister of Saturn and the Titans:
that he afterwards fell in love with a beautiful virgin whose name
was Amalthea; had by her a son, and gave her possession of a
neighbouring tract of land, wonderfully fertile; which in shape
nearly resembling the horn of an ox, was thence called the Hesperian
horn, and afterwards the horn of Amalthea: that fearing the jealousy
of Rhea, he concealed the young Bacchus in the island of Nysa;' the
beauty of which, Diodorus describes with great dignity and pomp of
style. This fable is one of the noblest in all the ancient mythology,
and seems to have made a particular impression on the imagination of
Milton; the only modern poet (unless perhaps it be necessary to
except Spenser) who, in these mysterious traditions of the poetic
story, had a heart to feel, and words to express, the simple and
solitary genius of antiquity. To raise the idea of his Paradise, he
prefers it even to--

'That Nysean isle
Girt by the river Triton, where old Cham
(Whom Gentiles Ammon call, and Libyan Jove)
Hid Amalthea and her florid son,
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye.'


'_Edonian band_.'--L. 94.

The priestesses and other ministers of Bacchus: so called from Edonus,
a mountain of Thrace, where his rites were celebrated.


'_When Hermes_.'--L. 105.

Hermes, or Mercury, was the patron of commerce; in which benevolent
character he is addressed by the author of the Indigitamenta in
these beautiful lines:--

_Ermaeuen panton, kerdempore, lusimerimue,
O? cheiresthiu echei? oplun aremphe_?]


_'Dispense the mineral treasure'_.--L. 121.

The merchants of Sidon and Tyre made frequent voyages to the coast of
Cornwall, from whence they carried home great quantities of tin.


_'Hath he not won'_?--L. 136.

Mercury, the patron of commerce, being so greatly dependent on the
good offices of the Naiads, in return obtains for them the
friendship of Minerva, the goddess of war: for military power, at
least the naval part of it, hath constantly followed the
establishment of trade; which exemplifies the preceding observation,
that 'from bounty issueth power.'


_'C'alpe ... Cantabrian surge'_--L. 143.

Gibraltar and the Bay of Biscay.


_'Ægina's gloomy surge'_--L. 150.

Near this island, the Athenians obtained the victory of Salamis,
over the Persian navy.


_'Xerxes saw'_--L. 160.

This circumstance is recorded in that passage, perhaps the most
splendid among all the remains of ancient history, where Plutarch,
in his Life of Themistocles, describes the sea-fights of Artemisium
and Salamis.


_'Thyrsus'_--L. 204.

A staff, or spear, wreathed round with ivy: of constant use in the
bacchanalian mysteries.


_'Io Pæan.'_--L. 227.

An exclamation of victory and triumph, derived from Apollo's
encounter with Python.


_'Rocky Cirrha'_--L. 252.

One of the summits of Parnassus, and sacred to Apollo. Near it were
several fountains, said to be frequented by the Muses. Nysa, the
other eminence of the same mountain, was dedicated to Bacchus.


_'Charm the mind of gods'_--L. 263.

This whole passage, concerning the effects of sacred music among the
gods, is taken from Pindar's first Pythian ode.


'_Phrygian pipe_.'--L. 297.

The Phrygian music was fantastic and turbulent, and fit to excite
disorderly passions.


'_The gates where Pallas holds
The guardian key_.'--L. 302.

It was the office of Minerva to be the guardian of walled cities;
whence she was named IIOAIAS and HOAIOYXOS, and had her statues
placed in their gates, being supposed to keep the keys; and on that
account styled KAHAOYXOS.


'Fate of sober Pentheus.'--L. 311.

Pentheus was torn in pieces by the bacchanalian priests and women,
for despising their mysteries.


'The cave Corycian:--L. 318.

Of this cave Pausanias, in his tenth book, gives the following
description:--'Between Delphi and the eminences of Parnassus is a
road to the grotto of Corycium, which has its name from the nymph
Corycia, and is by far the most remarkable which I have seen. One
may walk a great way into it without a torch. 'Tis of a considerable
height, and hath several springs within it; and yet a much greater
quantity of water distils from the shell and roof, so as to be
continually dropping on the ground. The people round Parnassus hold
it sacred to the Corycian nymphs and to Pan.'


'Delphic mount.'--L. 319.

Delphi, the seat and oracle of Apollo, had a mountainous and rocky
situation, on the skirts of Parnassus.


'Cyrenaïc shell.'--L. 327.

Cyrene was the native country of Callimachus, whose hymns are the
most remarkable example of that mythological passion which is
assumed in the preceding poem, and have always afforded particular
pleasure to the author of it, by reason of the mysterious solemnity
with which they affect the mind. On this account he was induced to
attempt somewhat in the same manner; solely by way of exercise: the
manner itself being now almost entirely abandoned in poetry. And as
the mere genealogy, or the personal adventures of heathen gods,
could have been but little interesting to a modern reader, it was
therefore thought proper to select some convenient part of the
history of nature, and to employ these ancient divinities as it is
probable they were first employed; to wit, in personifying natural
causes, and in representing the mutual agreement or opposition of
the corporeal and moral powers of the world: which hath been
accounted the very highest office of poetry.




To me, whom in their lays the shepherds call
Actæa, daughter of the neighbouring stream,
This cave belongs. The fig-tree and the vine,
Which o'er the rocky entrance downward shoot,
Were placed by Glycou. He with cowslips pale,
Primrose, and purple lychnis, deck'd the green
Before my threshold, and my shelving walls
With honeysuckle cover'd. Here at noon,
Lull'd by the murmur of my rising fount,
I slumber; here my clustering fruits I tend;
Or from the humid flowers, at break of day,
Fresh garlands weave, and chase from all my bounds
Each thing impure or noxious. Enter in,
O stranger, undismay'd. Nor bat, nor toad
Here lurks; and if thy breast of blameless thoughts
Approve thee, not unwelcome shalt thou tread
My quiet mansion; chiefly, if thy name
Wise Pallas and the immortal Muses own.



Such was old Chaucer; such the placid mien
Of him who first with harmony inform'd
The language of our fathers. Here he dwelt
For many a cheerful day. These ancient walls
Have often heard him, while his legends blithe
He sang; of love, or knighthood, or the wiles
Of homely life; through each estate and age,
The fashions and the follies of the world
With cunning hand portraying. Though perchance
From Blenheim's towers, O stranger, thou art come
Glowing with Churchill's trophies; yet in vain
Dost thou applaud them if thy breast be cold
To him, this other hero; who, in times
Dark and untaught, began with charming verse
To tame the rudeness of his native land.


Whoe'er thou art whose path in summer lies
Through yonder village, turn thee where the grove
Of branching oaks a rural palace old
Embosoms. There dwells Albert, generous lord
Of all the harvest round. And onward thence
A low plain chapel fronts the morning light
Fast by a silent rivulet. Humbly walk,
O stranger, o'er the consecrated ground;
And on that verdant hillock, which thou seest
Beset with osiers, let thy pious hand
Sprinkle fresh water from the brook, and strew
Sweet-smelling flowers. For there doth Edmund rest,
The learned shepherd; for each rural art
Famed, and for songs harmonious, and the woes
Of ill-requited love. The faithless pride
Of fair Matilda sank him to the grave
In manhood's prime. But soon did righteous Heaven,
With tears, with sharp remorse, and pining care,
Avenge her falsehood. Nor could all the gold
And nuptial pomp, which lured her plighted faith
From Edmund to a loftier husband's home,
Relieve her breaking heart, or turn aside
The strokes of death. Go, traveller; relate
The mournful story. Haply some fair maid
May hold it in remembrance, and be taught
That riches cannot pay for truth or love.


O youths and virgins: O declining eld:
O pale misfortune's slaves: O ye who dwell
Unknown with humble quiet; ye who wait
In courts, or fill the golden seat of kings:
O sons of sport and pleasure: O thou wretch
That weep'st for jealous love, or the sore wounds
Of conscious guilt, or death's rapacious hand
Which left thee void of hope: O ye who roam
In exile; ye who through the embattled field
Seek bright renown; or who for nobler palms
Contend, the leaders of a public cause;
Approach: behold this marble. Know ye not
The features'? Hath not oft his faithful tongue
Told you the fashion of your own estate,
The secrets of your bosom? Here then, round
His monument with reverence while ye stand,
Say to each other:-'This was Shakspeare's form;
Who walk'd in every path of human life,
Felt every passion; and to all mankind
Doth now, will ever, that experience yield
Which his own genius only could acquire.'


P.G. A.M. A.



Thou, who the verdant plain dost traverse here,
While Thames among his willows from thy view
Retires; O stranger, stay thee, and the scene
Around contemplate well. This is the place
Where England's ancient barons, clad in arms
And stern with conquest, from their tyrant king
(Then render'd tame) did challenge and secure
The charter of thy freedom. Pass not on
Till thou hast bless'd their memory, and paid
Those thanks which God appointed the reward
Of public virtue. And if chance thy home
Salute thee with a father's honour'd name,
Go, call thy sons; instruct them what a debt
They owe their ancestors; and make them swear
To pay it, by transmitting down entire
Those sacred rights to which themselves were born.



Approach in silence. 'Tis no vulgar tale
Which I, the Dryad of this hoary oak,
Pronounce to mortal ears. The second age
Now hasteneth to its period, since I rose
On this fair lawn. The groves of yonder vale
Are all my offspring: and each Nymph who guards
The copses and the furrow'd fields beyond,
Obeys me. Many changes have I seen
In human things, and many awful deeds
Of justice, when the ruling hand of Jove
Against the tyrants of the land, against
The unhallow'd sons of luxury and guile,
Was arm'd for retribution. Thus at length
Expert in laws divine, I know the paths
Of wisdom, and erroneous folly's end
Have oft presaged; and now well-pleased I wait
Each evening till a noble youth, who loves
My shade, a while released from public cares,
Yon peaceful gate shall enter, and sit down
Beneath my branches. Then his musing mind
I prompt, unseen; and place before his view
Sincerest forms of good; and move his heart
With the dread bounties of the Sire Supreme
Of gods and men, with freedom's generous deeds,
The lofty voice of glory and the faith
Of sacred friendship. Stranger, I have told
My function. If within thy bosom dwell
Aught which may challenge praise, thou wilt not leave
Unhonour'd my abode, nor shall I hear
A sparing benediction from thy tongue.


Ye powers unseen, to whom, the bards of Greece
Erected altars; ye who to the mind
More lofty views unfold, and prompt the heart
With more divine emotions; if erewhile
Not quite uupleasing have my votive rites
Of you been deem'd, when oft this lonely seat
To you I consecrated; then vouchsafe
Here with your instant energy to crown
My happy solitude. It is the hour
When most I love to invoke you, and have felt
Most frequent your glad ministry divine.
The air is calm: the sun's unveiled orb
Shines in the middle heaven. The harvest round
Stands quiet, and among the golden sheaves
The reapers lie reclined. The neighbouring groves
Are mute, nor even a linnet's random strain
Echoeth amid the silence. Let me feel
Your influence, ye kind powers. Aloft in heaven,
Abide ye? or on those transparent clouds
Pass ye from hill to hill? or on the shades
Which yonder elms cast o'er the lake below
Do you converse retired? From what loved haunt
Shall I expect you? Let me once more feel
Your influence, O ye kind inspiring powers:
And I will guard it well; nor shall a thought
Rise in my mind, nor shall a passion move
Across my bosom unobserved, unstored
By faithful memory. And then at some
More active moment, will I call them forth
Anew; and join them in majestic forms,
And give them utterance in harmonious strains;
That all mankind shall wonder at your sway.


Me though in life's sequester'd vale
The Almighty Sire ordain'd to dwell,
Remote from glory's toilsome ways,
And the great scenes of public praise;
Yet let me still with grateful pride
Remember how my infant frame
He temper'd with prophetic flame,
And early music to my tongue supplied.
'Twas then my future fate he weigh'd,
And, this be thy concern, he said,
At once with Passion's keen alarms,
And Beauty's pleasurable charms,
And sacred Truth's eternal light,
To move the various mind of Man;
Till, under one unblemish'd plan,
His Reason, Fancy, and his Heart unite.


Thrice has the spring beheld thy faded fame,
And the fourth winter rises on thy shame,
Since I exulting grasp'd the votive shell,
In sounds of triumph all thy praise to tell;
Bless'd could my skill through ages make thee shine,
And proud to mix my memory with thine.
But now the cause that waked my song before,
With praise, with triumph, crowns the toil no more.
If to the glorious man whose faithful cares,
Nor quell'd by malice, nor relax'd by years, 10
Had awed Ambition's wild audacious hate,
And dragg'd at length Corruption to her fate;
If every tongue its large applauses owed,
And well-earn'd laurels every Muse bestow'd;
If public Justice urged the high reward,
And Freedom smiled on the devoted bard;
Say then, to him whose levity or lust
Laid all a people's generous hopes in dust;
Who taught Ambition firmer heights of power,
And saved Corruption at her hopeless hour; 20
Does not each tongue its execrations owe?
Shall not each Muse a wreath of shame bestow,
And public Justice sanctify th' award,
And Freedom's hand protect the impartial bard?

Yet long reluctant I forbore thy name,
Long watch'd thy virtue like a dying flame,
Hung o'er each glimmering spark with anxious eyes,
And wish'd and hoped the light again would rise.
But since thy guilt still more entire appears,
Since no art hides, no supposition clears; 30
Since vengeful Slander now too sinks her blast,
And the first rage of party-hate is past;
Calm as the judge of truth, at length I come
To weigh thy merits, and pronounce thy doom:
So may my trust from all reproach be free;
And Earth and Time confirm the fair decree.

There are who say they view'd without amaze
The sad reverse of all thy former praise:
That through the pageants of a patriot's name,
They pierced the foulness of thy secret aim; 40
Or deem'd thy arm exalted but to throw
The public thunder on a private foe.
But I, whose soul consented to thy cause,
Who felt thy genius stamp its own applause,
Who saw the spirits of each glorious age
Move in thy bosom, and direct thy rage;
I scorn'd the ungenerous gloss of slavish minds,
The owl-eyed race, whom Virtue's lustre blinds.
Spite of the learned in the ways of vice,
And all who prove that each man has his price, 50
I still believed thy end was just and free;
And yet, even yet, believe it--spite of thee.
Even though thy mouth impure has dared disclaim,
Urged by the wretched impotence of shame,
Whatever filial cares thy zeal had paid
To laws infirm, and liberty decay'd;
Has begg'd Ambition to forgive the show;
Has told Corruption thou wert ne'er her foe;
Has boasted in thy country's awful ear,
Her gross delusion when she held thee dear; 60
How tame she follow'd thy tempestuous call,
And heard thy pompous tales, and trusted all--
Rise from your sad abodes, ye cursed of old
For laws subverted, and for cities sold!
Paint all the noblest trophies of your guilt,
The oaths you perjured, and the blood you spilt;
Yet must you one untempted vileness own,
One dreadful palm reserved for him alone;
With studied arts his country's praise to spurn,
To beg the infamy he did not earn, 70
To challenge hate when honour was his due,
And plead his crimes where all his virtue knew.
Do robes of state the guarded heart enclose
From each fair feeling human nature knows?
Can pompous titles stun the enchanted ear
To all that reason, all that sense would hear?
Else couldst thou e'er desert thy sacred post,
In such unthankful baseness to be lost?
Else couldst thou wed the emptiness of vice,
And yield thy glories at an idiot's price? 80

When they who, loud for liberty and laws,
In doubtful times had fought their country's cause,
When now of conquest and dominion sure,
They sought alone to hold their fruits secure;
When taught by these, Oppression hid the face,
To leave Corruption stronger in her place,
By silent spells to work the public fate,
And taint the vitals of the passive state,
Till healing Wisdom should avail no more,
And Freedom loathe to tread the poison'd shore: 90
Then, like some guardian god that flies to save
The weary pilgrim from an instant grave,
Whom, sleeping and secure, the guileful snake
Steals near and nearer through the peaceful brake;
Then Curio rose to ward the public woe,
To wake the heedless, and incite the slow,
Against Corruption Liberty to arm,
And quell the enchantress by a mightier charm.

Swift o'er the land the fair contagion flew,
And with thy country's hopes thy honours grew. 100
Thee, patriot, the patrician roof confess'd;
Thy powerful voice the rescued merchant bless'd;
Of thee with awe the rural hearth resounds;
The bowl to thee the grateful sailor crowns;
Touch'd in the sighing shade with manlier fires,
To trace thy steps the love-sick youth aspires;
The learn'd recluse, who oft amazed had read
Of Grecian heroes, Roman patriots dead,
With new amazement hears a living name
Pretend to share in such forgotten fame; 110
And he who, scorning courts and courtly ways,
Left the tame track of these dejected days,
The life of nobler ages to renew
In virtues sacred from a monarch's view,
Roused by thy labours from the bless'd retreat,
Where social ease and public passions meet,
Again ascending treads the civil scene,
To act and be a man, as thou hadst been.

Thus by degrees thy cause superior grew,
And the great end appear'd at last in view: 120
We heard the people in thy hopes rejoice,
We saw the senate bending to thy voice;
The friends of freedom hail'd the approaching reign
Of laws for which our fathers bled in vain;
While venal Faction, struck with new dismay,
Shrunk at their frown, and self-abandon'd lay.
Waked in the shock the public Genius rose,
Abash'd and keener from his long repose;
Sublime in ancient pride, he raised the spear
Which slaves and tyrants long were wont to fear; 130
The city felt his call: from man to man,
From street to street, the glorious horror ran;
Each crowded haunt was stirr'd beneath his power,
And, murmuring, challenged the deciding hour.

Lo! the deciding hour at last appears;
The hour of every freeman's hopes and fears!
Thou, Genius! guardian of the Roman name,
O ever prompt tyrannic rage to tame!
Instruct the mighty moments as they roll,
And guide each movement steady to the goal. 140
Ye spirits by whose providential art
Succeeding motives turn the changeful heart,
Keep, keep the best in view to Curio's mind,
And watch his fancy, and his passions bind!
Ye shades immortal, who by Freedom led,
Or in the field or on the scaffold bled,
Bend from your radiant seats a joyful eye,
And view the crown of all your labours nigh.
See Freedom mounting her eternal throne!
The sword submitted, and the laws her own: 150
See! public Power chastised beneath her stands,
With eyes intent, and uncorrupted hands!
See private Life by wisest arts reclaim'd!
See ardent youth to noblest manners framed!
See us acquire whate'er was sought by you,
If Curio, only Curio will be true.

'Twas then--o shame! O trust how ill repaid!
O Latium, oft by faithless sons betray'd!--
'Twas then--What frenzy on thy reason stole?
What spells unsinewed thy determined soul?-- 160
Is this the man in Freedom's cause approved,
The man so great, so honour'd, so beloved,
This patient slave by tinsel chains allured,
This wretched suitor for a boon abjured,
This Curio, hated and despised by all,
Who fell himself to work his country's fall?
O lost, alike to action and repose!
Unknown, unpitied in the worst of woes!
With all that conscious, undissembled pride,
Sold to the insults of a foe defied! 170
With all that habit of familiar fame,
Doom'd to exhaust the dregs of life in shame!
The sole sad refuge of thy baffled art
To act a statesman's dull, exploded part,
Renounce the praise no longer in thy power,
Display thy virtue, though without a dower,
Contemn the giddy crowd, the vulgar wind,
And shut thy eyes that others may be blind.--
Forgive me, Romans, that I bear to smile,
When shameless mouths your majesty defile, 180
Paint you a thoughtless, frantic, headlong crew,
And cast their own impieties on you.
For witness, Freedom, to whose sacred power
My soul was vow'd from reason's earliest hour,
How have I stood exulting, to survey
My country's virtues, opening in thy ray!
How with the sons of every foreign shore
The more I match'd them, honour'd hers the more!
O race erect! whose native strength of soul,
Which kings, nor priests, nor sordid laws control, 190
Bursts the tame round of animal affairs,
And seeks a nobler centre for its cares;
Intent the laws of life to comprehend,
And fix dominion's limits by its end.
Who, bold and equal in their love or hate,
By conscious reason judging every state,
The man forget not, though in rags he lies,
And know the mortal through a crown's disguise:
Thence prompt alike with witty scorn to view
Fastidious Grandeur lift his solemn brow, 200
Or, all awake at pity's soft command,
Bend the mild ear, and stretch the gracious hand:
Thence large of heart, from envy far removed,
When public toils to virtue stand approved,
Not the young lover fonder to admire,
Not more indulgent the delighted sire;
Yet high and jealous of their free-born name,
Fierce as the flight of Jove's destroying flame,
Where'er Oppression works her wanton sway,
Proud to confront, and dreadful to repay. 210
But if to purchase Curio's sage applause,
My country must with him renounce her cause,
Quit with a slave the path a patriot trod,
Bow the meek knee, and kiss the regal rod;
Then still, ye powers, instruct his tongue to rail,
Nor let his zeal, nor let his subject fail:
Else, ere he change the style, bear me away
To where the Gracchi [2], where the Bruti stay!

O long revered, and late resign'd to shame!
If this uncourtly page thy notice claim 220
When the loud cares of business are withdrawn,
Nor well-dress'd beggars round thy footsteps fawn;
In that still, thoughtful, solitary hour,
When Truth exerts her unresisted power,
Breaks the false optics tinged with fortune's glare,
Unlocks the breast, and lays the passions bare;
Then turn thy eyes on that important scene,
And ask thyself--if all be well within.
Where is the heart-felt worth and weight of soul,
Which labour could not stop, nor fear control? 230
Where the known dignity, the stamp of awe,
Which, half-abash'd, the proud and venal saw?
Where the calm triumphs of an honest cause?
Where the delightful taste of just applause?
Where the strong reason, the commanding tongue,
On which the senate fired or trembling hung?
All vanish'd, all are sold--and in their room,
Couch'd in thy bosom's deep, distracted gloom,
See the pale form of barbarous Grandeur dwell,
Like some grim idol in a sorcerer's cell! 210
To her in chains thy dignity was led;
At her polluted shrine thy honour bled;
With blasted weeds thy awful brow she crown'd,
Thy powerful tongue with poison'd philters bound,
That baffled Reason straight indignant flew,
And fair Persuasion from her seat withdrew:
For now no longer Truth supports thy cause;
No longer Glory prompts thee to applause;
No longer Virtue breathing in thy breast,
With all her conscious majesty confess'd, 250
Still bright and brighter wakes the almighty flame,
To rouse the feeble, and the wilful tame,
And where she sees the catching glimpses roll,
Spreads the strong blaze, and all involves the soul;
But cold restraints thy conscious fancy chill,
And formal passions mock thy struggling will;
Or, if thy Genius e'er forget his chain,
And reach impatient at a nobler strain,
Soon the sad bodings of contemptuous mirth
Shoot through thy breast, and stab the generous birth, 260
Till, blind with smart, from truth to frenzy toss'd,
And all the tenor of thy reason lost,
Perhaps thy anguish drains a real tear;
While some with pity, some with laughter hear.--
Can art, alas! or genius, guide the head,
Where truth and freedom from the heart are fled?
Can lesser wheels repeat their native stroke,
When the prime function of the soul is broke?

But come, unhappy man! thy fates impend;
Come, quit thy friends, if yet thou hast a friend; 270
Turn from the poor rewards of guilt like thine,
Renounce thy titles, and thy robes resign;
For see the hand of Destiny display'd
To shut thee from the joys thou hast betray'd!
See the dire fane of Infamy arise!
Dark as the grave, and spacious as the skies;
Where, from the first of time, thy kindred train,
The chiefs and princes of the unjust remain.
Eternal barriers guard the pathless road
To warn the wanderer of the cursed abode; 280
But prone as whirlwinds scour the passive sky,
The heights surmounted, down the steep they fly.
There, black with frowns, relentless Time awaits,
And goads their footsteps to the guilty gates;
And still he asks them of their unknown aims,
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,
Break their proud marbles, crush their festal cars,
And rend the lawless trophies of their wars. 290

At last the gates his potent voice obey;
Fierce to their dark abode he drives his prey;
Where, ever arm'd with adamantine chains,
The watchful demon o'er her vassals reigns,
O'er mighty names and giant-powers of lust,
The great, the sage, the happy, and august [3].
No gleam of hope their baleful mansion cheers,
No sound of honour hails their unbless'd ears;
But dire reproaches from the friend betray'd,
The childless sire and violated maid; 300
But vengeful vows for guardian laws effaced,
From towns enslaved, and continents laid waste;
But long posterity's united groan,
And the sad charge of horrors not their own,
For ever through the trembling space resound,
And sink each impious forehead to the ground.

Ye mighty foes of liberty and rest,
Give way, do homage to a mightier guest!
Ye daring spirits of the Roman race,
See Curio's toil your proudest claims efface!-- 310
Awed at the name, fierce Appius [4] rising bends,
And hardy Cinna from his throne attends:
'He comes,' they cry, 'to whom the fates assign'd
With surer arts to work what we design'd,
From year to year the stubborn herd to sway,
Mouth all their wrongs, and all their rage obey;
Till own'd their guide, and trusted with their power,
He mock'd their hopes in one decisive hour;
Then, tired and yielding, led them to the chain,
And quench'd the spirit we provoked in vain.' 320

But thou, Supreme, by whose eternal hands
Fair Liberty's heroic empire stands;
Whose thunders the rebellious deep control,
And quell the triumphs of the traitor's soul,
Oh! turn this dreadful omen far away:
On Freedom's foes their own attempts repay:
Relume her sacred fire so near suppress'd,
And fix her shrine in every Roman breast:
Though bold Corruption boast around the land,
'Let virtue, if she can, my baits withstand!' 330
Though bolder now she urge the accursed claim,
Gay with her trophies raised on Curio's shame;
Yet some there are who scorn her impious mirth,
Who know what conscience and a heart are worth.--
O friend and father of the human mind,
Whose art for noblest ends our frame design'd!
If I, though fated to the studious shade
Which party-strife, nor anxious power invade,
If I aspire in public virtue's cause,
To guide the Muses by sublimer laws, 340
Do thou her own authority impart,
And give my numbers entrance to the heart.
Perhaps the verse might rouse her smother'd flame,
And snatch the fainting patriot back to fame;
Perhaps by worthy thoughts of human kind,
To worthy deeds exalt the conscious mind;
Or dash Corruption in her proud career,
And teach her slaves that Vice was born to fear.

[Footnote 1: Curio was a young Roman senator, of distinguished
birth and parts, who, upon his first entrance into the forum, had
been committed to the care of Cicero. Being profuse and extravagant,
he soon dissipated a large and splendid fortune; to supply the want
of which, he was driven to the necessity of abetting the designs of
Csesar against the liberties of his country, although he had before
been a professed enemy to him. Cicero exerted himself with great
energy to prevent his ruin, but without effect, and he became one of
the first victims in the civil war. This epistle was first published
in the year 1744, when a celebrated patriot, after a long and at
last successful opposition to an unpopular minister, had deserted
the cause of his country, and became the foremost in support and
defence of the same measures he had so steadily and for such a
length of time contended against.]

[Fotnote 2: The two brothers, Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, lost
their lives in attempting to introduce the only regulation that
could give stability and good order to the Roman republic. L. Junius
Brutus founded the commonwealth, and died in its defence.]

[Footnote 3: Titles which have been generally ascribed to the most
pernicious of men.]

[Footnote 4: Appius Claudius the Decemvir, and L. Cornelius Cinna
both attempted to establish a tyrannical dominion in Rome, and both
perished by the treason.]



Nugari solitos.'--PERSIUS.

1 Whilom by silver Thames's gentle stream,
In London town there dwelt a subtile wight;
A wight of mickle wealth, and mickle fame,
Book-learn'd and quaint; a Virtuoso hight.
Uncommon things, and rare, were his delight;
From musings deep his brain ne'er gotten ease,
Nor ceasen he from study, day or night;
Until (advancing onward by degrees)
He knew whatever breeds on earth, or air, or seas.

2 He many a creature did anatomise,
Almost unpeopling water, air, and land;
Beasts, fishes, birds, snails, caterpillars, flies,
Were laid full low by his relentless hand,
That oft with gory crimson was distain'd:
He many a dog destroy'd, and many a cat;
Of fleas his bed, of frogs the marshes drain'd,
Could tellen if a mite were lean or fat,
And read a lecture o'er the entrails of a gnat.

3 He knew the various modes of ancient times,
Their arts and fashions of each different guise,
Their weddings, funerals, punishments for crimes,
Their strength, their learning eke, and rarities;
Of old habiliments, each sort and size,
Male, female, high and low, to him were known;
Each gladiator-dress, and stage disguise;
With learned, clerkly phrase he could have shown
How the Greek tunic differ'd from the Roman gown.

4 A curious medalist, I wot, he was,
And boasted many a course of ancient coin;
Well as his wife's he knewen every face,
From Julius Caesar down to Constantine:
For some rare sculptor he would oft ypine
(As green-sick damosels for husbands do);
And when obtained, with enraptured eyne,
He'd run it o'er and o'er with greedy view,
And look, and look again, as he would look it through.

5 His rich museum, of dimensions fair,
With goods that spoke the owner's mind was fraught:
Things ancient, curious, value-worth, and rare,
From sea and land, from Greece and Rome were brought,
Which he with mighty sums of gold had bought:
On these all tides with joyous eyes he pored;
And, sooth to say, himself he greater thought,
When he beheld his cabinets thus stored,
Than if he'd been of Albion's wealthy cities lord.

6 Here in a corner stood a rich scrutoire,
With many a curiosity replete;
In seemly order furnish'd every drawer,
Products of art or nature as was meet;
Air-pumps and prisms were placed beneath his feet,
A Memphian mummy-king hung o'er his head;
Here phials with live insects small and great,
There stood a tripod of the Pythian maid;
Above, a crocodile diffused a grateful shade.

7 Fast by the window did a table stand,
Where modern and antique rarities,
From Egypt, Greece, and Rome, from sea and land,
Were thick-besprent, of every sort and size:
Here a Bahaman-spider's carcass lies,
There a dire serpent's golden skin doth shine;
Here Indian feathers, fruits, and glittering flies;
There gums and amber found beneath the line,
The beak of Ibis here, and there an Antonine.

8 Close at his back, or whispering in his ear,
There stood a sprite ycleped Phantasy;
Which, wheresoe'er he went, was always near:
Her look was wild, and roving was her eye;
Her hair was clad with flowers of every dye;
Her glistering robes were of more various hue
Than the fair bow that paints the cloudy sky,
Or all the spangled drops of morning dew;
Their colour changing still at every different view.

9 Yet in this shape all tides she did not stay,
Various as the chameleon that she bore;
Now a grand monarch with a crown of hay,
Now mendicant in silks and golden ore:
A statesman, now equipp'd to chase the boar,
Or cowled monk, lean, feeble, and unfed;
A clown-like lord, or swain of courtly lore;
Now scribbling dunce, in sacred laurel clad,
Or papal father now, in homely weeds array'd.

10 The wight whose brain this phantom's power doth fill,
On whom she doth with constant care attend,
Will for a dreadful giant take a mill,
Or a grand palace in a hog-sty find:
(From her dire influence me may heaven defend!)
All things with vitiated sight he spies;
Neglects his family, forgets his friend,
Seeks painted trifles and fantastic toys,
And eagerly pursues imaginary joys.



'Optat quietem.'-HOR.

While yet the world was young, and men were few,
Nor lurking fraud, nor tyrant rapine knew,
In virtue rude, the gaudy arts they scorn'd,
Which, virtue lost, degenerate times adorn'd:
No sumptuous fabrics yet were seen to rise,
Nor gushing fountains taught to invade the skies;
With nature, art had not begun the strife,
Nor swelling marble rose to mimic life;
No pencil yet had learn'd to express the fair;
The bounteous earth was all their homely care. 10

Then did Content exert her genial sway,
And taught the peaceful world her power to obey--
Content, a female of celestial race,
Bright and complete in each celestial grace.
Serenely fair she was, as rising day,
And brighter than the sun's meridian ray;
Joy of all hearts, delight of every eye,
Nor grief nor pain appear'd when she was by;
Her presence from the wretched banish'd care,
Dispersed the swelling sigh, and stopp'd the falling tear. 20

Long did the nymph her regal state maintain,
As long mankind were bless'd beneath her reign;
Till dire Ambition, hellish fiend, arose
To plague the world, and banish man's repose,
A monster sprung from that rebellious crew
Which mighty Jove's Phlegraean thunder slew.
Resolved to dispossess the royal fair,
On all her friends he threaten'd open war;
Fond of the novelty, vain, fickle man
In crowds to his infernal standard ran; 30
And the weak maid, defenceless left alone,
To avoid his rage, was forced to quit the throne.

It chanced, as wandering through the fields she stray'd,
Forsook of all, and destitute of aid,
Upon a rising mountain's flowery side,
A pleasant cottage, roof'd with turf, she spied:
Fast by a gloomy, venerable wood
Of shady planes and ancient oaks it stood.
Around, a various prospect charm'd the sight;
Here waving harvests clad the field with white, 40
Here a rough shaggy rock the clouds did pierce,
From which a torrent rush'd with rapid force;
Here mountain-woods diffused a dusky shade;
Here flocks and herds in flowery valleys play'd,
While o'er the matted grass the liquid crystal stray'd.
In this sweet place there dwelt a cheerful pair,
Though bent beneath the weight of many a year;
Who, wisely flying public noise and strife,
In this obscure retreat had pass'd their life;
The husband Industry was call'd, Frugality the wife. 50
With tenderest friendship mutually bless'd,
No household jars had e'er disturbed their rest.
A numerous offspring graced their homely board,
That still with nature's simple gifts was stored.

The father rural business only knew;
The sons the same delightful art pursue.
An only daughter, as a goddess fair,
Above the rest was the fond mother's care,
Plenty; the brightest nymph of all the plain,
Each heart's delight, adored by every swain. 60
Soon as Content this charming scene espied,
Joyful within herself the goddess cried:--
'This happy sight my drooping heart doth raise;
The gods, I hope, will grant me gentler days.
When with prosperity my life was bless'd,
In yonder house I've been a welcome guest:
There now, perhaps, I may protection find;
For royalty is banish'd from my mind;
I'll thither haste: how happy should I be,
If such a refuge were reserved for me!' 70

Thus spoke the fair; and straight she bent her way
To the tall mountain, where the cottage lay:
Arrived, she makes her changed condition known;
Tells how the rebels drove her from the throne;
What painful, dreary wilds she'd wander'd o'er;
And shelter from the tyrant doth implore.

The faithful, aged pair at once were seized
With joy and grief, at once were pain'd and pleased;
Grief for their banish'd queen their hearts' possess'd,
And joy succeeded for their future guest: 80
'And if you'll deign, bright goddess, here to dwell,
And with your presence grace our humble cell,
Whate'er the gods have given with bounteous hand,
Our harvest, fields, and flocks, our all command.'

Meantime, Ambition, on his rival's flight,
Sole lord of man, attain'd his wish's height;
Of all dependence on his subjects eased,
He raged without a curb, and did whate'er he pleased;
As some wild flame, driven on by furious winds,
Wide spreads destruction, nor resistance finds; 90
So rush'd the fiend destructive o'er the plain,
Defaced the labours of th' industrious swain;
Polluted every stream with human gore,
And scatter'd plagues and death from shore to shore.

Great Jove beheld it from the Olympian towers,
Where sate assembled all the heavenly powers;
Then with a nod that shook the empyrean throne,
Thus the Saturnian thunderer begun:--
'You see, immortal inmates of the skies,
How this vile wretch almighty power defies; 100
His daring crimes, the blood which he has spilt,
Demand a torment equal to his guilt.
Then, Cyprian goddess, let thy mighty boy
Swift to the tyrant's guilty palace fly;
There let him choose his sharpest, hottest dart,
And with his former rival wound his heart.
And thou, my son (the god to Hermes said),
Snatch up thy wand, and plume thy heels and head;
Dart through the yielding air with all thy force,
And down to Pluto's realms direct thy course; 110
There rouse Oblivion from her sable cave,
Where dull she sits by Lethe's sluggish wave;
Command her to secure the sacred bound.
Where lives Content retired, and all around
Diffuse the deepest glooms of Stygian night,
And screen the virgin from the tyrant's sight;
That the vain purpose of his life may try
Still to explore, what still eludes his eye.'
He spoke; loud praises shake the bright abode,
And all applaud the justice of the god. 120


Of all the various lots around the ball,
Which fate to man distributes, absolute,
Avert, ye gods! that of the Muse's son,
Cursed with dire poverty! poor hungry wretch!
What shall he do for life? He cannot work
With manual labour; shall those sacred hands,
That brought the counsels of the gods to light;
Shall that inspirèd tongue, which every Muse
Has touch'd divine, to charm the sons of men;
These hallow'd organs! these! be prostitute 10
To the vile service of some fool in power,
All his behests submissive to perform,
Howe'er to him ungrateful? Oh! he scorns
The ignoble thought; with generous disdain,
More eligible deeming it to starve,
Like his famed ancestors renown'd in verse,
Than poorly bend to be another's slave,--
Than feed and fatten in obscurity.--
These are his firm resolves, which fate, nor time,
Nor poverty can shake. Exalted high 20
In garret vile he lives; with remnants hung
Of tapestry. But oh! precarious state
Of this vain transient world! all-powerful Time,
What dost thou not subdue? See what a chasm
Gapes wide, tremendous! see where Saul, enraged,
High on his throne, encompass'd by his guards,
With levell'd spear, and arm extended, sits,
Ready to pierce old Jesse's valiant son,
Spoil'd of his nose!--around in tottering ranks,
On shelves pulverulent, majestic stands 30
His library; in ragged plight, and old;
Replete with many a load of criticism,
Elaborate products of the midnight toil
Of Belgian brains; snatch'd from the deadly hands
Of murderous grocer, or the careful wight,
Who vends the plant, that clads the happy shore
Of Indian Patomac; which citizens
In balmy fumes exhale, when, o'er a pot
Of sage-inspiring coffee, they dispose
Of kings and crowns, and settle Europe's fate. 40

Elsewhere the dome is fill'd with various heaps
Of old domestic lumber; that huge chair
Has seen six monarchs fill the British throne:
Here a broad massy table stands, o'erspread
With ink and pens, and scrolls replete with rhyme:
Chests, stools, old razors, fractured jars, half-full
Of muddy Zythum, sour and spiritless:
Fragments of verse, hose, sandals, utensils
Of various fashion, and of various use,
With friendly influence hide the sable floor. 50

This is the bard's museum, this the fane
To Phoebus sacred, and the Aonian maids:
But, oh! it stabs his heart, that niggard fate
To him in such small measure should dispense
Her better gifts: to him! whose generous soul
Could relish, with as fine an elegance,
The golden joys of grandeur, and of wealth;
He who could tyrannise o'er menial slaves,
Or swell beneath a coronet of state,
Or grace a gilded chariot with a mien, 60
Grand as the haughtiest Timon of them all.

But 'tis in vain to rave at destiny:
Here he must rest and brook the best he can,
To live remote from grandeur, learning, wit;
Immured amongst th' ignoble, vulgar herd,
Of lowest intellect; whose stupid souls
But half inform their bodies; brains of lead
And tongues of thunder; whose insensate breasts
Ne'er felt the rapturous, soul-entrancing fire
Of the celestial Muse; whose savage ears 70
Ne'er heard the sacred rules, nor even the names
Of the Venusian bard, or critic sage
Full-famed of Stagyra: whose clamorous tongues
Stun the tormented ear with colloquy,
Vociferate, trivial, or impertinent;
Replete with boorish scandal; yet, alas!
This, this! he must endure, or muse alone,
Pensive and moping o'er the stubborn rhyme,
Or line imperfect--No! the door is free,
And calls him to evade their deafening clang, 80
By private ambulation;--'tis resolved:
Off from his waist he throws the tatter'd gown,
Beheld with indignation; and unloads
His pericranium of the weighty cap,
With sweat and grease discolour'd: then explores
The spacious chest, and from its hollow womb
Draws his best robe, yet not from tincture free
Of age's reverend russet, scant and bare;
Then down his meagre visage waving flows
The shadowy peruke; crown'd with gummy hat 90
Clean brush'd; a cane supports him. Thus equipp'd
He sallies forth; swift traverses the streets,
And seeks the lonely walk.--'Hail, sylvan scenes,
Ye groves, ye valleys, ye meandering brooks,
Admit me to your joys!' in rapturous phrase,
Loud he exclaims; while with the inspiring Muse
His bosom labours; and all other thoughts,
Pleasure and wealth, and poverty itself,
Before her influence vanish. Rapt in thought,
Fancy presents before his ravish'd eyes 100
Distant posterity, upon his page
With transport dwelling; while bright learning's sons
That ages hence must tread this earthly ball,
Indignant, seem to curse the thankless age,
That starved such merit. Meantime swallow'd up,
In meditation deep, he wanders on,
Unweeting of his way.--But, ah! he starts
With sudden fright! his glaring eyeballs roll,
Pale turn his cheeks, and shake his loosen'd joints;
His cogitations vanish into air, 110
Like painted bubbles, or a morning dream.
Behold the cause! see! through the opening glade,
With rosy visage, and abdomen grand,
A cit, a dun!--As in Apulia's wilds,
Or where the Thracian Hebrus rolls his wave,
A heedless kid, disportive, roves around,
Unheeding, till upon the hideous cave
On the dire wolf she treads; half-dead she views
His bloodshot eyeballs, and his dreadful fangs,
And swift as Eurus from the monster flies. 120
So fares the trembling bard; amazed he turns,
Scarce by his legs upborne; yet fear supplies
The place of strength; straight home he bends his course,
Nor looks behind him till he safe regain
His faithful citadel; there, spent, fatigued,
He lays him down to ease his heaving lungs,
Quaking, and of his safety scarce convinced.
Soon as the panic leaves his panting breast,
Down to the Muse's sacred rites he sits,
Volumes piled round him; see! upon his brow 130
Perplex'd anxiety, and struggling thought,
Painful as female throes: whether the bard
Display the deeds of heroes; or the fall
Of vice, in lay dramatic; or expand
The lyric wing; or in elegiac strains
Lament the fair; or lash the stubborn age,
With laughing satire; or in rural scenes
With shepherds sport; or rack his hard-bound brains
For the unexpected turn. Arachne so,
In dusty kitchen corner, from her bowels 140
Spins the fine web, but spins with better fate,
Than the poor bard: she! caitiff! spreads her snares,
And with their aid enjoys luxurious life,
Bloated with fat of insects, flesh'd in blood:
He! hard, hard lot! for all his toil and care,
And painful watchings, scarce protracts a while
His meagre, hungry days! ungrateful world!
If with his drama he adorn the stage,
No worth-discerning concourse pays the charge.
Or of the orchestra, or the enlightening torch. 150
He who supports the luxury and pride
Of craving Lais; he! whose carnage fills
Dogs, eagles, lions; has not yet enough,
Wherewith to satisfy the greedier maw
Of that most ravenous, that devouring beast,
Ycleped a poet. What new Halifax,
What Somers, or what Dorset canst thou find,
Thou hungry mortal? Break, wretch, break thy quill,
Blot out the studied image; to the flames

Commit the Stagyrite; leave this thankless trade; 160
Erect some pedling stall, with trinkets stock'd,
There earn thy daily halfpence, nor again
Trust the false Muse; so shall the cleanly meal
Repel intruding hunger.--Oh! 'tis vain,
The friendly admonition's all in vain;
The scribbling itch has seized him, he is lost
To all advice, and starves for starving's sake.

Thus sung the sportful Muse, in mirthful mood,
Indulging gay the frolic vein of youth;
But, oh! ye gods, avert th' impending stroke 170
This luckless omen threatens! Hark! methinks
I hear my better angel cry, 'Retreat,
Rash youth! in time retreat; let those poor bards,
Who slighted all, all! for the flattering Muse,
Yet cursed with pining want, as landmarks stand,
To warn thee from the service of the ingrate.'


FOR WAR. 1738.

Whence this unwonted transport in my breast?
Why glow my thoughts, and whither would the Muse
Aspire with rapid wing? Her country's cause
Demands her efforts: at that sacred call
She summons all her ardour, throws aside
The trembling lyre, and with the warrior's trump
She means to thunder in each British ear;
And if one spark of honour or of fame,
Disdain of insult, dread of infamy,
One thought of public virtue yet survive, 10
She means to wake it, rouse the generous flame,
With patriot zeal inspirit every breast,
And fire each British heart with British wrongs.

Alas, the vain attempt! what influence now
Can the Muse boast! or what attention now
Is paid to fame or virtue? Where is now
The British spirit, generous, warm, and brave,
So frequent wont from tyranny and woe
To free the suppliant nations? Where, indeed!
If that protection, once to strangers given, 20
Be now withheld from sons? Each nobler thought,
That warrn'd our sires, is lost and buried now
In luxury and avarice. Baneful vice!
How it unmans a nation! yet I'll try,
I'll aim to shake this vile degenerate sloth;
I'll dare to rouse Britannia's dreaming sons
To fame, to virtue, and impart around
A generous feeling of compatriot woes.

Come, then, the various powers of forceful speech,
All that can move, awaken, fire, transport! 30
Come the bold ardour of the Theban bard!
The arousing thunder of the patriot Greek!
The soft persuasion of the Roman sage!
Come all! and raise me to an equal height,
A rapture worthy of my glorious cause!
Lest my best efforts, failing, should debase
The sacred theme; for with no common wing
The Muse attempts to soar. Yet what need these?
My country's fame, my free-born British heart,
Shall be my best inspirers, raise my flight 40
High as the Theban's pinion, and with more
Than Greek or Roman flame exalt my soul.
Oh! could I give the vast ideas birth
Expressive of the thoughts that flame within,
No more should lazy Luxury detain
Our ardent youth; no more should Britain's sons
Sit tamely passive by, and careless hear
The prayers, sighs, groans, (immortal infamy!)
Of fellow Britons, with oppression sunk,
In bitterness of soul demanding aid, 50
Calling on Britain, their dear native land,
The land of Liberty; so greatly famed
For just redress; the land so often dyed
With her best blood, for that arousing cause,
The freedom of her sons; those sons that now
Far from the manly blessings of her sway,
Drag the vile fetters of a Spanish lord.
And dare they, dare the vanquish'd sons of Spain
Enslave a Briton? Have they then forgot,
So soon forgot, the great, the immortal day, 60
When rescued Sicily with joy beheld
The swift-wing'd thunder of the British arm
Disperse their navies? when their coward bands
Fled, like the raven from the bird of Jove,
From swift impending vengeance fled in vain?
Are these our lords? And can Britannia see
Her foes oft vanquish'd, thus defy her power,
Insult her standard, and enslave her sons,
And not arise to justice? Did our sires,
Unawed by chains, by exile, or by death, 70
Preserve inviolate her guardian rights,
To Britons ever sacred, that her sons
Might give them up to Spaniards?--Turn your eyes,
Turn, ye degenerate, who with haughty boast
Call yourselves Britons, to that dismal gloom,
That dungeon dark and deep, where never thought
Of joy or peace can enter; see the gates
Harsh-creaking open; what a hideous void,
Dark as the yawning grave, while still as death
A frightful silence reigns! There on the ground 80
Behold your brethren chain'd like beasts of prey:
There mark your numerous glories, there behold
The look that speaks unutterable woe;
The mangled limb, the faint, the deathful eye,
With famine sunk, the deep heart-bursting groan,
Suppress'd in silence; view the loathsome food,
Refused by dogs, and oh! the stinging thought!
View the dark Spaniard glorying in their wrongs,
The deadly priest triumphant in their woes,
And thundering worse damnation on their souls: 90
While that pale form, in all the pangs of death,
Too faint to speak, yet eloquent of all,
His native British spirit yet untamed,
Raises his head; and with indignant frown
Of great defiance, and superior scorn,
Looks up and dies.--Oh! I am all on fire!
But let me spare the theme, lest future times
Should blush to hear that either conquer'd Spain
Durst offer Britain such outrageous wrong,
Or Britain tamely bore it-- 100
Descend, ye guardian heroes of the land!
Scourges of Spain, descend! Behold your sons;
See! how they run the same heroic race,
How prompt, how ardent in their country's cause,
How greatly proud to assert their British blood,
And in their deeds reflect their fathers' fame!
Ah! would to heaven ye did not rather see
How dead to virtue in the public cause,
How cold, how careless, how to glory deaf,
They shame your laurels, and belie their birth! 110

Come, ye great spirits, Candish, Raleigh, Blake!
And ye of latter name, your country's pride,
Oh! come, disperse these lazy fumes of sloth,
Teach British hearts with British fires to glow!
In wakening whispers rouse our ardent youth,
Blazon the triumphs of your better days,
Paint all the glorious scenes of rightful war
In all its splendours; to their swelling souls
Say how ye bow'd th' insulting Spaniards' pride,
Say how ye thunder'd o'er their prostrate heads, 120
Say how ye broke their lines and fired their ports,
Say how not death, in all its frightful shapes,
Could damp your souls, or shake the great resolve
For right and Britain: then display the joys
The patriot's soul exalting, while he views
Transported millions hail with loud acclaim
The guardian of their civil, sacred rights.
How greatly welcome to the virtuous man
Is death for others' good! the radiant thoughts
That beam celestial on his passing soul, 130
The unfading crowns awaiting him above,
The exalting plaudit of the Great Supreme,
Who in his actions with complacence views
His own reflected splendour; then descend,
Though to a lower, yet a nobler scene;
Paint the just honours to his relics paid,
Show grateful millions weeping o'er his grave;
While his fair fame in each progressive age
For ever brightens; and the wise and good
Of every land in universal choir 140
With richest incense of undying praise
His urn encircle, to the wondering world
His numerous triumphs blazon; while with awe,
With filial reverence, in his steps they tread,
And, copying every virtue, every fame,
Transplant his glories into second life,
And, with unsparing hand, make nations bless'd
By his example. Vast, immense rewards!
For all the turmoils which the virtuous mind
Encounters here. Yet, Britons, are ye cold? 150
Yet deaf to glory, virtue, and the call
Of your poor injured countrymen? Ah! no:
I see ye are not; every bosom glows
With native greatness, and in all its state
The British spirit rises: glorious change!
Fame, virtue, freedom, welcome! Oh, forgive
The Muse, that, ardent in her sacred cause,
Your glory question'd; she beholds with joy,
She owns, she triumphs in her wish'd mistake.
See! from her sea-beat throne in awful march 160
Britannia towers: upon her laurel crest
The plumes majestic nod; behold, she heaves
Her guardian shield, and terrible in arms
For battle shakes her adamantine spear:
Loud at her foot the British lion roars,
Frighting the nations; haughty Spain full soon
Shall hear and tremble. Go then, Britons, forth,
Your country's daring champions: tell your foes
Tell them in thunders o'er their prostrate land,
You were not born for slaves: let all your deeds 170
Show that the sons of those immortal men,
The stars of shining story, are not slow
In virtue's path to emulate their sires,
To assert their country's rights, avenge her sons,
And hurl the bolts of justice on her foes.


'O vitas Philosophia dux! O virtutis indagatrix, expultrixque
vitiorum. Tu urbes peperisti; tu inventrix legum, tu magistra morum
et disciplinae fuisti: ad te confugimus, a te opem petimus.'--
_Cic. Tusc. Quaest_.

1 Science! thou fair effusive ray
From the great source of mental day,
Free, generous, and refined!
Descend with all thy treasures fraught,
Illumine each bewilder'd thought,
And bless my labouring mind.

2 But first with thy resistless light,
Disperse those phantoms from my sight,
Those mimic shades of thee:
The scholiast's learning, sophist's cant,
The visionary bigot's rant,
The monk's philosophy.

3 Oh! let thy powerful charms impart
The patient head, the candid heart,
Devoted to thy sway;
Which no weak passions e'er mislead,
Which still with dauntless steps proceed
Where reason points the way.

4 Give me to learn each secret cause;
Let Number's, Figure's, Motion's laws
Reveal'd before me stand;
These to great Nature's scenes apply,
And round the globe, and through the sky,
Disclose her working hand.

5 Next, to thy nobler search resign'd,
The busy, restless, Human Mind
Through every maze pursue;
Detect Perception where it lies,
Catch the Ideas as they rise,
And all their changes view.

6 Say from what simple springs began
The vast ambitious thoughts of man,
Which range beyond control,
Which seek eternity to trace,
Dive through the infinity of space,
And strain to grasp the whole.

7 Her secret stores let Memory tell,
Bid Fancy quit her fairy cell,
In all her colours dress'd;
While prompt her sallies to control,
Reason, the judge, recalls the soul
To Truth's severest test.

8 Then launch through Being's wide extent;
Let the fair scale with just ascent
And cautious steps be trod;
And from the dead, corporeal mass,
Through each progressive order pass
To Instinct, Reason, God.

9 There, Science! veil thy daring eye;
Nor dive too deep, nor soar too high,
In that divine abyss;
To Faith content thy beams to lend,
Her hopes to assure, her steps befriend
And light her way to bliss.

10 Then downwards take thy flight again,
Mix with the policies of men,
And social Nature's ties;
The plan, the genius of each state,
Its interest and its powers relate,
Its fortunes and its rise.

11 Through private life pursue thy course,
Trace every action to its source,
And means and motives weigh:
Put tempers, passions, in the scale;
Mark what degrees in each prevail,
And fix the doubtful sway.

12 That last best effort of thy skill,
To form the life, and rule the will,
Propitious power! impart:
Teach me to cool my passion's fires,
Make me the judge of my desires,
The master of my heart.

13 Raise me above the Vulgar's breath,
Pursuit of fortune, fear of death,
And all in life that's mean:
Still true to reason be my plan,
Still let my actions speak the man,
Through every various scene.

14 Hail! queen of manners, light of truth;
Hail! charm of age, and guide of youth;
Sweet refuge of distress:
In business, thou! exact, polite;
Thou giv'st retirement its delight,
Prosperity its grace.

15 Of wealth, power, freedom, thou the cause;
Foundress of order, cities, laws,
Of arts inventress thou!
Without thee, what were human-kind?
How vast their wants, their thoughts how blind!
Their joys how mean, how few!

16 Sun of the soul! thy beams unveil:
Let others spread the daring sail
On Fortune's faithless sea:
While, undeluded, happier I
From the rain tumult timely fly,
And sit in peace with thee.


Too much my heart of Beauty's power hath known,
Too long to Love hath reason left her throne;
Too long my genius mourn'd his myrtle chain,
And three rich years of youth consumed in vain.
My wishes, lull'd with soft inglorious dreams,
Forgot the patriot's and the sage's themes:
Through each Elysian vale and fairy grove,
Through all the enchanted paradise of love,
Misled by sickly Hope's deceitful flame,
Averse to action, and renouncing fame. 10

At last the visionary scenes decay,
My eyes, exulting, bless the new-born day,
Whose faithful beams detect the dangerous road
In which my heedless feet securely trod,
And strip the phantoms of their lying charms
That lured my soul from Wisdom's peaceful arms.

For silver streams and banks bespread with flowers,
For mossy couches and harmonious bowers,
Lo! barren heaths appear, and pathless woods,
And rocks hung dreadful o'er unfathom'd floods: 20
For openness of heart, for tender smiles,
Looks fraught with love, and wrath-disarming wiles;
Lo! sullen Spite, and perjured Lust of Gain,
And cruel Pride, and crueller Disdain;
Lo! cordial Faith to idiot airs refined,
Now coolly civil, now transporting kind.
For graceful Ease, lo! Affectation walks;
And dull Half-sense, for Wit and Wisdom talks.
New to each hour what low delight succeeds,
What precious furniture of hearts and heads! 30
By nought their prudence, but by getting, known,
And all their courage in deceiving shown.

See next what plagues attend the lover's state,
What frightful forms of Terror, Scorn, and Hate!
See burning Fury heaven and earth defy!
See dumb Despair in icy fetters lie!
See black Suspicion bend his gloomy brow,
The hideous image of himself to view!
And fond Belief, with all a lover's flame,
Sink in those arms that point his head with shame! 40
There wan Dejection, faltering as he goes,
In shades and silence vainly seeks repose;
Musing through pathless wilds, consumes the day,
Then lost in darkness weeps the hours away.
Here the gay crowd of Luxury advance,
Some touch the lyre, and others urge the dance:
On every head the rosy garland glows,
In every hand the golden goblet flows.
The Syren views them with exulting eyes,
And laughs at bashful Virtue as she flies. 50
But see behind, where Scorn and Want appear,
The grave remonstrance and the witty sneer;
See fell Remorse in action, prompt to dart
Her snaky poison through the conscious heart;
And Sloth to cancel, with oblivious shame,
The fair memorial of recording Fame.

Are these delights that one would wish to gain?
Is this the Elysium of a sober brain?
To wait for happiness in female smiles,
Bear all her scorn, be caught with all her wiles, 60
With prayers, with bribes, with lies, her pity crave,
Bless her hard bonds, and boast to be her slave;
To feel, for trifles, a distracting train
Of hopes and terrors equally in vain;
This hour to tremble, and the next to glow;
Can Pride, can Sense, can Reason, stoop so low:
When Virtue, at an easier price, displays
The sacred wreaths of honourable praise;
When Wisdom utters her divine decree,
To laugh at pompous Folly, and be free? 70

I bid adieu, then, to these woeful scenes;
I bid adieu to all the sex of queens;
Adieu to every suffering, simple soul,
That lets a woman's will his ease control.
There laugh, ye witty; and rebuke, ye grave!
For me, I scorn to boast that I'm a slave.
I bid the whining brotherhood be gone;
Joy to my heart! my wishes are my own!
Farewell the female heaven, the female hell;
To the great God of Love a glad farewell. 80
Is this the triumph of thy awful name?
Are these the splendid hopes that urged thy aim,
When first my bosom own'd thy haughty sway?
When thus Minerva heard thee, boasting, say--
'Go, martial maid, elsewhere thy arts employ,
Nor hope to shelter that devoted boy.
Go teach the solemn sons of Care and Age,
The pensive statesman, and the midnight sage;
The young with me must other lessons prove,
Youth calls for Pleasure, Pleasure calls for Love. 90
Behold, his heart thy grave advice disdains;
Behold, I bind him in eternal chains.'--
Alas! great Love, how idle was the boast!
Thy chains are broken, and thy lessons lost;
Thy wilful rage has tired my suffering heart,
And passion, reason, forced thee to depart.
But wherefore dost thou linger on thy way?
Why vainly search for some pretence to stay,
When crowds of vassals court thy pleasing yoke,
And countless victims bow them to the stroke? 100
Lo! round thy shrine a thousand youths advance,
Warm with the gentle ardours of romance;
Each longs to assert thy cause with feats of arms,
And make the world confess Dulcinea's charms.
Ten thousand girls with flowery chaplets crown'd,
To groves and streams thy tender triumph sound:
Each bids the stream in murmurs speak her flame,
Each calls the grove to sigh her shepherd's name.
But, if thy pride such easy honour scorn,
If nobler trophies must thy toil adorn, 110
Behold yon flowery antiquated maid
Bright in the bloom of threescore years display'd;
Her shalt thou bind in thy delightful chains,
And thrill with gentle pangs her wither'd veins,
Her frosty cheek with crimson blushes dye,
With dreams of rapture melt her maudlin eye.

Turn then thy labours to the servile crowd,
Entice the wary, and control the proud;
Make the sad miser his best gains forego,
The solemn statesman sigh to be a beau, 120
The bold coquette with fondest passion burn,
The Bacchanalian o'er his bottle mourn;
And that chief glory of thy power maintain,
'To poise ambition in a female brain.'
Be these thy triumphs; but no more presume
That my rebellious heart will yield thee room:
I know thy puny force, thy simple wiles;
I break triumphant through thy flimsy toils;
I see thy dying lamp's last languid glow,
Thy arrows blunted and unbraced thy bow. 130
I feel diviner fires my breast inflame,
To active science, and ingenuous fame;
Resume the paths my earliest choice began,
And lose, with pride, the lover in the man.


JULY 1740.

1 From pompous life's dull masquerade,
From Pride's pursuits, and Passion's war,
Far, my Cordelia, very far,
To thee and me may Heaven assign
The silent pleasures of the shade,
The joys of peace, unenvied, though divine!

2 Safe in the calm embowering grove,
As thy own lovely brow serene;
Behold the world's fantastic scene!
What low pursuits employ the great,
What tinsel things their wishes move,
The forms of Fashion, and the toys of State.

3 In vain are all Contentment's charms,
Her placid mien, her cheerful eye,
For look, Cordelia, how they fly!
Allured by Power, Applause, or Gain,
They fly her kind protecting arms;
Ah, blind to pleasure, and in love with pain!

4 Turn, and indulge a fairer view,
Smile on the joys which here conspire;
O joys harmonious as my lyre!
O prospect of enchanting things,
As ever slumbering poet knew,
When Love and Fancy wrapt him in their wings!

5 Here, no rude storm of Passion blows,
But Sports and Smiles, and Virtues play,
Cheer'd by Affection's purest ray;
The air still breathes Contentment's balm,
And the clear stream of Pleasure flows
For ever active, yet for ever calm.


1 The shape alone let others prize,
The features of the fair;
I look for spirit in her eyes,
And meaning in her air;


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