Poetical Works of Johnson, Parnell, Gray, and Smollett
Samuel Johnson, Thomas Parnell, Thomas Gray, and Tobias Smollett
Part 2 out of 5
With honour sated, and with cares oppress'd:
To letter'd ease retired, and honest mirth.
To rural grandeur, and domestic worth:
Delighted still to please mankind, or mend,
The patriot's fire yet sparkled in the friend. 40
Calm Conscience then his former life survey'd,
And recollected toils endear'd the shade,
Till Nature call'd him to her general doom,
And Virtue's sorrow dignified his tomb.
* * * * *
ON THE DEATH OF STEPHEN GREY, F.R.S.,
Long hast thou borne the burden of the day;
Thy task is ended, venerable Grey!
No more shall Art thy dexterous hand require,
To break the sleep of elemental fire;
To rouse the power that actuates Nature's frame,
The momentaneous shock, the electric flame;
The flame which first, weak pupil to thy lore,
I saw, condemn'd, alas! to see no more.
Now, hoary sage! pursue thy happy flight;
With swifter motion, haste to purer light, 10
Where Bacon waits, with Newton and with Boyle,
To hail thy genius and applaud thy toil;
Where intuition breathes through time and space,
And mocks Experiment's successive race;
Sees tardy Science toil at Nature's laws,
And wonders how the effect obscures the cause.
Yet not to deep research or happy guess,
Is show'd the life of hope, the death of peace;
Unbless'd the man whom philosophic rage
Shall tempt to lose the Christian in the Sage: 20
Not Art, but Goodness, pour'd the sacred ray
That cheer'd the parting hours of humble Grey.
* * * * *
TO MISS HICKMAN,
PLAYING ON THE SPINNET.
Bright Stella! form'd for universal reign,
Too well you know to keep the slaves you gain:
When in your eyes resistless lightnings play,
Awed into love our conquer'd hearts obey,
And yield reluctant to despotic sway:
But when your music soothes the raging pain,
We bid propitious Heaven prolong your reign,
We bless the tyrant, and we hug the chain.
When old Timotheus struck the vocal string,
Ambition's fury fired the Grecian king: 10
Unbounded projects labouring in his mind,
He pants for room, in one poor world confined.
Thus waked to rage, by Music's dreadful power,
He bids the sword destroy, the flame devour.
Had Stella's gentler touches moved the lyre,
Soon had the monarch felt a nobler fire:
No more delighted with destructive war,
Ambitious only now to please the fair;
Resign'd his thirst of empire to her charms,
And found a thousand worlds in Stella's arms. 20
* * * * *
OF PROVERBS, CHAP. IV. VERSES 6-11.
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard!"
Turn on the prudent ant thy heedless eyes,
Observe her labours, sluggard! and be wise.
No stern command, no monitory voice
Prescribes her duties or directs her choice;
Yet, timely provident, she hastes away,
To snatch the blessings of a plenteous day;
When fruitful Summer loads the teeming plain,
She crops the harvest, and she stores the grain.
How long shall Sloth usurp thy useless hours,
Unnerve thy vigour, and unchain thy powers? 10
While artful shades thy downy couch inclose,
And soft solicitation courts repose,
Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight,
Year chases year with unremitted flight;
Till Want now following, fraudulent and slow,
Shall spring to seize thee like an ambush'd foe.
* * * * *
LIB. IV. ODE VII. TRANSLATED.
The snow, dissolved, no more is seen,
The fields and woods, behold! are green.
The changing year renews the plain,
The rivers know their banks again;
The sprightly Nymph and naked Grace
The mazy dance together trace;
The changing year's successive plan
Proclaims mortality to man.
Rough Winter's blasts to Spring give way,
Spring yields to Summer's sovereign ray; 10
Then Summer sinks in Autumn's reign,
And Winter chills the world again:
Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man, when once he lies
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is nought but ashes, and a shade.
Who knows if Jove, who counts our score,
Will toss us in a morning more?
What with your friend you nobly share,
At least you rescue from your heir. 20
Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fix'd your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of Hell that hold his friend.
* * * * *
ON SEEING A BUST OF MRS MONTAGUE.
Had this fair figure which this frame displays,
Adorn'd in Roman time the brightest days,
In every dome, in every sacred place,
Her statue would have breathed an added grace,
And on its basis would have been enroll'd,
'This is Minerva, cast in Virtue's mould.'
* * * * *
ANACREON, ODE NINTH.
Lovely courier of the sky!
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scattering, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way;
Is it business? is it love?
Tell me, tell me, gentle dove!
Soft Anacreon's vows I bear,
Vows to Myrtale the fair;
Graced with all that charms the heart,
Blushing nature, smiling art. 10
Venus, courted by an ode,
On the bard her dove bestow'd:
Vested with a master's right,
Now Anacreon rules my flight;
His the letters that you see,
Weighty charge, consign'd to me:
Think not yet my service hard,
Joyless task without reward;
Smiling at my master's gates,
Freedom my return awaits; 20
But the liberal grant in vain
Tempts me to be wild again.
Can a prudent dove decline
Blissful bondage such as mine?
Over hills and fields to roam,
Fortune's guest without a home;
Under leaves to hide one's head,
Slightly shelter'd, coarsely fed:
Now my better lot bestows
Sweet repast, and soft repose: 30
Now the generous bowl I sip,
As it leaves Anacreon's lip:
Void of care and free from dread,
From his fingers snatch his bread;
Then with luscious plenty gay,
Round his chamber dance and play;
Or from wine as courage springs,
O'er his face extend my wings;
And when feast and frolic tire,
Drop asleep upon his lyre. 40
This is all, be quick and go,
More than all thou canst not know;
Let me now my pinions ply,
I have chatter'd like a pye.
* * * * *
WRITTEN IN RIDICULE OF CERTAIN POEMS PUBLISHED
Wheresoe'er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time has flung away,
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.
* * * * *
PARODY OF A TRANSLATION
FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES.
1 Err shall they not, who resolute explore
Time's gloomy backward with judicious eyes;
And, scanning right the practices of yore,
Shall deem our hoar progenitors unwise.
2 They to the dome where smoke with curling play
Announced the dinner to the regions round,
Summon'd the singer blithe, and harper gay,
And aided wine with dulcet-streaming sound.
3 The better use of notes, or sweet or shrill,
By quivering string or modulated wind,
Trumpet or lyre--to their harsh bosoms chill,
Admission ne'er had sought, or could not find.
4 Oh! send them to the sullen mansions dun,
Her baleful eyes where Sorrow rolls around;
Where gloom-enamour'd Mischief loves to dwell,
And Murder, all blood-bolter'd, schemes the wound.
5 When cates luxuriant pile the spacious dish,
And purple nectar glads the festive hour;
The guest, without a want, without a wish,
Can yield no room to music's soothing power.
* * * * *
ON THE MODERN VERSIFICATION OF ANCIENT LEGENDARY
TALES: AN IMPROMPTU.
The tender infant, meek and mild,
Fell down upon the stone;
The nurse took up the squealing child,
But still the child squeal'd on.
* * * * *
EPITAPH FOR MR HOGARTH.
The hand of him here torpid lies,
That drew the essential form of grace;
Here closed in death the attentive eyes,
That saw the manners in the face.
* * * * *
OF THE TWO FIRST STANZAS OF THE SONG 'RIO VERDE, RIO VERDE,' PRINTED
IN BISHOP PERCY'S 'RELIQUES OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY:' AN IMPROMPTU.
Glassy water, glassy water,
Down whose current, clear and strong,
Chiefs confused in mutual slaughter,
Moor and Christian, roll along.
* * * * *
TO MRS THRALE,
ON HER COMPLETING HER THIRTY-FIFTH YEAR. AN IMPROMPTU.
Oft in danger, yet alive,
We are come to thirty-five;
Long may better years arrive,
Better years than thirty-five.
Could philosophers contrive
Life to stop at thirty-five,
Time his hours should never drive
O'er the bounds of thirty-five.
High to soar, and deep to dive,
Nature gives at thirty-five; 10
Ladies, stock and tend your hive,
Trifle not at thirty-five;
For, howe'er we boast and strive,
Life declines from thirty-five;
He that ever hopes to thrive,
Must begin by thirty-five;
And all who wisely wish to wive
Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.
* * * * *
OF AN AIR IN THE 'CLEMENZA DE TITO' OF METASTASIO, BEGINNING, 'DEH! SE
Would you hope to gain my heart,
Bid your teasing doubts depart.
He who blindly trusts will find,
Faith from every generous mind;
He who still expects deceit,
Only teaches how to cheat.
* * * * *
WRITTEN UNDER A PRINT REPRESENTING PERSONS SKAITING.
O'er crackling ice, o'er gulfs profound,
With nimble glide the skaiters play;
O'er treacherous Pleasure's flowery ground
Thus lightly skim, and haste away.
* * * * *
OF A SPEECH OF AQUILEIO IN THE 'ADRIANO' OF METASTASIO, BEGINNING, 'TU
CHE IN CORTE INVECCHIASTI.'
Grown old in courts, thou art not surely one
Who keeps the rigid rules of ancient honour:
Well skill'd to soothe a foe with looks of kindness,
To sink the fatal precipice before him,
And then lament his fall with seeming friendship:
Open to all, true only to thyself,
Thou know'st those arts which blast with envious praise,
Which aggravate a fault with feign'd excuses,
And drive discountenanced Virtue from the throne
That leave the blame of rigour to the prince, 10
And of his every gift usurp the merit;
That hide in seeming zeal a wicked purpose,
And only build upon each other's ruin.
* * * * *
ON HEARING MISS THRALE CONSULTING WITH A FRIEND ABOUT A GOWN AND HAT
SHE WAS INCLINED TO WEAR.
Wear the gown, and wear the hat,
Snatch thy pleasures while they last;
Hadst thou nine lives, like a cat,
Soon those nine lives would be past.
* * * * *
TRANSLATION OF VIRGIL.
_Mileboeus_. Now, Tityrus, you supine and careless laid,
Play on your pipe beneath yon beechen shade;
While wretched we about the world must roam,
And leave our pleasing fields, and native home;
Here at your ease you sing your amorous flame,
And the wood rings with Amaryllis' name.
_Tityrus_. Those blessings, friend, a deity bestow'd,
For I shall never think him less than god;
Oft on his altars shall my firstlings lie,
Their blood the consecrated stones shall dye: 10
He gave my flocks to graze the flowery meads,
And me to tune at ease the unequal reeds.
_Mileboeus._ My admiration only I express'd,
(No spark of envy harbours in my breast),
That when confusion o'er the country reigns,
To you alone this happy state remains.
Here I, though faint myself, must drive my goats,
Far from their ancient fields and humble cots.
This scarce I lead, who left on yonder rock
Two tender kids, the hopes of all the flock. 20
Had we not been perverse and careless grown,
This dire event by omens was foreshown;
Our trees were blasted by the thunder stroke,
And left-hand crows, from an old hollow oak,
Foretold the coming evil by their dismal croak.
* * * * *
TRANSLATION OF HORACE.
BOOK I. ODE XXII.
1 The man, my friend, whose conscious heart
With virtue's sacred ardour glows,
Nor taints with death the envenom'd dart,
Nor needs the guard of Moorish bows:
2 Though Scythia's icy cliffs he treads,
Or horrid Afric's faithless sands;
Or where the famed Hydaspes spreads
His liquid wealth o'er barbarous lands.
3 For while, by Chloee's image charm'd,
Too far in Sabine woods I stray'd;
Me singing, careless and unarm'd,
A grisly wolf surprised, and fled.
4 No savage more portentous stain'd
Apulia's spacious wilds with gore;
None fiercer Juba's thirsty land,
Dire nurse of raging lions, bore.
5 Place me where no soft summer gale
Among the quivering branches sighs;
Where clouds condensed for ever veil
With horrid gloom the frowning skies:
6 Place me beneath the burning line,
A clime denied to human race;
I'll sing of Chloee's charms divine,
Her heavenly voice, and beauteous face.
* * * * *
TRANSLATION OF HORACE.
BOOK II. ODE IX.
1 Clouds do not always veil the skies,
Nor showers immerse the verdant plain;
Nor do the billows always rise,
Or storms afflict the ruffled main.
2 Nor, Valgius, on the Armenian shores
Do the chain'd waters always freeze;
Not always furious Boreas roars,
Or bends with violent force the trees.
3 But you are ever drown'd in tears,
For Mystes dead you ever mourn;
No setting Sol can ease your cares,
But finds you sad at his return.
4 The wise, experienced Grecian sage
Mourn'd not Antilochus so long;
Nor did King Priam's hoary age
So much lament his slaughter'd son.
5 Leave off, at length, these woman's sighs,
Augustus' numerous trophies sing;
Repeat that prince's victories,
To whom all nations tribute bring.
6 Niphates rolls an humbler wave,
At length the undaunted Scythian yields,
Content to live the Romans' slave,
And scarce forsakes his native fields.
* * * * *
OF PART OF THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE.--FROM THE SIXTH
BOOK OF HOMER'S ILIAD.
She ceased: then godlike Hector answer'd kind,
(His various plumage sporting in the wind):
That post, and all the rest, shall be my care;
But shall I then forsake the unfinish'd war?
How would the Trojans brand great Hector's name,
And one base action sully all my fame,
Acquired by wounds and battles bravely fought!
Oh! how my soul abhors so mean a thought!
Long have I learn'd to slight this fleeting breath,
And view with cheerful eyes approaching death. 10
The inexorable Sisters have decreed
That Priam's house and Priam's self shall bleed:
The day shall come, in which proud Troy shall yield,
And spread its smoking ruins o'er the field;
Yet Hecuba's, nor Priam's hoary age,
Whose blood shall quench some Grecian's thirsty rage,
Nor my brave brothers that have bit the ground,
Their souls dismiss'd through many a ghastly wound,
Can in my bosom half that grief create,
As the sad thought of your impending fate; 20
When some proud Grecian dame shall tasks impose,
Mimic your tears, and ridicule your woes:
Beneath Hyperia's waters shall you sweat,
And, fainting, scarce support the liquid weight:
Then shall some Argive loud insulting cry,
Behold the wife of Hector, guard of Troy!
Tears, at my name, shall drown those beauteous eyes,
And that fair bosom heave with rising sighs:
Before that day, by some brave hero's hand,
May I lie slain, and spurn the bloody sand! 30
* * * * *
TO MISS * * * *
ON HER PLAYING UPON A HARPSICHORD IN A ROOM HUNG WITH FLOWER-PIECES OF
HER OWN PAINTING.
When Stella strikes the tuneful string,
In scenes of imitated Spring,
Where beauty lavishes her powers
On beds of never-fading flowers,
And pleasure propagates around
Each charm of modulated sound;
Ah! think not, in the dangerous hour,
The nymph fictitious as the flower,
But shun, rash youth! the gay alcove,
Nor tempt the snares of wily love. 10
When charms thus press on every sense,
What thought of flight or of defence?
Deceitful hope or vain desire,
For ever flutter o'er her lyre,
Delighting, as the youth draws nigh,
To point the glances of her eye,
And forming, with unerring art,
New chains to hold the captive heart.
But on those regions of delight
Might truth intrude with daring flight, 20
Could Stella, sprightly, fair, and young,
One moment hear the moral song,
Instruction with her flowers might spring,
And wisdom warble from her string.
Mark, when, from thousand mingled dyes,
Thou seest one pleasing form arise,
How active light and thoughtful shade
In greater scenes each other aid;
Mark, when the different notes agree
In friendly contrariety, 30
How passion's well accorded strife,
Gives all the harmony of life:
Thy pictures shall thy conduct frame,
Consistent still, though not the same;
Thy music teach the nobler art,
To tune the regulated heart.
* * * * *
EVENING: AN ODE.
Evening now, from purple wings,
Sheds the grateful gifts she brings;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead,
Cooling breezes shake the reed--
Shake the reed, and curl the stream,
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near, the chequer'd, lonely grove,
Hears, and keeps thy secrets, Love.
Stella, thither let us stray
Lightly o'er the dewy way! 10
Phoebus drives his burning car,
Hence, my lovely Stella, far;
In his stead, the Queen of Night
Round us pours a lambent light;
Light that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow;
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Evening's silent hours employ,
Silence best, and conscious shades,
Please the hearts that love invades; 20
Other pleasures give them pain,
Lovers all but love disdain.
* * * * *
TO THE SAME.
Whether Stella's eyes are found
Fix'd on earth, or glancing round,
If her face with pleasure glow,
If she sigh at others' woe,
If her easy air express
Conscious worth or soft distress,
Stella's eyes, and air, and face,
Charm with undiminish'd grace.
If on her we see display'd
Pendent gems, and rich brocade, 10
If her chintz with less expense
Flows in easy negligence;
Still she lights the conscious flame,
Still her charms appear the same;
If she strikes the vocal strings,
If she's silent, speaks, or sings,
If she sit, or if she move,
Still we love, and still approve.
Vain the casual transient glance,
Which alone can please by chance-- 20
Beauty, which depends on art,
Changing with the changing heart,
Which demands the toilet's aid,
Pendent gems, and rich brocade.
I those charms alone can prize
Which from constant Nature rise,
Which nor circumstance, nor dress,
E'er can make, or more, or less.
* * * * *
TO A FRIEND.
No more thus brooding o'er yon heap,
With Avarice painful vigils keep;
Still unenjoy'd the present store,
Still endless sighs are breathed for more.
Oh! quit the shadow, catch the prize,
Which not all India's treasure buys!
To purchase Heaven, has gold the power?
Can gold remove the mortal hour?
In life, can love be bought with gold?
Are friendship's pleasures to be sold? 10
No; all that's worth a wish--a thought,
Fair Virtue gives unbribed, unbought.
Cease, then, on trash thy hopes to bind,
Let nobler views engage thy mind.
With Science tread the wondrous way,
Or learn the Muse's moral lay;
In social hours indulge thy soul,
Where Mirth and Temperance mix the bowl;
To virtuous love resign thy breast,
And be, by blessing beauty, blest. 20
Thus taste the feast by Nature spread,
Ere youth and all its joys are fled;
Come, taste with me the balm of life,
Secure from pomp, and wealth, and strife!
I boast whate'er for man was meant,
In health, in Stella, and content;
And scorn, oh! let that scorn be thine,
Mere things of clay, that dig the mine!
* * * * *
TO A YOUNG LADY,
ON HER BIRTHDAY.
This tributary verse receive, my fair,
Warm with an ardent lover's fondest prayer.
May this returning day for ever find
Thy form more lovely, more adorn'd thy mind;
All pains, all cares, may favouring Heaven remove,
All but the sweet solicitudes of love!
May powerful Nature join with grateful Art,
To point each glance, and force it to the heart!
Oh then, when conquer'd crowds confess thy sway,
When even proud Wealth and prouder Wit obey, 10
My fair, be mindful of the mighty trust,
Alas! 'tis hard for beauty to be just!
Those sovereign charms with strictest care employ;
Nor give the generous pain, the worthless joy:
With his own form acquaint the forward fool,
Shown in the faithful glass of Ridicule;
Teach mimic Censure her own faults to find,
No more let coquettes to themselves be blind,
So shall Belinda's charms improve mankind.
* * * * *
INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN BY A LADY WHO WAS TO PERSONATE 'THE GHOST
Ye blooming train, who give despair or joy,
Bless with a smile, or with a frown destroy;
In whose fair cheeks destructive Cupids wait,
And with unerring shafts distribute fate;
Whose snowy breasts, whose animated eyes,
Each youth admires, though each admirer dies;
Whilst you deride their pangs in barbarous play,
Unpitying see them weep, and hear them pray,
And unrelenting sport ten thousand lives away:
For you, ye fair! I quit the gloomy plains, 10
Where sable Night in all her horror reigns;
No fragrant bowers, no delightful glades,
Receive the unhappy ghosts of scornful maids.
For kind, for tender nymphs, the myrtle blooms,
And weaves her bending boughs in pleasing glooms;
Perennial roses deck each purple vale,
And scents ambrosial breathe in every gale;
Far hence are banish'd vapours, spleen, and tears,
Tea, scandal, ivory teeth, and languid airs;
No pug, nor favourite Cupid there enjoys 20
The balmy kiss for which poor Thyrsis dies;
Form'd to delight, they use no foreign arms,
No torturing whalebones pinch them into charms;
No conscious blushes there their cheeks inflame,
For those who feel no guilt can know no shame;
Unfaded still their former charms they show,
Around them pleasures wait, and joys for ever new.
But cruel virgins meet severer fates;
Expell'd and exiled from the blissful seats,
To dismal realms, and regions void of peace, 30
Where furies ever howl, and serpents hiss,
O'er the sad plains perpetual tempests sigh,
And poisonous vapours, blackening all the sky,
With livid hue the fairest face o'ercast,
And every beauty withers at the blast:
Where'er they fly, their lovers' ghosts pursue,
Inflicting all those ills which once they knew;
Vexation, fury, jealousy, despair,
Vex every eye, and every bosom tear;
Their foul deformities by all descried, 40
No maid to flatter, and no paint to hide.
Then melt, ye fair, while crowds around you sigh,
Nor let disdain sit lowering in your eye;
With pity soften every awful grace,
And beauty smile auspicious in each face
To ease their pain exert your milder power;
So shall you guiltless reign, and all mankind adore.
* * * * *
THE YOUNG AUTHOR.
When first the peasant, long inclined to roam,
Forsakes his rural sports and peaceful home,
Pleased with the scene the smiling ocean yields,
He scorns the verdant meads and flowery fields:
Then dances jocund o'er the watery way,
While the breeze whispers, and the streamers play:
Unbounded prospects in his bosom roll,
And future millions lift his rising soul;
In blissful dreams he digs the golden mine,
And raptured sees the new-found ruby shine. 10
Joys insincere! thick clouds invade the skies,
Loud roar the billows, high the waves arise;
Sickening with fear, he longs to view the shore,
And vows to trust the faithless deep no more.
So the young author, panting after fame,
And the long honours of a lasting name,
Intrusts his happiness to human kind,
More false, more cruel than the seas or wind!
Toil on, dull crowd! in ecstasies he cries,
For wealth or title, perishable prize; 20
While I those transitory blessings scorn,
Secure of praise from ages yet unborn.
This thought once form'd, all counsel comes too late,
He flies to press, and hurries on his fate;
Swiftly he sees the imagined laurels spread,
And feels the unfading wreath surround his head.
Warn'd by another's fate, vain youth be wise,
Those dreams were Settle's once, and Ogilby's!
The pamphlet spreads, incessant hisses rise,
To some retreat the baffled writer flies, 30
Where no sour critics snarl, no sneers molest,
Safe from the tart lampoon, and stinging jest;
There begs of Heaven a less distinguish'd lot--
Glad to be hid, and proud to be forgot.
[Footnote 1: 'Settle;' see Life of Dryden.]
[Footnote 2: 'Ogilby:' a poor translator.]
* * * * *
FRIENDSHIP: AN ODE.
PRINTED IN THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, 1743.
1 Friendship, peculiar boon of Heaven,
The noble mind's delight and pride--
To men and angels only given,
To all the lower world denied!
2 While love, unknown among the blest,
Parent of thousand wild desires,
The savage and the human breast
Torments alike with raging fires;
3 With bright, but oft destructive gleam,
Alike o'er all his lightnings fly;
Thy lambent glories only beam
Around the favourites of the sky.
4 Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys,
On fools and villains ne'er descend;
In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,
And hugs a flatterer for a friend.
5 Directress of the brave and just,
Oh, guide us through life's darksome way!
And let the tortures of mistrust
On selfish bosoms only prey.
6 Nor shall thine ardours cease to glow,
When souls to peaceful climes remove:
What raised our virtue here below,
Shall aid our happiness above.
* * * * *
IMITATION OF THE STYLE OF * * *
1 Hermit hoar, in solemn cell
Wearing out life's evening gray,
Strike thy bosom, sage, and tell
What is bliss, and which the way.
2 Thus I spoke, and speaking sigh'd,
Scarce repress'd the starting tear,
When the hoary sage replied,
'Come, my lad, and drink some beer.'
* * * * *
ONE AND TWENTY.
1 Long-expected one-and-twenty,
Lingering year, at length is flown:
Pride and pleasure, pomp and plenty,
Great * * *, are now your own.
2 Loosen'd from the minor's tether,
Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather,
Bid the sons of thrift farewell.
3 Call the Betsies, Kates, and Jennies,
All the names that banish care;
Lavish of your grandsire's guineas,
Show the spirit of an heir.
4 All that prey on vice and folly
Joy to see their quarry fly:
There the gamester, light and jolly;
There the lender, grave and sly.
5 Wealth, my lad, was made to wander,
Let it wander as it will;
Call the jockey, call the pander,
Bid them come and take their fill.
6 When the bonny blade carouses,
Pockets full, and spirits high--
What are acres? what are houses?
Only dirt, or wet, or dry.
7 Should the guardian friend or mother
Tell the woes of wilful waste:
Scorn their counsel, scorn their pother,
You can hang or drown at last.
[Footnote 1: Supposed to be Percy.]
* * * * *
END OF JOHNSON'S POEMS.
* * * * *
THE POETICAL WORKS
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL MORTIMER.
Such were the notes thy once-loved poet sung,
Till Death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue.
Oh, just beheld, and lost! admired, and mourn'd!
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd,
Blest in each science, blest in every strain,
Dear to the Muse, to Harley dear--in vain!
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend;
For Swift and him, despised the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleased to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims--the dead, a tear)
Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days,
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays:
Who careless, now, of interest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great;
Or deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure if ought below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
Above all pain, all anger, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to the silent shade:
'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When Interest calls off all her sneaking train,
When all the obliged desert, and all the vain,
She waits; or, to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Even now she shades thy evening walk with bays,
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise)
Even now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sunset of thy various day,
Through fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell that MORTIMER is he.
_September_ 25, 1721. A. POPE.
THE LIFE AND POETRY OF THOMAS PARNELL.
Parnell is the third in a trio of poetical clergymen whose names have
immediately succeeded each other in this edition. Bowles, Churchill,
and Parnell were all clergymen, and all poets; but in other respects
differed materially from each other. In Bowles, the clerical and the
poetical characters were on the whole well attuned and harmonised. In
Churchill, they came to an open rupture. In Parnell, they were neither
ruptured nor reconciled, but maintained an ambiguous relation, till
his premature death settled the moot point for ever.
The life of this poet has been written by Goldsmith, by Johnson, by
the Rev. John Mitford, and others; but, after all, very little is
known about him. Thomas Parnell was the descendant of an ancient
family, which had been settled for some hundreds of years at
Congleton, Cheshire. His father, whose name also was Thomas, took the
side of the Commonwealth, and at the Restoration went over to Ireland,
where he purchased a considerable property. This, along with his
estate in Cheshire, devolved to the poet. His father had a second son,
John, whose descendants were created baronets. The late Sir Henry
Parnell, for some years the respected member of Parliament for the
town of Dundee, where we now write, was the great-great-grandson of
the poet's father. Parnell was born in Dublin, in the year 1679. He
was sent to a school taught by one Dr Jones. Here he is said to have
distinguished himself by the readiness and retentiveness of his
memory; often performing the task allotted for days in a few hours,
and being able to repeat forty lines in any book of poems, after the
first reading. It is a proof of the prematurity of his powers, that he
entered Trinity College, Dublin, at the age of thirteen, where his
compositions attracted attention from the extent of classical lore
which they discovered. He took the degree of M.A. in 1700; and the
same year (through a dispensation on account of being under age) was
ordained deacon by the Bishop of Deny. Three years after, he was
ordained priest; and in 1705, he was made Archdeacon of Clogher, by
Sir George Ashe, bishop of that see. So soon as he received the
archdeanery, he married Miss Ann Minchin, who is described as a young
lady of great beauty, and of an amiable character, by whom he had two
sons, who died young, and a daughter, who long survived both
Up to the triumph of the Tories, at the end of Queen Anne's reign,
Parnell appears to have been, like his father, a keen Whig. He was at
that time, however, induced, for motives which his biographers call
obscure, but which to us seem obvious enough, on the well-known
principle of the popularity of the rising sun, to change his party;
and he was hailed by the Tories as a valuable accession to their
ranks. This proves that his talents were even then known; a fact
corroborated by Johnson's statement, that while he was waiting in the
outer-room at Lord Oxford's levee, the prime minister, when told he
was there, went out, at the persuasion of Swift, with his treasurer's
staff in his hand, and saluted him in the most flattering manner. He
became, either before or immediately after this, intimate with Pope,
Swift, Gay, and the rest of that brilliant set, who all appear to have
loved him for his social qualities, to have admired his genius, and to
have pitied his infirmities. He was a member of the Scriblerus Club,
and contributed some trifles to their transactions. He was, at the
same time, intimate with Addison and Steele, and wrote a few papers in
the "Spectator." To Pope, he was of essential service, assisting him
in his notes to the "Iliad," being, what Pope was not, a good Greek
scholar. He wrote a life of Homer, which was prefixed to the
Translation, although stiff in style, and fabulous in statement. He
gratified Pope's malicious spirit still more by writing, under the
guise of a "Life of Zoilus," a bitter attack on Dennis--the great
object of the poet's fear and mortal abhorrence. For these and other
services, Pope rewarded him, after his usual manner, with large
offerings of that sweet and suffocating incense, by which he
delighted, now to gain his enemies, and now to gratify his friends.
With Gay, also, Parnell was intimate; and the latter, himself
independent by his fortune, is said to have bestowed on this needy and
improvident genius the price of the copyright of his works.
Parnell first visited London in 1706; and from that period till his
death, scarcely a year elapsed without his spending some time in the
metropolis. He seems to have had as intense a relish of London life as
Johnson and Boswell exhibited in the next age. So soon as he had
collected his rents, he hied to the capital, and there enjoyed himself
to the top of his bent. He jested with the Scriblerus Club. He quaffed
now and then with Lord Oxford. He varied his round of amusements by
occasional professional exhibitions in the pulpits of Southwark and
elsewhere,--made, we fear, more from a desire to display himself, than
to benefit his hearers. Still his sermons were popular; and he
entertained at one time the hope,--a hope blasted by the death of
Queen Anne,--of being preferred to a city charge. So soon as each
London furlough was expired, he returned to Ireland, jaded and
dispirited, and there took delight in nursing his melancholy; in
pining for the amusements of the metropolis; in shunning and sneering
at the society around him; and in abusing his native bogs and his
fellow-countrymen in verse. This was not manly, far less Christian
conduct. He ought to have drowned his recollections of London in
active duty, or in diligent study; and if he found society coarse or
corrupt, he should have set himself to refine and to purify it. But he
seems to have been a lazy, luxurious person--his life a round of
selfish rapture and selfish anguish,--in fact, ruined by his
independent fortune. Had he been a poorer, he had probably been a
happier man. He was not, moreover, of that self-contained cast of
character, which can live on its own resources, create its own world,
and say, "My mind to me a kingdom is."
In 1712 he lost his wife, with whom he appears to have lived as
happily as his morbid temperament and mortified feelings would permit.
This blow deepened his melancholy, and drove him, it is said, to an
excessive and habitual use of wine. In the same year we find him in
London, brought out once more under the "special patronage" of Dean
Swift, who had quite a penchant for Parnell, and who wished, through
his side, to mortify certain persons in Ireland, who did not
appreciate, he says, the Archdeacon; and who, we suspect, besides, did
not thoroughly appreciate the Dean. Swift, partly in pity for the
"poor lad," as he calls him, whom he saw to be in such imminent danger
of losing caste and character, and partly in the true patronising
spirit, introduced Parnell to Lord Bolingbroke, who received him
kindly, entertained him at dinner, and encouraged him in his poetical
studies. The Dean's patronage, however, was of little avail in this
matter to the protege; Bolingbroke, a man of many promises, and few
performances, did nothing for him. The consequences of dissipation
began, at this time, too, to appear in Parnell's constitution; and we
find Swift saying of him, "His head is out of order, like mine, but
more constant, poor boy." It was perhaps to this period that Pope
referred, when he told Spence, "Parnell is a great follower of drams,
and strangely open and scandalous in his debaucheries." If so, his bad
habits seem to have sprung as much from disappointment and discontent
as from taste.
Yet Swift continued his friend, and it was at his instance that, in
1713, Archbishop King presented Parnell with a prebend. In 1714, his
hope of London promotion died with Queen Anne; but in 1716, the same
generous Archbishop bestowed on him the vicarage of Finglass, in the
diocese of Dublin, worth L400 a-year. This preferment, however, the
poet did not live long to enjoy,--dying at Chester, in July
1717, on his way to Ireland, aged thirty-eight years. His estates
passed to his nephew, Sir John Parnell. He had, in the course of his
life, composed a great deal of poetry; much of it, indeed, _invita_
Minerva. After his death, Pope collected the best pieces, and
published them, with a dedication to Lord Oxford. Goldsmith, in his
edition, added two or three; and other editors, a good many poems, of
which we have only inserted one, deeming the rest unworthy of his
memory. In 1788 a volume was published, entitled, "The Posthumous
Works of Dr T. Parnell, containing poems moral and divine." These,
however, attracted little attention, being mostly rubbish. Johnson
says of them, "I know not whence they came, nor have ever inquired
whither they are going." It is said that the present representative of
the Parnell family preserves a mass of unpublished poems from the pen
of his relative. We trust that he will long and religiously refrain
from disturbing their MS. slumbers.
The whole tenor of Parnell's history convinces us that he was an
easy-tempered, kind-hearted, yet querulous and self-indulgent man, who
had no higher motive or object than to gratify himself. His very
ambition aspired not to very lofty altitudes. His utmost wish was to
attain a metropolitan pulpit, where he could have added the reputation
of a popular preacher to that of being the _protege_ of Swift, and the
pet of the Scriblerus Club. The character of his poetry is in keeping
with the temperament of the man. It is slipshod, easy, and pleasing.
If the distinguishing quality of poetry be to give pleasure, then
Parnell is a poet. You never thrill under his power, but you read him
with a quiet, constant, subdued gratification. If never eminently
original, he has the art of enunciating common-places with felicity and
grace. The stories he relates are almost all old, but his manner of
telling them is new. His thoughts and images are mostly selected from
his common-place book; but he utters them with such a natural ease of
manner, that you are tempted to think them his own. He knows the
compass of his poetical powers, and never attempts anything very lofty
or arduous. His "Allegory on Man,"--pronounced by Johnson his
best,--seems rather a laborious than a fortunate effusion. His "Hymn
to Contentment" is animated, as the subject required, by a kind of
sober rapture. His "Faery Tale" is a good imitation of that old style
of composition. His "Hesiod" catches the classical tone and spirit
with considerable success. His "Flies," and "Elegy to the Old Beauty,"
are ingenious trifles. His "Nightpiece on Death" has fine touches, but
is slight for such a theme, and must not be named beside Blair's
"Grave," and Gray's "Elegy written in a Country Churchyard." His
translations we have, in accordance with the plan of this edition,
omitted--and, indeed, they are little loss. His "Bookworm," &c., are
adaptations from Beza and other foreign authors. By far his most
popular poem is the "Hermit." In it he tells a tale that had been told
in Arabic, French, and English, for the tenth time; and in that tenth
edition tells it so well, that the public have thanked him for it as
for an original work. Of course, the story not being Parnell's, it is
not his fault that it casts no light upon the dread problems of
Providence it professed to explain. But the incidents are recorded
with ease and liveliness; the characters are rapidly depicted, and
strikingly contrasted; and many touches of true poetry occur.
How vivid this couplet, for instance--
"Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shivering pair!"
How picturesque the following--
"A fresher green the smiling leaves display,
And, _glittering as they tremble_, cheer the day!"
The description of the unveiled angel approaches the
"Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair;
Celestial odours breathe through purpled air;
And wings, whose colours glitter'd on the day,
Wide at his back, their gradual plumes display.
The form ethereal bursts upon his sight,
And moves in all the majesty of light."
A passage of similar brilliance occurs in "Piety, or the
"A sudden splendour seem'd to kindle day;
A breeze came breathing in; a sweet perfume,
_Blown from eternal gardens_, fill'd the room,
And in a void of blue, that clouds invest,
Appear'd a daughter of the realms of rest."
Such passages themselves are enough to prove Parnell a
* * * * *
HESIOD; OR, THE RISE OF WOMAN.
What ancient times, those times we fancy wise,
Have left on long record of woman's rise,
What morals teach it, and what fables hide,
What author wrote it, how that author died,--
All these I sing. In Greece they framed the tale;
(In Greece, 'twas thought a woman might be frail);
Ye modern beauties! where the poet drew
His softest pencil, think he dreamt of you;
And warn'd by him, ye wanton pens, beware
How Heaven's concern'd to vindicate the fair. 10
The case was Hesiod's; he the fable writ--
Some think with meaning--some, with idle wit:
Perhaps 'tis either, as the ladies please;
I waive the contest, and commence the lays.
In days of yore, no matter where or when,
'Twas ere the low creation swarm'd with men,
That one Prometheus, sprung of heavenly birth
(Our author's song can witness), lived on earth.
He carved the turf to mould a manly frame,
And stole from Jove his animating flame. 20
The sly contrivance o'er Olympus ran,
When thus the Monarch of the Stars began:
'Oh versed in arts! whose daring thoughts aspire
To kindle clay with never-dying fire!
Enjoy thy glory past, that gift was thine;
The next thy creature meets, be fairly mine:
And such a gift, a vengeance so design'd,
As suits the counsel of a God to find;
A pleasing bosom cheat, a specious ill,
Which, felt, they curse, yet covet still to feel.' 30
He said, and Vulcan straight the sire commands
To temper mortar with ethereal hands;
In such a shape to mould a rising fair,
As virgin-goddesses are proud to wear;
To make her eyes with diamond-water shine,
And form her organs for a voice divine.
'Twas thus the sire ordain'd; the power obey'd;
And work'd, and wonder'd at the work he made;
The fairest, softest, sweetest frame beneath,
Now made to seem, now more than seem, to breathe. 40
As Vulcan ends, the cheerful queen of charms
Clasp'd the new-panting creature in her arms;
From that embrace a fine complexion spread,
Where mingled whiteness glow'd with softer red.
Then in a kiss she breathed her various arts,
Of trifling prettily with wounded hearts;
A mind for love, but still a changing mind;
The lisp affected, and the glance design'd;
The sweet confusing blush, the secret wink,
The gentle-swimming walk, the courteous sink, 50
The stare for strangeness fit, for scorn the frown,
For decent yielding, looks declining down,
The practised languish, where well-feign'd desire
Would own its melting in a mutual fire;
Gay smiles to comfort; April showers to move;
And all the nature, all the art, of love.
Gold-sceptred Juno next exalts the fair;
Her touch endows her with imperious air,
Self-valuing fancy, highly-crested pride,
Strong sovereign will, and some desire to chide: 60
For which an eloquence, that aims to vex,
With native tropes of anger arms the sex.
Minerva, skilful goddess, train'd the maid
To twirl the spindle by the twisting thread,
To fix the loom, instruct the reeds to part,
Cross the long weft, and close the web with art:
An useful gift; but what profuse expense,
What world of fashions, took its rise from hence!
Young Hermes next, a close-contriving god,
Her brows encircled with his serpent rod; 70
Then plots, and fair excuses, fill'd her brain,
The views of breaking amorous vows for gain,
The price of favours, the designing arts
That aim at riches in contempt of hearts;
And for a comfort in the marriage life,
The little, pilfering temper of a wife.
Full on the fair his beams Apollo flung,
And fond persuasion tipp'd her easy tongue;
He gave her words, where oily flattery lays
The pleasing colours of the art of praise; 80
And wit, to scandal exquisitely prone,
Which frets another's spleen to cure its own.
Those sacred virgins whom the bards revere,
Tuned all her voice, and shed a sweetness there,
To make her sense with double charms abound,
Or make her lively nonsense please by sound.
To dress the maid, the decent Graces brought
A robe in all the dyes of beauty wrought,
And placed their boxes o'er a rich brocade
Where pictured loves on every cover play'd; 90
Then spread those implements that Vulcan's art
Had framed to merit Cytherea's heart;
The wire to curl, the close-indented comb,
To call the locks that lightly wander, home;
And chief, the mirror, where the ravish'd maid
Beholds and loves her own reflected shade.
Fair Flora lent her stores, the purpled hours
Confined her tresses with a wreath of flowers;
Within the wreath arose a radiant crown;
A veil pellucid hung depending down; 100
Back roll'd her azure veil with serpent fold,
The purfled border deck'd the flower with gold.
Her robe (which, closely by the girdle braced,
Reveal'd the beauties of a slender waist)
Flow'd to the feet; to copy Venus' air,
When Venus' statues have a robe to wear.
The new-sprung creature finish'd thus for harms,
Adjusts her habit, practises her charms,
With blushes glows, or shines with lively smiles,
Confirms her will, or recollects her wiles: 110
Then conscious of her worth, with easy pace
Glides by the glass, and, turning, views her face.
A finer flax than what they wrought before,
Through Time's deep cave the sister Fates explore,
Then fix the loom, their fingers nimbly weave,
And thus their toil prophetic songs deceive:
'Flow from the rock, my flax! and swiftly flow,
Pursue thy thread, the spindle runs below.
A creature fond and changing, fair and vain,
The creature Woman, rises now to reign. 120
New beauty blooms, a beauty form'd to fly;
New love begins, a love produced to die;
New parts distress the troubled scenes of life,
The fondling mistress, and the ruling wife.
Men, born to labour, all with pains provide;
Women have time to sacrifice to pride:
They want the care of man, their want they know,
And dress to please with heart-alluring show,
The show prevailing, for the sway contend,
And make a servant where they meet a friend. 130
Thus in a thousand wax-erected forts
A loitering race the painful bee supports,
From sun to sun, from bank to bank he flies,
With honey loads his bag, with wax his thighs,
Fly where he will, at home the race remain,
Prune the silk dress, and murmuring eat the gain.
Yet here and there we grant a gentle bride,
Whose temper betters by the father's side;
Unlike the rest, that double human care,
Fond to relieve, or resolute to share: 140
Happy the man whom thus his stars advance!
The curse is general, but the blessing chance.'
Thus sung the Sisters, while the gods admire
Their beauteous creature, made for man, in ire;
The young Pandora she, whom all contend
To make too perfect not to gain her end:
Then bid the winds that fly to breathe the spring,
Return to bear her on a gentle wing;
With wafting airs the winds obsequious blow,
And land the shining vengeance safe below. 150
A golden coffer in her hand she bore,
(The present treacherous, but the bearer more)
'Twas fraught with pangs; for Jove ordain'd above,
That gold should aid, and pangs attend on love.
Her gay descent the man perceived afar,
Wondering he ran to catch the falling star;
But so surprised, as none but he can tell,
Who loved so quickly, and who loved so well.
O'er all his veins the wandering passion burns,
He calls her nymph, and every nymph by turns. 160
Her form to lovely Venus he prefers,
Or swears that Venus must be such as hers.
She, proud to rule, yet strangely framed to tease,
Neglects his offers while her airs she plays,
Shoots scornful glances from the bended frown,
In brisk disorder trips it up and down,
Then hums a careless tune to lay the storm,
And sits and blushes, smiles, and yields in form.
'Now take what Jove design'd, (she softly cried,)
This box thy portion, and myself thy bride:' 170
Fired with the prospect of the double charms,
He snatch'd the box, and bride, with eager arms.
Unhappy man! to whom so bright she shone,
The fatal gift, her tempting self, unknown!
The winds were silent, all the waves asleep,
And heaven was traced upon the flattering deep;
But whilst he looks, unmindful of a storm,
And thinks the water wears a stable form,
What dreadful din around his ears shall rise!
What frowns confuse his picture of the skies! 180
At first the creature Man was framed alone,
Lord of himself, and all the world his own.
For him the Nymphs in green forsook the woods,
For him the Nymphs in blue forsook the floods;
In vain the Satyrs rage, the Tritons rave;
They bore him heroes in the secret cave.
No care destroy'd, no sick disorder prey'd,
No bending age his sprightly form decay'd,
No wars were known, no females heard to rage,
And poets tell us, 'twas a golden age. 190
When woman came, those ills the box confined
Burst furious out, and poison'd all the wind,
From point to point, from pole to pole they flew,
Spread as they went, and in the progress grew:
The Nymphs, regretting, left the mortal race,
And, altering Nature, wore a sickly face:
New terms of folly rose, new states of care;
New plagues to suffer, and to please, the fair!
The days of whining, and of wild intrigues,
Commenced, or finish'd, with the breach of leagues; 200
The mean designs of well-dissembled love;
The sordid matches never join'd above;
Abroad, the labour, and at home the noise,
(Man's double sufferings for domestic joys)
The curse of jealousy; expense, and strife;
Divorce, the public brand of shameful life;
The rival's sword; the qualm that takes the fair;
Disdain for passion, passion in despair--
These, and a thousand yet unnamed, we find;
Ah, fear the thousand yet unnamed behind! 210
Thus on Parnassus tuneful Hesiod sung,
The mountain echoed, and the valley rung,
The sacred groves a fix'd attention show,
The crystal Helicon forbore to flow,
The sky grew bright, and (if his verse be true)
The Muses came to give the laurel too.
But what avail'd the verdant prize of wit,
If Love swore vengeance for the tales he writ?
Ye fair offended, hear your friend relate
What heavy judgment proved the writer's fate, 220
Though when it happen'd, no relation clears;
'Tis thought in five, or five and twenty years.
Where, dark and silent, with a twisted shade
The neighbouring woods a native arbour made,
There oft a tender pair for amorous play
Retiring, toy'd the ravish'd hours away;
A Locrian youth, the gentle Troilus he,
A fair Milesian, kind Evanthe she:
But swelling Nature, in a fatal hour,
Betray'd the secrets of the conscious bower; 230
The dire disgrace her brothers count their own,
And track her steps, to make its author known.
It chanced one evening, ('twas the lover's day)
Conceal'd in brakes the jealous kindred lay;
When Hesiod, wandering, mused along the plain,
And fix'd his seat where Love had fix'd the scene:
A strong suspicion straight possess'd their mind,
(For poets ever were a gentle kind.)
But when Evanthe near the passage stood,
Flung back a doubtful look, and shot the wood, 240
'Now take (at once they cry) thy due reward!'
And, urged with erring rage, assault the bard.
His corpse the sea received. The dolphins bore
('Twas all the gods would do) the corpse to shore.
Methinks I view the dead with pitying eyes,
And see the dreams of ancient wisdom rise;
I see the Muses round the body cry,
But hear a Cupid loudly laughing by;
He wheels his arrow with insulting hand,
And thus inscribes the moral on the sand: 250
'Here Hesiod lies: ye future bards beware
How far your moral tales incense the fair:
Unloved, unloving, 'twas his fate to bleed;
Without his quiver Cupid caused the deed:
He judged this turn of malice justly due,
And Hesiod died for joys he never knew.'
* * * * *
1 When thy beauty appears,
In its graces and airs,
All bright as an angel new dropt from the sky;
At distance I gaze, and am awed by my fears,
So strangely you dazzle my eye!
2 But when without art,
Your kind thoughts you impart,
When your love runs in blushes through every vein;
When it darts from your eyes, when it pants in your heart,
Then I know you're a woman again.
3 There's a passion and pride
In our sex (she replied),
And thus (might I gratify both) I would do:
Still an angel appear to each lover beside,
But still be a woman to you.
* * * * *
1 Thyrsis, a young and amorous swain,
Saw two, the beauties of the plain;
Who both his heart subdue:
Gay Caelia's eyes were dazzling fair,
Sabina's easy shape and air
With softer magic drew.
2 He haunts the stream, he haunts the grove,
Lives in a fond romance of love,
And seems for each to die;
Till each, a little spiteful grown,
Sabina Caelia's shape ran down,
And she Sabina's eye.
3 Their envy made the shepherd find
Those eyes, which love could only blind;
So set the lover free:
No more he haunts the grove or stream,
Or with a true-love knot and name
Engraves a wounded tree.
4 Ah, Caelia! (sly Sabina cried)
Though neither love, we're both denied;
Now, to support the sex's pride,
Let either fix the dart.
Poor girl! (says Caelia) say no more;
For should the swain but one adore,
That spite which broke his chains before,
Would break the other's heart.
* * * * *
1 My days have been so wondrous free,
The little birds that fly
With careless ease from tree to tree,
Were but as bless'd as I.
2 Ask gliding waters, if a tear
Of mine increased their stream?
Or ask the flying gales, if e'er
I lent one sigh to them?
3 But now my former days retire,
And I'm by beauty caught,
The tender chains of sweet desire
Are fix'd upon my thought.
4 Ye nightingales! ye twisting pines!
Ye swains that haunt the grove!
Ye gentle echoes! breezy winds!
Ye close retreats of lore!
5 With all of Nature, all of Art,
Assist the dear design;
Oh teach a young, unpractised heart
To make my Nancy mine.
6 The very thought of change I hate,
As much as of despair;
Nor ever covet to be great,
Unless it be for her.
7 'Tis true, the passion in my mind
Is mix'd with soft distress;
Yet while the fair I love is kind,
I cannot wish it less.
* * * * *
When Spring came on with fresh delight,
To cheer the soul, and charm the sight,
While easy breezes, softer rain,
And warmer suns salute the plain;
'Twas then, in yonder piny grove,
That Nature went to meet with Love.
Green was her robe, and green her wreath,
Where'er she trod, 'twas green beneath;
Where'er she turn'd, the pulses beat
With new recruits of genial heat; 10
And in her train the birds appear,
To match for all the coming year.
Raised on a bank, where daisies grew,
And violets intermix'd a blue,
She finds the boy she went to find;
A thousand pleasures wait behind,
Aside a thousand arrows lie,
But all, unfeather'd, wait to fly.
When they met, the dame and boy,
Dancing graces, idle joy, 20
Wanton smiles, and airy play,
Conspired to make the scene be gay;
Love pair'd the birds through all the grove,
And Nature bid them sing to Love,
Sitting, hopping, fluttering sing,
And pay their tribute from the wing,
To fledge the shafts that idly lie,
And, yet unfeather'd, wait to fly.
'Tis thus, when Spring renews the blood,
They meet in every trembling wood, 30
And thrice they make the plumes agree,
And every dart they mount with three,
And every dart can boast a kind,
Which suits each proper turn of mind.
From the towering eagle's plume
The generous hearts accept their doom;
Shot by the peacock's painted eye
The vain and airy lovers die:
For careful dames and frugal men,
The shafts are speckled by the hen: 40
The pies and parrots deck the darts,
When prattling wins the panting hearts:
When from the voice the passions spring,
The warbling finch affords a wing:
Together, by the sparrow stung,
Down fall the wanton and the young:
And fledged by geese the weapons fly,
When others love they know not why.
All this (as late I chanced to rove)
I learn'd in yonder waving grove. 50
And see, says Love, who call'd me near,
How much I deal with Nature here;
How both support a proper part,
She gives the feather, I the dart:
Then cease for souls averse to sigh,
If Nature cross ye, so do I;
My weapon there unfeather'd flies,
And shakes and shuffles through the skies.
But if the mutual charms I find
By which she links you, mind to mind, 60
They wing my shafts, I poise the darts,
And strike from both, through both your hearts.
* * * * *
1 Gay Bacchus liking Estcourt's wine,
A noble meal bespoke us;
And for the guests that were to dine,
Brought Comus, Love, and Jocus.
2 The god near Cupid drew his chair,
Near Comus, Jocus placed;
For wine makes Love forget its care,
And Mirth exalts a feast.
3 The more to please the sprightly god,
Each sweet engaging Grace
Put on some clothes to come abroad,
And took a waiter's place.
4 Then Cupid named at every glass
A lady of the sky;
While Bacchus swore he'd drink the lass,
And did it bumper-high.
5 Fat Comus toss'd his brimmers o'er,
And always got the most;
Jocus took care to fill him more,
Whene'er he miss'd the toast.
6 They call'd, and drank at every touch;
He fill'd, and drank again;
And if the gods can take too much,
'Tis said they did so then.
7 Gay Bacchus little Cupid stung,
By reckoning his deceits;
And Cupid mock'd his stammering tongue,
With all his staggering gaits:
8 And Jocus droll'd on Comus' ways,
And tales without a jest;
While Comus call'd his witty plays
But waggeries at best.
9 Such talk soon set 'em all at odds;
And, had I Homer's pen,
I'd sing ye, how they drank like gods,
And how they fought like men.
10 To part the fray, the Graces fly,
Who make 'em soon agree;
Nay, had the Furies selves been nigh,
They still were three to three.
11 Bacchus appeased, raised Cupid up,
And gave him back his bow;
But kept some darts to stir the cup
Where sack and sugar flow.
12 Jocus took Comus' rosy crown,
And gaily wore the prize,
And thrice, in mirth, he push'd him down,
As thrice he strove to rise.
13 Then Cupid sought the myrtle grove,
Where Venus did recline;
And Venus close embracing Love,
They join'd to rail at wine.
14 And Comus loudly cursing wit,
Roll'd off to some retreat,
Where boon companions gravely sit
In fat unwieldy state.
15 Bacchus and Jocus, still behind,
For one fresh glass prepare;
They kiss, and are exceeding kind,
And vow to be sincere.
16 But part in time, whoever hear
This our instructive song;
For though such friendships may be dear,
They can't continue long.
[Footnote 1: 'Estcourt:' Dick, a comedian and keeper of the Bumper
Tavern--a companion of Addison, Steele, and the rest.]
* * * * *
A FAIRY TALE,
IN THE ANCIENT ENGLISH STYLE.
1 In Britain's isle and Arthur's days,
When midnight Faeries danced the maze,
Lived Edwin of the green;
Edwin, I wis, a gentle youth,
Endow'd with courage, sense, and truth,
Though badly shaped he been.
2 His mountain back mote well be said
To measure heighth against his head,
And lift itself above:
Yet spite of all that Nature did
To make his uncouth form forbid,
This creature dared to love.
3 He felt the charms of Edith's eyes,
Nor wanted hope to gain the prize,
Could ladies look within;
But one Sir Topaz dress'd with art,
And, if a shape could win a heart,
He had a shape to win.
4 Edwin (if right I read my song)
With slighted passion paced along,
All in the moony light:
'Twas near an old enchanted court,
Where sportive Faeries made resort
To revel out the night.
5 His heart was drear, his hope was cross'd,
'Twas late, 'twas farr, the path was lost
That reach'd the neighbour-town;
With weary steps he quits the shades,
Resolved, the darkling dome he treads,
And drops his limbs adown.
6 But scant he lays him on the floor,
When hollow winds remove the door,
A trembling rocks the ground:
And (well I ween to count aright)
At once an hundred tapers light
On all the walls around.
7 Now sounding tongues assail his ear,
Now sounding feet approachen near,
And now the sounds increase:
And from the corner where he lay
He sees a train, profusely gay,
Come prankling o'er the place.
8 But trust me, gentles! never yet
Was dight a masquing half so neat,
Or half so rich before;
The country lent the sweet perfumes,
The sea the pearl, the sky the plumes,
The town its silken store.
9 Now whilst he gazed, a gallant dress'd
In flaunting robes above the rest,
With awful accent cried:
What mortal of a wretched mind,
Whose sighs infect the balmy wind,
Has here presumed to hide?
10 At this the swain, whose venturous soul
No fears of magic art control,
Advanced in open sight:
Nor have I cause of dread, he said,
Who view, by no presumption led,
Your revels of the night.
11 'Twas grief, for scorn of faithful love,
Which made my steps unweeting rove
Amid the nightly dew.
'Tis well, the gallant cries again,
We Faeries never injure men
Who dare to tell us true.
12 Exalt thy love-dejected heart,
Be mine the task, or e'er we part,
To make thee grief resign;
Now take the pleasure of thy chaunce;
Whilst I with Mab my partner daunce,
Be little Mable thine.
13 He spoke, and all a-sudden there
Light music floats in wanton air;
The monarch leads the queen:
The rest their Faerie partners found,
And Mable trimly tripp'd the ground
With Edwin of the green.
14 The dauncing past, the board was laid,
And siker such a feast was made
As heart and lip desire;
Withouten hands the dishes fly,
The glasses--with a wish come nigh,
And with a wish retire.
15 But now, to please the Faerie King,
Full every deal, they laugh and sing,
And antic feats devise;
Some wind and tumble like an ape,
And other some transmute their shape
In Edwin's wondering eyes.
16 Till one at last that Robin bight,
(Renown'd for pinching maids by night)
Has hent him up aloof;
And full against the beam he flung,
Where by the back the youth he hung
To spraul unneath the roof.
17 From thence, Reverse my charm, he cries,
And let it fairly now suffice
The gambol has been shown.
But Oberon answers with a smile,
Content thee, Edwin, for a while,
The vantage is thine own.
18 Here ended all the phantom-play;
They smelt the fresh approach of day,
And heard a cock to crow;
The whirling wind that bore the crowd
Has clapp'd the door, and whistled loud,
To warn them all to go.
19 Then screaming all at once they fly,
And all at once the tapers die,
Poor Edwin falls to floor;
Forlorn his state, and dark the place,
Was never wight in sike a case
Through all the land before.
20 But soon as Dan Apollo rose,
Full jolly creature home he goes,
He feels his back the less;
His honest tongue and steady mind
Had rid him of the lump behind
Which made him want success.
21 With lusty livelyhed he talks,
He seems a-dauncing as he walks,
His story soon took wind;
And beauteous Edith sees the youth,
Endow'd with courage, sense, and truth,
Without a bunch behind.
22 The story told, Sir Topaz moved,
The youth of Edith erst approved,
To see the revel scene:
At close of eve he leaves his home,
And wends to find the ruin'd dome
All on the gloomy plain.
23 As there he bides, it so befell,
The wind came rustling down a dell,
A shaking seized the wall:
Up spring the tapers as before,
The Faeries bragly foot the floor,
And music fills the hall.
24 But, certes, sorely sunk with woe
Sir Topaz sees the elfin show,
His spirits in him die:
When Oberon cries, A man is near,
A mortal passion, cleeped fear,
Hang's flagging in the sky.
25 With that Sir Topaz, hapless youth!
In accents faltering aye for ruth,
Entreats them pity graunt;
For als he been a mister wight
Betray'd by wandering in the night
To tread the circled haunt.
26 Ah, losel vile! (at once they roar)
And little skill'd of Faerie lore,
Thy cause to come we know:
Now has thy kestrel courage fell;
And Faeries, since a lie you tell,
Are free to work thee woe.
27 Then Will, who bears the wispy fire,
To trail the swains among the mire,
The caitiff upward flung;
There like a tortoise in a shop
He dangled from the chamber-top,
Where whilom Edwin hung.
28 The revel now proceeds apace,
Deftly they frisk it o'er the place,
They sit, they drink, and eat;
The time with frolic mirth beguile,
And poor Sir Topaz hangs the while,
Till all the rout retreat.
29 By this the stars began to wink,
They shriek, they fly, the tapers sink,
And down ydrops the knight.
For never spell by Faerie laid
With strong enchantment bound a glade
Beyond the length of night.
30 Chill, dark, alone, adreed he lay,
Till up the welkin rose the day,
Then deem'd the dole was o'er;
But wot ye well his harder lot?
His seely back the bunch has got
Which Edwin lost afore.
31 This tale a Sybil-nurse aread;
She softly stroked my youngling head,
And when the tale was done,
Thus some are born, my son, (she cries,)
With base impediments to rise,
And some are born with none.
32 But virtue can itself advaunce
To what the favourite fools of chaunce
By fortune seem'd design'd;
Virtue can gain the odds of Fate,
And from itself shake off the weight
Upon the unworthy mind.
* * * * *
TO MR POPE.
To praise, yet still with due respect to praise,
A bard triumphant in immortal bays,
The learn'd to show, the sensible commend,
Yet still preserve the province of the friend,
What life, what vigour, must the lines require,
What music tune them, what affection fire!
Oh! might thy genius in my bosom shine,
Thou shouldst not fail of numbers worthy thine;
The brightest ancients might at once agree
To sing within my lays, and sing of thee. 10
Horace himself would own thou dost excel
In candid arts, to play the critic well.
Ovid himself might wish to sing the dame
Whom Windsor Forest sees a gliding stream;
On silver feet, with annual osier crown'd,
She runs for ever through poetic ground.
How flame the glories of Belinda's hair,
Made by thy Muse the envy of the fair!
Less shone the tresses Egypt's princess wore,
Which sweet Callimachus so sung before; 20
Here courtly trifles set the world at odds,
Belles war with beaux, and whims descend for gods,
The new machines in names of ridicule,
Mock the grave frenzy of the chymic fool.
But know, ye fair, a point conceal'd with art,
The Sylphs and Gnomes are but a woman's heart:
The Graces stand in sight; a Satyr train
Peep o'er their heads, and laugh behind the scene.
In Fame's fair temple, o'er the boldest wits
Enshrined on high the sacred Virgil sits, 30
And sits in measures, such as Virgil's Muse
To place thee near him might be fond to choose.
How might he tune the alternate reed with thee,
Perhaps a Strephon thou, a Daphnis he,
Back to Full Books