Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Vol. 3
George Gilfillan

Part 2 out of 7

Our wandering saints, in woful state,
Treated at this ungodly rate,
Having through all the village passed,
To a small cottage came at last,
Where dwelt a good old honest yeoman,
Called in the neighbourhood Philemon;
Who kindly did these saints invite
In his poor hut to pass the night;
And then the hospitable sire
Bid Goody Baucis mend the fire;
While he from out the chimney took
A flitch of bacon off the hook,
And freely from the fattest side
Cut out large slices to be fried;
Then stepped aside to fetch them drink,
Filled a large jug up to the brink,
And saw it fairly twice go round;
Yet (what is wonderful!) they found
'Twas still replenished to the top,
As if they ne'er had touched a drop.
The good old couple were amazed,
And often on each other gazed;
For both were frightened to the heart,
And just began to cry,--'What art!'
Then softly turned aside to view
Whether the lights were burning blue.
The gentle pilgrims, soon aware on 't,
Told them their calling, and their errand:
'Good folks, you need not be afraid,
We are but saints,' the hermits said;
'No hurt shall come to you or yours:
But for that pack of churlish boors,
Not fit to live on Christian ground,
They and their houses shall be drowned;
Whilst you shall see your cottage rise,
And grow a church before your eyes.'

They scarce had spoke, when fair and soft
The roof began to mount aloft;
Aloft rose every beam and rafter;
The heavy wall climbed slowly after.

The chimney widened, and grew higher,
Became a steeple with a spire.

The kettle to the top was hoist,
And there stood fastened to a joist;
But with the upside down, to show
Its inclination for below;
In vain; for a superior force,
Applied at bottom, stops its course:
Doomed ever in suspense to dwell,
'Tis now no kettle, but a bell.

A wooden jack, which had almost
Lost by disuse the art to roast,
A sudden alteration feels,
Increased by new intestine wheels;
And, what exalts the wonder more
The number made the motion slower;
The flier, though't had leaden feet,
Turned round so quick, you scarce could see 't;
But, slackened by some secret power,
Now hardly moves an inch an hour.
The jack and chimney, near allied,
Had never left each other's side:
The chimney to a steeple grown,
The jack would not be left alone;
But up against the steeple reared,
Became a clock, and still adhered;
And still its love to household cares,
By a shrill voice at noon declares,
Warning the cook-maid not to burn
That roast meat which it cannot turn.

The groaning-chair began to crawl,
Like a huge snail, along the wall;
There stuck aloft in public view,
And with small change a pulpit grew.

The porringers, that in a row
Hung high, and made a glittering show,
To a less noble substance changed,
Were now but leathern buckets ranged.

The ballads, pasted on the wall,
Of Joan of France, and English Moll,
Fair Rosamond, and Robin Hood,
The little Children in the Wood,
Now seemed to look abundance better,
Improved in picture, size, and letter;
And, high in order placed, describe
The heraldry of every tribe.

A bedstead, of the antique mode,
Compact of timber many a load,
Such as our ancestors did use,
Was metamorphosed into pews;
Which still their ancient nature keep,
By lodging folks disposed to sleep.

The cottage, by such feats as these,
Grown to a church by just degrees;
The hermits then desired their host
To ask for what he fancied most.
Philemon, having paused a while,
Returned them thanks in homely style;
Then said, 'My house is grown so fine,
Methinks I still would call it mine;
I'm old, and fain would live at ease;
Make me the parson, if you please.'

He spoke, and presently he feels
His grazier's coat fall down his heels:
He sees, yet hardly can believe,
About each arm a pudding-sleeve;
His waistcoat to a cassock grew,
And both assumed a sable hue;
But, being old, continued just
As threadbare, and as full of dust.
His talk was now of tithes and dues;
He smoked his pipe, and read the news;
Knew how to preach old sermons next,
Vamped in the preface and the text;
At christenings well could act his part,
And had the service all by heart;
Wished women might have children fast,
And thought whose sow had farrowed last;
Against Dissenters would repine,
And stood up firm for right divine;
Found his head filled with many a system;
But classic authors,--he ne'er missed 'em.

Thus, having furbished up a parson,
Dame Baucis next they played their farce on;
Instead of home-spun coifs, were seen
Good pinners edged with colberteen;
Her petticoat, transformed apace,
Became black satin flounced with lace.
Plain 'Goody' would no longer down;
'Twas 'Madam' in her grogram gown.
Philemon was in great surprise,
And hardly could believe his eyes,
Amazed to see her look so prim;
And she admired as much at him.

Thus happy in their change of life
Were several years this man and wife:
When on a day, which proved their last,
Discoursing on old stories past,
They went by chance, amidst their talk,
To the churchyard to take a walk;
When Baucis hastily cried out,
'My dear, I see your forehead sprout!'
'Sprout!' quoth the man; 'what's this you tell
I hope you don't believe me jealous!
But yet, methinks, I feel it true;
And, really, yours is budding too;
Nay, now I cannot stir my foot--
It feels as if 'twere taking root.'

Description would but tire my Muse;
In short, they both were turned to yews.

Old Goodman Dobson of the green
Remembers he the trees has seen;
He'll talk of them from noon till night,
And goes with folks to show the sight;
On Sundays, after evening-prayer,
He gathers all the parish there,
Points out the place of either yew:
'Here Baucis, there Philemon grew;
Till once a parson of our town,
To mend his barn cut Baucis down.
At which 'tis hard to be believed
How much the other tree was grieved,
Grew scrubby, died atop, was stunted;
So the next parson stubbed and burnt it.'


All human race would fain be wits,
And millions miss for one that hits.
Young's Universal Passion, pride,
Was never known to spread so wide.
Say, Britain, could you ever boast
Three poets in an age at most?
Our chilling climate hardly bears
A sprig of bays in fifty years;
While every fool his claim alleges,
As if it grew in common hedges.
What reason can there be assigned
For this perverseness in the mind?
Brutes find out where their talents lie:
A bear will not attempt to fly;
A foundered horse will oft debate
Before he tries a five-barred gate;
A dog by instinct turns aside,
Who sees the ditch too deep and wide;--
But man we find the only creature,
Who, led by folly, combats nature;
Who, when she loudly cries, Forbear,
With obstinacy fixes there;
And, where his genius least inclines,
Absurdly bends his whole designs.

Not empire to the rising sun
By valour, conduct, fortune won;
Not highest wisdom in debates
For framing laws to govern states;
Not skill in sciences profound
So large to grasp the circle round,
Such heavenly influence require,
As how to strike the Muse's lyre.

Not beggar's brat on bulk begot;
Not bastard of a pedlar Scot;
Not boy brought up to cleaning shoes,
The spawn of Bridewell or the stews;
Not infants dropped, the spurious pledges
Of gipsies littering under hedges,
Are so disqualified by fate
To rise in church, or law, or state,
As he whom Phoebus in his ire
Hath blasted with poetic fire.
What hope of custom in the fair,
While not a soul demands your ware?
Where you have nothing to produce
For private life or public use?
Court, city, country, want you not;
You cannot bribe, betray, or plot.
For poets, law makes no provision;
The wealthy have you in derision;
Of state affairs you cannot smatter,
Are awkward when you try to flatter;
Your portion, taking Britain round,
Was just one annual hundred pound;
Now not so much as in remainder,
Since Gibber brought in an attainder,
For ever fixed by right divine,
(A monarch's right,) on Grub Street line.

Poor starveling bard, how small thy gains!
How unproportioned to thy pains!
And here a simile comes pat in:
Though chickens take a month to fatten,
The guests in less than half an hour
Will more than half a score devour.
So, after toiling twenty days
To earn a stock of pence and praise,
Thy labours, grown the critic's prey,
Are swallowed o'er a dish of tea;
Gone to be never heard of more,
Gone where the chickens went before.
How shall a new attempter learn
Of different spirits to discern,
And how distinguish which is which,
The poet's vein, or scribbling itch?
Then hear an old experienced sinner
Instructing thus a young beginner:
Consult yourself; and if you find
A powerful impulse urge your mind,
Impartial judge within your breast
What subject you can manage best;
Whether your genius most inclines
To satire, praise, or humorous lines,
To elegies in mournful tone,
Or prologues sent from hand unknown;
Then, rising with Aurora's light,
The Muse invoked, sit down to write;
Blot out, correct, insert, refine,
Enlarge, diminish, interline;
Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head, and bite your nails.

Your poem finished, next your care
Is needful to transcribe it fair.
In modern wit, all printed trash is
Set off with numerous breaks and dashes.

To statesmen would you give a wipe,
You print it in italic type;
When letters are in vulgar shapes,
'Tis ten to one the wit escapes;
But when in capitals expressed,
The dullest reader smokes the jest;
Or else, perhaps, he may invent
A better than the poet meant;
As learned commentators view
In Homer, more than Homer knew.

Your poem in its modish dress,
Correctly fitted for the press,
Convey by penny-post to Lintot;
But let no friend alive look into 't.
If Lintot thinks 'twill quit the cost,
You need not fear your labour lost:
And how agreeably surprised
Are you to see it advertised!
The hawker shows you one in print,
As fresh as farthings from a mint:
The product of your toil and sweating,
A bastard of your own begetting.

Be sure at Will's the following day,
Lie snug, and hear what critics say;
And if you find the general vogue
Pronounces you a stupid rogue,
Damns all your thoughts as low and little,
Sit still, and swallow down your spittle;
Be silent as a politician,
For talking may beget suspicion;
Or praise the judgment of the town,
And help yourself to run it down;
Give up your fond paternal pride,
Nor argue on the weaker side;
For poems read without a name
We justly praise, or justly blame;
And critics have no partial views,
Except they know whom they abuse;
And since you ne'er provoked their spite,
Depend upon 't, their judgment's right.
But if you blab, you are undone:
Consider what a risk you run:
You lose your credit all at once;
The town will mark you for a dunce;
The vilest doggrel Grub Street sends
Will pass for yours with foes and friends;
And you must bear the whole disgrace,
Till some fresh blockhead takes your place.

Your secret kept, your poem sunk,
And sent in quires to line a trunk,
If still you be disposed to rhyme,
Go try your hand a second time.
Again you fail: yet safe's the word;
Take courage, and attempt a third.
But just with care employ your thoughts,
Where critics marked your former faults;
The trivial turns, the borrowed wit,
The similes that nothing fit;
The cant which every fool repeats,
Town jests and coffee-house conceits;
Descriptions tedious, flat, and dry,
And introduced the Lord knows why:
Or where we find your fury set
Against the harmless alphabet;
On A's and B's your malice vent,
While readers wonder what you meant:
A public or a private robber,
A statesman, or a South-Sea jobber;
A prelate who no God believes;
A parliament, or den of thieves;
A pick-purse at the bar or bench;
A duchess, or a suburb wench:
Or oft, when epithets you link
In gaping lines to fill a chink;
Like stepping-stones to save a stride,
In streets where kennels are too wide;
Or like a heel-piece, to support
A cripple with one foot too short;
Or like a bridge, that joins a marish
To moorland of a different parish;
So have I seen ill-coupled hounds
Drag different ways in miry grounds;
So geographers in Afric maps
With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And o'er unhabitable downs
Place elephants, for want of towns.

But though you miss your third essay,
You need not throw your pen away.
Lay now aside all thoughts of fame,
To spring more profitable game.
From party-merit seek support--
The vilest verse thrives best at court.
And may you ever have the luck,
To rhyme almost as ill as Duck;
And though you never learnt to scan verse,
Come out with some lampoon on D'Anvers.
A pamphlet in Sir Bob's defence
Will never fail to bring in pence:
Nor be concerned about the sale--
He pays his workmen on the nail.
Display the blessings of the nation,
And praise the whole administration:
Extol the bench of Bishops round;
Who at them rail, bid----confound:
To Bishop-haters answer thus,
(The only logic used by us,)
'What though they don't believe in----,
Deny them Protestants,--thou liest.'

A prince, the moment he is crowned,
Inherits every virtue round,
As emblems of the sovereign power,
Like other baubles in the Tower;
Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
And so continues till he dies:
His humble senate this professes
In all their speeches, votes, addresses.
But once you fix him in a tomb,
His virtues fade, his vices bloom,
And each perfection, wrong imputed,
Is fully at his death confuted.
The loads of poems in his praise
Ascending, make one funeral blaze.
As soon as you can hear his knell
This god on earth turns devil in hell;
And lo! his ministers of state,
Transformed to imps, his levee wait,
Where, in the scenes of endless woe,
They ply their former arts below;
And as they sail in Charon's boat,
Contrive to bribe the judge's vote;
To Cerberus they give a sop,
His triple-barking mouth to stop;
Or in the ivory gate of dreams
Project Excise and South-Sea schemes,
Or hire their party pamphleteers
To set Elysium by the ears.

Then, poet, if you mean to thrive,
Employ your Muse on kings alive;
With prudence gather up a cluster
Of all the virtues you can muster,
Which, formed into a garland sweet,
Lay humbly at your monarch's feet,
Who, as the odours reach his throne,
Will smile and think them all his own;
For law and gospel both determine
All virtues lodge in royal ermine,
(I mean the oracles of both,
Who shall depose it upon oath.)
Your garland in the following reign,
Change but the names, will do again.

But, if you think this trade too base,
(Which seldom is the dunce's case,)
Put on the critic's brow, and sit
At Will's the puny judge of wit.
A nod, a shrug, a scornful smile,
With caution used, may serve a while.
Proceed on further in your part,
Before you learn the terms of art;
For you can never be too far gone
In all our modern critics' jargon;
Then talk with more authentic face
Of unities, in time, and place;
Get scraps of Horace from your friends,
And have them at your fingers' ends;
Learn Aristotle's rules by rote,
And at all hazards boldly quote;
Judicious Rymer oft review,
Wise Dennis, and profound Bossu;
Read all the prefaces of Dryden--
For these our critics much confide in,
(Though merely writ at first for filling,
To raise the volume's price a shilling.)

A forward critic often dupes us
With sham quotations _Peri Hupsous_.
And if we have not read Longinus,
Will magisterially outshine us.
Then, lest with Greek he overrun ye,
Procure the book for love or money,
Translated from Boileau's translation,
And quote quotation on quotation.

At Will's you hear a poem read,
Where Battus from the table-head,
Reclining on his elbow-chair,
Gives judgment with decisive air;
To whom the tribes of circling wits
As to an oracle submits.
He gives directions to the town,
To cry it up, or run it down;
Like courtiers, when they send a note,
Instructing members how to vote.
He sets the stamp of bad and good,
Though not a word he understood.
Your lesson learned, you'll be secure
To get the name of connoisseur:
And, when your merits once are known,
Procure disciples of your own.
For poets, (you can never want 'em,)
Spread through Augusta Trinobantum,
Computing by their pecks of coals,
Amount to just nine thousand souls.
These o'er their proper districts govern,
Of wit and humour judges sovereign.
In every street a city-bard
Rules, like an alderman, his ward;
His undisputed rights extend
Through all the lane, from end to end;
The neighbours round admire his shrewdness
For songs of loyalty and lewdness;
Outdone by none in rhyming well,
Although he never learned to spell.
Two bordering wits contend for glory;
And one is Whig, and one is Tory:
And this for epics claims the bays,
And that for elegiac lays:
Some famed for numbers soft and smooth,
By lovers spoke in Punch's booth;
And some as justly Fame extols
For lofty lines in Smithfield drolls.
Bavius in Wapping gains renown,
And Mavius reigns o'er Kentish-town;
Tigellius, placed in Phoebus' car,
From Ludgate shines to Temple-bar:
Harmonious Cibber entertains
The court with annual birth-day strains;
Whence Gay was banished in disgrace;
Where Pope will never show his face;
Where Young must torture his invention
To flatter knaves, or lose his pension.

But these are not a thousandth part
Of jobbers in the poet's art;
Attending each his proper station,
And all in due subordination,
Through every alley to be found,
In garrets high, or under ground;
And when they join their pericranies,
Out skips a book of miscellanies.
Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
Lives in a state of war by nature;
The greater for the smallest watch,
But meddle seldom with their match.
A whale of moderate size will draw
A shoal of herrings down his maw;
A fox with geese his belly crams;
A wolf destroys a thousand lambs:
But search among the rhyming race,
The brave are worried by the base.
If on Parnassus' top you sit,
You rarely bite, are always bit.
Each poet of inferior size
On you shall rail and criticise,
And strive to tear you limb from limb;
While others do as much for him.

The vermin only tease and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch:
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed _ad infinitum_.
Thus every poet in his kind
Is bit by him that comes behind:
Who, though too little to be seen,
Can tease, and gall, and give the spleen;
Call dunces fools and sons of whores,
Lay Grub Street at each other's doors;
Extol the Greek and Roman masters,
And curse our modern poetasters;
Complain, as many an ancient bard did,
How genius is no more rewarded;
How wrong a taste prevails among us;
How much our ancestors out-sung us;
Can personate an awkward scorn
For those who are not poets born;
And all their brother-dunces lash,
Who crowd the press with hourly trash.

O Grub Street! how do I bemoan thee,
Whose graceless children scorn to own thee!
Their filial piety forgot,
Deny their country like a Scot;
Though by their idiom and grimace,
They soon betray their native place.
Yet thou hast greater cause to be
Ashamed of them, than they of thee,
Degenerate from their ancient brood
Since first the court allowed them food.

Remains a difficulty still,
To purchase fame by writing ill.
From Flecknoe down to Howard's time,
How few have reached the low sublime!
For when our high-born Howard died,
Blackmore alone his place supplied;
And lest a chasm should intervene,
When death had finished Blackmore's reign,
The leaden crown devolved to thee,
Great poet of the Hollow Tree.
But ah! how unsecure thy throne!
A thousand bards thy right disown;
They plot to turn, in factious zeal,
Duncenia to a commonweal;
And with rebellious arms pretend
An equal privilege to defend.

In bulk there are not more degrees
From elephants to mites in cheese,
Than what a curious eye may trace
In creatures of the rhyming race.
From bad to worse, and worse, they fall;
But who can reach the worst of all?
For though in nature, depth and height
Are equally held infinite;
In poetry, the height we know;
'Tis only infinite below.
For instance, when you rashly think
No rhymer can like Welsted sink,
His merits balanced, you shall find
The laureate leaves him far behind;
Concannen, more aspiring bard,
Soars downwards deeper by a yard;
Smart Jemmy Moor with vigour drops;
The rest pursue as thick as hops.
With heads to point, the gulf they enter,
Linked perpendicular to the centre;
And, as their heels elated rise,
Their heads attempt the nether skies.

Oh, what indignity and shame,
To prostitute the Muse's name,
By flattering kings, whom Heaven designed
The plagues and scourges of mankind;
Bred up in ignorance and sloth,
And every vice that nurses both.

Fair Britain, in thy monarch blest,
Whose virtues bear the strictest test;
Whom never faction could bespatter,
Nor minister nor poet flatter;
What justice in rewarding merit!
What magnanimity of spirit!
What lineaments divine we trace
Through all his figure, mien, and face!
Though peace with olive bind his hands,
Confessed the conquering hero stands.
Hydaspes, Indus, and the Ganges,
Dread from his hand impending changes;
From him the Tartar and the Chinese,
Short by the knees, entreat for peace.
The comfort of his throne and bed,
A perfect goddess born and bred;
Appointed sovereign judge to sit
On learning, eloquence and wit.
Our eldest hope, divine Iülus,
(Late, very late, oh, may he rule us!)
What early manhood has he shown,
Before his downy beard was grown!
Then think what wonders will be done,
By going on as he begun,
An heir for Britain to secure
As long as sun and moon endure.

The remnant of the royal blood
Comes pouring on me like a flood:
Bright goddesses, in number five;
Duke William, sweetest prince alive!

Now sings the minister of state,
Who shines alone without a mate.
Observe with what majestic port
This Atlas stands to prop the court,
Intent the public debts to pay,
Like prudent Fabius, by delay.
Thou great vicegerent of the king,
Thy praises every Muse shall sing!
In all affairs thou sole director,
Of wit and learning chief protector;
Though small the time thou hast to spare,
The church is thy peculiar care.
Of pious prelates what a stock
You choose, to rule the sable flock!
You raise the honour of your peerage,
Proud to attend you at the steerage;
You dignify the noble race,
Content yourself with humbler place.
Now learning, valour, virtue, sense,
To titles give the sole pretence.
St George beheld thee with delight
Vouchsafe to be an azure knight,
When on thy breasts and sides herculean
He fixed the star and string cerulean.

Say, poet, in what other nation,
Shone ever such a constellation!
Attend, ye Popes, and Youngs, and Gays,
And tune your harps, and strew your bays:
Your panegyrics here provide;
You cannot err on flattery's side.
Above the stars exalt your style,
You still are low ten thousand mile.
On Louis all his bards bestowed
Of incense many a thousand load;
But Europe mortified his pride,
And swore the fawning rascals lied.
Yet what the world refused to Louis,
Applied to George, exactly true is.
Exactly true! invidious poet!
'Tis fifty thousand times below it.

Translate me now some lines, if you can,
From Virgil, Martial, Ovid, Lucan.
They could all power in heaven divide,
And do no wrong on either side;
They teach you how to split a hair,
Give George and Jove an equal share.
Yet why should we be laced so strait?
I'll give my monarch butter weight;
And reason good, for many a year
Jove never intermeddled here:
Nor, though his priests be duly paid,
Did ever we desire his aid:
We now can better do without him,
Since Woolston gave us arms to rout him.


Occasioned by reading the following maxim in Rochefoucault, 'Dans
l'adversité de nos meilleurs amis, nous trouvons toujours quelque
chose qui ne nous déplaît pas;'--'In the adversity of our best
friends, we always find something that doth not displease us.'

As Rochefoucault his maxims drew
From nature, I believe them true:

They argue no corrupted mind
In him; the fault is in mankind.

This maxim more than all the rest
Is thought too base for human breast:
'In all distresses of our friends,
We first consult our private ends;
While nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us.'

If this perhaps your patience move,
Let reason and experience prove.

We all behold with envious eyes
Our equals raised above our size.
Who would not at a crowded show
Stand high himself, keep others low?
I love my friend as well as you:
But why should he obstruct my view?
Then let me have the higher post;
Suppose it but an inch at most.
If in a battle you should find
One, whom you love of all mankind,
Had some heroic action done,
A champion killed, or trophy won;
Rather than thus be over-topped,
Would you not wish his laurels cropped?
Dear honest Ned is in the gout,
Lies racked with pain, and you without:
How patiently you hear him groan!
How glad the case is not your own!

What poet would not grieve to see
His brother write as well as he?
But, rather than they should excel,
Would wish his rivals all in hell?

Her end when emulation misses,
She turns to envy, stings, and hisses:
The strongest friendship yields to pride,
Unless the odds be on our side.
Vain human-kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all on me an usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line,
But, with a sigh, I wish it mine:
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six,
It gives me such a jealous fit,
I cry, 'Pox take him and his wit!'
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous, biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refined at first, and showed its use.
St John, as well as Pultney, knows
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside;
If with such talents Heaven hath blest 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?

To all my foes, dear Fortune, send
Thy gifts; but never to my friend:
I tamely can endure the first;
But this with envy makes me burst.

Thus much may serve by way of proem;
Proceed we therefore to our poem.

The time is not remote when I
Must by the course of nature die;
When, I foresee, my special friends
Will try to find their private ends:
And, though 'tis hardly understood
Which way my death can do them good,
Yet thus, methinks, I hear them speak:
'See how the Dean begins to break!
Poor gentleman, he droops apace!
You plainly find it in his face.
That old vertigo in his head
Will never leave him, till he's dead.
Besides, his memory decays:
He recollects not what he says;
He cannot call his friends to mind;
Forgets the place where last he dined;
Plies you with stories o'er and o'er;
He told them fifty times before.
How does he fancy we can sit
To hear his out-of-fashion wit?
But he takes up with younger folks,
Who for his wine will bear his jokes.
Faith! he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter:
In half the time he talks them round,
There must another set be found.

'For poetry, he's past his prime:
He takes an hour to find a rhyme;
His fire is out, his wit decayed,
His fancy sunk, his Muse a jade.
I'd have him throw away his pen;--
But there's no talking to some men!'

And then their tenderness appears
By adding largely to my years:
'He's older than he would be reckoned,
And well remembers Charles the Second.
He hardly drinks a pint of wine;
And that, I doubt, is no good sign.
His stomach too begins to fail:
Last year we thought him strong and hale;
But now he's quite another thing:
I wish he may hold out till spring!'
They hug themselves, and reason thus:
'It is not yet so bad with us!'

In such a case, they talk in tropes,
And by their fears express their hopes.
Some great misfortune to portend,
No enemy can match a friend.
With all the kindness they profess,
The merit of a lucky guess
(When daily how-d'ye's come of course,
And servants answer, 'Worse and worse!')
Would please them better, than to tell,
That, 'God be praised, the Dean is well.'
Then he who prophesied the best,
Approves his foresight to the rest:
'You know I always feared the worst,
And often told you so at first.'
He'd rather choose that I should die,
Than his predictions prove a lie.
Not one foretells I shall recover;
But all agree to give me over.

Yet, should some neighbour feel a pain
Just in the parts where I complain;
How many a message would he send!
What hearty prayers that I should mend!
Inquire what regimen I kept;
What gave me ease, and how I slept;
And more lament when I was dead,
Than all the snivellers round my bed.

My good companions, never fear;
For, though you may mistake a year,
Though your prognostics run too fast,
They must be verified at last.

Behold the fatal day arrive!
'How is the Dean?'--'He's just alive.'
Now the departing prayer is read;
He hardly breathes--The Dean is dead.

Before the passing-bell begun,
The news through half the town is run.
'Oh! may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who's his heir?'
'I know no more than what the news is;
'Tis all bequeathed to public uses.'
'To public uses! there's a whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy, avarice, and pride:
He gave it all--but first he died.
And had the Dean, in all the nation,
No worthy friend, no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good,
Forgetting his own flesh and blood!'

Now Grub-Street wits are all employed;
With elegies the town is cloyed:
Some paragraph in every paper,
To curse the Dean, or bless the Drapier.
The doctors, tender of their fame,
Wisely on me lay all the blame.
'We must confess, his case was nice;
But he would never take advice.
Had he been ruled, for aught appears,
He might have lived these twenty years:
For, when we opened him, we found
That all his vital parts were sound.'

From Dublin soon to London spread,
'Tis told at court, 'The Dean is dead.'
And Lady Suffolk, in the spleen,
Runs laughing up to tell the queen.
The queen, so gracious, mild, and good,
Cries, 'Is he gone!'tis time he should.
He's dead, you say; then let him rot.
I'm glad the medals were forgot.
I promised him, I own; but when?
I only was the princess then;
But now, as consort of the king,
You know,'tis quite another thing.'

Now Chartres, at Sir Robert's levee,
Tells with a sneer the tidings heavy:
'Why, if he died without his shoes,'
Cries Bob, 'I'm sorry for the news:
Oh, were the wretch but living still,
And in his place my good friend Will!
Or had a mitre on his head,
Provided Bolingbroke were dead!'

Now Curll his shop from rubbish drains:
Three genuine tomes of Swift's remains!
And then, to make them pass the glibber,
Revised by Tibbalds, Moore, and Cibber.
He'll treat me as he does my betters,
Publish my will, my life, my letters;
Revive the libels born to die:
Which Pope must bear, as well as I.

Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope will grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.

St John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen, and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
'I'm sorry--but we all must die!'

Indifference, clad in Wisdom's guise,
All fortitude of mind supplies:
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt!
When we are lashed, they kiss the rod,
Resigning to the will of God.

The fools, my juniors by a year,
Are tortured with suspense and fear;
Who wisely thought my age a screen,
When death approached, to stand between:
The screen removed, their hearts are trembling;
They mourn for me without dissembling.

My female friends, whose tender hearts
Have better learned to act their parts,
Receive the news in doleful dumps:
'The Dean is dead: (Pray, what is trumps?)
Then, Lord have mercy on his soul!
(Ladies, I'll venture for the vole.)
Six Deans, they say, must bear the pall:
(I wish I knew what king to call.)
Madam, your husband will attend
The funeral of so good a friend.'
'No, madam, 'tis a shocking sight;
And he's engaged to-morrow night:
My Lady Club will take it ill,
If he should fail her at quadrille.
He loved the Dean--(I lead a heart)--
But dearest friends, they say, must part.
His time was come; he ran his race;
We hope he's in a better place.'

Why do we grieve that friends should die?
No loss more easy to supply.
One year is past; a different scene!
No further mention of the Dean,
Who now, alas! no more is missed,
Than if he never did exist.
Where's now the favourite of Apollo?
Departed:--and his works must follow;
Must undergo the common fate;
His kind of wit is out of date.

Some country squire to Lintot goes,
Inquires for Swift in verse and prose.
Says Lintot, 'I have heard the name;
He died a year ago.'--'The same.'
He searches all the shop in vain.
'Sir, you may find them in Duck Lane:
I sent them, with a load of books,
Last Monday, to the pastry-cook's.
To fancy they could live a year!
I find you're but a stranger here.
The Dean was famous in his time,
And had a kind of knack at rhyme.
His way of writing now is past:
The town has got a better taste.
I keep no antiquated stuff;
But spick and span I have enough.
Pray, do but give me leave to show 'em:
Here's Colley Cibber's birthday poem.
This ode you never yet have seen,
By Stephen Duck, upon the queen.
Then here's a letter finely penned
Against the Craftsman and his friend:
It clearly shows that all reflection
On ministers is disaffection.
Next, here's Sir Robert's vindication,
And Mr Henley's last oration.
The hawkers have not got them yet;
Your honour please to buy a set?

'Here's Wolston's tracts, the twelfth edition;
'Tis read by every politician:
The country-members, when in town,
To all their boroughs send them down:
You never met a thing so smart;
The courtiers have them all by heart:
Those maids of honour who can read,
Are taught to use them for their creed.
The reverend author's good intention
Hath been rewarded with a pension:
He doth an honour to his gown,
By bravely running priestcraft down:
He shows, as sure as God's in Gloucester,
That Moses was a grand impostor;
That all his miracles were cheats,
Performed as jugglers do their feats:
The church had never such a writer;
A shame he hath not got a mitre!'

Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.
And while they toss my name about,
With favour some, and some without;
One, quite indifferent in the cause,
My character impartial draws:

'The Dean, if we believe report,
Was never ill received at court,
Although, ironically grave,
He shamed the fool, and lashed the knave;
To steal a hint was never known,
But what he writ was all his own.'

'Sir, I have heard another story;
He was a most confounded Tory,
And grew, or he is much belied,
Extremely dull, before he died.'

'Can we the Drapier then forget?
Is not our nation in his debt?
'Twas he that writ the Drapier's letters!'--

'He should have left them for his betters;
We had a hundred abler men,
Nor need depend upon his pen.--
Say what you will about his reading,
You never can defend his breeding;
Who, in his satires running riot,
Could never leave the world in quiet;
Attacking, when he took the whim,
Court, city, camp,--all one to him.--
But why would he, except he slobbered,
Offend our patriot, great Sir Robert,
Whose counsels aid the sovereign power
To save the nation every hour!
What scenes of evil he unravels
In satires, libels, lying travels,
Not sparing his own clergy cloth,
But eats into it, like a moth!'

'Perhaps I may allow the Dean
Had too much satire in his vein,
And seemed determined not to starve it,
Because no age could more deserve it.
Yet malice never was his aim;
He lashed the vice, but spared the name.

No individual could resent,
Where thousands equally were meant:
His satire points at no defect,
But what all mortals may correct;
For he abhorred the senseless tribe
Who call it humour when they gibe:
He spared a hump or crooked nose,
Whose owners set not up for beaux.
True genuine dulness moved his pity,
Unless it offered to be witty.
Those who their ignorance confessed
He ne'er offended with a jest;
But laughed to hear an idiot quote
A verse from Horace learned by rote.
Vice, if it e'er can be abashed,
Must be or ridiculed, or lashed.
If you resent it, who's to blame?
He neither knows you, nor your name.
Should vice expect to 'scape rebuke,
Because its owner is a dukel?
His friendships, still to few confined,
Were always of the middling kind;
No fools of rank, or mongrel breed,
Who fain would pass for lords indeed:
Where titles give no right or power,
And peerage is a withered flower;
He would have deemed it a disgrace,
If such a wretch had known his face.
On rural squires, that kingdom's bane,
He vented oft his wrath in vain:
* * * * * * * squires to market brought,
Who sell their souls and * * * * for nought.
The * * * * * * * * go joyful back,
To rob the church, their tenants rack;
Go snacks with * * * * * justices,
And keep the peace to pick up fees;
In every job to have a share,
A gaol or turnpike to repair;
And turn * * * * * * * to public roads
Commodious to their own abodes.

'He never thought an honour done him,
Because a peer was proud to own him;
Would rather slip aside, and choose
To talk with wits in dirty shoes;
And scorn the tools with stars and garters,
So often seen caressing Chartres.
He never courted men in station,
Nor persons held in admiration;
Of no man's greatness was afraid,
Because he sought for no man's aid.
Though trusted long in great affairs,
He gave himself no haughty airs:
Without regarding private ends,
Spent all his credit for his friends;
And only chose the wise and good;
No flatterers; no allies in blood:
But succoured virtue in distress,
And seldom failed of good success;
As numbers in their hearts must own,
Who, but for him, had been unknown.

'He kept with princes due decorum;
Yet never stood in awe before 'em.
He followed David's lesson just,
In princes never put his trust:
And, would you make him truly sour,
Provoke him with a slave in power.
The Irish senate if you named,
With what impatience he declaimed!
Fair LIBERTY was all his cry;
For her he stood prepared to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft exposed his own.
Two kingdoms, just as faction led,
Had set a price upon his head;
But not a traitor could be found,
To sell him for six hundred pound.

'Had he but spared his tongue and pen,
He might have rose like other men:
But power was never in his thought,
And wealth he valued not a groat:
Ingratitude he often found,
And pitied those who meant to wound;
But kept the tenor of his mind,
To merit well of human-kind;
Nor made a sacrifice of those
Who still were true, to please his foes.
He laboured many a fruitless hour,
To reconcile his friends in power;
Saw mischief by a faction brewing,
While they pursued each other's ruin.
But, finding vain was all his care,
He left the court in mere despair.

'And, oh! how short are human schemes!
Here ended all our golden dreams.
What St John's skill in state affairs,
What Ormond's valour, Oxford's cares,
To save their sinking country lent,
Was all destroyed by one event.
Too soon that precious life was ended,
On which alone our weal depended.
When up a dangerous faction starts,
With wrath and vengeance in their hearts;
By solemn league and covenant bound,
To ruin, slaughter, and confound;
To turn religion to a fable,
And make the government a Babel;
Pervert the laws, disgrace the gown,
Corrupt the senate, rob the crown;
To sacrifice old England's glory,
And make her infamous in story:
When such a tempest shook the land,
How could unguarded virtue stand!

'With horror, grief, despair, the Dean
Beheld the dire destructive scene:
His friends in exile, or the Tower,
Himself within the frown of power;
Pursued by base envenomed pens,
Far to the land of S---- and fens;
A servile race in folly nursed,
Who truckle most, when treated worst.

'By innocence and resolution,
He bore continual persecution;
While numbers to preferment rose,
Whose merit was to be his foes;
When even his own familiar friends,
Intent upon their private ends,
Like renegadoes now he feels,
Against him lifting up their heels.

'The Dean did, by his pen, defeat
An infamous destructive cheat;
Taught fools their interest how to know,
And gave them arms to ward the blow.
Envy hath owned it was his doing,
To save that hapless land from ruin;
While they who at the steerage stood,
And reaped the profit, sought his blood.

'To save them from their evil fate,
In him was held a crime of state.
A wicked monster on the bench,
Whose fury blood could never quench;
As vile and profligate a villain,
As modern Scroggs, or old Tressilian;
Who long all justice had discarded,
Nor feared he God, nor man regarded;
Vowed on the Dean his rage to vent,
And make him of his zeal repent:
But Heaven his innocence defends,
The grateful people stand his friends;
Not strains of law, nor judges' frown,
Nor topics brought to please the crown,
Nor witness hired, nor jury picked,
Prevail to bring him in convict.

'In exile, with a steady heart,
He spent his life's declining part;
Where folly, pride, and faction sway,
Remote from St John, Pope, and Gay.'

'Alas, poor Dean! his only scope
Was to be held a misanthrope.
This into general odium drew him,
Which if he liked, much good may't do him.
His zeal was not to lash our crimes,
But discontent against the times:
For, had we made him timely offers
To raise his post, or fill his coffers,
Perhaps he might have truckled down,
Like other brethren of his gown;
For party he would scarce have bled:--
I say no more--because he's dead.--
What writings has he left behind?'

'I hear they're of a different kind:
A few in verse; but most in prose--'

'Some high-flown pamphlets, I suppose:--
All scribbled in the worst of times,
To palliate his friend Oxford's crimes;
To praise Queen Anne, nay more, defend her,
As never favouring the Pretender:
Or libels yet concealed from sight,
Against the court to show his spite:
Perhaps his travels, part the third;
A lie at every second word--
Offensive to a loyal ear:--
But--not one sermon, you may swear.'

'He knew an hundred pleasing stories,
With all the turns of Whigs and Tories:
Was cheerful to his dying-day;
And friends would let him have his way.

'As for his works in verse or prose,
I own myself no judge of those.
Nor can I tell what critics thought them;
But this I know, all people bought them,
As with a moral view designed,
To please and to reform mankind:
And, if he often missed his aim,
The world must own it to their shame,
The praise is his, and theirs the blame.
He gave the little wealth he had
To build a house for fools and mad;
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much.
That kingdom he hath left his debtor,
I wish it soon may have a better.
And, since you dread no further lashes,
Methinks you may forgive his ashes.'


As I stroll the city, oft I
See a building large and lofty,
Not a bow-shot from the college;
Half the globe from sense and knowledge:
By the prudent architect,
Placed against the church direct,
Making good thy grandame's jest,
'Near the church'--you know the rest.

Tell us what the pile contains?
Many a head that holds no brains.
These demoniacs let me dub
With the name of Legion-Club.
Such assemblies, you might swear,
Meet when butchers bait a bear;
Such a noise, and such haranguing,
When a brother thief is hanging:
Such a rout and such a rabble
Run to hear Jack-pudden gabble;
Such a crowd their ordure throws
On a far less villain's nose.

Could I from the building's top
Hear the rattling thunder drop,
While the devil upon the roof
(If the devil be thunder-proof)
Should with poker fiery red
Crack the stones, and melt the lead;
Drive them down on every skull,
While the den of thieves is full;
Quite destroy the harpies' nest;
How might then our isle be blest!
For divines allow that God
Sometimes makes the devil his rod;
And the gospel will inform us,
He can punish sins enormous.

Yet should Swift endow the schools,
For his lunatics and fools,
With a rood or two of land,
I allow the pile may stand.
You perhaps will ask me, Why so?
But it is with this proviso:
Since the house is like to last,
Let the royal grant be passed,
That the club have right to dwell
Each within his proper cell,
With a passage left to creep in,
And a hole above for peeping.
Let them when they once get in,
Sell the nation for a pin;
While they sit a-picking straws,
Let them rave at making laws;
While they never hold their tongue,
Let them dabble in their dung;
Let them form a grand committee,
How to plague and starve the city;
Let them stare, and storm, and frown,
When they see a clergy gown;
Let them, ere they crack a louse,
Call for the orders of the house;
Let them, with their gosling quills,
Scribble senseless heads of bills.
We may, while they strain their throats,
Wipe our a--s with their votes.
Let Sir Tom[1] that rampant ass,
Stuff his guts with flax and grass;
But, before the priest he fleeces,
Tear the Bible all to pieces:
At the parsons, Tom, halloo, boy,
Worthy offspring of a shoe-boy,
Footman, traitor, vile seducer,
Perjured rebel, bribed accuser,
Lay thy privilege aside,
Sprung from Papist regicide;
Fall a-working like a mole,
Raise the dirt about your hole.

Come, assist me, muse obedient!
Let us try some new expedient;
Shift the scene for half an hour,
Time and place are in thy power.
Thither, gentle muse, conduct me;
I shall ask, and you instruct me.

See the muse unbars the gate!
Hark, the monkeys, how they prate!

All ye gods who rule the soul!
Styx, through hell whose waters roll!
Let me be allowed to tell
What I heard in yonder cell.

Near the door an entrance gapes,
Crowded round with antic shapes,
Poverty, and Grief, and Care,
Causeless Joy, and true Despair;
Discord periwigged with snakes,
See the dreadful strides she takes!

By this odious crew beset,
I began to rage and fret,
And resolved to break their pates,
Ere we entered at the gates;
Had not Clio in the nick
Whispered me, 'Lay down your stick.'
What, said I, is this the mad-house?
These, she answered, are but shadows,
Phantoms bodiless and vain,
Empty visions of the brain.'

In the porch Briareus stands,
Shows a bribe in all his hands;
Briareus, the secretary,
But we mortals call him Carey.
When the rogues their country fleece,
They may hope for pence a-piece.

Clio, who had been so wise
To put on a fool's disguise,
To bespeak some approbation,
And be thought a near relation,
When she saw three hundred brutes
All involved in wild disputes,
Roaring till their lungs were spent,
'Privilege of Parliament.'
Now a new misfortune feels,
Dreading to be laid by the heels.
Never durst the muse before
Enter that infernal door;
Clio, stifled with the smell,
Into spleen and vapours fell,
By the Stygian steams that flew
From the dire infectious crew.
Not the stench of Lake Avernus
Could have more offended her nose;
Had she flown but o'er the top,
She had felt her pinions drop,
And by exhalations dire,
Though a goddess, must expire.
In a fright she crept away;
Bravely I resolved to stay.

When I saw the keeper frown,
Tipping him with half-a-crown,
Now, said I, we are alone,
Name your heroes one by one.

Who is that hell-featured brawler?
Is it Satan? No,'tis Waller.
In what figure can a bard dress
Jack the grandson of Sir Hardress?
Honest keeper, drive him further,
In his looks are hell and murther;
See the scowling visage drop,
Just as when he murdered T----p.
Keeper, show me where to fix
On the puppy pair of Dicks;
By their lantern jaws and leathern,
You might swear they both are brethren:
Dick Fitzbaker, Dick the player,
Old acquaintance, are you there?
Dear companions, hug and kiss,
Toast Old Glorious in your piss:
Tie them, keeper, in a tether,
Let them starve and stink together;
Both are apt to be unruly,
Lash them daily, lash them duly;
Though 'tis hopeless to reclaim them,
Scorpion rods perhaps may tame them.

Keeper, yon old dotard smoke,
Sweetly snoring in his cloak;
Who is he? 'Tis humdrum Wynne,
Half encompassed by his kin:
There observe the tribe of Bingham,
For he never fails to bring 'em;
While he sleeps the whole debate,
They submissive round him wait;
Yet would gladly see the hunks
In his grave, and search his trunks.
See, they gently twitch his coat,
Just to yawn and give his vote,
Always firm in his vocation,
For the court, against the nation.

Those are A----s Jack and Bob,
First in every wicked job,
Son and brother to a queer
Brain-sick brute, they call a peer.
We must give them better quarter,
For their ancestor trod mortar,
And at H----th, to boast his fame,
On a chimney cut his name.

There sit Clements, D----ks, and Harrison,
How they swagger from their garrison!
Such a triplet could you tell
Where to find on this side hell?
Harrison, D----ks, and Clements,
Keeper, see they have their payments;
Every mischief's in their hearts;
If they fail, 'tis want of parts.

Bless us, Morgan! art thou there, man!
Bless mine eyes! art thou the chairman!
Chairman to yon damned committee!
Yet I look on thee with pity.
Dreadful sight! what! learned Morgan
Metamorphosed to a Gorgon?
For thy horrid looks I own,
Half convert me to a stone,
Hast thou been so long at school,
Now to turn a factious tool?
Alma Mater was thy mother,
Every young divine thy brother.
Thou a disobedient varlet,
Treat thy mother like a harlot!
Thou ungrateful to thy teachers,
Who are all grown reverend preachers!
Morgan, would it not surprise one!
Turn thy nourishment to poison!
When you walk among your books,
They reproach you with your looks.
Bind them fast, or from their shelves
They will come and right themselves;
Homer, Plutarch, Virgil, Flaccus,
All in arms prepare to back us.
Soon repent, or put to slaughter
Every Greek and Roman author.
Will you, in your faction's phrase,
Send the clergy all to graze,
And, to make your project pass,
Leave them not a blade of grass?
How I want thee, humorous Hogarth!
Thou, I hear, a pleasing rogue art,
Were but you and I acquainted,
Every monster should be painted:
You should try your graving-tools
On this odious group of fools:
Draw the beasts as I describe them
From their features, while I gibe them;
Draw them like; for I assure you,
You will need no _car'catura;_
Draw them so, that we may trace
All the soul in every face.
Keeper, I must now retire,
You have done what I desire:
But I feel my spirits spent
With the noise, the sight, the scent.

'Pray be patient; you shall find
Half the best are still behind:
You have hardly seen a score;
I can show two hundred more.'
Keeper, I have seen enough.--
Taking then a pinch of snuff,
I concluded, looking round them,
'May their god, the devil, confound them.
Take them, Satan, as your due,
All except the Fifty-two.'

[1] 'Sir Tom:' Sir Thomas Prendergrast, a privy councillor.


We feel relieved, and so doubtless do our readers, in passing from the
dark tragic story of Swift, and his dubious and unhappy character, to
contemplate the useful career of a much smaller, but a much better man,
Isaac Watts. This admirable person was born at Southampton on the 17th
of July 1674. His father, of the same name, kept a boarding-school for
young gentlemen, and was a man of intelligence and piety. Isaac was the
eldest of nine children, and began early to display precocity of genius.
At four he commenced to study Latin at home, and afterwards, under one
Pinhorn, a clergyman, who kept the free-school at Southampton, he
learned Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. A subscription was proposed for
sending him to one of the great universities, but he preferred casting
in his lot with the Dissenters. He repaired accordingly, in 1690, to
an academy kept by the Rev. Thomas Rowe, whose son, we believe, became
the husband of the celebrated Elizabeth Rowe, the once popular author
of 'Letters from the Dead to the Living.' The Rowes belonged to the
Independent body. At this academy Watts began to write poetry, chiefly
in the Latin language, and in the then popular Pindaric measure. At the
age of twenty, he returned to his father's house, and spent two quiet
years in devotion, meditation, and study. He became next a tutor in the
family of Sir John Hartopp for five years. He was afterwards chosen
assistant to Dr Chauncey, and, after the Doctor's death, became his
successor. His health, however, failed, and, after getting an assistant
for a while, he was compelled to resign. In 1712, Sir Thomas Abney, a
benevolent gentleman of the neighbourhood, received Watts into his
house, where he continued during the rest of his life--all his wants
attended to, and his feeble frame so tenderly cared for that he lived
to the age of seventy-five. Sir Thomas died eight years after Dr Watts
entered his establishment, but the widow and daughters continued
unwearied in their attentions. Abney House was a mansion surrounded by
fine gardens and pleasure-grounds, where the Doctor became thoroughly
at home, and was wont to refresh his body and mind in the intervals
of study. He preached regularly to a congregation, and in the pulpit,
although his stature was low, not exceeding five feet, the excellence
of his matter, the easy flow of his language, and the propriety of his
pronunciation, rendered him very popular. In private he was exceedingly
kind to the poor and to children, giving to the former a third part
of his small income of £100 a-year, and writing for the other his
inimitable hymns. Besides these, he published a well-known treatise
on Logic, another on 'The Improvement of the Mind,' besides various
theological productions, amongst which his 'World to Come' has been
preeminently popular. In 1728, he received from Edinburgh and Aberdeen
an unsolicited diploma of Doctor of Divinity. As age advanced, he found
himself unable to discharge his ministerial duties, and offered to remit
his salary, but his congregation refused to accept his demission. On the
25th November 1748, quite worn out, but without suffering, this able and
worthy man expired.

If to be eminently useful is to fulfil the highest purpose of humanity,
it was certainly fulfilled by Isaac Watts. His logical and other
treatises have served to brace the intellects, methodise the studies,
and concentrate the activities of thousands--we had nearly said of
millions of minds. This has given him an enviable distinction, but he
shone still more in that other province he so felicitously chose and
so successfully occupied--that of the hearts of the young. One of his
detractors called him 'Mother Watts.' He might have taken up this
epithet, and bound it as a crown unto him. We have heard of a pious
foreigner, possessed of imperfect English, who, in an agony of
supplication to God for some sick friend, said, 'O Fader, hear me!
O Mudder, hear me!' It struck us as one of the finest of stories, and
containing one of the most beautiful tributes to the Deity we ever
heard, recognising in Him a pity which not even a father, which only
a mother can feel. Like a tender mother does good Watts bend over the
little children, and secure that their first words of song shall be
those of simple, heartfelt trust in God, and of faith in their Elder
Brother. To create a little heaven in the nursery by hymns, and these
not mawkish or twaddling, but beautifully natural and exquisitely simple
breathings of piety and praise, was the high task to which Watts
consecrated, and by which he has immortalised, his genius.


1 Stay, mighty Love, and teach my song,
To whom thy sweetest joys belong,
And who the happy pairs,
Whose yielding hearts, and joining hands,
Find blessings twisted with their bands,
To soften all their cares.

2 Not the wild herds of nymphs and swains
That thoughtless fly into thy chains,
As custom leads the way:
If there be bliss without design,
Ivies and oaks may grow and twine,
And be as blest as they.

3 Not sordid souls of earthly mould
Who, drawn by kindred charms of gold,
To dull embraces move:
So two rich mountains of Peru
May rush to wealthy marriage too,
And make a world of love.

4 Not the mad tribe that hell inspires
With wanton flames; those raging fires
The purer bliss destroy:
On Aetna's top let furies wed,
And sheets of lightning dress the bed,
To improve the burning joy.

5 Nor the dull pairs whose marble forms
None of the melting passions warms
Can mingle hearts and hands:
Logs of green wood that quench the coals
Are married just like stoic souls,
With osiers for their bands.

6 Not minds of melancholy strain,
Still silent, or that still complain,
Can the dear bondage bless:
As well may heavenly concerts spring
From two old lutes with ne'er a string,
Or none besides the bass.

7 Nor can the soft enchantments hold
Two jarring souls of angry mould,
The rugged and the keen:
Samson's young foxes might as well
In bonds of cheerful wedlock dwell,
With firebrands tied between.

8 Nor let the cruel fetters bind
A gentle to a savage mind,
For love abhors the sight:
Loose the fierce tiger from the deer,
For native rage and native fear
Rise and forbid delight.

9 Two kindest souls alone must meet;
'Tis friendship makes the bondage sweet,
And feeds their mutual loves:
Bright Venus on her rolling throne
Is drawn by gentlest birds alone,
And Cupids yoke the doves.


1 'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain,
'You have waked me too soon, I must slumber again.'
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
Turns his sides, and his shoulders, and his heavy head.

2 'A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;'
Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number;
And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.

3 I passed by his garden, and saw the wild brier,
The thorn and thistle grew broader and higher;
The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags,
And his money still wastes till he starves or he begs.

4 I made him a visit, still hoping to find
He had took better care for improving his mind;
He told me his dreams, talked of eating and drinking,
But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking.

5 Said I then to my heart, 'Here's a lesson for me:
That man's but a picture of what I might be;
But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
Who taught me betimes to love working and reading.'


1 How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower!
The glory of April and May!
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.

2 Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field:
When its leaves are all dead, and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!

3 So frail is the youth and the beauty of men,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose:
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain;
Time kills them as fast as he goes.

4 Then I'll not be proud of my youth or my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade:
But gain a good name by well doing my duty;
This will scent, like a rose, when I'm dead.


1 Hush! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

2 Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

3 How much better thou'rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven he descended,
And became a child like thee!

4 Soft and easy in thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When his birthplace was a stable,
And his softest bed was hay.

5 Blessed babe! what glorious features,
Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must he dwell with brutal creatures?
How could angels bear the sight?

6 Was there nothing but a manger
Cursed sinners could afford,
To receive the heavenly Stranger!
Did they thus affront their Lord?

7 Soft, my child, I did not chide thee,
Though my song might sound too hard;
This thy { mother[1] } sits beside thee,
{ nurse that }
And her arms shall be thy guard.

8 Yet to read the shameful story,
How the Jews abused their King,
How they served the Lord of glory,
Makes me angry while I sing.

9 See the kinder shepherds round him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought him, where they found him,
With his virgin mother by.

10 See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how he smiled!
When he wept, the mother's blessing
Soothed and hushed the holy child.

11 Lo! he slumbers in his manger,
Where the horned oxen fed:
Peace, my darling, here's no danger,
Here's no ox a-near thy bed.

12 'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,
Save my dear from burning flame,
Bitter groans, and endless crying,
That thy blest Redeemer came.

13 Mayst thou live to know and fear him,
Trust and love him, all thy days;
Then go dwell for ever near him,
See his face, and sing his praise!

14 I could give thee thousand kisses,
Hoping what I most desire;
Not a mother's fondest wishes
Can to greater joys aspire.

[1] Here you may use the words, brother, sister, neighbour, friend.


The beauty of my native land
Immortal love inspires;
I burn, I burn with strong desires,
And sigh and wait the high command.
There glides the moon her shining way,
And shoots my heart through with a silver ray.
Upward my heart aspires:
A thousand lamps of golden light,
Hung high in vaulted azure, charm my sight,
And wink and beckon with their amorous fires.
O ye fair glories of my heavenly home,
Bright sentinels who guard my Father's court,
Where all the happy minds resort!
When will my Father's chariot come?
Must ye for ever walk the ethereal round,
For ever see the mourner lie
An exile of the sky,
A prisoner of the ground?
Descend, some shining servants from on high,
Build me a hasty tomb;
A grassy turf will raise my head;
The neighbouring lilies dress my bed,
And shed a sweet perfume.
Here I put off the chains of death,
My soul too long has worn:
Friends, I forbid one groaning breath,
Or tear to wet my urn.
Raphael, behold me all undressed;
Here gently lay this flesh to rest,
Then mount and lead the path unknown.
Swift I pursue thee, flaming guide, on pinions of my own.


Great man, permit the muse to climb,
And seat her at thy feet;
Bid her attempt a thought sublime,
And consecrate her wit.
I feel, I feel the attractive force
Of thy superior soul:
My chariot flies her upward course,
The wheels divinely roll.
Now let me chide the mean affairs
And mighty toil of men:
How they grow gray in trifling cares,
Or waste the motion of the spheres
Upon delights as vain!
A puff of honour fills the mind,
And yellow dust is solid good;

Thus, like the ass of savage kind,
We snuff the breezes of the wind,
Or steal the serpent's food.
Could all the choirs
That charm the poles
But strike one doleful sound,
'Twould be employed to mourn our souls,
Souls that were framed of sprightly fires,
In floods of folly drowned.
Souls made for glory seek a brutal joy;
How they disclaim their heavenly birth,
Melt their bright substance down to drossy earth,
And hate to be refined from that impure alloy.

Oft has thy genius roused us hence
With elevated song,
Bid us renounce this world of sense,
Bid us divide the immortal prize
With the seraphic throng:
'Knowledge and love make spirits blest,
Knowledge their food, and love their rest;'
But flesh, the unmanageable beast,
Resists the pity of thine eyes,
And music of thy tongue.
Then let the worms of grovelling mind
Round the short joys of earthly kind
In restless windings roam;
Howe hath an ample orb of soul,
Where shining worlds of knowledge roll,
Where love, the centre and the pole,
Completes the heaven at home.


This gentleman--remembered now chiefly as Pope's temporary rival--was
born in 1671, in Leicestershire; studied at Cambridge; and, being
a great Whig, was appointed by the government of George I. to be
Commissioner of the Collieries, and afterwards to some lucrative
appointments in Ireland. He was also made one of the Commissioners of
the Lottery. He was elected member for Armagh in the Irish House of
Commons. He returned home in 1748, and died the next year in his
lodgings at Vauxhall.

His works are 'The Distressed Mother,' a tragedy translated from Racine,
and greatly praised in the _Spectator_; two deservedly forgotten plays,
'The Briton,' and 'Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester;' some miscellaneous
pieces, of which an epistle to the Earl of Dorset, dated Copenhagen, has
some very vivid lines; his Pastorals, which were commended by Tickell at
the expense of those of Pope, who took his revenge by damning them, not
with 'faint' but with fulsome and ironical praise, in the _Guardian_;
and the subjoined fragment from Sappho, which is, particularly in the
first stanza, melody itself. Some conjecture that it was touched up by


1 Blessed as the immortal gods is he,
The youth who fondly sits by thee,
And hears and sees thee all the while
Softly speak, and sweetly smile.

2 'Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
And raised such tumults in my breast;
For while I gazed, in transport tossed,
My breath was gone, my voice was lost.

3 My bosom glowed: the subtle flame
Ran quickly through my vital frame;
O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung,
My ears with hollow murmurs rung.

4 In dewy damps my limbs were chilled,
My blood with gentle horrors thrilled;
My feeble pulse forgot to play,
I fainted, sunk, and died away.


William Hamilton, of Bangour, was born in Ayrshire in 1704. He was of
an ancient family, and mingled from the first in the most fashionable
circles. Ere he was twenty he wrote verses in Ramsay's 'Tea-Table
Miscellany.' In 1745, to the surprise of many, he joined the standard
of Prince Charles, and wrote a poem on the battle of Gladsmuir, or
Prestonpans. When the reverse of his party came, after many wanderings


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