Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Vol. 3
Part 5 out of 7
And dim our dolefu' days wi' bairnly fear;
The mind's aye cradled whan the grave is near.
9 Yet Thrift, industrious, bides her latest days,
Though Age her sair-dow'd front wi' runcles wave;
Yet frae the russet lap the spindle plays;
Her e'enin stent reels she as weel's the lave.
On some feast-day, the wee things buskit braw,
Shall heese her heart up wi' a silent joy,
Fu' cadgie that her head was up an' saw
Her ain spun cleedin' on a darlin' oy;
Careless though death should mak the feast her foy.
10 In its auld lerroch yet the deas remains,
Where the gudeman aft streeks him at his ease;
A warm and canny lean for weary banes
O' labourers doylt upo' the wintry leas.
Round him will baudrins an' the collie come,
To wag their tail, and cast a thankfu' ee,
To him wha kindly flings them mony a crumb
O' kebbuck whang'd, an' dainty fadge to prie;
This a' the boon they crave, an' a' the fee.
11 Frae him the lads their mornin' counsel tak:
What stacks he wants to thrash; what rigs to till;
How big a birn maun lie on bassie's back,
For meal an' mu'ter to the thirlin' mill.
Neist, the gudewife her hirelin' damsels bids
Glower through the byre, an' see the hawkies bound;
Tak tent, case Crummy tak her wonted tids,
An' ca' the laiglen's treasure on the ground;
Whilk spills a kebbuck nice, or yellow pound.
12 Then a' the house for sleep begin to green,
Their joints to slack frae industry a while;
The leaden god fa's heavy on their een,
An hafflins steeks them frae their daily toil:
The cruizy, too, can only blink and bleer;
The reistit ingle's done the maist it dow;
Tacksman an' cottar eke to bed maun steer,
Upo' the cod to clear their drumly pow,
Till waukened by the dawnin's ruddy glow.
13 Peace to the husbandman, an' a' his tribe,
Whase care fells a' our wants frae year to year!
Lang may his sock and cou'ter turn the gleyb,
An' banks o' corn bend down wi' laded ear!
May Scotia's simmers aye look gay an' green;
Her yellow ha'rsts frae scowry blasts decreed!
May a' her tenants sit fu' snug an' bien,
Frae the hard grip o' ails, and poortith freed;
An' a lang lasting train o' peacefu' hours succeed!
 'Keeks:' peeps.
 'Owsen:' oxen.
 'Sair dung:' fatigued.
 'Steeks:' shuts.
 'Dightin':' winnowing.
 'What bangs fu' leal:' what shuts out most comfortably.
 'Gars:' makes.
 'Fley'd:' frightened.
 'Wi' divots theekit:' thatched with turf.
 'Chimley:' chimney.
 'Smeek:' smoke.
 'Hallan:' the inner wall of a cottage.
 'Cosh:' comfortable.
 'Meltith:' meal.
 'Synd:' drink.
 'Downa:' should not.
 'Girdle:' a flat iron for toasting cakes.
 'Bowie:' beer-barrel.
 'Kail:' broth with greens.
 'Kitchen:' anything eaten with bread.
 'Gabs:' palates.
 'Eident:' assidious.
 'Spae:' fortell.
 'Brulzies:' contests.
 'Gardies:' arms.
 'Yird:' earth.
 'Cracks:' pleasant talk.
 'Bicker:' the cup.
 'gash:' debat.
 'Their mailins' produce hash:' destroy the produce of their farms.
 'The fient a cheep:' not a whimper.
 'Maen:' moan.
 'Rangles:' circles.
 'Gudame's:' grandame.
 'Wirrikow:' scare-crow.
 'Win:' abide.
 'Fleetch:' entice.
 'Tint:' lost.
 'Scowder'd:' scorched.
 'Eild:' age.
 'Bairnly:' childish.
 'Stent:' task.
 'Lave:' the rest.
 'Oy:' grand child.
 'Her foy:' her farewell entertainment.
 'Deas:' bench.
 'Streeks:' stretches.
 'Baudrins:' the cat.
 'Kebbuck:' cheese.
 'Fadge:' loaf.
 'To prie:' to taste.
 'Birn:' burden.
 'Bassie:' the horse.
 'Mu'ter:' the miller's perquisite.
 'Tids:' fits.
 'The laiglen: 'the milk-pail.
 'To green:' to long.
 'The cruizy:' the lamp.
 'Cod:' pillow.
 'Drumly pow:' thick heads.
 'Sock:' ploughshare.
 'Gleyb:' soil.
 'Bien: 'comfortable.
DR WALTER HARTE.
Campbell, in his 'Specimens,' devotes a large portion of space to Dr
Walter Harte, and has quoted profusely from a poem of his entitled
'Eulogius.' We may give some of the best lines here:--
'This spot for dwelling fit Eulogius chose,
And in a month a decent homestall rose,
Something between a cottage and a cell;
Yet virtue here could sleep, and peace could dwell.
'The site was neither granted him nor given;
'Twas Nature's, and the ground-rent due to Heaven.
Wife he had none, nor had he love to spare,--
An aged mother wanted all his care.
They thanked their Maker for a pittance sent,
Supped on a turnip, slept upon content.'
Again, of a neighbouring matron, who died leaving Eulogius money--
'This matron, whitened with good works and age,
Approached the Sabbath of her pilgrimage;
Her spirit to himself the Almighty drew,
_Breathed on the alembic, and exhaled the dew_.'
And once more--
'Who but Eulogius now exults for joy?
New thoughts, new hopes, new views his mind employ;
Pride pushed forth buds at every branching shoot,
And virtue shrank almost beneath the root.
High raised on fortune's hill, new Alps he spies,
O'ershoots the valley which beneath him lies,
Forgets the depths between, and travels with his eyes.'
Hampton in Middlesex was the birthplace of our next poet, Edward Lovibond.
He was a gentleman of fortune, who chiefly employed his time in rural
occupations. He became a director of the East India Company. He helped his
friend Moore in conducting the periodical called _The World_, to which he
contributed several papers, including the very pleasing poem entitled
'The Tears of Old May-Day.' He died in 1775.
THE TEARS OF OLD MAY-DAY.
WRITTEN ON THE REFORMATION OF THE CALENDAR IN 1754.
1 Led by the jocund train of vernal hours
And vernal airs, uprose the gentle May;
Blushing she rose, and blushing rose the flowers
That sprung spontaneous in her genial ray.
2 Her locks with heaven's ambrosial dews were bright,
And amorous zephyrs fluttered on her breast:
With every shifting gleam of morning light,
The colours shifted of her rainbow vest.
3 Imperial ensigns graced her smiling form,
A golden key and golden wand she bore;
This charms to peace each sullen eastern storm,
And that unlocks the summer's copious store.
4 Onward in conscious majesty she came,
The grateful honours of mankind to taste:
To gather fairest wreaths of future fame,
And blend fresh triumphs with her glories past.
5 Vain hope! no more in choral bands unite
Her virgin votaries, and at early dawn,
Sacred to May and love's mysterious rite,
Brush the light dew-drops from the spangled lawn.
6 To her no more Augusta's wealthy pride
Pours the full tribute from Potosi's mine:
Nor fresh-blown garlands village maids provide,
A purer offering at her rustic shrine.
7 No more the Maypole's verdant height around
To valour's games the ambitious youth advance;
No merry bells and tabor's sprightlier sound
Wake the loud carol, and the sportive dance.
8 Sudden in pensive sadness drooped her head,
Faint on her cheeks the blushing crimson died--
'O chaste victorious triumphs! whither fled?
My maiden honours, whither gone?' she cried.
9 Ah! once to fame and bright dominion born,
The earth and smiling ocean saw me rise,
With time coeval and the star of morn,
The first, the fairest daughter of the skies.
10 Then, when at Heaven's prolific mandate sprung
The radiant beam of new-created day,
Celestial harps, to airs of triumph strung,
Hailed the glad dawn, and angels called me May.
11 Space in her empty regions heard the sound,
And hills, and dales, and rocks, and valleys rung;
The sun exulted in his glorious round,
And shouting planets in their courses sung.
12 For ever then I led the constant year;
Saw youth, and joy, and love's enchanting wiles;
Saw the mild graces in my train appear,
And infant beauty brighten in my smiles.
13 No winter frowned. In sweet embrace allied,
Three sister seasons danced the eternal green;
And Spring's retiring softness gently vied
With Autumn's blush, and Summer's lofty mien.
14 Too soon, when man profaned the blessings given,
And vengeance armed to blot a guilty age,
With bright Astrea to my native heaven
I fled, and flying saw the deluge rage;
15 Saw bursting clouds eclipse the noontide beams,
While sounding billows from the mountains rolled,
With bitter waves polluting all my streams,
My nectared streams, that flowed on sands of gold.
16 Then vanished many a sea-girt isle and grove,
Their forests floating on the watery plain:
Then, famed for arts and laws derived from Jove,
My Atalantis sunk beneath the main.
17 No longer bloomed primeval Eden's bowers,
Nor guardian dragons watched the Hesperian steep:
With all their fountains, fragrant fruits and flowers,
Torn from the continent to glut the deep.
18 No more to dwell in sylvan scenes I deigned,
Yet oft descending to the languid earth,
With quickening powers the fainting mass sustained,
And waked her slumbering atoms into birth.
19 And every echo taught my raptured name,
And every virgin breathed her amorous vows,
And precious wreaths of rich immortal fame,
Showered by the Muses, crowned my lofty brows.
20 But chief in Europe, and in Europe's pride,
My Albion's favoured realms, I rose adored;
And poured my wealth, to other climes denied;
From Amalthea's horn with plenty stored.
21 Ah me! for now a younger rival claims
My ravished honours, and to her belong
My choral dances, and victorious games,
To her my garlands and triumphal song.
22 O say what yet untasted beauties flow,
What purer joys await her gentler reign?
Do lilies fairer, violets sweeter blow?
And warbles Philomel a softer strain?
23 Do morning suns in ruddier glory rise?
Does evening fan her with serener gales?
Do clouds drop fatness from the wealthier skies,
Or wantons plenty in her happier vales?
24 Ah! no: the blunted beams of dawning light
Skirt the pale orient with uncertain day;
And Cynthia, riding on the car of night,
Through clouds embattled faintly wings her way.
25 Pale, immature, the blighted verdure springs,
Nor mounting juices feed the swelling flower;
Mute all the groves, nor Philomela sings
When silence listens at the midnight hour.
26 Nor wonder, man, that Nature's bashful face,
And opening charms, her rude embraces fear:
Is she not sprung from April's wayward race,
The sickly daughter of the unripened year?
27 With showers and sunshine in her fickle eyes,
With hollow smiles proclaiming treacherous peace,
With blushes, harbouring, in their thin disguise,
The blasts that riot on the Spring's increase?
28 Is this the fair invested with my spoil
By Europe's laws, and senates' stern command?
Ungenerous Europe! let me fly thy soil,
And waft my treasures to a grateful land;
29 Again revive, on Asia's drooping shore,
My Daphne's groves, or Lycia's ancient plain;
Again to Afric's sultry sands restore
Embowering shades, and Lybian Ammon's fane:
30 Or haste to northern Zembla's savage coast,
There hush to silence elemental strife;
Brood o'er the regions of eternal frost,
And swell her barren womb with heat and life.
31 Then Britain--Here she ceased. Indignant grief,
And parting pangs, her faltering tongue suppressed:
Veiled in an amber cloud she sought relief,
And tears and silent anguish told the rest.
This 'learned and jovial parson,' as Campbell calls him, was born in 1721,
in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge, and became curate at Croydon, in
Surrey. Here he obtained the friendship of Archbishop Herring, and was by
him appointed vicar of Orpington in Kent, a situation which he ultimately
exchanged for the rectory of Hayes, in the same county. He translated
various minor Greek poets, including Anacreon, Sappho, Bion and Moschus,
Theocritus, &c. He died in 1777. His 'Brown Jug' breathes some of the
spirit of the first of these writers, and two or three lines of it were
once quoted triumphantly in Parliament by Sheil, while charging Peel, we
think it was, with appropriating arguments from Bishop Philpotts--'Harry
'Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
Was once Toby Philpotts,' &c.
THE BROWN JUG.
1 Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale,
(In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the Vale,)
Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul
As e'er drank a bottle, or fathomed a bowl;
In boosing about 'twas his praise to excel,
And among jolly topers lie bore off the bell.
2 It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease
In his flower-woven arbour as gay as you please,
With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away,
And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay,
His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut,
And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt.
3 His body, when long in the ground it had lain,
And time into clay had resolved it again,
A potter found out in its covert so snug,
And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug
Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale;
So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the Vale.
This poetical divine was born in 1735, at Kirkby Steven, in Westmoreland.
Left fatherless at four years old, his mother fulfilled her double charge
of duty with great tenderness and assiduity. He was educated at Appleby,
and subsequently became assistant at the free-school of Wakefield, took
deacon's orders, and gave promise, although very young, of becoming a
popular preacher. After various vicissitudes of life and fortune, and
publishing a number of works in prose and verse, Langhorne repaired to
London, and obtained, in 1764, the curacy and lectureship of St John's,
Clerkenwell. He soon afterwards became assistant-preacher in Lincoln's
Inn Chapel, where he had a very intellectual audience to address, and
bore a somewhat trying ordeal with complete success. He continued for a
number of years in London, maintaining his reputation both as a preacher
and writer. His most popular works were the 'Letters of Theodosius and
Constantia,' and a translation of Plutarch's Lives, which Wrangham
afterwards corrected and improved, and which is still standard. He was
twice married, and survived both his wives. He obtained the living of
Blagden in Somersetshire, and in addition to it, in 1777, a prebend in
the Cathedral of Wells. He died in 1779, aged only forty-four; his death,
it is supposed, being accelerated by intemperance, although it does not
seem to have been of a gross or aggravated description. Langhorne, an
amiable man, and highly popular as well as warmly beloved in his day,
survives now in memory chiefly through his Plutarch's Lives, and through
a few lines in his 'Country Justice,' which are immortalised by the well-
known story of Scott's interview with Burns. Campbell puts in a plea
besides for his 'Owen of Carron,' but the plea, being founded on early
reading, is partial, and has not been responded to by the public.
FROM 'THE COUNTRY JUSTICE.'
The social laws from insult to protect,
To cherish peace, to cultivate respect;
The rich from wanton cruelty restrain,
To smooth the bed of penury and pain;
The hapless vagrant to his rest restore,
The maze of fraud, the haunts of theft explore;
The thoughtless maiden, when subdued by art,
To aid, and bring her rover to her heart;
Wild riot's voice with dignity to quell,
Forbid unpeaceful passions to rebel,
Wrest from revenge the meditated harm,
For this fair Justice raised her sacred arm;
For this the rural magistrate, of yore,
Thy honours, Edward, to his mansion bore.
Oft, where old Air in conscious glory sails,
On silver waves that flow through smiling vales;
In Harewood's groves, where long my youth was laid,
Unseen beneath their ancient world of shade;
With many a group of antique columns crowned,
In Gothic guise such, mansion have I found.
Nor lightly deem, ye apes of modern race,
Ye cits that sore bedizen nature's face,
Of the more manly structures here ye view;
They rose for greatness that ye never knew!
Ye reptile cits, that oft have moved my spleen
With Venus and the Graces on your green!
Let Plutus, growling o'er his ill-got wealth,
Let Mercury, the thriving god of stealth,
The shopman, Janus, with his double looks,
Rise on your mounts, and perch upon your books!
But spare my Venus, spare each sister Grace,
Ye cits, that sore bedizen nature's face!
Ye royal architects, whose antic taste
Would lay the realms of sense and nature waste;
Forgot, whenever from her steps ye stray,
That folly only points each other way;
Here, though your eye no courtly creature sees,
Snakes on the ground, or monkeys in the trees;
Yet let not too severe a censure fall
On the plain precincts of the ancient hall.
For though no sight your childish fancy meets,
Of Thibet's dogs, or China's paroquets;
Though apes, asps, lizards, things without a tail,
And all the tribes of foreign monsters fail;
Here shall ye sigh to see, with rust o'ergrown,
The iron griffin and the sphinx of stone;
And mourn, neglected in their waste abodes,
Fire-breathing drakes, and water-spouting gods.
Long have these mighty monsters known disgrace,
Yet still some trophies hold their ancient place;
Where, round the hall, the oak's high surbase rears
The field-day triumphs of two hundred years.
The enormous antlers here recall the day
That saw the forest monarch forced away;
Who, many a flood, and many a mountain passed,
Not finding those, nor deeming these the last,
O'er floods, o'er mountains yet prepared to fly,
Long ere the death-drop filled his failing eye!
Here famed for cunning, and in crimes grown old,
Hangs his gray brush, the felon of the fold.
Oft as the rent-feast swells the midnight cheer,
The maudlin farmer kens him o'er his beer,
And tells his old, traditionary tale,
Though known to every tenant of the vale.
Here, where of old the festal ox has fed,
Marked with his weight, the mighty horns are spread:
Some ox, O Marshall, for a board like thine,
Where the vast master with the vast sirloin
Vied in round magnitude--Respect I bear
To thee, though oft the ruin of the chair.
These, and such antique tokens that record
The manly spirit, and the bounteous board,
Me more delight than all the gewgaw train,
The whims and zigzags of a modern brain,
More than all Asia's marmosets to view,
Grin, frisk, and water in the walks of Kew.
Through these fair valleys, stranger, hast thou strayed,
By any chance, to visit Harewood's shade,
And seen with lionest, antiquated air,
In the plain hall the magistratial chair?
There Herbert sat--The love of human kind,
Pure light of truth, and temperance of mind,
In the free eye the featured soul displayed,
Honour's strong beam, and Mercy's melting shade:
Justice that, in the rigid paths of law,
Would still some drops from Pity's fountain draw,
Bend o'er her urn with many a generous fear,
Ere his firm seal should force one orphan's tear;
Fair equity, and reason scorning art,
And all the sober virtues of the heart--
These sat with Herbert, these shall best avail
Where statutes order, or where statutes fail.
Be this, ye rural magistrates, your plan:
Firm be your justice, but be friends to man.
He whom the mighty master of this ball
We fondly deem, or farcically call,
To own the patriarch's truth, however loth,
Holds but a mansion crushed before the moth.
Frail in his genius, in his heart too frail,
Born but to err, and erring to bewail,
Shalt thou his faults with eye severe explore,
And give to life one human weakness more?
Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed;
Still mark the strong temptation and the need:
On pressing want, on famine's powerful call,
At least more lenient let thy justice fall.
For him who, lost to every hope of life,
Has long with fortune held unequal strife,
Known to no human love, no human care,
The friendless, homeless object of despair;
For the poor vagrant feel, while he complains,
Nor from sad freedom send to sadder chains.
Alike, if folly or misfortune brought
Those last of woes his evil days have wrought;
Believe with social mercy and with me,
Folly's misfortune in the first degree.
Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
The houseless wretch a widowed parent bore;
Who then, no more by golden prospects led,
Of the poor Indian begged a leafy bed.
Cold on Canadian hills, or Minden's plain,
Perhaps that parent mourned her soldier slain;
Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolved in dew,
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew,
Gave the sad presage of his future years,
The child of misery, baptized in tears!
FROM THE SAME.
The gipsy-race my pity rarely move;
Yet their strong thirst of liberty I love:
Not Wilkes, our Freedom's holy martyr, more;
Nor his firm phalanx of the common shore.
For this in Norwood's patrimonial groves
The tawny father with his offspring roves;
When summer suns lead slow the sultry day,
In mossy caves, where welling waters play,
Fanned by each gale that cools the fervid sky,
With this in ragged luxury they lie.
Oft at the sun the dusky elfins strain
The sable eye, then snugging, sleep again;
Oft as the dews of cooler evening fall,
For their prophetic mother's mantle call.
Far other cares that wandering mother wait,
The mouth, and oft the minister of fate!
From her to hear, in evening's friendly shade,
Of future fortune, flies the village-maid,
Draws her long-hoarded copper from its hold,
And rusty halfpence purchase hopes of gold.
But, ah! ye maids, beware the gipsy's lures!
She opens not the womb of time, but yours.
Oft has her hands the hapless Marian wrung,
Marian, whom Gay in sweetest strains has sung!
The parson's maid--sore cause had she to rue
The gipsy's tongue; the parson's daughter too.
Long had that anxious daughter sighed to know
What Vellum's sprucy clerk, the valley's beau,
Meant by those glances which at church he stole,
Her father nodding to the psalm's slow drawl;
Long had she sighed; at length a prophet came,
By many a sure prediction known to fame,
To Marian known, and all she told, for true:
She knew the future, for the past she knew.
A CASE WHERE MERCY SHOULD HAVE MITIGATED JUSTICE.
FROM THE SAME.
Unnumbered objects ask thy honest care,
Beside the orphan's tear, the widow's prayer:
Far as thy power can save, thy bounty bless,
Unnumbered evils call for thy redress.
Seest thou afar yon solitary thorn,
Whose aged limbs the heath's wild winds have torn?
While yet to cheer the homeward shepherd's eye,
A few seem straggling in the evening sky!
Not many suns have hastened down the day,
Or blushing moons immersed in clouds their way,
Since there, a scene that stained their sacred light,
With horror stopped a felon in his flight;
A babe just born that signs of life expressed,
Lay naked o'er the mother's lifeless breast.
The pitying robber, conscious that, pursued,
He had no time to waste, yet stood and viewed;
To the next cot the trembling infant bore,
And gave a part of what he stole before;
Nor known to him the wretches were, nor dear,
He felt as man, and dropped a human tear.
Far other treatment she who breathless lay,
Found from a viler animal of prey.
Worn with long toil on many a painful road,
That toil increased by nature's growing load,
When evening brought the friendly hour of rest,
And all the mother thronged about her breast,
The ruffian officer opposed her stay,
And, cruel, bore her in her pangs away,
So far beyond the town's last limits drove,
That to return were hopeless, had she strove;
Abandoned there, with famine, pain, and cold,
And anguish, she expired,--The rest I've told.
'Now let me swear. For by my soul's last sigh,
That thief shall live, that overseer shall die.'
Too late!--his life the generous robber paid,
Lost by that pity which his steps delayed!
No soul-discerning Mansfield sat to hear,
No Hertford bore his prayer to mercy's ear;
No liberal justice first assigned the gaol,
Or urged, as Camplin would have urged, his tale.
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE.
This is not the place for writing the life of the great lawyer whose
awful wig has been singed by the sarcasm of Junius. He was born in
London in 1723, and died in 1780. He had early coquetted with poetry,
but on entering the Middle Temple he bade a 'Farewell to his Muse' in
the verses subjoined. So far as lucre was concerned, he chose the better
part, and rose gradually on the ladder of law to be a knight and a judge
in the Court of Common Pleas. It has been conjectured, from some notes
on Shakspeare published by Stevens, that Sir William continued till the
end of his days to hold occasional flirtations with his old flame.
THE LAWYER'S FAREWELL TO HIS MUSE.
As, by some tyrant's stern command,
A wretch forsakes his native land,
In foreign climes condemned to roam
An endless exile from his home;
Pensive he treads the destined way,
And dreads to go, nor dares to stay;
Till on some neighbouring mountain's brow
He stops, and turns his eyes below;
There, melting at the well-known view,
Drops a last tear, and bids adieu:
So I, thus doomed from thee to part,
Gay queen of Fancy, and of Art,
Reluctant move, with doubtful mind
Oft stop, and often look behind.
Companion of my tender age,
Serenely gay, and sweetly sage,
How blithesome were we wont to rove
By verdant hill, or shady grove,
Where fervent bees, with humming voice,
Around the honeyed oak rejoice,
And aged elms with awful bend
In long cathedral walks extend!
Lulled by the lapse of gliding floods,
Cheered by the warbling of the woods,
How blessed my days, my thoughts how free,
In sweet society with thee!
Then all was joyous, all was young,
And years unheeded rolled along:
But now the pleasing dream is o'er,
These scenes must charm me now no more.
Lost to the fields, and torn from you,--
Farewell!--a long, a last adieu.
Me wrangling courts, and stubborn law,
To smoke, and crowds, and cities draw:
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and avarice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare;
Loose Revelry and Riot bold
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Or, where in silence all is drowned,
Fell Murder walks his lonely round;
No room for peace, no room for you,
Adieu, celestial nymph, adieu!
Shakspeare no more, thy sylvan son,
Nor all the art of Addison,
Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
Nor Milton's mighty self, must please:
Instead of these a formal band,
In furs and coifs, around me stand;
With sounds uncouth and accents dry,
That grate the soul of harmony,
Each pedant sage unlocks his store
Of mystic, dark, discordant lore;
And points with tottering hand the ways
That lead me to the thorny maze.
There, in a winding close retreat,
Is Justice doomed to fix her seat;
There, fenced by bulwarks of the law,
She keeps the wondering world in awe;
And there, from vulgar sight retired,
Like eastern queens, is more admired.
Oh, let me pierce the sacred shade
Where dwells the venerable maid!
There humbly mark, with reverent awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law;
Unfold with joy her sacred page,
The united boast of many an age;
Where mixed, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years.
In that pure spring the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true;
And other doctrines thence imbibe
Than lurk within the sordid scribe;
Observe how parts with parts unite
In one harmonious rule of right;
See countless wheels distinctly tend
By various laws to one great end:
While mighty Alfred's piercing soul
Pervades, and regulates the whole.
Then welcome business, welcome strife,
Welcome the cares, the thorns of life,
The visage wan, the poreblind sight,
The toil by day, the lamp at night,
The tedious forms, the solemn prate,
The pert dispute, the dull debate,
The drowsy bench, the babbling Hall,
For thee, fair Justice, welcome all!
Thus though my noon of life be passed,
Yet let my setting sun, at last,
Find out the still, the rural cell,
Where sage Retirement loves to dwell!
There let me taste the homefelt bliss.
Of innocence and inward peace;
Untainted by the guilty bribe;
Uncursed amid the harpy tribe;
No orphan's cry to wound my ear;
My honour and my conscience clear;
Thus may I calmly meet my end,
Thus to the grave in peace descend.
This poet is generally known as 'Scott of Amwell.' This arises from the
fact that his father, a draper in Southwark, where John was born in
1730, retired ten years afterwards to Amwell. He had never been
inoculated with the small-pox, and such was his dread of the disease,
and that of his family, that for twenty years, although within twenty
miles of London, he never visited it. His parents, who belonged to the
amiable sect of Quakers, sent him to a day-school at Ware, but that too
he left upon the first alarm of infection. At seventeen, although his
education was much neglected, he began to relish reading, and was
materially assisted in his studies by a neighbour of the name of
Frogley, a master bricklayer, who, though somewhat illiterate, admired
poetry. Scott sent his first essays to the _Gentleman's Magazine_, and
in his thirtieth year published four elegies, which met with a kind
reception, although Dr Johnson said only of them, 'They are very well,
but such as twenty people might write.' He produced afterwards 'The
Garden,' 'Amwell,' and other poems, besides some rather narrow 'Critical
Essays on the English Poets.' When thirty-six years of age, he submitted
to inoculation, and henceforward visited London frequently, and became
acquainted with Dr Johnson, Sir William Jones, Mrs Montague, and other
eminent characters. He was a very active promoter of local improvements,
and diligent in cultivating his grounds and garden. He was twice
married, his first wife being a daughter of his friend Frogley. He died
in 1783, not of that disease which he so 'greatly feared,' but of a
putrid fever, at Radcliff. One note of his, entitled 'Ode on Hearing the
Drum,' still reverberates on the ear of poetic readers. Wordsworth has
imitated it in his 'Andrew Jones.' Sir Walter makes Rachel Geddes say,
in 'Redgauntlet,' alluding to books of verse, 'Some of our people do
indeed hold that every writer who is not with us is against us, but
brother Joshua is mitigated in his opinions, and correspondeth with our
friend John Scott of Amwell, who hath himself constructed verses well
approved of even in the world.'
ODE ON HEARING THE DRUM.
1 I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
2 I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns, and ruined swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widows' tears, and orphans' moans;
And all that misery's hand bestows,
To fill the catalogue of human woes.
THE TEMPESTUOUS EVENING.
1 There's grandeur in this sounding storm,
That drives the hurrying clouds along,
That on each other seem to throng,
And mix in many a varied form;
While, bursting now and then between,
The moon's dim misty orb is seen,
And casts faint glimpses on the green.
2 Beneath the blast the forests bend,
And thick the branchy ruin lies,
And wide the shower of foliage flies;
The lake's black waves in tumult blend,
Revolving o'er and o'er and o'er,
And foaming on the rocky shore,
Whose caverns echo to their roar.
3 The sight sublime enrapts my thought,
And swift along the past it strays,
And much of strange event surveys,
What history's faithful tongue has taught,
Or fancy formed, whose plastic skill
The page with fabled change can fill
Of ill to good, or good to ill.
4 But can my soul the scene enjoy,
That rends another's breast with pain?
O hapless he, who, near the main,
Now sees its billowy rage destroy!
Beholds the foundering bark descend,
Nor knows but what its fate may end
The moments of his dearest friend!
Of this fine old Scottish poet we regret that we can tell our readers so
little. He was born in 1698, became parish schoolmaster at Lochlee in
Angusshire, and published, by the advice of Dr Beattie, in 1768, a
volume entitled 'Helenore; or, The Fortunate Shepherdess: a Pastoral Tale
in the Scottish Dialect; along with a few Songs.' Some of these latter,
such as 'Woo'd, and Married, and a',' became very popular. Beattie loved
the 'good-humoured, social, happy old man,' who was 'passing rich' on
twenty pounds a-year, and wrote in the _Aberdeen Journal_ a poetical
letter in the Scotch language to promote the sale of his poem. Ross died
in 1784, about eighty-six years old, and is buried in a churchyard at the
east end of the loch.
Lochlee is a very solitary and romantic spot. The road to it from the
low country, or Howe of the Mearns, conducts us through a winding,
unequal, but very interesting glen, which, after bearing at its foot
many patches of corn, yellowing amidst thick green copsewood and birch
trees, fades and darkens gradually into a stern, woodless, and rocky
defile, which emerges on a solitary loch, lying 'dern and dreary' amidst
silent hills. It is one of those lakes which divide the distance between
the loch and the tarn, being two miles in length and one in breadth. The
hills, which are stony and savage, sink directly down upon its brink.
A house or two are all the dwellings in view. The celebrated Thomas
Guthrie dearly loves this lake, lives beside it for months at a time,
and is often seen rowing his lonely boat in the midst of it, by sunlight
and by moonlight too. On the west, one bold, sword-like summit, Craig
Macskeldie by name, cuts the air, and relieves the monotony of the other
mountains. Fit rest has Ross found in that calm, rural burying-place,
beside 'the rude forefathers of the hamlet,' with short, sweet, flower-
sprinkled grass covering his dust, the low voice of the lake sounding
a few yards from his cold ear, and a plain gravestone uniting with his
native mountains to form his memorial. 'Fortunate Shepherd,' (shall we
call him?) to have obtained a grave so intensely characteristic of a
WOO'D, AND MARRIED, AND A'.
1 The bride cam' out o' the byre,
And, O, as she dighted her cheeks!
'Sirs, I'm to be married the night,
And have neither blankets nor sheets;
Have neither blankets nor sheets,
Nor scarce a coverlet too;
The bride that has a' thing to borrow,
Has e'en right muckle ado.'
Woo'd, and married, and a',
Married, and woo'd, and a'!
And was she nae very weel off,
That was woo'd, and married, and a'?
2 Out spake the bride's father,
As he cam' in frae the pleugh:
'O, haud your tongue my dochter,
And ye'se get gear eneugh;
The stirk stands i' the tether,
And our braw bawsint yade,
Will carry ye hame your corn--
What wad ye be at, ye jade?'
3 Out spake the bride's mither:
'What deil needs a' this pride?
I had nae a plack in my pouch
That night I was a bride;
My gown was linsey-woolsey,
And ne'er a sark ava;
And ye hae ribbons and buskins,
Mae than ane or twa.'
* * * * *
4 Out spake the bride's brither,
As he cam' in wi' the kye:
'Poor Willie wad ne'er hae ta'en ye,
Had he kent ye as weel as I;
For ye're baith proud and saucy,
And no for a poor man's wife;
Gin I canna get a better,
I'se ne'er tak ane i' my life.'
* * * * *
THE ROCK AN' THE WEE PICKLE TOW.
1 There was an auld wife had a wee pickle tow,
And she wad gae try the spinnin' o't;
But lootin' her doun, her rock took a-lowe,
And that was an ill beginnin' o't.
She spat on 't, she flat on 't, and tramped on its pate,
But a' she could do it wad ha'e its ain gate;
At last she sat down on't and bitterly grat,
For e'er ha'in' tried the spinnin' o't.
2 Foul fa' them that ever advised me to spin,
It minds me o' the beginnin' o't;
I weel might ha'e ended as I had begun,
And never ha'e tried the spinnin' o't.
But she's a wise wife wha kens her ain weird,
I thought ance a day it wad never be spier'd,
How let ye the lowe tak' the rock by the beard,
When ye gaed to try the spinnin' o't?
3 The spinnin', the spinnin', it gars my heart sab
To think on the ill beginnin' o't;
I took't in my head to mak' me a wab,
And that was the first beginnin' o't.
But had I nine daughters, as I ha'e but three,
The safest and soundest advice I wad gi'e,
That they wad frae spinnin' aye keep their heads free,
For fear o' an ill beginnin' o't.
4 But if they, in spite o' my counsel, wad run
The dreary, sad task o' the spinnin' o't;
Let them find a lown seat by the light o' the sun,
And syne venture on the beginnin' o't.
For wha's done as I've done, alake and awowe!
To busk up a rock at the cheek o' a lowe;
They'll say that I had little wit in my pow--
O the muckle black deil tak' the spinnin' o't.
Glover was a man so remarkable as to be thought capable of having written
the letters of Junius, although no one now almost names his name or reads
his poetry. He was the son of a Hamburgh merchant in London, and born
(1712) in St Martin's Lane, Cannon Street. He was educated at a private
school in Surrey, but being designed for trade, was never sent to a
university, yet by his own exertions he became an excellent classical
scholar. At sixteen he wrote a poem to the memory of Sir Isaac Newton,
and at twenty-five produced nine books of his 'Leonidas.' Partly through
its own merits, partly through its liberal political sentiments, and
partly through the influence of Lord Cobham, to whom it was inscribed,
and the praise of Fielding and Chatham, it became very popular. In 1739,
he produced a poem entitled 'London; or, The Progress of Commerce,' and a
spirited ballad entitled 'Admiral Hosier's Ghost,' which we have given,
both designed to rouse the national spirit against the Spaniards.
Glover was a merchant, and very highly esteemed among his commercial
brethren, although at one time unfortunate in business. When forced by
his failure to seek retirement, he produced a tragedy on the subject of
Boadicea, which ran the usual nine nights, although it has long since
ceased to be acted or read. In his later years his affairs improved; he
returned again to public life, was elected to Parliament, and approved
himself a painstaking and popular M.P. In 1770, he enlarged his
'Leonidas' from nine books to twelve, and afterwards wrote a sequel to
it, entitled 'The Athenais.' Glover spent his closing years in opulent
retirement, enjoying the intimacy and respect of the most eminent men of
the day, and died in 1785.
'Leonidas' may be called the epic of the eighteenth century, and betrays
the artificial genius of its age. The poet rises to his flight like a
heavy heron--not a hawk or eagle. Passages in it are good, but the effect
of the whole is dulness. It reminds you of Cowper's 'Homer,' in which all
is accurate, but all is cold, and where even the sound of battle lulls
to slumber--or of Edwin Atherstone's 'Fall of Nineveh,' where you are
fatigued with uniform pomp, and the story struggles and staggers under a
load of words. Thomson exclaimed when he heard of the work of Glover, 'He
write an epic, who never saw a mountain!' And there was justice in the
remark. The success of 'Leonidas' was probably one cause of the swarm of
epics which appeared in the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of
the nineteenth century.--Cottle himself being, according to De Quincey,
'the author of four epic poems, _and_ a new kind of blacking.' Their day
seems now for ever at an end.
FROM BOOK XII
Song of the Priestess of the Muses to the chosen band after their
return from the inroad into the Persian camp, on the night before
the Battle of Thermopylae.
Back to the pass in gentle march he leads
The embattled warriors. They, behind the shrubs,
Where Medon sent such numbers to the shades,
In ambush lie. The tempest is o'erblown.
Soft breezes only from the Malian wave
O'er each grim face, besmeared with smoke and gore,
Their cool refreshment breathe. The healing gale,
A crystal rill near Oeta's verdant feet,
Dispel the languor from their harassed nerves,
Fresh braced by strength returning. O'er their heads
Lo! in full blaze of majesty appears
Melissa, bearing in her hand divine
The eternal guardian of illustrious deeds,
The sweet Phoebean lyre. Her graceful train
Of white-robed virgins, seated on a range
Half down the cliff, o'ershadowing the Greeks,
All with concordant strings, and accents clear,
A torrent pour of melody, and swell
A high, triumphal, solemn dirge of praise,
Anticipating fame. Of endless joys
In blessed Elysium was the song. Go, meet
Lycurgus, Solon, and Zaleucus sage,
Let them salute the children of their laws.
Meet Homer, Orpheus, and the Ascraean bard,
Who with a spirit, by ambrosial food
Refined, and more exalted, shall contend
Your splendid fate to warble through the bowers
Of amaranth and myrtle ever young,
Like your renown. Your ashes we will cull.
In yonder fane deposited, your urns,
Dear to the Muses, shall our lays inspire.
Whatever offerings, genius, science, art
Can dedicate to virtue, shall be yours,
The gifts of all the Muses, to transmit
You on the enlivened canvas, marble, brass,
In wisdom's volume, in the poet's song,
In every tongue, through every age and clime,
You of this earth the brightest flowers, not cropt,
Transplanted only to immortal bloom
Of praise with men, of happiness with gods.
ADMIRAL HOSIER'S GHOST.
ON THE TAKING OF PORTO-BELLO FROM THE SPANIARDS
BY ADMIRAL VERNON--Nov. 22, 1739.
1 As near Porto-Bello lying
On the gently swelling flood,
At midnight with streamers flying,
Our triumphant navy rode:
There while Vernon sat all-glorious
From the Spaniards' late defeat;
And his crews, with shouts victorious,
Drank success to England's fleet:
2 On a sudden shrilly sounding,
Hideous yells and shrieks were heard;
Then each heart with fear confounding,
A sad troop of ghosts appeared,
All in dreary hammocks shrouded,
Which for winding-sheets they wore,
And with looks by sorrow clouded,
Frowning on that hostile shore.
3 On them gleamed the moon's wan lustre,
When the shade of Hosier brave
His pale bands was seen to muster,
Rising from their watery grave:
O'er the glimmering wave he hied him,
Where the Burford reared her sail,
With three thousand ghosts beside him,
And in groans did Vernon hail:
4 'Heed, O heed, our fatal story,
I am Hosier's injured ghost,
You, who now have purchased glory
At this place where I was lost;
Though in Porto-Bello's ruin
You now triumph free from fears,
When you think on our undoing,
You will mix your joy with tears.
5 'See these mournful spectres, sweeping
Ghastly o'er this hated wave,
Whose wan cheeks are stained with weeping;
These were English captains brave:
Mark those numbers pale and horrid,
Those were once my sailors bold,
Lo! each hangs his drooping forehead,
While his dismal tale is told.
6 'I, by twenty sail attended,
Did this Spanish town affright:
Nothing then its wealth defended
But my orders not to fight:
Oh! that in this rolling ocean
I had cast them with disdain,
And obeyed my heart's warm motion,
To have quelled the pride of Spain.
7 'For resistance I could fear none,
But with twenty ships had done
What thou, brave and happy Vernon,
Hast achieved with six alone.
Then the Bastimentos never
Had our foul dishonour seen,
Nor the sea the sad receiver
Of this gallant train had been.
8 'Thus, like thee, proud Spain dismaying,
And her galleons leading home,
Though condemned for disobeying,
I had met a traitor's doom;
To have fallen, my country crying,
He has played an English part,
Had been better far than dying
Of a grieved and broken heart.
9 'Unrepining at thy glory,
Thy successful arms we hail;
But remember our sad story,
And let Hosier's wrongs prevail.
Sent in this foul clime to languish,
Think what thousands fell in vain,
Wasted with disease and anguish,
Not in glorious battle slain.
10 'Hence, with all my train attending
From their oozy tombs below,
Through the hoary foam ascending,
Here I feed my constant woe:
Here the Bastimentos viewing,
We recall our shameful doom,
And our plaintive cries renewing,
Wander through the midnight gloom.
11 'O'er these waves for ever mourning
Shall we roam deprived of rest,
If to Britain's shores returning,
You neglect my just request.
After this proud foe subduing,
When your patriot friends you see,
Think on vengeance for my ruin,
And for England shamed in me.'
 'The Burford:' Admiral Vernon's ship.
There was also a Paul Whitehead, who wrote a satire entitled 'Manners,'
which is highly praised by Boswell, and mentioned contemptuously by
Campbell, and who lives in the couplet of Churchill--
'May I (can worse disgrace on manhood fall?)
Be born a Whitehead, and baptized a Paul.'
William Whitehead was the son of a baker in Cambridge, was born in 1715,
and studied first at Winchester, and then in Clare Hall, in his own
city. He became tutor to the son of the Earl of Jersey, wrote one or two
poor plays, and in 1757, on the death of Colley Cibber, was appointed
Poet-Laureate--the office having previously been refused by Gray. This
roused against him a large class of those 'beings capable of envying
even a poet-laureate,' to use Gray's expression, and especially the
wrath of Churchill, then the man-mountain of satiric literature, who, in
his 'Ghost,' says--
'But he who in the laureate chair,
By grace, not merit, planted there,
In awkward pomp is seen to sit,
And by his patent proves his wit,' &c.
To these attacks Whitehead, who was a good-natured and modest man, made
no reply. In his latter years the Laureate resided in the family of Lord
Jersey, and died in 1785. His poem called 'Variety' is light and pleasant,
and deserves a niche in our 'Specimens.'
A TALE FOR MARRIED PEOPLE.
A gentle maid, of rural breeding,
By Nature first, and then by reading,
Was filled with all those soft sensations
Which we restrain in near relations,
Lest future husbands should be jealous,
And think their wives too fond of fellows.
The morning sun beheld her rove
A nymph, or goddess of the grove!
At eve she paced the dewy lawn,
And called each clown she saw, a faun!
Then, scudding homeward, locked her door,
And turned some copious volume o'er.
For much she read; and chiefly those
Great authors, who in verse, or prose,
Or something betwixt both, unwind
The secret springs which move the mind.
These much she read; and thought she knew
The human heart's minutest clue;
Yet shrewd observers still declare,
(To show how shrewd observers are,)
Though plays, which breathed heroic flame,
And novels, in profusion, came,
Imported fresh-and-fresh from France,
She only read the heart's romance.
The world, no doubt, was well enough
To smooth the manners of the rough;
Might please the giddy and the vain,
Those tinselled slaves of folly's train:
But, for her part, the truest taste
She found was in retirement placed,
Where, as in verse it sweetly flows,
'On every thorn instruction grows.'
Not that she wished to 'be alone,'
As some affected prudes have done;
She knew it was decreed on high
We should 'increase and multiply;'
And therefore, if kind Fate would grant
Her fondest wish, her only want,
A cottage with the man she loved
Was what her gentle heart approved;
In some delightful solitude
Where step profane might ne'er intrude;
But Hymen guard the sacred ground,
And virtuous Cupids hover round.
Not such as flutter on a fan
Round Crete's vile bull, or Leda's swan,
(Who scatter myrtles, scatter roses,
And hold their fingers to their noses,)
But simpering, mild, and innocent,
As angels on a monument.
Fate heard her prayer: a lover came,
Who felt, like her, the innoxious flame;
One who had trod, as well as she,
The flowery paths of poesy;
Had warmed himself with Milton's heat,
Could every line of Pope repeat,
Or chant in Shenstone's tender strains,
'The lover's hopes,' 'the lover's pains.'
Attentive to the charmer's tongue,
With him she thought no evening long;
With him she sauntered half the day;
And sometimes, in a laughing way,
Ran o'er the catalogue by rote
Of who might marry, and who not;
'Consider, sir, we're near relations--'
'I hope so in our inclinations.'--
In short, she looked, she blushed consent;
He grasped her hand, to church they went;
And every matron that was there,
With tongue so voluble and supple,
Said for her part, she must declare,
She never saw a finer couple.
halcyon days! 'Twas Nature's reign,
'Twas Tempe's vale, and Enna's plain,
The fields assumed unusual bloom,
And every zephyr breathed perfume,
The laughing sun with genial beams
Danced lightly on the exulting streams;
And the pale regent of the night
In dewy softness shed delight.
'Twas transport not to be expressed;
'Twas Paradise!--But mark the rest.
Two smiling springs had waked the flowers
That paint the meads, or fringe the bowers,
(Ye lovers, lend your wondering ears,
Who count by months, and not by years,)
Two smiling springs had chaplets wove
To crown their solitude, and love:
When lo, they find, they can't tell how,
Their walks are not so pleasant now.
The seasons sure were changed; the place
Had, somehow, got a different face.
Some blast had struck the cheerful scene;
The lawns, the woods, were not so green.
The purling rill, which murmured by,
And once was liquid harmony,
Became a sluggish, reedy pool:
The days grew hot, the evenings cool.
The moon, with all the starry reign,
Were melancholy's silent train.
And then the tedious winter night--
They could not read by candle-light.
Full oft, unknowing why they did,
They called in adventitious aid.
A faithful, favourite dog ('twas thus
With Tobit and Telemachus)
Amused their steps; and for a while
They viewed his gambols with a smile.
The kitten too was comical,
She played so oddly with her tail,
Or in the glass was pleased to find
Another cat, and peeped behind.
A courteous neighbour at the door
Was deemed intrusive noise no more.
For rural visits, now and then,
Are right, as men must live with men.
Then cousin Jenny, fresh from town,
A new recruit, a dear delight!
Made many a heavy hour go down,
At morn, at noon, at eve, at night:
Sure they could hear her jokes for ever,
She was so sprightly, and so clever!
Yet neighbours were not quite the thing;
What joy, alas! could converse bring
With awkward creatures bred at home?--
The dog grew dull, or troublesome.
The cat had spoiled the kitten's merit,
And, with her youth, had lost her spirit.
And jokes repeated o'er and o'er,
Had quite exhausted Jenny's store.
--'And then, my dear, I can't abide
This always sauntering side by side.'
'Enough!' he cries, 'the reason's plain:
For causes never rack your brain.
Our neighbours are like other folks,
Skip's playful tricks, and Jenny's jokes,
Are still delightful, still would please,
Were we, my dear, ourselves at ease.
Look round, with an impartial eye,
On yonder fields, on yonder sky;
The azure cope, the flowers below,
With all their wonted colours glow.
The rill still murmurs; and the moon
Shines, as she did, a softer sun.
No change has made the seasons fail,
No comet brushed us with his tail.
The scene's the same, the same the weather--
We live, my dear, too much together.'
Agreed. A rich old uncle dies,
And added wealth the means supplies.
With eager haste to town they flew,
Where all must please, for all was new.
But here, by strict poetic laws,
Description claims its proper pause.
The rosy morn had raised her head
From old Tithonus' saffron bed;
And embryo sunbeams from the east,
Half-choked, were struggling through the mist,
When forth advanced the gilded chaise;
The village crowded round to gaze.
The pert postilion, now promoted
From driving plough, and neatly booted,
His jacket, cap, and baldric on,
(As greater folks than he have done,)
Looked round; and, with a coxcomb air,
Smacked loud his lash. The happy pair
Bowed graceful, from a separate door,
And Jenny, from the stool before.
Roll swift, ye wheels! to willing eyes
New objects every moment rise.
Each carriage passing on the road,
From the broad waggon's ponderous load
To the light car, where mounted high
The giddy driver seems to fly,
Were themes for harmless satire fit,
And gave fresh force to Jenny's wit.
Whate'er occurred, 'twas all delightful,
No noise was harsh, no danger frightful.
The dash and splash through thick and thin,
The hairbreadth 'scapes, the bustling inn,
(Where well-bred landlords were so ready
To welcome in the 'squire and lady,)
Dirt, dust, and sun, they bore with ease,
Determined to be pleased, and please.
Now nearer town, and all agog,
They know dear London by its fog.
Bridges they cross, through lanes they wind,
Leave Hounslow's dangerous heath behind,
Through Brentford win a passage free
By roaring, 'Wilkes and Liberty!'
At Knightsbridge bless the shortening way,
Where Bays's troops in ambush lay,
O'er Piccadilly's pavement glide,
With palaces to grace its side,
Till Bond Street with its lamps a-blaze
Concludes the journey of three days.
Why should we paint, in tedious song,
How every day, and all day long,
They drove at first with curious haste
Through Lud's vast town; or, as they passed
'Midst risings, fallings, and repairs
Of streets on streets, and squares on squares,
Describe how strong their wonder grew
At buildings--and at builders too?
Scarce less astonishment arose
At architects more fair than those--
Who built as high, as widely spread
The enormous loads that clothed their head.
For British dames new follies love,
And, if they can't invent, improve.
Some with erect pagodas vie,
Some nod, like Pisa's tower, awry,
Medusa's snakes, with Pallas' crest,
Convolved, contorted, and compressed;
With intermingling trees, and flowers,
And corn, and grass, and shepherd's bowers,
Stage above stage the turrets run,
Like pendent groves of Babylon,
Till nodding from the topmost wall
Otranto's plumes envelop all!
Whilst the black ewes, who owned the hair,
Feed harmless on, in pastures fair,
Unconscious that their tails perfume,
In scented curls, the drawing-room.
When Night her murky pinions spread,
And sober folks retire to bed,
To every public place they flew,
Where Jenny told them who was who.
Money was always at command,
And tripped with pleasure hand in hand.
Money was equipage, was show,
Gallini's, Almack's, and Soho;
The _passe-partout_ through every vein
Of dissipation's hydra reign.
O London, thou prolific source,
Parent of vice, and folly's nurse!
Fruitful as Nile, thy copious springs
Spawn hourly births--and all with stings:
But happiest far the he, or she,
I know not which, that livelier dunce
Who first contrived the coterie,
To crush domestic bliss at once.
Then grinned, no doubt, amidst the dames,
As Nero fiddled to the flames.
Of thee, Pantheon, let me speak
With reverence, though in numbers weak;
Thy beauties satire's frown beguile,
We spare the follies for the pile.
Flounced, furbelowed, and tricked for show,
With lamps above, and lamps below,
Thy charms even modern taste defied,
They could not spoil thee, though they tried.
Ah, pity that Time's hasty wings
Must sweep thee off with vulgar things!
Let architects of humbler name
On frail materials build their fame,
Their noblest works the world might want,
Wyatt should build in adamant.
But what are these to scenes which lie
Secreted from the vulgar eye,
And baffle all the powers of song?--
A brazen throat, an iron tongue,
(Which poets wish for, when at length
Their subject soars above their strength,)
Would shun the task. Our humbler Muse,
Who only reads the public news
And idly utters what she gleans
From chronicles and magazines,
Recoiling feels her feeble fires,
And blushing to her shades retires,
Alas! she knows not how to treat
The finer follies of the great,
Where even, Democritus, thy sneer
Were vain as Heraclitus' tear.
Suffice it that by just degrees
They reached all heights, and rose with ease;
(For beauty wins its way, uncalled,
And ready dupes are ne'er black-balled.)
Each gambling dame she knew, and he
Knew every shark of quality;
From the grave cautious few who live
On thoughtless youth, and living thrive,
To the light train who mimic France,
And the soft sons of _nonchalance_.
While Jenny, now no more of use,
Excuse succeeding to excuse,
Grew piqued, and prudently withdrew
To shilling whist, and chicken loo.
Advanced to fashion's wavering head,
They now, where once they followed, led.
Devised new systems of delight,
A-bed all day, and up all night,
In different circles reigned supreme.
Wives copied her, and husbands him;
Till so divinely life ran on,
So separate, so quite _bon-ton_,
That meeting in a public place,
They scarcely knew each other's face.
At last they met, by his desire,
A _tÍte-a-tÍte_ across the fire;
Looked in each other's face awhile,
With half a tear, and half a smile.
The ruddy health, which wont to grace
With manly glow his rural face,
Now scarce retained its faintest streak;
So sallow was his leathern cheek.
She lank, and pale, and hollow-eyed,
With rouge had striven in vain to hide
What once was beauty, and repair
The rapine of the midnight air.
Silence is eloquence, 'tis said.
Both wished to speak, both hung the head.
At length it burst.----''Tis time,' he cries,
'When tired of folly, to be wise.
Are you too tired?'--then checked a groan.
She wept consent, and he went on:
'How delicate the married life!
You love your husband, I my wife!
Not even satiety could tame,
Nor dissipation quench the flame.
'True to the bias of our kind,
'Tis happiness we wish to find.
In rural scenes retired we sought
In vain the dear, delicious draught,
Though blest with love's indulgent store,
We found we wanted something more.
'Twas company, 'twas friends to share
The bliss we languished to declare.
'Twas social converse, change of scene,
To soothe the sullen hour of spleen;
Short absences to wake desire,
And sweet regrets to fan the fire.
'We left the lonesome place; and found,
In dissipation's giddy round,
A thousand novelties to wake
The springs of life and not to break.
As, from the nest not wandering far,
In light excursions through the air,
The feathered tenants of the grove
Around in mazy circles move,
Sip the cool springs that murmuring flow,
Or taste the blossom on the bough.
We sported freely with the rest;
And still, returning to the nest,
In easy mirth we chatted o'er
The trifles of the day before.
'Behold us now, dissolving quite
In the full ocean of delight;
In pleasures every hour employ,
Immersed in all the world calls joy;
Our affluence easing the expense
Of splendour and magnificence;
Our company, the exalted set
Of all that's gay, and all that's great:
Nor happy yet!--and where's the wonder!--
We live, my dear, too much asunder.'
The moral of my tale is this,
Variety's the soul of bless;
But such variety alone
As makes our home the more our own.
As from the heart's impelling power
The life-blood pours its genial store;
Though taking each a various way,
The active streams meandering play
Through every artery, every vein,
All to the heart return again;
From thence resume their new career,
But still return and centre there:
So real happiness below
Must from the heart sincerely flow;
Nor, listening to the syren's song,
Must stray too far, or rest too long.
All human pleasures thither tend;
Must there begin, and there must end;
Must there recruit their languid force,
And gain fresh vigour from their source.
WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE.
This poet was born in Langholm, Dumfriesshire, in 1734. His father was
minister of the parish, but removed to Edinburgh, where William, after
attending the High School, became clerk to a brewery, and ultimately
a partner in the concern. In this he failed, however; and in 1764 he
repaired to London to prosecute literature. Lord Lyttelton became his
patron, although he did him so little service in a secular point of
view, that Mickle was fain to accept the situation of corrector to the
Clarendon Press at Oxford. Here he published his 'Pollio,' his 'Concubine,'
--a poem in the manner of Spenser, very sweetly and musically written,
which became popular,--and in 1771 the first canto of a translation of
the 'Lusiad' of Camoens. This translation, which he completed in 1775,
was published by subscription, and at once increased his fortune and
established his fame. He had resigned his office of corrector of the
press, and was residing with Mr Tomkins, a farmer at Foresthill, near
Oxford. In 1779, he went out to Portugal as secretary to Commodore
Johnstone, and, as the translator of Camoens, was received with much
distinction. On his return with a little money, he married Mr Tomkins'
daughter, who had a little more, and took up his permanent residence at
Foresthill, where he died of a short illness in 1788.
His translation of the 'Lusiad' is understood to be too free and flowery,
and the translator stands in the relation to Camoens which Pope does to
Homer. 'Cumnor Hall' has suggested to Scott his brilliant romance of
'Kenilworth,' and is a garland worthy of being bound up in the beautiful
locks of Amy Robsart for evermore. 'Are ye sure the news is true?' is a
song true to the very soul of Scottish and of general nature, and worthy,
as Burns says, of 'the first poet.'
1 The dews of summer night did fall,
The moon, sweet regent of the sky,
Silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall,
And many an oak that grew thereby.
2 Now nought was heard beneath the skies,
The sounds of busy life were still,
Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile.
3 'Leicester,' she cried, 'is this thy love
That thou so oft hast sworn to me,
To leave me in this lonely grove,
Immured in shameful privity?
4 'No more thou com'st, with lover's speed,
Thy once beloved bride to see;
But be she alive, or be she dead,
I fear, stern Earl,'s the same to thee.
5 'Not so the usage I received
When happy in my father's hall;
No faithless husband then me grieved,
No chilling fears did me appal.
6 'I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark so blithe, no flower more gay;
And, like the bird that haunts the thorn,
So merrily sung the livelong day.
7 'If that my beauty is but small,
Among court ladies all despised,
Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful Earl, it well was prized?
8 'And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say!
And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit,
Then left the blossom to decay.
9 'Yes! now neglected and despised,
The rose is pale, the lily's dead;
But he that once their charms so prized,
Is sure the cause those charms are fled.
10 'For know, when sickening grief doth prey,
And tender love's repaid with scorn,
The sweetest beauty will decay:
What floweret can endure the storm?
11 'At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Where every lady's passing rare,
That eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing, not so fair.
12 'Then, Earl, why didst thou leave the beds
Where roses and where lilies vie,
To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
Must sicken when those gauds are by?
13 ''Mong rural beauties I was one;
Among the fields wild-flowers are fair;
Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my passing beauty rare.
14 'But, Leicester, or I much am wrong,
It is not beauty lures thy vows;
Rather ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
15 'Then, Leicester, why, again I plead,
The injured surely may repine,
Why didst thou wed a country maid,
When some fair princess might be thine?
16 'Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay?
Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the livelong day?
17 'The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lowly as they go:
Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a countess can have woe.
18 'The simple nymphs! they little know
How far more happy's their estate;
To smile for joy, than sigh for woe;
To be content, than to be great.
19 'How far less blessed am I than them,
Daily to pine and waste with care!
Like the poor plant, that, from its stem
Divided, feels the chilling air.
20 'Nor, cruel Earl! can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude;
Your minions proud my peace destroy,
By sullen frowns, or pratings rude.
21 'Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
The village death-bell smote my ear;
They winked aside, and seemed to say,
"Countess, prepare--thy end is near."
22 'And now, while happy peasants sleep,
Here I sit lonely and forlorn;
No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel on yonder thorn.
23 'My spirits flag, my hopes decay;
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear;
And many a body seems to say,
"Countess, prepare--thy end is near."'
24 Thus sore and sad that lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear;
And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
25 And ere the dawn of day appeared,
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear,
Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.
26 The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
An aŽrial voice was heard to call,
And thrice the raven flapped his wing
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.
27 The mastiff howled at village door,
The oaks were shattered on the green;
Woe was the hour, for never more
That hapless Countess e'er was seen.
28 And in that manor, now no more
Is cheerful feast or sprightly ball;
For ever since that dreary hour
Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.
29 The village maids, with fearful glance,
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall;
Nor never lead the merry dance
Among the groves of Cumnor Hall.
30 Full many a traveller has sighed,
And pensive wept the Countess' fall,
As wandering onwards they've espied
The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall.
THE MARINER'S WIFE.
1 But are ye sure the news is true?
And are ye sure he's weel?
Is this a time to think o' wark?
Ye jauds, fling by your wheel.
For there's nae luck about the house,
There's nae luck at a',
There's nae luck about the house,
When our gudeman's awa.
2 Is this a time to think o' wark,
When Colin's at the door?
Rax down my cloak--I'll to the quay,
And see him come ashore.
3 Rise up and mak a clean fireside,
Put on the mickle pat;
Gie little Kate her cotton goun,
And Jock his Sunday's coat.
4 And mak their shoon as black as slaes,
Their stocking white as snaw;
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman--
He likes to see them braw.
5 There are twa hens into the crib,
Hae fed this month and mair;
Mak haste and thraw their necks about,
That Colin weel may fare.
6 My Turkey slippers I'll put on,
My stocking pearl blue--
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman,
For he's baith leal and true.
7 Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue;
His breath's like caller air;
His very fit has music in't,
As he comes up the stair.
8 And will I see his face again?
And will I hear him speak?
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought:
In troth I'm like to greet.
Robert Craggs, afterwards created Lord Nugent, was an Irishman, a younger
son of Michael Nugent, by the daughter of Robert, Lord Trimlestown, and
born in 1709. He was in 1741 elected M.P. for St Mawes, in Cornwall, and
became in 1747 comptroller to the Prince of Wales' household. He after-
wards made peace with the Court, and received various promotions and
marks of favour besides the peerage. In 1739, he published anonymously
a volume of poems possessing considerable merit. He was converted from
Popery, and wrote some vigorous verses on the occasion. Unfortunately,
however, he relapsed, and again celebrated the event in a very weak poem,
entitled 'Faith.' He died in 1788. Although a man of decided talent, as
his 'Ode to Mankind' proves, Nugent does not stand very high either in
the catalogue of Irish patriots or of 'royal and noble authors.'
ODE TO MANKIND.
1 Is there, or do the schoolmen dream?
Is there on earth a power supreme,
The delegate of Heaven,
To whom an uncontrolled command,
In every realm o'er sea and land,
By special grace is given?
2 Then say, what signs this god proclaim?
Dwells he amidst the diamond's flame,
A throne his hallowed shrine?
The borrowed pomp, the armed array,
Want, fear, and impotence, betray
Strange proofs of power divine!
3 If service due from human kind,
To men in slothful ease reclined,
Can form a sovereign's claim:
Hail, monarchs! ye, whom Heaven ordains,
Our toils unshared, to share our gains,
Ye idiots, blind and lame!
4 Superior virtue, wisdom, might,
Create and mark the ruler's right,
So reason must conclude:
Then thine it is, to whom belong
The wise, the virtuous, and the strong,
Thrice sacred multitude!
5 In thee, vast All! are these contained,
For thee are those, thy parts ordained,
So nature's systems roll:
The sceptre's thine, if such there be;
If none there is, then thou art free,
Great monarch! mighty whole!
6 Let the proud tyrant rest his cause
On faith, prescription, force, or laws,
An host's or senate's voice!
His voice affirms thy stronger due,
Who for the many made the few,
And gave the species choice.
7 Unsanctified by thy command,
Unowned by thee, the sceptred hand
The trembling slave may bind;
But loose from nature's moral ties,
The oath by force imposed belies
The unassenting mind.
8 Thy will's thy rule, thy good its end;
You punish only to defend
What parent nature gave:
And he who dares her gifts invade,
By nature's oldest law is made
Thy victim or thy slave.
9 Thus reason founds the just degree
On universal liberty,
Not private rights resigned:
Through various nature's wide extent,
No private beings e'er were meant
To hurt the general kind.
10 Thee justice guides, thee right maintains,
The oppressor's wrongs, the pilferer's gains,
Thy injured weal impair.
Thy warmest passions soon subside,
Nor partial envy, hate, nor pride,
Thy tempered counsels share.
11 Each instance of thy vengeful rage,
Collected from each clime and age,
Though malice swell the sum,
Would seem a spotless scanty scroll,
Compared with Marius' bloody roll,
Or Sylla's hippodrome.
12 But thine has been imputed blame,
The unworthy few assume thy name,
The rabble weak and loud;
Or those who on thy ruins feast,
The lord, the lawyer, and the priest;
A more ignoble crowd.
13 Avails it thee, if one devours,
Or lesser spoilers share his powers,
While both thy claim oppose?
Monsters who wore thy sullied crown,
Tyrants who pulled those monsters down,
Alike to thee were foes.
14 Far other shone fair Freedom's band,
Far other was the immortal stand,
When Hampden fought for thee:
They snatched from rapine's gripe thy spoils,
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