The Poetical Works Of Alexander Pope, Vol. 1
Alexander Pope et al
Part 3 out of 7
Thy forests, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the Monarch's and the Muse's seats,
Invite my lays. Be present, sylvan Maids!
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
Granville commands; your aid, O Muses, bring!
What Muse for Granville can refuse to sing?
The groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame. 10
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seem to strive again;
Not chaos-like, together crush'd and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused;
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequer'd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress. 20
There, interspersed in lawns and opening glades,
Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend:
There, wrapt in clouds the bluish hills ascend.
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree, 30
While by our oaks the precious loads are born,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his towering height.
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd,
Here blushing Flora paints the enamell'd ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand; 40
Rich industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell a Stuart reigns.
Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
A dreary desert, and a gloomy waste,
To savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods:
Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves). 50
What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd,
And even the elements a tyrant sway'd?
In vain kind seasons swell'd the teeming grain,
Soft showers distill'd, and suns grew warm in vain;
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields.
What wonder, then, a beast or subject slain
Were equal crimes in a despotic reign?
Both doom'd alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
But while the subject starved, the beast was fed. 60
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
Our haughty Norman boasts that barbarous name,
And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
The fields are ravish'd from the industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from gods their fanes:
The levell'd towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er;
The hollow winds through naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twined;
O'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind; 70
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred choirs.
Awed by his Nobles, by his Commons cursed,
The oppressor ruled tyrannic where he durst,
Stretch'd o'er the poor and Church his iron rod,
And served alike his vassals and his God.
Whom even the Saxon spared, and bloody Dane,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man who spacious regions gave
A waste for beasts, himself denied a grave! 80
Stretch'd on the lawn, his second hope survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey:
Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
Bleeds in the forest like a wounded hart.
Succeeding monarchs heard the subjects' cries,
Nor saw displeased the peaceful cottage rise.
Then gathering flocks on unknown mountains fed,
O'er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,
The forests wonder'd at the unusual grain,
And secret transport touch'd the conscious swain. 90
Fair Liberty, Britannia's goddess, rears
Her cheerful head, and leads the golden years.
Ye vigorous swains! while youth ferments your blood,
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
Now range the hills, the gameful woods beset,
Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds; 100
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey:
Secure they trust the unfaithful field beset,
Till hovering o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net.
Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
Some thoughtless town, with ease and plenty blest,
Near, and more near, the closing lines invest;
Sudden they seize the amazed, defenceless prize,
And high in air Britannia's standard flies. 110
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny. 120
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare;
(Beasts, urged by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaughtering gun the unwearied fowler roves,
When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky; 130
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clamorous lapwings feel the leaden death:
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quivering shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand:
With looks unmoved, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed. 140
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-eyed perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes roll'd,
The yellow carp, in scales bedropp'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery car:
The youth rush eager to the sylvan war,
Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround,
Rouse the fleet hart, and cheer the opening hound. 150
The impatient courser pants in every vein,
And pawing, seems to beat the distant plain:
Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross'd,
And ere he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
See the bold youth strain up the threatening steep,
Rush through the thickets, down the valleys sweep,
Hang o'er their coursers' heads with eager speed,
And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.
Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
The immortal huntress, and her virgin-train; 160
Nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen
As bright a goddess, and as chaste a queen,
Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
The earth's fair light, and empress of the main.
Here too, 'tis sung, of old Diana stray'd,
And Cynthus' top forsook for Windsor shade;
Here was she seen o'er airy wastes to rove,
Seek the clear spring, or haunt the pathless grove;
Here, arm'd with silver bows, in early dawn,
Her buskin'd virgins traced the dewy lawn. 170
Above the rest a rural nymph was famed,
Thy offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona named;
(Lodona's fate, in long oblivion cast,
The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last).
Scarce could the goddess from her nymph be known,
But by the crescent and the golden zone.
She scorn'd the praise of beauty, and the care;
A belt her waist, a fillet binds her hair;
A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds,
And with her dart the flying deer she wounds.
It chanced, as eager of the chase, the maid
Beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd, 180
Pan saw and loved, and, burning with desire,
Pursued her flight, her flight increased his fire.
Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly,
When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves,
When through the clouds he drives the trembling doves;
As from the god she flew with furious pace,
Or as the god, more furious, urged the chase.
Now fainting, sinking, pale the nymph appears;
Now close behind, his sounding steps she hears; 190
And now his shadow reach'd her as she run,
His shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun;
And now his shorter breath, with sultry air,
Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.
In vain on father Thames she calls for aid,
Nor could Diana help her injured maid.
Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain:
'Ah, Cynthia! ah--though banish'd from thy train,
Let me, oh! let me, to the shades repair,
My native shades--there weep, and murmur there.' 200
She said, and melting as in tears she lay,
In a soft, silver stream dissolved away.
The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps,
For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps;
Still bears the name the hapless virgin bore,
And bathes the forest where she ranged before.
In her chaste current oft the goddess laves,
And with celestial tears augments the waves.
Oft in her glass the musing shepherd spies
The headlong mountains and the downward skies, 210
The watery landscape of the pendent woods,
And absent trees that tremble in the floods;
In the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen,
And floating forests paint the waves with green,
Through the fair scene roll slow the lingering streams,
Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
Thou, too, great Father of the British floods!
With joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods;
Where towering oaks their growing honours rear,
And future navies on thy shores appear. 220
Not Neptune's self from all her streams receives
A wealthier tribute, than to thine he gives.
No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear,
No lake so gentle, and no spring so clear.
Nor Po so swells the fabling poet's lays,
While led along the skies his current strays,
As thine, which visits Windsor's famed abodes,
To grace the mansion of our earthly gods:
Nor all his stars above a lustre show,
Like the bright beauties on thy banks below; 230
Where Jove, subdued by mortal passion still,
Might change Olympus for a nobler hill.
Happy the man whom this bright court approves,
His sovereign favours, and his country loves:
Happy next him who to these shades retires,
Whom Nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires:
Whom humbler joys of home-felt quiet please,
Successive study, exercise, and ease.
He gathers health from herbs the forest yields,
And of their fragrant physic spoils the fields: 240
With chemic art exalts the mineral powers,
And draws the aromatic souls of flowers:
Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high;
O'er figured worlds now travels with his eye;
Of ancient writ unlocks the learned store,
Consults the dead, and lives past ages o'er:
Or wandering thoughtful in the silent wood,
Attends the duties of the wise and good,
To observe a mean, be to himself a friend,
To follow nature, and regard his end; 250
Or looks on Heaven with more than mortal eyes,
Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
Survey the region, and confess her home!
Such was the life great Scipio once admired,
Thus Atticus, and Trumbull thus retired.
Ye sacred Nine! that all my soul possess,
Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless,
Bear me, oh, bear me to sequester'd scenes,
The bowery mazes, and surrounding greens: 260
To Thames's banks which fragrant breezes fill,
Or where ye Muses sport on Cooper's Hill.
(On Cooper's Hill eternal wreaths shall grow,
While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow.)
I seem through consecrated walks to rove,
I hear soft music die along the grove:
Led by the sound, I roam from shade to shade,
By godlike poets venerable made:
Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;
There the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue. 270
Oh early lost! what tears the river shed,
When the sad pomp along his banks was led!
His drooping swans on every note expire,
And on his willows hung each Muse's lyre.
Since fate relentless stopp'd their heavenly voice,
No more the forests ring, or groves rejoice;
Who now shall charm the shades, where Cowley strung
His living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
But hark! the groves rejoice, the forest rings!
Are these revived? or is it Granville sings? 280
'Tis yours, my lord, to bless our soft retreats,
And call the Muses to their ancient seats;
To paint anew the flowery sylvan scenes,
To crown the forest with immortal greens,
Make Windsor hills in lofty numbers rise,
And lift her turrets nearer to the skies;
To sing those honours you deserve to wear,
And add new lustre to her silver star.
Here noble Surrey felt the sacred rage,
Surrey, the Granville of a former age: 290
Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
Bold in the lists, and graceful in the dance:
In the same shades the Cupids tuned his lyre,
To the same notes, of love and soft desire:
Fair Geraldine, bright object of his vow,
Then fill'd the groves, as heavenly Mira now.
Oh, wouldst thou sing what heroes Windsor bore,
What kings first breathed upon her winding shore,
Or raise old warriors, whose adored remains
In weeping vaults her hallow'd earth contains! 300
With Edward's acts adorn the shining page,
Stretch his long triumphs down through every age,
Draw monarchs chain'd, and Cressy's glorious field,
The lilies blazing on the regal shield:
Then, from her roofs when Verrio's colours fall,
And leave inanimate the naked wall,
Still in thy song should vanquish'd France appear,
And bleed for ever under Britain's spear.
Let softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
And palms eternal flourish round his urn. 310
Here o'er the martyr-king the marble weeps,
And, fast beside him, once-fear'd Edward sleeps.
Whom not the extended Albion could contain,
From old Belerium to the northern main,
The grave unites; where ev'n the great find rest,
And blended lie the oppressor and the oppress'd!
Make sacred Charles' tomb for ever known,
(Obscure the place, and uninscribed the stone)
Oh fact accursed! what tears has Albion shed,
Heavens, what new wounds! and how her old have bled! 320
She saw her sons with purple deaths expire,
Her sacred domes involved in rolling fire,
A dreadful series of intestine wars,
Inglorious triumphs and dishonest scars.
At length great Anna said--'Let discord cease!'
She said, the world obey'd, and all was peace!
In that blest moment, from his oozy bed
Old Father Thames advanced his reverend head;
His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the stream
His shining horns diffused a golden gleam: 330
Graved on his urn appear'd the moon, that guides
His swelling waters, and alternate tides;
The figured streams in waves of silver roll'd,
And on their banks Augusta rose in gold.
Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood,
Who swell with tributary urns his flood;
First the famed authors of his ancient name,
The winding Isis and the fruitful Thame:
The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd;
The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd; 340
Cole, whose dark streams his flowery islands lave;
And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave;
The blue, transparent Vandalis appears;
The gulfy Lee his sedgy tresses rears;
And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood;
And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish blood.
High in the midst, upon his urn reclined,
(His sea-green mantle waving with the wind)
The god appear'd: he turn'd his azure eyes
Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise; 350
Then bow'd and spoke; the winds forget to roar,
And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore.
Hail, sacred Peace! hail, long-expected days,
That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise!
Though Tiber's streams immortal Rome behold,
Though foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold,
From heaven itself though sevenfold Nilus flows,
And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
These now no more shall be the Muse's themes,
Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams. 360
Let Volga's banks with iron squadrons shine,
And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine,
Let barbarous Ganges arm a servile train;
Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
No more my sons shall dye with British blood
Red Iber's sands, or Ister's foaming flood:
Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain;
The shady empire shall retain no trace
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chase; 370
The trumpet sleep, while cheerful horns are blown,
And arms employ'd on birds and beasts alone.
Behold! the ascending villas on my side,
Project long shadows o'er the crystal tide,
Behold! Augusta's glittering spires increase,
And temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.
I see, I see, where two fair cities bend
Their ample bow, a new Whitehall ascend!
There mighty nations shall inquire their doom,
The world's great oracle in times to come; 380
There kings shall sue, and suppliant states be seen
Once more to bend before a British queen.
Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods,
And half thy forests rush into the floods,
Bear Britain's thunder, and her cross display,
To the bright regions of the rising day;
Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,
Where clearer flames glow round the frozen pole;
Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales! 390
For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,
The coral redden, and the ruby glow,
The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
And Phoebus warm the ripening ore to gold.
The time shall come when, free as seas or wind,
Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind,
Whole nations enter with each swelling tide,
And seas but join the regions they divide;
Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold,
And the new world launch forth to seek the old. 400
Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tide,
And feather'd people crowd my wealthy side,
And naked youths and painted chiefs admire
Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire!
O stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more;
Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves,
Peru once more a race of kings behold,
And other Mexicos be roof'd with gold. 410
Exiled by thee from earth to deepest hell,
In brazen bonds, shall barbarous Discord dwell;
Gigantic Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
And mad Ambition shall attend her there:
There purple Vengeance bathed in gore retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
There hateful Envy her own snakes shall feel,
And Persecution mourn her broken wheel:
There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain. 420
Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
The thoughts of gods let Granville's verse recite,
And bring the scenes of opening fate to light.
My humble Muse, in unambitious strains,
Paints the green forests and the flowery plains,
Where Peace descending bids her olives spring,
And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing.
Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days,
Pleased in the silent shade with empty praise; 430
Enough for me, that to the listening swains
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
* * * * *
VER. 3-6, originally thus:--
Chaste Goddess of the woods,
Nymphs of the vales, and Naiads of the floods,
Lead me through arching bowers, and glimmering glades.
Unlock your springs, &c.
VER. 25-28. Originally thus:--
Why should I sing our better suns or air,
Whose vital draughts prevent the leech's care,
While through fresh fields the enlivening odours breathe,
Or spread with vernal blooms the purple heath?
VER. 49, 50. Originally thus in the MS.--
From towns laid waste, to dens and caves they ran
(For who first stoop'd to be a slave was man.)
VER. 57, 58:--
No wonder savages or subjects slain--
But subjects starved while savages were fed.
Oh may no more a foreign master's rage,
With wrongs yet legal, curse a future age!
Still spread, fair Liberty! thy heavenly wings,
Breathe plenty on the fields, and fragrance on the springs.
When yellow autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And into wine the purple harvest bleeds,
The partridge feeding in the new-shorn fields,
Both morning sports and evening pleasures yields.
VER. 107-110. It stood thus in the first editions:--
Pleased, in the General's sight, the host lie down
Sudden before some unsuspecting town;
The young, the old, one instant makes our prize,
And o'er their captive heads Britannia's standard flies.
O'er rustling leaves around the naked groves.
The fowler lifts his levell'd tube on high.
Happy the man, who to the shades retires,
But doubly happy, if the Muse inspires!
Blest whom the sweets of home-felt quiet please;
But far more blest, who study joins with ease.
VER. 231, 232. It stood thus in the MS.--
And force great Jove, if Jove's a lover still,
To change Olympus, &c.
VER. 265-268. It stood thus in the MS.--
Methinks around your holy scenes I rove,
And hear your music echoing through the grove:
With transport visit each inspiring shade
By god-like poets venerable made.
VER. 273, 274--
What sighs, what murmurs fill'd the vocal shore!
His tuneful swans were heard to sing no more.
VER. 288. All the lines that follow were not added to the poem till the
year 1710. What immediately followed this, and made the conclusion, were
My humble Muse in unambitious strains
Paints the green forests and the flowery plains;
Where I obscurely pass my careless days,
Pleased in the silent shade with empty praise,
Enough for me that to the listening swains
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
VER. 305, 306. Originally thus in the MS.--
When brass decays, when trophies lie o'erthrown,
And mouldering into dust drops the proud stone.
VER. 319-322. Originally thus in the MS.--
Oh fact accurst! oh sacrilegious brood,
Sworn to rebellion, principled in blood!
Since that dire morn what tears has Albion shed,
Gods! what new wounds, &c.
VER. 325, 326. Thus in the MS.--
Till Anna rose and bade the Furies cease;
'Let there be peace'--she said, and all was peace.
Between VER. 328 and 329, originally stood these lines--
From shore to shore exulting shouts he heard,
O'er all his banks a lambent light appear'd,
With sparkling flames heaven's glowing concave shone,
Fictitious stars, and glories not her own.
He saw, and gently rose above the stream;
His shining horns diffuse a golden gleam:
With pearl and gold his towery front was dress'd,
The tributes of the distant East and West.
VER. 361-364. Originally thus in the MS.--
Let Venice boast her towers amidst the main,
Where the rough Adrian swells and roars in vain;
Here not a town, but spacious realm shall have
A sure foundation on the rolling wave.
VER. 383-387 were originally thus--
Now shall our fleets the bloody cross display
To the rich regions of the rising day,
Or those green isles, where headlong Titan steeps
His hissing axle in the Atlantic deeps:
Tempt icy seas, &c.
ODE ON ST CECILIA'S DAY,
1 Descend, ye Nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre;
In a sadly-pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain:
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound:
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow,
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear,
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies;
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats;
Till, by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.
2 By Music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies;
Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds;
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
Listening Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our passions wage,
And giddy factions hear away their rage.
3 But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dared the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian raised his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflamed with glory's charms:
Each chief his sevenfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade:
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound,
'To arms, to arms, to arms!'
4 But when through all the infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts!
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
And cries of tortured ghosts!
But, hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see! the tortured ghosts respire,
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus! stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel.
And the pale spectres dance!
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang listening round their heads.
5 'By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er the Elysian flowers;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,
Or amaranthine bowers;
By the hero's armed shades,
Glittering through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that died for love,
Wandering in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life:
Oh take the husband, or return the wife!'
He sung, and hell consented
To hear the poet's prayer:
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair.
Thus song could prevail
O'er death and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious!
Though fate had fast bound her
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet Music and Love were victorious.
6 But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes:
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
He makes his moan;
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,
He trembles, he glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows:
See, wild as the winds, o'er the desert he flies;
Hark! Haemus resounds with the bacchanals' cries--
Ah see, he dies!
Yet even in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,
Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks and hollow mountains rung.
7 Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And Fate's severest rage disarm:
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please:
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confined the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful choir,
The immortal powers incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;
And angels lean from heaven to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater power is given;
His numbers raised a shade from hell,
Hers lift the soul to heaven.
TWO CHORUSES TO THE TRAGEDY OF BRUTUS.
CHORUS OF ATHENIANS.
Ye shades, where sacred truth is sought;
Groves, where immortal sages taught:
Where heavenly visions Plato fired,
And Epicurus' lay inspired;
In vain your guiltless laurels stood
Unspotted long with human blood.
War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades,
And steel now glitters in the Muses' shades.
O heaven-born sisters! source of art!
Who charm the sense, or mend the heart;
Who lead fair Virtue's train along,
Moral truth, and mystic song!
To what new clime, what distant sky,
Forsaken, friendless, shall ye fly?
Say, will ye bless the bleak Atlantic shore,
Or bid the furious Gaul be rude no more?
When Athens sinks by fates unjust,
When wild barbarians spurn her dust;
Perhaps even Britain's utmost shore
Shall cease to blush with strangers' gore,
See Arts her savage sons control,
And Athens rising near the pole!
Till some new tyrant lifts his purple hand,
And civil madness tears them from the land.
Ye gods! what justice rules the ball?
Freedom and Arts together fall;
Fools grant whate'er Ambition craves,
And men, once ignorant, are slaves.
Oh, cursed effects of civil hate,
In every age, in every state!
Still, when the lust of tyrant power succeeds,
Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.
CHORUS OF YOUTHS AND VIRGINS.
O tyrant Love! hast thou possess'd
The prudent, learn'd, and virtuous breast?
Wisdom and wit in vain reclaim,
And arts but soften us to feel thy flame.
Love, soft intruder, enters here,
But entering learns to be sincere.
Marcus with blushes owns he loves,
And Brutus tenderly reproves.
Why, Virtue, dost thou blame desire,
Which Nature has impress'd
Why, Nature, dost thou soonest fire
The mild and generous breast?
Love's purer flames the gods approve;
The gods and Brutus bend to love:
Brutus for absent Portia sighs,
And sterner Cassius melts at Junia's eyes.
What is loose love? a transient gust,
Spent in a sudden storm of lust,
A vapour fed from wild desire,
A wandering, self-consuming fire.
But Hymen's kinder flames unite,
And burn for ever one;
Chaste as cold Cynthia's virgin light,
Productive as the sun.
Oh source of every social tie,
United wish, and mutual joy!
What various joys on one attend,
As son, as father, brother, husband, friend!
Whether his hoary sire he spies,
While thousand grateful thoughts arise;
Or meets his spouse's fonder eye;
Or views his smiling progeny;
What tender passions take their turns,
What home-felt raptures move?
His heart now melts, now leaps, now burns,
With reverence, hope, and love.
Hence, guilty joys, distastes, surmises,
Hence, false tears, deceits, disguises,
Dangers, doubts, delays, surprises,
Fires that scorch, yet dare not shine!
Purest love's unwasting treasure,
Constant faith, fair hope, long leisure,
Days of ease, and nights of pleasure;
Sacred Hymen! these are thine.
AUTHOR OF A POEM ENTITLED SUCCESSIO.
Begone, ye critics, and restrain your spite,
Codrus writes on, and will for ever write.
The heaviest Muse the swiftest course has gone,
As clocks run fastest when most lead is on;
What though no bees around your cradle flew,
Nor on your lips distill'd the golden dew,
Yet have we oft discover'd in their stead
A swarm of drones that buzz'd about your head.
When you, like Orpheus, strike the warbling lyre,
Attentive blocks stand round you and admire.
Wit pass'd through thee no longer is the same,
As meat digested takes a different name,
But sense must sure thy safest plunder be,
Since no reprisals can be made on thee.
Thus thou may'st rise, and in thy daring flight
(Though ne'er so weighty) reach a wondrous height.
So, forced from engines, lead itself can fly,
And ponderous slugs move nimbly through the sky.
Sure Bavius copied Maevius to the full,
And Chaerilus taught Codrus to be dull;
Therefore, dear friend, at my advice give o'er
This needless labour; and contend no more
To prove a _dull succession_ to be true,
Since 'tis enough we find it so in you.
* * * * *
ODE ON SOLITUDE.
1 Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
2 Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.
3 Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day;
4 Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
Together mix'd; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
5 Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
* * * * *
THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUL.
1 Vital spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life!
2 Hark! they whisper; angels say,
'Sister Spirit, come away!'
What is this absorbs me quite?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirits, draws my breath?
Tell me, my soul, can this be Death?
3 The world recedes; it disappears!
Heaven opens on my eyes! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O Grave! where is thy victory?
O Death! where is thy sting?
* * * * *
ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY
What beckoning ghost, along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
'Tis she!--but why that bleeding bosom gored,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die? 10
Why bade ye else, ye Powers! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull, sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres; 20
Like Eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confined to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood! 30
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks, now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if Eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates.
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long funerals blacken all the way) 40
'Lo, these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.'
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone (O ever-injured Shade!)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier, 50
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What, though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show?
What, though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face? 60
What, though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. 70
How loved, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Even he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; 80
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!
* * * * *
PROLOGUE TO MR ADDISON'S TRAGEDY OF CATO.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream through every age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; 10
In pitying love, we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its woe.
Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause,
Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws:
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was:
No common object to your sight displays,
But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys, 20
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies every deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Even when proud Caesar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state; 30
As her dead father's reverend image pass'd,
The pomp was darken'd and the day o'ercast;
The triumph ceased, tears gush'd from every eye;
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome adored,
And honour'd Caesar's less than Cato's sword.
Britons, attend: be worth like this approved,
And show you have the virtue to be moved.
With honest scorn the first famed Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdued; 40
Your scene precariously subsists too long
On French translation, and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
Be justly warm'd with your own native rage;
Such plays alone should win a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
* * * * *
IMITATIONS OF ENGLISH POETS.
Women ben full of ragerie,
Yet swinken nat sans secresie.
Thilke moral shall ye understond,
From schoole-boy's tale of fayre Irelond:
Which to the fennes hath him betake,
To filche the gray ducke fro the lake.
Right then, there passen by the way
His aunt, and eke her daughters tway.
Ducke in his trowses hath he hent,
Not to be spied of ladies gent. 10
'But ho! our nephew!' crieth one;
'Ho!' quoth another, 'Cozen John;'
And stoppen, and lough, and callen out,--
This sely clerke full low doth lout:
They asken that, and talken this,
'Lo here is Coz, and here is Miss.'
But, as he glozeth with speeches soote,
The ducke sore tickleth his erse roote:
Fore-piece and buttons all to-brest,
Forth thrust a white neck, and red crest. 20
'Te-he,' cried ladies; clerke nought spake:
Miss stared; and gray ducke crieth 'Quaake.'
'O moder, moder!' quoth the daughter,
'Be thilke same thing maids longen a'ter?
Bette is to pyne on coals and chalke,
Then trust on mon, whose yerde can talke.'
1 In every town, where Thamis rolls his tyde,
A narrow pass there is, with houses low;
Where ever and anon the stream is eyed,
And many a boat soft sliding to and fro.
There oft are heard the notes of infant woe,
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall:
How can ye, mothers, vex your children so?
Some play, some eat, some cack against the wall,
And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call.
2 And on the broken pavement, here and there,
Doth many a stinking sprat and herring lie;
A brandy and tobacco shop is near,
And hens, and dogs, and hogs are feeding by;
And here a sailor's jacket hangs to dry.
At every door are sunburnt matrons seen,
Mending old nets to catch the scaly fry;
Now singing shrill, and scolding oft between;
Scolds answer foul-mouth'd scolds; bad neighbourhood, I ween.
3 The snappish cur (the passenger's annoy)
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimpering girl, and hoarser-screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble shrilling cries;
The scolding quean to louder notes doth rise,
And her full pipes those shrilling cries confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, and scolds, in the deep base are drown'd.
4 Hard by a sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days
Baskets of fish at Billingsgate did watch,
Cod, whiting, oyster, mack'rel, sprat, or plaice:
There learn'd she speech from tongues that never cease.
Slander beside her, like a magpie, chatters,
With Envy (spitting cat!), dread foe to peace;
Like a cursed cur, Malice before her clatters,
And vexing every wight, tears clothes and all to tatters.
5 Her dugs were mark'd by every collier's hand,
Her mouth was black as bull-dog's at the stall:
She scratched, bit, and spared ne lace ne band,
And 'bitch' and 'rogue' her answer was to all;
Nay, even the parts of shame by name would call:
Yea, when she passed by or lane or nook,
Would greet the man who turn'd him to the wall,
And by his hand obscene the porter took,
Nor ever did askance like modest virgin look.
6 Such place hath Deptford, navy-building town,
Woolwich and Wapping, smelling strong of pitch;
Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
And Twick'nam such, which fairer scenes enrich,
Grots, stutues, urns, and Jo--n's dog and bitch,
Ne village is without, on either side,
All up the silver Thames, or all adown;
Ne Richmond's self, from whose tall front are eyed
Vales, spires, meandering streams, and Windsor's towery pride.
OF A LADY SINGING TO HER LUTE.
Fair charmer, cease! nor make your voice's prize,
A heart resign'd, the conquest of your eyes:
Well might, alas! that threaten'd vessel fail,
Which winds and lightning both at once assail.
We were too blest with these enchanting lays,
Which must be heavenly when an angel plays:
But killing charms your lover's death contrive,
Lest heavenly music should be heard alive.
Orpheus could charm the trees, but thus a tree,
Taught by your hand, can charm no less than he:
A poet made the silent wood pursue,
This vocal wood had drawn the poet too.
ON A FAN OF THE AUTHOR'S DESIGN,
IN WHICH WAS PAINTED THE STORY OF CEPHALUS AND PROCRIS, WITH THE MOTTO,
'Come, gentle Air!' the Aeolian shepherd said,
While Procris panted in the secret shade;
'Come, gentle Air!' the fairer Delia cries,
While at her feet her swain expiring lies.
Lo! the glad gales o'er all her beauties stray,
Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play!
In Delia's hand this toy is fatal found,
Nor could that fabled dart more surely wound:
Both gifts destructive to the givers prove;
Alike both lovers fall by those they love.
Yet guiltless too this bright destroyer lives,
At random wounds, nor knows the wound she gives:
She views the story with attentive eyes,
And pities Procris, while her lover dies.
Fain would my Muse the flowery treasures sing,
And humble glories of the youthful Spring;
Where opening roses breathing sweets diffuse,
And soft carnations shower their balmy dews;
Where lilies smile in virgin robes of white,
The thin undress of superficial light,
And varied tulips show so dazzling gay,
Blushing in bright diversities of day.
Each painted floweret in the lake below
Surveys its beauties, whence its beauties grow; 10
And pale Narcissus on the bank, in vain
Transformed, gazes on himself again.
Here aged trees cathedral walks compose,
And mount the hill in venerable rows:
There the green infants in their beds are laid,
The garden's hope, and its expected shade.
Here orange-trees with blooms and pendants shine,
And vernal honours to their autumn join;
Exceed their promise in the ripen'd store, 20
Yet in the rising blossom promise more.
There in bright drops the crystal fountains play,
By laurels shielded from the piercing day:
Where Daphne, now a tree, as once a maid,
Still from Apollo vindicates her shade,
Still turns her beauties from the invading beam,
Nor seeks in vain for succour to the stream.
The stream at once preserves her virgin leaves,
At once a shelter from her boughs receives,
Where summer's beauty midst of winter stays,
And winter's coolness spite of summer's rays. 30
1 While Celia's tears make sorrow bright,
Proud grief sits swelling in her eyes;
The sun, next those the fairest light,
Thus from the ocean first did rise:
And thus through mists we see the sun,
Which, else we durst not gaze upon.
2 These silver drops, like morning dew,
Foretell the fervour of the day:
So from one cloud soft showers we view,
And blasting lightnings burst away.
The stars that fall from Celia's eye,
Declare our doom in drawing nigh.
3 The baby in that sunny sphere
So like a Phaeton appears,
That Heaven, the threaten'd world to spare,
Thought fit to drown him in her tears:
Else might the ambitious nymph aspire,
To set, like him, Heaven too on fire.
V. EARL OF ROCHESTER.
1 Silence! coeval with eternity;
Thou wert, ere Nature's self began to be,
'Twas one vast Nothing all, and all slept fast in thee.
2 Thine was the sway, ere heaven was form'd, or earth,
Ere fruitful Thought conceived Creation's birth,
Or midwife Word gave aid, and spoke the infant forth.
3 Then various elements against thee join'd,
In one more various animal combined,
And framed the clamorous race of busy humankind.
4 The tongue moved gently first, and speech was low,
Till wrangling Science taught it noise and show,
And wicked Wit arose, thy most abusive foe.
5 But rebel Wit deserts thee oft in vain;
Lost in the maze of words he turns again,
And seeks a surer state, and courts thy gentle reign.
6 Afflicted Sense thou kindly dost set free,
Oppress'd with argumental tyranny,
And routed Reason finds a safe retreat in thee.
7 With thee in private modest Dulness lies,
And in thy bosom lurks in Thought's disguise;
Thou varnisher of fools, and cheat of all the wise!
8 Yet thy indulgence is by both confess'd;
Folly by thee lies sleeping in the breast,
And 'tis in thee at last that Wisdom seeks for rest.
9 Silence! the knave's repute, the whore's good name,
The only honour of the wishing dame;
Thy very want of tongue makes thee a kind of fame.
10 But couldst thou seize some tongues that now are free,
How Church and State should be obliged to thee!
At Senate, and at Bar, how welcome would'st thou be!
11 Yet Speech even there submissively withdraws
From rights of subjects, and the poor man's cause:
Then pompous Silence reigns, and stills the noisy laws.
12 Past services of friends, good deeds of foes,
What favourites gain, and what the nation owes,
Fly the forgetful world, and in thy arms repose.
13 The country wit, religion of the town,
The courtier's learning, policy o' the gown,
Are best by thee express'd, and shine in thee alone.
14 The parson's cant, the lawyer's sophistry,
Lord's quibble, critic's jest, all end in thee,
All rest in peace at last, and sleep eternally.
VI. EARL OF DORSET.
1 Though Artemisia talks, by fits,
Of councils, classics, fathers, wits;
Reads Malebranche, Boyle, and Locke:
Yet in some things methinks she fails--
'Twere well if she would pare her nails,
And wear a cleaner smock.
2 Haughty and huge as High-Dutch bride,
Such nastiness, and so much pride
Are oddly join'd by fate:
On her large squab you find her spread,
Like a fat corpse upon a bed,
That lies and stinks in state.
3 She wears no colours (sign of grace)
On any part except her face;
All white and black beside:
Dauntless her look, her gesture proud,
Her voice theatrically loud,
And masculine her stride.
4 So have I seen, in black and white
A prating thing, a magpie height,
A stately, worthless animal,
That plies the tongue, and wags the tail,
All flutter, pride, and talk.
1 Phryne had talents for mankind,
Open she was, and unconfined,
Like some free port of trade:
Merchants unloaded here their freight,
And agents from each foreign state
Here first their entry made.
2 Her learning and good breeding such,
Whether the Italian or the Dutch,
Spaniards or French came to her:
To all obliging she'd appear,
'Twas 'Si, Signor,' 'twas 'Yaw, Mynheer,'
'Twas 'S' il vous plait, Monsieur.'
3 Obscure by birth, renown'd by crimes,
Still changing names, religions, climes,
At length she turns a bride:
In diamonds, pearls, and rich brocades,
She shines the first of batter'd jades,
And flutters in her pride.
4 So have I known those insects fair,
(Which curious Germans hold so rare)
Still vary shapes and dyes;
Still gain new titles with new forms;
First grubs obscene, then wriggling worms,
Then painted butterflies.
VII. DR SWIFT.
THE HAPPY LIFE OF A COUNTRY PARSON.
Parson, these things in thy possessing
Are better than the bishop's blessing:--
A wife that makes conserves; a steed
That carries double when there's need:
October store, and best Virginia,
Tithe-pig, and mortuary guinea:
Gazettes sent gratis down, and frank'd,
For which thy patron's weekly thank'd:
A large Concordance, bound long since:
Sermons to Charles the First, when prince:
A Chronicle of ancient standing;
A Chrysostom to smooth thy band in:
The Polyglot--three parts--my text,
Howbeit--likewise--now to my next:
Lo, here the Septuagint--and Paul,
To sum the whole--the close of all.
He that has these, may pass his life,
Drink with the squire, and kiss his wife;
On Sundays preach, and eat his fill;
And fast on Fridays--if he will;
Toast Church and Queen, explain the news,
Talk with churchwardens about pews,
Pray heartily for some new gift,
And shake his head at Doctor S----t.
* * * * *
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR MDCCXI.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's 'House of
Fame.' The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and
most of the particular thoughts my own: yet I could not suffer it to be
printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would compare this
with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of 'Fame,' there being
nothing in the two first books that answers to their title. Wherever any
hint is taken from him, the passage itself is set down in the marginal
In that soft season, when descending showers
Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers;
When opening buds salute the welcome day,
And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest,
And love itself was banish'd from my breast,
(What time the morn mysterious visions brings,
While purer slumbers spread their golden wings),
A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And, join'd, this intellectual scene compose. 10
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies;
The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanced hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen,
There towery cities, and the forests green:
Here sailing ships delight the wandering eyes:
There trees, and intermingled temples rise;
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays,
The transient landscape now in clouds decays. 20
O'er the wide prospect, as I gazed around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore:
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of ice the structure lay,
Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way;
The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. 30
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time subdued;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And poets once had promised they should last.
Some fresh engraved appear'd of wits renown'd;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place:
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd,
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind. 40
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt the approaches of too warm a sun;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by envy than excess of praise.
Yet part no injuries of heaven could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel:
The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names inscribed unnumber'd ages past
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last; 50
These ever new, nor subject to decays,
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast;
Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away,
And on the impassive ice the lightnings play;
Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
Till the bright mountains prop the incumbent sky:
As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears,
The gather'd winter of a thousand years. 60
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands.
Stupendous pile! not rear'd by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld,
Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd.
Four faces had the dome, and every face
Of various structure, but of equal grace;
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the different quarters of the sky.
Here fabled chiefs in darker ages born,
Or worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, 70
Who cities raised, or tamed a monstrous race,
The walls in venerable order grace;
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd,
On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd,
Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould,
And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold.
In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld,
And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield: 80
There great Alcides stooping with his toil,
Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil.
Here Orpheus sings; trees, moving to the sound,
Start from their roots, and form a shade around;
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and behold a sudden Thebes aspire!
Cythaeron's echoes answer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall:
There might you see the lengthening spires ascend,
The domes swell up, the widening arches bend, 90
The growing towers, like exhalations rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
With diamond flaming, and barbaric gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread the Assyrian fame,
And the great founder of the Persian name:
There in long robes the royal Magi stand,
Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand,
The sage Chaldeans robed in white appear'd,
And Brachmans, deep in desert woods revered. 100
These stopp'd the moon, and call'd the unbodied shades
To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades;
Made visionary fabrics round them rise,
And airy spectres skim before their eyes;
Of talismans and sigils knew the power,
And careful watch'd the planetary hour.
Superior, and alone, Confucius stood,
Who taught that useful science--to be good.
But on the south, a long majestic race
Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, 110
Who measured earth, described the starry spheres,
And traced the long records of lunar years.
High on his car Sesostris struck my view,
Whom sceptred slaves in golden harness drew:
His hands a bow and pointed javelin hold;
His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold.
Between the statues obelisks were placed,
And the learn'd walls with hieroglyphics graced.
Of Gothic structure was the northern side,
O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride. 120
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'd,
And Runic characters were graved around.
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear'd with blood,
The horrid forms of Seythian heroes stood,
Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unstrung)
And youths that died to be by poets sung.
These, and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables gave a lasting name, 130
In ranks adorn'd the temple's outward face;
The wall, in lustre and effect like glass,
Which o'er each object casting various dyes,
Enlarges some, and others multiplies:
Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
For thus romantic Fame increases all.
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold
Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold:
Raised on a thousand pillars, wreathed around
With laurel foliage, and with eagles crown'd: 140
Of bright, transparent beryl were the walls,
The friezes gold, and gold the capitals:
As heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
Full in the passage of each spacious gate,
The sage historians in white garments wait;
Graved o'er their seats the form of Time was found,
His scythe reversed, and both his pinions bound.
Within stood heroes, who through loud alarms
In bloody fields pursued renown in arms. 150
High on a throne, with trophies charged, I view'd
The youth that all things but himself subdued;
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
And his horn'd head belied the Libyan god.
There Caesar, graced with both Minervas, shone;
Caesar, the world's great master, and his own;
Unmoved, superior still in every state,
And scarce detested in his country's fate.
But chief were those, who not for empire fought,
But with their toils their people's safety bought: 160
High o'er the rest Epaminondas stood;
Timoleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
Bold Scipio, saviour of the Roman state;
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great;
And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind,
With boundless power unbounded virtue join'd,
His own strict judge, and patron of mankind.
Much-suffering heroes next their honours claim,
Those of less noisy, and less guilty fame,
Fair Virtue's silent train: supreme of these 170
Here ever shines the godlike Socrates:
He whom ungrateful Athens could expel,
At all times just, but when he sign'd the shell:
Here his abode the martyr'd Phocion claims,
With Agis, not the last of Spartan names:
Unconquer'd Cato shows the wound he tore,
And Brutus his ill Genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir,
Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire;
Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, 180
Hold the chief honours, and the fane command.
High on the first, the mighty Homer shone;
Eternal adamant composed his throne;
Father of verse! in holy fillets dress'd,
His silver beard waved gently o'er his breast;
Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears;
In years he seem'd, but not impair'd by years.
The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen:
Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian Queen;
Here Hector, glorious from Patroclus' fall, 190
Here dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall:
Motion and life did every part inspire,
Bold was the work, and proved the master's fire;
A strong expression most he seem'd to affect,
And here and there disclosed a brave neglect.
A golden column next in rank appear'd,
On which a shrine of purest gold was rear'd;
Finish'd the whole, and labour'd every part,
With patient touches of unwearied art:
The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate, 200
Composed his posture, and his look sedate;
On Homer still he fix'd a reverend eye,
Great without pride, in modest majesty.
In living sculpture on the sides were spread
The Latian wars, and haughty Turnus dead;
Eliza stretch'd upon the funeral pyre,
AEneas bending with his aged sire:
Troy flamed in burning gold, and o'er the throne,
ARMS AND THE MAN in golden cyphers shone.
Four swans sustain a car of silver bright, 210
With heads advanced, and pinions stretch'd for flight:
Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode,
And seem'd to labour with the inspiring god.
Across the harp a careless hand he flings,
And boldly sinks into the sounding strings.
The figured games of Greece the column grace,
Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race.
The youths hang o'er their chariots as they run;
The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone;
The champions in distorted postures threat; 220
And all appear'd irregularly great.
Here happy Horace tuned the Ausonian lyre
To sweeter sounds, and temper'd Pindar's fire:
Pleased with Alcaeus' manly rage t' infuse
The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse.
The polish'd pillar different sculptures grace;
A work outlasting monumental brass.
Here smiling Loves and Bacchanals appear,
The Julian star, and great Augustus here;
The doves that round the infant poet spread 230
Myrtles and bays, hung hovering o'er his head.
Here in a shrine that cast a dazzling light,
Sat, fix'd in thought, the mighty Stagyrite;
His sacred head a radiant zodiac crown'd,
And various animals his side surround;
His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
Superior worlds, and look all Nature through.
With equal rays immortal Tully shone,
The Roman rostra deck'd the Consul's throne:
Gathering his flowing robe, he seem'd to stand 240
In act to speak, and graceful stretch'd his hand.
Behind, Rome's Genius waits with civic crowns,
And the great Father of his country owns.
These massy columns in a circle rise,
O'er which a pompous dome invades the skies:
Scarce to the top I stretch'd my aching sight,
So large it spread, and swell'd to such a height.
Full in the midst, proud Fame's imperial seat
With jewels blazed, magnificently great;
The vivid emeralds there revive the eye, 250
The flaming rubies show their sanguine dye,
Bright azure rays from lively sapphires stream,
And lucid amber casts a golden gleam.
With various-colour'd light the pavement shone,
And all on fire appear'd the glowing throne;
The dome's high arch reflects the mingled blaze,
And forms a rainbow of alternate rays.
When on the goddess first I cast my sight,
Scarce seem'd her stature of a cubit's height;
But swell'd to larger size, the more I gazed, 260
Till to the roof her towering front she raised.
With her, the temple every moment grew,
And ampler vistas open'd to my view:
Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend,
And arches widen, and long aisles extend.
Such was her form as ancient bards have told,
Wings raise her arms, and wings her feet infold;
A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears,
A thousand open eyes, and thousand listening ears.
Beneath, in order ranged, the tuneful Nine 270
(Her virgin handmaids) still attend the shrine:
With eyes on Fame for ever fix'd, they sing;
For Fame they raise the voice, and tune the string;
With Time's first birth began the heavenly lays,
And last, eternal, through the length of days.
Around these wonders as I cast a look,
The trumpet sounded, and the temple shook,
And all the nations, summon'd at the call,
From different quarters fill the crowded hall:
Of various tongues the mingled sounds were heard 280
In various garbs promiscuous throngs appear'd;
Thick as the bees, that with the spring renew
Their flowery toils, and sip the fragrant dew,
When the wing'd colonies first tempt the sky,
O'er dusky fields and shaded waters fly,
Or settling, seize the sweets the blossoms yield,
And a low murmur runs along the field.
Millions of suppliant crowds the shrine attend,
And all degrees before the goddess bend;
The poor, the rich, the valiant, and the sage, 290
And boasting youth, and narrative old age.
Their pleas were different, their request the same:
For good and bad alike are fond of Fame.
Some she disgraced, and some with honours crown'd;
Unlike successes equal merits found.
Thus her blind sister, fickle Fortune, reigns,
And, undiscerning, scatters crowns and chains.
First at the shrine the learned world appear,
And to the goddess thus prefer their prayer:
'Long have we sought to instruct and please mankind, 300
With studies pale, with midnight vigils blind;
But thank'd by few, rewarded yet by none,
We here appeal to thy superior throne;
On wit and learning the just prize bestow,
For fame is all we must expect below.'
The goddess heard, and bade the Muses raise
The golden trumpet of eternal praise:
From pole to pole the winds diffuse the sound,
That fills the circuit of the world around;
Not all at once, as thunder breaks the cloud; 310
The notes at first were rather sweet than loud:
By just degrees they every moment rise,
Fill the wide earth, and gain upon the skies.
At every breath were balmy odours shed,
Which still grew sweeter as they wider spread;
Less fragrant scents the unfolding rose exhales,
Or spices breathing in Arabian gales.
Next these, the good and just, an awful train,
Thus on their knees address the sacred fane:
'Since living virtue is with envy cursed, 320
And the best men are treated like the worst,
Do thou, just goddess, call our merits forth,
And give each deed the exact intrinsic worth.'
'Not with bare justice shall your act be crown'd,'
(Said Fame), 'but high above desert renown'd:
Let fuller notes the applauding world amaze,
And the loud clarion labour in your praise.'
This band dismiss'd, behold, another crowd
Preferr'd the same request, and lowly bow'd;
The constant tenor of whose well-spent days 330
No less deserved a just return of praise.
But straight the direful trump of Slander sounds;
Through the big dome the doubling thunder bounds;
Loud as the burst of cannon rends the skies,
The dire report through every region flies,
In every ear incessant rumours rung,
And gathering scandals grew on every tongue.
From the black trumpet's rusty concave broke
Sulphureous flames, and clouds of rolling smoke:
The poisonous vapour blots the purple skies, 340
And withers all before it as it flies.
A troop came next, who crowns and armour wore,
And proud defiance in their looks they bore:
'For thee' (they cried), 'amidst alarms and strife,
We sail'd in tempests down the stream of life;
For thee whole nations fill'd with flames and blood,
And swam to empire through the purple flood.
Those ills we dared, thy inspiration own,
What virtue seem'd, was done for thee alone.'
'Ambitious fools!' (the Queen replied, and frown'd) 350
'Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown'd;
There sleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone,
Your statues moulder'd, and your names unknown!'
A sudden cloud straight snatch'd them from my sight,
And each majestic phantom sunk in night.
Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen;
Plain was their dress, and modest was their mien.
'Great idol of mankind! we neither claim
The praise of merit, nor aspire to fame;
But safe in deserts from the applause of men, 360
Would die unheard of, as we lived unseen;
'Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from sight
Those acts of goodness which themselves requite.
Oh let us still the secret joy partake,
To follow virtue even for virtue's sake.'
'And live there men, who slight immortal Fame?
Who then with incense shall adore our name?
But, mortals! know, 'tis still our greatest pride
To blaze those virtues which the good would hide.
Rise, Muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath; 370
These must not sleep in darkness and in death.'
She said: in air the trembling music floats,
And on the winds triumphant swell the notes;
So soft, though high, so loud, and yet so clear,
Even listening angels lean'd from heaven to hear:
To furthest shores the ambrosial spirit flies,
Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
Next these a youthful train their vows express'd,
With feathers crown'd, with gay embroidery dress'd:
'Hither' (they cried) 'direct your eyes, and see 380
The men of pleasure, dress, and gallantry;
Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays,
Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days;
Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care
To pay due visits, and address the fair:
In fact, 'tis true, no nymph we could persuade,
But still in fancy vanquish'd every maid;
Of unknown duchesses lewd tales we tell,
Yet, would the world believe us, all were well.
The joy let others have, and we the name, 390
And what we want in pleasure, grant in fame.'
The Queen assents, the trumpet rends the skies,
And at each blast a lady's honour dies.
Pleased with the strange success, vast numbers press'd
Around the shrine, and made the same request:
'What! you,' (she cried) 'unlearn'd in arts to please,
Slaves to yourselves, and even fatigued with ease,
Who lose a length of undeserving days,
Would you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise?
To just contempt, ye vain pretenders, fall, 400
The people's fable and the scorn of all.'
Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound,
Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round,
Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud,
And scornful hisses run through all the crowd.
Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done,
Enslave their country, or usurp a throne;
Or who their glory's dire foundation laid
On sovereigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd;
Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix, 410
Of crooked counsels, and dark politics;
Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne,
And beg to make the immortal treasons known.
The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire,
With sparks, that seem'd to set the world on fire.
At the dread sound, pale mortals stood aghast,
And startled Nature trembled with the blast.
This having heard and seen, some Power unknown
Straight changed the scene, and snatch'd me from the throne.
Before my view appear'd a structure fair, 420
Its site uncertain, if in earth or air;
With rapid motion turn'd the mansion round;
With ceaseless noise the ringing walls resound;
Not less in number were the spacious doors,
Than leaves on trees, or sands upon the shores;
Which still unfolded stand, by night, by day,
Pervious to winds, and open every way.
As flames by nature to the skies ascend,
As weighty bodies to the centre tend,
As to the sea returning rivers roll, 430
And the touch'd needle trembles to the pole;
Hither, as to their proper place, arise
All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies,
Or spoke aloud, or whisper'd in the ear;
Nor ever silence, rest, or peace is here.
As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
The trembling surface by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance, 440
Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance:
Thus every voice and sound, when first they break,
On neighbouring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Through undulating air the sounds are sent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.
There various news I heard of love and strife,
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life,
Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, 450
Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore,
Of prodigies, and portents seen in air,
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair,
Of turns of fortune, changes in the state,
The falls of favourites, projects of the great,
Of old mismanagements, taxations new:
All neither wholly false, nor wholly true.
Above, below, without, within, around,
Confused, unnumber'd multitudes are found,
Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; 460
Hosts raised by fear, and phantoms of a day:
Astrologers, that future fates foreshow;
Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few;
And priests, and party-zealots, numerous bands
With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands;
Each talk'd aloud, or in some secret place,
And wild impatience stared in every face.
The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd,
Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new, 470
And all who heard it made enlargements too,
In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew.
Thus flying east and west, and north and south,
News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth.
So from a spark, that kindled first by chance,
With gathering force the quickening flames advance;
Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire,
And towers and temples sink in floods of fire.
When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung,
Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, 480
Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow,
And rush in millions on the world below.
Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course,
Their date determines, and prescribes their force:
Some to remain, and some to perish soon;
Or wane and wax alternate like the moon.
Around, a thousand winged wonders fly,
Born by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through the sky.
There, at one passage, oft you might survey
A lie and truth contending for the way; 490
And long 'twas doubtful, both so closely pent,
Which first should issue through the narrow vent:
At last agreed, together out they fly,
Inseparable now, the truth and lie;
The strict companions are for ever join'd,
And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find.
While thus I stood, intent to see and hear,
One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear:
'What could thus high thy rash ambition raise?
Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?' 500
''Tis true,' said I, 'not void of hopes I came,
For who so fond as youthful bards of fame?
But few, alas! the casual blessing boast,
So hard to gain, so easy to be lost.
How vain that second life in others' breath,
The estate which wits inherit after death!
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