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Scarce ftole a breeze to wave the leafy spray,
Scarce trill'd fweet Philomel her fofteft lay,
When Locke walk'd mufing forth! e'en now
Majeftic Wildom thron'd upon his brow; [view
View Candour fmile upon his modeft cheek,
And from his eye all Judgment's radiance break.
'Twas here the fage his manly zeal exprefs'd,
Here ftripp'd vain Falfehood of her gaudy veft;
Here Truth's collected beams first fill'd his mind,
Ere long to burft in bleffings on mankind;
Ere long to fhew to reafon's purged eye,
That "Nature's firft beft gift was Liberty."
Proud of this won'drous fon, fublime I ftood,
(While louder furges fwell'd my rapid flood);
Then, vain as Niobe, exulting cried,
Iliffus! roll thy fam'd Athenian tide;
Tho' Plato's fteps oft mark'd thy neighb'ring
Tho' fair Lyceum lent its awful fhade, [glade,
Tho' ev'ry Academic green imprefs'd
Its image full on thy reflecting breast,
Yet my pure ftream fhall boast as proud a name,
And Britain's Ifis flow with Attic fame.
Alas! how chang'd! where now that Attic
See! Gothic Licence rage o'er all my coaft;
See! Hydra Faction fpreads its impious reign,
Poifon each breaft, and madden ev'ry brain:
Hence frontless crowds that,not content to fright
The blushing Cynthia from her throne of night,
Blaft the fair face of day; and, madly bold,
To Freedom's foes infernal orgies hold;
To Freedom's foes, ah fee the goblet crown'd,
Hear plaufive fhouts to Freedom's foes refound,
The horrid notes my refluent waters daunt,
The Echoes groan, the Dryads quit their haunt;
Learning, that once to all diffus'd her beam,
Now fheds, by stealth, a partial private gleam
In fome lone cloifter's melancholy fhade,
Where a firm few fupport her fickly head,
Defpis'd, infulted, by the barb'rous train,
Who fcour, like Thracia's moon-ftruck rout,
Sworn foes, like them, to all the Mufe approves,
All Phoebus favours, or Minerva loves.
Are thefe the fons my foft'ring breast muft rear,
Grac'd with my name, and nurtur'd by my care?
Muft thefe go forth from my maternal hand
To deal their infults thro' a peaceful land;
And boaft, while Freedom bleeds, and Virtue
That Is taught Rebellion to her Sons?"
Forbid it, Heaven! and let my rifing waves
Indignant fwell, and whelm the recreant flaves!
In England's caufe their patriot floods employ,
As Xanthus delug'd in the caufe of Troy.
Is this denied; then point fome fecret way
Where far, far hence thefe guiltless itre ms may
Forget that e'er my wrapt attention hung
Or on the Sage's or the Poet's tongue;
Calm and refign'd my humbler lot embrace,
And, pleas'd, prefer oblivion to disgrace.
§117. Epiftolary Verfes to George Colman, Efq.
written in the Year 1756. By Mr. ROBERT
You know, dear George, I'm none of thofe
That condefcend to write in profc:
Infpir'd with pathos and fublime,
always foar-in doggrel rhyme;
And fcarce can ask you how you do,
Without a jingling line or two.
Befides, I always took delight in
What bears the name of eafy writing;
Perhaps the reason makes it please
Is, that I find 'tis writ with ease.
I vent a notion here in private,
Which public tafte can ne'er connive at,
Which thinks no wit or judgment greater
Than Addison, and his Spectator;
Who fays (it is no matter where,
But that he fays it I can swear)
With eafy verfe moft bards are smitten,
Because they think it 's easy written;
Whereas, the easier it appears,
The greater marks of care it wears;
Of which to give an explanation,
Take this, by way of illustration:
The fam'd Mat. Prior, it is faid,
Oft bit his nails, and scratch'd his head,
And chang'd a thought a hundred times,
Because he did not like the rhymes:
To make my meaning clear, and please ye,
In fhort, he labour'd to write easy.
And yet no Critic e'er defines
His poem's into labour'd lines.
I have a fimile will hit him;
His verfe, like clothes, was made to fit him;
Which (as no taylor e'er denied)
The better fit the more they 're tried.
Though I have mentioned Prior's name,
Think not aim at Prior's fame.
'Tis the refolt of admiration
To fpend itself in imitation;
If imitation may be faid,
Which is in me by nature bred,
And you have better proots than these
That I'm idolater of Eafe.
Who, but a madman would engage
A Poet in the prefent age?
Write what we will, our works befpeak us
Imitatores, fera um Pecus.
Tale, Flegy, or lofty Ode,
[reads] We travel in the beaten road:
Some unknown channel lend, where Nature
Inglorious vales, and unfrequented meads:
There,where a bind scarces tunes his ruftic train.
Where fcarce a pilgrim treads the pathlets plain,
Content I'll flow; forget that e'er my tide
Saw yon majeltic fructures crown its fide;
The proverb fill ticks closely by us,
Nil dictum, quod non diétum prius.
The only comfort that i know
Is, that 'twas faid an age ago,
Ere Milton fear'd in thought fublime,
Ere Pope rean'd the chink of rhyme,
Ere Colman wrote in style fo pure,
Or the great Town the Connoiffeur;
Ere I burlefqu'd the rural cit,
Proud to hedge in my fcraps of wit;
And, happy in the clofe connection,
Tacquire fome name from their reflection:
So (the fimilitude is trite)
The moon still thines with borrow'd light;
And, like the race of modern beaux,
Ticks with the fun for her lac'd clothes.
Methinks there is no better time
To fhew the ufe I make of rhyme,
Than now, when I, who from beginning
Was always fond of couplet-finning,,
Prefuming on good-nature's score,
Thus lay my bantling at your door.
The first advantage which I fee
Is, that I ramble loose and free:
The bard indeed full oft complains
That rhymes are fetters, links, and chains;
And, when he wants to leap the fence,
Still keeps him pris'ner to the fense.
Howe'er in common-place he rage,
Rhyme 's like your fetters on the stage,
Which, when the player once hath wore,
It makes him only ftrut the more,
While, raving in pathetic ftrains,
He flakes his legs to clank his chains.
From rhyme, as from a handfome face,
Nonfenfe acquires a kind of grace;
I therefore give it all its scope,
That fenfe may, unperceiv'd, elope.
So Mrs of baseft tricks
(I love a fling at politics)
Amuse the nation, court, and king,
With breaking F-kes, and hanging Byng;
And make each puny rogue a prey,
While they, the greater, flink away.
This fimile, perhaps, would strike,
If match'd with fomething more alike;
Then take it drefs'd a second time
In Prior's Eafe, and my Sublime.
Say, did you never chance to meet
A mob of people in the street,
Ready to give the robb'd relief,
And all in hafte to catch a thief;
While the fly rogue who filch'd the prey,
Too close befet to ran away,
Stop thief! ftop thief! exclaims aloud,
And fo efcapes among the crowd?
So Ministers, &c.
O England, how I mourn thy fate!
For fure thy losses now are great;
Two fuch what Briton can endure?
Minorca, and the Connoiffeur !
To-day, or e'er the fun goes down, Will die the Cenfor, Mr Town!
He dies, whoe'er takes pains to con him, With "blushing honours thick upon him:"
$118. Ode to Arthur Onflow, Esq.† THIS goodly frame what virtue fo approves, And teftifies the pure ethereal spirit, As mild Benevolence!
She, with her fifter Mercy, ftill awaits
Befide th' eternal throne of Jove, And measures forth with unwithdrawing The bleffings of the various year, [hand Sunfhine or fhow'r, and chides the madding tempest. [rity, With her the heaven-bred nymph, meek Cha Shall fathion Onflow forth in fairest portrait; And with recording care
Weave the fresh wreath that flow'ring virtue claims.
But, oh, what muse shall join the band?
He long has fojourn'd in the facred haunts,
And knows each whifp'ring grot and
Trod by Apollo and the light-foot Graces,
How then fhall awkward gratitude,
And the prefumption of untutor'd duty,
Attune my numbers, all too rude?
Little he recks the meed of fuch a fong;
Yet will I ftretch aloof,
And when I tell of Courtesy,
Of well-attemper'd Zeal,
Of awful Prudence foothing fell Contention,
Where thall the lineaments agree
But in thee, Onflow? You your wonted leave Indulge me, nor mifdeem a foldier's bold em
Who, in the diffonance of barb'rous war Long train'd, revifits oft the facred treasures Of antique memory!
Or where fage Pindar reins his fiery car
Through the vast vault of Heaven secure,
Or what th Attic mufe that Homer fill'd,
Her other fon, thy Milton taught,
Or range the flow'ry fields of gentle Spencer.
And, ever as I go, allurements vain
Cherifh a feeble fire, and feed my idle
Fancy: oh could I once
Charm to their melody my fhrilling reeds!
To Henries and to Edwards old,
Dread na.. es! I'd meditate the faithful fong;
Or tell what time Britannia,
*September 30th, 1756, when Mr. Town, author of the Connoisseur, a periodical Essay, (since published in four volumes, printed for R. Baldwin, London), took leave of his readers, with an hu mourous account of himself.
+ This elegant Poem was written by a Gentleman well known in the learned world, as a token of gratitude for favours conferred on his father during the last war, whose character he has therein assumed; LI
Whilom the fairest daughter of old Ocean,
In loathly difarray, dull eyes,
And faded cheek, wept o'er her abject fons:
Till William, great deliverer!
Led on the comely train, gay Liberty,
Religion, matron ftaid,
With all her kindred goddeffes;
Juftice, with steady brow,
Trim Plenty, laureat Peace, and green-hair'd
In flowing veft of thousand hues. Fain would I hadow out old Bourbon's pile Tott'ring with doubtful weight, and threat'ning cumb'rous fall;.
Or trace our navy, where in tow`ring pride O'er the wide fwelling wafte it rolls avengeful. As when collected clouds
Forth from the gloomy fouth, in deep array, Athwart the dark'ning landscape throng, Fraught with loud ftorms, and thunder's dreadful peal,
At which the murd'rer ftands aghat, And wafting Riot ill diffembles terror. How headlong Rhone and Ebro, erit diftain'd With Moorish carnage, quakes thro' all her branches!
Soon fhall I greet the morn, [name, When, Europe fav'd, Britain and George's
Shall found o'er Flandria's level field, Familiar in domestic merriment;
Or by the jolly mariner
Be carol'd loud adown the echoing Danube.
The juft memorial of fair deeds
Still flourishes, and, like th' untainted foul,
Bloffoms in fresheft age above
The weary flesh, and envy's rankling wound.
Such, after years mature,
In full account fhall be thy meed.
Oh may your rifing hope
Well principled in ev'ry virtue bloom!
Tilf a fresh-fpringing flock implore With infant handsa grandfire's pow'rfulpray'r; Or round your honour'd couch their prattling sports pursue.
Hark! yor. deep echo strikes the trembling ear!
See night's dun curtain wraps the darkfome pole
O'er heaven's blue arch yon rolling worlds ap
And roufe to folemn thought th'aspiring soul.
O lead my steps beneath the moon's dim ray,
Where Tadmor ftands all defert and alone!
While from her time-shook tow'rs the bird of
Sounds thro' the night her long-refounding
Where fell-eyed tigers, all athirft for blood,
Or bear me far to yon dark, difmal plain,
Howl to the defert: while the horrid train
Roams o'er the wild where once great Babel
That queen of nations! whofe fuperior call
Rous'd the broad Eaft, and bid her arms destroy!
When warm'd to mirth, let judgment mark ber
And deep reflection dafh the lip of joy. [fall,
Short is Ambition's gay, deceitful dream,
Though wreaths of blooming laurel bind her
Calm thought difpels the vifionary scheme, And Time's cold breath diffolves the with ring bough.
Slow as fome miner faps th' afpiring tow'r, When working fecret with deftructive aim, Unfeen, unheard, thus moves the ftealing hour, But works the fall of empire, pomp, and name. Then let thy pencil mark the traits of man; Full in the draught be keen-eyed Hope por tray'd:
Let flutt'ring Cupids crowd the growing plan: Then give one touch, and dafh it deep with thade. Beneath the plume that flames with glancing
Be Care's deep engines on the foul impress'd; Beneath the hemlet's keen refulgent blaze Let Grief fit pining in the canker'd breast. Let Love's gay fons, a fmiling train, appear, with beauty pierc'd-yet heedless of the darts While, clofely couch'd,pale, fick'ningEnvy near Whets her fell fting, and points it at the heart. Perch'd, like a raven, on fome blafted yew, Let Guilt revolve the thought-diftracting fin; [roam, Scar'd-while her eyes furvey th' ethereal blue, Left heaven's ftrong lightning burft the dark
§ 119. Ode to Melancholy. OGILVIE. HAIL, queen of thought fublime! propitious
Who o'er the unbounded waste art joy'd to Led by the moon, when, at the midnight hour,
Her pale rays tremble thro' the dusky gloom. Then paint, impending o'er the maddening deep
O bear me, Goddefs, to thy peaceful feat!
Whether to Hecla's cloud-wrapt brow convey'd,
Orlodg'dwheremountains fcreen thydeep retreat,
Or wand'ring wild thro' Chili's boundless fhade.
Say, rove thy fteps o'er Libya's naked waste?
Or feek fome distant folitary fhore?
Or, on the Ande's topmoft mountain plac'd,
Doft fit, and hear the folemn thunder roar?
That rock, where heart-ftruck Sappho, vainly
Stood firm of foul-then from the dizzy steep
Impetuous fprung, and dash'd the boiling wave.
Here, wrapt in ftudious thought, let Fancy rove,
Still prompt to mark Sufpicion's fecret fnare;
To fee where Anguish nips the bloom of Love,
Or trace proud Grandeur to the domes of Care.
Should e'er Ambition's tow'ring hopes inflame,
Let judging reafon draw the veil afide;
Or, fir'd with envy at fome mighty name,
Pours her long wail from fome lamented tomb? Read o'er the monument that tells-He died.
Fix'd on fome hanging rock's projected brow,
Hear'ft thou low murmurs from the diftantdome?
Or ftray thy feet where pale, dejected Woe
What are the enfigns of imperial fway?
What all that Fortune's lib'ral hand has brought?
Teach they the voice to pour a fweeter lay?
Or roufe the foul to more exalted thought?
When bleeds the heart as Genius blooms un-
When melts the eye o'erVirtue's mournful bier?
Not wealth, but pity, fwells the burfting groan?
Not pow'r, but whifp'ring Nature, prompts the
Say, gentle mourner, in yon mouldy vault,
Where the worm fattens on fome fceptered brow,
Beneath that roof with fculptur'dmarble fraught,
Why fleeps unmov'd the breathlefs duft below?
Sleeps it more fweetly than the fimple swain
Beneath fome mofly turf that refts his head;
Where the lone widow tells the night her pain,
And eve with dewy tears embalms the dead?
The lily, fcreen'd from ev'ry ruder gale,
Courts not the cultur'd spot where rofes fpring;
But blows neglected in the peaceful vale,
And scents the zephyr's balmy breathing wing.
The bufts of grandeur, and the pomp of pow'r,
Can thefe bid Sorrow's gufhing tears fubfide?
Can these avail in that tremendous hour, [tide?
When Death's cold hand congeals the purple
Ah no! the mighty names are heard no more:
Pride's thought fublime, and Beauty's kindling]
Droops o'er the green-embroider'd stream;
Or where young Zephyr ftirs the rustling sprays,
Lies all diffolv'd in fairy dream.
O'er yon bleak defert's unfrequented round
Seeft thou where Nature treads the deep'ning
Sits on yon hoary tow'r with ivy crown'd,
or wildly wails o'er thy lamented tomb?
Hear'it thou the folemn mufic wind along?[fong?
Or thrills the warbling note in thy melliflous
Oft, while on earth, 'twas thine to rove
Where'er the wild-eyed goddess lov'd to roam,
To trace ferene the gloomy grove,
Or haunt meek Quiet's fimple dome;
That pour the foul transporting ftrain;
Still hovering round the Nine appear,
Join'd to the Loves' gay train,
The light wing'd gales that lead the vernal year,
The loose rob'd Graces, crown'd with flow'rs,
O'er all bright Fancy's beamy radiance fhone,
And wake the rofy-featur'd hours.
How flam'd thy bofom as her charms reveal!
Her traces loofe, that wanton'd on the gale;
Her fire-clad eye fublime, her starry zone,
On thee the goddess fix'd her ardent look,
Then from her glowing lips these melting ac-
Serve but to sport one flying moment o'er,
And fwell with pompous verse th' efcutcheon'd"
I. 3. "To thee, my favourite son, belong The lays that steal the liftening hour; "To pour the rapture-darting fong, "To paint gay Hope's Elyfian bower. "From Nature's hand to fnatch the dart, "To cleave with pangs the bleeding heart; "Or lightly fweep the trembling ftring, "And call the Loves with purple wing "From the blue deep, where they dwell "With Naiads in the pearly cell. «Soft on the fea-born goddess gazet; "Or in the loofe robes' floating maze, "Diffolv'd in downy flumbers reft; Or wild to melt the yielding foul, "Or flutter o'er her panting breast. "Let Sorrow, clad in fable ftole, « Or penfive Pity, pale; "Slow to thy mufing thought appear; "Or Love's defponding tale [tear." "Call from th' intender'd heart the sympathetic II. 1.
For me-may Paffion ne'er my foul invade,
Nor be the whims of tow'ring Phrenzy giv'n;
Let Wealth ne'er court me from the peaceful
Where Contemplation wings the foul to Hea-
Oh guard me safe from Joy's enticing fnare!
With each extreme that Pleasure tries to hide,
The poifon'd breath of flow-confuming Care,
The noise of Folly, and the dreams of Pride.
But oft, when midnight's fadly folemn knell
Sounds long and diftant from the sky-topt tow'r,«
Calm let me fit in Profper's lonely cell*,
Or walk with Milton thro' the dark obfcure.
Thus, when the tranfient dream of life is fled,
May fome fad friend recall the former years;
Then, ftretch'd in filence o'er my dusty bed,
Pour the warin gush of fympathetic tears.
120. Ode to the Genius of Shakespeare.
Say, whence the magic of thy mind?
Why thrills thy mufic on the fprings of thought?
Why, at thy pencil's touch refin'd,
Starts into life the glowing draught?
Say, burfts thy Genius to the world of Where beauty pours eternal bloom, Seeks it yon ftar-befpangled fky?
Or skims its fields with rapid flight?
Or, mid yon plains where Fancy ftrays,
Courts it the balmy breathing gale?
And zephyr breathes perfume;
There nightly to the tranced eye
Profuse the radiant goddefs ftood difplay'd,
With all her fmiling offspring nigh.
The pale ey'd Genius of the shade
Led thy bold step to Profper's magic bow'r;
Whofe voice the howling winds obey'd,
Whose dark spell chain'd the rapid hour:
Then rose ferene the fea-girt ifle;
Gay scenes, by Fancy's touch refin'd,
Glow'd to the mufing mind:
Such vifions blefs the hermit's dream,
When hovering angels prompt his placid fmile,
Or paint fome high ecftatic theme.
Then flam'd Miranda on th' enraptur'd gaze,
Then fail'd bright Ariel on the bat's fleet wing:
Or starts the lift'ning throng in still amaze,
The wild note trembling on the aërial string!
The form, in heaven's refplendent vesture gay,
Floats on the mantling cloud, and pours the
Oh lay me near yon limpid stream,
Whose murmur fooths the ear of woe!
There in fome sweet poetic dream
Let Fancy's bright Elyfium glow!
'Tis done-o'er all the blushing mead
The dark wood thakes his cloudy head:
Below, the lily-fringed dale
Breathes its mild fragrance on the gale;
While, in paftime all unfeen,
Titania, rob'd in mantle green,
Sports on the moffy bank: her train
Skims light along the gleaming plain;
Or to the flutt ring breeze unfold
The blue wing streak'd with beamy gold;
Its pinions op'ning to the light!-
Say, burfts the vision on my fight?
Ah, no! by Shakespeare's pencil drawn,
The beauteous fhapes appear;
While meek-eyed Cynthia near
Illumes with streamy ray the filver-mantled
But hark! the tempeft howls afar!
Hears not the mourner's unvailing moan:
Heart-pierc'd he bleeds; and, ftung with wild
Bares his time-blasted head, and tears his filver
Lo! on yon long-refounding fhore,
Where the rock totters o'er the headlong deep;
What phantoms bath'd in infant gore
Stand mutt'ring on the dizzy steep!
Their murmur fhakes the zephyr's wing!
The storm obeys their powerful spell;
See from his gloomy cell
Fierce Winter ftarts! his fcowling eye
Blots the fair mantle of the breathing Spring,
And lowers along the ruffled fky,
To the deep vault the yelling harpies run§;
Its yawning mouth receives th' infernal crew,
Dim thro' the black gloom winks the glimmering
And the pale furnacegleams withbrimstone blue,
Hell howls; and fiends, that join the dire acclaim,
Dance on the bubbling tide, and point the
But, ah! on Sorrow's cyprefs bough
Can Beauty breathe her genial bloom!
On Death's cold cheek will paffion glow?
Or Mufic warble from the tomb?
There fleeps the Bard, whofe tuneful tongue
Pour'd the full stream of mazy fong.
Young Spring, with lip of ruby, here
Show'rs from her lap the blushing year
While, along the turf reclin'd,
The loofe wing fwimming on the wind
The Loves, with forward gefture bold,
Sprinkle the fod with spangling gold:
And oft the blue-eyed Graces trim
Dance lightly round on downy limbą
Oft too, when eve, demure and still,
Chequers the green dalc's purling rill,
Sweet Fancy pours the plaintive train;
Or, wrapt in foothing dream,
By Avon's ruffied stream,
Hears the low-murmuring gale that dies along
121. Ode to Time; occafioned by feng Ruins of an old Cafile.
Bursts the loud whirlwind o'er the pathlefs
What cherub blows the trump of war?
What demon rides the ftormy blast?
Red from the lightning's livid blaze,
The bleak heath rushes on the fight;
Then, wrapt in sudden night
Diffolves. But, ah! what kingly form
Roams the tone defert's defolated maze
Unaw'd, nor heeds the sweeping storm?
Ye pale-ey'd lightnings, fpare the cheek of age!
Va. with tho anguish heaves theburtinggroan,
Deaf as the flint, the marble ear of rage
* Anel: see the Tempest.
THOU,who mid the world-involving gloomy
Sitt it on yon folitary fpire!
Or flowly fhak'ft the founding dome,
Or hear it the wildly warbling lyre;
Say, when thy musing foul
Bids diftant times unrol,
And marks the flight of each revolving year,
Of years whofe flow-confuming pow'r
Has clad with mofs yon leaning tow'r,
That faw the race of Glory run,
That mark'd Ambition's letting fun,
That thook old Empire's tow'ring pride,
That fwept them down the floating tide-
+ See the Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Witches in Macbeth.