« PreviousContinue »
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
655 And universal darkness buries all.
FROM BOOK VI
In vain, in vain -- the all-composing hour
The sickening stars fade off th’ ethereal plain;
1 Cf. the incantations of Medea, as told by Gower. ? See the story in Gayley, pp. 92-94.
The chief replied: “That post shall be my care,
560 Not that alone, but all the works of war. How would the sons of Troy, in arms re
nown'd, And Troy's proud dames, whose garments
sweep the ground, Attaint the lustre of
name, Should Hector basely quit the field of fame? My early youth was bred to martial pains, My soul impels me to th’embattled plains : Let me be foremost to defend the throne, And guard my father's glories and my own. Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates, (How my heart trembles while my tongue relates !)
571, The day when thou, imperial Troy! must
bend, And see thy warriors fall, thy glories end. And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind, My mother's death, the ruin of my kind, Not Priam's hoary hairs defil'd with gore, Not all my brothers gasping on the shore, As thine, Andromache! Thy griefs I dread: I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led, In Argivel looms our battles to design, 580 And woes of which so large a part was thine ! To bear the victor's hard commands, or bring The weight of waters from Hyperia's spring ! There, while you groan beneath the load of
life, They cry, ‘Behold the mighty Hector's wife!' Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to
see, Embitters all thy woes by naming me.
No more --- but hasten to thy tasks at home,
The thoughts of glory past and present shame,
weep.' Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of
Troy Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy. The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast, Scar'd at the dazzling helm and nodding crest. With secret pleasure each fond parent smil'd, And Hector hasted to relieve his child; 599 The glittr'ing terrors from his brows unbound, And plac'd the beaming helmet on the ground. Then kiss'd the child, and, lifting high in
JOHN GAY (1685-1732)
THE HARE WITH MANY FRIENDS
Thus to the gods preferr'd a father's pray'r: "O thou ! whose glory fills th' ethereal
throne, And all ye deathless pow'rs ! protect my son ! Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown, To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown, Against his country's foes the war to wage, And rise the Hector of the future age ! So when, triumphant from successful toils, 610 Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils, Whole hosts may hail him with deserv'd
acclaim, And say, “This chief transcends his father's
fame': While pleas'd, amidst the gen'ral shouts of
Troy, His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with
joy.” He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms, Restor'd the pleasing burthen to her arms; Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid, Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey'd. The troubled pleasure soon chastis’d by fear, She mingled with the smile a tender tear. 621 The soften'd chief with kind compassion
view'd, And dried the falling drops, and thus pur
sued : “Andromache! my soul's far better part, Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy
heart? No hostile hand can antedate my doom, Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb. Fix'd isl the term to all the race of earth, And such the hard condition of our birth. No force can then resist, no flight can save; All sink alike, the fearful and the brave. 631
Friendship, like love, is but a name,
As forth she went at early dawn,
She next the stately Bull implored;
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
The Goat remarked her pulse was high,
The Sheep was feeble, and complained His sides a load of wool sustained: Said he was slow, confessed his fears, For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.
She now the trotting Calf addressed, To save from death a friend distressed. “Shall I,” says he, “of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler passed you by; How strong are those, how weak am I! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then. You know my heart. But dearest friends, alas, must part ! How shall we all lament! Adieu ! For see, the hounds are just in view.”
“If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright; Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white. Thus every beauteous object that I view, 35 Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
All in the Downs: the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind, When Black-eyed Susan came aboard,
“Oh! where shall I my true love find? Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
William, who high upon the yard
Rocked with the billow to and fro, Soon as her well-known voice he heard
He sighed, and cast his eyes below: The cord slides swiftly through his glowing
hands And, quick as lightning, on the deck he
FROM THE COMPLAINT, OR NIGHT
So the sweet lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast If chance his mate's shrill call he hear
15 And drops at once into her nest. The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lips those kisses sweet.
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful, is man! How passing wonder He who made him such ! Who centred in our make such strange extremes,
70 From different natures marvellously mixed! Connection exquisite of distant worlds ! Distinguished link in being's endless chain ! Midway from nothing to the Deity ! ! A beam ethereal, sullied, and absorpt ! Though sullied and dishonoured, still divine ! Dim miniature of greatness absolute !
1 Cf. above, p. 260 b, note 2.
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
aghast, And wondering at her own. How reason
reels! O, what a miracle to man is man! Triumphantly distressed! What joy! what
dread! Alternately transported and alarmed ! What can preserve my life? or what destroy? An angel's arm can't snatch me from the
grave; Legions of angels can't confine me there.
By nature's law, what may be, may be now; There's no prerogative in human hours.
371 In human hearts what bolder thought can
rise Than man's presumption on to-morrow's
dawn? Where is to-morrow? In another world. For numbers this is certain; the reverse
sure to none; and yet on this perhaps,' This ‘peradventure,' infamous for lies, As on a rock of adamant, we build Our mountain hopes, spin our eternal schemes, As' we the fatal sisters ? could out-spin, 380 And big with life's futurities, expire. Not e'en Philander 3 had bespoke his shroud, Nor had he cause; a warning was denied : How many fall as sudden, not as safe; As sudden, though for years admonish'd
home! Of human ills the last extreme beware;
Beware, Lorenzo, a slow sudden death.
Of man's miraculous mistakes this bears The palm, “That all men are about to live, Forever on the brink of being born." 400 All pay themselves the compliment to think They one day shall not drivel: and their
pride On this reversion takes up ready praise; At least, their own; their future selves ap
plaud; How excellent that life they ne'er will lead. Time lodg'd in their own hands is folly's
vails ; 2 That lodg’d in fate's to wisdom they consign. The thing they can't but purpose, they post
pone. 'Tis not in folly not to scorn a fool, And scarce in human wisdom to do more. 410 All promise is poor dilatory man, And that through every stage: when young,
indeed, In full content we sometimes nobly rest, Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish, As duteous sons our fathers were more wise. At thirty man suspects himself a fool, Knows it at forty and reforms his plan; At fifty chides his infamous delay, Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve; In all the magninimity of thought 420 Resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same.
2 the Fates Young's son-in-law, Mr. Temple, who had died two years before
i probably the Duke of Wharton 2 folly's perquisite
LADY WINCHILSEA (1661-1720)
A NOCTURNAL REVERIE
Whose stealing pace, and lengthen’d shade we
fear, Till torn up forage in his teeth we hear; When nibbling sheep at large pursue their
food, And unmolested kine re-chew the cud; When curlews cry beneath the village-walls, And to her straggling brood the partridge
calls; Their ortliv'd jubilee the creatures keep, Which but endures whilst tyrant-man does
sleep; When a sedate content the spirit feels, And no fierce light disturb, whilst it reveals; But silent musings urge the mind to seek 41 Something too high for syllables to speak; Till the free soul to a compos’dness charm’d, Finding the elements of rage disarm’d, O'er all below a solemn quiet grown, Joys in th’ inferior world and thinks it like her
own : In such a night let me abroad remain Till morning breaks and all's confus'd again; Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renew'd, Or pleasures, seldom reach'd, again pursu’d. 50
In such a night, when every louder wind
right; : In such a night, when passing clouds give
place, Or thinly vail the Heav'ns mysterious face; When in some river, overhung with green, The waving moon and trembling leaves are
seen; When freshen’d grass now bears itself upright, And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite, Whence springs the woodbind and the
bramble-rose, And where the sleepy cowslip shelter'd grows; Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes, Yet chequers still with red the dusky brakes; When scatter'd glow-worms, but in twilight
fine, Show trivial beauties watch their hour to
shine, Whilst Salisb’rystands the test of every light In perfect charms and perfect virtue bright; 20 When odours which declin'd repelling day Thro' temp’rate air uninterrupted stray ; When darken'd groves their softest shadows
wear, And falling waters we distinctly hear; When thro’ the gloom more venerable shows Some ancient fabric, awful in repose, While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks con
ceal And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale ; When the loos'd horse now, as his pasture
leads, Comes slowly grazing thro' th' adjoining meads,
ROBERT BLAIR (1699-1746)
FROM THE GRAVE
While some affect the sun, and some the shade,
plore, Eternal King ! whose potent arm sustains The keys of hell and death. The Grave,
dread thing! Men shiver when thou’rt nam’d: Nature,
appallid, Shakes off her wonted firmness. Ah ! how
1 the Countess of Salisbury