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Witnessed of mutability in all

My sister, and my sister's child, That we account most durable below!

Myself and children three, Change is the diet on which all subsist,

Will fill the chaise ; so you must ride
Created changeable, and change at last

On horseback after we.'
Destroys them. Skies uncertain, now the heat
Transmitting cloudless, and the solar beam

He soon replied: 'I do admire
Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds—

Of womankind but one, Calm and alternate storm, moisture and drought,

And you are she, my dearest dear;
Invigorate by turns the springs of life

Therefore it shall be done.
In all that live, plant, animal, and man,
And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads,

'I am a linen-draper bold, Fine passing thought, even in her coarsest works,

As all the world doth know, Delight in agitation, yet sustain

And my good friend the calender The force that agitates, not unimpaired ;

Will lend his horse to go.' But worn by frequent impulse, to the cause of their best tone their dissolution owe.

Quoth Mrs Gilpin : “That's well said ; Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still

And for that wine is dear, The great and little of thy lot, thy growth

We will be furnished with our own,
From almost nullity into a state

Which is both bright and clear.'
Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence,
Slow, into such magnificent decay.

John Gilpin kissed his loving wise ;
Time was when, settling on thy leaf, a fly

O'erjoyed was he to find Could shake thee to the root-and time has been

That, though on pleasure she was bent,
When tempest could not. At thy firmest age

She had a frugal mind,
Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents,
That might have ribbed the sides and planked the

The morning came, the chaise was brought, deck

But yet was not allowed Of some flagged admiral ; and tortuous arms,

To drive up to the door, lest all

Should say that she was proud.
The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present
To the four-quartered winds, robust and bold,

So three doors off the chaise was stayed, Warped into tough knee-timber, many a load !

Where they did all get in ;
But the axe spared thee. In those thristier days
Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply

Six precious souls, and all agog
The bottomless demands of contest waged

To dash through thick and thin.
For senatorial honours. Thus to time
The task was left to whittle thee away

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,

Were never folk so glad ; With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge,

The stones did rattle underneath,
Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more,

As if Cheapside were mad.
Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserved,
Achieved a labour, which had, far and wide,

John Gilpin at his horse's side
By man performed, made all the forest ring

Seized fast the flowing mane, Embowelled now, and of thy ancient self,

And up he got, in haste to ride,
Possessing nought but the scooped rind—that seems

But soon came down again;
An huge throat calling to the clouds for drink,
Which it would give in rivulets to thy root-

For saddle-tree scarce reached had he,
Thou temptest none, but rather much forbiddest

His journey to begin, The seller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite.

When, turning round his head, he saw
Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock,

Three customers come in.
A quarry of stout spurs and knotted fangs,
Which crooked into a thousand whimsies, clasp

So down he came ; for loss of time,
The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.

Although it grieved him sore, So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet

Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid,

Would trouble him much more.
Though all the superstructure, by the tooth
Pulverised of venality, a shell

'Twas long before the customers Stands now, and semblance only of itself !

Were suited to their mind,
When Betty screaming came down-stairs :

• The wine is left behind !
The Diverting History of John Gilpin :

Good lack !' quoth he-'yet bring it me,

My leathern belt likewise, Showing how he went farther than he intended, and came safe home again.

In which I bear my trusty sword

When I do exercise.'
John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown,

Now Mrs Gilpin-careful soul !-
A train-band captain eke was he

Had two stone bottles found,
Of famous London town.

To hold the liquor that she loved,

And keep it safe and sound. John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear :

Each bottle had a curling ear, 'Though wedded we have been These twice ten tedious years, yet we

Through which the belt he drew,

And hung a bottle on each side,
No holiday have seen.

To make his balance true. "To-morrow is our wedding-day,

Then over all, that he might be
And we will then repair

Equipped from top to toe,
Unto the Bell at Edmonton

His long red cloak, well brushed and neat, All in a chaise and pair.

He manfully did throw.

Now see him mounted once again

At Edmonton, his loving wife Upon his nimble steed,

From the balcony spied Full slowly pacing o'er the stones

Her tender husband, wondering much With caution and good heed.

To see how he did ride. But finding soon a smoother road

'Stop, stop, John Gilpin !-Here's the house !' Beneath his well-shod feet,

They all at once did cry ; The snorting beast began to trot,

'The dinner waits, and we are tired!', Which galled him in his seat.

Said Gilpin : 'So am I!' So, 'Fair and softly,' John he cried,

But yet his horse was not a whit But John he cried in vain ;

Inclined to tarry there ; That trot became a gallop soon,

For why ?-his owner had a house In spite of curb and rein.

Full ten miles off, at Ware. So stooping down, as needs he must

So like an arrow swift he flew, Who cannot sit upright,

Shot by an archer strong ; He grasped the mane with both his hands,

So did he fly-which brings me to And eke with all his might.

The middle of my song. His horse, which never in that sort

Away went Gilpin out of breath, Had handled been before,

And sore against his will, What thing upon his back had got

Till at his friend the calender's Did wonder more and more.

His horse at last stood still. Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;

The calender, amazed to see Away went hat and wig ;

His neighbour in such trim, He little dreamt, when he set out,

Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate, Of running such a rig.

And thus accosted him : The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,

"What news? what news ? your tidings tell; Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,

Tell me you must and shallAt last it flew away.

Say why bareheaded you are come,

Or why you come at all?'
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
A bottle swinging at each side,

And loved a timely joke ; As hath been said or sung.

And thus unto the calender

In merry guise he spoke:
The dogs did bark, the children screamed,
Up flew the windows all;

'I came because your horse would come ; And every soul cried out: "Well done!'

And, if I well forebode, As loud as he could bawl.

My hat and wig will soon be here

They are upon the road.'
Away went Gilpin—who but he?
His fame soon spread around ;

The calender, right glad to find
He carries weight ! he rides a race !

His friend in merry pin, * 'Tis for a thousand pound!

Returned him not a single word,

But to the house went in; And still, as fast as he drew near, 'Twas wonderful to view

Whence straight he came with hat and wig ; How in a trice the turnpike-men

A wig that flowed behind, Their gates wide open threw.

A hat not much the worse for wear,

Each comely in its kind.
And now, as he went bowing down
His reeking head full low,

He held them up, and in his turn
The bottles twain behind his back

Thus shewed his ready wit : Were shattered at a blow.

'My head is twice as big as yours,

They therefore needs must fit.
Down ran the wine into the road,
Most piteous to be seen,

*But let me scrape the dirt away Which made his horse's fanks to smoke

That hangs upon your face ; As they had basted been.

And stop and eat, for well you may But still he seemed to carry weight,

Be in a hungry case.' With leathern girdle braced ;

Said John: 'It is my wedding-day, For all might see the bottle necks

And all the world would stare, Still dangling at his waist.

If wife should dine at Edmonton,

And I should dine at Ware.' Thus all through merry Islington

These gambols he did play, Until he came unto the Wash

* We may add to the poet's text an explanation of the old

phrase 'a merry pin,' as given in Fuller's Church History: 'At a Of Edmonton so gay;

grand synod of the clergy and laity, 3 Henry I. (1102 A.D.), priests

were prohibited from drinking at pins. This was a Dutch trick, And there he threw the wash about

but used in England, of artificial drunkenness, out of a cup marked On both sides of the way,

with certain pins, and he accounted the best man who could nick

the pin, drinking even unto it, whereas to go above or beneath it Just like unto a trundling mop,

was a forfeiture. Hence probably the proverb, he is in a merry Or a wild goose at play.




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So turning to his horse, he said :

on Epic Poetry (1782), an Essay on Old Maids 'I am in haste to dine ;

(1785), Essays on Sculpture, addressed to Flaxman 'Twas for your pleasure you came here,

(1800), The Triumph of Music (1804), &c. He You shall go back for mine.'

wrote also various dramatic pieces and a Life of Ah, luckless speech, and bootless boast !

Milton (1796). A gentleman by education and For which he paid full dear ;

fortune, and fond of literary communication, For, while he spake, a braying ass

Hayley enjoyed the acquaintance of most of the Did sing most loud and clear;

eminent men of his times. His over-strained

sensibility and romantic tastes exposed him to Whereat his horse did snort, as he

ridicule, yet he was an amiable and accomplished Had heard a lion roar,

It was through his personal application to And galloped off with all his might,

Pitt that Cowper received his pension. He had As he had done before.

what appears to have been to him a sort of melanAway went Gilpin, and away

choly pride and satisfaction-the task of writing Went Gilpin's hat and wig :

epitaphs for most of his friends, including Mrs He lost them sooner than at first;

Unwin and Cowper. His life of Cowper appeared For why?—they were too big.

in 1803, and three years afterwards it was enlarged

by a supplement. Hayley prepared memoirs of Now Mrs Gilpin, when she saw

his own life, which he disposed of to a publisher Her husband posting down Into the country far away,

on condition of his receiving an annuity for the

remainder of his life. This annuity he enjoyed She pulled out half-a-crown;

for twelve years.

The memoirs appeared in two And thus unto the youth she said,

fine quarto volumes, but they failed to attract That drove them to the Bell :

attention. Hayley had outlived his popularity, This shall be yours, when you bring back and his smooth but often unmeaning lines had My husband safe and well.'

vanished like chaff before the vigorous and natural The youth did ride, and soon did meet

outpourings of the modern muse. As a specimen John coming back amain !

of this once much-praised poet, we subjoin from Whom in a trice he tried to stop,

his Essay on Epic Poetry some lines on the death By catching at his rein ;

of his mother, which had the merit of delighting

Gibbon, and with which Southey has remarked
But, not performing what he meant,

Cowper would sympathise deeply :
And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more,
And made him faster run.

Tribute to a Mother, on her Death.
Away went Gilpin, and away

For me who feel, whene'er I touch the lyre,
Went post-boy at his heels,
The post-boy's horse right glad to miss

My talents sink below my proud desire ;
The lumbering of the wheels.

Who often doubt, and sometimes credit give,

When friends assure me that my verse will live ;
Six gentlemen upon the road

Whom health, too tender for the bustling throng,
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,

Led into pensive shade and soothing song ;
With post-boy scampering in the rear,

Whatever fortune my unpolished rhymes
They raised the hue and cry :

May meet in present or in future times,

Let the blest art my grateful thoughts employ, 'Stop thief! stop thief ! a highwayman !'

Which soothes my sorrow and augments my joy ; Not one of them was mute ;

Whence lonely peace and social pleasure springs,
And all and each that passed that way

And friendship dearer than the smile of kings.
Did join in the pursuit.

While keener poets, querulously proud,

Lament the ill of poesy aloud,
And now the turnpike gates again

And magnify with irritation's zeal,
Flew open in short space ;

Those common evils we too strongly feel,
The tollmen thinking as before,

The envious comment and the subtle style
That Gilpin rode a race.

Of specious slander, stabbing with a smile ;

Frankly I wish to make her blessings known,
And so he did, and won it too,

And think those blessings for her ills atone ;
For he got first to town ;

Nor would my honest pride that praise forego,
Nor stopped till where he had got up

Which makes Malignity yet more my soe.
He did again get down.

If heartfelt pain e'er led me to accuse

The dangerous gift of the alluring Muse,
Now let us sing, long live the king,

'Twas in the moment when my verse impressed
And Gilpin, long live he ;

Some anxious feelings on a mother's breast.
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

O thou fond spirit, who with pride hast smiled,
May I be there to see !

And frowned with fear on thy poetic child,
Pleased, yet alarmed, when in his boyish time

He sighed in numbers or he laughed in rhyme ;

While thy kind cautions warned him to beware
WILLIAM HAYLEY (1745-1820), the biographer

Of Penury, the bard's perpetual snare ;

Marking the early temper of his soul, of Cowper, wrote various poetical works which

Careless of wealth, nor fit for base control ! enjoyed great popularity in their day. His princi

Thou tender saint, to whom he owes much more pal work is The Triumphs of Temper, a poem in Than ever child to parent owed before ; six cantos (1781). He wrote also an Essay on In life's first season, when the fever's flame History, addressed to Gibbon (1780), an Essay Shrunk to deformity his shrivelled frame,


And turned each fairer image in his brain

1770; and after her decease, Darwin seems to To blank confusion and her crazy train,

have commenced his botanical and literary pur'Twas thine, with constant love, through lingering years, suits. He was at first afraid that the reputation To bathe thy idiot orphan in thy tears ;

of a poet would injure him in his profession, but Day after day, and night succeeding night, To turn incessant to the hideous sight,

being firmly established in the latter capacity, he And frequent watch, if haply at thy view

at length ventured on publication. At this time Departed reason might not dawn anew;

he lived in a picturesque villa in the neighbourThough medicinal art, with pitying care,

hood of Lichfield, furnished with a grotto and Could lend no aid to save thee from despair,

fountain, and here he began the formation of a Thy fond maternal heart adhered to hope and prayer: botanic garden. The spot he has described as Nor prayed in vain ; thy child from powers above 'adapted to love-scenes, and as being thence a Received the sense to feel and bless thy love. proper residence for the modern goddess of O might he thence receive the happy skill,

botany.' In 1781 appeared the first part of And force proportioned to his ardent will,

Darwin's Botanic Garden, a poem in glittering With truth's unfading radiance to emblaze

and polished heroic verse, designed to describe, Thy virtues, worthy of immortal praise ! Nature, who decked thy form with beauty's flowers, botany. The Rosicrucian doctrine of gnomes,

adorn, and allegorise the Linnæan system of Exhausted on thy soul her finer powers; Taught it with all her energy to feel

sylphs, nymphs, and salamanders, was adopted Love's melting softness, friendship’s fervid zeal,

by the poet, as 'affording a proper machinery for The generous purpose and the active thought,

a botanic poem, as it is probable they were originWith charity's diffusive spirit fraught.

ally the names of hieroglyphic figures representing There all the best of mental gists she placed,

the elements. The novelty and ingenuity of Vigour of judgment, purity of taste,

Darwin's attempt attracted much attention, and Superior parts without their spleenful leaven, rendered him highly popular. In the same year Kindness to earth, and confidence in heaven. the poet was called to attend an aged gentleman, While my fond thoughts o'er all thy merits roll, Colonel Sachevell Pole of Radbourne Hall, near Thy praise thus gushes from my filial soul ;

Derby. An intimacy was thus formed with Mrs Nor will the public with harsh rigour blame

Pole; and the colonel dying, the poetical physician This my just homage to thy honoured name ; To please that public, if to please be mine,

in a few months afterwards, in 1781, married the Thy virtues trained me—let the praise be thine.

fair widow, who possessed a jointure of £600 per annum. Darwin was now released from all pru

dential fears and restraints as to the cultivation Inscription on the Tomb of Cowper.

of his poetical talents, and he went on adding to Ye who with warmth the public triumph feel

his floral gallery. In 1789 appeared the second Of talents dignified by sacred zeal,

part of his poem, containing the Loves of the Here, to devotion's bard devoutly just,

Plants. Ovid having, he said, transmuted men, Pay your fond tribute due to Cowper's dust! women, and even gods and goddesses, into trees England, exulting in his spotless fame,

and flowers, he had undertaken, by similar art, to Ranks with her dearest sons his favourite name. restore some of them to their original animality, Sense, fancy, wit, suffice not all to raise

after having remained prisoners so long in their So clear a title to affection's praise :

respective vegetable mansions :
His highest honours to the heart belong ;
His virtues formed the magic of his song.

Extract from ' Loves of the Plants.'
On the Tomb of Mrs Unwin.

From giant oaks, that wave their branches dark,

To the dwarf moss that clings upon their bark, Trusting in God with all her heart and mind,

What beaux and beauties crowd the gaudy groves, This woman proved magnanimously kind;

And woo and win their vegetable loves.* Endured aflliction's desolating hail,

How snowdrops cold, and blue-eyed harebells, blend And watched a poet through misfortune's vale.

Their tender tears, as o'er the streams they bend; Her spotless dust angelic guards defend !

The love-sick violet, and the primrose pale, It is the dust of Unwin, Cowper's friend.

Bow their sweet heads, and whisper to the gale ; That single title in itself is fame,

With secret sighs the virgin lily droops,
For all who read his verse revere her name.

And jealous cowslips hang their tawny cups.
How the young rose, in beauty's damask pride,

Drinks the warm blushes of his bashful bride ;

With honeyed lips enamoured woodbines meet,

Clasp with fond arms, and mix their kisses sweet ! DR ERASMUS DARWIN (1731-1802), an ingeni

Stay thy soft murmuring waters, gentle rill ; ous philosophical, though fanciful poet, was born

Hush, whispering winds; ye rustling leaves, be still ; at Elston, near Newark. Having passed with Rest, silver butterflies, your quivering wings; credit through a course of education at St John's Alight, ye beetles, from your airy rings; College, Cambridge, he applied himself to the Ye painted moths, your gold-eyed plumage furl, study of physic, and took his degree of bachelor Blow your wide horns, your spiral trunks uncurl ; in medicine at Edinburgh in 1755. He then

Glitter, ye glow-worms, on your mossy beds; commenced practice in Nottingham, but meeting

Descend, ye spiders, on your lengthened threads ; with little encouragement, he removed to Lichfield,

Slide here, ye horned snails, with varnished shells; where he long continued a successful and dis

Ye bee-nymphs, listen in your waxen cells ! tinguished physician. In 1757 Dr Darwin married an accomplished lady of Lichfield, Miss Mary Linnæus, the celebrated Swedish naturalist, has demonstrated Howard, by whom he had five children, two of that all flowers contain families of males or females, or both; and

on their marriage has constructed his invaluable system of botany. whom died in infancy. The lady herself died in Darwin.



This is certainly melodious verse, and ingenious length and tiresome minuteness, that nothing is subtle fancy. A few passages have moral senti- left to the reader's imagination, and the whole ment and human interest united to the same passes like a glittering pageant before the eye, powers of vivid painting and expression:

exciting wonder, but without touching the heart

or feelings. As the poet was then past fifty, the Roll on, ye stars! exult in youthful prime,

exuberance of his fancy, and his peculiar choice Mark with bright curves the printless steps of time;

of subjects, are the inore remarkable. A third Near and more near your beamy cars approach,

part of the Botanic Garden was added in 1792 ; And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach; Flowers of the sky! ye too to age must yield,

(he received £900 for the copyright of the whole). Frail as your silken sisters of the field !

Darwin next published his Zoonomia, or the Star after star from heaven's high arch shall rush,

Laws of Organic Life, part of which he had Suns sink on suns, and systems, systems crush, written many years previously. This is a curious Headlong, extinct, to one dark centre fall,

and original physiological treatise, evincing an And death, and night, and chaos mingle all !

inquiring and attentive study of natural phenoTill o'er the wreck, emerging from the storm,

Dr Thomas Brown, Professor Dugald Immortal nature lifts her changeful form,

Stewart, Paley, and others, have, however, sucMounts from her funeral pyre on wings of fame, cessfully combated the positions of Darwin, parAnd soars and shines, another and the same !

ticularly his theory which refers instinct to sen

sation. In 1801 our author came forward with In another part of the poem, after describing the another philosophical disquisition, entitled Phytocassia plant, 'cinctured with gold,' and borne on logia, or the Philosophy of Agriculture and by the current to the coasts of Norway, with all Gardening: He also wrote a short treatise on its 'infant loves,' or seeds, the poet, in his usual Female Education, intended for the instruction strain of forced similitude, digresses in the and assistance of part of his own family. This following happy and vigorous lines, to Moses was Darwin's last publication. He had always concealed on the Nile, and the slavery of the been a remarkably temperate man. Indeed, he Africans :

totally abstained from all fermented and spirituous

liquors, and in his Botanic Garden he compares So the sad mother at the noon of night,

their effects to that of the Promethean fire. He From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight ;

was, however, subject to inflammation as well as Wrapped her dear babe beneath her folded vest, And clasped the treasure to her throbbing breast;

gout, and a sudden attack carried him off in his With soothing whispers hushed its feeble cry,

seventy-first year, on the 18th of April 1802. Pressed the soft kiss, and breathed the secret sigh.

Shortly after his death, was published a poem, the With dauntless step she seeks the winding shore,

Temple of Nature, which he had ready for the press, Hears unappalled the glimmering torrents roar;

the preface to the work being dated only three With paper-flags a floating cradle weaves,

months before his death. The Temple of Nature And hides the smiling boy in lotus leaves ;

aimed, like the Botanic Garden, to amuse by Gives her white bosom to his eager lips,

bringing distinctly to the imagination the beauThe salt tears mingling with the milk he sips; tiful and sublime images of the operations of Waits on the reed-crowned brink with pious guile, nature. It is more metaphysical than its predeAnd trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.

cessor, and more inverted in style and diction. Erewhile majestic from his lone abode, Ambassador of heaven, the prophet trod ;

The poetical reputation of Darwin was as bright Wrenched the red scourge from proud oppression's formed the subject of his verse. Cowper praised

and transient as the plants and flowers which hands, And broke, cursed slavery! thy iron bands.

his song for its rich embellishments, and said it Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry,

was as 'strong' as it was 'learned and sweet.' Which shook the waves and rent the sky ?

'There is a fashion in poetry,' observes Sir Walter E'en now,


now, on yonder western shores Scott, 'which, without increasing or diminishing Weeps pale despair, and writhing anguish roars ;

the real value of the materials moulded upon it, E'en now in Afric's groves, with hideous yell, does wonders in facilitating its currency while it Fierce slavery stalks, and slips the dogs of hell; has novelty, and is often found to impede its From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound, reception when the mode has passed away. This And sable nations tremble at the sound !

has been the fate of Darwin. Besides his coterie Ye bands of senators ! whose suffrage sways Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys ;

at Lichfield, the poet of Flora had considerable

influence on the poetical taste of his own day. Who right the injured and reward the brave,

He may be traced in the Pleasures of Hope of Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save ! Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,

Campbell, and in other young poets of that time. Inexorable conscience holds his court ;

The attempt to unite science with the inspirations With still small voice the plots of guilt alarms,

of the Muse, was in itself an attractive novelty, Bares his masked brow, his listed hand disarms;

and he supported it with various and high powers. But wrapped in night with terrors all his own, His command of fancy, of poetical language, dazzHe speaks in thunder when the deed is done. ling metaphors, and sonorous versification, was Hear him, ye senates ! hear this truth sublime, well seconded by his curious and multifarious “He who allows oppression, shares the crime !' knowledge. The effect of the whole, however, was

artificial, and destitute of any strong or continuous The material images of Darwin are often less interest. The Rosicrucian machinery of Pope was happy than the above, being both extravagant and united to the delineation of human passions and gross, and grouped together without any visible pursuits, and became the auxiliary of wit and connection or dependence one on the other. He satire ; but who can sympathise with the loves and has such a throng of startling metaphors and metamorphoses of the plants? Darwin had no descriptions, the latter drawn out to an excessive sentiment or pathos except in very brief episodical

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