« PreviousContinue »
Tetrastic From the Persian, On parent knees, a naked new-born child, Weeping thou sat'st while all around thee smiled ; So live, that sinking in thy last long sleep, Calm thou mayst smile, while all around thee weep.
FRANCIS FAWKES (1721-1777) translated Anacreon, Sappho, Bion, and other classic poets, and wrote some pleasing original verses.
He was a clergyman, and died vicar of Hayes, in Kent. Fawkes enjoyed the friendship of Johnson and Warton ; but, however classic in his tastes and studies, he seems, like Oldys, to have relished a cup of English ale. The following song is still, and will always be, a favourite :
The Brown Jug. Dear Tom, this brown jug that now foams with mild ale, (In which I will drink to sweet Nan of the vale) Was once Toby Fillpot, a thirsty old soul, As e'er drank a bottle, or fathoined a bowl; In bousing about 'twas his praise to excel, And among jolly topers he bore off the bell. It chanced as in dog-days he sat at his ease, In his flower-woven arbour, as gay as you please, With a friend and a pipe puffing sorrows away, And with honest old stingo was soaking his clay, His breath-doors of life on a sudden were shut, And he died full as big as a Dorchester butt. His body when long in the ground it had lain, And time into clay had resolved it again, A potter found out in its covert so snug, And with part of fat Toby he formed this brown jug; Now sacred to friendship, and mirth, and mild ale, So here's to my lovely sweet Nan of the vale ! Johnson acknowledged that · Frank Fawkes had done the Odes of Anacreon very finely.'
Some blast had struck the cheerful scene;
Full oft, unknowing why they did,
A courteous neighbour at the door,
Yet neighbours were not quite the thing-
Agreed. A rich old uncle dies,
Why should we paint, in tedious song,
at builders too?
WILLIAM WHITEHEAD (1715-1785) succeeded to the office of poet-laureate, after it had been refused by Gray. He was the son of a baker in Cambridge, and distinguished himself at Winchester school, on leaving which he obtained a scholarship at Clare-hall, in the university of his native town. He was afterwards tutor to the son of the Earl of Jersey. Whitehead had a taste for the drama, and wrote The Roman Father, and Creusa, two indifferent plays. After he had received his appointment as laureate, he was attacked by Churchill, and a host of inferior satirists, but he wisely made no reply. In the family of Lord Jersey he enjoyed comfort and happiness, till death, at seventy, put a period to his inoffensive life.
Variety. (This easy and playful poem opens with the description of a rural pair of easy fortune, who live much apart from society.]
Two smiling springs had waked the flowers
In pleasures every hour employ,
The moral of my tale is this:
DR JAMES GRAINGER.
The passe-partout through every vein
Suffice it, that by just degrees
Advanced to fashion's wavering head,
At last they met, by his desire,
Silence is eloquence, 'tis said.
How delicate the married life!
True to the bias of our kind,
Twas company, 'twas friends to share
We left the lonesome place, and found,
Behold us now, dissolving quite
DR JAMES GRAINGER (1721-1766) was, according to his own statement, seen by Mr Prior, the biographer of Goldsmith, ‘of a gentleman's fanily in Cumberland.' He studied medicine in Edinburgh, was in the army, and, on the peace, established himself as a medical practitioner in London. His poem of Solitude appeared in 1755, and was praised by Johnson, who considered the opening very noble.' Grainger wrote several other pieces, translated Tibullus, and was a critic in the Monthly Review. In 1759 he went to St Christophers, in the West Indies, commenced practising as a physician, and married a lady of fortune. During his residence there, he wrote his poem of the Sugar-Cane, which Shenstone thought capable of being rendered a good poem; and the arguments in which, Southey says, are ‘ludicrously flat and formal.' One point is certainly ridiculous enough ; ‘he very poetically,' says Campbell, . dignifies the poor negroes with the name of “swains.")
Grainger died in the West Indies.
Ode to Solitude. O Solitude, romantic maid! Whether by nodding towers you tread, Or haunt the desert's trackless gloom, Or hover o'er the yawning tomb, Or climb the Andes' clifted side, Or by the Nile's coy source abide, Or starting from your half-year's sleep, From Hecla view the thawing deep, Or, at the purple dawn of day, Tadmor's marble wastes survey, You, recluse, again, I woo, And again your steps pursue. Plumed Conceit himself surveying, Folly with her shadow playing, Purse-proud, elbowing Insolence, Bloated empiric, puffed Pretence, Noise that through a trumpet speaks, Laughter in loud peals that breaks, Intrusion with a fopling's face, (Ignorant of time and place),
What is fame? an empty bubble.
Sparks of fire Dissension blowing, Ductile, court-bred Flattery, bowing, Restraint's stiff neck, Grimace's leer, Squint-eyed Censure's artful sneer, Ambition's buskins, steeped in blood, Fly thy presence, Solitude. Sage Reflection, bent with years, Conscious Virtue void of fears, Muffled Silence, wood-nymph shy, Meditation's piercing eye, Halcyon Peace on moss reclined, Retrospect that scans the mind, Wrapt earth-gazing Reverie, Blushing artless Modesty, Health that snuffs the morning air, Full-eyed Truth with bosom bare, Inspiration, Nature's child, Seek the solitary wild. You, with the tragic muse retired, The wise Euripides inspired ; You taught the sadly-pleasing air That Athens saved from ruins bare. You gave the Cean's tears to flow, And unlocked the springs of wo; You penned what exiled Naso thought, And poured the melancholy note. With Petrarch o'er Vaucluse you strayed, When death snatched his long-loved maid; You taught the rocks her loss to mourn, Ye strewed with flowers her virgin urn. And late in Hagley you were seen, With bloodshot eyes, and sombre mien; Hymen his yellow vestment tore, And Dirge a wreath of cypress wore. But chief your own the solemn lay That wept Narcissa young and gay; Darkness clapped her sable wing, While you touched the mournful string; Anguish left the pathless wild, Grim-faced Melancholy smiled, Drowsy Midnight ceased to yawn, The starry host put back the dawn; Aside their harps even seraphs flung To hear thy sweet Complaint, 0 Young ! When all nature's hushed asleep, Nor Love nor Guilt their vigils keep, Soft you leave your caverned den, And wander o'er the works of men ; But when Phosphor brings the dawn By her dappled coursers drawn, Again you to the wild retreat And the early huntsman meet, Where, as you pensive pace along, You catch the distant shepherd's song, Or brush from herbs the pearly dew, Or the rising primrose view. Devotion lends her heaven-plumed wings, You mount, and nature with you sings. But when mid-day fervours glow, To upland airy shades you go, Where never sunburnt woodman came, Nor sportsman chased the timid gaine; And there beneath an oak reclined, With drowsy waterfalls behind, You sink to rest. Till the tuneful bird of night From the neighbouring poplar's height, Wake you with her solemn strain, And teach pleased Echo to complain. With you roses brighter bloom, Sweeter every sweet perfume; Purer every fountain flows, Stronger every wildling grows. Let those toil for gold who please, Or for fame renounce their case.
The Chameleon. Oft has it been my lot to mark A proud, conceited, talking spark, With eyes that hardly served at most To guard their master 'gainst a post; Yet round the world the blade has been, To see whatever could be seen. Returning from his finished tour, Grown ten times perter than before ; Whatever word you chance to drop, The travelled fool your mouth will stop: “Sir, if my judgment you'll allowI've seen—and sure I ought to know.'So begs you'd pay a due submission, And acquiesce in his decision.
Two travellers of such a cast, As o'er Arabia's wilds they passed, And on their way, in friendly chat, Now talked of this, and then of that ; Discoursed awhile, 'mongst other matter, Of the Chameleon's form and nature. A stranger animal,' cries one, Sure never lived beneath the sun : A lizard's body lean and long, A fish's head, a serpent's tongue, Its foot with triple claw disjoined ; And what a length of tail behind ! How slow its pace ! and then its hue Who ever saw so fine a blue?
‘Hold there,' the other quick replies, ''Tis green, I saw it with these eyes, As late with open mouth it lay, And warmed it in the sunny ray; Stretched at its ease the beast I viewed, And saw it eat the air for food.'
• I've seen it, sir, as well as you,
• 'Tis green, 'tis green, sir, I assure ye.' Green cries the other in a fury:
'Why, sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes ?' • 'Twere no great loss,' the friend replies ;
For if they always serve you thus,
So high at last the contest rose,
"Sirs,' cries the umpire, cease your pother ;
Well, then, at once to ease the doubt,'
He said; and full before their sight
pieces, of mediocre merit. The following seems to
[Ode on Hearing the Drum.]
And when Ambition's voice commands,
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
And all that misery's hand bestows
JOAN SCOTT (1730-1783) was our only Quaker poet till Bernard Barton graced the order with a sprig of laurel Scott was the son of a draper in
a Fly Drinking out of his Cup of Ale.
Song-May-Eve, or Kate of Aberdeen.
Steals softly through the night,
And kiss reflected light.
Songs,' published by J. Johnson in 1783. Burns, the Scottish Boott's Grotto, Amwell.
poet, had a copy of this work (one of the volumes of which is
now before us), and we observe he has honoured the extemLondon, who retired to Amwell, in Hertfordshire, pore lyric of the old antiquary with pencil marks in the marand here the poet spent his days, improving his gar- gin. In his Lines written in Friars' Carse Hermitage, Burns den and grounds." He published several poetical has echoed some of Oldys's thoughts and expressions.
treatment of cases of insanity. Cowper, his patient, bears evidence to his well-known humanity and sweetness of temper.'
To beds of state go, balmy sleep,
('Tis where you've seldom been,) May's vigil while the shepherds keep
With Kate of Aberdeen.
In rosy chaplets gay,
And gives the promised May:
The promised May, when seen,
As Kate of Aberdeen.
We'll rouse the nodding grove;
And hail the maid I love.
He quits the tufted green:
'Tis Kate of Aberdeen. Now lightsome o'er the level mead,
Where midnight fairies rove,
Or tune the reed to love:
She claims a virgin queen ;
'Tis Kate of Aberdeen.
Content, a Pastoral.
As wildered and wearied I roam,
And leads me o'er lawns to her home.
crowned, Green rushes were strewed on her floor, Her casement sweet woodbines crept wantonly round,
And decked the sod seats at her door. We sat ourselves down to a cooling repast,
Fresh fruits, and she culled me the best ; While thrown from my guard by some glances she
cast, Love slily stole into my breast! I told my soft wishes ; she sweetly replied
(Ye virgins, her voice was divine !) I've rich ones rejected, and great ones denied,
But take me fond shepherd- I'm thine.
So simple, yet sweet were her charms !
And locked the loved maid in my arms.
And if, by yon prattler, the stream, Reclined on her bosom, I sink into sleep,
Her image still softens my dream.
Delighted with pastoral views,
And point out new themes for my muse.
The damsel's of humble descent;
And shepherds have named her Content.
In folly's maze advance;
Nor join the giddy dance.
Where love our hours employs ;
To spoil our heartfelt joys.
And they are fools who roam:
And that dear hut-our home,
That safe retreat, the ark;
Explored the sacred bark. Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle powers, We, who improve his golden hours,
By sweet experience know,
A paradise below.
Whence pleasures ever rise :
And train them for the skies. While they our wisest hours engage, They'll joy our youth, support our age,
And crown our hoary hairs :
And recompense our cares.
Or by the world forgot:
And bless our humbler lot.
For nature's calls are few:
And make that little do.
Nor aim beyond our power ; For, if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present hour To be resigned when ills betide, Patient when favours are denied,
And pleased with favours given ; Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part ; This is that incense of the heart, Whose fragrance smells to heaven.
NATHANIEL COTTON (1721-1788), wrote Visions in Verse, for children, and a volume of poetical Miscellanies. He followed the medical profession in St Albans, and was distinguished for his skill in the