Page images



Where no fair science ever shows her face, | Yet more her volumes teach, -on these we Few sparks of genius and no spark of grace;

look There sceptics rest, a still-increasing throng, As abstracts drawn from Nature's larger And stretch their widening wings ten thou

book : sand strong: Here, first described, the torpid carth Some in close fight their dubious claims

appears, maintain;

And next, the vegetable robe it wears ; Some skirmish lightly, fly and fight again; Where flow'ry tribes, in valleys, fields and Coldly profane, and impiously gay,

groves, Their end the same, though various in their Nurse the still flame, and feed the silent way.

loves; When first Religion came to bless the land, Loves, where no grief, nor joy, nor bliss, Her friends were then a firın believing band;

nor pain, To doubt was, then, to plunge in guilt Warm the glad heart or vex the labouring extreme,

brain; And all was gospel that a monk could dream; But as the green blood moves along the Insulted Reason fled the grov'ling soul,

blade, For Fcar to guide and visions to control: The bed of Flora on the branch is made ; But now, when Reason has assumed her where, without passion, love instinctive throne,

lives, She, in her turn, demands to reign alone; And gives new life, unconscious that it gives. Rejecting all that lies beyond her view, Advancing still in Nature's maze, we trace, And, being judge, will be a witness too: In dens and burning plains, her sa vage race; Insulted Faith then leaves the doubtful mind, with those tame tribes who on their lord To seek for truth, without a power to find :

attend, Ah! when will both in friendly beams unite, And find, in man, a master and a friend : And pour on erring man resistless light? Man crowns the scene, a world of wonders

A moral world, that well demands our view. Next to the seats, well stored with works This world is here; for, of more lofty kind, divine,

These neighbouring volumes reason on the An ample space, Philosophy! is thine; Our reason's guide, by whose assisting light They paint the state of man ere yet endued We trace the moral' bounds of wrong and With knowledge;- man, poor, ignorant, right;

and rude; Our guide through nature, from the sterile Then, as his state improves, their pages clay,

swell, To the bright orbs of yon celestial way! And all its cares, and all its comforts, tell: "Tis thine, the great, the golden chain to Here we behold how inexperience buys,


At little price, the wisdom of the wise; Which runs through all, connecting race Without the troubles of an active state,

with race;

Without the cares and dangers of the great, Save where those puzzling, stubborn links Without the miseries of the poor, we know


What wisdom, wealth, and poverty bestow; Which thy inferior light pursues in vain :- We see how reason calms the raging mind, How vice and virtue in the soul contend; And how contending passions urge mankind : How widely differ, yet how nearly blend! Some, won by virtue, glow with sacred fire; What various passions war on either part, Some, lured by vice, indulge the low desire; And now confirm, now melt the yielding Whilst others, won by either, now pursue


The guilty chase, now keep the good in view; How Faney loves around the world to stray, For ever wretched, with themselves at strife, While Judgment slowly picks his sober way; They lead a puzzled, vex’d, uncertain life; The stores of memory, and the flights for transient vice bequeaths a lingering sublime

pain, Of grnius, bound by neither space nor time;- Which transient virtuc seeks to cure in vain. All these divine Philosophy explores, Till, lost in awe, she wonders and adorer. From these, descending to the earth, she Whilst thus engaged, high views enlarge turns,

the soul, And matter, in its various form, discerns; New interests draw, new principles control: She parts the beamy light with skill Nor thus the soul alone resigns her grief,


But here the tortured body finds relief; Metes the thin air, and weighs the flying For see where yonder sage Arachne shapes

sound ;

Her subtile gin, that not a fly escapes! Tishers, the lightning from the clouds to call, There Physic fills the space, and far around. And teach the fiery mischief where to fall. Pilc above pile, her learned works abound : Glorious their alm—to ease the labouring Ye first seducers of my easy heart,


Who promised knowledge ye could not To war with death, and stop his flying dart;

impart; To trace the source whence the fierce con- Ye dull deluders, truth's destructive foes;

test grew,

Ye sons of fiction, clad in stupid prose; And life's short lease on easier terms renew; Ye treacherous leaders, who, yourselves in To calm the frenzy of the burning brain ;

doubt, To heal the tortures of imploring pain ; Light up false fir and send us far about;Or, when more powerful ills all efforts brave, Still may yon spider round your pages spin, To ease the victim no device can save, Subtile and slow, her emblematic gin! And smooth the stormy passage to the grave. Buried in dust and lost in silence, dwell, But man, who knows no good unmix'd and Most potent, grave, and reverend friendspure,

farewell! Oft finds a poison where he rought a cure; For grave deceivers lodge their labours here, And cloud the science they pretend to clear: Near these, and where the setting sun Scourges for sin, the solemn tribe are sent;

displays, Like fire and storms, they call us to repent; Through the dim window, his departing rays, But storms subside, and fires forget to rage, And gilds yon columns, there, on either side, These are eternal scourges of the age: The huge abridgments of the Law abide; 'Tis not enough that each terrific hand Fruitful as vice the dread correctors stand, Spreads desolation round a guilty land; And spread their guardian terrors round But, train’d to ill, and harden'd by its crimes,

the land; Their pen relentless kills through future Yet, as the best that human care can do,


Is mix'd with error, oft with evil too, Say ye, who search these records of the dead, Skill'd in deceit, and practised to evade, Who read huge works, to boast what ye Knaves stand secure, for whom these laws have read;

were made ; Can all the real knowledge ye possess,

And justice vainly each expedient tries, Or those (if such there are) who more than while art eludes it, or while power defies.


Ah! happy age, the youthful poet sings, Atone for each impostor's wild mistakes, When the free nations knew not laws nor And mend the blunders pride or folly makes?

kings; What thought so wild, what airy dream 80 When all were blest to share a light,

store, That will not prompt a theorist to write ? And none were proud of wealth, for none What art so prevalent, what proof so strong,

were poor; That will convince him his attempt is wrong? No wars, nor tumults vex'd each still domain, One in the solids finds each lurking ill, No thirst of empire, no desire of gain; Nor grants the passive fluids power to kill; No proud great man, nor one who would be A learned friend some subtler reason brings,

great, Absolves the channels, but condemns their Drove modest merit from its proper state ;


Nor into distant climes would avarice roam, The subtile nerves, that shun the doctor's To fetch delights for luxury at home:


Bound by no ties which kept the soul in awe, Escape no more his subtler theory; They dwelt at liberty, and love was law ! The vital heat, that warms the labouring Mistaken youth! cach nation first was rude,


Each man a cheerless son of solitude, Lendo a fair system to these sons of art; To whom no joys of social life were knowa, The vital air, a pure and subtile stream, None felt a care that was not all his own; Serves a foundation for an airy scheme, Or in some languid clime his abject soul Assists the doctor, and supports his dream. Bowd to a little tyrant's stern control; Some have their favourite ills, and each A slave, with slaves his monarch's throne disease

he raised, Is but a younger branch that kills from And in rude song his ruder idol praised ;

these :

The meaner cares of life were all he knew; One to the gout contracts all human pain, Bounded his pleasures, and his wishes few: He views it raging in the frantic brain; But when by slow degrees the Arts arose, Finde it in fevers all his efforts mar, And Science wakend from her long repose; And sees it lurking in the cold catarrh: When Commerce, rising from the bed of ease, Bilious by some, by others nervous seen, Ran round the land, and pointed to the seas Rage the fantastic demons of the spleen; When Emulation, born with jealous eye, And cvery symptom of the strange disease And Avarice, lent their spurs to industry: With every system of the sage agrees. Then one by one the numerous laws were Ye frigid tribe, on whom I wasted long

made, The tedious hours, and ne'e indulged in song; Those to control, and these to succour trade;


is gone.

To carb the insolence of rude command, Pity with weeping eye surveys her bowl,
To snatch the victim from the usurer's hand; Her anger swells, her terror chills the soul;
To awe the bold, to yield the wrong'd redress, She makes the vile to virtue yield applause,
And feed the poor with Luxury's excess. And own her sceptre while they break her
Like some vast food, unbounded, fierce, and


For vice in others is abhorr'd of all, His nature leads ungovern'd man along; And villains triumph when the worthless fall. Like mighty bulwarks, made to stem that

tide, The laws are form’d and placed on ev'ry side: Not thus her sister COMEDY prevails, Whene'er it breaks the bounds by these Who shoots at folly, for her arrow fails;


Folly, by dulness arm’d, eludes the wound, New statutes rise, and stronger laws succeed; And harmless sees the feather'd shafts More and more gentle grows the dying

rebound; stream,

Unhurt she stands,applauds the archer's skill, More and more strong the rising bulwarks Laughs at her malice, and is folly still.


Yet well the Muse portrays in fancied scenes, Till, like a miner working sure and slow, What pride will stoop to, what profession Luxury creeps on, and ruins all below;

means ;
The basis sinks, the ample piles decay ; How formal fools the farce of state applaud;
The stately fabric shakes and falls away; How caution watches at the lips of fraud;
Primeval want and ignorance come on, The wordy variance of domestic life;
But freedom, that exalts the savage state, The tyrant husband, the retorting wife;

The snares for innocence, the lie of trade,
And the smooth tongue's habitual mas-

querade. Next, History ranko;--there full in front with her the virtues too obtain a place,

she lies,

Each gentle passion, each becoming grace; And every nation her dread tale supplies ; The social joy in life's securer road, Yet History has her doubts, and every age Its easy pleasure, its substantial good; With sceptic queries marks the passing page; The happy thought that conscious virtue Records of old nor later date are clear,

gives, Too distant those, and these are placed too And all that ought to live, and all that lives.

near; There time conceals the objects from our


But who are these? Methinks a noble Here our own passions and a writer's too:

mien Yet, in these volumes, see how states arose! And awful grandeur in their form are seen, Guarded by virtue from surrounding foes; Now in disgrace: what though by time is Their virtue lost, and of their triumphs vain,

spread Lo! how they sunk to slavery again! Polluting dust o’er every reverend head; Satiate with power, of fame and wealth What though beneath yon gilded tribe they possessid,

lie, A nation grows too glorious to be blest ; And dull observers pass insulting by: Conspicuous made, she stands the mark of all, Forbid it shame, forbid it decent awe, And foes join foes to triumph in her fall. What seems so grave, should no attention Thus speaks the page that paints ambition's

draw! race,

Come, let us then with reverend step advance, The monarch's pride, his glory, his disgrace; And greet-the ancient worthies of Romance. The headlong course that madd’ning heroes Hence, ye profane! I feel a former dread,


A thousand visions float around my head : How soon triumphant and how soon undone; Hark! hollow blasts through empty courts How slaves, turn'd tyrants, offer crowns to

resound, sale,

And shadowy forms with staring cyes stalk And each fall’n nation's melancholy tale.

round; See! moats and bridges, walls and castles

rise, Lo! where of late the Book of Martyrs Ghosts, fairies, demons, dance before our stood,

eyes ; Old pious tracts, and Bibles bound in wood; Lo' magic verse inscribed on golden gate, There, such the taste of our degenerate age, And bloody hand that beckons on to fate:Stand the profane delusions of the Stage: And who art thou, thou little page, unfold? S et virtne owns the Tragic Muse a friend, Say, doth thy lord my Claribel withhold?

able her means, morality her end ; Go tell him straight, Sir Knight, thou must For this she rules all passions in their turns,

resign nd now the bosom bleeds, and now it burns; The captive queen ;-for Claribel is mine.

Away he flies; and now for bloody deeds, Foes to our race! if ever ye have known Black suits of armour, masks, and foaming A father's fears for offspring of your own;


If ever, smiling o'er a lucky line, The giant falls; his recreant throat I seize, Ye thought the sudden sentiment divine, And from his corslet take the massy keys:- Then paused and doubted, and then, tired Dukes, lords, and knights in long procession

of doubt, move,

With rage as sudden dash'd the stanza out;Released from bondage with my virgin- If, after fearing much and pausing long,

love :

Ye ventured on the world your labour'd She comes! she comes! in all the charms of

song, youth,

And from the crusty critics of those days Unequall'd love and unsuspected truth! Implored the feeble tribute of their praine : Ah! happy he who thus, in magic themes, Remember now the fears that moved you O'er worlds bewitch'd, in early rapture

then, dreams,

And, spite of truth, let mercy guide your pen. Where wild Enchantment waves her potent What vent'rous race are ours! what mighty wand,

foes And Fancy's beauties fill her fairy-land; Lie waiting all around them to oppose ! Where doubtful objects strange desires What treacherous friends betray them to excite,

the fight! And Fear and Ignorance afford delight. What dangers threaten them!- yet still they But lost, for ever lost, to me these joys,

write: Which Reason scatters, and which Time A hapless tribe! to every evil born,


Whom villains hate, and fools affect to scorn: Too dearly bought: maturer judgment calls Strangers they come, amid a world of wo, My busied mind from tales and madrigals; And taste the largest portion ere they go. My doughty giants all are slain or fled, And all my knights, blue, green, and yellow,


Pensive I spoke, and cast mine eyes No more the midnight fairy-tribe I view,

around; All in the merry moonshine tippling dew; The roof, methought, return'd a solemn E'en the last lingering fiction of the brain,

sound; The church-yard-ghost, is now at rest again; Each column seemd to shake, and clouds, And all these wayward wanderings of my

like smoke, youth

From dusty piles and ancient volumes broke; Fly Reason's power and shun the light of Gathering above, like mists condensed they Truth.

seem, With fiction then does real joy reside, Exhaled in summer from the rushy stream; And is our reason the delusive guide? Like flowing robes they now appear,and twine Is it then right to dream the syrens sing? Round the large members of a form divine; Or mount enraptured on the dragon's wing? His silver beard, that swept his aged breast, No, 'tis the infant mind, to care unknown, His piercing eye, that inward light express'd, That makes th' imagined paradise its own; Were seen,—but clouds and darkness veilid Soon as reflections in the bosom rise,

the rest. Light slumbers vanish from the clouded Fear chill'd my heart: to one of mortal race.


How awful seem'd the Genius of the place! The tear and smile, that once together rose, So in Cimmerian shores Ulysses saw Are then divorced; the head and heart are His parent-shade, and shrunk in pious awe;

foes :

Like him I stood, and wrapt in thought Enchantment bows to Wisdom's serious plan,

profound, And Pain and Prudence make and nar the When from the pitying power broke forth

a solemn sound :



While thus, of power and fancied empire

Care lives with all; no rules, no precepts

vain, With various thoughts my mind I entertain; The wise from wo, no fortitude the brave ; While books, my slaves, with tyrant hand Grief is to man as certain as the grave:

I seize,

Tempests and storms in life's whole progress Pleased with the pride that will not let

rise, them please ; And hope shines dimly through o’ereloaded Sudden I find terrific thoughts arisc,

skies; And sympathetic sorrow fills my eyes; Some drops of comfort on the favour'd fall, For, lo! while yet my heart admits the But showers of sorrow are the lot of all :

Partial to talents, then, shall Heav 'n withdrav I see the Critic army ranged around. Th' afflicting rod, or break the general law? Shall he who soare, inspired by loftier Nor say, the Mase's song, the Poet's pen,



Merit the scorn they meet from little men. Life's little cares and little pains refuse? With cautious freedom if the numbers flow, Shall he not rather feel a double share Not wildly high, nor pitifully low; of mortal wo, when doubly arm’d to bear? If vice alone their honest aims oppore, Hard is his fate who builds his peace of mind Why so ashamed their friends, so loud their On the precarious mercy of mankind;

foes? Who hopes for wild and visionary things, Happy for men in every age and clime, And mounts o'er unknown seas with vent'rous If all the sons of vision dealt in rhyme.


Go on then, Son of Vision! still pursue But as, of various evils that befal

Thy airy dreams; the world is dreaming too. The human race, some portion goes to all; | Ambition's lofty views, the pomp of state, To him perhaps the milder lot's assign'd, The pride of wealth, the splendour of the Who feels his consolation in his mind;

great, And, lock'd within his bosom, bears about Stripp'd of their mask, their cares and A mental charm for every care withont.

troubles known, Een in the pangs of each domestic grief, Are visions far less happy than thy own: Or health or vigorous hope affords relief; Go on! and, while the sons of care complain, And every wound the tortured bosom feels, Be wisely gay and innocently vain; Or virtue bears, or some preserver heals; While serious souls are by their fears Some generous friend, of ample power

undone, possess'd;

Blow sportive bladders in the beamy sun, Some feeling heart, that bleeds for the And call them worlds! and bid the greatest distress'd;

show Some breast that glows with virtues all More radiant colours in their worlds below:


Then, as they break, the slaves of care Some noble RUTLAND, Misery's friend and

reprove, thine.

And tell them: Such are all the toys they love.


E qoibos, hi vacuas implent sermonibus aures, Or should we sing the subject of the day,
Hi narrata ferunt alio : Mensuraque ficti To-morrow's wonder puff's our praise away.
Crescit, et auditis aliquid novus adjicit auctor :
Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius Error,

More blest the bards of that poetic time, Vanaque Lætitia est, consternatique Timores, When all found readers who could find a Seditioque recens, dubioque auctore Sosurri.

rhyme; Ovid. Metamorph. III.

Green grew the bays on every teeming liead,

And Cibber was enthroned, and Settle read. A TINE like this, a busy, bustling time, Sing, drooping Muse, the cause of thy decline; Suits ill with writers, very ill with rhyme: Why reign no more the once-triumphant Inheard we sing, when party-rage runs

Nine ? strong,

Alas! new charms the wavering many gain, And mightier madness checks the flowing And rival sheets the reader's eye detain;

song :

A daily swarm, that banish every Muse, Or, should we force the peaceful Muse to Come flying forth, and mortals call them wield

News: Her freble arms amid the furious field, For these, unread, the noblest volumes lie; Where party-pens a wordy war maintain, For these, in sheets unsoil'd, the Muses die; Poor is her anger, and her friendship vain; Unbought, unblest, the virgin copies wait And oft the focs, who feel her sting, combine, In vain for fame, and sink, unseen, to fate. Till serious vengeance pays an idle line; Since, then, the town forsakes us for our foes, For party-poets are like wasps, who dart The smoothest numbers for the harshest Death to themselves, and to their foes but

prose ; smart.

Let us, with generous scorn, the tante deride, Hard then our fate: if general themes we And sing our rivals with a rival's pride.


Ye gentle poets, who so oft complain Keglect awaits the song, and chills the Muse; That foul neglect is all your labours gain;

« PreviousContinue »