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The other takes. Think, then, that in this bed
There sleep the relics of as proud a head,
As stern and subtle as your own; that hath
Perform’d or forc'd as much; whose tempest wrath
Hath levellid kings with slaves; and wisely, then,
Calm these high furies, and descend to men.
Thus Cyrus tam'd the Macedon; a tomb
Check'd him who thought the world too strait a room.
Have I obey'd the powers of a face,
A beauty, able to undo the race
Of easy man? I look but here, and straight
I am inform’d; the lovely counterfeit
Was but a smoother clay. That famish'd slave,
Beggar'd by wealth, who starves that he may save,
Brings hither but his sheet. Nay, the ostrich-man,
That feeds on steel and bullet,—he that can
Outswear his lordship, and reply as tough
To a kind word, as if his tongue were buff,
Is chapfall’n here: worms, without wit or fear,
Defy him now; death hath disarm’d the bear.
Thus could I run o'er all the piteous score
Of erring men, and having done meet more.
There shuffled wills—abortive, vain intents-
Fantastic humours-perilous ascents,
False, empty honours,-trait'rous delights,
And whatsoe'er a blind conceit invites-
But these, and more, which the weak vermins swell,
Are couch'd in this accumulative cell,
Which I could scatter; but the grudging sun
Calls home his beams, and warns me to be gone :
Day leaves me in a double night, and I
Must bid farewell to my sad library,
Yet with these notes. Henceforth with thought of thee
I'll season all succeeding jollity,
Yet damn not mirth, nor think too much is fit:
Excess hath no religion, nor wit;
But should wild blood swell to a lawless strain,
One check from thee shall channel it again.”
The following is part of an address to an usurer, who had obliged the poet with loans of money ; the whole is written with vast freedom and richness of expression :
“ But wilt have money, Og? must I dispurse?
Will nothing serve thee but a poet's curse?
Wilt rob an altar thus; and sweep at once
What, Orpheus-like, I forced from stocks and stones?
'Twill never swell thy bag, nor ring one peal
In thy dark chest. Talk not of shrieves, or gaol-
I fear them not; I have no land to glut
Thy dirty appetite, and make thee strut
Nimrod of acres ; I'll no speech prepare,
To court the hopeful cormorant, thine heir ;
Yet there's a kingdom at thy beck, if thou
But kick this dross, Parnassus' flow'ry brow
I'll give thee, with my Tempe—and to boot,
That horse which struck a fountain with his foot.
A bed of roses I'll provide for thee;
And chrystal springs shall drop thee melody.
The breathing shades we'll haunt, where ev'ry leaf
Shall whisper us asleep, though thou art deaf.
Those waggish nymphs, too, which none ever yet
Durst make love to, we'll teach the loving fit;
We'll suck the coral of their lips, and feed
Upon their spicy breath-a meal at need ;
Rove in their amber tresses, and unfold
That glist'ring grove, the curled wood of gold;
Then peep for babies, a new puppet-play,
And riddle what their prattling eyes would say.
But here thou must remember to dispurse,
For, without money, all this is a curse;
Thou must for more bags call, and so restore
This iron age to gold, as once before.
This thou must do, and yet this is not all ;
For thus the poet would be still in thrall :
Thou must, then, (if live thus,) my nest of honey!
Cancel old bonds, and beg to lend more money.”
These spirited verses and the following copy to a friend, complaining of the general poverty of poets, make us fear that our author did not find the flowery paths of poesy and philosophy (which Wood says he followed, instead of the study of the law) a fortunate choice. The spirit, however, of the man, rich or poor, is to be envied, who could thus console himself. Speaking of poets, he says:
“ Woeful profusion! at how dear a rate
Are we made up! all hope of thrift and state
Lost for a verse! When I by thoughts look back
Into the womb of time, and see the rack
VOL. III. PART 11.
Stand useless there, until we are produc'd Unto the torture, and our souls infus’d To learn afflictions, I begin to doubt That, as some tyrants use, from their chain'd rout Of slaves to pick out one, whom, for their sport, They keep afficted by some ling’ring art: So we are merely thrown upon the stage, The mirth of fools, and legend of the age. When I see, in the ruins of a suit, Some nobler brest, and his tongue sadly muteFeed on the vocal silence of his eye, And knowing, cannot reach, the remedy; When souls of baser stamp shine in their store, And he, of all the throng, is only poor; When French apes for foreign fashions pay, And English legs are drest th' outlandish way, So fine, too, that they their own shadows woo, While he walks in the sad and pilgrim shoe, I'm mad at fate, and angry, ev'n to sin, To see deserts and learning clad so thinTo think how th' earthly usurer can brood Upon his bags, and weigh the precious food With palsied hands, as if his soul did fear The scales could rob him of what he laid there: Like devils, that on hid treasures sit, are those Whose jealous eyes trust not beyond their nose, But guard the dirt, and the bright idol hold Close, and commit adultery with gold. A curse upon their dross ! How have we sued For a few scatter'd chips; how oft pursued Petitions with a blush, in hope to squeeze, For their souls' health, more than our wants, a piece! Their steel-ribb'd chests and purse (rust eat them both!) Have cost us, with much paper, many an oath, And protestations of such solemn sense, As if our souls were sureties for the pence. Should we a full night's learned cares present, They'll scarce return us one short hour's content: 'Las, they're but quibbles,—things we poets feign,The short-liv'd squibs and crackers of the brain. But we'll be wiser, knowing 'tis not they That must redeem the hardship of our way. Whether a higher power, or that star Which nearest heav'n is, from the earth most far,
Oppress us thus; or angel'd from that sphere,
By our strict guardians are kept luckless here,
It matters not—we shall one day obtain
Our native and celestial scope again."
From the extract we shall next make, we may gather rather a lively picture of the manners of the age in which the poet wrote. He is inviting a friend to leave his retirement, and share the pleasures of the town. Speaking of the length of time since he saw him, and of the intervening changes, he exclaims :
“ Abominable face of things !-here's noise
Of bang'd mortars, blue aprons, and boys,
Pigs, dogs, and drums; with the hoarse, hellish notes
Of politicly deaf usurers' throats; .
With new fine worships, and the old cast team .
Of justices, vex'd with the cough and phlegm.
Midst these, the cross looks sad; and in the shire-
Hall furs of an old Saxon fox appear,
With brotherly ruffs and beards, and a strange sight
Of high, monumental hats, ta’en at the fight
Of Eighty-eight; while ev'ry burgess foots
The mortal pavement in eternal boots.
Hadst thou been bach'lor, I had soon divin'd
Thy close retirements, and monastic mind;
Perhaps some nymph had been to visit; or
The beauteous churl was to be waited for, ? ?
And, like the Greek, ere you the sport would miss,
You stay'd and strok'd the distaff for a kiss..
Why, two months hence, if thou continue thus,
Thy memory will scarce remain with'us.
The drawers have forgot thee, and exclaim
They have not seen thee here since Charles's reign;
Or, if they mention thee, like some old man
That at each word inserts-Sir, as I can
Remember—so the cyph’rers puzzle me
With a dark, cloudy character of thee;
That (certs !) I fear thou wilt be lost, and we
Must ask the fathers ere't be long for thee.
Come! leave this sullen state, and let not wine
And precious wit lie dead for want of thine.
Shall the dull market landlord, with his rout
Of sneaking tenants, dirtily swill out
This harmless liquor? Shall they knock and beat
For sack, only to talk of rye and wheat?
O let not such preposterous tippling be;
In our metropolis, may I ne'er see
Such tavern sacrilege, nor lend a line
To weep the rapes and tragedy of wine!
Here lives that chemic quick-fire, which betrays
Fresh spirits to the blood, and warms our lays;
I have reserv'd, 'gainst thy approach, a cup,
That, were thy muse stark dead, shall raise her up,
And teach her yet more charming words and skill,
Than ever Cælia, Chloris, Astrophil,
Or any of the threadbare names inspir'd
Poor rhyming lovers, with a mistress fir'd.
Come, then—and while the snow-icicle hangs
At the stiff thatch, and winter's frosty fangs
Benumb the year, blythe (as of old) let us,
'Midst noise and war, of peace and mirth discuss.
This portion thou wert born for: why should we
Vex at the times' ridiculous misery?
An age that thus hath fool'd itself, and will
(Spite of thy teeth and mine) persist so still.
Let's sit, then, at this fire, and while we steal
A revel in the town, let others seal,
Purchase, or cheat, and who can, let them pay,
Till those black deeds bring on the darksome day.
Innocent spenders we! A better use
Shall wear out our short lease, and leave th' obtuse
Rout to their husks : they and their bags, at best
Have cares in earnest-we care for a jest.”.
The following piece is entitled “ Monsieur Gombauld," and appears to have been written after reading his romance of Endymion, a work composed by the author at a very advanced age :
“ I've read thy soul's fair night-piece, and have seen
Th' amours and courtship of the silent queen;
Her stoln descents to earth, and what did move her
To juggle first with heav'n, then with a lover;
With Latmos' louder rescue, and (alas !)
To find her out, a hue and cry in brass;
Thy journal of deep mysteries, and sad
Nocturnal pilgrimage; with thy dreams, clad
In fancies darker than thy cave; thy glass
Of sleepy draughts; and as thy soul did pass
In her calm voyage, what discourse she heard
Of spirits; what dark groves and ill-shap'd guard