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Contempt and envy were by fate design'd
The rival tyrants which divide mankind;
Contempt, which none, but who deserve, can bear;
While envy's wounds the smiles of fame repair.
For know, the generous thine exploits shall fire,
Thine every friend it suits thee to require,
Lov'd by the gods, and, till their seats I show,
Lov'd by the good their images below."
Cease, lovely maid, fair daughter of the skies!
My guide! my queen! th' ecastic youth replies.
In thee I trace a form design’d for sway;
Which chiefs may court, and kings with pride obey.
And, by thy bright immortal friends I swear,
Thy fair idea shall no toils impair.
Lead me! O lead me where whole hosts of foes
Thy form depreciate, and thy friends oppose !
Welcome all toils th' unequal fates decree,
While toils endear thy faithful charge to thee.
Such be my cares, to bind th' oppressive hand,
And crush the fetters of an injur'd land:
To see the monster's noxious life resign'd,
And tyrants quell’d, the monsters of mankind !
Nature shall smile to view the vanquish'd brood,
And none, but envy, riot unsubdued ;
In cloister'd state let selfish sages dwell,
Proud that their heart is narrow as their cell!
And boast their mazy labyrinth of rules,
Far less the friends of virtue, than the fools :
Yet such in vain thy favouring smiles pretend;
For he is thine, who proves his country's friend.
Thus when my life well-spent the good enjoy,
And the mean envious labour to destroy ;
When, strongly lur'd by fame's contiguous shrine,
I yet devote my chuicer vows to thine;
If all my toils thy promis'd favour claim,
O lead thy favourite through the gates of fame!
He ceas'd his vows, and, with disdainful air, He turn'd to blast the late exulting fair. But vanish'd, fled to some more friendly shore, The conscious phantom's beauty pleas’d no more : Convinc'd, her spurious charms of dress and face Claim'd a quick conquest, or a sure disgrace,
Fantastic power ! whose transient charms allur'd,
While error's mist the reasoning mind obscur'd:
Not such the victress, virtue's constant queen,
Endur'd the test of truth, and dar'd be seen.
Her brightening form and features seemd to own,
'Twas all her wish, her interest, to be known :
And when his longing view the fair declin’d,
Left a full image of her charms behind.
Thus reigns the moon, with furtive splendour crown'd,
While glooms oppress us, and thick shades surround;
But let the source of light its beams display,
Languid and faint the mimic flames decay,
And all the sickening splendour fades away.
What particulars in Spenser were imagined most proper for the
author's imitation on this occasion, are his language, his simplicity, his manuer of description, and a peculiar tenderness of sentiment remarkable throughout his works.
Ah me! full sorely is my heart forlorn,
To think how modest worth neglected lies;
While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn
Such deeds alone, as pride and pomp disguise ;
Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprize:
Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try
To sound the praise of merit, ere it dies;
Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,
Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.
In every village mark'd with little spire,
Embower'd in trees, and hardly known to fame,
There dwells, in lowly shed, and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we school-mistress name;
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame;
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
Aw'd by the power of this relentless dame;
And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair, or task unconn'd, are sorely shent.
And all in sight doth rise a birchin tree,
Which learning near her little dome did stowe;
Whilom a twig of small regard to see,
Though now so wide its waving branches flow;
And work the simple vassals mickle woe;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs shudder'd, and their pulse beat low;
And as they look'd they found their horror grew,
And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view.
So I have seen (who has not, may conceive),
A lifeless phantom near a garden plac'd ;
So doth it wanton birds of peace bereave,
Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast;
They start, they stare, they wheel, they look aghast;
Sad servitude ! such comfortless annoy
May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste!
Ne superstition clog his dance of joy,
Ne vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
On which the tribe their gamboles do display ;
And at the door imprisoning board is seen,
Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray;
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!
The noises intermix'd, which thence resound,
Do learning's little tenement betray:
Where sits the dame, disguis'd in look profound,
eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around, Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, Emblem right meet of decency does yield : Her apron dy'd in grain, as blue, I trowe, As is the hare-bell that adorns the field :
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwin'd, With dark distruse, and sad repentance fillid;
And stedfast hate, and sharp affliction join'd,
And fury uncontroul’d, and chastisement unkind.
Few but have ken'd, in semblance meet pourtray'd,
The childish faces of old Eol's train;
Libs, Notus, Auster : these in frowns array'd,
How then would fare or earth, or sky, or main,
Were the stern god to give his slaves the rein?
And were not she rebellious breasts to quell,
And were not she her statutes to maintain,
The cot no more, I ween, were deem'd the cell, Where comely peace of mind, and decent order dwell
. A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown: A russet kirtle fenc'd the nipping air ; 'Twas simple russet, but it was her own; 'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair! 'Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare ; And, sooth to say, her pupils, rang’d around, Through pious awe, did term it passing rare;
For they in gaping wonderment abound, And think, no doubt, she been the greates wight on
Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,
Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
Goody, good-woman, gossip, n'aunt, forsooth,
Or dame, the sole additions she did hear;
Yet these she challeng'd, these she held right dear:
Ne would esteem him act, as mọught behove,
Who should not honour'd eld with these revere:
For never title yet so mean could prove,
But there was eke a mind which did that title love.
One ancient hen she took delight to feed,
The plodding pattern of the busy dame;
Which, ever and anon, impell’d by need,
Into her school, begirt with chickens, came;
Such favour did her past deportment claim ;
And, if neglect had lavish'd on the ground
Fragment of bread, she would collect the same;
For well she knew, and quaintly could expound, What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.
Herbs too she knew, and well of each could speak
That in her garden sip'd the silvery dew;
Where no vain flower disclos'd a gaudy streak;
But herbs for use, and physic, not a few,
Of grey renown, within those borders grew :
The tufted basil, pun-provoking thyme,
Fresh baum, and marygold of cheerful hue:
The lowly gill, that never dares to climb :
And more I fain would sing, disdaining here to rhyme.
Yet euphrasy may not be left unsung,
That gives dim eyes to wander leagues around;
And pungent radish, biting infants tongue;
And plantain ribb'd, that heals the reaper's wound;
And marjoram sweet, in shepherd's posie found;
And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom
Shall be, ere-while, in arid bundles bound,
To lurk amidst the labours of her loom,
And crown her kerchiefs clean, with mickle rare per-
And here trim rose marine, that whilom crown'd
The daintiest garden of the proudest peer;
Ere, driven from its envy'd site, it found
A sacred shelter for its branches here;
Where edg’d with gold its glittering skirts appear.
Oh wassel days! O customs meet and well!
Ere this was banish'd from its lofty sphere :
Simplicity then sought this humble cell,
Nor ever would she more with thane and lordling dwell.
Here oft the dame, on Sabbath's decent eve,
Hymned such psalms as Sternhold forth did mete,
If winter 'twere, she to her hearth did cleave,
But in her garden found a summer-seat:
Sweet melody to hear her then repeat
How Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king,
While taunting foe-men did a song entreat,
All for the nonce, untuning every string,
Uphung their useless lyres-small heart had they to