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Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
The man had his failings—a dupe to his art.
Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
And beplastered with rouge his own natural red.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;
'Twas only that when he was off he was acting.
With no reason on earth to go out of his way,
He turned and he varied, full ten times a day:
Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick
If they were not his own by finessing and trick:
He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack,
For he knew, when he pleased, he could whistle them back.
Of praise a mere glutton, he swallowed what came,
And the puff of a dunce, he mistook it for fame;
Till, his relish grown callous, almost to disease,
Who peppered the highest was surest to please.
But let us be candid, and speak out our mind,
If dunces applauded, he payed them in kind.
Ye Kenricks, and Kellys,1 and Woodfalls3 so grave,
What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave!
How did Grub Street re-echo the shouts that you raised
While he was be-Rosciused, and you were bepraised!
But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
To act as an angel and mix with the skies:
Those poets who owe their best fame to his skill
Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will:
Old Shakespere receive him with praise and with love,
And Beaumont and Ben be his Kellys above.
Here Reynolds is laid, and, to tell you my mind,
1 Mr. Hugh Kelly, author of' False Delicacy.'
* Mr. Woodfall, printer of the ' Morning Chronicle.'
Still born to improve us in every part,
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart:
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
When they judged without skill, he was still hard of hearing;
When they talked of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff,
He shifted his trumpet,1 and only took snuff.
1 Sir Joshua Reynolds was so deaf that he was obliged to use an eartrumpet in company.
LINES ON RECEIVING His MOTHER'S PICTURE.
OTHAT those lips had language! Life has passed
0 welcome guest, though unexpected here!
l will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own:
My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead,
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss—
Ah that maternal smile! it answers—Yes.
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nursery window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu!
But was it such ?—It was.—Where thou art gone,
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown:
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting word shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wished I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By expectation every day beguiled,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
l learned at last submission to my lot;
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nursery floor; And where the gardener Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapped In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capped, 'Tis now become a history little known, That once we called the pastoral house our own. Short-lived possession! but the record fair, That memory keeps of all thy kindness there, Still outlives many a storm, that has effaced A thousand other themes less deeply traced. Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, That thou might'st know me safe and warmly laid; Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, The biscuit, or confectionary plum; The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glowed!
All this, and, more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and breaks,
That humour interposed too often makes;
All this still legible on memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in heaven, though little noticed here.
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours, When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers, The violet, the pink, and jessamine, I pricked them into paper with a pin, (And thou wast happier than myself the while, Would'st softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile), Could those few pleasant days again appear, Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here? I would not trust my heart—the dear delight Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.— But no—What here we call our life is such, So little to be loved, and thou so much, That I should ill requite thee to constrain Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast (The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed) Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile, There sits quiescent on the floods, that show Her beauteous form reflected clear below, While airs impregnated with incense play Around her, fanning light her streamers gay; So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached the shore 'Where tempests never beat, nor billows roar.'1 And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide Of life long since has anchored by thy side. But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest, Always from port withheld, always distressed— 1 Garth.