Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

And claim the palm for purity of song,

She fills profuse ten thousand little throats That Lewdness had usurped and worn so long. With music, modulating all their notes; Then decent Pleasantry and sterling Sense, And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds unThat neither gave, nor would endure offence, known, Whipped out of sight, with satire just and keen, With artless airs and concerts of her own; The puppy pack, that had defiled the scene. But seldom (as if fearful of expense) In front of these came Addison. In him

Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretenceHumour in holiday and sightly trim,

Fervency, freedom, fluency of thought, Sublimity and Attic taste combined,

Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought; To polish, furnish, and delight the mind.

Fancy, that, from the bow that spans the sky, Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,

Brings colours, dipped in Heaven, that never die;

A soul exalted above Earth, a mind
In verse well disciplined, complete, compact,
Gave virtue and morality a grace,

Skilled in the characters that form mankind;

And, as the Sun in rising beauty drest,
That, quite eclipsing Pleasure's painted face,

Looks to the westward from the dappled east, Levied a tax of wonder and applause,

And marks, whatever clouds may interpose, Even on the fools that trampled on their laws.

Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close; But he (his musical finesse was such,

An eye like his to catch the distant goals So nice his ear, so delicate his touch)

Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll, Made poetry a mere mechanic art;

Like his to shed illuminating rays And every warbler has his tune by heart.

On every scene and subject it surveys: . Nature imparting her satiric gift,

Thus graced, the man asserts a poet's name, Her serious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift,

And the world cheerfully admits the claim. With droll sobriety they raised a smile

Pity Religion has so seldom found At Folly's cost, themselves unmoved the while.

A skilful guide into poetic ground! That constellation set, the world in vain

The flowers would spring where'er she deigned to Must hope to look upon their like again. : A. Are we then lett—B. Not wholly in the dark; And every muse attend her in her way.

stray, Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark, Virtue indeed meets many a rhyming friend, Sufficient to redeem the modern race

And many a compliment politely penned; Fmm total night and absolute disgrace.

But unattired in that becoming vest While servile trick and imitative knack

Religion weaves for her, and half undrest, Confine the million in the beaten track,

Stands in the desert, shivering and forlorn, Perhaps some courser, who disdains the road,

A wintry figure, like a withered thorn. Snuffs up the wind, and flings himself abroad.

The shelves are full, all other themes are sped; Contemporaries all surpassed, see one; Hackneyed and worn to the last flimsy thread, Short his career indeed, but ably run;

Satire has long since done his best; and curst Churehill, himself unconscious of his powers, And loathsome Ribaldry has done his worst; In penury consumed his idle hours;

Fancy has sported all her powers away And, like a scattered seed at random sown, In tales, in tritles, and in children's play; Was left to spring by vigour of his own.

And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true, Lifted at length, by dignity of thought

Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new. And dint of genius, to an affluent lot,

"Twere new indeed to see a bard all fire, He laid his head in Luxury's soft lap,

Touched with a coal from Heaven, assume the And took, too often, there his easy nap.

lyre, . If brighter beams than all he threw not forth, And tell the world, still kindling as he sung, 'Twas negligence in him, not want of worth. With more than mortal music on his tongue, Surly, and slovenly, and bold, and coarse, That He, who died below, and reigns above, Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force, Inspires the song, and that his name is Love. Spendthrift alike of money and of wit,

For, after all, if merely to beguile, .
Always at speed, and never drawing bit, . By flowing numbers and a flowery stye,
He struck the lyre in such a careless mood, The tædium that the lazy rich endure,
And so disdained the rules he understood, Which now and then sweet poetry may cure;
The laurel seemed to wait on his command, Or, if to see the name of idle self,
He snatched it rudely from the Muses' hand. Stamped on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf,
Nature exerting an unwearied power,

To float a bubble on the breath of Fame,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower; Prompt his endeavour and engage his aim,
Spreads the fresh verdure of the fields, and leads Debased to servile purposes of pride,
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads : How are the powers of genius mis applied !

The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace him in his word, his works, his ways!
Then spread the rich discovery, and invite
Mankind to share in the divine delight;
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine,
To purchase, at the fool-frequented fair
Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Is profanation of the basest kind-
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind,
A. Hail, Sternhold, then! and Hopkins, hail!

B. Amen.

| If flattery, folly, lust, employ the pen;

If acrimony, slander, and abuse,
Give it a charge to blacken and traduce;
Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease,
With all that fancy can invent to please,
Adorn the polished periods as they fall,
One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.

A. "Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe,
To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.
B. No matter-we could shift when they were

not;
And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Sing, muse, (if such a theme, so dark, so long, While, all his purposes and steps to guard,
May find a muse to grace it with a song,) Peace follows Virtue as its sure reward;
By what unseen and unsuspected arts

And Pleasure brings as surely in her train
The serpent Error twines round human hearts; Remorse, and Sorrow, and Vindictive Pain.
Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades, Man, thus endued with an elective voice,
That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades, Must be supplied with objects of his choice;
The poisonous, black, insinuating worm Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight,
Successfully conceals her loathsome form. Or present, or in prospect, meet his sight;
Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine,

Those open on the spot their honeyed store
Counsel and caution from a voice like mine! These call him loudly to pursuit of more.
Truths, that the theorist could never reach, His unexhausted mine the sordid vice
And observation taught me, I would teach. Avarice shows, and virtue is the price.

Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills, Her various motives his ambition raise
Musical as the chime of tinkling rills,

Power, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend,

praise;
Can trace her mazy windings to their end; There beauty woos him with expanded arms;
Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure, E'en Bacchanalian madness has its charms.
Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure.

Nor these alone, whose pleasures less refined, The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear, Might well alarm the most unguarded mind, Falls soporific on the listless ear;

Seek to supplant his inexperienced youth, Like quicksilver, the rhetoric they display,

Or lead him devious from the path of truth; Shines as it runs, but grasped at slips away. Hourly allurements on his passions press,

Placed for his trial on this bustling stage, Safe in themselves, but dangerous in th' excess. From thoughtless youth to ruminating age, Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air! Free in his will to choose or to refuse,

O what a dying, dying close was there! Man may improve the crisis, or abuse;

'Tis harmony from yon sequestered bower, Else on the fatalist's unrighteous plan,

Sweet harmony that soothes the midnight hour! Say to what bar amenable were man?

Long ere the charioteer of day had run With nought in charge, he could betray no trust; His morning course, th’enchantment was begun; And, if he fell, would fall because he must; And he shall gild yon mountain's height again, If Love reward him, or if Vengeance strike, Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain. His recompence in both unjust alike.

Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent, Divine authority within his breast

That Virtue points to ? Can a life thus spent Brings every thought, word, action, to the test; Lead to the bliss she promises the wise, Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains, Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the As Reason, or as Passion, takes the reins.

skies? Heaven from above, and Conscience from within, Ye devotees to your adored employ, Cries in his startled ear-,

-Abstain from sin! Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy, The world around solicits his desire,

Love makes the music of the blest above, And kindles in his soul a treacherous fire, Heaven's harmony is universal love:

S

And earthly sounds, tho'sweet and well combined, fie! 'tis evangelical and pure:
And lenient as soft opiates to the mind,

Observe each face, how sober and demure!
Leave Vice and Folly unsubdued behind. Ecstacy sets her stamp on every mien;

Gray dawn appears; the sportsman and his train Chins fallen, and not an eye-ball to be seen. Speckle the bosom of the distant plain;

Still I insist, though music heretofore

Has charmed me much, (not e'en Occiduus more,) 'Tis he, the Nimrod of the neighbouring lairs; Save that his scent is less acute than theirs;

Love, joy, and peace, make harmony more meet

For sabbath evenings, and perhaps as sweet. For persevering chase, and headlong leaps, True beagle as the staunchest hound he keeps.

Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock Charged with the folly of his life's mad scene,

Resort to this example as a rock; He takes offence, and wonders what you mean;

There stand, and justify the foul abuse The joy the danger and the toil o'erpays

Of sabbath-hours with plausible excuse ? Tis exercise, and health, and length of days.

If apostolic gravity be free Again impetuous to the field he flies;

To play the fool on Sundays, why not we? Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies;

If he the tinkling harpsichord regards Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home,

As inoffensive, what offence in cards? Unmissed but by his dogs and by his groom.

Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay,

Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play. Ye clergy, while your orbit is your place, Lights of the world, and stars of human race;

Oh Italy!—Thy sabbaths will be soon But if eccentric ye forsake your sphere,

Our sabbaths, closed with mummery and buffoon. Prodigies ominous, and viewed with fear;

Preaching and pranks will share the motley scene, The comet's baneful influence is a dream;

Ours parcelled out, as thine have ever been, Yours, real and pernicious in th' extreme.

God's worship and the mountebank between. What then!—are appetites and lusts laid down,

What says the prophet? Let that day be blest With the same ease that man puts on his gown?

With holiness and consecrated rest. Will Avarice and concupiscence give place,

Pastime and business both it should exclude, Charmed by the sounds Your Reverence, or Your And bar the door the moment they intrude: Grace?

Nobly distinguished above all the six No. But his own engagement binds him fast;

By deeds, in which the world must never mix. Or, if it does not, brands him to the last,

Hear him again. He calls it a delight, What atheists call him—a designing knave,

A day of luxury observed aright, A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave.

When the glad soul is made Heaven's welcome Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest,

guest, A cassocked huntsman, and a fiddling priest!

Sits banqueting, and God provides the feast. He from Italian songsters takes his cue:

But triflers are engaged and can not come;

Their answer to the call is—Not at home,
Set Paul to music, he shall quote him too.
He takes the field, the master of the pack

O the dear pleasures of the velvet plain, Cries—Well done, saintl and claps him on the The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again! back.

Cards with what rapture, and the polished die, Is this the path of sanctity? Is this

The yawning chasm of indolence supply! To stand a waymark in the road to bliss? Then to the dance, and make the sober moon Himself a wanderer from the narrow way,

Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon. His silly sheep, what wonder if they stray ? Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball, Go, cast your orders at your bishop's feet, The snug close party, or the splendid hall, Send your dishonoured gown to Monmouth-street! Where night, down-stooping from her ebon throne, The sacred function in your hands is made Views constellations brighter than her own. Sad privilege! no function, but a trade! ["Tis innocent, and harmless, and refined, Occiduus is a pastor of renown,

The balm of care, Elysium of the mind. When he has prayed and preached the sabbath

Innocent! Oh, if venerable Time

Slain at the foot of Pleasure be no crime, down, With wire and catgut he concludes the day,

Then, with his silver beard and magic wand, Quavering and semiquavering care away

Let Comus rise archbishop of the land; The full concerto swells upon your ear;

Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe, All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear

Grand metropolitan of all the tribe. The Babylonian tyrant with a nod

Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast, Had summoned them to serve his golden god. The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste. So well that thought th’employment seems to suit, Rufillus, exquisitely formed by rule, Psaltery and sackbut, dulcimer and Aute. Not of the moral but the dancing school,

[graphic]

cum

fair.

Wonders'at Clodio's follies, in a tone

All these belong to virtue, and all prove,
As tragical, as others at his own.

That virtue has a title to your love.
He can not drink five bottles, bilk the score, Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
Then kill a constable, and drink five more; Stand starved at your inhospitable door?
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,

Or if yourself too scantily supplied
And has the ladies' etiquette by heart. Need help, let honest industry provide.
Go, fool; and, armi in arm with Clodio, plead Earn, if you want; if you abound, impart:
Your cause before a bar you little dread; These both are pleasures to the feeling heart.
But know, the law that bids the drunkard die, No pleasure ? Has some sickly eastern waste
Is far too just to pass the trifler by.

Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast? Both baby-featured, and of infant size,

Can British Paradise no scenes afford
Viewed from a distance, and with heedless eyes, To please her sated and indifferent lord ?
Folly and Innocence are so alike,

Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
The difference, though 'essential, fails to strike. Quite to the lees? And has religion none ?
Yet Folly ever has a vacant stare,

Brutes capable would tell you 'tis a lie,
A simpering countenance, and a trifling air; And judge you from the kennel and the stye.
But Innocence, sedaté, serene, erect,

Delights like these, ye sensual and profane,
Delights us, by engaging our respect.

Ye are bid, begged, besought to entertain; Man, Nature's guest by invitation sweet, Called to these crystal streams, do ye turn off Receives from her both appetite and treat; Obscene to swill and swallow at a trough? But, if he play the glutton and exceed, Envy the beast then, on whom Heaven bestows His benefactress blushes at the deed;

Your pleasures, with no curses in the close. For Nature, nice, as liberal to dispense,

Pleasure admitted in undue degree Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.

Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free. Daniel ate pulse by choice-example rare! 'Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice Heaven blessed the youth, and made him fresh and Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use;

Ambition, avarice, and the lust of fame, Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan,

And woman, lovely woman, does the same. Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan:

The heart, surrendered to the ruling power He snuffs far off th' anticipated joy;

Of some ungoverned passion every hour, Turtle and ven'son all his thoughts employ; Finds by degrees the truths, that once bore sway, Prepares for ineals as jockeys take a sweat, And all their deep impressions, wear away; Oh, nauseous!-an emetic for a whet!

So coin grows smooth, in traffic current passed, Will Providence o'erlook the wasted good ?

Till Cæsar's image is effaced at last. Temperance were no virtue if he could.

The breach, tho'small at first, soon opening wide,
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call, In rushes folly with a full-moon tide,
Are hurtful, is a truth confessed by all;

Then welcome errors of whatever size,
And some, that seem to threaten virtue-less, To justify it by a thousand lies.
Still hurtful in th' abuse, or by th' excess. As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,

And hides the ruin that it feeds upon.
Is man then only for his torment placed
The centre of delights he may not taste;

So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
Like fabled Tantalus, condemned to hear

Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects. The precious stream still purling in his ear,

Mortals, whose pleasures are their only care,

First wish to be imposed on, and then are.. Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst

And, lest the fulsome artifice should fail, With prohibition, and perpetual thirst ?

Theinselves will hide its coarseness with a veil. No, wrangler -destitute of shame and sense

Not more industrious are the just and true,
The precept, that enjoins him abstinence,
Forbids him none but the

To give to Virtue what is Virtue's due-
licentious joy,
Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy. And call her charms to public notice forth-

The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth, Remorse, the fatal egg by Pleasure laid

Than Vice's mean and disingenuous race,"
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatched by the beams of Truth, denies him rest,

To hide the shocking features of her face,

Her form with dress and lotion they repair;
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
No pleasure? Are domestic comforts dead ?

Then kiss their idol, and pronounce her fair
Are all the nameless sweets of friendship fled; The sacred implement I now employ
Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame, Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy;
Good sense, good health, good conscience, and A trifle, if it move but to amuse;
good fame?

But, if to wrong the judgment and abuse,

Worse than a poniard in the basest hand, But we, as if good qualities would grow
It stabs at once the morals of a land.

Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow;
Ye writers of what none with safety reads, We give some Latin, and a smatch of Greek;
Footing it in the dance that Fancy leads;' Teach him to fence and figure twice a week;
Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend," And having done, we think, the best we can,
Snivelling and drivelling folly without end; Praise his proficiency, and dub him man.
Whose corresponding misses till the ream,

From school to Cam or Isis, and thence home; With sentimental frippery and

And thence with all convenient speed to Rome, Caught in a delicate soft silken net

With reverend tutor clad in habit lay, Bs some lewd earl, or rakehell baronet: - To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day it Ye porus, who, under virtue's fair pretence, With memorandum-book for every town, Steal to the closet of young innocence,

And every post, and where the chaise broke down; And teach her, unexperienced yet and green, His stock, a few French phrases got by heart, To scribble as you scribbled at fifteen;

With much to learn, but nothing to impart; Who kindling a combustion of desire,

The youth obedient to his sire's commands, With some cold moral think to quench the fire; Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands. Though all your engineering proves in vain, Surprised at all they meet, the gosling pair, The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again : With awkward gait, stretched neck, and silly stare, O that a verse had power, and could command Discover huge cathedrals built with stone, Far, far away these filesh-flies of the land; And steeples towering high much like our own; Who fasten without mercy on the fair,

But show peculiar light by many a grin, And suck, and leave a craving maggot there! At popish practices observed within. Howe'er disguised the inflammatory tale,

Ere long, some bowing, smirking, smart abbé Anl covered with a fine-spun specious veil; Remarks two loiterers that have lost their way; Such writers, and such readers, owe the gust And being always primed with politesse And relish of their pleasure all to lust.

For men of their appearance and address, But the muse, eagle-pinioned, has in view With much compassion undertakes the task, A quarry more important still than you; To tell them more than they have wit to ask; Down, down the wind she swims, and sails away, Points to inscriptions wlieresoe'er they tread, Now stoops upon it, and now grasps the prey.

Such as, when legible, were never read, Petronius! all the muses weep for thee; But, being cankered now and half worn out, But every tear shall scald thy memory:

Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt; The graces too, while Virtue at their shrine Some headless hero, or some Cxsar shows, Lay bleeding under that soft hand of thine, Defective only in his Roman nose; Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast, Exhibits elevations, drawings, plans, Abhorred the sacrifice, and cursed the priest. Models of Herculanean pots and pans; Thou polished and high-finished foe to truth, And sells them medals, which, if neither rare > Graybeard corrupter of our listening youth, Nor ancient, will be so, preserved with care. To purge and skim away the filth of vice,

Strange the recital! from whatever cause That so refined it might the more entice, His great improvement and new light he draws, Then pour it on the morals of thy son;

The squire, once bashful, is shamefaced no more, To taint his heart, was worthy of thine own! But teems with powers he never felt before: Now, while the poison all high life pervades, Whether increased momentum, and the force, Write, if thou canst, one letter from the shades; With which from clime to clime he sped his course, One, and one only, charged with deep regret, (As axles sometimes kindle as they go) That thy worse part, thy principles, live yet: Chafed him, and brought dull nature to a glow One sad epistle thence may cure mankind Or whether clearer skies and softer air, Of the plague spread by bundles left behind. That make Italian flowers so sweet and fair,

'T'is granted, and no plainer truth appears, Freshening his lazy spirits as he ran, Our most important are our earliest years; Unfolded genially and spread the man; The mind, impressible and soft, with ease Returning he proclaims by many a grace, Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, And through life's labyrinth holds fast the clew How much a dunce, that has been sent to roam That Education gives her, false or true.

Excels a dunce, that has been kept at home. Plants raised with tenderness are seldom strong; Accomplishments have taken virtue's place, Man's coltish disposition asks the thong;

And wisdom falls before exterior grace: And without discipline, the favourite child, We slight the precious kernel of the stone, Like a neglected forester, runs wild.

And toil to polish its rough coat alone

« AnteriorContinuar »