Page images


Thrice' happy, who in happy hour

To heaven' their praise bestow,
And own his all-consuming power

Before they feel the blow !


Now, now's our time! ye wretches bold and blind,
Brave but to God, and cowards to mankind;

70 Too late you seek that power* unsought before, Your wealth, your pride, your kingdom, are no more !


O, Lucifer, thou son of mor,
Alike of Heaven and man the foe,–

Heaven, men, and all,

Now press thy fall,
And sink thee lowest of the low.

0, Babylon, how art thou fallen !
Thy fall more dreadful from delay !

Thy streets forlorn

To wilds shall turn,
Where toads shall pant," and vultures prey.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Such be her fate! But listen ! 8 from afar
The clarion's note proclaims the finish'd war!

[ocr errors]


Cyrus, our great restorer, is at hand,
And this way leads his formidable band.
Give, give your songs of Zion to the wind,
And hail the benefactor of mankind :
He comes, pursuant to divine decree,
To chain the strong, and set the captive free.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Hail to him with mercy reigning,

Skill'd in every peaceful art;
Who, from bonds our limbs unchaining,

Only binds the willing heart.


But chief to Thee, our God, defender, friend,

Let praise be given to all eternity;
O Thou, without beginning, without end,

Let us, and all, begin and end in Thee !1


I Washington Irving (* Life of Goldsmith, chap. xv.) says of this work—"Most of the Oratorio has passed into oblivion; but the following song from it will never die." "He then quotes “ The wretch condemned,” &c. (see pp. 83 and 67).-Ed.



[This piece is traced in print no farther back than 1777, though the date attached shows that it was written while Goldsmith was a medical student in Edinburgh.-Ed.] JOAN TROTT was desir'd by two witty peers To tell them the reason why asses had ears ; “An't please you," quoth John, “ I'm not given to letters, Nor dare I pretend to know more than my betters ; Howe'er, from this time, I shall ne'er see your graces— As I hope to be sav'd !-without thinking on asses."

Edinburgh, 1753.




PRESERVED BY MACROBIUS. [First printed in the chapter on the stage in Goldsmith's 'Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning,' 1759. In the second edition of the - Enquiry' (1774), which the author revised just before his death, this poem was amongst the matter omitted. Goldsmith has translated, or rather imitated, only about the fore-half of the Latin original. -Ed.)

WHAT! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age!
Scarce half alive, oppress'd with many a year,

What in the name of dotage drives me here?
I Decimus Laberius, a Roman knight and popular farce-writer.
Julius Cæsar commanded his appearance in one of his own plays. -

A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside ;
Unaw'd by power, and unappal’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear :
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more;
For, ah! too partial to my life's decline,
Cæsar persuades, submission must be mine;
Him I obey, whom heaven itself obeys,
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin'd to please.
Here then at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel, at threescore, a life of fame:
No more ny titles shall my children tell,
The old buffoon will fit my name as well:
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.



[First appeared in the · Busy Body,' No. 5, Oct. 18, 1759, where it is heralded by the statement that it is " an original poem by the late Dean Swift, communicated to the “Busy Body' by a nobleman of distinguished learning and taste.” It seems to have first appeared as the work of Goldsmith in Evans's edition of the Poems, 1780, where it got the sub-heading (which we put in brackets), “In imitation of Dean Swift." Percy and his successors have since included the poem in the • Works, though the doubt of its being by Goldsmith, caused by Faulkner's claiming it for Swift (as mentioned in the note below), has never been set at rest.-ED.]

LOGICIANS have but ill defined

As rational, the human kind : 2 1 This singularly happy imitation was adopted by Mr. Faulkner, the Dublin publisher of Swift, as a genuine poem by that author, and as such it has been reprinted in almost every successive edition of the Dean's works. Even Sir Walter Scott has fallen into the same mistake, and has inserted this piece, without any remark, in his excellent edition of Swift's ‘Works' published in 1814.-B. [It also appears in Scott's second edition, 1824.1-ED.

2 So in · Busy Body'edition. Nearly all the editors have substituted “mind” for “ kind.”_ED..

REASON, they say, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they.can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
By ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione proditum ;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em ;
And must in spite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature.
That instinct is a surer guide
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride ; ?
And that brute beasts are far before 'em-
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever knew an honest brute
At law his neighbour prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery ?
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery ?
O’er plains they ramble unconfined,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals, and take their sport
Nor know who's in or out at court;
They never to the levee go
To treat as dearest friend a foe;
They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place;
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for B b.3
Fraught with invective they ne'er go
To folks at Pater Noster Row:
No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets, or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeeds;


1 Smiglecius, a Polish logician: died 1618.—ED.

Busy Body' edition reads “reason-boasting mortal's pride.”—ED. 3 So in Busy Body. The editors make the word Bob, and annotate it as a reference to Sir Robert Walpole. This no doubt is right, whether the piece was written by Goldsmith or Swift, though Walpole was the contemporary of Swift, and not of Goldsmith.-ED.

« PreviousContinue »