Page images
PDF
EPUB

Bring me the bells, the rattle bring,

And bring the hobby I bestrode;
When, pleased, in many a sportive ring,

Around the room I jovial rode :
Ev'n let me bid my lyre adien,
And bring the whistle that I blew.
Then will I muse, and pensive say,

Why did not these enjoyments last;
How sweetly wasted I the day,

While innocence allow'd to waste !
Ambition's toils alike are vain,
But ah! for pleasure yield us pain.

Shenstone.Born 1714, Died 1763.

Her bloom was like the springing flower,

That sips the silver dew;
The rose was budded in her cheek,

Just opening to the view.
But love had, like the canker-worm,

Consumed her early prime ;
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek-

She died before her time.
Awake! she cried, thy true love calls,

Come from her midnight grave :
Now let thy pity hear the maid

Thy love refused to save.
This is the dark and dreary hour

When injured ghosts complain;
When yawning graves give up their dead,

To haunt the faithless swain. Bethink thee, William, of thy fault,

Thy pledge and broken oath! And give me back my maiden-vow,

And give me back my troth. Why did you promise love to me,

And not that promise keep ? Why did you swear my eyes were bright,

Yet leave those eyes to weep ?
How could you say my face was fair,

And yet that face forsake ?
How could you win my virgin heart,

Yet leave that heart to break ?

896.-WRITTEN AT AN INN AT

HENLEY. To thee, fair Freedom, I retire

From flattery, cards, and dice, and din; Nor art thou found in mansions higher

Than the low cot or humble inn.

'Tis here with boundless power I reign,

And every health which I begin Converts dull port to bright champagne :

Such freedom crowns it at an inn. I fly from pomp, I fly from plate,

I fly from falsehood's specious grin; Freedom I love, and form I hate,

And choose my lodgings at an inn. Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,

Which lackeys else might hope to win; It buys what courts have not in store,

It buys me freedom at an inn. Whoe'er has travell’d life's dull round,

Where'er his stages may have been, May sigh to think he still has found The warmest welcome at an inn.

Shenstone.-Born 1714, Died 1763.

Why did you say my lip was sweet,

And made the scarlet pale ?
And why did I, young witless maid !

Believe the flattering tale?
That face, alas ! no more is fair,

Those lips no longer red :
Dark are my eyes, now closed in death,

And every charm is fled.
The hungry worm my sister is ;

This winding-sheet I wear :
And cold and weary lasts our night,

Till that last morn appear.
But hark! the cock has warned me hence;

A long and last adieu !
Come see, false man, how low she lies,

Who died for love of you.
The lark sung loud; the morning smiled

With beams of rosy red :
Pale William quaked in every limb,

And raving left his bed.
He hied him to the fatal place

Where Margaret's body lay ;
And stretched him on the green-grass turf

That wrapt her breathless clay. And thrice he called on Margaret's name,

And thrice he wept full sore ; Then laid his cheek to her cold grave, And word spake never more ! David Mallet.-Born 1700, Died 1765,

897.-WILLIAM AND MARGARET. 'Twas at the silent solemn hour,

When night and morning meet; In glided Margaret's grimly ghost,

And stood at William's feet.
Her face was like an April morn

Clad in a wintry cloud;
And clay-cold was her lily hand

That held her sable shroud.
So shall the fairest face appear

When youth and years are flown : Such is the robe that kings must wear,

When death bas reft their crown.

His cheek, where health with beauty

glowed, A deadly pale o'ercast; So fades the fresh rose in its prime,

Before the northern blast.

The parents now, with late remorse,

Hung o'er his dying bed ; And wearied Heaven with fruitless vows,

And fruitless sorrows shed.

898.-EDWIN AND EMMA. Far in the windings of a vale,

Fast by a sheltering wood,
The safe retreat of health and peace,

A humble cottage stood.
There beauteous Emma flourished fair,

Beneath a mother's eye ;
Whose only wish on earth was now

To see her blest, and die.
The softest blush that nature spreads

Gave colour to her cheek;
Such orient colour smiles through heaven,

When vernal mornings break.
Nor let the pride of great ones scorn

This charmer of the plains :
That sun, who bids their diamonds blaze,

To paint our lily deigns.
Long had she filled each youth with love,

Each maiden with despair ;
And though by all a wonder owned,

Yet knew not she was fair:

'Tis past! he cried, but, if your

souls Sweet mercy yet can move, Let these dim eyes once more behold

What they must ever love!

She came; his cold hand softly touched,

And bathed with many a tear :
Fast-falling o'er the primrose pale,

So morning dews appear.
But oh! his sister's jealous care,

A cruel sister she !
Forbade what Emma came to say ;

“My Edwin, live for me!”
Now homeward as she hopeless wept,

The churchyard path along, The blast blew cold, the dark owl screamed

Her lover's funeral song.
Amid the falling gloom of night,

Her startling fancy found
In every bush his hovering shade,

His groan in every sound.
Alone, appalled, thus had she passed

The visionary vale-
When lo! the death-bell smote her ear,

Sad sounding in the gale!
Just then she reached, with trembling step,

Her aged mother's door : “He's gone !” she cried, " and I shall see

That angel face no more.

Till Edwin came, the pride of swains,

A soul devoid of art;
And from whose eye, serenely mild,

Shone forth the feeling heart.
A mutual flame was quickly caught,

Was quickly too revealed ;
For neither bosom lodged a wish

That virtue keeps concealed.
What happy hours of home-felt bliss

Did love on both bestow !
But bliss too mighty long to last,

Where fortune proves a foe.
His sister, who, like envy formed,

Like her in mischief joyed,
To work them harm, with wicked skill,

Each darker art employed. The father, too, a sordid man,

Who love nor pity knew, Was all unfeeling as the clod

From whence his riches grew. Long had he seen their secret flame,

And seen it long unmoved ;
Then with a father's frown at last

Har sternly disapproved.
In Edwin's gentle heart, a war

Of differing passions strove :
His heart, that durst not disobey,

Yet could not cease to love.
Denied her sight, he oft behind

The spreading hawthorn crept, To snatch a glance, to mark the spot

Where Emma walked and wept. Oft, too, on Stanmore's wintry waste

Beneath the moonlight shade, In sighs to pour his soften'd soul,

The midnight mourner strayed.

I feel, I feel this breaking heart

Beat high against my side!”
From her white arm down sunk her head-

She shivered, sighed, and died.
David Mallet.--Born 1700, Died 1765.

899.-SONG. The smiling morn, the breathing spring, Invite the tuneful birds to sing, And while they warble from each spray, Love melts the universal lay. Let us, Amanda, timely wise, Like them improve the hour that flies, And in soft raptures waste the day Among the shades of Endermay. For soon the winter of the year, And age, life's winter, will appear :

At this, thy living bloom will fade,
As that will strip the vernal shade.
Our taste of pleasure then is o'er,
The feather'd songsters love no more ;
And when they droop, and we decay,
Adieu the shades of Endermay.

David Mallet.Born 1700, Died 1765.

900.-A FUNERAL HYMN.

Ye midnight Shades ! o'er Nature spread
Dumb silence of the dreary hour ;
In honour of the approaching dead
Around your awful terrors pour.
Yes, pour around
On this pale ground,
Thro' all this deep surrounding gloom,
The sober thought,
The tear untaught,
Those meetest mourners at a tomb.

Lo! as the surpliced train draw near
To this last mansion of mankind,
The slow sad bell, the sable bier,
In holy musings wrapt the mind !
And while their beam,
With trembling stream,
Attending tapers faintly dart,
Each mould'ring bone,
Each sculptured stone,
Strikes mute instruction to the heart.

901.-TENDENCIES OF THE SOUL

TOWARDS THE INFINITE. Say, why was man so eminently raised Amid the vast creation ; why ordain'd Through life and death to dart his piercing

eye, With thoughts beyond the limit of his

frame; But that the Omnipotent might send hiin

forth In sight of mortal and immortal powers, As on a boundless theatre, to run The great career of justice; to exalt His generous aim to all diviner deeds; To chase each partial purpose from his

breast : And through the mists of passion and of sense, And through the tossing tide of chance and

pain, To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent Of Nature, calls him to his high reward, The applauding smile of Heaven ? Else

wherefore burns In mortal bosoms this inquenchèd hope, That breathes from day to day sublimer

things, And mocks possession ? wherefore darts the

mind, With such resistless ardour, to embrace Majestic forms; impatient to be free, Spurning the gross control of wilful might; Proud of the strong contention of her toils ; Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns To Heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view, Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame ? Who that, from Alpine heights, his labouring

eye Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave Through mountains, plains; through empires

black with shado And continents of sand ; will turn his gaze To mark the windings of a scanty rill That murmurs at his feet? The high-born

soul Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing Beneath its native quarry. Tired of Earth And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft Through fields of air; pursues the dying

storm; Rides on the volley'd lightning through the

heavens ; Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern

blast, Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she

soars The blue profound, and hovering round the

Sun, Beholds him pouring the redundant stream Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway Bend the reluctant planets to absolve The fated rounds of Time. Thence far

effused She darts her swiftness up the long career

Now let the sacred organ blow With solemn pause and sounding slow; Now let the voice due measure keep, In strains that sigh and words that weep, Till all the rocal current blended roll, Not to depress but lift the soaring soul. To lift it in the Maker's praise Who first inform'd our frame with breath, And after some few stormy days Now gracious gives us o'er to death. No king of fears In him appears Who shuts the scene of human woes; Beneath his shade Securely laid The dead alone find true repose.

Then while we mingle dust with dust,
To One supremely good and wise
Raise hallelujahs. God is just,
And man most happy when he dies.
His winter past,
Fair Spring at last
Receives him on her flow'ry shore,
Where pleasure's rose
Immortal blows,
And sin and sorrow are no more.

Darid Mallet.-Born 1700, Died 1765.

Of devious comets; through its burning

signs Exulting measures the perennial wheel Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars, Whose blended light, as with a milky zone, Invest the orient. Now amazed she views The empyreal waste, where happy spirits

hold, Beyond this concave Heaven, their calm

abode; And fields of radiance, whose unfading light Has travell’d the profound six thousand

years, Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things. Even on the barriers

of the world untired She meditates the eternal depth below; Till half recoiling, down the headlong steep She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd

up In that immense of being. There her hopes Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said, That not in humble nor in brief delight, Not in the fading echoes of Renown, Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery

lap, The soul should find enjoyment: but from

these Turning disdainful to an equal good, Through all the ascent of things enlarge her

view, Till every bound at length should disappear, And infinite perfection close the scene.

Akenside.--Born 1721, Died 1770.

The form of beauty smiling at his heart,
How lovely! how commanding! But though

heaven
In every breast hath sown these early seeds
Of love and admiration, yet in vain,
Without fair culture's kind parental aid,
Without enlivening suns, and genial showers,
And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope
The tender plant should rear its blooming

head, Or yield the harvest promised in its spring. Nor yet will every soil with equal stores Repay the tiller's labour; or attend His will, obsequious, whether to produce The olive or the laurel. Different minds Incline to different objects : one pursues The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild ; Another sighs for harmony, and grace, And gentlest beauty. Hence when lightning

fires The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the

ground; When furious whirlwinds rend the howling

air, And ocean, groaning from his lowest bed, Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky, Amid the mighty uproar, while below The nations tremble, Shakspeare looks abroad From some high cliff superior, and enjoys The elemental war. But Waller longs All on the margin of some flowery stream To spread his careless limbs amid the cool Of plantain shades, and to the listening deer The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain Resound soft-warbling all the live-long day : Consenting zephyr sighs; the weeping rill Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the

groves ; And hill and dale with all their echoes

mourn. Such and so various are the tastes of men. O blest of heaven! whom not the languid

songs Of luxury, the siren ! not the bribes Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave Those ever-blooming sweets, which from the

store Of nature fair imagination culls To charm the enliven'd soul! What though

not all Of mortal offspring can attain the heights Of envied life; though only few possess Patrician treasures or imperial state; Yet nature's care, to all her children just, With richer treasures and an ampler state, Endows at large whatever happy man Will deign to use them. His the city's

pomp, The rural honours his. Whate'er adorns The princely dome, the column and the arch, The breathing marbles and the sculptured

gold, Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim, His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the

spring

902.-TASTE. What then is taste, but these internal

powers Active, and strong, and feelingly alive To each fine impulse ? a discerning sense Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust From things deformed or disarranged, or

gross In species? This, nor gems nor stores of

gold, Nor rrrple state, nor culture can bestow; Bat God alone, when first his active hand Imprints the secret bias of the soul. He, mighty parent, wise and just in all, Free as the vital breeze or light of heaven, Reveals the charms of nature. Ask the

swain Who journeys homeward from a summer

day's
Long labour, why, forgetful of his toils
And due repose, he loiters to behold
The sunshine gleaming, as through amber

clouds,
O'er all the western sky; full soon, I ween,
His rude expression and untutored airs,
Beyond the power of language, will unfold

Distils her dews, and from the silken gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds : for him the hand
Of autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold and blushes like the

morn.

Each passing hour sheds tribute from her

wings; And still new beauties meet his lonely walk, And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze Flies o'er the meadow, not a cloud imbibes The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain From all the tenants of the warbling shade Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake Fresh pleasure, unreproved. Nor thence par

takes Fresh pleasure only: for the attentive mind, By this harmonious action on her powers, Becomes herself harmonious : wont so oft In outward things to meditate the charm Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home To find a kindred order, to exert Within herself this elegance of love, This fair inspired delight : her tempered

powers Refine at length, and every passion wears A chaster, milder, more attractive mien. But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze On nature's form, where, negligent of all These lesser graces, she assumes the port Of that eternal majesty that weighed The world's foundations; if to these the

mind Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far Will be the change, and nobler. Would the

forms Of servile custom cramp her generous power ; Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear? Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied

course,
The elements and seasons : all declare
For what the eternal Maker has ordained
The powers of man: we feel within ourselves
His energy divine: he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being; to be great like him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom nature's works can charm, with God

himself
Hold converse ; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions, act upon his plan,
And form to his, the relish of their souls.

Akensude.-Born 1721, Died 1770.

Bless'd could my skill through ages make thee

shine, And proud to mix my memory with thine. But now the cause that waked my song

before, With praise, with triumph, crowns the toil

no more. If to the glorious man whose faithful cares, Nor quell’d by malice, nor relax'd by years, Had awed Ambition's wild audacious hate, . And dragg'd at length Corruption to her

fate; If every tongue its large applauses owed, And well-earn'd laurels every Muse bestow'd; If public Justice urged the high reward, And Freedom smiled on the devoted bard; Say then, to him whose levity or lust Laid all a people's generous hopes in dust; Who taught Ambition firmer heights of

power, And saved Corruption at her hopeless hour ; Does not each tongue its execrations owe ? Shall not each Muse a wreath of shame

bestow, And public Justice sanctify th' award, And Freedom's hand protect the impartial

bard ? Yet long reluctant I forbore thy name, Long watch'd thy virtue like a dying flame, Hung o'er each glimmering spark with anxious

eyes, And wish'd and hoped the light again would

rise. But since thy guilt still more entire appears, Since no art hides, no supposition clears ; Since vengeful Slander now too sinks her

blast, And the first rage of party hate is past; Calm as the judge of truth, at length I come To weigh thy merits, and pronounce thy

doom : So may my trust from all reproach be free; And Earth and Time confirm the fair decree. There are who say they view'd without

amaze The sad reverse of all thy former praise: That through the pageants of a patriot's name, They pierced the foulness of thy secret aim; Or deem'd thy arm exalted but to throw The public thunder on a private foe. But I, whose soul consented to thy cause, Who felt thy genius stamp its own applause, Who saw the spirits of each glorious age Move in thy bosom, and direct thy rage ; I scorn'd the ungenerous gloss of slavish

minds, The owl-eyed race, whom Virtue's lustre

blinds. Spite of the learned in the ways of vice, And all who prove that each man has his

price, I still believed thy end was just and free; And yet, even yet, believe it-spite of thee. Even though thy mouth impure has dared

disclaim, Urged by the wretched impotence of shame,

903.-AN EPISTLE TO CURIO. Thrice has the spring beheld thy faded fame, And the fourth winter rises on thy shame, Since I exulting grasp'd the votive shell, In sounds of triumph all thy praise to tell ;

« PreviousContinue »