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Haply, some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps, the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
'His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling, as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
One morn I miss'd him on th' accustom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tree,
Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.
The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne,
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
'Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.".
HERE rests his head upon the lap of earth,
A youth to fortune and to fame unknown;
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere :
Heaven did a recompense as largely send.
He gave to mis'ry all he had—a tear;
He gain'd from heaven ('twas all he wish'd)—a friend
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they, alike, in trembling hope repose) The bosom of his Father and his God.
XI.-Scipio restoring the Captive Lady to her Lover,
WHEN to his glorious first essay in war,
New Carthage fell; there all the flower of Spain
Were kept in hostage; a full field presenting
For Scipio's generosity to shine.-A noble virgin
Conspicuous far o'er all the captive dames
Was mark'd the general's prize. She wept and blush'd, Young, fresh, and blooming like the morn.
As when the blue sky trembles through a cloud
Her features, and infus'd enchantment through them.
Beneath her beauty fails; which seem'd on purpose
By nature lavish'd on her, that mankind
May see the virtue of a hero try'd
Almost beyond the stretch of human force.
Soft as she pass'd along, with downcast eyes,
Where gentle sorrow swell'd, and now and then,
Dropp'd o'er her modest cheeks a trickling tear.
The Roman legions languish'd, and hard war
Felt more than pity; e'en their chief himself,
As on his high tribunal rais'd he sat,
Turn'd from the dang'rous sight; and, chiding, ask'd
His officers, if by this gift they meant
.To cloud his glory in its very dawn.
She, question'd of her birth, in trembling accents,
With tears and blushes, broken, told her tale.
But, when he found her royally descended;
Of her old captive parents the sole joy;
And that a hapless Celtiberian prince,
Her lover and belov'd, forgot his chains,
His lost dominions, and for her alone
Wept out his tender soul: sudden the heart
Of this young, conquering, loving, godlike Roman,
Felt all the great divinity of virtue.
His wishing youth stood check'd, his tempting power,
Restrain'd by kind humanity.-At once,
He for her parents and her lover call'd.
The various scene imagine. How his troops
Look'd dubious on, and wonder'd what he meant ;
While, stretch'd below, the trembling suppliant lay
Rack'd by a thousand mingling passions-fear,
Hope, jealousy, disdain, submission, grief,
Anxiety and love, in every shape.
To these, as different sentiments succeeded,
As mix'd emotions, when the man divine,
Thus the dread silence to the lover broke.
"We both are young-both charm'd. The right of war
Has put thy beauteous mistress in my power;
With whom I could, in the most sacred ties,
Live out a happy life. But, know that Romans,
Their hearts, as well as enemies, can conquer;
Then, take her to thy soul! and with her, take
Thy liberty and kingdom. In return,
I ask but this-When you behold these eyes,
These charms, with transport, be a friend to Rome."
Ecstatic wonder held the lovers mute;
While the loud camp, and all the clust'ring crowd
That hung around, rang with repeated shouts ;
Fame took th' alarm, and through resounding Spain
Blew fast the fair report; which more than arms,
Admiring nations to the Romans gain'd.
XII.-Pope's humorous Complaint to Dr. Arbuthnot, of the
Impertinence of Scribblers.
SHUT, shut the door, good John!-fatigu'd I said:
Tie up the knocker-say, I'm sick, I'm dead.
The dog-star rages! Nay, 'tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus is let out.
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets; through my grot they glide
By land, by water, they renew the charge;
They stop the chariot, and they board the barge;
No place is sacred; not the church is free;
E'en Sunday shines no sabbath-day to me.
Then, from the mint walks forth the man of rhyme→
"Happy to catch me just at dinner-time."
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song)
What drop or nostrum can this plague remove?
Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love?
A dire dilemma !-either way I'm sped;
If foes, they write; if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and ti'd down to judge how wretched I!
Who can't be silent, and who will not lie.
To laugh were want of goodness and of grace;
And to be grave exceeds all power of face.
I sit, with sad civility; I read,
With serious anguish and an aching head:
Then drop at last, but in unwilling ears,
This saving counsel-"Keep your piece nine years."
"Nine years!" (cries he, who, high in Drurylane,
Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends ;)
"The piece you think is incorrect. Why, take it;
I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it."
Three things another's modest wishes bound—
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me-" You know his Grace;
I want a patron-ask him for a place."
"Pitholeon libell'd me."-"But here's a letter
Informs you, Sir, 'twas when he knew no better."
"Bless me! a packet!-'Tis a stranger sues
A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse."
If I dislike it-"Furies, death, and rage,"
If I approve" Commend it to the stage."
There, thank my stars, my whole commission ends;
The players and I are luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him-" "Sdeath I'll print it.
And shame the fools-Your interest, Sir, with Lintot."
"Lintot (dull rogue) will think your price too much." "Not if you, Sir, revise it and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers" Do, and we go snacks ;"
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door-
"Sir, let me see you and your works no more."
There are, who to my person pay their court:
I cough like Horace, and though lean, am short:
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high;
Such Ovid's nose; and, "Sir you have an eye."
Go on, obliging creatures; make me see,
All that disgrac'd my betters met in me.
Say, for my comfort, languishing in bed,
Just so immortal Maro held his head;
And when I die, besure you let me know,
Great Homer died-three thousand years ago.
XIII.—Hymn to Adversity.
DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and torturing hour,
The bad affright, afflict the best!
Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain;
And purple tyrants vainly groan,
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
To thee he gave the heavenly birth,
And bade thee form her infant mind.
Stern, rugged nurse! thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore;
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,
And from her own she learn'd to melt at other's wo.
Scar'd at thy frown, terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise and thoughtless Joy,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse, and with them go
The summer Friend, the flatt'ring Foe,
By vain Prosperity receiv'd,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.
Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapturous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend:
Warm Charity, the general friend;
With Justice, to herself severe;
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly pleasing tear.
Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head, Dread Goddess, lay thy chast'ning hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with the vengeful band, (As by the impious thou art seen)
With thund'ring voice and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty.
Thy form benign, Oh, Goddess! wear; Thy milder influence impart ;
Thy philosophic train be there,
To soften, not to wound my heart.
Thy gen'rous spark, extinct, revive;
Teach me to love and to forgive:
Exact my own defects to scan;
What others are, to feel; and know myself a man.
XIV. The Passions.-An Ode.
WHEN Music, heavenly maid! was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell;
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possess'd beyond the Muse's painting.
By turns, they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd:
once, 'tis said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
From the supporting myrtles round,
They snatch'd her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart,
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, (for madness rul'd the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power,
First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid;
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own'd his secret stings,
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurry'd hand the strings.
With woful measures, wan Despair
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd:
A solemn, strange, and mingled air:
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure!
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.