Page images
PDF
EPUB

To-morrow is a satire on to-day,
And shows its weakness. Whom shall men be-

lieve, When constantly themselves, themselves deceive ?

Long had I bid my once-loved muse adieu ; You warm old age; my passion burns anew. How sweet your verse! how great your force of

mind ! What power

of words ! what skill in dark mankind! Polite the conduct; generous the design ; And beauty files, and strength sustains, each line. Thus. Mars and Venus are, once more, beset; Your wit has caught them in its golden net.

But what strikes home with most exalted grace Is, haughty genius taught to know its place; And, where worth shines, its humbled crest to bend, With zeal devoted to that godlike end. When we discern so rich a vein of sense, Through the smooth flow of purest eloquence; 'Tis like the limpid streams of Tagus rollid O'er boundless wealth, o'er shining beds of gold.

But whence so finish’d, so refin'd a piece ? The tongue denies it to old Rome and Greece; The genius bids the moderns doubt their claim, And slowly take possession of the fame. But I nor know, nor care, by whom 'twas writ, Enough for me that 'tis from human wit, That soothes my pride : all glory in the pen Which has done honour to the race of men.

But this have others done ; a like applause
An ancient and a modern Horace draws.1
But they to glory by degrees arose,
Meridian lustre you at once disclose.
'Tis continence of mind, unknown before,
To write so well, and yet to write no more.
More bright renown can human nature claim,
Than to deserve, and fly immortal fame?

Next to the godlike praise of writing well, Is on that praise with just delight to dwell. O, for some God my drooping soul to raise ! That I might imitate, as well as praise ; For all commend : e'en foes your fame confess; Nor would Augustus' age have priz'd it less; An age, which had not held its pride so long, But for the want of so complete a song.

A golden period shall from you commence : Peace shall be sign'd 'twixt wit and manly sense; Whether your genius or your rank they view, The muses find their Halifax in

you. Like him succeed! nor think my zeal is shown For you;

'tis Britain's interest, not your own; For lofty stations are but golden snares, Which tempt the great to fall in love with cares.

I would proceed, but age

has chill'd 'Twas a short fever, and I'm cool again. Though life I hate, methinks I could renew Its tasteless, painful course, to sing of you.

my vein,

1 Boileau.

When such the subject, who shall curb his flight?
When such your genius, who shall dare to write ?
In pure respect, I give my rhyming o'er,
And, to commend you most, commend no more.

Adieu, whoe'er thou art! on death's pale coast Ere long I'll talk thee o'er with Dryden's ghost; The bard will smile. A last, a long farewell ! Henceforth I hide me in my dusky cell; There wait the friendly stroke that sets me free, And think of immortality and theeMy strains are number'd by the tuneful Nine ; Each maid presents her thanks, and all present

thee mine.

VERSES

SENT BY LORD MELCOMBE TO DR. YOUNG, NOT LONG

BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP'S DEATH.1

KIND companion of my youth,
Lov'd for genius, worth, and truth!
Take what friendship can impart,
Tribute of a feeling heart;
Take the muse's latest spark,?

| A Poetical Epistle from the late Lord Melcombe to the Earl of Bute, with corrections by the author of the Night Thoughts, was published in 4to, 1776.

? See Mr. Cust's Life of Young.

Ere we drop into the dark.
He, who parts and virtue gave,
Bad thee look beyond the grave :
Genius soars, and virtue guides ;
Above, the love of God presides.
There's gulf 'twixt us and God;
Let the gloomy path be trod :
Why stand shivering on the shore?
Why not boldly venture o'er?
Where unerring virtue guides,
Let us have the winds and tides :
Safe, through seas of doubts and fears,
Rides the bark which virtue steers.

THE END.

604

LONDON :
PRINTED B: C. WHITTINGHAM TOOKS COURT.

« PreviousContinue »