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Oh pardon me! that break with untun'd verse
The reverend silence that attends thy hearse;
Whose solemn, awful murmurs were to thee,
More than those rude lines, a loud elegy;
That did proclaim in a dumb eloquence
The death of all the arts, whose influence,
Grown feeble, in these panting numbers lies,
Gasping short-winded accents, and so dies:
So doth the swiftly-turning wheel not stand
I' th' instant we withdraw the moving hand,
But some short-time retains a faint, weak course,
By virtue of the first impulsive force;
And so, whilst I cast on thy funeral pile
Thy crown of bays, oh let it crack a while,
And spit disdain, till the devouring flashes
Suck all the moisture up, then turn to ashes.
I will not draw the envy, to engross
All thy perfections, or weep all the loss;
Those are too numerous for one elegy,
And 't is too great to be express'd by me:
Let others carve the rest; it shall suffice,
I on thy grave this epitaph incise.
"Here lies a king that rul'd as he thought fit
The universal monarchy of wit;
Here lies two flamens2, and both those the best;
Apollo's first, at last the true God's priest."
AN ELEGIACAL LETTER UPON THE DEATH OF THE
KING OF SWEDEN 3
FROM AURELIAN TOWNSEND, INVITING ME TO WRITE
ON THAT SUBJECT.
WHY dost thou sound, my dear Aurelian,
In so shrill actions, from thy Barbican,
A loud alarum to my drowsy eyes*,
Bidding them wake in tears and elegies
For mighty Sweden's fall? Alas! how may
My lyric feet, that of the smooth, soft way
Of Love and Beauty only know the tread,
In dancing paces celebrate the dead
Victorious king, or his majestic hearse
Profane with th' humble touch of their low verse?
Virgil nor Lucan, no, nor Tasso, more
Than both; not Donne, worth all that went before;
With the united labour of their wit
Could a just poem to this subject fit.
His actions were too mighty to be rais'd
Higher by verse: let him in prose be prais'd,
In modest faithful story, which his deeds
Shall turn to poems: when the next age reads
Of Francfort, Leipsic, Warsburgh, of the Rhine,
The Leck, the Danube, Tilley, Wallestein,
Bavaria, Dapenheim, Lutzen field, where he
Gain'd after death a posthume victory,
2 Alluding to his being both a poet and a divine. 3 Gustavus Adolphus, the great protector of the protestants in Germany; who, after having subdued Ingria, Livonia, and Pomerania, was killed at the battle of Lutzen, near Leipsic.
They'll think his acts things rather feign'd than done,
Like our romances of the Knight o' th' Sun.
Leave we him then to the grave chronicler,
Who though to annals he cannot refer
His too-brief story, yet his journals may
Stand by the Cæsar's years; and every day
Cut into minutes, each shall more contain
Of great designment than an emperor's reign:
And (since 't was but his church-yard) let him have
For his own ashes now no narrower grave
Than the whole German continent's vast womb,
Whilst all her cities do but make his tomb.
Let us to Supreme Providence commit
The fate of monarchs, which first thought it fit
To rend the empire from the Austrian grasp,
And next from Sweden's, even when he did clasp
Within his dying arms the sov'reignty
Of all those provinces, that men might see
The Divine Wisdom would not leave that land
Subject to any one king's sole command.
Then let the Germans fear, if Cæsar shall,
Or the united princes, rise and fall;
But let us that in myrtle bowers sit,
Under secure shades, use the benefit
Of peace and plenty, which the blessed hand
Of our good king gives this obdurate land:
Let us of revels sing, and let thy breath
(Which fill'd Fame's trumpet with Gustavus' death,
Blowing his name to Heaven) gently inspire
Thy past'ral pipe till all our swains admire
Thy song and subject, whilst they both comprise
The beauties of the Shepherd's Paradise":
For who, like thee, (whose loose discourse is far
More neat and polish'd than our poems are,
Whose very gait's more graceful than our dance)
In sweetly flowing numbers may advance
The glorious night: when, not to act foul rapes,
Like birds, or beasts, but in their angel-shapes
A troop of deities came down to guide
Our steerless barks in Passion's swelling tide
By Virtue's card, and brought us from above
A pattern of their own celestial love.
Nor lay it in dark sullen precepts drown'd;
But with rich fancy and clear action crown'd,
Through a mysterious fable (that was drawn
Like a transparent veil of purest lawn
Before their dazzling beauties) the divine
Venus did with her heavenly Cupid shine:
The story's curious web, the masculine stile,
The subtle sense, did time and sleep beguile:
Pinion'd and charm'd, they stood to gaze upon
Th' angel-like forms, gestures, and motion;
To hear those ravishing sounds, that did dispense
Knowledge and pleasure to the soul and sense.
It fill'd us with amazement to behold
Love made all spirit; his corporeal mold,
Dissected into atoms, melt away
To empty air, and from the gross allay
Of mixtures and compounding accidents,
Refin'd to immaterial elements.
But when the queen of beauty did inspire
Breathing, from her celestial organ, sweet
The air with perfumes, and our hearts with fire,
Harmonious notes, our souls fell at her feet.
Aud did with humble, reverend daty, more
Her rare perfections than high state adore.
4 Our author in this passage lost sight of his usual correctness, To "sound an alarum to the eyes" is a harsh expression on this side of the Irish Channel. But, quandoque dormitat Homerus.
"The title of a poem written by Aurelian Townsend.
These harmless pastimes let my Townsend sing
To rural tunes; not that thy Muse wants wing
To soar a loftier pitch, (for she hath made
A noble flight, and plac'd th' heroic shade
Above the reach of our faint, flagging rhime;)
But these are subjects proper to our clime.
Tornies', masks, theatres better become
Our Halcyon days. What though the German drum
Bellow for freedom and revenge? the noise
Concerns not us, nor should divert our joys;
Nor ought the thunder of their carabins
Drown the sweet airs of our tun'd violins.
Believe me, friend, if their prevailing pow'rs
Gain them a calm security like ours,
They'll hang their arms upon the olive bough,
And dance and revel then as we do now.
UPON MR. W. MOUNTAGUE
HIS RETURN FROM TRAVEL.
LEAD the black bull to slaughter, with the boar
And lamb; then purple with their mingled gore
The Ocean's curled brow, that so we may
The sea-gods for their careful waftage pay:
Send grateful incense up in pious smoke
To those mild spirits that cast a curbing yoke
Upon the stubborn winds, that calmly blew
To the wish'd shore our long'd-for Mountague:
Then, whilst the aromatic odours burn
In honour of their darling's safe return,
The Muse's quire shall thus with voice and hand Bless the fair gale that drove his ship to land.
Sweetly-breathing vernal air,
That with kind warmth do'st repair
Winter's ruins; from whose breast
All the gums and spice of th' east
Borrow their perfumes; whose eye
Gilds the morn, and clears the sky;
Whose disshevel'd tresses shed
Pearls upon the violet bed;
On whose brow, with calm smiles dress'd,
The halcyon sits and builds her nest;
Beauty, youth, and endless spring,
Dwell upon thy rosy wing.
Thou, if stormy Boreas throws
Down whole forests when he blows,
With a pregnant flow'ry birth
Canst refresh the teeming earth:
If he nip the early bud,
If he blast what 's fair or good,
If he scatter our choice flowers,
If he shake our hills or bowers,
If his rude breath threaten us;
Thou canst stroke great Eolus,
And from him the grace obtain
To bind him in an iron chain.
Thus, whilst you deal your body 'mongst your friends,
And fill their circling arms, my glad soul sends
This her embrace: thus we of Delphos greet;
As lay-men clasp their hands, we join our feet.
"This species of entertainment, we suppose, was a-kin to our modern routs, the expression seeming to be borrowed from the Spanish tornado, or hurri
MASTER W. MOUNTAGUE.
SIR, I arrest you at your country's suit,
Who, as a debt to her, requires the fruit
Of that rich stock, which she by Nature's hand
Gave you in trust, to th' use of this whole land:
Next she indites you of a felony,
For stealing what was her propriety',
Yourself, from hence; so seeking to convey
The public treasure of the state away.
More: y' are accus'd of ostracism, the fate
Impos'd of old by the Athenian state
On eminent virtue; but that curse which they
Cast on their men, you on your country lay:
For, thus divided from your noble parts,
This kingdom lives in exile, and all hearts
That relish worth or bonour, being rent
From your perfections, suffer banishment.
These are your public injuries; but I
Have a just private quarrel, to defy
And call you coward; thus to run away
When you had pierc'd my heart, not daring stay
Till I redeem'd my honour: but I swear
By Celia's eyes, by the same force to tear
Your heart from you, or not to end this strife,
Till I or find revenge, or lose my life.
But as in single fights it oft hath been
In that unequal equal trial seen,
That he who had receiv'd the wrong at first,
Came from the combat oft too with the worst;
So if you foil me when we meet, I'll then
Give you fair leave to wound me so again.
MARRIAGE OF T. K. AND C. C.
THE MORNING STORMY.
SUCH should this day be, so the Sun should hide
His bashful face, and let the conquering bride
Without a rival shine, whilst he forbears
To mingle his unequal beams with hers;
Or if sometimes he glance his squinting eye
Between the parting clouds, 't is but to spy,
Not emulate her glories, so comes drest
In veils, but as a masker to the feast.
Thus Heav'n should lowr, such stormy gusts should
Not to denounce ungentle fates, but show,
The cheerful bridegroom to the clouds and wind
Hath all bis tears and all his sighs assign'd.
Let tempests struggle in the air, but rest
Eternal calms within thy peaceful breast!
Thrice happy youth! but ever sacrifice
To that fair hand that dry'd thy blubber'd eyes,
That crown'd thy head with roses, and turn'd all
The plagues of love into a cordial,
When first it join'd her virgin snow to thine,
Which when to day the priest shall recombine,
From the mysterious, holy touch, such charms
Will flow, as shall unlock her wreathed arms,
And open a free passage to that fruit
Which thou hast toil'd for with a long pursuit.
But ere thou feed, that thou mayst better taste-
Thy present joys, think on thy torments past:
But if it offer to thy nice survey
A spot, a stain, a blemish or decay,
It not belongs to thee; the treacherous light
Or faithless stone abuse thy credulous sight.
Perhaps the magic of thy face bath wrought
Upon th' enchanted crystal, and so brought
Fantastic shadows to delude thine eyes
With airy, repercussive sorceries:
Or else th' enamoured image pines away
For love of the fair object, and so may
Wax pale and wan; and though the substance grow
Lively and fresh, that may consume with woe.
Give thou no faith to the false specular stone,
But let thy beauties by th' effects be known:
Look, sweetest Doris, ou my love-sick heart;
In that true mirror see how fair thou art
There, by Love's never-erring pencil drawn,
Shalt thou behold thy face, like th' early dawn,
Shoot through the shady covert of thy hair,
Enam'ling and perfuming the calm air
With pearls and roses, till thy suns display
Their lids, and let out the imprison'd day.
Whilst Delphic priests (enlighten'd by their theme)
In amorous numbers court thy golden beam,
And from Love's altars clouds of sighs arise
In smoking incense to adore thine eyes:
If then love flow from beauty as th' effect,
How canst thou the resistless cause suspect?
Who would not brand that fool that should contend,
There were no fire where smoke and flames ascend?
Distrust is worse than scorn; not to believe
My harms, is greater wrong than not to grieve.
What cure can for my fest'ring sore be found,
Whilst thou believ'st thy beauty cannot wound?
Such humble thoughts more cruel tyrants prove,
Than all the pride that e'er usurp'd in love;
For Beauty's herald here denounceth war,
There her false spies betray me to a snare.
If fire disguis'd in balls of snow were hurl'd,
It unsuspected might consume the world:
Where our prevention ends, danger begins;
So wolves in sheeps', lions in asses' skins
Might far more mischief work, because less fear'd;
Those, the whole flock, these might kill all the herd.
Appear then as thou art, break through this cloud,
Confess thy beauty, though thou thence grow proud:
Be fair, though scornful; rather let me find
Thee cruel, than thus mild and more unkind.
Thy cruelty doth only me defy,
But these dull thoughts thee to thyself deny.
Whether thou mean to barter or bestow
Thyself, 't is fit thou thine own value know.
I will not cheat thee of thyself, nor pay
Less for thee than thou'rt worth; thou shalt not say, Whom wealth, parts, office, or the herald's coat
That is but brittle glass which I have found
By strict inquiry a firm diamond.
I'll trade with no such Ind an fool as sells
Gold, pearls, and precious stones, for beads and bells';
Nor will I take a present from your hand,
Which you or prize not or not understand.
It not endears your bounty that I do
Esteem your gift, unless you do so too.
You undervalue me, when you bestow
On me what you nor care for, nor yet know.
No, lovely Doris, change thy thoughts, and be
In love first with thyself, and then with me.
Have sever'd from the common, freely sit
At the lord's table, whose spread sides admit
A large access of friends to fill those seats
Of his capacious sickle, fill'd with meats
Of choicest relish, till his oaken back
Under the load of pil'd-up dishes crack.
Nor think, because our pyramids and high
Exalted turrets threaten not the sky,
That therefore Wrest of narrowness complains,
Or straighten'd walls; for she more numerous trains
Of noble guests daily receives, and those
Can with far more conveniency dispose,
Than prouder piles, where the vain builder spent
More cost in outward gay embellishment
Than real use; which was the sole design
Of our contriver, who made things not fine,
1 Alluding to the ignorance of the Indian tribes in South America, who used to barter their riches for the toys and trinkets of the Europeans.
You are afflicted that you are not fair,
And I as much tormented that you are:
What I admire you scorn; what I love, hate;
Through different faiths both share an equal fate:
Fast to the truth, which you renounee, I stick;
I die a martyr, you an heretie.
I BREATHE, Sweet Ghibs, the temperate air of Wrest,
Where I, no more with raging storms opprest,
Wear the cold nights out by the banks of Tweed,
On the bleak mountains where fierce tempests breed,
And everlasting winter dwells; where mild
Favonius and the vernal winds, exil'd,
Did never spread their wings: but the wild north
Brings sterile fern, thistles, and brambles forth.
Here, steep'd in balmy dew, the pregnant Earth
Sends from her teeming womb a flow'ry birth;
And, cherish'd with the warm Sun's quick'ning heat,
Her porous bosom doth rich odours sweat;
Whose perfumes through the ambient air diffuse
Such native aromatics, as we use
No foreign gums, nor essence fetch'd from far,
No volatile spirits, nor compounds that are
Adulterate; but, at Nature's cheap expense,
With far more genuine sweets refresh the sense.
Such pure and uncompounded beauties bless
This mansion with an useful comeliness
Devoid of art; for here the architect
Did not with curious skill a pile erect
Of carved marble, touch, or prophecy,
But built a house for hospitality.
No sumptuous chimney-piece of shining stone
Invites the stranger's eye to gaze upon,
And coldly entertain his sight; but clear
And cheerful flames cherish and warm him here.
No Doric nor Corinthian pillars grace
With imagery this structure's naked face:
The lord and lady of this place delight
Rather to be in act, than seem, in sight.
Instead of statues to adorn their wall,
They throng with living men their merry hall,
Where, at large tables fill'd with wholsome meats,
The servant, tenant, and kind neighbour eats:
Some of that rank, spun of a finer thread,
Are with the women, steward, and chaplain, fed
With daintier cates; others of better note,
But fit for service.
Of plenty is not in effigy worn
A NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
Without the gate; but she within the door
Empties her free and unexhausted store.
TO THE KING.
Nor crown'd with wheaten wreaths doth Ceres Look back, old Janus, and survey,
In stone, with a crook'd sickle in her hand:
Nor on a marble tun, his face besmear'd
With grapes, is curl'd, uncizar'd Bacchus rear'd.
We offer not, in emblems, to the eyes,
But to the taste, those useful deities:
We press the juicy god, and quaff his blood,
And grind the yellow goddess into food.
Yet we decline not all the work of Art;
But where more bounteous Nature bears a part,
And guides her handmaid, if she but dispense
Fit matter, she with care and diligence
Employs her skill; for where the neighbour source
Pours forth her waters, she directs her course,
And entertains the flowing streams in deep
And spacious channels, where they slowly creep
In snaky windings, as the shelving ground
Leads them in circles, till they twice surround
This island mansion, which, i' th' centre plac'd,
Is with a double crystal Heaven embrac'd;
In which our wat'ry constellations float,
Our fishes, swans, our waterman and boat,
Envy'd by those above, which wish to slake
Their star-burnt limbs in our refreshing lake;
But they stick fast nail'd to the barren sphere,
Whilst our increase, in fertile waters here,
Disport, and wander freely where they please
Within the circuit of our narrow seas.
With various trees we fringe the water's brink, Whose thirsty roots the soaking moisture drink, And whose extended boughs in equal ranks Yield fruit, and shade, and beauty to the banks. On this side young Vertumnus sits, and courts His ruddy-cheek'd Pomona; Zephyr sports On th' other with lov'd Flora, yielding there Sweets for the smell, sweets for the palate here. But did you taste the high and mighty drink Which from that luscious fountain flows, you 'd
The god of wine did his plump clusters bring,
And crush the Falern 3 grape into our spring;
Or else, disguis'd in wat'ry robes, did swim
To Ceres' bed, and make her beg of him,
Begetting so himself on her: for know,
Our vintage here in March doth nothing owe
To theirs in autumn; but our fire boils here
As lusty liquor as the Sun makes there.
Thus I enjoy myself, and taste the fruit
Of this blest place; whilst, toil'd in the pursuit
Of bucks and stags, th' emblem of war, you
To keep the memory of our arms alive.
From Time's birth till this new-born day,
All the successful seasons bound
With laurel wreaths, and trophies crown'd;
Turn o'er the anuals past, and, where
Happy auspicious days appear,
Mark'd with the whiter stone that cast
On the dark brow of th' ages past
A dazz'ling lustre, let them shine
In this succeeding circle's twine,
Till it be round with glories spread;
Then with it crown our Charles his head,
That we th' ensuing year may call
One great continu'd festival.
Fresh joys in varied forms apply
To each distinct captivity.
Season his cares by day with nights
Crown'd with all conjugal delights.
May the choice beauties that inflame
His royal breast be still the same,
And he still think them such, since more
Thou canst not give from Nature's store:
Then as a father let him be
2 Amalthea was the daughter of Melissus, king of Crete. She is fabled to have fed Jupiter, while an infant, with the milk of a goat, whose horn the god afterwards made her a present of, endued with this virtue, that whoever possessed it, should have every thing they wished for. Hence it was called' the horn of plenty.
3 The grape of Falernus is celebrated by all antiquity. It was produced from vines of a peculiar strength and flavour which grew in the Falernian fields in Campania.
With numerous issue blest, and see
The fair and god-like off-spring grown
From budding stars to suns full blown.
Circle with peaceful olive boughs
And conquering bays his regal brows:
Let his strong virtues overcome,
And bring him bloodless trophies home:
Strew all the pavements where he treads
With loyal hearts or rebels' heads:
But, Byfront', open thou no more,
In his blest reign, the temple door.
TO THE QUEEN.
THOU great commandress, that dost move
Thy sceptre o'er the crown of Love,
And through his empire, with the awe
Of thy chaste beams, dost give the law;
From his profaner altars we
Turn to adore thy deity.
He only can wild lust provoke;
Thou those impurer flames canst choke:
And where he scatters looser fires,
Thou turn'st them into chaste desires:
His kingdom knows no rule but this,
"Whatever pleaseth lawful is."
Thy sacred lord shows us the path
Of modesty and constant faith,
Which makes the rude male satisfy'd
With one fair female by his side;
Doth either sex to each unite,
And form love's pure hermaphrodite.
To this thy faith behold the wild
Satyr already reconcil'd,
1 Janus, who was painted with two faces. He was worshipped as a god, and had a temple built to him: in time of peace it was shut; in time of war it was open.