A search after happiness: a pastoral. In three dialogues. By a young lady.

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A SEARCH AFTER HAPPINESS: A PASTORAL.

Price Two-Shillings and Six-Pence.

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Hannah More▪

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A SEARCH AFTER HAPPINESS: A PASTORAL. In THREE DIALOGUES.

By a YOUNG LADY.

To rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to ſhoot,
To pour the freſh inſtruction o'er the mind,
To breathe th'enliv'ning ſpirit, and to fix
The gen'rous purpoſe in the Female breaſt.
THOMPSON.

BRISTOL: Printed and ſold by S. FARLEY, in Caſtle-Green: Alſo ſold by T. CADELL, Bookſeller, in the Strand; CARNAN and NEWBERY, Bookſellers, in St. Paul's Church-Yard, London; and W. FREDERICK, Bookſeller, in Bath.

ADVERTISEMENT.

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IT has been ſo hackney'd a practice for Authors to pretend that imperfect copies of their works had crept abroad, that the writer of the following Paſtoral is almoſt aſhamed to alledge this as the real cauſe of the preſent publication. This little poem was compoſed ſeveral years ago (the Author's age eighteen) and recited at that Time, and ſince, by a party of young Ladies, for which purpoſe it was originally written; by this means, ſome mutilated copies were circulated, unknown to the Author, thro' many Hands.

TO Mrs. GWATKIN.

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DEAR MADAM,

AS the following little poem turns chiefly on the danger of delay, or error, in the important article of Education; I know not to whom I can, with more propriety, dedicate it, than to you: as the ſubject it inculcates, has been one of the principal objects of your attention, in your own family. Let not the name of dedication alarm you; I am not going to offend by making your eulogium. Panegyric is only neceſſary to ſuſpicious, or common characters. Virtue will not accept it. Modeſty will not offer it.

The friendſhip with which you have honor'd me from my very childhood, will, I flatter myſelf, be exerted in my favour on this occaſion, and induce you to pardon [Page] me for venturning, without your permiſſion, to lay, before you this public teſtimony of my eſteem, and to aſſure you, how much I am,

Dear Madam,

Your obedient, and obliged humble Servant, The AUTHOR.

The introductory ADDRESS;

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Spoken by EUPHELIA.
WITH trembling diffidence, with modeſt fear,
Before this gentle audience we appear.
Ladies! ſurvey us with a tender eye,
Put on good-nature, and lay judgment by.
No deep-laid plot adorns our humble page,
But ſcenes adapted to our ſex and age.
No haughty female's paſſions here deſcrib'd,
Nor chamber-maids by jealous huſbands brib'd;
Simplicity is all our author's aim,
She does not write, nor do we ſpeak for fame.
To make amuſement and inſtruction friends,
A leſſon in the guiſe of play ſhe ſends;
She claims no merit but her love of truth,
No plea to favor, but her ſex and youth:
With theſe alone to boaſt, ſhe ſends me here,
To beg your kind, indulgent, partial ear.
Of critic man ſhe could not ſtand the teſt,
But you with ſofter, gentler hearts are bleſs'd:
With him ſhe dares not reſt her feeble cauſe,
Too low a mark for ſatire, or applauſe.
Ladies, protect her—do not be ſatyric,
Spare cenſure, ſhe expects not panegyric.

The Characters of the Paſtoral.

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  • Four Young Ladies of Diſtinction in Search of Happineſs.
    • FLORISSA,
    • PASTORELLA,
    • LAURINDA,
    • EUPHELIA,
  • URANIA, An ancient Shepherdeſs
  • Her Daughters.
    • FLORA,
    • ELIZA,
  • FLORELLA, A Young Shepherdeſs.

(The above Characters were repreſented by young Ladies from eight, to fifteen Years old.)

1. A SEARCH after HAPPINESS: A PASTORAL, in Three Dialogues.

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1.1. DIALOGUE I.

SCENE, A GROVE. FLORISSA, PASTORELLA, LAURINDA, EUPHELIA.
FLORISSA.
WELCOME, ye humble vales, ye flow'ry ſhades,
Ye murmuring fountains, and ye verdant glades!
From all the gilded miſery of the great,
From all the dull impertinence of ſtate;
From ſcenes, where daring guilt triumphant reigns,
It's dark ſuſpicions, and it's hoard of pains;
Where pleaſure never comes without alloy,
And art wou'd varniſh o'er fallacious joy;
Where folly crowns the day, exceſs the night,
And dull ſatiety ſucceeds delight;
[Page 2] Where midnight vices their fell orgies keep,
And guilty revels ſcare the phantom ſleep;
Where diſſipation wears the name of bliſs;
From theſe we fly in ſearch of Happineſs.
EUPHELIA.
And lo, at length, propitious to our view,
Behold the ſpot our anxious hopes purſue!
Theſe branching oaks, which old as time appear,
Proclaim URANIA'S dwelling to be near.
And ſee—obſerve the low-roof'd cottage riſe;
Not regal domes ſo grateful to my eyes.
PASTORELLA.
How the deſcription with the ſcene agrees!
Here lowly thickets, there aſpiring trees:
The hazle copſe excluding noon-day's beam,
The tufted arbor, the pellucid ſtream:
The blooming ſweet-briar and the hawthorn ſhade,
The ſpringing cowſlips and the daiſied mead:
The wild luxuriance of the full-blown fields,
Which ſpring prepares and laughing Summer yields.
EUPHELIA.
Here ſimple nature ſtrikes the raptur'd eye,
With charms which wealth and art but ill ſupply;
[Page 3] The genuine graces, which, without, we find,
Diſplay the beauty of the owner's mind.
LAURINDA.
Yes, be aſſur'd, this grove contains the cell
Where ſage URANIA and her children dwell.
FLORELLA too, if right we've heard the tale,
With them reſides—the lily of the vale.
FLORISSA.
But ſoft, what gentle female form appears,
Which, roſy health, and ſofteſt beauty wears?
Some Angel, ſure, commiſſion'd from above,
Or elſe the ſmiling genius of the grove!
Enter FLORELLA, who ſpeaks.
What do I ſee?—ye beauteous virgins, ſay,
What chance conducts your ſteps this deſart way?
Do you purſue ſome fav'rite lambkin ſtray'd,
Or do you alders court you to their ſhade?
Declare, fair ſtrangers, for, if right I deem,
No ruſtic nymphs of vulgar rank you ſeem.
FLORISSA.
No cooling ſhades allure our eager ſight,
Nor lambkin loſt our ſearching ſteps invite.
[Page 4] FLORELLA.
Or is it, haply, yonder branching vine,
Whoſe trunk the woodbine's fragrant tendrils twine:
Whoſe ſpreading height with purple cluſters crown'd,
Attracts the gaze of ev'ry nymph around?
Or doth the juicy pear your eyes invite,
Whoſe rich delicious ripeneſs tempts the ſight?
Say, is it this, or ought I have beſide,
FLORELLA'S fruits, her flow'rs, her fleecy pride?
EUPHELIA.
FLORELLA! our united thanks receive,
Sole proof of gratitude we have to give!
And ſince you deign to aſk, O courteous fair,
The motive of our unremitting care:
Know then, our wiſhes terminate in this,
And what we ſeek and crave is—Happineſs.
FLORISSA.
Long have we ſearch'd throughout this bounteous iſle,
With conſtant ardor and with ceaſeleſs toil:
The various ways of various life we've tried,
But peace, ſweet peace hath ever been deny'd.
We've ſought in vain thro' ev'ry different ſtate,
The rich, the poor, the lowly, and the great:
Doth ſhe with Kings in palaces reſide,
Or dwells obſcurely, far from pomp and pride?
[Page 5] To learn this truth, we've bid a long adieu
To all the ſhadows blinded men purſue.
—We ſeek URANIA, her whoſe virtues fire
Our virgin hearts to be what we admire.
Report hath blazon'd her accompliſh'd mind
The ſpotleſs manſion of the graces join'd;
For tho' with care ſhe ſhuns the public eye,
Yet worth like her's, can ne'er obſcurely lie.
LAURINDA.
On ſuch a fair and faultleſs model form'd,
By prudence guided and by virtue warm'd;
Perhaps, FLORELLA can direct our youth,
And point our footſteps to the paths of truth?
FLORELLA.
New as I am to life's all varying ſcene,
Scarce knowing yet, what vice and virtue mean;
Unſkill'd in points which ſage experience ſhews,
I dare not ſolve the queſtion you propoſe;
But wou'd you know the way to perfect bliſs,
(Which virtue and the virtuous never miſs:)
The Dame you ſeek inhabits yonder cell,
In her, united worth and wiſdom dwell:
Poor, not dejected, humble, yet not mean,
Chearful, tho' grave, and lively, tho' ſerene:
[Page 6] Benevolent, kind, pious, gentle, juſt,
Reaſon her guide, and Providence her truſt.
If Heav'n, indulgent to her little ſtore,
Adds to that little, but a little more:
With pious praiſe her grateful heart o'erflows,
And ſweetly mitigates the ſufferers woes.
Her labors for devotion beſt prepare,
And meek devotion ſmooths the brow of care.
Two lovely daughters make her little ſtate,
The deareſt bleſſings of propitious fate.
Under her kind protecting wing I live:
She gives to all—for ſhe has much to give,
Since Heav'n hath bleſs'd her with an ample heart,
A liberal ſoul which wou'd to all impart;
But, wiſe in all it's operations, join'd
A narrow fortune to a noble mind.
PASTORELLA.
Her bright perfections charm my liſtening ear!
Elate with hope, we come to ſeek her here:
To aſk the way to virtue and to bliſs,
Of her who boaſts ſupremeſt Happineſs.
FLORELLA.
Doubtleſs, fair nymph, from her you may receive
Advice and pray'r, the whole ſhe has to give.
[Page 7] LAURINDA.
Lead, fair FLORELLA, to that humble ſhed,
Where peace reſides, from courts and cities fled.
End of the Firſt DIALOGUE.

1.2. DIALOGUE II.

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SCENE, a COTTAGE in the GROVE. FLORISSA, PASTORELLA, EUPHELIA, LAURINDA, and FLORELLA at a little Diſtance.
URANIA, FLORA, and ELIZA come out of the Cottage.
URANIA.
YE tender objects of maternal love,
Ye deareſt joys URANIA e'er can prove:
Behold another bleſſed morn ariſe,
Behold the Sun, all glorious, mount the ſkies!
Say, can you ſee this animating ſight,
Without a fervent, pious, ſtrong delight?
Does not that Sun, whoſe all-prolific ray
Inſpires each object to be light and gay:
Does not that vivid pow'r teach ev'ry mind,
To be as warm, benevolent and kind:
To burn with unremitted ardor ſtill,
Like him to execute their Maker's will?
Then, let us, Power Supreme! thy will adore,
Invoke thy mercies and proclaim thy pow'r;
Shalt thou theſe benefits in vain beſtow?
Shall we forget the ſource from whence they flow?
[Page 9] Teach us, thro' theſe to lift ourſelves to Thee,
And in the gift the bounteous Giver ſee:
To view Thee, as thou art, all good and wiſe,
Nor let thy bleſſings hide Thee from our eyes:
From all obſtructions clear our mental ſight,
Pour on our ſouls thy beatific light:
Teach us thy wondrous goodneſs to revere,
With love to worſhip, and with rev'rence fear:
In the mild works of thy benignant hand,
As in the thunder of thy dread command.
In common objects we neglect thy pow'r,
Nor find a miracle in ev'ry flow'r;
Yet neither hurricanes, nor ſtorms proclaim
In louder language, thy Almighty Name.
—Tell me, my firſt, my laſt, my darling care,
If you this morn have rais'd your hearts in pray'r?
Say, did you riſe from the ſweet bed of reſt,
Your GOD unprais'd, his holy name unbleſs'd?
FLORA.
With pious thoughts, with holieſt notions fraught,
By thoſe pure precepts you have ever taught:
By great example, more than precept ſtrong,
Of pray'r and praiſe we've tun'd our matin ſong.
ELIZA.
And now we come, with duteous joy, t' attend
Our beſt exemplar, our maternal friend.
[Page 10] FLORELLA,
(aſide to the Ladies, who advance.)
See how the goodly dame with pious art,
Makes every thing a leſſon to the heart!
Obſerve th' attentive liſteners, how they ſtand!
Improvement and delight go hand in hand.
URANIA. But where's FLORELLA?
FLORELLA.
Here's the happy ſhe,
Whoſe deareſt bleſſing, next to Heav'n, is thee:
URANIA.
But what are theſe, in whoſe attractive mien,
So ſweetly blended, ev'ry grace is ſeen?
FLORISSA. Lo! humbly to the earth thy ſervants bend.
URANIA.
Riſe, fair ones, and command your willing friend.
Speak, my FLORELLA, ſay the cauſe why here
Theſe beauteous damſels on our plains appear?
FLORELLA.
Invited hither by URANIA'S fame,
To ſeek her friendſhip, to theſe ſhades they came.
[Page 11] Straying alone at morning's earlieſt dawn,
I met them wandering on the deſart lawn.
I courted their's, nor did they ſhun my love,
I've brought them here, your piety to prove.
URANIA.
Tell me, my fair, the real reaſon tell,
Which brings ſuch gueſts to grace my lowly cell;
Aſk what we have to give—it is not our's,
Heaven has but lent it us to make it your's.
FLORISSA.
Your counſel, your advice is all we aſk,
And for URANIA that's no irkſome taſk.
'Tis HAPPINESS we ſeek: O deign to tell
Where the coy fugitive delights to dwell?
URANIA.
Ah, rather ſay, where you have ſought this gueſt,
This lovely inmate of the virtuous breaſt?
Avow the various methods you've eſſay'd,
To court and win the bright, celeſtial maid.
But firſt, tho' harſh the taſk, each beauteous fair
Her taſte and temper muſt with truth declare.
EUPHELIA.
Bred in the regal ſplendors of a court,
Where pleaſures, dreſs'd in every ſhape, reſort:
[Page 12] I tried the pow'r of pomp and coſtly glare,
Nor ever thought, nor ever form'd a pray'r;
In different follies every hour I ſpent,
Reflection always on ſome errand ſent,
Without reflection whence cou'd riſe content?
My hours were ſhar'd betwixt the Park and play,
And muſic ſerv'd to waſte the tedious day;
Yet ſofteſt airs no more with joy I heard,
Soon as ſome ſweeter warbler was preferr'd.
The dance ſucceeded, and ſucceeding, tir'd,
If ſome more graceful dancer was admir'd.
No ſounds but flattery ever ſooth'd my ear,
Ungentle truths I knew not how to bear.
In drawing-rooms my dull pale vigils ſpent,
With ardor ſought, but found not there Content.
The Syren mock'd me with deluſive charms;
I graſp'd—the ſhadow fled my eager arms.
The ſcorpion envy goaded ſtill my breaſt,
Some newer beauty robb'd my ſoul of reſt;
Or if my elegance of form prevail'd,
And, haply, her inferior graces fail'd:
Yet ſtill ſome cauſe of wretchedneſs I found,
Some barbed ſhaft my ſhatter'd peace to wound:
Perhaps her gay attire exceeded mine—
When ſhe was finer how could I be fine?
[Page 13] FLORA.
Pardon my interruption, beauteous maid!
Can truth have prompted what you juſt have ſaid?
Do you believe it poſſible, that dreſs
Can leſſen, or advance your Happineſs;
Or that your robes, tho' ſplendid, rich and fine,
Poſſeſs intrinſic value more than mine?
ELIZA.
Is nature then to folly ſo allied,
That what makes human ſhame makes human pride?
Or moves mankind by cuſtom's ſlaviſh rule,
And is it faſhion conſtitutes the fool?
FLORISSA.
Another ſource my melancholy draws,
Th' effect's the ſame, tho' different is the cauſe.
I ſigh'd for fame, I languiſh'd for renown,
I wou'd be prais'd, careſs'd, admir'd, and know.
On daring wing my mounting ſpirit ſoar'd
And ſcience thro' her boundleſs fields explor'd;
I ſcorn'd the ſalique laws of pedant ſchools,
Which chain our genius down by taſteleſs rules.
I long'd to burſt theſe female bonds which held,
By paſſion prompted, and by fame impell'd;
To boaſt each various faculty of mind,
Thy graces, POPE! with JOHNSON'S learning join'd:
Like SWIFT, with ſtrongly pointed ridicule,
To brand the villain and abaſh the fool:
[Page 14] To judge with taſte, with ſpirit to compoſe,
Now mount in epic, now deſcend to proſe;
Steal flow'rs from BURKE at once ſublime and ſweet,
From MASON numbers, and from COLMAN wit;
Thy talents, MELMOTH, HUME, thy poliſh'd page!
All HAMMOND'S ſoftneſs, and all DRYDEN'S rage.
I pin'd for paſſion, ſentiment, and ſtile,
To weep with OTWAY, and with GOLDSMITH ſmile:
With poignant STERNE, now laugh the hours away,
Or court the muſe of elegy with GRAY.
With LANGHORNE fancy's fairy walks to range,
And pleaſe, like LANGHORNE, howſoe'er I change;
Abſtruſer ſtudies ſoon my fancy caught,
The poet in th' aſtronomer forgot;
NEWTON and LEIBNITZ now my thoughts inſpir'd,
And numbers leſs than calculations fir'd;
DESCARTES and EUCLID ſhar'd my varying breaſt,
And plans and problems all my ſoul poſſeſs'd:
Leſs pleas'd to ſing inſpiring Phoebus' ray,
Than mark the flaming comet's devious way:
The pale moon dancing on the ſilver ſtream,
And the mild luſtre of her trembling beam,
No more cou'd charm my philoſophic pride,
Which ſought her influence on the flowing tide;
No more cou'd ſylvan beauties ſtrike my thought,
Which only facts and demonſtrations ſought,
"Let common eyes, I ſaid, with tranſport view,
"The earth's bright verdure, or the heav'n's ſoft blue,
[Page 15] "Falſe is the pleaſure, the delight is vain,
"Colours exiſt but in the vulgar brain."
I now with LOCKE trod metaphyſic ſoil,
And ſearch'd the microſcopic world with BOYLE;
Sigh'd for their fame, but fear'd to ſhare their toil.
The laurel wreath, in fond idea twin'd,
To grace my learned temples I deſign'd.
Theſe were my notions, theſe my conſtant themes,
My daily longings and my nightly dreams;
The idol fame my boſom robb'd of reſt,
Too ſmall the manſion for ſo great a gueſt.
PASTORELLA.
To me, no joys cou'd pomp, or fame impart,
Far ſofter thoughts poſſeſs'd my virgin heart.
No prudent parent form'd my ductile youth,
Nor pointed out the lovely paths of truth.
Left to myſelf to cultivate my mind,
Pernicious novels their ſoft entrance find:
Their poiſ'nous influence led my mind aſtray,
I ſigh'd for ſomething, what, I cou'd not ſay;
I died for heroes who have never been,
And fancied virtues which were never ſeen;
I ſicken'd with diſguſt at ſober ſenſe,
And loath'd the pleaſures worth and truth diſpenſe;
Contemn'd the manners of the world I ſaw,
Fiction my nature, and romance my law.
[Page 16] Strange images my wand'ring fancy fill,
Each wind a zephyr, and each brook a rill.
I found adventures in each common tale,
And talk'd and ſigh'd to ev'ry paſſing gale;
Convers'd with echoes, woods and ſhades and bow'rs,
Caſcades and grottoes, fields and ſtreams, and flow'rs.
Folly within my heart her empire found,
My paſſions floating and my judgment drown'd;
Reaſon perverted, fancy on her throne,
(My ſoul to all my ſexes ſoftneſs prone;)
I neither ſpoke, nor look'd as mortal ought,
By ſenſe abandon'd and by fancy taught:
A victim to imagination's ſway,
Which ſtole my health, and reſt, and peace away.
Profeſſions, void of meaning, I receiv'd,
And ſtill I found them falſe—and ſtill believ'd:
Imagin'd all who courted me approv'd,
Who prais'd, eſteem'd me, and who flatter'd, lov'd.
Fondly I hop'd, now vain thoſe hopes appear!
Each man was faithful and each maid ſincere.
Still, diſappointment mock'd the lingering day:
Still, new-born wiſhes kept my ſoul in play.
When in the rolling year no joy I find,
I truſt the next; the next will ſure be kind;
The next, fallacious as the laſt appears,
And ſends me on to ſtill remoter years:
[Page 17] They come—they promiſe, but forget to give:
I live not, but I ſtill intend to live.
At length, deceiv'd in all my ſchemes of bliſs,
I join'd theſe three in ſearch of Happineſs.
ELIZA.
Is this the world of which we want a ſight?
Are theſe the beings who are call'd polite?
FLORA.
If ſo, oh gracious Heav'n! hear FLORA'S pray'r,
Preſerve me ſtill in humble virtue here!
Far from ſuch baneful pleaſures may I live,
And keep, O keep me from the taint they give!
LAURINDA.
'Till now, I've ſlept on life's tumultuous tide,
No principle of action for my guide;
From ignorance my chief misfortunes flow,
I never wiſh'd to learn, or car'd to know;
With ev'ry folly ſlow-pac'd time beguil'd,
In ſize a woman, but in ſoul a child;
In ſlothful eaſe my moments crept away,
And buſy trifles fill'd the tedious day;
I liv'd extempore, as fancy fir'd,
As chance directed, or caprice inſpir'd:
[Page 18] Too indolent to think, too weak to chuſe,
Too ſoft to blame, too gentle to refuſe;
I took my colouring from the world around,
The figures they, my mind the ſimple ground:
Faſhion with monſtrous forms the canvas ſtain'd,
'Till nothing of my genuine ſelf remain'd;
My pliant ſoul from chance receiv'd it's bent,
And neither good perform'd, or evil meant:
From right to wrong, from vice to virtue thrown,
No character poſſeſſing of it's own.
Tho' not by nature to a vice inclin'd,
A drear vacuity poſſeſs'd my mind;
Too old to be with infant ſports amus'd,
Unfit for converſe, and to books unus'd:
The wiſe avoided me, they cou'd not hear
My ſenſeleſs prattle with a patient ear.
Diſguſted, reſtleſs, every plan amiſs,
I come with theſe in ſearch of Happineſs.
FLORISSA.
United thus by ſome uncommon fate,
Reſolv'd on virtue if not yet too late:
We form'd a friendſhip which thro' life ſhall laſt,
And vows and choice and love have bound it faſt.
We laid our elegant attire aſide.
EUPHELIA. EUPHELIA thought it hard to put off pride.
[Page 19] PASTORELLA. Each left her title and exchang'd her name,
FLORISSA. An act FLORISSA hopes will merit fame.
URANIA.
Your candor, beauteous damſels, I approve,
Your foibles pity, and your merits love.
How few, O ſacred virtue! can acquire
That heart-felt tranſport thy pure flames inſpire!
But ere I ſay the methods you muſt try
To gain the glorious prize for which you ſigh,
Your fainting ſtrength and ſpirits muſt be cheer'd
With a plain meal, by temperance prepar'd.
FLORELLA.
No luxury our humble board attends,
But love and concord are it's ſmiling friends.
(They retire into the cottage.)
End of the Second DIALOGUE.

1.3. DIALOGUE III.

[Page 20]
SCENE, the Inſide of the COTTAGE. A RURAL ENTERTAINMENT.
URANIA, FLORA, ELIZA, FLORELLA, PASTORELLA, EUPHELIA, FLORISSA, LAURINDA.
During the Repaſt FLORELLA ſings the following SONG.
I.
HOW kind is that pow'r who has firſt ſent us meat,
And then has with appetites bleſs'd us to eat!
Let the rich, and the great, and the vain, and the gay,
Still ridicule wiſdom and all ſhe can ſay;
II.
In beautiful nature no charm can they find,
The pleaſures they follow a ſting leave behind.
Can criminal paſſion enrapture the breaſt
Like virtue protected, or innocence bleſs'd?
III.
O wou'd you, ye great ones, her impulſe attend,
No longer at luxury's ſhrine would you bend.
[Page 21] Our mornings are cheerful, our labors are bleſs'd,
Our ev'nings are pleaſant, our nights crown'd with reſt.
IV.
Our water is drawn from the cleareſt of ſprings,
And our fruits are as ripe as your's, or your King's.
Of how little uſe then to us were your wealth,
When without it we purchaſe both pleaſure and health!
They riſe and come forward.
URANIA.
Thus paſs the tranquil hours of rural eaſe,
Where life is bliſs, and pleaſures truly pleaſe!
LAURINDA.
With joy we view the dangers we have paſt,
Aſſur'd we've found felicity at laſt.
FLORELLA.
I weep to think how greatly you miſtake,
But youth will ever raſh concluſions make.
Judge no man happy by his outward air,
All may within be bitterneſs and care;
Tho' the full heart with agony be rent,
Prudence will wear the ſemblance of content:
Seclude it's anguiſh from the public ſight,
And feed on ſorrow with a ſad delight:
[Page 22] Fly ev'ry eye to cheriſh darling grief;
This fond indulgence it's ſupreme relief.
To ſhew contentment treads not human ground,
Nor can in any ſtate of life be found:
Know, that URANIA, that accompliſh'd fair,
Whoſe virtues make her Heav'n's peculiar care:
Ev'n ſhe, (who merits every joy to know,)
Hath deeply drain'd the bitter cup of woe,
With thoſe ſad eyes ſhe weeps a huſband dead,
With thoſe poor hands ſhe earns her infants bread.
In affluence born, and bred in ſplendid ſtate,
She feels the cruelleſt extreme of fate;
Yet noble, and ſuperior to diſtreſs,
She knows the hand which wounds, hath pow'r to bleſs;
Inſtead of murmuring at his ſacred will,
Grateful, ſhe bows for what he leaves her ſtill.
Remembers Who to erring man, did ſpare
One SON, exempt from ſin, but none from care.
PASTORELLA. Bleſt be that pow'r divine who brought us here!
URANIA.
Dear to my arms, and to my heart moſt dear!
Of all the various evils which infeſt
The human mind, and rob it of it's reſt:
[Page 23] Our higheſt happineſs and heavieſt woe,
From good, or evil education flow;
And hence, our future diſpoſitions riſe,
The ill we fly from, or the good we prize.
Miſtaken damſels! cou'd you hope for bliſs,
The ſlaves of errors, you yourſelves confeſs?
EUPHELIA ſighs for flattery, dreſs, and ſhow,
The too, too common ſource of female woe!
In beauty's ſphere pre-eminence to find,
She ſlights the great improvements of the mind.
I would not rail at beauty's charming pow'r,
I would but have her aim at ſomething more;
Beauty with reaſon need not quite diſpenſe,
And coral lips may ſure ſpeak common ſenſe;
Beauty makes virtue moſt divinely rare,
Virtue makes beauty more than mortal fair!
Confirms it's conqueſt o'er the yielding mind,
And thoſe your beauties gain, your virtues bind.
Wou'd you, ye fair, the bright example give,
Fir'd with ambition, men like you wou'd live:
Wou'd chuſe for merit, and eſteem for ſenſe.
And taſte the ſolid tranſports theſe diſpenſe.
No more wou'd rakes diſdain the ſhackled life,
Nor ſcorn that poor neglected thing—a wife;
But ſhunning each deluſive path of ſin,
All joy without, all ſweet content within,
[Page 24] Wou'd rouſe at virtue's and at honor's voice,
And love from reaſon, whom they lik'd from choice.
Then marriage wou'd with peace go hand in hand,
And Concord's temple cloſe to Hymen's ſtand.
Each might be bleſs'd, wou'd each in turn ſubmit,
Nor man affect controul, nor woman wit.
Diſcord begun, how ſeldom does it ceaſe?
'Tis the firſt difference breaks the chain of peace!
Abhor beginnings—always dread the worſt:
Admit a doubt and you're compleatly curſt.
'Tis follies, more than vices, that deſtroy,
Not ſin, but weakneſs, taints the nuptial joy.
Let woman then her real good diſcern,
And her true intereſts of URANIA learn:
Her loweſt name—the tyrant of an hour,
And her beſt empire, negligence of pow'r;
By yielding, ſhe obtains the nobleſt ſway,
And reigns deſpotic when ſhe ſeems t' obey.
EUPHELIA.
I find how thoſe miſtake the way to bliſs,
Who in externals look for Happineſs!
Tutor'd by thee, no more the men ſhall find,
The pow'r of flattery o'er EUPHELIA'S mind:
'Tis the weak avenue, th' unguarded part
Which lets in vice directly to the heart.
[Page 25] URANIA.
I pity PASTORELLA'S hapleſs fate;
By nature gentle, generous, mild, yet great;
One falſe propenſion all her pow'rs confin'd,
And chain'd her finer faculties of mind.
How all the virtues might have triumph'd there,
With early culture and maternal care!
If good we plant not, vice will fill the mind,
And weeds deſpoil the ſpace, for flow'r's deſign'd.
The human heart ne'er knows a ſtate of reſt,
From bad to worſe; from better on to beſt.
We either gain or loſe, we ſink or riſe:
Nor reſts poor ſtruggling nature 'till ſhe dies.
'Tis the diſeaſe moſt fatal to the ſoul,
To ſtop the race, before we've reach'd the goal:
For nought our farther progreſs can preclude,
So much as thinking we're already good.
Then place the ſtandard of fair virtue high,
Purſue and graſp it, e'en beyond the ſky.
PASTORELLA.
I mourn the errors of my thoughtleſs youth,
And long with thee to tread the paths of truth.
URANIA.
Learning is all the fair FLORISSA'S aim,
She ſeeks the loftieſt pinnacle of fame.
[Page 26] Wou'd ſhe the priviledge of man invade?
Learning for female minds was never made;
Taſte, elegance, and talents may be our's:
But learning ſuits not our leſs vigorous pow'rs.
Learning but roughens, poliſh'd taſte refines,
Dacier leſs lovely than Sévigné ſhines.
Know, fair aſpirer! cou'd you even hope,
To ſpeak like STONHOUSE, or to write like POPE:
To join, like FERNEY'S, or like HAGLEY'S ſage,
Th' hiſtoric, ethic, and poetic page;
With all the pow'rs of wit and judgment fraught,
The flow of ſtile and the ſublime of thought;
Yet, if the milder graces of the mind,
Graces peculiar to the ſex deſign'd,
Good-nature, patience, ſweetneſs void of art,
If theſe embelliſh'd not your virgin heart:
You might be dazzling, but not truly bright,
A pompous glare, but not an uſeful light:
A meteor, not a ſtar you wou'd appear,
For woman ſhines but in her proper ſphere.
As ſome fair violet, lovelieſt of the glade,
Sheds it's ſoft perfumes on the lonely ſhade:
Withdraws it's modeſt head from public ſight,
Nor courts the ſun, nor ſeeks the glare of light;
Shou'd ſome rude hand prophanely dare intrude,
And bear it's beauties from it's native wood:
[Page 27] Expos'd abroad, it's languid colours fly,
It's form decays, and all it's odors die.
So woman, born to dignify retreat,
Unknown to flouriſh, and unſeen be great:
To give domeſtic life it's ſweeteſt charm,
With ſoftneſs poliſh, and with virtue warm:
Fearful of fame, unwilling to be known,
Shou'd ſeek but Heav'ns applauſes and her own:
No cenſures dread but thoſe which crimes impart,
The cenſures of a ſelf-condemning heart;
With Angel-kindneſs ſhou'd behold diſtreſs,
And meekly pity, where ſhe can't redreſs;
Like beaming mercy, wipe affliction's tear,
But to herſelf not juſtice ſo ſevere;
Her paſſions all corrected, or ſubdu'd:
But one, the virtuous thirſt of doing good:
This great ambition ſtill ſhe calls her own,
This beſt ambition makes her breaſt it's throne.
FLORISSA.
Confus'd with ſhame, to thy reproofs I bend,
Thou beſt adviſer, and thou trueſt friend!
From thee I'll learn to judge and act aright,
Humility with reading to unite;
The finiſh'd character muſt both combine:
The perfect woman muſt in either ſhine.
[Page 28] URANIA.
LAURINDA'S dark, untutor'd mind may ſhew
What ills from want of education flow;
Wiſdom and virtue no dominion keep
O'er paſſions, not rein'd-in, but faſt aſleep.
Paſſions are treaſures, if they're manag'd right,
And make the lamp of reaſon burn more bright.
How growing virtues fortify by time!
And how ill-habits ſtrengthen into crime!
Thoſe ſquander'd hours which nothing can replace
Might have enrich'd her ſoul with ev'ry grace.
Accompliſhments by Heav'n were firſt deſign'd
Leſs to adorn, than to amend the mind:
Each ſhould contribute to this gen'ral end,
And all to virtue, as their centre, tend.
Th' acquirements which our beſt eſteem invite
Should not project, but ſoften, mix, unite:
In glaring light not ſtrongly be diſplay'd,
But ſweetly loſt and melted into ſhade.
LAURINDA.
O that important time cou'd back return,
LAURINDA then ſhou'd have no cauſe to mourn!
Accept, juſt Heav'n, my penitence ſincere,
My heart-felt anguiſh, and my fervent pray'r!
URANIA.
FLORELLA ſhines with more than human grace,
Her heart all goodneſs, as all charms her face.
[Page 29] Reaſon in her to pure religion tends,
Subſervient only to the nobleſt ends.
True piety's the magnet of the ſoul
Which upwards points, immortal bliſs the pole.
Above the wretched, and below the great,
Kind Heav'n has plac'd her in a midd'ling ſtate:
From rich and poor, at equal diſtance thrown,
The ſmile invidious, and th' inſulting frown.
The Demon, faſhion, never warp'd her ſoul,
Her paſſions move at reaſon's wiſe controul:
Her eyes the movements of her heart declare,
For what ſhe dares to be ſhe dares appear.
Unlectur'd in diſſimulation's ſchool,
To ſmile by precept and to bluſh by rule.
No pain ſhe knows, for guilt ſhe never knew,
To friendſhip faithful, and to honor true.
She ſmooths the path of my declining years,
And looks, with me, beyond this vale of tears.
Her thoughts are rational, her virtue pure;
—A virtuous mind is Happineſs ſecure!
No accident can ever make it leſs,
Nor any outward circumſtance increaſe.
CONTENT alone in VIRTUE we can find,
And HAPPINESS exiſts but in the MIND.
[Page 30] FLORISSA.
Let's join to bleſs that pow'r who brought us here,
Adore His goodneſs, and His will revere!
Aſſur'd that health, content, and peace of mind
Are all the bleſſings man on earth can find.
FLORELLA, and a Chorus of Nymphs ſing this SONG.
WHILST beauty and pleaſure are now in their prime,
And folly and faſhion expect our whole time:
Ah! let not theſe phantoms our wiſhes engage,
Let us live ſo in youth, that we bluſh not in age.
Let us try to get charms which will never decay,
Nor liſten to all that deceivers can ſay,
How the tints of the roſe and the jeſs'mine's perſume,
The eglantine's fragrance, the lilac's gay bloom:
Tho' fair and tho' fragrant, unheeded may lie,
For that neither is ſweet when FLORELLA is by.
I ſigh not for beauty, nor lauguiſh for wealth,
But grant me, kind Providence, virtue and health:
Then, richer than Kings, yes, and proud too as they,
My days ſhall paſs ſweetly and ſwiftly away;
For when time ſhall admoniſh, that youth is no more,
And age, wrinkled age, threatens loud at my door:
What charm then in beauty, or wealth ſhou'd I find?
My treaſure, my wealth is a ſweet peace of mind.
[Page 31] Reflexion's a Heav'n which on earth we enjoy,
To look forward is tranſport and backward is joy!
Thus virtue and wiſdom ſhall warm the cold ſcene,
And ſixty ſhall flouriſh as gay as ſixteen.
And when long I the burthen of life ſhall have borne,
And death with his ſickle ſhall cut the ripe corn,
Reſign'd to my fate without murmur or ſigh,
I'll bleſs the kind ſummons, and lie down, and die.
URANIA.
Now ſtrike with ſprightly airs, the violin:
And, Virgins, now the feſtive dance begin.
(Muſic and a rural Dance.)
THE END.

PROLOGUE to HAMLET, Spoken by the late Mr. POWELL on his Benefit-Night, at the Theatre at Jacob's-Well, in 1765.

[Page]
WHEN genius flouriſh'd, and when SHAKESPEARE wrote,
When Plays nor wanted wit, nor Prologues thought:
Phoebus, to crown a merit ſo confeſs'd,
Decreed this boon to make his darling bleſs'd;
Two beauteous daughters of immortal JOVE,
(Enchanting virgins, form'd alone for love,)
He brought, and both beſide the Poet plac'd,
Who, each admir'd, and each by turns embrac'd;
He knew not which to leave, nor which to chuſe,
This was the Comic, that the Tragic Muſe;
Now, Comedy, blithe, buxom, debonair,
Seem'd all his wiſh, ambition, pride and care;
Then, ſweet MELPOMENE his ſoul poſſeſs'd,
She was the gentleſt, ſofteſt, lovelieſt, beſt;
To ſtrains harmonious each attunes her lyre,
With ſolemn ſweetneſs, or with living fire.
Perplex'd—the charm'd, divided Poet ſtood,
Tranſported, loſt—alternately ſubdued.
[Page 33] Phoebus the wav'ring of his ſoul deſcried,
And paſs'd his leave to make each fair his bride:
The God—ſtrange ſentence! 'tho' 'twas giv'n on high,
For this one time allow'd Polygamy.
Th' enraptur'd bard unites each jarring wife,
And, wondrous tale! adores them both for life.
To-night, for your applauſe, my deareſt fame,
I bring an offspring of the Tragic Dame;
No thundering hero angry JOVE defies,
Nor impious lover ſtorms againſt the ſkies;
To draw the gen'rous, ſympathetic tear,
The filial virtues ſhall to-night appear;
A flame ſo holy, and ſo chaſte a zeal,
As Heav'n might look on, or as Saints might feel:
Beauties on beauties ſtrike the dazzled eyes,
New beauties ſtill on former beauties riſe:
Oh nature! whence this pow'rful, magic ſway,
That from our boſoms ſteals our ſouls away?
If, to draw characters moſt juſtly bright,
To contraſt light with ſhade and ſhade with light:
To trace up paſſions to their inmoſt ſource,
And greatly paint them with uncommon force:
If theſe, obedient ſtill to nature's laws,
Excite our wonder and exact applauſe,
Be theſe, immortal SHAKESPEARE! ever thine,
To feel, to praiſe, and to adore them, mine:
[Page 34] Engrave thy genuine feelings on this breaſt,
Be all my boſom with thy ſtamp impreſs'd!
Pardon this tribute *—nature will have way,
To SHAKESPEARE nature muſt her tribute pay.
Nor think preſumption claims too large a part,
If I aſpire to boaſt a grateful heart.
Oh gratitude! thou deity confeſs'd,
Thou angel paſſion in a human breaſt,
Forgive, if dearer to my ſoul than fame
I ſteal one ray of thy celeſtial flame:
With honeſt tranſport bring the ſpark divine,
And offer it, as incenſe, at this ſhrine.

A PROLOGUE, Spoken at the Theatre in King-ſtreet, Briſtol, by the late Mr. POWELL, to the Tragedy of KING LEAR, to introduce Mrs. POWELL, who appeared in the Part of CORDELIA.

[Page]
WITH grateful joy, with honeſt pride elate,
See, a Triumvir * of our little ſtate.
In ancient Rome, by cuſtom 'twas decreed,
That civic crowns ſhou'd be the victor's meed;
Let victor's wear the gift of public laws,
My nobleſt civic crown is your applauſe!
Thou, at whoſe ſhrine we nightly ſacrifice,
Thou God of pathos, ſoul of SHAKESPEARE, riſe!
Teach me thy melting, thy perſuaſive art,
To wake the tendereſt feelings of the heart.
Bluſh not, ye good, ye grave, to ſhed a tear,
It falls from virtue if it falls for LEAR;
No wild licentious picture ſhall excite
The kindly dew-drops of your eyes to-night:
By no falſe colouring drawn, no lawleſs plan:
'Tis not the KING demands them,—'tis the MAN.
Let meaner bards, uncertain of ſucceſs,
Cloath their thin thoughts in all the pomp of dreſs:
[Page 36] When mighty Kings appear, let meaner bards
Place royalty in trappings, ſtate and guards;
Our SHAKESPEARE ſcorns ſuch paltry, futile arts,
He, whilſt he charms you, meliorates your hearts:
Rouſes each nobler feeling of the mind,
His volume nature, and his theme mankind;
For this, eternal honors grace his name,
And never-dying laurels crown his ſame!
The hoary monarch of to-night, aſpires
To kindle pity's lamp at nature's fires.
Weakneſs and paſſion, tenderneſs and rage,
The fire of youth, the frowardneſs of age,
With filial cruelty's acuteſt ſting,
Rend the ſad boſom of a wretched King:
Unworthy, 'till by cruſhing woes diſtreſs'd,
Greateſt when fall'n, and nobleſt when oppreſs'd.
Now let me, trembling, lift an anxious eye,
And touch each chord of ſoft humanity;
Let me, in each kind face, read ſweet applauſe,
Whilſt I preſume to plead a woman's cauſe;
To-night—the ſecond aera of my life,
I venture here my pupil, more—my wife!
Imagine all her doubts, and all her fears,
Her ſoft alarms, her apprehenſive tears;
No ſanguine hope her aching boſom fires,
No fancied fame her timid ſoul inſpires;
[Page 37] Indulge her with the ſunſhine of your praiſe,
A frown wou'd kill her, as a ſmile cou'd raiſe:
The fearful bloſſom will, with joy, expand,
If kindly nurtur'd by your foſt'ring hand.
Come then, CORDELIA, come! for ſages tell
'Tis worthy praiſe but to endeavour well;
Thus, hand in hand, to the ſame point we'll tend,
Nature our means, morality our end.
If modeſt hope be crown'd, if ſweet ſucceſs
Her humble wiſh, her riſing efforts bleſs:
She'll think'twas here her trembling ſteps firſt mov'd,
And be more grateful as ſhe's more approv'd;
You ſhe'll eſteem her friends, her fame, her fate,
And from this hour her future fortunes date;
Then ſinile, propitious ſmile, and make for life
One grateful Huſband, and one happy Wife.
Notes
*.
Weeps.
†.
To the Audience.
*.
The Theatre was conducted by three Managers, of which Mr. POWELL was one.