Poems: consisting of odes, sonnets, songs, and occasional verses. By William Hayley, Esq.
- ODE to Mr. Wright of Derby, Page 1
- — the Counteſs de Genlis, 9
- — Richard Vernon Sadleir, Eſq. 19
- Sonnet to the Earl of Hardwicke, 27
- — Edward Gibbon, Eſq. 28
- — the ſame, 29
- — Edmund Antrobus, Eſq. 30
- — Dr. Harrington, 31
- — William Melmoth, Eſq. 32
- — Mrs. Hayley, 33
- — John Sargent, Eſq. 34
- — Mr. William Long, 35
- Epitaph on William Bryant, 36
- Song, "Ye cliffs! I to your airy ſteep," 37
- — "From glaring ſhew, and giddy noiſe," 38
- — "'Tis Memory's aid my vows implore," 39
- — "Stay! O ſtay, thou lovely ſhade!" ibid.
- — "Enjoy, my child, the balmy ſleep," 40
- Card of invitation to Mr. Gibbon, 42
- — to Mr. Maſon, 44
- Impromptu to Mr. Meyer, 45
- A Receipt to make a Tragedy, 47
- Verſes to Miſs Seward, 49
- Content, 53
AWAY! ye ſweet, but trivial Forms,
That from the placid pencil riſe,
When playful art the landſcape warms
With Italy's unclouded ſkies!
Stay, Vanity! nor yet demand
Thy portrait from the painter's hand!
Nor aſk thou, Indolence, to aid thy dream,
The ſoft illuſion of the mimic ſtream,
That twinkles to thy ſight with Cynthia's trembling beam!
Be thine, my friend, a nobler taſk!
Beſide thy vacant eaſel ſee
Gueſts, who, with claims ſuperior, aſk
New miracles of art from thee:
Valour, who mocks unequal ſtrife,
And Clemency, whoſe ſmile is life!
"WRIGHT! let thy ſkill (this radiant pair exclaim)
"Give to our view our favorite ſcene of Fame,
"Where Britain's Genius blaz'd in Glory's brighteſt flame."
Celeſtial miniſters! ye ſpeak
To no dull agent ſloth-oppreſt,
Who coldly hears, in ſpirit weak,
Heroic Virtue's high beheſt:
Behold! tho' Envy ſtrives to foil
The Artiſt bent on public toil,
Behold! his flames terrific luſtre ſhed;
His naval blaze mounts from its billowy bed;
And Calpe proudly rears her war-illumin'd head.
In gorgeous pomp for ever ſhine,
Bright monument of Britain's force!
Tho' doom'd to feel her fame decline
In ill-ſtarr'd war's o'erwhelming courſe,
Tho' Europe's envious realms unite
To cruſh her, in unequal fight,
On this exulting rock, array'd in flame,
Equals her ancient feats, and vindicates her name.
How fiercely Britiſh valour pours
The deluge of deſtroying fire,
Which o'er that watery Babel roars,
Bidding the baffled hoſt retire,
And leave their fall'n, to yield their breath
In different pangs of double death!
Ye ſhall not periſh: no! ye hapleſs brave,
Reckleſs of peril, thro' the fiery wave
See! Britiſh mercy ſteers, each proſtrate foe to ſave.
Ye gallant Chiefs, whoſe deeds proclaim
The genuine hero's feeling ſoul,
Elliot, and Curtis, with whoſe name
Honor enrich'd his radiant roll,
Bleſt is your fate; nor bleſt alone,
That reſcued foes your virtues own,
That Britain triumphs in your filial worth:
Bleſt in the period of your glory's birth,
When art can bid it live to decorate the earth!
Alas! what deeds, where virtue reign'd,
Have in oblivious darkneſs died,
No life-ſecuring tints ſupplied!—
Of all thy powers, enchanting art!
Thou deemeſt this the deareſt part,
To guard the rights of valour, and afford
Surviving luſtre to the hero's ſword:
For this, heroic Greece thy martial charms ador'd.
Rival of Greece, in arms, in arts,
Tho' deem'd in her declining days,
Britain yet boaſts unnumber'd hearts,
Who keenly pant for public praiſe:
Her battles yet are firmly fought
By Chiefs with Spartan courage fraught:
Her Painters with Athenian zeal unite
To trace the glories of the proſp'rous fight,
And gild th' embattled ſcene with art's immortal light.
Tho' many a hand may well portray
The ruſhing war's infuriate ſhock,
Proud Calpe bids thee, WRIGHT! diſplay
The terrors of her blazing rock:
The burning hulks of baffled Spain,
From thee ſhe claims, nor claims in vain,
Thou mighty maſter of the mimic flame,
Whoſe matchleſs pencil, with peculiar aim,
Has form'd of laſting fire the baſis of thy fame.
Juſt in thy praiſe, thy country's voice
Loudly aſſerts thy ſignal power.
In this reward may'ſt thou rejoice,
In modeſt labour's ſilent hour,
Far from thoſe ſeats, where envious leagues
And dark cabals, and baſe intrigues
Exclude meek Merit from his proper home;
Where Art, whom Royalty forbade to roam,
Againſt thy talents clos'd her ſelf-diſhonor'd dome.
When partial pride, and mean neglect,
The nerves of injur'd Genius gall,
What kindly ſpells of keen effect
His energy of heart recall?
Perchance there is no ſpell ſo ſtrong
As Friendſhip's ſympathetic ſong:
By fancy link'd in a fraternal band,
Artiſt and Bard in ſweet alliance ſtand;
They ſuffer equal wounds, and mutual aid demand.
Go, then, to ſlighted worth devote
Thy willing verſe, my fearleſs Muſe!
Haply thy free and friendly note
Some joyous ardor may infuſe
In fibres, that ſeverely ſmart
From potent Envy's poiſon'd dart:
Guard him from meek Depreſſion's chill controul,
And rouſe him to exert each ſinew of his ſoul!
NO more let Engliſh pride arraign
The Gallic Muſe, as light and vain,
Whoſe trifling fingers can but weave
The flimſy novel, to deceive
Inaction's languid hour;
Where ſentiment, from nothing ſpun,
Shines like a garden-cobweb in the ſun,
Thrown in autumnal nights o'er many a wither'd flower.
[Page 12] II.
Too often, in the giddy fit
Of wanton or ſatiric wit,
The raſh and frolic ſons of France
Have ſketch'd the frivolous romance;
While Reaſon ſtood aloof:
While Modeſty the work diſclaim'd;
And griev'd Religion, with diſdain inflam'd,
On the licentious page pronounc'd her juſt reproof.
The Genius of the generous land
Survey'd the vain fantaſtic band,
And kindling with indignant pride,
Athirſt for genuine glory, cried:
"Too long have ye diſgrac'd
"The Gallic name!—ye ſophiſts, hence!
"A female hand ſhall expiate your offence,
"The wrongs that you have done to Virtue,
Truth, and Taſte.
"Riſe, my GENLIS! thoſe ills corrcct,
"That ſpring from this pernicious ſect:
"To infancy's important years,
"That ſeaſon of parental fears,
"Mould and defend the youthful heart
"Againſt the ſubtle, ſoul-debaſing art
"Of the ſarcaſtic wit, and ſelf-intitled ſage!"
Illumin'd with angelic zeal,
And wiſing Nature's general weal,
The lovely moraliſt aroſe:
The flame that from Religion flows
Play'd round her penſive head:
The tender Virtues ſmiling ſtrove
T' enrich the variegated web ſhe wove,
Where Wiſdom's temperate hand the flowers of Fancy ſpread.
The ſiſters of theatric power,
Whoſe intermingled ſun and ſhower
Give to the ſtage, in friendly ſtrife,
Each touching charm of chequer'd life,
Inſpir'd the friend of youth:
Arts yet unknown to her they taught,
To fix and charm quick childhood's rambling thought
With unexampled ſcenes of tenderneſs and truth.
[Page 14] VII.
Her pathos is not proudly built
On ſplendid or impaſſion'd guilt;
The little incidents, that riſe
As ſportive youth's light ſeaſon flies,
Her ſimple drama fill;
Yet he, the ſweet Socratic ſage*,
Who ſteep'd in tears the wide Athenian ſtage,
Fram'd not his moral ſcene with more pathetic ſkill.
In the rich novel's ampler field
Her genius rears a radiant ſhield,
With Fancy's blazonry impreſt;
Potent to ſave the youthful breaſt
From Paſſion's poiſon'd dart:
Like that which Homer's gods produce,
Its high-wrought beauties ſhine with double uſe,
To charm the curious mind, and guard th' unwary heart.
Ye Fairies! 'twas your boaſt to bind
In ſweet amaze the infant mind:
But ſcorning Fiction's faded flower,
Behold GENLIS in magic power
She, firſt of childhood's pleaſing friends!
Arm'd with the force that liberal ſcience lends,
From art and nature frames her more attractive ſpells*.
Lovely magician! in return
For the ſweet tears of fond concern,
With moral pleaſure's tender thrill
Awak'd by thy enchanting ſkill,
Accept this votive rhyme!
Spurn not a wreath of foreign hue,
Tho' rudely twin'd of humble flowers, that grew
In a ſequeſter'd vale of Albion's wayward clime!
Think, if from Britain's churliſh ſky
This verſe to foreign genius fly,
Think not our letter'd females raiſe
No titles to melodious praiſe:—
Keen Science cannot find
One clime within the earth's wide zone,
Whoſe daughters, Britain! have ſurpaſs'd thy own
In the career of art, the triumphs of the mind.
[Page 16] XII.
This honeſt boaſt of Engliſh pride,
Which meaner merit might deride,
Will ne'er the juſt GENLIS beguile
Of one diſdainful, envious ſmile;
For Envy ne'er conceal'd
From her clear ſight a rival's claim;
Her voice has ſwell'd my fair compatriots fame,
Pleas'd with their glorious march o'er Learning's varied field!
Doubly, GENLIS! may'ſt thou rejoice,
Whene'er impartial Glory's voice
Ranks with the happieſt toils of men
The graceful works of woman's pen,
Tho' not of Gallic frame:
For O! beneath whatever ſkies
Records of female Genius may ariſe,
Thoſe records muſt enfold thy fair and fav'rite name.
In every clime where Arts have ſmil'd,
Where'er the mother loves her child,
And pants, with anxious zeal poſſeſt,
To fortify the tender breaſt,
From thy chaſte page ſhe'll learn the art,
Fondly to play the ſage preceptor's part,
And draw her deareſt joys from that important charge.
Wherever youth, with curious view,
Inſtructive pleaſure ſhall purſue,
Thy little lively ſtudent there,
With rapt Attention's keeneſt air,
Shall o'er thy volumes bend:
And while his tears their charm confeſs,
His grateful voice ſhall in their author bleſs
The ſpirit-kindling guide, the heart-enchanting friend.
BUSINESS, be gone! Thou vulture, Care,
No more the quivering ſinews tear
Of Sadleir's mortal frame!
Full well his firm and active mind,
Has paid the duties that mankind
From ſenſe and virtue claim.
Alas! too well—for mental toil
Our fine machinery will ſpoil,
She form'd the powers that raiſe the ſoul
Like wheels, that kindle as they roll,
And periſh by their ſpeed.
Let health and vigour on the ſtage
Support the ſcene, while milder age
Reſigns the buſtling part:
If flowers the buſy path adorn,
Ingratitude there plants her thorn,
Which pierces to the heart.
Oft haſt thou ſeen her poiſon'd ſhoot,
Where Hope expected faireſt fruit;
Yet ſtill thy bounty flows
Like conſtant dew that falls on earth,
Although it wakens into birth
The nightſhade with the roſe.
Thy warmth of heart O ſtill retain!
Nor of Ingratitude complain,
Howe'er her wounds may burn!
Bliſs from benevolence muſt flow;
Angels are bleſt while they beſtow,
Unconſcious of return.
[Page 23] VI.
And happineſs we only find
In thoſe exertions of the mind
That form the ardent friend:
In theſe it dwells, with theſe it flies,
As all the comet's ſplendor dies
Whene'er its motions end.
O let the luſtre of thy ſoul
No more eccentrically roll
Thro' Labour's long career!
O haſte, its dangerous courſe confine,
And let it permanently ſhine
In Pleaſure's milder ſphere!
In Friendſhip's name thy voice invites
Our willing hearts to ſocial rites,
Where Laughter is thy gueſt:
But, O! theſe eyes with anguiſh burn,
And fear their weaken'd orbs to turn
From Nature's verdant veſt.
Thy invitation then forbear,
Tho' at thy board, in union rare,
Thy roof is joyous, but I doubt
That we ſhould find the brilliant rout
For burning eyes unfit.
Thy noiſy town and duſty ſtreet
Do thou exchange for this retreat,
Whoſe charms thy ſongs commend:
On Learning's page forbid to look,
We yet can read that dearer book—
The viſage of a friend.
4.3. SONNET TO THE SAME.
4.17. TO MR. MASON,
4.18. IMPROMPTU TO MR. MEYER,
HARDWICKE! whoſe bright applauſe a poet crown'd
Unknown to thee and to the Muſe's quire,
Permit his hand with joyous pride to ſound
A note of gratitude on Freedom's lyre;
And fear not Flattery's ſong from one plac'd higher
Than ſhe has power to raiſe her menial crew;
From one who, proud of independent fire,
Scorns the baſe Noble, but reveres the true.
The liberal ſpirit feels thy generous praiſe
Fall from pure Honour's ſphere, like genial dew;
Bleſt if its vital influence ſhall raiſe
A future flower more worthy of thy view!
Bleſt if in theſe re-poliſh'd lays thou find
Some light reflected from thy letter'd mind!
WITH proud delight th' imperial Founder gaz'd
On the new beauty of his ſecond Rome,
When on his eager eye rich temples blaz'd,
And his fair city roſe in youthful bloom:
A pride more noble may thy heart aſſume,
O GIBBON! gazing on thy growing work;
In which, conſtructed for a happier doom,
No haſty marks of vain ambition lurk:
Thou may'ſt deride both Time's deſtructive ſway,
And baſer Envy's beauty-mangling dirk;
Thy gorgeous fabrick, plann'd with wiſe delay,
Shall baffle foes more ſavage than the Turk:
As ages multiply its fame ſhall riſe,
And earth muſt periſh ere its ſplendor dies.
4.3. SONNET TO THE SAME.
Written in MADAME DE LAMBERT'S Eſſays on Friendſhip and Old Age; in the Name of the Lady who tranſlated them.
HOW may I, GIBBON, to thy taſte confide
This artleſs copy of a Gallic gem?
Wilt thou not caſt th' unpoliſh'd work aſide,
And with juſt ſcorn my failing line condemn?
No! thou wilt never, with pedantic phlegm,
Spurn the firſt produce of a female mind;
Young flowers! that, trembling on a tender ſtem,
Court thy protection from each ruder wind.
Tho' I may injure, by a coarſer ſtyle,
The work that Lambert's graceful hand deſign'd,
I ſtill, if favour'd by thy partial ſmile,
Shall boaſt like her of friendſhip's joys refin'd.
Nor fear from age her lift of female woes,
If, as my years increaſe, thy friendſhip grows.
KIND Hoſt! who bordering on the vale of years,
Keep'ſt in thy generous heart a youthful glow,
Whoſe liberal elegance of ſoul endears
The joy thy bounty glories to beſtow;
Accept a volume, in whoſe pages flow
The mild effuſions of a female mind!
Firſt of the letter'd fair that France can ſhew,
Of ſprightly wit with moral truth combin'd!
In the faint copy may thy candour ſee
Some ſlight reſemblance of her ſtyle refin'd:
Whate'er the merits of the book, in thee
May all the bleſſings of its theme be join'd!
Thine be that joy which Friendſhip's boſom fills;
And thine the peace of age, without its ills!
HARMONIOUS Friend! to whom my honour'd Muſe
Is eager to declare how much ſhe owes,
Accept, and with indulgent eye peruſe
Her haſty verſe, impatient to diſcloſe
How from your aid her new attraction flows.
Cold as the figure of unfiniſh'd clay,
Which by Prometheus' plaſtic hand aroſe,
My lifeleſs ſong in half exiſtence lay:
I could not add the ſpark of heav'nly flame:
To Harmony's high ſphere I dar'd not ſtray
To ſteal from thence—but in this languid frame
You pour, without a theft, the vital ray:
Your generous art the quick'ning ſpirit gives,
And by your tuneful fire the Ballad lives.
MELMOTH! in talents and in virtues bleſt!
Pleas'd I contemplate thy attractive page,
Where thy mild Pliny, and Rome's guardian Sage,
Of purer eloquence, thy powers atteſt,
And rare felicity:—near half an age
Our poliſh'd tongue has rank'd thee with the beſt
Of England's claſſics; yet Detraction's rage
Has fail'd to point her arrows at thy breaſt:
Rich in thoſe palms that Taſte and Truth beſtow,
Who praiſe in Learning's field thy long career,
By what nice ſkill, that worth can ſeldom ſhew,
Haſt thou eluded Slander's envious ſneer?
Bleſt who excel! but tenfold bliſs they know,
Who in excelling live without a foe.
THOU vext Atlantic, who haſt lately ſeen
Britain's vain thunder on her offspring hurl'd,
And the blind parent, in her frantic ſpleen,
Pouring weak vengeance on a filial world!
Thou, whoſe rough billows in loud fury curl'd,
Have roar'd indignant under many a keel;
And while Contention all her ſails unfurl'd,
Have groan'd the weight of ill-ſtarr'd war to feel;
Now let thy placid waters gaily bear
A freight far differing from blood-thirſty ſteel;
See HAYLEY now to croſs thy flood prepare,
A female merchant, fraught with friendly zeal!
Give her kind gales, ye ſpirits of the air,
Kind as her heart, and as her purpoſe fair!
AWAY with diffidence and modeſt fear,
Thou happy ſav'rite of Caſtalia's quire!
Withhold no longer from the public ear
The rich delight thy varied lays inſpire!
Nor from the preſs with trembling awe retire!
That dread eſſay is dangerous alone,
When mimic droſs adulterates the lyre:
Thine is of pureſt gold—its perfect tone
The fancy and the heart alike obey:
Invention's ſelf has made her MINE thy own;
Give its new gems to blaze in open day,
And ſeat that bounteous queen on Glory's throne.
A brother bard, if he may boaſt the name,
Sounds with proud joy this prelude to thy fame.
BLEST be the day which bids my grief ſubſide,
Rais'd by the ſickneſs of my diſtant friend!
Bleſt the dear lines, ſo long to Hope deny'd,
By Languor's aching fingers kindly penn'd!
How keen the fear to feel his letters end,
Whoſe wit was my delight, whoſe truth my guide!
But how did joy that painful fear tranſcend,
When I again his well-known hand deſcried!
Such was the dread of new-created man,
When firſt he miſs'd the ſetting orb of day;
Such the delight that thro' his boſom ran,
When he perceiv'd the reaſcending ray.
Ah no! his thoughts endur'd leſs anxious ſtrife;
Thou, Friendſhip! art the ſun of mental life.
BY ſportive youth and buſy manhood bleſt,
Here, thou meek father of our village, reſt!
If length of days, in toilſome duties ſpent,
With chearful Honeſty and mild Content;
If age, endur'd with firm and patient mind;
If life with willing piety reſign'd;
If theſe are certain proofs of human worth,
Which, dear to Heaven, demand the praiſe of earth;
E'en Pride ſhall venerate this humble ſod,
That holds a Chriſtian worthy of his GOD.
YE cliffs! I to your airy ſteep
Aſcend with trembling hope and and fear,
To gaze on this extenſive deep,
And watch if WILLIAM'S ſails appear.
Long months elapſe, while here I breathe
Vain Expectation's frequent prayer;
Till bending o'er the waves beneath,
I drop the tear of dumb deſpair.
But ſee a gliſtening ſail in view!
Tumultuous hopes ariſe:
'Tis he!—I feel the viſion true,
I truſt my conſcious eyes.
His promis'd ſignals from the maſt
My timid doubts deſtroy:
What was your pain, ye terrors paſt,
To this ecſtatic joy!
FROM glaring ſhew, and giddy noiſe,
The pleaſures of the vain,
Take me, ye ſoft, ye ſilent joys,
To your retreats again.
Be mine, ye cool, ye peaceful groves,
Whoſe ſhades to love belong;
Where Echo, as ſhe fondly roves,
Repeats my STELLA'S ſong.
Ah, STELLA! why ſhould I depart
From ſolitude and thee,
When in that ſolitude thou art
A perfect world to me!
'TIS Memory's aid my vows implore,
For ſhe will ſmile when Fortune's coy;
And to the eye of love reſtore
The ſpirit of departed joy.
O plunge me ſtill, with magic art,
In ſoothing Fancy's ſoft abyſs;
And ſill my fond, my faithful heart
With viſions of thy purer bliſs!
STAY! O ſtay, thou lovely ſhade,
Brought by Sleep to Sorrow's aid:
Ah! the ſweet illuſion ends!
Light and Reaſon, cruel friends!
Bid me not, with frantic care,
Vainly worſhip fleeting air!
ENJOY, my child, the balmy ſleep,
Which o'er thy form new beauties throws;
And long thy tranquil ſpirit keep
A ſtranger to thy mother's woes!
Tho' in diſtreſs,
I feel it leſs,
While gazing on thy ſweet repoſe.
[Page 41] II.
Condemn'd to pangs like inward fire,
That thro' my injur'd boſom roll,
How would my heart in death deſire
Relief from Fortune's hard controul,
Did not thy arms
And infant charms
To earth enchain my anxious ſoul!
Flow faſt, my tears!—by you reliev'd,
I vent my anguiſh thus unknown;
But ceaſe, ere ye can be perceiv'd
By this dear child, to pity prone,
Whoſe tender heart
Would ſeize a part
In grief, that ſhould be all my own.
Our cup of woe, which angels fill,
Perchance it is my lot to drain;
While that of joy, unmix'd with ill,
May thus, my child, for thee remain;
If thou art free,
(So Heaven decree!)
I bleſs my doom of double pain.
AN Engliſh Sparrow, pert and free,
Who chirps beneath his native tree,
Hearing the Roman Eagle's near,
And feeling more reſpect than fear,
Thus, with united love and awe,
Invites him to his ſhed of ſtraw.
Tho' he is but a twittering Sparrow,
The fields he hops in rather narrow,
When nobler plumes attract his view
He ever pays them homage due,
And looks with reverential wonder
On him whoſe talons bear the thunder;
Nor could the Jack-daws e'er inveigle
His voice to vilify the Eagle,
Tho', iſſuing from thoſe holy tow'rs
In which they build their warmeſt bow'rs,
In hopes to find him on his perch
(For PINDAR ſays, beſide his God
The thunder-bearing Bird will nod)
Then, peeping round his ſtill retreat,
They pick from underneath his feet
Some molted feather he lets fall,
And ſwear he cannot fly at all.—
Lord of the Sky! whoſe pounce can tear
Theſe croakers, that infeſt the air,
Truſt him, the Sparrow loves to ſing
The praiſe of thy imperial wing!
He thinks thou'lt deem him, on his word,
An honeſt, tho' familiar Bird;
And hopes thou ſoon wilt condeſcend
To look upon thy little friend;
That he may boaſt around his grove
A viſit from the BIRD OF JOVE
4.17. TO MR. MASON,
On his ſending the Author his Tranſlation of DU-FRESNOY, with Notes by Sir JOSHUA REYNOLDS. 1783.
DEAR Brother of the tuneful art,
To whom I juſtly bend,
I prize, with a fraternal heart,
The pleaſing gift you ſend.
With pride, by envy undebas'd,
My Engliſh ſpirit views
How far your elegance of taſte
Improves a Gallie Muſe.
I thought that Muſe but meanly dreſt
When her ſtiff gown was Latin;
But you have turn'd her grogram veſt
Into fine folds of ſattin.
Mild REYNOLDS looks with liberal favor
On your adopted girl;
And to the graceful robe you gave her,
Adds rich feſtoons of pearl.
4.18. IMPROMPTU TO MR. MEYER,
On his ſending the Author, from the Continent, two Prints, repreſenting The Coronation of VOLTAIRE, and ROUSSEAU'S Arrival in Elyſium. 1784.
THE Song that ſhakes the feſtive roof,
When mirth and muſic's livelieſt notes aſcend,
Is not more pleaſing than the proof
Of kind remembrance from an abſent friend.
Then gueſs the pleaſure that we ſhare,
And thus, dear MEYER, accept the thanks we owe;
While we behold the crown'd VOLTAIRE,
And ſee Elyſium hail our lov'd ROUSSEAU!
[Page 46] III.
May all the honour, all the joy,
Known by each genius in thy gift portray'd,
Be thine, without the dull alloy
That ting'd their golden days with duſky ſhade!
As lively as the gay VOLTAIRE,
With his keen pen may thy fine pencil ſtrive!
May'ſt thou as long delight the fair,
And triumph like the Bard, at EIGHTY-FIVE.
As tender as the warm ROUSSEAU,
Like him thy happier thought on nature fix!
But 'midſt thy proſpering children know
A true Elyſium—on this ſide the Styx!
TAKE a virgin from Aſia, from Afric, or Greece,
At leaſt a king's daughter, or emperor's niece:
Take an elderly miſs for her kind confidante,
Still ready with pity or terror to pant,
While ſhe faints and revives like the ſenſitive plant:
Take a hero thought buried ſome ten years or more,
But with life enough left him to rattle and roar;
Take a horrid old brute who deſerves to be rack'd,
And call him a tyrant ten times in each act:
Take a prieſt of cold blood, and a warrior of hot,
And let them alternately bluſter and plot:
Then throw in of ſoldiers and ſlaves quantum ſuff.
Let them march, and ſtand ſtill, fight, and halloo enough.
And ſeaſon them well with Ohs! faintings, and ſtarts:
Squeeze in, while they're ſtirring, a potent infuſion
Of rage, and of horror, of love and illuſion;
With madneſs and murder complete the concluſion.
Let your princeſs, tho' dead by the murderous dagger,
In a wanton bold epilogue ogle and ſwagger:
Prove her paſt ſcenes of virtue are vapour and ſmoke,
And the ſtage's morality merely a joke;
Let her tell with what follies our country is curſt,
And wiſely conclude that play-writing's the worſt.
Now ſerve to the public this olio complete,
And puff in the papers your delicate treat.
"WHENCE are theſe ſtorms?"—an angry Poet cry'd,
Who ſaw his ſhady ſummer haunts defac'd;
Saw o'er his ſhatter'd grove black whirwinds ride,
And loud lamented this untimely waſte.
He ſpoke, and Aeolus uprear'd his head:
Half his huge form, round which dark clouds were driv'n,
Riſing from Ocean's broad and billowy bed,
Fill'd up the vaſt expanſe from earth to heav'n.
As his fierce eye ſurvey'd the rough profound,
From the ſtern god the voice of anger broke;
Air, earth, and ſea, reverberate the ſound,
And ſhrinking Nature ſhudder'd as he ſpoke:
[Page 50] IV.
"Know, thou vain Bard, within thy manſion dwells
"The wond'rous ſource of all this wild uproar;
"Thence round my cave the din of diſcord ſwells,
"And I my rebel offspring rule no more.
"To own my laws my mad'ning ſons refuſe,
"All, all are deaf to my paternal pow'r;
"Struggling alike to kiſs that vagrant Muſe,
"Who deigns to viſit thy ſequeſter'd bow'r.
"Rough Boreas, us'd in theſe ſtill months to ſleep,
"Starts from his cell, in paſſion's wild alarms;
"While dripping Auſter ruſhes from the deep,
"To ſnatch the Fair-one from his brother's arms.
"Each other's fond ambition to deſtroy,
"Alike they ſtruggle, mercileſs as death;
"See my young Zephyr, Nature's tender joy,
"Encounters Eurus with contentious breath.
[Page 51] VIII.
"Ceaſe, my raſh ſons, this cruel war to wage,
"Tho' tempting beauty gave your conflict birth,
"Leſt Famine, waken'd by your frantic rage,
"Stalk in fell triumph o'er the blaſted earth.
"See ſhiv'ring mortals mourn th' inverted year,
"While Ceres weeps her golden pride depreſt:
"If ye no longer Nature's law revere,
"Yet mildly liſten to your ſire's requeſt:—
"Let each in order taſte the tempting bliſs,
"For which theſe mutual wounds ye vainly bear;
"Each unmoleſted take one precious kiſs,
"And freely claſp this phrenzy-kindling Fair."
He paus'd;—black Boreas, eldeſt of his race,
Whoſe ſtormy paſſion the chill Maiden ſhocks,
Binds her reluctant in his ſtrong embrace,
And ſports licentious in her auburn locks.
Eurus ſucceeds, of leſs diſguſting mien,
Yet mad the trembling Fair-one to aſſail;
Beneath his preſſure, more intenſely keen,
The wounded ruby of her lip grows pale.
[Page 52] XIII.
Next, with mild charms, and leſs tumultuous love,
By melting Auſter ſee the Nymph careſt;
He, with the ſoftneſs of the murm'ring dove,
Waves his moiſt pinions o'er her ſofter breaſt.
Now, lively Zephyr, the ſweet Muſe is thine,
O long embrace her in our laughing ſkies!
And round her bid this joyous landſcape ſhine,
Rich as her verſe, and radiant as her eyes!
"HOW idle are mortals!" (ſaid Wiſdom to Youth)
"They ſlight the clear dictates of Reaſon and Truth;
"They worſhip Ambition, to Pleaſure they bend,
"Yet blindly o'erlook a more excellent friend:
"And hence their vain hopes are eternally croſt,
"Their life in a tempeſt of wiſhes is loſt;
"Still deſtin'd to toil, and of toil to repent,
"For neglect of juſt vows to the Goddeſs Content;
"That Goddeſs from whom all felicity flows,
"Who unites every good in the gift ſhe beſtows;
"So free of her bounty to all who confeſs it,
"To ſolicit her ſmile is almoſt to poſſeſs it."
When I heard this fine ſpeech, my fond paſſion was rais'd,
And I ſet forth in queſt of the Being ſo prais'd;
At the manſion of Grandeur my ſearch I begin,
And aſk if the Goddeſs Content is within:
But Pride, who as centinel guarded the door,
Said bluntly he ne'er heard her title before;
And bade me go look in ſome little thatch'd hut.
I march'd to the Villager's lowly abode,
'Twas a ſnug pretty cottage, and ſtood near the road:
And here a good woman, poſſeſſing, tho' humble,
A face that could frown, and a tongue that would grumble,
Said—the perſon I aſk'd for had lodg'd in her cot,
But, alas! ſuch good luck was no longer her lot;
For ſhe quitted her roof, where ſhe oft had repos'd,
When you great houſe was built, and the common inclos'd.
I conceiv'd, as I now bade the village farewell,
With the mild ſons of Science this Goddeſs muſt dwell;
But thoſe, where I ſought ſome obliging inſtructor,
Were ſquabbling about an electric conductor.
Some cry'd up the point; ſome commended the ball;
The ſoft breath of Science was turn'd to a ſquall:
The Sages no mental conductor could find
To draw off the flame that now flaſh'd on their mind.
In haſte I exclaim'd, to the Learned adieu!
For even Science offends, when ſhe talks like a ſhrew.
Having wander'd ſo wide of the object I ſought,
I was now led to think, and rejoic'd at the thought,
This Goddeſs (herſelf for her charms ſo renown'd)
With the daughters of Beauty muſt ſurely be found
With this hope I approach'd (unperceiv'd by them all)
Three lovely young girls juſt array'd for the ball;
In each, whoſe bright eyes on a mirror were bent,
I thought I diſcover'd a ſpark of Content;
But watching them more, in their beautiful faces,
Of the goddeſs I ſought I no more ſaw the traces;
For as they ſurvey'd, with a critical glance,
The elegant MONTAGU move in the dance,
In her exquiſite figure ſuch graces were ſhewn,
That viewing her charms they diſtruſted their own.
Thou gentleſt of nymphs! while thy triumphs increaſe,
Unconſcious of beauty, ſo fatal to peace!
Tho' the ſparks of Content in one ſex thou may'ſt ſmother,
Bright Ecſtaſy's flame thou wilt raiſe in the other.
If in boſom parental Content could reſide,
The heart of thy parent this treaſure muſt hide;
But, alas! 'tis a truth which all parents lament,
Their tender anxiety ſtifles Content.
O tell me, while vainly to find thee I pant,
Dear latent Divinity! where is thy haunt?
"Behold ſhe there weaves the poetical prize."
With thy Myrtle, kind MILLER! O let me be crown'd,
Then my ſearch is repaid, and the Goddeſs is found:
Nay, if to another your wreath you aſſign,
And give it to verſe far ſuperior to mine,
My ſearch's dear object I ſtill muſt attain,
And the proof of this wonder's exceedingly plain,
It reſts on this maxim, by Horace invented,
The Bard who writes worſt is the Bard moſt contented.
My claim to this bleſſing thus made very clear,
If I've nothing to hope, I have nothing to fear;
For MILLER can pleaſe while the mind ſhe amuſes,
Both when ſhe beſtows, and e'en when ſhe refuſes;
In truth I ſuſpect, from her ſingular aim,
The Goddeſs I ſeek is conceal'd by her name;
She herſelf is Content, and her houſe is the fane,
Where Spleen and Ill-nature no favours obtain:
Some mortals in vain for admiſſion muſt pray,
But all who once enter go ſmiling away.