Imágenes de páginas

Alas! from the day that we met,

What hope of an end to my woes? When I cannot endure to forget

The glance that undid my repose. Yet time may diminish the pain:

The flower, and the shrub, and the tree, Which I rear'd for her pleasure in vain, In time may have comfort for me.

The sweets of a dew-sprinkled rose,

The sound of a murmuring stream, The peace which from solitude flows,

Henceforth shall be Corydon's theme. High transports are shown to the sight,

But we 're not to find them our own; Fate never bestow'd such delight,

As I with my Phyllis had known.

O ye woods, spread your branches apace;
To your deepest recesses I fly;

I would hide with the beasts of the chase;
I would vanish from every eye.
Yet my reed shall resound through the grove
With the same sad complaint it begun ;
How she smil'd
Was faithless

- and I could not but love;

and I am undone !


Optima quæque dies miseris mortalibus ævi
Prima fugit.

A TEAR bedews my Delia's eye,

To think yon playful kid must die;

From crystal spring, and flowery mead,
Must, in his prime of life, recede !

Erewhile, in sportive circles round
She saw him wheel, and frisk, and bound;
From rock to rock pursue his way,
And on the fearful margin play.

Pleas'd on his various freaks to dwell,
She saw him climb my rustic cell;
Thence eye my lawns with verdure bright,
And seem all ravish'd at the sight.

She tells with what delight he stood
To trace his features in the flood;
Then skipp'd aloof with quaint amaze,
And then drew near again to gaze.

She tells me how with eager speed
He flew to hear my vocal reed;
And how with critic face profound,
And stedfast ear, devour'd the sound.

His every frolic, light as aïr,
Deserves the gentle Delia's care;
And tears bedew her tender eye,
To think the playful kid must die.


But knows my Delia, timely wise,
How soon this blameless era flies?
While violence and craft succeed;
Unfair design, and ruthless deed!

Soon would the vine his wounds deplore,
And yield her purple gifts no more;
Ah! soon, eras'd from every grove
Were Delia's name, and Strephon's love.

No more those bowers might Strephon see,
Where first he fondly gaz'd on thee;
No more those beds of flowerets find,
Which for thy charming brows he twin'd.

Each wayward passion soon would tear
His bosom, now so void of care;
And, when they left his ebbing vein,
What, but insipid age, remain?

Then mourn not the decrees of Fate,
That gave his life so short a date;
And I will join thy tenderest sighs,
To think that youth so swiftly flies!




THE HE REV. CHARLES CHURCHILL, a poet, once of great repute, was the son of a curate of St. John's Westminster, in which parish he was born in 1731. He received his early education at the celebrated public school in the vicinity, whence he was sent to Oxford; but to this university he was refused admission on account of deficient classical knowledge. Returning to school, he soon closed his further education by an early and imprudent marriage. Receiving holy orders from the indulgence of Dr. Sherlock, he went down to a curacy in Wales, where he attempted to remedy the scantiness of his income, by the sale of cyder; but this expedient only plunged him deeper in debt. Returning to London, he was chosen, on his father's death, to succeed him as curate and lecturer of St. John's. His finances still falling short, he took various methods to improve them; at the same time he displayed an immoderate fondness for theatrical exhibitions. This latter passion caused him to think of exercising those talents which he was conscious of possessing; and in March, 1761, he published, though anonymously, a view of the excellencies and

defects of the actors in both houses, which he entitled "The Rosciad." It was much admired, and a second edition appeared with the author's name. Churchill was now at once raised from obscurity to eminence; and the Rosciad, which we have selected as his best work, is, in fact, the only one of his numerous publications on which he bestowed due labour. The delineations are drawn with equal energy and vivacity; the language and versification, though not without inequalities, are superior to the ordinary strain of current poetry, and many of the observations are stamped with sound judgment and correct taste.

The remainder of his life, though concurring with the period of his principal fame, is little worthy of notice. He became a party writer, joining with Wilkes and other oppositionists, and employed his pen assiduously in their cause. With this was joined a lamentable defect of moral feeling, exhibited by loose and irregular manners. Throwing off his black suit, he decorated his large and cluinsy person with gold lace; and dismissing his wife, he debauched from her parents the daughter of a tradesman in Westminster. His writings at length became mere rhapsodies; and taking a journey to France for the purpose of visiting Mr. Wilkes, then an exile in that country, he was seized with a fever, which put a period to his life on November 4. 1764, at the age of 34.

« AnteriorContinuar »