« AnteriorContinuar »
With helmet-heads and dragon-scales adorned, To limit Thought, by nature prone to stray The mighty myriads, now securely scorned, Wherever freakish Fancy points the way; Would mock the inajesty of man's high birth, To bid the pleadings of Self-love be still, Despise his bulwarks, and unpeople earth. Resign our own and seek our Maker's will; Then with a glance of fancy to survey,
To spread the page of Scripture, and compare Far as the faculty can stretch away,
Our conduct with the laws engraven there; Ten thousand rivers poured at his command To measure all that passes in the breast, From urns, that never fail, through every land; Faithfully, fairly, hy that sacred test; This like a deluge with impetuous force, To dive into the secret deeps within, Those winding modestly a silent course; To spare no passion and no favourite sin, The cloud-surmounting Alps, the fruitful vales; And search the themes, important above all, Seas, on which every nation spreads her sails; Ourselves, and our recovery from our fall. The sun, a world whence other worlds drink light, But leisure, silence, and a mind released The crescent moon, the diadem of night; From anxious thoughts how wealth may be inStars countless, each in his appointed place,
creased, Fast anchored in the deep abyss of space- How to secure, in some propitious hour, At such a sight to catch the poet's flame, The point of interest or the post of power, And with a rapture like his own exclaim, A soul serene, and equally retired These are thy glorious works, thou source of good, From objects too much dreaded or desired, How dimly seen, how faintly understood! Safe from the clamours of perverse dispute, Thine, and upheld by thy paternal care, At least are friendly to the great pursuit. This universal frame, thus wondrous fair; Opening the map of God's extensive plan, Thy power divine, and bounty beyond thought, We find a little isle, this life of man; Adored and praised in all that thou hast wrought. Eternity's unknown expanse appears Absorbed in that immensity I see,
Circling around and limiting his years. I shrink abased, and yet aspire to thee;
The busy race examine and explore Instruct me, guide me to that heavenly day Each creek and cavern of the dangerous shore, Thy words more clearly than thy works display, With care collect what in their eyes excels, That, while thy truths my grosser thoughts refine, Some shining pebbles, and some weeds and shells I may resemble thee, and call thee mine. Thus laden, dream that they are rich and great,
And happiest he that groans beneath his weight. O blest proficiency! surpassing all
The waves o’ertake them in their serious play, That men erroneously their glory call,
And every hour sweeps multitudes away; The recompense that arts or arms can yield,
They shriek and sink, survivors start and weep, The bar, the senate, or the tented field.
Pursue their sport, and follow to the deep. Compared with this sublimest life below,
A few forsake the throng: with lifted eyes Ye kings and rulers, what have courts to show?
Ask wealth of Heaven, and gain a real prize, Thus studied, used and consecrated thus,
Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace like that above, On earth what is, seems formed indeed for us:
Sealed with his signet whom they serve and love; Not as the plaything of a froward child,
Scorned by the rest, with patient hope they wait Fretful unless diverted and beguiled,
A kind release from their imperfect state, Much less to feed and fan the fatal fires
And unregretted are soon snatched away Of pride, ambition, or impure desires,
From scenes of sorrow into glorious day. But as a scale, by which the soul ascends
Now these alone prefer a life recluse, From mighty means to more important ends,
Who seek retirement for its proper use; Securely, though by steps but rarely trou,
The love of change, that lives in every breast, Mounts from inferior beings up to God,
Genius and temper, and desire of rest, And sees, by no fallacious light or dim,
Discordant motives in one centre meet, Earth made for man, and man himself for him.
And each inclines its votary to retreat. Not that I mean t approve, or would enforce, Some minds by nature are averse to noise, A superstitious and monastic course:
And hate the tumult half the world enjoys, Truth is not local, God alike pervades
The lure of avarice, or the pompous prize, And fills the world of traffic and the shades, That courts display before ambitious eyes; And may be feared amidst the busiest scenes, The fruits that hang on pleasure's flowery stem, Or scorned were business never intervenes. Whate'er enchants them, are no snares to them. But 'tis not easy with a mind like ours,
To them the deep recess of dusky groves Conscious of weaknese in its noblest powers, Or forest, where the deer securely roves, And in a world where, other ills apart,
The fall of waters, and the song of birds, The roving eye misleads the careless heart, And hills that echo to the distant herds,
Are luxuries excelling all the glare
Girt with a chain he can not wish to break, The world can boast, and her chief favourites His only bliss is sorrow for her sake; share.
Who will may pant for glory and excel, With eager step, and carelessly arrayed, Her smile his aim, all higher aims farewell! For such a cause the poet seeks the shade, Thyrsis, Alexis, or whatever name From all he sees he catches new delight, May least offend against so pure a flame, Pleased Fancy claps her pinions at the sight, Though sage advice of friends the most sincere The rising or the setting orb of day,
Sounds harshly in so delicate a snare, The clouds that flit, or slowly float raway, And lovers, of all creatures, tame or wild, Nature in all the various shapes she wears, Can least brook management, however mild; Frowning in storms, or breathing gentle airs; Yet let a poet (poetry disarms The snowy robe her wintry state assumes, The fiercest animals with magic charms) Her summer heats, her fruits, and her perfumes: Risk an intrusion on thy pensive mood, All, all alike transport the glowing bard, And woo and win thee to thy proper good. Success in rhyme his glory and reward.
Pastoral images and still retreats, O Nature! whose Elysian scenes disclose Umbrageous walks and solitary seats, His bright perfections, at whose word they rose, Sweet birds in concert with harmonious streams, Next to that power, who formed thee and sustains, Soft airs, nocturnal vigils, and day dreams, Be thou the great inspirer of my strains.
Are all enchantments in a case like thine, Still, as I touch the lyre, do thou expand Conspire against thy peace with one design, Thy genuine charms, and guide an artless hand, Sooth thee to make thee but a surer prey, That I may catch a fire but rarely known, And feed the fire that wastes thy powers away. Give useful light, though I should miss renown, Up God has formed thee with a wiser view, And, poring on thy page, whose every line Not to be led in chains, but to subdue; Bears proof of an intelligence divine,
Calls thee to cope with enemies, and first May feel a heart enriched by what it pays, Points out a conflict with thyself, the worst. That builds its glory on its Maker's praise. Woman indeed, a gift he would bestow, Wo to the man, whose wit disclaims its use, When he designed a Paradise below, Glittering in vain, or only to seduce,
The richest earthly boon his hands afford, Who studies nature with a wanton eye,
Deserves to be beloved, but not adored. Admires the work, but slips the lesson by; Post away swiftly to more active scenes, His hours of leisure and recess employs
Collect the scattered truths that study gleans, In drawing pictures of forbidden joys,
Mix with the world, but with its wiser part, Retires to blazon his own worthless name, No longer give an image all thine heart; Or shoot the careless with a surer aim.
Its empire is not hers, nor is it thine, The lover too shuns business and alarms, 'Tis God's just claim, prerogative divine. Tender idolater of absent charms. Saints offer nothing in their warmest prayers, Virtuous and faithful HEBERDEN, whose skill That he devotes not with a zeal like theirs; Attempts no task it can not well fulfil, 'Tis consecration of his heart, soul, time,
Gives melancholy up to Nature's care, And every thought that wanders is a crime. And sends the patient into purer air. In sighs he worships his supremely fair,
Look where he comes—in this embowered alcove And weeps a sad libation in despair;
Stand close concealed, and see a statue move: Adores a creature, and, devout in vain,
Lips-busy, and eyes fixed, foot falling slow, Wins in return an answer of disdain.
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasped below, As woodbine weds the plant within her reach, Interpret to the marking eye distress, Rough elm, or smooth-grained ash, or glossy beech, such as its symptoms can alone express. In spiral rings ascends the trunk, and lays That tongue is silent now; that silent tongue Her golden tassels on the leafy sprays,
Could argue once, could jest or join the song, But does a mischief while she lends a grace, Could give advice, could censure or commend, Straitening its growth by such a strict embrace; Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend. So love, that clings around the noblest minds, Renounced alike its office and its sport, Forbids th’advancement of the soul he binds; Its brisker and its graver strains fall short; The suitor's air indeed he soon improves,
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
And like a summer brook are past away.
Till sympathy contract a kindred pain,
This, of all maladies that man infest,
Shall be despised and overlooked no more, Claims most compassion, and receives the least : Shall fill thee with delights unfelt before, Job felt it, when he groaned bencath the rod Impart to things inanimate a voice, And the barbed arrows of a frowning God; And bid her mountains and her hills rejoice; And sach emollients as his friends could spare, The sound shall run along the winding vales, Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare. And thou enjoy an Eden ere it fails. Blest, rather curst, with hearts that never feel, Ye groves (the statesman at his desk exclaims, Kept snug in caskets of close hammered steel. Sick of a thousand disappointed aims,) With mouths made only to grin wide and eat, My patrimonial pleasure and my pride, And minds, that deem derided pain a treat, Beneath your shades your gray possessor hide, With limbs of British oak, and nerves of wire, Receive me languishing for that repose And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire, The servant of the public never knows. Their sovereign nostrum is a clumsy joke Ye saw me once (ah, those regretted days, On pangs enforced with God's severest stroke. When boyish innocence was all my praise !) But with a soul, that never felt the sting Hour after hour delightfully allot Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing:
To studies then familiar, since forgot, Not to molest, or irritate, or raise
And cultivate a taste for ancient song, A laugh at his expense, is slender praise ; Catching its ardour as I mused along; He, that has not usurped the name of man, Nor seldom, as propitious Heaven might send, Does all, and deems too little all, he can,
What once I valued and could boast, a friend, Tassuage the throbbings of the festered part, Were witnesses how cordially I pressed And stanch the bleedings of a broken heart. His undissembling virtue to my breast; "Tis not, as heads that never ache suppose, Receive me now, not uncorrupt as then, Forgery of fancy, and a dream of woes; Nor guiltless of corrupting other men, Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight, But versed in arts, that, while they seem to stay Each yielding harmony disposed aright; A falling empire, hasten its decay, The screws reversed (a task which, if he please, To the fair haven of my native home, God in a moment executes with ease,)
The wreck of what I was, fatigued I come; Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose, For once I can approve the patriot's voice, Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use. And make the course he recommends my choice; Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair We meet at last in one sincere desire, As ever recompensed the peasant's care, His wish and mine both prompt me to retire. Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,
'Tis done-he steps into the welcome chaise, Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
Lolls at his ease behind four handsome bays, Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds, That whirl away from business and debate Nor gardens interspersed with flowery beds, The disencumbered atlas of the state. Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves, Ask not the boy, who, when the breeze of morn And waft it to the mourner as he roves, First shakes the glittering drops from every thorn, Can call up life into his faded eye,
Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush That passes all he sees unheeded by;
Sits linking cherry-stones, or platting rush, No wounds like those a wounded spirit feels, How fair is freedom ?-he was always free; No cure for such till God, who makes them, heals. To carve his rustic name upon a tree, And thou, sad sufferer under nameless ill, To snare the mole, or with ill-fashioned hook, That yields not to the touch of human skill, To draw th' incautious minnow from the brook, Improve the kind occasion, understand
Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view; A Father's frown, and kiss his chastning hand. His flock the chief concern he ever knew; To thee the day-spring, and the blaze of noon, She shines but little in his heedless eyes, The purple evening and resplendent noon, The good we never miss we rarely prize : The stars, that, sprinkled o'er the vault of night, But ask the noble drudge in state affairs, Seemn drops descending in a shower of light, Escaped from office and its constant cares, Shine not, or undesired and hated shine, What charms he sees in Freedom's smile expressSeen through the medium of a cloud like thine: ed, Yet seek him, in his favour life is found,
In Freedom lost so long, now repossessed; All bliss beside a shadow and a sound :
The tongue, whose strains were cogent as comThen heaven, eclipsed so long, and this dull earth, mands, Shall seem to start into a second birth; Revered at home, and felt in foreign lands, Nature, assuming a more lovely face,
Shall own itself a stammerer in that cause, Borrowing a beauty from the works of grace, Or plead its silence as its best applause.
He knows indeed that whether dressed or rude, With aching heart, and discontented looks,
Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
But feels, while grasping at his faded joys, But never marked her with so just a sight, A secret thirst of his renounced employs, Her hedge-row shrubs, a variegated store, He chides the tardiness of every post, With woodbine and wild roses mantled o'er, Pants to be told of battles won or lost, Green balks and furrowed lands, the stream, that Blames his own indolence, observes, though late, spreads
'Tis criminal to leave a sink state, Its cooling vapour o'er the dewy meads,
Flies to the levee, and, received with grace, Downs, that almost escape th' inquiring eye, Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place. That melt and fade into the distant sky,
Suburhan villas, highway-side retreats, Beauties he lately slighted as he passed,
That dread th’ encroachment of our growing Seem all created since he travelled last.
streets, Master of all the enjoyments he designed,
Tight boxes neatly sashed, and in a blaze No rough annoyance rankling in his mind,
With all a July sun's collected rays, What early philosophic hours he keeps,
Delight the citizen, who, gasping there, How regular his meals, how sound he sleeps!
Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air. Not sounder he, that on the mainmast head,
O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought, While morning kindles with a windy red,
That could afford retirement, or could not ? Begins a long look-out for distant land,
'Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight, Nor quits till evening watch his giddy stand.
The second milestone fronts the garden gate; Then swift descending with a seaman's haste,
A step if fair, and if a shower approach, Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast.
You find safe shelter in the next stage-coach. He chooses company, but not the squire's, Whose wit is rudeness, whose good-breading tires ; Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
There, prisoned in a parlour snug and small, Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come, Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home; Forget their labours, and yet find no rest ;
The man of business and his friends compressed, Nor can he much affect the neighbouring peer,
But still, 'tis rural-trees are to be seen
From every window, and the fields are green;
Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend!
And what could a remoter scene show more? A man, whom marks of condescending grace Teach while they flatter him, his proper place;
A sense of elegance we rarely find
The portion of a mean or vulgar mind, Who comes when called, and at a word with
And ignorance of better things makes man, draws,
Who can not much, rejoice in what the can. Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause;
And he, that deems his leisure well bestowed Some plain mechanic, who, without pretence To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence;
In contemplation of a turnpike-road,
Is occupied as well, employs his hours
As he, that slumbers in pavilions graced
With all the charms of an accomplished taste. May run in cities with a brisker force. But nowhere with a current so serene,
Yet hence, alas! insolvencies; and hence
Th’unpitied victim of ill-judged expense,
From all his wearisome engagements freed,
Shakes hands with business and retires indeed. Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, Your prudent grand-mammas, ye modern belles, But short the date of all we gather here; Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge-wells, No happiness is felt, except the true,
When health required it would consent to roam, That does not charm the more for being new. Else more attached to pleasures found at home. This observation, as it chanced, not made, But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife, Or, if the thought occurred, not duly weighed, Ingenious to diversify dull life, He sighs—for after all by slow degrees
In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys,
And all, impatient of dry land, agree
He swathes about the swelling of the deep, My lord, alighting at his usual place,
Jack knew his friend, but hoped in that disguise
Convinced at last, upon a nearer view, Thunder and flash upon the steadfast shores, 'Twas he, the same, the very Jack he knew, Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rain, O'erwhelmed at once with wonder,"grief, and joy, Then all the world of waters sleep again.- He pressed him much to quit his base employ; Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,
His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, Now in the flools, now panting in the meads, Intluence and power were all at his command: Votaries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells, Peers are not always generous as well bred, Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,
But Granby was, meant truly what he said. O grant a poet leave to recommend
Jack bowed, and was obliged-confessed 'twas (A poet fond of Nature, and your friend)
strange, Her slighted works to your admiring view; That so retired he should not wish a change, Her works must needs excel, who fashioned you. But knew no medium between guzzling beer, Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, And his old stint-three thousand pounds a year. With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Thus some retire to nourish hopeless wo; Condemn the prattler for his idle pains,
Some seeking happiness not found below; To waste unheard the music of his strains, Some to comply with humour, and a mind And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue, To social scenes by nature disinclined; That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong, Some swayed by fashion, some by deep disgust; Mark well the finished plan without a fault, Some self-impoverished, and because they must; The seas globose and huge, th' o'erarching vault, But few, that court Retirement, are aware Earth's millions daily fed, a world employed, Of half the toils they must encounter there. In gathering plenty yet to be enjoyed,
Lucrative offices are seldom lost Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise
For want of powers proportioned to the post : Of God, beneficent in all his ways;
Give e'en a dunce th' employment he desires, Graced with such wisdom, how would beauty shine! And he soon finds the talents it requires; Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.
A business with an income at its hecls Anticipated rents, and bills unpaid,
Furnishes always oil for its own wheels. Force many a shining youth into the shade, But in his arduous enterprise to close Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
His active years with indolent repose,
His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
A mind quite vacant is a mind distressed.
The veteran steed, excused his task at length,
There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
Poor Jack-no matter who—for when I blame He proves less happy than his favoured brute,
Attain not to the dignity of thought: At length, when all had long supposed him dead, Nor yet the swarms that occupy the brain, By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead, Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure reign,