Page images

Receive her with extended arms,

“ I'll soon with Jenny's pride quit score, Seem more delighted with her charms;

Make all her lovers fall : Wait on her to the Park and play;

They'll grieve I was not loos'd before ; Put on good-humour; make her gay ;

She, I was loos'd at all.”
Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind;

Fondness prevail'd, mamma gave way ; Let all her ways be unconfin'd;

Kitty, at heart's desire, And clap your padlock - on her mind."

Obtain'd the chariot for a day,

And set the world on fire.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

My lyre I tune, my voice I raise,

The lightning flies, the thunder roars, But with my numbers mix my sighs;

And big waves lash the frighten'd shores. And, whilst I sing Euphelia's praise,

Struck with the horrour of the sight, I fix my soul on Chloe's eyes.

She turns her head, and wings her flight :

And, trembling, vows she'll ne'er again Fair Chloe blush'd: Euphelia frown'd;

Approach the shore, or view the main. I sung, and gaz'd; I play'd, and trembled : “ Once more, at least, look back," said I, And Venus to the Loves around

Thyself in that large glass descry:
Remark’d, how ill we all dissembled.

When thou art in good-humour drest;
When gentle reason rules thy breast;
The Sun upon the calmest sea

Appears not half so bright as thee :

'Tis then that with delight I rove

Upon the boundless depth of Love: IN IMITATION OF A GREEK IDYLLIUM.

I bless my chain ; I hand my oar ;

Nor think on all I left on shore. CELIA and I, the other day,

“ But when vain doubt and groundless fear Walk'd o'er the sand-hills to the sea :

Do that dear foolish bosom tear; The setting Sun adorn'd the coast,

When the big lip and watery eye His beams entire, his fierceness lost :

Tell me the rising storın is nigh; And, on the surface of the deep,

'Tis then, thou art yon' angry main, The winds lay only not asleep :

Deform'd by winds, and dash'd by rain; The nymph did like the scene appear,

And the poor sailor, that must try Serenely pleasant, calmly fair :

Its fury, labours less than I. Soft fell her words, as few the air.

“ Shipwreck'd, in vain to land I make, With secret joy I heard her say,

While Love and Fate still drive me back: That she would never miss one day

Forc'd to doat on thee thy own way, A walk so fine, a sight so gay.

I chide thee first, and then obey. But, oh the change! the winds grow high ; Wretched when from thee, vex'd when nigh, Impending tempests charge the sky;

I with thee, or without thee, die."





ohn Gay, a well-known poet, was born at or near some South-sea stock presented to him by secretary Barnstaple, in Devonshire, in 1688. After an edu- Craggs, raised his hopes of fortune at one time to a cation at the free-school of Barnstaple, he was sent considerable height; but the loss of the whole of to London, where he was put apprentice to a silk- this stock affected him so deeply as to throw him mercer. A few years of negligent attendance on into a dangerous degree of languor, for his recovery the duties of such a station procured him a separa- from which he made trial of the air of Hampstead. tion by agreement from his master; and he not long He then wrote a tragedy called “ The Captives," afterwards addicted himself to poetical composition, of which was acted with applause; and in 1726, he which the first-fruits were his “Rural Sports,” pub- composed the work by which he is best known, his lished in 1711, and dedicated to Pope, then first rising “ Fables," written professedly for the young Duke to fame. In the following year, Gay, who possessed of Cumberland, and dedicated to him. In the manmuch sweetness of disposition, but was indolent and ner of narration there is considerable ease, together improvident, accepted an offer from the Duchess of with mach lively and natural painting, but they will Monmouth to reside with her as her secretary. He hardly stand in competition with the French fables ad leisure enough in this employment to produce of La Fontaine. Gay naturally expected a handn the same year his poem of “ Trivia, or the Art of some reward for his trouble; but upon the accession Walking the Streets of London," which proved one of George II. nothing better was offered him than of the most entertaining of its class. It was much the post of gentleman-usher to the young Princess

and displayed in a striking manner that Louisa, which he regarded rather as an indignity alent for the description of external objects which than a favour, and accordingly declined. eculiarly characterised the author.

The time, however, arrived when he had little In 1714, he made his appearance from the press occasion for the arts of a courtier to acquire a degree n a singular occasion. Pope and Ambrose Philips of public applause greater than he had hitherto exad a dispute about the respective merits of their perienced. In 1727, his famous “ Beggar's Opera" astorals ; upon which, Gay, in order to serve the was acted at Lincolns-inn-fields, after having been use of his friend, undertook to compose a set of refused at Drury-lane. To the plan of burlesquing istorals, in which the manners of the country should the Italian operas by songs adapted to the most 2 exhibited in their natural coarseness, with a view familiar tunes, he added much political satire de

proving, by a sort of caricature, the absurdity of rived from his former disappointments; and the rehilips's system. The offer was accepted; and sult was a composition unique in its kind, of which ay, who entitled his work “ The Shepherd's the success could not with any certainty be foreseen. Teek,” went through the usual topics of a set of " It will either (said Congreve) take greatly, or be istorals in a parody, which is often extremely damned confoundedly.” Its fate was for some time

But the effect was in one respect dif- in suspense ; at length it struck the nerve of public rent from his intended purpose; for his pictures taste, and received unbounded applause. It ran

rural life were so extremely natural and amusing, through sixty-three successive representations in the d intermixed with circumstances so beautiful and metropolis, and was performed a proportional numuching, that his pastorals proved the most popular ber of times at all the provincial theatres. Its songs orks of the kind in the language. This perform- were all learned by heart, and its actors were raised ce was dedicated to Lord Bolingbroke; and at to the summit of theatric fame. This success, inis period Gay seems to have obtained a large share deed, seems to indicate a coarseness in the national

the favour of the Tory party then in power. He taste which could be delighted with the repetition of is afterwards nominated secretary to the Earl of popular ballad-tunes, as well as a fondness for the arendon, in his embassy to the court of Hanover ; delineation of scenes of vice and vulgarity. Gay it the death of Queen Anne recalled him from his himself was charged with the mischiefs he had thus, uation, and he was advised by his friends not to perhaps unintentionally, occasioned; and if the glect the opportunity afforded him to ingratiate Beggar's Opera delighted the stage, it encountered nself with the new family. He accordingly wrote more serious censure in graver places than has been poetical epistle upon the arrival of the Princess of bestowed on almost any other dramatic piece. By ales, which compliment procured him the honour making a highwayman the hero, he has incurred the

the attendance of the prince and princess at the odium of rendering the character of a freebooter an hibition of a new dramatic piece.

object of popular ambition; and, by furnishing his Gay had now many friends, as well among per- personages with a plea for their dishonesty drawn as of rank, as among his brother-poets; but little from the universal depravity of mankind, he has us yet done to raise him to a state of independence. been accused of sapping the foundations of all subscription to a collection of his poems pub- social morality. The author wrote a second part of hed in 1720, cleared him a thousand pounds ; and ! this work, entitled “ Polly, but the Lord Cham


berlain refused to suffer it to be performed; and time he employed such intervals of health and spin though the party in opposition so far encouraged it as he enjoyed, in writing his “ Acis and Galates." by their subscriptions that it proved more profitable an opera called “ Achilles," and a “ Serenata." to him than even the first part, it was a very feeble His death took place in 1732, at the early age a performance, and has sunk into total neglect. forty-four, in consequence of an inflammation |

Gay, in the latter part of his life, received the the bowels. He was sincerely lamented by Es kind patronage of the Duke and Duchess of Queens- friends; and his memory was honoured by a moss berry, who took him into their house, and conde- ment in Westminster Abbey, and an epitaph is a scended to manage his pecuniary concerns. At this strain of uncommon sensibility by Pope.

[ocr errors]

Here blooming Health exerts her gentle reign,

And strings the sinews of th' industrious swain RURAL SPORTS.

Soon as the morning lark salutes the day,

Through dewy fields I take my frequent way,

Where I behold the farmer's early care

In the revolving labours of the year.
Inscribed to Mr. Pope, 1713. *

When the fresh Spring in all her state is croan'd

And high luxuriant grass o'erspreads the ground,
Securi prælia ruris

The labourer with a bending scythe is seen,

NEMESIAN. Shaving the surface of the waving green;

Of all her native pride disrobes the land,

And meads lays waste before his sweeping hand;

While with the mounting Sun the meadow glows, You, who the sweets of rural life have known, The fading herbage round he loosely throws : Despise th' ungrateful hurry of the town;

But, if some sign portend a lasting shower, In Windsor groves your easy hours employ,

Th' experienc'd swain foresees the coming hour; And, undisturb’d, yourself and Muse enjoy.

His sun-burnt bands the scattering fork forsake, Thames listens to thy strains, and silent flows, And ruddy damsels ply the saving rake; And no rude wind through rustling osiers blows, In rising hills the fragrant harvest grows, While all his wondering nymplis around thee And spreads along the field in equal rows (gain throng,

Now when the height of Heaven bright Phabus To hear the Syrens warble in thy song.

And level rays cleave wide the thirsty plains, But I, who ne'er was blest by Fortune's hand,

When heifers seek the shade and cooling lake, Nor brighten'd ploughshares in paternal land, And in the middle path-way basks the snake: Long in the noisy town have been immur'd, O lead me, guard me, from the sultry hours, Respir'd its smoke, and all its cares endur'd; Hide me, ye forests, in your closest bowers Where news and politics divide mankind,

Where the tall oak his spreading arms entwines And schemes of state involve th' uneasy mind:

And with the beach a mutual shade combines; Faction embroils the world, and every tongue

Where flows the inurmuring brook, inviting dreams Is mov'd by flattery, or with scandal hung: Where bordering hazle overhangs the streams, Friendship, for sylvan shades, the palace Aies, Whose rolling current, winding round and round, Where all must yield to interest's dearer ties: With frequent falls makes all the woods resound; Each rival Machiavel with envy burns,

Upon the mossy couch my limbs I cast, And honesty forsakes them all by turns;

And e'en at noon the sweets of evening, taste. While calumny upon each party's thrown,

Here I peruse the Mantuan's Georgic strains, Which both promote, and both alike disown. And learn the labours of Italian swains; Fatigu'd at last, a calm retreat I chose,

In every page I see new landscapes rise,
And sooth'd my harass'd mind with sweet repose,

And all Hesperia opens to my eyes;
Where fields and shades, and the refreshing clime, I wander o'er the various rural toil,
Inspire the sylvan song, and prompt my rhyme. And know the nature of each different soil :
My Muse shall rove through flowery meads and This waving field is gilded o'er with corn,

That spreading trees with blushing fruit adorn:
And deck with rural sports her native strains ; Here I survey the purple vintage grow,
And the same road ambitiously pursue,

Climb round the poles, and rise in graceful row: Frequented by the Mantuan swain and you. Now I behold the steed curvet and bound, 'Tis not that rural sports alone invite,

And paw with restless hoof the smoking ground: But all the grateful country breathes delight; The dewlap'd bull now chafes along the plain,

While burning love ferments in every rein; • This poem received many material corrections His well-arm'd front against his rival aims, from the author, after it was first published. And by the dint of war his mistress claims :

The careful insect 'midst his works I view, He greedily sucks in the twining bait,
Now from the flowers exhaust the fragrant dew; And tugs and nibbles the fallacious meat :
With golden treasures load his little thighs, Now, happy fisherman, now twitch the line!
And steer his distant journey through the skies ; How thy rod bends! behold, the prize is thine !
Some against hostile drones the hive defend, Cast on the bank, he dies with gasping pains,
Others with sweets the waxen cells distend, And trickling blood his silver mail distains.
Each in the toil his destin'd office bears,

You must not every worm promiscuous use, And in the little bulk a mighty soul appears. Judgment will tell the proper bait to choose :

Or when the ploughman leaves the task of day The worm that draws a long immoderate size, And trudging homeward, whistles on the way ; The trout abhors, and the rank morsel flies; When the big-udder'd cows with patience stand, And, if too small, the naked fraud's in sight, Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand; And fear forbids, while hunger does invite. No warbling cheers the woods; the feather'd choir, Those baits will best reward the fisher's pains, To court kind slumbers, to the sprays retire : Whose polish'd tails a shining yellow stains: When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees,

Cleanse them from filth, to give a tempting gloss, Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze ; Cherish the sully'd reptile race with moss; Engag'd in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray, Amid the verdant bed they twine, they toil, To take my farewell of the parting day;

And from their bodies wipe their native soil. Far in the deep the Sun his glory hides,

But when the Sun displays his glorious beams, A streak of gold the sea and sky divides :

And shallow rivers flow with silver streams,
The purple clouds their amber linings show, Then the deceit the scaly breed survey,
And, edg'd with flame, rolls every wave below: Bask in the sun, and look into the day :
Here pensive I behold the fading light,

You now a more delusive art must try,
And o'er the distant billow lose my sight.

And tempt their hunger with the curious fly. Now Night in silent state begins to rise,

To frame the little animal, provide And twinkling orbs bestrow th' uncloudy skies; All the gay hues that wait on female pride ; Her borrow'd lustre growing Cynthia lends, Let Nature guide thee! sometimes golden wire And on the main a glittering path extends; The shining bellies of the fly require ; Millions of worlds hang in the spacious air, The peacock's plumes thy tackle must not fail, Which round their suns their annual circles steer; Nor the dear purchase of the sable's tail. Sweet contemplation elevates my sense,

Each gaudy bird some slender tribute brings, While I survey the works of Providence.

And lends the growing insect proper wings : O could the Muse in loftier strains rehearse Silks of all colours must their aid impart, The glorious Author of the universe,

And every fur promote the fisher's art. Who reins the winds, gives the vast ocean bounds, So the gay lady, with excessive care, And circumscribes the floating worlds their rounds; Borrows the pride of land, of sea, and air : (plays, My soul should overflow in songs praise, Furs, pearls, and plumes, the glittering thing disAnd my Creator's name inspire my lays !

Dazzles our eyes, and easy hearts betrays. As in successive course thc seasons roll,

Mark well the various seasons of the year, So circling pleasures recreate the soul.

How the succeeding insect race appear ; When genial Spring a living warmth bestows, In this revolving Moon one colour reigns, And o'er the year her verdant mantle throws, Which in the next the fickle trout disdains, No swelling inundation hides the grounds, Oft have I seen the skilful angler try But crystal currents glide within their bounds; The various colours of the treacherous fly; The finny brood their wonted haunts forsake, When he with fruitless pain hath skimm'd the brook, Float in the sun, and skim along the lake;

And the coy fish rejects the skipping hook, With frequent leap they range the shallow streams, He shakes the boughs that on the margin grow, Their silver coats reflect the dazzling beams. Which o'er the stream a waving forest throw ; Now let the fisherman his toils prepare,

When, if an insect fall, (his certain guide,) And arm himself with every watery snare ;

He gently takes him from the whirling tide ; His hooks, his lines, peruse with careful eye,

Examines well his form with curious eyes, Increase his tackle, and his rod re-tye.

His gaudy vest, his wings, his horns, and size, When floating clouds their spongy fleeces drain, Then round his hook the chosen fur he winds, Troubling the streams with swift-descending rain; And on the back a speckled feather binds ; And waters tumbling down the mountain's side, So just the colours shine through every part, Bear the loose soil into the swelling tide;

That Nature seems again to live in Art. Then soon as vernal gales begin to rise,

Let not thy wary step advance too near, And drive the liquid burthen through the skies, While all thy hopes hang on a single hair ; The fisher to the neighbouring current speeds,

The new-form'd insect on the water moves, Whose rapid surface purls unknown to weeds : The speckled trout the curious snare approves ; Upon a rising border of the brook

Upon the curling surface let it glide, He sits him down, and ties the treacherous hook ; With natural motion from thy hand supply'd; Now expectation cheers his eager thought,

Against the stream now gently let it play, His bosom glows with treasures yet uncaught ;

Now in the rapid eddy roll away, Before his eyes a banquet seems to stand,

The scaly shoals float by, and, seiz'd with fear, Where every guest applauds his skilful hand. Behold their fellows tost in thinner air:

Far up the stream the twisted hair he throws, But soon they leap, and catch the swimming bait, Which down the murmuring current gently flows ; Plunge on the hook, and share an equal fate. When, if or chance or hunger's powerful sway When a brisk gale against the current blows, Directs the roving trout this fatal way,

And all the watery plain in wrinkles flows,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »