Page images


He pranc'd along, disdaining gate or bar.

Elate in thought, he counted them his own, Meantime, the bard on milk-white palfrey rode ; They listen'd so intent with fix'd delight : An honest sober beast, that did not mar

But they instead, as if transtnew'd to stone, His meditations, but full softly trode ;

Marvell’d he could with such sweet art unite And much they moralis'd as thus yfere they yode. The lights and shades of manners, wrong and

right. They talk'd of virtue, and of human bliss. Meantime, the silly crowd the charm devour, What else so fit for man to settle well ?

Wide pressing to the gate. Swift on the knight And still their long researches met in this,

He darted fierce, to drag him to his bower, This truth of truths, which nothing can refel: Who backening shunn'd his touch, for well he knew “ From virtue's fount the purest joys out-well,

its power. Sweet rills of thought that cheer the conscious

(Hell, As in throng'd amphitheatre, of old, While vice pours forth the troubled streams of The wary Retiarius trapp'd his foe; The which, howe'er disguis’d, at last with dole Ev'n so the knight, returning on him bold, Will, through the tortur'd breast, their fiery torrent At once involv'd him in the net of woe, V roll."

Whereof I mention made not long ago

Inrag'd at first, he scorn'd so weak a jail, At length it dawn'd, that fatal valley gay, (rear. And leapt, and flew, and flounced to and fro; O'er which high wood-crown'd hills their summits But when he found that nothing could avail, On the cool height awhile our palmers stay, He set him felly down and gnaw'd his bitter nail And spite ev'n of themselves their senses cheer ; Then to the wizard's wonne their steps they steer. Alarm'd, th' inferior demons of the place Like a green isle, it broad beneath them spred, Rais'd rueful shrieks and hideous yells around; With gardens round, and wandering currents clear, Black stormy clouds deform’d the welkin's face,

And tufted groves to shade the meadow bed, And from beneath was heard a wailing sound, Sweet airs and song; and without hurry all seem'd As of infernal sprites in cavern bound; glad.

A solemn sadness every creature strook,

And lightnings flash'd, and horrour rock'd the “ As God shall judge me, knight, we must for


[look, give"

Huge crowdson crowds out-pour'd, with blemish'd (The half-enraptur'd Philomelus cry:d) As if on time's last verge this frame of things had “ The frail good man deluded here to live,

And in these groves his musing fancy hide.
Ah! nought is pure.
It cannot be deny'd,

Soon as the short-liv'd tempest was yspent,
That virtue still some tincture has of vice,

Steam'd from the jaws of vex'd Avernus' hole, And vice of virtue. What should then betide And hush'd the hubbub of the rabblement, But that our charity be not too nice ?

Sir Industry the first calm moment stole. Come, let us those we can to real bliss entice.” “ There must,” he cry'd, “amidst so vast a shoal,

Be some who are not tainted at the heart, “Ay, sicker," quoth the knight, “all flesh is frail, Not poison's quite by this same villain's bowl: To pleasant sin and joyous dalliance bent;

Come then, my bard, thy heavenly fire impart; But let not brutish vice of this avail,

Touch soul with soul, till forth the latent spirit start. And think to 'scape deserved punishment. Justice were cruel weakly to relent;

The bard obey'd ; and taking from his side, From Mercy's self she got her sacred glaive; Where it in seemly sort depending hung, Grace be to those who can, and will, repent; His British harp, its speaking strings he try'd, But penance long, and dreary, to the slave,

The which with skilful touch he deftly strung, Who must in floods of fire his gross foul spirit lave.” Till tinkling in clear symphony they rung.

Then, as he felt the Muses come along, Thus, holding high discourse, they came to where Light o'er the chords his raptur'd hand he fung, The cursed carle was at his wonted trade;

And play'd a prelude to his rising song :
Still tempting heedless men into his snare, The whilst, like midnight mute, ten thousands round
In witching wise, as I before have said.

him throng.
But when he saw, in goodly geer array'd,
The grave majestic knight approaching nigh, Thus, ardent, burst his strain, -
And by his side the bard so sage and staid,

“ Ye helpless race, His countenance fell; yet oft his anxious eye Dire-labouring here to smother reason's ray, Mark'd them, like wily fox who roosted cock doth That lights our Maker's image in our face, spy.

And gives us wide o'er Earth unquestion'd sway;

What is th' ador'd Supreme Perfection, say? Nathless, with feign'd respect, he bade give back What, but eternal never-resting soul, The rabble-rout, and welcom’d them full kind; Almighty power, and all-directing day; Struck with the noble twain, they were not slack By whom each atom stirs, the planets roll ; His orders to obey, and fall behind.

Who fills, surrounds, informs, and agitates the whole. Then he resum'd his song; and unconfin'd, Pour'd all his music, ran through all his strings: “ Come, to the beaming God your hearts unfold With magic dust their eyne he tries to blind, Draw from its fountain

life ! 'tis thence, alone, And virtue's tender airs o'er weakness flings. What pity base his song who so divinely sings!

We can excel. Up from unfeeling mould,
To serapks burning round th' Almighty's throne,


Life rising still on life, in higher tone,

“ Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven, Perfection forms, and with perfection bliss. When drooping health and spirits go amiss ? In universal nature this clear shown,

How tasteless then whatever can be given ! Nor needeth proof; to prove it were, I wis, Health is the vital principle of bliss, To prove the beauteous world excels the brute And exercise of health. In proof of this, abyss.

Behold the wretch, who slugs his life away,

Soon swallow'd in disease's sad abyss; “ Is not the field, with lively culture green, While he whom toil has brac'd, or manly play, A sight more joyous than the dead morass? Has light as air each limb, each thought as clear as Do not the skies, with active ether clean,

day. And fann'd by sprightly zephyrs, far surpass The foul November fogs, and slumberous mass, “ 0, who can speak the vigorous joy of health ? With which sad Nature veils her drooping face? Unclogg'd the body, unobscur’d the mind : Does not the mountain-stream, as clear as glass, The morning rises gay, with pleasing stealth, Gay dancing on, the putrid pool disgrace ? The temperate evening falls serene and kind. The same in all holds true, but chief in human In health the wiser brutes true gladness find.

See! how the younglings frisk along the meads,

As May comes on, and wakes the balmy wind; " It was not by vile loitering in ease

Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds: That Greece obtain'd the brighter palm of art, Yet what but high-strung health this dancing pleas That soft yet ardent Athens learnt to please,

saunce breeds? To keen the wit, and to sublime the heart, In all supreme ! complete in every part !

“ But here, instead, is foster'd every ill, It was not thence majestic Rome arose,

Which or distemper'd minds or bodies know. And o'er the nations shook her conquering dart : Come then, my kindred spirits ! do not spill For sluggard's brow the laurel never grows ' Your talents here. This place is but a show, enown is not the child of indolent repose.

Whose charms delude you to the den of woe :

Come, follow me, I will direct you right, “ Had unambitious mortals minded nought, Where pleasure's roses, void of serpents, grow, But in loose joy their time to wear away ;

Sincere as sweet ; come, follow this good knight, Had they alone the lap of dalliance sought, And you will bless the day that brought him to your Pleas'd on her pillow their dull heads to lay,

sight. Rude Nature's state had been our state to-day;

(camps; No cities e'er their towery fronts had rais'd, “ Some he will lead to courts, and some to No arts had made us opulent and gay;

To senates some, and public sage debates, With brother-brutes the human race had graz'd; Where, by the solemn gleam of midnight-lamps, one e'er had soar'd to fame, none honour'd been, The world is pois’d, and manag'd mighty states; none prais’d.

To high discovery some, that new-creates

The face of Earth ; some to the thriving mart; “ Great Homer's song had never fir’d the breast Some to the rural reign, and softer fates; To thirst of glory, and heroic deeds ;

To the sweet Muses some, who raise the heart ; Sweet Maro's Muse, sunk in inglorious rest, All glory shall be yours, all nature, and all art. Had silent slept amid the Mincian reeds : The wits of modern time had told their beads, • “ There are, I see, who listen to my lay, And monkish legions been their only strains ; Who wretched sigh for virtue, but despair. Our Milton's Eden had lain wrapt in weeds, • All may be done,' methinks I hear them say, Our Shakspeare stroll’d and laugh'd with War • Ev'n death despis'd by generous actions fair ; wick swains,

All, but for those who to these bowers repair, e had my master Spenser charm'd his Mulla's Their every power dissolv'd in luxury, plains.

To quit of torpid sluggishness the lair,

And from the powerful arms of sloth get free. “ Dumb too had been the sage historic Muse, 'Tis rising from the dead :- Alas !—it cannot be!' And perish'd all the sons of ancient fame; Those starry lights of virtue, that diffuse

“ Would you then learn to dissipate the band Through the dark depth of time their vivid flame, Of these huge threatening difficulties dire, Had all been lost with such as have no name. That in the weak man's way like lions stand, Who then had scorn'd his ease for others' good ? His soul appall, and damp his rising fire ? Who then had toil'd rapacious men to tame? Resolve, resolve, and to be men aspire. Who in the public breach devoted stood,

Exert that noblest privilege, alone, d for his country's cause been prodigal of blood ? Here to mankind indulg'd: controul desire :

Let godlike Reason, from her sovereign throne, « But should your hearts to fame unfeeling be, Speak the commanding word — I will — and it is If right I read, your pleasure all require :

done. Then hear how best may be obtain'd this fee, How best enjoy'd this nature's wide desire. “ Heavens! can you then thus waste, in shameToil, and be glad ! let Industry inspire

ful wise, Into your quicken'd limbs her buoyant breath! Your few important days of tryal here? Who does not act is dead; absorpt entire

Heirs of eternity! yborn to rise In miry sloth, no pride, no joy he hath :

Through endless states of being, still more near


orded mon ho in love with death

To hice on abiadorians alor

more see

[ocr errors]

Can you renounce a fortune so sublime,

“ 0, Heaven !" they cry'd, “and do we one Such glorious hopes, your backward steps to steer,

And roll, with vilest brutes, thro' mud and slime? Yon blessed Sun, and this green Earth so fair? No! no ! - Your heaven-touch'd heart disdains the Are we from noisome damps of pest-house free sordid crime !"

And drink our souls the sweet ethereal air?

O, thou ! or knight, or god! who holdest there “ Enough! enough!" they cry'd - straight from That fiend, oh, keep him in eternal chains! the crowd

But what for us, the children of despair, The better sort on wings of transport fly :

Brought to the brink of Hell, what hope remains? As when amid the lifeless summits proud Repentance does itself but aggravate our pains." Of Alpine cliffs, where to the gelid sky Snows pil'd on snows in wintery torpour lie, The gentle knight, who saw their rueful case, The rays divine of vernal Phoebus play ;

Let fall adown his silver beard some tears. Th' awaken'd heaps, in streamlets from on high, Certes," quoth he, “it is not ev'n in grace,

Rous'd into action, lively leap away, (gay. T' undo the past, and eke your broken years: Glad warbling through the vales, in their new being Nathless, to nobler worlds Repentanee rears,

With humble hope, her eye; to her is given Not less the life, the vivid joy serene,

A power the truly contrite heart that cheers; That lighted up these new-created men,

She quells the brand by which the rocks are riven Than that which wings th’ exulting spirit clean, She more than merely softens, she rejoices Heaves. When, just deliver'd from his fleshly den, It soaring seeks its native skies agen:

“ Then patient bear the sufferings you have eara's How light its essence ! how unclogg'd its powers, And by these sufferings purify the mind; Beyond the blazon of my mortal pen!

Let wisdom be by past misconduct learn'd: Ev'n so we glad forsook the sinful bowers, Or pious die, with penitence resign'd; Ev'n such enraptur'd life, such energy was ours. And to a life more happy and refin'd,

Doubt not, you shall, new creatures, yet arise. But far the greater part, with rage inflam’d, Till then, you may expect in me to find Dire-mutter'd curses, and blasphem'd high Jove. One who will wipe your sorrow from your na “Ye sons of hate !" they bitterly exclaim'd, One who will soothe your pangs, and wing you !? “What brought you to this seat of peace and love?

the skies." While with kind nature, here amid the grove, We pass'd the harmless sabbath of our time, They silent heard, and pour'd their thanks in tess What to disturb it could, fell men, emove

For you," resum'd the knight, with sterne Your barbarous hearts? Is happiness a crime?

tone, Then do the fiends of Hell rule in yon Heaven “ Whose hard dry hearts th' obdurate deos sublime."

That villain's gifts will cost you many a groans,

In dolorous mansion long you must bemoan “ Ye impious wretches," quoth the knight in His fatal charms, and weep your stains away: wrath,

Till, soft and pure as infant goodness growth, “ Your happiness behold!” Then straight a wand You feel a perfect change: then, who can sat, He wav'd, an anti-magic power that hath, What grace may yet shine forth in Heaven's eter Truth from illusive falsehood to commande Sudden the landskip sinks on every hand; The pure quick streams are marshy puddles found; This said, his powerful wand he wav'd aner: On baleful heaths the groves all blacken'd stand; Instant, a glorious angel-train descends,

And, o'er the weedy foul abhorred ground, The Charities, to wit, of rosy hue ; Snakes, adders, toads, each loathsome creature Sweet love their looks a gentle radiance leads, crawls around.

And with seraphic flame compassion blends

At once, delighted, to their charge they fiy: And here and there, on trees by lightning scath'd, When, lo! a goodly hospital ascends; Unhappy wights who loathed life yhung;

In which they bade each lenient aid be nigły Or, in fresh gore and recent murder bath'd, That could the sick-bed smoothe of that sad con They weltering lay; or else, infuriate fung

pany. Into the gloomy flood, while ravens sung The funeral dirge, they down the torrent rollid: It was a worthy edyfying sight, These, by distemper'd blood to madness stung, And gives to human-kind peculiar grace, Had doom'd themselves; whence oft, when night To see kind hands attending day and night, controllid

With tender ministry, from place to place. The world, returning hither their sad spirits howl'd. Some prop the head; some from the pallid fars

Wipe off the faint cold dews weak nature shed Meantime a moving scene was open laid ; Some reach the healing draught: the whilst, That lazar-house, I whilom in my lay

Depainted have, its horrours deep-display'd, The fear supreme, around their soften'd beds
And gave unnumber'd wretches to the day, Some holy man by prayer all opening Heaven
Who tossing there in squalid misery lay.

Soon as of sacred light th' unwonted sinile
Pour’d on these living catacombs its ray,
Through the drear caverns stretching many a mile,

Attended by a glad acclaiming train,

Of those he rescued had from gaping Hell, The sick un rnir'd




ful care,

Yet down his cheeks the gems of pity fell,
To see the helpless wretches that remain'd,
There left through delves and deserts dire to yell;
Amaz'd, their looks with pale dismay were stain'd,

ANCIENT AND MODERN ITALY And spreading wide their hands they meek repent

ance feign'd.
But, ah! their scorned day of grace was past :

For (horrible to tell!) a desert wild
Before them stretch'd, bare, comfortless, and vast,
With gibbets, bones, and carcases defild.
There nor trim field, nor lively culture smil'd;

The Contents of Part I.
Nor waving shade was seen, nor fountain fair; The following poem is thrown into the form of a
But sands abrupt on sands lay loosely pil'd, poetical vision. Its scene the ruins of ancient
Through which they foundering toil'd with pain Rome. The goddess of Liberty, who is supposed

[less air.

to speak through the whole, appears, characterized Whilst Phoebus smote them sore, and fir'd the cloud as British Liberty. Gives a view of ancient

Italy, and particularly of republican Rome, in Then, varying to a joyless land of bogs,

all her magnificence and glory. This contrasted The sadden'd country a grey waste appear'd; by modern Italy; its valleys, mountains, culture, Where nought but putrid streams and noisome fogs cities, people: the difference appearing strongest For ever hung on drizzly Auster's beard ;

in the capital city, Rome.

The ruins of the great Or else the ground, by piercing Caurus sear'd, works of Liberty more magnificent than the borWas jagg'd with frost, or heap'd with glazed rowed pomp of Oppression; and from them resnow;

(steer'd, vived Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture. Through these extremes a ceaseless round they The old Romans apostrophized, with regard to By cruel fiends still hurry'd to and fro, (moe. the several melancholy changes in Italy: Horace, Gaunt Beggary, and Scorn, with many hell-hounds Tully, and Virgil, with regard to their Tibur,

Tusculum, and Naples. That once finest and The first was with base dunghill rags yclad, most ornamented part of Italy, all along the Tainting the gale, in which they flutter'd light coast of Baïæ, how changed. This desolation of of morbid hue his features, sunk, and sad; Italy applied to Britain. Address to the goddess His hollow eyne shook forth a sickly light; of Liberty, that she would deduce from the first And o'er his lank jaw-bone, in piteous plight, ages, her chief establishments, the description of His black rough beard was matted rank and vile which constitute the subject of the following parts Direful to see! an heart-appalling sight!

of this poem. She assents, and commands what Meantime foul scurf and blotches himn defile ; she says to be sung in Britain; whose happiness, And dogs, where'er he went, still barked all the arising from freedom, and a limited monarchy, while.

she marks. An immediate vision attends, and

paints her words. Invocation. The other was a fell despightful fiend : Hell holds none worse in baleful bower below : O my lamented Talbot! while with thee By pride, and wit, and rage, and rancour keen’d; The Muse gay rov'd the glad Hesperian round, Of man alike, if good or bad, the foe:

And drew th' inspiring breath of ancient arts; With nose up-turn'd, he always made a show Ah! little thought she her returning verse As if he smelt some nauseous scent ; his eye

Should sing our darling subject to thy shade. Was cold, and keen, like blast from boreal snow; And does the mystic veil, from mortal beam, And taunts he casten forth most bitterly. Involve those eyes where every virtue smil'd, juch were the twain that off drove this ungodly fry. And all thy father's candid spirit shone ?

The light of reason, pure, without a cloud; Ev’n so through Brentford town, a town of mud, Full of the generous heart, the mild regard; An herd of brisly swine is prick'd along; Honour disdaining blemish, cordial faith, The filthy beasts, that never chew the cud, And limpid truth, that looks the very soul. Still grunt, and squeak, and sing their troublous But to the death of mighty nations turn, song,

My strain ; be there absorpt the private tear. And oft they plunge themselves the mire among: Musing, I lay; warm from the sacred walks, But ay the ruthless driver goads them on,

Where at each step imagination burns: And ay of barking dogs the bitter throng

While scatter'd wide around, aweful, and hoar, Makes them renew their unmelodious moan; Lies, a vast monument, once glorious Rome, de ever find they rest from their unresting fone. The tomb of empire ! ruins ! that efface

Whate'er, of finish'd, modern pomp can boast.
Snatch'd by these wonders to that world where

Unfetter'd ranges, Fancy's magic hand
Led me anew o'er all the solemn scene,
Still in the mind's pure eye more solemn drest.
When straight, methought, the fair majestic power
Of Liberty appear’d. Not, as of old,
Extended in her hand the cap, and rod,
Whose slave-enlarging touch gave double life :

But her bright temples bound with British oak, Her circus, ardent with contending youth ;
And naval honours nodded on her brow.

Her streets, her temples, palaces, and baths,
Sublime of port: loose o'er her shoulder flow'd Full of fair forms, of beauty's eldest-born,
Her sea-green robe, with constellations gay. And of a people cast in virtue's mould.
An island-goddess now; and her high care While sculpture lives around, and Asian hills
The queen of isles, the mistress of the main. Lend their best stores to heave the pillar'd dome:
My heart beat filial transport at the sight;

All that to Roman strength the softer touch And, as she mov'd to speak, th' awakened Muse Of Grecian art can join. But language fails Listen'd intense. Awhile she look'd around, To paint this sun, this centre of mankind; With mournful eye the well-known ruins mark’d, Where every virtue, glory, treasure, art, And then, her sighs repressing, thus began. Attracted strong, in heighten'd lustre met. “ Mine are these wonders, all thou see'st is “ Need I the contrast mark ? unjoyous vier ! mine;

A land in all, in government, in arts, But, ah, how chang’d! the falling poor remains In virtue, genius, earth and heaven, revers'd, Of what exalted once th’ Ausonian shore. (gloom, Who but, these far-fam'd ruins to behold, Look back through time ; and, rising from the Proofs of a people, whose heroic aims Mark the dread scene, that paints whate'er I say. Soar'd far above the little selfish sphere

“ The great republic see! that glow'd, sublime, Of doubting modern life; who but, inflam'd With the mixt freedom of a thousand states : With classic zeal, these consecrated scenes Rais'd on the thrones of kings her curule chair, Of men and deeds to trace, - unhappy land, And by her fasces aw'd the subject world.

Would trust thy wilds, and cities loose of sway? See busy millions quickening all the land,

“ Are these the vales, that, once, exulting states With cities throng'd, and teeming culture high: In their warm bosom fed? the mountains these, For Nature then smiled on her free-born sons, On whose high-blooming sides my sons, of old, And pour'd the plenty that belongs to men. I bred to glory? the dejected towns, Behold, the country cheering, villas rise,

Where, mean, and sordid, life can scarce subsist, In lively prospect; — by the secret lapse

The scenes of ancient opulence, and pornp ? Of brooks now lost and streams renown'd in song: “ Come! by whatever sacred name disguis’d, In Umbria's closing vales, or on the brow

Oppression, come! and in thy works rejoice ! Of her brown hills that breathe the scented gale: See Nature's richest plains to putrid fens On Baïæ's viny coast; where peaceful seas, Turn’d by thy fury. From their cheerful bound Fann'd by kind zephyrs, ever kiss the shore; See raz’d th' enlivening village, farm, and seat. And suns unclouded shine, through purest air : First, rural toil, by thy rapacious band Or in the spacious neighbourhood of Rome; Robb’d of his poor reward, resign'd the plough ; Far-shining upward to the Sabine hills,

And now he dares not turn the noxious glebe. To Anio's roar, and Tibur's olive shade ;

'Tis thine entire. The lonely swain himself, To where Præneste lifts her airy brow;

Who loves at large along the grassy downs Or downward spreading to the sunny shore, His flocks to pasture, thy drear champain flies. Where Alba breathes the freshness of the main. Far as the sickening eye can sweep around,

“ See distant mountains leave their valleys dry, 'Tis all one desert, desolate, and grey, And o'er the proud arcade their tribute pour, Graz'd by the sullen buffalo alone; To lave imperial Rome. For ages laid,

And where the rank uncultivated growth Deep, massy, firm, diverging every way,

Of rotting ages taints the passing gale. With tombs of heroes sacred, see her roads : Beneath the baleful blast the city pines, By various nations trod, and suppliant kings; Or sinks enfeebled, or infected burns, With legions flaming, or with triumph gay. Beneath it mourns the solitary road,

“ Full in the centre of these wondrous works, Roll'd in rude mazes o'er th' abandon'd waste; The pride of Earth! Rome in her glory see ! While ancient ways, ingulph'd, are seen no more. Behold her demigods, in senate met;

“ Such thy dire plains, thou self-destroyer! foe All head to counsel, and all heart to act :

To human-kind! Thy mountains too, profuse, The common-weal inspiring every tongue

Where savage nature blooms, seem their sad plaini With fervent eloquence, unbrib’d, and bold; To raise against thy desolating rod. Ere tame corruption taught the servile herd There on the breezy brow, where thriving states, To rank obedient to a master's voice.

And famous cities, once, to the pleas'd Sun, “ Her forum see, warm, popular, and loud, Far other scenes of rising culture spread, In trembling wonder hushed, when the two sires*, Pale shine thy ragged towns. Neglected round, As they the private father greatly quell'd,

Each harvest pines; the livid, lean produce
Stood up the public fathers of the state.

Of heartless labour : while thy hated joys,
See Justice judging there, in human shape. Not proper pleasure, lift the lazy hand.
Hark, how with Freedom's voice it thunders high, Better to sink in sloth the woes of life,
Or in soft murmurs sinks to Tully's tongue. Than wake their rage with unavailing toil

“ Her tribes, her census, see; her generous troops, Hence drooping Art almost to Nature leaves Whose pay was glory, and their best reward, The rude unguided year. Thin wave the gifts Free for their country and for me to die;

Of yellow Ceres, thin the radiant blush Ere mercenary murder grew a trade.

Of orchard reddens in the warmest ray. “ Mark, as the purple triumph waves along, To weedy wildness run, no rural wealth The highest pomp and lowest fall of life.

(Such as dictators fed) the garden pours. “ Her festive games, the school of heroes, see; Crude the wild olive flows, and foul the vine ;

Nor juice Cæcubian, nor Falernian, more,
L. J. Brutus, and Virginius.

Streams life and joy, save in the Muse's bowl.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »