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By her, whose love-lorn woe,
In evening musings slow,
Sooth'd sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:
By old Cephisus deep,
Who spread his wavy sweep
In warbled wanderings round thy green retreat, On whose enamel'd side,
When holy Freedom died,
No equal haunt allur'd thy future feet.
O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth
Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
The flowers that sweetest breathe,
Though Beauty cull'd the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.
While Rome could none esteem,
But virtue's patriot theme,
You lov'd her hills, and led her laureate band; But staid to sing alone
To one distinguish'd throne,
And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.
No more, in hall or bower,
The passions own thy power, Love, only Love, her forceless numbers mean: For thou hast left her shrine, Nor olive more, nor vine,
Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.
Though Taste, though Genius bless
To some divine excess,
Faint 's the cold work till thou inspire the whole; What each, what all supply,
May court, may charm our eye,
Thou, only thou, canst raise the meeting soul! Of these let others ask,
To aid some mighty task,
I only seek to find thy temperate vale:
Where oft my reed might sound
To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.
ODE ON THE POETICAL CHARACTER.
As once, if not with light regard,
I read aright that gifted bard,
(Him whose school above the rest
His loveliest Elfin queen has blest)
One, only one unrival'd fair',
Might hope the magic girdle wear,
At solemn tournay hung on high,
The wish of each love-darting eye;
Lo! to each other nymph in turn applied,
As if, in air unseen, some hovering hand,
Some chaste and angel-friend to virgin-fame,
With whisper'd spell had burst the starting band,
It left unblest her loath'd dishonour'd side;
Happier hopeless fair, if never
Her baffled hand with vain endeavour
Had touch'd that fatal zone to her denied!
Young Fancy thus, to me divinest name,
To whom, prepar'd and bath'd in Heaven,
The cest of amplest power is given,
To few the god-like gift assigns,
To gird their blest prophetic loins,
The band, as fairy legends say,
Was wove on that creating day,
When he, who call'd with thought to birth
Yon tented sky, this laughing Earth,
And dress'd with springs, and forests tall,
And pour'd the main, engirting all,
Long by the lov'd enthusiast woo'd,
Himself in some diviner mood,
Retiring, sate with her alone,
And plac'd her on his sapphire throne,
The whiles, the vaulted shrine around,
Seraphic wires were heard to sound,
Now sublimest triumph swelling;
Now on love and mercy dwelling;
And she, from out the veiling cloud,
Breath'd her magic notes aloud:
And thou, thou rich-hair'd youth of morn,
And all thy subject life was born.
The dangerous passions kept aloof,
Far from the sainted growing woof:
But near it sate ecstatic Wonder,
Listening the deep applauding thunder:
And Truth, in sunny vest array'd,
By whose the Tarsol's eyes were made;
All the shadowy tribes of mind
In braided dance their murmurs join'd,
And all the bright uncounted powers,
Who feed on Heaven's ambrosial flowers.
Where is the bard, whose soul can now
Its high presuming hopes avow?
Where he, who thinks, with rapture blind,
This hallow'd work for him design'd?
High on some cliff, to Heaven up-pil'd,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o'erbrow the valleys deep,
And holy genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head,
An Eden, like his own, lies spread.
I view that oak, the fancied glades among,
By which as Milton lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew, Nigh spher'd in Heaven its native strains could
On which that antient trump he reach'd was hung;
Thither oft his glory greeting,
From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,
With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue,
My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue;
In vain-Such bliss to one alone,
Of all the sons of soul was known,
And Heaven, and Fancy, kindred powers, Have now o'erturn'd th' inspiring bowers, Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view.
WRITTEN IN The year 1746. How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes blest! When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallow'd mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
And gaze her visions wild, and feel unmix'd her flame. Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
1 Florimel. See Spenser, Leg. 4.
By Fairy hands their knell is rung, By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall a while repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there!
O THOU, Who sitt'st a smiling bride
By Valour's arm'd and aweful side,
Gentlest of sky-born forms, and best ador'd:
Who oft with songs, divine to hear,
Winn'st from his fatal grasp the spear,
And hid'st in wreaths of flowers his bloodless sword!
Thou who, amidst the deathful field,
By godlike chiefs alone beheld,
Oft with thy bosom bare art found,
Pleading for him the youth who sinks to ground:
See, Mercy, see, with pure and loaded hands,
Before thy shrine my country's genius stands,
And decks thy altar still, though pierc'd with many
When he, whom e'en our joys provoke,
The fiend of Nature, join'd his yoke,
And rush'd in wrath to make our isle his prey;
Thy form, from out thy sweet abode,
O'ertook him on his blasted road,
And stopp'd his wheels, and look'd his rage away.
I see recoil his sable steeds,
That bore him swift to savage deeds,
Thy tender melting eyes they own;
O maid, for all thy love to Britain shown,
Where Justice bars her iron tower,
To thee we build a roseate bower,
Thou, thou shalt rule our queen, and share our monarch's throne!
WHO shall awake the Spartan fife,
And call in solemn sounds to life,
The youths, whose locks divinely spreading,
Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue,
At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding,
Applauding Freedom lov'd of old to view?
What new Alceus, fancy-blest,
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest,
At Wisdom's shrine a while its flame concealing,
(What place so fit to scal a deed renown'd?)
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It leap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted wound!
O goddess, in that feeling hour,
When most its sounds would court thy ears,
Let not my shell's misguided power
E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears.
No, Freedom, no, I will not tell,
How Rome, before thy face,
With heaviest sound, a giant-statue, fell,
Push'd by a wild and artless race,
From off its wide ambitious base,
When Time his northern sons of spoil awoke,
And all the blended work of strength and grace
With many a rude repeated stroke, [broke.
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments
Yet, e'en where'er the least appear'd
Th' admiring world thy hand rever'd;
Still, 'midst the scatter'd states around,
Some remnants of her strength were found;
They saw, by what escap'd the storm,
How wondrous rose her perfect form;
How in the great, the labour'd whole,
Each mighty master pour'd his soul;
For sunny Florence, seat of Art,
Beneath her vines preserv'd a part,
Till they, whom Science lov'd to name,
(O, who could fear it !) quench'd her flame.
And, lo, an humbler relic laid
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
See small Marino joins the theme,
Though least, not last in thy esteem;
Strike, louder strike th' ennobling strings
To those, whose merchants sons were kings;
To him, who, deck'd with pearly pride,
In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride:
Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure ;
Hail, port of glory, wealth, and pleasure,
Nor e'er her former pride relate
To sad Liguria's bleeding state.
Ah, no! more pleas'd thy haunts I seek,
On wild Helvetia's mountains bleak:
(Where, when the favour'd of thy choice,
The daring archer heard thy voice;
Forth from his eyrie rous'd in dread,
The ravening eagle northward fled.)
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
With those to whom thy stork' is dear;
Those whom the rod of Alva bruis'd,
Whose crown a British queen refus'd!
The magic works, thou feel'st the strains,
One holier name alone remains;
The perfect spell shall then avail,
Hail, nymph, ador'd by Britain, bail!
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
The works, the wizard Time has wrought!
The Gaul, 't is held of antique story,
Saw Britain link'd to his now adverse strand 2,
No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary,
He pass'd with unwet feet through all our land.
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild waves found another way,
Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding;
Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
A wide wild storm e'en Nature's self confounding,
Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth
The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
2 This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists too have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I do not remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it,
This pillar'd earth so firm and wide,
By winds and inward labours torn,
In thunders dread was push'd aside,
And down the shouldering billows borne. And see, like gems, her laughing train,
The little isles on every side,
Now soothe her, to her blissful train
Blithe Concord's social form to gain :
Concord, whose myrtle wand can steep
E'en Anger's blood-shot eyes in sleep :
Before whose breathing bosom's balm,
Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm;
Mona3, once hid from those who search the main, Her let our sires and matrons hoar
Where thousand elfin shapes abide,
And Wight, who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting Heaven has each bestow'd,
A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:
To thee this blest divorce she ow'd,
For thou hast made her vales thy lov'd,
Then too, 't is said, an hoary pile,
'Midst the green navel of our isle,
Thy shrine in some religious wood,
O soul enforcing goddess, stood !
There oft the painted native's feet
Were wont thy form celestial meet:
Though now with hopeless toil we trace
Time's backward rolls, to find its place;
Whether the fiery-tressed Dane,
Or Roman's self o'erturn'd the fane,
Or in what heaven-left age it fell,
"T were hard for modern song to tell.
Yet still, if truth those beams infuse,
Which guide at once, and charm the Muse,
Beyond yon braided clouds that lie,
Paving the light embroider'd sky:
Amidst the bright pavilion'd plains,
The beauteous model still remains,
There happier than in islands blest,
Or bowers by Spring or Hebe drest,
The chiefs who fill our Albion's story,
In warlike weeds, retir'd in glory,
Hear their consorted Druids sing
Their triumphs to th' immortal string,
How may the poet now unfold,
What never tongue or numbers told?
How learn delighted, and amaz'd,
What bands unknown that fabric rais'd?
E'en now, before his favour'd eyes,
In Gothic pride it seems to rise!
Yet Grecia's graceful orders join,
Majestic, through the mix'd design;
The secret builder knew to chuse,
Each sphere found gem of richest hues :
Whate'er Heaven's purer mould contains,
When nearer suns emblaze its veins;
There on the walls the patriot's sight
May ever hang with fresh delight,
And, 'grav'd with some prophetic rage,
Read Albion's fame through every age.
Ye forms divine, ye laureate band,
That near her inmost altar stand!
3 There is a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a
mermaid, becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horrour and surprise at her appearance. This however was so misconstrued by the sea-lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole island, by covering it with a mist, so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs,
Welcome to Britain's ravag'd shore,
Our youths, enamour'd of the fair,
Play with the tangles of her hair,
Till, in one loud applauding sound,
The nations shout to her around,
"O, how supremely art thou blest,
Thou, lady, thou shalt rule the West!"
ON THE DEATH OF COL. CHARLES ROSŠ
IN THE ACTION AT FONTENOY.
Written May, 1745.
WHILE, lost to all his former mirth,
Britannia's genius bends to earth,
And mourns the fatal day:
While stain'd with blood he strives to tear
Unseemly from his sea-green hair
The wreaths of cheerful May:
The thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful hours attend:
Still Fancy, to herself unkind,
Awakes to grief the soften'd mind,
And points the bleeding friend.
By rapid Scheld's descending wave
His country's vows shall bless the grave,
Where'er the youth is laid:
That sacred spot the village hind
With every sweetest turf shall bind,
And Peace protect the shade.
O'er him, whose doom thy virtues grieve,
Aerial forms shall sit at eve,
And bend the pensive head;
And, fall'n to save his injur'd land,
Imperial Honour's awful hand
Shall point his lonely bed!
The warlike dead of every age,
Who fill the fair recording page,
Shall leave their sainted rest:
And, half-reclining on his spear,
Each wondering chief by turns appear
To hail the blooming guest.
Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield,
Shall crowd from Cressy's laurel'd field,
And gaze with fix'd delight:
Again for Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish th' avenging fight.
But, lo! where, sunk in deep despair,
Her garments torn, her bosom bare,
Impatient Freedom lies!
Her matted tresses madly spread,
To every sod which wraps the dead,
She turns her joyless eyes.
Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground,
Till notes of triumph bursting round
Proclaim her reign restor'd:
Till William seek the sad retreat,
And, bleeding at her sacred feet,
Present the sated sword.
If, weak to soothe so soft an heart,
These pictur'd glories nought impart,
To dry thy constant tear:
If yet, in Sorrow's distant eye,
Expos'd and pale thou see'st him lie,
Wild war insulting near:
Where'er from time thou court'st relief,
The Muse shall still, with social grief,
Her gentlest promise keep:
E'en humble Harting's cottag'd vale
Shall learn the sad repeated tale,
And bid her shepherds weep.
ODE TO EVENING.
Ir aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs, and dying gales;
O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd Sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed:
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-ey'd bat,
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Now teach me, maid compos'd,
To breathe some soften'd strain,
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial lov'd return!
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant hours, and elves
Who slept in buds the day,
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,
Whose walls more awful ned
By thy religious gleans.
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light:
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes.
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favourite name!
ODE TO PEACE.
O THOU, who bad'st thy turtles bear
Swift from his grasp thy golden hair,
And sought'st thy native skies:
When War, by vultures drawn from far,
To Britain bent his iron car,
And bade his storms arise!
Tir'd of his rude tyrannic sway,
Our youth shall fix some festive day,
His sullen shrines to burn:
But thou, who hear'st the turning spheres,
What sounds may charm thy partial ears,
And gain thy blest return!
O Peace, thy injur'd robes up-bind!
O rise, and leave not one behind
Of all thy beamy train:
The British lion, goddess sweet,
Lies stretch'd on earth to kiss thy feet,
And own thy holier reign.
Let others court thy transient smile,
But come to grace thy western isle,
By warlike Honour led!
And, while around her ports rejoice,
While all her sons adore thy choice,
With him for ever wed!
FAREWELL, for clearer ken design'd;
The dim-discover'd tracts of mind:
Truths which, from action's paths retir'd,
My silent search in vain requir'd!
No more my sail that deep explores,
No more I search those magic shores,
What regions part the world of soul,
Or whence thy streams, Opinion, roll:
If e'er I round such fairy field,
Some power impart the spear and shield,
At which the wizard passions fly,
By which the giant follies die!
Farewell the porch, whose roof is seen,
Arch'd with th' enlivening olive's green;
Where Science, prank'd in tissued vest,
By Reason, Pride, and Fancy drest,
Comes like a bride, so trim array'd,
To wed with doubt in Plato's shade!
Youth of the quick uncheated sight,
Thy walks, Observance, more invite!
O thou, who lov'st that ampler range,
Where life's wide prospects round thee change,
And, with her mingled sons ally'd,
Throw'st the prattling page aside:
To me in converse sweet impart,
To read in man the native heart,
To learn, where Science sure is found,
From Nature as she lives around:
And gazing oft her mirror true,
By turns each shifting image view!
Till meddling Art's officious lore
Reverse the lessons taught before,
Alluring from a safer rule,
To dream in her enchanted school;
Thou, Heaven, whate'er of great we boast,
Hast blest this social science most.
Retiring hence to thoughtful cell,
As Fancy breathes her potent spell,
Not vain she finds the charmful task,
In pageant quaint, in motley mask,
Behold, before her musing eyes,
The countless Manners round her rise;
While, ever varying as they pass,
To some Contempt applies her glass :
With these the white-rob'd maids combine,
And those the laughing satyrs join!
But who is he whom now she views,
In robe of wild contending hues?
Thou by the passions nurs'd; I greet
The comic sock that binds thy feet!
O Humour, thou whose name is known
To Britain's favour'd isle alone:
Me too amidst thy band admit,
There where the young-ey'd healthful Wit,
(Whose jewels in his crisped hair
Are plac'd each other's beams to share,
Whom no delights from thee divide)
In laughter loos'd attends thy side!
By old Miletus! who so long
Has ceas'd bis love-inwoven song:
By all you taught the Tuscan maids,
In chang'd Italia's modern shades:
By him, whose knight's distinguish'd name
Refin'd a nation's lust of fame;
Whose tales e'en now, with echoes sweet,
Castilia's Moorish hills repeat:
Or him3, whom Seine's blue nymphs deplore,
In watchet weeds on Gallia's shore,
Who drew the sad Sicilian maid,
By virtues in her sire betray'd:
O Nature boon, from whom proceed
Each forceful thought, each prompted deed;
If but from thee I hope to feel,
On all my heart imprint thy seal!
Let some retreating Cynic find
Those oft-turn'd scrolls I leave behind,
The Sports and I this hour agree
To rove thy scene-full world with thee!
WHEN Music, heavenly maid. was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Throng'd around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possest beyond the Muse's painting;
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturb'd, delighted, rais'd, refin'd,
1 Alluding to the Milesian Tales, some of the earliest romances.
3 Monsieur Le Sage, author of the incomparable Adventures of Gil Blas de Santillane, who died in Paris in the year 1745.
Till once, 't is said, when all were fir'd,
Fill'd with fury, rapt, inspir'd,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatch'd her instruments of sound,
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, for madness rul'd the hour,
Would prove his own expressive power.
First Fear his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewilder'd laid,
And back recoil'd, he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made.
Next Anger rush'd, his eyes on fire,
In lightnings own'd his secret stings,
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hand the strings.
With woful measures wan Despair-
Low sullen sounds his grief beguil'd,
A solemn, strange, and mingled air,
'T was sad by fits, by starts 't was wild.
But thou, O Hope, with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
Still it whisper'd promis'd pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail! Still would her touch the strain prolong,
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She call'd on Echo still through all the song;
And where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close, And Hope enchanted smil'd, and wav'd her golden
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose,
He threw his blood-stain'd sword in thunder down,
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sound so full of woe.
And ever and anon he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat; [tween, And though sometimes, each dreary pause beDejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unalter'd mien,
While each strain'd ball of sight seem'd bursting
from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fix'd,
Sad proof of thy distressful state,
Of differing themes the veering song was mix'd,
And now it courted Love, now raving call'd on
With eyes up-rais'd, as one inspir'd,
Pale Melancholy sat retir'd,
And from her wild sequester'd seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul:
And dashing soft from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels join'd the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay, Round an holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace, and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But, O, how alter'd was its sprightlier tone! When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue, Her bow across her shoulder fiung,
Her buskins gemm'd with morning dew, Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,