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To Virtue, Truth, or Science dear,
Forgo a court's alluring pale,
For dimpled brook and leafy grove,
For that rich luxury of thought they love!
Al no, from these the public sphere requires
Examples for its giddy bands:
From these impartial Heaven demands
To spread the flame itself inspires;
To sift Opinion's mingled mass,
Impress a nation's taste, and bid the sterling pass.
Happy, thrice happy they
Whose graceful deeds have exemplary shone
Round the gay precincts of a throne,
With mild effective beams!
Who bands of fair ideas bring,
By solemn grot, or shady spring,
To join their pleasing dreams!
Theirs is the rural bliss without alloy,
They only that deserve, enjoy.
What though nor fabled Dryad haunt their grove,
Nor Naiad near their fountain rove,
Yet all embody'd to the mental sight,
A train of smiling virtues bright
Shall there the wise retreat allow,
Shall twine triumphant palms to deck the wanderer's
And though by faithless friends alarm'd,
Art have with Nature wag'd presumptuous war;
By Seymour's winning influence charm'd,
In whom their gifts united shine,
No longer shall their counsels jar.
"Tis her's to mediate the peace;
Near Percy-lodge, with awe-struck mien,
The rebel seeks her lawful
And havoc and contention cease.
I see the rival powers combine,
And aid each other's fair design;
Nature exalt the mound where Art shall build; Art shape the gay alcove, while Nature paints the field.
Begin, ye songsters of the grove !
O warble forth your noblest lay;
Where Somerset vouchsafes to rove,
Ye leverets, freely sport and play.
-Peace to the strepent horn!
Let no harsh dissonance disturb the morn,
No sounds inelegant and rude
Her sacred solitudes profane!
Unless her candour not exclude
The lowly shepherd's votive strain,
Who tunes his reed amidst his rural cheer,
Tearful, yet not averse, that Somerset should hear.
ODE TO MEMORY. 1748.
O MEMORY! celestial maid!
Who glean'st the flowerets cropt by Time; And, suffering not a leaf to fade,
Preserv'st the blossoms of our prime; Bring, bring those moments to my mind When life was new, and Lesbia kind.
And bring that garland to my sight,
With which my favour'd crook she bound; And bring that wreath of roses bright
Which then my festive temples crown'd;
And to my raptur'd ear convey
The gentle things she deigu'd to say.
And sketch with care the Muse's bower,
Where Isis rolls her silver tide;
Nor yet omit one reed or flower
That shines on Cherwell's verdant side;
If so thou may'st those hours prolong,
When polish'd Lycon join'd my song.
The song it 'vails not to recite-
But sure, to soothe our youthful dreams,
Those banks and streams appear'd more bright
Than other banks, than other streams:
Or, by thy softening pencil shown,
Assume they beauties not their own?
And paint that sweetly vacant scene,
When, all beneath the poplar bough,
My spirits light, my soul serene,
I breath'd in verse one cordial vow: That nothing should my soul inspire, But friendship warm, and love entire. Dull to the sense of new delight,
On thee the drooping Muse attends;
As some fond lover, robb'd of sight,
On thy expressive power depends;
Nor would exchange thy glowing lines,
To live the lord of all that shines.
But let me chase those vows away
Which at Ambition's shrine I made;
Nor ever let thy skill display
Those anxious moments, ill repaid:
Oh! from my breast that season rase,
And bring my childhood in its place.
Bring me the bells, the rattle bring,
And bring the hobby I bestrode;
When, pleas'd in many a sportive ring,
Around the room I jovial rode:
E'en let me bid my lyre adieu,
And bring the whistle that I blew.
Then will I muse, and pensive say,
Why did not these enjoyments last;
How sweetly wasted I the day,
While innocence allow'd to waste!
Ambition's toils alike are vain,
But ah! for pleasure yield us pain.
THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH;
A BALLAD ALLUDING TO A STORY RECORDED OF HER, WHEN SHE WAS PRISONER AT WOODSTOCK, 1554. WILL you hear how once repining
Great Eliza captive lay?
Each ambitious thought resigning,
Foe to riches, pomp, and sway.
While the nymphs and swains delighted
Tript around in all their pride;
Envying joys by others slighted,
Thus the royal maiden cried. "Bred on plains, or born in valleys, Who would bid those scenes adieu ? Stranger to the arts of Malice,
Who would ever courts pursue? "Malice never taught to treasure, Censure never taught to bear : Love is all the shepherd's pleasure; Love is all the damsel's care. "How can they of humble station Vainly blame the powers above?
Or accuse the dispensation
Which allows them all to love? "Love like air is widely given;
Power nor chance can these restrain; Truest, noblest gifts of Heaven!
Only purest on the plain!
"Peers can no such charms discover, All in stars and garters drest,
As on Sundays, does the lover
With his nosegay on his breast. "Pinks and roses in profusion,
Said to fade when Chloe 's near;
Fops may use the same allusion;
But the shepherd is sincere.
"Hark to yonder milk-maid singing
Cheerly o'er the brimming pail;
Cowslips all around her springing
Sweetly paint the golden vale.
"Never yet did courtly maiden
Move so sprightly, look so fair;
Never breast with jewels laden
Pour a song so void of care.
"Would indulgent Heaven had granted
Me some rural damsel's part!
All the empire I had wanted
Then had been my shepherd's heart. "Then, with him, o'er hills and mountains, Free from fetters might I rove: Fearless taste the crystal fountains; Peaceful sleep beneath the grove. "Rustics had been more forgiving; Partial to my virgin bloom:
None had envy'd me when living;
None had triumph'd o'er my tomb."
ODE TO A YOUNG LADY,
SOMEWHAT TOO SOLICITOUS ABOUT HER MANNER OF
SURVEY, my fair! that lucid stream,
Adown the smiling valley stray;
Would Art attempt, or Fancy dream,
To regulate its winding way?
So pleas'd I view thy shining hair
In loose dishevell'd ringlets flow:
Not all thy art, not all thy care,
Can there one single grace bestow.
Survey again that verdant hill,
With native plants enamell'd o'er;
Say, can the painter's utmost skill
Instruct one flower to please us more?
As vain it were, with artful dye
To change the bloom thy cheeks disclose; And oh may Laura, ere she try,
With fresh vermilion paint the rose.
Hark how the wood-lark's tuneful throat
Can every study'd grace excel;
Let Art constrain the rambling note,
And will she, Laura, please so well?
Oh ever keep thy native ease,
By no pedantic law confin'd!
For Laura's voice is form'd to please,
So Laura's words be not unkind,
Nerine Galatea! thymo mihi dulcior Hyblæ! Candidior cygnis! hederâ formosior albâ! VIRG. The western sky was purpled o'er
With every pleasing ray;
And flocks, reviving, felt no more
The sultry heats of day:
When from a hazle's artless bower
Soft warbled Strephon's tongue;
He blest the scene, he blest the hour,
While Nancy's praise he sung.
"Let fops with fickle falsehood range
The paths of wanton Love,
While weeping maids lament their change,
And sadden every grove;
"But endless blessings crown the day
I saw fair Esham's dale!
And every blessing find its way
To Nancy of the Vale.
"T was from Avona's banks the maid
Diffus'd her lovely beams;
And every shining glance display'd
The Naiad of the streams.
"Soft as the wild-duck's tender young,
That floats on Avon's tide;
Bright as the water-lily, sprung,
And glittering near its side.
"Fresh as the bordering flowers, her bloom
Her eye, all mild to view;
The little halcyon's azure plume
Was never half so blue.
"Her shape was like the reed so sleek,
So taper, straight, and fair;
Her dimpled smile, her blushing cheek,
How charming sweet they were!
"Far in the winding vale retir'd,
This peerless bud I found;
And shadowing rock and woods conspir'd
To fence her beauties round.
"That Nature in so lone a dell
Should form a nymph so sweet;
Or Fortune to her secret cell
Conduct my wandering feet!
"Gay lordlings sought her for their bride,
But she would ne'er incline:
'Prove to your equals true,' she cried,
'As I will prove to mine.
"""Tis Strephon, on the mountain's brow, Has won my right good will;
To him I gave my plighted vow,
With him I'll climb the hill.'
"Struck with her charms and gentle truth, I clasp'd the constant fair;
To her alone I gave my youth,
And vow my future care.
"And when this vow shall faithless prove, Or I those charms forgo;
The stream that saw our tender love,
That stream shall cease to flow."
Or pleasure or contentment home? Thus the poor bird, that draws his name From Paradise's honour'd groves, Careless, fatigues his little frame,
Nor finds the resting-place he loves. Lo! on the rural mossy bed
My limbs with careless ease reclin'd; Ah, gentle Sloth! indulgent spread
The same soft bandage o'er my mind. For why should lingering thought invade, Yet every wordly prospect cloy? Lend me, soft Sloth, thy friendly aid,
And give me peace, debarr'd of joy. Lov'st thou yon calm and silent flood,
That never ebbs, that never flows; Protected by the circling wood
From each tempestuous wind that blows? An altar on its bank shall rise,
Where oft thy votary shall be found; What time pale Autumn lulls the skies, And sickening verdure fades around. Ye busy race, ye factious train,
That haunt Ambition's guilty shrine;
No more perplex the world in vain,
But offer here your vows with mine.
And thou, puissant queen! be kind:
If e'er I shar'd thy balmy power;
If e'er I sway'd my active mind
To weave for thee the rural bower.
Dissolve in sleep each anxious care;
Each unavailing sigh remove;
And only let me wake to share
The sweets of friendship and of love.
ODE TO HEALTH. 1730.
O HEALTH, capricious maid! Why dost thou shun my peaceful bower, Where I had hope to share thy power, And bless thy lasting aid?
Since thou, alas! art flown,
It 'vails not whether Muse or Grace,
With tempting smile, frequent the place:
I sigh for thee alone.
Age not forbids thy stay;
Thou yet might'st act the friendly part; Thou yet might'st raise this languid heart; Why speed so swift away?
Thou scorn'st the city-air ;
I breathe fresh gales o'er furrow'd ground,
Yet hast not thou my wishes crown'd,
O false! O partial fair!
I plunge into the wave:
And though with purest hand I raise
A rural altar to thy praise,
Thou wilt not deign to save.
Amid my well-known grove,
Where mineral fountains vainly bear
Thy boasted name, and titles fair,
Why scorns thy foot to rove?
Thou hear'st the sportsman's claim;
Enabling him, with idle noise,
To drown the Muse's melting voice,
And fright the timorous game.
Is thought thy foe? adieu,
Ye midnight lamps! ye curious tomes!
Mine eye o'er hills and valleys roams,
And deals no more with you.
Is it the clime you flee?
Yet, 'midst his unremitting snows,
The poor Laponian's bosom glows;
And shares bright rays from thee.
There was, there was a time,
When, though I scorn'd thy guardian care,
Nor made a vow, nor said a prayer,
I did not rue the crime.
Who then more blest than I?
When the glad school-boy's task was done,
And forth, with jocund sprite, I run
To freedom, and to joy?
How jovial then the day!
What since have all my labours found,
Thus climbing life, to gaze around,
That can thy loss repay?
Wert thou, alas! but kind,
Methinks no frown that Fortune wears,
Nor lessen'd hopes, nor growing cares,
Could sink my cheerful mind.
Whate'er my stars include;
What other breasts convert to pain,
My towering mind shall soon disdain,
Repair this mouldering cell,
And blest with objects found at home,
And envying none their fairer dome,
How pleas'd my soul should dwell: Temperance should guard the doors; From room to room should Memory stray, And ranging all in neat array,
Enjoy her pleasing stores
There let them rest unknown,
The types of many a pleasing scene:
But to preserve them bright or clean,
Is thine, fair queen! alone.
TO A LADY OF QUALITY',
FITTING UP HER LIBRARY. 1738.
AH! what is science, what is art,
Or what the pleasure these impart !
Ye trophies, which the learn'd pursue
Through endless fruitless toils, adieu!
What can the tedious tomes bestow,
To soothe the miseries they show ?
What, like the bliss for him decreed,
Who tends his flock, and tunes his reed!
Say, wretched Fancy! thus refin'd
From all that glads the simple hind,
How rare that object which supplies
A charin for too discerning eyes!
The polish'd bard, of genius vain,
Endures a deeper sense of pain :
As each invading blast devours
The richest fruits, the fairest flowers.
Sages, with irksome waste of time,
The steep ascent of Knowledge climb;
Then from the towering heights they scale,
Behold Contentment range-the vale.
Yet why, Asteria, tell us why
We scorn the crowd, when you are nigh;
Why then does reason seem so fair,
Why learning, then, deserve our care?
Who can unpleas'd your shelves behold,
While you so fair a proof unfold
What force the brightest genius draws
From polish'd wisdom's written laws?
Where are our humbler tenets flown?
What strange perfection bids us own
That bliss with toilsome science dwells,
And happiest he, who most excels ?
UPON A VISIT TO THE SAME.
IN WINTER. 1748.
ON fair Asteria's blissful plains,
Where ever-blooming Fancy reigns,
How pleas'd we pass the winter's day;
And charm the dull-ey'd Spleen away
No linnet, from the leafless bough,
Pours forth her note melodious now;
But all admire Asteria's tongue,
Nor wish the linnet's vernal song.
No flowers emit their transient rays:
Yet sure Asteria's wit displays
More various tints, more glowing lines,
And with perennial beauty shines.
Though rifled groves and fetter'd streams
But ill befriend a poet's dreams;
Asteria's presence wakes the lyre,
And well supplies poetic fire.
The fields have lost their lovely dye;
No cheerful azure decks the sky;
Yet still we bless the lowring day;
Asteria smiles and all is gay.
Hence let the Muse no more presume
To blame the Winter's dreary gloom;
Accuse his loitering hours no more;
But ah! their envious haste deplore!
For soon, from wit and friendship's reign,
The social hearth, the sprightly vein,
I go-to meet the coming year,
On savage plains, and deserts drear!
I go-to feed on pleasures flown,
Nor find the Spring my loss atone!
But 'mid the flowery sweets of May
With pride recal the Winter's day.
The Sun's forgotten beams:
O Sun! how pleasing were thy rays, Reflected from the polish'd face
Of yon refulgent streams' Rais'd by the scene, my feeble tongue Essay'd again the sweets of song: And thus, in feeble strains and slow, The loitering numbers 'gan to flow. "Come, gentle air! my languid limbs restore, And bid me welcome from the Stygian shore: For sure, I heard the tender sighs,
I seem'd to join the plaintive cries
Of hapless youths, who through the myrtle grove Bewail for ever their unfinish'd love:
To that unjoyous clime,
Torn from the sight of these ethereal skies;
Debarr'd the lustre of their Delia's eyes,
And banish'd in their prime.
"Come, gentle air! and while the thickets bloom, Convey the jasmine's breath divine; Convey the woodbine's rich perfume,
Nor spare the sweet-leaf'd eglantine.
And may'st thou shun the rugged storm,
Till Health her wonted charms explain,
With rural Pleasure in her train,
To greet me in her fairest form.
While from this lofty mount I view
The sons of Earth, the vulgar crew,
Anxious for futile gains beneath me stray,
And seek with erring step Contentment's obvious
"Come, gentle air! and thou, celestial Muse, Thy genial flame infuse;
Enough to lend a pensive bosom aid,
And gild Retirement's gloomy shade;
Enough to rear such rustic lays
As foes may slight, but partial friends will praise.”
The gentle air allow'd my claim;
And, more to cheer my drooping frame,
She mix'd the balm of opening flowers;
Such as the bee, with chymic powers,
From Hybla's fragrant hills inhales,
Or scents Sebea's blooming vales.
But ah! the nymphs that heal the pensive mind, By prescripts more refin'd,
Neglect their votary's anxious moan
Oh, how should they relieve?-the Muses all were
But whilst I wander'd o'er a scene so fair,
Too well at one survey I trace,
How every Muse and every Grace
Had long employ'd their care.
Lurks not a stone enrich'd with lively stain,
Blooms not a flower amid the vernal store,
Falls not a plume on India's distant plain,
Glows not a shell on Adria's rocky shore,
But, torn methought from native lands or seas,
From their arrangement, gain fresh power to please.
And some had bent the wildering maze,
Bedeck'd with every shrub that blows;
And some entwin'd the willing sprays,
To shield th' illustrious dame's repose:
Others had grac'd the sprightly dome,
And taught the portrait where to glow;
Others arrang'd the curious tome;
Or, 'mid the decorated space,
Assign'd the laurel'd bust a place,
And given to learning all the pomp of show.
And now from every task withdrawn,
They met and frisk'd it o'er the lawn.
"Ah! woe is me," said I;
And's hilly circuit heard my cry,
"Have I for this, with labour strove,'
And lavish'd all my little store
To fence for you my shady grove,
And scollop every winding shore;
And fringe with every purple rose,
The sapphire stream that down my valley flows?
"Ah! lovely treacherous maids!
To quit unseen my votive shades,
When pale disease, and torturing pain,
Had torn me from the breezy plain,
And to a restless couch confin'd,
Who ne'er your wonted tasks declin'd.
She needs not your officious aid
To swell the song, or plan the shade;
By genuine fancy fir'd,
Her native genius guides her hand,
And while she marks the sage command,
More lovely scenes her skill shall raise,
Her lyre resound with nobler lays
Than ever you inspir'd."
Thus I may rage and grief display;
But vainly blame, and vainly mourn,
Nor will a Grace or Muse return
Till Luxborough lead the way.
WITH SOME COLOURED PATTERNS OF FLOWERS,
OCTOBER 7, 1736.
Yet sure your sex is near to flowers ally'd,
Alike in softness, and alike in pride:
Foes to retreat, and ever fond to shine,
Both rush to danger, and the shades decline;
Expos'd, the short-liv'd pageants of a day,
To painted flies or glittering fops a prey:
Chang'd with each wind, nor one short day the same,
Each clouded sky affects their tender frame.
In glaring Chloe's man-like taste and mien,
Are the gross splendours of the tulip seen:
Distant they strike, inelegantly gay,
To the near view no pleasing charms display.
To form the nymph, a vulgar wit must join,
As coarser soils will most the flower refine.
Ophelia's beauties let the jasmine paint,
Too faintly soft, too nicely elegant.
Around with seeming sanctity endued,
The passion-flower may best express the prude.
Like the gay rose, too rigid Silvia shines,
While, like its guardian thorn, her virtue joins
Happy the nymph! from all their failures free,
Happy the nymph! in whom their charms agree.
Faint these productions, till you bid disclose,
The pink new splendors, and fresh tints the rose:
And yet condemn not trivial draughts like these,
Form'd to improve, and make e'en trifles please.
A power like yours minuter beauties warms,
And yet can blast the most aspiring charms :
Thus, at the rays whence other objects shine,
The taper sickens, and its flames decline.
When by your art the purple violet lives,
And the pale lily sprightlier charms receives:
Garters to me shall glow inferior far,
And with less pleasing lustre shine the star.
Let serious triflers, fond of wealth or fame,
On toils like these bestow too soft a name;
Each gentler art with wise indifference view,
And scorn one trifle, millions to pursue :
More artful, I their specious schemes deride:
Fond to please you, by you in these employ'd;
A nobler task, or more sublime desire,
Ambition ne'er could form, nor pride inspire:
The sweets of tranquil life and rural ease
Amuse securely, nor less justly please.
Where gentle Pleasure shows her milder power,
Or blooms in fruit, or sparkles in the flower;
Siniles in the groves, the raptur'd poet's theme;
Flows in the brook, his Naiad of the stream;
Dawns, with each happier stroke the pencil gives,
And, in each livelier image, smiling lives;
Is heard, when Silvia strikes the warbling strings,
Selinda speaks, or Philomela sings:
Breathes with the morn; attends, propitious maid,
The evening ramble, and the noon-day glade;
Some visionary fair she cheats our view,
Then only vigorous, when she's seen like you.
Yet Nature some for sprightlier joys design'd,
THOUGH rude the draughts, though artless scem the For brighter scenes, with nicer care, refin'd.
From one unskill'd in verse, or in designs;
Oft has good-nature been the fool's defence,
And honest meaning gilded want of sense.
Fear not, though flowers and beauty grace my lay,
To praise one fair, another shall decay.
No lily, bright with painted foliage, here,
Shall only languish when Selinda 's near:
A fate revers'd no smiling rose shall know,
Nor with reflected lustre doubly glow.
Praises which languish when apply'd to you,
Where flattering schemes seem obviously true.
When the gay jewel radiant streams supplies,
And vivid brilliants meet your brighter eyes;
When dress and pomp around the fancy play,
By fortune's dazzling beauties borne away:
When theatres for you the scenes forgo,
And the box bows, obsequiously low:
How dull the plan which indolence has drawn,
The mossy grotto, or the flow'ry lawn!
Though roseate scents in every wind exhale,
And sylvan warblers charm in every gale.
Of these be hers the choice, whom all approve;
And whom. but those who envy, all must love: