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"T is all because she would not lose
Her favourite calm that will not last.
The Sun with azure paints the skies,
The stream reflects each flowery spray; And, frugal of her time, she flies
To take her fill of love and play. See her, when rugged Boreas blows, Warm in some rocky cell remain; To seek for pleasure well she knows,
Would only then enhance the pain. "Descend," she cries, " thou hated shower, Deform my limpid waves to-day,
For I have chose a fairer hour
To take my fill of love and play."
You too, my Silvia, sure will own
Life's azure seasons swiftly roll:
And when our youth or health is flown,
To think of love but shocks the soul.
Could Damon but deserve thy charms,
And thou art Damon's only theme;
He'd fly as quick to Delia's arms,
As yonder halcyon skims the stream.
So dear my Lucio is to me,
So well our minds and tempers blend; That seasons may for ever flee,
And ne'er divide me from my friend ;
But let the favour'd boy forbear
To tempt with love my only fair.
O Lycon, born when every Muse,
When evey Grace benignant smil'd,
With all a parent's breast could chuse
To bless her lov'd, her only child:
"T is thine, so richly grac'd, to prove
More noble cares than cares of love.
Together we from early youth
Have trod the flowery tracks of Time, Together mus'd in search of Truth,
O'er learned sage, or bard sublime; And well thy cultur'd breast I know, What wondrous treasure it can show. Come then, resume thy charming lyre, And sing some patriot's worth sublime, Whilst I in fields of soft desire
Consume my fair and fruitless prime; Whose reed aspires but to display The flame that burns me night and day. O come! the Dryads of the woods
Shall daily sooth thy studious mind, The blue-ey'd nymphs of yonder floods
Shall meet and court thee to be kind; And Fame sits listening for thy lays, To swell her trump with Lucio's praise. Like me, the plover fondly tries
To lure the sportsman from her nest, And, fluttering on with anxious cries,
Too plainly shows her tortur'd breast: O let him, conscious of her care, Pity her pains, and learn to spare.
TO THE HONOURABLE SIR RICHARD LYTTELTON,
THE morn dispens'd a dubious light;
A sullen mist had stol'n from sight
Each pleasing vale and hill;
When Damon left his humble bowers,
To guard his flocks, to fence his flowers,
Or check his wandering rill.
Though school'd from Fortune's paths to fly,
The swain beneath each lowering sky
Would oft his fate bemoan;
That he in sylvan shades, forlorn,
Must waste his cheerless ev'n aud morn,
Nor prais'd, nor lov'd, nor known.
No friend to Fame's obstreperous noise,
Yet to the whispers of her voice,
Soft murmuring, not a foe:
The pleasures he through choice declin'd,
When gloomy fogs depress'd his mind,
It griev'd him to forgo:
Griev'd him to lurk the lakes beside,
Where coots in rushy dingles hide,
And moorcocks shun the day;
While caititi bitterns, undismay'd,
Remark the swain's familiar shade,
And scorn to quit their prey.
But see, the radiant Sun once more
The brightening face of Heaven restore,
And raise the doubtful dawn;
And, more to gild his rural sphere,
At once the brightest train appear,
That ever trod the lawn.
Amazement chill'd the shepherd's frame,
To think Bridgewater's' honour'd name
Should grace his rustic cell;
That she, on all whose motions waît
Distinction, titles, rank, and state,
Should rove where shepherds dwell.
But true it is, the generous mind,
By candour sway'd, by taste retin'd,
Will nought but vice disdain;
Nor will the breast where Fancy glows
Deem every flower a weed, that blows
Amid the desert plain.
Beseems it such, with honour crown'd,
To deal its lucid beams around,
Nor equal meed receive?—
At most such garlands from the field,
As cowslips, pinks, and pansies yield,
And rural hands can weave.
Yet strive, ye shepherds, strive to find,
And weave the fairest of the kind,
The prime of all the spring;
If haply thus yon lovely fair
May round their temples deign to wear
The trivial wreaths you bring.
O how the peaceful halcyons play'd,
Where'er the conscions iake betray'd
Athenia's placid mien;
How did the sprightlier linnets throng,
Where Paphia's charms requir`d the song,
'Mid hazel copses green!
Lo, Dartmouth on those banks reclin'd,
While busy Fancy calls to mind
The dutchess, married to sir R. Lyttelton.
The glories of his line;
Methinks my cottage rears its head,
The ruin'd walls of yonder shed,
As through enchantment, shine.
But who the nymph that guides their way?
Could ever nymph descend to stray
From Hagley's fam'd retreat?
Else, by the blooming features fair,
The faultless make, the matchless air,
'T were Cynthia's form complete.
So would some tuberose delight,
That struck the pilgrim's wondering sight
'Mid lonely deserts drear;
All as, at eve, the sovereign flower
Dispenses round its balmy power,
And crowns the fragrant year.
Ah, now no more, the shepherd cried,
Must I Ambition's charms deride,
Her subtle force disown;
No more of Fauns or Fairies dream,
While Fancy, near each crystal stream,
Shall paint these forms alone.
By low-brow'd rock, or pathless mead,
I deem'd that Splendour ne'er should lead
My dazzled eyes astray;
But who, alas! will dare contend,
If Beauty add, or Merit blend
Its more illustrious ray?"
Nor is it long-O plaintive swain!
Since Guernsey saw without disdain,
Where, hid in woodlands green,
The partner of his early days,
And once the rival of his praise,
Had stol'n thro' life unseen.
Scarce faded is the vernal flower,
Since Stamford left his honour'd bower
To smile familiar here:
O form'd by Nature to disclose
How fair that courtesy which flows
From social warmth sincere !
Nor yet have many moons decay'd,
Since Pollio sought this lonely shade,
Admir'd this rural maze :
The noblest breast that Virtue fires,
The Graces love, the Muse inspires,
Might pant for Pollio's praise.
Say Thomson here was known to rest,
For him yon vernal seat I dress'd
Ah, never to return!
In place of wit and melting strains,
And social mirth, it now remains
To weep beside his urn.
Come then, my Lælius, come once more,
And fringe the melancholy shore
With roses and with bays;
While I each wayward fate accuse,
That envied his impartial Muse
To sing your early praise.
While Philo, to whose favour'd sight,
Antiquity, with full delight,
Her inmost wealth displays;
Beneath yon ruin's moulder'd wall
Shall muse, and with his friend recall
The pomp of antient days.
2 They were school-fellows,
Here too shall Conway's name appear,
He prais'd the stream so lovely clear,
That shone the reeds among;
Yet clearness could it not disclose,
To match the rhetoric that flows
From Conway's polish'd tongue.
E'en Pitt, whose fervent periods roll
Resistless through the kindling soul
Of senates, councils, kings;
Though form'd for courts, vouchsaf'd to rove,
Inglorious, through the shepherd's grove,'
And ope his bashful springs.
But what can courts discover more,
Than these rude haunts have seen before,
Each fount and shady tree?
Have not these trees and fountains seen
The pride of courts, the winning mien
Of peerless Aylesbury?
And Grenville, she whose radiant eyes
Have mark'd by slow gradation rise
The princely piles of Stow;
Yet prais'd these unembellish'd woods,
And smil'd to see the babbling floods
Through self-worn mazes flow.
Say Dartmouth, who your banks admir'd,
Again beneath your caves retir'd,
Shall grace the pensive shade;
With all the bloom, with all the truth,
With all the sprightliness of youth,
By cool reflection sway'd!
Brave, yet humane, shall Smith appear;
Ye sailors, though his name be dear,
Think him not yours alone:
Grant him in other spheres to charm,
The shepherds' breasts though mild are warm,
And ours are all his own.
O Lyttelton! my honour'd guest,
Could I describe thy generous breast,
Thy firm, yet polish'd mind;
How public love adorns thy name,
How Fortune too conspires with Fame;
The song should please mankind.
Written towards the close of the year 1748,
TO WILLIAM LYTTELTON, ESQ.
How blithely pass'd the summer's day!
How bright was every flower!
While friends arriv'd, in circles gay,
To visit Damon's bower!
But now, with silent step, I range
Along some lonely shore;
And Damon's bower, alas the change!
Is gay with friends no more.
Away to crowds and cities borne,
In quest of joy they steer;
Whilst I, alas! am left forlorn,
To weep the parting year!
O pensive Autumn! how I grieve
Thy sorrowing face to see!
When languid suns are taking leave
Of every drooping tree.
Ah let me not, with heavy eye,
This dying scene survey
Haste, Winter, haste; usurp the sky;
Complete my bower's decay.
Ill can I bear the motley cast
Yon sickening leaves retain ;
That speak at once of pleasure past,
And bode approaching pain.
At home, unblest, I gaze around,
My distant scenes require;
Where all in murky vapours drown'd
Are hamlet, hill, and spire.
Though Thomson, sweet descriptive bard!
Inspiring Autumn sung;
Yet how should we the months regard,
That stopp'd his flowing tongue ?
Ah luckless months, of all the rest,
To whose hard share it fell!
For sure he was the gentlest breast
That ever sung so well.
And see, the swallows now disown
The roofs they lov'd before;
Each, like his tuneful genius, flown
To glad some happier shore.
The wood-nymph'eyes, with pale affright,
The sportsman's frantic deed;
While hounds and horns and yells unite
To drown the Muse's reed.
Ye fields with blighted herbage brown,
Ye skies no longer blue!
Too much we feel from Fortune's frown,
To bear these frowns from you.
Where is the mead's unsullied green ?
The Zephyr's balmy gale?
And where sweet Friendship's cordial mien,
That brighten'd every vale?
What though the vine disclose her dyes,
And boast her purple store;
Not all the vineyard's rich supplies
Can sooth our sorrows more.
He! he is gone, whose moral strain
Could wit and mirth refine;
He! he is gone, whose social vein
Surpass'd the power of wine.
Fast by the streams he deign'd to praise,
In yon sequester'd grove,
To him a votive urn I raise :
To him and friendly Love.
Yes, there, my friend! forlorn and sad,
I grave your Thomson's name;
And there, his lyre; which Fate forbad
To sound your growing fame.
There shall my plaintive song recount
Dark themes of hopeless woe;
And faster than the dropping fount,
I'll teach mine eyes to flow,
There leaves, in spite of Autumn green,
Shall shade the hallow'd ground;
And Spring will there again be seen,
To call forth flowers around.
But no kind suns will bid me share,
Once more, his social hour;
Ah Spring! thou never canst repair
This loss, to Damon's bower,
WRITTEN AT OXFORD, WHEN YOUNG.
SHALL Love alone for ever claim
An universal right to Fame,
An undisputed sway?
Or has not Music equal charms,
To fill the breast with strange alarms,
And make the world obey?
The Thracian bard, as poets tell,
Could mitigate the powers of Hell;
E'en Pluto's nicer ear:
His arts, no more than Love's, we find,
To deities or men confin'd,
Drew brutes in crowds to hear.
Whatever favourite passion reign'd,
The poet still his right maintain'd
O'er all that rang'd the plain;
The fiercer tyrants could assuage,
Or fire the timorous into rage,
Whene'er he chang'd the strain.
In milder lays the bard began:
Soft notes through every finger ran,
And echoing charm'd the place:
See! fawning lions gaze around,
And, taught to quit their savage sound,
Assume a gentler grace.
When Cymon view'd the fair-one's charms,
Her ruby lips and snowy arms,
And told her beauties o'er;
When love reform'd his awkward tone,
Aud made each clownish gesture known,
It show'd but equal power.
The bard now tries a sprightlier sound,
When all the feather'd race around
Perceive the varied strains;
The soaring lark the note pursues,
The timorous dove around him coos,
And Philomel complains.
An equal power of Love I 've seen
Incite the deer to scour the green,
And chase his barking foe.
Sometimes has Love, with greater might,
To challenge-nay-sometimes-to fight
Provok'd th' enamour'd beau.
When Sylvia treads the smiling plain,
How glows the heart of every swain,
By pleasing tumults tost!
When Handel's solemn accents roll,
Each breast is fir'd, each raptur'd soul
In sweet confusion lost.
If she her melting glauces dart,
Or he his dying airs impart,
Our spirits sink away.
Enough, enough! dear nymph, give o'er ;
And thou, great artist! urge no more
Thy unresisted sway.
Thus Love or Sound affects the mind:
But when their various powers are join'd
Fly, daring mortal, fly!
For when Selinda's charms appear,
And I her tuneful accents hear-
I burn, I faint, I die!
COMPARISON. Tis by comparison we know On every object to bestow
Its proper share of praise :
Did each alike perfection bear,
What beauty, though divinely fair,
Could admiration raise ?
Amidst the lucid bands of night,
See, Hesperus, serenely bright,
Adorns the distant skies;
But languishes amidst the blaze
Of sprightly Sol's meridian rays,—
Or Sylvia's brighter dyes.
Whene'er the nightingale complains,
I like the melancholy strains,
And praise the tuneful bird :
But vainly might she strain her throat, Vainly exalt each swelling note,
Should Sylvia's voice be heard. When, on the violet's purple bed, Supine I rest my weary head,
The fragrant pillow charms : Yet soon such languid bliss I'd fly, Would Sylvia but the loss supply, And take me to her arms. The alabaster's wondrous white, The marble's polish strikes my sight, When Sylvia is not seen: But ah! how faint that white is How rough appears the polish'd stone, Compar'd with Slyvia's mien !
The rose, that o'er the Cyprian plains, With flowers enameil'd, blooming reigns With undisputed power,
Plac'd near her cheek's celestial red, (Its purple lost, its lustre fled) Delights the sense no more.
No more my feet shall press the ground
In dance with wonted glee;
No more my little flock I'll keep,
To some dark cave I'll fly;
I've nothing now to do but weep,
To mourn my fate, and sigh.
Ah! Cynthia, thy Damon's cries
Are heard at dead of night;
But they, alas are doom'd to rise
Like smoke upon the sight.
They rise in vain, ah me! in vain
Are scatter'd in the wind;
Cynthia does not know the pain
That rankles in my mind.
If sleep perhaps my eye-lids close,
"T is but to dream of you;
A while I cease to feel my woes,
Nay, think I'm happy too.
I think I press with kisses pure,
Your lovely rosy lips;
And you're my bride, I think I'm sure,
Till gold the mountain tips.
When wak'd, aghast I look around,
And find my charmer flown;
Then bleeds afresh my galling wound,
While I am left alone.
Take pity then, O gentlest maid!
On thy poor Damon's heart:
Remember what I've often said,
'Tis you can cure my smart.
ON THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
Now in the cowslip's dewy cell
The Fairies make their bed,
They hover round the crystal well,
The turf in circles tread.
The lovely linnet now her song
Tunes sweetest in the wood;
The twittering swallow skims along
The azure liquid flood.
The morning breeze wafts Flora's kiss
In fragrance to the sense;
The happy shepherd feels the bliss,
And she takes no offence.
But not the linnet's sweetest song
That ever fill'd the wood;
Or twittering swallow that along
The azure liquid flood,
Skims swiftly, harbinger of Spring,
Or Morning's sweetest breath,
Or Flora's kiss, to me can bring
A remedy for death.
For death!-what do I say? Yes, death Must surely end my days,
If cruel Cynthia slights my faith,
And will not hear my lays.
No more with festive garlands bound,
I at the wake shall be ;
JEM MY DAWSON,
Written about the time of his execution, in the year 1745.
COME listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear;
Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor need you blush to shed a tear.
And thou, dear Kitty! peerless maid,
Do thou a pensive ear incline;
For thou canst weep at every woe;
And pity every plaint-but mine.
Young Dawson was a gallaut boy,
A brighter never trod the plain;
And well he lov'd one charming maid,
And dearly was he lov'd again.
One tender maid, she lov'd him dear,
Of gentle blood the damsel came;
And faultless was her beauteous form,
And spotless was her virgin fame.
But curse on Party's hateful strife,
That led the favour'd youth astray;
The day the rebel clans appear'd,
O had he never seen that day!
Their colours and their sash he wore,
And in the fatal dress was found;
And now he must that death endure,
Which gives the brave the keenest wound.
How pale was then his true-love's cheek,
When Jemmy's sentence reach'd her ear!
For never yet did Alpine snows
So pale, or yet so chill appear..
With faltering voice, she weeping said
"Oh Dawson, monarch of my heart;
Think not thy death shall end our loves,
For thou and I will never part.
"Yet might sweet Mercy find a place,
And bring relief to Jemmy's woes;
O George, without a prayer for thee,
My orisons should never close.
"The gracious prince that gave him life,
Would crown a never-dying flame;
And every tender babe I bore
Should learn to lisp the giver's name.
"But though he should be dragg'd in scorn
To yonder ignominious tree;
He shall not want one constant friend
To share the cruel Fates' decree."
O then her mourning-coach was call'd,
The sledge mov'd slowly on before;
Though borne in a triumphal car,
She had not lov'd her favourite more.
She follow'd him, prepar'd to view
The terrible behests of Law;
And the last scene of Jemmy's woes,
With calm and steadfast eye she saw.
Distorted was that blooming face,
Which she had fondly lov'd so long;
And stifled was that tuneful breath,
Which in her praise had sweetly sung.
And sever'd was that beauteous neck,
Round which her arms had fondly clos'd;
And mangled was that beauteous breast,
On which her love-sick head repos'd:
And ravish'd was that constant heart,
She did to every heart prefer;
For though it could its king forget,
'T was true and loyal still to her.
Amid those unrelenting flames,
She bore this constant heart to see;
But when 't was moulder'd into dust,
"Yet, yet," she cried-" I follow thee.
"My death, my death alone can show
The pure, the lasting love I bore;
Accept, O Heaven! of woes like ours,
And let us, let us weep no more."
The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retir'd;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expir'd.
Though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due ;
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, yet so true.
A PASTORAL BALLAD,
IN FOUR PARTS. 1743.
Arbusta humilesque myricæ. VIRG.
YE shepherds so cheerful and gay,
Whose flocks never carelessly roam;
Should Corydon's happen to stray,
Oh! call the poor wanderers home.
Allow me to muse and to sigh,
Nor talk of the change that ye find;
None once was so watchful as I;
I have left my dear Phillis behind. Now I know what it is, to have strove With the torture of doubt and desire; What it is to admire and to love,
And to leave her we love and admire. Ah, lead forth my flock in the morn,
And the damps of each evening repel; Alas! I am faint and forlorn :
-I have bade my dear Phillis farewell.
Since Phillis vouchsaf'd me a look,
I never once dreamt of my vine:
May I lose both my pipe and my crook,
If I knew of a kid that was mine!
I priz'd every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleas'd me before;
But now they are past, and I sigh;
And I grieve that I priz'd them no more.
But why do I languish in vain ;
Why wander thus pensively here?
Oh! why did I come from the plain,
Where I fed on the smiles of my dear?
They tell me, my favourite maid,
The pride of that valley, is flown; Alas! where with her I have stray'd, I could wander with pleasure, alone. When forc'd the fair nymph to forgo, What anguish I felt at my heart! Yet I thought--but it might not be so'Twas with pain that she saw me depart. She gaz'd, as I slowly withdrew :
My path I could hardly discern;
So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return.
The pilgrim that journeys all day
To visit some far distant shrine,
If he bear but a relique away,
Is happy, nor heard to repine.
Thus widely remov'd from the fair,
Where my vows, my devotion, I owe,
Soft Hope is the relique I bear,
And my solace wherever I go.
My banks they are furnish'd with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottos are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white over with sheep.
I seldom have met with a loss,
Such health do my fountains bestow;
My fountains all border'd with moss,
Where the hare-bells and violets grow.
Not a pine in my grove is there seen,
But with tendrils of woodbine is bound:
Not a beech's more beautiful green,
But a sweet-brier entwines it around.
Not my fields, in the prime of the year,
More charms than my cattle unfold;
Not a brook that is limpid and clear,
But it glitters with fishes of gold.
One would think she might like to retire
To the bower I have labour'd to rear;
Not a shrub that I heard her admire,
But I hasted and planted it there.