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Scarce had he spoke, when through the lawn below On all her days let health and peace attend;
Alone he saw the beauteous Delia go;
At once transported, he forgot his vow,
(Such perjuries the laughing gods allow!)
Down the steep hills with ardent haste he flew;
He found her kind, and soon believ'd her true.
COBHAM, to thee this rural lay I bring,
Whose guiding judgment gives me skill to sing :
Though far unequal to those polish'd strains,
With which thy Congreve charm'd the listening
Yet shall its music please thy partial ear,
And soothe thy breast with thoughts that once were dear;
Recall those years which Time has thrown behind,
When smiling Love with Honor shar'd thy mind:
When all thy glorious days of prosperous fight
Delighted less than one successful night.
The sweet remembrance shall thy youth restore,
Fancy again shall run past pleasures o'er;
And, while in Stowe's enchanting walks you stray,
This theme may help to cheat the summer's day.
Beneath the covert of a myrtle wood,
To Venus rais'd, a rustic altar stood.
To Venus and to Hymen, there combin'd,
In friendly league to favor human-kind.
With wanton Cupids, in that happy shade,
The gentle Virtues and mild Wisdom play'd.
Nor there in sprightly Pleasure's genial train,
Lurk'd sick Disgust, or late-repenting Pain,
Nor Force, nor Interest, join'd unwilling hands,
But Love consenting tied the blissful bands.
Thither, with glad devotion, Damon came,
To thank the powers who bless'd his faithful flame:
Two milk-white doves he on their altar laid,
And thus to both his grateful homage paid:
"Hail, bounteous god! before whose hallow'd shrine
My Delia vow'd to be for ever mine,
While, glowing in her cheeks, with tender love,
Sweet virgin-modesty reluctant strove!
And hail to thee, fair queen of young desires!
Long shall my heart preserve thy pleasing fires,
Since Delia now can all its warmth return,
As fondly languish, and as fiercely burn.
"O the dear bloom of last propitious night!
O shade more charming than the fairest light!
Then in my arms I clasp'd the melting maid,
Then all my pains one moment overpaid;
Then first the sweet excess of bliss I prov'd,
Which none can taste but who like me have lov'd.
Thou too, bright goddess, once, in Ida's grove,
Didst not disdain to meet a shepherd's love;
With him, while frisking lambs around you play'd,
Conceal'd you sported in the secret shade:
Scarce could Anchises' raptures equal mine,
And Delia's beauties only yield to thine,
May she ne'er want, nor ever lose, a friend! May some new pleasure every hour employ: But let her Damon be her highest joy!
"With thee, my love, for ever will I stay, All night caress thee, and admire all day; In the same field our mingled flocks we'll feed, To the same spring our thirsty heifers lead, Together will we share the harvest toils, Together press the vine's autumnal spoils. Delightful state, where Peace and Love combine, To bid our tranquil days unclouded shine! Here limpid fountains roll through flowery meads; Here rising forests lift their verdant heads; Here let me wear my careless life away, And in thy arms insensibly decay.
"When late old age our heads shall silver o'er And our slow pulses dance with joy no more; When Time no longer will thy beauties spare, And only Damon's eye shall think thee fair; Then may the gentle hand of welcome Death, At one soft stroke, deprive us both of breath! May we beneath one common stone be laid, And the same cypress both our ashes shade! Perhaps some friendly Muse, in tender verse Shall deign our faithful passion to rehearse And future ages, with just envy mov'd, Be told how Damon and his Delia lov'd."
TO THE REVEREND DR. AYSCOUGH,
SAY, dearest friend, how roll thy hours away?
What pleasing study cheats the tedious day?
Dost thou the sacred volumes oft explore
Of wise Antiquity's immortal lore,
Where virtue, by the charms of wit refin'd,
At once exalts and polishes the mind?
How different from our modern guilty art,
Which pleases only to corrupt the heart;
Whose curst refinements odious vice adorn,
And teach to honor what we ought to scorn!
Dost thou in sage historians joy to see
How Roman greatness rose with liberty:
How the same hands that tyrants durst control
Their empire stretch'd from Atlas to the Pole;
Till wealth and conquest into slaves refin'd
The proud luxurious masters of mankind?
Dost thou in letter'd Greece each charm admire,
Each grace, each virtue, Freedom could inspire;
Yet in her troubled state see all the woes,
And all the crimes, that giddy faction knows;
Till, rent by parties, by corruption sold,
Or weakly careless, or too rashly bold,
She sunk beneath a mitigated doom,
The slave and tutoress of protecting Rome?
Does calm Philosophy her aid impart,
To guide the passions, and to mend the heart?
"What are ye now, my once most valued joys? Taught by her precepts, hast thou learnt the end Insipid trifles all, and childish toys-Friendship itself ne'er knew a charm like this, Nor Colin's talk could please like Delia's kiss. "Ye Muses, skill'd in every winning art, Teach me more deeply to engage her heart; Ye nymphs, to her your freshest roses bring, And crown her with the pride of all the Spring:
To which alone the wise their studies bend;
For which alone by Nature were design'd
The powers of thought-to benefit mankind?
Not, like a cloister'd drone, to read and doze,
In undeserving, undeserv'd, repose;
But reason's influence to diffuse; to clear
Th' enlighten'd world of every gloomy fear;
Dispel the mists of error, and unbind
Those pedant chains that clog the free-born mind.
Happy who thus his leisure can employ!
He knows the purest hours of tranquil joy;
Nor vext with pangs that busier bosoms tear,
Nor lost to social virtue's pleasing care;
Safe in the port, yet laboring to sustain
Those who still float on the tempestuous main.
So Locke the days of studious quiet spent ;
So Boyle in wisdom found divine content;
So Cambray, worthy of a happier doom,
The virtuous slave of Louis and of Rome.
Good Wor'ster* thus supports his drooping age,
Far from court-flattery, far from party-rage;
He, who in youth a tyrant's frown defied,
Firm and intrepid on his country's side,
Where ev'n mute walls are taught to flatter state,
And painted triumphs style Ambition GREAT.*
With more delight those pleasing shades I view
Where Condé from an envious court withdrew t
Where, sick of glory, faction, power, and pride,
(Sure judge how empty all, who all had tried!)
Beneath his palms the weary chief repos'd,
And life's great scene in quiet virtue clos'd.
With shame that other fam'd retreat I see,
Adorn'd by art, disgrac'd by luxury:‡
Where Orleans wasted every vacant hour,
In the wild riot of unbounded power;
Where feverish debauch and impious love
Stain'd the mad table and the guilty grove.
With these amusements is thy friend detain'd,
Pleas'd and instructed in a foreign land;
Her boldest champion then, and now her mildest Yet oft a tender wish recalls my mind
O generous warmth! O sanctity divine!
To emulate his worth, my friend, be thine:
Learn from his life the duties of the gown;
Learn, not to flatter, nor insult the crown;
Nor, basely servile, court the guilty great,
Nor raise the church a rival to the state:
To error mild, to vice alone severe,
Seek not to spread the law of love by fear.
The priest who plagues the world can never mend:
No foe to man was e'er to God a friend.
Let reason and let virtue faith maintain;
All force but theirs is impious, weak, and vain.
Me other cares in other climes engage,
Cares that become my birth, and suit my age;
In various knowledge to improve my youth,
And conquer prejudice, worst foe to truth;
By foreign arts domestic faults to mend,
Enlarge my notions, and my views extend;
The useful science of the world to know,
Which books can never teach, or pedants show.
A nation here I pity and admire,
Whom noblest sentiments of glory fire,
Yet taught, by custom's force and bigot fear,
To serve with pride, and boast the yoke they bear:
Whose nobles, born to cringe and to command,
(In courts a mean, in camps a generous band,)
From each low tool of power, content receive
Those laws, their dreaded arms to Europe give.
Whose people (vain in want, in bondage blest;
Though plunder'd, gay; industrious, though opprest)
With happy follies rise above their fate,
The jest and envy of each wiser state.
Yet here the Muses deign'd awhile to sport
In the short sun-shine of a favoring court;
Here Boileau, strong in sense and sharp in wit,
Who, from the ancients, like the ancients writ,
Permission gain'd inferior vice to blame,
By flattering incense to his master's fame.
Here Moliere, first of comic wits, excell'd
Whate'er Athenian theatres beheld;
By keen, yet decent, satire skill'd to please,
With morals mirth uniting, strength with ease.
Now, charm'd, I hear the bold Corneille inspire
Heroic thoughts, with Shakspeare's force and fire!
Now sweet Racine, with milder influence, move
The soften'd heart to pity and to love.
With mingled pain and pleasure, I survey
The pompous works of arbitrary sway;
Proud palaces, that drain'd the subjects' store,
Rais'd on the ruins of th' opprest and poor;
From present joys to dearer left behind.
O native isle, fair Freedom's happiest seat!
At thought of thee, my bounding pulses beat;
At thought of thee, my heart impatient burns,
And all my country on my soul returns.
When shall I see thy fields, whose plenteous grain
No power can ravish from th' industrious swain?
When kiss, with pious love, the sacred earth
That gave a Burleigh or a Russell birth?
When, in the shade of laws, that long have stood,
Propt by their care, or strengthen'd by their blood
Of fearless independence wisely vain,
The proudest slave of Bourbon's race disdain?
Yet, oh! what doubt, what sad presaging voice,
Whispers within, and bids me not rejoice;
Bids me contemplate every state around,
From sultry Spain to Norway's icy bound;
Bids their lost rights, their ruin'd glory see:
And tells me, "These, like England, once were free!
THE heavy hours are almost past
That part my love and me:
My longing eyes may hope at last
Their only wish to see.
But how, my Delia, will you meet The man you've lost so long? Will love in all your pulses beat, And tremble on your tongue?
Will you in every look declare
Your heart is still the same; And heal each idly-anxious care Our fears in absence frame?
Thus, Delia, thus I paint the scene, When shortly we shall meet; And try what yet remains between Of loitering time to cheat.
But, if the dream that soothes my mind
Shall false and groundless prove;
If I am doom'd at length to find
You have forgot to love:
All I of Venus ask, is this;
No more to let us join :
But grant me here the flattering bliss, To die, and think you mine.
SAY, Myra, why is gentle love
A stranger to that mind,
Which pity and esteem can move, Which can be just and kind?
Is it, because you fear to share
The ills that love molest;
The jealous doubt, the tender care,
That rack the amorous breast?
Alas! by some degree of woe
We every bliss must gain:
The heart can ne'er a transport know, That never feels a pain.
THE FIRST LADY LYTTELTON.
Ipse cavà solans ægrum testudine amorem,
Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore secum,
Te veniente die, te decedente canebat.
AT length escap'd from every human eye,
From every duty, every care,
That in my mournful thoughts might claim a share,
Or force my tears their flowing stream to dry;
Beneath the gloom of this embowering shade,
This lone retreat, for tender sorrow made,
I now may give my burden'd heart relief,
And pour forth all my stores of grief;
Of grief surpassing every other woe,
Far as the purest bliss, the happiest love
Can on th' ennobled mind bestow,
Exceeds the vulgar joys that move
Our gross desires, inelegant and low.
Ye tufted groves, ye gently-falling rills,
Ye high o'ershadowing hills,
Ye lawns gay-smiling with eternal green,
Oft have you my Lucy seen!
But never shall you now behold her more:
Nor will she now with fond delight
And taste refin'd your rural charms explore.
Clos'd are those beauteous eyes in endless night,
Those beauteous eyes where beaming us'd to shine
Reason's pure light and Virtue's spark divine.
Oft would the Dryads of these woods rejoice
To hear her heavenly voice;
For her despising, when she deign'd to sing,
The sweetest songsters of the spring:
The woodlark and the linnet pleas'd no more;
The nightingale was mute,
And every shepherd's flute
Was cast in silent scorn away,
While all attended to her sweeter lay.
Ye larks and linnets, now resume your song,
And thou, melodious Philomel,
Again thy plaintive story tell;
For Death has stopt that tuneful tongue,
Whose music could alone your warbling notes excel
O shades of Hagley, where is now your boast?
Your bright inhabitant is lost.
You she preferr'd to all the gay resorts
Where female vanity might wish to shine,
The pomp of cities, and the pride of courts.
Her modest beauties shunn'd the public eye:
To your sequester'd dales
And flower-embroider'd vales
From an admiring world she chose to fly :
With Nature there retir'd, and Nature's God,
The silent paths of wisdom trod,
And banish'd every passion from her breast,
But those, the gentlest and the best,
Whose holy flames with energy divine
The virtuous heart enliven and improve,
The conjugal and the maternal love.
Sweet babes, who, like the little playful fawns,
Were wont to trip along these verdant lawns
By your delighted mother's side,
Who now your infant steps shall guide?
Ah! where is now the hand whose tender care To every virtue would have form'd your youth, And strew'd with flowers the thorny ways of truth?
O loss beyond repair!
O wretched father! left alone,
To weep their dire misfortune, and thy own!
How shall thy weaken'd mind, oppress'd with woe,
And drooping o'er thy Lucy's grave,
Perform the duties that you doubly owe!
Now she, alas! is gone,
From folly and from vice their helpless age to save?
Where were ye, Muses, when relentless Fate
From these fond arms your fair disciple tore;
From these fond arms, that vainly strove
With hapless ineffectual love
To guard her bosom from the mortal blow?
Could not your favoring power, Aonian
Could not, alas! your power prolong her date, For whom so oft in these inspiring shades, Or under Camden's moss-clad mountains hoar, You open'd all your sacred store, Whate'er your ancient sages taught, Your ancient bards sublimely thought, And bade her raptur'd breast with all your spirit glow?
Nor then did Pindus or Castalia's plain,
Or Aganippe's fount your steps detain,
Nor in the Thespian valleys did you play;
Nor then on Mincio's bank*
Beset with osiers dank,
Nor where Clitumnust rolls his gentle stream,
Nor where through hanging woods,
Steep Aniot pours his floods,
Nor yet where Meles or Ilissus || stray.
Ill does it now beseem,
That, of your guardian care bereft,
To dire disease and death your darling should be left.
Now what avails it that in early bloom, When light fantastic toys
Are all her sex's joys,
With you she search'd the wit of Greece and
And all that in her latter days
To emulate her ancient praise
Italia's happy genius could produce;
Or what the Gallic fire
Bright sparkling could inspire,
By all the Graces temper'd and refin'd;
Or what in Britain's isle,
Most favor'd with your smile,
The powers of Reason and of Fancy join'd
To full perfection have conspir'd to raise ?
Ah! what is now the use
Of all these treasures that enrich'd her mind, To black Oblivion's gloom for ever now consign'd.
* The Mincio runs by Mantua, the birth place of Virgil. †The Clitumnus is a river of Umbria, the residence of Propertius.
The Anio runs through Tibur or Tivoli, where Horace had a villa.
The Meles is a river of Ionia, from whence Homer, supposed to be born on its banks, is called Melisigenes. The Ilissus is a river at Athens.
At least, ye Nine, her spotless name
"Tis yours from Death to save,
And in the temple of immortal Fame
With golden characters her worth engrave.
Come then, ye virgin-sisters, come,
And strew with choicest flowers her hallow'd tomb
But foremost thou, in sable vestment clad,
With accents sweet and sad,
Thou, plaintive Muse, whom o'er his Laura's urn
Unhappy Petrarch call'd to mourn;
O come, and to this fairer Laura pay
A more impassion'd tear, a more pathetic lay.
Tell how each beauty of her mind and face
Was brighten'd by some sweet peculiar grace!
How eloquent in every look
Through her expressive eyes her soul distinctly spoke!
Tell how her manners, by the world refin'd,
Left all the taint of modish vice behind,
And made each charm of polish'd courts agree
With candid Truth's simplicity,
And uncorrupted Innocence!
Tell how to more than manly sense
She join'd the softening influence
Of more than female tenderness:
How, in the thoughtless days of wealth and joy,
Which oft the care of others' good destroy,
Her kindly-melting heart,
To every want and every woe,
To guilt itself when in distress,
The balm of pity would impart,
And all relief that bounty could bestow!
Ev'n for the kid or lamb that pour'd its life
Beneath the bloody knife,
Her gentle tears would fall,
Tears from sweet Virtue's source, benevolent to all.
Not only good and kind,
But strong and elevated was her mind :
A spirit that with noble pride
Could look superior down
On Fortune's smile or frown;
That could without regret or pain
To Virtue's lowest duty sacrifice
Or Interest or Ambition's highest prize;
That, injur'd or offended, never tried
Its dignity by vengeance to maintain,
But by magnanimous disdain.
A wit that, temperately bright,
With inoffensive light
All pleasing shone; nor ever past
The decent bounds that Wisdom's sober hand, And sweet Benevolence's mild command, And bashful Modesty, before it cast. A prudence undeceiving, undeceiv'd, That nor too little nor too much believ'd, That scorn'd unjust Suspicion's coward fear, And without weakness knew to be sincere. Such Lucy was, when, in her fairest days, Amidst th' acclaim of universal praise, In life's and glory's freshest bloom, Death came remorseless on, and sunk her to the tomb
So, where the silent streams of Liris glide,
In the soft bosom of Campania's vale,
When now the wintry tempests all are fled,
And genial Summer breathes her gentle gale,
The verdant orange lifts its beauteous head:
From every branch the balmy flowerets rise
On every bough the golden fruits are seen ·
With odors sweet it fills the smiling skies,
The wood-nymphs tend, and th' Idalian queen.
But, in the midst of all its blooming pride,
A sudden blast from Apenninus blows,
Cold with perpetual snows:
The tender blighted plant shrinks up its leaves, and dies.
Arise, O Petrarch, from th' Elysian bowers,
With never-fading myrtles twin'd,
And fragrant with ambrosial flowers,
Where to thy Laura thou again art join'd;
Arise, and hither bring the silver lyre,
Tun'd by thy skilful hand,
To the soft notes of elegant desire,
With which o'er many a land
Was spread the fame of thy disastrous love;
To me resign the vocal shell,
And teach my sorrows to relate
Their melancholy tale so well,
As may ev'n things inanimate,
Rough mountain oaks, and desert rocks, to pity move.
What were, alas! thy woes compar'd to mine? To thee thy mistress in the blissful band
Of Hymen never gave her hand; The joys of wedded love were never thine: In thy domestic care
She never bore a share,
Nor with endearing art
Would heal thy wounded heart
Of every secret grief that fester'd there:
Nor did her fond affection on the bed
Support me, every friend; Your kind assistance lend,
To bear the weight of this oppressive woe. Alas! each friend of mine,
My dear departed love, so much was thine, That none has any comfort to bestow.
My books, the best relief
In every other grief,
Are now with your idea sadden'd all: Each favorite author we together read My tortur'd memory wounds, and speaks of Lucy dead.
We were the happiest pair of human-kind :
The rolling year its varying course perform'd
And back return'd again;
Another and another smiling came,
And saw our happiness unchang'd remain :
Still in her golden chain
Harmonious Concord did our wishes bind:
Our studies, pleasures, taste, the same.
That all this pleasing fabric Love had rais'd Of rare felicity,
On which ev'n wanton Vice with envy gaz'd, And every scheme of bliss our hearts had form'd, With soothing hope, for many a future day,
In one sad moment broke!—
Yet, O my soul, thy rising murmurs stay;
Nor dare the all-wise Disposer to arraign,
Or against his supreme decree
With impious grief complain.
That all thy full-blown joys at once should fade,
Of sickness watch thee, and thy languid head Was his most righteous will-and be that will