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Attentive truth and nature to descry,
And pierce each scene with philosophic eye,
To thee were solemn toys, or empty show,
The robes of pleasure, and the veils of woe:
All aid the farce, and all thy mirth maintain,
Whose joys are causeless, or whose griefs are vain.
Such was the scorn that fill'd the sage's mind,
Renew'd at ev'ry glance on human-kind;
How just that scorn ere yet thy voice declare,
Search ev'ry state, and canvass ev'ry pray'r.
Unnumber'd suppliants crowd Preferment's gate,
Athirst for wealth, and burning to be great;
Delusive Fortune hears th' incessant call,
They mount, they shine, evaporate, and fall.
On ev'ry stage the foes of peace attend,
Hate dogs their flight, and insult mocks their end.
Love ends with hope, the sinking statesman's door
Pours in the morning worshipper no more;
For growing names the weekly scribbler lies,
To growing wealth the dedicator flies;
From ev'ry room descends the painted face,
That hung the bright palladium of the place;
And, smok'd in kitchens, or in auctions sold,
To better features yields the frame of gold;
For now no more we trace in ev'ry line
Heroic worth, benevolence divine:
The form distorted justifies the fall,
And detestation rids th' indignant wall.
But will not Britain hear the last appeal,
Sign her foes' doom, or guard her fav'rites' zeal?
Through Freedom's sons no more remonstrance
Degrading nobles and controlling kings;
Our supple tribes repress their patriot throats,
And ask no questions but the price of votes ;
With weekly libels and septennial ale,
Their wish is full to riot and to rail.
Nor deem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The glittering eminence exempt from foes;
See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despis'd or aw'd,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seize on Laud.
From meaner minds, though smaller fines content,
To him the church, the realm, their pow'rs con- The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent:
Mark'd out by dang'rous parts, he meets the shock,
And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
In full-blown dignity, see Wolsey stand, Law in his voice, and fortune in his hand:
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd Hyde
By kings protected, and to kings allied?
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign.
When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Resistless burns the fever of renown,
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown:
O'er Bodley's dome his future labors spread,
And Bacon's mansion* trembles o'er his head.
Are these thy views? Proceed, illustrious youth,
And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth!
Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat
Till captive Science yields her last retreat;
Should reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
And pour on misty doubt resistless day;
Should no false kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright;
Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain,
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
Should no disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy's phantoms haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of man revers'd for thee:
Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause awhile from letters to be wise;
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
See nations, slowly wise and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat's life, and Galileo's end.
Through him the rays of regal bounty shine; Turn'd by his nod the stream of honor flows, His smile alone security bestows:
Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r,
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
And rights submitted left him none to seize :
At length his sov'reign frowns-the train of state
Mark the keen glance, and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns, he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly;
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried army, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies oppress'd,
He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou whose thoughts at humble peace repine,
Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be thine?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent?
For, why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
On weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
Why but to sink beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulfs below.
What gave great Villiers to th' assassin's knife, And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep.
The festal blazes, the triumphal show,
The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe,
The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale,
With force resistless o'er the brave prevail.
Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl'd,
For such the steady Roman shook the world;
For such in distant lands the Britons shine,
And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine;
This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm
Till fame supplies the universal charm.
Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game,
Where wasted nations raise a single name ;
And mortgag'd states their grandsires' wreaths regret
From age to age in everlasting debt;
Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right convey
To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
On what foundation stands the warrior's pride,
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide;
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
No dangers fright him, and no labors tire,
* There is a tradition, that the study of Friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a man greater than Bacon shall pass under it. To prevent so shocking an accident, it was pulled down many years
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain,
Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain:
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield,
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field;
Behold surrounding kings their pow'rs combine,
And one capitulate, and one resign;
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain;
"Think nothing gain'd," he cries, till nought
In vain their gifts the bounteous seasons pour,
The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r;
With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
He views, and wonders that they please no more.
Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless wines,
And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns.
Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain,
Diffuse the tuneful lenitives of pain:
Till rude resistance lops the spreading god;
The daring Greeks deride the martial show,
And heap their valleys with the gaudy foe;
Th' insulted sea with humbler thought he gains,
A single skiff to speed his flight remains;
Th' encumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast
Through purple billows and a floating host.
The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour,
Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean pow'r,
With unexpected legions bursts away,
And sees defenceless realms receive his sway:
Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful
The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;
From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze
Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise;
The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,
With all the sons of ravage crowd the war;
The baffled prince, in honor's flatt'ring bloom
Of hasty greatness, finds the fatal doom;
His foes' derision, and his subjects' blame,
And steals to death from anguish and from shanie.
"Enlarge my life with multitude of days!"
In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays:
Hides from himself its state, and shuns to know,
That life protracted is protracted woe.
Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the passages of joy :
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear
Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus
On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And Winter barricades the realms of Frost;
He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay;—
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands;
Condemn'd a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale, He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
All times their scenes of pompous woes afford,
From Persia's tyrant to Bavaria's lord.
In gay hostility and barb'rous pride,
With half mankind embattled at his side,
Great Xerxes comes to seize the certain prey,
And starves exhausted regions in his way;
Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o'er,
Till counted myriads soothe his pride no more;
Fresh praise is tried till madness fires his mind,
The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind;
New pow'rs are claim'd, new pow'rs are still be-
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers;
The gen'ral fav'rite as the gen'ral friend :
Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings,
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns.
Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear;
Year chases year, decay pursues decay,
Still drops some joy from with'ring life away;
New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage,
Superfluous lags the vet'ran on the stage,
Till pitying Nature signs the last release,
And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend,
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend;
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave, or positively wrong.
The still returning tale, and ling'ring jest,
Perplex the fawning niece, and pamper'd guest,
While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear:
The watchful guests still hint the last offence;
The daughter's petulance, the son's expense,
Improve his heady rage with treach'rous skill,
And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade ;
But unextinguish'd av'rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
But few there are whom hours like these await
Who set unclouded in the gulfs of Fate.
From Lydia's monarch should the search descend,
By Solon caution'd to regard his end,
In life's last scene what prodigies surprise,
Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise!
From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage flow
And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show.
The teeming mother, anxious for her race,
Begs for each birth the fortune of a face;
Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring;
And Sedley curs'd the form that pleas'd a king.
Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise;
Whom joys with soft varieties invite,
By day the frolic, and the dance by night;
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
And ask the latest fashion of the heart;
What care, what rules, your heedless charms shall Vice always found a sympathetic friend;
Each nymph your rival, and each youth your slave?
Against your fame with fondness hate combines,
The rival batters, and the lover mines.
With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls;
Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp'ry rein,
And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain.
In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
The harmless freedom, and the private friend.
The guardians yield, by force superior plied:
To Int'rest, Prudence; and to Flatt'ry, Pride.
Here Beauty falls betray'd, despis'd, distress'd,
And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects find?
Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the happiness she does not find.
Then, crush'd by rules, and weaken'd as refin'd,
For years the pow'r of Tragedy declin'd;
From bard to bard the frigid caution crept,
Till Declamation roar'd whilst Passion slept;
Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread,
Philosophy remain'd, though Nature fled.
But forc'd, at length, her ancient reign to quit,
She saw great Faustus lay the ghost of Wit;
Exulting Folly hail'd the joyful day,
And Pantomime and Song confirm'd her sway.
But who the coming changes can presage,
And mark the future periods of the stage?
Perhaps, if skill could distant times explore,
New Behns, new Durfeys, yet remain in store;
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Inquirer, cease; petitions yet remain
Perhaps (for who can guess th' effects of chance?)
Here Hunt may box, or Mahomet* may dance.
Which Heav'n may hear, nor deem religion vain. Perhaps where Lear has rav'd, and Hamlet died,
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
On flying cars new sorcerers may ride:
But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice:
Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray'r;
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure, whate'er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet, when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervors for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat :
These goods for man the laws of Heav'n ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to
Hard is his lot that, here by Fortune plac'd,
Must watch the wild vicissitudes of taste;
With every meteor of caprice must play,
And chase the new-blown bubbles of the day.
Ah! let not Censure term our fate our choice,
The stage but echoes back the public voice;
The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give,
For we that live to please, must please to live.
SPOKEN BY MR. GARRICK, AT THE OPENING OF THE
THEATRE-ROYAL, DRURY-LANE, 1747.
WHEN Learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes
First rear'd the stage, immortal Shakspeare rose;
Each change of many-color'd life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toil'd after him in vain.
His pow'rful strokes presiding Truth impress'd,
And unresisted Passion storm'd the breast.
Then Jonson came, instructed from the school,
To please in method, and invent by rule;
His studious patience and laborious art,
By regular approach assail'd the heart:
Cold Approbation gave the ling'ring bays,
For those who durst not censure, scarce could
A mortal born, he met the gen'ral doom,
But left, like Egypt's kings, a lasting tomb.
The wits of Charles found easier ways to fame,
Nor wish'd for Jonson's art, or Shakspeare's flame.
Themselves they studied, as they felt they writ;
Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.
They pleas'd their age, and did not aim to mend.
Yet bards like these aspir'd to lasting praise,
And proudly hop'd to pimp in future days.
Their cause was gen'ral, their supports were strong,
Their slaves were willing, and their reign was long:
Till Shame regain'd the post that Sense betray'd,
And Virtue call'd Oblivion to her aid.
Then prompt no more the follies you decry,
As tyrants doom their tools of guilt to die;
'Tis yours, this night, to bid the reign commence
Of rescued Nature and reviving Sense;
To chase the charms of sound, the pomp of show
For useful mirth and salutary woe;
Bid scenic Virtue form the rising age,
And Truth diffuse her radiance from the stage.
DEATH OF MR. ROBERT LEVET,
A PRACTISER IN PHYSIC.
CONDEMN'D to Hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.
Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend,
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend.
Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind;
Nor, letter'd Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefin'd.
* Hunt, a famous boxer on the stage; Mahomet, a rope. dancer, who had exhibited at Covent Garden theatre tho winter before, said to be a Turk.
superior merit. Its topics are judiciously chosen from all those which can add grace or beauty to a difficult subject; and as he was naturally gifted with a musical ear, his lines are scarcely ever harsh.
JOHN ARMSTRONG, a physician and poet, was born about 1709 at Castleton in Roxburghshire, where his father was the parish minister. He was brought up to the medical profession, which he studied at the university of Edinburgh, where he In 1760 Dr. Armstrong had interest enough to took his degrees. He settled in London in the double obtain the appointment of physician to the army in capacity of physician and man of letters, and he Germany, which he retained till its return. He then rendered himself known by writings in each. In resumed his practice in London; but his habits and 1744 his capital work, the didactic poem entitled manners opposed an insurmountable bar against "The Art of preserving Health," made its appear-popular success. He possessed undoubted abilities, ance, and raised his literary reputation to a height but a morbid sensibility preyed on his temper, and which his subsequent publications scarcely sustained. his intellectual efforts were damped by a languid It has therefore been selected for this work; and it listlessness. He died in September, 1779, leaving may be affirmed, that of the class to which it be- considerable savings from a very moderate income. longs, scarcely any English performance can claim]
ART OF PRESERVING HEALTH.
DAUGHTER of Pæon, queen of every joy,
Hygeia;* whose indulgent smile sustains
The various race luxuriant Nature pours,
And on th' immortal essences bestows
Immortal youth; auspicious, O descend!
Thou cheerful guardian of the rolling year,
Whether thou wanton'st on the western gale
Or shak'st the rigid pinions of the North,
Diffusest life and vigor through the tracts
Of air, through earth, and ocean's deep domain.
When through the blue serenity of Heaven
Thy power approaches, all the wasteful host
Of Pain and Sickness, squalid and deform'd,
Confounded sink into the lothesome gloom,
Where in deep Erebus involv'd the Fiends
Grow more profane. Whatever shapes of death,
Shook from the hideous chambers of the globe,
Swarm through the shuddering air: whatever plagues
Or meagre famine breeds, or with slow wings
Rise from the putrid wat'ry element,
'The damp waste forest, motionless and rank,
That smothers earth, and all the breathless winds,
Or the vile carnage of th' inhuman field;
Whatever baneful breathes the rotten South;
Whatever ills th' extremes or sudden change
Of cold and hot, or moist and dry, produce;
* Hygeia, the goddess of health, was, according to the genealogy of the heathen deities, the daughter of Esculapius; who, as well as Apollo, was distinguished by the name of Pæon.
They fly thy pure effulgence: they and all
The secret poisons of avenging Heaven,
And all the pale tribes halting in the train
Of Vice and heedless Pleasure: or if aught
The comet's glare amid the burning sky,
Mournful eclipse, or planets ill combin'd,
Portend disastrous to the vital world;
Thy salutary power averts their rage,
Averts the general bane: and but for thee
Nature would sicken, nature soon would die.
Without thy cheerful active energy
No rapture swells the breast, no poet sings,
No more the maids of Helicon delight.
Come then with me, O goddess, heav'nly gay'
Begin the song; and let it sweetly flow,
And let it wisely teach thy wholesome laws :
"How best the fickle fabric to support
Of mortal man; in healthful body how
A healthful mind the longest to maintain."
"Tis hard, in such a strife of rules, to choose
The best, and those of most extensive use;
Harder in clear and animated song
Dry philosophic precepts to convey.
Yet with thy aid the secret wilds I trace
Of Nature, and with daring steps proceed
Through paths the Muses never trod before.
Nor should I wander doubtful of my way,
Had I the lights of that sagacious mind
Which taught to check the pestilential fire,
And quell the deadly Python of the Nile.
O thou belov'd by all the graceful arts,
Thou long the fav'rite of the healing powers,
Indulge, O Mead! a well-design'd essay,
Howe'er imperfect: and permit that I
My little knowledge with my country share,
Till you the rich Asclepian stores unlock,
And with new graces dignify the theme.