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IN THE MANNER OF SPIXSER.
Yet all in vain. No sacrifice recalls
“ Certes," quoth I, “ the critics are the cause The parted gbost from Pluto's gloomy walls. Of this and many other mischiefs more; Too long, alas! bas lawless fury ruļd,
Who tie the Muses to such rigid laws, To reason deaf, by no reflection cool'd :
That all their songs are frivolous and poor. While I unhappy, by its dictates sway'd,
They cannot now, as oft they did before, My guardian murder'd, and the host betray'd. Ere pow'rful prejudice bad clipt their wings, No victim, therefore, to my rage I'll pay;
Nature's domain with boundless flight explore, Nor ever follow as it points the way.”
And traffic freely in her precious things : The son of Tydeus thus; and to his tent, Each bard now fears the rod, and trembles while From insults safe, the royal matron sent.
he sings. Himself again the course of conquest led
“Though Shakespear,still disdaining narrow rules, Till Thebes was overthrown, and Creon bled.
His bosom fill'd with Nature's sacred fire, Bruke all the cobweb limits fix'd by fools,
And left the world to blame him and admire ;
Yet his reward few mortals would desire; A DREAM.
For, of his learned toil, the only meed
That ever I could find he did acquire,
Is that our dull, degenerate, age of lead, Ost er’ning, as by pleasant Forth I stray'd, Says that he wrote by chance, and that he scarce In pensive mood, and meditated still
could read.” On poets' learned toil, with scorn repaid
“ I ween," quoth he, “that poets are to blame By envy's bitter spite, and want of skill;
When they submit to critics' tyranny : A cave I found, which open'd in a hill.
For learned wights there is no greater shame, The floor was sand, with various shells yblended,
Than blindly with their dictates to comply. Through which, in slow meanders, crept a rill; be roof, by Nature's cunning slight suspended : Whose wit did e'er his airy tract define ;
Who ever taught the eagle how to fly, Thither my steps I turn'd, and there my journey
When with free wing he claims his native sky, ended.
Say, will he steer his course by rule and line ? Upon the ground my listless limbs I laid, Certes, he'd scorn the bound that would his flight Lullid by the murmur of the passing stream:
And waking thought soon ended in a dream. Many there are, I wot, and stricter far,
Than those which pedants dictate from the Which with Thessalian Tempe might compare;
schools, Of verdant shade compos'd, and wat'ry gleam: Who wage with wit and taste eternal war : Not ev'n Valdarno, thought so passing fair, For foggy ignorance their sight doth mar; Might match this pleasant land in all perfec- Nor can their low conception ever reach tions rare.
To what dame Nature, crown'd with many a One, like a hoary palmer, near a brook,
star, Under an arbour, seated did appear;
Explains to such as know her learned speech ; A shepherd swain, attending, held a book,
But few can comprehend the lessons she doth And seem'd to read therein that he mote hear.
teach. From curiosity I stepped near;
“ As many as the stars that gild the sky, *But ere I reach'd the place where they did sit, As many as the flow'rs that paint the ground,
The whisp'ring breezes wafted to my ear In number like the insect tribes that fly,
bound, For him he seem'd who sung Achilles' rage,
And say that this, and this alone, is right: In lofty numbers that shall never die,
Experience soon such rashness would confound, And wise Ulysses' tedious pilgrimage,
And make its foliy obvious as the light; So long the sport of sharp adversiiy:
For such presumption sure becomes not mortal The praises of his merit, Fame on high,
wight. With her shrill trump, for ever loud doth sound; “ Therefore each bard should freely entertain
With him no bard, for excellence, can vie, The hints which pleasing fancy gires at will; Of all that late or ancient e'er were found; Nor curb her sallies with too strict a rein, So much he doth surpass ev'n bards the most re- Nature subjecting to her hand-maid Skill: nown'd.
And you yourself in this have done but ill ; The shepherd swain invited me to come
With many more, who have not comprehended Up to the arbour where they seated were;
That genius, crampt, will rarely mount the For Homer call'd me: much I fear'd the doom
hill, Which such a judge seem'd ready to declare.
Whose forked summit with the clouds is blended : As I approach'd, with mejkle dread and care,
Therefore, when next you write, let this defect be He thus address'd mc: “Sir, the cause explain
mended. Why all your story here is told so bare? “But, like a friend, who candidly reproves Few circumstances mix'd of various grain ;
For faults and errours which he doth espy, Such, surely, much enrich and raise a'poet's Each vice he freely marks; yet always loves strain,"
To mingle favour with severity. TOL, XVI,
Certes," quoth he, “ I cannot well deny, But dreams are short; for as I thought to lay That you in many things may hope to please : My limbs at ease upon the flow'ry ground, You force a barbarous northem tongue to ply,
And drink, with greedy ear, what he might say, And bend it to your purposes with ease;
As murm'ring waters sweet, or music's sound; Though rough as Albion's rocks, and hoarser
My sleep departed; and I, waking, found than her seas.
Myself again by Fortha's pleasant strram. “ Nor are your tales, I wot, so loosely yok’d, Homewards I stepp’d, in meditation drown'd,
As those which Colin Clout' did tell before; Refiecting on the meaning of my dream :
To this the merit of your verse is owing: And know for certain, let it check your pride,
EARL OF LAUDERDALE. That all you boast of is of my bestowing.
MY LORD, The flow’rs I see through all your garden | It is undoubtedly an uneasy situation to lie
blowing, Are mine; most part, at least : I might demand, make suitable returns: all that can be done in
under great obligations without being able to Might claim them, as a crop of my own
this case is, to acknowledge the debt, which sowing, And leave but few, thin scatter'd o'er the land: though it does not entitle to an acquittance)
is looked upon as a kind of compensation, being A claim so just, L.wot, you could not well with
all that gratitude has in its power. stand.”
This is in a peculiar manner my situation with “ Certes," quoth 1,“that justice were full hard, respect to your lordship. What you have done
Which me alone would sentence to restore; for me with the most uncommon farour and When many a learned sage, and many a bard, condescension, is what I never shall be able to
Are equally your debtors, or much more. repay ; and therefore have used the freedom to
Let Tityrus 3 himself produce his store, recommend the following performance to your Take what is thine, but little will remain : protection, that I might have an opportunity of Little, I wot, and that indebted sore
acknowledging my obligations in the most public To Ascra's bard 4, and Arethusa's swain s; And others too beside, who lent him many a strain. It is evident that the world will hardly allow “ Nor could the modern bards afford to pay,
my gratitude upon this occasion to be disinterWhose songs exalt the champions of the Cross: ested. Your distinguished rank, the additional Take from each hoard thy sterling gold away,
honours derived from the lustre of your ancesAnd little will remain but worthless dross. tors, your own uncommon abilities, equally Not bards alone could ill support the loss ;
adapted to the service of your country in peace But sages too, whose theft suspicion shuund:
and in war, are circumstances sufficient to make E'en that sly Greek", who steals and bides so any author ambitions of your lordship's patronclose,
But I must do myself the justice to insist, Were half a bankrupt, if he should refund.
it is upon the account of distinctions less splenWhile these are all forborn, shall I alone be did, though far more interesting (those, I mean, dunn'd."
by which you are distinguished as the friend of
human nature, the guide and patron of unexpe He smild ; and from his wreath, which well | rienced youth, and the father of the poor), that
[were clad, I am zealous of subscribing myself, Such boon, the wreath with which his locks Pluck'd a few leaves to hide my temples bare ;
your lordship's The present I receiv'd with heart full glad.
most humble, and “ Henceforth," quoth I, “ I never shall be sad;
most devoted servant, For now I shall obtain my share of fame :
WILLIAM WILKIE. Nor will licentious wit, or envy bad, With bitter taunts, my verses dare to blame : This garland shall protect them, and exalt my name."
THE YOUNG LADY AND THE I Spenser.
LOOKING-GLASS. * Ariosto, so called from his hero. 3 Virgil.
Ye deep philosophers who can
Say, is there any point so nice,
All this the looking glass achiev'd,
The maid, who spurn'd at all advice,
Thus, fable to the human-kind Presents an image of the mind ; It is a mirror where we spy At large our own deforınity, And learn of course those faults to mend, Which but to mention would offend.
To bid your friend his errours mend,
There was a little stubborn dame
THE KITE AND THE ROOKS. You say 'tis vain in verse or prose To tell wbat ev'ry body knows, And stretch invention to express Plain truths which all men will confess: Go on the argument to mend, Prove that to know is to attend, And that we ever keep in sight What reason tells us once is right : Till this is done you must excuse The zeal and freedom of my Muse, In hinting to the human-kind What few deny bat fewer mind: There is a folly which we blame, 'Tis strange that it should want a name, For sure no other finds a place So often in the human race; I mean the tendency to spy Our neighbour's faults with sharpen'd eye, And make his lightest failings known, Without attending to our own. The prude, in daily use to vex With groundless censure half the sex, Of rigid virtue, honour nice, And much a foe to every vice, Tells lies without remorse and shame, Yet never thinks herself to blame. A scriv'ner, though afraid to kill, Yet scruples not to forge a will Abhors the soldier's bloody feats, While he as freely damns all cheats, The reason's plain, 'tis not his way To lie, to cozen and betray. But tell me if to take by force, Is not as bad at least, or worse. The pimp who owns it as his trade To poach for letchers, and be paid, Thinks himself honest in his station, But rails at rogues that sell the nation: Nor would he stoop in any case, And stain his honour for a place. To mark this errour of mankind The tale which follows is design'd.
A light of rooks one harvest morn Had stopt upon a field of corn, Just when a kite, as authors say, Was passing on the wing that way: His honest heart was fill'd with pain, To see the fariner lose his grain, So lighting gently on a shock He thus the foragers bespoke. “ Believe me, sirs, you're much to blame, 'Tis strange that neither fear nor shame
Can keep you from rour usual way
While vice, though seemingly approv'd, Of stealth, and pilf'ring ev'ry day.
Is coldly flatter'd, never lov'd. No sooner has th' industrious swain
Palemon once a story told, His field turn'd up and sow'd the grain,
Which by conjecture must be old : But ye come flocking on the wing,
I hare a kind of half conviction Prepar'd to snatch itere it spring :
That at the best 'tis but a fiction ; And after all his toil and care
But taken right and understood, Leave every furrow spoil'd and bare:
The moral certainly is good. If aught escapes your greedy bills,
A shepherd swain was wont to sing Which nurs'd by summer grows and fills, The infant beauties of the spring, 'Tis still your prey: and though ye know The bloom of summer, winter hoar, No rook did ever till or sow,
The autumn rich in various store; Ye boldly reap, without regard
And prais'd in numbers strong and clear To justice, industry's reward,
The Ruler of the changeful year. And use it freely as your own,
To human themes he'å next descend, Though men and cattle shou'd get none. The shepherd's harmless life commend, I never did in any case
And prove him happier than the great Descend to practises so base;
With all their pageantry and state: Though stung with hunger's sharpest pain, Who oft for pleasure and for wealth, I still have scorn'd to touch a grain,
Exchange their innocence and health ; Even when I had it in my pow'r,
The Muses listen'd to his lays To do 't with safety every hour :
And crown'd him as he sung with bays. for, trust me, nought that can be gain'd Euterpe, goddess of the lyre, Is worth a character unstain'd.”
A harp bestow'd with golden wire : Thus with a face austerely grave
And oft wou'd teach him how to sing, Harangu'd the hypocrite and knave ;
Or touch with art the trembling string And answering from amidst the flock
His fame o'er all the mountains few, A rook with indignation spoke.
And to his cot the shepherds drew; “What has been said is strictly true,
They heard his music with delight, Yet comes not decently from you;
Whole summer days from morn to night: For sure it indicates a mind
Nor did they ever think him long, From selfish passions more than blind,
Such was the magic of his song : To miss your greater crimes, and quote
Some rural present each prepar'd, Our lighter failings thus by rote.
His skill to honour and reward ; I must confess we wrong the swain,
A fute, a sheep-hook, or a lamb 'Too oft by pilf'ring of his grain :
Or kidling follow'd by its dam : But is our guilt like yours, I pray,
For bards it seems in earlier days, Who rob and murder every day?
Got something more than empty praise. No harmless bird can mount the skies
All this continu'd for a while, But you attack him as he flies;
But soon our songster chang'd his style, And when at eve he lights to rest,
Infected with the common itch, You stoop and snatch him from his nest.
His gains to double and grow rich : The hnsbandman who seems to share
Or fondly seeking new applause, So large a portion of your care,
Or this or t'other was the cause ; Say, is he ever off his guard,
One thing is certain, that his rhymes While you are hov'ring o'er the yard ?
Grew more obsequious to the times, He knows too well your usual tricks,
Tess stiff and formal, alter'd quite Your ancient spite to tender chicks,
To what a courtier calls polite, And that you, like a felon, watch
Whoe'er grew rich, by right or wrong, For something to surprise and snatch,"
Became the hero of a song: At this rebuke so just, the kite
No nymph or shepherdess could wed, Surpris'd, abash'd, and silenc'd quite,
But he must sing the muptial bed, And prov'd a villain to his face,
And still was ready to recite
The secret transports of the night,
No more the shepherds sought his seat, THE MUSE AND THE SHEPHERD.
But in their place, a horned crowd
Of satyrs flock'd from every wood, LET every bard who seeks applause
Drawn by the magic of his lay, Be true to virtue and her cause,
To dance, to frolic, sport and play. Nor ever try to raise his fame
The goddess of the lyre disdain'd By praising that which merits blame;
To see her sacred gift profan'd, The vain attempt he needs must rue,
And gliding swiftly to the place, For disappointment will ensue.
With indignation in her face, Virtue with her superior charms
The trembling shepherd thus address'd, Exalts the poet's soul and warms,
In awful majesty coufess'd. His taste refines, his genius fires,
“ Thou wretched fool, that harp resign, Like Phæbas and the Nine inspires;
For know it is no longer thine;
It was not giren you to inspire
In spite of all the stars that burn, A berd like this with loose desire,
Primeval darkness wou'd return: Nor to assist that venal praise
They're less and dimmer, one may see, Which vice may purchase, if it pays :
Besides much farther off than we; Such offices my lyre disgrace;
And therefore thro' a long descent Here take this bag-pipe in its place.
Their light is scatter'd quite and spent : 'Tis fitter far, believe it true,
While ours, compacter and at band, Both for these miscreants and you."
Keeps night and darkness at a stand, The swain dismay'd, without a word,
Diffus'd around in many a ray, Submitted, and the harp restor'd.
Whose brightness emulates the day."
This pass'd and more without dispute,
But soon the east began to glow
With light appearing from below,
And level from the ocean's streams
The Moon emerging shot her beams.
To gild the inountains and the woods, And reigo'd by Aristotle's rules,
And shake and glitter on the floods. Ere Verulam, like dawning light,
The glowworm, when he found his light Rose to dispel the Gothic night:
Grow pale and faint and vanish quite
Before the Moon's prevailing ray,
Began his envy to display.
“That globe," quoth he, “which seems so fair, The wisdom of th' Eternal Mind,
Which brightens all the Earth and air,
And sends its beams so far abroad,
Is nought, believe me, but a clod ;
A thing which, if the Sun were gone,
Has no more light in't than a stone,
Subsisting merely by supplies
From Phoebus in the nether skies:
My light indeed, I must confess,
On some occasions will be less; Which still escap'd them, and the elves
But spite itself will hardly say At last caught nothing but themselves.
I'm debtor for a single ray; Nor is this folly modern quite, 'Tis ancient too: the Stagirite
'Tis all my own, and on the score
Of merit, mounts to ten times more
Than any planet can demand
For light dispens'd at second hand.”
To hear the paltry insect boast, Make Socrates himself discourse
The grasshopper all patience lost.
Quoth he, “ My friend, it may be so, Like Clarke and Leibnitz, oft-times worse;
The Moon with borrow'd light may glow; 'Bout quirks and subtilties contending,
That your faint glimm'ring is your own, Beyond all human comprehending.
I think, is question'd yet by none : From some strange bias men pursue
But sure the office to collect False knowledge still in place of true,
The solar brightness and reflect, Build airy systems of their own,
To catch those rays that wou'd be spent This moment rais'd, the next pull'd down;
Quite useless in the firmament, While few attempt to catch those rays
And turn them downwards on the shado Of truth which nature still displays
Which absence of the Sun has made,
Amounts to more in point of merit
Than all your tribe did e'er inherit:
Oft by that planet's friendly ray
The midnight trav'ler finds his way;
Safe by the favour of her bearns,
'Midst precipices, lakes and streams;
While you mislead him, and your light, From nature and her laws explain'd.
Seen like a cottage-lamp by night,
With hopes to find a safe retreat,
Allures and tempts him to his fate;
As this is so, I needs must call
The merit of your light but small :
You need not boast on't though your own; Which brighten'd as the night grew dark,
'Tis light indeed, but worse than pune; The shining reptile swell’d with pride
Unlike to what the Moon supplies,
Which you call borrow'd, and despise,"
Quoth he, “ If glowworms never shone, To light the Earth when day is gone,