Page images
PDF
EPUB

* These foes our weapons will defy;

“ As black as ink!- if this be truc, Immortal made, they never die;

To me 'tis wonderful and new," But live to haunt me every where,

The sov’reign of the birds reply'd; While I remain within their sphere."

“ But sou the truth on't shall be try'd. “Sir,” quoth the swain, “ might I advise, Sir, show your limbs, and for my sake, You straight show'd get above the skies :

Confute at once this fout mistake, It seems indeed your only way,

For I'll maintain, and I am right, For nothing here is worth your stay:

That, like your feathers, they are white." Beside, when fues like these molest,

Sir," quoth the swan, “it wou'd be vain You'll find but little peace or rest.”

For me a falsehood to maintain ;
My legs are black, and proof will show

Beyoud dispute that they are so:
THE SWAN AND OTHER BIRDS.

But if I had not got a prize
Which glitters much in some folks eyes,

Not half the birds had ever known
Each candidate for public fame

What truth now forces ine. to own."
Engages in a desp'rate game:
His labour he will find but lost,
Or less than half repajd at most :
To prove this point I shall not choose

THE LOVER AND HIS FRIEND. The arguments which Stuics use ; 'That human life is but a dream,

TO THE POETS,
And few things in it what they seem :
That praise is vain and little worth,

'Tis not the point in works of art An empty bauble, and so forth.

With care to furnish every part, I'll offer one, bit of a kind

That each, to high perfection rais'd, Not half so subtil and refind;

May draw attention and be prais'd,
Which, when the rest are out of sight,

An object by itself respected,
May sometimes chance to bave its weight, Though all the others were neglected:
The man who sets bis merits high

Not masters only this can do,
To glitter in the public eye,

But inany a vulgar artist too : Sbou'd have detects but very small,

We know distinguish'd merit inost Or strictly speaking, nune at all :

When in the whole the parts are lost, For that success which spreads his fame,

When nothing rises up to shine, Provokes each envions tongue to blame,

Or draw us from the chief design. And makes his faults and tailings known

When one united full effect Where'er his better parts are shown.

Is felt before we can reflect, Upon a time, as poets sing,

And mark the causes that conspire The birds all waited on their king,

To charm, and force us to adınire. His hymeneal rites to grace;

This is indeed a master's part, A flow'ry meadow was the place ;

The very summit of his art, They all were frolicsome and gay

And therefore when ye shall rehearse Amidst the pleasures of the day,

To friends for trial of your verse, And ere the festival was clos'd;

Mark their behaviour and their way, A match at singing was propos'd;

As much, at least, as what they say; The queen herself a wreath prepar'd,

If they seem pleas'd, and yet are mute, Tu be the conqueror's reward ;

The poem's good beyond dispute; With store of pinks and daisies in it,

But when they babble all the while, And many a sougster try'd to win it,

Now praise the sense, and now the style, But all the judges soon confest

'Tis plain that something must be wrong, The swan superior to the rest,

This too weak or that too strong. He got the garland from the bride,

The art is wanting which conveys With honour and applause beside:

Ja pressions in mysterious ways, A tattling goose, with envy stung,

And makes us from a whole receive Although herself she ne'er had sung,

What no divided parts can give: Took this occasion to reveal

Fine writing, therefore, seems of course What swans seem studious to conceal,

Less fit to please at first than worse. And, skill'd in satire's artful ways,

A language fitted to the sense Invective introduc'd with praise.

Will bardly pass for eloquence. “ The swan," quoth she, " upon my word, One feels its force, before he sees Deserves applause from ev'ry bird :

The charm which gives it pow'r to please, By proof bis charming voice you know,

And ere instructed to admire, His feathers soft and white as snow;

Will read and read and never tire. And if you saw him when he swims

But when the style is of a kind Majestic on the silver streams,

Which soars and leaves the sense behind, He'd seem complete in all respects:

'Tis something by itself, and draws But nothing is without defects;

From vulgar judges dull applause; For that is true, which few wou'd think,

They'll yawn, and tell you as you read, His legs and feet are black as ink

“Those lines are mighty fine indced;

But never will your works péruse

TAE RAKE AND TẢE HERMIT. At any time, if they can choose. 'Tis not the thing which men call wit,

A YOUTH, a pupil of the town, Nor characters, though truly bit,

Philosopher and atheist grown, Nor flowing numbers soft or strong,

Benighted once upon the road, That bears the raptur’d soul along ;

Found out a Hermit's lone abode, "Tis something of a diff'rent kind,

Whose hospitality in need 'Tis all those skilfully combin'd,

Reliev'd the trav'ler and his steed, To make what critics call a whole,

For both sufficiently were tir’d, Which ravishes and charms the soul.

Well drench'd in ditches and bemir'd. Alexis, by fair Celia's scorn

Hunger the first attention claims; To grief abandon'd and forlorn,

Upon the coals a rasher flames, Had sought in solitude to cover

Dry crusts, and liquor something stale, His anguish, like a hopeless lover :

Were added to make up a meal; With his fond passion to debate,

At which our trav'ler as he sat, Gay Strephon sought his rural seat,

By intervals began to chat.And found him with the shepherd's plac'd

“ 'Tis odd," quoth he, “ to think what strains Farin a solitary waste.

Of folly govern some folks' brains :
“ My friend,” quoth he, “ you're much to what makes you choose this wild abodde?
This foolish softness quit for shame; (blame ; You'll say, 'tis to converse with God :
Nor fondly doat upon a woman,

Alas, I fear, 'tis all a whim;
Whose charms are nothing more than common.

You never saw or spoke with him. That Celia's handsome l agree,

They talk of Providence's pow'r, But Clara's handsomer than she:

And say it rules us every hour; Euanthe's wit, which all commend,

To me all nature seems confusion, Does Celia's certainly transcend :

And such weak fancies mere delusion. Nor can you find the least pretence

Say, if it rul’d and goveru'd right, With Phebe's to compare her sense ;

Cou'd there be such a thing as pight; With better taste Belinda dresses,

Which, when the Sun bas left the skies, With truer step the floor she presses;

Puts all things in a deep disguise ? And for behaviour soft and kind,

If then a trav'ler chance to stray Melissa leaves her far behind:

The least step from the public way, What witchcraft then can fix the chain

He's soon in endless mazes lost, Which makes you suffer her disdain,

As I have found it to my cost. And not attempt the manly part

Besides, the gloom which nature wears, To set at liberty your heart

Assists imaginary fears Make but one struggle, and you'll see

Of gbosts and goblins from the waves
That in a moment you'll be free.”

Of sulph'rous lakes, and yawning graves,
This Strephon urg'd, and ten times more, All sprung from superstitious seed,
From topics often touch'd before:

Like other maxims of the creed.
In vain bis eloquence he try'd;

For my part, I reject the tales Alexis, sighing, thus reply'd :

Which faith suggests when reason fails; “ If Clara's handsome and a toast,

And reason nothing understands, 'Tis all the merit she can boast:

Unwarranted by eyes and hands. Some fame Euanthe's wit has gain'd.

These subtle essences, like wind, Because by prudence not restrain'd,

Which some have dreamt of and call mind, Phebe I own is wondrous wise,

It ne'er admits; nor joins the lie She never acts but in disguise :

Which says men rot, but never die. Belinda's merit all confess

It holds all future things in doubt, Who know the mystery of dress :

And therefore wisely leaves them out: But poor Melissa on the score

Suggesting what is worth our care, Of mere good-nature pleases more:

To take things present as they are, In those the reigning charm appears

Our wisest course: the rest is folly, Alone, to draw our eyes and ears,

The fruit of spleen and melancholy.”. No other rises by its side

'Sir," quoth the hermit, “ I agree And shines, attention to divide;

That reason still our guide shou'd be: Thus seen alone it strikes the eye,

And will admit her as the test, As something exquisite and bigh:

Of what is true and what is best : But in my Celia you will find

But reason sure wou'd blush for shame Perfection of another kind;

At what you mention in her name; Each charm so artfully exprest

Her dictates are sublime and holy : As still to mingle with the rest:

Impiety's the child of folly: Averse and shunning to be known,

Reason with measurd steps and slow An object by itself alone,

To things above from things below But thus combin’d they make a spell

Ascends, and guides us through her sphere Whose force no human tongue can tell;

With caution, vigilance, and care. A pow'rful magic which my breast

Faith in the utmost frontier stands, Will ne'er be able to resist :

And reason puts us in her hands, For as she slights me or complies,

But not till her commission giv'n Her constant lover lives or dies."

Is found authentic, and from Hearinho

'Tis strange that man, a reas'ning creature, That envy, prejudice, and spite, Shou'd miss a God in viewing nature :

Will never sink a genius quite. Whose high perfections are display'd

Experience shows beyond a doubt lo ev'ry thing bis hands have made :

That worth, though clouded, will shine out Ev'n when we think their traces lost,

The second name for epic song, When found again, we see them most;

First classic of the English tongue, The night, itself which you would blame

Great Milton, when he first appeard, As something wrong in nature's frame,

Was ill receiv'd and coldly heard: Is but a curtain to invest

In vain did faction damn those lays Her weary children, when at rest :

Which all posterity shall praise : Like that which mothers draw to keep

Is Dryden or his works forgot, The light off from a child asleep.

For all that Buckingham has wrote? Beside, the fears which darkness breeds,

The peer's sharp satire, charg'd with sense, At least augments, in vulgar heads,

Gives pleasure at no one's expense : Are far from useless, when the mind

The bard and critic, both inspir'd Is narrow and to Earth confin'd;

By Phebus, shall be still admir'd : They make the wordling think with pain "Tis true that censure, right or wrong, On frauds and oaths and ill got gain;

May hurt at first the noblest song, Force from the ruffian's hand the knife

And for a while defeat the claim Just rais'd against his neigbbour's life;

Which any writer has to fame: And in defence of virtue's cause

A mere book-merchant with his tools Assist each sanction of the laws.

Can sway with ease the herd of fools, But souls serene, where wisdom dwells

Who on a moderate computation And superstitious dread expels,

Are ten to one in every nation.The silent majesty of night

Your style is stiff-your periods halt Excites to take a nobler flight ;

In every line appears a fault With saints and angels to explore

The plot and incidents ill sorted The wonders of creating pow'r ;

No single character supported And lifts on contemplation's wings

Your similes will scarce apply; Above the sphere of mortal things :

The whole misshapen, dark and dry." Walk forth and tread those dewy plains

All this will pass, and gain its end Where night in awful silence reigos;

On the best poem e'er was penn'd: The sky's serene, the air is still,

But when the first assaults are o'er, The woods stand list’ning on each hill,

When fops and witlings prate no more, To catch the sounds that sink and swell

And when your works are quite forgot Wide-doating from the ev'ning bell,

By all who praise or blame by rote: . While foxes howl and beetles hum,

Without self-interest, spleen, or hate, Sounds which make silence still more dunub: The men of sense decide your fate: And try if folly rash and rude

Their judgment stands, and what they say Dares on the sacred hour intrude.

Gains greater credit ev'ry day; Then turn your eyes to Heav'n's broad frame, Till groundless prejudices past, Attempt to quote those lights by name,

True merit has its due at last. Which shine so thick and spread so far ;

The hackney scribblers of the town, Conceive a sun in every star,

Who were the first to write you down, Round which unnumber'd planets roll,

Their malice chang'd to admiration While comets shoot athwart the whole.

Promote your growing reputation, From systein still to system ranging,

And to excess of praise proceed; Their sarious benefits exchanging,

But this scarce happens till you're dead, And shaking from their flaming hair

When fame for genius, wit, and skill, The things most needed every where.

Can do you neither good nor ill; Explore this glorious scene, and say

Yet, if you would not be forgot, That night discovers less than day;

They'll help to keep your name afloat. That 'tis qnite useless, and a sign

An aged swain that us'd to feed That chance disposes, not design:

His flock upon a mountain's head, Whoe'er maintains it, I'll pronounce

Drew crouds of shepherds from each hill, Him either mad, or else a dunce.

To hear and profit by his skill;
For reason, though 'tis far from strong,
Will soon find out that nothing's wrong,

For ev'ry simple of the rock,

That can offend or cure a flock, From signs and evidences clear

He us'd to mark, and knew its pow'r Of wise contrivance every where.”'

In stem and foliage, root and flow'r. The hermit ended, and the youth

Beside all this, he cou'd foretel Recame a convert to the truth;

Both rain and sunshine passing well ; At least, he yielded, and confest

By deep sagacity he'd find,
That all was order'd for the best,

The future shiftings of the wind;
And guess more shrewdly ev'ry year

If mutton wou'd be cheap or dear.
PAEBUS AND THE SHEPHERD. To tell his skill in every art,

Of which he understood a part, I CANNOT think but more or less

His sage advice was wrapt in tales, True merit always gains success;

Which oft persuade when reason fails

To do hint justice every where

Those watry mirrors send your light Wou'd take more time than I can spare, In streams amidst the shades of night: And therefore now shall only touch

Thus length’ning out your reign much more Upon a fact which arıthors vouch;

Than they had shorten'd it before. That Phebus oft wou'd condescend

As this is so, I must maintain To treat this shepherd like a friend :

You've little reason to complain: Of when the solar chariot past,

For when the matter's understood, Provided he was not in haste,

The ill seems balanc'd by the good; lle'd leave his steeds to take fresh breath, The only diff'rence in the case And crop the herbage of the heath;

Is that the mischief first takes place, While with the swain a turu or two

The compensation when you're gone He'd take, aslandlords nse to do,

Is rather somewhat late, I own : When, sick of finer folks in town,

But since 'tis so, you'll own 'tis fit
They finil amusement in a clown.

To make the best on't, and submit."
One morning when the god alighted,
llis winged steeds look'd wild and frighted;
The whip it seems had not been idle,
One's traces broke, another's bridle:
All four were switch'd in very part,

THE BREEZE AND THE TEMPEST.
Like common jades that draw a cart,
Whose sides and haunches all along

That nation boasts a happy fate Show the just measure of the thong.

Whose prince is good as well as great, “ Why, what's the matter," quoth the swain, Calm peace at home with plenty reigns, " My lord, it gives your servant pain ;

The law its proper course obtains; Sure some offence is in the case,

Abroad the public is respected, I read it plainly in your face.”

And all its int'rests are protected : “ Offence,"quoth Phebus, vex'd and heated ; But when his genius, weak or strong, “ 'Tis one indeed and oft repeated :

Is by ambition pointed wrong, Since first I drove through He::v'n's highway,

When private greatness has possess'd That's before yesterday you'll say,

In place of public good his breast, The envious clouds in league with night

'Tis certain, and I'll prove it true, Conspire to intercept my light;

That ev'ry mischief must ensue. Rauk vapours breath'd froin putrid lakes, On some pretence a war is made, The streams of common-sew'rs and jakes,

he citizen must change his trade; Which under-gronnd shou'd be confin'd, His steers the husbandman unyokes, Nor suffer'd to pollute the wind;

The sbepherd too must quit his flocks, Escap'd in air by various' ways,

His harmless life and honest gain, Extinguish or divert my rays.

To rob, to murder, and be slain : Oft in the morning, when my steeds

The fields, once fruitful, yield no more Above the ocean lift their heads,

Their yearly produce as before : And when I hope to see my beams

Each useful plant neglected dies, Far glittering on the woods and streams:

Whileidle weeds licentious rise A ridge of lazy clouds that sleep

Unnumber'd, to usurp the land Upon the surface of the deep,

Where yellow barrests us'd to stand. Receive at once and wrap me round

Lean famine soon in course succeeds; In fogs extinguish'd half and drown'd.

Diseases follow as she leads. , But mark my purpose, and by Styx

No infant bands at close of day I'm not soon alter'd when I fix;

In ev'ry village sport and play. If things are suffer'd at this pass,

The streets are throng'd with orphans dying I'll fairly turn my nags to grass :

For want of bread, and widows crying: No more this idle round I'll dance,

Fierce rapine walks abroad anchain'd, But let all nature take its chance."

By civil order not restrain'd: “ If," quoth the shepherd, “it were fit Without regard to right and wrong, To argue with the god of wit,

The weak are injur'd by the strong; I cou'd a circumstance suggest

The hungry mouth but rarely tastes That wou'd alleviate things at least.

The fattning food which riots wastes, That clouds oppose your rising light

All ties of conscience lose their force, Full oft and lengthen out the night,

Ev'n sacred oaths grow words of course. Is plain ; but soon they disappear,

By what strange cause are kings inclin'd And leave the sky serene and clear ;

To heap such mischiefs on mankind We ne'er expect a finer day,

What pow'rful arguments control Than when the morning has been gray ;

The native dictates of the soul? Besides, those vapours which confine

The love of glory and a name Yon issuing from your easteru shrine,

Loud-sunded by the trump of Fame: By heat sublim'd and thinly spread,

Nor shall they miss their end, unless Streak all the ev'ning sky with red:

Their guilty projects want success. And when your radiant orb in vain

Let one possessid of sov'reign sway Wou'd glow beneath the western main,

Invade and murder and betray, And not a ray cou'd reach our cyes,

Let war and rapine fierce be hurl'd Uuless reflected from the skies,

Through half the nations of the world ;

And prove successful in a course

And when I choose, for pastime's saks, Of bad designs, and actions worse,

Can with a mountain shift a lake; At once a demi-god he grows,

The Nile himself, at my command. And, incens'd both in verse and prose,

Oft hides his head beneath the sand, Becomes the idol of mankind;

And midst dry deserts blown and tost, Though to what's good he's weak and blind; For many a sultry league is lost. Approv'd, applauded, and respected,

All this I do with perfect ease, While better rulers are neglected.

And can repeat whene'er I please : Where Shotts's airy tops divide

What merit makes you then pretend Fair Lothian from the vale of Clyde,

With me to argile and contend, A tempest from the east and north

When all you boast of force or skill Fraught with the vapours of the Forth,

Is scarce enough to turn a mill, In passing to the Irish seas,

Or help the swain to clear his corn, Once chanc'd to meet the western breeze.

The servile tasks for which you're born?" The tempest hail'd bim with a roar,

Sir," quoth the breeze, “if force alone “ Make haste and clear the way before; Must pass for merit, I have none; No paltry zephyr must pretend

At least I'll readily confess To stand before me,or contend :

That yours is greater, mine is less. Begone, or in a whirlwind tost

But merit rightly understood Your weak existence will be lost.”

Consists alone in doing good; The tempest thus:- The breeze reply'd, And therefore you yourself must see If both our merits shou'd be try'd,

That preference is due to me: Impartial justice wou'd decree

Irannot boast to rule the skies That you shou'd yield the way to me."

Like you, and make the ocean rise, At this the tempest rav'd and storm'd, Nor e'er with shipwrecks strew ihe shore, Grew black and ten times more deform'd. For wives and orphans to deplore. “What qualities," quoth he, “ of thine, Mine is the happier task, to please Vain flatt'ring wind, can equal mine?

The mariner, and smooth the seas, Breath'd from some river, lake, or bog,

And waft him safe from foreign harms Your rise at first is in a fog;

To bless his consort's longing arms. And creeping slowly o'er the meads

With you I buast not to confound Scarce stir the willows or the reeds;

The seasons in their annual round, While those that feel you hardly know

And marr that harmony in nature The certain part from which you blow.

That comforts ev'ry living creature. Prom Earth's deep womb, the child of fire, But oft from warmer climes I bring Fierce, active, vigorous, like my sire,

Soft airs to introduce the spring; I rush to light; the mountains quake

With genial heat unlock the soil, With dread, and all their forests shake:

And urge the ploughman to his toil: The globe itself convul'd and torn,

I bid the op'ning blooms unfold Feels pangs unusual when I'm born:

Their streaks of purple, blue and gold, Now free in air, with sov'reign sway

And waft their fragrance to impart I rule, and all the clouds obcy:

That new delight to ev'ry heart, From east to west my pow'r extends,

Which makes the shepherd all day long Where day begins and where it ends :

To carrol sweet his vernal song: And from Bootes downwards far,

The summer's sultry heat to cool, Atbwart the track of ev'ry star.

From ev'ry river, lake and pool, Through me the polar deep disdains

I skim fresh airs. The tawny swain, To sleep in winter's frosty chaios;

Who turns at noon the furrow'd plain, But rous'd to rage, indignant beaves

Refresh'd and trusting in my aid, Huge rocks of ice upon its waves ;

His task pursues and scorns the shade: While dread tornados lift on high

And ev'n on Afric's sultry coast, The broad Atlantic to the sky.

Where such immense exploits you boast, I rule the elemental roar,

I blow to cool the panting flocks And strew with shipwrecks ev'ry shore:

Midst deserts brown and sun-burnt rocks, Nor less at land my pow'r is known

And health and vigour oft supply From Zembla to the burning zone.

To such as languish, faint and die: I bring Tartarian frosts to kill

Those humbler offices you nam'd. The bloom of summer; when I will

To own I'll never be asham'd, Wide desolation doth appear

With twenty others that conduce To mingle and confound the year:

To public good or private use, From cloudy Atlas wrapt in night,

The meanest of them far outweighs On Barca's 'sultry plains I light,

The whole amount of all your praise ; And make at once the desert rise

If to give happiness and joy, In dusty whirlwinds to the skies;

Excels the talent to destroy." In vain the trav'ler turns hissteed,

The tempest, that till now had lent And shuns me with his utmost speed;

Attention to the argument, I overtake him as he fies,

Again began (his patience lost) O'erblown he struggles, pants, and dies. To rage, to threaten, huff and boast : Where some proud city lifts in air

Since reason fail'd, resolv'd in course Its spires, I make a desert bare;

The question to decide by force,

« EelmineJätka »