Page images

Calm ev'ry thought, infpirit ev'ry grace,
Glow in thy heart, and fmile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a Pain, a Trouble, or a Fear;
Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
In fome foft Dream, or Extafy of Joy,
Peaceful fleep out the Sabbath of the Tomb,
And wake to Raptures in a Life to come.



VER. 15. Originally thus in the MS.

And oh fince Death must that fair frame destroy,
Die, by fome fudden extafy of joy ;

In fome foft dream may thy mild foul remove,
And be thy lateft gafp a figh of love.




RESIGN'D to live, prepar'd to die,

With not one fin, but Poetry, This day Toм's fair account has run (Without a blot) to eighty-one.

Kind Boyle, before his poet, lays


A table, with a cloth of bays;

And Ireland, mother of fweet fingers,

Presents her harp ftill to his fingers.



VER. 3. This Day Tom's] This amiable writer lived the longest, and died one of the richest, of all our poets. In 1737, Mr. Gray, writing to a friend, fays very agreeably, "We have here old Mr. Southern, who often comes to fee us; he is now feventyseven years old, and has almost wholly lost his memory; but is as agreeable an old man as can be, at least I persuade myself so, when I look at him, and think of Isabella and Oroonoko." He was certainly a great mafter of the pathetic; and in the latter part of his life became fenfible of the impropriety he had been guilty of in mixing Tragedy with Comedy. He was the first play-writer that had the benefit of a third night. He told Dryden that he once had cleared feven hundred pounds by one of his plays.

VER. 6. A table,] Mr. Southern was invited to dine on his birthday with this nobleman, (Lord Orrery), who had prepared for him the entertainment of which the bill of fare is here fet down.



VER. 8. Prefents her harp] The harp is generally wove on the Irish linen; fuch as table cloths, &c.

The feast, his tow'ring genius marks
In yonder wild goose and the larks!
The mushrooms fhew his wit was fudden!
And for his judgment, lo a pudden!
Roast beef, tho' old, proclaims him stout,
And grace, altho' a bard, devout.

May Toм, whom heav'n sent down to raise
The price of prologues and of plays,



Be ev'ry birth-day more a winner,
Digest his thirty thousandth dinner;

Walk to his grave without reproach,
And scorn a rafcal and a coach,



VER. 16. The price of prologues and of plays,] This alludes to a story Mr. Southern told of Dryden, about the fame time, to Mr. P. and Mr. W.-When Southern firft wrote for the stage, Dryden was fo famous for his prologues, that the players would act nothing without that decoration. His ufual price till then had been four guineas; but when Southern came to him for the prologue he had bespoke, Dryden told him he muft have fix guineas for it; "which (faid he) young man, is out of no disrespect to you, but the players have had my goods too cheap."-We now look upon thefe prologues with the fame admiration that the virtuofi do on the apothecaries pots painted by Raphael.


[blocks in formation]






OXANA from the court returning late,

Sigh'd her foft forrow at St. James's gate : Such heavy thoughts lay brooding in her breast; Not her own chairmen with more weight opprest: They curse the cruel weight they're doom'd to bear; She in more gentle founds exprefs'd her care.

Was it for this, that I these roses wear?
For this, new-fet the jewels for my hair?
Ah Princefs! with what zeal have I purfu'd?
Almost forgot the duty of a prude.

This King, I never could attend too foon;
I miss'd my pray'rs, to get me drefs'd by noon.
For thee, ah! what for thee did I refign?
My paffions, pleasures, all that e'er was mine:
I've facrific'd both modesty and ease;
Left operas, and went to filthy plays:
Double entendres fhock'd my tender ear;
Yet even this, for thee, I chuse to bear:
In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay,
And ev'ry joy of life before me lay;
By honour prompted, and by pride restrain'd,
The pleasures of the young my foul disdain'd:
Sermons I fought, and with a mien severe,
Cenfur'd my neighbours, and said daily pray'r.


Alas, how chang'd! with this fame fermon-mien,
The filthy What-d'ye-call-it-I have seen.
Ah, royal Princefs! for whofe fake I loft
The reputation, which fo dear had coft;
I, who avoided ev'ry public place,

When bloom and beauty bid me fhow my face,
Now near thee, conftant, I each night abide,
With never-failing duty by my fide;
Myself and daughters standing in a row,
To all the foreigners a goodly show.

Oft had your drawing-room been fadly thin,
And merchants wives clofe by your fide had been;
Had I not amply fill'd the empty place,

And fav'd your Highness from the dire disgrace:
Yet Cockatilla's artifice prevails,

When all my duty and my merit fails :

That Cockatilla, whofe deluding airs
Corrupts our virgins, and our youth enfnares;
So funk her character, and loft her fame,
Scarce vifited, before your Highness came;
Yet for the bed-chamber 'tis fhe you chufe,
Whilst zeal, and fame, and virtue you refuse.
Ah worthy choice; not one of all your train
Which cenfures blast not, or dishonours stain.
I know the court, with all its treach'rous wiles,
The falfe careffes, and undoing fmiles.
Ah Princefs! learn'd in all the courtly arts,
To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts.

« EelmineJätka »