Page images

A nation crush'd, a nation of the brave!
A realm of death! and on this side the grave!
Are there, said I, who from this sad survey,
This human chaos, carry smiles away?
How did my heart with indignation rise!
How honest nature swell'd into my eyes!
How was I shock'd to think the hero's trade
Of such materials, fame and triumph, made!

How guilty these! Yet not less guilty they, Who reach false glory by a smoother way; Who wrap destruction up in gentle words, And bows, and smiles, more fatal than their swords; Who stifle nature, and subsist on art; Who coin the face, and petrify the heart; All real kindness for the show discard, As marble polish'd, and as marble hard; Who do for gold what Christians do through grace, "With open arms their enemies embrace;"

Who give a nod when broken hearts repine;

[ocr errors]

The thinnest food on which a wretch can dine:"
Or, if they serve you, serve you disinclin'd,
And, in their height of kindness, are unkind.
Such courtiers were, and such again may be,
Walpole, when men forget to copy thee.

Here cease, my Muse! the catalogue is writ;
Nor one more candidate for fame admit,
Though disappointed thousands justly blame
Thy partial pen, and boast an equal claim:
Be this their comfort, fools, omitted here,
May furnish laughter for another year.
Then let Crispino, who was ne'er refus'd
The justice yet of being well abus'd,
With patience wait; and be content to reign
The pink of puppies in some future strain.

Some future strain, in which the Muse shall tell
How science dwindles, and how volumes swell.
How commentators each dark passage shun,
And hold their farthing candle to the Sun.
How tortur'd texts to speak our sense are made,
And every vice is to the Scripture laid.

How misers squeeze a young voluptuous peer; His sins to Lucifer not half so dear.

How Versus is less qualified to steal
With sword and pistol, than with wax and seal.
How lawyers' fees to such excess are run,
That clients are redress'd till they're undone.
How one man's anguish is another's sport;
And e'en denials cost us dear at court.

How man eternally false judgments makes,
And all his joys and sorrows are mistakes.

This swarm of themes that settles on my pen,
Which I, like summer flies, shake off again,
Let others sing; to whom my weak essay
But sounds a prelude, and points out their prey:
That duty done, I hasten to complete
My own design, for Tonson's at the gate.

The Love of Fame in its effect survey'd,
The Muse has sung: be now the cause display'd:
Since so diffusive, and so wide its sway,
What is this power, whom all mankind obey?
Shot from above, by Heaven's indulgence, came
This generous ardor, this unconquer'd flame,
To warm, to raise, to deify, mankind,
Still burning brightest in the noblest mind.
By large-soul'd men, for thirst of fame renown'd,
Wise laws were fram'd, and sacred arts were found;
Desire of praise first broke the patriot's rest;
And made a bulwark of the warrior's breast;
It bids Argyll in fields and senate shine:
What more can prove its origin divine?

But oh! this passion planted in the soul,
On eagle's wings to mount her to the Pole,
The flaming minister of virtue meant,
Set up false gods, and wrong'd her high descent.
Ambition, hence, exerts a doubtful force,
Of blots, and beauties, an alternate source;
Hence Gildon rails, that raven of the pit,
Who thrives upon the carcasses of wit;
And in art-loving Scarborough is seen
How kind a patron Pollia might have been.
Pursuit of fame with pedants fills our schools,
And into coxcombs burnishes our fools;
Pursuit of fame makes solid learning bright,
And Newton lifts above a mortal height;
That key of Nature, by whose wit she clears
Her long, long secrets of five thousand years.

Would you then fully comprehend the whole,
Why, and in what degrees, pride sways the soul?
(For, though in all, not equally she reigns)
Awake to knowledge, and attend my strains.

Ye doctors! hear the doctrine I disclose,
As true, as if 't were writ in dullest prose;
As if a letter'd dunce had said, ""Tis right,"
And imprimatur usher'd it to light.

Ambition, in the truly noble mind,
With sister Virtue is for ever join'd;
As in fam'd Lucrece, who, with equal dread,
From guilt and shame, by her last conduct, fled :
Her virtue long rebell'd in firm disdain,
And the sword pointed at her heart in vain;
But, when the slave was threaten'd to be laid
Dead by her side, her Love of Fame obey'd.

In meaner minds Ambition works alone;
But with such art puts Virtue's aspect on,
That not more like in feature and in mien,
The God and mortal in the comic scene:*
False Julius, ambush'd in this fair disguise,
Soon made the Roman liberties his prize.

No mask in basest minds Ambition wears,
But in full light pricks up her ass's ears:
All I have sung are instances of this,
And prove my theme unfolded not amiss.

Ye vain! desist from your erroneous strife;
Be wise, and quit the false sublime of life.
The true ambition there alone resides,
Where justice vindicates, and wisdom guides;
Where inward dignity joins outward state;
Our purpose good, as our achievement great;
Where public blessings public praise attend;
Where glory is our motive, not our end.
Wouldst thou be fam'd? Have those high deeds
in view

Brave men would act, though scandal should ensue. Behold a prince! whom no swoln thoughts in flame;

No pride of thrones, no fever after fame:
But when the welfare of mankind inspires,
And death in view to dear-bought glory fires,
Proud conquests then, then regal pomps delight;
Then crowns, then triumphs, sparkle in his sight;
Tumult and noise are dear, which with them bring
His people's blessings to their ardent king:
But, when those great heroic motives cease,
His swelling soul subsides to native peace;
From tedious grandeur's faded charms withdraws,
A sudden foe to splendor and applause;
Greatly deferring his arrears of fame,
Till men and angels jointly shout his name.

* Amphitryon.

O pride celestial! which can pride disdain;
O blest ambition! which can ne'er be vain.

From one fam'd Alpine hill, which props the sky,
In whose deep womb unfathom'd waters lie,
Here burst the Rhone and sounding Po; there shine,
In infant rills, the Danube and the Rhine;
From the rich store one fruitful urn supplies,
Whole kingdoms smile, a thousand harvests rise.
In Brunswick such a source the Muse adores,
Which public blessings through half Europe pours.
When his heart burns with such a godlike aim,
Angels and George are rivals for the fame;
George, who in foes can soft affections raise,
And charm envenom'd satire into praise.

Nor human rage alone his power perceives, But the mad winds, and the tumultuous waves.* E'en storms (Death's fiercest ministers!) forbear, And, in their own wild empire, learn to spare.

*The king in danger by sea.

Thus Nature's self, supporting man's decree,
Styles Britain's sovereign, sovereign of the sea.
While sea and air, great Brunswick! shook our state,
And sported with a king's and kingdom's fate,
Depriv'd of what she lov'd, and press'd by fear
Of ever losing what she held most dear,
How did Britannia, like Achilles, weep,
And tell her sorrows to the kindred deep!
Hang o'er the floods, and, in devotion warm,
Strive, for thee, with the surge, and fight the storm!
What felt thy Walpole, pilot of the realm!
Our Palinurus slept not at the helm ;

His eye ne'er clos'd; long since inur'd to wake,
And out-watch every star for Brunswick's sake:
By thwarting passions tost, by cares opprest,
He found the tempest pictur'd in his breast:
But, now, what joys that gloom of heart dispel,
No powers of language-but his own, can tell;
His own, which Nature and the Graces form,
At will, to raise, or hush the civil storm.

3 D


MARK AKENSIDE was born in 1721, at Newcas-practice and reputation increased; so that, on the tle-upon-Tyne, where his father was a substantial settlement of the Queen's household, he was ap butcher. After receiving an education, first at a pointed one of her Majesty's physicians-an honor grammar-school, and then at a private academy at for which he is supposed to have been indebted to his native place, he was sent to the University of Mr. Dyson. It is affirmed that Dr. Akenside asEdinburgh, for the purpose of being fitted for a sumed a haughtiness and ostentation of manner Dissenting minister. He soon, however, exchanged which was not calculated to ingratiate him with his his studies for those of medicine; and, after con- brethren of the faculty, or to render him generally tinuing three years at Edinburgh, he removed to acceptable. He died of a putrid fever, in June, Leyden, where he took the degree of M. D. in 1744. 1770, in the forty-ninth year of his age. In the same year, his poem "On the Pleasures of Respecting his poem "On the Pleasures of the the Imagination" made its appearance, which was Imagination," of which Addison's papers in the Specreceived with great applause, and raised the author tator are the groundwork, it would be an injury to at once into poetical fame. It was soon followed deny him the claims of an original writer, which he by a warm invective against the celebrated Pulteney, merited by the expansion of the plan of this prose Earl of Bath, in an "Epistle to Curio." In 1745 original, and by enriching its illustrations from the he published ten Odes on different subjects, and in stores of philosophy and poetry. No poem of so various styles and manners. All these works char-elevated and abstracted a kind was ever so popular. acterized him as a zealous votary of Grecian phi- It went through several editions soon after its aplosophy and classical literature, and an ardent lover pearance, and is still read with enthusiasm by those of liberty. He continued, from time to time, to publish his poetical effusions, most of which first appeared in Dodsley's collection. Of these, the most considerable is, a "Hymn to the Naiads."

who have acquired a relish for the conceptions of pure poetry, and the strains of numerous blank verse. The author was known to have been employed many years in correcting, or rather new-modelling, this work; but the unfinished draught of this design seems to have rendered it probable that the piece would have lost as much in poetry as it would have gained in philosophy.

His professional career affords few incidents worth recording. He settled for a short time at Northampton; then removed to Hampstead; and finally fixed himself in London. While his practice was small, he was generously assisted by his friend, Mr. Jere- Of his other poems, the Hymn to the Naiads is miah Dyson, who made him an allowance of 300l. the longest and best. With the purest spirit of clasper annum. He pursued the regular course to ad-sical literature, it contains much mythological ingevancement, becoming Fellow of the Royal Society, nuity, and many poetical ideas, beautifully expressed. Physician to St. Thomas's Hospital, Doctor of Physic In his lyric productions, the copiousness and elevaby mandamus at Cambridge, and Fellow of the Lon- tion of thought does not compensate for the total don College of Physicians. He also published seve- want of grace, ease, and appropriate harmony. The ral occasional pieces on medical subjects, among only sparks of animation which they exhibit, occur which was a Treatise on the Epidemic Dysentery of when they touch on political topics; and it is in these 1764, written in elegant Latin. By these efforts his instances alone we have ventured to select them.




Ασεβυσμέν ἐςιν ἀνθρωπε τὰς παρὰ τῆ θεω χάρθας ἀτιμάζειν.
Epict. apud Arrian. II. 13.




The bloom of Nature, and before him turn
The gayest, happiest attitude of things.

Oft have the laws of each poetic strain
The critic-verse employ'd; yet still unsung
Lay this prime subject, though importing most
A poet's naine: for fruitless is th' attempt,
By dull obedience and by creeping toil
Obscure to conquer the severe ascent
Of high Parnassus. Nature's kindling breath
Must fire the chosen genius; Nature's hand
Must string his nerves, and imp his eagle-wings
Impatient of the painful steep, to soar
High as the summit; there to breathe at large
Ethereal air; with bards and sages old,
Immortal sons of praise. These flattering scenes,
To this neglected labor court my song;
Yet not unconscious what a doubtful task
To paint the finest features of the mind,
And to most subtle and mysterious things
Give color, strength, and motion.

But the love

Cull'd from the laureate vale's profound recess,
Where never poet gain'd a wreath before.
From Heaven my strains begin; from Heaven

The subject proposed. Difficulty of treating it Of Nature and the Muses bids explore, poetically. The ideas of the Divine Mind, the Through secret paths erewhile untrod by man, origin of every quality pleasing to the imagina-The fair poetic region, to detect tion. The natural variety of constitution in the Untasted springs, to drink inspiring draughts, minds of men; with its final cause. The idea And shade my temples with unfading flowers of a fine imagination, and the state of the mind in the enjoyment of those pleasures which it affords. All the primary pleasures of the imagination result from the perception of greatness, or wonderfulness, or beauty, in objects. The plea- The flame of genius to the human breast, sure from greatness, with its final cause. Pleasure And love and beauty, and poetic joy from novelty or wonderfulness, with its final And inspiration. Ere the radiant Sun cause. Pleasure from beauty, with its final cause. Sprang from the east, or 'mid the vault of night The connexion of beauty with truth and good, The Moon suspended her serener lamp; applied to the conduct of life. Invitation to the Ere mountains, woods, or streams, adorn'd the globe, study of moral philosophy. The different degrees Or Wisdom taught the sons of men her lore; of beauty in different species of objects: color; Then liv'd th' Almighty One: then, deep retir'd shape; natural concretes; vegetables; animals; In his unfathom'd essence, view'd the forms, the mind. The sublime, the fair, the wonderful The forms eternal of created things; of the mind. The connexion of the imagination and the moral faculty. Conclusion.

WITH what attractive charms this goodly frame
Of Nature touches the consenting hearts
Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
Which beauteous imitation thence derives
To deck the poet's, or the painter's toil;
My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle powers
Of musical delight! and while I sing
Your gifts, your honors, dance around my strain.
Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
Where Shakspeare lies, be present: and with thee
Let Fiction come, upon her vagrant wings
Wafting ten thousand colors through the air,
Which, by the glances of her magic eye,

The radiant Sun, the Moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods and streams, the rolling globo,
And Wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fix'd,
His admiration: till in time complete,
What he admir'd and lov'd, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame,
Hence the green earth, and wild resounding waves
Hence light and shade alternate; warmth and cold
And clear autumnal skies and vernal showers,
And all the fair variety of things.

But not alike to every mortal eye

Is this great scene unveil'd. For since the claims
Of social life, to different labors urge
The active powers of man! with wise intent
The hand of Nature on peculiar minds
Imprints a different bias, and to each
Decrees its province in the common toil.

She blends and shifts at will, through countless forms, To some she taught the fabric of the sphere,

Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre,
Which rules the accents of the moving sphere,
Wilt thou, eternal Harmony! descend

And join this festive train? for with thee comes
The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports,
Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come,
Her sister Liberty will not be far.

Be present, all ye genii, who conduct

The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,

The changeful Moon, the circuit of the stars,
The golden zones of Heaven; to some she gave
To weigh the moment of eternal things,
Of time, and space, and Fate's unbroken chain,
And will's quick impulse: others by the hand
She led o'er vales and mountains, to explore
What healing virtue swells the tender veins
Of herbs and flowers; or what the beams of morn
Draw forth, distilling from the clefted rind
But some, to higher hopes
Were destin'd; some within a finer mould

New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear In balmy tears.
With finer sounds: who heighten to his eye

She wrought, and temper'd with a purer flame.
To these the Sire Omnipotent unfolds

The world's harmonious volume, there to read
The transcript of himself. On every part
They trace the bright impressions of his hand :
In earth or air, the meadow's purple stores,
The Moon's mild radiance, or the virgin's form
Blooming with rosy smiles, they see portray'd
That uncreated beauty, which delights
The mind supreme. They also feel her charms,
Enamour'd; they partake the eternal joy.

For as old Memmon's image, long renown'd
By fabling Nilus, to the quivering touch
Of Titan's ray, with each repulsive string
Consenting, sounded through the warbling air
Unbidden strains; even so did Nature's hand
To certain species of external things,
Attune the finer organs of the mind:
So the glad impulse of congenial powers,
Or of sweet sounds, or fair-proportion'd form,
The grace of motion, or the bloom of light,
Thrills through Imagination's tender frame,
From nerve to nerve: all naked and alive,
They catch the spreading rays; till now the soul
At length discloses every tuneful spring,
To that harmonious movement from without
Responsive. Then the inexpressive strain
Diffuses its enchantment: Fancy dreams
Of sacred fountains and Elysian groves,
And vales of bliss: the intellectual power
Bends from his awful throne a wondering ear,
And smiles: the passions, gently sooth'd away,
Sink to divine repose, and love and joy
Alone are waking; love and joy serene
As airs that fan the summer. O! attend,
Whoe'er thou art, whom these delights can touch,
Whose candid bosom the refining love
Of Nature warms, O listen to my song;
And I will guide thee to her favorite walks,
And teach thy solitude her voice to hear,
And point her loveliest features to thy view.
Know then, whate'er of Nature's pregnant stores,
Whate'er of mimic Art's reflected forms
With love and admiration thus inflame
The powers of fancy, her delighted sons
To three illustrious orders have referr'd;
Three sister-graces, whom the painter's hand,
The poet's tongue, confesses; the sublime,
The wonderful, the fair. I see them dawn!
I see the radiant visions, where they rise,
More lovely than when Lucifer displays
His beaming forehead through the gates of morn,
To lead the train of Phoebus and the Spring.
Say, why was man so eminently rais'd
Amid the vast creation; why ordain'd
Through life and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame;
But that the Omnipotent might send him forth
In sight of mortal and immortal powers,
As on a boundless theatre, to run
The great career of justice; to exalt
His generous aim to all diviner deeds;

To chase each partial purpose from his breast;
And through the mists of passion and of sense,
And through the tossing tide of chance and pain,
To hold his course unfaltering, while the voice
Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent
Of Nature, calls him to his high reward,

That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind,
With such resistless ardor to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free,
Spurning the gross control of wilful might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns
To Heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame?
Who that, from Alpine heights, his laboring eye
Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
Through mountains, plains, through empires black
with shade

And continents of sand; will turn his gaze
To mark the windings of a scanty rill

That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
Beneath its native quarry. Tir'd of Earth
And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
Rides on the volley'd lightning through the Heavens;
Or, yok'd with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and hovering round the Sun
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of Time. Thence far effus'd
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs
Exulting measures the perennial wheel
Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amaz'd she views
The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave Heaven, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travell'd the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Even on the barriers of the world untir'd
She meditates the eternal depth below;
Till half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of Renown,
Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap,
The soul should find enjoyment: but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.

Call now to mind what high capacious powers
Lie folded up in man; how far beyond
The praise of mortals, may the eternal growth
Of Nature to perfection half divine,
Expand the blooming soul? What pity then
Should sloth's unkindly fogs depress to Earth
Her tender blossom; choke the streams of life,
And blast her spring! Far otherwise design'd
Almighty Wisdom; Nature's happy cares
The obedient heart far otherwise incline.
Witness the sprightly joy when aught unknown
Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active power
To brisker measures: witness the neglect

The applauding smile of Heaven? Else wherefore burns Of all familiar prospects, though beheld

In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,

With transport once; the fond attentive gaze

« EelmineJätka »