Page images
PDF
EPUB

To the MEMORY of an

UNFORTUNATE LADY,

WHAT beck'ning ghoft, along the moon-light

fhade

Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
"Tis fhe!-but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,

Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reverfion in the sky,
For those who greatly think, or bravely die?

Why bade ye elfe, ye Powers! her foul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low defire?
Ambition first fprung from your bleft abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Moft fouls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull fullen prifoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unfeen, as lamps in fepulchres;
Like Eastern kings a lazy ftate they keep,
And, close confin ́d to their own palace, sleep.

From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die) Fate fnatch'd her early to the pitying sky.

As into air the purer spirits flow,

And fep'rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the foul to its congenial place,

Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.

But thou, falfe guardian of a charge too good, Thou, mean deferter of thy brother's blood! See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, These cheeks, now fading at the blast of death: Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, And those love darting eyes must roll no more. Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,

Thus shall your wives. and thus your children fall:
On all the line a fudden vengeance waits,
And frequent herfes fhall befiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long fun'rals blacken all the way)
Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,

The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others good, or melt at others woe.

What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade!)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier;
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,

By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,

[blocks in formation]

By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What tho' no friends in fable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe

To midnight dances, and the public show?
What tho' no weeping loves thy afhes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What tho' no facred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Yet fhall thy grave with rifing flow`rs be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There fhall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year fhall blow;
While angels with their filver wings o'ershade
The ground, now facred by thy reliques made.

So peaceful refts, without a stone a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov'd how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot ;
A heap of duft alone remains of thee,

'Tis all thou art, and all the proud fhall be!

Poets themselves must fall like those they fung, Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Ev'n he, whofe foul now melts in mournful lays, Shall fhortly want the gen'rous tear he pays; Then from his clofing eyes thy form shall part, And the laft pang fhall tear thee from his heart, Life's idle bufinefs at one gafp be o'er,

The Mafe forgot, and thou be lov'd no more!

ΤΟ

MR. ADDISON'S TRAGEDY

O F

CATO.

To wake the foul by tender strokes of art,

To raife the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind, in confcious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the Tragic Mufe first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream thro' every age;
Tyrants no more their favage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author fhuns by vulgar springs to move
The heroe s glory, or the virgin's love;

In pitying Love, we but our weakness show,
And wild Ambition well deferves its woe.
Here tears fhall flow from a more gen'rous caufe,
Such tears as Patriots fhed for dying Laws:
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rife,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confefs'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was :

No common object to your sight displays,
But what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys,
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.

While Cato gives his little Senate laws,
What bofom beats not in his Country's caufe?
Who fees him act, but envies ev'ry deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Ev'n when proud Caefar 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain and impotently great,

Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
As her dead Father's rev'rend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercaft;
The triumph ceas'd, tears gufh'd from ev'ry eye;
The world's great Victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her laft good man dejected Rome ador'd,
And honour'd Caefar's lefs than Cato's fword.
Britons, attend: be worth like this approv'd,
And fhow, you have the virtue to be mov'd,
With honeft fcorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdu'd;
Your scene precariously fubfifts too long

On French translation, and Italian fong.
Dare to have fense yourselves; affert the stage,
Be juftly warm'd with your own native rage:
Such plays alone fhould win a British ear,
As Cato's felf had not difdain'd to hear.

« EelmineJätka »