Page images

The brightest Ancients might at once agree
To sing within my lays, and sing of thee.
Horace himself would own thou dost excel
In candid arts to play the critic well.
Ovid himself might wish to sing the dame
Whom Windsor Forest sees a gliding stream;
On silver feet, with annual osier crown'd,
She runs for ever through poetic ground.



How flame the glories of Belinda's hair, Made by the Muse the envy of the fair! Less shone the tresses Egypt's princess wore, Which sweet Callimachus so sung before. Here courtly trifles set the world at odds; Belles war with beaux, and whims descend for gods. The new machines, in names of ridicule, Mock the grave frenzy of the chemic fool. But know, ye Fair, a point conceal'd with art, The sylphs and gnomes are but a woman's heart. The graces stand in sight; a satyr-train Peeps o'er their head, and laughs behind the scene. In Fame's fair temple, o'er the boldest wits, Inshrin'd on high the sacred Virgil sits; And sits in measures such as Virgil's muse To place thee near him might be fond to chuse : How might he tune th' alternate reed with thee, Perhaps a Strephon thou, a Daphnis he;



While some old Damon, o'er the vulgar wise, Thinks he deserves, and thou deserv'st the prize! Rapt with the thought, my fancy seeks the plains, And turns me shepherd while I hear the strains.


Indulgent nurse of ev'ry tender gale,
Parent of flow'rets, old Arcadia, hail!
Here in the cool my limbs at ease I spread,
Here let thy poplars whisper o'er my head;
Still slide thy waters, soft among the trees
Thy aspins quiver in a breathing breeze!
Smile, all ye vallies, in eternal spring,

Be hush'd ye winds, while Pope and Virgil sing.
In English lays, and all sublimely great,
Thy Homer warms with all his ancient heat;
He shines in council, thunders in the fight,
And flames with ev'ry sense of great delight.
Long has that poet reign'd, and long unknown,
Like monarchs sparkling on a distant throne;
In all the majesty of Greek retir'd,

Himself unknown, his mighty name admir'd;
His language failing, wrapt him round with night;
Thine, rais'd by thee, recalls the work to light.
So wealthy mines, that ages long before
Fed the large realms around with golden ore,
When chok'd by sinking banks, no more appear,
And shepherds only say, " The mines were here:"
Should some rich youth (if Nature warm his heart,
And all his projects stand inform'd with art)
Here clear the caves, there ope the leading vein,
The mines detected flame with gold again.
How vast, how copious, are thy new designs!

How ev'ry music varies in thy lines!






Still, as I read, I feel my bosom beat,

And rise in raptures by another's heat.

Thus in the wood, when summer dress'd the days,
While Windsor lent us tuneful hours of ease,
Our ears the lark, the thrush, the turtle, blest,
And Philomela sweetest, o'er the rest:
The shades resound with song---O, softly tread,
While a whole season warbles round my head.

This to my friend---and when a friend inspires,
My silent harp its master's hand requires,



Shakes off the dust, and makes these rocks resound; For Fortune plac'd me in unfertile ground;

Far from the joys that with my soul agree,

From wit, from learning---very far from thee.


Here moss-grown trees expand the smallest leaf;
Here half an acre's corn is half a sheaf;
Here hills with naked heads the tempest meet,
Rocks at their sides, and torrents at their feet;
Or lazy lakes, unconscious of a flood,
Whose dull brown Naiads ever sleep in mud:
Yet here content can dwell, and learned ease,
A friend delight me, and an author please;
Ev'n here I sing, when Pope supplies the theme,
Show my own love, though not increase his fame. 90




LET vulgar souls triumphal arches raise,
Or speaking marbles, to record their praise;
And picture (to the voice of fame unknown)
The mimic feature on the breathing stone;

Mere mortals, subject to death's total sway,
Reptiles of earth, and beings of a day!



'Tis thine, on ev'ry heart to grave thy praise, A monument which worth alone can raise; Sure to survive, when time shall whelm in dust The arch, the marble, and the mimic bust: Nor, till the volumes of th' expanded sky Blaze in one flame, shalt thou and Homer die : Then sink together in the world's last fires, What Heav'n created, and what Heav'n inspires. If aught on garth, when once this breath is fled, 15 With human transport touch the mighty dead, Shakespeare rejoice! his hand thy page refines; Now ev'ry scene with native brightness shines; Just to thy fame, he gives thy genuine thought; So Tully publish'd what Lucretius wrote: Prun'd by his care, thy laurels loftier grow, And bloom afresh on thy immortal brow.


Thus when thy draughts, O Raphael! time invades,

And the bold figure from the canvass fades,

A rival hand recalls from ev'ry part


Some latent grace, and equals art with art;
Transported we survey the dubious strife,
While each fair image starts again to life.
How long, untun'd, had Homer's sacred lyre

Jarr'd grating discord, all extinct his fire!

This you beheld; and, taught by Heav'n to sing, Call'd the loud music from the sounding string. Now wak'd from slumbers of three thousand years, Once more Achilles in dread pomp appears,


Tow'rs o'er the field of death; as fierce he turns, 35
Keen flash his arms, and all the hero burns!
With martial stalk, and more than mortal might,
He strides along, and meets the gods in fight:
Then the pale Titans, chain'd on burning floors,
Start at the din that rends th' infernal shores, 40
Tremble the tow'rs of Heav'n, earth rocks her coasts,
And gloomy Pluto shakes with all his ghosts.
To ev'ry theme responds thy various lay;
Here rolls a torrent, there meanders play;
Sonorous as the storm thy numbers rise,
Toss the wild waves, and thunder in the skies;
Or softer than a yielding virgin's sigh,


The gentle breezes breathe away and die.
Thus, like the radiant god who sheds the day,
You paint the vale, or gild the azure way;
And while with ev'ry theme the verse complies,
Sink without groveling, without rashness rise.
Proceed, great Bard! awake th' harmonious string,
Be ours all Homer! still Ulysses sing.

How long that hero*, by unskilful hands,
Stripp'd of his robes, a beggar trod our lands!
Such as he wander'd o'er his native coast,
Shrunk by the wand, and all the warrior lost :
O'er his smooth skin a bark of wrinkles spread,
Old age disgrac'd the honours of his head,
Nor longer in his heavy eye-ball shin'd

The glance divine, forth beaming from the mind.
But you, like Pallas, ev'ry limb infold

With ΓΟΥ al robes, and bid him shine in gold;
Odyssey, lib. 16.




« EelmineJätka »