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And hungry hopes regale the while
On the spare diet of a smile.
There you may see the idol stand
With mirror in his wanton hand;
Above, below, now here, now there,
He throws about the sunny glare.
Crowds pant, and press to seize the prize,
The gay delusion of their eyes.
When Fancy tries her limning skill
To draw and color at her will,
And raise and round the figure well,
And show her talent to excel,
I guard my heart, lest it should woo
Unreal beauties Fancy drew,
And, disappointed, feel despair
At loss of things that never were.
When I lean politicians mark
Grazing on ether in the Park;
Who e'er on wing with open throats
Fly at debates, expresses, votes,
Just in the manner swallows use,
Catching their airy food of news;
Whose latrant stomachs oft molest
The deep-laid plans their dreams suggest;
Or see some poet pensive sit,
Fondly mistaking Spleen for Wit:
Who, though short-winded, still will aim
To sound the epic trump of Fame;
Who still on Phoebus' smiles will dote,
Nor learn conviction from his coat;
I bless'd my stars, I never knew
Whimsies, which close pursu'd, undo,
And have from old experience been
Both parent and the child of Spleen.
These subjects of Apollo's state,
Who from false fire derive their fate,
With airy purchases undone
Of lands, which none lend money on,
Born dull, had follow'd thriving ways,
Nor lost one hour to gather bays.
Their fancies first delirious grew,
And scenes ideal took for true.
Fine to the sight Parnassus lies,
And with false prospects cheats their eyes;
The fabled gods the poets sing,
A season of perpetual spring,
Brooks, flow'ry fields, and groves of trees,
Affording sweets and similes,
Gay dreams inspir'd in myrtle bow'rs,
And wreaths of undecaying flow'rs,
Apollo's harp with airs divine,
The sacred music of the Nine,
Views of the temple rais'd to Fame,
And for a vacant niche proud aim,
Ravish their souls, and plainly show
What Fancy's sketching power can do.
They will attempt the mountain steep,
Where on the top, like dreams in sleep,
The Muse's revelations show,
That find men crack'd, or make them so.
You, friend, like me, the trade of rhyme
Avoid, elab'rate waste of time,
Nor are content to be undone,
To pass for Phoebus' crazy son.
Poems, the hop-grounds of the brain,
Afford the most uncertain gain;
And lott'ries never tempt the wise
With blanks so many to a prize.
I only transient visits pay,
Meeting the Muses in my way,
Scarce known to the fastidious dames,
Nor skill'd to call them by their names.
Nor can their passports in these days,
Your profit warrant, or your praise.
On poems by their dictates writ,
Critics, as sworn appraisers, sit,
And mere upholst'rers in a trice
On gems and paintings set a price.
These tayl'ring artists for our lays
Invent cramp'd rules, and with straight stays
Striving free Nature's shape to hit,
Emaciate sense, before they fit.
A commonplace and many friends,
Can serve the plagiary's ends,
Whose easy vamping talent lies,
First wit to pilfer, then disguise.
Thus some, devoid of art and skill
To search the mine on Pindus' hill,
Proud to aspire and workmen grow,
By genius doom'd to stay below,
For their own digging show the town
Wit's treasure brought by others down.
Some wanting, if they find a mine,
An artist's judgment to refine,
On fame precipitately fix'd,
The ore with baser metals mix'd
Melt down, impatient of delay,
And call the vicious mass a play.
All these engage to serve their ends,
A band select of trusty friends,
Who, lesson'd right, extol the thing,
As Psapho taught his birds to sing;
Then to the ladies they submit,
Returning officers on wit:
A crowded house their presence draws,
And on the beaux imposes laws,
A judgment in its favor ends,
When all the panel are its friends:
Their natures merciful and mild
Have from mere pity sav'd the child;
In bulrush ark the bantling found
Helpless, and ready to be drown'd,
They have preserv'd by kind support,
And brought the baby-muse to court.
But there's a youth† that you can name,
Who needs no leading-strings to fame,
Whose quick maturity of brain
The birth of Pallas may explain:
Dreaming of whose depending fate,
I heard Melpomene debate,
"This, this is he, that was foretold
Should emulate our Greeks of old.
Inspir'd by me with sacred art,
He sings, and rules the varied heart;
If Jove's dread anger he rehearse,
We hear the thunder in his verse;
If he describes love turn'd to rage,
The furies riot in his page.
* Psapho was a Lybian, who, desiring to be accounted a god, effected it by this means: he took young birds and taught them to sing, Psapho is a great god. When they were perfect in their lesson, he let them fly; and other birds learning the same ditty, repeated it in the woods; on which his countrymen offered sacrifice to him, and considered him as a deity.
† Mr. Glover, the excellent author of Leonidas, Boadicea, Medea, &c.
If he fair liberty and law
By ruffian pow'r expiring draw,
The keener passions then engage
Aright, and sanctify their rage;
If he attempt disastrous love,
We hear those 'plaints that wound the grove.
Within the kinder passions glow,
And tears distill'd from pity flow."
From the bright vision I descend,
And my deserted theme attend.
Me never did ambition seize,
Strange fever most inflam'd by ease!
The active lunacy of pride,
That courts jilt Fortune for a bride,
This par'dise-tree, so fair and high,
I view with no aspiring eye:
Like aspen shake the restless leaves,
And Sodom-fruit our pains deceives,
Whence frequent falls give no surprise,
But fits of Spleen, call'd growing wise.
Greatness in glitt'ring forms display'd
Affects weak eyes much us'd to shade,
And by its falsely-envied scene
Gives self-debasing fits of Spleen.
We should be pleas'd that things are so,
Who do for nothing see the show,
And, middle-siz'd, can pass between
Life's hubbub safe, because unseen,
And midst the glare of greatness trace
A wat'ry sunshine in the face,
And pleasure fled to, to redress
The sad fatigue of idleness.
Contentment, parent of delight,
So much a stranger to our sight,
Say, goddess, in what happy place
Mortals behold thy blooming face;
Thy gracious auspices impart,
And for thy temple choose my heart.
They, whom thou deignest to inspire,
Thy science learn, to bound desire;
By happy alchymy of mind
And better to preserve the peace,
Commission'd by the name of niece,
With understandings of a size
To think their master very wise.
May Heav'n (it's all I wish for) send
One genial room to treat a friend,
Where decent cupboard, little plate,
Display benevolence, not state.
And may my humble dwelling stand
Upon some chosen spot of land:
A pond before full to the brim,
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim;
Behind, a green-like velvet neat,
Soft to the eye, and to the feet;
Where od'rous plants in evening fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song;
With op'ning views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds;
And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills through plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade
Invite, and contemplation aid:
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of Fate,
And dreams beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach;
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle through the mind.
Here Dryads, scorning Phoebus' ray
While Pan melodius pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep,
Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
And poppy top-knots deck her hair,
And silver streams through meadows stray,
And Naïads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills
From plaything urns pour down the rills.
Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife, May I enjoy a calm through life; See faction, safe in low degree, As men at land see storms at sea, And laugh at miserable elves, Not kind, so much as to themselves, Curs'd with such souls of base alloy, As can possess, but not enjoy; Debarr'd the pleasure to impart By av'rice, sphincter of the heart, Who wealth, hard-earn'd by guilty cares Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs. May I, with look ungloom'd by guile, And wearing Virtue's liv'ry-smile, Prone the distressed to relieve, And little trespasses forgive, With income not in Fortune's pow'r, And skill to make a busy hour,
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken taste at coming down,
Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage,
And slowly mellowing in age,
When Fate extends its gathering gripe,
Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe,
Quit a worn being without pain,
Perhaps to blossom soon again.
But now more serious see me grow,
And what I think, my Memmius, know.
Th' enthusiast's hope, and raptures wild,
Have never yet my reason foil'd.
His springy soul dilates like air,
When free from weight of ambient care,
And, hush'd in meditation deep,
Slides into dreams, as when asleep;
Then, fond of new discoveries grown,
Proves a Columbus of her own,
Disdains the narrow bounds of place,
And through the wilds of endless space,
Borne up on metaphysic wings,
Chases light forms and shadowy things,
And in the vague excursion caught,
Brings home some rare exotic thought.
The melancholy man such dreams,
As brightest evidence, esteems;
Fain would he see some distant scene
Suggested by his restless Spleen,
And Fancy's telescope applies
With tinctur'd glass to cheat his eyes.
Such thoughts, as love the gloom of night,
I close examine by the light;
For who, though brib'd by gain to lie,
Dare sunbeam-written truths deny,
And execute plain common sense
On faith's mere hearsay evidence?
That superstition mayn't create,
And club its ills with those of Fate,
I many a notion take to task,
Made dreadful by its visor-mask.
Thus scruple, spasm of the mind,
Is cur'd, and certainty I find,
Since optic reason shows me plain,
I dreaded spectres of the brain;
And legendary fears are gone,
Though in tenacious childhood sown.
Thus in opinions I commence
Freeholder in the proper sense,
And neither suit nor service do,
Nor homage to pretenders show,
Who boast themselves by spurious roll
Lords of the manor of the soul;
Preferring sense, from chin that's bare,
To nonsense thron'd in whisker'd hair.
To thee, Creator uncreate, O Entium Ens! divinely great!Hold, Muse, nor melting pinions try, Nor near the blazing glory fly, Nor straining break thy feeble bow, Unfeather'd arrows far to throw : Through fields unknown nor madly stray Where no ideas mark the way. With tender eyes, and colors faint,
And trembling hands, forbear to paint
Who features veil'd by light can hit?
Where can, what has no outline, sit?
My soul, the vain attempt forego,
Thyself, the fitter subject, know
He wisely shuns the bold extreme,
Who soon lays by th' unequal theme,
Nor runs, with Wisdom's syrens caught,
On quicksands swall'wing shipwreck'd thought
But, conscious of his distance, gives
Mute praise, and humble negatives.
In one, no object of our sight,
Immutable, and infinite,
Who can't be cruel or unjust,
Calm and resign'd, I fix my trust;
To him my past and present state
I owe, and must my future fate.
A stranger into life I'm come,
Dying may be our going home,
Transported here by angry Fate,
The convicts of a prior state.
Hence I no anxious thoughts bestow
On matters I can never know;
Through life's foul way, like vagrant pass'd,
He'll grant a settlement at last,
And with sweet ease the wearied crown,
By leave to lay his being down.
If doom'd to dance th' eternal round
Of life no sooner lost but found,
And dissolution soon to come,
Like sponge, wipes out life's present sum,
But can't our state of pow'r bereave
An endless series to receive;
Then, if hard dealt with here by Fate, We balance in another state,
And consciousness must go along,
And sign th' acquittance for the wrong.
He for his creatures must decree
More happiness than misery,
Or be supposed to create,
Curious to try, what 'tis to hate :
And do an act, which rage infers,
'Cause lameness halts, or blindness errs.
Thus, thus I steer my bark, and sail
On even keel with gentle gale;
At helm I make my reason sit,
My crew of passions all submit.
If dark and blust'ring prove some nights,
Philosophy puts forth her lights;
Experience holds the cautious glass,
To shun the breakers, as I pass,
And frequent throws the wary lead,
To see what dangers may be hid;
And once in seven years I'm seen
At Bath or Tunbridge, to careen.
Though pleas'd to see the dolphins play
I mind my compass and my way,
With store sufficient for relief,
And wisely still prepar'd to reef,
Nor wanting the dispersive bowl
Of cloudy weather in the soul,
I make, (may Heav'n propitious send
Such wind and weather to the end)
Neither becalm'd, nor over-blown,
Life's voyage to the world unknown
ON BARCLAY'S APOLOGY FOR THE QUAKERS.*
THESE sheets primeval doctrines yield,
Where revelation is reveal'd;
Soul-phlegm from literal feeding bred,
Systems lethargic to the head
They purge, and yield a diet thin,
That turns to Gospel-chyle within.
Truth sublimate may here be seen
Extracted from the parts terrene.
In these is shown, how men obtain
What of Prometheus poets feign:
To Scripture plainness dress is brought,
And speech, apparel to the thought.
They hiss from instinct at red coats,
And war, whose work is cutting throats,
Forbid, and press the law of love;
Breathing the spirit of the dove.
Lucrative doctrines they detest,
As manufactur'd by the priest;
And throw down turnpikes, where we pay
For stuff, which never mends the way;
And tythes, a Jewish tax, reduce,
And frank the Gospel for our use.
They sable standing armies break;
But the militia useful make:
Since all unhir'd may preach and pray,
Taught by these rules as well as they;
Rules, which, when truths themselves reveal,
Bid us to follow what we feel.
The world can't hear the small still voice,
Such is its bustle and its noise;
Reason the proclamation reads,
But not one riot passion heeds.
Wealth, honor, power, the graces are,
Which here below our homage share:
They, if one votary they find
To mistress more divine inclin'd,
In truth's pursuit, t cause delay,
Throw golden apples in his way.
Place me, O Heav'n, in some retreat;
There let the serious death-watch beat,
There let me self in silence shun,
To feel thy will, which should be done.
Then comes the Spirit to our hut,
When fast the senses' doors are shut;
For so divine and pure a guest
The emptiest rooms are furnish'd best.
O Contemplation! air serene!
From damps of sense, and fogs of spleen! Pure mount of thought! thrice holy ground, Where grace, when waited for, is found.
*This celebrated book was written by its author, both in Latin and English, and was afterwards translated into High Dutch, Low Dutch, French, and Spanish, and probably into other languages. It has always been esteemed a very ingenious defence of the principles of Quakerism, even by those who deny the doctrines which it endeavors to establish. The author was born at Edinburgh in 1648, and received part of his education at the Scots College in Paris, where his uncle was principal. His father became one of the earliest converts to the new sect, and from his example, the son seems to have been induced to tread in his steps. He died on the 3d of October, 1690, in the 421 year of his age.
And urging their various opinions, intended
To make me wed systems, which they recom-
Said a lech'rous old friar skulking near Lincoln's-
(Whose trade's to absolve, but whose pastime's to
Who, spider-like, seizes weak Protestant flies,
Which hung in his sophistry cobweb he spics ;)
Ah! pity your soul; for without our church pale,
If you happen to die, to be damn'd you can't fail ;
The Bible, you boast, is a wild revelation:
Hear a church that can't err, if you hope for sal-
ADIEU awhile, forsaken flood,
To ramble in the Delian wood,
And pray the god my well-meant song
May not my subject's merit wrong.
Say, father Thames, whose gentle pace
Gives leave to view what beauties grace
Your flow'ry banks, if you have seen
The much-sung Grotto of the queen.
Contemplative, forget awhile
Oxonian towers, and Windsor's pile,
And Wolsey's pridet (his greatest guilt)
And what great William since has built,
And flowing fast by Richmond scenes,
(Honor'd retreat of two great queens!)
From Sion-House, whose proud survey
Browbeats your flood, look 'cross the way,
And view, from highest swell of tide,
The milder scenes of Surrey side.
Though yet no palace grace the shore,
To lodge that pair you should adore;
Nor abbeys, great in ruin, rise,
Royal equivalents for vice;
Behold a grot, in Delphic grove,
The Graces' and the Muses' love.
(O, might our laureate study here,
How would he hail his new-born year!)
A temple from vain glories free,
Whose goddess is Philosophy,
Whose sides such licens'd idols crown
As Superstition would pull down:
The only pilgrimage I know,
That men of sense would choose to go:
Which sweet abode, her wisest choice,
Urania cheers with heavenly voice,
While all the Virtues gather round,
To see her consecrate the ground.
If thou, the god with winged feet,
In council talk of this retreat,
And jealous gods resentment show
At altars rais'd to men below;
Tell those proud lords of Heaven, 'tis fit
Their house our heroes should admit;
While each exists, as poets sing,
A lazy, lewd immortal thing,
They must (or grow in disrepute)
With Earth's first commoners recruit.
Needless it is in terms unskill'd
To praise whatever Boyle § shall build;
Needless it is the busts to name
Of men, monopolists of fame;
Four chiefs adorn the modest stone,
For virtue as for learning known;
The thinking sculpture helps to raise
Deep thoughts, the genii of the place:
Hampton Court, begun by Cardinal Wolsey, and improved by King William III.
Queen Anne, consort to King Richard II. and Queen Elizabeth, both died at Richmond.
Sion-House is now a seat belonging to the Duke of Northumberland.
§ Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, a nobleman remarkable for his fine taste in architecture. "Never were protection and great wealth more generously and judiciously diffused than by this great person, who had every quality
* A building in Richmond Gardens, erected by Queen of a genius and artist, except envy." He died December Caroline, and committed to the custody of Stephen Duck. 4, 1753. At the time this poem was written, many other verses appeared on the same subject.
The author should have said five; there being the busts of Newton, Locke, Wollaston, Clarke, and Boyle