* * * * *
Yet lest you think I rally more than teach, Or praise malignly arts I cannot reach, Let me for once presume t' instruct the times To know the poet from the man of rhymes: 'Tis he who gives my breast a thousand pains, Can make me feel each passion that he feigns; Enrage, compose, with more than magic art, With pity, and with terror, tear my heart; And snatch me, o'er the earth, or through the air, To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.
FROM THE EPILOGUE TO THE SATIRES
[THE POWER OF THE SATIRIST]
Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see Men not afraid of God, afraid of me: Safe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne, Yet touched and shamed by ridicule alone. O sacred weapon! left for truth's defense, Sole dread of folly, vice, and insolence! To all but Heaven-directed hands denied, The Muse may give thee, but the gods must guide: Reverent I touch thee! but with honest zeal, To rouse the watchmen of the public weal; To virtue's work provoke the tardy hall, And goad the prelate slumbering in his stall, Ye tinsel insects! whom a court maintains, That counts your beauties only by your stains, Spin all your cobwebs, o'er the eye of day! The Muse's wing shall brush you all away.
FROM THE DUNCIAD
[THE COLLEGE OF DULNESS]
Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne, And laughs to think Monroe would take her down, Where o'er the gates, by his famed father's hand, Great Cibber's brazen brainless brothers stand, One cell there is, concealed from vulgar eye. The cave of Poverty and Poetry. Keen, hollow winds howl through the bleak recess, Emblem of music caused by emptiness. Hence bards, like Proteus long in vain tied down, Escape in monsters, and amaze the town. Hence Miscellanies spring, the weekly boast Of Curll's chaste press and Lintot's rubric post; Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lines; Hence Journals, Medleys, Mercuries, Magazines, Sepulchral lies, our holy walls to grace, And New-year odes, and all the Grub Street race. In clouded majesty here Dulness shone. Four guardian Virtues, round, support her throne: Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears; Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling sake; Prudence, whose glass presents th' approaching jail; Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale, Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs, And solid pudding against empty praise. Here she beholds the chaos dark and deep, Where nameless somethings in their causes sleep, Till genial Jacob or a warm third day Call forth each mass, a poem or a play: How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie; How new-born nonsense first is taught to cry; Maggots, half formed, in rhyme exactly meet, And learn to crawl upon poetic feet. Here one poor word an hundred clenches makes, And ductile Dulness new meanders takes; There motley images her fancy strike, Figures ill paired, and similes unlike. She sees a mob of metaphors advance, Pleased with the madness of the mazy dance; How Tragedy and Comedy embrace; How Farce and Epic get a jumbled race; How Time himself stands still at her command, Realms shift their place, and ocean turns to land. Here gay description Egypt glads with showers, Or gives to Zembla fruits, to Barca flowers; Glittering with ice here hoary hills are seen, There painted valleys of eternal green; In cold December fragrant chaplets blow, And heavy harvests nod beneath the snow. All these and more the cloud-compelling queen Beholds through fogs, that magnify the scene: She, tinselled o'er in robes of varying hues, With self-applause her wild creation views; Sees momentary monsters rise and fall, And with her own fools-colours gilds them all.
* * * * *
[CIBBER AS DULNESS'S FAVOURITE SON]
In each she marks her image full expressed, But chief In Bays's monster-breeding breast; Bays, formed by nature stage and town to bless, And act, and be, a coxcomb with success. Dulness with transport eyes the lively dunce, Rememb'ring she herself was Pertness once. Now (shame to Fortune!) an ill run at play Blanked his bold visage, and a thin third day: Swearing and supperless the hero sate, Blasphemed his gods, the dice, and damned his fate; Then gnawed his pen, then dashed it on the ground, Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound! Plunged for his sense, but found no bottom there; Yet wrote and floundered on in mere despair. Round him much embryo, much abortion lay, Much future ode, and abdicated play; Nonsense precipitate, like running lead, That slipped through cracks and zigzags of the head; All that on Folly Frenzy could beget, Fruits of dull heat, and sooterkins of wit. Next o'er his books his eyes began to roll, In pleasing memory of all he stole— How here he sipped, how there he plundered snug, And sucked all o'er like an industrious bug. Here lay poor Fletcher's half-eat scenes, and here The frippery of crucified Moliere; There hapless Shakespeare, yet of Tibbald sore, Wished he had blotted for himself before.
* * * * *
[THE RESTORATION OF NIGHT AND CHAOS]
In vain, in vain—the all-composing hour Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the power. She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold Of Night primeval and of Chaos old! Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay, And all its varying rainbows die away. Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires, The meteor drops, and in a flash expires. As one by one, at dread Medea's strain, The sickening stars fade off th' ethereal plain; As Argus' eyes, by Hermes' wand oppressed, Closed one by one to everlasting rest: Thus at her felt approach, and secret might, Art after art goes out, and all is night. See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled, Mountains of casuistry heaped o'er her head! Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before, Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more. Physic of Metaphysic begs defence, And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense! See Mystery to Mathematics fly! In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die. Religion blushing veils her sacred fires, And unawares Morality expires. Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine; Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine! Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored; Light dies before thy uncreating word: Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall; And universal darkness buries all.
TO THE NIGHTINGALE
Exert thy voice, sweet harbinger of Spring! This moment is thy time to sing, This moment I attend to praise, And set my numbers to thy lays. Free as thine shall be my song; As thy music, short, or long. Poets, wild as thee, were born, Pleasing best when unconfined, When to please is least designed, Soothing but their cares to rest; Cares do still their thoughts molest, And still th' unhappy poet's breast, Like thine, when best he sings, is placed against a thorn. She begins, let all be still! Muse, thy promise now fulfil! Sweet, oh! sweet, still sweeter yet! Can thy words such accents fit? Canst thou syllables refine, Melt a sense that shall retain Still some spirit of the brain, Till with sounds like these it join? 'Twill not be! then change thy note; Let division shake thy throat. Hark! division now she tries; Yet as far the muse outflies. Cease then, prithee, cease thy tune; Trifler, wilt thou sing till June? Till thy business all lies waste, And the time of building's past! Thus we poets that have speech, Unlike what thy forests teach, If a fluent vein be shown That's transcendent to our own, Criticise, reform, or preach, Or censure what we cannot reach.
A NOCTURNAL REVERIE
In such a night, when every louder wind Is to its distant cavern safe confined, And only gentle Zephyr fans his wings, And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings; Or from some tree, famed for the owl's delight, She hollowing clear, directs the wanderer right; In such a night, when passing clouds give place, Or thinly veil the heaven's mysterious face; When in some river, overhung with green, The waving moon and trembling leaves are seen; When freshened grass now bears itself upright, And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite, Whence springs the woodbine and the bramble-rose, And where the sleepy cowslip sheltered grows; Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes, Yet chequers still with red the dusky brakes; When scattered glow-worms, but in twilight fine, Show trivial beauties watch their hour to shine, Whilst Salisbury stands the test of every light In perfect charms and perfect virtue bright; When odours which declined repelling day Through temperate air uninterrupted stray; When darkened groves their softest shadows wear, And falling waters we distinctly hear; When through the gloom more venerable shows Some ancient fabric, awful in repose, While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks conceal And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale; When the loosed horse now, as his pasture leads, Comes slowly grazing through th' adjoining meads, Whose stealing pace, and lengthened shade we fear, Till torn up forage in his teeth we hear; When nibbling sheep at large pursue their food, And unmolested kine re-chew the cud; When curlews cry beneath the village-walls, And to her straggling brood the partridge calls; Their shortlived jubilee the creatures keep, Which but endures whilst tyrant-man does sleep; When a sedate content the spirit feels, And no fierce light disturb, whilst it reveals; But silent musings urge the mind to seek Something too high for syllables to speak; Till the free soul to a composedness charmed, Finding the elements of rage disarmed, O'er all below a solemn quiet grown, Joys in th' inferior world and thinks it like her own: In such a night let me abroad remain Till morning breaks and all's confused again; Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renewed, Or pleasures, seldom reached, again pursued.
FROM RURAL SPORTS
When the ploughman leaves the task of day, And, trudging homeward, whistles on the way; When the big-uddered cows with patience stand, Waiting the strokings of the damsel's hand; No warbling cheers the woods; the feathered choir, To court kind slumbers, to their sprays retire; When no rude gale disturbs the sleeping trees, Nor aspen leaves confess the gentlest breeze; Engaged in thought, to Neptune's bounds I stray, To take my farewell of the parting day: Far in the deep the sun his glory hides, A streak of gold the sea and sky divides; The purple clouds their amber linings show, And edged with flame rolls every wave below; Here pensive I behold the fading light, And o'er the distant billows lose my sight.
FROM THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK
THURSDAY; OR, THE SPELL
I rue the day, a rueful day I trow, The woeful day, a day indeed of woe! When Lubberkin to town his cattle drove: A maiden fine bedight he happed to love; The maiden fine bedight his love retains, And for the village he forsakes the plains. Return, my Lubberkin! these ditties hear! Spells will I try, and spells shall ease my care. With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
* * * * *
Last May Day fair I searched to find a snail That might my secret lover's name reveal. Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found, For always snails near sweetest fruit abound. I seized the vermin, home I quickly sped, And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread: Slow crawled the snail, and, if I right can spell, In the soft ashes marked a curious L. Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove! For L is found in 'Lubberkin' and 'Love.' With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
* * * * *
This lady-fly I take from off the grass, Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass: 'Fly, lady-bird, north, south, or east, or west! Fly where the man is found that I love best!' He leaves my hand: see, to the west he's flown, To call my true-love from the faithless town. With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This mellow pippin, which I pare around, My shepherd's name shall flourish on the ground: I fling th' unbroken paring o'er my head— Upon the grass a perfect L is read. Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen Than what the paring marks upon the green. With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This pippin shall another trial make. See, from the core two kernels brown I take: This on my cheek for Lubberkin is worn, And Boobyclod on t' other side is borne; But Boobyclod soon drops upon the ground (A certain token that his love's unsound), While Lubberkin sticks firmly to the last— Oh, were his lips to mine but joined so fast! With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As Lubberkin once slept beneath a tree, I twitched his dangling garter from his knee; He wist not when the hempen string I drew. Now mine I quickly doff of inkle blue; Together fast I tie the garters twain, And while I knit the knot repeat this strain: 'Three times a true-love's knot I tie secure; Firm be the knot, firm may his love endure!' With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As I was wont I trudged last market-day To town, with new-laid eggs preserved in hay. I made my market long before 'twas night; My purse grew heavy and my basket light: Straight to the 'pothecary's shop I went, And in love-powder all my money spent. Behap what will, next Sunday after prayers, When to the alehouse Lubberkin repairs, These golden flies into his mug I'll throw, And soon the swain with fervent love shall glow. With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground, And turn me thrice around, around, around.
But hold! our Lightfoot barks, and cocks his ears: O'er yonder stile, see, Lubberkin appears! He comes, he comes! Hobnelia's not betrayed, Nor shall she, crowned with willow, die a maid. He vows, he swears, he'll give me a green gown: Oh, dear! I fall adown, adown, adown!
If clothed in black you tread the busy town, Or if distinguished by the reverend gown, Three trades avoid: oft in the mingling press The barber's apron soils the sable dress; Shun the perfumer's touch with cautious eye, Nor let the baker's step advance too nigh. Ye walkers too that youthful colours wear, Three sullying trades avoid with equal care: The little chimney-sweeper skulks along, And marks with sooty stains the heedless throng; When 'Small-coal!' murmurs in the hoarser throat, From smutty dangers guard thy threatened coat; The dust-man's cart offends thy clothes and eyes, When through the street a cloud of ashes flies. But whether black or lighter dyes are worn, The chandler's basket, on his shoulder borne, With tallow spots thy coat; resign the way To shun the surly butcher's greasy tray— Butchers whose hands are dyed with blood's foul stain, And always foremost in the hangman's train.
Let due civilities be strictly paid: The wall surrender to the hooded maid, Nor let thy sturdy elbow's hasty rage Jostle the feeble steps of trembling age; And when the porter bends beneath his load, And pants for breath, clear thou the crowded road; But, above all, the groping blind direct, And from the pressing throng the lame protect. You'll sometimes meet a fop, of nicest tread, Whose mantling peruke veils his empty head; At every step he dreads the wall to lose And risks, to save a coach, his red-heeled shoes: Him, like the miller, pass with caution by, Lest from his shoulder clouds of powder fly. But when the bully, with assuming pace, Cocks his broad hat, edged round with tarnished lace, Yield not the way; defy his strutting pride, And thrust him to the muddy kennel's side; He never turns again nor dares oppose, But mutters coward curses as he goes.
SWEET WILLIAM'S FAREWELL TO BLACK-EYED SUSAN
All in the Downs the fleet was moored, The streamers waving in the wind, When black-eyed Susan came aboard: 'Oh, where shall I my true love find? Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true If my sweet William sails among the crew?'
William, who high upon the yard Rocked with the billow to and fro, Soon as her well-known voice he heard, He sighed and cast his eyes below; The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands, And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air, Shuts close his pinions to his breast, If chance his mate's shrill call he hear, And drops at once into her nest. The noblest captain in the British fleet Mighty envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
'O, Susan, Susan, lovely dear, My vows shall ever true remain! Let me kiss off that falling tear: We only part to meet again. Change as ye list, ye winds! my heart shall be The faithful compass that still points to thee.
'Believe not what the landmen say, Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind: They'll tell thee sailors, when away, In every port a mistress find— Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
'If to far India's coast we sail, Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright; Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale, Thy skin is ivory so white. Thus every beauteous object that I view Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
'Though battle call me from thy arms, Let not my pretty Susan mourn; Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms, William shall to his dear return. Love turns aside the balls that round me fly, Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.'
The boatswain gave the dreadful word; The sails their swelling bosom spread; No longer must she stay aboard: They kissed—she sighed—he hung his head. Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land; 'Adieu!' she cries, and waved her lily hand.
MY OWN EPITAPH
Life is a jest, and all things show it: I thought so once, but now I know it.
FROM THE VISION
Pensive beneath a spreading oak I stood That veiled the hollow channel of the flood: Along whose shelving bank the violet blue And primrose pale in lovely mixture grew. High overarched the bloomy woodbine hung, The gaudy goldfinch from the maple sung; The little warbling minstrel of the shade To the gay morn her due devotion paid Next, the soft linnet echoing to the thrush With carols filled the smelling briar-bush; While Philomel attuned her artless throat, And from the hawthorn breathed a trilling note.
Indulgent Nature smiled in every part, And filled with joy unknown my ravished heart: Attent I listened while the feathered throng Alternate finished and renewed their song.
* * * * *
FROM ON THE DEATH OF MR. ADDISON
Can I forget the dismal night that gave My soul's best part forever to the grave? How silent did his old companions tread, By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead, Through breathing statues, then unheeded things, Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings! What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire; The pealing organ, and the pausing choir; The duties by the lawn-robed prelate paid; And the last words, that dust to dust conveyed! While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend, Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend. Oh, gone forever! take this long adieu; And sleep in peace next thy loved Montague!
To strew fresh laurels, let the task be mine, A frequent pilgrim at thy sacred shrine; Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan, And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone. If e'er from me thy loved memorial part, May shame afflict this alienated heart; Of thee forgetful if I form a song, My lyre be broken, and untuned my tongue, My griefs be doubled from thy image free, And mirth a torment, unchastised by thee!
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone, (Sad luxury to vulgar minds unknown) Along the walls where speaking marbles show What worthies form the hallowed mould below; Proud names, who once the reins of empire held; In arms who triumphed, or in arts excelled;
Chiefs graced with scars and prodigal of blood; Stern patriots who for sacred freedom stood; Just men by whom impartial laws were given; And saints who taught and led the way to Heaven. Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest, Since their foundation came a nobler guest; Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed A fairer spirit or more welcome shade.
* * * * *
That awful form (which, so ye Heavens decree, Must still be loved and still deplored by me,) In nightly visions seldom fails to rise, Or, roused by fancy, meets my waking eyes. If business calls or crowded courts invite, Th' unblemished statesman seems to strike my sight; If in the stage I seek to soothe my care, I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there; If pensive to the rural shades I rove, His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove; 'Twas there of just and good he reasoned strong, Cleared some great truth, or raised some serious song: There patient showed us the wise course to steer, A candid censor, and a friend severe; There taught us how to live, and (oh! too high The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
FROM A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH
By the blue taper's trembling light, No more I waste the wakeful night, Intent with endless view to pore The schoolmen and the sages o'er; Their books from wisdom widely stray, Or point at best the longest way. I'll seek a readier path, and go Where wisdom's surely taught below.
How deep yon azure dyes the sky, Where orbs of gold unnumbered lie, While through their ranks in silver pride The nether crescent seems to glide! The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe, The lake is smooth and clear beneath, Where once again the spangled show Descends to meet our eyes below. The grounds which on the right aspire, In dimness from the view retire: The left presents a place of graves, Whose wall the silent water laves. That steeple guides thy doubtful sight Among the livid gleams of night. There pass, with melancholy state, By all the solemn heaps of fate, And think, as softly-sad you tread Above the venerable dead, 'Time was, like thee they life possessed, And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.'
Those graves, with bending osier bound, That nameless heave the crumbled ground, Quick to the glancing thought disclose, Where toil and poverty repose. The flat smooth stones that bear a name, The chisel's slender help to fame, (Which ere our set of friends decay Their frequent steps may wear away;) A middle race of mortals own, Men, half ambitious, all unknown. The marble tombs that rise on high, Whose dead in vaulted arches lie, Whose pillars swell with sculptured stones, Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones; These, all the poor remains of state, Adorn the rich, or praise the great; Who while on earth in fame they live, Are senseless of the fame they give.
Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades, The bursting earth unveils the shades! All slow, and wan, and wrapped with shrouds They rise in visionary crowds, And all with sober accent cry, 'Think, mortal, what it is to die.'
Now from yon black and funeral yew That bathes the charnel house with dew Methinks I hear a voice begin: (Ye ravens, cease your croaking din; Ye tolling clocks, no time resound O'er the long lake and midnight ground) It sends a peal of hollow groans Thus speaking from among the bones: 'When men my scythe and darts supply, How great a king of fears am I! They view me like the last of things: They make, and then they dread, my stings. Fools! if you less provoked your fears, No more my spectre-form appears. Death's but a path that must be trod If man would ever pass to God, A port of calms, a state of ease From the rough rage of swelling seas.'
A HYMN OF CONTENTMENT
Lovely, lasting peace of mind! Sweet delight of humankind! Heavenly-born, and bred on high, To crown the favourites of the sky With more of happiness below Than victors in a triumph know! Whither, O whither art thou fled, To lay thy meek, contented head? What happy region dost thou please To make the seat of calms and ease?
Ambition searches all its sphere Of pomp and state, to meet thee there. Increasing Avarice would find Thy presence in its gold enshrined.
The bold adventurer ploughs his way, Through rocks amidst the foaming sea, To gain thy love; and then perceives Thou wert not in the rocks and waves. The silent heart which grief assails, Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales, Sees daisies open, rivers run, And seeks, as I have vainly done, Amusing thought; but learns to know That solitude's the nurse of woe. No real happiness is found In trailing purple o'er the ground; Or in a soul exalted high, To range the circuit of the sky, Converse with stars above, and know All nature in its forms below; The rest it seeks, in seeking dies, And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise.
Lovely, lasting peace, appear! This world itself, if thou art here, Is once again with Eden blest, And man contains it in his breast.
'Twas thus, as under shade I stood, I sung my wishes to the wood, And lost in thought, no more perceived The branches whisper as they waved: It seemed, as all the quiet place Confess'd the presence of the Grace. When thus she spoke—'Go rule thy will, Bid thy wild passions all be still, Know God, and bring thy heart to know The joys which from religion flow; Then every grace shall prove its guest, And I'll be there to crown the rest.'
Oh! by yonder mossy seat, In my hours of sweet retreat, Might I thus my soul employ, With sense of gratitude and joy! Raised as ancient prophets were, In heavenly vision, praise, and prayer; Pleasing all men, hurting none, Pleased and blessed with God alone; Then while the gardens take my sight, With all the colours of delight; While silver waters glide along, To please my ear, and court my song; I'll lift my voice, and tune my string, And thee, great Source of nature, sing.
The sun that walks his airy way, To light the world, and give the day; The moon that shines with borrowed light; The stars that gild the gloomy night; The seas that roll unnumbered waves; The wood that spreads its shady leaves; The field whose ears conceal the grain, The yellow treasure of the plain; All of these, and all I see, Should be sung, and sung by me: They speak their Maker as they can, But want and ask the tongue of man.
Go search among your idle dreams, Your busy or your vain extremes; And find a life of equal bliss, Or own the next begun in this.
From THE GENTLE SHEPHERD
PATIE AND ROGER
Beneath the south side of a craigy bield, Where crystal springs the halesome waters yield, Twa youthfu' shepherds on the gowans lay, Tenting their flocks ae bonny morn of May. Poor Roger granes, till hollow echoes ring; But blither Patie likes to laugh and sing.
Patie. My Peggy is a young thing, Just entered in her teens, Fair as the day, and sweet as May, Fair as the day, and always gay; My Peggy is a young thing, And I'm not very auld, Yet well I like to meet her at The wauking of the fauld.
My Peggy speaks sae sweetly Whene'er we meet alane, I wish nae mair to lay my care, I wish nae mair of a' that's rare: My Peggy speaks sae sweetly, To a' the lave I'm cauld, But she gars a' my spirits glow At wauking of the fauld.
My Peggy smiles sae kindly Whene'er I whisper love, That I look down on a' the town, That I look down upon a crown; My Peggy smiles sae kindly, It makes me blythe and bauld, And naething gi'es me sic delight At wauking of the fauld.
My Peggy sings sae saftly When on my pipe I play, By a' the rest it is confest, By a' the rest, that she sings best; My Peggy sings sae saftly, And in her sangs are tauld With innocence the wale of sense, At wauking of the fauld.
This sunny morning, Roger, chears my blood, And puts all Nature in a jovial mood. How hartsome is't to see the rising plants, To hear the birds chirm o'er their pleasing rants!
How halesom 'tis to snuff the cauler air, And all the sweets it bears, when void of care! What ails thee, Roger, then? what gars thee grane? Tell me the cause of thy ill-seasoned pain.
Roger. I'm born, O Patie, to a thrawart fate; I'm born to strive with hardships sad and great! Tempests may cease to jaw the rowan flood, Corbies and tods to grein for lambkins' blood; But I, oppressed with never-ending grief, Maun ay despair of lighting on relief.
* * * * *
You have sae saft a voice and slid a tongue, You are the darling of baith auld and young: If I but ettle at a sang or speak, They dit their lugs, syne up their leglens cleek, And jeer me hameward frae the loan or bught, While I'm confused with mony a vexing thought; Yet I am tall, and as well built as thee, Nor mair unlikely to a lass's eye; For ilka sheep ye have I'll number ten, And should, as ane may think, come farer ben.
* * * * *
Patie. Daft gowk! leave aff that silly whinging way! Seem careless: there's my hand ye'll win the day. Hear how I served my lass I love as weel As ye do Jenny and with heart as leel. Last morning I was gay and early out; Upon a dyke I leaned, glowring about. I saw my Meg come linkan o'er the lea; I saw my Meg, but Peggy saw na me, For yet the sun was wading thro' the mist, And she was close upon me e'er she wist: Her coats were kiltit, and did sweetly shaw Her straight bare legs, that whiter were than snaw. Her cockernony snooded up fou sleek, Her haffet-locks hang waving on her cheek; Her cheeks sae ruddy, and her een sae clear; And, oh, her mouth's like ony hinny pear; Neat, neat she was in bustine waistcoat clean, As she came skiffing o'er the dewy green. Blythesome I cried, 'My bonnie Meg, come here! I ferly wherefore ye're sae soon asteer,
But I can guess ye're gawn to gather dew.' She scoured awa, and said, 'What's that to you?' 'Then fare ye weel, Meg Dorts, and e'en's ye like,' I careless cried, and lap in o'er the dyke. I trow when, that she saw, within a crack She came with a right thieveless errand back: Misca'd me first; then bade me hound my dog, To wear up three waff ewes strayed on the bog. I leugh, an sae did she: then with great haste I clasped my arms about her neck and waist, About her yielding waist, and took a fourth Of sweetest kisses frae her glowing mouth; While hard and fast I held her in my grips, My very saul came louping to my lips; Sair, sair she flet wi' me 'tween ilka smack, But weel I kenned she meant nae as she spak. Dear Roger, when your jo puts on her gloom, Do ye sae too and never fash your thumb: Seem to forsake her, soon she'll change her mood; Gae woo anither, and she'll gang clean wood.
Dear Roger, if your Jenny geck, And answer kindness with a slight, Seem unconcerned at her neglect; For women in a man delight, But them despise who're soon defeat And with a simple face give way To a repulse: then he not blate; Push bauldly on, and win the day.
When maidens, innocently young, Say aften what they never mean, Ne'er mind their pretty lying tongue, But tent the language of their een: If these agree, and she persist To answer all your love with hate, Seek elsewhere to be better blest, And let her sigh when'tis too late.
Roger. Kind Patie, now fair fa' your honest heart! Ye're ay sae cadgy, and have sie an art
To hearten ane; for now, as clean's a leek, Ye've cherished me since ye began to speak. Sae, for your pains, I'll mak ye a propine (My mother, rest her saul! she made it fine)— A tartan plaid, spun of good hawslock woo, Scarlet and green the sets, the borders blue, With spraings like gowd and siller crossed with black; I never had it yet upon my back: Weel are ye wordy o' 't, what have sae kind Sed up my reveled doubts and cleared my mind.
TO MISS CHARLOTTE PULTENEY, IN HER MOTHER'S ARMS
Timely blossom, infant fair, Pondling of a happy pair, Every morn and every night Their solicitous delight; Sleeping, waking, still at ease, Pleasing, without skill to please; Little gossip, blithe and hale, Tattling many a broken tale, Singing many a tuneless song, Lavish of a heedless tongue. Simple maiden, void of art, Babbling out the very heart, Yet abandoned to thy will, Yet imagining no ill, Yet too innocent to blush; Like the linnet in the bush, To the mother-linnet's note Moduling her slender throat, Chirping forth thy pretty joys; Wanton in the change of toys, Like the linnet green, in May, Flitting to each bloomy spray;
Wearied then, and glad of rest, Like the linnet in the nest. This thy present happy lot, This, in time, will be forgot; Other pleasures, other cares, Ever-busy Time prepares; And thou shalt in thy daughter see This picture once resembled thee.
Silent Nymph, with curious eye! Who, the purple evening, lie On the mountain's lonely van, Beyond the noise of busy man; Painting fair the form of things, While the yellow linnet sings; Or the tuneful nightingale Charms the forest with her tale; Come, with all thy various hues, Come, and aid thy sister Muse; Now while Phoebus riding high Gives lustre to the land and sky! Grongar Hill invites my song, Draw the landscape bright and strong; Grongar, in whose mossy cells Sweetly musing Quiet dwells; Grongar, in whose silent shade, For the modest Muses made, So oft I have, the evening still, At the fountain of a rill, Sate upon a flowery bed, With my hand beneath my head; While strayed my eyes o'er Towy's flood. Over mead, and over wood, From house to house, from hill to hill, 'Till Contemplation had her fill. About his chequered sides I wind, And leave his brooks and meads behind, And groves, and grottoes where I lay, And vistas shooting beams of day: Wide and wider spreads the vale, As circles on a smooth canal: The mountains round—unhappy fate! Sooner or later, of all height, Withdraw their summits from the skies, And lessen as the others rise: Still the prospect wider spreads, Adds a thousand woods and meads; Still it widens, widens still, And sinks the newly-risen hill.
Now I gain the mountain's brow, What a landscape lies below! No clouds, no vapours intervene, But the gay, the open scene Does the face of nature shew, In all the hues of heaven's bow! And, swelling to embrace the light, Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise, Proudly towering in the skies! Rushing from the woods, the spires Seem from hence ascending fires! Half his beams Apollo sheds On the yellow mountain-heads! Gilds the fleeces of the flocks, And glitters on the broken rocks!
Below me trees unnumbered rise, Beautiful in various dyes: The gloomy pine, the poplar blue, The yellow beech, the sable yew, The slender fir, that taper grows, The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs; And beyond the purple grove, Haunt of Phillis, queen of love! Gaudy as the opening dawn, Lies a long and level lawn On which a dark hill, steep and high, Holds and charms the wandering eye!
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood, His sides are clothed with waving wood, And ancient towers crown his brow, That cast an awful look below; Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps, And with her arms from falling keeps; So both a safety from the wind On mutual dependence find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode; 'Tis now th' apartment of the toad; And there the fox securely feeds; And there the poisonous adder breeds Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds: While, ever and anon, there falls Huge heaps of hoary mouldered walls. Yet time has seen, that lifts the low, And level lays the lofty brow, Has seen this broken pile complete, Big with the vanity of state; But transient is the smile of fate! A little rule, a little sway, A sunbeam in a winter's day, Is all the proud and mighty have Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers how they run, Through woods and meads, in shade and sun, Sometimes swift, sometimes slow, Wave succeeding wave, they go A various journey to the deep, Like human life to endless sleep! Thus is nature's vesture wrought, To instruct our wandering thought; Thus she dresses green and gay, To disperse our cares away.
Ever charming, ever new, When will the landscape tire the view! The fountain's fall, the river's flow, The woody valleys warm and low; The windy summit, wild and high, Roughly rushing on the sky; The pleasant seat, the ruined tower, The naked rock, the shady bower;
The town and village, dome and farm, Each gives each a double charm, As pearls upon an Aethiop's arm.
See, on the mountain's southern side, Where the prospect opens wide, Where the evening gilds the tide; How close and small the hedges lie! What streaks of meadows cross the eye! A step methinks may pass the stream, So little distant dangers seem; So we mistake the future's face, Eyed through Hope's deluding glass; As yon summits soft and fair Clad in colours of the air, Which to those who journey near, Barren, brown, and rough appear; Still we tread the same coarse way; The present's still a cloudy day.
O may I with myself agree, And never covet what I see: Content me with an humble shade, My passions tamed, my wishes laid; For while our wishes wildly roll, We banish quiet from the soul: 'Tis thus the busy beat the air; And misers gather wealth and care.
Now, even now, my joys run high, As on the mountain-turf I lie; While the wanton Zephyr sings, And in the vale perfumes his wings; While the waters murmur deep; While the shepherd charms his sheep; While the birds unbounded fly, And with music fill the sky, Now, even now, my joys, run high.
Be full, ye courts, be great who will; Search for Peace with all your skill: Open wide the lofty door, Seek her on the marble floor, In vain ye search, she is not there; In vain ye search the domes of Care!
Grass and flowers Quiet treads, On the meads, and mountain-heads, Along with Pleasure, close allied, Ever by each other's side: And often, by the murmuring rill, Hears the thrush, while all is still, Within the groves of Grongar Hill.
VERSES ON THE PROSPECT OF PLANTING ARTS AND LEARNING IN AMERICA
The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime Barren of every glorious theme, In distant lands now waits a better time, Producing subjects worthy fame:
In happy climes where from the genial sun And virgin earth such scenes ensue, The force of art in nature seems outdone, And fancied beauties by the true:
In happy climes, the seat of innocence, Where nature guides and virtue rules, Where men shall not impose for truth and sense The pedantry of courts and schools.
There shall be sung another golden age, The rise of empire and of arts, The good and great inspiring epic rage, The wisest heads and noblest hearts.
Not such as Europe breeds in her decay; Such as she bred when fresh and young, When heavenly flame did animate her clay, By future poets shall be sung.
Westward the course of empire takes its way; The four first acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day; Time's noblest offspring is the last.
[HARDSHIPS AND BENEVOLENCE]
The keener tempests come; and, fuming dun From all the livid east or piercing north, Thick clouds ascend, in whose capacious womb A vapoury deluge lies, to snow congealed. Heavy they roll their fleecy world along, And the sky saddens with the gathered storm. Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends, At first thin wavering, till at last the flakes Fall broad and wide and fast, dimming the day With a continual flow. The cherished fields Put on their winter robe of purest white; 'Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts Along the mazy current; low the woods Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun Faint from the west emits his evening ray, Earth's universal face, deep-hid and chill, Is one wild dazzling waste, that buries wide The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox Stands covered o'er with snow, and then demands The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven, Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around The winnowing store, and claim the little boon Which Providence assigns them. One alone, The redbreast, sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky, In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man His annual visit: half-afraid, he first Against the window beats; then brisk alights On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor, Eyes all the smiling family askance, And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is, Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare, Though timorous of heart and hard beset By death in various forms—dark snares, and dogs, And more unpitying men,—the garden seeks, Urged on by fearless want. The bleating kind Eye the black heaven, and next the glistening earth, With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispersed, Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.
Now, shepherds, to your helpless charge be kind: Baffle the raging year, and fill their pens With food at will; lodge them below the storm, And watch them strict, for from the bellowing east, In this dire season, oft the whirlwind's wing Sweeps up the burthen of whole wintry plains At one wide waft, and o'er the hapless flocks, Hid in the hollow of two neighbouring hills, The billowy tempest whelms, till, upward urged, The valley to a shining mountain swells, Tipped with a wreath high-curling in the sky.
As thus the snows arise, and foul and fierce All Winter drives along the darkened air, In his own loose-revolving fields the swain Disastered stands; sees other hills ascend, Of unknown, joyless brow, and other scenes, Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain; Nor finds the river nor the forest, hid Beneath the formless wild, but wanders on From hill to dale, still more and more astray, Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps, Stung with the thoughts of home. The thoughts of home Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul, What black despair, what horror fills his heart, When, for the dusky spot which fancy feigned
His tufted cottage rising through the snow, He meets the roughness of the middle waste, Far from the track and blest abode of man, While round him night resistless closes fast, And every tempest, howling o'er his head, Renders the savage wilderness more wild! Then throng the busy shapes into his mind Of covered pits unfathomably deep (A dire descent!), beyond the power of frost; Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge, Smoothed up with snow; and—what is land unknown, What water—of the still unfrozen spring, In the loose marsh or solitary lake, Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils. These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift, Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death, Mixed with the tender anguish nature shoots Through the wrung bosom of the dying man— His wife, his children, and his friends unseen. In vain for him th' officious wife prepares The fire fair-blazing and the vestment warm; In vain his little children, peeping out Into the mingling storm, demand their sire, With tears of artless innocence. Alas! Nor wife nor children more shall he behold, Nor friends nor sacred home: on every nerve The deadly Winter seizes, shuts up sense, And, o'er his inmost vitals creeping cold, Lays him along the snows a stiffened corse, Stretched out and bleaching in the northern blast.
Ah, little think the gay licentious proud Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround; They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth And wanton, often cruel, riot waste; Ah, little think they, while they dance along, How many feel, this very moment, death And all the sad variety of pain: How many sink in the devouring flood, Or more devouring flame; how many bleed, By shameful variance betwixt man and man; How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms,
Shut from the common air, and common use Of their own limbs; how many drink the cup Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread Of misery; sore pierced by wintry winds, How many shrink into the sordid hut Of cheerless poverty; how many shake With all the fiercer tortures of the mind, Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse; Whence tumbled headlong from the height of life, They furnish matter for the tragic Muse; Even in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell, With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined, How many, racked with honest passions, droop In deep retired distress; how many stand Around the deathbed of their dearest friends, And point the parting anguish. Thought fond man Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills, That one incessant struggle render life, One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate, Vice in his high career would stand appalled, And heedless rambling impulse learn to think; The conscious heart of charity would warm, And her wide wish benevolence dilate; The social tear would rise, the social sigh; And into clear perfection, gradual bliss, Refining still, the social passions work.
(LIFE'S MEANING TO THE GENEROUS MIND)
Forever running an enchanted round, Passes the day, deceitful vain and void, As fleets the vision o'er the formful brain, This moment hurrying wild th' impassioned soul, The nest in nothing lost. 'Tis so to him, The dreamer of this earth, an idle blank; A sight of horror to the cruel wretch, Who all day long in sordid pleasure rolled, Himself an useless load, has squandered vile, Upon his scoundrel train, what might have cheered A drooping family of modest worth.
But to the generous still-improving mind, That gives the hopeless heart to sing for joy, Diffusing kind beneficence around, Boastless,—as now descends the silent dew,— To him the long review of ordered life Is inward rapture, only to be felt.
[THE DIVINE FORCE IN SPRING]
Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come! And from the bosom of yon dropping cloud, While music wakes around, veiled in a shower Of shadowing roses, on our plains descend!
O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts With unaffected grace, or walk the plain With Innocence and Meditation joined In soft assemblage, listen to my song, Which thy own season paints, when nature all Is blooming and benevolent, like thee.
And see where surly Winter passes off, Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts: His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill, The shattered forest, and the ravaged vale; While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch— Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost— The mountains lift their green heads to the sky. As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed, And Winter oft at eve resumes the breeze, Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets Deform the day delightless; so that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill engulfed, To shake the sounding marsh, or from the shore The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath And sing their wild notes to the listening waste. At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun, And the bright Bull receives him. Then no more Th' expansive atmosphere is cramped with cold, But, full of life and vivifying soul, Lifts the light clouds sublime and spreads them thin, Fleecy and white, o'er all-surrounding heaven;
Forth fly the tepid airs, and, unconfined, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous, th' impatient husbandman perceives Relenting nature, and his lusty steers Drives from their stalls, to where the well-used plough Lies in the furrow, loosened from the frost; There, unrefusing, to the harnessed yoke They lend their shoulder, and begin their toil, Cheered by the simple song and soaring lark; Meanwhile incumbent o'er the shining share The master leans, removes th' obstructing clay, Winds the whole work, and sidelong lays the glebe. White through the neighbouring fields the sower stalks, With measured step, and liberal throws the grain Into the faithful bosom of the ground; The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the scene.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow! Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend! And temper all, thou world-reviving sun, Into the perfect year! Nor ye who live In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride, Think these lost themes unworthy of your ear. Such themes as these the rural Maro sung To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height Of elegance and taste, by Greece refined. In ancient times, the sacred plough employed The kings and awful fathers of mankind; And some, with whom compared your insect tribes Are but the beings of a summer's day, Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm Of mighty war, then with victorious hand, Disdaining little delicacies, seized The plough, and, greatly independent, scorned All the vile stores corruption can bestow. Ye generous Britons, venerate the plough; And o'er your hills and long-withdrawing vales Let Autumn spread his treasures to the sun, Luxuriant and unbounded! As the sea, Far through his azure, turbulent domain, Your empire owns, and from a thousand shores Wafts all the pomp of life into your ports,
So with superior boon may your rich soil Exuberant, Nature's better blessings pour O'er every land, the naked nations clothe, And be th' exhaustless granary of a world.
Nor only through the lenient air this change, Delicious, breathes: the penetrative sun, His force deep-darting to the dark retreat Of vegetation, sets the steaming power At large, to wander o'er the verdant earth, In various hues—but chiefly thee, gay green! Thou smiling Nature's universal robe, United light and shade, where the sight dwells With growing strength and ever new delight. From the moist meadow to the withered hill, Led by the breeze, the vivid verdure runs, And swells and deepens to the cherished eye. The hawthorn whitens; and the juicy groves Put forth their buds, unfolding by degrees, Till the whole leafy forest stands displayed In full luxuriance to the sighing gales, Where the deer rustle through the twining brake, And the birds sing concealed. At once, arrayed In all the colours of the flushing year By Nature's swift and secret-working hand, The garden glows, and fills the liberal air With lavished fragrance, while the promised fruit Lies yet a little embryo, unperceived, Within its crimson folds. Now from the town, Buried in smoke and sleep and noisome damps, Oft let me wander o'er the dewy fields, Where freshness breathes, and dash the trembling drops From the bent bush, as through the verdant maze Of sweet-briar hedges I pursue my walk; Or taste the smell of dairy; or ascend Some eminence, Augusta, in thy plains, And see the country, far diffused around, One boundless blush, one white-empurpled shower Of mingled blossoms, where the raptured eye Hurries from joy to joy, and, hid beneath The fair profusion, yellow Autumn spies.
* * * * *
What is this mighty breath, ye sages, say, That in a powerful language, felt not heard, Instructs the fowl of heaven, and through their breast These arts of love diffuses? What but God? Inspiring God! who boundless spirit all, And unremitting energy, pervades, Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole. He ceaseless works alone, and yet alone Seems not to work; with such perfection framed Is this complex, stupendous scheme of things. But, though concealed, to every purer eye Th' informing author in his works appears: Chief, lovely Spring, in thee, and thy soft scenes, The smiling God is seen; while water, earth, And air attest his bounty; which exalts The brute creation to this finer thought, And annual melts their undesigning hearts Profusely thus in tenderness and joy,
Still let my song a nobler note assume, And sing th' infusive force of Spring on man, When heaven and earth, as if contending, vie To raise his being, and serene his soul. Can he forbear to join the general smile Of nature? Can fierce passions vex his breast, While every gale is peace, and every grove Is melody? Hence from the bounteous walks Of flowing Spring, ye sordid sons of earth, Hard, and unfeeling of another's woe; Or only lavish to yourselves; away! But come, ye generous minds, la whose wide thought, Of all his works, creative bounty burns With warmest beam!
[THE PLEASING SADNESS OF THE DECLINING YEAR]
But see! the fading many-coloured woods, Shade deepening over shade, the country round Imbrown, a crowded umbrage, dusk and dun,
Of every hue from wan declining green To sooty dark. These now the lonesome Muse, Low-whispering, lead into their leaf-strown walks, And give the season in its latest view. Meantime, light-shadowing all, a sober calm Fleeces unbounded ether, whose least wave Stands tremulous, uncertain where to turn The gentle current, while, illumined wide, The dewy-skirted clouds imbibe the sun, And through their lucid veil his softened force Shed o'er the peaceful world. Then is the time, For those whom wisdom and whom nature charm, To steal themselves from the degenerate crowd, And soar above this little scene of things, To tread low-thoughted Vice beneath their feet, To soothe the throbbing passions into peace, And woo lone Quiet in her silent walks. Thus solitary, and in pensive guise, Oft let me wander o'er the russet mead And through the saddened grove, where scarce is heard One dying strain to cheer the woodman's toil. Haply some widowed songster pours his plaint, Far, in faint warblings, through the tawny copse; While congregated thrushes, linnets, larks, And each wild throat whose artless strains so late Swelled all the music of the swarming shades, Robbed of their tuneful souls, now shivering sit On the dead tree, a dull despondent flock, With not a brightness waving o'er their plumes, And naught save chattering discord in their note. Oh, let not, aimed from some inhuman eye, The gun the music of the coming year Destroy, and harmless, unsuspecting harm, Lay the weak tribes a miserable prey, In mingled murder fluttering on the ground! The pale descending year, yet pleasing still, A gentler mood inspires: for now the leaf Incessant rustles from the mournful grove, Oft startling such as, studious, walk below, And slowly circles through the waving air; But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streams, Till, choked and matted with the dreary shower, The forest walks, at every rising gale, Roll wide the withered waste and whistle bleak. Fled is the blasted verdure of the fields, And, shrunk into their beds, the flowery race Their sunny robes resign; even what remained Of stronger fruits fall from the naked tree; And woods, fields, gardens, orchards, all around, The desolated, prospect thrills the soul.
(CONCLUDING THE SEASONS)
These, as they change, Almighty Father, these, Are but the varied God. The rolling year Is full of Thee. Forth In the pleasing Spring Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love. Wide-flush the fields; the softening air is balm; Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles; And every sense, and every heart is joy. Then comes thy glory in the summer-months, With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun Shoots full perfection through the swelling year: And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks; And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve, By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales. Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined, And spreads a common feast for all that lives. In winter awful thou' with clouds and storms Around thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rolled Majestic darkness! on the whirlwind's wing, Riding sublime, thou bidst the world adore, And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force Divine Deepfelt, in these appear! a simple train, Yet so delightful mixed, with such kind art, Such beauty and beneficence combined: Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade; And all so forming an harmonious whole;
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still. But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze, Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand; That, ever-busy, wheels the silent spheres; Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence The fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring: Flings from the sun direct the flaming day; Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth; And, as on earth this grateful change revolves, With transport touches all the springs of life.
Nature, attend! join every living soul, Beneath the spacious temple of the sky, In adoration join; and ardent raise One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales, Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes. Oh, talk of Him in solitary glooms Where o'er the rock the scarcely waving pine Fills the brown shade with a religious awe; And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar, Who shake the astonished world, lift high to heaven Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage. His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills; And let me catch it as I muse along. Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound; Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze Along the vale; and thou, majestic main, A secret world of wonders in thyself, Sound His stupendous praise, whose greater voice Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall. So roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers, In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts, Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints. Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave to Him; Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart, As home he goes beneath the joyous moon. Ye that keep watch in Heaven, as earth asleep Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams; Ye constellations, while your angels strike, Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! blest image here below Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide, Prom world to world, the vital ocean round, On nature write with every beam His praise. The thunder rolls: be hushed the prostrate world, While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn. Bleat out afresh, ye hills: ye mossy rocks, Retain the sound; the broad responsive low, Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns, And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come. Ye woodlands, all awake; a boundless song Burst from the groves; and when the restless day, Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep, Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm The listening shades, and teach the night His praise. Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles; At once the head, the heart, the tongue of all, Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities vast, Assembled men to the deep organ join The long resounding voice, oft breaking clear, At solemn pauses, through the swelling base; And, as each mingling flame increases each, In one united ardour rise to Heaven. Or if you rather choose the rural shade, And find a fane in every sacred grove, There let the shepherd's lute, the virgin's lay, The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre, Still sing the God of Seasons as they roll. For me, when I forget the darling theme, Whether the blossom blows, the Summer ray Russets the plain, inspiring Autumn gleams, Or Winter rises in the blackening east— Se my tongue mute, my fancy paint no more, And, dead to joy, forget my heart to beat.
Should Fate command me to the furthest verge Of the green earth, to distant barbarous climes, Rivers unknown to song; where first the sun Gilds Indian mountains, or his setting beam Flames on the Atlantic isles, 'tis nought to me; Since God is ever present, ever felt, In the void waste as in the city full;
And where He vital breathes, there must be joy. When even at last the solemn hour shall come, And wing my mystic flight to future worlds, I cheerfully will obey; there with new powers, Will rising wonders sing. I cannot go Where Universal Love not smiles around, Sustaining all yon orbs, and all their suns; From seeming evil still educing good, And better thence again, and better still, In infinite progression. But I lose Myself in Him, in Light ineffable! Come, then, expressive silence, muse His praise.
AN ODE: FROM ALFRED, A MASQUE
When Britain first, at Heaven's command, Arose from out the azure main, This was the charter of the land, And guardian angels sang this strain: Rule, Britannia, Britannia rules the waves! Britons never will be slaves!
The nations not so blest as thee, Must in their turns to tyrants fall, Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free, The dread and envy of them all. Rule, Britannia, etc.
Still more majestic shalt thou rise, More dreadful from each foreign stroke; As the loud blast that tears the skies, Serves but to root thy native oak. Rule, Britannia, etc.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame; And their attempts to bend thee down Will but arouse thy generous flame, But work their woe and thy renown. Rule, Britannia, etc.
To thee belongs the rural reign; Thy cities shall with commerce shine; All thine shall be the subject main, And every shore it circles thine. Rule, Britannia, etc.
The Muses, still with freedom found, Shall to thy happy coast repair; Blest isle, with matchless beauty crowned, And manly hearts to guard the fair! Rule, Britannia, etc.
From THE CASTLE OF INDOLENCE
O mortal man, who livest here by toil, Do not complain of this thy hard estate: That like an emmet thou must ever moil Is a sad sentence of an ancient date; And, certes, there is for it reason great, For though sometimes it makes thee weep and wail And curse thy star, and early drudge and late, Withouten that would come an heavier bale— Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale.
In lowly dale, fast by a river's side, With woody hill o'er hill encompassed round, A most enchanting wizard did abide, Than whom, a fiend more fell is nowhere found. It was, I ween, a lovely spot of ground; And there a season atween June and May, Half prankt with spring, with summer half imbrowned, A listless climate made, where, sooth to say, No living wight could work, ne cared even for play.
Was naught around but images of rest: Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between; And flowery beds that slumbrous influence kest, From poppies breathed; and beds of pleasant green, Where never yet was creeping creature seen. Meantime unnumbered glittering streamlets played, And hurled everywhere their waters sheen, That, as they bickered through the sunny glade, Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
Joined to the prattle of the purling rills, Were heard the lowing herds along the vale, And flocks loud-bleating from the distant hills, And vacant shepherds piping in the dale; And now and then sweet Philomel would wail, Or stock doves 'plain amid the forest deep, That drowsy rustled to the sighing gale; And still a coil the grasshopper did keep: Yet all these sounds, yblent, inclined all to sleep.
Pull in the passage of the vale, above, A sable, silent, solemn forest stood, Where naught but shadowy forms was seen to move, As Idless fancied in her dreaming mood; And up the hills, on either side, a wood Of blackening pines, aye waving to and fro, Sent forth a sleepy horror through the blood; And where this valley winded out, below, The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely heard, to flow.
A pleasing land of drowsyhed it was: Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, Forever flushing round a summer sky. There eke the soft delights, that witchingly Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast, And the calm pleasures, always hovered nigh; But whate'er smacked of 'noyance or unrest Was far, far off expelled from this delicious nest.
The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease, Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight) Close-hid his castle mid embowering trees, That half shut out the beams of Phoebus bright, And made a kind of checkered day and night. Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate, Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight Was placed; and, to his lute, of cruel fate And labour harsh complained, lamenting man's estate.
Thither continual pilgrims crowded still, From all the roads of earth that pass there by; For, as they chaunced to breathe on neighbouring hill, The freshness of this valley smote their eye, And drew them ever and anon more nigh, Till clustering round th' enchanter false they hung, Ymolten with his syren melody. While o'er th' enfeebling lute his hand he flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting verses sung:
'Behold, ye pilgrims of this earth, behold! See all but man with unearned pleasure gay! See her bright robes the butterfly unfold, Broke from her wintry tomb in prime of May. What youthful bride can equal her array? Who can with her for easy pleasure vie? From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray, From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly, Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.
'Behold the merry minstrels of the morn, The swarming songsters of the careless grove, Ten thousand throats that, from the flowering thorn, Hymn their good God and carol sweet of love, Such grateful kindly raptures them emove! They neither plough nor sow; ne, fit for flail, E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they drove; Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale, Whatever crowns the hill or smiles along the vale.
'Outcast of Nature, man! the wretched thrall Of bitter-dropping sweat, of sweltry pain, Of cares that eat away thy heart with gall, And of the vices, an inhuman train, That all proceed from savage thirst of gain: For when hard-hearted Interest first began To poison earth, Astraea left the plain; Guile, violence, and murder seized on man, And, for soft milky streams, with blood the rivers ran.'
He ceased. But still their trembling ears retained The deep vibrations of his 'witching song, That, by a kind of magic power, constrained To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng: Heaps poured on heaps, and yet they slipped along In silent ease; as when beneath the beam Of summer moons, the distant woods among, Or by some flood all silvered with the gleam, The soft-embodied fays through airy portal stream.
* * * * *
Of all the gentle tenants of the place, There was a man of special grave remark; A certain tender gloom o'erspread his face, Pensive, not sad; in thought involved, not dark; As soote this man could sing as morning lark, And teach the noblest morals of the heart; But these his talents were yburied stark: Of the fine stores he nothing would impart, Which or boon Nature gave, or nature-painting Art.
To noontide shades incontinent he ran, Where purls the brook with sleep-inviting sound, Or when Dan Sol to slope his wheels began, Amid the broom he basked him on the ground, Where the wild thyme and camomil are found; There would he linger, till the latest ray Of light sate trembling on the welkin's bound, Then homeward through the twilight shadows stray, Sauntering and slow: so had he passed many a day.
Yet not in thoughtless slumber were they passed; For oft the heavenly fire, that lay concealed Beneath the sleeping embers, mounted fast, And all its native light anew revealed; Oft as he traversed the cerulean field, And marked the clouds that drove before the wind, Ten thousand glorious systems would he build, Ten thousand great ideas filled his mind: But with the clouds they fled, and left no trace behind.
From LOVE OF FAME
Such blessings Nature pours, O'erstocked mankind enjoy but half her stores: In distant wilds, by human eyes unseen, She rears her flowers, and spreads her velvet green: Pure, gurgling rills the lonely desert trace, And waste their music on the savage race. Is Nature then a niggard of her bliss? Repine we guiltless in a world like this? But our lewd tastes her lawful charms refuse, And painted art's depraved allurements choose. Such Fulvia's passion for the town; fresh air (An odd effect!) gives vapours to the fair; Green fields, and shady groves, and crystal springs, And larks, and nightingales, are odious things; But smoke, and dust, and noise, and crowds, delight; And to be pressed to death, transports her quite: Where silver rivulets play through flowery meads, And woodbines give their sweets, and limes their shades, Black kennels' absent odours she regrets, And stops her nose at beds of violets.
* * * * *
Few to good-breeding make a just pretense; Good-breeding is the blossom of good-sense; The last result of an accomplished mind, With outward grace, the body's virtue, joined. A violated decency now reigns; And nymphs for failings take peculiar pains. With Chinese painters modern toasts agree, The point they aim at is deformity: They throw their persons with a hoyden air Across the room, and toss into the chair. So far their commerce with mankind is gone, They, for our manners, have exchanged their own.
The modest look, the castigated grace, The gentle movement, and slow-measured pace, For which her lovers died, her parents prayed, Are indecorums with the modern maid.
* * * * *
What swarms of amorous grandmothers I see! And misses, ancient in iniquity! What blasting whispers, and what loud declaiming! What lying, drinking, bawding, swearing, gaming! Friendship so cold, such warm incontinence; Such griping avarice, such profuse expense; Such dead devotion, such a zeal for crimes; Such licensed ill, such masquerading times; Such venal faith, such misapplied applause; Such flattered guilt, and such inverted laws!
Such dissolution through the whole I find, 'Tis not a world, but chaos of mankind. Since Sundays have no balls, the well-dressed belle Shines in the pew, but smiles to hear of Hell; And casts an eye of sweet disdain on all Who listen less to Collins than St. Paul. Atheists have been but rare; since Nature's birth Till now, she-atheists ne'er appeared on earth. Ye men of deep researches, say, whence springs This daring character, in timorous things? Who start at feathers, from an insect fly, A match for nothing—but the Deity. But, not to wrong the fair, the Muse must own In this pursuit they court not fame alone; But join to that a more substantial view, 'From thinking free, to be free agents, too.'
They strive with their own hearts, and keep them down, In complaisance to all the fools in town. O how they tremble at the name of prude! And die with shame at thought of being good! For, what will Artimis, the rich and gay, What will the wits, that is, the coxcombs, say? They Heaven defy, to earth's vile dregs a slave; Through cowardice, most execrably brave. With our own judgments durst we to comply, In virtue should we live, in glory die.
Rise then, my Muse, In honest fury rise; They dread a satire who defy the skies.
Atheists are few: most nymphs a Godhead own; And nothing but his attributes dethrone. From atheists far, they steadfastly believe God is, and is almighty—to forgive, His other excellence they'll not dispute; But mercy, sure, is his chief attribute. Shall pleasures of a short duration chain A lady's soul in everlasting pain? Will the great Author us poor worms destroy, For now and then a sip of transient joy? No; he's forever in a smiling mood; He's like themselves; or how could he be good? And they blaspheme, who blacker schemes suppose. Devoutly, thus, Jehovah they depose, The pure! the just! and set up, in his stead, A deity that's perfectly well bred.
'Dear Tillotson! be sure the best of men; Nor thought he more than thought great Origen. Though once upon a time he misbehaved, Poor Satan! doubtless, he'll at length be saved. Let priests do something for their one in ten; It is their trade; so far they're honest men. Let them cant on, since they have got the knack, And dress their notions, like themselves, in black; Fright us, with terrors of a world unknown, From joys of this, to keep them all their own. Of earth's fair fruits, indeed, they claim a fee; But then they leave our untithed virtue free. Virtue's a pretty thing to make a show: Did ever mortal write like Rochefoucauld? Thus pleads the Devil's fair apologist, And, pleading, safely enters on his list.
[MAN'S MARVELLOUS NATURE]
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful is man! How passing wonder He who made him such, Who centred in our make such strange extremes! From different natures marvellously mixed, Connection exquisite of distant worlds! Distinguished link in being's endless chain! Midway from nothing to the Deity! A beam ethereal, sullied and absorbed! Though sullied and dishonoured, still divine! Dim miniature of greatness absolute! An heir of glory! A frail child of dust! Helpless immortal! insect infinite! A worm! A god!—I tremble at myself, And in myself am lost. At home a stranger, Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast And wondering at her own. How reason reels! O what a miracle to man is man, Triumphantly distressed; what joy! what dread! Alternately transported and alarmed! What can preserve my life? or what destroy? An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave; Legions of angels can't confine me there.
[SATIETY IN THIS WORLD]
Live ever here, Lorenzo? Shocking thought! So shocking, they who wish disown it, too; Disown from shame what they from folly crave. Live ever in the womb nor see the light? For what live ever here? With labouring step To tread our former footsteps? pace the round Eternal? to climb life's worn, heavy wheel, Which draws up nothing new? to beat, and beat The beaten track? to bid each wretched day The former mock? to surfeit on the same, And yawn our joys? or thank a misery For change, though sad? to see what we have seen; Hear, till unheard, the same old slabbered tale? To taste the tasted, and at each return Less tasteful? o'er our palates to decant Another vintage? strain a flatter year, Through loaded vessels and a laxer tone? Crazy machines, to grind earth's wasted fruits!
[GOD JUST AS WELL AS MERCIFUL]
Thou most indulgent, most tremendous Power! Still more tremendous for thy wondrous love! That arms, with awe more awful, thy commands; And foul transgression dips in sevenfold guilt! How our hearts tremble at thy love immense! In love immense, inviolably just! Thou, rather than thy justice should be stained, Didst stain the cross; and, work of wonders far The greatest, that thy dearest far might bleed.
Bold thought! shall I dare speak it, or repress? Should man more execrate, or boast, the guilt Which roused such vengeance? which such love inflamed? Our guilt (how mountainous!) with outstretched arms, Stern justice and soft-smiling love embrace, Supporting, in full majesty, thy throne, When seemed its majesty to need support, Or that, or man, inevitably lost; What, but the fathomless of thought divine, Could labour such expedient from despair, And rescue both? both rescue! both exalt! O how are both exalted by the deed! The wondrous deed! or shall I call it more A wonder in Omnipotence itself! A mystery no less to gods than men!
Not thus our infidels th' Eternal draw,— A God all o'er, consummate, absolute, Full-orbed, in his whole round of rays complete. They set at odds Heaven's jarring attributes, And, with one excellence, another wound; Maim Heaven's perfection, break its equal beams, Bid mercy triumph over—God himself, Undeified by their opprobrious praise; A God all mercy, is a God unjust.
(MAN'S NATURE PROVES HIS IMMORTALITY)
In man, the more we dive, the more we see Heaven's signet stamping an immortal make. Dive to the bottom of the soul, the base Sustaining all, what find we? Knowledge, love. As light and heat essential to the sun, These to the soul. And why, if souls expire? How little lovely here! How little known! Small knowledge we dig up with endless toil; And love unfeigned may purchase perfect hate. Why starved on earth our angel appetites, While brutal are indulged their fulsome fill? Were then capacities divine conferred As a mock diadem, in savage sport, Rank insult of our pompous poverty, Which reaps but pain from seeming claims so fair? In future age lies no redress? And shuts Eternity the door on our complaint? If so, for what strange ends were mortals made! The worst to wallow, and the best to weep; The man who merits most, must most complain: Can we conceive a disregard in Heaven What the worst perpetrate or best endure?
This cannot be. To love, and know, in man Is boundless appetite, and boundless power: And these demonstrate boundless objects, too. Objects, powers, appetites, Heaven suits in all; Nor, nature through, e'er violates this sweet Eternal concord, on her tuneful string. Is man the sole exception from her laws? Eternity struck off from human hope, (I speak with truth, but veneration too) Man is a monster, the reproach of Heaven, A stain, a dark impenetrable cloud On Nature's beauteous aspect; and deforms (Amazing blot!) deforms her with her lord If such is man's allotment, what is Heaven? Or own the soul immortal, or blaspheme.
Or own the soul immortal, or invert All order. Go, mock-majesty! go, man! And bow to thy superiors of the stall;
Through every scene of sense superior far: They graze the turf untilled; they drink the stream Unbrewed, and ever full, and unembittered With doubts, fears, fruitless hopes, regrets, despair. Mankind's peculiar! reason's precious dower! No foreign clime they ransack for their robes, No brother cite to the litigious bar. Their good is good entire, unmixed, unmarred; They find a paradise in every field, On boughs forbidden, where no curses hang: Their ill no more than strikes the sense, unstretched By previous dread or murmur in the rear; When the worst comes, it comes unfeared; one stroke Begins and ends their woe: they die but once; Blessed incommunicable privilege! for which Proud man, who rules the globe and reads the stars, Philosopher or hero, sighs in vain. Account for this prerogative in brutes: No day, no glimpse of day, to solve the knot But what beams on it from eternity. O sole and sweet solution! that unties The difficult, and softens the severe; The cloud on Nature's beauteous face dispels, Restores bright order, easts the brute beneath, And re-enthrones us in supremacy Of joy, e'en here. Admit immortal life, And virtue is knight-errantry no more: Each virtue brings in hand a golden dower Far richer in reversion: Hope exults, And, though much bitter in our cup is thrown, Predominates and gives the taste of Heaven.
THE HAPPY SAVAGE
Oh, happy he who never saw the face Of man, nor heard the sound of human voice! But soon as born was carried and exposed In some vast desert, suckled by the wolf Or shaggy bear, more kind than our fell race; Who with his fellow brutes can range around The echoing forest. His rude artless mind Uncultivated as the soil, he joins The dreadful harmony of howling wolves, And the fierce lion's roar; while far away Th' affrighted traveller retires and trembles. Happy the lonely savage! nor deceived, Nor vexed, nor grieved; in every darksome cave, Under each verdant shade, he takes repose. Sweet are his slumbers: of all human arts Happily ignorant, nor taught by wisdom Numberless woes, nor polished into torment.
From AN ESSAY ON VIRTUE
Were once these maxims fixed, that God's our friend, Virtue our good, and happiness our end. How soon must reason o'er the world prevail, And error, fraud, and superstition fail! None would hereafter then with groundless fear Describe th' Almighty cruel and severe, Predestinating some without pretence To Heaven, and some to Hell for no offence; Inflicting endless pains for transient crimes, And favouring sects or nations, men or times.
To please him none would foolishly forbear Or food, or rest, or itch in shirts of hair, Or deem it merit to believe or teach What reason contradicts, within its reach; None would fierce zeal for piety mistake, Or malice for whatever tenet's sake, Or think salvation to one sect confined, And Heaven too narrow to contain mankind.
* * * * *
No servile tenets would admittance find Destructive of the rights of humankind; Of power divine, hereditary right, And non-resistance to a tyrant's might. For sure that all should thus for one be cursed, Is but great nature's edict just reversed. No moralists then, righteous to excess, Would show fair Virtue in so black a dress, That they, like boys, who some feigned sprite array, First from the spectre fly themselves away: No preachers in the terrible delight, But choose to win by reason, not affright; Not, conjurors like, in fire and brimstone dwell, And draw each moving argument from Hell.
* * * * *
No more applause would on ambition wait, And laying waste the world be counted great, But one good-natured act more praises gain, Than armies overthrown, and thousands slain; No more would brutal rage disturb our peace, But envy, hatred, war, and discord cease; Our own and others' good each hour employ, And all things smile with universal joy; Virtue with Happiness, her consort, joined, Would regulate and bless each human mind, And man be what his Maker first designed.
Ye golden lamps of heaven, farewell, With all your feeble light; Farewell, thou ever-changing moon, Pale empress of the night.
And thou refulgent orb of day, In brighter flames arrayed; My soul that springs beyond thy sphere, No more demands thine aid.
Ye stars are but the shining dust Of my divine abode, The pavement of those heavenly courts Where I shall reign with God.
The Father of eternal light Shall there His beams display; Nor shall one moment's darkness mix With that unvaried day.
No more the drops of piercing grief Shall swell into mine eyes; Nor the meridian sun decline Amidst those brighter skies.
FROM THE CHASE
Here on this verdant spot, where nature kind, With double blessings crowns the farmer's hopes; Where flowers autumnal spring, and the rank mead Affords the wandering hares a rich repast; Throw off thy ready pack. See, where they spread And range around, and dash the glittering dew. If some staunch hound, with his authentic voice, Avow the recent trail, the justling tribe Attend his call, then with one mutual cry, The welcome news confirm, and echoing hills Repeat the pleasing tale. See how they thread The brakes, and up yon furrow drive along! But quick they back recoil, and wisely check Their eager haste; then o'er the fallowed ground How leisurely they work, and many a pause Th' harmonious concert breaks; till more assured With joy redoubled the low valleys ring. What artful labyrinths perplex their way! Ah! there she lies; how close! she pants, she doubts If now she lives; she trembles as she sits, With horror seized. The withered grass that clings Around her head of the same russet hue Almost deceived my sight, had not her eyes With life full-beaming her vain wiles betrayed. At distance draw thy pack, let all be hushed, No clamour loud, no frantic joy be heard, Lest the wild hound run gadding o'er the plain Untractable, nor hear thy chiding voice. Now gently put her off; see how direct To her known mew she flies! Here, huntsman, bring (But without hurry) all thy jolly hounds, And calmly lay them in. How low they stoop, And seem to plough the ground! then all at once With greedy nostrils snuff the fuming steam That glads their fluttering hearts. As winds let loose From the dark caverns of the blustering god, They burst away, and sweep the dewy lawn. Hope gives them wings, while she's spurred on by fear; The welkin rings; men, dogs, hills, racks, and woods In the full concert join. Now, my brave youths, Stripped for the chase, give all your souls to joy! See how their coursers, than the mountain roe More fleet, the verdant carpet skim; thick clouds Snorting they breathe; their shining hoofs scarce print The grass unbruised; when emulation fired, They strain, to lead the field, top the barred gate, O'er the deep ditch exulting bound, and brush The thorny-twining hedge; the riders bend O'er their arched necks; with steady hands, by turns Indulge their speed, or moderate their rage. Where are their sorrows, disappointments, wrongs, Vexations, sickness, cares? All, all are gone, And with the panting winds lag far behind.