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View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes
And hate for arts that caused himself to rise;
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserved to blame, or to commend, 205
A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged,
And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause;
While wits and Templars every sentence raise,
And wonder with a foolish face of praise --
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if Atticus were he !

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

655 And universal darkness buries all.







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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 ! 630
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,' 635

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. 640
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.

1 Cf. the incantations of Medea, as told by Gower. ? See the story in Gayley, pp. 92-94.

The chief replied: “That post shall be my care,

560 Not that alone, but all the works of war. How would the sons of Troy, in arms re

nown'd, And Troy's proud dames, whose garments

sweep the ground, Attaint the lustre of


name, Should Hector basely quit the field of fame? My early youth was bred to martial pains, My soul impels me to th’embattled plains : Let me be foremost to defend the throne, And guard my father's glories and my own. Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates, (How my heart trembles while my tongue relates !)

571, The day when thou, imperial Troy! must

bend, And see thy warriors fall, thy glories end. And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind, My mother's death, the ruin of my kind, Not Priam's hoary hairs defil'd with gore, Not all my brothers gasping on the shore, As thine, Andromache! Thy griefs I dread: I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led, In Argivel looms our battles to design, 580 And woes of which so large a part was thine ! To bear the victor's hard commands, or bring The weight of waters from Hyperia's spring ! There, while you groan beneath the load of

life, They cry, ‘Behold the mighty Hector's wife!' Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to

see, Embitters all thy woes by naming me.

1 Grecian

No more --- but hasten to thy tasks at home,
There guide the spindle, and direct the loom ;
Me glory summons to the martial scene,
The field of combat is the sphere for men.
Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim,
The first in danger as the first in fame."

The thoughts of glory past and present shame,
A thousand griefs, shall waken at the name !
May I lie cold before that dreadful day, 590
Press'd with a load of monumental clay !
Thy Hector, wrapp'd in everlasting sleep,
Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee

weep.' Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of

Troy Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy. The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast, Scar'd at the dazzling helm and nodding crest. With secret pleasure each fond parent smil'd, And Hector hasted to relieve his child; 599 The glittr'ing terrors from his brows unbound, And plac'd the beaming helmet on the ground. Then kiss'd the child, and, lifting high in

JOHN GAY (1685-1732)



I 2

Thus to the gods preferr'd a father's pray'r: "O thou ! whose glory fills th' ethereal

throne, And all ye deathless pow'rs ! protect my son ! Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown, To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown, Against his country's foes the war to wage, And rise the Hector of the future age ! So when, triumphant from successful toils, 610 Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils, Whole hosts may hail him with deserv'd

acclaim, And say, “This chief transcends his father's

fame': While pleas'd, amidst the gen'ral shouts of

Troy, His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with

joy.” He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms, Restor'd the pleasing burthen to her arms; Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid, Hush'd to repose, and with a smile survey'd. The troubled pleasure soon chastis’d by fear, She mingled with the smile a tender tear. 621 The soften'd chief with kind compassion

view'd, And dried the falling drops, and thus pur

sued : “Andromache! my soul's far better part, Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy

heart? No hostile hand can antedate my doom, Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb. Fix'd isl the term to all the race of earth, And such the hard condition of our birth. No force can then resist, no flight can save; All sink alike, the fearful and the brave. 631

Friendship, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the fame.
The child whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care.
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many rarely find a friend.

A Hare, who, in a civil way,
Complied with everything, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train,
Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain.
Her care was, never to offend,
And every creature was her friend.

As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouthed thunder flies.
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death; 18
She doubles, to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round:
Till, fainting in the public way,
Half dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the Horse appeared in view!
“Let me,” says she, “your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight;
To friendship every burden's light.
The Horse replied: "Poor honest Puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus;
Be comforted; relief is near,
For all your friends are in the rear.”

She next the stately Bull implored;
And thus replied the mighty lord,
‘Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend,
To take the freedom of a friend;
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow:
And when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.




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To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the Goat is just behind.”

The Goat remarked her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye;
“My back," says he, “may do you harm;
The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.”

The Sheep was feeble, and complained His sides a load of wool sustained: Said he was slow, confessed his fears, For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.

She now the trotting Calf addressed, To save from death a friend distressed. “Shall I,” says he, “of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler passed you by; How strong are those, how weak am I! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then. You know my heart. But dearest friends, alas, must part ! How shall we all lament! Adieu ! For see, the hounds are just in view.”

“If to fair 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, 35 Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.

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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,

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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






So the sweet lark, high poised in air,

Shuts close his pinions to his breast If chance his mate's shrill call he hear

15 And drops at once into her nest. The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lips those kisses sweet.

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,

70 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 absorpt ! Though sullied and dishonoured, still divine ! Dim miniature of greatness absolute !

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1 Cf. above, p. 260 b, note 2.

An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal ! insect infinite!
A worm! a god! -I tremble at myself, 80
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.


By nature's law, what may be, may be now; There's no prerogative in human hours.

371 In human hearts what bolder thought can

rise Than man's presumption on to-morrow's

dawn? Where is to-morrow? In another world. For numbers this is certain; the reverse

sure to none; and yet on this perhaps,' This ‘peradventure,' infamous for lies, As on a rock of adamant, we build Our mountain hopes, spin our eternal schemes, As' we the fatal sisters ? could out-spin, 380 And big with life's futurities, expire. Not e'en Philander 3 had bespoke his shroud, Nor had he cause; a warning was denied : How many fall as sudden, not as safe; As sudden, though for years admonish'd

home! Of human ills the last extreme beware;

Beware, Lorenzo, a slow sudden death.
How dreadful that deliberate surprise !
Be wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead; 390
Thuson, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still.

Of man's miraculous mistakes this bears The palm, “That all men are about to live, Forever on the brink of being born." 400 All pay themselves the compliment to think They one day shall not drivel: and their

pride On this reversion takes up ready praise; At least, their own; their future selves ap

plaud; How excellent that life they ne'er will lead. Time lodg'd in their own hands is folly's

vails ; 2 That lodg’d in fate's to wisdom they consign. The thing they can't but purpose, they post

pone. 'Tis not in folly not to scorn a fool, And scarce in human wisdom to do more. 410 All promise is poor dilatory man, And that through every stage: when young,

indeed, In full content we sometimes nobly rest, Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish, As duteous sons our fathers were more wise. At thirty man suspects himself a fool, Knows it at forty and reforms his plan; At fifty chides his infamous delay, Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve; In all the magninimity of thought 420 Resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same.

Tas if


2 the Fates Young's son-in-law, Mr. Temple, who had died two years before

i probably the Duke of Wharton 2 folly's perquisite


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Whose stealing pace, and lengthen’d 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 ortliv'd 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 41 Something too high for syllables to speak; Till the free soul to a compos’dness charm’d, Finding the elements of rage disarm’d, 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 confus'd again; Our cares, our toils, our clamours are renew'd, Or pleasures, seldom reach'd, again pursu’d. 50

In such a night, when every louder wind
Is to its distant cavern safe confin'd,
And only gentle zephyr fans his wings,
And lonely Philomel, still waking, sings;
Or from some tree, fam'd for the owl's delight,
She, hollowing clear, directs the wand'rer

right; : In such a night, when passing clouds give

place, Or thinly vail the Heav'ns mysterious face; When in some river, overhung with green, The waving moon and trembling leaves are

seen; When freshen’d grass now bears itself upright, And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite, Whence springs the woodbind and the

bramble-rose, And where the sleepy cowslip shelter'd grows; Whilst now a paler hue the foxglove takes, Yet chequers still with red the dusky brakes; When scatter'd glow-worms, but in twilight

fine, Show trivial beauties watch their hour to

shine, Whilst Salisb’rystands the test of every light In perfect charms and perfect virtue bright; 20 When odours which declin'd repelling day Thro' temp’rate air uninterrupted stray ; When darken'd groves their softest shadows

wear, And falling waters we distinctly hear; When thro’ the gloom more venerable shows Some ancient fabric, awful in repose, While sunburnt hills their swarthy looks con

ceal And swelling haycocks thicken up the vale ; When the loos'd horse now, as his pasture

leads, Comes slowly grazing thro' th' adjoining meads,



ROBERT BLAIR (1699-1746)


While some affect the sun, and some the shade,
Some flee the city, some the hermitage,
Their aims as various as the roads they take
In journeying through life; the task be mine
To paint the gloomy horrors of the tomb;
Th' appointed place of rendezvous, where all
These travellers meet. Thy succours I im-

plore, Eternal King ! whose potent arm sustains The keys of hell and death. The Grave,

dread thing! Men shiver when thou’rt nam’d: Nature,

appallid, Shakes off her wonted firmness. Ah ! how



1 the Countess of Salisbury

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