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Thus taste the feast, by nature spread,
STELLA IN MOURNING
WHEN lately Stella's form display'd
Th' adoring youth and envious fair,
Not the soft sighs of vernal gales,
The murmurs of the crystal rill,
Not all the gems on India's shore,
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF A GENTLEMAN, TO WHOM
A LADY HAD GIVEN A SPRIG OF MYRTLEW.
What hopes, what terrours, does thy gift create!
w These verses were first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1768, p. 439, but were written many years earlier. Elegant as they are, Dr. Johnson assured me, they were composed in the short space of five minutes.-N.
In myrtle shades oft sings the happy swain,
To LADY FIREBRACE",
AT BURY ASSIZES
At length, must Suffolk beauties shine in vain,
AN ELDERLY LADY
YE nymphs, whom starry rays invest,
By flatt'ring poets given;
In all the pomp of heaven;
* This lady was Bridget, third daughter of Philip Bacon, esq. of Ipswich, and relict of Philip Evers, esq. of that town. She became the second wife of sir Cordell Firebrace, the last baronet of that name, to whom she brought a fortune of £25,000, July 26, 1737. Being again left a widow, in 1759, she was a third time married, April 7, 1762, to William Campbell, esq. uncle to the late duke of Argyle, and died July 3, 1782.
Engross not all the beams on high,
Which gild a lover's lays;
Let Lyce share the praise.
Her brows a cloudy show,
And show'rs from either flow.
She's starr'd with pimples o’er;
And can with thunder roar.
But some Zelinda, while I sing,
Denies my Lyce shines;
Attack my gentle lines.
And all her bards express,
And I but flatter less.
ON THE DEATH OF
MR. ROBERT LEVET',
A PRACTISER IN PHYSICK
CONDEMN'D to hope's delusive mine,
As on we toil, from day to day,
These stanzas, to adopt the words of Dr. Drake, “are warm from the heart; and this is the only poem, from the pen of Johnson, that has been bathed with tears." Levet was Johnson's constant and attentive com
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.
Well try'd, through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend, Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of ev'ry friendless name the friend. Yet still he fills affection's eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind; Nor, letter'd arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined. When fainting nature call’d for aid,
And hoy’ring death prepar'd the blow, His vig'rous remedy display'd
The pow'r of art, without the show.
In mis’ry's darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh, Where hopeless anguish pour'd his groan,
And lonely want retir'd to die.
No summons, mock'd by chill delay,
No petty gain, disdain’d by pride; The modest wants of ev'ry day
The toil of ev'ry day supply’d.
panion, for near forty years; he was a practitioner in physic, among the lower class of people, in London. Humanity, rather than desire of gain, seems to have actuated this single hearted and amiable being; and never were the virtues of charity recorded in more touching strains. “I am acquainted," says Dr. Drake, “with nothing superior to them in the pro ductions of the moral muse." See Drake's Literary Life of Johnson; and Boswell, i. ii. iii. iv.-ED.