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OF THE FOLLOWING LINES, WRITTEN UNDER A PRINT
REPRESENTING PERSONS SKATING
SUR un mince cristal l'hiver conduit leurs pas,
Le précipice est sous la glace:
Telle est de nos plaisirs la légère surface:
With sport above, and death below;
Thus lightly touch and quickly go.
IMPROMPTU TRANSLATION OF THE SAME
O’ER crackling ice, o'er gulfs profound,
With nimble glide the skaters play; O'er treach'rous pleasure's flow'ry ground
Thus lightly skim, and haste away.
To MRS. THRALE
ON HER COMPLETING HER THIRTY-FIFTH YEAR
OFT in danger, yet alive,
High to soar, and deep to dive,
OF AN AIR IN THE CLEMENZA DI TITO OF METASTASIO
BEGINNING “ DEH SE PIACERMI VUOI”
Would you hope to gain my heart,
OF A SPEECH OF AQUILEIO, IN THE ADRIANO OF METAS
BEGINNING “TU CHE IN CORTE INVECCHIASTI8."
GROWN old in courts, thou surely art not one Who keeps the rigid rules of ancient honour; Well skill'd to sooth a foe with looks of kindness,
8 The character of Cali, in Irene, is a masterly sketch of the old and practised dissembler of a despotic court.-Ed. VOL. 6 - 18
To sink the fatal precipice before him,
(praise, Thou know'st those arts, which blast with envious Which aggravate a fault, with feign'd excuses, And drive discountenanc'd virtue from the throne; That leave the blame of rigour to the prince, And of his ev'ry gift usurp the merit; That hide, in seeming zeal, a wicked purpose, And only build upon another's ruin.
OF THE MODERN VERSIFICATIONS OF ANCIENT LEGEND
THE tender infant, meek and mild,
Fell down upon the stone:
But still the child squeal'd on.
FRIENDSHIP, peculiar boon of heaven,
The noble mind's delight and pride, To men and angels only given,
To all the lower world deny’d.
* This ode originally appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1743. See Boswell's Life of Johnson, under that year. It was afterwards printed in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, in 1766, with several variations, which are pointed out, on next page.-J. B.
While love, unknown among the blest,
Parent of thousand wild desires', The savage and the human breast
Torments alike with raging fires”; With bright, but oft destructive, gleam,
Alike, o'er all his lightnings fly; Thy lambent glories only beam
Around the fav’rites of the sky. Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys
On fools and villains ne'er descend; In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,
And hugs a flatt'rer for a friend. Directress of the brave and just',
O! guide us through life's darksome way! And let the tortures of mistrust
On selfish bosoms only prey.
When souls to blissful climes remove:
Shall aid our happiness above.
1 Parent of rage and hot desires.-Mrs. W.
1 This stanza is omitted in Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, and instead of it, we have the following, which may be suspected, from internal evidence, not to have been Johnson's:
When virtues, kindred virtues meet,
And sister-souls together join,
Are all transporting-all divine. mo! shall thy flames then cease to glow.
ON SEEING A BUST OF MRS. MONTAGUE
Had this fair figure, which this frame displays,
ON A YOUNG HEIR'S COMING OF AGE
Long expected one-and-twenty,
Ling’ring year, at length is flown;
are now your own.
Loosen'd from the minor's tether,
Free to mortgage or to sell;
Bid the sons of thrift farewell.
Call the Betseys, Kates, and Jennies,
All the names that banish care;
Show the spirit of an heir.
All that prey on vice or folly
Joy to see their quarry fly:
There the lender grave and sly.