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TRANSLATION

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:
Glissez, mortels; n'appuyez pas.
O’Er ice the rapid skater flies,

With sport above, and death below;
Where mischief lurks in gay disguise,

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

AN IMPROMPTU

OFT in danger, yet alive,
We are come to thirty-five;
Long may better years arrive,
Better years than thirty-five!
Could philosophers contrive
Life to stop at thirty-five,
Time his hours should never drive
O'er the bounds of thirty-five.
272

High to soar, and deep to dive,
Nature gives at thirty-five.
Ladies, stock and tend your hive,
Trifle not at thirty-five;
For, howe'er we boast and strive,
Life declines from thirty-five.
He that ever hopes to thrive
Must begin by thirty-five;
And all, who wisely wish to wive,
Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.

IMPROMPTU TRANSLATION

OF AN AIR IN THE CLEMENZA DI TITO OF METASTASIO

BEGINNING “ DEH SE PIACERMI VUOI”

Would you hope to gain my heart,
Bid your teasing doubts depart;
He, who blindly trusts, will find
Faith from ev'ry gen’rous mind:
He, who still expects deceit,
Only teaches how to cheat.

TRANSLATION

OF A SPEECH OF AQUILEIO, IN THE ADRIANO OF METAS

TASIO

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

273

To sink the fatal precipice before him,
And then lament his fall, with seeming friend-

ship:
Open to all, true only to thyself,

(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.

BURLESQUE

OF THE MODERN VERSIFICATIONS OF ANCIENT LEGEND

ARY TALES

AN IMPROMPTU

THE tender infant, meek and mild,

Fell down upon the stone:
The nurse took up the squealing child,

But still the child squeal'd on.

FRIENDSHIP

AN ODEL.

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.
Nor shall thine ardours cease to glow",

When souls to blissful climes remove:
What rais'd our virtue here below,

Shall aid our happiness above.

1 Parent of rage and hot desires.-Mrs. W.
3 Inflames alike with equal fires.
* In vain for thee the monarch sighs.

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,
Thy pleasures permanent, as great,

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,
Adorn’d in Roman time the brightest days,
In every dome, in every sacred place,
Her statue would have breath'd an added grace,
And on its basis would have been enroll’d,
“This is Minerva, cast in virtue's mold.

IMPROVISO

ON A YOUNG HEIR'S COMING OF AGE

Long expected one-and-twenty,

Ling’ring year, at length is flown;
Pride and pleasure, pomp and plenty,
Great

are now your own.

Loosen'd from the minor's tether,

Free to mortgage or to sell;
Wild as wind, and light as feather,

Bid the sons of thrift farewell.

Call the Betseys, Kates, and Jennies,

All the names that banish care;
Lavish of your grandsire's guineas,

Show the spirit of an heir.

All that prey on vice or folly

Joy to see their quarry fly:
There the gamester light and jolly,

There the lender grave and sly.

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