Page images
PDF
EPUB

But feels, while grasping at his faded joys, Oh grant a poet leave to recommend,
A secret thirst of his renounced employs;

(A poet fond of nature and your friend) He chides the tardiness of every post,

Her slighted works to your admiring view, Pants to be told of battles won or lost,

Her works must needs excel who fashion’d you. Blames his own indolence, observes, though late, Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, 'Tis criminal to leave a sinking state,

With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Flies to the levee, and received with grace, Condemn the prattler for his idle pains, Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place. To waste unheard the music of his strains, Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,

And deaf to all the impertinence of tongue, That dread the encroachment of our growing That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong, streets,

Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault, Tight boxes neatly sash'd, and in a blaze

The seas globose and huge, the o'erarching vault, With all a July sun's collected rays,

Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd Delight the citizen, who gasping there

In gathering plenty yet to be enjoy’d, Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air. Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise O sweet retirement, who would baulk the thought of God, beneficent in all his ways,That could afford retirement, or could not ? Graced with such wisdom how would beauty shine ! 'Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,– Ye want but that to seem indeed divine. The second milestone fronts the garden gate; Anticipated rents and bills unpaid A step if fair, and if a shower approach

Force many a shining youth into the shade, You find safe shelter in the next stage-coach. Not to redeem his time, but his estate, There prison'd in a parlour snug and small, And play the fool, but at a cheaper rate. Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,

There hid in loath'd obscurity, removed The man of business and his friends compress’d, From pleasures left, but never more beloved, Forget their labours, and yet find no rest; He just endures, and with a sickly spleen, But still ’tis rural,--trees are to be seen

Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene. From every window, and the fields are green ;

Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme, Ducks paddle in the pond before the door, Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime, And what could a remoter scene show more? The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, A sense of elegance we rarely find

Are musical enough in Thomson's song, The portion of a mean or vulgar mind,

And Cobham's groves and Windsor's green reAnd ignorance of better things makes man

treats, Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can ; When Pope describes them, have a thousand And he that deems his leisure well bestow'd

sweets : In contemplations of a turnpike road,

He likes the country, but in truth must own, Is occupied as well, employs his hours

Most likes it when he studies it in town. As wisely, and as much improves his powers,

Poor Jack-no matter who,--for when I blame As he that slumbers in pavilions graced

I pity, and must therefore sink the name, With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste.

Lived in his saddle, loved the chase, the course, Yet hence, alas ! insolvencies, and hence

And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. The unpitied victim of ill-judged expense,

The estate his sires had own’d in ancient years From all his wearisome engagements freed, Was quickly distanced,-match'd against a peer's. Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed. Jack vanish’d, was regretted and forgot ;

Your prudent grandmammas, ye modern belles, 'Tis wild good-nature's never-failing lot. Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge Wells, At length, when all had long supposed him dead, When health required it, would consent to roam, By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead, Else more attach'd to pleasures found at home; My lord, alighting at his usual place, But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wife,

The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face. Ingenious to diversify dull life,

Jack knew his friend, but hoped in that disguise In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys,

He might escape the most observing eyes, Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys,

And whistling as if unconcern’d and gay, And all impatient of dry land, agree

Curried his nag and look'd another way. With one consent to rush into the sea.

Convinced at last, upon a nearer view, Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad,

'Twas he, the same, the very Jack he knew, Much of the power and majesty of God;

O'erwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and He swathes about the swelling of the deep,

joy, That shines and rests, as infants smile and He press'd him much to quit his base employ,sleep;

His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, Vast as it is, it answers as it flows

Influence, and power were all at his command. The breathings of the lightest air that blows; Peers are not always generous as well-bred; Curling and whitening over all the waste,

But Granby was,—-meant truly what he said. The rising waves obey the increasing blast, Jack bow'd, and was obliged ;-confess'd 'twas Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,

strange Thunder and flash upon the steadfast shores ; That so retired he should not wish a change, Till he that rides the whirlwind checks the rein, But knew no medium between guzzling beer Then all the world of waters sleeps again.

And his old stint, three thousand pounds a year. Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads,

Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe, Now in the floods, now panting in the meads, Some seeking happiness not found below, Votaries of pleasure still, where'er she dwells, Some to comply with humour, and a mind Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells,

To social scenes by nature disinclined,

Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust,
Some self-impoverishi’d, and because they must;
But few that court Retirement are aware
Of half the toils they must encounter there.

Lucrative offices are seldom lost
For want of powers proportion'd to the post :
Give even a dunce the employment he desires,
And he soon finds the talents it requires;
A business with an income at its heels
Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.
But in his arduous enterprise to close
His active years with indolent repose,
He finds the labours of that state exceed
His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
'Tis easy to resign a toilsome place,
But not to manage leisure with a grace ;
Absence of occupation is not rest,
A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd.
The veteran steed excused his task at length,
In kind compassion of his failing strength,
And turn’d into the park or mead to graze,
Exempt from future service all his days,
There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind.
But when his lord would quit the busy road,
To taste a joy like that he has bestow'd,
He proves, less happy than his favour'd brute,
A life of ease a difficult pursuit.
Thought, to the man that never thinks, may seem
As natural as when asleep to dream;
But reveries, (for human minds will act)
Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Those flimsy webs that break as soon as wrought,
Attain not to the dignity of thought ;
Nor yet the swarms that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure reign,
Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds.
Whence, and what are we? to what end ordaind ?
What means the drama by the world sustain’d?
Business or vain amusement, care, or mirth,
Divide the frail inhabitants of earth.
Is duty a mere sport, or an employ?
Life an intrusted talent, or a toy?
Is there, as reason, conscience, scripture, say,
Cause to provide for a great future day,
When earth's assign’d duration at an end,
Man shall be summon'd, and the dead attend ?
The trumpet,- will it sound ? the curtain rise ?
And show the august tribunal of the skies,
Where no prevarication shall avail,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
And conscience and our conduct judge us all ?
Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil
To learned cares or philosophic toil,
Though I revere your honourable names,
Your useful labours and important aims,
And hold the world indebted to your aid,
Enrich'd with the discoveries ye have made,
Yet let me stand excused, if I esteem
A mind employ'd on so sublime a theme,
Pushing her bold inquiry to the date
And outline of the present transient state,
And after poising her adventurous wings,
Settling at last upon eternal things,
Far more intelligent, and better taught
The strenuous use of profitable thought,
Than

ye when happiest, and enlightend most, And highest in renown, can justly boast.

A mind unnerved, or indisposed to bear The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, Must change her nature, or in vain retires. An idler is a watch that wants both hands, As useless if it goes as when it stands. Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves, In which lewd sensualists print out themselves, Nor those in which the stage gives vice a blow, (With what success let modern manners show ;) Nor his, who for the bane of thousands born, Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn, Skilful alike to seem devout and just, And stab religion with a sly side-thrust; Nor those of learn’d philologists, who chase A panting syllable through time and space, Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark, To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark; But such as learning without false pretence, The friend of truth, the associate of sound sense, And such as in the zeal of good design, Strong judgment labouring in the scripture mine, All such as manly and great souls produce, Worthy to live, and of eternal use ; Behold in these what leisure hours demand, Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand. Luxury gives the mind a childish cast, And while she polishes, perverts the taste; Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Become more rare as dissipation spreads, Till authors hear at length, one general cry, Tickle and entertain us, or we die. The loud demand from year to year the same, Beggars invention and makes fancy lame; Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune, Calls for the kind assistance of a tune, And novels, (witness every month's Review) Belie their name, and offer nothing new. The mind relaxing into needful sport, Should turn to writers of an abler sort, Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.

Friends, (for I cannot stint as some have done, Too rigid in my view, that name to one, Though one, I grant it in the generous breast, Will stand advanced a step above the rest ; Flowers by that name promiscuously we call, But one, the

rose, the regent of them all ;) Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste, But chosen with a nice discerning taste, Well born, well disciplined, who, placed apart From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart, And (though the world may think the ingredients

odd) The love of virtue, and the fear of God! Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed, A temper rustic as the life we lead, And keep the polish of the manners clean, As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene. For solitude, however some may rave, Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave, A sepulchre in which the living lie, Where all good qualities grow sick and die. I praise the Frenchman', his remark was shrewd,How sweet, how passing sweet is solitude ! But grant me still a friend in my retreat, Whom I may whisper, solitude is sweet. Yet neither these delights, nor aught beside That appetite can ask, or wealth provide,

i Bruyére.

MISCELLANIES.

THE DOVES.

Can save us always from a tedious day,
Or shine the dulness of still life away ;
Divine communion carefully enjoy’d,
Or sought with energy, must fill the void.
Oh sacred art, to which alone life owes
Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
Scorn'd in a world indebted to that scorn
For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
Flowers of rank odour upon thorny lands,
And while experience cautions us in vain,
Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain.
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Lost by abandoning her own relief ;
Murmuring and ungrateful discontent,
That scorns afflictions mercifully meant;
Those humours tart as wines upon the fret,
Which idleness and weariness beget;
These and a thousand plagues that haunt the breast,
Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
Divine communion chases, as the day
Drives to their dens the obedient beasts of prey.
See Judah’s promised king, bereft of all,
Driven out an exile from the face of Saul,
To distant caves the lonely wanderer flies,
To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies.
Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice,
Hear him o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice;
No womanish or wailing grief has part,
No, not a moment, in his royal heart;
'Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Suffering with gladness for a Saviour's sake:
His soul exults, hope animates his lays,
The sense of mercy kindles into praise,
And wilds familiar with the lion's roar
Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before.
'Tis love like his that can alone defeat
The foes of man, or make a desert sweet.

Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued.
To study culture, and with artful toil
To meliorate and tame the stubborn soil ;
To give dissimilar yet fruitful lands
The grain or herb or plant that each demands;
To cherish virtue in an humble state,
And share the joys your bounty may create ;
To mark the matchless workings of the power
That shuts within its seed the future flower,
Bids these in elegance of form excel,
In colour these, and those delight the smell,
Sends Nature forth, the daughter of the skies,
To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes ;
To teach the canvass innocent deceit,
Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheet;
These, these are arts pursued without a crime,
That leave no stain upon the wing of time.

Me poetry (or rather notes that aim Feebly and faintly at poetic fame) Employs, shut out from more important views, Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse; Content if thus sequester'd I may raise A monitor's, though not a poet's praise, And while I teach an art too little known, To close life wisely, may not waste my own.

REASONING at every step he treads,

Man yet mistakes his way, While meaner things whom instinct leads

Are rarely known to stray.
One silent eve I wander'd late,

And heard the voice of love;
The turtle thus address'd her mate,

And soothed the listening dove :
Our mutual bond of faith and truth,

No time shall disengage;
Those blessings of our early youth

Shall cheer our latest age.
While innocence without disguise,

And constancy sincere,
Shall fill the circles of those eyes,

And mine can read them there,
Those ills that wait on all below

Shall ne'er be felt by me, Or gently felt, and only so,

As being shared with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees,

Or kites are hovering near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,

And know no other fear.

'Tis then I feel myself a wife,

And press thy wedded side, Resolved a union form’d for life

Death never shall divide.

But oh! if fickle and unchaste,

(Forgive a transient thought) Thou couldst become unkind at last,

And scorn thy present lot, No need of lightnings from on high,

Or kites with cruel beak, Denied the endearments of thine eye

This widow'd heart would break.

Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird,

Soft as the passing wind; And I recorded what I heard,

A lesson for mankind.

A FABLE,

A RAVEN, while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly press'd,
And on her wicker-work high mounted
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame,
If quite exempted from the same)
Enjoy'd at ease the genial day,
'Twas April as the bumpkins say,
The legislature call'd it May:

VERSES,

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK DURING HIS SOLITARY A PODE IN THE ISLAND OF

JUAN FERNANDEZ.

But suddenly a wind as high
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hush'd together;
And now, quoth poor unthinking Raph,
'Tis over, and the brood is safe ;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conjurors and old women
To tell us what is to befal,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climb'd like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.

I am monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute, From the centre all round to the sea,

I am lord of the fowl and the brute. O solitude! where are the charms

That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms,

Than reign in this horrible place.

I am out of humanity's reach,

I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,

I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain

My form with indifference see, They are so unacquainted with man,

Their tameness is shocking to me.

MORAL. 'Tis Providence alone secures In every change both mine and your's. Safety consists not in escape From dangers of a frightful shape, An earthquake may be bid to spare The man that’s strangled by a hair. Fate steals along with silent tread, Found oftenest in what least we dread, Frowns in the storm with angry brow, But in the sunshine strikes the blow.

Society, friendship, and love,

Divinely bestow'd upon man, Oh had I the wings of a dove,

How soon would I taste you again ! My sorrows I then might assuage

In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,

And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.

A COMPARISON.

Religion ! what treasure untold

Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,

Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell

These valleys and rocks never heard, Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,

Or smiled when a sabbath appear'd.

The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream,
The silent pace with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to

stay,
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in every part,
A difference strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams never flow in vain ; where streams

abound, How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd! But time that should enrich the nobler mind, Neglected, leaves a dreary waste behind.

Ye winds that have made me your sport,

Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report

Of a land I shall visit no more! My friends, do they now and then send

A wish or a thought after me? Oh tell me I yet have a friend,

Though a friend I am never to see.

ANOTHER.

How fleet is a glance of the mind!

Compared with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,

And the swift winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land,

In a moment I seem to be there; But alas! recollection at hand

Soon hurries me back to despair.

ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.

SWEET stream that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid -
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng,
With gentle yet prevailing force
Intent upon her destined course,
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure-bosom’d as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.

But the sea-fowl has gone to her nest,

The beast is laid down in his lair, Even here is a season of rest,

And I to my cabin repair. There is mercy in every place,

And mercy, encouraging thought ! Gives even affliction a grace,

And reconciles man to his lot.

ON THE PROMOTION OF EDWARD

THURLOW, ESQ. TO THE LORD HIGH CHANCELLORSHIP OF ENGLAND,

Round Thurlow's head in early youth,

And in his sportive days,
Fair science pour'd the light of truth,

And genius shed his rays.
See! with united wonder, cried

The experienced and the sage,
Ambition in a boy supplied

With all the skill of age.
Discernment, eloquence, and grace

Proclaim him born to sway
The balance in the highest place,

And bear the palm away.
The praise bestow'd was just and wise ;

He sprang impetuous forth
Secure of conquest, where the prize

Attends superior worth.
So the best courser on the plain

Ere yet he starts is known,
And does but at the goal obtain

What all had deem'd his own.

Some foe to his upright intent

Finds out his weaker part, Virtue engages his assent,

But pleasure wins his heart. 'Tis here the folly of the wise

Through all his art we view, And while his tongue the charge denies,

His conscience owns it true.
Bound on a voyage of awful length

And dangers little known,
A stranger to superior strength,

Man vainly trusts his own.
But oars alone can ne'er prevail

To reach the distant coast, The breath of heaven must swell the sail,

Or all the toil is lost.

THE MODERN PATRIOT.

ODE TO PEACE.

Come, peace of mind, delightful guest ! Return and make thy downy nest

Once more in this sad heart : Nor riches I, nor power pursue, Nor hold forbidden joys in view,

We therefore need not part.
Where wilt thou dwell if not with me,
From avarice and ambition free,

And pleasure's fatal wiles ?
For whom, alas ! dost thou prepare
The sweets that I was wont to share,

The banquet of thy smiles ?
The great, the gay, shall they partake
The heaven that thou alone canst make;

And wilt thou quit the stream
That murmurs through the dewy mead,
The grove and the sequester'd shed,

To be a guest with them?
For thee I panted, thee I prized,
For thee I gladly sacrificed

Whate'er I loved before ;
And shall I see thee start away,
And helpless, hopeless, hear thee say-

Farewell ! we meet no more?

REBELLION is my theme all day,

I only wish 'twould come (As who knows but perhaps it may)

A little nearer home. Yon roaring boys who rave and fight

On the other side the Atlantic, I always held them in the right,

But most so, when most frantic.
When lawless mobs insult the court,

That man shall be my toast,
If breaking windows be the sport,

Who bravely breaks the most.
But oh ! for him my fancy culls

The choicest flowers she bears, Who constitutionally pulls

Your house about your ears. Such civil broils are my delight,

Though some folks can't endure 'em, Who say the mob are mad outright,

And that a rope must cure 'em. A rope ! I wish we patriots had

Such strings for all who need 'em,What ! hang a man for going mad ?

Then farewell British freedom.

ON OBSERVING SOME NAMES OF LITTLE

NOTE

RECORDED IN THE BIOGRAPHIA BRITANNICA.

HUMAN FRAILTY.

WEAK and irresolute is man;

The purpose of to-day, Woven with pains into his plan,

To-morrow rends away.
The bow well bent and smart the spring,

Vice seems already slain,
But passion rudely snaps the string,

And it revives again.

Ou fond attempt to give a deathless lot,
To names ignoble, born to be forgot !
In vain recorded in historic page,
They court the notice of a future age,
Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land
Drop one by one from fame's neglecting hand,
Lethean gulfs receive them as they fall,
And dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.

So when a child, as playful children use,
Has burnt to tinder a stale last year's news,
The flame extinct, he views the roving fire,
There goes my lady, and there goes the 'squire ;
There goes the parson, oh ! illustrious spark,
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.

« PreviousContinue »