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by his fame may be induced by these short specimens to
seek further acquaintance with what he has written. The
following is from the Rape of the Lock:-
But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And softened sounds along the water die;
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.
All but the Sylph ; with careful thoughts oppressed,
The impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
He summons straight his denizens of air ;
The lucid squadrons round the sail repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aërial whispers breathe,
That seemed but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolved in light.
Loose to the winds their airy garments flew,
Thin glittering texture of the filmy dew,
Dipped in the richest tinctures of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
Where every beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel placed ;
His purple pinions opening to the sun,
He raised his azure wand,
and thus begun :
* Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear;
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Demons, hear :
Ye know the spheres and various tasks assigned
By laws eternal to the aërial kind.
Some in the fields of purest ether play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day;
Some guide the course of wandering orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky;
Some, less refined, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or seek the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide :
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.
“Our humble province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care;
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let the imprisoned essences exhale ;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;
To steal from rainbows, ere they drop in showers,
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay, oft in dreams invention we bestow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.
“ This day black omens threat the brightest fair
That e'er deserved a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force or slight,
But what, or where, the Fates have wrapped in night.
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail China jar receive a flaw;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball,
Or whether heaven has doomed that Shock must fall.
Haste then, ye spirits, to your charge repair,
The fluttering fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign,
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her favourite lock ;
shall be the guard of Shock.
“ Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins;
Be stopped in vials, or transfixed with pins;
Or plunged in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedged whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogged he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics, with contracting power,
Shrink his thin essence like a shrivelled flower;
Or, as Ixion fixed, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!”
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend;
Some thread the mazy ringlets of her hair;
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of fate.
Not less spirited or less highly finished is the following, being the noble conclusion of the Dunciad :
• Oh,” cried the goddess,* “ for some pedant reign!
Some gentle James, to bless the land again;
To stick the doctor's chair into the throne,
Give law to words, or war with words alone;
Senates and courts with Greek and Latin rule,
And turn the council to a grammar-school !
For sure, if Dulness sces a grateful day,
'Tis in the shade of arbitrary sway.
0! if my sons may learn one earthly thing,
Teach but that one, sufficient for a king;
That which my priests, and mine alone, maintain,
Which, as it dies or lives, we fall or reign :
May you, my Cam and Isis, preach it long,
The right divine of kings to govern wrong."..
Prompt at the call, around the goddess roll
Broad hats, and hoods, and caps, a sable shoal:
Thick and more thick the black blockade extends,
A hundred head of Aristotle's friends.
Nor wert thou, Isis, wanting to the day
(Though Christ-Church long kept prudishly away).
Each staunch polemic, stubborn as a rock,
Each fierce logician, still expelling Locke,
Came whip and spur, and dashed through thin and thick,
On German Crouzaz and Dutch Burgersdyck.
As many quit the streams that murmuring fall
To lull the sons of Margaret and Clare-hall,
Where Bentley late tempestuous wont to sport
In troubled waters, but now sleeps in port.
Before them marched that awful Aristarch;
Ploughed was his front with many a deep remark:
His hat, which never vailed to human pride,
Walker with reverence took, and laid aside.
Low bowed the rest; he, kingly, did but nod :
So upright quakers please both man and God.
“ Mistress ! dismiss that rabble from your throne:
Avaunt!—Is Aristarchus yet unknown ?
The mighty scholiast, whose unwearied pains
Made Horace dull, and humbled Milton's strains.
Turn what they will to verse, their toil is vain,
Critics like me shall make it prose again.
Roman and Greek grammarians! know your better,
Author of something yet more great than letter;
While, towering o'er your alphabet, like Saul,
Stands our digamma, and o'ertops them all.
'Tis true, on words is still our whole debate,
Disputes of Me or Te, or Aut or At,
To sound or sink in cano ( or A,
To give up Cicero to C or K.
Let Freind affect to speak as Terence spoke,
And Alsop never but like Horace joke :
For me, what Virgil, Pliny may deny,
Manilius or Solinus shall supply:
For Attic phrase in Plato let them seek,
I poach in Suidas for unlicensed Greek.
In ancient sense if any needs will deal,
Be sure I give them fragments, not a meal:
What Gellius or Stobaeus hashed before,
Or chewed by blind old scholiasts o'er and o’er,
The critic eye, that microscope of wit,
Sees hairs and pores, examines bit by bit:
How parts relate to parts, or they to whole,
The body's harmony, the beaming soul,
Are things which Kuster, Burman, Wasse shall see
When man's whole frame is obvious to a flea.
Walker! our hat”-nor more he deigned to say,
But, stern as Ajax' spectre, strode away.
O muse! relate (for you can tell alone; Wits have short memories, and dunces none);
Relate who first, who last resigned to rest;
Whose heads she partly, whose completely blessed;
What charms could faction, what ambition lull,
The venal quiet, and entrance the dull;
Till drowned was sense, and shame, and right, and wrong;
O sing, and hush the nations with thy song!
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!
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,
The sickening stars fade off the 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.
See skulking truth to her own 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.
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 fall;
And universal darkness buries all.
ADDISON AND STEELE. Next to the prose of Swift and the poetry of Pope, perhaps the portion of the literature of the beginning of the last century that was both most influential at the time, and still lives most in the popular remembrance, is