Page images
[ocr errors]


JLL-FATED Heart! and can it be,

That thou shouldst thus be rent in twain ;
Have years of care for thine and thee

Alike been all employ'd in vain ?
Yet precious seems each shatter'd party

And every fragment dearer grown,
Since he who wears thee feels thou art

A fitter emblem of his own.

WEEP, daughter of a royal line,

A Sire's disgrace, a realm's decay ;
Ah! happy if each tear of thine

Could wash a father's fault away!
Weep-for thy tears are Virtue's tears-

Auspicious to these suffering isles ;
And be each drop in future years

Repaid thee by thy people's smiles !

March, 1812



THE chain I gave was fair to view,

The lute I added sweet in sound;
The heart that offer'd both was true,

And ill deserved the fate it found.
These gifts were charm'd by secret spell,

Thy truth in absence to divine;
And they have done their duty well,-

Alas ! they could not teach thee thino.
That chain was firm in every link,

But not to bear a stranger's touch ;
That lute was sweet-till thou couldst thick

In other hands its notes were such.
Let him, who from thy neck unbound

The chain which shiver'd in his grasp,
Who saw that lute refuse to sound,

Restring the chords, renew the clasp.
When thou wert changed, they alter'd too;

The chain is broke, the music mute.
"Tis past-to them and thee adieu-

False heart, frail chain, and silent luto.

• The Princess Charlotte.

ABSENT or present, still to thee,

My friend, what magic spells belong !
As all can tell, who share, like ine,

In turn thy converse and thy song.
But when the dreaded hour shall come,

By Friendship ever deem'd too nigh,
And “MEMORY” o'er her Druid's tomb

Shall weep that aught of thee can die,
How fondly will she then repay

Thy homage offer'd at her shrine,
And blend, while ages roll away,
Her name immortally with thine!

April 19, 1819

[ocr errors]


OCTOBER 10, 1812.
In one dread night our city saw, and sigh’d,
Bow'd to the dust, the Drama's tower of pride;
In one short hour beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakspeare cease to reign.

Ye who beheld (oh! sight admired and mourn'a,
Whose radiance mock'd the ruin it adorn'd !)
Through clouds of fire the massive fragments riven,
Like Israel's pillar, chase the night from heaven ;
Saw the long column of revolving flames
Shake its red shadow o'er the startled Thames,
While thousands, throng'd around the burning doma,
Shrank back appall’d, and trembled for their home,
As glared the volumn'd blaze, and ghastly shone
The skies, with lightnings awful as their own,
Till blackening ashes and the lonely wall
Usurp'd the Muse's realm, and mark'd her fall;
Say-shall this new, nor less aspiring pile,
Rear'd where once rose the mightiest in our isle,
Know the same favour which the former knew,
A shrine for Shakspeare-worthy hini and you?

Yes-it shall be-the magic of that name
Defies the scythe of time, the torch of flame;
On the same spot still consecrates the scene,
And bids the Drama be where she hath been:
This fabric's birth attests the potent spell-
Indulge our honest pride, and say, How well I

As soars this fane to emulate the last,
Oh ! might we draw our omens from the past,

[ocr errors]

Some hour propitious to orr prayes may boast
Names such as hallow still the come we lost.
On Drury first your Sidduns' thrilling art
O’erwhelm'd the gentlest, storm'd the sternest heart.
On Drury, Garrick's latest laurels grew;
Here your last tears retiring Roscius drew,
Sigh'd his last thanks, and wept his last adiou ;
But still for living wit the wreaths may blooin,
That only waste their odours o'er the tomb.
Such Drury claim'd and claims-nor you refuse
One tribute to revive his slumbering muse;
With garlands deck your own Menander's head! *
Nor hoard your honours idly for the dead !

Dear are the days which made our annals bright,
Ere Garrick fled, or Brinsley ceased to write.
Heirs to their labours, like all high-born heirs,
Vain of our ancestry as they of theirs ;
While thus Remembrance borrows Banquo's glass
To claim the sceptred shadows as they pass,
And we the mirror hold, where imaged shine
Immortal names, emblazon'd on our lino,
Pause--ere their feebler offspring you condemn,
Reflect how hard the task to rival them !

Friends of the stage ! to whom both Players and Plays
Must sue alike for pardon or for praise,
Whose judging voice and eye alone direct
The boundless power to cherish or reject;
If e'er frivolity has led to fame,
And made us blush that you forbore to blame;
If e'er the sinking stage could condescend
To soothe the sickly taste it dare not mend,
All past reproach may present scenes refute,
And censure, wisely loud, be justly mute !
Oh! since your fiat stamps the Drama's laws,
Forbear to mock us with mispiaceri applause ;
So pride shall doubly nerve tne actor's powers,
And reason's voice be echo'd back by ours !

This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd, The Drama's homage by ner uerald paid, Receive our welcome too, whose every tone Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own. The curtain rises—may our stage unfold Scenes not unworthy Drury's days of old ! Britons our judges, Nature for our guide, Still may we please-long, long may you preside !

• Sheridan


WHEN Dryden's fool, * “unknowing what he sought,"
His hours in whistling spent, “for want of thought,"
This guiltless oaf his vacancy of sense
Supplied, and amply too, by innocence.
Did modern ains, possess'd of Cymon's powers,
In Cymon's manner waste their leisure hours,
The offended guests would not, with blushing, see
These fair green walks disgraced by infamy.
Severe the fate of modern fools, alas !
When vice and folly mark them as they pass,
Like noxious reptiles o'er the whiten'd wall,
The filth they leave still points out where they crawl.+

[ocr errors]

• “Cywon, a clown, who ne'er bad dreamt of love."

DRYDEN'S Modernization of Chaucer. # At Hales-Owen the poet Shenstone was buried, and “ The Leasowes" was immediately contiguous to it. It was probably some desecration of the poet's tomb, or of his works of taste, that gave birth to these lines.

[merged small][ocr errors]



“Qualis in Eurotre ripis, aut rer juga Cynthi,
Exercet Diana choros.

" Such on Eurota's banks, or Cynthia's height,

Diana seems : and so she charms the sight,
When in the dance the graceful goddess leads
The quire of nymphs, and overtops their heads."- Dryday's Virga.

TO THE PUBLISHER. SIR, -I am a country gentleman of a midland county. I might have been a parliament-man for a certain borough, having had the offer of as many votes as General T. at the general election in 1812.* But I was all for domestic happiness; as, fifteen years ago, on a visit to London, I married a middle-aged maid of honour. We lived happily at Hornem Hall till last season,

when my wife and I were invited by the Countess of Waltzaway (a distant relation of my spouse) to pass the winter in town.

Thinking no harm, and our girls being come to a marriageable (or, as they call it, marketabie) age, and having besides a Chancery suit inveterately entailed upon the family estate, we came up in our old chariot, of which, by the bye, my wife grew so much ashamed in less than a week, that I was obliged to buy a second-hand barouche, of which I might mount the box, Mrs. H. says, if I could drive, but never see the inside—that place being reserved for the Honourable Augustus Tiptoe, her partner-general and opera-knight. Hearing great praises of Mrs. H.'s dancing (she was famous for birthnight minuets in the latter end of the last century), I unbooted, and went to a ball at the Countess's, expecting to see a country dance, or, at most, cotillons, reels, and all the old paces to the newest tunes. But judge of my surprise, on arriving, to see poor dear Mrs. Hornem with her arms half round the loins of a huge hussar-looking gentleman I never set eyes on before; and his, to say truth, rather more than half round her waist, turning round, and round, and round, to a d-d see-saw up-and-down sort of tune, that reminded me of the “Black joke,” only more "affettuoso," till it made me quite giddy with wondering they were not so. By-and-by they stopped a bit, and I thought they would sit or fall down.-but no; with Mrs. H.'s hand on his shoulder, “quam familiariter" t (as Terence said when I was at school), they walked about a minute, and then at it again, like two cockchafers spitted upon the same bodkin. I asked what all this meant, when, with a loud laugh, a child no older than our Wilhelmina (a name I never heard hut in the Vicar of Wakefield, though her mother would call her after the Princess of Swappenbach) said, “ Lord, Mr. Hornem, can't you see they are valtzing!” or waltzing (I forget which); and then up she got, and her mother and sister, and away they went, and round-abouted it till supper. time. Now, that I know what it is, I like it of all things, and so does

• State of the poll (last day), 5.

My Latin is all forgotten, if a man can be said to have forgotten what he never remembered; but I bought my title-page motto of a Catholic priest for a three-shilling bank token, after much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a papist, being all for the memory of Perceval and “ No popery," and quite regretting the downfali of the pope, because we can't burn him any more.

« PreviousContinue »