« PreviousContinue »
Ah! hapless dame! no sire bewails,*
No friend thy wretched fate deplores,
No kindred voice with rapture hails
Thy steps within a stranger's doors.
Perish the fiend whose iron heart,
To fair affection's truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly loved depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne'er unlocks with silver keyt
The milder treasures of his soul,-
May such a friend be far from me,
And ocean's storms between us roll.
THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY A COLLEGE
HIGH in the midst, surrounded by his peers,
Magnus his ample front sublime uprears :‡
Placed on his chair of state, he seems a god,
While Sophs and Freshmen tremble at his nod.
As all around sit wrapt in speechless gloom,
His voice in thunder shakes the sounding dome;
Denouncing dire reproach to luckless fools,
Unskill'd to plod in mathematic rules.
Happy the youth in Euclid's axioms tried,
Though little versed in any art beside;
Who, scarcely skill'd an English line to pen,
Scans Attic metres with a critic's ken.
What, though he knows not how his fathers bled,
When civil discord piled the fields with dead,
When Edward bade his conquering bands advance,
Or Henry trampled on the crest of France:
Though marvelling at the name of Magna Charta,
Yet well he recollects the law of Sparta:
Can tell what edicts sage Lycurgus made,
While Blackstone 's on the shelf neglected laid;
Of Grecian dramas vaunts the deathless fame,
Of Avon's bard remembering scarce the name.
Such is the youth whose scientific pate
Class honours, medals, fellowships, await;
Or even, perhaps, the declamation prize,
If to such glorious height he lifts his eyes.
Medea, who accompanied Jason to Corinth, was deserted by him for the daughter of Creon, king of that city. The chorus from which this is taken here addresses Medea; though a considerable liberty is taken with the original, by expanding the idea, as also in some other parts of the translation.
The original means literally "disclosing the bright key of the mind."
No reflection is here intended against the person mentioned under the name of Magnus. He is merely represented as performing an unavoidable function of his office. Indeed, such an attempt could only recoil upon myself; as that gentleman is now as much distinguished by his eloquence, and the dignified propriety with which he fills his situation, as he was in his younger days for wit and conviviality.
But lo! no common orator can hope
The envied silver cup within his scope.
Not that our heads much eloquence require,
Th' Athenian's* glowing style, or Tully's fire.
A manner clear or warm is useless, since
We do not try by speaking to convince.
Be other orators of pleasing proud:
We speak to please ourselves, not move the crowd:
Our gravity prefers the muttering tone,
A proper mixture of the squeak and groan :
No borrow'd grace of action must be seen.-—
The slighteet motion would displease the Dean;
Whilst every staring graduate would prate
Against what he could never imitate.
The man who hopes t' obtain the promised cup
Must in one posture stand, and ne'er look up,
Nor stop, but rattle over every word-
No matter what, so it can not be heard.
Thus let him hurry on, nor think to rest:
Who speaks the fastest 's sure to speak the best •
Who utters most within the shortest space
May safely hope to win the wordy race.
The sons of science these, who, us repaid
Linger in ease in Granta's sluggish shade;
Where on Cam's sedgy bank supine they lie
Unknown, unhonour'd live, unwept for die :
Dull as the pictures which adorn their halls,
They think all learning fix'd within their walls;
In manners rude, in foolish forms precise,
All modern arts affecting to despise ;
Yet prizing Bentley's, Brunck's or Porson's note,t
More than the verse on which the critic wrote:
Vain as their honours, heavy as their ale,
Sad as their wit, and tedious as their tale;
To friendship dead, though not untaught to fee?
When Self and Church demand a bigot zeal.
With eager haste they court the lord of power,
Whether 'tis Pitt or Petty rules the hour;+
To him, with suppliant smiles, they bend the head,
While distant mitres to their eyes are spread.
But should a storm o'erwhelm him with disgrace,
They'd fly to seek the next who fill'd his place.
Such are the men who learning's treasures guard!
Such is their practice, such is their reward!
This much, at least, we may presume to say-
The premium can't exceed the price they pay.
Rorson, Greek professor of Trinity College, Cambridge; a man whose powers of mira and writings may, perhaps, justify their preference.
Since this was written, Lord Henry Petty has lost his place, and subsequently (I had almost said consequently) the honour of representing the University. A fact so glaring requires no comment.
TO A BEAUTIFUL QUAKER.
SWEET girl! though only once we met, That meeting I shall ne'er forget; And though we ne'er may meet again, Remembrance will thy form retain. I would not say, "I love," but still My senses struggle with my will; In vain, to drive thee from my breast, My thoughts are more and more repress'd; In vain I check the rising sighs, Another to the last replies: Perhaps this is not love, but yet Our meeting I can ne'er forget. What though we never silence broke, Our eyes a sweeter language spoke; The tongue in flattering falsehood deals, And tells a tale it never feels: Deceit the guilty lips impart; And hush the mandates of the heart; But soul's interpreters, the eyes, Spurn such restraint, and scorn disguise. As thus our glances oft conversed, And all our bosoms felt rehearsed, No spirit, from within, reproved us, Say rather, "twas the spirit moved us.' Though what they utter'd I repress, Yet I conceive thou'lt partly guess; For as on thee my memory ponders, Perchance to me thine also wanders. This for myself, at least, I'll say, Thy form appears through night, through day: Awake, with it my fancy teems; In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams: The vision charms the hours away, And bids me curse Aurora's ray, For breaking slumbers of delight, Which make me wish for endless night. Since, oh! whate'er my future fate, Shall joy or woe my steps await, Tempted by love, by storms beset, Thine image I can ne'er forget. Alas! again no more we meet, No more our former looks repeat; Then let me breathe this parting prayer, The dictate of my bosom's care: "May heaven so guard my lovely Quaker, That anguish never can o'ertake her; That peace and virtue ne'er forsake her, But bliss be aye her heart's partaker! Oh! may the happy mortal, fated To be, by dearest ties, related,
For her each hour new joys discover,
And lose the husband in the lover!
May that fair bosom never know
What 'tis to feel the restless woe,
Which stings the soul with vain regret,
Of him who never can forget!"
No specious splendour of this stone
Endears it to my memory ever;
With lustre only once it shone,
And blushes modest as the giver.
Some, who can sneer at friendship's ties,
Have, for my weakness, oft reproved me:
Yet still the simple gift I prize,—
For I am sure the giver loved me.
He offer'd it with downcast look,
As fearful that I might refuse it;
I told him when the gift I took,
My only fear should be to lose it.
This pledge attentively I view'd,
And sparkling as I held it near,
Methought one drop the stone bedew'd,
And ever since I've loved a tear.
Still, to adorn his humble youth,
Nor wealth nor birth their treasures yield;
But he who seeks the flowers of truth,
Must quit the garden for the field.
'Tis not the plant uprear'd in sloth,
Which beauty shows, and sheds perfume;
The flowers which yield the most of both
In Nature's wild luxuriance bloom.
Had Fortune aided Nature's care,
For once forgetting to be blind,
His would have been an ample share,
If well proportion'd to his mind.
But had the goddess clearly seen,
His form had fix'd her fickle breast;
Her countless hoards would his have been,
And none remain'd to give thee rest.
AN OCCASIONAL PROLOGUE,
DELIVERED PREVIOUS TO THE PERFORMANCE OF
OF FORTUNE" AT A PRIVATE THEATRE.
SINCE the refinement of this polish'd age
Has swept immoral raillery from the stage;
Since taste has now expunged licentious wit,
Which stamp'd disgrace on all an author writ;
Since now to please with purer scenes we seek,
Nor dare to call the blush from Beauty's cheek,
Oh let the modest Muse some pity claim,
And meet indulgence, though she find not fame.
Still, not for her alone we wish respect,
Others appear more conscious of defect:
To-night no veteran Roscii you behold,
In all the arts of scenic action old;
No Cooke, no Kemble, can salute you here,
No Siddons draw the sympathetic tear;
To-night you throng to witness the début
Of embryo actors to the Drama new :
Here, then, our almost unfledged wings we try;
Clip not our pinions ere the birds can fly:
Failing in this our first attempt to soar,
Drooping, alas! we fall to rise no more,
Not one poor trembler only fear betrays,
Who hopes, yet almost dreads, to meet your praise;
But all our dramatis persone wait
In fond suspense this crisis of their fate.
No venal views our progress can retard,
Your generous plaudits are our sole reward:
For these, each Hero all his power displays,
Each timid Heroine shrinks before your gaze.
Surely the last will some protection find;-
None to the softer sex can prove unkind:
While Youth and Beauty form the female shield,
The sternest censor to the fair must yield.
Yet, should our feeble efforts nought avail,
Should, after all, our best endeavours fail,
Still let some mercy in your bosoms live,
And, if you can't applaud, at least forgive.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. FOX.
RHE FOLLOWING ILLIBERAL IMPROMPTU APPEARED IN A
"Our nation's foes lament on Fox's death,
But bless the hour when Pitt resign'd his breath:
These feelings wide, let sense and truth unclue,
We give the palm where Justice points its due."
TO WHICH THE AUTHOR OF THESE PIECES SENT THE FOLLOWING REPLY.
OH factious viper! whose envenom'd tooth
Would mangle still the dead, perverting truth;
What though our "nation's foes" lament the fate,
With generous feeling of the good and great,
Shall dastard tongues essay to blast the name
Of him whose meed exists in endless fame?