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To Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
On Matrimony. An Epigram.
Tom prais’d his friend, who chang'd his state, In beauty or wit, no mortal as yet
For binding fast himself and Kate To question your empire has dar'd;
In union so divine; But men of discerning have thought that in “ Wedlock's the end of life," he cried. learning
“ Too true, alas !” said Jack, and sigh’d: To yield 10 a lady was hard.
“'Twill be the end of mine." Impertinent schools, with musty dull rules, Have reading to females denied ;
An Epitaph on the Death of a fuvorite Parrot So papists refuse the Bible to use,
That was found in a Necessary-House. Lest Aocks should be wise as their guide. 'Twas woman at first (indeed she was curst) Here safe lie in-terr’d the remains of a bird, In knowledge that tasted delight;
Who submits to all-conquering fate; And sages agree, the laws should decree
Whose master took care to reach it to swear, To the first of possessors the right.
As his mistress had taught it to prate. Then bravely, fair dame, resume the old claim, Ifcomplaint should be made of the place where Which to your whole sex does belong :
he's laid, And let men receive from a second bright Eve Poor Betty is only in fault;
The knowledge of right and of wrong. Poor Betty, to save the expense of a grave, But if the first Eve hard doom did receive, Thought proper to choose it a vault.
When only one apple had she; [you, To preserve its dear fame, for time without What punishment new shall be found out for His mistress, still kinder and kinder, (name, Who, tasting, have robb'd the whole tree? Declar'd with a tear, she'd never come here,
Without leaving something behind her. On the Death of a Wife, a notable Şcold and
a Shrew. By the Husband. We lived one-and-twenty year
Epitaph on Lady Molesworth, who was burnt to As man and wife together ;
Death by a Fire which broke out in her Droell. I could no longer keep her hiere;
ing-House, London, the 6th of May, 1763. She's gone, I know not whither.
A PEERLESS matron, pride of female life, Could I but guess, I do protest,
In ev'ry state, as widow, maid, or wise, I speak it not to flatter;
Who, wedded to threescore, preserv'd her fame: Of all the women in the world
She liv'd a phænix, and expir'd in Aame. I never would come at her. Her body is bestowed well, A handsome grave doth hide her ;
Verses supposed to be written by Alexander SelAnd sure, her soul is not in hell,
hirk, during his solitary abode in the Island The devil would ne'er abide her.
of Juan Fernandez.
COWPER. I rather think she's soar'd aloft;
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispate ;
From the centre all round to the sea, Rending the clouds in sunder.
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, Its bloom the pledge of its decay;
Than reign in this horrible place. Sweet in scent, in color bright,
I am out of humanity's reach, It blows at morn, and fades at night.
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 birth the same with my decay;
My form with indifference see; I savor ill; no color know;
They are so unacquainted with man, And fade the instant that I blow.
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man,
O had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! You've sent a rod to Massachusset, My sorrows I then might assuage Thinking the Americans will buss it; In the ways of religion and truth, But much I fear for Britain's sake,
Might learn from the wisdom of age, That this same rod will prove a snake.
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
The bow well bent, and smart the spring, Resides in that heavenly word!
Vice seems already slain; More precious than silver and gold,
But passion rudely snaps the string, Or all that this earth can afford :
And it revives again. But the sound of the church going bell
Some foe to his upright intent The-e vulleys and rocks arver heard,
Finds out his weaker part; Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Virtue engages his assent, Or smild when a sabbath appear'd.
But pleasure wins his heart. Ye winds that have made me your sport,
'Tis here the folly of the wise Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Through all his art we view;
And while his tongue the charge denies, Of a land I shall visit no more.
His conscience owns it true.
Bound on a voyage of awful length,
And dangers little known, Though a friend I ain never to see.
A stranger to superior strength,
Man vainly trusts his own.
But oars alone can ne'er prevail
To reach the distant coast; And the swift winged arrows of light.
The breath of heaven must swell the sail, When I think of my own native land,
Or all the toil is lost.
Soon harries me back to despair.
On observing some Names of little Note reThe beast is laid down in his lair :
corded in the Biographia Britannica. E'en here is a season of rest,
COW PER. And I to my cabin repair.
O FOND attempt to give a deathless lot There is mercy in every place,
To names ignoble, boru to be forgot! And mercy, encouraging thought!
In vain recorded in historic page, Gives even affliction a grace,
They court the notice of a future age : And reconciles man to his lot.
Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land
Drop one by one from fame's neglecting hand ! Ode to Peace. Cowper.
Lethæan gulfs receive them as they fall,
And dark oblivion soon absorbs them all. COME, peace of mind, delightful guest! So when a child, as playful children use, Return and make thy downy nest
Has burnt to tinder a stale last-year's news, Once more in this sad heart:
The Aame extinct, he views the roving fire : Nor riches I nor pow'r pursue,
There goes my lady, and there goes the squire; Nor hold forbidden joys in view,
There goes the parson, O illustrious spark ! We therefore need not part.
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.
And pleasure's fatal wites ?
The Nightingale and Glow-Worm. COW PER. The sweels that I was wont to share,
A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite; The grove and the sequester'd shed,
When looking eagerly around, To be a guest with ihem?
He spied far off, upon the ground, For thee I planted, thee I priz'd,
A something shining in the dark, For thee I gladly sacrific’d
And knew the glow-worm by his spark : Whate'er I lov'd before;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top, And shall I see thee start away,
He thought to put him in his crop. . And helpless, hopeless, hear thee say,
The worm, aware of his intent, Farewell! we meet no more?
Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent :
Did you admire my lamp, quoth he,
As much as I your minst relsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong, The purpose of to-day,
As inuch as I to spoil your song;. Woven with pains into his plan,
For 'twas the self-game Pow'r divine To-morrow rends away.
Taught you to sing, and me to shine,
That you with music, I with light, The maid who views with pensive air
The show-glass fraught with glitt'ring ware, The songster heard his short oration, Sees watches, bracelets, rings, and lockets, And, warbling out his approbation,
But sighs at thought of empty pockets; Releas'd him, as my story tells,
Like thine her appetite is keen, And found a supper somewhere else.
But, ah, the cruel glass between!
Our dear delights are often such,
Expos'd to view, but not to touch;
The sight our foolish heart inflames ;"
We long for pine-apples in frames. And worry and devour each other,
With hopeless wish one looks and lingers, But sing and shine by sweet consent, One breaks the glass and cuts his fingers; Till life's poor transient night is spent, Respecting in each other's case
But they whom truth and wisdom lead,
Can gather honey from a weed.
The Poet, the Oyster, and Sensitive Plant. Of him that creeps, and him that flies.
An Oyster cast upon the shore
Cowper. Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded : The thistle's downy seed ny fare,
Ah, hapless wretch! condemn'd to dwell My drink the morning dew;
For ever in my native shell, I perch'd at will on ev'ry spray,
Ordain’d to move when others please, My form genteel, my plumage gay,
Not for my own content or ease, My strains for ever new.
But toss'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water, and now out. But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
"Twere better to be born a stone And form genteel, were all in vain,
Of ruder shape and feeling none, And of a transient date;
Than with a tenderness like inice,
And sensibility so fine:
I envy that unfeeling shrub,
Fast-rooted against ev'ry rub.
And felt the sneer with scorn enough;
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified, More cruelty could none express ;
And with asperity replied. And I, if you had shown me less,
(When, cry the botanists, and stare, Had been your prisoner still.
Did plants call'd sensitive grow there?
To make them grow where just she chooses).
You shapeless nothing in a dish,
You that are but almost a fish,
I scorn your coarse insinuation, Were basking hot and all in blow :
And have most plentiful oceasion A bee of most discerning taste
To wish myself the rock I view, Perceiv'd the fragrance as he pass'd.
Or such another dolt as you. On eager wing the spoiler came,
For many a grave and learned clerk, And search'd for crannies in the frame; And many a gay unletter'd spark, Urg'd his attempt on ev'ry side,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he ;
Says, “ Well, 'tis more than one would think." Thus having wasted half the day,
Thus life is spent, О fie upon't! He trimm'd his flight another way.
In being touch'd, and crying, " Don't!" Methinks, I said, in thee I find
A poet, in his evening walk, The sin and madness of mankind;
O'erheard, and check'd,
this idle talk. To joys forbidden man aspires,
And, “ Your fine sense, he said, and yours, Consumes his soul with vain desires;
Whatever evil it endures, Folly the spring of his pursuit,
Deserves not, if so soon offended, And disappointment all the fruit.
Much to be pitied or commended. While Cynthio ogles as she passes
Disputes, though short, are far too long, The nymph between two chariot-glasses,
Where both alike are in the wrong; She is the pine-apple, and he
Your feelings, in their full amount, The silly unsuccessful bee.
Are all upon your own account.
“ You, in your grotto-work enclos'd, There is a part in ev'ry swine Complain of being thus expos'd,
No friend or follower of mine Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
May taste, whate’er his inclination, Save when the knife is at your throat : On pain of excommunication.” Wherever driven by wind or tide,
Such Mahomet's mysterious charge, Exempt from ev'ry ill beside.
And thus he left the point at large. “And as for you, my Lady Squeamish,
Had he the sinful part express'd, Who reckon ev'ry touch a blemish,
They might with safety eat the rest : If all the plants that can be found
But for one piece, they thought it hard Embellishing the scene around
From the whole hog to be debarr’d, Should droop and wither where they grow, And set their wit at work to find You would not feel at all, not you.
What joint the prophet had in mind. The noblest minds their virtue prove
Much controversy straight arose, By piry, sympathy, and love.
These choose the back, the belly those ; These, these are feelings truly fine,
By some 'tis confidently said And prove their owner half divine.”
He meant not to forbid the head; His censure reach'd them as he dealt it, While others at that doctrine rail, And each by shrinking show'd he felt it. And piously prefer the tail :
Thus, conscience freed from ev'ry clog,
Mahometans eat up the bog.
You laugh—'tis well; the tale applied, A RAVEN, while with glassy breast
May make you laugh on t'other side. Her new-laid eggs she fondly press’d,
Renounce the world, the preacher cries : And on her wicker-work high mounted
We do, a multitude replies. Her chickens prenaturely counted
While one as innocent regards (A fault philosophers might blame,
A snug and friendly game at cards ;
And one, whatever you may say,
Can see no evil in a play;
Some love a concert, or a race, The legislature call'd it May.
And others, shooting, and the chase. But suddenly a wind, as high
Revil'd and lov'd, renounc'd and follow'd, As ever swepi a winter sky
Thus bit by bit the world is swallow'd : Shook the young leaves about her ears,
Each thinks his neighbour makes too free, And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Yet likes a slice as well as he: Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
With sophistry their sauce they sweeten, And spread her golden hopes below.
Till quite from tail to snout 'tis eaten. But just at eve the blowing weather, And all her fears, were hush'd together : And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
The Jackdaw. COW PER. "Tis over, and the brood is safe ; (For ravens, though as birds of omen They teach both conj'rors and old women
There is a bird who by his coat, To tell us what is to befal,
And by the hoarseness of his note, Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
Might be suppos'd a crow; The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
A great frequenter of the church, Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
Where bishop-like he finds a perch And destin'd all the treasure there
And dormitory too. A gift to his expecting fair,
About the steeple shines a plate, Climb'd like a squirrel to his prey,
That turns and turns, to indicate And bore the worthless prize away.
From what point blows the weather ; MORAL.
Look up, your brains begin to swim ; 'Tis Providence alone secures,
Tis in the clouds : that pleases him, In ev'ry change, both mine and
He chooses it the rather.
yours. Safety consists not in escape
Fond of the speculative height, From dangers of a frightful shape:
Thither he wings his airy Alight, An earthquake may be bid to spare
And thence securely sees The man that's strangled by a hair.
The bustle and the raree-show Fate steals along with silent tread,
That occupies mankind below, Found oft'nest in what least we dread,
Secure and at his ease. Frowns in the storm with angry brow, And in the sunshine strikes the blow. You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises, The Love of the World detected. Cow PER.
If he should chance to fall;
No, not a single thought like that Thus says the prophet of the Turk : Employs his philosophie pate, " “Good Mussulman, abstain from pork ;
Or troubles it at all.
He sees that this great round-about,
Pleasures I feel in this blest state, The world, with all its motley rout,
Unfelt, unknown, to rich and great. Church, army, physic, law,
When airy fancy mounts on wing, Its customs and its businesses
I think niyself a sort of king;
My pipe my sceptre, cup, my crown,
On heuring of a Gentleman's Pocket being Arid, sick of having seen 'em,
picked of his Watch. Would cheerfully these limbs resign For such a pair of wings as thine,
He that a watch would wear, this he must do; And such a head between 'ein.
Pocket his watch, and watch his pocket too.
The Happy Fire-Side.
The kettle on for tea;
As blest as man could be.
Clarinda, who his heart possessid,
And was his new-made bride,
With head reclin'd upon his breast,
Sat toying by his side. The tithe well paid, without law-strife. (I'm not encumber'd with a wife).
Stretch'd at his feet, in happy state, A single church, not grand, but neat ;
A fav'rite dog was laid; My people rather good than great ;
By whom a little sportive cat Astrong-built house, and pasture good,
'In wanton hunor play'd. Where Sorrel crops his livelihood;
Clarinda's hand he gently press'd ;
And, blusbing, modestly confess'd
Palemon, with a heart elate,
Pray'd to Almighty Jove,
way; A shaded bench where I may read
That it might ever be his fate, Old Baker's Chronicle, or Speed:
Just so to live and love. The neighb'ring clergy kind and free,
Be this eternity, he cried, Who give and take civility;
And let no more be given; Of humor good, of minh and sense,
Continue thus my lor'd fire-side, Who o'er a glass some wit dispense;
I ask no other heaven.
The Retrospect of Life.
Riches chance may take or give ;
Beauty lives a day, and dies; Yet keep above the homely clown ;
Honor lulls us while we live; Who love their country, king, and church,
Mirth's a cheat, and Pleasure flies. And in no dues the parson lurch.
Is there nothing worth our care; With ease I keep a inaid and man,
Time, and chance, and death, our foes? This Harry call'd, the other Nun:
If our joys so fleeting are, A table sleek, with pudding grac'd,
Are we only tied to woes? Or plain or plum, as suits my taste ;
Let bright Virtue answer, No; Attended by a sav'ry dish
Her eternal pow'rs prevail, Of mutton, beef, or fowl, or fish;
When honors, riches, cease to flow, A pile of salad, fresh and green ;
And beauty, mirth, and pleasure fail. In summer, fruit well pick'd and clean; Sound sparkling ale, and sometimes wine, When patron deigns with Vic to dine.
An Invitation to the Country. Oft o'er the fields with gup I stride,
The swallows in their torpid state And faithful Banter by my side ;
Compose their useless wing, Then, if a mushroom is in sight,
And bees in hives as idly wait It serves to supper me at night;
The call of early spring. Or else a fieldfare or a snipe,
The keenest frost that binds the stream, Sometimes a dish of double tripe.
The wildest wind that blows, Thus joyous do I pass my life,
Are neither felt nor fear'd by then, Stranger to tumult or to strife;
Secure of their repose.