« VorigeDoorgaan »
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew,
'Twas certain he could write, and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e'en the story ran-that he could gauge:
In arguing too, the parson own'd his skill,
For e'en though vanquish'd, he could argue still;
While words of learned length, and thund'ring
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,—
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumph'd, is forgot.—
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts
Where gray-beard mirth, and smiling toil retired,
Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place;
The white-wash'd wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnish'd clock that click'd behind the door;
The chest contrived a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;
The hearth, except when winter chill'd the day,
With aspin boughs, and flowers and fennel gay,
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Ranged o'er the chimney, glisten'd in a row.
Vain transitory splendours! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall?
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair,
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his pond'rous strength, and learn to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessings of the lowly train,
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art:
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and own their first-born sway;
Lightly they frolic o'er the vacant mind,
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array'd,
|In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain:
And e'en while fashion's brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy?
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man's joys increase, the poor's decay,
Between a splendid and a happy land.
'Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards e'en beyond the miser's wish abound,
And rich men flock from all the world around.
Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name,
That leaves our useful products still the same.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supplied;
Space for his lake, his park's extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage and hounds:
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth,
Has robb'd the neighb'ring fields of half their
His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies.
While thus the land adorn'd for pleasure, all
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female, unadorn'd and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights every borrow'd charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes;
But when those charms are past, for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress.
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray'd;
In nature's simplest charms at first array'd,
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;
While, scourged by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band;
And while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms-a garden, and a grave.
Where then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
To 'scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common's fenceless limits stray'd,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And e'en the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped-What waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combined
To pamper luxury and thin mankind;
To see each joy the sons of pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow-creature's woe.
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps dis-
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here, richly deck'd, admits the gorgeous train;
Tumultuous grandeur crowns the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare,
Sure scenes like these no troubles e'er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
And shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Return'd and wept, and still return'd to weep.
The good old sire, the first prepared to go
To new-found worlds, and wept for others' woe;
But for himself in conscious virtue brave,
He only wished for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
Are these thy serious thoughts?-Ah, turn thine And left a lover's for her father's arms.
Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has wept at tales of innocence distrest;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
Now lost to all, her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer's door she lays her head,
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And blest the cot where every pleasure rose;
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
While her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury! thou curst by Heaven's decree,
And pinched with cold, and shrinking from the How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet AUBURN, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
E'en now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men's doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no! To distant climes, a dreary scenc,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charmed before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men more murderous still than they;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies,
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only sheltered thefts of harmless love.
Good Heaven! what sorrows gloomed that parting day
That call'd them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round the bowers, and fondly look'd their last,
And took a long farewell, and wished in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main;
How do thy potions with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own;
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapp'd their strength, and every part unsound, Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
E'en now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
E'en now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land,
Down where yon anchoring vessels spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness are there;
And piety with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in those degenerate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride.
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so;
Thou guide, by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!
Farewell, and oh! where'er thy voice be tried,
On Torno's cliffs, or Pambamarca's side,
Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of th' inclement clime;
Aid, slighted truth, with thy persuasive strain,
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him, that states of native strength possest,
Though very poor, may still be very blest;
That trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour'd mole away;
While self-dependent power can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.
TO IRIS, IN BOW-STREET, COVENT-GARDEN.
Say, cruel Iris, pretty rake,
Dear mercenary beauty,
What annual offering shall I make
Expressive of my duty?
My heart, a victim to thine eyes,
Should I at once deliver,
Say, would the angry fair one prize
The gift, who slights the giver?
A bill, a jewel, watch or toy,
My rivals give and let 'em;
If gems, or gold, impart a joy,
I'll give them-when I get 'em.
I'll give but not the full-blown rose,
Or rose-bud more in fashion:
Such short-lived offerings but disclose
A transitory passion.
I'll give thee something yet unpaid,
Not less sincere, than civil:
I'll give thee-ah! too charming maid,
I'll give thee to the devil.
EPITAPH ON DR. PARNELL.
THIS tomb, inscribed to gentle PARNELL's name,
May speak our gratitude, but not his fame,
What heart but feels his sweetly moral lay,
That leads to truth through pleasure's flow'ry
Celestial themes confess'd his tuneful aid;
And Heaven, that lent him genius, was repaid.
Needless to him the tribute we bestow,
The transitory breath of fame below:
More lasting rapture from his works shall rise,
While converts thank their poet in the skies.
Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses False wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses!
Statesmen with bridles on; and close beside 'em,
Patriots in party-colour'd suits that ride 'em.
There Hebes, turn'd of fifty, try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore:
These in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman;
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she's got power to cure:
Thus 'tis with all-their chief and constant care
Is to seem every thing-but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark, I fix my eye on,
Who seems t'have robb'd his vizor from the lion;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round
Looking, as who should say, dam'me! who's afraid? [Mimicking.
Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You'll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yet, when he deigns his real shape t'assume,
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems, to every gazer, all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip-the man in
Yon critic, too-but whither do I run?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone!
Well then a truce, since she requests it too :
Do you spare her, and I'll for once spare you.
TO THE COMEDY OF THE SISTERS.
SPOKEN BY MRS. BULKLEY AND MISS CATLEY.
WHAT? five long acts-and all to make us wiser? Enter Mrs. Bulkley, who courtesies very low as beginning
Our authoress sure has wanted an adviser.
Had she consulted me, she should have made
Her moral play a speaking masquerade;
Warm'd up each bustling scene, and in her rage
Have emptied all the green-room on the stage.
to speak. Then enter Miss Catley, who stands full before her, and courtesies to the Audience.
Let all the old pay homage to your merit;
Give me the young, the gay, the men of spirit.
Ye travell'd tribe, ye macaroni train,
Of French friseurs and nosegays justly vain,
Who take a trip to Paris once a-year
To dress, and look like awkward Frenchmen here;
Lend me your hands.-O fatal news to tell,
Their hands are only lent to the Heinelle.
Ay, take your travellers-travellers indeed!
Where are the chiels? Ah! Ah, I well discern
The smiling looks of each bewitching bairn.
Air-A bonny young lad is my Jockey.
I'll sing to amuse you by night and by day,
And be unco merry when you are but gay;
When you with your bagpipes are ready to play,
My voice shall be ready to carol away
With Sandy, and Sawney, and Jockey,
With Sawney, and Jarvie, and Jockey.
Ye gamesters, who, so eager in pursuit,
Make but of all your fortune one va toute:
Ye jockey tribe, whose stock of words are few,
"I hold the odds.-Done, done, with you, with you."
Ye barristers, so fluent with grimace,
"My lord,-Your lordship misconceives the case."
Doctors, who cough and answer every misfortuner,
"I wish I'd been call'd in a little sooner:"
Assist my cause with hands and voices hearty,
Come end the contest here, and aid my party.
THERE is a place, so Ariosto sings,
A treasury for lost and missing things:
Lost human wits have places there assign'd them,
And they who lose their senses, there may find them.
But where's this place, this storehouse of the age?
The Moon, says he ;-but I affirm, the Stage:
Give me my bonny Scot, that travels from the At least in many things, I think, I see
His lunar, and our mimic world agree.
Both shine at night, for, but at Foote's alone,
We scarce exhibit till the sun goes down.
Both prone to change, no settled limits fix,
And sure the folks of both are lunatics.
But in this parallel my best pretence is,
That mortals visit both to find their senses;
To this strange spot, rakes, macaronies, cits,
Come thronging to collect their scatter'd wits.
The gay coquette, who ogles all the day,
Comes here at night, and goes a prude away.
Hither the affected city dame advancing,
Who sighs for operas, and doats on dancing,
Taught by our art her ridicule to pause on,
Quits the ballet, and calls for Nancy Dawson.
The gamester too, whose wit's all high or low,
Oft risks his fortune on one desperate throw,
Comes here to saunter, having made his bets,
Finds his lost senses out, and pays his debts.
The Mohawk too-with angry phrases stored,
As "Dam'me, sir," and "Sir, I wear a sword;"
Here lesson'd for a while, and hence retreating,
Goes out, affronts his man, and takes a beating.
Here comes the sons of scandal and of news,
But find no sense-for they had none to lose.
Of all the tribe here wanting an adviser,
Our author's the least likely to grow wiser;
Has he not seen how you your favour place
On sentimental queens and lords in lace?
Without a star, a coronet, or garter,
Flow can the piece expect or hope for quarter?
No high-life scenes, no sentiment:-the creature
Still stoops among the low to copy nature.
Yes, he's far gone :-and yet some pity fix,
The English laws forbid to punish lunatics.*
A POETICAL EPISTLE TO LORD CLARE.
But hold-let me pause-don't I hear you pro
This tale of the bacon's a damnable bounce?
Well, suppose it a bounce-sure a poet may try,
By a bounce now and then, to get courage to fly.
But, my lord, it's no bounce: I protest in my turn,
It's a truth-and your lordship may ask Mr. Burn.*
To go on with my tale-as I gazed on the haunch,
I thought of a friend that was trusty and staunch,
So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undrest,
To paint it, or eat it, just as he liked best.
Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose;
Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Mon-
But in parting with these I was puzzled again,
With the how, and the who, and the where, and
There's H-d, and C-y, and H-rth, and H-ff,
I think they love venison-I know they love beef.
There's my countryman, Higgins-Oh! let him
For making a blunder, or picking a bone.
But hang it-to poets who seldom can eat,
Your very good mutton is a very good treat;
Such dainties to them their health it might hurt,
It's like sending them ruffles, when wanting a shirt.
While thus I debated, in reverie centred,
An acquaintance, a friend as he call'd himself, en-
An under-bred, fine spoken fellow was he,
And he smil'd as he look'd at the venison and mc.
"What have we got here?-Why this is good
Your own, I suppose-or is it in waiting?"
"Why whose should it be?" cried I with a flounce;
"I get these things often❞—but that was a bounce:
"Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the na-
Are pleased to be kind—but I hate ostentation."
"If that be the case then," cried he, very gay,
THANKS, my lord, for your venison, for finer or fatter" I'm glad I have taken this house in my way.
Never ranged in a forest, or smoked in a platter.
The haunch was a picture for painters to study,
The fat was so white, and the lean was so ruddy;
Though my stomach was sharp, I could scarce
To spoil such a delicate picture by eating:
I had thoughts, in my chambers to place it in view,
To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtû;
As in some Irish houses, where things are so so,
One gammon of bacon hangs up for a show;
But for eating a rasher of what they take pride in,
They'd as soon think of eating the pan it is fried in.
*This Epilogue was given in MS. by Dr. Goldsmith to Dr. Percy (late Bishop of Dromore); but for what comedy it was intended is not remembered.
To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me;
No words-I insist on't-precisely at three;
We'll have Johnson, and Burke, all the wits will
My acquaintance is slight, or I'd ask my Lord Clare.
And, now that I think on't, as I am a sinner!
We wanted this venison to make out a dinner.
What say you-a pasty? it shall, and it must,
And my wife, little Kitty, is famous for crust.
Here, porter-this venison with me to Mile-end:
No stirring-I beg-my dear friend—my dear
Thus snatching his hat, he brush'd off like the wind,
And the porter and eatables followed behind.