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Written and spoken by the Poet Laberius, a man Knight, whom Cæsar forced upon the stage. Preserved by Macrobius.*
WHAT! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
Or Flavia been content to stop
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze!
Need we expose to vulgar sight The raptures of the bridal night? Need we intrude on hallow'd ground, Or draw the curtains closed around? Let it suffice, that each had charms; He clasp'd a goddess in his arms; And though she felt his usage rough, Yet in a man 'twas well enough.
The honey-moon like lightning flew, The second brought its transports too; A third, a fourth, were not amiss, The fifth was friendship mix'd with bliss: But, when a twelvemonth pass'd away, Jack found his goddess made of clay; Found half the charms that deck'd her faco Arose from powder, shreds, or lace; But still the worse remain'd behind, That very face had robb'd her mind.
Skill'd in no other arts was she, But dressing, patching, repartee; And, just as humour rose or fell, By turns a slattern or a belle. 'Tis true she dress'd with modern grace, Half naked at a ball or race;
But when at home, at board or bed,
WHERE the Red Lion staring o'er the way,
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;
things as trifles at best) told me with his usual goodhumour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little Cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarcely worth printing; and, were it not for the busy dis cham-lic should never have known that he owes me the position of some of your correspondents, the pub hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, Sir,
Note.-On the subject of the preceding letter, the reader is desired to consult "The Life of Dr. Goldsmith," " under the year 1765.
"TURN, gentle Hermit of the dale,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
"For here forlorn and lost I tread,
With fainting steps and slow;
Seem length'ning as I go."
"Forbear, my son," the Hermit cries,
To lure thee to thy doom.
"Here to the houseless child of want
And though my portion is but scant,
"Then turn to-night, and freely share
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
"No flocks that range the valley free,
"But from the mountain's grassy side
A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
"Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego
All earth-born cares are wrong;
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long."
Around from all the neighb'ring streets
The wound it seem'd both sore and sad
And while they swore the dog was mad,
STANZAS ON WOMAN. WHEN lovely woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray, What charms can soothe her melancholy, What art can wash her guilt away? The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye, To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom-is to die.
A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY.
TO THE REV. HENRY GOLDSMITH.
I AM sensible that the friendship between us can acquire no new force from the ceremonies of a dedication; and perhaps it demands an excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, which you decline giving with your own. But as a part of this poem was formerly written to you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with propriety, be only inscribed to you. It will also throw a light upon many parts of it, when the reader understands, that it is addressed to a man, who, despising fame and fortune, has retired early to happiness and obscurity, with an income of forty pounds a-year.
I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of your humble choice. You have entered upon a sacred office, where the harvest is great, and the labourers are but few; while you have left the field of ambition, where the labourers are many, and the harvest not worth carrying away. But of all kinds of ambition, what from the refinement of the times, from different systems of criticism, and from the divisions of party, that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest.
Poetry makes a principal amusement among unpolished nations; but in a country verging to the extremes of refinement, painting and music come
This, and the following poem, appeared in "The Vicar of in for a share. As these offer the feeble mind a Wakefield," which was published in the year 1765.
less laborious entertainment, they at first rival