The Poetical Works of Edward Young Volume II.
Boston Little, Brown and Company
Cambridge Allen and Farnham, Printers.
The Last Day. In Three Books Book I. Book II. Book III. The Force of Religion; or, Vanquished Love. Book I. Book II. Love of Fame, the Universal Passion. In Seven Characteristical Satires. Preface. Satire I. Satire II Satire III. Satire IV. Satire V. On Women Satire VI. On Women Satire VII. Ocean: an Ode, occasioned by his Majesty's royal Encouragement of the Sea Service. To which is prefixed an Ode to the King; and A Discourse on Ode A Paraphrase on Part of the Book of Job. On Michael Angelo's Famous Piece of the Crucifixion; To Mr. Addison, on the Tragedy of Cato Historical Epilogue to the Brothers. A Tragedy Epitaph on Lord Aubrey Beauclerk, in Westminster Abbey, 1740 Epitaph at Welwyn, Hertfordshire. A Letter to Mr. Tickell, occasioned by the Death of the Right Hon. Joseph Addison Reflections on the Public Situation of the Kingdom Resignation. In Two Parts. Part I. Part II. On the Late Queen's Death, And His Majesty's Accession to the Throne The Instalment. And Epistle to the Right Hon. George Lord Lansdowne. Two Epistles to Mr. Pope Epistle I. Epistle II. An Epistle to the Right Honourable Sir Robert Walpole. The Old Man's Relapse. Verses sent by Lord Melcombe to Dr. Young
THE LAST DAY.
In Three Books.
Venit summa dies.—VIRG.
Ipse pater, media nimborum in nocte, corusca Fulmina molitur dextra. Quo maxima motu Terra tremit: fugere ferae! et mortalia corda Per gentes humilis stravit pavor.
While others sing the fortune of the great; Empire and arms, and all the pomp of state; With Britain's hero(1) set their souls on fire, And grow immortal as his deeds inspire; I draw a deeper scene: a scene that yields A louder trumpet, and more dreadful fields; The world alarm'd, both earth and heaven o'erthrown, And gasping nature's last tremendous groan; Death's ancient sceptre broke, the teeming tomb, The righteous Judge, and man's eternal doom. 'Twixt joy and pain I view the bold design, And ask my anxious heart, if it be mine. Whatever great or dreadful has been done Within the sight of conscious stars or sun, Is far beneath my daring: I look down On all the splendours of the British crown. This globe is for my verse a narrow bound; Attend me, all the glorious worlds around! O! all ye angels, howsoe'er disjoin'd, Of every various order, place, and kind, Hear, and assist, a feeble mortal's lays; 'Tis your Eternal King I strive to praise. But chiefly thou, great Ruler! Lord of all! Before whose throne archangels prostrate fall; If at thy nod, from discord, and from night, Sprang beauty, and yon sparkling worlds of light, Exalt e'en me; all inward tumults quell; The clouds and darkness of my mind dispel; To my great subject thou my breast inspire, And raise my lab'ring soul with equal fire. Man, bear thy brow aloft, view every grace In God's great offspring, beauteous nature's face: See spring's gay bloom; see golden autumn's store; See how earth smiles, and hear old ocean roar. Leviathans but heave their cumbrous mail, It makes a tide, and wind-bound navies sail. Here, forests rise, the mountains awful pride; Here, rivers measure climes, and worlds divide; There, valleys fraught with gold's resplendent seeds, Hold kings, and kingdoms' fortunes, in their beds: There, to the skies, aspiring hills ascend, And into distant lands their shades extend. View cities, armies, fleets; of fleets the pride, See Europe's law, in Albion's channel ride. View the whole earth's vast landscape unconfin'd, Or view in Britain all her glories join'd. Then let the firmament thy wonder raise; 'Twill raise thy wonder, but transcend thy praise. How far from east to west? the lab'ring eye Can scarce the distant azure bounds descry: Wide theatre! where tempests play at large, And God's right hand can all its wrath discharge. Mark how those radiant lamps inflame the pole, Call forth the seasons, and the year control: They shine thro' time, with an unalter'd ray: See this grand period rise, and that decay: So vast, this world's a grain; yet myriads grace, With golden pomp, the throng'd ethereal space; So bright, with such a wealth of glory stor'd, 'Twere sin in heathens not to have ador'd. How great, how firm, how sacred, all appears! How worthy an immortal round of years! Yet all must drop, as autumn's sickliest grain, And earth and firmament be sought in vain: The tract forgot where constellations shone, Or where the Stuarts fill'd an awful throne: Time shall be slain, all nature be destroy'd, Nor leave an atom in the mighty void. Sooner, or later, in some future date, (A dreadful secret in the book of fate!) This hour, for aught all human wisdom knows, Or when ten thousand harvests more have rose; When scenes are chang'd on this revolving earth, Old empires fall, and give new empires birth; While other Bourbons rule in other lands, And (if man's sin forbids not) other Annes; While the still busy world is treading o'er The paths they trod five thousand years before, Thoughtless as those who now life's mazes run, Of earth dissolv'd, or an extinguish'd sun; (Ye sublunary worlds, awake, awake! Ye rulers of the nation, hear, and shake!) Thick clouds of darkness shall arise on day; In sudden night all earth's dominions lay; Impetuous winds the scatter'd forests rend; Eternal mountains, like their cedars, bend: The valleys yawn, the troubled ocean roar, And break the bondage of his wonted shore; A sanguine stain the silver moon o'erspread; Darkness the circle of the sun invade; From inmost heaven incessant thunders roll, And the strong echo bound from pole to pole. When, lo, a mighty trump, one half conceal'd In clouds, one half to mortal eye reveal'd, Shall pour a dreadful note; the piercing call Shall rattle in the centre of the ball; Th' extended circuit of creation shake, The living die with fear, the dead awake. Oh powerful blast! to which no equal sound Did e'er the frighted ear of nature wound, Tho' rival clarions have been strain'd on high, And kindled wars immortal thro' the sky, Tho' God's whole enginery discharg'd, and all The rebel angels bellow'd in their fall. Have angels sinn'd? and shall not man beware? How shall a son of earth decline the snare? Not folded arms, and slackness of the mind, Can promise for the safety of mankind: None are supinely good: thro' care and pain And various arts, the steep ascent we gain. This is the scene of combat, not of rest, Man's is laborious happiness at best; On this side death his dangers never cease, His joys are joys of conquest, not of peace. If then, obsequious to the will of fate, And bending to the terms of human state, When guilty joys invite us to their arms, When beauty smiles, or grandeur spreads her charms, The conscious soul would this great scene display, Call down th' immortal hosts in dread array, The trumpet sound, the Christian banner spread, And raise from silent graves the trembling dead; Such deep impression would the picture make, No power on earth her firm resolve could shake; Engag'd with angels she would greatly stand, And look regardless down on sea and land; Not proffer'd worlds her ardour could restrain, And death might shake his threat'ning lance in vain! Her certain conquest would endear the sight, And danger serve but to exalt delight. Instructed thus to shun the fatal spring, Whence flow the terrors of that day I sing; More boldly we our labours may pursue, And all the dreadful image set to view. The sparkling eye, the sleek and painted breast, The burnish'd scale, curl'd train, and rising crest, All that is lovely in the noxious snake, Provokes our fear, and bids us flee the brake: The sting once drawn, his guiltless beauties rise In pleasing lustre, and detain our eyes; We view with joy, what once did horror move, And strong aversion softens into love. Say then, my muse, whom dismal scenes delight, Frequent at tombs, and in the realms of night; Say, melancholy maid, if bold to dare The last extremes of terror and despair; Oh say, what change on earth, what heart in man, This blackest moment since the world began. Ah mournful turn! the blissful earth, who late At leisure on her axle roll'd in state; While thousand golden planets knew no rest, Still onward in their circling journey prest; A grateful change of seasons some to bring, And sweet vicissitude of fall and spring: Some thro' vast oceans to conduct the keel, And some those watery worlds to sink, or swell: Around her some their splendours to display, And gild her globe with tributary day: This world so great, of joy the bright abode, Heaven's darling child, and fav'rite of her God, Now looks an exile from her father's care, Deliver'd o'er to darkness and despair. No sun in radiant glory shines on high; No light, but from the terrors of the sky: Fall'n are her mountains, her fam'd rivers lost, And all into a second chaos tost: One universal ruin spreads abroad; Nothing is safe beneath the throne of God. Such, earth, thy fate: what then canst thou afford To comfort and support thy guilty lord? Man, haughty lord of all beneath the moon, How must he bend his soul's ambition down Prostrate, the reptile own, and disavow His boasted stature, and assuming brow? Claim kindred with the clay, and curse his form, That speaks distinction from his sister worm? What dreadful pangs the trembling heart invade? Lord, why dost thou forsake whom thou hast made? Who can sustain thy anger? who can stand Beneath the terrors of thy lifted hand? It flies the reach of thought; oh, save me, Power Of powers supreme, in that tremendous hour! Thou who beneath the frown of fate hast stood, And in thy dreadful agony sweat blood; Thou, who for me, thro' every throbbing vein, Hast felt the keenest edge of mortal pain; Whom death led captive thro' the realms below, And taught those horrid mysteries of woe; Defend me, O my God! Oh, save me, Power Of powers supreme, in that tremendous hour! From east to west they fly, from pole to line, Imploring shelter from the wrath divine; Beg flames to wrap, or whelming seas to sweep, Or rocks to yawn, compassionately deep; Seas cast the monster forth to meet his doom, And rocks but prison up for wrath to come. So fares a traitor to an earthly crown; While death sits threat'ning in his prince's frown His heart's dismay'd; and now his fears command, To change his native for a distant land: Swift orders fly, the king's severe decree Stands in the channel, and locks up the sea; The port he seeks, obedient to her lord, Hurls back the rebel to his lifted sword. But why this idle toil to paint that day? This time elaborately thrown away? Words all in vain pant after the distress, The height of eloquence would make it less; Heavens! how the good man trembles!— And is there a last day? and must there come A sure, a fix'd, inexorable doom? Ambition swell, and, thy proud sails to show, Take all the winds that vanity can blow; Wealth on a golden mountain blazing stand, And reach an India forth in either hand; Spread all thy purple clusters, tempting vine, And thou, more dreaded foe, bright beauty, shine; Shine all; in all your charms together rise; That all, in all your charms, I may despise; While I mount upward on a strong desire, Borne, like Elijah, in a car of fire. In hopes of glory to be quite involv'd! To smile at death! to long to be dissolv'd! From our decays a pleasure to receive! And kindle into transport at a grave! What equals this? And shall the victor now Boast the proud laurels on his loaded brow? Religion! Oh, thou cherub, heavenly bright! Oh, joys unmix'd, and fathomless delight! Thou, thou art all; nor find I in the whole Creation aught, but God and my own soul. For ever, then, my soul, thy God adore, Nor let the brute creation praise him more. Shall things inanimate my conduct blame, And flush my conscious cheek with spreading shame? They all for him pursue, or quit, their end The mountain flames their burning power suspend; In solid heaps th' unfrozen billows stand, To rest and silence aw'd by his command: Nay, the dire monsters that infest the flood, By nature dreadful, and athirst for blood, His will can calm, their savage tempers bind, And turn to mild protectors of mankind. Did not the prophet this great truth maintain In the deep chambers of the gloomy main; When darkness round him all her horrors spread, And the loud ocean bellow'd o'er his head? When now the thunder roars, the lightning flies, And all the warring winds tumultuous rise; When now the foaming surges, tost on high, Disclose the sands beneath, and touch the sky; When death draws near, the mariners aghast, Look back with terror on their actions past; Their courage sickens into deep dismay, Their hearts, thro' fear and anguish, melt away; Nor tears, nor prayers, the tempest can appease; Now they devote their treasure to the seas; Unload their shatter'd barque, tho' richly fraught, And think the hopes of life are cheaply bought With gems and gold; but oh, the storm so high! Nor gems nor gold the hopes of life can buy. The trembling prophet then, themselves to save, They headlong plunge into the briny wave; Down he descends, and, booming o'er his head, The billows close; he's number'd with the dead. (Hear, O ye just! attend, ye virtuous few! And the bright paths of piety pursue) Lo! the great Ruler of the world, from high, Looks smiling down with a propitious eye, Covers his servant with his gracious hand, And bids tempestuous nature silent stand; Commands the peaceful waters to give place, Or kindly fold him in a soft embrace: He bridles in the monsters of the deep: The bridled monsters awful distance keep: Forget their hunger, while they view their prey; And guiltless gaze, and round the stranger play. But still arise new wonders; nature's Lord Sends forth into the deep his powerful word, And calls the great leviathan: the great Leviathan attends in all his state; Exults for joy, and, with a mighty bound, Makes the sea shake, and heaven and earth resound; Blackens the waters with the rising sand. And drives vast billows to the distant land. As yawns an earthquake, when imprison'd air Struggles for vent, and lays the centre bare, The whale expands his jaws' enormous size; The prophet views the cavern with surprise; Measures his monstrous teeth, afar descried, And rolls his wond'ring eyes from side to side: Then takes possession of the spacious seat, And sails secure within the dark retreat. Now is he pleas'd the northern blast to hear, And hangs on liquid mountains, void of fear; Or falls immers'd into the depths below, Where the dead silent waters never flow; To the foundation of the hills convey'd, Dwells in the shelving mountain's dreadful shade: Where plummet never reach'd, he draws his breath, And glides serenely thro' the paths of death. Two wondrous days and nights thro' coral groves, Thro' labyrinths of rocks and sands, he roves: When the third morning with its level rays The mountains gilds, and on the billows plays, It sees the king of waters rise and pour His sacred guest uninjur'd on the shore: A type of that great blessing, which the muse In her next labour ardently pursues.
Έκ γαιη έλπιξομεν ές Φάος έλθειν. Λειψαν άποιχομένων όπισω δέ Θεοι τελέθονται.
——We hope that the departed will rise again from the dust: after which, like the gods, they will be immortal.
Now man awakes, and from his silent bed, Where he has slept for ages, lifts his head; Shakes off the slumber of ten thousand years, And on the borders of new worlds appears. Whate'er the bold, the rash, adventure cost, In wide eternity I dare be lost. The muse is wont in narrow bounds to sing, To teach the swain, or celebrate the king. I grasp the whole, no more to parts confin'd, I lift my voice, and sing to humankind: I sing to men and angels; angels join, While such the theme, their sacred songs with mine. Again the trumpet's intermitted sound Rolls the wide circuit of creation round, A universal concourse to prepare Of all that ever breath'd the vital air: In some wide field, which active whirlwinds sweep, Drive cities, forests, mountains, to the deep, To smooth and lengthen out th' unbounded space, And spread an area for all human race. Now monuments prove faithful to their trust, And render back their long committed dust. Now charnels rattle; scatter'd limbs, and all The various bones, obsequious to the call, Self-mov'd, advance; the neck perhaps to meet The distant head; the distant legs the feet. Dreadful to view, see thro' the dusky sky Fragments of bodies in confusion fly, To distant regions journeying, there to claim Deserted members, and complete the frame. When the world bow'd to Rome's almighty sword, Rome bow'd to Pompey, and confess'd her lord. Yet one day lost, this deity below Became the scorn and pity of his foe. His blood a traitor's sacrifice was made, And smok'd indignant on a ruffian's blade. No trumpet's sound, no gasping army's yell, Bid, with due horror, his great soul farewell. Obscure his fall! all welt'ring in his gore, His trunk was cast to perish on the shore! While Julius frown'd the bloody monster dead, Who brought the world in his great rival's head. This sever'd head and trunk shall join once more, Tho' realms now rise between, and oceans roar. The trumpet's sound each fragrant mote shall hear, Or fix'd in earth, or if afloat in air, Obey the signal wafted in the wind, And not one sleeping atom lag behind. So swarming bees, that on a summer's day In airy rings, and wild meanders play, Charm'd with the brazen sound, their wand'rings end, And, gently circling, on a bough descend. The body thus renew'd, the conscious soul, Which has perhaps been flutt'ring near the pole, Or midst the burning planets wond'ring stray'd, Or hover'd o'er where her pale corpse was laid; Or rather coasted on her final state, And fear'd or wish'd for her appointed fate: This soul, returning with a constant flame, Now weds for ever her immortal frame. Life, which ran down before, so high is wound, The springs maintain an everlasting round. Thus a frail model of the work design'd First takes a copy of the builder's mind, Before the structure firm with lasting oak, And marble bowels of the solid rock, Turns the strong arch, and bids the columns rise, And bear the lofty palace to the skies; The wrongs of time enabled to surpass, With bars of adamant, and ribs of brass. That ancient, sacred, and illustrious dome,(2) Where soon or late fair Albion's heroes come, From camps, and courts, tho' great, or wise, or just, To feed the worm, and moulder into dust; That solemn mansion of the royal dead, Where passing slaves o'er sleeping monarchs tread, Now populous o'erflows: a num'rous race Of rising kings fill all th' extended space: A life well spent, not the victorious sword, Awards the crown, and styles the greater lord. Nor monuments alone, and burial-earth, Labours with man to this his second birth; But where gay palaces in pomp arise, And gilded theatres invade the skies, Nations shall wake, whose unrespected bones Support the pride of their luxurious sons. The most magnificent and costly dome Is but an upper chamber to the tomb. No spot on earth but has supplied a grave, And human skulls the spacious ocean pave. All's full of man; and at this dreadful turn, The swarm shall issue, and the hive shall burn. Not all at once, nor in like manner, rise: Some lift with pain their slow, unwilling eyes: Shrink backward from the terror of the light, And bless the grave, and call for lasting night. Others, whose long-attempted virtue stood Fix'd as a rock, and broke the rushing flood, Whose firm resolve, nor beauty could melt down, Nor raging tyrants from their posture frown; Such, in this day of horrors, shall be seen To face the thunders with a godlike mien; The planets drop, their thoughts are fixt above; The centre shakes, their hearts disdain to move; An earth dissolving, and a heaven thrown wide, A yawning gulf, and fiends on every side, Serene they view, impatient of delay, And bless the dawn of everlasting day. Here, greatness prostrate falls; there, strength gives place; Here, lazars smile; there, beauty hides her face. Christians, and Jews, and Turks, and Pagans stand, A blended throng, one undistinguish'd band. Some who, perhaps, by mutual wounds expir'd, With zeal for their distinct persuasions fir'd, In mutual friendship their long slumber break, And hand in hand their Saviour's love partake. But none are flush'd with brighter joy, or, warm With juster confidence, enjoy the storm, Than those, whose pious bounties, unconfin'd, Have made them public fathers of mankind. In that illustrious rank, what shining light With such distinguish'd glory fills my sight? Bend down, my grateful muse, that homage show, Which to such worthies thou art proud to owe. Wickham! Fox! Chichley! hail, illustrious names,(3) Who to far distant times dispense your beams; Beneath your shades, and near your crystal springs, I first presum'd to touch the trembling strings. All hail, thrice honour'd! 'Twas your great renown To bless a people, and oblige a crown. And now you rise, eternally to shine, Eternally to drink the rays divine. Indulgent God! Oh how shall mortal raise His soul to due returns of grateful praise, For bounty so profuse to humankind, Thy wondrous gift of an eternal mind? Shall I, who, some few years ago, was less Than worm, or mite, or shadow can express, Was nothing; shall I live, when every fire And every star shall languish and expire? When earth's no more, shall I survive above, And thro' the radiant files of angels move? Or, as before the throne of God I stand, See new worlds rolling from his spacious hand, Where our adventures shall perhaps be taught, As we now tell how Michael sung or fought? All that has being in full concert join, And celebrate the depths of love divine! But oh! before this blissful state, before Th' aspiring soul this wondrous height can soar, The Judge, descending, thunders from afar, And all mankind is summon'd to the bar. This mighty scene I next presume to draw: Attend, great Anna, with religious awe. Expect not here the known successful arts To win attention, and command our hearts: Fiction, be far away; let no machine Descending here, no fabled god, be seen; Behold the God of gods indeed descend, And worlds unnumber'd his approach attend! Lo! the wide theatre, whose ample space Must entertain the whole of human race, At heaven's all-powerful edict is prepar'd, And fenc'd around with an immortal guard. Tribes, provinces, dominions, worlds, o'erflow The mighty plain, and deluge all below: And every age, and nation, pours along, Nimrod and Bourbon mingle in the throng: Adam salutes his youngest son; no sign, Of all those ages, which their births disjoin. How empty learning, and how vain is art, But as it mends the life, and guides the heart! What volumes have been swell'd, what time been spent, To fix a hero's birth-day, or descent! What joy must it now yield, what rapture raise, To see the glorious race of ancient days! To greet those worthies who perhaps have stood Illustrious on record before the flood! Alas! a nearer care your soul demands, Caesar unnoted in your presence stands. How vast the concourse! not in number more The waves that break on the resounding shore, The leaves that tremble in the shady grove, The lamps that gild the spangled vaults above: Those overwhelming armies, whose command Said to one empire, fall; another, stand: Whose rear lay wrapt in night, while breaking dawn Rous'd the broad front, and call'd the battle on: Great Xerxes' world in arms, proud Cannae's field, Where Carthage taught victorious Rome to yield, (Another blow had broke the fates' decree, And earth had wanted her fourth monarchy,) Immortal Blenheim, fam'd Ramillia's host, They all are here, and here they all are lost: Their millions swell to be discern'd in vain, Lost as a billow in th' unbounded main. This echoing voice now rends the yielding air, For judgment, judgment, sons of men, prepare! Earth shakes anew; I hear her groans profound; And hell through all her trembling realms resound. Whoe'er thou art, thou greatest power of earth, Blest with most equal planets at thy birth; Whose valour drew the most successful sword, Most realms united in one common lord; Who, on the day of triumph, saidst, Be thine The skies, Jehovah, all this world is mine: Dare not to lift thine eye—Alas! my muse, How art thou lost! what numbers canst thou choose? A sudden blush inflames the waving sky, And now the crimson curtains open fly; Lo! far within, and far above all height, Where heaven's great Sov'reign reigns in worlds of light, Whence nature he informs, and with one ray Shot from his eye, does all her works survey, Creates, supports, confounds! Where time, and place, Matter, and form, and fortune, life, and grace, Wait humbly at the footstool of their God, And move obedient at his awful nod; Whence he beholds us vagrant emmets crawl At random on this air-suspended ball (Speck of creation): if he pour one breath, The bubble breaks, and 'tis eternal death. Thence issuing I behold (but mortal sight Sustains not such a rushing sea of light!) I see, on an empyreal flying throne Sublimely rais'd, heaven's everlasting Son; Crown'd with that majesty which form'd the world, And the grand rebel flaming downward hurl'd. Virtue, dominion, praise, omnipotence, Support the train of their triumphant prince. A zone, beyond the thought of angels bright, Around him, like the zodiac, winds its light. Night shades the solemn arches of his brows, And in his cheek the purple morning glows. Where'er serene, he turns propitious eyes, Or we expect, or find, a paradise: But if resentment reddens their mild beams, The Eden kindles, and the world's in flames. On one hand, knowledge shines in purest light; On one, the sword of justice fiercely bright. Now bend the knee in sport, present the reed; Now tell the scourg'd impostor he shall bleed! Thus glorious thro' the courts of heav'n, the source Of life and death eternal bends his course; Loud thunders round him roll, and lightnings play; Th' angelic host is rang'd in bright array: Some touch the string, some strike the sounding shell, And mingling voices in rich concert swell; Voices seraphic; blest with such a strain, Could Satan hear, he were a god again. Triumphant King of Glory! Soul of bliss! What a stupendous turn of fate is this! O! whither art thou rais'd above the scorn And indigence of him in Bethlem born; A needless, helpless, unaccounted guest, And but a second to the fodder'd beast! How chang'd from him, who, meekly prostrate laid, Vouchsaf'd to wash the feet himself had made! From him who was betray'd, forsook, denied, Wept, languish'd, pray'd, bled, thirsted, groan'd, and died; Hung pierc'd and bare, insulted by the foe, All heaven in tears above, earth unconcern'd below! And was't enough to bid the sun retire? Why did not nature at thy groan expire? I see, I hear, I feel, the pangs divine; The world is vanish'd,—I am wholly thine. Mistaken Caiaphas! Ah! which blasphem'd; Thou, or thy pris'ner? which shall be condemn'd? Well might'st thou rend thy garments, well exclaim; Deep are the horrors of eternal flame! But God is good! 'Tis wondrous all! Ev'n he Thou gav'st to death, shame, torture, died for thee. Now the descending triumph stops its flight From earth full twice a planetary height. There all the clouds condens'd, two columns raise Distinct with orient veins, and golden blaze. One fix'd on earth, and one in sea, and round Its ample foot the swelling billows sound. These an immeasurable arch support, The grand tribunal of this awful court. Sheets of bright azure, from the purest sky, Stream from the crystal arch, and round the columns fly. Death, wrapt in chains, low at the basis lies, And on the point of his own arrow dies. Here high enthron'd th' eternal Judge is plac'd, With all the grandeur of his godhead grac'd; Stars on his robes in beauteous order meet, And the sun burns beneath his awful feet. Now an archangel eminently bright, From off his silver staff of wondrous height, Unfurls the Christian flag, which waving flies, And shuts and opens more than half the skies: The cross so strong a red, it sheds a stain, Where'er it floats, on earth, and air, and main; Flushes the hill, and sets on fire the wood, And turns the deep-dy'd ocean, into blood. Oh formidable glory! dreadful bright! Refulgent torture to the guilty sight. Ah turn, unwary muse, nor dare reveal What horrid thoughts with the polluted dwell. Say not, (to make the sun shrink in his beam,) Dare not affirm, they wish it all a dream; With, or their souls may with their limbs decay, Or God be spoil'd of his eternal sway. But rather, if thou know'st the means, unfold How they with transport might the scene behold. Ah how! but by repentance, by a mind Quick, and severe its own offence to find? By tears, and groans, and never-ceasing care, And all the pious violence of prayer? Thus then, with fervency till now unknown, I cast my heart before th' eternal throne, In this great temple, which the skies surround, For homage to its lord, a narrow bound. "O thou! whose balance does the mountains weigh, Whose will the wild tumultuous seas obey, Whose breath can turn these watery worlds to flame, That flame to tempest, and that tempest tame; Earth's meanest son, all trembling, prostrate falls, And on the boundless of thy goodness calls. "Oh! give the winds all past offence to sweep, To scatter wide, or bury in the deep: Thy power, my weakness, may I ever see, And wholly dedicate my soul to thee: Reign o'er my will; my passions ebb and flow At thy command, nor human motive know! If anger boil, let anger be my praise, And sin the graceful indignation raise. My love be warm to succour the distress'd, And lift the burden from the soul oppress'd. Oh may my understanding ever read This glorious volume, which thy wisdom made! Who decks the maiden spring with flow'ry pride? Who calls forth summer, like a sparkling bride? Who joys the mother autumn's bed to crown? And bids old winter lay her honours down? Not the great Ottoman, or greater Czar, Not Europe's arbitress of peace and war. May sea and land, and earth and heaven be join'd To bring th' eternal author to my mind! When oceans roar, or awful thunders roll, May thoughts of thy dread vengeance shake my soul! When earth's in bloom, or planets proudly shine, Adore, my heart, the majesty divine! "Thro' every scene of life, or peace, or war, Plenty, or want, thy glory be my care! Shine we in arms? or sing beneath our vine? Thine is the vintage, and the conquest thine: Thy pleasure points the shaft, and bends the bow; The cluster blasts, or bids it brightly glow: 'Tis thou that lead'st our powerful armies forth, And giv'st great Anne thy sceptre o'er the north. "Grant I may ever, at the morning ray, Open with prayer the consecrated day; Tune thy great praise, and bid my soul arise, And with the mounting sun ascend the skies: As that advances, let my zeal improve, And glow with ardour of consummate love; Nor cease at eve, but with the setting sun My endless worship shall be still begun. "And, oh! permit the gloom of solemn night To sacred thought may forcibly invite. When this world's shut, and awful planets rise, Call on our minds, and raise them to the skies; Compose our souls with a less dazzling sight, And show all nature in a milder light; How every boisterous thought in calm subsides! How the smooth'd spirit into goodness glides! O how divine! to tread the milky way, To the bright palace of the lord of day; His court admire, or for his favour sue, Or leagues of friendship with his saints renew; Pleas'd to look down, and see the world asleep, While I long vigils to its founder keep! "Canst thou not shake the centre? Oh! control, Subdue by force, the rebel in my soul: Thou, who canst still the raging of the flood, Restrain the various tumults of my blood; Teach me, with equal firmness, to sustain Alluring pleasure, and assaulting pain. O may I pant for thee in each desire! And with strong faith foment the holy fire! Stretch out my soul in hope, and grasp the prize, Which in eternity's deep bosom lies! At the great day of recompense behold, Devoid of fear, the fatal book unfold! Then wafted upward to the blissful seat, From age to age, my grateful song repeat; My light, my life, my God, my Saviour see, And rival angels in the praise of thee."
Esse quoque in fatis reminiscitur, affore tempus, Quo mare, quo tellus, correptaque regia caeli Ardeat; et mundi moles operosa laboret.
The book unfolding; the resplendent seat Of saints and angels; the tremendous fate Of guilty souls; the gloomy realms of woe; And all the horrors of the world below; I next presume to sing: what yet remains Demands my last, but most exalted strains. And let the muse or now affect the sky, Or in inglorious shades for ever lie. She kindles, she's inflam'd so near the goal; She mounts, she gains upon the starry pole; The world grows less as she pursues her flight, And the sun darkens to her distant sight. Heaven op'ning, all its sacred pomp displays, And overwhelms her with the rushing blaze! The triumph rings! archangels shout around! And echoing nature lengthens out the sound! Ten thousand trumpets now at once advance; Now deepest silence lulls the vast expanse: So deep the silence, and so strong the blast, As nature died, when she had groan'd her last. Nor man, nor angel, moves; the Judge on high Looks round, and with his glory fills the sky: Then on the fatal book his hand he lays, Which high to view supporting seraphs raise; In solemn form the rituals are prepar'd, The seal is broken, and a groan is heard. And thou, my soul, (oh fall to sudden pray'r, And let the thought sink deep!) shalt thou be there? See on the left (for by the great command The throng divided falls on either hand); How weak, how pale, how haggard, how obscene, What more than death in ev'ry face and mien! With what distress, and glarings of affright. They shock the heart, and turn away the sight! In gloomy orbs their trembling eye-balls roll, And tell the horrid secrets of the soul. Each gesture mourns, each look is black with care, And ev'ry groan is loaden with despair. Reader, if guilty, spare the muse, and find A truer image pictur'd in thy mind. Shouldst thou behold thy brother, father, wife, And all the soft companions of thy life, Whose blended int'rests levell'd at one aim, Whose mix'd desires sent up one common flame, Divided far; thy wretched self alone Cast on the left, of all whom thou hast known; How would it wound! what millions wouldst thou give For one more trial, one more day to live! Flung back in time an hour, a moment's space, To grasp with eagerness the means of grace; Contend for mercy with a pious rage, And in that moment to redeem an age? Drive back the tide, suspend a storm in air, Arrest the sun!—but still of this despair. Mark, on the right, how amiable a grace! Their Maker's image fresh in ev'ry face! What purple bloom my ravish'd soul admires! And their eyes sparkling with immortal fires! Triumphant beauty! charms that rise above This world, and in blest angels kindle love! To the great Judge with holy pride they turn, And dare behold th' Almighty's anger burn; Its flash sustain, against its terror rise, And on the dread tribunal fix their eyes. Are these the forms that moulder'd in the dust? Oh the transcendent glory of the just! Yet still some thin remains of fear and doubt, Th' infected brightness of their joy pollute. Thus the chaste bridegroom, when the priest draws nigh, Beholds his blessing with a trembling eye, Feels doubtful passions throb in every vein, And in his cheeks are mingled joy and pain, Lest still some intervening chance should rise, Leap forth at once, and snatch the golden prize; Inflame his woe, by bringing it so late, And stab him in the crisis of his fate. Since Adam's family, from first to last, Now into one distinct survey is cast; Look round, vainglorious muse, and you whoe'er Devote yourselves to fame, and think her fair; Look round, and seek the lights of human race, Whose shining acts time's brightest annals grace; Who founded sects; crowns conquer'd, or resign'd; Gave names to nations: or fam'd empires join'd; Who raised the vale, and laid the mountain low; And taught obedient rivers where to flow; Who with vast fleets, as with a mighty chain, Could bind the madness of the roaring main: All lost? all undistinguish'd? nowhere found? How will this truth in Bourbon's palace sound? That hour, on which the Almighty King on high From all eternity has fix'd his eye, Whether his right hand favour'd, or annoy'd, Continu'd, alter'd, threaten'd, or destroy'd; Southern or eastern sceptre downward hurl'd, Gave north or west dominion o'er the world; The point of time, for which the world was built, For which the blood of God himself was spilt, That dreadful moment is arriv'd. Aloft, the seats of bliss their pomp display Brighter than brightness, this distinguish'd day; Less glorious, when of old th' eternal Son From realms of night return'd with trophies won: Thro' heaven's high gates, when he triumphant rode, And shouting angels hail'd the victor God. Horrors, beneath, darkness in darkness, hell Of hell, where torments behind torments dwell; A furnace formidable, deep, and wide, O'erboiling with a mad sulphureous tide, Expands its jaws, most dreadful to survey, And roars outrageous for the destin'd prey. The sons of light scarce unappall'd look down, And nearer press heaven's everlasting throne. Such is the scene; and one short moment's space Concludes the hopes and fears of human race. Proceed who dares!—I tremble as I write, The whole creation swims before my sight: I see, I see, the Judge's frowning brow; Say not, 'tis distant; I behold it now; I faint, my tardy blood forgets to flow, My soul recoils at the stupendous woe; That woe, those pangs, which from the guilty breast, In these, or words like these, shall be exprest. "Who burst the barriers of my peaceful grave? Ah! cruel death, that would no longer save, But grudg'd me e'en that narrow dark abode, And cast me out into the wrath of God; Where shrieks, the roaring flame, the rattling chain, And all the dreadful eloquence of pain, Our only song; black fire's malignant light, The sole refreshment of the blasted sight. Must all those pow'rs, heaven gave me to supply My soul with pleasure, and bring in my joy, Rise up in arms against me, join the foe, Sense, reason, memory, increase my woe? And shall my voice, ordain'd on hymns to dwell, Corrupt to groans, and blow the fires of hell? Oh! must I look with terror on my gain, And with existence only measure pain? What! no reprieve, no least indulgence given, No beam of hope, from any point of heaven! Ah mercy! mercy! art thou dead above? Is love extinguish'd in the source of love? "Bold that I am, did heaven stoop down to hell? Th' expiring Lord of life my ransom seal? Have I not been industrious to provoke? From his embraces obstinately broke? Pursu'd and panted for his mortal hate, Earn'd my destruction, labour'd out my fate? And dare I on extinguish'd love exclaim? Take, take full vengeance, rouse the slack'ning flame; Just is my lot—but oh! must it transcend The reach of time, despair a distant end? With dreadful growth shoot forward, and arise, Where thought can't follow, and bold fancy dies? "Never! where falls the soul at that dread sound? Down an abyss how dark, and how profound? Down, down, (I still am falling, horrid pain!) Ten thousand thousand fathoms still remain; My plunge but still begun—And this for sin? Could I offend, if I had never been, But still increas'd the senseless happy mass, Flow'd in the stream, or shiver'd in the grass? "Father of mercies! why from silent earth Didst thou awake, and curse me into birth? Tear me from quiet, ravish me from night, And make a thankless present of thy light? Push into being a reverse of thee, And animate a clod with misery? "The beasts are happy; they come forth, and keep Short watch on earth, and then lie down to sleep. Pain is for man; and oh! how vast a pain For crimes, which made the Godhead bleed in vain! Annull'd his groans, as far as in them lay, And flung his agonies, and death, away! As our dire punishment for ever strong, Our constitution too for ever young, Curs'd with returns of vigour, still the same, Powerful to bear, and satisfy the flame: Still to be caught, and still to be pursu'd! To perish still, and still to be renew'd! "And this, my help! my God! at thy decree? Nature is chang'd, and hell should succour me. And canst thou then look down from perfect bliss, And see me plunging in the dark abyss? Calling thee Father, in a sea of fire? Or pouring blasphemies at thy desire? With mortals' anguish wilt thou raise thy name, And by my pangs omnipotence proclaim? "Thou, who canst toss the planets to and fro, Contract not thy great vengeance to my woe; Crush worlds; in hotter flames fall'n angels lay; On me Almighty wrath is cast away. Call back thy thunders, Lord, hold in thy rage, Nor with a speck of wretchedness engage: Forget me quite, nor stoop a worm to blame; But lose me in the greatness of thy name. Thou art all love, all mercy, all divine, And shall I make these glories cease to shine? Shall sinful man grow great by his offence, And from its course turn back Omnipotence? "Forbid it! and oh! grant, great God, at least This one, this slender, almost no request; When I have wept a thousand lives away, When torment is grown weary of its prey, When I have rav'd ten thousand years in fire, Ten thousand thousand, let me then expire." Deep anguish! but too late; the hopeless soul, Bound to the bottom of the burning pool, Though loth, and ever loud blaspheming, owns He's justly doom'd to pour eternal groans; Enclos'd with horrors, and transfix'd with pain, Rolling in vengeance, struggling with his chain: To talk to fiery tempests; to implore The raging flame to give its burnings o'er; To toss, to writhe, to pant beneath his load, And bear the weight of an offended God. The favour'd of their Judge, in triumph move To take possession of their thrones above; Satan's accurs'd desertion to supply, And fill the vacant stations of the sky; Again to kindle long-extinguish'd rays, And with new lights dilate the heavenly blaze; To crop the roses of immortal youth, And drink the fountain-head of sacred truth To swim in seas of bliss, to strike the string, And lift the voice to their Almighty King; To lose eternity in grateful lays, And fill heaven's wide circumference with praise. But I attempt the wondrous height in vain, And leave unfinish'd the too lofty strain: What boldly I begin, let others end; My strength exhausted, fainting I descend, And choose a less, but no ignoble, theme, Dissolving elements, and worlds, in flame. The fatal period, the great hour, is come, And nature shrinks at her approaching doom; Loud peals of thunder give the sign, and all Heaven's terrors in array surround the ball; Sharp lightnings with the meteor's blaze conspire, And, darted downward, set the world on fire; Black rising clouds the thicken'd ether choke, And spiry flames dart through the rolling smoke, With keen vibrations cut the sullen night, And strike the darken'd sky with dreadful light; From heaven's four regions, with immortal force, Angels drive on the wind's impetuous course, T' enrage the flame: It spreads, it soars on high, Swells in the storm, and billows through the sky: Here winding pyramids of fire ascend, Cities and deserts in one ruin blend; Here blazing volumes wafted, overwhelm The spacious face of a far distant realm; There, undermin'd, down rush eternal hills, The neighb'ring vales the vast destruction fills. Hear'st thou that dreadful crack? that sound which broke Like peals of thunder, and the centre shook? What wonders must that groan of nature tell? Olympus there, and mightier Atlas, fell; Which seem'd above the reach of fate to stand, A tow'ring monument of God's right hand; Now dust and smoke, whose brow, so lately, spread O'er shelter'd countries its diffusive shade. Show me that celebrated spot, where all The various rulers of the sever'd ball Have humbly sought wealth, honour, and redress, That land which heaven seem'd diligent to bless, Once call'd Britannia: can her glories end? And can't surrounding seas her realms defend? Alas! in flames behold surrounding seas! Like oil, their waters but augment the blaze. Some angel say, where ran proud Asia's bound? Or where with fruits was fair Europa crown'd? Where stretch'd waste Lybia? Where did India's shore Sparkle in diamonds, and her golden ore? Each lost in each, their mingling kingdoms glow, And all dissolv'd, one fiery deluge flow: Thus earth's contending monarchies are join'd, And a full period of ambition find. And now whate'er or swims, or walks, or flies, Inhabitants of sea, or earth, or skies; All on whom Adam's wisdom fix'd a name, All plunge, and perish in the conquering flame. This globe alone would but defraud the fire, Starve its devouring rage: the flakes aspire, And catch the clouds, and make the heavens their prey; The sun, the moon, the stars, all melt away; All, all is lost; no monument, no sign, Where once so proudly blaz'd the gay machine. So bubbles on the foaming stream expire, So sparks that scatter from the kindling fire; The devastations of one dreadful hour The great Creator's six days' work devour. A mighty, mighty ruin! yet one soul Has more to boast, and far outweighs the whole Exalted in superior excellence, Casts down to nothing, such a vast expense. Have you not seen th' eternal mountains nod, An earth dissolving, a descending God? What strange surprises through all nature ran? For whom these revolutions, but for man? For him, Omnipotence new measures takes, For him, through all eternity, awakes; Pours on him gifts sufficient to supply Heaven's loss, and with fresh glories fill the sky. Think deeply then, O man, how great thou art; Pay thyself homage with a trembling heart; What angels guard, no longer dare neglect, Slighting thyself, affront not God's respect. Enter the sacred temple of thy breast, And gaze, and wander there, a ravish'd guest; Gaze on those hidden treasures thou shalt find, Wander through all the glories of thy mind. Of perfect knowledge, see, the dawning light Foretells a noon most exquisitely bright! Here, springs of endless joy are breaking forth! There, buds the promise of celestial worth! Worth, which must ripen in a happier clime, And brighter sun, beyond the bounds of time. Thou, minor, canst not guess thy vast estate, What stores, on foreign coasts, thy landing wait: Lose not thy claim, let virtue's path be trod; Thus glad all heaven, and please that bounteous God, Who, to light thee to pleasures, hung on high Yon radiant orb, proud regent of the sky: That service done, its beams shall fade away, And God shine forth in one eternal day.
THE FORCE OF RELIGION; OR, VANQUISHED LOVE.
Gratior et pulchro veniens in corpore virtus.
——Ad coelum ardentia lumina tollens, Lumina; nam teneras arcebant vincula palmas.
From lofty themes, from thoughts that soar'd on high, And open'd wondrous scenes above the sky, My muse descend: indulge my fond desire; With softer thoughts my melting soul inspire, And smooth my numbers to a female's praise: A partial world will listen to my lays, While Anna reigns, and sets a female name Unrival'd in the glorious lists of fame. Hear, ye fair daughters of this happy land, Whose radiant eyes the vanquish'd world command, Virtue is beauty: but when charms of mind With elegance of outward form are join'd; When youth makes such bright objects still more bright, And fortune sets them in the strongest light; 'Tis all of heaven that we below may view, And all, but adoration, is your due. Fam'd female virtue did this isle adorn, Ere Ormond, or her glorious queen, was born: When now Maria's powerful arms prevail'd, And haughty Dudley's bold ambition fail'd, The beauteous daughter of great Suffolk's race, In blooming youth adorn'd with every grace; Who gain'd a crown by treason not her own, And innocently fill'd another's throne; Hurl'd from the summit of imperial state, With equal mind sustain'd the stroke of fate. But how will Guilford, her far dearer part, With manly reason fortify his heart? At once she longs, and is afraid, to know: Now swift she moves, and now advances slow, To find her lord; and, finding, passes by, Silent with fear, nor dares she meet his eye; Lest that, unask'd, in speechless grief, disclose The mournful secret of his inward woes. Thus, after sickness, doubtful of her face, The melancholy virgin shuns the glass. At length, with troubled thought, but look serene, And sorrow soften'd by her heavenly mien, She clasps her lord, brave, beautiful, and young, While tender accents melt upon her tongue; Gentle, and sweet, as vernal zephyr blows, Fanning the lily, or the blooming rose. "Grieve not, my lord; a crown indeed is lost; What far outshines a crown, we still may boast; A mind compos'd; a mind that can disdain A fruitless sorrow for a loss so vain. Nothing is loss that virtue can improve To wealth eternal; and return above; Above, where no distinction shall be known 'Twixt him whom storms have shaken from a throne, And him, who, basking in the smiles of fate, Shone forth in all the splendour of the great: Nor can I find the diff'rence here below; I lately was a queen; I still am so, While Guilford's wife: thee rather I obey, Than o'er mankind extend imperial sway. When we lie down in some obscure retreat, Incens'd Maria may her rage forget; And I to death my duty will improve, And what you miss in empire, add in love— Your godlike soul is open'd in your look, And I have faintly your great meaning spoke, For this alone I'm pleas'd I wore the crown, To find with what content we lay it down. Heroes may win, but 't is a heavenly race Can quit a throne with a becoming grace." Thus spoke the fairest of her sex, and cheer'd Her drooping lord; whose boding bosom fear'd A darker cloud of ills would burst, and shed Severer vengeance on her guiltless head: Too just, alas, the terrors which he felt! For, lo! a guard!—Forgive him, if he melt— How sharp her pangs, when sever'd from his side, The most sincerely lov'd, and loving bride, In space confin'd, the muse forbears to tell; Deep was her anguish, but she bore it well. His pain was equal, but his virtue less; He thought in grief there could be no excess. Pensive he sat, o'ercast with gloomy care, And often fondly clasp'd his absent fair; Now, silent, wander'd thro' his rooms of state, And sicken'd at the pomp, and tax'd his fate; Which thus adorn'd, in all her shining store, A splendid wretch, magnificently poor. Now on the bridal-bed his eyes were cast, And anguish fed on his enjoyments past; Each recollected pleasure made him smart, And every transport stabb'd him to the heart. That happy moon, which summon'd to delight, That moon which shone on his dear nuptial night, Which saw him fold her yet untasted charms (Denied to princes) in his longing arms; Now sees the transient blessing fleet away, Empire and love! the vision of a day. Thus, in the British clime, a summer-storm Will oft the smiling face of heaven deform; The winds with violence at once descend, Sweep flowers and fruits, and make the forest bend; A sudden winter, while the sun is near, O'ercomes the season, and inverts the year. But whither is the captive borne away, The beauteous captive, from the cheerful day? The scene is chang'd indeed; before her eyes Ill boding looks and unknown horrors rise: For pomp and splendour, for her guard and crown, A gloomy dungeon, and a keeper's frown: Black thoughts, each morn, invade the lover's breast, Each night, a ruffian locks the queen to rest. Ah mournful change, if judg'd by vulgar minds! But Suffolk's daughter its advantage finds. Religion's force divine is best display'd In deep desertion of all human aid: To succour in extremes, is her delight, And cheer the heart, when terror strikes the sight. We, disbelieving our own senses, gaze, And wonder what a mortal's heart can raise To triumph o'er misfortunes, smile in grief, And comfort those who come to bring relief: We gaze; and as we gaze, wealth, fame, decay, And all the world's vain glories fade away. Against her cares she rais'd a dauntless mind, And with an ardent heart, but most resign'd, Deep in the dreadful gloom, with pious heat, Amid the silence of her dark retreat, Address'd her God,—"Almighty power divine! 'Tis thine to raise, and to depress, is thine; With honour to light up the name unknown, Or to put out the lustre of a throne. In my short span both fortunes I have prov'd, And though with ill frail nature will be mov'd, I'll bear it well: (O strengthen me to bear!) And if my piety may claim thy care; If I remember'd, in youth's giddy heat, And tumult of a court, a future state; O favour, when thy mercy I implore For one who never guilty sceptre bore! 'Twas I receiv'd the crown; my lord is free; If it must fall, let vengeance fall on me. Let him survive, his country's name to raise, And in a guilty land to speak thy praise! O may th' indulgence of a father's love, Pour'd forth on me, be doubled from above! If these are safe, I'll think my prayers succeed, And bless thy tender mercies, whilst I bleed." 'Twas now the mournful eve before that day In which the queen to her full wrath gave way; Thro' rigid justice, rush'd into offence, And drank in zeal the blood of innocence: The sun went down in clouds, and seem'd to mourn The sad necessity of his return; The hollow wind, and melancholy rain, Or did, or was imagin'd to, complain: The tapers cast an inauspicious light; Stars there were none, and doubly dark the night. Sweet innocence in chains can take her rest; Soft slumber gently creeping through her breast, She sinks; and in her sleep is reinthron'd, Mock'd by a gaudy dream, and vainly crown'd. She views her fleets and armies, seas and land, And stretches wide her shadow of command: With royal purple is her vision hung; By phantom hosts are shouts of conquest rung; Low at her feet the suppliant rival lies; Our prisoner mourns her fate, and bids her rise. Now level beams upon the waters play'd, Glanc'd on the hills, and westward cast the shade; The busy trades in city had began To sound, and speak the painful life of man. In tyrants' breasts the thoughts of vengeance rouse, And the fond bridegroom turns him to his spouse. At this first birth of light, while morning breaks, Our spouseless bride, our widow'd wife, awakes; Awakes, and smiles; nor night's imposture blames; Her real pomps were little more than dreams; A short-liv'd blaze, a lightning quickly o'er, That died in birth, that shone, and were no more: She turns her side, and soon resumes a state Of mind, well suited to her alter'd fate, Serene, though serious; when dread tidings come (Ah wretched Guilford!) of her instant doom. Sun, hide thy beams; in clouds as black as night Thy face involve; be guiltless of the sight; Or haste more swiftly to the western main; Nor let her blood the conscious daylight stain! Oh! how severe! to fall so new a bride, Yet blushing from the priest, in youthful pride; When time had just matur'd each perfect grace, And open'd all the wonders of her face! To leave her Guilford dead to all relief, Fond of his woe, and obstinate in grief. Unhappy fair! whatever fancy drew, (Vain promis'd blessings,) vanish from her view; No train of cheerful days, endearing nights, No sweet domestic joys, and chaste delights; Pleasures that blossom e'en from doubts and fears; And bliss and rapture rising out of cares: No little Guilford, with paternal grace, Lull'd on her knee, or smiling in her face; Who, when her dearest father shall return, From pouring tears on her untimely urn, Might comfort to his silver hairs impart, And fill her place in his indulgent heart: As where fruits fall, quick rising blossoms smile, And the bless'd Indian of his care beguile, In vain these various reasons jointly press, To blacken death, and heighten her distress; She, thro' th' encircling terrors darts her sight To the bless'd regions of eternal light, And fills her soul with peace: to weeping friends Her father, and her lord, she recommends; Unmov'd herself: her foes her air survey, And rage to see their malice thrown away. She soars; now nought on earth detains her care—— But Guilford; who still struggles for his share. Still will his form importunately rise, Clog and retard her transport to the skies; As trembling flames now take a feeble flight, Now catch the brand with a returning light, Thus her soul onward from the seats above Falls fondly back, and kindles into love: At length she conquers in the doubtful field; That heaven she seeks will be her Guilford's shield. Now death is welcome; his approach is slow; 'Tis tedious longer to expect the blow. Oh! mortals, short of sight, who think the past O'erblown misfortune still shall prove the last: Alas! misfortunes travel in a train, And oft in life form one perpetual chain; Fear buries fear, and ills on ills attend, Till life and sorrow meet one common end. She thinks that she has nought but death to fear, And death is conquer'd. Worse than death is near. Her rigid trials are not yet complete; The news arrives of her great father's fate. She sees his hoary head, all white with age, A victim to th' offended monarch's rage. How great the mercy, had she breath'd her last, Ere the dire sentence on her father past! A fonder parent nature never knew; And as his age increas'd, his fondness grew. A parent's love ne'er better was bestow'd; The pious daughter in her heart o'erflow'd. And can she from all weakness still refrain? And still the firmness of her soul maintain? Impossible! a sigh will force its way; One patient tear her mortal birth betray; She sighs and weeps! but so she weeps and sighs, As silent dews descend, and vapours rise. Celestial patience! how dost thou defeat The foe's proud menace, and elude his hate! While passion takes his part, betrays our peace; To death and torture swells each slight disgrace; By not opposing, thou dost ills destroy, And wear thy conquer'd sorrows into joy. Now she revolves within her anxious mind, What woe still lingers in reserve behind. Griefs rise on griefs, and she can see no bound, While nature lasts, and can receive a wound. The sword is drawn; the queen to rage inclin'd, By mercy, nor by piety, confin'd. What mercy can the zealot's heart assuage, Whose piety itself converts to rage? She thought, and sigh'd. And now the blood began To leave her beauteous cheek all cold and wan. New sorrow dimm'd the lustre of her eye, And on her cheek the fading roses die. Alas! should Guilford too—when now she's brought To that dire view, that precipice of thought, While there she trembling stands, nor dares look down, Nor can recede, till heaven's decrees are known; Cure of all ills, till now, her lord appears— But not to cheer her heart, and dry her tears! Not now, as usual, like the rising day, To chase the shadows, and the damps away: But, like a gloomy storm, at once to sweep And plunge her to the bottom of the deep. Black were his robes, dejected was his air, His voice was frozen by his cold despair; Slow, like a ghost, he mov'd with solemn pace; A dying paleness sat upon his face. Back she recoil'd, she smote her lovely breast, Her eyes the anguish of her heart confess'd; Struck to the soul, she stagger'd with the wound, And sunk, a breathless image, to the ground. Thus the fair lily, when the sky's o'ercast, At first but shudders in the feeble blast; But when the winds and weighty rains descend, The fair and upright stem is forc'd to bend; Till broke at length, its snowy leaves are shed, And strew with dying sweets their native bed.
Hic pietatis honos? sic nos in sceptra reponis!
Her Guilford clasps her, beautiful in death, And with a kiss recalls her fleeting breath, To tapers thus, which by a blast expire, A lighted taper, touch'd, restores the fire: She rear'd her swimming eye, and saw the light, And Guilford too, or she had loath'd the sight: Her father's death she bore, despis'd her own, But now she must, she will, have leave to groan: Ah! Guilford, she began, and would have spoke; But sobs rush'd in, and ev'ry accent broke: Reason itself, as gusts of passion blew, Was ruffled in the tempest, and withdrew. So the youth lost his image in the well, When tears upon the yielding surface fell. The scatter'd features slid into decay, And spreading circles drove his face away. To touch the soft affections, and control The manly temper of the bravest soul, What with afflicted beauty can compare, And drops of love distilling from the fair? It melts us down; our pains delight bestow; And we with fondness languish o'er our woe. This Guilford prov'd; and, with excess of pain, And pleasure too, did to his bosom strain The weeping fair: sunk deep in soft desire, Indulg'd his love, and nurs'd the raging fire: Then tore himself away; and, standing wide, As fearing a relapse of fondness, cried, With ill-dissembled grief; "My life, forbear! You wound your Guilford with each cruel tear: Did you not chide my grief? repress your own; Nor want compassion for yourself alone: Have you beheld, how, from the distant main, The thronging waves roll on, a num'rous train, And foam, and bellow, till they reach the shore; There burst their noisy pride, and are no more? Thus the successive flows of human race, Chas'd by the coming, the preceding, chase; They sound, and swell, their haughty heads they rear; Then fall, and flatten, break, and disappear. Life is a forfeit we must shortly pay; And where's the mighty lucre of a day? Why should you mourn my fate? 'tis most unkind; Your own you bore with an unshaken mind: And which, can you imagine, was the dart That drank most blood, sunk deepest in my heart? I cannot live without you; and my doom I meet with joy, to share one common tomb.— And are again your tears profusely spilt! Oh! then, my kindness blackens to my guilt; It foils itself, if it recall your pain;— Life of my life, I beg you to refrain! The load which fate imposes, you increase; And help Maria to destroy my peace." But, oh! against himself his labour turn'd; The more he comforted, the more she mourn'd: Compassion swells our grief; words soft and kind But soothe our weakness, and dissolve the mind: Her sorrow flow'd in streams; nor hers alone, While that he blam'd, he yielded to his own. Where are the smiles she wore, when she, so late, Hail'd him great partner of the regal state; When orient gems around her temples blaz'd, And bending nations on the glory gaz'd? 'Tis now the queen's command, they both retreat, To weep with dignity, and mourn in state: She forms the decent misery with joy, And loads with pomp the wretch she would destroy. A spacious hall is hung with black; all light Shut out, and noon-day darken'd into night. From the mid-roof a lamp depends on high, Like a dim crescent in a clouded sky: It sheds a quiv'ring melancholy gloom, Which only shows the darkness of the room. A shining axe is on the table laid; A dreadful sight! and glitters through the shade. In this sad scene the lovers are confin'd; A scene of terrors, to a guilty mind! A scene, that would have damp'd with rising cares, And quite extinguish'd every love but theirs. What can they do? They fix their mournful eyes—— Then Guilford, thus abruptly; "I despise An empire lost; I fling away the crown; Numbers have laid that bright delusion down; But where's the Charles, or Dioclesian where, Could quit the blooming, wedded, weeping fair? Oh! to dwell ever on thy lip! to stand In full possession of thy snowy hand! And, thro' th' unclouded crystal of thine eye, The heavenly treasures of thy mind to spy! Till rapture reason happily destroys, And my soul wanders through immortal joys! Give me the world, and ask me, where's my bliss? I clasp thee to my breast, and answer, this. And shall the grave"—He groans, and can no more; But all her charms in silence traces o'er; Her lip, her cheek, and eye, to wonder wrought; And, wond'ring, sees, in sad presaging thought, From that fair neck, that world of beauty fall, And roll along the dust, a ghastly ball! Oh! let those tremble, who are greatly bless'd! For who, but Guilford, could be thus distress'd? Come hither, all you happy, all you great, From flowery meadows, and from rooms of state; Nor think I call, your pleasures to destroy, But to refine, and to exalt your joy: Weep not; but, smiling, fix your ardent care On nobler titles than the brave or fair. Was ever such a mournful, moving sight? See, if you can, by that dull, trembling light: Now they embrace; and, mix'd with bitter woe, Like Isis and her Thames, one stream they flow: Now they start wide; fix'd in benumbing care, They stiffen into statues of despair: Now, tenderly severe, and fiercely kind, They rush at once; they fling their cares behind, And clasp, as if to death; new vows repeat; And, quite wrapp'd up in love, forget their fate. A short delusion! for the raging pain Returns; and their poor hearts must bleed again. Meantime, the queen new cruelty decreed; But, ill content that they should only bleed, A priest is sent; who, with insidious art, Instills his poison into Suffolk's heart; And Guilford drank it: banging on the breast, He from his childhood was with Rome possest. When now the ministers of death draw nigh, And in her dearest lord she first must die, The subtle priest, who long had watch'd to find The most unguarded passes of her mind, Bespoke her thus: "Grieve not; 'tis in your power Your lord to rescue from this fatal hour." Her bosom pants; she draws her breath with pain; A sudden horror thrills through every vein; Life seems suspended, on his words intent; And her soul trembles for the great event. The priest proceeds: "Embrace the faith of Rome, And ward your own, your lord's, and father's doom." Ye blessed spirits! now your charge sustain; The past was ease; now first she suffers pain. Must she pronounce her father's death? must she Bid Guilford bleed?—It must not, cannot, be. It cannot be! But 'tis the Christian's praise, Above impossibilities to raise The weakness of our nature; and deride Of vain philosophy the boasted pride. What though our feeble sinews scarce impart A moment's swiftness to the feather'd dart; Though tainted air our vig'rous youth can break, And a chill blast the hardy warrior shake, Yet are we strong: hear the loud tempest roar From east to west, and call us weak no more; The lightning's unresisted force proclaims Our might; and thunders raise our humble names; 'Tis our Jehovah fills the heavens; as long As he shall reign Almighty, we are strong: We, by devotion, borrow from his throne; And almost make Omnipotence our own: We force the gates of heaven, by fervent prayer; And call forth triumph out of man's despair. Our lovely mourner, kneeling, lifts her eyes And bleeding heart, in silence, to the skies, Devoutly sad—then, bright'ning, like the day, When sudden winds sweep scatter'd clouds away, Shining in majesty, till now unknown, And breathing life and spirit scarce her own; She, rising, speaks: "If these the terms——" Here, Guilford, cruel Guilford, (barb'rous man! Is this thy love?) as swift as lightning ran; O'erwhelm'd her with tempestuous sorrow fraught, And stifled, in its birth, the mighty thought; Then bursting fresh into a flood of tears, Fierce, resolute, delirious with his fears; His fears for her alone: he beat his breast, And thus the fervour of his soul exprest: "Oh! let thy thought o'er our past converse rove, And show one moment uninflam'd with love! Oh! if thy kindness can no longer last, In pity to thyself, forget the past! Else wilt thou never, void of shame and fear, Pronounce his doom, whom thou hast held so dear: Thou who hast took me to thy arms, and swore Empires were vile, and fate could give no more: That to continue, was its utmost power, And make the future like the present hour. Now call a ruffian; bid his cruel sword Lay wide the bosom of thy worthless lord; Transfix his heart (since you its love disclaim), And stain his honour with a traitor's name. This might perhaps be borne without remorse; But sure a father's pangs will have their force! Shall his good age, so near its journey's end, Through cruel torment to the grave descend? His shallow blood all issue at a wound, Wash a slave's feet, and smoke upon the ground? But he to you has ever been severe; Then take your vengeance"—Suffolk now drew near; Bending beneath the burden of his care; His robes neglected, and his head was bare; Decrepid winter, in the yearly ring, Thus slowly creeps, to meet the blooming spring: Downward he cast a melancholy look; Thrice turn'd, to hide his grief; then faintly spoke: "Now deep in years, and forward in decay, That axe can only rob me of a day; For thee, my soul's desire! I can't refrain; And shall my tears, my last tears, flow in vain? When you shall know a mother's tender name, My heart's distress no longer will you blame." At this, afar his bursting groans were heard; The tears ran trickling down his silver beard: He snatch'd her hand, which to his lips he prest, And bid her plant a dagger in his breast; Then, sinking, call'd her piety unjust, And soil'd his hoary temples in the dust. Hard-hearted men! will you no mercy know? Has the queen brib'd you to distress her foe? O weak deserters to misfortune's part, By false affection thus to pierce her heart! When she had soar'd, to let your arrows fly, And fetch her bleeding from the middle sky! And can her virtue, springing from the ground, Her flight recover, and disdain the wound, When cleaving love, and human interest, bind The broken force of her aspiring mind; As round the gen'rous eagle, which in vain Exerts her strength, the serpent wreaths his train, Her struggling wings entangles, curling plies His pois'nous tail, and stings her as she flies! While yet the blow's first dreadful weight she feels, And with its force her resolution reels; Large doors, unfolding with a mournful sound, To view discover, welt'ring on the ground, Three headless trunks, of those whose arms maintain'd, And in her wars immortal glory gain'd: The lifted axe assur'd her ready doom, And silent mourners sadden'd all the room. Shall I proceed; or here break off my tale; Nor truths, to stagger human faith, reveal? She met this utmost malice of her fate With Christian dignity, and pious state: The beating storm's propitious rage she blest, And all the martyr triumph'd in her breast: Her lord and father, for a moment's space, She strictly folded in her soft embrace! Then thus she spoke, while angels heard on high, And sudden gladness smil'd along the sky: "Your over fondness has not mov'd my hate; I am well pleas'd you make my death so great; I joy I cannot save you; and have giv'n Two lives, much dearer than my own, to heaven, If so the queen decrees:(4)—But I have cause To hope my blood will satisfy the laws; And there is mercy still, for you, in store: With me the bitterness of death is o'er. He shot his sting in that farewell embrace; And all, that is to come, is joy and peace. Then let mistaken sorrow be supprest, Nor seem to envy my approaching rest." Then, turning to the ministers of fate, She, smiling, says, "My victory complete: And tell your queen, I thank her for the blow, And grieve my gratitude I cannot show: A poor return I leave in England's crown, For everlasting pleasure, and renown: Her guilt alone allays this happy hour; Her guilt,—the only vengeance in her power." Not Rome, untouch'd with sorrow, heard her fate; And fierce Maria pitied her too late.
LOVE OF FAME, THE UNIVERSAL PASSION.
In Seven Characteristical Satires.
——Fulgente trahit constrictos gloria curru. Non minus ignotos generosis.
These satires have been favourably received at home and abroad. I am not conscious of the least malevolence to any particular person through all the characters; though some persons may be so selfish, as to engross a general application to themselves. A writer in polite letters should be content with reputation; the private amusement he finds in his compositions; the good influence they have on his severer studies; that admission they give him to his superiors; and the possible good effect they may have on the public; or else he should join to his politeness some more lucrative qualification.
But it is possible, that satire may not do much good: men may rise in their affections to their follies, as they do to their friends, when they are abused by others: it is much to be feared, that misconduct will never be chased out of the world by satire; all therefore that is to be said for it is, that misconduct will certainly be never chased out of the world by satire, if no satires are written: nor is that term unapplicable to graver compositions. Ethics, heathen and Christian, and the Scriptures themselves, are, in a great measure, a satire on the weakness and iniquity of men; and some part of that satire is in verse too: nay, in the first ages, philosophy and poetry were the same thing; wisdom wore no other dress: so that, I hope, these satires will be the more easily pardoned that misfortune by the severe. Nay, historians themselves may be considered as satirists, and satirists most severe; since such are most human actions, that to relate, is to expose them.
No man can converse much in the world, but, at what he meets with, he must either be insensible, or grieve, or be angry, or smile. Some passion (if we are not impassive) must be moved; for the general conduct of mankind is by no means a thing indifferent to a reasonable and virtuous man. Now to smile at it, and turn it into ridicule, I think most eligible; as it hurts ourselves least, and gives vice and folly the greatest offence: and that for this reason; because what men aim at by them, is, generally, public opinion and esteem; which truth is the subject of the following satire; and joins them together, as several brandies from the same root: a unity of design, which has not, I think, in a set of satires, been attempted before.
Laughing at the misconduct of the world, will, in a great measure, ease us of any more disagreeable passion about it. One passion is more effectually driven out by another, than by reason; whatever some may teach: for to reason we owe our passions: had we not reason, we should not be offended at what we find amiss: and the cause seems not to be the natural cure of any effect.
Moreover, laughing satire bids the fairest for success: the world is too proud to be fond of a serious tutor; and when an author is in a passion, the laugh, generally, as in conversation, turns against him. This kind of satire only has any delicacy in it. Of this delicacy Horace is the best master: he appears in good humour while he censures; and therefore his censure has the more weight, as supposed to proceed from judgment, not from passion. Juvenal is ever in a passion; he has little valuable but his eloquence and morality: the last of which I have had in my eye: but rather for emulation, than imitation, through my whole work.
But though I comparatively condemn Juvenal, in part of the sixth satire (where the occasion most required it), I endeavoured to touch on his manner; but was forced to quit it soon, as disagreeable to the writer, and reader too. Boileau has joined both the Roman satirists with great success; but has too much of Juvenal in his very serious satire on woman, which should have been the gayest of all. An excellent critic of our own commends Boileau's closeness, or, as he calls it, pressness, particularly; whereas, it appears to me, that repetition is his fault, if any fault should be imputed to him.
There are some prose satirists of the greatest delicacy and wit; the last of which can never, or should never, succeed without the former. An author without it, betrays too great a contempt for mankind, and opinion of himself, which are bad advocates for reputation and success. What a difference is there between the merit, if not the wit, of Cervantes and Rabelais? The last has a particular art of throwing a great deal of genius and learning into frolic and jest; but the genius and the scholar is all you can admire; you want the gentleman to converse with in him: he is like a criminal who receives his life for some services; you commend, but you pardon too. Indecency offends our pride, as men; and our unaffected taste, as judges of composition: nature has wisely formed us with an aversion to it; and he that succeeds in spite of it, is,(5) aliena venia, quam sua providentia tutior.
Such wits, like false oracles of old (which were wits and cheats), should set up for reputation among the weak, in some Boeotia, which was the land of oracles; for the wise will hold them in contempt. Some wits, too, like oracles, deal in ambiguities; but not with equal success: for though ambiguities are the first excellence of an impostor, they are the last of a wit.
Some satirical wits and humourists, like their father Lucian, laugh at every thing indiscriminately; which betrays such a poverty of wit, as cannot afford to part with any thing; and such a want of virtue, as to postpone it to a jest. Such writers encourage vice and folly, which they pretend to combat, by setting them on an equal foot with better things: and while they labour to bring every thing into contempt, how can they expect their own parts should escape? Some French writers, particularly, are guilty of this in matters of the last consequence; and some of our own. They that are for lessening the true dignity of mankind, are not sure of being successful, but with regard to one individual in it. It is this conduct that justly makes a wit a term of reproach.
Which puts me in mind of Plato's fable of the birth of love; one of the prettiest fables of all antiquity; which will hold likewise with regard to modern poetry. Love, says he, is the son of the goddess poverty, and the god of riches: he has from his father his daring genius; his elevation of thought; his building castles in the air; his prodigality; his neglect of things serious and useful; his vain opinion of his own merit; and his affectation of preference and distinction: from his mother he inherits his indigence, which makes him a constant beggar of favours; that importunity with which he begs; his flattery; his servility; his fear of being despised, which is inseparable from him. This addition may be made; viz. that poetry, like love, is a little subject to blindness, which makes her mistake her way to preferments and honours; that she has her satirical quiver; and, lastly, that she retains a dutiful admiration of her father's family; but divides her favours, and generally lives with her mother's relations.
However, this is not necessity, but choice: were wisdom her governess, she might have much more of the father than the mother; especially in such an age as this, which shows a due passion for her charms.
TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF DORSET.
——Tanto major famae sitis est, quam Virtutis.
JUV. SAT. X.
My verse is satire; Dorset, lend your ear, And patronize a muse you cannot fear. To poets sacred is a Dorset's name: Their wonted passport through the gates of fame: It bribes the partial reader into praise, And throws a glory round the shelter'd lays: The dazzled judgment fewer faults can see, And gives applause to Blackmore, or to me. But you decline the mistress we pursue; Others are fond of fame, but fame of you. Instructive satire, true to virtue's cause! Thou shining supplement of public laws! When flatter'd crimes of a licentious age Reproach our silence, and demand our rage; When purchas'd follies, from each distant land, Like arts, improve in Britain's skilful hand; When the law shows her teeth, but dares not bite, And south sea treasures are not brought to light; When churchmen scripture for the classics quit, Polite apostates from God's grace to wit; When men grow great from their revenue spent, And fly from bailiffs into parliament; When dying sinners, to blot out their score, Bequeath the church the leavings of a whore; To chafe our spleen, when themes like these increase, Shall panegyric reign, and censure cease? Shall poesy, like law, turn wrong to right, And dedications wash an AEthiop white, Set up each senseless wretch for nature's boast, On whom praise shines, as trophies on a post? Shall fun'ral eloquence her colours spread, And scatter roses on the wealthy dead? Shall authors smile on such illustrious days, And satirize with nothing—but their praise? Why slumbers Pope, who leads the tuneful train, Nor hears that virtue, which he loves, complain? Donne, Dorset, Dryden, Rochester, are dead, And guilt's chief foe, in Addison, is fled; Congreve, who, crown'd with laurels, fairly won, Sits smiling at the goal, while others run, He will not write; and (more provoking still!) Ye gods! he will not write, and Maevius will. Doubly distrest, what author shall we find Discreetly daring, and severely kind, The courtly(6) Roman's shining path to tread, And sharply smile prevailing folly dead? Will no superior genius snatch the quill, And save me, on the brink, from writing ill? Tho' vain the strife, I'll strive my voice to raise, What will not men attempt for sacred praise? The love of praise, howe'er conceal'd by art, Reigns, more or less, and glows, in ev'ry heart: The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure; The modest shun it, but to make it sure. O'er globes, and sceptres, now on thrones it swells; Now, trims the midnight lamp in college cells: 'Tis tory, whig; it plots, prays, preaches, pleads, Harangues in senates, squeaks in masquerades. Here, to Steele's humour makes a bold pretence There, bolder, aims at Pulteney's eloquence. It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head, And heaps the plain with mountains of the dead; Nor ends with life; but nods in sable plumes, Adorns our hearse, and flatters on our tombs. What is not proud? The pimp is proud to see So many like himself in high degree: The whore is proud her beauties are the dread Of peevish virtue, and the marriage-bed; And the brib'd cuckold, like crown'd victims born To slaughter, glories in his gilded horn. Some go to church, proud humbly to repent, And come back much more guilty than they went: One way they look, another way they steer, Pray to the gods, but would have mortals hear; And when their sins they set sincerely down, They'll find that their religion has been one. Others with wishful eyes on glory look, When they have got their picture tow'rds a book; Or pompous title, like a gaudy sign, Meant to betray dull sots to wretched wine. If at his title T—— had dropt his quill, T—— might have pass'd for a great genius still. But T——, alas! (excuse him, if you can) Is now a scribbler, who was once a man. Imperious some a classic fame demand, For heaping up, with a laborious hand, A waggon-load of meanings for one word, While A's deposed, and B with pomp restor'd. Some, for renown, on scraps of learning dote, And think they grow immortal as they quote. To patch-work learn'd quotations are allied; Both strive to make our poverty our pride. On glass how witty is a noble peer! Did ever diamond cost a man so dear? Polite diseases make some idiots vain, Which, if unfortunately well, they feign. Of folly, vice, disease, men proud we see; And (stranger still!) of blockheads' flattery; Whose praise defames; as if a fool should mean, By spitting on your face, to make it clean. Nor is't enough all hearts are swoln with pride, Her power is mighty, as her realm is wide. What can she not perform? The love of fame Made bold Alphonsus his Creator blame: Empedocles hurl'd down the burning steep: And (stronger still!) made Alexander weep. Nay, it holds Delia from a second bed, Tho' her lov'd lord has four half months been dead. This passion with a pimple have I seen Retard a cause, and give a judge the spleen. By this inspir'd (O ne'er to be forgot!) Some lords have learn'd to spell, and some to knot. It makes Globose a speaker in the house; He hems, and is deliver'd of his mouse. It makes dear self on well-bred tongues prevail, And I the little hero of each tale. Sick with the love of fame, what throngs pour in, Unpeople court, and leave the senate thin! My glowing subject seems but just begun, And, chariot-like, I kindle as I run. Aid me, great Homer! with thy epic rules, To take a catalogue of British fools. Satire! had I thy Dorset's force divine, A knave or fool should perish in each line; Tho' for the first all Westminster should plead, And for the last, all Gresham intercede. Begin. Who first the catalogue shall grace? To quality belongs the highest place. My lord comes forward; forward let him come! Ye vulgar! at your peril, give him room: He stands for fame on his forefathers' feet, By heraldry prov'd valiant or discreet. With what a decent pride he throws his eyes Above the man by three descents less wise! If virtues at his noble hands you crave, You bid him raise his fathers from the grave. Men should press forward in fame's glorious chase; Nobles look backward, and so lose the race. Let high birth triumph! What can be more great? Nothing—but merit in a low estate. To virtue's humblest son let none prefer Vice, though descended from the conqueror. Shall men, like figures, pass for high, or base, Slight, or important, only by their place? Titles are marks of honest men, and wise; The fool, or knave, that wears a title, lies. They that on glorious ancestors enlarge, Produce their debt, instead of their discharge. Dorset, let those who proudly boast their line, Like thee, in worth hereditary, shine. Vain as false greatness is, the muse must own We want not fools to buy that Bristol stone; Mean sons of earth, who, on a south-sea tide Of full success, swarm into wealth and pride; Knock with a purse of gold at Anstis' gate, And beg to be descended from the great. When men of infamy to grandeur soar, They light a torch to show their shame the more. Those governments which curb not evils, cause! And a rich knave's a libel on our laws. Belus with solid glory will be crown'd; He buys no phantom, no vain empty sound; But builds himself a name; and, to be great, Sinks in a quarry an immense estate! In cost and grandeur, Chandos he'll outdo; And Burlington, thy taste is not so true. The pile is finish'd! ev'ry toil is past; And full perfection is arriv'd at last; When, lo! my lord to some small corner runs, And leaves state-rooms to strangers and to duns. The man who builds, and wants wherewith to pay, Provides a home from which to run away. In Britain, what is many a lordly seat, But a discharge in full for an estate? In smaller compass lies Pygmalion's fame; Not domes, but antique statues, are his flame: Not Fountaine's self more Parian charms has known, Nor is good Pembroke more in love with stone. The bailiffs come (rude men profanely bold!) And bid him turn his Venus into gold. "No, sirs," he cries; "I'll sooner rot in jail; Shall Grecian arts be truck'd for English bail?" Such heads might make their very busto's laugh: His daughter starves; but(7) Cleopatra's safe. Men, overloaded with a large estate, May spill their treasure in a nice conceit: The rich may be polite; but, oh! 'tis sad To say you're curious, when we swear you're mad. By your revenue measure your expense; And to your funds and acres join your sense. No man is bless'd by accident or guess; True wisdom is the price of happiness: Yet few without long discipline are sage; And our youth only lays up sighs for age. But how, my muse, canst thou resist so long The bright temptation of the courtly throng, Thy most inviting theme? The court affords Much food for satire;—it abounds in lords. "What lords are those saluting with a grin?" One is just out, and one as lately in. "How comes it then to pass we see preside On both their brows an equal share of pride?" Pride, that impartial passion, reigns through all, Attends our glory, nor deserts our fall. As in its home it triumphs in high place, And frowns a haughty exile in disgrace. Some lords it bids admire their wands so white, Which bloom, like Aaron's, to their ravish'd sight: Some lords it bids resign; and turn their wands, Like Moses', into serpents in their hands. These sink, as divers, for renown; and boast, With pride inverted, of their honours lost. But against reason sure 'tis equal sin, To boast of merely being out, or in. What numbers here, through odd ambition, strive To seem the most transported things alive! As if by joy, desert was understood; And all the fortunate were wise and good. Hence aching bosoms wear a visage gay, And stifled groans frequent the ball and play. Completely drest by(8) Monteuil, and grimace, They take their birth-day suit, and public face: Their smiles are only part of what they wear, Put off at night, with Lady B——'s hair. What bodily fatigue is half so bad? With anxious care they labour to be glad. What numbers, here, would into fame advance, Conscious of merit, in the coxcomb's dance; The tavern! park! assembly! mask! and play! Those dear destroyers of the tedious day! That wheel of fops! that saunter of the town! Call it diversion, and the pill goes down. Fools grin on fools, and, stoic-like, support, Without one sigh, the pleasures of a court. Courts can give nothing, to the wise and good, But scorn of pomp, and love of solitude. High stations tumult, but not bliss, create: None think the great unhappy, but the great: Fools gaze, and envy; envy darts a sting, Which makes a swain as wretched as a king. I envy none their pageantry and show; I envy none the gilding of their woe. Give me, indulgent gods! with mind serene, And guiltless heart, to range the sylvan scene; No splendid poverty, no smiling care, No well-bred hate, or servile grandeur, there: There pleasing objects useful thought suggest; The sense is ravish'd, and the soul is blest; On every thorn delightful wisdom grows; In every rill a sweet instruction flows. But some, untaught, o'erhear the whisp'ring rill, In spite of sacred leisure, blockheads still; Nor shoots up folly to a nobler bloom In her own native soil, the drawing-room. The squire is proud to see his coursers strain, Or well-breath'd beagles sweep along the plain. Say, dear Hippolitus, (whose drink is ale, Whose erudition is a Christmas tale, Whose mistress is saluted with a smack, And friend receiv'd with thumps upon the back,) When thy sleek gelding nimbly leaps the mound, And Ringwood opens on the tainted ground, Is that thy praise? Let Ringwood's fame alone; Just Ringwood leaves each animal his own; Nor envies, when a gipsy you commit, And shake the clumsy bench with country wit; When you the dullest of dull things have said, And then ask pardon for the jest you made. Here breathe, my muse! and then thy task renew: Ten thousand fools unsung are still in view. Fewer lay-atheists made by church debates; Fewer great beggars fam'd for large estates; Ladies, whose love is constant as the wind; Cits, who prefer a guinea to mankind; Fewer grave lords to Scrope discreetly bend; And fewer shocks a statesman gives his friend. Is there a man of an eternal vein, Who lulls the town in winter with his strain, At Bath, in summer, chants the reigning lass, And sweetly whistles, as the waters pass? Is there a tongue, like Delia's o'er her cup, That runs for ages without winding up? Is there, whom his tenth epic mounts to fame? Such, and such only, might exhaust my theme: Nor would these heroes of the task be glad; For who can write so fast as men run mad?
My muse, proceed, and reach thy destin'd end; Though toils and danger the bold task attend. Heroes and gods make other poems fine; Plain satire calls for sense in every line: Then, to what swarms thy faults I dare expose! All friends to vice and folly are thy foes. When such the foe, a war eternal wage; 'Tis most ill-nature to repress thy rage: And if these strains some nobler muse excite, I'll glory in the verse I did not write. So weak are human kind by nature made, Or to such weakness by their vice betray'd, Almighty vanity! to thee they owe Their zest of pleasure, and their balm of woe. Thou, like the sun, all colours dost contain, Varying, like rays of light, on drops of rain. For every soul finds reasons to be proud, Tho' hiss'd and hooted by the pointing crowd. Warm in pursuit of foxes, and renown, (9)Hippolitus demands the sylvan crown; But Florio's fame, the product of a shower, Grows in his garden, an illustrious flower! Why teems the earth? Why melt the vernal skies? Why shines the sun? To make(10) Paul Diack rise. From morn to night has Florio gazing stood, And wonder'd how the gods could be so good; What shape! what hue! was ever nymph so fair! He dotes! he dies! he too is rooted there. O solid bliss! which nothing can destroy, Except a cat, bird, snail, or idle boy. In fame's full bloom lies Florio down at night, And wakes next day a most inglorious wight; The tulip's dead! See thy fair sister's fate, O C——! and be kind ere 'tis too late. Nor are those enemies I mention'd, all; Beware, O florist, thy ambition's fall. A friend of mine indulg'd this noble flame; A quaker serv'd him, Adam was his name; To one lov'd tulip oft the master went, Hung o'er it, and whole days in rapture spent; But came, and miss'd it, one ill-fated hour: He rag'd! he roar'd! "What demon cropt my flower?" Serene, quoth Adam, "Lo! 'twas crusht by me; Fall'n is the Baal to which thou bow'dst thy knee." But all men want amusement; and what crime In such a paradise to fool their time? None: but why proud of this? to fame they soar; We grant they're idle, if they'll ask no more. We smile at florists, we despise their joy, And think their hearts enamour'd of a toy: But are those wiser whom we most admire, Survey with envy, and pursue with fire? What's he who sighs for wealth, or fame, or power? Another Florio doting on a flower; A short liv'd flower; and which has often sprung From sordid arts, as Florio's out of dung. With what, O Codrus! is thy fancy smit? The flower of learning, and the bloom of wit. The gaudy shelves with crimson bindings glow, And Epictetus is a perfect beau. How fit for thee! bound up in crimson too, Gilt, and, like them, devoted to the view! Thy books are furniture. Methinks 'tis hard That science should be purchas'd by the yard; And Tonson, turn'd upholsterer, send home The gilded leather to fit up thy room. If not to some peculiar end design'd, Study's the specious trifling of the mind; Or is at best a secondary aim, A chase for sport alone, and not for game. If so, sure they who the mere volume prize, But love the thicket where the quarry lies. On buying books Lorenzo long was bent, But found at length that it reduc'd his rent; His farms were flown; when, lo! a sale comes on, A choice collection! what is to be done? He sells his last; for he the whole will buy; Sells ev'n his house; nay, wants whereon to lie: So high the gen'rous ardour of the man For Romans, Greeks, and Orientals ran. When terms were drawn, and brought him by the clerk, Lorenzo sign'd the bargain—with his mark. Unlearned men of books assume the care, As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair. Not in his authors' liveries alone Is Codrus'