Now has bright Sol fulfill'd his circling course,
Again to Taurus roll'd his burning car,
Since, cruel Prudence, thy resistless force
Tore me from happiness and Cynthia far.
How did I then, or pensively complain,
Or in the maniac's frantic accents rave!
How often vow to prove resistance vain,
And, spite of prudence, live my Cynthia's slave!
Her much-lov'd form did every thought employ;
My daily wish she was, and nightly dream;
My aking bosom hop'd no dearer joy;
My raptur'd fancy own'd no nobler theme.
No more I wish'd, where Isis' clear waves flow,
To pluck fresh laurels from the muse's shade:
I long'd to climb the Cambrian mountain's brow,
Since Cambria's mountains hid my favorite maid.
In vain from cruel love's tyrannic reign
To friendship and to wisdom I appeal;
For such my sufferings, that the amorous pain
Nor wisdom could assuage, nor friendship heal.
Now three revolving moons had roll'd away,
Still faded sorrow bent my drooping head;
In slothful rest my nobler passions lay,
Each fire extinguish'd, and each virtue dead:
When forced to seek a more laborious field,
And mingle chearful with a social train,
To toil and mirth those woes began to yield,
Which thought and care had combated in vain.
In other scenes I now delight could find,
And, far from Cynthia, found my heart at rest;
Till love at length the dubious strife declin'd,
And reason fix'd her empire in my breast.
Then, as by sacred truth's unflattering light,
I saw the follies of my former flame,
I turn'd indignant from the hateful sight,
Struck with remorse, and mortified with shame.
I found imagination's magic wand
Had all my Cynthia's dazzling charms supplied,
And love, misjudging love, with partial hand,
Had given those beauties nature's touch denied.
A visionary shape my Fancy drew,
In the fair form each polish'd grace display'd;
Then like the fabled artist amorous grew,
And lov'd the image which itself had made.
Now has bright Sol fulfilled his circling course,
Again to Taurus rolled his burning car,
Since, cruel Prudence, thy resistlefs force
Tore me from happiness and CYNTHIA far,
How did I, then, or pensively complain,
Or in the maniac's frantic accents rave!
How often vow to prove resistance vain,
And, spite of prudence, live my CYNTHIA's slave!
Her much-loved form did ev'ry thought employ;
My daily wish she was, and nightly dream;
My aking bosom hoped no dearer joy;
My raptur'd fancy owned no nobler theme.
No more I wish'd, where Isis' clear waves flow,
To pluck fresh laurels from the muse's shade:
I longed to climb the Cambrian mountain's brow,
Since Cambria's mountains hid my favorite maid.
In vain from cruel love's tyrannic reign
To friendship and to wisdom I appeal;
For such my sufferings, that the amorous pain
Nor wisdom could asswage, nor friendship heal.
Now three revolving moons had rolled away:
Still faded sorrow bent my drooping head;
In slothful rest my nobler passions lay,
Each fire extinguished, and each virtue dead;
When forced to seek a more laborious field,
And mingle chearful with a social train,
To toil and mirth those woes began to yield,
Which thought and care had combated in vain.
In other scenes I now delight could find,
And, far from CYNTHIA, found my heart at reft;
Till love at length the dubious strife declined.
And reason fixed her empire in my breast.
Then, as by sacred truth's unflattering light,
I saw the follies of my former flame,
I turned indignant from the hateful sight,
Struck with remorse, and mortified with shame.
I found imagination's magic wand
Had all my CYNTHIA's dazzling charms supplied;
And love, misjudging love, with partial hand
Had given those beauties nature's touch denied.
A visionary shape my fancy drew,
In the fair form each polished grace displayed;
Then like the fabled artist amorous grew,
And loved the image which itself had made.
The Parsonage Improved
Where gentle Deva's lucid waters glide
In slow meanders thro' the winding vale,
And fertile Cestria's pastures green divide;
Deep in the bosom of a sheltering dale
By uplands guarded from the wintry gale,
In rustic site a lowly village stands,
Not laid in form exact with artful scale,
But scatter'd wide by Chance's careless hands
'Mid woods, and breezy hills, and lawns, and fallow'd lands.
Here by the verdant margin of the flood
'Mid osiers dank the humble cottage lies,
And here emerging from the bowering wood
From chimnies low the curling steams arise,
Here on the heath adorn'd with purple dyes
The open casement drinks the ambrosial air,
While pointing boldly to the ambient skies,
The taper steeple marks the house of prayer,
Where to the holy rite the village race repair.
Here erst a simple fabric might you see,
The peaceful mansion of the Parish Priest:
Though unadorn'd with costly symmetry
No splendid portal woo'd the noble guest,
Yet from his lowly door the gentle breast
Was never by unfeeling menace driven,
While Charity in robe of ermine dress'd
Beheld her scanty offerings freely given;
Nor shall her smallest boon escape the eye of heaven.
Though proud Magnificence with splendid arm
Had here no vast superfluous pomp display'd,
Yet Neatness was at hand with simpler charm,
And each domestic comfort lent it's aid.
Though no extended lawns, no forest-shade
Struck with astonishment the enchanted sight,
Yet the small spot in Beauty stood array'd,
Since all around by Husbandry was dight,
For well such cultur'd scenes the placid sense delight.
Right to the golden sun's meridian ray
Healthful, and gay, the chearful front was placed:
Where no Acanthus twin'd with mimic spray
To crown the column of Corinthian taste;
By the soft tendrils of the vine embraced
O'er the slop'd roof the vivid shoots extend,
Now with festoons of leaves luxuriant graced,
And now, as Autumn's ripening beams descend,
Loaded with swelling fruit, the purple clusters bend.
A Garden trim was placed before the door
Kept by diurnal toil in neat array,
By walls defended from the insults frore
Of Boreas' blast, and Eurus' rude affray;
Against whose height leant many a tender spray,
Where the ripe fruits in blushing order glow,
Matur'd by genial Sol's reflected ray:
Nor did their sides unwelcome walk bestow
When though the sun be bright, right keen the winds might blow.
The gravel'd paths by rule exact design'd
In equal parts the cultur'd plot divide,
Where culinary plants of various kind
From every eye the thick espaliers hide,
Beneath, the border deck'd with Flora's pride
Exhibits to the view unnumber'd dyes,
Where in succession through each changing tide
Attentive art the varying plants supplies,
Still to enchant the smell, and fascinate the eyes.
Here venturing on the verge of Winter's power
The Snowdrop, Aconite, and Crocus grow,
The pallid Primrose hails the vernal hour,
And humbly sweet the azure Violets blow,
The Lilies of the vale their fragrance throw,
In meretricious pride the Tulip blooms,
Their gaudy pomp the rich Carnations show,
And, o'er the rest who regal power assumes,
The Rosier's fragrant bud the passing gale perfumes.
Nor did Pomona's treasure less abound
Alternate as the months their power display;
Here crept the fragrant Strawberry on the ground,
Or wav'd the Cherry on the loaded spray,
Here glow'd the Nectarine in the Summer ray,
Here swell'd the Peach all-tempting to the view,
Nor was the Gooseberry's meaner fruit away,
Or Currant red or rich in golden hue,
Or Pear with sugar'd juice, or Plum of glossy blue.
Nor will the Muse disdain with curious eye,
Beyond the thick espalier's verdant skreen,
Amid the vegetable tribes to pry
That spread their shoots the bordering paths between;
Salubrious viands for the board I ween!—
With various dainties was the ground o'erspread,
The Cabbage yellow, and the Colewort green,
The Asparagus that springs in lowly bed,
And Artichokes that rear aloft the spiny head.
The Bean whose perfume scents the ambient skies,
The twining Pea, the Turnip's juicy root,
The Celery that winter's blast defies,
The Radish warm, the Carrot's vigorous shoot,
The rich Potatoe fam'd Ierne's fruit
Sacred to Venus in the genial hour,
The Leek whose steams the hasty Cambrian suit,
With ample head the swelling Cauliflower,
And Lettuce friendly deem'd to Morpheus' drowsy power.
An Orchard too adjoin'd whose vernal hue
Might shame the costly shrubbery's proudest dyes,
Whose daisy'd sod delights the roving view,
And pasture to the gentle steed supplies;
While the bland influence of Autumnal skies
Ripen'd the ruddy fruit of general use,
Either to crown the board with luscious pies,
Or bid the goblet smile with mantling juice,
Bright as the generous wines that Southern climes produce.
Nor was there wanting ornamental care,
The Arbor, seat of Summer jollity,
Where Eglantines perfum'd the evening air,
And Woodbines sweet, and Jasmins fair to see;
Here sometimes from each scene of tumult free
Would Contemplation lift her eye divine,
And sometimes Mirth excite to social glee,
While bright with amber hue the beer would shine,
Or blush the crystal cup with Lusitania's wine.
Should vagrant Fancy tempt the foot to stray
Beyond the Garden's or the Orchard's bound,
Through green inclosures led the winding way
Which the live fence, and leafy hedge-row mound;
While gently gliding through the enamell'd ground
A silver stream with placid current flows,
Whose shelving bank with vivid alders crown'd
A site convenient to the Angler shews
While the delusive fly with skilful hand he throws.
Pleas'd and contented with his calm abode
The reverend Pastor liv'd in quiet state,
The path heaven mark'd he unrepining trod,
Lov'd by the Poor, respected by the Great:
The Harpy Envy, and the Fury Hate,
Far from his gentle flock he drove away,
Till bent at length by Time's increasing weight
His failing powers with gradual lapse decay,
Secure in happier climes to bloom again for aye.
From those fair seats by Isis' sedgy side
Where Rhedecyna rears her hundred spires,
His holy Successor is soon supplied.
His beating bosom swells with new desires;
For by the blest attainment he acquires
A right from monkish cloisters to remove,
Light a pure flame at Wedlock's sacred fires,
And all the scenes of untried rapture prove,
Which crown the mystic couch of Hymeneal Love.
With eager haste he seeks his new abode,
Keen Hope anticipating each delight;
But o'er the little Empire as he strode
It's vulgar Beauties fade upon his sight,
For forms of elegance had charm'd his sprite.
The alley trim offends his nicer taste,
And each compartment rang'd in angles right,
Nor can he see by Husbandry debas'd
Nature's imperial mien with simple Beauty graced.
Much in his mind he bore each lovely seat
That fair Oxonia's neighbouring plains display,
How would his raptur'd heart with transports beat
Through shady Ditchley's spreading groves to stray,
Or as on Nuneham's breezy heights he lay
To view the bending stream of Isis flow
Through meadows rich in all the pride of May,
Or pace the polish'd scenes of princely Stowe,
Or fill his sated eye on Blenheim's towery brow.
Nor need he wander from the Muses shade
To view improving taste's progressive power:
No more in knots by skill capricious laid
Does tonsile box sage Wickham's arms embower.—
Where pious Laud design'd the hallow'd tower
Throws Art her vesture with a chaster hand;
While, welcome refuge from the sultry hour!
By cooling gales with gentle pinions fann'd
Merton's delightful groves with gloomy foliage stand.
Here Ma'dlen too her splendid dome surveys,
Or venerable shade, in Cherwell's stream.—
O witching Memory assist my lays,
And steep my senses in thy soothing dream!
Here wandering oft by Cynthia's silver beam
My youthful Fancy woo'd the sacred Nine,
Or plied by midnight lamp the graver theme,
Or joy'd with Mirth's convivial sons to join,
Or paid the fervent vow at Friendship's holy shrine.
While thus the powers of Elegance unfold
Their Faery visions to his dazzled view,
With scorn his eyes the homely spot behold;—
Anxious the steps of Nature to pursue,
On humbler scale his eager thoughts renew
Whate'er the sons of genuine taste admire,
Whate'er the hands of Brown and Shenstone drew,
Or Wheatley's sober diction could inspire,
Or wak'd the sounding strings of Mason's heavenly Lyre.
Now the strong laborer with repeated blow
Each old incumbring ornament assails,
The guardian wall, it's sheltering height laid low
Admits the Fury of the eastern gales.—
Ah! what it's strength the buttress now avails
That safely kept the garden's flowery scene!—
Spreads the slight fence it's ineffectual rails
Painted by curious Art of dusky green,
Where oft the sportful lambs, destructive creep between.
The espaliers thick with blushing fruitage gay,
The flowing border stretch'd with careful line,
The vegetable viands, all give way,
And low their heads the orchard-trees recline;
While spread abroad with uniform design
The unvaried grass-plot dank extends around
Chequer'd with ragged clumps of sombre pine,
And sinks the deep Haha it's subtle mound,
That nothing from the plain the garden scene may bound.
Close by the border winds with tortur'd course
The gravel'd path it's undulating way,
Where evergreens that mock stern winter's force,
And flowering shrubs their different dyes display.
The Cypress dark, the Lilac's barren spray,
Succeed each useful plant's superior blow,
And as the owner's eyes the work survey
He sees with joy each fair improvement grow,
And deems his little reign a Blenheim or a Stowe.
Now issuing from the garden to the fields
As Taste capricious bares her active arm,
It's leafy shade the lofty Hedgerow yields,
And quits the lofty fence it's fragrant charm:
Nought can it's vernal sweets the stroke disarm,
Low on the earth it's blooming glory lies,
Where erst the pathway shelter'd lay and warm,
And o'er the scene the scatter'd clumps arise
No guard from wintry winds, no shade from sultry skies.
The brook that gently through the level meads
As Nature's hand directed us'd to wind,
Obedient follows now as Fashion leads
In curves is tortur'd, or in lakes confin'd;
While to the hands of Industry consign'd
No more the bending osiers kiss the tide,
Where oft the silent fisher lay reclin'd;
And from the force of Sol's meridian pride
The Naiad tries in vain her throbbing breast to hide.
The work compleated, now survey the scene
Rich in the dress of ornamental Taste,
Each useful plant of humbler homelier green
By barren elegance is now replaced,
While as if seated on the open waste
Unshelter'd, uninclos'd the house appears:
And by no Arts of Husbandry debas'd,
The frequent weed uncheck'd it's offspring rears,
And the rude common's garb the scanty paddock wears.
Wanting the Scythe that each returning dawn
Rank Vegetation's progress should correct,
Unsightly tufts deform the grassy lawn,
Nor can the corded fence the shrubs protect.
Oft will the Shepherd Boy his charge neglect
And crouding Flocks the rising clumps invade,
Oft 'mid the paths by care domestic deck'd
The steed's unseemly ordure will be laid,
And oft the swine obscene uproot the verdant glade.
And here perchance, bending his beetled brow,
Some angry Critic scornful shall exclaim:
‘What Gothic Wight is this, who dares avow
‘To scorn of British Arts the fairest name,
‘Who wishes to recall with Idiot aim
‘What Elegance has banish'd from our shore,
‘Would blast the rural wreath of Albion's fame
‘The ancient forms of Folly to restore,
‘And bid the spruce Parterre usurp her seats once more?’
Far be such blame! no Briton's eye can see
With greater joy the rural taste arise,
Spread wide in native pomp the untortur'd tree,
And the plain turf succeed the tulips dyes,
As Nature boon her simple charm supplies
Dress'd by the hand of Cultivation fair,
Where Art alone the curious eye descries
By shining every lawn with neater air,
The sod's more glossy green, the gardener's nicer care.
When Grandeur spreads around the extended park
Let lavish Nature plan the bold design,
The polish'd culture shall the boundary mark,
And graced, not cramp'd by Art, the Work shall shine:
No need the rule, the level, and the line,
Should 'midst the shades intrude with formal mien,
The splendid walk, the verdant carpet fine,
The contrast bright of variegated green,
Shall shew that artful care has form'd the extensive scene.
But when scant Fortune checks this flattering joy,
Nor gives to ornament the rural reign,
Why the trim Garden's lowlier charms destroy?—
Why Husbandry's more homely cares disdain?—
If Industry with her assiduous train
With step reluctant from the spot recedes,
What features shall distinguish Taste's domain
From the expanse of pastures, and of meads,
But Culture's looser robe, and more luxuriant weeds?
Naucratia; Or Naval Dominion. Part Iii.
Awhile let War his bloody banners fold,
And smiling Peace her gentler triumphs hold.
The generous flame that warm'd Eliza's days,
Shines forth in George's reign with brighter blaze.
Again Britannia's sons, through seas unknown,
Round Earth's vast circle trace a naval zone,
Her Wallis, Byron, Carteret, try once more
The course her Drake, her Ca'ndish led of yore.
And see true Genius, rais'd by native worth
O'er the proud claims of fortune and of birth,
Born to control the rage of winds and seas,
Skill'd to arrest the ravage of disease,
Her Cook behold!—before his eagle eye
The dread of death, the sense of hardship fly;
And o'er his sails Hygeia hovering, flings
Health's genial influence from her silver wings.
From the soft dalliance of the amorous train
Who haunt the islets of the Southern main,
Boldly he ventures to the rugged coast
Clad in the horrors of Antarctic frost,
Where endless winter o'er the iron plains
In all the pomp of desolation reigns:
His course he keeps with persevering soul,
To seek a more inhospitable pole.
For where the northern constellations rise
In the dim zenith of the chilling skies,
Still neighbouring Europe's friendly harbours yield
A near asylum from the frozen field.
Not so the southern regions—drear—unknown—
Rude coasts, where cheerless solitude alone
Reigns death-like in terrific silence, save
Where howling famine prowls the ice-bound wave.
Nought damps the breast pure virtue's flame inspires,
Not the red blaze of wild ambition's fires.
Sent by a Prince benign, whose parent sway
Freedom's true vot'ries glory to obey;
Friend to the human race,—whose generous mind,
His country bless'd,—that blessing o'er mankind
Prompt to extend, bids his expanding sails
Waft peace and plenty on the favouring gales.—
The gallant chief obeys with ready breast
His pious Sovereign's mild and just behest.
O'er oceans wafted, 'mid New Zealand's groves
Bleats the meek flock, the lowing heifer roves;
By guiltless plenty spread, dire feasts no more
The blushing herbage stain with human gore.
On Otaheité's soft and genial fields
Its cheering juice the vine ambrosial yields;
And on the enormous island's region wide,
A continent encircled by the tide,
O'er lands uncultur'd yellow harvests rise,
And infant cities meet the wondering eyes.
There, peopled realms with art and science crown'd,
Sages and kings in future times renown'd,
Truth's moral rules by deep reflection given,
And Faith's illumin'd creed, that opens heaven;
Scenes of warm hope, and ages of delight
Crowd in prophetic prospect on the sight.—
Such were the chiefs that fabling Greece of old
Amid her legendary gods enroll'd,
And taught her sons to pile the votive flame
To Pan's, to Ceres', and to Bacchus' name.
Mourn Virtue, mourn the rash insidious blow
That laid on earth thy faithful votary low!—
Yet as the weeping powers of Mercy pay
Their solemn tribute to their Cook's morai,
And o'er his tomb by guiltless laurels crown'd,
As the slow dirge and swelling hymn resound,
Proud of a son in toil, in danger tried,
Fearless in both, in both by blood undy'd,
Fame to the listening winds her voice shall raise,
And breathe the immortal song of virtuous praise;
While heavenly justice from the empyreal sphere
Sends down its seraphs to his briny bier,
To waft his spirit from the realms of night
To the bless'd mansions of celestial light.
O form'd o'er vice, o'er madness to prevail,
Bless'd source of blameless glory! Science, hail!—
When bleeding Discord rear'd her gorgon head,
And wide o'er earth and ocean ruin spread,
A generous foe to thy fam'd vot'ries gave
A peaceful passage o'er the hostile wave.—
Gallia! though stern Oppression's iron arm
Hung o'er thy plains, blasting each genial charm,
Thy gallant nobles knew with gentlest care
To heal by courtesy the wounds of war.—
Semblance alone of mercy—for beneath,
Writhed the fell serpent in the flowery wreath.—
The showy plumes that valour's crest adorn,
From pining Labour's wretched hands were torn,
And the kind smile that cheer'd the suppliant foe,
Frown'd unrelenting on domestic woe.—
The hour of vengeance comes!—but vengeance dress'd
In such dire horrors, that a rival's breast,—
An envied, injur'd rival's—swells with grief
At ills that pass excess, and mock belief.—
The hour of vengeance comes!—Justice in vain
Tries with numb'd arm the tempest to restrain.
She drops the sword, and Anarchy's wild hand
Waves the red torch of ruin o'er the land.—
Though her strong forts, and stronger hosts oppose
A dreadful barrier to assailing foes,
Domestic fury arm'd with civic rage,
Beyond the inroads of a Vandal age,
Spreading sad desolation's cruel sway,
Sweeps every trace of ancient worth away;
Rears slaughter's pile where slavery's fabric stood,
And stains fair Freedom's cause with blameless blood.—
So Ætna lifts aloft her haughty brow,
And hears the harmless tempest howl below:
Sublimely great, her azure head she shrouds
In the thick umbrage of surrounding clouds,
Her ample base while golden harvests hide,
And the ripe vintage purples o'er her side.—
But ah! the dreadful harbingers of doom
In silent ambush lurk within her womb,
Prompt at the fated moment to ascend,
And with fierce shock her fiery entrails rend;
Pour down the steeps with laughing plenty grac'd,
Lay every hope and every beauty waste,
Till the wide regions to the affrighted eye
One vast extent of smoking ruin lie.
Not to her native seats confin'd alone
Was struggling Gallia's wild convulsive groan;
With maniac rage she lifts her blood-stain'd hand,
And waves confusion o'er each neighbour land.
Europe's astonish'd sons, with trembling awe
Breathless and pale, the impending mischief saw,
And fearful threw their trembling eyes for aid
To shores their coward envy once betray'd.
Did Britain frown malignant on the woes
By fate retorted on her faithless foes?—
No—prone to godlike mercy, lo, she spreads
Her ample buckler o'er their prostrate heads.—
Each former wrong from memory's tablet tore,—
They were oppress'd, and she a foe no more.
Useless her generous aid—the furious bands
Pour like a torrent o'er Batavia's lands.
Iberia, struck with fear, the tempest flies,
And shameful safety by submission buys.
The swarming millions of exhaustless foes,
Nor valour can defeat, no skill oppose,
Vain was her force on foreign regions shewn,
Compell'd perhaps to combat for her own,
But that the guard of her surrounding wave
A potent check to mad invasion gave;
There in her native fortress firm she stood,
And frown'd defiance from her subject flood.
Not the wild frenzy of a transient hour
The trident firm can grasp of naval power.
That sceptre high she waves with sway supreme,
And scorns the phantoms of ambition's dream.—
Behold her veteran chief, victorious Howe,
The faded laurel tear from Gallia's brow;
On her own shores o'erthrown her naval pride,
Her captur'd ships in Britain's harbours ride.—
From brave Cornwallis' sails, in base retreat,
Flies with inglorious speed the numerous fleet.
Safe in the sheltering port, the timid foe
Eludes of Bridport's arm the threat'ning blow;
By peril taught with what resistless might
He knew to hurl the tempest of the fight.
And valiant Jarvis by the Iberian coast
Pours on the faithless foe his scanty host.
Superior squadrons rashly try in vain,
With swarming numbers to usurp the main;
Strict discipline to skill and courage join'd,
A penetrating eye, and ardent mind,
Conceive and execute the bold design,—
His thunder breaks the bold extended line,
And with a dauntless few he bears away
The well earn'd spoils of Britain's proudest day.
Pure source of every joy! mild Concord, bring
Each healing blessing on thy snowy wing;
Teach the wild storm of ruthless war to cease,
And charm the nations to the reign of Peace.
Then happier Commerce to the ambrosial gale
Shall free and fearless spread her welcome sail;
Waft wealth and plenty on each favouring breeze,
And dread no danger but from winds and seas.
Yet must the Muse, though cruel seem her lays,
Her warning voice in strain prophetic raise.
When hush'd to peace the ruder tempests sleep,
And Zephyr gently curls the rippling deep,
Will the skill'd mariner disarm his mind,
Lull'd by the placid swell and silken wind?—
No—long experience points the uncertain skies
Where unexpected whirlwinds sudden rise:
And though amid th'unruffled seas of spring
The flitting halcyon dip his azure wing,
By danger school'd, he stands prepar'd to brave
The loudest fury of the wintery wave.
Foster'd too oft by Peace's laughing reign,
Will luxury corrupt her fair domain:
Too oft with timid eye will Commerce gaze
On the rich stores surrounding wealth displays;
Then chill'd by danger, and by toil dismay'd,
Buy from a foreign force precarious aid.—
So Carthage fell!—in native strength elate
While the bold inmates of her rival state,
A race rapacious, unexhausted stood,
Resistless sons of rapine and of blood.—
War's dreadful clarion by Ambition blown,
The Muse of mercy ever must disown,
Though selfish pride assume the patriot's name,
And worlds, misjudging, call oppression fame:
Yet while by Cruelty or Avarice led,
Arm'd Violence will rear the hydra head;
While warlike hords will gaze with harpy eye
On the rich fields of peace and industry;
Let not her moral strain, seductive, charm
The sword of vengeance from the manly arm;
Or, while of war's destructive band she sings,
Forget what ill from coward softness springs:—
Full well she knows to paint the horrors spread
Terrific o'er the bleeding soldier's head,
When sinking breathless 'neath the hostile wound,
Wild War's insulting tumult raging round,
The last convulsive throe of ebbing life
Hangs on the orphan child and widow'd wife.
But ah! though dread that scene—let fancy trace
The woes degrading of the unwarlike race,
The gentle sons of sentimental fear,
Too weak to guard what manhood holds most dear,
When lust and murder with unbridled sway
Speed o'er their ruin'd seats their fatal way.—
Then to the gallant race who bravely stand
A breathing bulwark to their native land,
Shall not the Muse with care assiduous raise
The deathless guerdon of unblemish'd praise,
And o'er the martyr'd soldier's hallow'd bier
Pour with swoll'n eye affliction's grateful tear?—
Secure those chiefs of glory's purest meed,
Like Hawke who conquer, or like Wolfe who bleed.
Arm'd in her cause, on Chalgrave's fatal plain,
Where sorrowing Freedom mourns her Hambden slain,
Say, shall the moralizing bard presume
From his proud hearse to tear one warlike plume,
Because a Cæsar or a Cromwell wore
An impious wreath, wet with their country's gore?
Oft as the exulting Muse with pride surveys
The pile of fame Britannia's navies raise,
Trembling she sees the glorious fabric stand
On the loose basis of a shifting sand.
Athens and Carthage shine on history's page,
Portentous beacons to a distant age.—
How high their naval power, her annals tell,
Her annals too record how soon they fell.—
So may Britannia fall—yon bleeding shore,
Wasted by black revenge, and drench'd with gore,
Her commerce lost, her shatter'd fleets destroy'd,
Her coasts by predatory war annoy'd;
Her frantic sons by brutal fury stung,
Flames in the eye, and poison on the tongue,
Rushing in wild delirium of disease
With venom'd fang their shrinking foes to seize,
Spreading with hornet rage destruction round,
And satisfied to perish, if they wound.—
Yet, strong in native power, should Peace again
Bless with returning smile her genial plain,
Soon would her renovated fields display
Their freshening treasures to the healing ray;
As spring, emerging from the wintery blast,
Her flowers unfolds, nor heeds the tempest past.
But should the horrors of domestic broil,
Or hostile inroad Britain's bosom spoil;—
Whelm'd in the blood-stain'd wave her naval force,
Or basely poison'd in its vital source;
Though her firm sons in sullen courage stood,
And mark'd invasion's fatal paths with blood;
Though myriads pour'd upon her shores in vain,
But whiten'd with their bones her hostile plain;
Though Fame, where'er she turn'd her wondering eyes,
Beheld new Agincourts, new Creçis rise;
Yet, press'd at home, while on each distant coast
She mourn'd her empire sunk, her commerce lost,
Prone in the dust her vaunted power would lie,
Undone, amid the shouts of victory.
So when the loud tornado's fatal powers
Shake from their base the city's lofty towers,
The ruin'd fragments lie, no more to rise
Beneath the influence bland of brightening skies;
But noisome weeds 'mid the fall'n columns spread,
And the loath'd reptile shrouds his venom'd head.
'Tis not the oak whose hardy branches wave
O'er Britain's cliffs, and all her tempests brave;
'Tis not the ore her iron bowels yield,
The cordage growing on her fertile field,
That form her naval strength.—'Tis the bold race
Laughing at toil, and gay in danger's face,
Who quit with joy, when fame and glory lead,
Their richest pasture and their greenest mead,
The perils of the stormy deep to dare,
And jocund own their dearest pleasures there.
One common zeal the manly race inspires,
One common cause each ardent bosom fires,
From the bold youth whose agile limbs ascend
The giddy mast when angry winds contend,
And while the yard dips low its pointed arm,
Clings to the cord, and sings amidst the storm,
To the experienced chief, who knows to guide
The labouring vessel through the rolling tide;
Or when contending squadrons fierce engage,
Directs the battle's thunder where to rage:—
All, all alike with cool unfeign'd delight
Brave the tempestuous gale, and court the fight.
Britain! with jealous industry maintain
The sacred sources of this generous train,
Daring beyond what fable sings of old,
Yet mild in conquest, and humane as bold;
Now rushing on the foe with frown severe,
Now mov'd to mercy by compassion's tear.—
Fierce as the ruthless elements they brave
When their wrong'd country calls them to the wave;
Mild as the softest breeze that fans thy isle,
When sooth'd by peace and wooing beauty's smile.
A race peculiar to thy happy coast,
But lost by folly once, for ever lost.
Ne'er from the lap of luxury and ease
Shall spring the hardy warrior of the seas.—
A toilsome youth the mariner must form,
Nurs'd on the wave, and cradled in the storm.
This school thy coasts supply—the unwrought ore
Wafted from port to port around thy shore,
The northern mines, that sable stores unfold
To chase from blazing hearths frore winter's cold;—
These nurseries have train'd the daring crew
Through storms and war thy glory to pursue:
These have thy leaders train'd, and naval fame
Reads in their rolls her Cook's immortal name.
O ne'er may Commerce with misdeeming zeal
Weaken this source, her own, her country's weal,
And the canal, by tortur'd streams supplied,
Along our coasts with baleful labour guide,
Then boast, if war insults our chalky shores,
It yields safe conduct to our arms and stores.—
Perish such safety!—ne'er may commerce know
Safe conduct here but from a vanquish'd foe.—
Where mountain forests spread their deep'ning shade,
Where metals lurk beneath the midland glade,
Where mingled art and industry combine,
Weave the rich web, the liquid ore refine,
Let the canal, scoop'd out with plastic care,
To distant marts the useful produce bear;
But never may its stagnate waters lave
The sandy borders of the briny wave,
Or the rude bargeman's vile inglorious race
The generous hero of the sea replace.
O Millbrook! shall my devious feet no more
Pace the smooth margin of thy pebbly shore?
No more my eyes, when even the zephyrs sleep,
View the broad mirror of thy glassy deep,
Where the reflected spire and bordering shade
Inverted shine, by softer tint portray'd;
Or by the dancing moon-beam's silvery gleam
See the bright ripple of the curling stream,
While round the passing bark as eddies play,
A track of trembling radiance marks her way;
Or as the surge with ineffectual roar
Spends its rude force on the surrounding shore,
Behold its harmless vengeance idly beat
With vain and baffled fury at my feet?—
No more along the Channel's azure space
My sight the ship's expanding sail shall trace,
Through whose white folds—clad by the leafy year,
On the green uplands future fleets appear!—
Now through the stagnate pool, by banks confin'd,
Rolls the slow barge, dragg'd by the inglorious hind.—
By vengeance arm'd, ye powers of ocean rise!
And when full orb'd in equinoctial skies
The pale moon hangs, and with malignant pride
Rouses the driving storm, and swells the tide,
Lift high the trident, and with giant blow
Lay of vain man the pigmy labours low,
Chastize the weak presumption that would chain
The briny surge, and subjugate the main.
Though bold, and skill'd in all his native art,
On shore the mariner's incautious heart
Unpractic'd in the devious paths of guile
Falls a sure prey to each insidious wile;
Hence oft the dupe of selfish avarice made,
Hence oft by beauty's venal smile betray'd;
And hence did Faction once with treacherous aim
Lure the brave seaman from the paths of fame;
And Britain saw, amaz'd, her strongest power
On her own head with dreadful aspect lower;
While the base art of Gallic miscreants draws
Her truest patriots from their country's cause.—
Turn—turn the eye, nor view the only stain
That blots the annals of our naval reign;
On one dark tint of shame O cease to gaze,
Lost in surrounding glory's brighter blaze;
As the small spots that cloud the orb of day
Vanish to nothing in his noontide ray!
And see the beams of naval glory rise
Bright in meridian splendour to the skies!
Batavia's fleets, which long our hovering host
Held timid prisoners on their sheltering coast,
The transitory hour of absence seize,
And give their canvas to the freshening breeze.
The buoyant cutter spreads her agile wings,
And to our coast the wish'd-for tidings brings;
The foe's designs while valiant Trollope views,
By turns eludes them, and by turns pursues.
Soon as the bark arrives in Garien's bay,
Where Britain's wave-worn vessels anchoring lay,
Instant aloft the expected signal flies,
All view with beating hearts and ardent eyes;
All see with joy the leading flag display'd,
Bent is each sail, and every anchor weigh'd:
With canvas crowded groans the bending mast,
Loud through the cordage sings the favouring blast,
And as the keels the foaming surge divide,
Before the prow wild roars the whitening tide.
And now their eyes with glance impatient meet
The long hop'd prospect of the adverse fleet.
No squadron this by hands unskilful sped,
A race of seamen by a seaman led.—
Impetuous through the battle's fiery tides
The storm of war heroic Duncan guides.
The opposing line is pierced—when clustering foes
Vindictive round the daring warrior close;
Now on his beam the vollied thunders break
With dreadful peal, and now his stern they rake;—
Calm 'mid the fiery storm of death he stands,
Firm in his conduct, clear in his commands.—
Courage must bend to greater courage still,
Superior numbers to superior skill.
Her masts o'erthrown, and pil'd with dead her deck,
The Belgic leader lies a cumbrous wreck;
The scatter'd squadrons see with haggard eye
Britannia's ensign o'er Batavia's fly.
Dismay'd,—confus'd,—along the stormy main
Vainly they try the friendly coast to gain:
For all whose barks the battle's rage had borne,
Their timbers batter'd, and their cordage torn,
Fall to the victor's power,—while a mean race,
Veiling in coward boasts their own disgrace,
Safe in the shoaly Texel's channel, tell
How Belgium triumph'd, and Britannia fell.
What trophies shall the Muse to Duncan raise,
Whose worth transcends the boldest flight of praise?—
Will all the powers man's genius can display
Give added lustre to the beams of day?
His virtues shine in native worth array'd,
Nor want, nor ask, precarious flattery's aid.
Him to his senate Britain's Monarch calls,
His praise resounding from that senate's walls;
Walls where in woven tints portray'd are seen
The naval triumph of the maiden Queen.
The delegated sons of Britain's choice
In his applauses speak a people's voice;
And while from Caledonia's northern skies,
Prolific parent of the brave and wise,
Bursts the full strain in patriot ardour loud
Of such a son with honest vaunting proud,
England asserts her share of Duncan's fame,
And claims the hero in Britannia's name.
Nor, Onslow, shall the Muse to thee deny
The warrior's meed, the wreath of victory;
Or, gallant Burgess, o'er thy trophied bier
Forget to pour the tributary tear.
Nor the less known, though not less valiant train,
Who, nobly purging faction's recent stain,
Rush'd to the watery field at glory's call,
Unprais'd shall live, nor unlamented fall.—
Ah, gallant race! by bleeding victory crown'd,
Who, while life's current stream'd from every wound,
Cried with exulting, though with parting breath,
‘Now has our faith been prov'd!’ and smil'd in death.
Nor o'er the tombs of those who nobly died
Hang only pageant plumes of funeral pride;
All ranks unite to aid whom all revere,
And wipe the widow's and the orphan's tear:
Not opulence the boon alone bestows,
From humbler hearts the stream benignant flows;
And while the chiefs of Britain's banner'd host
Console the friends of kindred warriors lost,
The meanest soldier of the generous band
His scantier offering brings with liberal hand.
Imperial mistress of the briny plains,
Without a rival, now Britannia reigns.
Where'er in warlike pomp her barks appear,
Abash'd her recreant foes avow their fear,
On Gallia's threat'ning boasts, with scornful frown,
From her white cliffs she looks indignant down;
And while her fleet each clime remote explores,
While wide increasing Commerce spreads her stores
Wealth, science, courage, mingled flowers bestow
To deck the naval crown on George's brow.
Ye laurel'd chiefs, who rais'd his billowy reign!
Ye living heroes, who that power maintain!
Whose actions of renown my voice has sung
In feeble accents with a faltering tongue,
Forgive the daring effort, nor repine,
Though but recorded in a verse like mine.
The proudest Muse who soars on fiction's wings
Dims the bright lustre of the deeds she sings,
The minstrels of the epic song of old,
Who mighty acts of fabled chiefs unfold,
What seeds of fame for others have they sown,
Whose glorious works ennobled but their own?—
Your worth on that eternal base shall live
Nor fiction can destroy nor fiction give;
For History on her adamantine page
Those names displays to Time's remotest age,
Who free and fearless Glory's track pursued
Through every danger, and o'er every flood,
Britannia's thunder on Oppression hurl'd,
And thron'd her empress of the naval world.
Yet though the Muse wake not her sounding strings
With cadence equal to the theme she sings,
Oft tuned to humbler mood, her warbled lay
Has cheer'd the seaman on his watery way;
Now painting to his mind the faithful band
Of love and friendship in his native land,
Hailing with accents partial to the brave
The kind and constant warrior of the wave;
Now chanting slow the melancholy dirge
To Hosier, festering on the hostile surge;
Now striking loud the free heroic lyre
Kindling the blaze of emulative fire,
While the recording sailor's notes repeat
How gallant Russel vanquish'd Gallia's fleet.—
Nor let the sons of letter'd pride despise
Germs whence the vigorous shoots of valour rise:
So Attic freedom own'd Harmodius' strain,
So rous'd Tyrtæus' song the Spartan train.
Never shall Anarchy's mad dæmon tread
Insulting here, o'er Freedom's hallow'd head,
While Freedom's sons in festive carol raise
To George and Liberty their votive lays;
Never shall sink Britannia's naval fire
While rous'd to glory by her Thomson's lyre.—
Responsive to his lay, her Genius long
In act shall realize the raptur'd song
His fancy heard—what time the angelic train
Hail'd the bless'd isle emerging from the main,
With seraph hand their golden viols strung,
And to his ear the hymn prophetic sung.—
‘Long as her native oak's strong limbs defy
‘The furious blasts that rend her stormy sky,
‘Long as her rocky shores the ocean laves,
‘Shall Freedom and Britannia rule the waves.’
The Progress Of Refinement. Part Iii.
Thus far with cautious Pencil have I traced
The striking forms on History's tablet placed.
Harder the task on Truth's unblemish'd page
To sketch the living features of the age,
Each transient character with care define,
And catch the fleeting shape with ready line;
Contrast the Manners modern times display
With the Refinements of an earlier day;
Remark what each from chance, or custom, draws,
And seek with curious eye the latent cause;
Shew Virtue's sinking worth, or kindling flame,
And give impartial praise, or candid blame.
In Rome, while Rome's meridian power was graced
With the bright æra of Augustan taste,
Tho' Art's skill'd votaries reach'd their utmost goal,
Though social pleasure sooth'd the liberal soul,
Yet rude the joys, and coarse the manners shew,
To those which Europe's modern nations know,
Where sweet Benevolence the expression warms,
Dwells on the tongue, and every accent forms.
Nor is the exterior semblance bright alone,
A specious veil o'er selfish passion thrown;
The gentle bosom real kindness feels,
And o'er the soften'd mind Affection steals;
Pity and Horror watch o'er human life,
And Murder trembling drops his fatal knife.
Even War, terrific War! has learn'd to wear
A milder garb, and features less severe:
The fury of the doubtful conflict o'er,
Though gorged with death, and red with streaming gore,
The valiant captive meets attentive care,
And vanquish'd foes fraternal kindness share;
Humanity still meek and prompt to save,
Heals every wound the bleeding combat gave,
Bids the worst horrors of the battle cease,
And lends Bellona half the charms of peace.
Politeness too it's nicest skill employs,
And gives the last fine touch to human joys,
Sweetly combines with unaffected ease
The care to aid us, and the wish to please.
Far from that pertness whose capricious fit
Deems satire freedom, and ill manners wit,
Mistakes fastidious pride for judgment chaste,
And thinks that censure shews superior taste:
Far from that fulsome flattery Dulness pays
Who servile adulation takes for praise,
The eye on every latent foible draws,
And gives an insult where she means applause.
And far, O far! from that insidious aim
Which screens Deceit beneath Refinement's name,
The selfish smile, the promise insincere,
And all the rules of Fashion's favorite peer.
But that smooth polish, elegant and bright,
Which placing merit in the fairest light,
By soft compliance rude ill-temper veils,
And half reforms the vices it conceals.
Say from what source shall keen enquiry trace
These striking characters of gentler grace?—
Numerous the varied springs whose powers combin'd
Direct and regulate the ductile mind.—
First that blest fountain of serene delight,
Meek-ey'd Religion's mild unsullied rite,
The patient votary's humbled breast imbues
With heavenly Charity's ambrosial dews,
In vain the Infidel's o'erweening pride
Affects her hallow'd dictates to deride,
Exalts the wisdom of the ancient school,
And boasts of moral Virtue's rigid rule;
By Christian Faith the perfect doctrines taught
Shall mock Philosophy's sublimest thought,
In the clear beams of Truth celestial shine,
And speak their Holy Teacher all divine.
Thence even the stubborn Sceptic mildness draws,
And feels their influence though he scorn their laws.
The sacred rights of human Nature known,
From Europe's climes has exil'd Slavery flown,
Who saw of old her sable wing display
A gloomy shade o'er Freedom's brightest day.—
O could my verse forget she still defiles
The sunny regions of the Atlantic isles!
Still dwells amidst the hardier race that try
In fields of blood for British Liberty!
There the sad Libyan bought in shameful trade,
Vanquish'd by foes, or by his chiefs betray'd,
Waits from his cruel lord's remorseless breath
The doom of labor, insult, stripes, and death.
Were such the fatal gifts from home ye brought
Such the dire lessons Parent Europe taught?—
Ah no!—beneath her inimical skies
Blasted at once the venom'd monster dies.
Bold Chivalry employ'd her earliest care
To sooth the rugged brow of frowning War,
Valor's fierce form by Courtesy refin'd,
And bent to Mercy's sway the headstrong mind.
She taught her gallant votaries to forego
Each mean advantage o'er a prostrate foe,
And shew'd her pupils rear'd in Error's gloom,
To shame the polish'd chiefs of Greece and Rome.
Crown'd by success, and deck'd in impious pride,
See in stern pomp the imperious Consul ride,
With each sad victim of uncertain war
Dragg'd in remorseless triumph at his car.
While Kings and Chiefs superior insult know,
And only feel pre-eminence in woe.
O had of Gothic days the rudest knight
Seen these barbarians, falsely deem'd polite,
Shout as the wretched Hero pass'd along,
Scorn'd and affronted by the unfeeling throng,
How had he turn'd aside the indignant eye
As the dire pageant mov'd exulting by,
To curse the hearts that selfish maxims steel,
And execrate the effects of patriot zeal.—
Now view on nearer Poitier's trophied plain
The gentler triumphs of Britannia's train!
Though every taunt swol'n Insolence could give
Warm in the Victor's glowing breast must live,
Yet when aloft o'er England's valiant few
With unexpected pinion Conquest flew,
And Gaul's pale Genius sunk her flagging wing,
And mourn'd her slaughter'd Peers and captive King;
No keen resentment edg'd the British sword,
No biting insult barb'd one cruel word,
But godlike Edward mild in fortune's hour
Sooth'd the sad Monarch fall'n from regal power,
To vanquish'd greatness generous homage paid
And serv'd the prisoner that his sword had made.
Even those destructive tubes whose fiery breath
Spreads wide the scenes of carnage and of death,
Though their dread roar the novice ear affright,
Aid mercy's power and humanize the fight.
Unseen each blow, no warrior treads the plain
Demanding vengeance for a brother slain,
No favorite kill'd awakes Pelides' hate,
No spoils of Pallas urge a Turnus' fate,
From hands unknown the mortal stroke is given,
And every bullet seems a bolt from Heaven.
Yet, to the chiefs of elder time unknown,
Punctilious rage from feudal Honor grown
Provokes for spleenful wrongs the deadly strife,
And claims in private war the forfeit life.—
But though too plainly from this dreadful cause
Society a milder aspect draws,
And practis'd in the School of Fear, or Shame,
Fools grow polite, and Savages are tame;
Let not the applauding Muse provoke to chide
The weeping Orphan, or the widow'd Bride,
Awake the trembling Matron's anxious fears,
Or ope the sacred source of Beauty's tears.
No!—let us turn from fields of death the view,
And the calm scenes of softer Peace pursue.
Their placid sway the gentler sex impart,
Refine the manners, and improve the heart,
From the harsh breast each sterner thought remove,
And tune the yielding soul to joy and love.
No barbarous Jealousy's misjudging care
Severely watches o'er the imprison'd Fair,
No houshold Tyrant fixes Beauty's doom,
To ply the incessant web and servile loom,
Nor does the mind allur'd by Plato's dream,
Verging to Folly's opposite extreme,
It's bosom's Queen in hues ethereal paint
And deem the blooming maid the impassive saint.
Daughters of Love! they shine with native power,
And bless the lone, and grace the social hour,
With spotless truth, and ardent passion, blend
The enchanting mistress, and the faithful friend,
Each fonder joy that lessens grief dispense,
Convince the reason and delight the sense.
With bashful coyness temper fierce desire,
And lead by virtue while by charms they fire.
The potent force of such resistless sway
Inspires the Muse, and governs every lay;
The tender Bard exerts his utmost skill,
And all our strains pathetic warblings fill.
The Drama lays her awful robe aside
Of gloomy horror, and terrific pride,
Content alone the gentle mind to move
With the sad story of distressful love.—
Delightful Art!—though first in shapeless guise
Reviving Genius saw thy form arise,
When the rude bigot on the barbarous stage
Produc'd the mysteries of the holy page;
Soon Avon's towering eagle bore thy name
Beyond the exalted flights of Attic fame.
Though nicer skill succeeding times demand,
Though now correctness prune with cautious hand,
With scorn tho' Gallia view the Gothic school,
Attentive to adopt each ancient rule,
While the deep pathos, and the bold sublime,
Escape her dull harangues, and duller rhyme.
Not all her precepts form'd by critic care
Shewn in the flowing numbers of Voltaire,
Not even the Grecian Muse, who stalks a Queen
With solemn footstep o'er the crouded scene,
And by her numerous Choir attended, sings
The splendid fate of magistrates and kings,
Shall with our Shakespear vie, whose every thought
Drawn from sensation, and by Nature taught,
Defies the slavish rules of scenic art,
And speaks at once conviction to the heart.
Yet now his track no daring bard pursues,
No more the stage is trod by History's Muse;
No Tyrants there the pangs of conscience own,
No Furies haunt the Usurper on his throne;
With softer anguish Tragedy prevails,
And deeds of horror yield to plaintive tales,
While full the sympathetic currents flow
At each affecting scene of humbler woe.
Even Comedy who us'd with jocund grace
To dress in chearful smiles the applauding face,
Oft quits the playful scourge of ridicule,
Spares the pert coxcomb, and the pompous fool,
The winning form of gentle pity wears,
And unsuspected cheats us into tears.
And see in amorous style the Novel dress'd
With sentimental sorrow melts the breast,
Swells the fair bosom with the heaving sigh,
And fills with drops of grief the virgin's eye.
Perhaps too far the enchanting lore imparts
It's keen sensations to unguarded hearts;
The tender scenes by Vice though oft design'd
So rivet to the page the attentive mind,
So oft with glowing tales of Passion sooth
The unexperienced ear of female youth,
That many a Maid rapp'd by their magic power
Steals from her custom'd rest the midnight hour,
To trace through lengthen'd tomes of grief display'd
The monstrous shapes by Folly's hand portray'd;
Whence the perverted Fancy learns to lose
The sweet attractions of the chaster Muse.—
Awake to each fictitious feeling grown,
And mov'd by ills to real life unknown,
The mind, with scenes of fabled woe possess'd,
Will shut to homely grief the senseless breast,
And turn from Want and Pain the offended ear,
To pour for feign'd distress the barren tear.
Wide too her wave has swelling Knowledge spread,
And the full stream surrounding Nations fed.
With unremitting care the sage of old
Each maze of Science labor'd to unfold,
Hung o'er the tedious page with aching sight
Toil'd through the day, and watch'd the wintry night:
But teeming presses now around diffuse
The monthly magazine and daily news,
Where bards on bards in endless train succeed,
And all pretend to judge, who know to read.
Whate'er pursuits the attentive mind employ
Must mark our manners with a strong alloy.
Gaming a feature of the human frame
In various states and various climes the same,
Can the warm'd breast with strong sensation strike,
And rude and courtly bosoms charm alike.
For this old Rome's luxurious youth would slight
The healthful labor, and the sportive fight;
For this among the extended woods that spread
Where the blue German hid his restless head,
The rugged inmates won by lust of play
Dear life, and dearer freedom gave away:
Even in the dusky tribes by Nature placed
Mid the lone horrors of the Atlantic waste,
Where scarce the claim of property obtains,
In savage fury dreadful, Gaming reigns.
Hence though the sons of wealth in this delight
Now waste with wakeful toil the livelong night,
Though on one stake will ample fortunes lie,
And mortgaged manors wait a single die;
Yet here no form peculiar can we trace
No striking character of modern race.
But Cards by dull invention first design'd
To sooth a frantic Monarch's listless mind,
O'er Europe now extend their strong controul,
And almost seem to fascinate the soul:
Of every calling, and of every state,
The grave, the gay, the humble, and the great,
Save the hard sons of wretched labor, fed
By daily drudgery, with daily bread,
How few but give to this unmeaning play
Three tedious hours from every circling day!
Nor let the serious Muse though light they seem,
Beneath her solemn care such trifles deem;
Weak masters though they be, their potent art
Gives a strong tincture to the human heart:
As the fang'd brood hot Libya's sands among
Though by fierce rage or maddening hunger stung,
If the clear stream their form reflected shew,
Loose all their vengeance on the shadowy foe;
So here those powers by Reason unrepress'd
Whose furious whirlwinds shook the human breast,
Bade with deep wounds contending nations bleed,
And urg'd the daring, or the atrocious deed,
In trifling cares their idle force engage,
And waste on mimic forms their harmless rage.—
Yet let not Fashion's modern votaries boast
Of harsher manners through their influence lost:
If life's severer evils they subdue,
And smooth the rugged mind, they weaken too;
If savage Hate they quell, and wild Desire,
They damp the Poet's, and the Patriot's fire,
The fervid glow of Friendship's flame remove,
And almost quench the golden lamp of Love.
Her magic powers as pleasure thus combines,
Each bosom softens and each care refines,
Still sure the scenes of opulence to share,
Spreads Luxury her splendid empire there;
On Europe's lap is pour'd the varied store
Of every climate, and of every shore.
For her Arabia gives her rich perfume,
And labors for her eye the Persian loom;
For her the Indian culls with fainting toil
The spicy harvests of his sultry soil;
In her cool air remov'd from Asian fields
It's luscious juice the ripe Anana yields;
And Industry with busy care supplies
The want of glowing lands, and sultry skies,
While all the fruits that Summer heats afford,
With blush untimely deck December's board;
Spring throws her mantle o'er the freezing hours,
And hoary Winter binds his brow with flowers.
The swelling sail in climes remote unfurl'd,
Wafts home the produce of another world.
No more the bark steer'd by the starry ray,
With prow uncertain plows the watery way;
But guided by that Gem whose mystic power
To Arctic regions points in every hour,
Commerce new oceans ventures to explore,
And launches boldly from the lessening shore,
Dares the dread wonders of the deep unfold,
And toils at once for glory and for gold.
But does not Reason's faithful mirror shew
The future prospect of distress and woe,
And point what dangers modern softness wait
In the sad tale of Rome's declining state?—
Far yet such fears!—unnumber'd checks there lie
To stop the fatal flight of Luxury.
First, a less dangerous form it's power receives
From the strong influence Beauty's empire gives.
Of culinary skill the enormous waste
Offends with dull disgust her nicer taste;
Grandeur must art as well as wealth display,
And appetite to elegance give way.
Foul Gluttony, his beastly empire o'er,
Now snuffs the bleeding Hecatomb no more;
The rosy silk, and glittering gem, adorn
No rich tiara by the tyrant worn;
The flowing muslin in resplendent folds
No bloated son of selfish passion holds;
A nobler end the gifts of Commerce share,
And deck with heighten'd charms the lovely fair;
The snowy lawn's transparent web displays
The panting bosom to the enamor'd gaze;
For them the loom it's dædal labor plies,
For them the gems disclose their various dies,
Rival their glowing cheeks, and emulate their eyes.
Even tho' their smiles the stubborn bosom tame,
They kindle martial valor's generous flame:
Europe of old her free-born daughters gave
To Virtue's champion, not to Passion's slave,
Not only Love's sweet raptures to dispense,
And sooth with wanton blandishment the sense,
But the rough scenes of changeful life to share,
Double each joy, and lighten every care,
While he their choice who fiercest waged the fight,
For Beauty ever graced the boldest knight:
And still amid Refinement's softest reign
The glorious wish their gentle breasts retain.
No lazy Sybarite with wily art
By female manners wins the female heart,
But through the studied garb and air refin'd,
Must beam the symptoms of the manly mind,
For warlike fame their sure attention draws,
And the brave soldier gains their first applause.
Contending Nations too with jealous pride,
And different interest, Europe's shores divide;
Each state, like Greece of old in Freedom's hour,
With greater strength boasts independent power,
And fierce Ambition by incessant storms
In valor's rigid school the hero forms.
Hence though it's sweet allurements Wealth display,
Though Pleasure wide extend her silken sway,
Still Europe may her manly sons behold,
Firm though luxurious, and though gentle bold;
The polish'd noble feels the generous fires
And dauntless courage of his feudal sires,
Her rule severe imperious Honor brings,
And checks the power of arbitrary kings.
Does Honor call?—unsheath'd the avenging sword
Mocks the stern mandate of the regal lord.
Does martial Honor point to bold renown?—
From sumptuous banquets, and from beds of down,
Elate and gay the pamper'd warrior flies
To fatal climates, and ungenial skies;
The extremes of heat and cold unshelter'd braves,
And tempts the furious strife of winds and waves;
Sees all around him crouding legions fall
Pierced by the gleaming steel, or distant ball,
Unmov'd receives the cannon's thundering breath,
And meets with breast unarm'd the shafts of death.
Ah Britain! while with radiance all divine
On thee the unsullied rays of Freedom shine!
While thy bold sons with steady eye pervade
Each form by ancient error sacred made,
The haughty noble's titled boast deride,
And treat with scorn hereditary pride,
Despise fantastic Honor's shadowy name,
Till Sense and Reason ratify her claim,
Dread in my bosom even those Virtues raise,
Anxious I view and tremble while I praise.
Though Rank in other climes may chance to tread
Insulting o'er indignant Merit's head,
Yet curb'd it's visionary fetters hold
The aspiring Slave of plunder, and of gold.
Custom will oft where Prudence yields, prevail,
And Prejudice may save if Wisdom fail:
Should e'er Corruption's dark insidious wave
Sap the firm barriers ancient Freedom gave;
Should Patriot Glory fly the ill-fated land,
And sordid Wealth the sole distinction stand,
What could repel with salutary force
Increasing Luxury's unbridled course?
Thy recreant sons may then lament too late
The happier errors of each neighbouring state;
And Virtue's pure ethereal substance fled,
Wish Honor's fainter semblance in it's stead.
Though Commerce wide her general blessings shower
When moderation bounds her restless power,
Though on our shores she spread with liberal hand
The fair productions of each distant land,
And richer harvests from our cultur'd fields
Rough Industry by her encourag'd yields,
Feeds both the toiling hive, and lazy drones,
The Hind that labors, and the Lord that owns;
Yet when forsaking every manlier thought,
Each firm resource with native vigor fraught,
A feeble state with abject hope relies
But on the uncertain aid her force supplies;
From imposts laid on vice subsistence draws,
And lavish waste encourages by laws;
Disdains each nobler call that charm'd of old,
And rates perfection by the test of gold,
Soon shall corruption with unbounded tide
In sweeping fury o'er the region ride;
While crouding woes the wretched empire wait
That strove by bloated weakness to be great,
Gave her own strength and inborn worth away
For the faint phantom of commercial sway;
Proud to extend a vast precarious reign
On Folly founded, and which Crimes maintain.
Sure, or the scene a gloomy aspect wears
View'd through the medium of prophetic fears,
Or now, even now, the sad contagion spreads,
And dire effects on British manners sheds.
The race who draw their worth from wealth alone,
Nor other rank, nor other merit own,
In high esteem by abject flattery placed,
Debase our morals, and corrupt our taste:
The dread infection flies from sire to son,
And Folly dissipates what Avarice won;
Expence the place of elegance supplies,
And half demolish'd Beauty's empire lies.
The breast that Education never form'd
Bright Science train'd, or sportive Fancy warm'd,
Knows not with mirth unting'd by scorn to please.
Be gay with dignity, and grave with ease,
But vents the jest uncouth with coarse delight,
And deems unmanner'd insolence polite.
While the rude vulgar glad to draw disgrace
On the invidious claims of birth, and place,
Applaud the glare by lavish Ignorance shewn,
And give distinctions chance may make their own.
Ye ancient Lords of Britain's fair domain!
'Tis yours to vindicate Refinement's reign;
Though Wisdom's eye disdain the titled slave
Staining the Honors which his fathers gave,
Yet with a brighter hue shall Virtues shine
That add new lustre to a noble line.—
Say is the pride of birth concentred all
In the old trophy and the banner'd hall?—
Yours be the fairer boast in docile youth
To catch from Learning's voice the lore of Truth,
Drink the pure reasonings of the patriot sage,
And cull each flower that decks the classic page,
Till by the fame of godlike heroes fir'd,
The man shall copy what the boy admir'd.
If leaving these superior aims ye try
In every vice with every fool to vie,
Each fair advantage fortune gives forego
To wage unequal conflict with the foe,
Say can the gazing croud be justly blam'd
Who pay to Wealth the deference Honor claim'd,
When sickly folly taints that generous worth
Which heighten'd grandeur and ennobled birth?
Your happier purpose be it to restore
The fame that waited Britain's Lords of yore,
Ere true Nobility's unblemish'd shape
Was chang'd for manners every knave can ape.
Yours be it Freedom's empire to support
No Faction's slaves, no flatterers of a Court.
Watch with keen eye the encroachments of the throne,
But guard it's rights for they protect your own.
Fly not, discharg'd each due of public care,
To breathe soft Dissipation's summer air,
Where Pleasure's hand prepares the poppied draught,
To drown reflection, and to deaden thought.
No, rather joy the shouting train to meet
Who hail the lord of each paternal seat;
Where your wide forests spread parental shade
View the gay scenes of rural taste display'd;
Let Hospitality's warm hand await
To court the stranger to the friendly gate;
Enforce with steady zeal your Country's laws,
To Justice true, and firm in Virtue's cause;
Curb Vice licentious in her mad career,
And teach oppressive Arrogance to fear;
Redress when injur'd Merit heaves the sigh,
And wipe the tear from pale Affliction's eye:
So shall your fame with purer honor live
Than wealth, than faction, or than rank can give,
While these best titles on each name attend,
The bad man's terror, and the poor man's friend.
Long may ye mock in this secure defence
The vain attempts of wealthy Insolence:
No more shall sense by rudeness be debas'd,
Or Fortune's lavish minions vitiate taste;
Her stores profuse no more shall Commerce fling,
But brood o'er Industry with fostering wing;
While your examples teach her wiser train
To use with prudence, what by care they gain.
And you ye fair! forgive the honest lay
That even your slightest errors dares display,
Nor think satiric rage my arm can move
To wound like Diomed the Queen of Love,
Though I presume to point the fated hour,
Mark'd with the symptoms of your fading power,
And mourn that all those arts which life refine,
Rais'd by your sway, shall with your sway decline.
Oft by the youth neglected now ye stand
Nor meet Attention's fond assiduous hand:
O be it yours to check with just disdain;
This mark of selfish Luxury's domain,
Ah! leave that thirst of riot's endless joy
Whose constant round your empire must destroy:
Beauties from scene to scene that restless fly
Lose all their force, and sate the public eye;
The midnight revel early age o'ertakes,
And the wan cheek the native rose forsakes;
Light Affectation too intent to please
Disfigures more than time or pale disease;
And tyrant Fashion with Procrustes' arm
Shapes to it's wild caprice each tortur'd charm.
For Love's! for Virtue's sake! ah lay aside
The undaunted forehead, and the martial stride!
Again the garb of female softness wear,
And quit the fierceness of the Grenadier:
For can the ornaments your cares combine
When all the toilet's rich materials shine,
Match blushing Modesty's transparent red
O'er the warm cheek in sweet suffusion spread,
Or like the downcast eye's mild lustre move,
Whose lid veils Meekness and whose glance is Love?
In fabled times by Ida's lofty wood,
When rival Goddesses contending stood,
Though Juno conscious of her awful mien
March'd with the state of Jove's imperious Queen,
Though Pallas deck'd her Amazonian charms
In the refulgent glare of radiant arms,
Yet Love prevail'd in Cytherea's eyes,
And smiling Beauty gain'd the golden prize.
From Albion far may heaven's benign decrees
Avert the storms my anxious mind foresees:
Still may she shine with pure Refinement's grace
Secure on Virtue's adamantine base;
Prosperous awhile though private Vice may stand,
No miracle can save a vicious land;
In life's calm paths though fortune oft dispense
Success to Guilt, and pain to Innocence.
Whence Faith with strengthen'd eye beyond the tomb
Sees the dread hour of Justice yet to come,
On public crimes must early vengeance wait,
And speedy ruin wrap an impious state,
Since from the offence the sure correction springs,—
And her own scourge abandon'd Folly brings.
But let not man attempt with bounded skill
To search the depths of Heaven's eternal will,
Inspect the rolls of fate with fruitless care,
And read the future doom of empires there.
Enough, her eye as cool Reflection throws
O'er all the scenes these lengthen'd lays disclose,
To mark each prospect as they move along,
And draw these moral maxims from the song:
That though Refinement know with temperate ray
To wake each bloom of Merit into day,
Urg'd to excess her heighten'd powers destroy
The expanding bud, and blast each promis'd joy,
As storms and sultry gleams o'ercome the flower
Rais'd by the genial sun, and gentle shower.
That Education, while her careful art
Clears from each baneful Prejudice the heart
Must cherish inborn Glory's generous aim,
The source of rising Worth, and future Fame.
That above all, on each ingenuous breast
Be with strong force this sacred Truth impress'd;
No polish'd Manners rival Virtue's price,
No savage Ignorance disgusts like Vice.
Faringdon Hill. Book Ii
The sultry hours are past, and Phœbus now
Spreads yellower rays along the mountain's brow:
The broken clouds unnumber'd tints display,
Drinking the effulgence of departing day;
And to our eyes present a radiant view,
Italia's purpled ether never knew.
The eastern prospect now attracts the sight
Where every shrub reflects the setting light:
With ruddy flash the cottage casement gleams,
And shines the waving wood with golden beams.
Where Isis stream divides yon distant glade,
Lo Nuneham rises 'midst the sombre shade;
While at her feet, as the clear current bends,
The lofty spire of Abingdon ascends.
Hygeia and her Oread train inhale
On Radley's site the pure ethereal gale.
On Cherbury's ramparts, urg'd by peaceful toil,
The shining plowshare turns the fruitful soil,
Where erst the peasant saw with anxious fear
The gleaming falchion and protended spear.
On Hinton's verdant brow the lofty trees
Tremble obedient to the evening breeze:
And Pusey her inverted dome surveys,
In the smooth stream that through her meadows strays.
See Buckland here her lovely scenes display,
Which rude e'er while in rich disorder lay,
Till Taste and Genius with corrective hand
Spread culture's nicest vesture o'er the land,
Rang'd every object in it's fairest light,
And call'd each latent beauty to the sight;
Cloth'd the declining slope with pendant wood,
And o'er the sedge-grown meadow pour'd the flood,
While manly Execution's active arm
Wakes to existence each ideal charm.
In the deep gloom of yon impervious bowers,
There Carswell hides her hospitable towers:
And at our feet where the rich pastures spread,
Lo Wadley rears her renovated head,
As art and active labor, join'd, improve
Each fair extended lawn and rising grove,
New scenes unfolding still on every side
Declare the affluence industry supply'd.
Blush! blush, ye sons of power! who proudly stand
Rich in the ruins of your native land;
Who every virtue, every right have sold,
For royal smiles, or ministerial gold;
Proud on your breasts a glittering badge to bear,
True honor hates, and freedom scorns to wear,
If worth, or shewn in peace, or prov'd in war,
Shed not a livelier lustre than the star?
Blush, ye fell race! who cross'd the briny flood,
Foes to mankind! and prodigal of blood!
With wanton rage to waft pale famine o'er
From Albion's cliffs to sad Bengala's shore:
Where starving myriads on the cruel train
Call'd Justice' awful sword, but call'd in vain;
Till Britain's senate, fir'd with patriot flame,
Resolv'd to vindicate her country's fame,
Bade England's laws to Ganges' banks extend,
And equal rule the Indian's life defend.
Though Grecia's orders grace your marble dome,
Though blooms the fairest landscape where ye roam,
Yet sacred Justice shall your seats pervade,
And Conscience haunt you through the deepest shade:
Whilst him whose wealth the arts of Commerce raise,
Mankind shall honor, and the Muse shall praise.
But if like thine, O Charles! his generous heart,
The smiles of fortune to his friends impart;
If heaven, that gave him affluence, gave him too
A soul to every social duty true;
Virtue with joy shall chant his favor'd name,
And give a wreath beyond the power of fame;
While all who know his worth exulting find
That fortune, blessing him, has blest mankind.
Lo Shellingford, an Stanford, 'midst the train
Of hoary trees that skirt yon level plain,
The lofty tower and pointed spire display
Conspicuous, glittering in the western ray:
And on yon hill it's distant head that rears,
Lockinge aloft thy shining dome appears!
Beneath, what woodland nymph with artful hand
The vaulted grotto's sparry roof has plann'd,
Taught the rude arch with pendant ore to shine,
And rang'd each bright production of the mine?
No sylvan Goddess this retreat can claim,
Form'd by the fancy of a mortal dame;
Who from yon humble vale's irriguous bed
To the high cliff the crystal fountain led;
Thence bade in murmurs soft the lucid wave
Pour it's fair current through the craggy cave;
Where every Naiad 'midst the rocks reclin'd,
Approves what Taste and Wymondesold design'd.
Ye envious trees! why does your leafy pride,
Stretch'd o'er the bending valley, Wantage hide?—
Sure every Muse and every Grace will join
With votive hands the fairest wreath to twine;
Cull with assiduous toil the choicest flowers,
And hang the brightest garland on her towers:
While grateful Liberty shall love the shade,
Her guardian chief where fostering Virtue laid;
And Britain's Genius bless the hallow'd earth
Which gave her patriot king, her Alfred, birth.
That equal laws these happy regions share
Springs, Prince benign! from thy paternal care.
Through the dark mists which Error o'er mankind
Tenfold had spread, and wrap'd the human mind;
At thy command fair Science shot her light,
And chas'd the horrid gloom of Gothic night;
To Isis' brink the wandering Muses led,
And taught each drooping art to lift her head:
Hence with the warrior laurel's blood-stain'd bough
That binds with sacred wreath thy conquering brow,
Wisdom's illustrious Goddess interweaves
With mystic hand her olive's peaceful leaves.
Thine is the gift that here no alien crew,
To venal interest more than justice true,
Judge with unpitying eye misfortune's cause,
With cruel power enforcing cruel laws;
But watchful Themis o'er each freeman rears
That sacred shield, the judgment of his peers,
By which protected Britain's dauntless train
See factions rage, and tyrants frown, in vain.
O dear-bought Freedom! if thy holy flame
Burns in our souls, nor rests an empty name;
If for thy sake the kindling warmth we feel
Unwarp'd by selfish views or party zeal;
May we with wakeful, nay with jealous, eye
Regard this hallow'd source of Liberty;
This once attack'd, on which her rights depend,
May every breast the guardian power defend;
Each patriot tongue assert our injur'd laws,
And pour resistless sounds in Freedom's cause;
Each patriot arm, should eloquence be vain,
Lift the dread falchion on the embattled plain;
May we with more than ancient zeal pursue
Rights, Rome and boasted Athens never knew;
Guard this Palladium with our latest breath,
Or perish with it in a glorious death!
Where from the fertile plains yon hills arise,
Quit the low vales and shoot into the skies,
Carv'd rudely on the pendant sod, is seen
The snow-white courser stretching o'er the green:
The antique figure scan with curious eye,
The glorious monument of victory!
There England rear'd her long dejected head,
There Alfred triumph'd, and invasion bled.
Long had proud Denmark stretch'd the iron hand
Of harsh oppression o'er the groaning land;
The freeborn swains, to mean subjection broke,
In silent sorrow bore the opprobrious yoke:
Their virtuous prince to wilds and forests driven,
No shed to screen him from the inclement heaven,
Hears all around his subjects cries ascend,
And sees them sink unable to defend;
Chas'd by his foes disguis'd he treads the plain,
A wretched exile in his own domain!
Much hardship borne, and many dangers past,
On suffering Virtue Fortune smiles at last:
Arous'd to vengeance by his people's woe
He frowns defiance on the insulting foe;
Leaves every fear and every doubt behind.—
High waves the Saxon banner to the wind!
Fir'd at the sight, the country far and wide
Pours forth her veteran sons on every side;
His trusty bow each hardy yeoman draws,
Or lifts his shining brand in Freedom's cause:
Freedom resounds from each determin'd voice,
Freedom the first, and death the second, choice;
Courage and Conquest o'er their helmets play;
The invader trembled at the dread array;
Onward resistless march'd the impetuous host;
And fell Oppression fled the hostile coast:
The exulting steed in conquering standards flies,
While Denmark's raven screaming quits the skies;
And hence the Victor's jocund hands portray'd
The Saxon ensign on yon verdant glade.
His country freed, discerning Alfred saw
How vain the civil bond of social law;
Of crowds untrain'd how weak the hasty aid,
When force prevails, and barbarous hosts invade.
That policy which guards each modern throne
Was then to Europe's bounded kings unknown;
No artful statesman then with treacherous breast
Arm'd half a people to enslave the rest.
With wiser care a rampart firm he plann'd,
To guard from future foes the happy land,
Bade Liberty her rash assailants brave,
And Freemen vindicate what Freedom gave.
He taught each sturdy laborer of the field
The sickle and the sword by turns to wield:
With chearful industry the generous swains
Till for their wealthy lords the peaceful plains;
Or, rous'd from rural toil by war's alarms,
Beneath their well-known banners rush to arms.
Let other realms where Freedom never smil'd,
O'eraw'd by rigor, or by fraud beguil'd,
See mercenary bands surround the throne,
Or safety seek from alien arms alone:
But shall not England blush for every son
Too proud to guard the rights his sires have won?
Rights, in whose cause full many a warrior stood,
By toil obtain'd, and seal'd with patriot blood!
Though envy frown, though venal millions blame,
Shall she not ever love her Chatham's name,
Who while on distant climes her rage he pour'd,
Prudent at home this best defence restor'd;
Her manly sons array'd with parent care,
Arous'd once more her manly youth to war,
And bade her breezy hills, and fruitful plains,
Send forth in arms again their native swains.
Lives there a man in this exulting isle,
Who sees our orchards bloom, our harvests smile,
Who every breath in perfect freedom draws,
His rights protected by the noblest laws;
Would wish to break the fence by wisdom plann'd,
And wrest the sword from every freeman's hand,
Wish to behold our bare defenceless coasts
Unarm'd, or guarded but by foreign hosts?
Dare thy strong powers O Eloquence employ!
This best internal bulwark to destroy?—
Though every guile of specious Fraud he use,
'Mid listening crowds his Poison to infuse;
Try every Wile his curs'd Designs to hide:—
Superior Truth his Cunning shall deride,
Shall tear each paltry mean Disguise away,
Expose his Rancor to the face of day;
His selfish Views to all mankind impart,
And shew the Traitor graven on his heart.
Now turn your eyes and from the mountain's brow
Direct them to the cultur'd vale below;
How rich the spacious plains that stretch between!
How ripe the harvests, and the meads how green!
The herds in myriads o'er the pastures throng;
And mingled lowings break each rural song.
Where e'er with patient care the laborer's hand
Guides the sharp plow-share through the fertile land,
The farmers see the produce crown their toil,
Eye the rich scene, and bless the happy soil.
Soon shall the yellow wealth whose swelling grains
The stalk low bending hardly now sustains,
Stor'd in the barn with jocund labor, yield
To every rural sport the uncumber'd field.
The pointer then shall o'er the stubbled vale
Range unconfin'd, and catch the tainted gale:
The hound's quick scent, or greyhound's eager view,
O'er the smooth plain the timid hare pursue;
Then swelling on the burthen'd breeze afar,
Shall burst the tumult of the woodland war;
While rush the daring youth with breathless speed
To see the wily fox unpity'd bleed.
Let not the Muse the active toil despise,
Or from the chace avert her angry eyes:
Though gentle Shenstone deem'd the hunter's throat
Drown'd with it's clamorous strain the lyric note:
Though pensive Thomson, indolently laid
Beneath the silver willows trembling shade,
Baiting with cruel art the treacherous hook,
To lure the guiltless inmates of the brook,
Blame, as his hands the barbed weapon draw
From the mute wretches agonizing jaw,
Those, who in manly sport with frantic joy
The rapid tenants of the wood destroy:
Yet has the warbling lyre in many a strain
Describ'd the active pleasures of the plain.
The moral bard of Windsor's royal groves
Sings of the hunter, and his toil approves;
Even he, whose verse to mortal eyes has given
The wrath of angels, and the wars of heaven,
Joyful has listen'd to the hounds, and horn,
Rousing with chearful peal the slumbering morn:
Nor shall with brow averse the rural Muse
To Somerville the Poet's meed refuse,
Whose skilful notes each sylvan pastime trace,
And teach the various mazes of the chace;
Whence livelier thoughts and lighter spirits rise,
Strength knits the limbs and courage fires the eyes,
Glows in the ruddy cheek a purer blood,
And rolls the tide of life a sprightlier flood.
Propitious now on Britain's favor'd isle
Though white-rob'd Peace and jocund Plenty smile;
Though while her wrath on hostile shores is hurl'd,
Unhurt she sits amidst a warring world;
Say, have the tranquil scenes which now we see
Been ever such, and must they ever be?
Ah! may not Civil Discord stalk again
With bloody footsteps o'er her ravag'd plain?
Or fell invasion waste her fenceless coast,
Her guardian Fleet by adverse tempests toss'd?
Then, if our country's bleeding breast demands
The aid of dauntless breasts, and ready hands,
To the stout race who haunt the hill and dale
Will nothing then the hunter's toil avail?—
While round her feeble votary's drooping brow
What verdant wreaths shall letter'd sloth bestow?
In vain may Patriot Zeal the bosom warm,
If pale disease unnerve the willing arm:
While the bold youth whose hardy frame defies
The force of fighting winds and angry skies;
Who braving winter's rage pursues the chace,
The sleety tempest rattling in his face;
Or when the dog-star shoots his sultry rays,
Rages unconquer'd by the scorching blaze;
Shall, if he lead Britannia's rustic train,
To the dread conflict of some bloody plain,
Shrink not, though summer suns their beams unfold,
Or biting frosts intensely pierce with cold,
But Freedom's call with stedfast march pursue
Through noontide's sultry heat, or midnight's chilling dew.
Too much the enervate bards of modern days
Attune to slothful ease their moral lays;
The seats of ancient lore their favorite theme,
Lyceum's shade, and hoary Academe;
Forgetful that the stadium's hardy toil,
The boxer's cæstus, and the wrestler's oil,
Sent Grecia's heroes forth a vigorous train,
Learn'd in the schools and victors on the plain.
The Athenian sage, his Country's pride and shame,
Is known to martial, as to letter'd, fame;
Now did he sooth with truth's divine behest,
Young Alcibiades, thy fervent breast,
Now through the paths of war thy steps he led,
And rear'd his guardian buckler o'er thy head,
And he, whose mind with active virtue fraught,
Practis'd each lesson that his master taught,
Not satisfied of love divine to dream,
By the still margin of Ilissus' stream,
Or in warm Fancy's vivid tints to draw
Ideal forms of Polity and Law;
The illustrious Chief who led his glorious band
O'er barren rocks, and deserts black with sand,
Still undismay'd amid surrounding woes,
Still scattering terror on unnumber'd foes.
Learn'd 'midst the echoing forests to sustain
The toils of war and all her horrid train;
Then taught, descending to the embattled field,
Barbarian rage and Persian wiles to yield.
Let Luxury's vain sons with careless pride
The votaries firm of manly toil deride,
Wrap'd in inglorious sloth, let them despise
The noble thirst of glorious enterprise.
But shall the Muse, whose hand should point the road
Which leads o'er rugged steeps to fame's abode;
Whose voice should loudly chant each Hero's name,
To wake in other minds a kindred flame?—
Shall she inglorious now in siren lays
Lavish on harmless Indolence her praise;
Damp the strong flame that warms the noble breast,
And hush each generous passion into rest?
Shall she to those alone confine the song,
Who creep obscure life's tranquil vale along,
And blame the dauntless few who dare explore
The dangerous rocks of bold Ambition's shore;
Who tempt with venturous prow life's stormy seas,
And toil themselves to buy for others ease;
Unaw'd by tyrant power, or factious hate,
Who tread with blameless feet the paths of state;
Or pluck bight honor's sacred meed afar,
Undaunted, from the frowning front of war?
Well may with pious hand the indignant Muse
To many a Victor's brow the wreath refuse,
Well may she tear the laurel vainly spread
O'er many a King's and many a Warrior's head;
And curse a Cæsar's or a Cromwell's name,
Though erring myriads call their ravage fame.
But shall not they who conquer, or who die,
In the great strife of injur'd Liberty,
A tribute from the peaceful bard expect,
Sung by those Muses whom their swords protect?
Say cannot Greece and Rome their warriors bring,
To whom even Virtue's hand might strike the string?
Say cannot Albion, 'mongst whose sons we find
All that exalts and dignifies mankind;
Say cannot she afford such themes of praise
As well might grace the poet's chastest lays?
She can!—she can!—Her Alfred planning laws,
Her Godlike Hambden bleeding in their cause;
Guiding with uncorrupted hands the state
Her Walsingham in scorn of fortune great;
Her gallant Wolfe triumphant even in death,
While weeping Victory caught his parting breath;
Her Hawke, whose ardor rocks nor shoals could bar,
Nor the dread rage of elemental war,
While his bold fleet the Gaul's design explores,
Destroys his navy, and insults his shores;
Are themes whose force the coldest bard may fire,
To call forth rapture from his sounding lyre,
While Truth shall listen to the warbling strings,
And Reason vindicate what Fancy sings.
Enough, rash Muse! tempt not the arduous height
Which asks the Epic or Pindaric flight:
To the fair vale again reduce the lay,
Ere envious twilight snatch the scene away;
For evening's shades with deepening tint prevail,
And darkness soon shall wrap the misty dale.
Here Coleshill's towers demand their share of fame,
Proud of their site, and their great Artist's name;
There, shelter'd from the storm by bowering trees,
The milder charms of verdant Becket please.
What though her level lawn nor sinks, nor swells,
Forms rising hills, or hollow-winding dells;
Yet every friend to genuine taste, who roves
Or by her shining lakes or through her groves,
Shall see a Grace in every solemn shade,
And own that Beauty crowns each watery glade.
Let Taste capricious strive to charm the heart
With all the nice perplexities of art,
With toil immense a sickly scene produce
Trifling in ornament as void of use,
Bid Britain's hills Arabia's sweets perfume,
Bid in our vales Sabæan roses bloom,
Bid summer's fruits 'mid winter's frosts appear,
Force stubborn Nature and invert the year.
To blend utility with each design
The nobler praise, O Barrington! be thine;
The smooth canal whose ample sheet supplies
Food for the board, and pleasure to the eyes,
O'er the morass in shining volumes laid
Drains the moist surface of the rushy glade,
And where the marsh and frequent slough impede
The shatter'd carriage, and the floundering steed,
There the firm causeys form'd by useful care
O'er the deep vale the thankful traveller bear.
Contract the prospect now, and mark more near
Fair Faringdon her humble turret rear,
Where once the tapering spire conspicuous grew,
Till civil strife the sacred pile o'erthrew:
For as on hapless Stuart's ruin bent,
Against yon walls their lord his thunder sent,
And led with ruthless rage the hostile train,
While his own weeping Lares plead in vain;
The balls invade, with erring fury driven,
The hallow'd structure consecrate to heaven.
Such is alas the baleful fruit that springs
From factious subjects and oppressive kings!
Beneath yon roof by the cold pavement press'd,
My peaceful sires in solemn silence rest.—
Imagination flags her pinions here,
And o'er the marble drops the filial tear;
Here too the Muse prepares the votive verse,
The mournful tribute to a Parent's herse;—
O sacred Name! by every tie endear'd!
Lov'd by your friends, by all who knew rever'd.
How well you bore, to Freedom ever just,
This fertile County's delegated Trust,
The British Senate saw, when firm you stood,
Firm to fair Virtue, and your Country's good;
Friend to the worth from Patriot Zeal that springs,
No dupe to Faction, and no Slave to Kings.
How far your private merits could extend,
How kind a Father, and how warm a Friend,
My faultering voice would strive to sing in vain,
For gushing tears would choke the imperfect strain;
The force of words unequal to impart
The strong sensations of my heaving heart.
Here ever slumbering with the silent dead,
Thy daughter, glorious Hambden! rests her head.
Ah cruel mother! say, why does not here
Thy youthful Hambden press his early bier?
Why does no storied urn his worth proclaim,
Who shar'd his grandsire's virtues with his name?—
Untimely on a distant shore he died,
The wretched victim of a parent's pride.
Ye mourning Loves and Graces, aid the verse,
While I in plaintive notes his woes rehearse;
To these his native fields his wrongs relate,
The hapless story of a Lover's fate.
His youthful form could boast each manly grace,
Health strung his nerves, and beauty deck'd his face;
Ingenuous shame, and truth that scorns disguise,
Glow in his cheek, and sparkle in his eyes:
But ah! when manhood now with genial ray
Began to call his virtues into day,
Love! all controling Love! whose fatal power
Spares the rank weed to crop the blushing flower,
Nip'd all his ripening graces in their bloom,
And early mark'd his merits for the tomb.
An aged swain, whose lowly cottage stood
Where 'midst the valley spreads yon rising wood,
A lovely daughter had, whose matchless form
The frozen heart of sapless age might warm:
With falling snow her polish'd skin could vie,
Her lips the coral sham'd, the jet her eye:
There love and modesty united speak,
And opening roses paint her glowing cheek;
The soft redundance of her hair behind
Flow'd loose, and careless wanton'd in the wind;
Such powerful charms the youthful Hambden fire,
He saw perfection, and he felt desire:
The growing passion every thought employs,
Disturbs his peace, and poisons all his joys.
Maria's image ever in his breast
His daily ease destroys and nightly rest;
From his wan cheek the lively crimson flies,
And smiling health forsakes his sinking eyes:
No more his well-breath'd hounds, at early dawn
Ranging, dash eager o'er the dewy lawn;
Now sad he wanders through the sylvan glades,
And sighs responsive to the lonesome shades,
Each Echo answers to his mournful tale,
And pensive numbers float on every gale.
But, as increasing Love resistless grew,
From his torn bosom vanquish'd Prudence flew;
To fair Maria's feet he sighing came,
Confess'd her empire and avow'd his flame;
Soon his soft words the beauteous virgin move,
And secret Hymen crown'd his eager love.
Now peace and happiness appear to spread
Their flattering pinions o'er his favor'd head;
Love every joy and every charm supplies,
And marks each golden moment as it flies.
Ah hapless pair! the short-liv'd bliss enjoy,
Soon shall impending clouds your calm destroy;
Even now, with more than mortal vengeance red,
The tempest bursts on each devoted head.
Ten quick-revolving moons had roll'd away,
And smiling transport crown'd each happy day;
When various symptoms to the world disclose
Maria soon must feel a mother's throes:
The busy neighbours round the tale proclaim,
And scowling Envy triumphs in her shame.
At length the generous youth, distress'd to hear
Each clownish tongue her reputation tear,
Throws with indignant scorn the veil aside,
And owns the fair Maria for his bride.
Soon as his cruel mother heard the tale,
Swift grows her cheek with trembling anger pale;
In vain his youth, in vain her beauties plead,
Instant revenge pursues the imprudent deed;
No worth could please to peasants when allied,
No charms disarm the force of female pride.—
Say did thy Father such distinctions find,
Amidst the equal race of human kind,
When his keen sword he drew in Freedom's cause,
And bled to vindicate her trampled laws?
While rage and hate the ruthless matron fire,
She bears the fatal tidings to his sire,
Tries every art a father's wrath to move,
Awake his vengeance, and subdue his love.
With savage cruelty they now divide
The hapless Hambden from his weeping bride:
She rends her hair, and beats her breast in vain,
Torn from her arms he seeks the distant main.
It chanc'd that Britain's hardy sons prepare
To pour on haughty Spain their naval war.—
Brief let me be, the winds propitious blew,
Proud o'er the waves the gallant navy flew;
Britain aloft her bloody ensign spread,
Iberia saw, she trembled, and she fled;
While her resistless foes exulting bore
The spoils of India to their native shore.—
Ah gallant youth! nor native shore, nor friend,
Shall e'er to thee their welcome sight extend;
Far on a hostile coast thy body lies,
Wash'd by rude waves, or scorch'd by sultry skies.
When sad Maria heard the tale of woe,
From her full eyes no gushing torrents flow;
No current gives her burthen'd breast relief,
But pale she sullen sits in silent grief;
Till her heart bursting with redoubled sighs,
She calls her much lov'd Hambden's name, and dies.
The haughty parents, then alas too late!
Mourn their unhappy son's disastrous fate;
Grieve for the woes their fatal rage supply'd,
Tear their gray locks, and curse their foolish pride;
Pour tears of anguish o'er Maria's grave,
And weep the victims they refus'd to save.
Turn from these solemn scenes the averted head,
The awful mansions of the silent dead!
To where the green-rob'd Dryads joyful rove
'Midst the thick foliage of yon echoing grove.—
Ah blissful seats! beneath whose pleasing shade
My Childhood and my Youth delighted stray'd;
Here first my eyes beheld the gems that shine
Bright and resplendent from the classic mine;
While as I gaz'd my youthful bosom glow'd,
And from my tongue untutor'd numbers flow'd.
Here far from every selfish passion's reach,
Which the world's dangerous school will often teach,
I pour'd to real Love one artless tear,
And breath'd at Friendship's shrine the vow sincere.
The Muses here their grateful offerings pay,
And dedicate to you their closing lay;
Nor ask a brighter wreath to grace their song,
Than verdant grows these waving woods among.
Blest, happy Regions! seats of joy and ease!
Which still have pleas'd me, and must ever please;
Should e'er a Tyrant's Sway, or Faction's Roar,
Drive Liberty from this her native shore;
Though following her, I'd rather friendless go
Through Afric's burning wastes, or Zembla's snow,
Than haunt these much-lov'd shades and favorite springs,
Robb'd of the joys that independence brings:
Yet should I wander to a fairer plain
Than thought can paint, or youthful fancy feign;
Still should I load with sighs the reckless wind,
Still weep those darling scenes I left behind.
If this be weakness! from my beating heart
O never!—never! may that weakness part!—
Let the proud Stoic with disdainful eyes
The thought of local prejudice despise,
And boast in every soil and every air
Where Virtue florishes, his country there;
But ask the generous train whose bosoms beat
With gentle feelings, as with patriot heat;
Would not to see each long-frequented shade
Low on the earth by hostile vengeance laid,
On Albion's desolated fields to gaze,
See her towers fall, her splendid cities blaze;
Though every friend had left the ruin'd coast,
And weeping Freedom mourn'd her empire lost,
Still with new rage their kindling breasts inspire,
And bid their bosoms glow with fiercer fire.
But far from us such sad events shall be,
If aught the Muse prophetic can foresee;
Still Peace and heavenly Liberty shall smile,
With wonted sweetness on their long-lov'd isle;
Pale Tyranny avoid the hostile shore,
And Faction lift her scorpion scourge no more;
Each freeborn swain still reap with thankful hand,
Secure from wrongs, the produce of his land:
And lovely Faringdon! my voice shall still
Or in thy groves, or on this healthful hill,
In rustic numbers sing the happy plains,
Where Freedom triumphs, and where Brunswick reigns.
The Progress Of Refinement. Part I.
As when the stream by casual fountains fed
First gushes from the cavern's mossy bed,
Dashing from rock to rock, the scanty rill
With no luxuriant herbage clothes the hill;
Yet when increas'd the ampler current flows,
Each bordering mead with deeper verdure glows,
It's lingering waves through painted vallies glide,
And Health and Plenty deck it's verdant side;
Till swell'd by wintry storms and sweeping rains,
If chance it's rising deluge drown the plains,
The stagnate waters choke the sedgy soil,
And the fond hopes of future harvests foil:
So first Refinement in it's infant hour
Sheds o'er the savage tribe an useless power,
Nor can it's feeble energy impart
Or grace or softness to the human heart;
But when in Reason's moderate bounds confin'd
It's plenteous streams invigorate the mind,
The rising Arts their genial influence share,
And all the social Virtues flourish there;
Till Luxury's polluting torrents roll
A flood destructive o'er the enervate soul,
And to the flowers of generous growth succeeds
The baneful progeny of Vice's weeds.
Man, ere by rules of civil compact taught,
(Uncouth his form, and unimprov'd his thought,)
O'er the rude waste a selfish savage goes,
Nor mutual cares, nor mutual kindness knows,
How to subsist his Being's sole employ,
Strength all his art, and rapine all his joy;
And where a steril soil, and frowning heaven,
Are to his race by ruthless Nature given,
Compell'd by chace his scanty food to gain,
Pierc'd by sharp winds, or drench'd by chilling rain,
While from the assailing climate, rigid grown,
The alter'd fibres lose each nicer tone,
Long is the torpid soul by want oppress'd,
And dawning Reason slowly lights the breast.
But when his milder, happier portion, lies
In kindly regions, and more genial skies,
Where balmy sweets the ambient gales dispense,
And native Luxury enchants the sense,
Where Earth disdaining cultivation's care
Bids her free sons the luscious banquet share,
And the thick groves a roof sufficient spread
To shield from dews and heat the slumbering head;
Press'd by no want, in leisure's vacant hours
The expanding Mind perceives her latent powers,
And from the silken air the nerves derive,
To each sensation tremblingly alive,
Pleasures uncheck'd by labor's stern control,
And bear each finer feeling to the soul.
Then as reclining on the fertile soil,
Unknown the want of culture's stubborn toil,
His grazing charge the gentle herdsman tends,
And o'er the vale his eye delighted bends,
Ten thousand lovely images suggest
The dreams of Fancy to his tranquil breast,
The female form his soften'd heart inspires
With milder thoughts and more refin'd desires,
Sweet notes of rural courtship fill the grove,
And flow the tender strains of pastoral love:
Or as his eyes the nightly ether view,
And trace the heavenly concave's cloudless blue,
He learns to know what different signs appear
To guide and regulate the varied year;
Observes the changeful Moon alternate show
Her orb full-beaming, and her waning bow,
And marks the inferior Planets as they roll
In stated periods round the shining pole.
Hence every charm that polish'd Nature knows,
All that eludes or weakens human woes
First dawn'd in regions where the solar beam
Pours with superior force the effulgent stream,
And to our view the infant Arts arise
Beneath the warmth of Asia's fostering skies,
Or on Arabia's happier coasts inhale,
Loaded with sweets, the aromatic gale,
Or with attentive ear the fables learn
Of mystic lore, by Nile's redundant urn;
Till gently wafted by the favoring breeze
O'er the smooth surface of Ionian seas,
The smiling train their lovely offspring bore
To rise and flourish on the Grecian shore.
Inventive Fancy emulous to raise
For Worth deceas'd the monument of praise,
To bid Fame live beyond this transient breath,
And snatch heroic deeds from icy death,
With filial love the frail memorial rear'd,
And the heap'd fragment mark'd the tomb rever'd:
But vain the pious care!—Oblivion's sway
Soon swept each undistinguish'd name away,
The story of renown no breast retains,
And unexplain'd the mouldering pile remains.
Then ripening Genius sought the Muses aid,
And rustic Verse it's opening powers display'd;
Though no soft grace of polish'd diction shine,
Though harsh the cadence, and though rude the line,
Yet strengthen'd Memory felt the useful art
That fix'd the favorite legend in the heart;
The hoary Sage the sure advantage saw,
And in rough strains promulg'd his simple law,
In the short verse the moral rule compress'd,
And early form'd to truth the docile breast.
The infant warblings of the Muses lyre
Subdue the will perverse, and passion dire;
Their gloomy wilds the savage race forsook
As Orpheus sung, and milder manners took,
And charm'd to order by Amphion's lay
The forms of civil life mankind obey.
As bursts the beam of day through clouded skies
At length with light ethereal Letters rise,
To chain the fleeting sound their magic taught,
Portray'd the Idea, and embodied thought;
Blest, happiest, privilege to mortals given!
Which wings the aspiring soul from Earth to Heaven.
Whether progressive skill the art acquir'd,
Or power divine the sacred gift inspir'd;
Whether a mere invention of the Mind
As opening Science civiliz'd mankind,
Or a peculiar mark of heavenly grace
At first bestow'd on Israel's favor'd race
Though Reason doubt;—from morn to setting day
The various tribes of human-kind survey,
And own that all who following Wisdom's plan
Fulfil those duties that distinguish Man;
All who extend their penetrating sight
Beyond the reach of animal delight,
This blessing from one common fountain share,
Though ting'd with ignorance, or refin'd by care:
Even Greece where letter'd Science prosper'd best
It's oriental origin confess'd,
Fix'd by the fabled Author Asia's claim,
And mark'd it's source by Cadmus' mystic name.
As the ripe feed when sown with skilful toil
Soon feels the influence of a friendly soil,
With rapid shoots the planter's care repays,
And high in air it's waving boughs displays;
So Greece beheld the ingenuous Arts expand
In her congenial air, and kindly land,
While Freedom by the insulting despot driven
From Southern climes, and Asia's warmer heaven,
Fix'd with delight her European throne
Oe'r favor'd realms, and regions all her own.
Cheer'd by her sway each slumbering Muse awakes,
And from her smiles superior vigor takes:
Now Poesy with animating fire
Throws her bold fingers o'er the Epic wire,
And Lyric Extasy exulting sings
Borne on the Theban eagle's towering wings,
While the chaste Drama rising by degrees,
By care successive polish'd, learns to please,
From the rude outlines of the mimic art
First shewn by Thespis in his wandering cart,
To the fam'd Bards whose labor'd scenes engage
The dumb attention of the Attic stage.
Soon every Science, every Art succeeds,
Happy to follow where a Sister leads.
Charm'd from her seats on Egypt's watery plain,
And freed from fabling Error's mystic chain,
Through the still gloom of Academus' shade
Philosophy with solemn footstep stray'd;
Bold Imitation still to Nature true
The perfect form from perfect models drew,
For ne'er were equall'd Grecia's lovely race
Or for the faultless shape, or beauteous face.
Music devoid of each capricious art
Touch'd with her sweetest melody the heart:
And Architecture plann'd, in awful state
The Dome with just proportion simply great,
Or nobly plain the Doric pile appear'd,
Or her light column soft Ionia rear'd,
Or Corinth bade her polish'd Temples rise
With ornamental grandeur to the skies.
With force united this illustrious train
Grac'd the loud forum, and the holy fane,
But chiefly were their magic charms combin'd
When the lov'd Drama fix'd the Athenian mind:
Whether the drops of generous pity spring
At the sad fate of Thebes' unhappy King,
Or glows the exulting heart with patriot flame
To hear the tale of Grecia's ancient fame,
On this delightful source of virtuous joy
The lavish Arts their choicest skill employ,
And all their various powers at once convene
To dress in gorgeous pomp the attractive scene.
Encourag'd thus by Freedom's favoring smiles,
While every Muse the listening ear beguiles,
While Wisdom grave, and polish'd Grace combine,
At once to form the Virtues, and refine,
Improvement spreads to life's more humble cares,
And Industry the happy influence shares:
Down the steep cliff, and o'er the craggy brow
Strong Agriculture drives his laboring plow,
And to the currents of the rising gale
Adventurous Commerce trusts her swelling sail;
To the bleak rock the cultur'd glebe succeeds,
Where waves the harvest and the vintage bleeds,
And the fraught vessel with her woven wings
The wealth of nations to Piræus brings.
Rous'd by those honors cull'd by Glory's hand
To dress the Victor on the Olympic sand,
With active toil each ardent stripling tries
To bind his forehead with the immortal prize;
Hence strength and beauty deck the Grecian race,
And manly labor gives them manly grace.—
Yet while the scenes of Nature and of Art
The perfect forms of elegance impart,
While Wisdom's sacred lore the bosom warms,
And brighter Virtue boasts her moral charms,
The bliss in social intercourse that lies
Unknown they lose, or knowing they despise,
Illiberal folly 'midst their mirth we find,
And savage grossness taints the noblest mind,
The genial board licentious sports beguile,
And sages woo the harlot's venal smile.
For the soft Sex whose mild enchanting power
With gentle pleasure cheers the festal hour,
Denied the banquet's temperate joys to share,
Are the mere drudges made of houshold care;
Hence faint the force of that refin'd desire
Which modest Beauty only can inspire.
To other paths diverted passion turns,
And with enthusiast ardor Friendship burns.—
Far be it from the virgin Muse to try
O'er that mysterious scene to throw her eye.
Enough for her, while every manly breast
She sees in Virtue's purest radiance dress'd,
Sees every heart, with patriot Glory warm,
Check the proud war, or perish in the storm,
To cry like Philip on that fatal plain
Where Victory wept the sacred Thebans slain,
Curs'd be the slanderous tongue that worth like this would stain.
Though some prevailing characters we trace
Through every nation of the Grecian race,
Though Superstition, Manners, Speech, the same,
One common origin to all proclaim;
Though when the different states assembled stood
By Pisa's shades, or fair Castalia's flood,
Where each time-hallow'd rite conspir'd to draw
On the full festival religious awe,
By the mix'd forms of mutual converse taught
The separate tribes congenial features caught;
Yet Greece no general bond of empire found
Which all her sons in one firm compact bound,
But each republic as it's fabric rose
Peculiar laws, peculiar customs chose.
Sparta, where royal power's divided sway
Alternate knew to govern and obey,
Where Kings and People equal rule restrain'd,
And rigid Law the only tyrant reign'd,
Saw grave Politeness spread her sober grace,
And Modesty suffuse the warrior's face:
No subtle reasoning mov'd her steady throng,
But every sentence clear, concise, and strong,
In artless guise the speaker's mind convey'd,
And simple language simple truths display'd:
No Luxury debauch'd her frugal train,
For public glory there, was private gain.
While Athens, where alike with frantic zeal
All aim'd by turns to guide the general weal,
For wide her blessings ample Freedom threw,
And every voice an equal suffrage knew;
Athens' beheld her sons forego their claim,
The substance quitting for the shadowy name,
And noisy Faction at Ambition's call
Usurp'd that empire which belong'd to all,
While specious Demagogues seduced the sense
With all the flowery tropes of eloquence,
And the free audience polish'd, and severe,
Mark'd each oration with a critic ear.
In vain might Prudence raise her warning voice
If soft persuasion won the public choice,
In vain it's aims might patriot care pursue
If one mistaken accent censure drew.
Awaken'd thus to every thrill of joy
While arts of elegance their thoughts employ,
Borne by the tide of eloquence along,
Mov'd by a tale, a fable, or a song,
Of their own delegated powers afraid,
Despising laws by their own suffrage made,
The fickle race impatient of control
Rush headlong onward to Corruption's goal:
What patriot sage to turn the current tries
Is doom'd to exile, or by poison dies,
And him they raise who impudent and loud
Inflames the passions of the giddy croud:
And though Invasion with remorseless hand
Spread flame and carnage o'er the groaning land,
The Theatre employs their sole debate,
And more they prize the Drama than the state:
If the fond scene present some favorite theme,
Lull'd by sweet Fancy's vain delusive dream,
Of Persia check'd and Greece preserv'd they boast
Though conquering Philip ravages their coast,
And Marathon's victorious deeds display
On the dread eve of Chæronea's day.
Of human glory thus how short the date!
Expence and Pride, on Wealth and Freedom wait,
And from her burthen'd lap Profusion throws
The seeds of growing Vice, and future woes.—
The fervent zeal of public spirit dead,
And patriot Virtue's manly influence fled,
The daring bands of freemen who defied
In fields of blood the Median Tyrant's pride,
Purchas'd, betray'd, divided, and o'erthrown,
Bend to a state their sires had hardly known.
Yet Science lov'd to breathe her favorite air,
Though Liberty was fled still linger'd there.
Even of those Chiefs who shar'd the unjust command
Which Philip and his greater son had plann'd,
Some brave descendants felt the Muses charms,
And sooth'd with liberal Arts usurping Arms;
Warm Patronage awhile with partial ray
Supply'd the loss of Freedom's genuine day,
And Genius consecrates to deathless fame
With grateful voice her Philadelphus' name.
Though mad Ambition soon with impious blow
Laid every fence of civil Virtue low,
And sunk in sloth, or petrified by fear,
No daring arm oppos'd her wild career,
Yet ne'er did abject Luxury's domain
O'er Grecia stretch her universal reign,
Or Asiatic Indolence dispense
That blasting torpor to each blunted sense,
Chill'd by whose touch the generous Purpose flies,
Droops Emulation, faded Glory dies,
While the corrupted heart each vice imbibes
That sinks mankind below the bestial tribes.
Religion, Language, Manners, though we find
Give one strong tincture to the Grecian mind,
Yet different Interest each republic draws,
Divided Claims, and independent Laws,
The neighbouring states eternal war alarms,
And ease invaded yields to manlier arms;
Whence strict the rules of discipline remain,
And firm their courage on the embattled plain.
Though by compulsion strong, and stronger art,
Philip could temporary peace impart,
With potent gold a shameful union bought
Which public Wisdom oft had vainly sought,
Short was the race by his Ambition run,
And short the glory of his conquering son;
Then as the spoils of empire to divide
Contending chiefs with impious ardor tried,
And Freedom bade some bolder states unite
To guard with ancient zeal her sacred right,
The doubtful conflict for a time call'd forth
The dormant relics of heroic worth,
Till every weak distinction swept away
By the full tide of Rome's superior sway,
Whate'er the stores of Grecian art supplied,
Serv'd but to swell the happier Victor's pride;
And haughty Luxury asham'd to own
O'er tributary realms a partial throne,
Attends the rising power by Fate design'd
To fix her boundless empire o'er mankind.
Lo! in the regions whence Favonius blows
A hardy race Hesperia's vales disclose:
With sinews firm the rugged offspring rise
And brave the force of less auspicious skies,
For freezing winds had erst Campania known,
And yellow Tiber worn an icy zone.
The sons of Rome ne'er felt the soft control
Of milky kindness stealing o'er the soul,
Nor did their nerves to pleasure's touch awake
Of gentler thoughts the mild impression take;
The rigid texture of their rougher frame
The dangerous glories of the field inflame;
To wage with sure success the bloody fight
Their favorite care, and war their sole delight.
Victors, or vanquish'd, by the example taught
They found new paths to conquest as they fought.
Triumphant Carthage vaunts her powers in vain
And claims the exclusive empire of the main,
Rome to the sea her ductile Genius turns,
And from her foe the means of Victory learns;
Repairs with wiser toil the ruin'd fleet,
And gains superior art from each defeat,
Her naval care with perseverance plies,
Till, by the course of long experience wise,
The watery war her perfect gallies dare,
And Libya's ancient splendor melts to air.
In vain to check these unremitting foes
Their studied Tactics Grecia's sons oppose,
Whose force compelling countless hosts to yield,
With Persia's bleeding Myriads strew'd the field:
The Legions active, disciplin'd, and fierce,
With varied shock the close-wedg'd Phalanx pierce,
And Freedom's noblest sons are doom'd by fate
The servile subjects of a foreign state.
Their country vanquish'd, still the arts remain,
Still learned Athens boasts her polish'd train;
The flowery garlands there they weave to bind
In pleasures roseate wreaths the Roman mind,
The joys of peace the haughty Victors learn,
And Greece exulting triumphs in her turn.
Though first they view with undiscerning eyes
Sculpture's fair grace, and Painting's glowing dyes,
Though Consuls by the piece the marble rate,
And the wrought brass is valu'd by the weight;
Yet soon their hearts the Muses sway confess'd
And powerful numbers sooth'd the warlike breast,
Each swelling bosom caught the generous fire,
And Roman fingers struck the Grecian lyre:
Not with that fierce delight, that sudden glow
Which from the genuine beams of Nature flow,
That burst of Harmony which pour'd along
The full luxuriance of the Epic Song!—
Matur'd by time their ripening Genius rose,
From the harsh lines of Ennius' measur'd prose
To strains on which the Muse enamour'd hung,
And drank each dulcet note from Maro's tongue.
But ne'er shall Imitation's loveliest charm
Like native Grace the raptur'd bosom warm,
This bright and awful as the beam of day,
That like the paler moon's reflected ray.
By no fallacious hues does Nature please,
But boldly gives the manners that she sees,
Not Truth in Fiction's splendid garb arrays,
But with free stroke the living form portrays,
Her Bards divine the real actions sing
Of the stern Hero, or the warrior King,
Or paint the life the amorous Shepherd leads
In the rich verdure of Sicilian meads,
While with the verse their heated Fancy weaves
Each sacred tale Mythology believes:
But Imitation with correcter hand
Fills but the outline that Invention plann'd,
With care retrenches each superfluous part,
Or adds the tinsel ornaments of art,
Describes the manners that she never knew,
And faintly copies what her Mistress drew;
Hence with assiduous step the Latian Muse
The march sublime of elder Greece pursues,
Content to glean with unremitting toil
The scatter'd produce of her happier soil.
And now the improving sons of Rome behold
The scenes of Attic elegance unfold,
Admire the fane by sculptur'd Nature graced,
And catch from every glance congenial taste:
The Capitol by conquering Consuls trod
Receives with friendly rite each marble God,
In bend majestic swells the Parian arch
Through which in solemn pomp the Victors march;
Rome with delight the pleasing toil pursues,
And emulates the beauties that she views,
Exults in arts and artists of her own,
Bids the warm canvass breathe, and animates the stone.
Happy had Rome adorn'd by spoils like these
Been satisfied with Grecian Arts to please!
But Asia's subject regions now disclose
The fatal sources of unnumber'd woes.—
Each delegated chief who us'd of yore
To guide the thundering battle's furious roar,
Bind the green laurel round his conquering brow,
And then return contented to the plow,
Now proudly stretches with rapacious hand
O'er plunder'd provinces his harsh command;
Loaded with wealth the stern Proconsuls come,
And eastern splendor dazzles wondering Rome.
Caught with the lustre of the shining ore
The charms of Poverty can please no more,
The ancient fame of frugal heroes dies,
And venal hopes, and venal passions rise;
The honest boast of Democratic pride
Is drown'd in dark Corruption's swelling tide,
And Freedom's awful rights are basely sold
For the vile barter of barbaric gold.
No more Rome's venerable Senate flings
Dismay and terror o'er usurping kings;
No more the injur'd Nations grateful see
Oppression tremble at her just decree;
No more her sword is drawn in Glory's cause
For rights betray'd, or violated laws:
The Tyrant buys impunity for vice,
And every public outrage has it's price:
Avarice can fix a giddy people's choice,
And servile legions arm at Faction's voice.
In vain a few with steady courage stood,
To stem the torrent of the whelming flood,
The selfish passions with insidious force
Of patriot worth had poison'd every source;
Still lawless power uprear'd her hydra head,
And Freedom was no more though Cæsar bled.
Intent the aims of faction to compleat,
Now smoother Cunning seiz'd Ambition's seat.—
A Youth unmov'd by pity or by rage,
As Manhood firm, yet cold as palsied Age,
Hiding in specious guile his cruel views,
The impious scheme with ceaseless toil pursues.
His wiles, the work of ages to destroy,
Severity and ease by turns employ;
Death's stern decrees, or friendship's milder call,
Allure the timid, or the bold appal:
The enchanting Muses, whose delightful art
Can bend the stubborn purpose of the heart,
His voice invokes to charm the attentive mind,
And hide the fetters that inslave mankind.
The Muses hear!—forgetful that their sway
Was first produced in Freedom's happier day
They hear, and mindless of their ancient worth,
Betray the parent power that gave them birth,
Adore the Author of their country's doom,
And seal the fate of Liberty and Rome.
After a dreadful scene of war and woes,
The brazen gates of two-faced Janus close,
The sad effects of civil discord cease,
And all a restless world is wrapp'd in peace.
By Actium's Victory stopp'd the fatal strife,
No more the dire proscription threatens life,
No more the bloody scroll of Death appears,
But Mercy's snowy garb Augustus wears.
The gentler Arts each harsher care beguile,
And Science grows beneath his fostering smile:
Around his throne the laughing Loves resort,
And own the influence of a peaceful court.
Pleasures refin'd that Grecia never knew
Croud to the sight, and bless the raptur'd view:
To the pert quaintness of Socratic wit,
Or the rude jests that lower manners fit,
To feasts where sage disputes the hours employ,
Or the loose revels of licentious joy,
Succeeds that intercourse of sweet delight,
Though gay not vicious, and though free polite,
Their mingled gifts where ease and mirth dispense,
Ease void of roughness, mirth restrain'd by sense:
And lovely Woman, though not taught to know
That public homage later days bestow,
With modest smiles domestic converse graced,
And soften'd by her looks each ruder taste.
Even Freedom though her sacred power was fled
O'er Manners yet a parting radiance shed,
On the warm heart was Virtue's form impress'd,
And dauntless Courage fir'd the warrior's breast.
The generous youth in Mars' gymnastic field
By manly sports his hardy sinews steel'd,
Curb'd the bold steed, the dusty conflict stood,
Or plung'd his glowing limbs in Tiber's flood,
Science a milder charm to Valor gave,
And Empire seem'd to polish, not enslave,
Rome equal Arms, superior Arts could boast,
And hardly deem'd her ancient Glory lost.
But short the light of Pleasure's transient gleam!
Soon Nature starting from the illusive dream
Shrinks back affrighted as her eyes survey
The horrid form of arbitrary sway.—
Monsters who built on vice their dreadful joy,
Proud of their crimes and happy to destroy,
Seiz'd the vast power that Freedom's sons resign'd,
And shook the rod of vengeance o'er mankind;
Life hung alone upon a tyrant's breath,
And each capricious frown awarded death.
Amid the waste of years though haply shine
A Titus, Trajan, or an Antonine,
The short-liv'd interval more strongly shews
The striking contrast of despotic woes.
What force can free the mind that Vice has chain'd,
Or clear the current if the fountain's stain'd?—
No distant regions happier hopes afford
Beneath the empire of a milder lord;
Fear still beholds where'er her eye she flings,
Subjected states, and tributary kings;
And Power o'ertakes the exile as he goes
O'er Libyan deserts, or through Scythian snows.
Condemn'd the endless scenes of blood to see,
While looks are watch'd, and hardly thought is free,
In Rome's sad inmates, now a wretched race,
No more the marks of ancient worth we trace,
In the dull soul, a stupid, lifeless void,
Rous'd by no action, by no cares employ'd,
Each fading Energy of Virtue dies,
As droops the plant beneath inclement skies.
The cohorts from the frontier distant far
In slothful ease forget the toils of war,
Or from their camp with factious arms o'erawe
The weak remains of Freedom and of Law,
O'er Senates with tumultuous force prevail,
And set the Empire of the world to sale.
The Muse no more with native beauty warms
But tricks with art her meretricious charms:
Science in simple form, and semblance chaste,
Offends the alter'd times degenerate taste.
Each social Charity of private life,
The smiling offspring, and the tender wife,
Now cease the scene domestic to endear:
For who can wish a wretched race to rear
Slaves to a cruel tyrant's fickle gust,
Rods of his power, or minions of his lust?—
To the sweet joys that blushing Beauty gave
Succeeds the traffick of the female slave,
Till sated the perverted Fancy roves
To monstrous pleasures, and unseemly loves.
Debarr'd each just pursuit, the restless mind
Seeks in flagitious deeds relief to find,
In sensual cares grows exquisitely nice,
And only seeks variety of vice.
Their stores the tributary realms supply
To glut even Luxury's insatiate eye;
For Italy, while Rome no rival knew,
Ere yet Byzantium's sister empire grew,
Saw on her shores contending nations meet
To lay their various produce at her feet.
Commerce who independent states can draw
To equal compact by her general law,
Who weighs what nature gives and what denies,
While mutual barter mutual want supplies,
Exulting Rome contemn'd, who saw unfurl'd
Her conquering banners o'er a subject world,
And her proud offspring buoy'd by ancient fame,
Not gain by purchase, but by empire claim.
All that the warmer southern climes dispense
Fair to the eye, and grateful to the sense,
Whatever eastern regions can afford
To grace the mansion, or to deck the board,
In endless heaps the imperial seat supplied,
Her pleasure gratified, or sooth'd her pride,
At the full feast to indolence resign'd,
Lie the soft race on purple beds reclin'd,
And o'er the room in many a crimson fold
The arras hangs with ivory rough and gold:
Of massive plate the attentive slaves produce
The meanest vessels of domestic use,
And in rich mists the cooling odors shed
Ambrosial fragrance round the listless head,
Through the wide dome the fumes of incense roll,
And Grecia's purest vintage crowns the bowl.
A nation's wealth their lavish fancies waste
To furnish viands for one great repast;
And Luxury her bloated form so swells
We scarcely credit what th' Historian tells.
To load the table when the Tyrant fed,
Seas have been drain'd, and Hecatombs have bled;
The Euxine mourn'd her shores despoil'd of fish,
And woods unpeopled form'd one costly dish;
Even when the calls of appetite were o'er,
And Nature's loaded powers could act no more,
With brutal skill were shameful means pursu'd,
That blunted hunger's sickly force renew'd,
In the pall'd taste could false desires excite,
And goad the sated sense to fresh delight.
In constant scenes like these enervate grown,
The slaves of Lust and Gluttony alone,
No joy beyond voluptuous ease they deem,
And small exertions cruel hardships seem,
From Indolence, and Vice their pleasures flow,
And Fear's the only active power they know:
Too selfish e'er to think of public care,
Too weak the weight of manly arms to bear,
A Favorite's nod degenerate legions wait,
And servile Eunuchs regulate the state.
Firm discipline is lost by long neglect,
And mercenary hosts the throne protect.
Weaken'd by Constantine's misjudging pride
Whose vain designs the imperial strength divide,
Open and wide the extended frontier lay,
To each barbarian hord an easy prey:
On every side the ruffian bands contend,
By turns invade them, and by turns defend,
Till lur'd by wealth and splendor's tempting prize,
The warlike tribes such coward chiefs despise,
Against the trembling race their swords employ,
And spread destruction round with savage joy,
Pour o'er each region like a wintry flood,
And Rome's diminish'd empire sets in blood.
Of the long sway of twice six hundred years
Stupendous fabrick! scarce a wreck appears,
Save a poor remnant as the ruin falls
Preserv'd to languish in Byzantium's walls.
Now through the extent of Nature's wide domain
Once more the horrid powers of darkness reign,
Again Chaotic ignorance rears her head,
And o'er mankind her sable veil is spread.
What scatter'd arts survive the general doom
Retreat to wither in the cloister's gloom;
And if by chance from thence some sickly beam
Shoots faintly forth a transitory gleam,
It serves but like the meteor's lurid light
To add new horror to the shades of night.
Ye sylvan muses! as my step invades
The deep recesses of your hallow'd shades,
Say will ye bid your echoing caves prolong
The harsher cadence of your votary's song?
Not anxious now to strike the trembling wire,
Sweetly responsive to your vernal choir;
Or from the treasur'd stores of earth to bring
The fragrant produce of the roseate spring:
Mine the rude task, while summer's fading ray
To yellow autumn yields the shortening day,
And all the variegated woods appear
Clad in the glories of the withering year,
With dogs and fiery weapons to profane
The peaceful sabbath of your rural reign;
Your desolated regions to explore
'Mid the wild tempest, and the season frore;
Destruction on your feather'd race to pour,
And add new horrors to the wintry hour.
'Twas thine, immortal Somerville! to trace
The livelier raptures of the joyful chace,
O'er hills and dales to urge, with eager speed,
The hound sagacious, and the panting steed;
And guide the labors of the enthusiast throng
With all the extatic energy of song.—
Severer care these calmer lays demand,
And Fancy curb'd by sage Instruction's hand:
Yet, for the Muse some scatter'd charms shall gleam
'Mid the rich chaos of this copious theme;
Yet, here shall Glory view with generous aim,
The rising elements of martial fame.
As from the chace Britannia's youth shall learn
The docile steed with ready hand to turn;
O'er the rude crag his bounding steps to guide,
Or press his ardor down the mountain's side,
Till, rushing to the field with fierce delight,
She sends forth other Lindseys to the fight:
So shall the steady train, of careful eye,
Who wound th' aerial offspring as they fly,
Whose limbs unwearied keep the constant way,
From morn's first opening dawn, till parting day,
Manly and firm, an unexhausted race,
With hardy frames the shining phalanx grace;
With steps, by labor unsubdu'd, shall know
Incessant to pursue the fainting foe;
Shall, 'midst the rocks and woods, with active toil
Hang o'er his march, and all his movements foil;
Their close platoons, with cool and certain aim,
Shall send destruction forth in vollied flame:
Or o'er the field dispers'd, each shot they pour
Shall mark some hostile victim's fatal hour.
Of old, ere man with imitative skill,
Taught mimic thunders to obey his will,
Train'd by superior care, the elastic yew
With sinewy arm, our English bowmen drew:
The warlike art exulting Albion saw
Protected by the fostering hand of law;
Attentive senates watch'd, with anxious zeal,
This martial bulwark of the general weal;
The rules they order'd, or the prize they gave,
Compell'd the slothful, and inflam'd the brave;
And oft her archer-sons would trophies wear
From Gallia's cross-bow won, and Scotia's spear.
Nor let the frown of literary pride,
Or false refinement's sneer, my labors chide:
Not all are form'd with unremitting view
Pale study's restless labors to pursue:
Not all their hours are dull enough to waste
In the void round of fashionable taste;
Nor can the gentle airings, which engage
The fainter wish of languor, and of age,
From his pursuits the sanguine votary draw
Of wealth, of joy, of wisdom, or of law,
Till slow disease demands the leach's care,
Sad substitute for exercise and air!
The impatient youth, whom manly vigor fires,
Ruddy with health, and stung by wild desires;
By active sports alone can soothe to rest
The boiling fervors of his panting breast.
Nor shall Britannia's patriots blame the cause,
To woods and fields her wealthier chiefs that draws.
Let Gallia's sons to rural scenes resort
Only when exil'd from a partial court,
Whose dearest hopes a Monarch's favor crown,
Rais'd by his smile, or blasted by his frown;
But Albion's freer lords must try to gain
The unbiass'd suffrage of her rustic train.
And every tie that binds her nobler band,
With dearer love, to their paternal land,
Her yeomen shall behold with grateful eye,
A surer pledge of wealth and liberty.
Come then, ye hardy youths, who wish to save
By generous labor powers that nature gave!
Who fly from languor, hush'd in dread repose
Beneath the leaves of sloth's enchanting rose,
Glad on the upland brow, or echoing vale,
To drink new vigor from the morning gale;—
Come! and the Muse shall shew you how to foil
By sports of skill the tedious hours of toil;
The healthful lessons of the field impart,
And careful teach the rudiments of art.
When the last sun of August's fiery reign
Now bathes his radiant forehead in the main,
The panoply by sportive heroes worn
Is rang'd in order for the ensuing morn;
Forth from the summer guard of bolt and lock
Comes the thick guêtre, and the fustian frock;
With curious skill, the deathful tube is made
Clean as the firelock of the spruce parade:
Yet, let no polish of the sportsman's gun
Flash like the soldier's weapon to the sun,
Or the bright steel's refulgent glare presume
To penetrate the peaceful forest's gloom;
But let it take the brown's more sober hue,
Or the dark lustre of the enamell'd blue.
Let the close pouch the wadded tow contain,
The leaden pellets, and the nitrous grain;
And wisely cautious, with preventive care,
Be the spare flint, and ready turnscrew there;
While the slung net is open to receive
Each prize the labors of the day shall give.
Yet oft the experienc'd shooter will deride
This quaint exactness of fastidious pride;
In some old coat that whilom charm'd the eye,
Till time had worn it into slovenry,
His dusky weapon, all by rust conceal'd,
Through rainy service in the sportive field,
He issues to the plain, secure to kill,
And founds his glory on superior skill.
The night recedes, and mild Aurora now
Waves her gray banner on the eastern brow;
Light float the misty vapors o'er the sky,
And dim the blaze of Phœbus' garish eye;
The flitting breeze just stirs the rustling brake,
And curls the crystal surface of the lake;
The expectant sportsmen, urg'd by anxious haste,
Snatch the refreshment of a short repast,
Their weapons seize, their pointers call around,
And sally forth impatient to the ground.
Here where the yellow wheat away is drawn,
And the thick stubble clothes the russet lawn,
Begin the sport.—Eager and unconfin'd
As when stern Æolus unchains the wind,
The active pointer, from his thong unbound,
Impatient dashes o'er the dewy ground,
With glowing eye, and undulating tail,
Ranges the field, and snuffs the tainted gale;
Yet, 'midst his ardor, still his master fears,
And the restraining whistle careful hears.
So when Britannia's watchful navies sweep,
In freedom's awful cause, the hostile deep,
Though the brave warrior panting to engage,
And loose on England's foes his patriot rage,
The tempest's howling fury deems too slow
To fill his sails, and waft him to the foe;
Yet, 'mid the fiery conflict, if he spy
From the high mast his leader's signal fly,
To the command obedience instant pays,
And martial order martial courage sways.
See how exact they try the stubble o'er,
Quarter the field, and every turn explore;
Now sudden wheel, and now attentive seize
The known advantage of the opposing breeze.—
At once they stop!—yon' careful dog descries
Where close and near the lurking covey lies.
His caution mark, lest even a breath betray
The impending danger to his timid prey;
In various attitudes around him stand,
Silent and motionless, the attending band.
So when the son of Danae and Jove,
Crown'd by gay conquest and successful love,
Saw Phineus and his frantic rout invade
The festive rights by Hymen sacred made,
To the rude Bacchanals his arm outspread
The horrid image of Medusa's head;
Soon as the locks their snaky curls disclose,
A marble stiffness seiz'd his threatening foes;
Fix'd were the eyes that mark'd the javelin thrown,
And each stern warrior rear'd his lance in stone.
Now by the glowing cheek and heaving breast
Is expectation's sanguine wish express'd.—
Ah curb your headlong ardor! nor refuse
Patient to hear the precepts of the Muse.
Sooner shall noisy heat in rash dispute
The reasoning calm of placid sense confute;
Sooner the headlong rout's misguided rage
With the firm phalanx equal combat wage,
Than the warm youth, whom anxious hopes inflame,
Pursue the fleeting mark with steady aim.
By temperate thought your glowing passions cool,
And bow the swelling heart to reason's rule;
Else when the whirring pinion, as it flies,
Alarms your startled ear, and dazzled eyes,
Unguided by the cautious arm of care,
Your random bolts shall waste their force in air.
They rise!—they rise!—Ah yet your fire restrain,
Till the scar'd birds securer distance gain;
For, thrown too close, the shots your hopes elude,
Wide of your aim, and innocent of blood;
But mark with careful eye their lessening flight,
Your ready gun, obedient to your sight,
And at the length where frequent trials shew
Your fatal weapon gives the surest blow,
Draw quick!—yet steady care with quickness join,
Lest the shock'd barrel deviate from the line;
So shall success your ardent wishes pay,
And sure destruction wait the flying prey.
As glory more than gain allures the brave
To dare the combat loud, and louder wave;
So the ambition of the sportsman lies
More in the certain shot than bleeding prize.
While poachers, mindful of the festal hour,
Among the covey random slaughter pour;
And, as their numbers press the crimson'd ground,
Regardless reck not of the secret wound,
Which borne away, the wretched victims lie
'Mid silent shades to languish and to die.
O let your breast such selfish views disclaim,
And scorn the triumph of a casual aim:
Not urg'd by rapine, but of honor proud,
One object single from the scattering croud;
So, when you see the destin'd quarry down,
Shall just applause your skilful labor crown.
If your staunch dogs require no instant toil
To rescue from their jaws the fluttering spoil,
Re-load your fatal piece with prudent zeal,
While glows with recent flame the smoaking steel;
So the black grain shall kindling warmth acquire,
And take the flinty spark with readier fire;
Or if some scatter'd bird, that lay behind,
Sudden should rise, and fleet away on wind,
You check her rapid course, nor murmuring stand,
Your empty weapon useless in your hand.
Now some observant eye has mark'd their flight,
And seen dispers'd the weary'd covey light;
Soon to the spot the ranging pointer drawn,
Explores with tender nose the tainted lawn,
Where, to his nicer sense, their fumes betray
The secret ambush of the fearful prey.
With cautious action now, and stealthful pace,
His careful steps pursue the running race;
Now fix'd he stands, now moves with doubtful tread,
Stopp'd by their pause, or by their motion led,
Till, rooted by the sheltering hedge, his feet
Declare the trembling victim's last retreat.
But as, with beating breasts, on either side
The impatient youths the pleasing task divide,
And in the row between, the lurking game
Lies hid from sight, ah, careful be the aim!
Lest, skreen'd and parted by the thorny mound,
The erring shots should give a fatal wound,
And change the jocund sportsman's verdant wreath
For funeral weeds, for mourning, tears, and death.
In Lydian plains, where rich Pactolus roll'd
Through groves of perfume, and o'er sands of gold,
Crœsus, of Asia's lords the proudest name,
Shar'd every gift of fortune, and of fame;
So wide his empire, and so vast his store,
That avarice and ambition ask'd no more;
Though blest in these, the dearer bliss he knows
With which a parent's happy bosom glows,
For not the fairest image ever dress'd
In the fond wishes of a father's breast,
By flattery swell'd, could mate the virtuous praise
To Atys' worth that truth unbiass'd pays.
At war's loud clarion if the nations bled,
Conquest his armies crown'd if Atys led;
If the rude waves of civil discord broke,
Hush'd was the rising storm if Atys spoke;
His lenient voice bade loud rebellion cease,
And charm'd contending factions into peace:
Nor less his care domestic knew to bring
Joy to his sire, than safety to his king;
Nor was the patriot's glory priz'd above
The dearer charity of filial love.
While prosperous scenes the monarch's thoughts beguile,
Too little warn'd of Fortune's transient smile,
'Mid the dark moments of the boding night
A horrid vision seem'd to meet his sight,
With dying mien his Atys stood confess'd,
Transfix'd by horrid steel his bleeding breast.—
Swift from his couch he starts, while wild despair
Contracts his eye-balls, and uplifts his hair.
In vain the orient morn's reviving power
Chas'd the pale phantoms of the midnight hour;
The recollected scene his peace annoys,
Sinks in his heart, and poisons all his joys;
Around him visionary falchions gleam
In act to realize his dreadful dream;
And if by chance loud rumor wafts from far
Uncertain clamors of intended war,
His laboring breast foretels the fatal deed,
And sees in fancied fights his Atys bleed.
What shall his fears invent, or how control
The generous ardor of the hero's soul?—
His mind to gentler thoughts he tries to move,
And conquer strong renown by stronger love.
The fairest maid of Lydia's glowing dames,
Whose beauteous form the manly youth inflames,
With eastern roses crown'd, is blushing led
In Hymeneal pomp, to Atys' bed.
To cares of empire, and to toils of fight,
Succeed the festal day, and genial night:
Soft Pleasure spreads around her blooming flow'rs,
And wanton Cupid leads the laughing hours.
Amid these joys, from Mysia's subject plain,
Before the throne, behold a suppliant train!
‘O mighty prince!’ they cry, ‘we now repair
‘To claim the aid of thy paternal care;
‘A savage monster of portentous size,
‘Whose cruel strength our utmost force defies,
‘Ranges our fields, spreads devastation round,
‘And roots the unripen'd harvest from the ground.
‘O, let thy youths, to range the woods who know,
‘Attend with faithful dogs, and twanging bow;
‘In his dire haunts the fierce invader brave,
‘Repel his fury, and thy subjects save.
‘Perhaps the prince.’—The eager monarch, here,
Urg'd by the influence of parental fear,
Arrests their speech: ‘My arms, my youths shall go,
‘Your terrors quell, and check this savage foe;
‘But for my son, him other cares employ,
‘And the soft scenes of Hymeneal joy,
‘Nor must the rugged chace, or dubious fight,
‘Mar the sweet transports of the nuptial rite.’
He ceas'd; attentive round the Mysian band,
Pleas'd with the promis'd aid, submissive stand.
Not so the prince, his ardent bosom glows
To burst the silken bands of still repose.
‘Ah! what, my sire,’ he cries, ‘has Atys done?
‘What sad distrust awaits your hapless son,
‘That thus immers'd in sloth you keep him far
‘From fields of glory, and from toils of war?
‘For love's soft raptures though the hero burn,
‘Yet fame and danger claim their wonted turn.
‘How shall I meet, involv'd in this disgrace,
‘The indignant murmurs of your warrior race?
‘How will, with tears of silent scorn, my bride
‘Her alter'd lord's inglorious safety chide!
‘O give my wishes way, or let me hear
‘The hidden source of this injurious fear.’
This earnest prayer the smother'd secret draws,
And the sad Monarch owns the latent cause:
When Atys, smiling:—‘How shall I reprove
‘The fond excesses of paternal love,
‘Though for my undeserving life is shown
‘A nice regard you never paid your own?
‘But shall the heir of Crœsus' martial name
‘Inglorious life prefer to glorious fame?—
‘Life is a bliss, when crown'd by virtue's meed,
‘And death a prize, when honor bids us bleed;
‘Omens and dreams in vain the purpose stay
‘When duty calls, and glory points the way.
‘Or grant some god the vision sent, yet here
‘Vain are your cares, and useless is your fear;
‘Transfix'd by steel my bleeding breast you saw,
‘Not torn and mangled by a bestial jaw;
‘Then let me go, and when you meet your son
‘Clad in the shaggy spoils his arms have won,
‘The shadowy phantoms of the night shall cease
‘To haunt your slumbers, and disturb your peace.’
The Monarch hears, and with reluctant eyes
Gives the consent his boding heart denies;
His brow a placid guise dissembling wears,
While Reason vainly combats stronger fears.
It chanced a youth of Phrygia's royal train,
His hand polluted by a brother slain,
Exil'd by vengeance from his native ground,
In Crœsus' peaceful court a refuge found;
Where oft would Atys' gentler care impart
The balm of friendship to his wounded heart;
To him the wretched king in secret spoke,
While tears and sighs his faltering accents choke;
‘If, brave Adrastus, thy oppressive woes
‘In Sardis' sheltering walls have found repose,
‘If here the expiating rite renew'd
‘Has paid the forfeit for fraternal blood,
‘If pity's tear, if friendship's lenient balm
‘Have tried with studious zeal thy griefs to calm,
‘Go with my son, and by attentive care
‘Partake his labors, and his dangers share.
‘Shield him from peril that my soul alarms,
‘And bring him back in safety to my arms.’
To whom the youth: ‘Oft has my ready breast
‘Panted to ask the office you request,
‘As oft my conscious shame that wish restrain'd,
‘Disgraced by exile, and by murder stain'd:
‘Since you command, your Atys I'll attend,
‘Obey my patron, and protect my friend;
‘Watch o'er his safety in the doubtful strife,
‘Or ransom with my own his dearer life.’
Now to the Mysian fields elate and gay
The eager warriors bend their jocund way,
The echoing hills and forest walks resound
With shouts of men, and chidings of the hound.
Rous'd from his lair, and issuing on the plain,
Forth bursts the monster on the hunter train,
Around the circling youths impatient stand,
And launch their steely darts with ready hand.
Too rashly eager as the Phrygian threw,
With erring aim the pointed jav'lin flew,
In Atys' breast the quivering weapon stood,
And drank with fatal barbs his vital blood.—
The mournful shrieks that rent the ambient air,
The weeping troops, Adrastus' loud despair;
The silent agony, the gushing tide
Of the sad parent, and the widow'd bride,
The plaints they utter, and the woes they feel,
No heart can image, and no tongue reveal.
As the ill-fated youth is borne along,
All pale and bleeding, through the groaning throng,
By the cold corse Adrastus' frantic cries,
Death in his voice, and horror in his eyes;
‘Why have the gods in partial vengeance shed
‘Their choicest curses on my wretched head?
‘Fated the keenest strokes of wrath to prove,
‘And doom'd to murder those whom most I love!
‘O much wrong'd sire, let thy avenging hand
‘Expiate by guilty blood this weeping land:
‘Be on my heart thy instant fury hurl'd,
‘And save from future parricide the world!’
‘Alas, my son!' the wretched King replied,
‘'Tis awful Jove who thus corrects my pride,
‘Which, crown'd by conquest, and with power elate,
‘It's fortune deem'd beyond the reach of fate.
‘Alas! too late repentant, now I find
‘The fleeting happiness of human kind!
‘My hopes, my cares are past! this cruel blow
‘Has laid at once my vain ambition low;
‘The offended gods this chastisement have given,
‘Thou but the fatal instrument of heaven.’
Silent the youth withdrew, till sad were paid
The tributary rites to Atys' shade:
Then, as chill midnight's dreary hours return,
Weeping he sought the monumental urn:
‘Atys!’ he cried, ‘behold Adrastus come
‘A willing victim to thy hallow'd tomb!—
‘This erring hand, the fatal stroke that gave,
‘Shall lay thy murderer breathless on thy grave.’
Then pierced with sudden arm his struggling breast,
And on the blood-stain'd marble sunk to rest.
As more obliquely on autumnal skies
With milder force October's suns arise,
The purple pheasant tempts the youth to rove
With well-train'd spaniels through the faded grove.
See how with emulative zeal they strive,
Thrid the loose sedge, and through the thicket drive!
Not ranging lawless o'er the forest wide,
But close attendant on their master's side;
No babbling voice the bosom falsely warms,
Or swells the panting heart with vain alarms,
Till all at once their choral tongues proclaim
The secret refuge of the lurking game;
Loud on the breeze the chearful clamor floats,
And the high wood re-echoes with their notes.
Swift is their course, no lengthen'd warnings now
Space to collect the scatter'd thoughts allow,
No wary pointer shews the cautious eyes
Where from his russet couch the bird shall rise:
Perhaps light running o'er the mossy ground,
His devious steps your sanguine hopes confound;
Or, by the tangled branches hid from sight,
Sudden he wings his unexpected flight.
No open view along the uncumber'd field
To the cool aim will time and distance yield;
But the nice circumstance will oft demand
The quickest eye-sight and the readiest hand,
Swift as he rises from the thorny brake,
With instant glance the fleeting mark to take,
And with prompt arm the transient moment seize,
'Mid the dim gloom of intervening trees.
His gaudy plumage when the male displays
In bright luxuriance to the solar rays,
Arrest with hasty shot his whirring speed,
And see unblam'd the shining victim bleed;
But when the hen to thy discerning view
Her sober pinion spreads of duskier hue,
The attendant keeper's prudent warning hear,
And spare the offspring of the future year;
Else shall the fine which custom laid of old
Avenge her slaughter by thy forfeit gold.
Soon as the ready dogs their quarry spring,
And swift he spreads his variegated wing,
Ceas'd is their cry, with silent look they wait
Till the loud gun decides the event of fate;
Nor, if the shots are thrown with erring aim,
And proudly soars away the unwounded game,
Will the staunch train pursue him as he flies
With useless speed, and unavailing cries.
And now when cloudy skies and drizzling rains
Swell the full springs, and drench the moisten'd plains,
The extended space of land and ocean cross'd
From the bleak scenes of Hyperborean frost,
With active wing the unwearied Woodcocks fly
To southern climates, and a milder sky,
The osier'd borders of the brook explore,
And with deep bills the forest marshes bore.
Where now matur'd yon slender ashes stand,
Rise from their stools and tempt the woodman's hand,
Where the loose trunks admit the partial ray
Along the border take your cautious way.
Here let your care the shorten'd gun employ,
Lest the thick boughs the purpos'd aim annoy;
Let super-added steel with pressure sure,
From the dank drip the shelter'd pan secure:
And as the silent bird the stems among
Wheels slow his desultory flight along,
With steady eye his wavering motion watch,
And through the parting trees the advantage catch;
Though distant be the shot, the slightest wound
Shall lay the fluttering victim on the ground.
Rous'd by the spaniel, 'midst the forest shade,
Behold the trembling Leveret cross the glade!
If round the extended plains yield ample space,
Or for the rapid course, or chearful chace,
O, sacred be her steps! nor let thy hand
Blast the fair hopes of a congenial band,
Or for a transient pleasure meanly foil
The lengthen'd transport of the hunter's toil;
But where steep hills and spacious woodlands rise,
Or the long flight the frequent copse denies,
Blameless arrest her rapid flight, nor spare
The timid victim for the inglorious snare.
Where shining rills with copious moisture feed
The deeper verdure of the irriguous mead,
Or where between the purple heaths is seen
The mossy bosom of the low ravine,
The fearful Snipes, hid from the searching eye,
'Mid the dank sedge and nodding rushes lie.
With sudden turns oblique, when first they rise,
As from the weaver's arm the shuttle flies
They shape their wavering course: but patient stay
Till, with securer wing, they soar away:
Then as aloft their outstretch'd pinions sail,
Borne on the bosom of the buoyant gale,
The fatal shot sent forth with cautious sight,
Shall bring them wheeling from their towering height.
When winter now, a gloomy tyrant, reigns
In dreadful silence o'er the ravaged plains,
Involves in sheets of snow the bending woods,
And throws his icy mantle o'er the floods,
Close by the harden'd brook, whose sullen stream
No more soft murmuring aids the poet's dream,
Where, 'midst the matted sedge, the emerging flood
With air and life renews the finny brood,
The patient fowler stands with silent aim
To watch the station of the watery game:
Not like the gentle angler, careless laid,
In the cool shelter of the summer shade,
But train'd with hardy sinews to defy
The chilling keenness of a wintry sky;
While here the aquatic Wild-fowl's timid race
With wonted pinion seek the well known place;
Where rushes thick the Widgeon's haunt conceal,
The blue-wing'd Mallard, and the tenderer Teal;
Swift on the various race, in fiery shower,
The scattering shots unseen destruction pour,
With mingled slaughter strew the frost-bound flood,
And dye the sullied snow with gushing blood.
Such are the sports that fertile Albion yields,
Such the wing'd inmates of her milder fields;
But bounteous Nature, with diffusive hand,
Spreads wide her various produce o'er the land,
Each different region marks with nurturing care,
And bids a race congenial flourish there.
A tribe peculiar by her power is plac'd
On the drear mountain, and the howling waste,
Which art and industry would rear in vain,
Or in the shelter'd vale, or cultur'd plain.
Hence wandering far from England's gentler scene,
Her spacious champains, and her pastures green,
The hardy youth will Cambria's cliffs explore,
Or climb the heights of Caledonia hoar,
The Grouse and sable Heath-cock to pursue
Where moors unbounded tire the sated view,
And sullen silence reigns, save where the tide
Pours in swoln torrents from the mountain's side;
While summer suns in full effulgence shed
Their burning fervors on the throbbing head.
Thus has my verse in humble strains reveal'd
The various pleasures of the sportive field,
And shewn the different labors of the day
As the revolving seasons roll away:
But vainly shall preceptive rules impart
A perfect knowledge of this manly art;
Practice alone can certain skill produce,
And theory confirm'd by constant use.
As well the stripling of the gay parade,
Proud of his silken sash and smart cockade,
Though taught by wise instructors to explore
The martial depth of mathematic lore,
Might hope to drive Victoria's crimson car
Triumphant o'er the bleeding ranks of war,
Ere the long march, the early toil, and late,
The frequent scenes of danger and of fate,
The fervor of the glowing breast allay,
Change ardor's blaze for valor's temperate ray,
And teach the mind, unruffled and serene,
To keep her powers 'mid horrors wildest scene.
The hardy youth who pants with eager flame
To send his leaden bolts with certain aim,
Must ne'er with disappointed hopes recoil
From cold and heat, from hunger and from toil,
Must climb the hill, must tread the marshy glade,
Or force the passage through the opposing shade,
Must range untam'd by Sol's meridian power,
And brave the force of winter's keenest hour,
Till industry and time their work have wrought,
And honor crown the skill that labor taught.
Yet some, these harsher rudiments to spare,
And equal art with easier toil to share,
Or watch with careful aim and ready sight
The swallow-wheeling in her summer flight,
Or on some lofty cliff, whose chalky steep
Hangs with rude brow impending o'er the deep,
Where gulls and screaming sea-mews haunt the rock,
Pour fire incessant on the mingled flock.
But vain their hopes—presented to the eye
In such diversive lines the objects fly,
The dazzled sight unnumber'd marks pursues,
And shifts it's aim, uncertain which to chuse;
Decision quick and calm, the shooter's boast,
By frequent change, is check'd, confus'd, and lost,
And, guarded by irresolute delay,
Utouch'd shall future coveys fleet away.
More hurtful still to try with distant blow
To bring the percher from th' aerial bough.
How shall his thoughts the level that prepare
With all the caution of mechanic care,
Exact and steady as the sage's eye
Through Galileo's tube surveys the sky,
With ready view the transient object seize,
Swift as the motion of the rapid breeze,
Pursue the uncertain mark with swift address,
And catch the fleeting moment of success?
Ere yet the Muse her lay preceptive end
Ye eager youths these friendly rules attend:
'Tis not enough, that cautious aim, and sure,
From erring shots your brave compeers secure,
That prudence guard those ills which erst might flow
From the wing'd javelin, and the sounding bow;
For on the gun unnumber'd dangers wait,
And various forms of unexpected fate.
Drawn thro' the thorny hedge, the uncertain lock
May give with sudden spring, a deadly shock;
Or the loose spark the rapid flash may raise,
And wrap the sulphurous dust in instant blaze.
'Tis hence the military race prepare
The novice youth with such assiduous care,
And teach him with punctilious art to wield
The weighty fire-lock in the embattled field.
Though some may deem the attention urg'd too far,
As the mere pomp and circumstance of war;
When closely wedg'd the firm battalions stand,
Rank press'd on rank, and band impelling band,
Did not fastidious zeal with cautious plan
Define each act, and every motion scan,
Oft would the bullets 'mid the battles roar
The thirsty herbage die with friendly gore,
And oft the dangerous weapon's kindling breath
Change fields of exercise, to fields of death.
Behold yon' eager race who o'er the plain,
With stimulating heel and loosen'd rein,
Their panting coursers urge to leave behind
The rapid currents of the northern wind,
Though, as with headlong rage they rush along,
Impending dangers seem to wait the throng;
Though accident with more apparent face
Seem to attend the ardor of the chace;
Yet, 'mid these calmer sports, with ghastly mien
The pallid form of slaughter lurks unseen;
And while the hunter checks his bold career
To pour on Russel's tomb the sorrowing tear,
The sportive train who haunt the fatal glades
Where hoary Camus flows by Granta's shades,
Shall weep the unexpected blow that gave
Their much-lov'd Cotton to a timeless grave.
Lamented youth! when erst on Warley's plains
We led in radiant arms our rustic swains,
What time Britannia, friendless and forlorn,
Her shores expos'd, her naval trophies torn,
Bold in her native vigor dar'd oppose
Rebellious subjects, and combining foes;
In vain thy generous bosom burn'd to stand
The manly bulwark of an injur'd land,
Or nobly bleeding by the hostile ball,
In freedom's, and in Albion's cause to fall;
Doom'd by relentless fate, to press the ground,
The unhappy victim of a casual wound.
Votaries of rural joy! with mine while flow
Your kindred streams of sympathetic woe,
By salutary care, ah! learn to shun
The hidden dangers of the unguarded gun!
And, as in fields of pleasure you acquire
The soldier's manly toil and steady fire,
His cautious use of arms attentive heed,
Careful by no inglorious wound to bleed,
Nor lavish life, but in the sacred cause
Of Britain's injur'd rights, and violated laws.
The Progress Of Refinement. Part Ii.
As when stern Winter's desolating power,
Arm'd with the piercing frost, and sleety shower,
O'er shivering Nature spreads it's iron reign,
Bare stands the grove, and waste extends the plain;
Yet in the scatter'd seed, and buried root
The embryo blossom hides, prepar'd to shoot
When Spring with milder influence shall prevail,
And balmy Zephyrs breathe the genial gale:
So, wrapp'd in Ignorance, though the human heart
No vivid hues retain of ancient art,
Yet still the dormant seeds expectant there
Await the hour of Cultivation's care;
Still verdant scions from the root shall grow
When mild Occasion's fostering breezes blow,
To bud and bloom again with Parent worth,
And emulate the stock that gave them birth.
Yet as the culture asks severer toil
When poisonous weeds o'errun the useless soil;
So Reason labors long to bend the breast
Where Error's barbarous tenets are impress'd:
Soon learns the untutor'd thought with generous aim
To catch the glow of Virtue's holy flame,
But where strong forms of Prejudice deprave
The simpler rules that untaught Nature gave,
Ere yet Refinement with her gentle rein
The impatient course of giddy sense restrain.
There every dreadful passion will impart
Superior horror to the vicious heart,
And fill the annals of the unhappy times
With dire events, and unexampled crimes.
The ruffian tribes that pour'd tumultuous forth
In countless myriads from the frozen North,
By no soft touch of milder manners graced,
Rapacious inmates of the howling waste,
'Mid the vast wild of Scandinavian plains,
Of tempest and of cold the drear domains,
A system fram'd, whose universal sway
The varied race with common zeal obey,
From where the wintry surges foaming break
Of the loud Baltic, to the Caspian lake.—
Boldly they vaunt with unsubmitting soul
To scorn of sovereign power the strong control,
Yet to the rule of martial order yield,
And own a Monarch on the embattled field.
By Victory crown'd, the chiefs with equal pride
In different lots the subject realms divide,
And the fierce leader of each separate hord
Reigns o'er his share an independent lord,
What arms had won maintaining by the sword.
For though each stern commander homage paid
When War's loud clarion claim'd the promis'd aid,
The tumult o'er, no civil force remain'd
That Anarchy's impetuous rage restrain'd:
Each haughty chief could regal justice awe,
And mock the uncertain rules of feeble law.
In constant feuds the ungovern'd tribes engage,
And the dire battle Hate and Vengeance wage.
No pity unrelenting Conquest shews,
But the fell tyrant spoils his weaker foes,
Licentious Rapine leads the furious train
And Age, and Rank, and Beauty plead in vain.
Though Prejudice may warp, or Passion blind
Awhile, the honest purpose of the mind,
Yet to the conscious soul of man belong
The love of Justice, and the hate of Wrong;
Firm, though obscur'd, the sacred dictates stand
Implanted there by Heaven's creative hand.
Hence while loud Discord bids with giant pride
Sad Desolation o'er the realms preside,
Some nobler breasts neglected Virtue draws
To arm and vindicate her injur'd cause:
Uncheck'd by doubt, by danger undismay'd,
Prompt to redress when sorrow claims their aid,
With equal hand they deal the avenging blow,
And lay with joy the oppressive tyrant low;
But chief they glory when the generous care
Of weeping Beauty calls them to the war,
With dauntless arms her suppliant power they guard,
And deem her favoring smiles a full reward.
For the rough tribes thro' Northern wilds that stray'd
To female merit early deference paid,
The gentler sex partook the grave debate,
And more than shar'd the arduous toils of state.
The hardy warrior whose indignant mind
No arm could vanquish, and no law could bind,
To their commands a willing homage gave,
And each unconquer'd knight was Beauty's slave.
Amid the crimes that barbarous rudeness knows
Thus the fair form of Chivalry arose,
Join'd love's soft glow to valor's fiercer flame,
And mildly sooth'd the intemperate thirst of fame.
It's influence still, defying change and time,
Spreads o'er each modern European clime,
Lives spite of fickle mode's capricious rage,
And marks the manners of a polish'd age.
Though the rude Nations in their inroads bore
The wild Mythology of Northern lore,
Yet soon the splendor of the Roman rite
Caught with it's mystic glare their dazzled sight.
To charm their grosser sense the Priests combine
Each monstrous fiction with a faith divine;
And all that feverish Fancy knows to paint,
The virgin martyr, and the warrior saint,
The fabled cure, and legendary tale,
With force resistless o'er their thoughts prevail.
While such the general impulse of the mind,
To Superstition, and to Arms inclin'd,
A frantic Hermit with enthusiast breath
Kindles the dreadful flames of war and death:
‘Arouse ye chiefs of valiant fame!’ He cries,
‘Lo! Heaven and Glory, point the bold emprise!—
‘No more at human pity's humbler call
‘On man's oppressors let your vengeance fall,
‘Behold on Solyma's afflicted lands
‘The injur'd Deity your zeal demands!
‘The sacred ground by dying martyrs trod,
‘The seats made holy by a bleeding GOD,
‘Mohammed's sons with impious orgies stain,
‘And soil the hallow'd earth with rites profane,
‘Bid resignation's patient votaries feel
‘The pangs of trying flame, and torturing steel,
‘Pollute with murder'd saints the dome divine,
‘And wash with blood Jehovah's awful shrine.
‘Go forth my sons! and with religious care
‘Spread your cross-banners streaming to the air!
‘Secure of praise! secure of conquest go!
‘And wreak heaven's vengeance on a heathen foe;
‘Fame's deathless guerdon shall the victor gain,
‘And crowns immortal sanctify the slain!’
Fired by such words unusual ardors rise,
And far and wide the swift contagion flies,
All ranks, all orders to the impression yield,
And swarming millions croud the tented field.
Not such the numbers Xerxes led of yore
From hostile Persia to the Grecian shore,
When his proud fleet the indignant billows chain'd,
And thirsty hosts the failing river drain'd.
The rash design though pious folly plann'd,
Though discord soon dissolv'd the inconstant band,
From scenes of war yet milder manners grew,
And man advantage from destruction drew.
The haughty chief to arm his numerous train,
And grace with martial pomp the glittering plain,
The wide demesnes of ancient tenure sold,
And fiefs enfranchis'd for the wanted gold:
Whence the freed peasant chearful tills the soil,
And busy Commerce plies her active toil.
While as the countless hosts in long array
Through eastern Europe bend their tedious way,
And view with wondering eyes the gay resort
Of wealth, and splendor, to Byzantium's court,
The wrecks of Roman pride, and Grecian skill
With new delight the astonish'd bosom fill.
Though lur'd by Rapine, war unjust they wage,
And waste the Arts with more than Vandal rage,
Yet soon to scenes of elegance awake,
A softer turn, and nobler aims they take,
Each curious relic while they spoil admire,
And plundering works of taste, that taste acquire.
Even from the mixture of Arabian foes
On the barbarian West improvement rose:
The Saracen had learn'd with liberal heart
To love the paths of Science, and of Art,
The splendors of magnificence had known,
And deck'd in pomp each oriental throne,
But most his glowing Fancy lov'd to rove
Amid the devious maze of Fiction's grove,
And the luxuriance of the fabling lay
Struck Europe's ruder Bards with forceful sway;
The minstrel now who tun'd his Gothic lyre
To teach the son the achievements of the sire,
Blends with the dreadful tale of blood and arms,
What eastern legends tell of magic charms,
Heightens the horror of the furious fight
With the wing'd dragon, and the enchanted knight,
And bids the bold Romance the hearer move
With the mix'd powers of Wonder, War, and Love.
While thus the Muse enjoys her infant dream,
Coy Reason still conceals her golden beam.
Rome's ancient language in impervious folds
From vulgar eyes each source of Wisdom holds,
And as they list the subtle Priests dispense
The scanty shares of knowledge and of sense.
Hence Learning rose, who insolent, and proud,
Looks down contemptuous on the admiring croud:
While, as unmeaning rules the hearer vex,
And artful doubts the wilder'd thought perplex,
In the strict bands of letter'd form confin'd,
Peculiar prejudice enslaves the mind.
Unlike Philosophy's bold sons of old
Who freely question'd what the instructor told,
O'eraw'd by Pride in education's hours
The timid mind distrusts it's opening powers,
Worships each mystic knot by Error tied,
And blindly follows where it's teachers guide.
Rome's legal Code at length on Naples' coast
By chance recover'd, as by ravage lost,
Soon wiser laws, the work of many an age,
Plann'd by the Prince, the Statesman, and the Sage,
Mix with the edicts fram'd in Error's school,
And smooth the rigid form of Gothic rule;
Wisdom unseals charm'd Reason's drowsy eyes,
And once again Astræa leaves the skies.
Themis abash'd, her folly taught to feel,
Less frequent makes to heaven the rash appeal,
And blushes to decide the doubtful right
By burning Ordeal, or the listed fight.
The haughty noble quits the civil sword,
And the gown'd Judge succeeds the feudal Lord,
Impartial Justice curbs the oppressive deed,
And Science smiles from savage licence freed.
Now from the Abbey's solitary site
The imperfect glimmerings shone of classic light.
The still recluse condemn'd for years to pore
O'er the dull leaf of theologic lore,
Awhile would quit fatigu'd the toilsome page
To view the spoils of learning's happier age.
As there his curious eyes delighted trace
The thoughts congenial of a warrior race,
The attractive charm his ruder style refines,
And with more art romantic fable shines.
Those precious relics of imperial Rome
That haply chanc'd to 'scape the general doom,
The scatter'd monuments of old delight,
Strike the warm Fancy, and her powers excite:
The Latian Muse avows her native clime,
And drops the fervile bands of monkish rhyme:
While flying from Romania's ruin'd shore
Westward the Greeks their exil'd learning bore.
O had bright Science then with perfect grace
Her potent influence shed o'er Europe's race!
Their victor armies at Musurus' call,
Had chased the foe from fad Byzantium's wall.
That source whence verse it's purest charms deriv'd,
The glorious voice of Greece, had then surviv'd;
The docile ear by living masters taught
Had from their speech the genuine accents caught,
In native tones the Attic Muse had sung,
Nor mourn'd like Philomel her mangled tongue.
Again Hesperia's happy seats behold
The sacred laurels bud that bloom'd of old.
Chear'd and protected by the papal throne,
The rising arts a Leo's bounty own.
Starts from the sculptur'd stone the breathing frame
To emulate the forms of ancient fame;
The speaking canvass boasts a livelier hue
Than e'er Apelles' plastic pencil drew,
As Raphael's lines, or Titian's glowing dye,
Bid the bold picture strike the enchanted eye.
In Tuscan numbers Tasso's powers display
The solemn grandeur of the Epic lay;
While Vida tunes to Roman strains the wire
With Virgil's sweetness, and with Virgil's fire.
And even from northern Belgia Science draws
Superior strength to vindicate her cause.
The tedious manuscript no longer foils
The verbal copyist's persevering toils,
No more the expensive volumes only wait
To deck the palace of the rich and great,
On letter'd art the press new strength bestows,
And ampler rays diffusive learning throws.
The increasing powers of ripening sense pervade
The gloomy stillness of the cloister's shade,
Destroy the bonds that Reason's force confin'd,
And burst the fetters that enchain'd the mind.
Though the lone Abbey from barbarian rage
Sav'd the bright ruins of the classic page;
Though sometimes meek Religion's holy form
Would faintly shine through Superstition's storm:
Yet every vice that shuns the face of day
Work'd in monastic night it's secret way;
Each impious wile the Church unceasing tries,
That spreads her empire, or her stores supplies;
Now on the expiring votary's heart employs
The enchanting vision of seraphic joys,
Now bids despair attend the parting breath,
And plants with thorns the trembling bed of death;
Draws from the fears of langour and of pain
The rich possession, and the wide domain,
On the sad Widow's spoil the altar rears,
And bathes the sacred fane with Orphan tears.
Drunk with the vast excess of wealth and power,
Unmindful of returning Reason's hour,
She boldly prostitutes the laws of Heaven,
And for vile lucre is the indulgence given.
Crimes even that Nature shudders to behold
Obtain their pardon for the stated gold,
And impious leave for future Vice is sold.
But the long reign of Gothic night is pass'd,
And Wisdom's awful morning dawns at last,
The fierce anathemas unheeded come,
And Luther shakes the enormous power of Rome.
The forms of Falshood strive in vain to bear
The trying search of Truth's ethereal spear.
Even those less happy regions that remain
Press'd by the weight of Error's galling chain,
Immers'd in clouds of darkness though they seem,
Catch a faint twilight from the distant beam:
Convinc'd that true Religion's piercing eye
Will every source of pious fraud descry,
The furious Priest corrects his cruel zeal,
And milder sway the breathing nations feel,
Mercy's soft calls the bigot's wrath assuage,
And papal thunder loses half it's rage.
In Gaul the contrast strongly mark'd appears
Of Reason's force, and Error's gloomy fears:
With fond delight her partial eye surveys
Each hallow'd prejudice of earlier days,
Yet though her sons with ancient rite adore
The legendary saints that liv'd of yore,
Oft arm'd by hate though Persecution stood,
And drench'd Lutetia's walls with native blood;
Her's was the earliest boast with lenient care
To form soft Courtesy's attractive air;
Throw o'er the willing mind Politeness' chains,
And raise that empire which she yet maintains.
But on Britannia's shores with ample sway
Religion's purest charms their power display.—
As the dread earthquake and the raging storm
The high behests of awful heaven perform,
So a proud tyrant's disappointed aims
Broke the strong tie of Rome's despotic claims.
The labors by the haughty sire begun
Attain perfection from the pious son;
And though a female's bigot zeal succeeds,
Burns the firm martyr, and the patriot bleeds,
While stand Iberia's sons exulting by
And civil Freedom mark with harpy eye,
The transient terror flies, like vapors driven
By sweeping Eurus o'er the face of heaven,
And Worship freed from each polluting stain,
Adorns the annals of Eliza's reign.
Hail glorious Queen! in whose propitious hour
The towering structure rose of Britain's power.
Let the Historian laboring to impart
His favorite paradox with envious art,
Invoke capricious Malice to deface
The scene of Albion's ripening strength and grace:
Still shall the voice of former times be heard
To vindicate that worth our sires rever'd.
'Twas thine to bid Britannia's native force
Check rash Invasion in her headlong course,
Old Ocean's waves with prows triumphant sweep,
And reign unrivall'd o'er the subject deep:
Thine too the milder glory to increase
The gentle sway of Courtesy and Peace.
Though Artists with fastidious look behold
The dome it's rude magnificence unfold,
Though modern Elegance affect to scorn
The rougher Manners which thy court adorn,
Yet sure some reverential awe shall wait
Each venerable pile of ancient state;
Yet sure some bosom even those days shall charm,
When Love romantic, strengthening Valor's arm,
Call'd each heroic passion boldly forth,
And gave the admiring world a Sydney's worth.
The expectant Muse at length with joyful eyes
The rising hope of ancient fame descries.
Melodious Spenser while his cares refine
The wild redundance of the Saxon line,
On Gothic fable rears his rich machine,
And sings the paynim foe and elfin Queen:
While like the laurel'd son of Grecian fame
Immortal Shakespear burns with native flame.—
Unequall'd Bard! the grateful Muse shall raise
To thee the monument of deathless praise,
Nor interweave one flower of foreign bloom
Amid the votive wreaths that deck thy tomb:
For no faint blaze from elder learning caught
Rais'd in thy breast the imitative thought;
Nor shall my verse compare thy wonderous page
With the best scenes of Athens' perfect stage,
Or of thy Phœnix wing a rival own
Save the Mæonian Prodigy alone.
A numerous train of tuneful Bards succeed,
Strike the loud lyre, or fill the warbling reed.
In the just pride of inborn Genius bold,
Yet taught by every Muse that charm'd of old,
Soaring with eagle eye, and eagle flight,
Amid the realms of empyrean light,
Lo Milton throws with daring hand away
The splendid fetters of the Runic lay!
While Dryden's clear harmonious notes rehearse
The humblest subject in the sweetest verse,
Nor ask the figur'd style or pompous phrase,
From common speech his simplest lines to raise;
Yet when some theme with energy sublime,
Calls forth the wonders of his varied rhyme,
'Tis his to catch the animating fire,
Bid the bold strain to giddy heights aspire,
Rival the Mantuan swan, or mate the Theban lyre.
But while fair Poesy with favoring smile
Beholds her votaries thrive in Albion's isle,
The meeker Arts with trembling step explore
Some safe asylum on a foreign shore,
For o'er her fields stern War terrific stood,
And long and dreadful raged the thirst of blood.—
Though the poetic bay with changeless form
Braves the worst fury of the thundering storm,
The inferior flowers that paint the shelter'd vale,
Shrink at the breath of every ruder gale.—
Soon polish'd Gallia's hospitable plain
Yields a kind refuge to the exil'd train,
For civil Fury from her seats was flown,
And Monarchy had fix'd her stable throne,
Their gifts the smiling powers of Peace disclose,
And Lewis there a new Augustus rose:
A Prince's wiles again the Arts invoke
With magic touch to lighten Slavery's yoke,
Reason's keen eye with skilful care to blind,
And turn from Freedom's view the active mind.
The grateful race encourag'd by his sway
The patronage with ample bounty pay,
Give what his fleets and armies ne'er could claim,
Unsullied glory, and unenvied fame.
For though a British Muse would blush to aid
The guilty fabric by Ambition made,
Yet to impartial rules of Justice true
She gives the praise to real Merit due.—
Not opening Science nor encourag'd Art
Alone their lustre to his reign impart:
The splendid period by his care refin'd
Marks a strong era of the improving Mind.
By him new modell'd wondering Europe saw
Her ancient Arms, her Manners, and her Law.
Though dear the price each fair attainment cost,
When in the exchange was Independence lost.
Beauty with sense endow'd, with sweetness graced,
Sits the chief arbitress of soften'd taste,
And fame attends, as her applauding eyes
Of valor or of wit, award the prize.
No more the rural Lord mid distant plains
O'er vassal fiefs a little tyrant reigns;
To the gay circle of the Monarch's court
All Power, all Splendor, and all Arts resort,
There steep'd in joy the nobler race reside
And change for royal smiles provincial pride.
While marshall'd Discipline with studious care
Gives a new semblance to the forms of War:
No more, their stated service forced to yield,
Untrain'd the hasty levies throng the field,
No more the stripling of illustrious birth
Leads armies by hereditary worth:
An order of the state the Soldier stands,
And though a slave himself the rest commands,
Derives his rank from regal will alone,
And only pays obedience to the throne.
While Gallia thus a general power obtains
And guides mankind by soft Opinion's reins,
Long was the scene of bleeding Britain's woes
Ere from the strife emerging Peace arose.
Each party yields at times, at times prevails,
As changing Fortune lifts her dubious scales;
Till lost, or scatter'd, Virtue's Patriot train,
Her cause deserted, and her Hambden slain,
Contending sects fulfill'd a Tyrant's view,
And Faction seiz'd the sword that Freedom drew;
In civil rage each gentler care was drown'd,
And fierce on joy the wild Enthusiast frown'd.
Nor when reviving Albion saw restor'd
Her ravish'd sceptre, and her legal lord,
Did liberal art the polish'd lustre boast
That mark'd each work of Gallia's rival coast,
Licentious Vice a laughing court debas'd,
And looser Manners tainted public Taste.
Nor could a graver prince intent alone
To change religion on his tottering throne,
From a short reign of struggle and of care
One transient smile to prostrate Science spare.
And though we own with deference and with awe,
The public virtues that adorn'd Nassau,
Yet candor must confess his rigid mind
No Pleasure sooth'd, no Elegance refin'd.
At length Britannia's sons with transport view
Another Queen their ancient fame renew,
Once more the prize in Arts and Arms obtain,
And see Eliza's days reviv'd in Anna's reign.
Whate'er of wisdom, and whate'er of grace,
Could form or dignify the human race,
Taught Albion now her splendid worth to raise,
Beyond the envied height of classic praise.
For say could all the learned sage display'd
In Academus, or the Tuscan shade,
Compare with Newton, whose immortal force
Pursued coy Nature to her inmost source,
Or Locke who knew with lynx's eye to find
Man's secret Soul, and analyse the Mind?
Or shall Refinement in the brightest page
Of Roman Splendor rival Anna's Age?
Where, though Politeness now of freer school.
Condemn Formality's too rigid rule,
Adorn'd by Reason, Converse learn'd to please,
And manly Dignity attemper'd Ease,
Public attention waited conscious Worth,
And liberal Manners mark'd illustrious Birth.
The Muses too their tuneful powers employ,
And the loud Pæan join of general joy:
What though their voice strikes not the ravish'd ear
With notes that Greece and Rome were wont to hear,
Yet when sweet Pope's melodious lines convey
The moral subject in the perfect lay,
To British numbers charms unknown impart,
And varied sounds combine with happiest art,
Rapp'd with delight Aonia's listening throng
Drink the soft accents of the dulcet song,
And own the immortal strains of earlier time
Are nearly rivall'd in a northern clime,
By verse of Gothic frame and manacled with rhime.
Though Britain must revere the kings who draw
Their royal claims from Liberty and Law,
In holy Freedom's pure regalia shine,
And deem a People's Voice their Right Divine:
Yet midst her patrons Science cannot place
The earliest monarchs of the Brunswick race.
No princely favor kindles Genius' flame;
Or raises modest worth to wealth or fame;
To private vanity the artists trust,
Whence the stiff portrait, and the unmeaning bust,
While her Pagodas gaudy China rears,
And Cibber's brow the sullied laurel wears.
But see! a Prince succeeds whose generous heart
The liberal Patron glows of every art,
The slumbering train warm'd by his chearing smile
Break from their trance, and polish Albion's isle.
Yet though Medusa's charm revers'd is shewn
As Sculpture animates the Parian stone,
By Architecture though the dome is graced
With all the ornaments of Attic taste,
Though drawn by Painting's animating hand
With life, with character, the portraits stand;
Yet Britain's candid sons must yield the prize
To the bright influence of Italian skies,
Where Guido's touch enthusiast rapture fir'd,
And holy zeal a Raphael's tints inspir'd.
Theirs be the unenvied triumph!—while applause
From her inventive powers Britannia draws.
The stores in Nature's rural empire placed
To chuse with judgment, and arrange with taste,
O'er the soft grace her genuine forms impart
To throw the simple stole of decent Art,
For the high fountain, and the pent cascade,
Cyphers of turf, and cabinets of shade,
To teach the wave in graceful bends to flow,
To crown with wood the mountain's heathy brow,
And bid the flower and blooming shrub succeed
The rugged bramble, and the loathsome weed,
This be her glory!—pleas'd to shine alone
In native charms, and Beauty all her own:
Secure her fame unhurt by time shall stand
Since Mason's verse records what Brown has plann'd.
But ah! while thus the Arts inferior train
Thrive in the sunshine of a George's reign;
Sweet Poesy, whose sacred powers exceed
The Sculptor's chisel, and the Painter's reed,
Whose pen has Virtue's moral shape design'd,
And drawn the immortal image of the Mind,
Whose magic sounds to melody dispense
The flowers of Fancy, and the force of Sense;
Sweet Poesy, neglected and forlorn,
The feeble rays of patronage must mourn.
By wealth or wisdom placed in happier state
Though a bold few disdain to court the great;
Though Mason frame the warm descriptive lay,
Or strike the lyre with Pindar, and with Gray;
Though listening Harmony with raptur'd ear
Attentive stand, the enchanting notes to hear,
As sailing on the rainbow-tinctur'd wings
Of chaste Imagination, Hayley sings:
In plaintive strains at sighing Friendship's call
Though tuneful Seward mourn her Andre's fall,
And wrap the felon cord that clos'd his breath
In radiant Glory's amaranthine wreath;
Tho' Warton young-ey'd Fancy's favorite child,
On whose auspicious birth the Muses smil'd,
And taught his glowing colors to portray
The rural landscape, and the vernal day,
With classic Art his flowing numbers fill,
And join the Critic's to the Poet's skill;
Yet as with streaming eye the sorrowing Muse
Pale Chatterton's untimely urn bedews,
Her accents shall arraign the partial care
That shielded not her son from cold despair:
And many a bard by frowning Fortune led
To abject interest bows the venal head,
Compell'd to point with cruel wit the dart
That wing'd by malice rives the blameless heart,
Or ideot pride by slavish notes to raise,
And cast to swine the precious gems of praise.
O let, Imperial George! the Muses share
The kindly dews of thy parental care.
Too oft has Poesy with servile aim
By tyrants favor'd, sung a tyrant's fame,
O let one monarch wake her nobler rage,
And consecrate to Truth her holy page!
Rais'd by thy hand, I see on Albion's plain
The seeds of Grecian glory bloom again!
See Genius plume once more her eagle wing,
Hear other Homers, other Shakespears sing!
And while their voice down time's eternal flood
Wafts the clear honors of the Wise and Good,
Ages unborn shall bless the just decree,
And future Heroes owe their fame to thee.
Here let us pause,—attentive to survey
The present æra of Refinement's sway.
As in some perfect scene of Britain's isle,
Where all the charms of cultur'd Nature smile,
To velvet lawns, and flowery shades, succeed
The furrow'd champain, and the irriguous mead,
Then woods, and heaths in soft perspective rise,
Till rough the distant mountains meet the skies;
So let our search the changing picture trace
Through all the different tribes of human race;
The strong gradations mark with curious eye
Midst civil and barbarian life that lie,
From Europe's crouded towns and inmates mild,
To the rude savage, and the dreary wild.
Conspicuous rising o'er the various scene,
Of Arts and Arms, though Europe shine the Queen
Yet even her offspring from Refinement share
Unequal influence, and a partial care.
With studious zeal the polish'd sons of France
Lead up attractive Pleasure's airy dance,
Each varied mark of character forsake
One pliant form of general mode to take,
The fairest wreaths from Courtesy to claim
Their first ambition, and their proudest aim.
Not so Britannia, on her bleaker plains
Still wild Caprice in spite of Science reigns,
No central court there all distinction draws,
No judge directs of critic art the laws,
All as they list presume to regulate
The page of learning and the powers of state,
Indignant cast each servile rule away,
Nor even in Taste admit despotic sway.—
No ductile texture can the mind acquire
Mid Faction's storms, and Freedom's glowing fire:
The amorous youth at Party's noisy call
Quits for the grave debate the lively ball;
And in the social scenes of softer grace
Will Business oft intrude with serious face,
While Politics on public cares decide,
And settle Europe's rights by Beauty's side.
Though Italy first saw reviving Art,
And wakening Science sooth again the heart,
She loiters now in Glory's bright career,
Nor longer pants the prize of fame to wear;
No more her pencil bids the canvas glow,
But yields the envied wreath to Reynolds' brow;
Damp'd is the bold Historian's generous fire,
Numb'd the free hand, and mute the living lyre.
Yet her's the boast with skilful touch to bring
The sweetest sounds from Music's trembling string,
To bid full Harmony with swelling note
In undulating lays of Rapture float,
The liquid strains of melody prolong,
And lap the soul in extasy of song.
Iberia's sons, of yore who foremost strove
In the bright lists of Valor and of Love,
Who caught in early time each softer grace
From their brave victors of the Moorish race,
(No more to Emulation's call awake,)
The paths of Glory and of Art forsake.—
What time Columbus taught them to explore
The treasur'd wonders of the Atlantic shore,
Gold, all corrupting gold with fatal charm
Entranced the bosom, and unnerv'd the arm,
And lazy Avarice every wish confines
To the rich produce of the Indian mines.
While Bigotry, whose blast no power survives,
Thro' the waste realms with furious whirlwind drives,
And bids them Heaven's avenging Justice feel
For fell Pizarro's flames, and Cortez' murderous steel.
In Belgia o'er a people's prostrate heads
Her universal reign where Commerce spreads,
The thirst of gain absorbs all other care,
And few the votaries of Refinement there.
While in Germania endless forms conspire
To damp the ingenuous glow of native fire,
The Herald's blazon, and the Noble's pride,
The different ranks so rigidly divide,
That deepest Science, and exalted worth
Can ne'er o'erleap the casual bar of Birth.
Besides such empty claims the thoughts employ,
So clog the free exchange of social joy,
Such serious trifles so engage the taste,
Such dire effects attend a name misplaced,
That far the gentler Graces wing their flight,
Nor bear the drudgery to grow polite.
Yet the strong marks of characters like these
Fade every hour and vanish by degrees.—
Those numerous causes that with different force
Have biass'd, or oppos'd, Refinement's course,
Have dimm'd her radiant beams with sullen gloom,
Or veil'd the lustre of her native bloom,
With daily lapse their weaken'd influence lose,
One general form as Gallia's arts diffuse,
What Prejudice destroy'd, or Error stain'd,
By imitative Zeal is now regain'd,
And Europe's changing race with common care
Affect her manners, and assume her air.
Piercing the midnight gloom of Northern skies
At length in Russian climes the Arts arise:
Already by a patriot Monarch sought,
Had Industry each rougher Science taught,
And now those joys that graver toil beguile,
The favoring warmth confess of Catherine's smile.
O glorious Princess! lo the sorrowing Muse
Thy great designs with anxious look pursues!
For as she frequent bends her weeping eye
To scenes on Europe's utmost bound that lie,
And sees pale Tyranny's oppressive throne
Triumphant rear'd o'er regions once her own,
A gleam of hope awhile her anguish charms
Drawn from thy generous aims, and conquering arms:
She views in Fancy's dream thy Victor host
Drive the grim Despot from the Grecian coast,
Sees European Freedom bless the shore,
And Science grace her favorite seats once more.
Asia's wide realms, on whose propitious earth
First teeming Genius gave Refinement birth,
Lie the sad objects of barbarian sway,
To tyrants fierce, and fiercer lusts a prey.
For on her eastern plain's extremest verge
Her early claims though distant China urge,
Though Arts which Europe saw of late unfold
Inform'd she boasts her wiser chiefs of old;
Yet as her jealous sons have never join'd
The common intercourse of human kind,
To each fond tale the traveller displays
A doubtful credit wavering Reason pays,
And Learning fears the incurious race to own,
Of all unknowing, and by all unknown.
What else exists beneath the cope of heaven
Is to the savage tribe of wanderers given,
Who unrestrain'd by precept or by law,
From climate, and from soil, their difference draw.
The sable African no culture boasts,
Fierce as his sun, and ruthless as his coasts;
And where the immeasurable forests spread
Beyond the extent of Ocean's western bed,
Unsocial, uninform'd, the tawney race
Range the drear wild, and urge the incessant chace.
Amid the wide expanse of southern seas
Where the blest isles inhale the genial breeze,
The happier native in the fragrant grove
Woos the soft powers of Indolence and Love:
But where more keen the ray, more rude the gale,
Manners less mild and harsher cares prevail;
Till in the sad extremes of polar frost,
The sacred beam of human reason lost,
Man scarcely rises from the shaggy brood
That prowl insatiate o'er the icy flood.
Dire were the scene!—but Europe's gentler kind,
Tempting the billowy deep and fickle wind,
With venturous prows each distant seat explore,
And boldly tread the inhospitable shore;
Tame the wild waste, correct the unwholesome air,
And fix of polish'd life the empire there.
On Afric's southmost point their happy toil
Bids gay Pomona clothe the sultry soil,
Their power on Asia's eastern coast commands,
And Ganges flows by European lands:
In the vast tracts beyond the Atlantic main
Their Arts, their Science, and their Manners reign,
Where rising Glory soars with pinion young,
And imitates the parent whence she sprung:
While, (civil Discord's bloody storm o'erblown,)
Albion, her brave descendants proud to own,
‘Lo these my sons!’ exulting shall exclaim,
‘Who caught from me immortal Freedom's flame,
‘And firmly zealous in the holy cause,
‘Extend o'er half the globe Britannia's laws.’
May Europe's race the generous toil pursue,
And Truth's broad mirror spread to every view;
Awake to Reason's voice the savage mind,
Check Error's force, and civilize mankind;
Faith's radiant beam impart to farthest climes,
And teach pure Wisdom undebas'd by crimes;
To the free breeze the swelling sail unfold
Impell'd by Virtue, not allur'd by Gold.
No more with arms the trembling tribes destroy,
But soft Persuasion's gentler Powers employ,
Till, from her throne barbarian Rudeness hurl'd,
Refinement spread her Empire o'er the world.