On The Death Of Mrs. Bowes

Written extempore on a card, in a large company, December 14, 1724.

Hail, happy bride, for thou art truly blest!
Three months of rapture, crown'd with endless rest.
Merit like yours was Heav'n's peculiar care,
You lov'd -- yet tasted happiness sincere.
To you the sweets of love were only shown,
The sure succeeding bitter dregs unknown;
You had not yet the fatal charge deplor'd,
The tender lover for th'imperious lord:
Nor felt the pain that jealous fondness brings:
Nor felt, that coldness from possession springs.
Above your sex, distinguish'd in your fate,
You trusted -- yet experienc'd no deceit;
Soft were your hours, and wing'd with pleasure flew;
No vain repentance gave a sigh to you:
And if superior bliss Heaven can bestow,
With fellow-angels you enjoy it now.

The Fourth Ode Of The First Book Of Horace Imitated

Solvitur acris hyems grata vice veris

Sharp winter now dissolv'd, the linnet sing,
The grateful breath of pleasing Zephyrs bring
The welcome joys of long-desired spring.
The galleys now for open sea prepare,
The herds forsake their stalls for balmy air,
The fields adorn'd with green th'approaching sun declare.
In shining nights the charming Venus leads
Her troop of Graces, and her lovely maids,
Who gaily trip the ground in myrtle shades.
The blazing forge her husband Vulcan heats
And thunderlike the labouring hammer beats,
While toiling Cyclops every stroke repeats.
Of myrtle new the cheerful wreath compose,
Of various flowers which opening spring bestows,
Till coming June presents the blushing rose.
Pay your vow'd offering to God Faunus' bower!
Then, happy Sestius, seize the present hour,
'Tis all that nature leaves to mortal power.
The equal hand of strong impartial Fate
Levels the peasant and th'imperious great,
Nor will that doom on human projects wait.
To the dark mansions of the senseless dead,
With daily steps our destin'd path we tread,
Realms still unknown, of which so much is said.
Ended your schemes of pleasure and of pride,
In joyous feasts no one will there preside,
Torn from your Lycidas' beloved side.
Whose tender youth does now our eyes engage,
And soon will give, in his maturer age,
Sighs to our virgins -- to our matrons rage.

To that dear nymph, whose pow'rful name
Does every throbbing nerve inflame
(As the soft sound I low repeat,
My pulse unequal measures beat),
Whose eyes I never more shall see,
That once so sweetly shin'd on thee;
Go, gentle wind! and kindly bear
My tender wishes to the fair.
Hoh, ho, ho, &c.

Amidst her pleasures let her know
The secret anguish of my woe,
The midnight pang, the jealous hell,
Does in this tortur'd bosom dwell:
While laughing she, and full of play,
Is with her young companions gay;
Or hearing in some fragrant bower
Her lover's sigh, and beauty's power.
Hoh, ho, ho, &c.

Lost and forgotten may I be!
Oh may no pitying thought of me
Disturb the joy that she may find,
When love is crown'd and fortune kind:
May that bless'd swain (whom yet I hate)
Be proud of his distinguish'd fate:
Each happy night be like the first;
And he be bless'd as I am curs'd.
Hoh, ho, ho, &c.

While in these pathless woods I stray,
And lose my solitary way;
Talk to the stars, to trees complain,
And tell the senseless words my pain:
But madness spares the sacred name,
Nor dares the hidden wound proclaim;
Which, secret rankling, sure and slow,
Shall close in endless peace my woe.
Hoh, ho, ho, &c.

When this fond heart shall ache no more,
And all the ills of life are o'er
(If gods by lovers' prayers are mov'd,
As ev'ry god in heaven has lov'd);
Instead of bright Elysian joys,
That unknown something in the skies,
In recompense of all my pain,
The only heaven I'd obtain,
May I, the guardian of her charms,
Preserve that paradise from harms.
Hoh, ho, ho, &c.

An Answer To A Love-Letter, In Verse

Is it to me this sad lamenting strain?
Are Heaven's choicest gifts bestow'd in vain?
A plenteous fortune and a beauteous bride,
Your love rewarded, and content your pride;
Yet, leaving her, 'tis me that you pursue,
Without one single charm -- but being new.
How vile is man! How I detest the ways
Of covert falsehood and designing praise!
As tasteless, easier happiness you slight,
Ruin your joy, and mischief your delight.
Why should poor pug (the mimic of your kind)
Wear a rough chain, and be to box confin'd?
Some cup, perhaps, he breaks, or tears a fan,
While moves, unpunish'd, the destroyer man;
Not bound by vows, and unrestrain'd by shame,
In sport you break the heart, and rend the fame.
Not that your art can be successful here,
Th' already plunder'd need no robber fear.
Nor sighs nor charms, nor flattery, can move,
Too well secur'd against a second love.
Once, and but once, that devil charm'd my mind,
To reason deaf, to observation blind,
I idly hop'd (what cannot Love persuade!)
My fondness equall'd and my truth repaid:
Slow to distrust, and willing to believe;
Long hush'd my doubts, I would myself deceive.

But oh! too soon -- this tale would ever last --
Sleep on my wrongs, and let me think them past.
For you, who mourn with counterfeited grief,
And ask so boldly, like a begging thief,
May soon some other nymph inflict the pain
You know so well with cruel art to feign.
Though long you've sported with Dan Cupid's dart,
You may see eyes, and you may feel a heart.
So the brisk wits who stop the evening coach,
Laugh at the fear that follows their approach;
With idle mirth and haughty scorn despise
The passenger's pale cheek and staring eyes;
But seiz'd by justice, find a fright no jest,
And all the terror doubled in their breast.

Written at Twelve Years of Age, in imitation of Ovid's Epistles.

Are love and pow'r incapable to meet?
And must they all be wretched who are great?
Enslav'd by titles, and by forms confin'd,
For wretched victims to the state design'd.
What rural maid, that my sad fortune knows,
Would quit her cottage to embrace my woes?
Would be this cursed sacrifice to pow'r,
This wretched daughter of Rome's emperour?
When sick with sighs to absent Ovid given,
I tire with vows the unrelenting Heaven,
Drown'd in my tears, and with my sorrows pale,
What then do all my kindred gods avail?
Let proud Augustus the whole world subdue,
be mine to place all happiness in you;
With nobler pride I can on throes look down,
Can court your love and can despise a crown, --
O Love! thou pleasure never dearly bought!
Whose joys exceed the very lover's thought;
Of that soft passion, when you teach the art,
In gentle sounds it steals into the heart;
With such sweet magic does the soul surprise,
'Tis only taught us better by your eyes.
O Ovid! first of the inspired train,
To Heaven I speak in that enchanting strain,
So sweet a voice can never plead in vain.

Apollo will protect his favourite son,
And all the little Loves unto thy succour run.
The Loves and Muses in thy prayer shall join,
And all their wishes and their vows be thine;
Some god will soften my hard Father's breast,
And work a miracle to make thee blest.

* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *

Hard as this is, I even could this bear,
But greater ills than what I feel, I fear.
My fame -- my Ovid -- both for ever fled,
what greater evil is there left to dread!
Yes, there is one . . . . . . . . . . .
Avert it, Gods, who do my sorrows see!
Avert it, thou, who art a god to me!
When back to Rome your wishing eyes are cast,
And on the lessening towers you gaze your last --
When fancy shall recal unto your view
The pleasures now for ever lost to you,
The shining court, and all the thousand ways
To melt the nights and pass the happy days --
Will you not sigh, and hate the wretched maid,
Whose fatal love your safety has betray'd?
Say that from me your banishment does come,
And curse the eyes that have expell'd you Rome?
Those eyes, which now are weeping for your woes,
The sleep of death shall then for ever close.

An Epistle To The Earl Of Burlington

How happy you! who varied joys pursue;
And every hour presents you something new!
Plans, schemes, and models, all Palladio's art,
For six long months have gain'd upon your heart;
Of collonades, of corridors you talk,
The winding staircase and the cover'd walk;
You blend the orders with Vitruvian toil,
And raise with wond'rous joy the fancy'd pile:
But the dull workman's slow-performing hand
But coldly executes his lord's command.
With dirt and mortar soon you grow displeas'd,
Planting succeeds, and avenues are rais'd,
Canals are cut, and mountains level made,
Bow'rs of retreat, and galleries of shade;
The shaven turf presents a lively green;
The bordering flowers in mystic knots are seen:
With studied art on nature you refine --
The spring beheld you warm in this design,
But scarce the cold attacks your fav'rite trees,
Your inclination fails, and wishes freeze:
You quit the grove so lately you admir'd;
With other views your eager hopes are fir'd;
Post to the city you direct your way;
Not blooming paradise could bribe your stay:
Ambition shows you power's brightest side,
'Tis meanly poor in solitude to hide:
Though certain pains attend the cares of state,
A good man owes his country to be great;
Should act abroad the high distinguish'd part,
Or show at least the purpose of his heart.
With thoughts like these the shining courts you seek,
Full of new projects for almost a week;
You then despise the tinsel-glittering snare,
Think vile mankind below a serious care.
Life is too short for any distant aim;
And cold the dull reward of future fame:
Be happy then, while yet you have to live;
And love is all the blessing Heav'n can give.
Fir'd by new passion you address the fair,
Survey the opera as a gay parterre;
Young Chloe's bloom had made you certain prize,
But for a sidelong glance from Celia's eyes:
Your beating heart acknowledges her pow'r;
Your eager eyes her lovely form devour;
You feel the poison swelling in your breast,
And all your soul by fond desire possess'd.
In dying sighs a long three hours are past;
To some assembly with impatient haste,
With trembling hope, and doubtful fear, you move,
Resolv'd to tempt your fate, and own your love:
But there Belinda meets you on the stairs,
Easy her shape, attracting all her airs;
A smile she gives, and with a smile can wound;
Her melting voice hath music in the sound;
Her every motion wears resistless grace;
Wit in her mien, and pleasure in her face:
Here while you vow eternity of love,
Chloe and Celia unregarded move.
Thus on the sands of Afric's burning plains,
However deeply made, no long impress remains;
The slightest leaf can leave its figure there;
The strongest form is scatter'd by the air.
So yielding the warm temper of your mind,
So touch'd by every eye, so toss'd by wind;
Oh! how unlike the Heav'n my soul design'd!
Unseen, unheard, the throng around me move;
Not wishing praise, insensible of love;
No whispers soften, nor no beauties fire;
Careless I see the dance, and coldly hear the lyre.
So num'rous herds are driv'n o'er the rock;
No print is left of all the passing flock:
So sings the wind around the solid stone;
So vainly beat the waves with fruitless moan.
Tedious the toil, and great the workman's care,
Who dare attempt to fix impressions there:
But should some swain, more skilful than the rest,
Engrave his name upon this marble breast,
Not rolling ages could deface that name;
Through all the storms of life 'tis still the same:
Though length of years with moss may shade the ground,
Deep, though unseen, remains the secret wound.

An Epistle From Pope To Lord Bolingbroke

Confess, dear Laelius! pious, just, and wise,
Some self-content does in that bosom rise,
When you reflect, as sure you sometimes must,
What talents Heaven does to thy virtue trust,
While with contempt you view poor humankind,
Weak, wilful, sensual, passionate, and blind.
Amid these errors thou art faultless found,
(The moon takes lustre from the darkness round)
Permit me too, a small attendant star,
To twinkle, though in a more distant sphere;
Small things with great, we poets oft compare.
With admiration all your steps I view,
And almost envy what I can't pursue.
The world must grant (and 'tis no common fame)
My courage and my probity the same.
But you, great Lord, to nobler scenes were born;
Your early youth did Anna's court adorn.
Let Oxford own, let Catalonia tell,
What various victims to your wisdom fell;
Let vows or benefits the vulgar bind,
Such ties can never chain th'intrepid mind.
Recorded be that memorable hour,
When, to elude exasperated pow'r
With blushless front you durst your friend betray,
Advise the whole confed'racy to stay,
While with sly courage you run brisk away.
By a deserted court with joy receiv'd,
Your projects all admir'd, your oaths believ'd;
Some trust obtain'd, of which good use he made,
To gain a pardon where you first betray'd.
But what is pardon to th'aspiring breast?
You should have been first minister at least:
Failing of that, forsaken and depress'd,
Sure any soul but yours had sought for rest!
And mourn'd in shades, far from the public eye,
Successless fraud, and useless infamy.
And here, my lord! let all mankind admire
The efforts bold of unexhausted fire;
You stand the champion of the people's cause,
And bid the mob reform defective laws.
Oh! was your pow'r, like your intention good,
Your native land would stream with civic blood.
I own these glorious schemes I view with pain;
My little mischiefs to myself seem mean,
Such ills are humble though my heart is great,
All I can do is flatter, lie, and cheat;
Yet I may say 'tis plain that you preside
O'er all my morals, and 'tis much my pride
To tread with steps unequal where you guide.
My first subscribers I have first defam'd,
And when detected, never was asham'd;
Rais'd all the storms I could in private life,
Whisper'd the husband to reform the wife;
Outwitted Lintot in his very trade,
And charity with obloquy repaid.
Yet while you preach in prose, I scold in rhymes,
Against th'injustice of flagitious times.
You, learned doctor of the public stage,
Give gilded poison to corrupt the age;
Your poor toad-eater I, around me scatter
My scurril jests, and gaping crowds bespatter.
This may seem envy to the formal fools
Who talk of virtue's bounds and honour's rules;
We, who with piercing eyes look nature through,
We know that all is right in all we do.

Reason's erroneous -- honest instinct right --
Monkeys were made to grin, and fleas to bite.
Using the spite by the Creator given,
We only tread the path that's mark'd by Heaven.
And sure with justice 'tis that we exclaim,
Such wrongs must e'en your modesty inflame;
While blockheads, court-rewards and honours share,
You, poet, patriot, and philosopher,
No bills in pockets, nor no garter wear.
When I see smoking on a booby's board
Fat ortolans and pye of Perigord,
Myself am mov'd to high poetic rage
(The Homer and the Horace of the age),
Puppies who have the insolence to dine
With smiling beauties, and with sparkling wine;
While I retire, plagu'd with an empty purse,
Eat brocoli, and kiss my ancient nurse.
But had we flourish'd when stern Harry reign'd,
Our good designs had been but ill explained;
The axe had cut your solid reas'nings short,
I, in the porter's lodge, been scourg'd at court.
To better times kind Heav'n reserv'd our birth.
Happy for you such coxcombs are on earth!
Mean spirits seek their villainy to hide;
We show our venom'd souls with nobler pride,
And in bold strokes have all man kind defy'd,
Pass'd o'er the bounds that keep mankind in awe,
And laugh'd at justice, liberty, and law.
While our admirers stare with dumb surprise,
Treason and scandal we monopolise.
Yet this remains our most peculiar boast,
You 'scape the block, and I the whipping-post.