On My Birthday, July 21
I, MY dear, was born to-day--
So all my jolly comrades say:
They bring me music, wreaths, and mirth,
And ask to celebrate my birth:
Little, alas! my comrades know
That I was born to pain and woe;
To thy denial, to thy scorn,
Better I had ne'er been born:
I wish to die, even whilst I say--
'I, my dear, was born to-day.'
I, my dear, was born to-day:
Shall I salute the rising ray,
Well-spring of all my joy and woe?
Clotilda, thou alone dost know.
Shall the wreath surround my hair?
Or shall the music please my ear?
Shall I my comrades' mirth receive,
And bless my birth, and wish to live?
Then let me see great Venus chase
Imperious anger from thy face;
Then let me hear thee smiling say--
'Thou, my dear, wert born to-day.'
To The Countess Of Exeter. Playing On The Lute
What charms you have, from what high race you sprung,
Have been the pleasing subjects of my song:
Unskill'd and young, yet something still I writ
Of Ca'ndish' beauty, join'd to Cecil's wit.
But when you please to show the labouring muse
What greater theme your music can produce,
My babbling praises I repeat no more,
But hear, rejoice, stand silent, and adore.
The Persians thus, first gazing on the sun,
Admired how high 'twas placed, how bright it shone;
But as his power was known their thoughts were raised,
And soon they worshipp'd what at first they praised.
Eliza's glory lives in Spenser's song,
And Cowley's verse keeps fair Orinda young;
That as in birth and beauty you excel,
The muse might dictate and the poet tell:
Your art no other art can speak; and you
To show how well you play, must play anew:
Your music's power your music must disclose,
For what light is 'tis only light that shows.
Strange force of harmony that thus controls
Our thoughts, and turns and sanctifies our souls.
While with its utmost art your sex could move
Our wonder only or at best our love,
You far above both these your god did place,
That your high power might worldly thoughts destroy,
That with your numbers you our zeal might raise,
And like himself communicate your joy.
When to your native heaven you shall repair,
And with your presence crown the blessings there,
Your lute may wind its strings but little higher
To tune their notes to that immortal quire.
Your art is perfect here; your numbers do
More than our books make the rude atheist know
That there's a heaven by what he hears below.
As in some piece while Luke his skill exprest,
A cunning angel came and drew the rest,
So when you play, some godhead does impart
Harmonious aid; divinity helps art;
Some cherub finishes what you begun,
And to a miracle improves a tune.
To burning Rome when frantic Nero play'd,
Viewing that face, no more he had survey'd
The raging flames, but, struck with strange surprise,
Confess'd them less than those of Anna's eyes;
But, had he heard thy lute, he soon had found
His rage eluded and his crime atoned:
Thine, like Amphion's hand, had waked the stone
And from destruction call'd the rising town;
Malice to music had been forced to yield,
Nor could he burn so fast as thou couldst build.
Gualterus Danistonus, Ad Amicos. - And Imitation
Dum studeo fungi fallentis munere vitae,
Adfectoque viam sedibus Elysiis
Arctoa florens sophia, Samiisque superbus
Discipulis, animas morte carere cano.
Has ego corporibus profugas ad sidera mitto;
Sideraque ingressis otia blanda dico;
Qualia conveniunt divis, queis fata volebant
Vitai faciles molliter ire vias:
Vinaque coelicolis media inter gaudia libo;
Et me quid majus suspicor esse viro,
Sed fuerint nulli forsan, quos spondeo, coeli;
Nullaque sint Ditis numina, nulla Jovis:
Fabula sit torris agitur, quae vita relictis
Quique superstes homo; qui nihil, esto Deus.
Attamen esse hilares, et inanes mittere curas
Proderit, ac vitae commoditate frui,
Et festos agitasse dies, aevique fugacis
Tempora perpetuis detinuisse jocis.
His me parentem praeceptis occupet orcus,
Et mors; seu divum, seu nihil esse velit;
Nam sophia ars illa est, quae fallere suaviter hoyas
Admonet, atque orci non timuisse minas.
Studious the busy moments to deceive,
That fleet between the cradle and the grave,
I credit what the Grecian dictates say,
And Samian sounds o'er Scotia's hills convey.
When mortal man resigns his transient breath
The body only I give o'er to death;
The parts dissolved and broken frame I mourn:
What came from earth I see to earth return.
The immaterial part, th' ethereal soul,
Nor can change vanquish, nor can death control.
Glad I release it from its partner's cares,
And bid good angels waft it to the stars:
Then in the flowing bowl I drown those sighs,
Which, spite of wisdom, from our weakness rise.
The draught to the dead's memory I commend,
And offer to thee now, immortal friend:
But if opposed to what my thoughts approve,
Nor Pluto's rage there be, nor power of Jove,
On its dark side if thou the prospect take,
Grant all forgot beyond black Lethe's lake;
In total death suppose the mortal lie,
No new hereafter, nor a future sky;
Yet bear thy lot content, yet cease to grieve;
Why ere death comes dost thou forbear to live?
The little time thou hast 'twixt instant now
And Fate's approach is all the gods allow;
And of this little hast thou ought to spare
To sad reflection and corroding care?
The moments past, if thou art wise, retrieve
With pleasant memory of the bliss they gave.
The present hours in present mirth employ,
And bribe the future with the hopes of joy;
The future (few or more, howe'er they be)
Where destined erst, nor can by Fate's decree
Be now cut off betwixt the grave and thee.
Charity : A Paraphrase On 1 Cor. Chap. 13
Did sweeter Sounds adorn my flowing Tongue,
Than ever Man pronounc'd, or Angel sung:
Had I all Knowledge, Human and Divine,
That Thought can reach, or Science can define;
And had I Pow'r to give that Knowledge Birth,
In all the Speeches of the babbling Earth:
Did Shadrach's Zeal my glowing Breast inspire,
To weary Tortures, and rejoice in Fire:
Or had I Faith like That which Israel saw,
When Moses gave them Miracles, and Law:
Yet, gracious Charity, indulgent Guest,
Were not Thy Pow'r exerted in my Breast;
Those Speeches would send up unheeded Pray'r:
That Scorn of Life would be but wild Despair:
A Tymbal's Sound were better than my Voice:
My Faith were Form: my Eloquence were Noise.
Charity, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject Mind;
Knows with just Reins, and gentle Hand to guide,
Betwixt vile Shame, and arbitrary Pride.
Not soon provok'd, She easily forgives;
And much She suffers, as She much believes.
Soft Peace She brings where-ever She arrives:
She builds our Quiet, as She forms our Lives;
Lays the rough Paths of peevish Nature ev'n;
And opens in each Heart a little Heav'n.
Each other Gift, which GOD on Man bestows,
It's proper Bounds, and due Restriction knows;
To one fixt Purpose dedicates it's Pow'r;
And finishing it's Act, exists no more.
Thus, in Obedience to what Heav'n decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and Prophecy shall cease:
But lasting Charity's more ample Sway,
Nor bound by Time, nor subject to Decay,
In happy Triumph shall for ever live,
And endless Good diffuse, and endless Praise receive.
As thro' the Artist's intervening Glass,
Our Eye observes the distant Planets pass;
A little we discover; but allow,
That more remains unseen, than Art can show:
So whilst our Mind it's Knowledge wou'd improve;
(It's feeble Eye intent on Things above)
High as We may, We lift our Reason up,
By Faith directed, and confirm'd by Hope:
Yet are We able only to survey
Dawnings of Beams, and Promises of Day.
Heav'n's fuller Effluence mocks our dazl'd Sight;
Too great it's Swiftness, and too strong it's Light.
But soon the mediate Clouds shall be dispell'd;
The Sun shall soon be Face to Face beheld,
In all His Robes, with all His Glory on,
Seated sublime on His Meridian Throne.
Then constant Faith, and holy Hope shall dye,
One lost in Certainty, and One in Joy:
Whilst Thou, more happy Pow'r, fair Charity,
Triumphant Sister, greatest of the Three,
Thy Office, and Thy Nature still the same,
Lasting thy Lamp, and unconsum'd thy Flame,
Shalt still survive -
Shalt stand before the Host of Heav'n confest,
For ever blessing, and for ever bless'd.
To Dr. Sherlock, On His Practical Discourse Concerning Death
Forgive the muse who, in unhallow'd strains,
The saint one moment from his God detains;
For sure whate'er you do, where'er you are,
'Tis all but one good work, one constant prayer.
Forgive her; and entreat that God to whom
Thy favour'd vows with kind acceptance come,
To raise her notes to that sublime degree
Which suits a song of piety and thee.
Wondrous good man! whose labours may repel
The force of sin, may stop the rage of hell;
Thou, like the Baptist, from thy God was sent,
The crying voice to bid the world repent.
Thee youth shall study, and no more engage
Their flattering wishes for uncertain age,
No more with fruitless care and cheated strife
Chase fleeting pleasure through this maze of life;
Finding the wretched all they there can have
But present food, and but a future grave;
Each, great as Philip's victor son, shall view
This abject world, and weeping ask a new.
Decrepit age shall read thee, and confess
Thy labours can assuage where med'cines cease;
Shall bless thy words, their wounded soul's relief,
The drops that sweeten their last dregs of life:
Shall look to heaven, and laugh at all beneath,
Own riches gather'd trouble, fame a breath,
And life an ill whose only cure is death.
Thy even thoughts with so much plainness flow,
Their sense untutor'd infancy may know;
Yet to such height is all that plainness wrought,
Wit may admire, and letter'd pride be taught.
Easy in words thy style, in sense sublime,
On its blest steps each age and sex may rise;
'Tis like the ladder in the Patriarch's dream,
Its foot on earth, its height above the skies.
Diffused its virtue, boundless is its power;
'Tis public health, and universal cure:
Of heavenly manna 'tis a second feast,
A nation's food, and all to every taste.
To its last height mad Britain's guilt was rear'd,
And various death for various crimes she fear'd:
With your kind work her drooping hopes revive;
You bid her read, repent, adore, and live,
You wrest the bolt from Heaven's avenging hand,
Stop ready death, and save a sinking land.
O! save us still; still bless us with thy stay:
O! want thy heaven till we have learn'd the way:
Refuse to leave thy destined charge too soon,
And for the church's good defer thy own.
O! live, and let thy works urge our belief;
Live to explain thy doctrine by thy life;
Till future infancy, baptized by thee,
Grow ripe in years, and old in piety;
Till christians yet unborn be taught to die.
Then in full age and hoary holiness
Retire, great teacher, to thy promised bliss;
Untouch'd thy tomb, uninjured be thy dust,
As thy own fame among the future just,
Till in last sounds, the dreadful trumpet speaks;
Till judgement calls, and quicken'd nature wakes;
Till through the utmost earth and deepest sea
Our scatter'd atoms find their destined way,
In haste to clothe their kindred souls again,
Perfect our state, and build immortal man:
Then fearless thou, who well sustain'dst the fight,
To paths of joy and tracks of endless light,
Lead up all those who heard thee and believed;
'Midst thy own flock, great shepherd, be received
And glad all heaven with millions thou hast saved.
Hans Carvel, impotent and old,
Married a lass of London mould.
Handsome? Enough; extremely gay;
Loved music, company, and play:
High flights she had, and wit at will,
And so her tongue lay seldom still;
For in all visits who but she
To argue or to repartee?
She made it plain that human passion
Was order'd by predestination;
That if weak women went astray,
Their stars were more in fault than they.
Whole tragedies she had by heart;
Enter'd into Roxana's part;
To triumph in her rival's blood
The action certainly was good.
How like a vine young Ammon curl'd!
Oh that dear conqueror of the world!
She pity'd Betterton in age
That ridiculed the godlike rage.
She, first of all the town, was told
Where newest India things were sold;
So in a morning, without bodice,
Slipt sometimes out to Mrs. Thody's
To cheapen tea, to buy a screen;
What else could so much virtue mean?
For to prevent the least reproach
Betty went with her in the coach.
But when no very great affair
Excited her peculiar care,
She without fail was waked at ten,
Drank chocolate, then slept again:
At twelve she rose; with much ado
Her clothes were huddled on by two:
Then, does my lady dine at home?
Yes, sure; - but is the colonel come?
Next, how to spend the afternoon,
And not come home again too soon,
The change, the city, or the play,
As each was proper for the day;
A turn in summer to Hyde-park,
When it grew tolerably dark.
Wife's pleasure causes husband's pain;
Strange fancies come in Hans's brain:
He thought of what he did not name,
And would reform but durst not name,
At first he therefore preach'd his wife
The comforts of a pious life;
Told her how transient beauty was;
That all must die, and flesh was grass:
He bought her sermons, psalms, and graces,
And doubled down the useful places:
But still the weight of worldly care
Allow'd her little time for prayer;
And Cleopatra was read o'er,
While Scot, and Wake, and twenty more,
That teach one to deny one's self,
Stood unmolested on the shelf.
An untouch'd bible graced her toilette;
No fear that thumb of hers should spoil it,
In short, the trade was still the same;
The dame went out, the colonel came.
What's to be done? poor Carvel cried;
Another battery must be tried:
What if to spells I had recourse?
'Tis but to hinder something worse.
The end must justify the means;
He only sins who ill intends:
Since therefore 'tis to combat evil
'Tis lawful to employ the devil.
Forthwith the devil did appear,
(For name him and he's always near)
Not in the shape in which he plies
At miss's elbow when she lies,
Or stands before the nursery doors
To take the naughty boy that roars,
But without tail, or eye, or claw,
Like a grave barrister at law.
Hans Carvel, lay aside your grief,
The devil says; I bring relief.
Relief! says Hans; pray let me crave
Your name Sir - Satan - Sir, your slave.
I did not look upon your feet;
You'll pardon me, - Ay, now I see't.
And pray, Sir, when came you from hell?
Our friends there, did you leave them well?
All well; but, pr'ythee, honest Hans
(Says Satan) leave your complaisance:
The truth is this; I cannot stay
Flaring in sunshine all the day,
For, entre nous, we hellish sprites
Love more the fresco of the nights;
And oftener our receipts convey
In dreams than any other way,
I tell you, therefore, as a friend,
Ere morning dawns your fears shall end:
Go then this evening, Master Carvel,
Lay down your fowls, and broach your barrel;
Let friends and wine dissolve your care
Whilst I the great receipt prepare ---
To-night I'll bring it by my faith:
Believe for once what Satan saith.
Away went Hans; glad not a little;
Obey'd the devil to a tittle;
Invited friends some half a dozen,
The colonel and my lady's cousin.
The meat was served, the bowls were crown'd,
Catches were sung, and healths went round;
Barbadoes' waters for the close,
Till Hans had fairly got his dose;
The colonel toasted to the best;
The dame moved off to be undress'd;
The chimes went twelve, the guests withdrew
But when or how Hans hardly knew:
Some modern anecdotes aver
He nodded in his elbow chair,
From thence was carried off to bed;
John held his heels, and Nan his head;
My lady was disturb'd; new sorrow!
Which Hans must answer for to-morrow.
In bed then view this happy pair,
And think how Hymen triumph'd there;
Hans fast asleep as soon as laid,
The duty of the night unpaid;
The waking dame with thoughts oppress'd
That made her hate both him and rest:
By such a husband, such a wife!
'Twas Acme's and Septimius' life:
The lady sigh'd, the lover snored,
The punctual devil kept his word;
Appear'd to Honest Hans again,
But not at all by Madam seen,
Fit for the finger of a king,
Dear Hans, said he, this jewel take,
And wear it long for Satan's sake;
'Twill do your business to a hair;
For long as you this ring shall wear,
As sure as I look over Lincoln
That ne'er shall happen which you think on.
Hans took the ring with joy extreme,
(All this was only in a dream)
And thrusting it beyond his joint.--
'Tis done, he cried: I've gain'd my point. ---
What point, said she, you ugly beast?
You neither give me joy nor rest.
'Tis done - What's done, you drunken bear?
You've thrust your finger G-d knows where.
The Nut-Brown Maid. A Poem.
Written three hundred years since.
Be it right or wrong, these men among
On women do complayne;
Affyrmynge this, how that it is
A labour spent in vaine
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man againe:
For lete a man do what he can
Ther favour to attayne,
Yet yf a new do them pursue,
Ther furst trew lover than
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought
He is a banishyd man.
I say not nay, but that all day
It is bothe writ and sayde
That woman's fayth is as who saythe,
All utterly decayed.
But nevertheless right good witness
I' this case might be layde,
That they love trewe, and continew,
Record the Nut-brown Mayde;
Which from her love (whan her to prove
He came to make his mone)
Wold not depart, for in her herte
She lovyd but him alone.
Than betweene us lettens discusse,
What was all the maner
Between them two: we wyl also
Telle all the peyne and fere
That she was in. Now I begynne,
So that ye me answere.
Wherefore all ye that present be
I pray ye give an eare.
I am the knyght, I come by nyght
As secret as I can,
Saying, alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banishyd man.
And I your wylle, for to fulfylle
In this wyl not refuse,
Trusting to show, in wordis fewe,
That men have an ill use,
(To ther own shame) women to blame,
And causelese them accuse:
Therefore to you I answere now,
Alle women to excuse.
Myn own herte dere, with you what chere,
I pray you telle anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
It stondeth so; a dede is do,
Wherefore moche harm shall growe;
My desteny is for to-dey
A shameful deth I trowe;
Or ellis to flee: the one must be,
None other way I knowe,
But to withdrawe, as an outlawe,
And take me to my bowe.
Wherefore adew, my owne herte trewe,
None other red I can;
For I must to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
O Lord! what is this worldis blysse,
That chaungeth as the mone?
My somer's day, in lusty May,
Is derked before the none.
I here you saye farewell: nay, nay,
We departe not soo sone.
Why say ye so? wheder wyl ye goe?
Alas! what have ye done?
Alle my welfare to sorrow and care
Shulde chaung yf ye were gone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
I can beleve it shall you greeve,
And shomwhat you distrayne,
But aftyrwarde your paynes harde,
Within a day or tweyne,
Shal sone aslake, and ye shal take
Comfort to you agayne.
Why shuld ye nought? for to make thought
Your labur were in vayne,
And thus I do, and pray you too,
As hertely as I can;
For I muste to the greene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Now sythe that ye have showed to me
The secret of your mynde,
I shal be plaine to you againe,
Lyke as ye shal me fynde.
Sythe it is so that ye wyl goe,
I wol not leve behynde:
Shal never be sayd the Nut-Brown Mayde
Was to her love unkynde.
Make you redy, for so am I,
Although it were agone;
For in my mynd, of all mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Yet I you rede to take good hede
What men wyl think and sey;
Of yonge and olde it shall be tolde
That ye be gone away;
Your wanton wylle for to fulfylle
In grene wode you to play;
And that ye myght from your delyte
Noo longer make delay.
Rather than ye shuld thus for me
Be called an ylle woman,
Yet wold I to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Though it be songe of olde and yonge
That I shuld be to blame,
Thers be the charge that speke so large
In hurting of my name:
For I wyll prove that feythful love
It is devoyd of shame;
In your distress and hevyness
To parte wyth you the same.
And sure all thoo that doo not so
Trewe lovers are they none;
But in my mynde of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
I counsel you, remember how
It is noo mayden's lawe
Nothing to dought, but to renne out
To wode with an outlawe:
For ye must there in your hand bere
O bowe redy to drawe;
And as a theef, thus must ye lyve,
Ever in drede and awe.
Whereby to you gret harme myght growe
Yet I had lever than
That I had to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
I think not nay; but as ye saye,
It is noo mayden's lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
To com on fote to hunte and shote,
To get us mete in store:
For so that I your company
May have, I ask noo more:
From whiche to parte, it makith myn herte
As colde as ony stone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
For an outlawe, this is the lawe,
That men hym take and binde,
Wythout pytee, hanged to bee,
And waver with the wynde.
Yf I had neede, as God forbede,
What resons coude ye finde?
For sothe I trowe, ye and your bowe
Shuld drawe for fere behynde.
And noo merveyle; for lytel avayle
Were in your council than:
Wherefore I to the wode wyl goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Full well knowe ye that women be
But febyl for to fyght:
Noo woman hede it is in deede
To be bold as a knyght:
Yet in suche fere yf that ye were
With enemys day and nyght,
I wolde withstonde wyth bowe in honde
To greve them as I myght;
And you to save as women have
From dethe many one;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Yet take gude hede! for ever I drede
That ye coude not sustein
The thorney-weyes, the depe valeis,
The snowe, the frost, the reyn;
The cold, the hete: for drye, or wete,
We must lodge on the playn,
And us above noon other rofe,
But a brake, bush, or twaine,
Whiche sone shuld greve you, I beleve;
And ye wolde gladely than,
That I had to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Sythe I have here been partynere
With you of joy and blysse,
I must also parte of your woo
Endure, as reson is:
Yet am I sure of one pleasure,
And, shortly, it is this,
That where ye bee, me seemeth, par-dy
I could not fare amyss.
Without more speche I you beseche
That we were soon a gone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Yf ye goo thedyr, ye must consyder,
Whan ye have lust to dyne,
Ther shal no mete be for to gete,
Nor drink, bere, ale, ne wine;
Ne shetis clean, to lye betwene,
Made of thred and twyne;
Noon other house but levys and bowes,
To kever your head and myn.
O myn herte swete, this ylle dyet
Shuld make you pale and wan;
Wherefore I to the wode wyl goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Among the wylde dere, such an archier,
As men say that ye bee,
We may not fayle of good vitayle,
Where is so grete plente:
And watir cleere of the ryvere
Shal be full swete to me,
With whiche in hele, I shal right wele
Endure, as ye shal see.
And er we goe, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Loo! yet before, ye must do more
Yf ye wyl go with me;
As cute your here up by your ere,
Your curtel by the kneel:
Wyth bowe in honde, for to wythstonde
Your enemys yf nede be;
And this same nyght, before daylyght,
To wode-ward wyl I flee.
And yf ye wylle al this fulfylle,
Do it shortly as ye can;
Ellis wyl I to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
I shall as now do more for you
Than longeth to womanhede;
To short my here, a bow to bere,
To shote in tyme of nede.
O my sweet moder, before al other,
For you have I most drede;
But now adew, I must ensue
Where Fortune duth me lede.
All this make ye, and lete us flee,
The day run fast upon;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Nay, nay, not so: ye shal not goe,
And I shal telle ye why;
Your appetyte is to be light
Of love I wele espie;
For right as ye have sayde to me
In lykewise hardely
Ye wolde answere, whosoever it were,
In way of company.
It is sayd of olde, Sone hote, sone colde,
And so is a woman;
Wherefore I to the wode wyl goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Yf ye take hede yt is noo nede
Such wordis to say bee me;
For ofte ye prey'd, and longe assay'd,
Er I you lovid, par-dy;
And though that I of auncestry
A baron's daughter bee,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squyer of low degree;
And ever shal, what so befalle,
To dey therefore anone:
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
A baron's childe to be begyled,
It were a cursed dede:
To be felawe with an outlawe
Almighty God forbede!
Yt bettyr were the pore squyer
Alone to forrest spede,
Than ye shal saye another daye,
That by that wycked dede
Ye were betrayed. Wherefore good mayde,
The best rede that I can,
Is that I to the grene wode goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Whatsoever befalle, I never shale
Of this thing you upbraid;
But yf ye go and leve me so,
Then have ye me betraid.
Remember ye wele how that ye dele;
For yf ye, as ye sayde,
Be so unkynde to leve behynde
Your love, the Nut-brown Mayde,
Trust me truely, that I shal dey
Some after ye be gone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Yf that ye went ye shulde repent;
For in the forrest now
I have purveid me of a mayde,
Whom I love more than you.
Another fayrer than e'er ye were,
I dare it well avowe;
And of you bothe eche shude be worthe
Wyth other, as I trowe,
It were myn ese to live in pese,
So wyl I yf I can;
Wherefore I to the wode wyl goe,
Alone, a banishyd man.
Though in the wode I understode
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your:
And she shall fynde me soft and kynde,
And curteis every hour,
Glad to fulfylle all that she wylle
Commaunde me to my power.
For had ye loo an hundred moo,
Yet wolde I be that one;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Myne own dere love, I see the prove,
That ye be kynde and trewe;
Of mayde and wyfe, in al my lyfe,
The best that ever I knewe.
Be merey and glad, be no more sad,
The case is chaunged newe;
For it were ruthe, that for your trouth,
Ye shulde have cause to rewe.
Be not dismay'd whatsoever I sayd
To you whan I began:
I wyl not to the grene wode goe,
I am no banishyd man.
Theis tydingis be more glad to me
Than to be made a quene,
Yf I were sure they shulde endure;
But it is often seene,
When men wyle breke promyse, they speke
The wordis on the splene.
Ye shape some wyle, me to begyle,
And stele fro me, I wene.
Then were the case wurs than it was,
And I more woo begone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.
Ye shal not nede further to drede;
I wyl not disparage
You. God defend, syth you descend
Of so grete a lynage.
Now understonde, to Westmerlande,
Which is my herytage
I wyl you bringe, and with a rynge,
By way of maryage,
I wyl you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can.
Thus have ye wone an erlie's sone,
And not a banishyd man.
An Ode - In Imitation Of Horace, Book Iii. Ode Ii.
How long, deluded Albion, wilt thou lie
In the lethargic sleep, the sad repose
By which thy close thy constant enemy
Has softly lull'd thee to thy woes?
Or wake, degenerate isle, or cease to own
What thy old kings in Gallic camps have done,
The spoils they brought thee back, the crowns they won,
William (so Fate requires) again is arm'd,
Thy father to the field is gone,
Again Maria weeps her absent lord,
For thy repose content to rule alone.
Are thy enervate sons not yet alarm'd?
When William fights dare they look tamely on,
So slow to get their ancient fame restored,
As not to melt at Beauty's tears nor follow Valour's sword?
See the repenting isle awakes,
Her vicious chains the generous goddess breaks;
The fogs around her temples are dispell'd;
Abroad she looks, and sees arm'd Belgia stand
Prepared to meet heir common lord's command,
Her lions roaring by her side, her arrows in her hand,
And blushing to have been so long withheld,
Weeps off her crime, and hastens to the field:
Henceforth her youth shall be inured to bear
Hazardous toil and active war:
To march beneath the dogstar's raging heat,
Patient of summer's drought and martial sweat,
And only grieve in winter's camp to find
Its days too short for labours they design'd:
All night beneath hard heavy arms to watch,
All day to mount the trench, to storm the breach,
And all the rugged paths to tread
Where William and his virtue led.
Silence is the soul of war;
Deliberate counsel must prepare
The mighty work which valour must complete:
Thus William rescued, thus preserves the state,
Thus teaches us to think and dare:
As, whilst his cannon just prepared to breathe
Avenging anger and swift death,
In the tried metal the close dangers glow,
And now, too late, the dying foe
Perceives the flame, yet cannot ward the blow;
So whilst in William's breast ripe counsels lie,
Secret and sure as brooding Fate,
No more of his design appears
Than what awakens Gallia's fears,
And (though Guilt's eye can sharply penetrate)
Distracted Lewis can descry
Only a long unmeasured ruin nigh.
On Norman coasts, and banks of frighted Seine,
Lo! the impending storms begin;
Britannia's safely through her master's sea
Plows up her victorious way:
The French Salmoneus throws his bolts in vain
Whilst the true thunderer asserts the main.
'Tis done! to shelves and rocks his fleets retire,
Swift victory, in vengeful flames,
Burns down the pride of their presumptuous names:
They run to shipwreck to avoid our fire,
And the torn vessels that regain their coast
Are but sad marks to show the rest are lost.
All this the mild the beauteous Queen has done,
And William's softer half shakes Lewis' throne.
Maria does the sea command,
Whilst Gallia flies her husband's arms by land.
So, the sun absent, with full sway the moon
Governs the isles and rules the wave alone;
So Juno thunders when her Jove is gone.
Io, Britannia! loose thy ocean's chains,
Whilst Russel strikes the blow thy Queen ordains.
Thus rescued, thus revered, for ever stand,
And bless the counsel, and reward the hand,
Io Britannia! thy Maria reigns.
From Mary's conquests and the rescued main
Let France look forth to Sambre's armed shore,
And boast her joy for William's death no more.
He lives, let France confess the victor lives:
Her triumphs for his death were vain,
And spoke her terror of his life too plain.
The mighty years begin, the days draw nigh
of Lewis' many wives
Who, by the baleful force of guilty charms
Has long enthrall'd him in her wither'd arms,
Shall o'er the plains from distant towers on high
Cast around her mournful eye,
And with prophetic sorrow cry,
Why does my ruin'd lord retard his flight?
As well the wolf may venture to engage
The angry lion's generous rage,
The ravenous vulture and the bird of night
As safely tempt the stooping eagle's flight,
As Lewis to unequal arms defy
Yon hero, crown'd with blooming victory
Just triumphing o'er rebel rage restrain'd,
And yet unbreathed from battles gain'd.
See! all yon dusty fields, quite cover'd o'er
With hostile troops, and Orange at their heart,
The great designs of labouring Fate;
Orange, the name that tyrants dread:
He comes; our ruin'd empire is no more:
Down like the Persian goes the Gallic throne;
Darius flies; young Ammon urges on.
Now from the dubious battle's mingled heat
Let Fear look back, and stretch her hasty wing,
Impatient to secure a base retreat;
Let the pale coward leave his wounded king,
For the vile privilege to breath,
To live with shame in dread of glorious death!
In vain; for Fate has swifter wings than Fear,
She follows hard, and strikes him in the rear;
Dying and mad the traitor bites the ground,
His back transfix'd with a dishonest wound,
Whilst through the fiercest troops and thickest press
Virtues carries on success;
Whilst equal Heaven guards the distinguish'd brave,
And armies cannot hurt whom angels save.
Virtue to verse immortal lustre gives;
Each by the other's mutual friendship lives;
AEneas suffer'd and Achilles fought;
The hero's acts enlarged the poet's thought,
Or Virgil's majesty and Homer's rage
Had ne'er like lasting Nature vanquish'd age.
Whilst Lewis then his rising terror drowns
With drums' alarms and trumpets' sounds;
Whilst hid in arm'd retreats and guarded towns,
From danger as from honour far,
He bribes close Murder against open War,
In vain your Gallic Muses strive
With labour'd verse to keep his fame alive;
Your mouldering monuments in vain you raise
On the weak basis of the tyrant's praise;
Your songs are sold, your numbers are profane,
'Tis incense to an idol given,
Meat offer'd to Prometheus' man,
That had no soul from Heaven.
Against his will you chain your frighted king
On rapid Rhine's divided bed,
And mock your her, whilst ye sing
The wounds for which he never bled;
Falsehood does poison on your praise diffuse,
And Lewis' fear gives death on Boileau's muse.
On its own worth true majesty is rear'd,
And Virtue is her own reward;
With solid beams and native glory bright,
She neither darkness dreads nor covets light;
True to herself, and fix'd to in-born laws,
Nor sunk by spite, nor lifted by applause,
She from her settled orb looks calmly down
On life or death, a prison or a crown.
When bound in double chains poor Belgia lay,
To foreign arms and inward strife a prey;
Whilst one good man buoy'd up her sinking state,
And Virtue labour'd against Fate;
When Fortune basely with Ambition join'd,
And all was conquer'd but the patriot's mind;
When storms let loose, and raging seas,
Just ready the torn vessel to o'erwhelm,
Forced not the faithful pilot from his helm,
Nor all the Siren songs of future peace,
And dazzling prospect of a promised crown,
Could lure his stubborn virtue down;
But against charms, and threats, and hell he stood
To that which was severely good;
Then had no trophies justified his fame,
No poet bless'd his song with Nassau's name;
Virtue alone did all that honour bring,
And Heaven as plainly pointed out the King,
As when he at the altar stood
In all his types and robes of power,
Whilst at his feet religious Britain bow'd,
And own'd him next to what we there adore.
Say joyful Maese, and Boyne's victorious flood,
(For each has mix'd his waves with royal blood)
When William's armies pass'd, did he retire,
Or view from far the battle's distant fire;
Could he believe his person was too dear?
Or use his greatness to conceal his fear?
Could prayers or sighs the dauntless hero move?
Arm'd with heaven's justice, and his people's love,
Through the first waves he wing'd his venturous way,
And on the adverse shore arose,
(Ten thousand flying deaths in vain oppose).
Like the great ruler of the day,
With strength and swiftness mounting from the sea:
Like him all day he toil'd; but long in night
The god has eased his wearied light,
Ere vengeance left the stubborn foes,
Or William's labours found repose.
When his troops falter'd, stept not he between?
Restored the dubious fight again,
Mark'd out the coward that durst fly,
And led the fainting brave to victory?
Still as she fled him, did he not o'ertake
Her doubtful course, still brought her bleeding back?
By his keen sword did not the boldest fall?
Was he not king, commander, soldier, all?
His dangers such as, with becoming dread,
His subjects yet unborn shall weep to read:
And were not those the only days that e'er
The pious prince refused to hear
His friends' advices, or his subjects' prayer?
Where'er old Rhine his fruitful water turns,
Or fills his vassals' tributary urns;
To Belgia's saved dominions, and the sea,
Whose righted waves rejoice in William's sway?
Is there a town where children are not taught,
Here Holland prosper'd, for here Orange fought?
Through rapid waters, and through flying fire;
Here rush'd the prince, here made whole France retire?
By different nations be his valour blest,
In different languages confest;
And then let Shannon speak the rest:
Let Shannon speak, how on her wondering shore,
When conquest hovering on his arms did wait,
And only ask'd some lives to bribe her o'er;
The god-like man, the more than conqueror,
With high contempt sent back the specious bait:
And, scorning glory at a price too great,
With so much power, such piety did join,
As made a perfect virtue soar
A pitch unknown to man before;
And lifted Shannon's waves o'er those of Boyne.
Nor do his subjects only share
The prosperous fruits of his indulgent reign;
His enemies approve the pious war,
Which, with their weapon, takes away their chain.
More than his sword his goodness strikes his foes,
They bless his arms, and sigh they must oppose.
Justice and freedom on his conquests wait;
And 'tis for man's delight that he is great;
Succeeding times shall with long joy contend
If he were more a victor or a friend:
So much his courage and his mercy strive,
He wounds to cure, and conquers to forgive.
Ye Heroes! that have fought your country's cause,
Redress'd her injuries, or form'd her laws,
To my adventurous song just witness bear,
Assist the pious Muse, and hear her swear,
That 'tis no poet's thought, no flight of youth
But solid story and severest truth,
That William treasures up a greater name
Than any country, any age, can boast;
And all that ancient stock of fame
He did from his forefathers take
He has improved, and gives with interest back,
And in his constellation does unite
Their scatter'd rays of fainter light:
Above or Envy's lash or Fortune's wheel,
That settled glory shall for ever dwell,
Above the rolling orbs and common sky,
Where nothing comes that e'er shall die.
Where roves the Muse? where, thoughtless to return,
Is her short-lived vessel borne,
By potent winds, too subject to be tost,
And in the sea of William's praises lost?
Nor let her 'tempt that deep, nor make the shore
Where our abandoned youth she sees
Shipwreck'd in luxury and lost in ease;
Whom nor Britannia's danger can alarm,
Nor William's exemplary virtue warm:
Tell them, howe'er, the King can yet forgive
Their guilty sloth, their homage yet receive,
And let their wounded honour live:
But sure and sudden be their just remorse:
Swift be their virtue's rise, and strong its course
For though for certain years and destin'd times
Merit has lain confused with crimes,
Though Jove seem'd negligent of human cares,
Nor scourged our follies nor return'd our prayers,
His justice now demands the equal scales,
Sedition is suppress'd and truth prevails;
Fate its great ends by slow degrees attains,
And Europe is redeem'd, and William reigns.
An Ode - Humbly Inscribed To The Queen, On The Glorious Success Of Her Majesty's Arms
When great Augustus govern'd ancient Rome,
And sent his conquering bands to foreign wars,
Abroad when dreaded, and beloved at home,
He saw his fame increasing with his years,
Horace, great bard, (so fate ordain'd) arose,
And, bold as were his countryman in fight,
Snatch'd their fair actions from degrading prose,
And set their battles in eternal light:
High as their trumpets tune his lyre he strung,
And with his prince's arms he moralized his song.
When bright Eliza ruled Britannia's state,
Widely distributing her high commands,
And, boldly wise and fortunately great,
Freed the glad nations from tyrannic bands,
An equal genius was in Spenser found;
To the high theme he match'd his noble lays;
He travelled England o'er on fairy ground,
In mystic notes to sing his monarch's praise:
Reciting wondrous truths in pleasing dreams
He deck'd Eliza's head with Gloriana's beams.
But, greatest Anna! while thy arms pursue
Paths of renown, and climb ascents of fame,
Which nor Augustus nor Eliza knew,
What poet shall be found to sing thy name?
What numbers shall record, what tongue shall say
Thy wars on land, thy triumphs on the main?
O fairest model of imperial sway!
What equal pen shall write thy wondrous reign?
Who shall attempts and feats of arms rehearse,
Nor yet by story told, nor parallel'd by verse?
Me all too mean for such a task I weet;
Yet if the sovereign Lady designs to smile
I'll follow Horace with impetuous heat,
And clothe the verse in Spenser's native style:
By these examples rightly taught to sing,
And smit with pleasure of my country's praise,
Stretching the plumes of an uncommon wing,
High as Olympus I my flight will raise,
And latest times shall in my numbers read
Anna's immortal fame and Marlborough's hardy deed.
As the strong eagle in the silent wood,
Mindless of warlike rage and hostile care,
Plays round the rocky cliff or crystal flood,
Till by Jove's high behests call'd out to war,
And charged with thunder of his angry king,
His bosom with the vengeful message glows,
Upward the noble bird directs his wing,
And towering round his master's earth-born foes,
Swift he collects his fatal stock of ire,
Lifts his fierce talon high, and darts the forked fire.
Sedate and calm thus victor Marlborough sate,
Shaded with laurels, in his native land,
Till Anna calls him from his soft retreat,
And gives her second thunder to his hand:
Then leaving sweet repose and gentle ease,
With ardent speed he seeks the distant foe,
Marching o'er hills and vales, o'er rocks and seas,
He meditates and strikes the wondrous blow.
Our thought flies slower than our General's fame;
Grasps he the bolt? (we ask) when he has hurl'd the flame.
When fierce Bavar on Judoign's spacious plain
Did from afar the British chief behold,
Betwixt despair, and rage, and hope, and pain,
Something within his warring bosom roll'd:
He views that favourite of indulgent Fame,
Whom whilom he had met on Ister's shore;
Too well, alas! the man he knows the same
Whose prowess there repell'd the Boyan power,
And sent them trembling thro' the frighted lands,
Swift as the whirlwind drives Arabia's scatter'd sands.
His former losses he forgets to grieve;
Absolves his fate with a kinder ray
It now would shine, and only give him leave
To balance the account of Blenheim's day.
So the fell lion, in the lonely glade,
His side still smarting with the hunter's spear,
Though deeply wounded, no way yet dismay'd,
Roars terrible, and meditates new war,
In sullen fury traverses the plain
To find the venturous foe, and battle him again.
Misguided prince, no longer urge thy fate,
Nor tempt the hero to unequal war;
Famed in misfortune, and in ruin great,
Confess the force of Malbro's stronger star.
Those laurel groves (the merits of thy youth)
Which thou from Mahomet didst greatly gain,
While, bold assertor of resistless truth,
Thy sword did godlike Liberty maintain.
Must from thy brow their falling honours shed,
And their transplanted wreaths must deck a worthier head.
Yet cease the ways of Providence to blame,
And human faults with human grief confess;
'Tis thou art changed, while Heaven is still the same;
From thy ill counsels date thy ill success:
Impartial Justice holds her equal scales,
Till stronger virtue does the weight incline;
If over thee thy glorious foe prevails,
He now defends the cause that once was thine.
Righteous the war, the champion shall subdue,
For Jove's great handmaid, Power, must Jove's decrees pursue.
Hark! the dire trumpets sound their shrill alarms!
Auverqueque, branch'd from the renown'd Nassaus,
Hoary in war, and bent beneath his arms,
His glorious sword with dauntless courage draws.
When anxious Britain mourn'd her parting lord,
And all of William that was mortal died,
The faithful hero had received his sword
From his expiring master's much-loved side:
Oft from its fatal ire has Louis flown,
Where'er great William led or Maese and Sambre run.
But brandish'd high, in an ill-omen'd hour
To thee, proud Gaul, behold thy justest fear,
The master-sword, disposer of thy power:
'Tis that which Caesar gave the British peer.
He took the gift: Nor ever will I sheath
This steel (so Anna's high behests ordain)
The General said, unless by glorious death
Absolved, till conquest has confirm'd your reign.
Returns like these our mistress bids us make,
When from a foreign prince a gift her Britons take.
And now fierce Gallia rushes on her foes,
Her force augmented by the Boyan bands;
So Volga's stream, increased by mountain snows,
Rolls with new fury down through Russia's lands.
Like two great rocks against the raging tide
(If Virtue's force with Nature's we compare)
Unmoved the two united chiefs abide,
Sustain the impulse, and receive the war:
Round their firm sides in vain the tempest beats,
And still the foaming wave with lessen'd power retreats.
The rage dispersed, the glorious pair advance,
With mingled anger and collected might,
To turn the war, and tell aggressing France
How Britain's sons and Britain's friends can fight.
On conquest fix'd, and covetous of fame,
Behold them rushing through the Gallic host;
Through standing corn so runs the sudden flame,
Or eastern winds along Sicilia's coast.
They deal their terrors to the adverse nation:
Pale Death attends their arms, and ghastly Desolation.
But while with fiercest ire Bellona glows,
And Europe rather hopes than fears her fate,
While Britain presses her afflicted foes,
What horror damps the strong and quells the great?
Whence look the soldier's cheeks dismay'd and pale?
Erst ever dreadful, know they now to dread?
The hostile troops, I ween, almost prevail,
And the pursuers only not recede.
Alas! their lessen'd rage proclaims their grief!
For anxious, lo! they crowd around their falling chief.
I thank thee, Fate, exclaims the fierce Bavar;
Let Boya's trumpet graceful Io's sound;
I saw him fall, their thunderbolt of war; -
Ever to Vengeance sacred be the ground -
Vain wish! short joy! the hero mounts again
In greater glory, and with fuller light;
The evening star so falls into the main,
To rise at morn more prevalently bright.
He rises safe, but near, too near his side,
A good man's grievous loss, a faithful servant died.
Propitious Mars! the battle is regain'd';
The foe with lessen'd wrath disputes the field:
The Briton fights, by favoring gods sustain'd;
Freedom must live, and lawless power must yield.
Vain now the tales which fabling poets tell,
That wavering Conquest still desires to rove!
In Marlbro's camp the goddess knows to dwell;
Long as the hero's life remains her love.
Again France flies, again the Duke pursues,
And on Ramilia's plains he Blenheim's fame renews.
Great thanks, O Captain, great in arms! receive
From thy triumphant country's public voice;
Thy country greater thanks can only give
To Anne, to her who made those arms her choice.
Recording Schellenberg's and Blenheim's toils,
We dreaded lest thou should'st those toils repeat:
We view'd the palace charged with Gallic spoils,
And in those spoils we thought thy praise complete.
For never Greek we deem'd, nor Roman knight,
In characters like these did e'er his acts indite.
Yet, mindless still of ease, thy virtue flies
A pitch to old and modern times unknown:
Those goodly deeds, which we so highly prize,
Imperfect seem, great Chief, to thee alone.
Those heights, where William's virtue might have staid,
And on the subject world look'd safely down,
By Marlbro's pass'd, the props and steps were made
Sublimer yet to raise his Queen's renown:
Still gaining more, still slighting what he gain'd,
Nought done the hero deem'd while ought undone remain'd.
When swift-wing'd Rumour told the mighty Gaul
How lessen'd from the field Bavar was fled,
He wept the swiftness of the champion's fall,
And thus the royal treaty-breaker said:
And lives he yet, the great, the lost Bavar,
Ruin to Gallia in the name of friend?
Tell me how far has Fortune been severe?
Has the foe's glory of our grief an end?
Remains there, of the fifty thousand lost,
To save our threaten'd realm, or guard our shatter'd coast?
To the close rock the frighted raven flies,
Soon as the rising eagle cuts the air
The shaggy wolf unseen and trembling lies,
When the hoarse roar proclaims the lion near:
Ill starr'd did we our forts and lines forsake,
To dare our British foes to open fight:
Our conquest we by stategem should make:
'Tis ours by craft and by surprise to gain:
'Tis theirs, to meet in arms, and battle in the plain.
The ancient father of this hostile brood,
Their boasted Brute, undaunted snatch'd his gods
From burning Troy, and Xanthus red with blood,
And fix'd on silver Thames his dire abodes:
And this be Trynovante, he said, the seat
By Heaven ordain'd, my sons, your lasting place:
Superior here to all the bolts of fate
Live, mindful of the author of your race,
Whom neither Greece, nor war, nor want, nor flame,
Nor great Pelides' arm, nor Juno's rage, could tame.
Their Tudors hence, and Stuart's offspring flow:
Hence Edward, dreadful with his sable shield,
Talbot to Gallia's power eternal foe,
And Seymour, famed in council or in field:
Hence Nevel, great to settle or dethrone,
And Drake, and Ca'ndish, terrors of the sea:
Hence Butler's sons, o'er land and ocean known,
Herbert's and Churchill's warring progeny:
Hence the long roll which Gallia should conceal:
For, oh! who, vanquish'd, loves the victor's fame to tell?
Envy'd Britannia, sturdy as the oak,
Which on her mountain top she proudly bears,
Eludes the axe, and sproutes against the stroke;
Strong from her wounds, and greater by her wars.
And as those teeth, which Cadmus sow'd in earth,
Produced new youth, and furnish'd fresh supplies;
So with young vigour, and succeeding birth,
Her losses more than recompensed arise;
And every age she with a race is crown'd,
For letters more polite, in battles more renown'd.
Obstinate power, whom nothing can repel;
Not the fierce Saxon, nor the cruel Dane,
Nor deep impression of the Norman steel,
Nor Europe's force amass'd by envious Spain.
Nor France on universal sway intent,
Oft breaking leagues, and oft renewing wars;
Nor (frequent bane of weaken'd government)
Their own intestine feuds and mutual jars;
Those feuds and jars, in which I trusted more,
Than in my troops, and fleets, and all the Gallic power.
To fruitful Rheims, or fair Lutetia's gate,
What tidings shall the messenger convey?
Shall the loud herald our success relate,
Or mitred priest appoint the solemn day?
Alas! my praises they no more must sing;
They to my statue now must bow no more;
Broken, repulsed is their immortal king:
Fall'n, fall'n for ever, is the Gallic power.-
The woman chief is master of the war:
Earth she has freed by arms, and vanquish'd Heaven by prayer.
While thus the ruin'd foe's despair commends
Thy council and thy deed, victorious queen,
What shall thy subjects say, and what thy friends;
How shall thy triumphs in our joy be seen?
Oh! deign to let the eldest of the nine
Recite Britannia great and Gallia free;
Oh! with her sister Sculpture let her join
To raise, great Anne, the monument to thee;
To thee, of all our good the sacred spring;
To thee, our dearest dread; to thee, our softer king.
Let Europe, saved, the column high erect,
Than Trojan's higher, or than Antonine's,
Where sembling art may carve the fair effect
And full achievement of thy great designs,
In a calm heaven and a serener air
Sublime the queen shall on the summit stand,
From danger far, as far removed from fear,
And pointing down to earth her dread command.
All winds, all storms, that threaten human wo
Shall sink beneath her feet, and spread their rage below.
There fleets shall strive, by winds and waters tost,
Till the young Austrian on Iberia's strand,
Great as AEneas on the Latian coast
Shall fix his foot: And this, be this the land,
Great Jove, where I for ever will remain,
(The empire's other hope shall say) and here
Vanquish'd, intomb'd I'll lie, or crown'd I'll reign -
O Virtue, to thy British Mother dear!
Like the famed Trojan suffer and abide:
For Anne is thine, I ween, as Venus was his guide.
There, in eternal characters engraved,
Vigo, and Gibraltar, and Barcelone,
Their force destroy'd, their privileges saved,
Shall Anna's terrors and her mercies own:
Spain, from the usurper Bourbon's arms retrieved,
Shall with new life and grateful joy appear,
Numbering the wonders which that youth achieved
Whom Anna clad in arms and sent to war,
Whom Anna sent to claim Iberia's throne,
And made him more than king in calling him her son.
There Isther, pleased by Blenheim's glorious field,
Rolling, shall bid his eastern waves declare
Germania saved by Britain's ample shield,
And bleeding Gaul afflicted by her spear;
Shall bid them mention Marlbro', on that shore
Leading his islanders renown'd in arms,
Through climes where never British chief before
Or pitch'd his camp, or sounded his alarms;
Shall bid them bless the queen, who made his streams
Glorious as those of Boyne, and safe as those of Thames.
Brabantia, clad with fields, and crown'd with towers,
With decent joy shall her deliverer meet,
Shall own thy arms, great queen, and bless thy powers,
Laying the keys beneath thy subject's feet.
Flandria, by plenty made the home of war,
Shall weep her crime, and bow to Charles restored,
With double vows shall bless thy happy care
In having drawn and having sheathed the sword,
From these their sister provinces shall know
How Anne supports a friend, and how forgives a foe.
Bright swords, and crested helms, and pointed spears,
In artful piles around the work shall lie;
And shields indented deep in ancient wars,
Blazon'd with signs of Gallic heraldry;
And standards with distinguish'd honours bright,
Marks of high power and national command,
Which Valois' sons, and Bourbon's bore in fight,
Or gave to Foix', or Montmorancy's hand;
Great spoils, which Gallia must to Britain yield,
From Cressy's battle saved to grace Ramilia's field.
And, as fine art the spaces may dispose,
The knowing thought and curious eye shall see
Thy emblem, gracious queen, the British rose,
Type of sweet rule and gentle majesty:
The northern thistle, whom no hostile hand
Unhurt too rudely may provoke, I ween;
Hibernia's harp, device of her command,
And parent of her mirth shall there be seen:
Thy vanquish'd lilies, France, decay'd and torn,
Shall with disorder'd pomp the lasting work adorn.
Beneath, great queen, oh! very far beneath,
Next to the ground and on the humble base,
To save herself from darkness and from death,
That muse desires the last, the lowest place;
Who, though unmeet, yet touch'd the trembling string,
For the fair fame of Anne and Albion's land,
Who durst of war and martial fury sing;
And when thy will, and when thy subject's hand,
Had quell'd those wars, and bid that fury cease,
Hangs up her grateful harp to conquest, and to peace.
The Turtle And Sparrow. An Elegiac Tale
Behind an unfrequented glade,
Where yew and myrtle mix their shade,
A widow Turtle pensive sat,
And wept her murder'd lover's fate.
The Sparrow chanced that way to walk,
(A bird that loves to chirp and talk)
Be sure he did the Turtle greet,
She answer'd him as she thought meet.
Sparrows and Turtles, by the bye,
Can think as well as you or I;
But how they did their thoughts express
The margin shows by T. and S.
T. My hopes are lost, my joys are fled,
Alas! I weep Columbo dead:
Come, all ye winged Lovers, come,
Drop pinks and daisies on his tomb;
Sing, Philomel, his funeral verse,
Ye pious Redbreasts deck his hearse;
Fair Swans, extend your dying throats,
Columbo's death requires your notes;
For him, my friend, for him I moan,
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
Stretch'd on the bier Columbo lies,
Pale are his cheeks, and closed his eyes;
Those eyes, where beauty smiling lay,
Those eyes, where Love was used to play;
Ah! cruel Fate, alas how soon
That beauty and those joys are flown!
Columbo is no more: ye floods,
Bear the sad sound to distant woods;
The sound let echo's voice restore,
And say, Columbo is no more.
Ye floods, ye woods, ye echoes, moan
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
The Dryads all forsook the wood,
And mournful Naiads round me stood,
The tripping Fawns and Fairies came,
All conscious of our mutual flame,
To sigh for him, with me to moan,
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
Venus disdain'd not to appear,
To lend my grief a friendly ear;
But what avails her kindness now?
She ne'er shall hear my second vow:
The Loves that round their mother flow
Did in her face her sorrows view;
Their drooping wings they pensive hung,
Their arrows broke, their bows unstrung;
They heard attentive what I said,
And wept, with me, Columbo dead:
For him I sigh, for him I moan,
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
'Tis ours to weep, great Venus said,
'Tis Jove's alone to be obey'd:
Nor birds nor goddesses can move
The just behests of fatal Jove;
I saw thy mate with sad regret,
And cursed the fowler's cruel net:
Ah! dear Columbo, how he fell,
Whom Turturella loved so well!
I saw him bleeding on the ground,
The sight tore up my ancient wound:
And whilst you wept, alas! I cried,
Columbo and Adonis died.
Weep, all ye streams, ye mountains, groan;
I mourn Columbo, dead and gone;
Still let my tender grief complain,
Nor day nor night that grief restrain;
I said, and Venus still replied,
Columbo and Adonis died.
S. Poor Turturella, hard thy case,
And just thy tears, alas, alas!
T. And hast thou loved, and canst thou hear
With piteous heart a lover's care!
Come, then, with me thy sorrows join,
And ease my woes by telling thine;
For thou, poor bird, perhaps may'st moan
Some Passerelia, dead and gone.
S. Dame turtle, this runs soft in rhyme,
But neither suits the place nor time;
The fowler's hand, whose cruel care
For dear Columbo set the snare,
The snare again for thee may set;
Two birds may perish in one net:
Thou shouldst avoid this cruel field,
And sorrow should to prudence yield.
'Tis sad to die -
T. ---- It may be so;
'Tis sadder yet to live in wo.
S. When widows use their canting strain
They seem resolved to wed again.
T. When widowers would this truth disprove,
They never tasted real love.
S. Love is soft joy and gentle strife,
His efforts all depend on life:
When he has thrown two golden darts,
And struck the lovers' mutual hearts,
Of his black shafts let death send one,
Alas! the pleasing game is done:
Ill is the poor survivor sped,
A corpse feels mighty cold in bed,
Venus said right, Nor tears can move
Nor plaints revoke the will of Jove.
All must obey the general doom,
Down from Alcides to Tom Thumb.
Grim Pluto will not be withstood
By force or craft. Tall Robinhood,
As well as little John, is dead.
(You see how deeply I am read)
With Fate's lean tipstaff non can dodge,
He'll find you out where'er you lodge.
Ajax, to shun his general power,
In vain absconded in a flower.
An idle scene Tythonus acted,
When to a grasshopper contracted;
Death struck them in those shapes again,
As once he did when they were men.
For reptiles perish, plants decay;
Flesh is but grass, grass turns to hay,
And hay is dung, and dung to clay.
Thus heads extremely nice discover
That folks may die some ten times over;
But oft by too refined a touch
To prove things plain they prove too much,
Whate'er Pythagoras may say,
(For each you know will have his way)
With great submission I pronounce
That people die no more than once:
But once is sure, and death is common
To bird and man, including woman:
From the spread eagle to the wren,
Alas! no mortal fowl knows when.
All that wear feathers, first or last,
Must one day perch on Charon's mast;
Must lie beneath the cypress shade,
Where Strada's nightingale was laid.
Those fowl who seem alive to sit,
Assembled by Dan Chaucer's wit,
In prose have slept three hundred years,
Exempt from worldly hopes and fears,
And, laid in state upon their hearse,
Are truly but embalm'd in verse.
As sure as Lesbia's Sparrow I,
Thou sure as Prior's Dove, must die,
And ne'er again from Lethe's streams
Return to Adda or to Thames.
T. I therefore weep Columbo dead,
My hopes bereaved, my pleasures fled;
I therefore must for ever moan
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
S. Columbo never sees your tears,
Your cries Columbo never hears;
A wall of brass and one of lead
Divide the living from the dead:
Repell'd by this the gather'd rain
Of tears beats back to earth again;
In t'other the collected sound
Of groans, when once received, is drown'd.
'Tis therefore vain one hour to grieve
What time itself can ne'er retrieve.
By nature soft, I know a dove
Can never live without her love;
Then quit this flame, and light another,
Dame, I advise you like a brother.
T. What, I do make a second choice!
In other nuptials to rejoice!
S. Why not, my bird! -
T. --- No, Sparrow, no;
Let me indulge my pleasing wo:
Thus sighing, cooing, ease my pain,
But never wish nor love again:
Distress'd for ever let me moan
My dear Columbo, dead and gone.
S. Our winged friends through all the grove
Contemn thy mad excess of love:
I tell thee, Dame, the other day,
I met a parrot and a jay,
Who mock'd thee in their mimic tone,
And wept Columbo, dead and hone.
T. Whate'er thy jay or parrot said,
My hopes are lost, my joys are fled,
And I for ever must deplore
Columbo, dead and gone. - S.
For shame, forsake this Byon-style;
We'll talk an hour and walk a mile.
Does it with sense or health agree
To sit thus moping on a tree?
To throw away a widow's life,
When you again may be a wife?
Come on, I'll tell you my amours;
Who knows but they may influence yours?
Example draws when precept falls,
And sermons are less read than tales.
T. Sparrow, I take thee for my friend;
As such will hear thee: I descend;
Hop on and talk; but, honest bird,
Take care that no immodest word
May venture to offend my ear.
S. Too saint-like Turtle, never fear;
By method things are best discuss'd,
Begin we then with wife the first:
A handsome, senseless, awkward, fool,
Who would not yield, and could not rule,
Her actions did her charms disgrace,
And still her tongue talk'd of her face;
Count me the leaves of yonder tree,
So many different wills had she,
And, like the leaves, as chance inclined,
Those wills were changed with every wind:
She courted the
her supreme delight;
The next she sat immured, unseen,
And in full health enjoy'd the spleen;
She censured that, she alter'd this,
And with great care set all amiss;
She now could chide, now laugh, now cry,
Now sing, now pout, all God knows why:
Short was her reign, she cough'd and died.
Proceed we to my second bride.
Well-born she was, genteelly bred,
And buxom both at board and bed;
Glad to oblige, and pleased to please,
And, as Tom Southern wisely says,
No other fault had she in life,
But only that she was my wife.
O widow Turtle! every she,
(So nature's pleasure does decree)
Appears a goddess till enjoy'd;
But birds, and men, and gods, are cloy'd.
Was Hercules one woman's man,
Or Jove for ever Laeda's swan?
Ah! Madam, cease to be mistaken,
Few married fowl peck Dunmow bacon.
Variety alone gives joy;
The sweetest meats the soonest cloy.
What sparrow, dame, what dove alive,
Though Venus should the chariot drive,
But would accuse the harness' weight,
If always coupled to one mate,
And often wish the fetter broke?
'Tis freedom but to change the yoke.
T. Impious wish to wed again
Ere death dissolved the former chain!
S. Spare your remark, and hear the rest.
She brought me sons, but Jove be bless'd
She died in childbed on the nest.
Well, rest her bones, quoth I, she's gone;
But must I therefore lie alone?
What, am I to her memory tied?
Must I not live because she died?
And thus I logically said,
('Tis good to have a reasoning head)
Is this my wife?
For death dissolved the marriage knot;
, during my life;
But is a piece of clay a wife?
Again, if not a wife, do ye see,
Why them, no kin at all to me;
And he who general tears can shed
For folks that happen to be dead
May e'en with equal justice mourn
For those who never yet were born.
T. Those points, indeed, you quaintly prove,
But logic is no friend to love.
S. My children then were just pen-feather'd;
Some little corn for them I gather'd,
And sent them to my spouse's mother,
So left that brood to get another;
And as old Harry whilom said,
Reflecting on Anne Boleyn dead,
Cocksbones, I now again do stand
The jolliest bachelor i' th' land.
T. Ah me! my joys, my hopes are fled;
My first, my only love is dead;
With endless grief let me bemoan
Columbo's loss --------
S. ----- Let me go on.
As yet my fortune was but narrow;
I woo'd my cousin, Philly Sparrow,
O' th' elder house of Chirping-End,
From whence the younger branch descend.
Well seated in a field of pease
She lived, extremely at her ease;
But when the honey-moon was past,
The following nights were soon o'ercast;
She kept her own, could plead the law,
And quarrel for a barley-straw:
Both, you may judge, became less kind,
As more we knew each other's mind.
She soon grew sullen, I hard-hearted;
We scolded, hated, fought, and parted.
To London, blessed town, I went;
She boarded at a farm in Kent:
A magpie from the country fled,
And kindly told me she was dead:
I pruned my feathers, cock'd my tail,
And set my heart again to sale.
My fourth, a mere coquette, or such
I thought her, nor avails it much
If true or false; our troubles spring
More from the fancy than the thing.
Two staring horns, I often said,
But ill become a sparrow's head;
But then to set that balance even
Your cuckold sparrow goes to heaven.
The thing you fear, suppose it done,
If you enquire you make it known;
Whilst at the root your horns are sore,
The more you scratch they ache the more.
But turn the tables and reflect,
All may not be that you suspect:
By the mind's eye the horns we mean,
Are only in ideas seen;
'Tis from the inside of the head
Their branches shoot, their antlers spread;
Fruitful suspicions often bear 'em,
You feel them from the time you fear 'em;
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! that echo'd word
Offends the ear of Vulgar bird;
But those of finer taste have found
There's nothing in't beside the sound.
Preferment always waits on horns,
And household peace the gift adorns:
This way or that let factions tend,
The spark is still the cuckold's friend:
This way or that let madam roam,
Well pleased and quiet she comes home.
Now weigh the pleasure with the pain,
, loss and gain,
And what La Fontaine laughing says
Is serious truth in such a case:
'Who slights the evil finds it least:
And who does nothing does the best.'
I never strove to rule the roast,
She ne'er refused to pledge my toast:
In visits if we chanced to meet,
I seem'd obliging, she discreet:
We neither much caress'd nor strove,
But good dissembling past for love.
T. Whate'er of light our eye may know,
'Tis only light itself can show;
Whate'er of love our heart can feel,
'Tis mutual love alone can tell.
S. My pretty amorous foolish bird,
A moment's patience. In one word,
The three kind sisters broke the chain;
She died, I mourn'd, and woo'd again.
T. Let me with juster grief deplore
My dear Columbo, now no more;
Let me with constant tears bewail ----
S. Your sorrow does but spoil my tale.
My fifth she proved a jealous wife,
Lord shield us all from such a life;
'Twas doubt, complaint, reply, chit-chat,
'Twas this to-day, to-morrow that.
Sometimes, forsooth, upon the brook
I kept a miss; an honest rook
Told it a snipe, who told a steer,
Who told it those who told it her.
One day a linnet and a lark
Had met me strolling in the dark;
The next a woodcock and an owl,
Quick-sighted, grave, and sober fowl,
Would on their corporal oath alledge
I kiss'd a hen behind the hedge.
Well, madam Turtle, to be brief,
(Repeating but renews our grief)
As once she watch'd me from a rail,
Poor soul! her footing chanced to fail,
And down she fell and broke her hip;
The fever came, and then the pip:
Dead did the only cure apply;
She was at quiet, so was I.
T. Could Love unmoved these changes view?
His sorrows as his joys are true.
S. My dearest Dove, one wise man says,
Alluding to our present case,
'We're here to-day and gone to-morrow;'
Then what avails superfluous sorrow?
Another, full as wise as he,
Adds, 'that a married man may see
Two happy hours;' and which are they?
The first and last, perhaps you'll say:
'Tis true, when blithe she goes to bed,
And when she peaceably lies dead:
'Women 'twixt sheets are best,' 'tis said,
Be they of Holland or of lead.
Now cured of Hymen's hopes and fears,
And sliding down the vale of years,
I hoped to fix my future rest,
And took a widow to my nest.
Ah! Turtle! had she been like thee,
Sober yet gentle, wise yet free;
But she was peevish, noisy, bold,
A witch ingrafted on a scold.
Jove in Pandora's box confined
A hundred ills to vex mankind;
To vex one bird in her bandore
He hid at least a hundred more,
And soon as time that veil withdrew
The plagues o'er all the parish flew;
Her stock of borrow'd tears grew dry,
And native tempests arm'd her eye;
Black clouds around her forehead hung,
And thunder rattled on her tongue.
We, young or old, or cock or hen,
All live in AEolus's den;
The nearest her the more accursed,
Ill-fared her friends, her husband worst;
But Jove amidst his anger spares,
Remarks our faults, but hears our prayers.
In short she died. Why then she's dead,
Quoth I, and once again I'll wed.
Would Heaven this mourning year were past
One may have better luck at last.
Matters at worst are sure to mend;
The devil's wife was but a fiend.
T. Thy tale has raised a Turtle's spleen;
Uxorious inmate, bird obscene,
Dar'st thou defile these sacred groves,
The silent seats of faithful loves?
Begone; with flagging wings sit down
On some old penthouse near the town;
In brewers' stables peck thy grain,
Then wash it down with puddled rain,
And hear thy dirty offspring squall
From bottles on a suburb-wall.
Where thou hast been, return again,
Vile bird! thou hast conversed with men:
Notions like these from men are given,
Those vilest creatures under heaven.
To cities and to courts repair,
Flattery and falsehood flourish there;
There all thy wretched arts employ
Where riches triumph over joy,
Where passions do with interest barter,
And Hymen holds by Mammon's charter;
Where truth by point of law is parried,
And knaves and prudes are six times married.
O Dearest daughter of two dearest friends,
To thee my Muse this little Tale commends.
Loving and loved, regard thy future mate,
Long love his person, though deplore his fate;
Seem young when old in thy dear husband's arms,
For constant virtue has immortal charms;
And when I lie low sepulchred in earth,
And the glad year returns thy day of birth,
Vouchsafe to say, Ere I could write or spell,
The bard who from my cradle wish'd me well
Told me I should the prating Sparrow blame,
And bid me imitate the Turtle's flame.
Carmen Seculare. For The Year 1700. To The King
Thy elder Look, Great Janus, cast
Into the long Records of Ages past:
Review the Years in fairest Action drest
With noted White, Superior to the rest;
Aera's deriv'd, and Chronicles begun
From Empires founded, and from Battels won:
Show all the Spoils by valiant Kings achiev'd,
And groaning Nations by Their Arms reliev'd;
The Wounds of Patriots in their Country's Cause,
And happy Pow'r sustain'd by wholesom Laws:
In comely Rank call ev'ry Merit forth:
Imprint on ev'ry Act it's Standard Worth:
The glorious Parallels then downward bring
To Modern Wonders, and to Britain's King:
With equal Justice and Historic Care
Their Laws, Their Toils, Their Arms with His compare:
Confess the various Attributes of Fame
Collected and compleat in William's Name:
To all the list'ning World relate
(As Thou dost His Story read)
That nothing went before so Great,
And nothing Greater can succeed.
Thy Native Latium was Thy darling Care,
Prudent in Peace, and terrible in War:
The boldest Virtues that have govern'd Earth
From Latium's fruitful Womb derive their Birth.
Then turn to Her fair-written Page:
From dawning Childhood to establish'd Age,
The Glories of Her Empire trace:
Confront the Heroes of Thy Roman Race:
And let the justest Palm the Victor's Temples grace.
The Son of Mars reduc'd the trembling Swains,
And spread His Empire o'er the distant Plains:
But yet the Sabins violated Charms
Obscur'd the Glory of His rising Arms.
Numa the Rights of strict Religion knew;
On ev'ry Altar laid the Incense due;
Unskill'd to dart the pointed Spear,
Or lead the forward Youth to noble War.
Stern Brutus was with too much Horror good,
Holding his Fasces stain'd with Filial Blood.
Fabius was Wise, but with Excess of Care;
He sav'd his Country; but prolonged the War:
While Decius, Paulus, Curius greatly fought;
And by Their strict Examples taught,
How wild Desires should be controll'd;
And how much brighter Virtue was, than Gold;
They scarce Their swelling Thirst of Fame could hide;
And boasted Poverty with too much Pride.
Excess in Youth made Scipio less rever'd:
And Cato dying seem'd to own, He fear'd.
Julius with Honor tam'd Rome's foreign Foes:
But Patriots fell, e'er the Dictator rose.
And while with Clemency Augustus reign'd;
The Monarch was ador'd; the City chain'd.
With justest Honour be Their Merits drest:
But be Their Failings too confest:
Their Virtue, like their Tyber's Flood
Rolling, it's Course design'd the Country's Good:
But oft the Torrent's too impetuous Speed
From the low Earth tore some polluting Weed:
And with the Blood of Jove there always ran
Some viler Part, some Tincture of the Man.
Few Virtues after These so far prevail,
But that Their Vices more than turn the Scale:
Valour grown wild by Pride, and Pow'r by Rage,
Did the true Charms of Majesty impair:
Rome by Degrees advancing more in Age,
Show'd sad Remains of what had once been fair;
'Till Heav'n a better Race of Men supplies;
And Glory shoots new Beams from Western Skies.
Turn then to Pharamond, and Charlemain,
And the long Heroes of the Gallic Strain;
Experienc'd Chiefs, for hardy Prowess known,
And bloody Wreaths in vent'rous Battels won.
From the First William, our great Norman King,
The bold Plantagenets, and Tudors bring;
Illustrious Virtues, who by turns have rose,
In foreign Fields to check Britannia's Foes;
With happy Laws Her Empire to sustain,
And with full Pow'r assert Her ambient Main:
But sometimes too Industrious to be Great,
Nor Patient to expect the Turns of Fate,
They open'd Camps deform'd by Civil Fight,
And made proud Conquest trample over Right:
Disparted Britain mourn'd Their doubtful Sway,
And dreaded Both, when Neither would obey.
From Didier, and Imperial Adolph trace
The Glorious Offspring of the Nassaw Race,
Devoted Lives to Publick Liberty;
The Chief still dying, or the Country free.
Then see the Kindred Blood of Orange flow,
From warlike Cornet, thro' the Loins of Beau;
Thro' Chalon next; and there with Nassaw join,
From Rhone's fair Banks transplanted to the Rhine.
Bring next the Royal List of Stuarts forth,
Undaunted Minds, that rul'd the rugged North;
'Till Heav'n's Decrees by rip'ning Times are shown;
'Till Scotland's Kings ascend the English Throne;
And the fair Rivals live for ever One.
Janus, mighty Deity,
Be kind; and as Thy searching Eye
Does our Modern Story trace,
Finding some of Stuart's Race
Unhappy, pass Their Annals by:
No harsh Reflection let Remembrance raise:
Forbear to mention, what Thou canst not praise:
But as Thou dwell'st upon that Heav'nly Name,
To Grief for ever Sacred as to Fame,
Oh! read it to Thy self; in Silence weep;
And Thy convulsive Sorrows inward keep;
Lest Britain's Grief should waken at the Sound;
And Blood gush fresh from Her eternal Wound.
Whither would'st Thou further look?
Read William's Acts, and close the ample Book:
Peruse the Wonders of His dawning Life;
How, like Alcides, He began;
With Infant Patience calm'd Seditious Strife,
And quell'd the Snakes which round his Cradle ran.
Describe His Youth, attentive to Alarms,
By Dangers form'd, and perfected in Arms:
When Conqu'ring, mild; when Conquer'd, not disgrac'd;
By Wrongs not lessen'd, nor by Triumphs rais'd:
Superior to the blind Events
Of little Human Accidents;
And constant to His first Decree,
To curb the Proud, to set the Injur'd free;
To bow the haughty Neck, and raise the suppliant Knee.
His opening Years to riper Manhood bring;
And see the Hero perfect in the King:
Imperious Arms by Manly Reason sway'd,
And Power Supreme by free Consent obey'd:
With how much Haste His Mercy meets his Foes:
And how unbounded His Forgiveness flows:
With what Desire He makes His Subjects bless'd,
His Favours granted ere His Throne address'd:
What Trophies o'er our captiv'd Hearts He rears,
By Arts of Peace more potent, than by Wars:
How o'er Himself, as o'er the World, He Reigns,
His Morals strength'ning, what His Law ordains.
Thro' all His Thread of Life already spun,
Becoming Grace and proper Action run:
The Piece by Virtue's equal Hand is wrought,
Mix'd with no Crime, and shaded with no Fault:
No Footsteps of the Victor's Rage
Left in the Camp, where William did engage:
No Tincture of the Monarch's Pride
Upon the Royal Purple spy'd:
His Fame, like Gold, the more 'tis try'd,
The more shall its intrinsic Worth proclaim;
Shall pass the Combat of the searching Flame,
And triumph o'er the vanquish'd Heat,
For ever coming out the same,
And losing nor it's Lustre, nor it's Weight.
Janus be to William just;
To faithful History His Actions trust:
Command Her, with peculiar Care
To trace each Toil, and comment ev'ry War:
His saving Wonders bid Her write
In Characters distinctly bright;
That each revolving Age may read
The Patriot's Piety, the Hero's Deed:
And still the Sire inculcate to his Son
Transmissive Lessons of the King's Renown:
That William's Glory still may live;
When all that present Art can give,
The Pillar'd Marble, and the Tablet Brass,
Mould'ring, drop the Victor's Praise:
When the great Monuments of His Pow'r
Shall now be visible no more:
When Sambre shall have chang'd her winding Flood;
And Children ask, where Namur stood.
Namur, proud City, how her Towr's were arm'd!
How She contemn'd th'approaching Foe!
'Till She by William's Trumpets was allarm'd,
And shook, and sunk, and fell beneath His Blow.
Jove and Pallas, mighty Pow'rs,
Guided the Hero to the hostile Tow'rs.
Perseus seem'd less swift in War,
When, wing'd with Speed, he flew thro' Air.
Embattl'd Nations strive in vain
The Hero's Glory to restrain:
Streams arm'd with Rocks, and Mountains red with Fire
In vain against His Force conspire.
Behold Him from the dreadful Height appear!
And lo! Britannia's Lions waving there.
Europe freed, and France repell'd
The Hero from the Height beheld:
He spake the Word, that War and Rage should cease:
He bid the Maese and Rhine in Safety flow;
And dictated a lasting Peace
To the rejoicing World below:
To rescu'd States, and vindicated Crowns
His Equal Hand prescrib'd their ancient Bounds;
Ordain'd whom ev'ry Province should obey;
How far each Monarch should extend His Sway:
Taught 'em how Clemency made Pow'r rever'd;
And that the Prince Belov'd was truly Fear'd.
Firm by His Side unspotted Honour stood,
Pleas'd to confess Him not so Great as Good:
His Head with brighter Beams fair Virtue deck't,
Than Those which all His num'rous Crowns reflect:
Establish'd Freedom clap'd her joyful Wings;
Proclaim'd the First of Men, and Best of Kings.
Whither would the Muse aspire
With Pindar's Rage without his Fire?
Pardon me, Janus, 'twas a Fault,
Created by too great a Thought:
Mindless of the God and Day,
I from thy Altars, Janus, stray,
From Thee, and from My self born far away.
The fiery Pegasus disdains
To mind the Rider's Voice, or hear the Reins:
When glorious Fields and opening Camps He views;
He runs with an unbounded Loose:
Hardly the Muse can sit the headstrong Horse:
Nor would She, if She could, check his impetuous Force:
With the glad Noise the Cliffs and Vallies ring;
While She thro' Earth and Air pursues the King.
She now beholds Him on the Belgic Shoar;
Whilst Britain's Tears His ready Help implore,
Dissembling for Her sake his rising Cares,
And with wise Silence pond'ring vengeful Wars.
She thro' the raging Ocean now
Views Him advancing his auspicious Prow;
Combating adverse Winds and Winter Seas,
Sighing the Moments that defer Our Ease;
Daring to wield the Scepter's dang'rous Weight,
And taking the Command, to save the State:
Tho' e'er the doubtful Gift can be secur'd,
New Wars must be sustain'd, new Wounds endur'd.
Thro' rough Ierne's Camp She sounds Alarms,
And Kingdoms yet to be redeem'd by Arms;
In the dank Marshes finds her glorious Theme;
And plunges after Him thro' Boyn's fierce Stream.
She bids the Nereids run with trembling Haste,
To tell old Ocean how the Hero past.
The God rebukes their Fear, and owns the Praise
Worthy that Arm, Whose Empire He obeys.
Back to His Albion She delights to bring
The humblest Victor, and the kindest King.
Albion, with open Triumph would receive
Her Hero, nor obtains His Leave:
Firm He rejects the Altars She would raise;
And thanks the Zeal, while He declines the Praise.
Again She follows Him thro' Belgia's Land,
And Countries often sav'd by William's Hand;
Hears joyful Nations bless those happy Toils,
Which freed the People, but return'd the Spoils.
In various Views She tries her constant Theme;
Finds Him in Councils, and in Arms the Same:
When certain to o'ercome, inclin'd to save,
Tardy to Vengeance, and with Mercy, Brave.
Sudden another Scene employs her Sight:
She sets her Hero in another Light:
Paints His great Mind Superior to Success,
Declining Conquest, to establish Peace:
She brings Astrea down to Earth again,
And Quiet, brooding o'er His future Reign.
Then with unweary'd Wing the Goddess soars
East, over Danube and Propontis Shoars;
Where jarring Empires ready to engage,
Retard their Armies, and suspend their Rage;
'Till William's Word, like That of Fate, declares,
If They shall study Peace, or lengthen Wars.
How sacred His Renown for equal Laws,
To whom the World defers it's Common Cause!
How fair His Friendships, and His Leagues how just,
Whom ev'ry Nation courts, Whom all Religions trust!
From the Maeotis to the Northern Sea,
The Goddess wings her desp'rate Way;
Sees the young Muscovite, the mighty Head,
Whose Sov'reign Terror forty Nations dread,
Inamour'd with a greater Monarch's Praise,
And passing half the Earth to His Embrace:
She in His Rule beholds His Volga's Force,
O'er Precipices, with impetuous Sway
Breaking, and as He rowls his rapid Course,
Drowning, or bearing down, whatever meets his Way.
But her own King She likens to His Thames,
With gentle Course devolving fruitful Streams:
Serene yet Strong, Majestic yet Sedate,
Swift without Violence, without Terror Great.
Each ardent Nymph the rising Current craves:
Each Shepherd's Pray'r retards the parting Waves:
The Vales along the Bank their Sweets disclose:
Fresh Flow'rs for ever rise: and fruitful Harvest grows.
Yet whither would th'advent'rous Goddess go?
Sees She not Clouds, and Earth, and Main below?
Minds She the Dangers of the Lycian Coast,
And Fields, where mad Belerophon was lost?
Or is Her tow'ring Flight reclaim'd
By Seas from Icarus's Downfall nam'd?
Vain is the Call, and useless the Advice:
To wise Perswasion Deaf, and human Cries,
Yet upward She incessant flies;
Resolv'd to reach the high Empyrean Sphere,
And tell Great Jove, She sings His Image here;
To ask for William an Olympic Crown,
To Chromius' Strength, and Theron's Speed unknown:
Till lost in trackless Fields of shining Day,
Unable to discern the Way
Which Nassaw's Virtue only could explore,
Untouch'd, unknown, to any Muse before,
She, from the noble Precipices thrown,
Comes rushing with uncommon Ruin down.
Glorious Attempt! Unhappy Fate!
The Song too daring, and the Theme too great!
Yet rather thus She wills to die,
Than in continu'd Annals live, to sing
A second Heroe, or a vulgar King;
And with ignoble Safety fly
In sight of Earth, along a middle Sky.
To Janus' Altars, and the numerous Throng,
That round his mystic Temple press,
For William's Life, and Albion's Peace,
Ambitious Muse reduce the roving Song.
Janus, cast Thy forward Eye
Future, into great Rhea's pregnant Womb;
Where young Ideas brooding lye,
And tender Images of Things to come:
'Till by Thy high Commands releas'd;
'Till by Thy Hand in proper Atoms dress'd,
In decent Order They advance to Light;
Yet then too swiftly fleet by human Sight;
And meditate too soon their everlasting Flight.
Nor Beaks of Ships in Naval Triumph born,
Nor Standards from the hostile Ramparts torn,
Nor Trophies brought from Battles won,
Nor Oaken Wreath, nor Mural Crown
Can any future Honours give
To the Victorious Monarch's Name:
The Plenitude of William's Fame
Can no accumulated Stores receive.
Shut then, auspicious God, Thy Sacred Gate,
And make Us Happy, as our King is Great.
Be kind, and with a milder Hand,
Closing the Volume of the finish'd Age,
(Tho' Noble, 'twas an Iron Page)
A more delightful Leaf expand,
Free from Alarms, and fierce Bellona's Rage:
Bid the great Months begin their joyful Round,
By Flora some, and some by Ceres Crown'd:
Teach the glad Hours to scatter, as they fly,
Soft Quiet, gentle Love, and endless Joy:
Lead forth the Years for Peace and Plenty fam'd,
From Saturn's Rule, and better Metal nam'd.
Secure by William's Care let Britain stand;
Nor dread the bold Invader's Hand:
From adverse Shoars in Safety let Her hear
Foreign Calamity, and distant War;
Of which let Her, great Heav'n, no Portion bear.
Betwixt the Nations let Her hold the Scale;
And as She wills, let either Part prevail:
Let her glad Vallies smile with wavy Corn:
Let fleecy Flocks her rising Hills adorn:
Around her Coast let strong Defence be spread:
Let fair Abundance on her Breast be shed:
And Heav'nly Sweets bloom round the Goddess' Head.
Where the white Towers and ancient Roofs did stand,
Remains of Wolsey's or great Henry's Hand,
To Age now yielding, or devour'd by Flame;
Let a young Phenix raise her tow'ring Head:
Her Wings with lengthen'd Honour let Her spread;
And by her Greatness show her Builder's Fame.
August and Open, as the Hero's Mind,
Be her capacious Courts design'd:
Let ev'ry Sacred Pillar bear
Trophies of Arms, and Monuments of War.
The King shall there in Parian Marble breath,
His Shoulder bleeding fresh: and at His Feet
Disarm'd shall lye the threat'ning Death:
(For so was saving Jove's Decree compleat.)
Behind, That Angel shall be plac'd, whose Shield
Sav'd Europe, in the Blow repell'd:
On the firm Basis, from his Oozy Bed
Boyn shall raise his Laurell'd Head;
And his Immortal Stream be known,
Artfully waving thro' the wounded Stone.
And Thou, Imperial Windsor, stand inlarg'd,
With all the Monarch's Trophies charg'd:
Thou, the fair Heav'n, that dost the Stars inclose,
Which William's Bosom wears, or Hand bestows
On the great Champions who support his Throne,
And Virtues nearest to His own.
Round Ormond's Knee Thou ty'st the Mystic String,
That makes the Knight Companion to the King.
From glorious Camps return'd, and foreign Feilds,
Bowing before thy sainted Warrior's Shrine,
Fast by his great Forefather's Coats, and Shields
Blazon'd from Bohun's, or from Butler's Line,
He hangs His Arms; nor fears those Arms should shine
With an unequal Ray; or that His Deed
With paler Glory should recede,
Eclips'd by Theirs; or lessen'd by the Fame
Ev'n of His own Maternal Nassaw's Name.
Thou smiling see'st great Dorset's Worth confest,
The Ray distinguishing the Patriot's Breast:
Born to protect and love, to help and please;
Sov'reign of Wit, and Ornament of Peace.
O! long as Breath informs this fleeting Frame,
Ne'er let me pass in Silence Dorset's Name;
Ne'er cease to mention the continu'd Debt,
Which the great Patron only would forget,
And Duty, long as Life, must study to acquit.
Renown'd in Thy Records shall Ca'ndish stand,
Asserting Legal Pow'r, and just Command:
To the great House thy Favour shall be shown,
The Father's Star transmissive to the Son.
From Thee the Talbot's and the Seymour's Race
Inform'd, Their Sire's immortal Steps shall trace:
Happy may their Sons receive
The bright Reward, which Thou alone canst give.
And if a God these lucky Numbers guide;
If sure Apollo o'er the Verse preside;
Jersey, belov'd by all (For all must feel
The Influence of a Form and Mind,
Where comely Grace and constant Virtue dwell,
Like mingl'd Streams, more forcible when join'd.)
Jersey shall at Thy Altars stand;
Shall there receive the Azure Band,
That fairest Mark of Favour and of Fame,
Familiar to the Vilier's Name.
Science to raise, and Knowledge to enlarge,
Be our great Master's future Charge;
To write His own Memoirs, and leave His Heirs
High Schemes of Government, and Plans of Wars;
By fair Rewards our Noble Youth to raise
To emulous Merit, and to Thirst of Praise;
To lead Them out from Ease e'er opening Dawn,
Through the thick Forest and the distant Lawn,
Where the fleet Stag employs their ardent Care;
And Chases give Them Images of War.
To teach Them Vigilance by false Alarms;
Inure Them in feign'd Camps to real Arms;
Practise Them now to curb the turning Steed,
Mocking the Foe; now to his rapid Speed
To give the Rein; and in the full Career,
To draw the certain Sword, or send the pointed Spear.
Let Him unite His Subjects Hearts,
Planting Societies for peaceful Arts;
Some that in Nature shall true Knowledge found,
And by Experiment make Precept sound;
Some that to Morals shall recal the Age,
And purge from vitious Dross the sinking Stage;
Some that with Care true Eloquence shall teach,
And to just Idioms fix our doubtful Speech:
That from our Writers distant Realms may know,
The Thanks We to our Monarch owe;
And Schools profess our Tongue through ev'ry Land,
That has invok'd His Aid, or blest His Hand.
Let His high Pow'r the drooping Muses rear.
The Muses only can reward His Care:
'Tis They that guard the great Atrides' Spoils:
'Tis They that still renew Ulysses' Toils:
To Them by smiling Jove 'twas giv'n, to save
Distinguish'd Patriots from the Common Grave;
To them, Great William's Glory to recal,
When Statues moulder, and when Arches fall.
Nor let the Muses, with ungrateful Pride,
The Sources of their Treasure hide:
The Heroe's Virtue does the String inspire,
When with big Joy They strike the living Lyre:
On William's Fame their Fate depends:
With Him the Song begins: with Him it ends.
From the bright Effluence of His Deed
They borrow that reflected Light,
With which the lasting Lamp They feed,
Whose Beams dispel the Damps of envious Night.
Through various Climes, and to each distant Pole
In happy Tides let active Commerce rowl:
Let Britain's Ships export an Annual Fleece,
Richer than Argos brought to ancient Greece;
Returning loaden with the shining Stores,
Which lye profuse on either India's Shores.
As our high Vessels pass their wat'ry Way,
Let all the Naval World due Homage pay;
With hasty Reverence their Top-Honours lower,
Confessing the asserted Power,
To Whom by Fate 'twas given, with happy Sway
To calm the Earth, and vindicate the Sea.
Our Pray'rs are heard, our Master's Fleets shall go,
As far as Winds can bear, or Waters flow,
New Lands to make, new Indies to explore,
In Worlds unknown to plant Britannia's Power;
Nations yet wild by Precept to reclaim,
And teach 'em Arms, and Arts, in William's Name.
With humble Joy, and with respectful Fear
The list'ning People shall His Story hear,
The Wounds He bore, the Dangers He sustain'd,
How far he Conquer'd, and how well he Reign'd;
Shall own his Mercy equal to His Fame;
And form their Children's Accents to His Name,
Enquiring how, and when from Heav'n He came.
Their Regal Tyrants shall with Blushes hide
Their little Lusts of Arbitrary Pride,
Nor bear to see their Vassals ty'd:
When William's Virtues raise their opening Thought,
His forty Years for Publick Freedom fought,
Europe by His Hand sustain'd,
His Conquest by His Piety restrain'd,
And o'er Himself the last great Triumph gain'd.
No longer shall their wretched Zeal adore
Ideas of destructive Power,
Spirits that hurt, and Godheads that devour:
New Incense They shall bring, new Altars raise,
And fill their Temples with a Stranger's Praise;
When the Great Father's Character They find
Visibly stampt upon the Hero's Mind;
And own a present Deity confest,
In Valour that preserv'd, and Power that bless'd.
Through the large Convex of the Azure Sky
(For thither Nature casts our common Eye)
Fierce Meteors shoot their arbitrary Light;
And Comets march with lawless Horror bright:
These hear no Rule, no righteous Order own;
Their Influence dreaded, as their Ways unknown:
Thro' threaten'd Lands They wild Destruction throw;
'Till ardent Prayer averts the Public Woe:
But the bright Orb that blesses all above,
The sacred Fire, the real Son of Jove,
Rules not His Actions by Capricious Will;
Nor by ungovern'd Power declines to Ill:
Fix'd by just Laws He goes for ever right:
Man knows His Course, and thence adores His Light.
O Janus! would intreated Fate conspire
To grant what Britain's Wishes could require;
Above, That Sun should cease his Way to go,
E'er William cease to rule, and bless below:
But a relentless Destiny
Urges all that e'er was born:
Snatch'd from her Arms, Britannia once must mourn
The Demi-God: The Earthly Half must die.
Yet if our Incense can Your Wrath remove;
If human Prayers avail on Minds above;
Exert, great God, Thy Int'rest in the Sky;
Gain each kind Pow'r, each Guardian Deity,
That conquer'd by the publick Vow,
They bear the dismal Mischief far away:
O! long as utmost Nature may allow,
Let Them retard the threaten'd Day:
Still be our Master's Life Thy happy Care:
Still let His Blessings with His Years increase:
To His laborious Youth consum'd in War,
Add lasting Age, adorn'd and crown'd with Peace:
Let twisted Olive bind those Laurels fast,
Whose Verdure must for ever last.
Long let this growing AEra bless His Sway:
And let our Sons His present Rule obey:
On His sure Virtue long let Earth rely:
And late let the Imperial Eagle fly,
To bear the Hero thro' His Father's Sky,
To Leda's Twins, or He whose glorious Speed
On Foot prevail'd, or He who tam'd the Steed;
To Hercules, at length absolv'd by Fate
From Earthly Toil, and above Envy great;
To Virgil's Theme, bright Cytherea's Son,
Sire of the Latian, and the British Throne;
To all the radiant Names above,
Rever'd by Men, and dear to Jove.
Late, Janus, let the Nassaw-Star
New born, in rising Majesty appear,
To triumph over vanquish'd Night,
And guide the prosp'rous Mariner
With everlasting Beams of friendly Light.
Solomon On The Vanity Of The World, A Poem. In Three Books. - Knowledge. Book I.
The bewailing of man's miseries hath been elegantly and copiously set forth by many, in the writings as well of philosophers as divines; and it is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.
Lord Bacon's Advancement of Learning.
Solomon, seeking happiness from knowledge, convenes the learned men of his kingdom; requires them to explain to him the various operations and effects of Nature; discourses of vegetables, animals and man; proposes some questions concerning the origin and situation of the habitable earth: proceeds to examine the system of the visible heaven: doubts if there may not be a plurality of worlds; inquires into the nature of spirits and angels, and wishes to be more fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Being. He is imperfectly answered by the Rabbins and Doctors; blames his own curiosity: and concludes that, as to human science, All Is Vanity.
Ye sons of men with just regard attend,
Observe the preacher, and believe the friend,
Whose serious muse inspires him to explain
That all we act and all we think is vain:
That in this pilgrimage of seventy years,
O'er rocks of perils and through vales of tears
Destined to march, our doubtful steps we tend,
Tired with the toil, yet fearful of its end:
That from the womb we take our fatal shares
Of follies, passions, labours, tumults, cares;
And at approach of death shall only know
The truths which from these pensive numbers flow,
That we pursue false joy and suffer real wo.
Happiness! object of that waking dream
Which we call life, mistaking; fugitive theme
Of my pursuing verse: ideal shade,
Notional good; by fancy only made,
And by tradition nursed; fallacious fire,
Whose dancing beams mislead our fond desire;
Cause of our care, and error of our mind:
Oh! hadst thou ever been by Heaven design'd
To Adam, and his mortal race, the boon
Entire had been reserved for Solomon;
On me the partial lot had been bestow'd,
And in my cup the golden draught had flow'd.
But, O! ere yet original man was made,
Ere the foundations of this earth were laid,
It was opponent to our search ordain'd,
That joy still sought should never be attain'd:
This sad experience cites me to reveal,
And what I dictate is from what I feel.
Born, as I as, great David's favourite son,
Dear to my people on the Hebrew throne,
Sublime my court, with Ophir's treasures bless'd.
My name extended to the farthest east,
My body clothed with every outward grace,
Strength in my limbs, and beauty in my face,
My shining thought with fruitful notions crown'd,
Quick my invention, and my judgement sound:
Arise, (I communed with myself) arise,
Think to be happy; to be great be wise;
Content of spirit must from science flow,
For 'tis a godlike attribute to know.
I said, and sent my edict through the land;
Around my throne the letter'd Rabbins stand,
Historic leaves revolve, long volumes spread,
The old discoursing as the younger read!
Attend I heard, proposed my doubts, and said:
The vegetable world, each plant and tree,
Its seed, its name, its nature, its degree,
I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know,
From the fair cedar on the craggy brow
Of Lebanon nodding supremely tall,
To creeping moss, and hyssop on the wall;
Yet just and conscious to myself, I find
A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind.
I know not why the beach delights the glade,
With boughs extended and a rounder shade,
Whilst towering firs in conic forms arise,
And with a pointed spear divide the skies:
Nor why again the changing oak should shell
The yearly honour of his stately head,
Whilst the distinguish'd yew is ever seen
Unchanged his branch, and permanent his green;
Wanting the sun why does the caltha fade?
Why does the cypress flourish in the shade?
The fig and date, why love they to remain
In middle station and an even plain,
While in the lower marsh the gourd is found,
And while the hill with olive shade is crown'd?
Why does one climate and one soil endue
The blushing poppy with a crimson hue,
Yet leave the lily pale, and tinge the violet blue?
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot
A various colour from one parent root,
While the fantastic tulip strives to break
In twofold beauty and a parted streak?
The twining jasmine and the blushing rose
With lavish grace their morning scents disclose;
The smelling tuberose and jonquil declare,
The stronger impulse of an evening air.
Whence has the tree (resolve me) or the flower
A various instinct or a different power?
Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one breath,
Raise this to strength, and sicken that to death?
Whence does it happen that the plant, which well
We name the sensitive, should move and feel?
Whence know her leaves to answer her command,
And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand?
Along the sunny bank or watery mead
Ten thousand stalks their various blossoms spread;
Peaceful and lowly, in their native soil,
They neither know to spin nor care to toil,
Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
Our vile attire and impotence of pride.
The cowslip smiles in brighter yellow dress'd
Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast;
A fairer red stands blushing in the rose
Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment flows.
Take but the humblest lily of the field,
And if our pride will to our reason yield,
It must by sure comparison be shown,
That on the regal seat great David's son,
Array'd in all his robes and types of power,
Shines with less glory than that simple flower.
Of fishes next, my friends, I would inquire:
How the mute race engender or respire,
From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream
Unmark'd a multitude without a name,
To that leviathan, who o'er the seas
Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways,
And mocks the wind, and in the tempest plays?
How they in warlike bands march greatly forth,
To southern climes directing their career,
Their station changing with th' inverted year?
How all with careful knowledge are endued,
To choose their proper bed, and wave, and food;
To guard their spawn, and educate their brood?
Of birds, how each, according to her kind,
Proper materials for her nest can find,
And build a frame which deepest thought in man
Would or amend or imitate in vain?
How in small flights they know to try their young,
And teach the callow child her parent's song?
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood?
Why every land has her specific brood?
Where the tall crane or winding swallow goes,
Fearful of gathering winds and falling snows;
If into rocks or hollow trees they creep,
In temporary death confined to sleep,
Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly
To milder regions and a southern sky?
Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace;
The wondrous nature and the various race;
Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe,
Of us what they or what of them we know?
Tell me, ye Studious! who pretend to see
Far into Nature's bosom, whence the bee
Was first inform'd her venturous flight to steer
Through trackless paths and an abyss of air?
Whence she avoids the slimy marsh, and knows
The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey-making flowers their opening buds disclose?
How, from the thicken'd mist and setting sun
Finds she the labour of her day is done?
Who taught her against the winds and rains to strive,
To bring her burden to the certain hive,
And through the liquid fields again to pass
Duteous, and hearkening to the sounding brass?
And, O thou Sluggard! tell me why the ant,
'Midst summer's plenty, thinks of winter's want,
By constant journeys careful to prepare
Her stores, and bringing home the corny ear,
By what instruction does she bite the grain,
Lest hid in earth, and taking root again,
It mighty elude the foresight of her care?
Distinct in either insect's deed appear
The marks of thought, contrivance, hope, and fear.
Fix thy corporeal and internal eye
On the young gnat or new-engender'd fly,
Or the vile worm, that yesterday began
To crawl, thy fellow-creatures, abject man!
Like thee they breathe, they move, they taste, they see,
They show their passions by their acts like thee;
Darting their stings, they previously declare
Design'd revenge, and fierce intent of war:
Laying their eggs, they evidently prove
The genial power and full effect of love.
Each then has organs to digest his his food,
One to beget, and one receive the brood;
Has limbs and sinews, blood, and heart, and brain,
Life and her proper functions to sustain,
Though the whole fabric smaller than a grain.
What more can our penurious reason grant
To the large whale or castled elephant?
To those enormous terrors of the Nile,
The crested snake and long-tail'd crocodile,
Than that all differ but in shape and name,
Each destined to a less or larger frame?
For potent Nature loves a various act,
Prone to enlarge, or studious to contract;
Now forms her work too small, now too immense,
And scorns the measures of our feeble sense.
The object, spread too far, or raised too high,
Denies its real image to the eye;
Too little, it eludes the dazzled sight,
Becomes mix'd blackness or unparted light.
Water and air the varied form confound;
The straight looks crooked, and the square grows round.
Thus while with fruitless hope and weary pain
We seek great nature's power, but seek in vain,
Safe sits the goddess in her dark retreat,
Around her myriads of ideas wait,
And endless shapes, which the mysterious queen
Can take or quit, can alter or retain,
As from our lost pursuit she wills to hide
Her close decrees, and chasten human pride.
Untamed and fierce the tiger still remains:
He tires his life in biting of his chains:
For the kind gifts of water and of food
Ungrateful, and returning ill for good,
He seeks his keeper's flesh and thirsts his blood:
While the strong camel and the generous horse,
Restrain'd and awed by man's inferior force,
Do to the rider's will their rage submit,
And answer to the spur, and own the bit;
Stretch their glad mouths to meet the feeder's hand,
Pleased with his weight, and proud of his command.
Again: the lonely fox roams far abroad,
On secret rapine bent and midnight fraud;
Now haunts the cliff, now traverses the lawn,
And flies the hated neighbourhood of man;
While the kind spaniel and the faithful hound,
Likest that fox in shape and species found,
Refuses through these cliffs and lawns to roam,
Pursues the noted path, and covets home,
Does with kind joy domestic faces meet,
Takes what the glutted child denies to eat,
And dying, licks his long-loved master's feet.
By what immediate cause they are inclined,
In many acts, 'tis hard I own to find.
I see in others, or I think I see,
That strict their principles and ours agree.
Evil, like us, they shun, and covet good,
Abhor the poison, and receive the food:
Like us they love or hate; like us they know
To joy the friend, or grapple with the foe,
With seeming thought their action they intend,
And use the means proportion'd to the end.
Then vainly the philosopher avers
That reason guides our deed and instinct theirs.
How can we justly different causes frame,
When the effects entirely are the same?
Instinct and reason how can we divide?
'Tis the fool's ignorance and the pedant's pride.
With the same folly sure man vaunts his sway
If the brute beast refuses to obey.
For, tell me, when the empty boaster's word
Proclaims himself the universal lord,
Does he not tremble lest the lion's paw
Should join his plea against the fancy'd law?
Would not the learned coward leave the chair,
If in the schools or porches should appear
The fierce hyaena or the foaming bear?
The combatant too late the field declines
When now the sword is girded to his loins.
When the swift vessel flies before the wind,
Too late the sailor views the land behind:
And 'tis too late now back again to bring
Inquiry, raised and towering on the wing;
Forward she strives, averse to be withheld
From nobler objects and a larger field.
Consider with me his ethereal space,
Yielding to earth and sea the middle place:
Anxious I ask ye how the pensile ball
Should never strive to rise nor never fear to fall?
When I reflect how the revolving sun
Does round our globe his crooked journeys run,
I doubt of many lands if they contain
Or herd or beast, or colonies of man:
If any nation pass their destined days
Beneath the neighbouring sun's directer rays;
If any suffer on the polar coast
The rage of Arctos and eternal frost.
May not the pleasure of Omnipotence
To each of these some secret good dispense?
Those who amidst the torrid regions live
May they not gales unknown to us receive?
See daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth,
And bless the glowery buds' succeeding birth?
May they not pity us condemn'd to bear
The various heaven of an obliquer sphere,
While, by fix'd laws, and with a just return,
They feel twelve hours that shade for twelve that burn,
And praise the neighbouring sun whose constant flame
Enlightens them with seasons still the same?
And may not those whose distant lot is cast
North, beyond Tartary's extended waste,
Where through the plains of one continual day
Six shining months pursue their even way,
And six succeeding urge their dusky flight,
Obscured with vapours, and o'erwhelm'd in night.
May not, I ask, the natives of these climes
(As annals may inform succeeding times)
To our quotidian change of heaven prefer
Their own vicissitude and equal share
Of day and night disparted through the year?
May they not scorn our sun's repeated race,
To narrow bounds prescribed and little space,
Hastening from morn, and headlong driven from noon,
Half of our daily toil yet scarcely done?
May they not justly to our climes upbraid
Shortness of night and penury of shade,
That ere our wearied limbs are justly bless'd
With wholesome sleep and necessary rest,
Another sun demands return of care,
The remnant toil of yesterday to bear?
Whilst, when the solar beams salute their sight,
Bold and secure in half a year of light,
Uninterrupted voyages they take
To the remotest wood and farthest lake,
Manage the fishing, and pursue the course
With more extended nerves and more continued force;
And when declining day forsakes their sky,
When gathering clouds speak gloomy winter nigh,
With plenty for the coming season bless'd,
Six solid months (an age) they live, released
From all the labour, process, clamour, wo,
Which our sad scenes of daily action know;
They light the shining lamps, prepare the feast,
And with full mirth receive the welcome guest,
Or tell their tender loves (the only care
Which now they suffer) to the listening fair,
And raised in pleasure, or reposed in ease,
(Grateful alternates of substantial peace)
They bless the long nocturnal influence shed
On the crown'd goblet and the genial bed.
In foreign isles which our discoverers find,
Far from this length of continent disjoin'd,
The rugged bear's or spotted lynx's brood
Frighten the valleys and infest the wood,
The hungry crocodile and hissing snake
Lurk in the troubled stream and fenny brake;
And man untaught, and ravenous as the beast,
Does valley, wood, and brake, and stream infest;
Derived these men and animals their birth
From trunk of oak or pregnant womb of earth?
Whence then the old belief, that all began
In Eden's shade and one created man?
Or grant this progeny was wafted o'er
By coasting boats from next adjacent shore,
Would those, from whom we will suppose they spring,
Slaughter to harmless lands and poison bring?
Would they on board or bears or lynxes take,
Fed the she-adder and the brooding snake?
Or could they think the new-discover'd isle
Pleased to receive a pregnant crocodile?
And since the savage lineage we must trace
From Noah saved and his distinguish'd race,
How should their fathers happen to forget
The arts which Noah taught, the rules he set,
To sow the glebe, to plant the generous vine,
And load with grateful flames the holy shrine?
While the great sire's unhappy sons are found,
Unpress'd their vintage, and untill'd their ground,
Straggling o'er dale and hill in quest of food,
And rude of arts, of virtue, and of God.
How shall we next o'er earth and seas pursue
The varied forms of every thing we view;
That all is changed, though all is still the same
Fluid the parts, yet durable the frame?
Of those materials which have been confess'd
The pristine springs and parents of the rest,
Each becomes other. Water stopp'd gives birth
To grass and plants, and thickens into earth;
Diffused it rises in a higher sphere,
Dilates its drops, and softens into air:
Those finer parts of air again aspire,
Move into warmth, and brighten into fire;
That fire once more, by thicker air o'ercome,
And downward forced in earth's capacious womb,
Alters its particles, is fire no more,
But lies resplendent dust and shining ore;
Or, running through the mighty mother's veins,
Changes its shape, puts off its old remains;
With watery parts its lessen'd force divides,
Flows into waves, and rises into tides.
Disparted streams shall from their channels fly,
And deep surcharged by sandy mountains lie
Obscurely sepulchred. By beating rain
And furious wind, down to the distant plain
The hill that hides his head above the skies
Shall fall: the plain by slow degrees shall rise
Higher than erst had stood the summit hill;
For Time must Nature's great behest fulfil.
Thus by a length of years and change of fate
All things are light or heavy, small or great;
Thus Jordan's waves shall future clouds appear,
And Egypt's pyramids refine to air;
Thus later age shall ask for Pison's flood,
And travellers inquire where Babel stood.
Now, where we see these changes often fall,
Sedate we pass them by as natural;
Where to our eye more rarely they appear,
The pompous name of prodigy they bear:
Let active thought these close meanders trace,
Let human wit their dubious boundaries place.
Are all things miracle, or nothing such?
And prove we not too little or too much?
For that a branch cut off, a wither'd rod,
Should at a word pronounced revive and bud,
Is this more strange than that the mountain's brow,
Stripp'd by December's frost, and white with snow,
Should push in spring ten thousand thousand buds,
And boast returning leaves and blooming woods?
That each successive night from opening heaven
The food of angels should to man be given?
Is this more strange than that with common bread
Our fainting bodies every day are fed?
Than that each grain and seed consumed in earth,
Raises its store, and multiplies its birth!
And from the handful which the tiller sows
The labour'd fields rejoice, and future harvest flows?
Then from whate'er we can to sense produce
Common and plain, or wondrous and abstruse,
From Nature's constant or eccentric laws,
The thoughtful soul this general influence draws,
That an effect must pre-suppose a cause;
And while she does her upward flight sustain,
Touching each link of the continued chain,
At length she is obliged and forced to see
A first, a source, a life, a Deity;
What has for ever been, and must for ever be.
This great existence thus by reason found,
Bless'd by all power, with all perfection crown'd,
How can we bind or limit his decree
By what our ear has heard, or eye may see?
Say then is all in heaps of water lost,
Beyond the islands and the midland coast?
Or has that God who gave our world its birth
Severed those waters by some other earth,
Countries by future ploughshares to be torn,
And cities raised by nations yet unborn!
Ere the progressive course of restless age
Performs three thousand times its annual stage,
May not our power and learning be suppress'd,
And arts and empire learn to travel west?
Where, by the strength of this idea charm'd,
Lighten'd with glory, and with rapture warm'd,
Ascends my soul! what sees she white and great
Amidst subjected seas? An isle, the seat
Of power and plenty, her imperial throne,
For justice and for mercy sought and known;
Virtues sublime, great attributes of heaven,
From thence to this distinguish'd nation given:
Yet farther west the western isle extends
Her happy fame; her armed fleets she sends
To climates folded yet from human eye,
And lands which we imagine wave and sky;
From pole to pole she hears her acts resound,
And rules an empire by no ocean bound;
Knows her ships anchor'd, and her sails unfurl'd,
In other Indies and a second world.
Long shall Britannia (that must be her name)
Be first in conquest, and preside in fame:
Long shall her favour'd monarchy engage
The teeth of Envy and the force of Age;
Revered and happy, she shall long remain
Of human things least changeable, least vain;
Yet all must with the general doom comply,
And this great glorious power though last must die.
Now let us leave this earth, and lift our eye
To the large convex of yon azure sky:
Behold it like an ample curtain spread,
Now streak'd and glowing with the morning red;
Anon at noon in flaming yellow bright,
And choosing sable for the peaceful night.
Ask Reason now whence light and shade were given,
And whence this great variety of heaven?
Reason our guide, what can she more reply,
Than that the sun illuminates the sky?
Than that night rises from his absent ray,
And his returning lustre kindles day?
But we expect the morning red in vain,
'Tis hid in vapours or obscured in rain;
The noontide yellow we in vain require,
'Tis black in storm, or red in lightning fire.
Pitchy and dark the night sometimes appears,
Friend to our wo, and parent of our fears;
Our joy and wonder sometimes she excites,
With stars unnumber'd and eternal lights.
Send forth, ye wise, send forth your labouring thought,
Let it return, with empty notions fraught
Of airy columns every moment broke,
Of circling whirlpools, and of spheres of smoke;
Yet this solution but once more affords
New change of terms and scaffolding of words;
In other garb my question I receive,
And take the doubt the very same I gave.
Lo! as a giant strong, the lusty sun
Multiplied rounds in one great round does run,
Two-fold his course, yet constant his career,
Changing the day, and finishing the year:
Again, when his descending orb retires,
And earth perceives the absence of his fires,
The moon affords us her alternate ray,
And with kind beams distributes fainter day,
Yet keeps the stages of her monthly race.
Various her beams, and changeable her face;
Each planet shining in his proper sphere
Does with just speed his radiant voyage steer;
Each sees his lamp with different lustre crown'd;
Each knows his course with different periods bound,
And in his passage through the liquid space,
Nor hastens nor retards his neighbour's race.
Now shine these planets with substantial rays?
Does innate lustre gild their measured days?
Or do they (as your schemes I think have shown)
Dart furtive beams and glory not their own,
All servants to that source of light, the sun?
Again: I see ten thousand thousand stars,
Nor cast in lines, in circles, nor in squares,
(Poor rules with which our bounded mind is fill'd
When we would plant, or cultivate, or build)
But shining with such vast, such various light,
As speaks the hand that form'd them infinite.
How mean the order and perfection sought
In the best product of the human thought,
Compared to the great harmony that reigns
In what the Spirit of the world ordains!
Now if the sun to earth transmits his ray,
Yet does not scorch us with too fierce a day,
How small a portion of his power is given
To orbs more distant and remoter heaven?
And of those stars which our imperfect eye
Has doom'd and fix'd to one eternal sky,
Each by native stock of honour great,
Itself a sun and with transmissive light
Enlivens worlds denied to human sight;
Around the circles of their ancient skies
New moons may grow or wane, may set or rise,
And other stars may to those suns be earths,
Give their own elements their proper births,
Divide their climes, or elevate their pole,
See their lands flourish, and their oceans roll;
Yet these great orbs, thus radically bright,
Primitive founts, and origins of light,
May each to other (as their different sphere
Makes or their distance or their height appear
Be seen a nobler or inferior star,
Myriads of earths, and moons, and suns may lie
Unmeasured, and unknown by human eye.
In vain we measure this amazing sphere,
And find and fix its centre here or there,
Whilst its circumference, scorning to be brought
E'en into fancied space, illudes our vanquish'd thought.
Where then are all the radiant monsters driven
With which your guesses fill'd the frighten'd heaven?
Where will their fictious images remain?
In paper schemes, and the Chaldean's brain?
This problem yet, this offspring of a guess,
Let us for once a child of Truth confess;
That these fair stars, these objects of delight
And terror to our searching dazzled sight,
Are worlds immense, unnumber'd, infinite;
But do these worlds display their beams, or guide
Their orbs, to serve thy use, to please thy pride?
Thyself but dust, thy stature but a span,
A moment thy duration, foolish man?
As well may the minutest emmet say
That Caucasus was raised to pave his way;
That snail, that Lebanon's extended wood
Was destined only for his walk and food;
The vilest cockle gaping on the coast,
That rounds the ample seas, as well may boast
The craggy rock projects above the sky,
That he in safety at its foot may lie;
And the whole ocean's confluent waters swell,
Only to quench his thirst, or move and blanch his shell,
A higher flight the venturous goddess tries,
Leaving material worlds and local skies;
Inquires what are the beings, where the space,
That form'd and held the angels' ancient race?
For rebel Lucifer with Michael fought,
(I offer only what Tradition taught)
Embattled cherub against cherub rose,
Did shield to shield and power to power oppose;
Heaven rung with triumph, hell was fill'd with woes.
What were these forms, of which your volumes tell
How some fought great, and others recreant fell?
These bound to bear an everlasting load,
Durance of chain, and banishment of God;
By fatal turns their wretched strength to tire,
To swim in sulphurous lakes, or land on solid fire;
While those, exalted to primeval light,
Excess of blessing, and supreme delight,
Only perceive some little pause of joys,
In those great moments when their god employs
Their ministry to pour his threaten'd hate
On the proud king or the rebellious state;
Or to reverse Jehovah's high command,
And speak the thunder falling from his hand,
When to his duty the proud king returns,
And the rebellious state in ashes mourns?
How can good angels be in heaven confined,
Or view that Presence which no space can bind?
Is God above, beneath, or yon', or here?
He who made all, is he not every where?
Oh! how can wicked angels find a night
So dark to hide them from that piercing light
Which form'd the eye, and gave the power of sight?
What mean I now of angel, when I near
Firm body, spirit pure, or fluid air?
Spirits, to action spiritual confined,
Friends to our thought, and kindred to our mind,
Should only act and prompt us from within,
Nor by external eye be ever seen.
Was it not therefore to our fathers known
That these had appetite, and limb, and bone?
Else how could Abram wash their wearied feet,
Or Sarah please their taste with savoury meat?
Whence should they fear? or why did Lot engage
To save their bodies from abusive rage?
And how could Jacob, in a real fight,
Feel or resist the wrestling angel's might?
How could a form its strength with matter try?
Or how a spirit touch a mortal's thigh?
Now are they air condensed, or gather'd rays?
How guide they then our prayer or keep our ways,
By stronger blasts still subject to be toss'd,
By tempests scatter'd, and in whirlwinds lost?
Have they again (as sacred song proclaims)
Substances real, and existing frames?
How comes it, since with them we jointly share
The great effect of one Creator's care,
That whilst our bodies sicken and decay,
Theirs are for ever healthy, young, and gay?
Why, whilst we struggle in this vale beneath
With want and sorrow, with disease and death,
Do they more bless'd perpetual life employ
On songs of pleasure and in scenes of joy?
Now, when my mind has all this world survey'd,
And found that nothing by itself was made;
When thought has raised itself by just degrees,
From valleys crown'd with flowers, and hills with trees,
From smoking minerals, and from rising streams,
From fattening Nilus, or victorious Thames;
From all the living that four-footed move
Along the shore, the meadow, or the grove;
From all that can with fins or feathers fly
Through the aerial or the watery sky;
From the poor reptile with a reasoning soul,
That miserable master of the whole;
From this great object of the body's eye,
This fair half-round, this ample azure sky,
Terribly large, and wonderfully bright,
With stars unnumber'd, and unmeasured light:
From essences unseen, celestial names,
Enlightening spirits, and ministerial flames,
Angels, Dominions, Potentates, and Thrones,
All that in each decree the name of creature owns:
Lift we our reason to that sovereign cause
Who bless'd the whole with life and bounded it with laws;
Who forth from nothing call'd this comely frame,
His will and act, his word and work the same;
To whom a thousand years are but a day;
Who bade the Light her genial beams display,
And set the moon, and taught the sun his way;
Who waking Time, his creature, from the source
Primeval, order'd his predestined course,
Himself, as in the hollow of his hand,
Holding obedient to his high command,
The deep abyss, the long continued store,
Where months, and days, and hours, and minutes, pour
Their floating parts, and thenceforth are no more:
This Alpha and Omega, First and Last,
Who, like the potter, in a mould has cast
The world's great frame, commanding it to be
Such as the eyes of Sense and Reason see:
Yet if he wills may change or spoil the whole,
May take yon beauteous, mystic, starry roll,
And burn it like a useless parchment scroll;
May from its basis in one moment pour
This melted earth -
Like liquid metal, and like burning ore;
Who, sole in power, at the beginning said,
Let sea, and air, and earth, and heaven, be made,
And it was so - And when he shall ordain
In other sort, has but to speak again,
And they shall be no more: of this great theme,
This glorious, hallow'd, everlasting Name,
This God, I would discourse-
The learned Elders sat appall'd, amazed,
And each with mutual look on other gazed;
Nor speech they meditate, nor answer frame;
Too plain, alas! their silence spake their shame
Till one in whom an outward mien appear'd
And turn superior to the vulgar herd,
Began: That human learning's furthest reach
Was but to note the doctrines I could teach;
That mine to speak, and theirs was to obey,
For I in knowledge more than your power did sway,
And the astonish'd world in me beheld
Moses eclipsed, and Jesse's son excell'd.
Humble a second bow'd, and took the word,
Foresaw my name by future age adored;
O live, said he, thou wisest of the wise;
As none has equall'd, none shall ever rise
Excelling thee -
Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds,
Pernicious Flattery! thy malignant seeds
In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
Sadly diffused o'er Virtue's gleby land,
With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
And choke the hopes and harvest of the year.
And now the whole perplex'd ignoble crowd,
Mute to my questions, in my praises loud,
Echo'd the word: whence things arose, or how
They thus exist, the aptest nothing know:
What yet is not, but is ordain'd to be,
All veil of doubt apart, the dullest see.
My Prophets and my Sophists finish'd here
Their civil efforts of the verbal war:
Not so my Rabbins and Logicians yield;
Retiring, still they combat: from the field
Of open arms unwilling they depart,
And sculk behind the subterfuge of art.
To speak one thing mix'd dialects they join,
Divide the simple, and the plain define:
Fix fancied laws, and form imagined rules,
Terms of their art, and jargon of their schools,
Ill-ground maxims, by false gloss enlarged,
And captious science against reason charged.
O wretched impotence of human mind!
We, erring, still excuse for error find,
And darkling grope, not knowing we are blind.
Vain man! Since first the blushing sire essay'd
His folly with connected leaves to shade,
How does the crime of thy resembling race,
With like attempt, that pristine error trace?
Too plain thy nakedness of soul espied,
Why dost thou strive the conscious shame to hide,
By masks of eloquence and veils of pride?
With outward smiles their flattery I received,
Own'd my sick mind by their discourse relieved;
But bent, and inward to myself, again
Perplex'd, these matters I resolved in vain.
My search still tired, my labour still renew'd,
At length I Ignorance and Knowledge view'd
Impartial; both in equal balance laid,
Light flew the knowing scale, the doubtful heavy weigh'd.
Forced by reflective reason, I confess
That human science is uncertain guess.
Alas! we grasp at clouds, and beat the air,
Vexing that spirit we intend to clear.
Can thought beyond the bounds of matter climb?
Or who shall tell me what is space or time?
In vain we lift up our presumptuous eyes
To what our Maker to their ken denies:
The searcher follows fast, the object faster flies.
The little which imperfectly we find
Seduces only the bewildered mind
To fruitless search of something yet behind.
Various discussions tear our heated brain:
Opinions often turn; still doubts remain;
And who indulges thought increases pain.
How narrow limits were to Wisdom given?
Earth she surveys; she thence would measure heaven:
Through mists obscure now wings her tedious way
Now wanders, dazzled with too bright a day,
And from the summit of a pathless coast
Sees infinite, and in that sight is lost.
Remember that the cursed desire to know,
Offspring of Adam, was thy source of wo;
Why wilt thou then renew the vain pursuit,
And rashly catch at the forbidden fruit?
With empty labour and eluded strife
Seeking by knowledge to attain to life,
For ever from that fatal tree debarr'd,
Which flaming swords and angry cherubs guard.
Solomon On The Vanity Of The World, A Poem. In Three Books. - Power. Book Iii.
Solomon considers man through the several stages and conditions of life, and concludes, in general, that we are all miserable. He reflects more particularly upon the trouble and uncertainty of greatness and power; gives some instances thereof from Adam down to himself; and still concludes that All Is Vanity. He reasons again upon life, death, and a future being; finds human wisdom too imperfect to resolve his doubts; has recourse to religion; is informed by an angel what shall happen to himself, his family, and his kingdom, till the redemption of Israel; and, upon the whole, resolves to submit his inquiries and anxieties to the will of his Creator.
Come then, my soul: I call thee by that name,
Thou busy thing, from whence I know I am;
For, knowing that I am, I know thou art,
Since that must needs exist which can impart:
But how thou camest to be, or whence thy spring,
For various of thee priests and poets sing.
Hearest thou submissive, but a lowly birth,
Some secret particles of finer earth,
A plain effect which Nature must beget,
As motion orders, and as atoms meet,
Companion of the body's good or ill,
From force of instinct more than choice of will,
Conscious of fear or valour, joy or pain,
As the wild courses of the blood ordain;
Who, as degrees of heat and cold prevail,
In youth dost flourish, and with age shalt fail,
Till, mingled with thy partner's latest breath,
Thou fliest, dissolved in air and lost in death.
Or, if thy great existence would aspire
To causes more sublime, of heavenly fire
Wert thou a spark struck off, a separate ray,
Ordain'd to mingle with terrestrial clay,
With it condemn'd for certain years to dwell,
To grieve its frailties, and its pains to feel,
To teach it good and ill, disgrace or fame,
Pale it with rage, or redden it with shame,
To guide its actions with informing care,
In peace to judge, to conquer in the war;
Render it agile, witty, valiant, sage,
As fits the various course of human age,
Till, as the earthly part decays and falls,
The captive breaks her prison's mouldering walls,
Hovers awhile upon the sad remains,
Which now the pile or sepulchre contains,
And thence, with liberty unbounded, flies,
Impatient to regain her native skies?
Whate'er thou art, where'er ordain'd to go,
(Points which we rather may dispute than know)
Come on, thou little inmate of this breast,
Which for thy sake from passions'l divest
For these, thou say'st, raise all the stormy strife,
Which hinder thy repose, and trouble life;
Be the fair level of thy actions laid
As temperance wills and prudence may persuade
By thy affections undisturb'd and clear,
Guided to what may great or good appear,
And try if life be worth the liver's care.
Amass'd in man, there justly is beheld
What through th whole creation has excell'd,
The angel's forecast and intelligence:
Say, from these glorious seeds what harvest flows?
Recount our blessings, and compare our woes:
In its true light let clearest reason see
The man dragg'd out to act, and forced to be;
Helpless and naked, on a woman's knees,
To be exposed or rear'd as she may please,
Feel her neglect, and pine from her disease:
His tender eye by too direct a ray
Wounded, and flying from unpractised day;
His heart assaulted by invading air,
And beating fervent to the vital war;
To his young sense how various forms appear,
That strike this wonder, and excite his fear;
By his distortions he reveals his pains;
He by his tears and by his sighs complains,
Till time and use assist the infant wretch,
By broken words, and rudiments of speech,
His wants in plainer characters to show,
And paint more perfect figures of his wo,
Condemn'd to sacrifice his childish years
To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears;
To pass the riper period of his age,
Acting his part upon a crowded stage;
To lasting toils exposed, and endless cares,
To open dangers, and to secret snares;
To malice which the vengeful foe intends,
And the more dangerous love of seeming friends:
His deeds examined by the people's will.
Prone to forget the good, and blame the ill;
Or, sadly censured in their cursed debate,
Who, in the scorner's or the judge's seat
Dare to condemn the virtue which they hate:
Or would he rather leave this frantic scene,
And trees and beasts prefer to courts and men,
In the remotest wood and lonely grot
Certain to meet that worst of evils, thought,
Different ideas to his memory brought,
Some intricate, as are the pathless woods,
Impetuous some, as the descending floods;
With anxious doubts, with raging passions torn,
No sweet companion near with whom to mourn,
He hears the echoing rock return his sighs,
And from himself the frighted hermit flies.
Thus, through what path soe'er of life we rove,
Rage companies our hate, and grief our love;
Vex'd with the present moment's heavy gloom,
Why seek we brightness from the years to come?
Disturb'd and broken, like a sick man's sleep,
Our troubled thoughts to distant prospects leap,
Desirous still what flies us to o'ertake;
For hope is but the dream of those that wake:
But looking back we see the dreadful train
Of woes, anew, which, were we to sustain,
We should refuse to tread the path again:
Still adding grief, still counting from the first,
Judging the latest evil still the worst,
And sadly finding each progressive hour
Heighten their number and augment their power,
Till by one countless sum of woes oppress'd,
Hoary with cares, and ignorant of rest,
We find the vital springs relax'd and worn,
Compell'd our common impotence to mourn:
Thus, through the round of age, to childhood we return;
Reflecting find, that naked, from the womb
We yesterday came forth; that in the tomb
Naked again we must to-morrow lie,
Born to lament, to labour, and to die.
Pass we the ills which each man feels or dreads,
The weight or fall'n or hanging o'er our heads;
The bear, the lion, terrors of the plain,
The sheepfold scatter'd, and the shepherd slain;
The frequent errors of the pathless wood,
The giddy precipice, and the dangerous flood;
The noisome pestilence, that in open war
Terrible, marches through the mid-way air,
And scatters death; the arrow that by night
Cuts the dank mist, and fatal wings its flight;
The billowing snow, and violence of the shower,
That from the hills disperse their dreadful store,
And o'er the vales collected ruin pour;
The worm that gnaws the ripening fruit, sad guest,
Canker or locust, hurtful to infest
The blade; while husks elude the tiller's care,
And eminence of want distinguishes the year.
Pass we the slow disease, and subtile pain
Which our weak frame is destined to sustain;
The cruel stone with congregated war,
Tearing his bloody way; the cold catarrh,
With frequent impulse, and continued strife
Weakening the wasted seeds of irksome life;
The gout's fierce rack, the burning fever's rage,
The sad experience of decay and age,
Herself the sorest ill, while death and ease,
Oft and in vain invoked, or to appease
Or end the grief, with hasty wings recede
From the vex'd patient and the sickly bed.
Nought shall it profit that the charming fair,
Angelic, softest work of Heaven, draws near
To the cold shaking paralytic hand,
Senseless of Beauty's touch, or Love's command,
No longer apt or able to fulfil
The dictates of its feeble master's will.
Nought shall the psaltery and the harp avail,
The pleasing song, or well-repeated tale,
When the quick spirits their warm march forbear,
And numbing coldness has unbraced the ear.
The verdant rising of the flowery hill,
The vale enamell'd, and the crystal rill,
The ocean rolling, and the shelly shore,
Beautiful objects, shall delight no more,
When the lax'd sinews of the weaken'd eye
Day follows night; the clouds return again
After the falling of the latter rain;
But to the aged blind shall ne'er return
Grateful vicissitude; he still must mourn,
The sun, and moon, and every starry light,
Eclipsed to him, and lost in everlasting night.
Behold where Age's wretched victim lies;
See his head trembling, and his half-closed eyes;
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves;
To broken sleeps his remnant sense he gives,
And only by his pains awaking finds he lives.
Loosed by devouring Time, the silver cord
Dissever'd lies; unhonour'd from the board
The crystal urn, when broken, is thrown by,
And apter utensils their place supply.
These things and thou must share one equal lot;
Die and be lost, corrupt and be forgot;
While still another and another race
Shall now supply and now give up the place.
From earth all came, to earth must all return,
Frail as the cord, and brittle as the urn.
But the terror of these ills suppress'd,
And view we man with health and vigour bless'd.
Home he returns with the declining sun,
His destined task of labour hardly done;
Goes forth again with the ascending ray,
Again his travail for his bread to pay,
And find the ill sufficient to the day.
Haply at night he does with honour shun
A widow'd daughter, or a dying son;
His neighbour's offspring he to-morrow sees,
And doubly feels his want in their increase:
The next day, and the next, he must attend
His foe triumphant, or his buried friend.
In every act and turn of life he feels
Public calamities, or household ills;
The due reward to just desert refused,
The trust betray'd, the nuptial bed abused:
The judge corrupt, the long-depending cause,
And doubtful issue of misconstrued laws:
The crafty turns of a dishonest state,
And violent will of the wrong-doing great;
The venom'd tongue, injurious to his fame,
Which nor can wisdom shun nor fair advice reclaim.
Esteem we these, my friend, event and chance,
Produced as atoms form their fluttering dance?
Or higher yet their essence may we draw
From destined order and eternal law?
Again, my Muse, the cruel doubt repeat?
Spring they, I say, from accident or fate?
Yet such we find they are, as can control
The servile actions of our wavering soul;
Can fright, can alter, or can chain the will;
Their ills all built on life, that fundamental ill.
O fatal search! in which the labouring mind,
Still press'd with weight of wo, still hopes to find
A shadow of delight, a dream of peace,
From years of pain one moment of release;
Hoping, at least, she may herself deceive,
Against experience willing to believe,
Desirous to rejoice, condemn'd to grieve,
Happy the mortal man who now at last
Has through this doleful vale of misery pass'd,
Who to his destined stage has carried on
The tedious load, and laid his burden down;
Whom the cut brass or wounded marble shows
Victor o'er Life, and all her train of woes:
He happier yet, who privileged by Fate
To shorter labour and a lighter weight,
Received but yesterday the gift of breath,
Order'd to-morrow to return to death:
But, O! beyond description happiest he
Who ne'er must roll on life's tumultuous sea;
Exempt, must never force the teeming womb,
Nor see the sun, nor sink into the tomb.
Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks must mourn!
And he alone is bless'd who ne'er was born.
'Yet in thy turn, thou frowning Preacher, hear;
Are not these general maxims too severe?
Say, cannot power secure its owner's bliss?
Are victors bless'd with fame, or kings with ease?'
I tell thee, life is but one common care,
And man was born to suffer and to fear.
'But is no rank, no station, no degree,
From this contagious taint of sorrow free?'
None, mortal, none: yet in a bolder strain
Let me this melancholy truth maintain:
But hence, ye worldly and profane, retire,
For I adapt my voice and raise my lyre
To notions not by vulgar ear received;
Yet still must covet life, and be deceived;
Your very fear of death shall make you try
To catch the shade of immortality,
Wishing on earth to linger, and to save
Part of its prey from the devouring grave;
To those who may survive ye to bequeath
Something entire, in spite of time and death;
A fancied kind of being to retrieve,
And in a book, or from a building live.
False hope! vain labour! let some ages fly,
The dome shall moulder, and the volume die.
Wretches, still taught! still will ye think it strange
That all the parts of this great fabric change.
Quit their high station and primeval frame,
And lose their shape, their essence and their name?
Reduce the song; our hopes, our joys, are vain;
Our lot is sorrow, and our portion pain.
What pause from wo, what hopes of comfort bring
The name of wise or great, of judge or king?
What is a king? a man condemn'd to bear
The public burden of the nation's care;
Now crown'd, some angry faction to appease,
Now falls a victim to the people's ease;
From the first blooming of his ill-taught youth
Nourish'd flattery, and estranged from truth:
At home surrounded by a servile crowd,
Prompt to abuse, and in detraction loud;
Abroad begirt with men, and swords and spears,
His very state acknowledging his fears;
Marching amidst a thousand guards, he shows
His secret terror of a thousand foes;
In war, however prudent, great, or brave,
To blind events and fickle chance a slave;
Seeking to settle what for ever flies,
Sure of the toil, uncertain of the prize.
But he returns with conquest on his brow,
Brings up the triumph, and absolves the vow:
The captive generals to his car are tied;
The joyful citizens, tumultuous tide,
Echoing his glory, gratify his pride.
What is this triumph? madness, shouts, and noise,
One great collection of the people's voice.
The wretches he brings back, in chains relate
What may to-morrow be the victor's fate.
The spoils and trophies borne before him show
National loss and epidemic wo,
Various distress which he and his may know.
Does he not mourn the valiant thousands slain,
The heroes, once the glory of the plain,
Left in the conflict of the fatal day,
Or the wolf's portion, or the vulture's prey?
Does he not weep the laurel which he wears,
Wet with the soldiers' blood and widows tears?
See where he comes, the darting of the war!
See millions crowding round the gilded car!
In the vast joys of this ecstatic hour,
And full fruition of successful power,
One moment and one thought might let him scan
The various turns of life, and fickle state of man.
Are the dire images of sad distrust,
And popular change, obscured amid the dust
That rises from the victor's rapid wheel?
Can the loud clarion or shrill life repel
The inward cries of Care? can Nature's voice,
Plaintive, be drown'd, or lessen'd in the noise,
Though shouts, as thunder loud, afflict the air,
Stun the birds, now released, and shake the ivory chair?
Yon crowd, (he might reflect) yon joyful crowd,
Pleased with my honours, in my praise loud,
(Should fleeting victory to the vanquish'd go,
Should she depress my arms and raise the foe)
Would for that foe with equal ardour wait,
At the high palace or the crowded gate,
With restless rage would pull my statues down,
And cast the brass anew to his renown.
O impotent desire of worldly sway!
That I who make the triumph of to-day,
May of to-morrow's pomp one part appear,
Ghastly with wounds, and lifeless on the bier!
Then, (vileness of mankind!) then of all these
Whom my dilated eye with labour sees,
Would one, alas! repeat me good or great,
Wash my pale body, or bewail my fate?
Or, march'd I chain'd behind the hostile car,
The victor's pastime, and the sport of war,
Would one, would one his pitying sorrow lend,
Or be so poor to own he was my friend?
Avails it then, O Reason, to be wise?
To see this cruel scene with quicker eyes?
To know with more distinction to complain,
And have superior sense in feeling pain?
Let us resolve, that roll with strictest eye,
Where safe from time distinguish'd actions lie,
And judge if greatness be exempt from pain,
Or pleasure ever may with power remain.
Adam, great type, for whom the world was made,
The fairest blessing to his arms convey'd,
A charming wife; and air, and sea, and land,
And all that move therein, to his command
Render'd obedient: say, my pensive Muse,
What did these golden promises produce?
Scarce tasting life he was of joy bereaved;
One day I think in Paradise he lived,
Destined the next his journey to pursue
Where wounding thorns and cursed thistles grew.
Ere yet he earns his bread, adown his brow,
Inclined to earth, his labouring sweat must flow;
His limbs must ache, with daily toils oppress'd,
Ere long-wish'd night brings necessary rest:
Still viewing with regret his darling Eve,
He for her follies and his own must grieve.
Bewailing still afresh their hapless choice,
His ear oft frighted with the imaged voice,
Of Heaven when first it thundere'd, oft his view,
Aghast, as when the infant lightning flew,
And the stern cherub stopp'd the fatal road,
Arm'd with the flames of an avenging God,
His younger son on the polluted ground,
First fruit of death, lies plaintive of a wound
Given by a brother's hand; his eldest birth
Flies, mark'd by Heaven, a fugitive o'er earth:
Yet why these sorrows heap'd upon the sire,
Becomes nor man nor angel to inquire.
Each age sinn'd on, and guild advanced with time;
The son still added to the father's crime;
Till God arose, and, great in anger, said,
Lo! it repenteth me that man was made.
And from your deep abyss, ye waters, rise!
The frighted angels heard th' Almighty Lord,
And o'er the earth from wrathful vials pour'd
Tempests and storm, obedient to his word.
Meantime his providence to Noah gave
The guard of all that he design'd to save:
Exempt from general doom the patriarch stood,
Contemn'd the waves, and triumph'd o'er the flood.
The winds fall silent and the waves decrease;
The dove brings quiet, and the clive peace;
Yet still his heart does inward sorrow feel,
Which faith alone forbids him to reveal.
If on the backward world his views are cast,
'Tis death diffused, and universal waste.
Present, (sad prospect!) can he ought descry
But (what affects his melancholy eye)
The beauties of the ancient fabric lost,
In chains of craggy hill, or lengths of dreary coast?
While to high heaven his pious breathings turn'd,
Weeping he hoped, and sacrificing mourn'd;
When of God's image only eight he found
Snatch'd from the watery grave, and saved from nations drown'd;
And of three sons, the future hopes of earth,
The seed whence empires must receive their birth,
One he foresees excluded heavenly grace,
And mark'd with curses fatal to his race.
Abraham, potent prince, the friend of God,
Of human ills must bear the destined load,
By blood and battles must his power maintain,
And slay the monarchs ere he rules the plain;
Must deal just portions of a servile life
To a proud handmaid and a peevish wife;
Must with the mother leave the weeping son,
In want to wander and in wilds to groan;
Must take his other child, his age's hope,
To trembling Moriah's melancholy top,
Order'd to drench his knife in filial blood,
Destroy his heir, or disobey his God.
Moses beheld that God; but how beheld
The Deity, in radiant beams conceal'd,
And clouded in a deep abyss of light!
While present too severe for human sight,
Nor staying longer than one swift-wing'd night
The following days, and months, and years, decreed
To fierce encounter, and to toilsome deed:
His youth with wants and hardships must engage,
Plots and rebellions must disturb his age:
Some Corah still arose, some rebel slave,
Prompter to sink the state than he to save,
And Israel did his rage so far provoke,
That what the Godhead wrote the prophet broke.
His voice scarce heard, his dictates scarce believed,
In camps, in arms, in pilgrimage, he lived,
And died obedient to severest law,
Forbid to tread the Promised land he saw.
My father's life was one long line of care,
A scene of danger and a state of war.
The bear's rough gripe and foaming lion's rage,
By various turns his threaten'd youth must fear
Goliath's lifted sword and Saul's emitted spear.
Forlorn he must, and persecuted, fly,
Climb the steep mountain, in the cavern lie,
And often ask, and be refused to die.
For ever from his manly toils are known
The weight of power and anguish of a crown.
What tongue can speak the restless monarch's woes,
When God and Nathan were declared his foes?
When every object his offence reviled,
The husband murder'd and the wife defiled,
The parent's sins impress'd upon the dying child!
What heart can think the grief which he sustain',d
When the King's crime brought vengeance on the land,
And the inexorable prophet's voice
Give famine, plague, or war, and bid him fix his choice?
He died; and, oh! may no reflection shed
Its poisonous venom on the royal dead:
Yet the unwilling truth must be express'd
Which long has labour'd in this pensive breast;
Dying he added to my weight of care;
He made me to his crimes undoubted heir;
Left his unfinish'd murder to his son,
And Joab's blood entail'd on Judah's crown.
Young as I was, I hasted to fulfil
The cruel dictates of my parent's will:
Of his fair deeds a distant view I took,
But turn'd the tube upon his faults to look;
Forgot his youth spent in his country's cause,
His care of right, his reverence to the laws,
But could with joy his years of folly trace,
Broken and old in Bathsheba's embrace
Could follow him where'er he stray'd from good,
And cite his sad example, whilst I trod
Paths open to deceit, and track'd with blood.
With smiles I could betray, with temper kill;
Soon in a brother could a rival view,
Watch all his acts, and all his ways pursue:
In vain for life he to the altar fled;
Ambition and Revenge have certain speed.
Even there, my soul, even there he should have fell,
But that my interest did my rage conceal:
Doubling my crime I promise and deceive,
Purpose to slay, whilst swearing to forgive.
Treaties, persuasions, sighs, and tears, are vain
With a mean lie cursed vengeance I sustain.
Join fraud to force, and policy to power,
Till of the destined fugitive secure,
In solemn state to parricide I rise,
And, as God lives, this day my brother dies.
Be witness to my tears, celestial Muse!
In vain I would forget, in vain excuse,
Fraternal blood by my direction spilt;
In vain on Joab's head transfer the guilt:
The deed was acted by the subject's hand,
The sword was pointed by the King's command:
Mine was the murder; it was mine alone;
Years of contrition must the crime atone:
Nor can my guilty soul expect relief
But from a long sincerity of grief.
With an imperfect hand and trembling heart,
Her love of truth superior to her art,
Already the reflecting Muse has traced
The mournful figures of my actions past,
The pensive goddess has already taught
How vain is hope, and how vexatious thought;
From growing childhood to declining age,
How tedious every step, how gloomy every stage,
This course of vanity almost complete,
Tired in the field of life, I hope retreat
In the still shades of death; for dread, and pain,
And grief, will find their shafts elanced in vain,
And their points broke, retorted from the head,
Safe in the grave, and free among the dead.
Yet tell me, frighted reason! what is death?
Blood only stopp'd, and interrupted breath?
The utmost limit of a narrow span,
And end of motion, which with life began?
As smoke that rises from the kindling fires
Is seen this moment, and the next expires;
As empty clouds by rising winds are lost,
Their fleeting forms scarce sooner found than lost,
So vanishes our state, so pass our days,
So life but opens now, and now decays;
The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh,
To live is scarce distinguish'd from to die.
Cure of the miser's wish and coward's fear,
Death only shows us what we knew was near,
With courage therefore view the pointed hour,
Dread not Death's anger, but expect his power,
Nor Nature's law with fruitless sorrow mourn,
But die, O mortal man! for thou wast born.
Cautious through doubt, by want of courage wise,
To such advice the reasoner still replies.
Yet measuring all the long continued space,
Every successive day's repeated race,
Since Time first started from his pristine goal,
Till he had reach'd that hour wherein my soul
Join'd to my body swell'd the womb, I was
(At least I think so) nothing; must I pass
Again to nothing when this vital breath
Ceasing, consigns me o'er to rest and death?
Must the whole man, amazing thought! return
To the cold marble or contracted urn?
And never shall those particles agree
That were in life this individual he?
But sever'd, must they join the general mass,
Through other forms and shapes ordain'd to pass,
Nor thought nor image kept of what he was?
Does the great word that gave him sense ordain
That life shall never wake that sense again?
And will no power his sinking spirits save
From the dark caves of death, and chambers of the grave?
Each evening I behold the setting sun
With downward speed into the ocean run;
Yet the same light (pass but some fleeting hours)
Exerts his vigour and renews his powers;
Starts the bright race again: his constant flame
Rises and sets, returning still the same.
I mark the various fury of the winds;
These neither seasons guide nor order binds;
They now dilate, and now contract their force;
Various their speed, but endless is their course,
From his first fountain and beginning ooze,
Down to the sea each brook and torrent flows;
Though sundry drops or leave or swell the stream,
The whole still runs, with equal pace the same;
Still other waves supply the rising urns,
And the eternal flood no want of water mourns.
Why then must man obey the sad decree,
Which subjects neither sun, nor wind, nor sea?
A flower that does with opening morn arise,
And flourishing the day at evening dies;
A winged eastern blast, just skimming o'er
The ocean's brow, and sinking on the shore;
A fire, whose flames through crackling stubbles fly;
A meteor shooting from the summer sky;
A bowl adown the bending mountain roll'd;
A bubble breaking, and a fable told;
A noontide shadow, and a midnight dream,
Are emblems which with semblance apt proclaim
Our earthly course; but, O my Soul! so fast
Must life run off, and death for ever last!
This dark opinion sure is too confined,
Else whence this hope and terror of the mind?
Does something still, and somewhere, yet remain,
Reward or punishment, delight or pain?
Say, shall our relics second birth receive?
Sleep we to wake, and only die to live?
When the sad wife has closed her husband's eyes,
And pierced the echoing vault with doleful cries,
Lies the pale corpse not yet entirely dead,
The spirit only from the body fled,
The grosser part of heat and motion void,
To be by fire, or worm, or time, destroy'd;
The soul, immortal substance, to remain
Conscious of joy and capable of pain?
And if her acts have been directed well,
While with her friendly clay she deign'd to dwell,
Shall she with safety reach her pristine seat,
Find her rest endless, and her bliss complete?
And while the buried man we idly mourn,
Do angels joy to see his better half return?
But if she has deform'd this earthly life
With murderous rapine and seditious strife,
Amazed, repulsed, and by those angels driven
From the ethereal seat and blissful heaven,
In everlasting darkness must she lie,
Still more unhappy that she cannot die?
Amid two seas, on one small point of land,
Wearied, uncertain, and amazed, we stand;
On either side our thoughts incessant turn,
Forward we dread, and looking back we mourn,
Losing the present in this dubious haste,
And lost ourselves betwixt the future and the past.
These cruel doubts contending in my breast,
My reason staggering and my hopes oppress'd,
Once more I said, once more I will inquire,
What is this little, agile, pervious fire,
This flattering motion which we call the Mind,
How does she act? and where is she confined?
Have we the power to give her as we please?
Whence then those evils that obstruct our ease?
We happiness pursue: we fly from pain;
Yet the pursuit and yet the flight is vain;
And while poor Nature labours to be bless'd,
By day with pleasure, and by night with rest,
Some stronger power eludes our sickly will,
Dashes our rising hope with certain ill,
And makes us, with reflective trouble, see
That all is destined which we fancy free.
That power superior then which rules our mind,
Is his decree by human prayer inclined?
Will he for sacrifice our sorrows ease!
And can our tears reverse his firm decrees?
Then let religion aid where reason fails,
Throw loads of incense in to turn the scales,
And let the silent sanctuary show,
What from the babbling schools we may not know,
How man may shun or bear his destined part of wo.
What shall amend, or what absolve our fate?
Anxious we hover in a mediate state
Betwixt infinity and nothing; bounds,
Or boundless terms, whose doubtful sense confounds:
Unequal thought, whilst all we apprehend
Is, that our hopes must rise, our sorrows end,
As our Creator deigns to be our friend.
I said, - and instant bade the priests prepare
The ritual sacrifice and solemn prayer.
Select from vulgar herds, with garlands gay,
A hundred bulls ascend the sacred way:
The artful youth proceed to form the choir,
They breathe the flute, or strike the vocal wire.
The maids in comely order next advance,
They beat the timbrel and instruct the dance:
Follows the chosen tribe, from Levi sprung,
Chanting by just return the holy song.
Along the choir in solemn state they pass'd,
- The anxious King came last.
The sacred hymn perform'd, my promised vow
I paid, and, bowing at the altar low.
Father of heaven! I said, and Judge of earth!
Whose word call'd out this universe to birth,
By whose kind power and influencing care
The various creatures move, and live, and are;
But ceasing once that care, withdrawn that power,
They move (alas!) and live, and are no more;
Omniscient Master, omnipresent King,
To thee, to thee my last distress I bring.
Thou that canst still the raging of the seas,
Chain up the winds, and bid the tempests cease,
Redeem my shipwreck'd soul from raging gusts
Of cruel passion and deceitful lusts;
From storms of rage and dangerous rocks of pride,
Let thy strong hand this little vessel guide,
(It was thy hand that made it) through the tide
Impetuous of this life, let thy command
Direct my course, and bring me safe to land.
If, while this wearied flesh draws fleeting breath,
Not satisfied with life, afraid of death,
It haply be thy will that I should know
Glimpse of delight, or pause from anxious wo,
From now, from instant now, great Sire! dispel
The clouds that press my soul; from now reveal
A gracious beam of light; from now inspire
My tongue to sing, my hand to touch the lyre;
My open'd thought to joyous prospects raise,
And for thy mercy let me sing thy praise:
Or, if thy will ordains, I still shall wait
Some new hereafter and a future state,
Permit me strength my weight of wo to bear,
And raise my mind superior to my care.
Let me, howe'er unable to explain
The secret lab'rinths of thy ways to man,
With humble zeal confess thy awful power,
Still weeping hope, and wondering, still adore:
So in my conquest be thy might declared,
And for thy justice be thy name revered.
My prayer scarce ended, a stupendous gloom
Darkens the air; loud thunder shakes the dome:
To the beginning miracle succeed
An awful silence and religious dread.
Sudden breaks forth a more than common day,
The sacred wood, which on the alter lay
Untouch'd, unlighted glows -
Ambrosial odour, such as never flows
From Arab's gum or the Sabaean rose,
Does round the air evolving scents diffuse:
The holy ground is wet with heavenly dews:
Celestial music (such Jessides' lyre,
Such Miriam's timbrel would in vain require)
Strikes to my thought through admiring ear,
With ecstasy too fine, and pleasure hard to bear:
And, lo! what sees my ravish'd eye? what feels
My wondering soul? an opening cloud reveals
A heavenly form embodied and array'd
With robes of light, I heard; the angel said,
Cease, Man, of women born, to hope relief
From daily trouble and continued grief.
Thy hope of joy deliver to the wind:
Suppress thy passions, and prepare thy mind.
Free and familiar with misfortune grow;
Be used to sorrow, and inured to wo.
By weakening toil and hoary age o'ercome,
See thy decrease, and hasting to thy tomb.
Leave to thy children tumult, strife, and war,
Portions of toil, and legacies of care:
Send the successive ills through ages down,
And let each weeping father tell his son
That, deeper struck, and more distinctly grieved,
He must augment the sorrows he received.
The child to whose success thy hope is bound,
Ere thou art scarce interr'd or he is crown'd,
To lust of arbitrary sway inclined,
(That cursed poison to the prince's mind!)
Shall from thy dictates and his duty rove,
And lose his great defence, his people's love:
Ill counsell'd, vanquish'd, fugitive, disgraced,
Shall mourn the fame of Jacob's strength effaced:
Shall sigh the King diminish'd, and the crown
With lessen'd rays descending to his son:
Shall see the wreaths his grandsire knew to reap
By active toil and military sweat,
Rining incline their sickly leaves, and shed
Their falling honours from his giddy head:
By arms or prayer unable to assuage
Domestic horror and intestine rage,
Shall from the victor and the vanquish'd fear,
From Israel's arrow and from Judah's spear:
Shall cast his wearied limbs on Jordan's flood,
By brothers' arms disturb'd, and stain'd with kindred blood.
Hence labouring years shall weep their destined race,
Charged with ill omens, sully'd with disgrace;
Time, by necessity compell'd, shall go
Through scenes of war, and epochas of wo:
The empire lessen',d in a parted stream
Shall lose its course -
Indulge thy tears; the Heathen shall blaspheme;
Judah shall fall, oppress'd by grief and shame,
And men shall from her ruins know her fame.
New Egypts yet and second bonds remain,
A harsher Pharaoh, and a heavier chain.
Again, obedient to a dire command,
Thy captive sons shall leave the promised land;
Their name more low, their servitude more vile,
Shall on Euphrates' bank renew the grief of Nile.
These pointed spires that wound the ambient sky,
Inglorious change shall in destruction lie
Low, levell'd with the dust, their heights unknown,
Or measured by their ruin. Yonder throne,
For lasting glory built, design'd the seat
Of kings for ever bless'd, for ever great,
Removed by the invader's barbarous hand,
Shall grace his triumph in a foreign land:
The tyrant shall demand yon' sacred load
Of gold and vessels set apart to God,
Then by bile hands to common use debased,
Shall send them flowing round his drunken feast,
With sacrilegious taunt and impious jest.
Twice fourteen ages shall their way complete,
Empires by various turns shall rise and set,
While thy abandon'd tribes shall only know
A different master and a change of wo;
With downcast eyelids, and with looks aghast,
Shall dread the future or bewail the past.
Afflicted Israel shall sit weeping down,
Fast by the streams where Babel's waters run,
Their harps upon the neighbouring willows hung,
Nor joyous hymn encouraging their tongue,
Nor cheerful dance their feet; with toil oppress'd,
Their wearied limbs aspiring but to rest.
In the reflective stream the sighing bride,
Viewing her charms impair'd, abash'd shall hide
Her pensive head, and in her languid face
The bridegroom shall foresee his sickly race,
While ponderous fetters vex their close embrace
With irksome anguish then your priests shall mourn
Their long neglected feasts despair'd return,
And sad oblivion of their solemn days:
Thenceforth their voices they shall only raise,
Louder to weep. By day your frighted seers
Shall call for fountains to express their tears,
And wish their eyes were floods: by night, from dreams
Of opening gulfs, black storms, and raging flames,
Starting amazed, shall to the people show
Emblems of heavenly wrath, and mystic types of wo.
The captives, as their tyrant shall require
That they should breathe the song and touch the lyre,
Shall say, Can Jacob's servile race rejoice,
Untuned the music, and disused the voice?
What can we play, (they shall discourse) how sing
In foreign lands, and to a barbarous king?
We and our fathers, from our childhood bred
To watch the cruel victor's eye, to dread
The arbitrary lash, to bend, to grieve,
(Outcast of mortal race) can we conceive
Image of ought delightful, soft, or gay?
Alas! when we have toil the longsome day,
The fullest bliss our hearts aspire to know,
Is but some interval from active wo;
In broken rest and startling sleep to mourn,
Till morn the tyrant and the scourge return:
Bred up in grief, can pleasure be our theme?
Our endless anguish does not nature claim?
Reason and sorrow are to us the same.
Alas! with wild amazement we require
If idle Folly was not Pleasure's sire?
Madness, we fancy, gave an ill-timed birth.
This is the series of perpetual wo
Which thou, alas! and thine, are born to know.
Illustrious wretch! repine not nor reply;
View not what Heaven ordains with reason's eye;
Too bright the object is, the distance is too high.
The man who would resolve the work of fate
May limit number and make crooked straight:
Stop thy inquiry, then, and curb thy sense,
'Tis God who must dispose and man sustain,
Born to endure, forbidden to complain:
Thy sum of life must his decrees fufil;
What derogates from his command is ill,
And that alone is good which centres in his will.
Yet that thy labouring senses may not droop,
Lost to delight, and destitute of hope,
Remark what I, God's messenger, aver
From him who neither can deceive nor err.
The land, at length redeem'd, shall cease to mourn,
Shall from her sad captivity return:
Sion shall raise her long-dejected head,
And in her courts the law again be read,
Again the glorious temple shall arise,
And with now lustre pierce the neighbouring skies:
The promised seat of empire shall again
Cover the mountain and command the plain;
And from thy race distinguish'd, One shall spring
Greater in act than victor, more than king;
In dignity and power sent down from heaven
To succour earth. To him, to him, 'tis given
Passion, and care, and anguish, to destroy;
Through him soft peace and plenitude of joy
Perpetual o'er the world redeem'd shall flow;
No more may man inquire or angel know.
Now, Solomon, remembering who thou art,
Act through thy remnant life a decent part:
Go forth; be strong; with patience and with care
Perform and suffer; to thyself severe,
Gracious to others, thy desires suppress'd,
Diffused thy virtues, first of men, be best.
Thy sum of duty let two words contain,
O may they graven in thy heart remain!
Be humble and be just. The angel said:
With upward speed his agile wings he spread,
Whilst on the holy ground I prostrate lay,
By various doubts impell'd, or to obey
Or to object; at length (my mournful look
Heavenward erect) determined, thus I spoke:
Supreme, all-wise, eternal Potentate!
Sole author, sole disposer, of our fate!
Enthroned in light and immortality,
Whom no man fully sees, and none can see!
Original of Beings! Power divine!
Since that I live, that I think, is thine;
Benign Creator! let thy plastic hand
Dispose its own effect: let thy command
Restore, great Father, thy instructed son,
And in my act may thy great will be done.
Solomon On The Vanity Of The World, A Poem. In Three Books. - Pleasure. Book Ii.
Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth and greatness can produce it: begins with the magnificence of gardens and buildings; the luxury of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes and desires of love. In two episodes are shown the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, still disappointed, falls under the temptations of libertinism and idolatry; recovers his thought; reasons aright; and concludes that, as to the pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, All Is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit.
Try then, O man, the moments to deceive
That from the womb attend thee to the grave:
For wearied Nature find some apter scheme;
Health be thy hope, and pleasure be thy theme;
From the perplexing and unequal ways
Where Study brings thee from the endless maze
Which Doubt persuades o run, forewarn'd, recede
To the gay field, and flowery path, that lead
To jocund mirth, soft joy, and careless ease:
Forsake what my instruct for what may please:
Essay amusing art and proud expense,
And make thy reason subject to thy sense.
I communed thus: the power of wealth I tried,
And all the various luxe of costly pride;
Artists and plans relieved my solemn hours:
I founded palaces and planted bowers,
Birds, fishes, beasts, of exotic kind
I to the limits of my court confined,
To trees transferr'd I gave a second birth,
And bade a foreign shade grace Judah's earth.
Fish-ponds were made where former forests grew
And hills were levell'd to extend the view.
Rivers, diverted from their native course,
And bound with chains of artificial force,
From large cascades in pleasing tumult roll'd,
Or rose through figured stone or breathing gold.
From furthest Africa's tormented womb
The marble brought, erects the spacious dome,
Or forms the pillars' long-extended rows,
On which the planted grove and pensile garden grows.
The workmen here obey the master's call,
To gild the turret and to paint the wall;
To mark the pavement there with various stone,
And on the jasper steps to rear the throne:
The spreading cedar, that an age had stood,
Supreme of trees, and mistress of the wood,
Cut down and carved, my shining roof adorns,
And Lebanon his ruin'd honour mourns.
A thousand artists show their cunning powers
To raise the wonders of the ivory towers:
A thousand maidens ply the purple loom
To weave the bed and deck the regal room;
Till Tyre confesses her exhausted store,
That on her coast the murex is no more;
Till from the Paian isle and Liby's coast
The mountains grieve their hopes of marble lost
And India's woods return their just complaint,
Their brood decay'd, and want of elephant.
My full design with vast expense achieved,
I came, beheld, admired, reflected, grieved:
I chid the folly of my thoughtless haste,
For, the work perfected, the joy was past.
To my new courts sad Thought did still repair,
And round my gilded roofs hung hovering Care.
In vain on silken beds I sought repose,
And Restless oft from purple couches rose;
Vexatious Thought still found my flying mind,
Nor bound by limits nor to place confined:
Haunted my nights, and terrified my days,
Stalk'd through my gardens, and pursued my ways,
Nor shut from artful bower, nor lost in winding maze.
Yet take thy bent, my soul; another sense
Indulge: add music to magnificence:
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul.
Often our seers and poets have confess'd
That music's force can tame the furious beast;
Can make the wolf or foaming boar restrain
His rage, the lion drop his crested main,
Attentive to the song; the lynx forget
His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet.
Are we, alas! less savage yet than these?
Else music sure may human cares appease.
I spake my purpose, and the cheerful choir
Parted their shares of harmony: the lyre
Soften'd the timbrel's noise; the trumpet's sound
Provoked the Dorian flute, (both sweeter found
When mix'd) the fife the viol's notes refined,
And every strength with every grace was join'd:
Each morn they waked me with a sprightly lay;
Each evening their repeated skill express'd
Scenes of repose and images of rest;
Yet still in vain; for music gather'd thought;
But how unequal the effects it brought?
The soft ideas of the cheerful note,
Lightly received, were easily forgot;
The solemn violence of the graver sound
Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound.
And now reflecting, I with grief descry
The sickly lust of the fantastic eye;
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd,
Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy'd.
And now (unhappy search of thought!) I found
The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound,
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue,
Tired with the last and eager of the new.
I bade the virgins and the youth advance,
To temper music with the sprightly dance.
In vain! too low the mimic motions seem;
What takes our heart must merit our esteem.
Nature, I thought, perform'd too mean a part,
Forming her movements to the rules of art;
And vex'd I found that the musician's hand
Had o'er the dancer's mind too great command.
I drank; I liked it not: 'twas rage, 'twas noise;
An airy scene of transitory joys,
In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
Would banish sorrow and enlarge the soul.
To the late revel and protracted feast
Wild dreams succeeded and disorder'd rest;
And as at dawn of morn fair reason's light
Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night,
What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done?
How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun?
Perhaps the jest that charm'd the sprightly crowd,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion owed its poor pretence,
To an ambiguous word's percerted sense,
To a wild sonnet, or a wanton air,
Offence and torture to the sober ear,
Perhaps, alas! the pleasing stream was brought
From this man's error, from another's fault;
From topics which good-nature would forget,
And prudence mention with the last regret.
Add yet unnumber'd ills that lie unseen
In the pernicious draught; the word obscene
Or harsh, which once elanced must ever fly
Irrevocable: the too prompt reply,
Seed of severe distrust and fierce debate,
What we should shun, and what we ought to hate.
Add, too, the blood impoverish'd, and the course
Of health suppress'd by wine's continued course.
Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage
To different ills alternately engage;
Who drinks, alas! but to forget; nor sees
That melancholy sloth, severe disease,
Memory confused, and interrupted thought,
Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught;
And in the flowers that wreath the sparkling bowl
Fell adders hiss, and poisonous serpents roll.
Remains there ought untried that may remove
Sickness of mind, and heal the bosom? - Love!
Love yet remains; indulge his genial fire,
Cherish fair Hope, solicit young Desire,
And boldly bid thy anxious soul explore
This last great remedy's mysterious power.
Why, therefore, hesitates my doubtful breast?
Why ceases it one moment to be bless'd?
Fly swift, my Friends; my Servants fly; employ
Your instant pains to bring our master joy.
Let all my wives and concubines be dress'd;
Let them to-night attend the royal feast;
All Israel's beauty, all the foreign fair,
The gifts of princes, or the spoils of war:
Before their monarch they shall singly pass,
And the most worthy shall obtain the grace.
I said: the feast was served; the bowl was crown'd;
To the King's pleasure went the mirthful round.
The women came: as custom wills they pass'd:
On one (O that distinguish'd one!) I cast
The favourite glance? O! yet my mind retains
That fond beginning of my infant pains.
Mature the virgin was, of Egypt's race,
Grace shaped her limbs and beauty deck'd her face:
Easy her motion seem'd, serene her air;
Full, though unzoned, her bosom rose; her hair
Untied, and, ignorant of artful aid,
Adown her shoulders loosely lay display'd,
And in the jetty curls ten thousand cupids play'd.
Fix'd on her charms, and pleased that I could love,
Aid me, my Friends, contribute to improve
Your monarch's bliss, I said: fresh roses bring
To strew my bed, till the impoverish'd Spring
Confess her want: around my amorous head
Be dropping myrrh and liquid amber shed
Till Arab has no more; from the soft lyre,
Sweet flute, and ten-string'd instrument require
Sounds of delight: and thou, fair Nymph, draw nigh,
Thou in whose graceful form and potent eye,
Thy master's joy, long sought, at length is found,
And, as thy brow, let my desires be crown'd.
O favourite virgin, that hast warm'd the breast,
Whose sovereign dictates subjugate the East!
I said: and sudden from the golden throne,
With a submissive step, I hasted down.
The glowing garland from my hair I took,
Love in my heart, obedience in my look,
Prepared to place it on her comely head,
O favourite Virgin! (yet again I said)
Receive the honours destined to thy brow;
And O, above thy fellows, happy thou!
Their duty must thy sovereign word obey.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, come away.
What pang, alas! what ecstasy of smart
Tore up my senses and transfix'd my heart,
When she with modest scorn the wreath return'd,
Reclined her beauteous neck, and inward mourn'd!
Forced by my pride, I my concern suppress'd,
Pretended drowsiness and wish of rest;
And sullen, I forsook th' imperfect feast:
Ordering the eunuchs, to whose proper care
Our Eastern gradneur gives th' imprison'd fair,
To lead her forth to a distinuish'd bower,
And nid her dress the bed, and wait the hour.
Restless I follow'd this obdurate maid,
(Swift are the steps that Love and Anger tread)
Approach'd her person, courted her embrace,
Renew'd my flame, repeated my disgrace:
By turns put on the suppliant and the lord:
Threaten'd this moment, and the next implored,
Offer'd again the unaccepted wreath,
And choice of happy love, or instant death.
Averse to all her amorous King desired,
Far as she might she decently retired,
And darting scorn and sorrow from her eyes,
What means, said she, King Solomon the wise?
This wretched body trembles at your power;
Thus far could Fortune, but she can no more.
Free to herself my potent mind remains,
Nor fears the victor's rage, nor feels his chains.
'Tis said that thou canst plausibly dispute,
Supreme of seers, of angel, man, and brute:
Canst plead, with subtle wit and fair discourse,
Of passion's folly and of reason's force;
That to the tribes attentive, thou canst know
Whence their misfortunes or their blessings flow:
That thou in science as in power art great,
And truth and honour on thy edicts wait.
Where is that knowledge now, that regal thought,
With just advice and timely counsel fraught?
Where now, O Judge of Israel, does it rove? -
What in one moment dost thou offer? - Love!
Love? why, 'tis joy or sorrow, peace or strife;
'Tis all the colour of remaining life,
And human misery must begin or end
As he becomes a tyrant or a friend.
Would David's son, religious, just, and grave,
To the first bride-bed of the world receive
A foreigner, a Heathen, and a slave?
Or grant thy passion has these names destroy'd,
That Love, like Death, makes all distinction void,
Yet in his empire o'er thy abject breast
His flames and torments only are exprest,
His rage can in my smiles alone relent,
And all his joys solicit my consent.
Soft love, spontaneous tree, its parted root
Must from two hearts with equal vigour shoot,
Whilst each delighted, and delighting, gives
The pleasing ecstasy which each receives:
Cherish'd with hope, and fed with joy, it grows,
Its cheerful buds their opening bloom disclose,
And round the happy soul diffusive odour flows.
If angry fate that mutual care denies,
The fading plant bewails its due supplies;
Wild with despair, or sick with grief, it dies.
By force beasts act, and are by force restrain'd;
The human mind by gentle means is gain'd.
Thy useless strength mistaken King employ:
Sated with rage, and ignorant of joy,
Thou shalt not gain what I deny to yield,
Nor reap the harvest, though thou spoil'st the field.
Know, Solomon, thy poor extent of sway;
Contract thy brow, and Israel shall obey;
But wilful Love thou must with smiles appease,
Approach his awful throne by just degrees,
And if thou wouldst be happy, learn to please.
Not that those arts can here successful prove,
For I am destined to another's love.
Beyond the cruel bounds of thy command,
To my dear equal, in my native land,
My plighted vow I gave; I his received:
Each swore with truth, with pleasure each believed
The mutual contract was to heaven convey'd;
In equal scales thy busy angels weigh'd
Its solemn force, and clapp'd their wings, and spread
The lasting roll, recording what we said.
Now in my heart behold thy poniard stain'd;
Take the sad life which I have long disdain'd;
End, in a dying virgin's wretched fate,
Thy ill-starr'd passion and my steadfast hate:
For long as blood informs these circling veins,
Or fleeting breath its latest power retains,
Hear me to Egypt's vengeful gods declare
Hate is my part; be thine O King despair.
Now strike, she said, and open'd bare her breast,
Stand it in Judah's Chronicles confest
That David's son, by impious passion moved,
Smote a she-slave, and murder'd what he loved.
Ashamed, confused, I started from the bed,
And to my soul, yet uncollected, said,
Into thyself fond Solomon return;
Reflect again, and thou again shalt mourn.
When I through number'd years have pleasure sought,
And in vain hope the wanton phantom caught,
To mock my sense and mortify my pride,
'Tis in another's power and is denied.
Am I a king, great Heaven? does life or death
Hang on the wrath or mercy of my breath,
While kneeling I my servant's smiles implore,
And one mad damsel dares dispute my power?
To ravish her? that thought was soon depress'd,
Which must debase the monarch to the beast.
To send her back? O whither, and to whom?
To lands where Solomon must never come?
To that insulting rival's happy arms
For whom, disdaining me, she keeps her charms?
Fantastic tyrant of the amorous heart,
How hard thy yoke! how cruel is thy dart?
Those 'scape thy anger who refuse thy sway,
And those are punish'd most who most obey,
See Judah's king revere thy greater power;
What canst thou covet, or how triumph more;
Why, then, O Love, with an obdurate ear,
Does this proud nymph reject a monarch's prayer?
Why to some simple shepherd does she run
Where wealth and pleasure may thy reign support,
To some poor cottage on the mountain's brow,
Now bleak with winds, and cover'd now with snow,
And household cares suppress thy genial fires!
Too aptly the afflicted Heathens prove
The force, while they erect the shrines of Love.
His mystic form the artisans of Greece
In wounded stone or molten gold express;
And Cyprus to his godhead pays her vow,
Fast in his hand the idol holds his bow;
A quiver by his side sustains his store
Of pointed darts, sad emblems of his power;
A pair of wings he has, which he extends
Now to be gone, which now again he bends,
Prone to return, as best may serve his wanton ends.
Entirely thus I find the fiend portray'd,
Since first, alas! I saw the beauteous maid;
I felt him strike, and now I see him fly:
Cursed daemon! O! for ever broken lie
Those fatal shafts by which I inward bleed!
O! can my wishes yet o'ertake thy speed!
Tired mayst thou turn'st thy course, resolved to bring
Except thou turn'st thy course, resolved to bring
The damsel back, and save the love-sick king.
My soul thus struggling in the fatal net,
Unable to enjoy or to forget,
I reason'd much, alas! but more I loved,
Sent and recall'd, ordain'd and disapproved,
Till hopeless plunged in an abyss of grief,
I from necessity received relief;
Time gently aided to assuage my pain
And wisdom took once more the slacken'd rein.
But O how short my interval of wo!
Our griefs how swift, our remedies how slow!
Another nymph, (for so did Heaven ordain,
To change the manner but renew the pain)
Another nymph, amongst the many fair
That made my softer hours their solemn care,
Before the rest affected still to stand,
And watch'd my eye, preventing my command,
Abra, she so was call'd, did sooner haste
To grace my presence; Abra went the last;
Abra was ready ere I call'd her name,
And though I call'd another, Abra came.
Her equals first observed her growing zeal,
And laughing gloss'd, that Abra served so well.
To me her actions did unheeded die,
Or were remark'd but with a common eye,
Till more apprized of what the rumour said,
More I observed peculiar in the maid.
The sun declined had shot his western ray,
When, tired with business of the solemn day,
I purposed to unbend the evening hours,
And banquet private in the women's bowers.
I call'd before I sat to wash my hands,
for so the precept of the law commands;
Love had ordain'd that it was Abra's turn
To mix the sweets, and minister the urn.
With awful homage and submissive dread
The maid approach'd, on my declining head
To pour the oils: she trembled as she pour'd:
With an unguarded look she now devour'd
My nearer face; and now recall'd her eye,
And heaved, and strove to hide a sudden sigh.
And whence, said I, canst thou have dread or pain?
What can thy imag'ry of sorrow mean?
Secluded from the world and all its care,
Hast thou to grieve or joy, to hope or fear?
For sure, I added, sure thy little heart
Ne'er felt Love's anger or received his dart.
Abash'd she blush'd, and with disorder spoke;
Her rising shame adorn'd the words it broke.
If the great master will descend to hear
The humble series of his handmaid's care,
O! while she tells it, let him not put on
The look that awes the nations from the throne;
O! let not death severe in glory lie
In the king's frown and terror of his eye.
Mine to obey, thy part is to ordain:
And though to mention be to suffer pain,
If the king smiles whilst I my wo recite
If weeping I find favour in his sight,
Flow fast my tears, full rising his delight.
O! witness earth beneath and heaven above,
For can I hide it? I am sick of love!
If madness may the name of passion bear,
Or love be call'd what is indeed despair.
Thou sovereign Power, whose secret will controls
The inward bent and motion of our souls!
Why hast thou placed such infinite degrees
Between the cause and cure of my disease?
The mighty object of that raging fire
In which unpitied Abra must expire,
Had he born some simple shepherd's heir,
The lowing herd or fleecy sheep his care,
At morn with him I o'er the hills had run,
Scornful of winter's frost and summer's run,
Still asking here he made his flock to rest at noon.
For him at night, the dear expected guest,
Had with hasty joy prepared the feast,
And from the cottage, o'er the distant plain,
Sent forth my longing eye to meet the swain,
Wavering, impatient, toss'd by hope and fear,
Till he and joy together should appear,
And the loved dog declare his master near.
On my declining neck and open breast
I should have lull'd the lovely youth to rest,
And from beneath is head at dawning day,
With softest care, have stolen my arm away,
To rise, and from the fold release the sheep,
Fond of his flock, indulgent to his sleep.
Or if kind Heaven, propitious to my flame,
(For sure from Heaven the faithful ardour came)
Had blest my life, and deck'd my natal hour
With height of title and extent of power,
Without a crime my passion had aspired,
Found the loved prince, and told what I desired
Then I had come, preventing Sheba's queen,
To see the comeliest of the sons of men:
To hear the charming poet's amorous song,
And gather honey falling from his tongue;
To take the fragrant kisses of his mouth,
Sweeter than breezes of her native south,
Likening his grace, his person, and his mien,
To all that great or beauteous I had seen.
Serene and bright his eyes, as solar beams,
Reflecting temper'd light from crystal streams;
Ruddy as gold his cheek; his bosom fair
As silve;r the curled ringlets of his hair
Black as the raven's wing; his lips more red
Than eastern coral or the scarlet thread;
Even his teeth, and white like a young flock,
Coeval, newly shorn, from the clear brook
Recent, and blanching on the sunny rock.
Ivory with sapphires interspersed, explains
How white his hands, how blue the manly veins;
Columns of polish'd marble, firmly set
On golden bases, are his legs and feet:
His stature all majestic, all divine,
Strait as the palm tree, strong as is the pine;
Saffron and myrrh are on his garments shed,
And everlasting sweets bloom round his head,
What utter I! where am I! wretched maid!
Die, Abra, die; too plainly thou hast said
Thy soul's desire to meet his high embrace,
And blessing stamp'd upon thy future race;
To bid attentive nations bless thy womb,
With unborn monarchs charged, and Solomon to come.
Here o'er her speech her flowing eyes prevail.
O foulish maid! and O unhappy tale!
My suffering heart for ever shall defy
New wounds and danger from a future eye.
O! yet my tortured senses deep retain
The wretched memory of my former pain,
The dire affront, and my Egyptian chain.
As time, I said, may happily efface
That cruel image of the King's disgrace,
Imperial Reason shall resume her seat,
And Solomon, once fall'n again be great.
Betray'd by passion, as subdued in war,
We wisely should exert a double care,
Nor ever ought a second time to err.
This Abra then -------
I saw her; 'twas humanity; it gave
Some respite to the sorrows of my slave.
Her fond excess proclaim'd her passion true,
And generous pity to that truth was due.
Well I entreated her who well deserved;
I call'd her often, for she always served:
Use made her person easy to my sight,
And ease insensibly produced delight.
Whene'er I revell'd in the women's bowers
(For first I sought her but at looser hours)
The apples she had gather'd smelt most sweet,
The cake she kneaded was the savoury meat;
But fruits their odour lost, and meats their taste,
If gentle Abra had not deck'd the feast:
Dishonour'd did the sparkling goblet stand,
Unless received from gentle Abra's hand;
And when the virgins form'd the evening choir,
Raising their voices to the master-lyre,
Too that I thought this voice, and that too shrill;
One show'd too much, and one too little skill;
Nor could my soul approve the music's tone,
Till all was hush'd, and Abra sung alone.
Fairer she seem'd distinguish'd from the rest,
And better mien disclosed, as better drest:
A bright tiara round her forehead tied,
To juster bounds confined its rising pride:
The blushing ruby on her snowy breast
Render'd its panting whiteness more confest;
Bracelets of pearl gave roundness to her arm,
And every gem augmented every charm:
Her senses pleased, her beauty still improved,
And she more lovely grew as more beloved.
And now I could behold, avow, and blame,
The several follies of my former flame,
Willing my heart for recompence to prove
The certain joys that lie in prosperous love.
For what, said I, from Abra can I fear,
Too humble to insult, too soft to be severe?
The damsel's sole ambition is to please;
With freedom I may like, and quit with ease;
She soothes, but never can enthral my mind:
Why may not peace and love for once be join'd?
Great Heaven! how frail thy creature man is made!
How by himself insensibly betray'd!
In our own strength unhappily secure,
Too little cautious of the adverse power,
And by the blast of self-opinion moved,
We wish to charm, and seek to be beloved.
On pleasure's flowing brink we idly stray,
Masters as yet of our returning way;
Seeing no danger we disarm our mind,
And give our conduct to the waves and wind;
Then in the flowery mead or verdant shade
To wanton dalliance negligently laid,
We weave the chaplet and we crown the bowl,
And smiling see the nearer waters roll,
Till the strong gusts of raging passion rise,
Till the dire tempest mingles earth and skies,
And swift into the boundless ocean borne,
Our foolish confidence too late we mourn;
Round our devoted heads the billows beat,
And from our troubled view the lessen'd lands retreat.
O mighty Love! from thy unbounded power
How shall the human bosom rest secure?
How shall our thought avoid the various snare,
Or wisdom to our caution'd soul declare
The different shapes thou pleasest to employ
When bent to hurt, and certain to destroy;
The haughty nymph, in open beauty drest,
To-day encounters our unguarded breast;
She looks with majesty, and moves with state:
Unbent her soul, and in misfortune great,
She scorns the world, and dares the rage of Fate.
Here whilst we take stern manhood for our guide,
And guard our conduct with becoming pride,
Charm'd with the courage in her action shown,
We praise her mind, the image of our own,
She that can please is certain to persuade;
To-day beloved, to-morrow is obey'd.
We think we see through Reason's optics right,
Nor find how Beauty's rays elude our sight:
Struck with her eye whilst we applaud her mind,
And when we speak her great we wish her kind.
To-morrow, cruel Power! thou arm'st the fair
With flowing sorrow and dishevell'd hair.
Sad her complaint, and humble is her tale,
Her sighs explaining where her accents fail;
Here generous softness warms the honest breast;
We raise the sad, and succour the distrest,
And whilst our wish prepares the kind relief,
Whilst pity mitigates her rising grief,
We sicken soon from her contagious care,
Grieve for her sorrows, groan for her despair,
And against love, too late, those bosoms arm,
Which tears can soften, and which sighs can warm.
Against this nearest, cruelest of foes,
What shall wit meditate, or force oppose?
Whence, feeble Nature, shall we summon aid,
If by our pity and our pride betray'd?
External remedy shall we hope to find,
When the close fiend has gain'd our treacherous mind,
Insulting there does Reason's power deride,
And, blind himself, conducts the dazzled guide?
My conqueror now, my lovely Abra, held
My freedom in her chains; my heart was fill'd
With her, with her alone, in her alone
It sought its peace and joy: while she was gone
It sigh'd, and grieved, impatient of her stay:
Return'd she chased those sighs, that grief, away;
Her absence made the night, her presence brought the day.
The ball, the play, the mask, by turns succeed:
For her I make the song; the dance with her I lead:
I court her, various, in each shape and dress
That luxury may form or thought express.
To-day beneath the palm-tree, on the plains,
In Deborah's arms and habit Abra reigns:
The wreath, denoting conquest, guides her brow,
And low, like Barak, at her feet I bow.
The mimic Chorus sings her prosperous hand,
As she had slain the foe and saved the land.
To-morrow she approves a softer air,
Forsakes the pomp and pageantry of war,
The form peaceful Abigail assumes,
And from the village with the present comes:
The youthful band depose their glittering arms,
Receive her bounties and recite her charms,
Whilst I assume my father's step and mien,
To meet with due regard my future queen.
If hap'ly Abra's will be now inclined
To range the woods or chase the flying hind,
Soon as the sun awakes, the sprightly court
Leave their repose, and hasten to the sport.
In lessen'd royalty, and humble state,
Thy king, Jerusalem! descends to wait
Till Abra comes. She comes; a milk-white steed
Mixture of Persia's and Arabia's breed,
Sustains the nymph: her garments flying loose,
(As the Sidonian maids or Thracian use)
And half her knee and half her breast appear
By art, like negligence disclosed and nare.
Her left hand guides the hunting courser's flight,
A silver bow she carries in her right,
And from the golden quiver at her side
Rustles the ebon arrow's feather'd pride;
Sapphires and diamonds on her front display
An artificial moon's increasing ray.
Diana, huntress, mistress of the groves,
The favourite Abra speaks, and looks, and moves.
Her as the present goddess, I obey,
Beneath her feet the captive game I lay;
The mingled Chorus sing Diana's fame,
Clarions and horns in louder peals proclaim
Her mystic praise, the vocal triumphs bound
Against the hills; the hills reflect the sound.
If tired this evening with the hunted woods,
To the large fish-pools or the glassy floods
Her mind to-morrow points a thousand hands
To-night employ'd obey the king's commands;
Upon the wat'ry beach an artful pile
Of planks is join'd, and forms a moving isle;
A golden chariot in the midst is set,
And silver cygnets seem to feel its weight.
Abra, bright queen, ascends her gaudy throne,
In semblance of the Grecian Venus knows;
Tritons and sea-green naiads round her move,
And sing in moving strains the force of love;
Whilst, as th' approaching pageant does appear,
And echoing crowds speak mighty Venus near,
I, her adorer, too devoutly stand
Fast on the utmost margin of the land,
With arms and hopes extended, to receive
The fancied goddess rising from the wave.
O subject Reason! O imperious Love!
Whither yet further would my folly rove?
Is it enough that Abra should be great
In the wall'd palace or the rural seat;
That masking habits and a borrow'd name
Contrive to hide my plenitude of shame?
No, no: Jerusalem combined must see
My open fault and regal infamy.
Solemn a month is destined for the feast;
Abra invites; the nation is the guest.
To have the honour of each day sustain'd
The woods are travers'd, and the lakes are drain'd:
Arabia's wilds and Egypt's are explored;
The edible creation decks the board:
Hardly the phenix 'scapes ---------
The men their lyres, the maids their voices raise,
To sing my happiness and Abra's praise,
And slavish bards our mutual loves rehearse
In lying strains and ignominious verse;
While from the banquet leading forth the bride,
Whom prudent love from public eyes should hide,
I show her to the world, confess'd and known
Queen of my heart, and partner of my throne.
And now her friends and flatterers fill the court;
From Dan and from Beersheba they resort;
They barter places and dispose of grants,
Whole provinces unequal to their wants;
They teach her to recede or to debate;
With toys of love to mix affairs of state;
By practised rules her empire to secure,
And in my pleasure make my ruin sure.
They gave and she transferr'd the cursed advice,
That monarchs should their inward soul disguise,
Dissemble and command, be false and wise;
By ignominious arts, for servile ends,
Should compliment their foes and shun their friends.
And now I leave the true and just supports
Of legal princes and of honest courts,
Barzillai's and the fierce Benaiah's heirs,
Whose sires, great partners in my father's cares,
Saluted their young king, at Hebron crown'd,
Great by their toil, and glorious by their wound:
And now unhappy counsel, I prefer
Those whom my follies only made me fear,
Old Corah's brood and taunting Shimei's race,
Miscreants who owed their lives to David's grace,
Though they had spurn'd his rule and cursed him to his face.
Still Abra's power, my scandal, still increased;
Justice submitted to what Abra pleased:
Her will alone could settle or revoke,
And law was fixt by what she latest spoke.
Israel neglected, Abra was my care;
I only acted, thought, and lived for her,
I durst not reason with my wounded heart;
Abra possess'd; she was its better part.
O! had I now review'd the famous cause
Which gave my righteous youth so just applause,
In vain on the dissembled mother's tongue
Had cunning art and sly persuasion hung,
And real care in vain, and native love,
And real care in vain, and native love,
In the true parent's panting breast had strove,
While both deceived had seen the destined child
Or slain, or saved, as Abra frown'd or smiled.
Uknowing to command, proud to obey,
A lifeless king, a royal shade I lay.
Unheard the injured orphans now complain;
The widow's cries address the throne in vain.
Causes unjudged disgrace the loaded file,
And sleeping laws the king's neglect revile.
No more the Elders throng'd around my throne
To hear my maxims, and reform their own;
No more the young nobility were taught
How Moses govern'd and how David fought.
Loose and undisciplined the soldier lay,
Or lost in drink and game the solid day;
Porches and schools, design'd for public good,
Uncover'd, and with scaffolds cumber'd stood,
Or nodded, threatening ruin --
Half pillars wanted their expected height,
And roofs imperfect prejudiced the sight.
The artists grieve; the labouring people droop;
My father's legacy, my country's hope,
God's temples, lie unfinish'd -
The wise and grave deplored their monarch's fate,
And future mischiefs of a sinking state.
In this the serious said, is this the man,
Whose active soul through every science ran?
Who by just rule and elevated skill
Prescribed the dubious bounds of good and ill?
Whose golden sayings and immortal wit
On large phylacteries expressive writ,
Were to the forehead of the Rabbins tied,
Our youth's instruction and our age's pride?
Could not the wise his wild desires restrain?
Then was our hearing and his preaching vain!
What from his life and letters were we taught
But that his knowledge aggravates his fault?
In lighter mood, the humorous and the gay
(As crown'd with roses at their feasts they lay)
Sent the full goblet charged with Abra's name,
And charms superior to the master's fame.
Laughing, some praise the king, who let them see
How aptly luxe and empire might agree:
Some gloss'd how love and wisdom were at strife,
And brought my proverbs to confront my life.
However, friend, here's to the king, one cries
To him who was the king, the friend replies.
The king, for Judah's and for wisdom's curse
To Abra yields; could I or thou do worse?
Our looser lives let Chance or Folly steer,
If thus the prudent and determined err.
Let Dinah bind with flowers her flowing hair,
And touch the lute and sound the wanton air,
Let us the bliss without the sting receive,
Free as we will or to enjoy or leave.
Pleasures on levity's smooth surface flow;
Thought brings the weight that sinks the soul to wo.
Now be this maxim to the king convey'd,
And added to the thousand he has made.
Sadly, O Reason, is thy power express'd,
Thou gloomy tyrant of the frighted beast!
And harsh the rules which we fom thee receive,
If for our wisdom we our pleasure give,
And more to think be only more to grieve:
If Judah's king, at thy tribunal tried,
Forsakes his joy to vindicate his pride,
And, changing sorrows, I am only found
Loosed from the chains of love, in thine more strictly bound.
But do I call thee tyrant, or complain
How hard thy laws, how absolute thy reign?
While thou, alas! art but an empty name,
To no two men who e'er discoursed the same;
The idle product of a troubled thought,
In borrow'd shapes and airy colours wrought,
A fancied line, and a reflected shade;
A chain which man to fetter man has made,
By artifice imposed, by fear obey'd.
Yet, wretched name, or arbitrary thing,
Whence-ever I thy cruel essence bring,
I own thy influence, for I feel thy sting.
Reluctant I perceive thee in my soul,
Form'd to command, and destind to control,
Yes, thy insulting dictates shall be heard;
Virtue for once shall be her own reward:
Yes, rebel Israel, this unhappy maid
Shall be dismiss'd; the crowd shall be obey'd:
The king his passion and his rule shall leave,
No longer Abra's but the people's slave:
My coward soul shall bear its wayward fate;
I will, alas! be wretched to be great,
And sigh in royalty, and grieve in state.
I said, resolved to plunge into my grief
At once, so far as to expect relief
From my despair alone --
To her I loved, toher I must forsake.
How inconsistent majesty and love.
I always should, it said, esteem her well,
But never see her more: it bid her feel
No future pain for me; but instant wed
A lover more proportion'd to her bed,
And quiet dedicate her remnant life
To the just duties of an humble wife.
She read, and forth to me she wildly ran,
To me, the ease of all her former pain.
She kneel'd, entreated, struggled, threaten'd, cried,
And with alternate passion lived and died;
Till now denied the liberty to mourn,
And by rude fury from my presence torn,
This only object of my real care
Cut off from hope, abandon'd to despair,
In some few posting fatal hours is hurl'd
From wealth, from power, from love, and from the world.
Here tell me, if thou darest, my conscious soul,
What different sorrows did within thee roll?
What pangs, what fires, what racks, did thou sustain?
What sad vicissitudes of smarting pain?
How oft from pomp and state did I remove,
To feed despair, and cherish hopeless love?
How oft all day recall'd I Abra's charms,
Her beauties press'd, and panting in my arms?
How oft with sighs view'd every female face
Where mimic Fancy might her likeness trace?
How oft desired to fly from Isreal's throne,
And live in shades with her and love alone?
How oft all night pursued her in my dreams,
O'er flowery valleys and through crystal streams,
And waking, view'd with grief the rising sun,
And fondly mourn'd the dear delusion gone?
When thus the gather'd storms of wretched love
In my swollen bosom with long war had strove,
At length they broke their bounds; at length their force
Bore down whatever met its stronger course;
Laid all the civil bonds of manhood waste,
And scatter'd ruin as the torrent pass'd.
So from the hills, whose hollow caves contain
The congregated snow and swelling rain,
Till the full stores their ancient bounds disdain,
Precipitate the furious torrent flows:
In vain would speed avoid or strength oppose:
Towns, forests, herds, and men, promiscuous drown'd,
With one great death deform the dreary ground;
The echoed woes from distant rocks resound.
And now what impious ways, my wishes took,
How they the monarch and the man forsook,
And how I follow'd an abandon'd will
Through crooked paths and sad retreats of ill;
By turns my prostituted bed receives,
Through tribes of women how I loosely ranged
Impatient, liked to-night, to-morrow changed,
And by the instinct of capricious lust
Enjoy'd, disdain'd, was grateful or unjust;
O, be these scenes from human eyes conceal'd,
In clouds of decent silence justly veil'd!
O, be the wanton images convey'd
To black oblivion and eternal shade!
Or let their sad epitome alone
And outward lines to future ages be known,
Enough to propagate the sure belief
That vice engenders shame, and folly broods o'er grief.
Buried in sloth and lost in ease I lay;
The night I revell'd, and I slept the day.
New heaps of fuel damp'd my kindling fires,
And daily change extinguish'd young desires,
By its own force destroy'd, fruition ceased;
And always wearied, I was never pleased.
No longer now does my neglected mind
Its wonted stores and old ideas find.
Fix'd judgement there no longer does abide
To take the true or set the false aside,
No longer does swift Memory trace the cells
Where springing Wit or young Invention dwells,
Frequent debauch to habitude prevails;
Patience of toil and love of virtue fails.
By sad degrees impair'd my vigour dies,
Till I command no longer e'en in vice.
The women on my dotage build their sway:
In regal garments now I gravely stride,
Awed by the Persian damsels' haughty pride;
Now with the looser Syrian dance and sing,
In robes tuck'd up, opprobrious to the king.
Charm'd by their eyes, their manners I acquire,
And shape my foolishness to their desire;
Seduced and awed by the Philistine dame,
At Dagon's shrine I kindle impious flame.
With the Chaldean's charms her rites prevail,
And curling frankincense ascends to Baal.
To each new harlot I new altars dress,
And serve her god whose person I caress.
Where, my deluded sense, was reason flown?
Where the high majesty of David's throne?
Where all the maxims of eternal truth,
With which the living God inform'd my youth,
When with the lewd Egyptian I adore
Vain idols, deities that ne'er before
In Isreal's land had fix'd their dire abodes,
Beastly divinities, and droves of gods;
Osiris, Apis, powers that chew the cud,
And dog Anubis, flatterer for his food?
When in the woody hill's forbidden shade
I carved the marble and invoked its aid:
When in the fens to snake and flies, with zeal
Unworthy human thought, I prostrate fell;
To shrubs and plants my vile devotion paid,
And set the bearded leek to which I pray'd;
When to all beings sacred rites were given,
forgot the Arbiter of earth and heaven?
Through these sad shades, this chaos in my soul,
Some seeds of light at length began to roll:
The rising motion of an infant ray
Shot glimmering through the cloud, and promised day.
And now one moment able to reflect,
I found the king abandon'd to neglect,
Seen without awe, and served without respect.
I found my subjects amicably join
To lessen their defects by citing mine.
The priest with pity prays for David's race,
And left his text to dwell on my disgrace.
The father, whilst he warn'd his erring son,
The sad examples which he ought to shun,
Described, and only named not, Solomon.
Each bard, each sire, did to his pupil sing,
A wise child better than a foolish king.
Into myself my reason's eye I turn'd,
And as I much reflected much I mourn'd.
A mighty king I am, an earthly god;
Nations obey my word and wait my nod:
I raise or sink, imprison or set free,
And life or death, depends on my decree.
Fond of the idea, and the thought is vain;
O'er Judah's king ten thousand tyrants reign,
Legions of lust and various powers of ill
Insult the master's tributary will;
And he from whom the nations should receive
Justice and freedom, lies himself a slave,
Tortured by cruel change of wild desires,
Lash'd by mad rage, and scorch'd by brutal fires.
O Reason! once again to thee I call;
Accept my sorrow and retrieve my fall.
Wisdom, thou say'st, from heaven received her birth,
Her beams transmitted to the subject earth:
Yet thi great empress of the human soul
Does only with the imagined power control,
If restless passion, by rebellious sway,
Compels the weak usurper to obey.
O troubled, weak, and coward, as thou art,
Without thy poor advice the labouring heart
To worse extremes with swifter steps would run,
Not saved by virtue, yet vice undone.
Oft have I said, the praise of doing well
Is to the ear as ointment to the smell.
Now if some flies perchance, however small,
Into the alabaster urn should fall,
The odours of the sweets enclosed would die,
And stench corrupt (sad change) their place supply:
So the least faults, if mixed with fairest deed,
Of future ill become the fatal seed;
Into the balm of purest virtue cast,
Annoy all life with one contagious blast.
Lost Solomon! pursue this thought no more;
Of thy past errors recollect the store;
And silent weep, that while the deathless Muse
Shall sing the just, shall o'er their head diffuse
Perfumes with lavish hand, she shall proclaim
Thy crimes alone, and to thy evil fame
Impartial, scatter damps and poisons on thy name.
Awaking therefore, as who long had dream'd,
Much of my women and their gods ashamed,
From this abyss of exemplary vice
Resolved, as time might aid my thought, to rise,
Again I bid the mournful goddess write
Of human hope by cross event destroy'd,
Of useless wealth and greatness enjoy'd;
Of lust and love, with their fantastic train,
Their wishes, smiles, and looks, deceitful all and vain.