If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs and dying gales,
O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed:
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-ey'd bat,
With short shrill shriek, flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Now teach me, maid compos'd,
To breathe some soften'd strain,
Whose numbers stealing thro' thy dark'ning vale
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
As musing slow, I hail
Thy genial lov'd return!
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant Hours, and elves
Who slept in flow'rs the day,
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the fresh'ning dew, and, lovelier still,
The pensive Pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then lead, calm vot'ress, where some sheety lake
Cheers the lone heath, or some time-hallow'd pile,
Or upland fallows grey
Reflect its last cool gleam.
But when chill blust'ring winds, or driving rain,
Forbid my willing feet, be mine the hut
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds, and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his show'rs, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve;
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy ling'ring light;
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;
Or Winter, yelling thro' the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes;
So long, sure-found beneath the sylvan shed,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, rose-lipp'd Health,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And hymn thy fav'rite name!

S T R O P H E.

WHO shall wake the Spartan Fife,
And call in solemn Sounds to Life,
The Youths, whose Locks divinely spreading,
Like vernal Hyacinths in sullen Hue,
At once the Breath of Fear and Virtue shedding,
Applauding Freedom, lov'd of old to view?
What New Alcæus, Fancy-blest,
Shall sing the Sword, in Myrtles drest,
At Wisdom's Shrine a-while its Flame concealing,
(What Place so fit to seal a Deed renown'd?)
Till she her brightest Lightnings round revealing,
It leap'd in Glory forth, and dealt her prompted Wound!
O Goddess, in that feeling Hour,
When most its Sounds would court thy Ears,
Let not my Shell's misguided Pow'r,
E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful Tears.
No, Freedom, no, I will not tell,
How Rome, before thy weeping Face,
With heaviest Sound, a Giant-statue, fell,
Push'd by a wild and artless Race,
From off its wide ambitious Base,
When Time his Northern Sons of Spoil awoke,
And all the blended Work of Strength and Grace,
With many a rude repeated Stroke,
And many a barb'rous Yell, to thousand Fragments broke.

E P O D E.


Yet ev'n, where'er the least appear'd,
Th'admiring World thy Hand rever'd;
Still 'midst the scatter'd States around,
Some Remnants of Her Strength were found;
They saw by what escap'd the Storm,
How wond'rous rose her perfect Form;
How in the great the labour'd Whole,
Each mighty Master pour'd his Soul!
For sunny Florence, Seat of Art,
Beneath her Vines preserv'd a part,
Till They, whom Science lov'd to name,
(O who could fear it?) quench'd her Flame.
And lo, an humbler Relick laid
In jealous Pisa's Olive Shade.
See small Marino joins the Theme,
Tho' least, not last in thy Esteem:
Strike, louder strike th'ennobling Strings
To those, whose Merchant Sons were Kings;
To Him, who deck'd with pearly Pride,
In Adria weds his green-hair'd Bride;
Hail Port of Glory, Wealth, and Pleasure,
Ne'er let me change this Lydian Measure:
Nor e'er her former Pride relate,
To sad Liguria's bleeding State.
Ah no! more pleas'd thy Haunts I seek,
On wild Helvetia's Mountains bleak:
(Where, when the favor'd of thy Choice,
The daring Archer heard thy Voice;
Forth from his Eyrie rous'd in Dread,
The rav'ning Eagle northward fled.)
Or dwell in willow'd Meads more near,
With Those to whom thy Stork is dear:
Those whom the Rod of Alva bruis'd.
Whose Crown a British Queen refus'd!
The Magic works, Thou feel'st the Strains,
One holier Name alone remains;
The perfect Spell shall then avail,
Hail Nymph, ador'd by Britain, Hail!

A N T I S T R O P H E.

Beyond the Measure vast of Thought,
The Works, the Wizzard Time has Wrought!
The Gaul, 'tis held of antique Story,
Saw Britain lin'd to his now adverse Strand,
No Sea between, nor Cliff sulime and hoary,
He pass'd with unwet Feet thro' all our Land.
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild Waves found another way,
Where Orcas howls, his wolfish Mountains rounding,
Till all the banded West at once 'gan rise,
A wide wild Storm ev'n Nature's self confounding,
With'ring her Giant Sons with strange uncouth Surprise.
This pillar'd Earth so firm and wide,
By Winds and inward Labors torn,
In Thunders dread was push'd aside,
And down the should'ring Billows born.
And see, like Gems, her laughing Train,
The little Isles on ev'ry side,
Mona, once hid from those who search the Main'
Where thousand Elfin Shapes abide,
And Wight who checks the west'ring Tide,
For Thee consenting Heav'n has each bestow'd,
A fair Attendant on her sov'reign Pride:
To Thee this blest Divorce she ow'd,
For thou hast made her Vales thy lov'd, thy last Abode!

S E C O N D E P O D E.

Then too, 'tis said, an hoary Pile,
'midst the green Navel of our Isle,
Thy Shrine in some religious Wood,
O Soul-enforcing Goddess stood!
There oft the painted Native's Feet,
Were wont thy Form celestial meet:
Tho' now with hopeless Toil we trace
Time's backward Rolls, to find its place;
Whether the fiery-tressed Dane,
Or Roman's self o'erturn'd the Fane,
Or in what Heav'n-left Age it fell,
[']Twere hard for modern Song to tell.
Yet still, if Truth those Beams infuse,
Which guide at once, and charm the Muse,
Beyond yon braided Cloudes that lie,
Paving the light-embroider'd Sky:
Amidst the bright pavilion'd Plains,
The beauteous Model still remains.
There happier than in Islands blest,
Or Bow'rs by Spring or Hebe drest;
The Chiefs who fill our Albion's Story,
In warlike Weeds, retir'd in Glory,
Hear their consorted Druids sing
Their Triumphs to th'immortal String.
How may the Poet now unfold,
What never Tongue or Numbers told?
How learn delighted, and amaz'd,
What Hands unknown that Fabric rais'd?
Ev'n now before his favor'd Eyes,
In Gothic Pride it seems to rise!
Yet Græcia's graceful Orders join,
Majestic thro' the mix'd Design;
The secret Builder knew to chuse,
Each sphere-found Gem of richest Hues:
Whate'er Heav'n's purer Mold contains,
When nearer Suns emblaze its Veins;
There on the Walls the Patriot's Sight,
May ever hang with fresh Delight,
And, grav'd with some Prophetic Rage,
Read Albion's Fame thro' ev'ry Age.
Ye Forms Divine, ye Laureate Band,
That near her inmost Altar stand!
Now Sooth Her, to her blissful Train
Blithe Concord's social Form to gain:
Concord, whose Myrtle Wand can steep
Ev'n Anger's blood-shot Eyes in Sleep:
Before whose breathing Bosom'd Balm,
Rage drops his Steel, and Storms grow calm;
Here let our Sires and Matrons hoar
Welcome to Britain's ravag'd Shore.
Our Youths, enamour'd of the Fair,
Play with the Tangles of her Hair,
Till in one loud applauding Sound,
The Nations shout to Her around,
O how supremely art thou blest,
Thou, Lady, Thou shalt rule the West!

An Epistle Addressed To Sir Thomas Hanmer, On His Edition Of Shakspeare's Works

WHILE, born to bring the Muse's happier days,
A patriot's hand protects a poet's lays,
While nurs'd by you she sees her myrtles bloom,
Green and unwither'd o'er his honour'd tomb;
Excuse her doubts, if yet she fears to tell
What secret transports in her bosom swell.
With conscious awe she hears the critic's fame,
And blushing hides her wreath at Shakespeare's name.
Hard was the lot those injur'd strains endur'd,
Unown'd by Science, and by years obscur'd;
Fair Fancy wept; and echoing sighs confess'd
A fixt despair in every tuneful breast.
Not with more grief the afflicted swains appear,
When wintry winds deform the plenteous year;
When ling'ring frosts the ruin'd seats invade
Where Peace resorted, and the Graces play'd.

Each rising art by just gradation moves,
Toil builds on toil and age on age improves:
The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage,
And grac'd with noblest pomp her earliest stage.
Preserv'd through time, the speaking scenes impart
Each changeful wish of Phædra's tortured heart;
Or paint the curse that mark'd the Theban's (1) reign,
A bed incestuous, and a father slain.
With kind concern our pitying eyes o'erflow;
Trace the sad tale and own another's woe.

To Rome remov'd, with wit secure to please,
The comic Sisters kept their native ease;
With jealous fear, declining Greece beheld
Her own Menander's art almost excell'd;
But every Muse essay'd to raise in vain
Some labour'd rival of her tragic strain:
Illyssus' laurels, though transferr'd with toil,
Droop'd their fair leaves, nor knew the unfriendly soil.

As Arts expir'd, resistless Dullness rose;
Goths, priests, or Vandals—all were Learning's foes,
Till Julius (2) first recall'd each exil'd maid;
And Cosmo owned them in the Etrurian shade:
Then, deeply skill'd in love's engaging theme,
The soft Provençal pass'd to Arno's stream:
With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung;
Sweet flow'd the lays—but love was all he sung.
The gay description could not fail to move;
For, led by Nature, all are friends to love.

But Heaven, still various in its works, decreed
The perfect boast of time should last succeed.
The beauteous union must appear at length,
Of Tuscan fancy, and Athenian strength:
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And even a Shakespeare to her fame be born!

Yet ah! so bright her morning's opening ray,
In vain our Britain hop'd an equal day!
No second growth the western isle could bear,
At once exhausted with too rich a year.
Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part;
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
Of softer mould the gentle Fletcher came,
The next in order as the next in name.
With pleas'd attention, 'midst his scenes we find
Each glowing thought that warms the female mind;
Each melting sigh, and every tender tear;
The lover's wishes, and the virgin's fear.
His (3) every strain the Smiles and Graces own;
But stronger Shakespeare felt for man alone:
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
The unrivall'd picture of his early hand.

With (4) gradual steps and slow, exacter France
Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance:
By length of toil a bright perfection knew,
Correctly bold, and just in all she drew:
Till late Corneille, with Lucan's (5) spirit fir'd,
Breath'd the free strain, as Rome and he inspir'd:
And classic judgment gain'd to sweet Racine,
The temperate strength of Maro's chaster line.

But wilder far the British laurel spread,
And wreaths less artful crown our Poet's head.
Yet he alone to every scene could give
The historian's truth, and bid the manners live.
Wak'd at his call I view, with glad surprise,
Majestic forms of mighty monarchs rise.
There Henry's trumpets spread their loud alarms;
And laurell'd Conquest waits her hero's arms.
Here gentle Edward claims a pitying sigh,
Scarce born to honours, and so soon to die!
Yet shall thy throne, unhappy infant, bring
No beam of comfort to the guilty king:
The time (6) shall come when Glo'ster's heart shall bleed,
In life's last hours, with horror of the deed;
When dreary visions shall at last present
Thy vengeful image in the midnight tent:
Thy hand unseen the secret death shall bear;
Blunt the weak sword, and break th' oppressive spear!

Where'er we turn, by Fancy charm'd, we find
Some sweet illusion of the cheated mind.
Oft, wild of wing, she calls the soul to rove
With humbler nature, in the rural grove;
Where swains contented own the quiet scene,
And twilight fairies tread the circled green:
Dress'd by her hand, the woods and valleys smile;
And Spring diffusive decks th' enchanted isle.

O more than all in powerful genius blest,
Come, take thine empire o'er the willing breast!
Whate'er the wounds this youthful heart shall feel,
Thy songs support me, and thy morals heal!
There every thought the Poet's warmth may raise;
There native music dwells in all the lays.
O might some verse with happiest skill persuade,
Expressive picture to adopt thine aid!
What wondrous draught might rise from every page!
What other Raphaels charm a distant age!

Methinks e'en now I view some free design
Where breathing Nature lives in every line;
Chaste and subdu'd the modest lights decay,
Steal into shades, and mildly melt away.
And see where Antony, (7) in tears approv'd,
Guards the pale relics of the chief he lov'd;
O'er the cold corse the warrior seems to bend,
Deep sunk in grief, and mourns his murder'd friend!
Still as they press, he calls on all around,
Lifts the torn robe, and points the bleeding wound.

But who (8) is he whose brows exalted bear
A wrath impatient and a fiercer air?
Awake to all that injur'd worth can feel,
On his own Rome he turns th' avenging steel;
Yet shall not war's insatiate fury fall
(So heaven ordains it) on the destin'd wall.
See the fond mother, 'midst the plaintive train,
Hung on his knees, and prostrate on the plain!
Touch'd to the soul, in vain he strives to hide
The son's affection, in the Roman's pride;
O'er all the man conflicting passions rise;
Rage grasps the sword, while Pity melts the eyes.

Thus generous Critic, as thy Bard inspires,
The sister Arts shall nurse their drooping fires;
Each from his scenes their stores alternate bring;
Blend the fair tint, or wake the vocal string;
Those Sibyl-leaves, the sport of every wind,
(For Poets ever were a careless kind)
By thee dispos'd, no farther toil demand,
But, just to Nature, own thy forming hand.

So spread o'er Greece, the harmonious whole unknown,
E'en Homer's numbers charmed by parts alone.
Their own Ulysses scarce had wander'd more,
By winds and waters cast on every shore:
When, rais'd by fate, some former Hanmer join'd
Each beauteous image of the boundless mind;
And bade, like thee, his Athens ever claim
A fond alliance with the Poet's name.

1 The Oedipus of Sophocles.
2 Julius II, the immediate predecessor of Leo X.
3 Their characters are thus distinguished by Mr. Dryden.
4 About the time of Shakspeare, the poet Hardy was in great repute in France. He wrote, according to Fontenelle, six hundred plays. The French poets after him applied themselves in general to the correct improvement of the stage, which was almost totally disregarded by those
of our own country, Jonson excepted.
5 The favourite author of the elder Corneille.
6 Turno tempus erit, magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, &c. Virg.
7 See the Tragedy of Julius Cæsar.
8 Coriolanus. See Mr. Spence's Dialogue on the Odyssey.