Cupid And Plutus

When Celia, love's eternal foe,
To rich old Gomez first was married;
And angry Cupid came to know
His shafts had err'd, his bow miscarried;

He sigh'd, he wept, he hung his head,
On the cold ground, full sad, he laid him;
When Plutus, there by fortune led,
In this desponding plight survey'd him.

'And sure,' he cried, 'you'll own at last
Your boasted power by mine exceeded:
Say, wretched boy, now all is past,
How little she your efforts heeded.

'If with success you would assail,
Gild, youngster, doubly gild your arrows:
Little the feather'd shafts avail,
Though wing'd from mamma's doves and sparrows.

'What though each reed, each arrow grew,
Where Venus bathed herself; depend on't,
'Twere more for use, for beauty too,
A diamond sparkled at the end on't.'

'Peace, Plutus, peace!'-the boy replied;
'Were not my arts by yours infested,
I could each other power deride,
And rule this circle unmolested.

'See yonder pair! no worldly views
In Chloe's generous breast resided:
Love bade her the spruce valet choose,
And she by potent love was guided.

'For this, she quits her golden dreams,
In her gilt coach no more she ranges:
And her rich crimson, bright with gems,
For cheeks impearl'd with tears, she changes.

'Though sordid Celia own'd your power,
Think not so monstrous my disgrace is:
You gain'd this nymph-that very hour
I gain'd a score in different places.'

Elegy Viii. He Describes His Early Love Of Poetry, And Its Consequences

To Mr. Graves, 1745.

Ah me! what envious magic thins my fold?
What mutter'd spell retards their late increase?
Such lessening fleeces must the swain behold,
That e'er with Doric pipe essays to please.

I saw my friends in evening circles meet;
I took my vocal reed, and tuned my lay;
I heard them say my vocal reed was sweet:
Ah, fool! to credit what I heard them say.

Ill-fated Bard! that seeks his skill to show,
Then courts the judgment of a friendly ear;
Not the poor veteran, that permits his foe
To guide his doubtful step, has more to fear.

Nor could my Graves mistake the critic's laws,
Till pious Friendship mark'd the pleasing way:
Welcome such error! ever bless'd the cause!
E'en though it led me boundless leagues astray.

Couldst thou reprove me, when I nursed the flame,
On listening Cherwell's osier banks reclined?
While, foe to Fortune, unseduced by Fame,
I soothed the bias of a careless mind?

Youth's gentle kindred, Health and Love, were met;
What though in Alma's guardian arms I play'd?
How shall the Muse those vacant hours forget?
Or deem that bliss by solid cares repaid?

Thou know'st how transport thrills the tender breast
Where Love and Fancy fix their opening reign;
How Nature shines, in livelier colours drest,
To bless their union, and to grace their train.

So first when Phœbus met the Cyprian queen,
And favour'd Rhodes beheld their passion crown'd,
Unusual flowers enrich'd the painted green,
And swift spontaneous roses blush'd around.

Now sadly lorn, from Twitnam's widow'd bower
The drooping Muses take their casual way,
And where they stop, a flood of tears they pour;
And where they weep, no more the fields are gay.

Where is the dappled pink, the sprightly rose?
The cowslip's golden cup no more I see:
Dark and discolour'd every flower that blows,
To form the garland, Elegy! for thee.

Enough of tears has wept the virtuous dead;
Ah! might we now the pious rage control!
Hush'd be my grief ere every smile be fled,
Ere the deep-swelling sigh subvert the soul!

If near some trophy spring a stripling bay,
Pleased we behold the graceful umbrage rise;
But soon too deep it works its baneful way,
And low on earth the prostrate ruin lies.

A ballad. Written about the time of his execution, in the year 1745.

Come listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear!
Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor need you blush to shed a tear.

And thou dear Kitty! peerless maid!
Do thou a pensive ear incline;
For thou canst weep at every woe,
And pity every plaint-but mine.

Young Dawson was a gallant boy,
A brighter never trod the plain;
And well he loved one charming maid,
And dearly was he loved again.

One tender maid, she loved him dear;
Of gentle blood the damsel came;
And faultless was her beauteous form,
And spotless was her virgin fame.

But curse on party's hateful strife,
That led the favour'd youth astray;
The day the rebel clans appear'd-
O had he never seen that day!

Their colours and their sash he wore,
And in the fatal dress was found;
And now he must that death endure
Which gives the brave the keenest wound.

How pale was then his true love's cheek,
When Jemmy's sentence reach'd her ear!
For never yet did Alpine snows
So pale, or yet so chill appear.

With faltering voice she, weeping, said,
'O Dawson! monarch of my heart!
Think not thy death shall end our loves,
For thou and I will never part.

'Yet might sweet mercy find a place,
And bring relief to Jemmy's woes,
O George! without a prayer for thee,
My orisons should never close.

'The gracious prince that gave him life,
Would crown a never-dying flame;
And every tender babe I bore
Should learn to lisp the giver's name.

'But though he should be dragg'd in scorn
To yonder ignominious tree;
He shall not want one constant friend
To share the cruel Fates' decree.'

Oh! then her mourning coach was call'd;
The sledge moved slowly on before;
Though borne in a triumphal car,
She had not loved her favourite more.

She follow'd him, prepared to view
The terrible behests of law;
And the last scene of Jemmy's woes,
With calm and steadfast eye she saw.

Distorted was that blooming face,
Which she had fondly loved so long;
And stifled was that tuneful breath,
Which in her praise had sweetly sung:

And sever'd was that beauteous neck,
Round which her arms had fondly closed;
And mangled was that beauteous breast,
On which her lovesick head reposed:

And ravish'd was that constant heart,
She did to every heart prefer;
For though it could its king forget,
'Twas true and loyal still to her.

Amid those unrelenting flames
She bore this constant heart to see;
But when 'twas moulder'd into dust,
'Yet, yet,' she cried, 'I follow thee.

'My death, my death alone can show
The pure, the lasting love I bore
Accept, O Heaven! of woes like ours,
And let us, let us weep no more.'

The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retired;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expired.

Though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due;
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, yet so true.

Elegy Xix. - Written In Spring, 1743

Again the labouring hind inverts the soil;
Again the merchant ploughs the tumid wave;
Another spring renews the soldier's toil,
And finds me vacant in the rural cave.

As the soft lyre display'd my wonted loves,
The pensive pleasure and the tender pain,
The sordid Alpheus hurried through my groves,
Yet stopp'd to vent the dictates of disdain.

He glanced contemptuous o'er my ruin'd fold;
He blamed the graces of my favourite bower;
My breast, unsullied by the lust of gold;
My time, unlavish'd in pursuit of power.

Yes, Alpheus! fly the purer paths of Fate;
Abjure these scenes, from venal passions free;
Know, in this grove, I vow'd perpetual hate,
War, endless war, with lucre and with thee.

Here, nobly zealous, in my youthful hours,
I dress'd an altar to Thalia's name:
Here, as I crown'd the verdant shrine with flowers,
Soft on my labours stole the smiling dame.

'Damon,' she cried, 'if, pleased with honest praise,
Thou court success by virtue or by song,
Fly the false dictates of the venal race;
Fly the gross accents of the venal tongue.

'Swear that no lucre shall thy zeal betray;
Swerve not thy foot with fortune's votaries more;
Brand thou their lives, and brand their lifeless day-'
The winning phantom urged me, and I swore.

Forth from the rustic altar swift I stray'd;
'Aid my firm purpose, ye celestial Powers!
Aid me to quell the sordid breast,' I said;
And threw my javelin towards their hostile towers.

Think not regretful I survey the deed,
Or added years no more the zeal allow;
Still, still observant, to the grove I speed,
The shrine embellish, and repeat the vow.

Sworn from his cradle Rome's relentless foe,
Such generous hate the Punic champion bore;
Thy lake, O Thrasimene! beheld it glow,
And Cannae's walls and Trebia's crimson shore.

But let grave annals paint the warrior's fame;
Fair shine his arms in history enroll'd;
Whilst humbler lyres his civil worth proclaim,
His nobler hate of avarice and gold.

Now Punic pride its final eve survey'd;
Its hosts exhausted, and its fleets on fire:
Patient the victor's lucid frown obey'd,
And saw th' unwilling elephants retire.

But when their gold depress'd the yielding scale,
Their gold in pyramidic plenty piled,
He saw the unutterable grief prevail;
He saw their tears, and in his fury smiled.

'Think not,' he cried, 'ye view the smiles of ease,
Or this firm breast disclaims a patriot's pain;
I smile, but from a soul estranged to peace,
Frantic with grief, delirious with disdain.

'But were it cordial, this detested smile,
Seems it less timely than the grief ye show?
O Sons of Carthage! grant me to revile
The sordid source of your indecent woe.

'Why weep ye now? ye saw with tearless eye
When your fleet perish'd on the Punic wave:
Where lurk'd the coward tear, the lazy sigh,
When Tyre's imperial state commenced a slave?

''Tis past-O Carthage! vanquish'd, honour'd shade!
Go, the mean sorrows of thy sons deplore;
Had freedom shared the vow to Fortune paid,
She ne'er, like Fortune, had forsook thy shore.'

He ceased-abash'd the conscious audience hear,
Their pallid cheeks a crimson blush unfold,
Yet o'er that virtuous blush distreams a tear,
And falling, moistens their abandon'd gold.

Elegy Xvii. He Indulges The Suggestions Of Spleen.-- An Elegy To The Winds

AEole! namque tibi divûm Pater atque hominum rex,
Et mulcere dedit mentes et tollere vento.


O AEolus! to thee the Sire supreme
Of gods and men the mighty power bequeath'd
To rouse or to assuage the human mind.

Stern Monarch of the winds! admit my prayer;
Awhile thy fury check, thy storms confine;
No trivial blast impels the passive air,
But brews a tempest in a breast like mine.

What bands of black ideas spread their wings!
The peaceful regions of Content invade!
With deadly poison taint the crystal springs!
With noisome vapour blast the verdant shade!

I know their leader, Spleen, and the dread sway
Of rigid Eurus, his detested sire;
Through one my blossoms and my fruits decay;
Through one my pleasures and my hopes expire.

Like some pale stripling, when his icy way
Relenting, yields beneath the noontide beam,
I stand aghast; and, chill'd with fear, survey
How far I've tempted life's deceitful stream.

Where, by remorse impell'd, repulsed by fears,
Shall wretched Fancy a retreat explore?
She flies the sad presage of coming years,
And sorrowing dwells on pleasures now no more.

Again with patrons and with friends she roves;
But friends and patrons never to return;
She sees the Nymphs, the Graces, and the Loves,
But sees them weeping o'er Lucinda's urn.

She visits, Isis! thy forsaken stream,
Oh! ill forsaken for BÅ“otian air;
She deems no flood reflects so bright a beam,
No reed so verdant, and no flower so fair.

She dreams beneath thy sacred shades were peace,
Thy bays might even the civil storm repel;
Reviews thy social bliss, thy learned ease,
And with no cheerful accent cries, Farewell!

Farewell, with whom to these retreats I stray'd,
By youthful sports, by youthful toils, allied;
Joyous we sojourn'd in thy circling shade,
And wept to find the paths of life divide.

She paints the progress of my rival's vows.
Sees every muse a partial ear incline,
Binds with luxuriant bays his favour'd brow,
Nor yields the refuse of his wrath to mine.

She bids the flattering mirror, form'd to please,
Now blast my hope, now vindicate despair;
Bids my fond verse the lovesick parley cease,
Accuse my rigid fate, acquit my fair.

Where circling rocks defend some pathless vale,
Superfluous mortal! let me ever rove;
Alas! there Echo will repeat the tale-
Where shall I find the silent scenes I love?

Fain would I mourn my luckless fate alone,
Forbid to please, yet fated to admire;
Away, my friends! my sorrows are my own!
Why should I breathe around my sick desire?

Bear me, ye winds, indulgent to my pains,
Near some sad ruin's ghastly shade to dwell!
There let me fondly eye the rude remains,
And from the mouldering refuse build my cell!

Genius of Rome! thy prostrate pomp display!
Trace every dismal proof of Fortune's power;
Let me the wreck of theatres survey,
Or pensive sit beneath some nodding tower.

Or where some duct, by rolling seasons worn,
Convey'd pure streams to Rome's imperial wall,
Near the wide breach in silence let me mourn,
Or tune my dirges to the water's fall.

Genius of Carthage! paint thy ruin'd pride;
Towers, arches, fanes, in wild confusion strewn;
Let banish'd Marius, lowering by thy side,
Compare thy fickle fortunes with his own.

Ah no! thou monarch of the storms! forbear;
My trembling nerves abhor thy rude control,
And scarce a pleasing twilight soothes my care,
Ere one vast death, like darkness, shocks my soul

Forbear thy rage-on no perennial base
Is built frail Fear, or Hope's deceitful pile;
My pains are fled-my joy resumes its places
Should the sky brighten, or Melissa smile.

Elegy Xxvi. Describing The Sorrow Of An Ingeneous Mind

Why mourns my friend? why weeps his downcast eye,
That eye where mirth, where fancy, used to shine?
Thy cheerful meads reprove that swelling sigh;
Spring ne'er enamell'd fairer meads than thine.

Art thou not lodged in Fortune's warm embrace?
Wert thou not form'd by Nature's partial care?
Bless'd in thy song, and bless'd in every grace
That wins the friend, or that enchants the fair?

'Damon,' said he, 'thy partial praise restrain;
Not Damon's friendship can my peace restore:
Alas! his very praise awakes my pain,
And my poor wounded bosom bleeds the more.

'For, O that Nature on my birth had frown'd,
Or Fortune fix'd me to some lowly cell!
Then had my bosom 'scaped this fatal wound,
Nor had I bid these vernal sweets farewell.

'But, led by Fortune's hand, her darling child,
My youth her vain licentious bliss admired;
In Fortune's train the syren Flattery smiled,
And rashly hallow'd all her queen inspired.

'Of folly studious, even of vices vain,
Ah, vices gilded by the rich and gay!
I chased the guileless daughters of the plain,
Nor dropp'd the chase till Jessy was my prey.

'Poor artless maid! to stain thy spotless name,
Expense, and Art, and Toil united strove;
To lure a breast that felt the purest flame,
Sustain'd by Virtue, but betray'd by Love.

'School'd in the science of Love's mazy wiles,
I clothed each feature with affected scorn;
I spoke of jealous doubts, and fickle smiles,
And, feigning, left her anxious and forlorn.

'Then while the fancied rage alarm'd her care,
Warm to deny, and zealous to disprove,
I bade my words the wonted softness wear,
And seized the minute of returning love.

'To thee, my Damon, dare I paint the rest?
Will yet thy love a candid ear incline?
Assured that virtue, by misfortune press'd,
Feels not the sharpness of a pang like mine.

'Nine envious moons matured her growing shame,
Erewhile to flaunt it in the face of day,
When scorn'd of Virtue, stigmatized by Fame,
Low at my feet desponding Jessy lay.

''Henry,' she said, 'by thy dear form subdued,
See the sad relics of a nymph undone!
I find, I find this rising sob renew'd;
I sigh in shades, and sicken at the sun.

''Amid the dreary gloom of night, I cry,
When will the morn's once pleasing scenes return?
Yet what can morn's returning ray supply,
But foes that triumph, or but friends that mourn?

''Alas! no more that joyous morn appears
That led the tranquil hours of spotless fame,
For I have steep'd a father's couch in tears,
And tinged a mother's glowing cheek with shame.

''The vocal birds that raise their matin strain,
The sportive lambs, increase my pensive moan;
All seem to chase me from the cheerful plain,
And talk of truth and innocence alone.

''If through the garden's flowery tribes I stray,
Where bloom the jasmines that could once allure,
'Hope not to find delight in us,' they say,
'For we are spotless, Jessy; we are pure.'

''Ye flowers! that well reproach a nymph so frail,
Say, could you with my virgin fame compare?
The brightest bud that scents the vernal gale
Was not so fragrant; and was not so fair.

''Now the grave old alarm the gentler young,
And all my fame's abhorr'd contagion flee;
Trembles each lip, and falters every tongue,
That bids the morn propitious smile on me.

''Thus for your sake I shun each human eye,
I bid the sweets of blooming youth adieu:
To die I languish, but I dread to die,
Lest my sad fate should nourish pangs for you.

''Raise me from earth; the pains of want remove,
And let me, silent, seek some friendly shore;
There only, banish'd from the form I love,
My weeping virtue shall relapse no more.

''Be but my friend; I ask no dearer name;
Be such the meed of some more artful fair;
Nor could it heal my peace, or chase my shame,
That Pity gave what Love refused to share.

''Force not my tongue to ask its scanty bread,
Nor hurl thy Jessy to the vulgar crew;
Not such the parent's board at which I fed!
Not such the precepts from his lips I drew!

''Haply, when age has silver'd o'er my hair,
Malice may learn to scorn so mean a spoil;
Envy may slight a face no longer fair,
And Pity welcome to my native soil.'

'She spoke-nor was I born of savage race,
Nor could these hands a niggard boon assign;
Grateful she clasp'd me in a last embrace,
And vow'd to waste her life in prayers for mine.

'I saw her foot the lofty bark ascend,
I saw her breast with every passion heave;
I left her-torn from every earthly friend;
Oh, my hard bosom! which could bear to leave!

'Brief let me be: the fatal storm arose;
The billows raged, the pilot's art was vain;
O'er the tall mast the circling surges close;
My Jessy-floats upon the watery plain!

'And-see my youth's impetuous fires decay:
Seek not to stop Reflection's bitter tear;
But warn the frolic, and instruct the gay,
From Jessy floating on her watery bier.'

Charms Of Precedence - A Tale

'Sir, will you please to walk before?'-
'No, pray, Sir-you are next the door.'-
'Upon mine honour, I'll not stir.'-
'Sir, I'm at home; consider, Sir'-
'Excuse me, Sir; I'll not go first.'-
'Well, if I must be rude, I must-
But yet I wish I could evade it-
'Tis strangely clownish, be persuaded.'
Go forward, Cits! go forward, Squires!
Nor scruple each, what each admires.
Life squares not, Friends! with your proceeding,
It flies while you display your breeding;
Such breeding as one's grannum preaches,
Or some old dancing-master teaches.
Oh! for some rude tumultuous fellow,
Half crazy, or, at least, half mellow,
To come behind you unawares,
And fairly push you both down stairs!
But Death's at hand-let me advise ye
Go forward, Friends! or he'll surprise ye.
Besides, how insincere you are!
Do ye not flatter, lie, forswear,
And daily cheat, and weekly pray,
And all for this-to lead the way?
Such is my theme, which means to prove,
That though we drink, or game, or love,
As that, or this, is most in fashion,
Precedence is our ruling passion.
When college-students take degrees,
And pay the beadle's endless fees,
What moves that scientific body,
But the first cutting at a gaudy?
And whence such shoals, in bare conditions,
That starve and languish as physicians,
Content to trudge the streets, and stare at
The fat apothecary's chariot?
But that in Charlotte's chamber (see
Molière's Médecin malgré lui),
The leech, howe'er his fortunes vary,
Still walks before the apothecary.
Flavia in vain has wit and charms,
And all that shines, and all that warms;
In vain all human race adore her,
For-Lady Mary ranks before her.
O Celia! gentle Celia! tell us,
You, who are neither vain nor jealous!
The softest breast, the mildest mien!
Would you not feel some little spleen,
Nor bite your lip, nor furl your brow,
If Florimel, your equal now,
Should, one day, gain precedence of ye?
First served-though in a dish of coffee?
Placed first, although where you are found
You gain the eyes of all around?
Named first, though not with half the fame
That waits my charming Celia's name?
Hard fortune! barely to inspire
Our fix'd esteem, and fond desire!
Barely, where'er you go, to prove
The source of universal love!
Yet be content, observing this,
Honour's the offspring of caprice;
And worth, howe'er you have pursued it,
Has now no power-but to exclude it:
You'll find your general reputation
A kind of supplemental station.
Poor Swift, with all his worth, could ne'er,
He tells us, hope to rise a peer;
So, to supply it, wrote for fame,
And well the wit secured his aim.
A common patriot has a drift
Not quite so innocent as Swift:
In Britain's cause he rants, he labours;
'He's honest, faith,'-have patience, Neighbours,
For patriots may sometimes deceive,
May beg their friends' reluctant leave,
To serve them in a higher sphere,
And drop their virtue to get there.-
As Lucian tells us, in his fashion,
How souls put off each earthly passion,
Ere on Elysium's flowery strand
Old Charon suffer'd them to land;
So, ere we meet a court's caresses,
No doubt our souls must change their dresses;
And souls there be, who, bound that way,
Attire themselves ten times a-day.
If then 'tis rank which all men covet,
And saints alike and sinners love it;
If place, for which our courtiers throng
So thick, that few can get along,
For which such servile toils are seen,
Who's happier than a king?-a queen!
Howe'er men aim at elevation,
'Tis properly a female passion:
Women and beaus, beyond all measure,
Are charm'd with rank's ecstatic pleasure.
Sir, if your drift I rightly scan,
You'd hint a beau was not a man:
Say, women then are fond of places;
I waive all disputable cases.
A man, perhaps, would something linger,
Were his loved rank to cost-a finger;
Or were an ear, or toe, the price on 't,
He might deliberate once or twice on 't;
Perhaps ask Gataker's advice on 't;
And many, as their frames grow old,
Would hardly purchase it with gold.
But women wish precedence ever;
'Tis their whole life's supreme endeavour;
It fires their youth with jealous rage,
And strongly animates their age:
Perhaps they would not sell outright,
Or maim a limb-that was in sight;
Yet on worse terms they sometimes choose it,
Nor even in punishment refuse it,
Pre-eminence in pain! you cry,
All fierce and pregnant with reply:
But lend your patience and your ear,
An argument shall make it clear.
But hold, an argument may fail,
Beside, my title says, A Tale.
Where Avon rolls her winding stream,
Avon! the Muses' favourite theme;
Avon! that fills the farmers' purses,
And decks with flowers both farms and verses,
She visits many a fertile vale-
Such was the scene of this my Tale;
For 'tis in Evesham's Yale, or near it,
That folks with laughter tell and hear it.
The soil with annual plenty bless'd
Was by young Corydon possess'd.
His youth alone I lay before ye,
As most material to my story:
For strength and vigour too, he had them,
And 'twere not much amiss to add them.
Thrice happy lout! whose wide domain,
Now green with grass, now gilt with grain,
In russet robes of clover deep,
Or thinly veil'd, and white with sheep;
Now fragrant with the bean's perfume,
Now purpled with the pulse's bloom,
Might well with bright allusion store me,-
But happier bards have been before me!
Amongst the various year's increase
The stripling own'd a field of pease,
Which, when at night he ceased his labours,
Were haunted by some female neighbours.
Each morn discover'd to his sight
The shameful havoc of the night:
Traces of this they left behind them,
But no instructions where to find them.
The devil's works are plain and evil,
But few or none have seen the devil.
Old Noll, indeed, if we may credit
The words of Echard, who has said it,
Contrived with Satan how to fool us,
And bargain'd face to face to rule us;
But then Old Noll was one in ten,
And sought him more than other men.
Our shepherd, too, with like attention,
May meet the female fiends we mention.
He rose one morn at break of day,
And near the field in ambush lay;
When, lo! a brace of girls appears,
The third, a matron much in years.
Smiling, amidst the pease, the sinners
Sat down to cull their future dinners
And caring little who might own them,
Made free as though themselves had sown them.
'Tis worth a sage's observation,
How love can make a jest of passion
Anger had forced the swain from bed,
His early dues to love unpaid!
And Love a god that keeps a pother,
And will be paid one time or other,
Now banish'd Anger out of door,
And claim'd the debt withheld before.
If Anger bid our youth revile,
Love form'd his features to a smile
And knowing well 'twas all grimace
To threaten with a smiling face,
He in few words express'd his mind-
And none would deem them much unkind.
The amorous youth, for their offence,
Demanded instant recompence;
That recompence from each, which shame
Forbids a bashful Muse to name:
Yet, more this sentence to discover,
'Tis what Bet -- grants her lover,
When he, to make the strumpet willing,
Has spent his fortune-to a shilling.
Each stood awhile, as 'twere, suspended,
And loth to do, what-each intended.
At length, with soft pathetic sighs,
The matron, bent with age, replies:
''Tis vain to strive-justice, I know,
And our ill stars, will have it so-
But let my tears your wrath assuage,
And show some deference for age:
I from a distant village came,
Am old, God knows, and something lame;
And if we yield, as yield we must,
Despatch my crazy body first.'
Our shepherd, like the Phrygian swain,
When circled round on Ida's plain
With goddesses, he stood suspended,
And Pallas's grave speech was ended,
Own'd what she ask'd might be his duty,
But paid the compliment to beauty.

Sed neque Medorum silvae, ditissima terra
Nec pulcher Ganges, atque auro turbidus Haemus,
Laudibus Angligenum certent; non Bactra, nec Indi,
Totaque thuriferis Panchaia pinguis arenis.


Yet let not Median woods, (abundant track!)
Nor Ganges fair, nor Haemus, miser-like,
Proud of his hoarded gold, presume to vie
With Britain's boast and praise; nor Persian Bactra,
Nor India's coasts, nor all Panchaia's sands,
Rich, and exulting in their lofty towers.


Let the green olive glad Hesperian shores;
Her tawny citron, and her orange groves,
These let Iberia boast; but if in vain,
To win the stranger plant's diffusive smile,
The Briton labours, yet our native minds,
Our constant bosoms, these the dazzled world
May view with envy; these Iberian dames
Survey with fix'd esteem and fond desire.
Hapless Elvira! thy disastrous fate
May well this truth explain, nor ill adorn
The British lyre; then chiefly, if the Muse,
Nor vain, nor partial, from the simple guise
Of ancient record catch the pensive lay,
And in less grovelling accents give to Fame.
Elvira! loveliest maid! the Iberian realm
Could boast no purer breast, no sprightlier mind,
No race more splendent, and no form so fair.
Such was the chance of war, this peerless maid,
In life's luxuriant bloom, enrich'd the spoil
Of British victors, victory's noblest pride!
She, she alone, amid the wailful train
Of captive maids, assign'd to Henry's care,
Lord of her life, her fortune, and her fame!
He, generous youth! with no penurious hand,
The tedious moments, that unjoyous roll
Where Freedom's cheerful radiance shines no more,
Essay'd to soften; conscious of the pang
That Beauty feels, to waste its fleeting hours
In some dim fort, by foreign rule restrain'd,
Far from the haunts of men, or eye of day!
Sometimes, to cheat her bosom of its cares,
Her kind protector number'd o'er the toils
Himself had worn; the frowns of angry seas,
Or hostile rage, or faithless friend, more fell
Than storm or foe; if haply she might find
Her cares diminish'd; fruitless, fond essay!
Now to her lovely hand, with modest awe
The tender lute he gave; she, not averse,
Nor destitute of skill, with willing hand
Call'd forth angelic strains; the sacred debt
Of gratitude, she said, whose just commands
Still might her hand with equal pride obey!
Nor to the melting sounds the nymph refused
Her vocal art; harmonious as the strain
Of some imprison'd lark, who, daily cheer'd
By guardian cares, repays them with a song;
Nor droops, nor deems sweet liberty resign'd.
The song, not artless had she framed to paint
Disastrous passion; how, by tyrant laws
Of idiot custom sway'd, some soft-eyed fair
Loved only one, nor dared that love reveal!
How the soft anguish banish'd from her cheek
The damask rose full-blown; a fever came,
And from her bosom forced the plaintive tale;
Then, swift as light, he sought the love-lorn maid,
But vainly sought her; torn by swifter fate
To join the tenants of the myrtle shade,
Love's mournful victims on the plains below.
Sometimes, as Fancy spoke the pleasing task,
She taught her artful needle to display
The various pride of spring; then swift upsprung
Thickets of myrtle, eglantine, and rose:
There might you see, on gentle toils intent,
A train of busy Loves; some pluck the flower,
Some twine the garland, some with grave grimace
Around a vacant warrior cast the wreath.
'Twas paint, 'twas life! and sure to piercing eyes
The warrior's face depictured Henry's mien.
Now had the generous chief with joy perused
The royal scroll, which to their native home,
Their ancient rights, uninjured, unredeem'd,
Restored the captives. Forth with rapid haste
To glad his fair Elvira's ear, he sprung,
Fired by the bliss he panted to convey;
But fired in vain! Ah! what was his amaze,
His fond distress, when o'er her pallid face
Dejection reign'd, and from her lifeless hand
Down dropt the myrtle's fair unfinish'd flower!
Speechless she stood; at length, with accents faint,
'Well may my native shore,' she said, 'resound
Thy monarch's praise; and here Elvira prove
Of thine forgetful; flowers shall cease to feel
The fostering breeze, and Nature change her laws!'
And now the grateful edict wide alarm'd
The British host. Around the smiling youths,
Call'd to their native scenes, with willing haste
Their fleet unmoor; impatient of the love
That weds each bosom to its native soil.
The patriot passion! strong in every clime,
How justly theirs who find no foreign sweets
To dissipate their loves, or match their own.
Not so Elvira! she, disastrous maid!
Was doubly captive; power nor chance could loose
The subtle bands; she loved her generous foe;
She, where her Henry dwelt, her Henry smiled,
Could term her native shore; her native shore,
By him deserted, some unfriendly strand,
Strange, bleak, forlorn! a desert waste and wild.
The fleet careen'd, the wind propitious fill'd
The swelling sails, the glittering transports waved
Their pennants gay, and halcyons' azure wing,
With flight auspicious, skimm'd the placid main.
On her lone couch in tears Elvira lay,
And chid the officious wind, the tempting sea,
And wish'd a storm as merciless as tore
Her labouring bosom. Fondly now she strove
To banish passion; now the vassal days,
The captive moments, that so smoothly past,
By many an art recall'd; now from her lute
With trembling fingers call'd the favourite sounds
Which Henry deign'd to praise; and now essay'd,
With mimic chains of silken fillets wove,
To paint her captive state; if any fraud
Might to her love the pleasing scenes prolong,
And with the dear idea feast the soul.
But now the chief return'd, prepared to launch
On Ocean's willing breast, and bid adieu
To his fair prisoner. She, soon as she heard
His hated errand, now no more conceal'd
The raging flame; but with a spreading blush
And rising sigh, the latent pang disclosed.
'Yes, generous youth! I see thy bosom glow
With virtuous transport, that the task is thine
To solve my chains, and to my weeping friends,
And every longing relative, restore
A soft-eyed maid, a mild offenceless prey!
But know, my Soldier! never youthful mind,
Torn from the lavish joys of wild expense
By him he loathed, and in a dungeon bound
To languish out his bloom, could match the pains
This ill-starr'd freedom gives my tortured mind.
'What call I freedom? is it that these limbs,
From rigid bolts secure, may wander far
From him I love? Alas! ere I may boast
That sacred blessing, some superior power
To mortal kings, to sublunary thrones,
Must loose my passion, must unchain my soul:
Even that I loathe: all liberty I loathe!
But most the joyless privilege to gaze
With cold indifference, where desert is love.
'True, I was born an alien to those eyes
I ask alone to please; my fortune's crime!
And ah! this flatter'd form, by dress endear'd
To Spanish eyes, by dress may thine offend,
Whilst I, ill-fated maid! ordain'd to strive
With custom's load, beneath its weight expire.
'Yet Henry's beauties knew in foreign garb
To vanquish me; his form, howe'er disguised,
To me were fatal! no fantastic robe
That e'er Caprice invented, Custom wore,
Or Folly smiled on, could eclipse thy charms.
'Perhaps by birth decreed, by Fortune placed
Thy country's foe, Elvira's warmest plea
Seems but the subtler accent fraud inspires;
My tenderest glances but the specious flowers,
That shade the viper while she plots her wound.
And can the trembling candidate of love
Awake thy fears? and can a female breast,
By ties of grateful duty bound, ensnare?
Is there no brighter mien, no softer smile
For love to wear, to dark Deceit unknown?
Heaven search my soul! and if through all its cells
Lurk the pernicious drop of poisonous guile,
Full on my fenceless head its viall'd wrath
May Fate exhaust, and for my happiest hour
Exalt the vengeance I prepare for thee!
'Ah me! nor Henry's nor his country's foe,
On thee I gazed, and Reason soon dispell'd
Dim Error's gloom, and to thy favour'd isle
Assign'd its total merit, unrestrain'd.
Oh! lovely region to the candid eye!
'Twas there my fancy saw the Virtues dwell,
The Loves, the Graces, play, and bless'd the soil
That nurtured thee! for sure the Virtues form'd
Thy generous breast; the Loves, the Graces plann'd
Thy shapely limbs. Relation, birth, essay'd
Their partial power in vain; again I gazed,
And Albion's isle appear'd, amidst a tract
Of savage wastes, the darling of the skies!
And thou, by Nature form'd, by Fate assign'd,
To paint the genius of thy native shore.
''Tis true, with flowers, with many a dazzling scene
Of burnish'd plants, to lure a female eye,
Iberia glows; but, ah! the genial sun,
That gilds the lemon's fruit, or scents the flower,
On Spanish minds, a nation's nobler boast,
Beams forth ungentle influences. There
Sits Jealousy enthroned, and at each ray
Exultant lights his slow consuming fires.
Not such thy charming region; long before
My sweet experience taught me to decide
Of English worth, the sound had pleased mine ear.
Is there that savage coast, that rude sojourn,
Stranger to British worth? the worth which forms
The kindest friends, the most tremendous foes;
First, best supports of liberty and love!
No, let subjected India, while she throws
O'er Spanish deeds the veil, your praise resound.
Long as I heard, or ere in story read
Of English fame, my biass'd partial breast
Wish'd them success: and happiest she, I cried,
Of women happiest she, who shares the love,
The fame, the virtues, of an English lord.
And now, what shall I say? Blest be the hour
Your fair-built vessels touch'd the Iberian shores:
Blest, did I say, the time? if I may bless
That loved event, let Henry's smiles declare.
Our hearts and cities won, will Henry's youth
Forego its nobler conquest? will he slight
The soft endearments of the lovelier spoil?
And yet Iberia's sons, with every vow
Of lasting faith, have sworn these humble charms
Were not excell'd; the source of all their pains,
And love her just desert, who sues for love,
But sues to thee, while natives sigh in vain.
'Perhaps in Henry's eye (for vulgar minds
Dissent from his) it spreads a hateful stain
On honest Fame, amid his train to bear
A female friend. Then learn, my gentle youth!
Not Love himself, with all the pointed pains
That store his quiver, shall seduce my soul
From honour's laws. Elvira once denied
A consort's name, more swift than lightning flies
When elements discordant vex the sky,
Shall, blushing, from the form she loves retire.
Yet if the specious wish the vulgar voice
Has titled Prudence, sways a soul like thine,
In gems or gold what proud Iberian dame
Eclipses me? Nor paint the dreary storms
Or hair-breadth 'scapes that haunt the boundless deep,
And force from tender eyes the silent tear;
When Memory to the pensive maid suggests,
In full contrast, the safe domestic scene
For these resign'd. Beyond the frantic rage
Of conquering heroes brave, the female mind,
When steel'd by love, in Love's most horrid way
Beholds not danger, or, beholding, scorns.
Heaven take my life, but let it crown my love!'
She ceased; and ere his words her fate decreed,
Impatient, watch'd the language of his eye:
There Pity dwelt, and from its tender sphere
Sent looks of love, and faithless hopes inspired.
'Forgive me, generous maid!' the youth return'd,
'If by thy accents charm'd, thus long I bore
To let such sweetness plead, alas! in vain.
Thy virtue merits more than crowns can yield
Of solid bliss, or happiest love bestow
But ere from native shores I plough'd the main,
To one dear maid, by virtue, and by charms
Alone endear'd, my plighted vows I gave;
To guard my faith, whatever chance should wait
My warring sword: if conquest, fame, and spoil,
Graced my return, before her feet to pour
The glittering treasure, and the laurel wreath,
Enjoying conquest then, and fame and spoil:
If Fortune frown'd adverse, and Death forbade
The blissful union, with my latest breath
To dwell on Medway's and Maria's name.
This ardent vow deep-rooted, from my soul
No dangers tore; this vow my bosom fired
To conquer danger, and the spoil enjoy.
Her shall I leave, with fair events elate,
Who crown'd mine humblest fortune with her love?
Her shall I leave, who now, perchance, alone
Climbs the proud cliff, and chides my slow return?
And shall that vessel, whose approaching sails
Shall swell her breast with extasies, convey
Death to her hopes, and anguish to her soul?
No! may the deep my villain corse devour,
If all the wealth Iberian mines conceal,
If all the charms Iberian maids disclose,
If thine, Elvira, thine, uniting all,
Thus far prevail-nor can thy virtuous breast
Demand what honour, faith, and love, denies.'
'Oh! happy she,' rejoin'd the pensive maid,
'Who shares thy fame, thy virtue, and thy love!
And be she happy! thy distinguish'd choice
Declares her worth, and vindicates her claim.
Farewell my luckless hopes! my flattering dreams
Of rapturous days! my guilty suit, farewell!
Yet fond howe'er my plea, or deep the wound
That waits my fame, let not the random shaft
Of Censure pierce with me the Iberian dames;
They love with caution, and with happier stars.
And, oh! by pity moved, restrain the taunts
Of levity, nor brand Elvira's flame;
By merit raised, by gratitude approved,
By hope confirm'd, with artless truth reveal'd,
Let, let me say, but for one matchless maid
Of happier birth, with mutual ardour crown'd.
'These radiant gems, which burnish Happiness,
But mock Misfortune, to thy favourite's hand
With care convey; and well may such adorn
Her cheerful front, who finds in thee alone
The source of every transport, but disgrace
My pensive breast, which, doom'd to lasting woe,
In thee the source of every bliss resign.
'And now, farewell, thou darling youth! the gem
Of English merit! Peace, content, and joy,
And tender hopes, and young desires, farewell!
Attend, ye smiling Train! this gallant mind
Back to his native shores; there sweetly smooth
His evening pillow, dance around his groves,
And, where he treads, with violets paint his way:
But leave Elvira! leave her, now no more
Your frail companion! in the sacred cells
Of some lone cloister let me shroud my shame
There to the matin bell, obsequious, pour
My constant orisons. The wanton Loves
And gay Desires, shall spy the glimmering towers,
And wing their flight aloof: but rest confirm'd,
That never shall Elvira's tongue conclude
Her shortest prayer, ere Henry's dear success
The warmest accent of her zeal employ.'
Thus spoke the weeping fair, whose artless mind
Impartial scorn'd to model her esteem
By native customs; dress, and face, and air,
And manners, less; nor yet resolved in vain.
He, bound by prior love, the solemn vow
Given and received, to soft compassion gave
A tender tear; then with that kind adieu
Esteem could warrant, wearied Heaven with prayers
To shield that tender breast he left forlorn.
He ceased; and to the cloister's pensive scene
Elvira shaped her solitary way.

Economy, A Rhapsody, Addressed To Young Poets

Insanis; omnes gelidis quaecunqne lacernis
Sunt tibi, Nasones Virgiliosque vides.

--Thou know'st not what thou say'st;
In garments that scarce fence them from the cold
Our Ovids and our Virgils you behold.

Part first.

To you, ye Bards! whose lavish breast requires
This monitory lay, the strains belong;
Nor think some miser vents his sapient saw,
Or some dull cit, unfeeling of the charms
That tempt profusion, sings; while friendly Zeal,
To guard from fatal ills the tribe he loves,
Inspires the meanest of the Muse's train!
Like you I loathe the grovelling progeny,
Whose wily arts, by creeping time matured,
Advance them high on Power's tyrannic throne,
To lord it there in gorgeous uselessness,
And spurn successless Worth that pines below!
See the rich churl, amid the social sons
Of wine and wit, regaling! hark, he joins
In the free jest delighted! seems to show
A meliorated heart! he laughs, he sings!
Songs of gay import, madrigals of glee,
And drunken anthems, set agape the board,
Like Demea, in the play, benign and mild,
And pouring forth benevolence of soul,
Till Micio wonder; or, in Shakspeare's line,
Obstreperous Silence, drowning Shallow's voice,
And startling Falstaff, and his mad compeers.
He owns 'tis prudence, ever and anon
To smooth his careful brow, to let his purse
Ope to a sixpence's diameter!
He likes our ways; he owns the ways of wit
Are ways of pleasance, and deserve regard.
True, we are dainty good society,
But what art thou? Alas! consider well,
Thou bane of social pleasure, know thyself:
Thy fell approach, like some invasive damp
Breathed through the pores of earth from Stygian caves
Destroys the lamp of mirth; the lamp which we,
Its flamens, boast to guard: we know not how,
But at thy sight the fading flame assumes
A ghastly blue, and in a stench expires.
True, thou seem'st changed; all sainted, all enskied:
The trembling tears that charge thy melting eyes
Say thou art honest and of gentle kind:
But all is false! an intermitting sigh
Condemns each hour, each moment given to smiles,
And deems those only lost thou dost not lose.
Even for a demi-groat this open'd soul,
This boon companion, this elastic breast,
Revibrates quick; and sends the tuneful tongue
To lavish music on the rugged walls
Of some dark dungeon. Hence, thou Caitiff! fly;
Touch not my glass, nor drain my sacred bowl,
Monster, ingrate! beneath one common sky
Why shouldst thou breathe? beneath one common roof
Thou ne'er shalt harbour, nor my little boat
Receive a soul with crimes to press it down.
Go to thy bags, thou Recreant! hourly go,
And, gazing there, bid them be wit, be mirth,
Be conversation. Not a face that smiles
Admits thy presence! not a soul that glows
With social purport, bid, or even or morn,
Invest thee happy! but when life declines,
May thy sure heirs stand tittering round thy bed,
And, ushering in their favourites, burst thy locks,
And fill their laps with gold, till Want and Care
With joy depart, and cry, 'We ask no more.'
Ah! never, never may the harmonious mind
Endure the worldly! Poets, ever void
Of guile, distrustless, scorn the treasured gold,
And spurn the miser, spurn his deity.
Balanced with friendship, in the poet's eye
The rival scale of interest kicks the beam,
Than lightning swifter. From his cavern'd store
The sordid soul, with self-applause, remarks
The kind propensity; remarks and smiles,
And hies with impious haste to spread the snare.
Him we deride, and in our comic scenes
Contemn the niggard form Moliere has drawn:
We loathe with justice; but, alas! the pain
To bow the knee before this calf of gold;
Implore his envious aid, and meet his frown!
But 'tis not Gomez, 'tis not he whose heart
Is crusted o'er with dross, whose callous mind
Is senseless as his gold, the slighted Muse
Intensely loathes. 'Tis sure no equal task
To pardon him who lavishes his wealth
On racer, foxhound, hawk, or spaniel, all
But human merit; who with gold essays
All, but the noblest pleasure, to remove
The wants of Genius, and its smiles enjoy.
But you, ye titled youths! whose nobler zeal
Would burnish o'er your coronets with fame;
Who listen pleased when poet tunes his lay;
Permit him not, in distant solitudes,
To pine, to languish out the fleeting hours
Of active youth; then Virtue pants for praise.
That season unadorn'd, the careless bard
Quits your worn threshold, and, like honest Gay,
Contemns the niggard boon ye time so ill.
Your favours then, like trophies given the tomb,
The enfranchised spirit soaring, not perceives,
Or scorns perceived, and execrates the smile
Which bade his vigorous bloom, to treacherous hopes
And servile cares a prey, expire in vain!
Two lawless powers, engaged by mutual hate
In endless war, beneath their flags enrol
The vassal world: this, Avarice is named;
That, Luxury: 'tis true their partial friends
Assign them softer names; usurpers both!
That share by dint of arms the legal throne
Of just Economy; yet both betray'd
By fraudful ministers. The niggard chief,
Listening to want, all faithless, and prepared
To join each moment in his rival's train,
His conduct models by the needless fears
The slave inspires, while Luxury, a chief
Of amplest faith, to Plenty's rule resigns
His whole campaign. 'Tis Plenty's flattering sounds
Engross his ear; 'tis Plenty's smiling form
Moves still before his eye. Discretion strives,
But strives in vain, to banish from the throne
The perjured minion: he, secure of trust,
With latent malice to the hostile camp;
Day, night, and hour, his monarch's wealth conveys.
Ye towering minds! ye sublimated souls!
Who, careless of your fortunes, seal and sign,
Set, let, contract, acquit, with easier mien
Than fops take snuff! whose economic care
Your green silk purse engrosses! easy, pleased,
To see gold sparkle through the subtle folds;
Lovely, as when the Hesperian fruitage smiled
Amid the verdurous grove! who fondly hope
Spontaneous harvests! harvests all the year!
Who scatter wealth, as though the radiant crop
Glitter'd on every bough; and every bough,
Like that the Trojan gather'd, once avulsed,
Were by a splendid successor supplied
Instant, spontaneous listen to my lays;
For 'tis not fools, whate'er proverbial phrase
Have long decreed, that quit with greatest ease
The treasured gold. Of words indeed profuse,
Of gold tenacious, their torpescent soul
Clenches their coin; and what electral fire
Shall solve the frosty gripe, and bid it flow?
'Tis Genius, Fancy, that to wild expense
Of health, of treasure, stimulates the soul;
These, with officious care, and fatal art,
Improve the vinous flavour; these the smile
Of Cloe soften: these the glare of dress
Illume; the glittering chariot gild anew,
And add strange wisdom to the furs of Power.
Alas! that he, amid the race of men,
That he who thinks of purest gold with scorn,
Should with unsated appetite demand,
And vainly court the pleasure it procures!
When Fancy's vivid spark impels the soul
To scorn quotidian scenes, to spurn the bliss
Of vulgar minds, what nostrum shall compose
Its fatal tension? in what lonely vale
Of balmy Medicine's various field, aspires
The blest refrigerant? Vain, ah! vain the hope
Of future peace, this orgasm uncontroll'd!
Impatient, hence, of all the frugal mind
Requires; to eat, to drink, to sleep, to fill
A chest with gold, the sprightly breast demands
Incessant rapture; life, a tedious load
Denied its continuity of joy.
But whence obtain? philosophy requires
No lavish cost; to crown its utmost prayer
Suffice the root-built cell, the simple fleece,
The juicy viand, and the crystal stream.
Even mild Stupidity rewards her train
With cheap contentment. Taste alone requires
Entire profusion! Days, and nights, and hours,
Thy voice, hydropic Fancy! calls aloud
For costly draughts, inundant bowls of joy,
Rivers of rich regalement, seas of bliss-
Seas without shore, infinity of sweets!
And yet, unless sage Reason join her hand
In Pleasure's purchase, Pleasure is unsure!
And yet, unless Economy's consent
Legitimate expense, some graceless mark,
Some symptom ill conceal'd, shall, soon or late,
Burst like a pimple from the vicious tide
Of acid blood, proclaiming Want's disease,
Amidst the bloom of show. The scanty stream,
Slow-loitering in its channel, seems to vie
With Vaga's depth; but should the sedgy power,
Vain-glorious, empty his penurious urn
O'er the rough rock, how must his fellow streams
Deride the tinklings of the boastive rill!
I not aspire to mark the dubious path
That leads to wealth, to poets mark'd in vain!
But, ere self-flattery soothe the vivid breast
With dreams of fortune near allied to fame,
Reflect how few, who charm'd the listening ear
Of satrap or of king, her smiles enjoyed!
Consider well, what meagre alms repaid
The great Maeonian! fire of tuneful song,
And prototype of all that soar'd sublime,
And left dull cares below; what griefs impell'd
The modest bard of learn'd Eliza's reign
To swell with tears his Mulla's parent stream,
And mourn aloud the pang, 'to ride, to run,
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone.'
Why should I tell of Cowley's pensive Muse,
Beloved in vain? too copious is my theme!
Which of your boasted race might hope reward
Like loyal Butler, when the liberal Charles,
The judge of wit, perused the sprightly page,
Triumphant o'er his foes? Believe not Hope,
The poet's parasite; but learn alone
To spare the scanty boon the Fates decree.
Poet and rich! 'tis solecism extreme!
'Tis heighten'd contradiction! in his frame,
In every nerve and fibre of his soul,
The latent seeds and principles of want
Has Nature wove, and Fate confirm'd the clue.
Nor yet despair to shun the ruder gripe
Of Penury: with nice precision learn
A dollar's value. Foremost in the page
That marks the expense of each revolving year,
Place inattention. When the lust of praise,
Or honour's false idea, tempts thy soul
To slight frugality, assure thine heart
That danger's near. This perishable coin
Is no vain ore. It is thy liberty;
It fetters misers, but it must alone
Enfranchise thee. The world, the cit-like world,
Bids thee beware; thy little craft essay;
Nor, piddling with a tea-spoon's slender form,
See with soup-ladles devils gormandize.
Economy! thou good old aunt, whose mien,
Furrow'd with age and care, the wise adore,
The wits contemn! reserving still thy stores
To cheer thy friends at last! why with the cit
Or bookless churl, with each ignoble name,
Each earthly nature, deign'st thou to reside?
And shunning all, who by thy favours crown'd
Might glad the world, to seek some vulgar mind,
Inspiring pride, and selfish shapes of ill?
Why with the old, infirm, and impotent,
And childless, love to dwell; yet leave the breast
Of youth unwarn'd, unguided, uninform'd?
Of youth, to whom thy monitory voice
Were doubly kind? for, sure, to youthful eyes,
(How short soe'er it prove), the road of life
Appears protracted; fair on either side
The Loves, the Graces play, on Fortune's child
Profusely smiling: well might youth essay
The frugal plan, the lucrative employ,
Source of their favour all the livelong day;
But Fate assents not. Age alone contracts
His meagre palm, to clench the tempting bane
Of all his peace, the glittering seeds of care!
O that the Muse's voice might pierce the ear
Of generous youth! for youth deserves her song.
Youth is fair virtue's season, virtue then
Requires the pruner's hand; the sequent stage,
It barely vegetates; nor long the space
Ere, robb'd of warmth, its arid trunk displays
Fell Winter's total reign. O lovely source
Of generous foibles, youth! when opening minds
Are honest as the light, lucid as air,
As fostering breezes kind, as linnets gay,
Tender as buds, and lavish as the spring!
Yet, hapless state of man! his earliest youth
Cozens itself; his age defrauds mankind.
Nor deem it strange that rolling years abrade
The social bias. Life's extensive page,
What does it but unfold repeated proofs
Of gold's omnipotence? With patriots, friends,
Sickening beneath its ray, enervate some,
And others dead, whose putrid name exhales
A noisome scent, the bulky volume teems:
With kinsmen, brothers, sons, moistening the shroud,
Or honouring the grave, with specious grief
Of short duration; soon in fortune's beams
Alert, and wondering at the tears they shed.
But who shall save, by tame prosaic strain,
That glowing breast where wit with youth conspires
To sweeten luxury? The fearful Muse
Shall yet proceed, though by the faintest gleam
Of hope inspired, to warn the train she loves.

Part second.

In some dark season, when the misty shower
Obscures the sun, and saddens all the sky,
When linnets drop the wing, nor grove nor stream
Invites thee forth, to sport thy drooping muse;
Seize the dull hour, nor with regret assign
To worldly Prudence. She, nor nice nor coy,
Accepts the tribute of a joyless day;
She smiles well pleased when wit and mirth recede,
And not a Grace, and not a Muse will hear.
Then, from majestic Maro's awful strain,
Or towering Homer, let thine eye descend
To trace, with patient industry, the page
Of income and expense: and, oh! beware
Thy breast, self-flattering; place no courtly smile,
No golden promise of your faithless Muse,
Nor latent mine which Fortune's hand may show,
Amid thy solid store: the Siren's song
Wrecks not the listening sailor, half so sure.
See by what avenues, what devious paths,
The foot of Want, detested, steals along,
And bars each fatal pass! Some few short hours
Of punctual care, the refuse of thy year,
On frugal schemes employ'd, shall give the Muse
To sing intrepid many a cheerful day.
But if too soon before the tepid gales
Thy resolution melt; and ardent vows,
In wary hours preferr'd, or die forgot,
Or seem the forced effect of hazy skies;
Then, ere surprise, by whose impetuous rage
The massy fort, with which thy gentler breast
I not compare, is won, the song proceeds.
Know, too, by Nature's undiminish'd law,
Throughout her realms obey'd, the various parts
Of deep creation, atoms, systems, all,
Attract, and are attracted; nor prevails the law
Alone in matter; soul alike with soul
Aspires to join; nor yet in souls alone;
In each idea it imbibes, is found
The kind propensity; and when they meet
And grow familiar, various though their tribe,
Their tempers various, vow perpetual faith;
That, should the world's disjointed frame once more
To chaos yield the sway, amid the wreck
Their union should survive; with Roman warmth,
By sacred hospitable laws endear'd,
Should each idea recollect its friend.
Here then we fix; on this perennial base
Erect thy safety, and defy the storm.
Let soft Profusion's fair idea join
Her hand with Poverty; nor here desist,
Till o'er the group that forms their various train
Thou sing loud hymeneals. Let the pride
Of outward show in lasting leagues combine
With shame threadbare; the gay vermilion face
Of rash Intemperance be discreetly pair'd
With sallow Hunger: the licentious joy
With mean dependence; even the dear delight
Of sculpture, paint, intaglios, books, and coins,
Thy breast, sagacious Prudence! shall connect
With filth and beggary; nor disdain to link
With black Insolvency. Thy soul, alarm'd,
Shall shun the Siren's voice; nor boldly dare
To bid the soft enchantress share thy breast,
With such a train of horrid fiends conjoin'd.
Nor think, ye sordid race! ye grovelling minds!
I frame the song for you; for you the Muse
Could other rules impart. The friendly strain,
For gentler bosoms plann'd, to yours would prove
The juice of lurid aconite, exceed
Whatever Colchos bore; and in your breast
Compassion, love, and friendship, all destroy!
It greatly shall avail, if e'er thy stores.
Increase apace, by periodic days
Of annual payment, or thy patron's boon,
The lean reward of gross unbounded praise!
It much avails, to seize the present hour,
And, undeliberating, call around
Thy hungry creditors; their horrid rage,
When once appeased, the small remaining store
Shall rise in weight tenfold, in lustre rise,
As gold improved by many a fierce assay.
'Tis thus the frugal husbandman directs
His narrow stream, if o'er its wonted banks,
By sudden rains impell'd, it proudly swell;
His timely hand through better tracts conveys
The quick decreasing tide: ere borne along,
Or through the wild morass, or cultured fields,
Or bladed grass mature, or barren sands,
It flow destructive, or it flow in vain.
But happiest he who sanctifies expense
By present pay; who subjects not his fame
To tradesmen's varlets, nor bequeaths his name,
His honour'd name, to deck the vulgar page
Of base mechanic, sordid, unsincere!
There haply, while thy Muse sublimely soars
Beyond this earthly sphere, in heaven's abodes,
And dreams of nectar and ambrosial sweets,
Thy growing debt steals unregarded o'er
The punctual record; till nor Phoebus self,
Nor sage Minerva's art, can aught avail
To soothe the ruthless dun's detested rage:
Frantic and fell, with many a curse profane
He loads the gentle Muse, then hurls thee down
To want, remorse, captivity, and shame.
Each public place, the glittering haunts of men,
With horror fly. Why loiter near thy bane?-
Why fondly linger on a hostile shore,
Disarm'd, defenceless? why require to tread
The precipice? or why, alas! to breathe
A moment's space, where every breeze is death,
Death to thy future peace? Away, collect
Thy dissipated mind; contract thy train
Of wild ideas, o'er the flowery fields
Of show diffused, and speed to safer climes.
Economy presents her glass, accept
The faithful mirror, powerful to disclose
A thousand forms, unseen by careless eyes,
That plot thy fate. Temptation in a robe
Of Tyrian dye, with every sweet perfumed,
Besets thy sense; Extortion follows close
Her wanton step, and Ruin brings the rear.
These and the rest shall her mysterious glass
Embody to thy view; like Venus kind,
When to her labouring son, the vengeful powers
That urged the fall of Ilium, she displayed:
He, not imprudent, at the sight declined
The unequal conflict, and decreed to raise
The Trojan welfare on some happier shore.
For here to drain thy swelling purse await
A thousand arts, a thousand frauds attend:
'The cloud-wrought canes, the gorgeous snuff-boxes,
The twinkling jewels, and the gold etui,
With all its bright inhabitants, shall waste
Its melting stores, and in the dreary void
Leave not a doit behind.' Ere yet, exhaust,
Its flimsy folds offend thy pensive eye,
Away! embosom'd deep in distant shades,
Nor seen nor seeing, thou mayst vent thy scorn
Of lace, embroidery, purple, gems, and gold!
There of the faded fop and essenced beau,
Ferocious, with a Stoic's frown disclose
Thy manly scorn, averse to tinsel pomp;
And fluent thine harangue. But can thy soul
Deny thy limbs the radiant grace of dress,
Where dress is merit? where thy graver friend
Shall wish thee burnish'd? where the sprightly fair
Demand embellishment? even Delia's eye,
As in a garden, roves, of hues alone
Inquirent, curious? Fly the cursed domain;
These are the realms of luxury and show,
No classic soil; away! the bloomy spring
Attracts thee hence; the warning autumn warns;
Fly to thy native shades, and dread, even there,
Lest busy fancy tempt thy narrow state
Beyond its bounds. Observe Florelio's mien:
Why treads my friend with melancholy step
That beauteous lawn? why, pensive, strays his eye
O'er statues, grottos, urns, by critic art
Proportion'd fair? or from his lofty dome,
Bright glittering through the grove, returns his eye
Unpleased, disconsolate? And is it love,
Disastrous love, that robs the finish'd scenes
Of all their beauty, centering all in her
His soul adores? or from a blacker cause
Springs this remorseful gloom? Is conscious guilt
The latent source of more than love's despair?
It cannot be within that polish'd breast,
Where science dwells, that guilt should harbour there.
No; 'tis the sad survey of present want
And past profusion! lost to him the sweets
Of yon pavilion, fraught with every charm
For other eyes; or if remaining, proofs
Of criminal expense! Sweet interchange
Of river, valley, mountain, woods, and plains!
How gladsome once he ranged your native turf,
Your simple scenes, how raptured! ere Expense
Had lavish'd thousand ornaments, and taught
Convenience to perplex him, Art to pall,
Pomp to deject, and Beauty to displease!
Oh! for a soul to all the glare of wealth,
To Fortune's wide exhaustless treasury,
Nobly superior! but let Caution guide
The coy disposal of the wealth we scorn,
And Prudence be our Almoner. Alas!
The pilgrim wandering o'er some distant clime,
Sworn foe of avarice! nor disdains to learn
Its coin's imputed worth, the destined means
To smooth his passage to the favour'd shrine.
Ah! let not us, who tread this stranger world,
Let none who sojourn on the realms of life,
Forget the land is mercenary, nor waste
His fare, ere landed on no venal shore.
Let never bard consult Palladio's rules;
Let never bard, O Burlington! survey
Thy learned art, in Chiswick's dome display'd;
Dangerous incentive! nor with lingering eye
Survey the window Venice calls her own.
Better for him, with no ingrateful Muse,
To sing a requiem to that gentle soul
Who plann'd the skylight, which to lavish bards
Conveys alone the pure ethereal ray;
For garrets him, and squalid walls, await,
Unless, presageful, from this friendly strain
He glean advice, and shun the scribbler's doom.

Part third.

Yet once again, and to thy doubtful fate
The trembling Muse consigns thee. Ere contempt,
Or Want's empoison'd arrow, ridicule,
Transfix thy weak unguarded breast, behold!
The poet's roofs, the careless poet's, his
Who scorns advice, shall close my serious lay.
When Gulliver, now great, now little deem'd,
The plaything of Comparison, arrived
Where learned bosoms their aerial schemes
Projected, studious of the public weal;
'Mid these, one subtler artist he descried,
Who cherish'd in his dusty tenement
The spider's web, injurious, to supplant
Fair Albion's fleeces! Never, never may
Our monarchs on such fatal purpose smile,
And irritate Minerva's beggar'd sons,
The Melksham weavers! Here in every nook
Their wefts they spun; here revell'd uncontroll'd,
And, like the flags from Westminster's high roof
Dependent, here their fluttering textures waved.
Such, so adorn'd the cell I mean to sing!
Cell ever squalid! where the sneerful maid
Will not fatigue her hand! broom never comes,
That comes to all! o'er whose quiescent walls
Arachne's unmolested care has drawn
Curtains subsusk, and save the expense of art.
Survey those walls, in fady texture clad,
Where wandering snails in many a slimy path,
Free, unrestrain'd, their various journeys crawl;
Peregrinations strange, and labyrinths
Confused, inextricable! such the clue
Of Cretan Ariadne ne'er explain'd!
Hooks! angles! crooks! and involutions wild!
Meantime, thus silver'd with meanders gay,
In mimic pride the snail-wrought tissue shines,
Perchance of tabby, or of aretine,
Not ill expressive; such the power of snails!
Behold his chair, whose fractured seat infirm
An aged cushion hides! replete with dust
The foliaged velvet; pleasing to the eye
Of great Eliza's reign, but now the snare
Of weary guest that on the specious bed
Sits down confiding. Ah! disastrous wight!
In evil hour and rashly dost thou trust
The fraudful couch! for though in velvet cased,
Thy fated thigh shall kiss the dusty floor.
The traveller thus, that o'er Hibernian plains
Hath shaped his way, on beds profuse of flowers,
Cowslip, or primrose, or the circular eye
Of daisy fair, decrees to bask supine.
And see! delighted, down he drops, secure
Of sweet refreshment, ease without annoy,
Or luscious noonday nap. Ah! much deceived,
Much suffering pilgrim! thou nor noonday nap
Nor sweet repose shalt find; the false morass
In quivering undulations yields beneath
Thy burden, in the miry gulf enclosed!
And who would trust appearance? cast thine eye
Where 'mid machines of heterogeneous form
His coat depends; alas! his only coat,
Eldest of things! and napless as an heath
Of small extent by fleecy myriads grazed.
Not different have I seen in dreary vault
Display'd a coffin; on each sable side
The texture unmolested seems entire;
Fraudful, when touch'd it glides to dust away,
And leaves the wondering swain to gape, to stare,
And with expressive shrug and piteous sigh,
Declare the fatal force of rolling years,
Or dire extent of frail mortality.
This aged vesture, scorn of gazing beaus,
And formal cits (themselves too haply scorn'd),
Both on its sleeve, and on its skirt, retains
Full many a pin wide-sparkling: for, if e'er
Their well-known crest met his delighted eye,
Though wrapt in thought, commercing with the sky,
He, gently stooping, scorn'd not to upraise,
And on each sleeve, as conscious of their use,
Indenting fix them; nor, when arm'd with these,
The cure of rents and separations dire,
And chasms enormous, did he view, dismay'd,
Hedge, bramble, thicket, bush, portending fate
To breeches, coat, and hose! had any wight
Of vulgar skill the tender texture own'd;
But gave his mind to form a sonnet quaint
Of Silvia's shoe-string, or of Chloe's fan,
Or sweetly-fashion'd tip of Celia's ear.
Alas! by frequent use decays the force
Of mortal art! the refractory robe
Eludes the tailor's art, eludes his own;
How potent once, in union quaint conjoin'd!
See, near his bed (his bed, too falsely call'd
The place of rest, while it a bard sustains;
Pale, meagre, muse-rid wight! who reads in vain
Narcotic volumes o'er) his candlestick,
Radiant machine! when from the plastic hand
Of Mulciber, the Mayor of Birmingham,
The engine issued; now, alas! disguised
By many an unctuous tide, that wandering down
Its sides congeal; what he, perhaps, essays,
With humour forced, and ill-dissembled smile,
Idly to liken to the poplar's trunk,
When o'er its bark the lucid amber, wound
In many a pleasing fold, incrusts the tree;
Or suits him more the winter's candied thorn,
When from each branch, annealed, the works of frost
Pervasive, radiant icicles depend?
How shall I sing the various ills that wait
The careful sonneteer? or who can paint
The shifts enormous, that in vain he forms
To patch his paneless window; to cement
His batter'd tea-pot, ill-retentive vase,
To war with ruin? anxious to conceal
Want's fell appearance, of the real ill
Nor foe, nor fearful. Ruin unforeseen
Invades his chattels; Ruin will invade,
Will claim his whole invention to repair,
Nor of the gift, for tuneful ends design'd,
Allow one part to decorate his song;
While Ridicule, with ever-pointing hand,
Conscious of every shift, of every shift
Indicative, his inmost plot betrays,
Points to the nook, which he his Study calls,
Pompous and vain! for thus he might esteem
His chest a wardrobe; purse, a treasury;
And shows, to crown her full display, himself;
One whom the powers above, in place of health
And wonted vigour, of paternal cot,
Or little farm; of bag, or scrip, or staff,
Cup, dish, spoon, plate, or worldly utensil,
A poet framed, yet framed not to repine,
And wish the cobbler's loftiest site his own;
Nor, partial as they seem, upbraid the Fates,
Who to the humbler mechanism join'd
Goods so superior, such exalted bliss!
See with what seeming ease, what labour'd peace,
He, hapless hypocrite! refines his nail,
His chief amusement! then how feign'd, how forced,
That care-defying sonnet, which implies
His debts discharged, and he of half-a-crown
In full possession, uncontested right
And property! Yet, ah! whoe'er this wight
Admiring view, if such there be, distrust
The vain pretence, the smiles that harbour grief,
As lurks the serpent deep in flowers enwreath'd.
Forewarn'd, be frugal, or with prudent rage
Thy pen demolish; choose the trustier flail,
And bless those labours which the choice inspired.
But if thou view'st a vulgar mind, a wight
Of common sense, who seeks no brighter name,
Him envy, him admire; him, from thy breast,
Prescient of future dignities, salute
Sheriff, or mayor, in comfortable furs
Enwrapt, secure; nor yet the laureat's crown
In thought exclude him! he perchance shall rise
To nobler heights than foresight can decree.
When fired with wrath for his intrigues display'd
In many an idle song, Saturnian Jove
Vow'd sure destruction to the tuneful race;
Appeased by suppliant Phoebus; 'Bards,' he said,
'Henceforth of plenty, wealth and pomp debarr'd,
But fed by frugal cares, might wear the bay
Secure of thunder.'-Low the Delian bow'd,
Nor at the invidious favour dared repine.