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A haggard spectre from the crew
Crawls forth, and thus asserts his due:
"Tis I who taint the sweetest joy,
And in the shape of love destroy.
My shanks, sunk eyes, and noseless face,
Prove my pretension to the place.'
Stone urged his overgrowing force;
And, next, Consumption's meagre corse,
With feeble voice that scarce was heard,
Broke with short coughs, his suit preferred:
'Let none object my lingering way;
I gain, Like Fabius, by delay;
Fatigue and weaken every foe
By long attack, secure, though slow.'
Plague represents his rapid power,
Who thinned a nation in an hour.
All spoke their claim, and hoped the wand. Now expectation hushed the band, When thus the monarch from the throne: 'Merit was ever modest known. What, no physician speak his right! None here! but fees their toils requite. Let then Intemperance take the wand, Who fills with gold their zealous hand. You, Fever, Gout, and all the rest (Whom wary men as foes detest), Forego your claim. No more pretend; Intemperance is esteemed a friend;
He shares their mirth, their social joys,
And as a courted guest destroys.
The charge on him must justly fall,
Who finds employment for you all.'
The Hare and Many Friends.
Friendship, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame.
The child, whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care.
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many, rarely find a friend.
A Hare, who in a civil way,
Complied with everything, like GAY,
Was known by all the bestial train,
Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain.
Her care was never to offend,
And every creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouthed thunder flies:
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death;
She doubles, to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;
Till, fainting in the public way,
Half dead with fear she gasping lay;
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the Horse appeared in view!
Let me, says she, your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight,
To friendship every burden's light.
The Horse replied: Poor honest Puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus;
Be comforted, relief is near,
For all your friends are in the rear.
She next the stately Bull implored,
And thus replied the mighty lord:
Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend
To take the freedom of a friend.
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow
Expects me near yon barley-mow;
And when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the Goat is just behind.
The Goat remarked her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye;
My back, says he, may do you harm,
The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.
The Sheep was feeble, and complained
His sides a load of wool sustained:
Said he was slow, confessed his fears,
For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.
She now the trotting Calf addressed, To save from death a friend distressed. Shall I, says he, of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler passed you by; How strong are those, how weak am I! Should I presume to bear you hence, Those friends of mine may take offence. Excuse me, then. You know my heart; But dearest friends, alas! must part. How shall we all lament! Adieu! For, see, the hounds are just in view!
The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller.
Accept, young prince, the moral lay,
And in these tales mankind survey;
Must I, too, flatter like the rest,
And turn my morals to a jest?
The muse disdains to steal from those
Who thrive in courts by fulsome prose.
But shall I hide your real praise,
Or tell you what a nation says?
They in your infant bosom trace
The virtues of your royal race;
In the fair dawning of your mind
Discern you generous, mild, and kind:
They see you grieve to hear distress,
And pant already to redress.
Go on, the height of good attain,
Nor let a nation hope in vain;
For hence we justly may presage
The virtues of a riper age.
True courage shall your bosom fire,
And future actions own your sire.
Cowards are cruel, but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.
A Tiger, roaming for his prey, Sprung on a Traveller in the way; The prostrate game a Lion spies, And on the greedy tyrant flies; With mingled roar resounds the wood, Their teeth, their claws, distil with blood; Till, vanquished by the Lion's strength, The spotted foe extends his length. The man besought the shaggy lord, And on his knees for life implored; His life the generous hero gave. Together walking to his cave, The Lion thus bespoke his guest:
What hardy beast shall dare contest
My matchless strength? You saw the fight,
And must attest my power and right.
Forced to forego their native home,
My starving slaves at distance roam;
Within these woods I reign alone;
The boundless forest is my own.
Bears, wolves, and all the savage brood,
Have dyed the regal den with blood.
These carcasses on either hand,
Those bones that whiten all the land,
My former deeds and triumphs tell,
Beneath these jaws what numbers fell.
True, says the man, the strength I saw
Might well the brutal nation awe :
But shall a monarch, brave like you,
Place glory in so false a view?
Robbers invade their neighbour's right.
Be loved; let justice bound your might.
Mean are ambitious heroes' boasts
Of wasted lands and slaughtered hosts.
Pirates their power by murders gain :
Wise kings by love and mercy reign.
To me your clemency hath shown
The virtue worthy of a throne.
Heaven gives you power above the rest,
Like Heaven, to succour the distrest.
The case is plain, the monarch said; False glory hath my youth misled; For beasts of prey, a servile train, Have been the flatterers of my reign.
You reason well. Yet tell me, friend,
Did ever you in courts attend?
For all my fawning rogues agree,
That human heroes rule like me.
Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Eyed Susan.
All in the downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?
William, who high upon the yard
Rocked with the billow to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sighed, and cast his eyes below: The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands, And (quick as lightning) on the deck he stands.
So sweet the lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast (If chance his mate's shrill call he hear), And drops at once into her nest. The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
O! Susan, Susan, lovely dear,
My vows shall ever true remain; Let me kiss off that falling tear;
We only part to meet again.
Change as ye list, ye winds! my heart shall be The faithful compass that still points to thee. Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind; They'll tell thee, sailors, when away,
In every port a mistress find:
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
If to fair India's coast we sail,
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus every beauteous object that I view, Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue. Though battle call me from thy arms,
Let not my pretty Susan mourn; Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms, William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly, Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye. The boatswain gave the dreadful word,
The sails their swelling bosom spread; No longer must she stay aboard;
They kissed, she sighed, he hung his head. Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land, Adieu! she cries, and waved her lily hand.
[From the 'What-d'ye-call-it ?'] "Twas when the seas were roaring With hollow blasts of wind, A damsel lay deploring,
All on a rock reclined. Wide o'er the foaming billows She cast a wistful look; Her head was crowned with willows, That trembled o'er the brook. Twelve months are gone and over,
And nine long tedious days; Why didst thou, venturous lover, Why didst thou trust the seas? Cease, cease thou cruel ocean,
And let my lover rest: Ah! what's thy troubled motion To that within my breast?
The merchant robbed of pleasure,
Sees tempests in despair;
But what's the loss of treasure,
To losing of my dear?
Should you some coast be laid on,
Where gold and diamonds grow,
You'd find a richer maiden,
But none that loves you so.
How can they say that nature
Has nothing made in vain; Why then, beneath the water,
Should hideous rocks remain? No eyes the rocks discover
That lurk beneath the deep, To wreck the wandering lover, And leave the maid to weep. All melancholy lying,
Thus wailed she for her dear; Repaid each blast with sighing,
Each billow with a tear. When o'er the white wave stooping His floating corpse she spied,
Then, like a lily drooping,
She bowed her head, and died.
Another friend of Pope and Swift, and one of the popular authors of that period, was THOMAS PARNELL (1679-1718). His father possessed considerable estates in Ireland, but was descended of an English family long settled at Congleton, in Cheshire. The poet was born and educated in Dublin,
went into sacred orders, and was appointed archdeacon of Clogher, to which was afterwards added, through the influence of Swift, the vicarage of Finglass, in the diocese of Dublin, worth £400 a-year. Parnell, like Swift, disliked Ireland, and seems to have considered his situation there a cheerless and irksome banishment. As permanent residence at their livings was not then insisted upon on the part of the clergy, Parnell lived chiefly in London. He married a young lady of beauty and merit, Miss Anne Minchen, who died a few years after their union. His grief for her loss preyed upon his spirits (which had always been unequal), and hurried him into intemperance. He died on the 18th of October 1718, at Chester, on his way to Ireland.
Parnell was an accomplished scholar and a delightful companion. His life was written by Goldsmith, who was proud of his distinguished countryman, considering him the last of the great school that had modelled itself upon the ancients. Parnell's works are of a miscellaneous nature-translations, songs, hymns, epistles, &c. His most celebrated piece the Hermit, familiar to most readers from their infancy. Pope pronounced it to be very good,' and its sweetness of diction and picturesque solemnity! of style must always please. His Night Piece on Death was indirectly preferred by Goldsmith to Gray's celebrated Elegy; but few men of taste or feeling will subscribe to such an opinion. In the 'Night Piece,' Parnell meditates among the tombs. Tired with poring over the pages of schoolmen and sages, he sallies out at midnight to the churchyard
How deep yon azure dyes the sky!
Where orbs of gold unnumbered lie;
While through their ranks, in silver pride,
The nether crescent seems to glide.
The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds, which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire:
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass, with melancholy state,
By all the solemn heaps of fate,
And think, as softly sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
'Time was, like thee, they life possessed,
And time shall be that thou shalt rest.'
Those with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground,
Quick to the glancing thought disclose
Where toil and poverty repose.
The flat smooth stones that bear a name,
The chisel's slender help to fame
(Which, ere our set of friends decay,
Their frequent steps may wear away),
A middle race of mortals own,
Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whose pillars swell with sculptured stones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones;
These all the poor remains of state,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great,
Who, while on earth in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.
The Hermit. Far in a wild, unknown to public view, From youth to age a reverend hermit grew; The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell, His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well; Remote from men, with God he passed his days, Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise. A life so sacred, such serene repose, Seemed heaven itself, till one suggestion roseThat vice should triumph, virtue vice obey; This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway; His hopes no more a certain prospect boast, And all the tenor of his soul is lost. So, when a smooth expanse receives impressed Calm nature's image on its watery breast, Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow, And skies beneath with answering colours glow; But, if a stone the gentle sea divide, Swift ruffling circles curl on every side,
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,
Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run.
To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books, or swains, report it right
(For yet by swains alone the world he knew,
Whose feet came wandering o'er the nightly dew),
He quits his cell; the pilgrim-staff he bore,
And fixed the scallop in his hat before;
Then, with the rising sun, a journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass;
But, when the southern sun had warmed the day,
A youth came posting o'er a crossing way;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets waved his hair;
Then, near approaching, Father, hail!' he cried,
And, Hail, my son!' the reverend sire replied.
Words followed words, from question answer flowed,
And talk, of various kind, deceived the road;
Till each with other pleased, and loath to part,
While in their age they differ, join in heart.
Thus stands an aged elm in ivy bound,
Thus useful ivy clasps an elm around.
Now sunk the sun; the closing hour of day
Came onward, mantled o'er with sober gray;
Nature, in silence, bid the world repose,
When, near the road, a stately palace rose.
There, by the moon, through ranks of trees they pass,
Whose verdure crowned their sloping sides with grass.
It chanced the noble master of the dome
Still made his house the wandering stranger's home;
Yet still the kindness, from a thirst of praise,
Proved the vain flourish of expensive ease.
The pair arrive; the liveried servants wait;
Their lord receives them at the pompous gate;
The table groans with costly piles of food,
And all is more than hospitably good.
Then led to rest, the day's long toil they drown,
Deep sunk in sleep, and silk, and heaps of down.
At length 'tis morn, and, at the dawn of day,
Along the wide canals the zephyrs play;
Fresh o'er the gay parterres the breezes creep,
And shake the neighbouring wood to banish sleep.
Up rise the guests, obedient to the call,
An early banquet decked the splendid hall;
Rich luscious wine a golden goblet graced,
Which the kind master forced the guests to taste.
Then, pleased and thankful, from the porch they go;
And, but the landlord, none had cause of wo;
His cup was vanished; for in secret guise,
The younger guest purloined the glittering prize.
As one who spies a serpent in his way,
Glistening and basking in the summer ray,
Disordered stops to shun the danger near,
Then walks with faintness on, and looks with fear;
So seemed the sire, when, far upon the road,
The shining spoil his wily partner showed.
He stopped with silence, walked with trembling heart,
And much he wished, but durst not ask to part;
Murmuring he lifts his eyes, and thinks it hard
That generous actions meet a base reward.
While thus they pass, the sun his glory shrouds,
The changing skies hang out their sable clouds;
A sound in air presaged approaching rain,
And beasts to covert scud across the plain.
Warned by the signs, the wandering pair retreat
To seek for shelter at a neighbouring seat.
"Twas built with turrets on a rising ground,
And strong, and large, and unimproved around;
Its owner's temper, timorous and severe,
Unkind and griping, caused a desert there.
As near the miser's heavy door they drew,
Fierce rising gusts with sudden fury blew ;
The nimble lightning, mixed with showers, began,
And o'er their heads loud rolling thunders ran;
Here long they knock, but knock or call in vain,
Driven by the wind, and battered by the rain.
At length some pity warmed the master's breast
("Twas then his threshold first received a guest);
Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,
And half he welcomes in the shivering pair;
One frugal faggot lights the naked walls,
And Nature's fervour through their limbs recalls;
Bread of the coarsest sort, with meagre wine,
(Each hardly granted), served them both to dine;
And when the tempest first appeared to cease,
A ready warning bid them part in peace.
With still remark, the pondering hermit viewed,
In one so rich, a life so poor and rude;
And why should such (within himself he cried)
Lock the lost wealth a thousand want beside?
But what new marks of wonder soon take place
In every settling feature of his face,
When, from his vest, the young companion bore
That cup, the generous landlord owned before,
And paid profusely with the precious bowl,
The stinted kindness of this churlish soul!
But now the clouds in airy tumult fly; The sun emerging, opes an azure sky; A fresher green the smelling leaves display, And, glittering as they tremble, cheer the day: The weather courts them from their poor retreat, And the glad master bolts the weary gate. While hence they walk, the pilgrim's bosom wrought With all the travail of uncertain thought: His partner's acts without their cause appear; "Twas there a vice, and seemed a madness here: Detesting that, and pitying this, he goes, Lost and confounded with the various shows. Now night's dim shades again involve the sky; Again the wanderer's want a place to lie; Again they search, and find a lodging nigh. The soil improved around, the mansion neat, And neither poorly low, nor idly great; It seemed to speak its master's turn of mind, Content, and not for praise, but virtue, kind. Hither the walkers turn their weary feet, Then bless the mansion, and the master greet. Their greeting fair, bestowed with modest guise, The courteous master hears, and thus replies:"Without a vain, without a grudging heart, To him who gives us all, I yield a part; From him you come, for him accept it here, A frank and sober, more than costly cheer!' He spoke, and bid the welcome table spread, Then talked of virtue till the time of bed; When the grave household round his hall repair, Warned by a bell, and close the hours with prayer. At length the world, renewed by calm repose, Was strong for toil; the dappled morn arose; Before the pilgrims part, the younger crept Near a closed cradle where an infant slept, And writhed his neck: the landlord's little pride, O strange return! grew black, and gasped, and died!
Horror of horrors! what! his only son!
How looked our hermit when the fact was done! Not hell, though hell's black jaws in sunder part, And breathe blue fire, could more assault his heart.
Confused, and struck with silence at the deed, He flies, but trembling, fails to fly with speed; His steps the youth pursues: the country lay Perplexed with roads; a servant showed the way; A river crossed the path; the passage o'er Was nice to find; the servant trod before; Long arms of oaks an open bridge supplied, And deep the waves beneath them bending glide. The youth, who seemed to watch a time to sin, Approached the careless guide, and thrust him in; Plunging he falls, and rising, lifts his head, Then flashing turns, and sinks among the dead.
While sparkling rage inflames the father's eyes, He bursts the bands of fear, and madly cries, "Detested wretch !'-but scarce his speech began, When the strange partner seemed no longer man! His youthful face grew more serenely sweet; His robe turned white, and flowed upon his feet; Fair rounds of radiant points invest his hair; Celestial odours breathe through purpled air; And wings, whose colours glittered on the day, Wide at his back their gradual plumes display. The form ethereal bursts upon his sight, And moves in all the majesty of light. Though loud at first the pilgrim's passion grew, Sudden he gazed, and wist not what to do; Surprise, in secret chains, his words suspends, And in a calm, his settling temper ends, But silence here the beauteous angel broke (The voice of Music ravish'd as he spoke) :
Thy prayer, thy praise, thy life to vice unknown,
In sweet memorial rise before the throne:
These charms success in our bright region find,
And force an angel down to calm thy mind;
For this commissioned, I forsook the sky:
Nay, cease to kneel-thy fellow servant I.
Then know the truth of government divine,
And let these scruples be no longer thine.
The Maker justly claims that world he made;
In this the right of Providence is laid;
Its sacred majesty through all depends
On using second means to work his ends:
'Tis thus, withdrawn in state from human eye,
The power exerts his attributes on high;
Your action uses, nor controls your will,
And bids the doubting sons of men be still.
What strange events can strike with more surprise,
Than those which lately struck thy wondering eyes?
Yet, taught by these, confess the Almighty just,
And, where you can't unriddle, learn to trust.
The great vain man, who fared on costly food,
Whose life was too luxurious to be good;
Who made his ivory stands with goblets shine,
And forced his guests to morning draughts of wine;
Has, with the cup, the graceless custom lost,
And still he welcomes, but with less of cost.
The mean suspicious wretch, whose bolted door
Ne'er moved in pity to the wandering poor;
With him I left the cup, to teach his mind
That Heaven can bless, if mortals will be kind.
Conscious of wanting worth, he views the bowl,
And feels compassion touch his grateful soul.
Thus artists melt the sullen ore of lead,
With heaping coals of fire upon its head;
In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,
And, loose from dross, the silver runs below.
Long had our pious friend in virtue trod,
But now the child half-weaned his heart from God;
(Child of his age) for him he lived in pain,
And measured back his steps to earth again.
To what excesses had his dotage run!
But God, to save the father, took the son.
To all but thee, in fits he seemed to go,
And 'twas my ministry to deal the blow.
The poor fond parent, humbled in the dust,
Now owns in tears the punishment was just.
But how had all his fortunes felt a wrack,
Had that false servant sped in safety back?
This night his treasured heaps he meant to steal,
And what a fund of charity would fail!
Thus Heaven instructs thy mind: this trial o'er,
Depart in peace, resign, and sin no more.'
On sounding pinions here the youth withdrew,
The sage stood wondering as the seraph flew;
Thus looked Elisha, when, to mount on high,
His master took the chariot of the sky;
The fiery pomp ascending left the view;
The prophet gazed, and wished to follow too.
The bending Hermit here a prayer begun, 'Lord, as in heaven, on earth thy will be done." Then, gladly turning, sought his ancient place, And passed a life of piety and peace.
MATTHEW GREEN (1696-1737) was author of a poem, The Spleen, which received the praises of Pope and Gray. He was born in 1696, of dissenting parentage, and enjoyed a situation in the customhouse. His disposition was cheerful; but this did not save him from occasional attacks of low spirits, or spleen, as the favourite phrase was in his time. Having tried all imaginable remedies for his malady, he conceived himself at length able to treat it in a philosophical spirit, and therefore wrote the abovementioned poem, which adverts to all its forms, and their appropriate remedies, in a style of comic verse resembling Hudibras, but which Pope himself allowed to be eminently original. Green terminated a quiet inoffensive life of celibacy in 1737, at the age of forty-one.
'The Spleen' was first published by Glover, the author of Leonidas,' himself a poet of some pretensions in his day. Gray thought that even the wood-notes of Green often break out into strains of real poetry and music.' As The Spleen' is almost unknown to modern readers, we present a few of its best passages. The first that follows contains one line (marked by Italic) which is certainly one of the happiest and wisest things ever said by a British author. It seems, however, to be imitated from Shakspeare
Man but a rush against Othello's breast, And he retires.
[Cures for Melancholy.]
To cure the mind's wrong bias, spleen,
Some recommend the bowling-green;
Some hilly walks; all exercise;
Fling but a stone, the giant dies;
Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been
Extreme good doctors for the spleen;
And kitten, if the humour hit,
Has harlequined away the fit.
Since mirth is good in this behalf,
At some particulars let us laugh.
Witlings, brisk fools-
Who buzz in rhyme, and, like blind flies,
Err with their wings for want of eyes.
Poor authors worshipping a calf;
Deep tragedies that make us laugh;
Folks, things prophetic to dispense,
Making the past the future tense;
The popish dubbing of a priest;
Fine epitaphs on knaves deceased ;
A miser starving to be rich;
The prior of Newgate's dying speech;
A jointured widow's ritual state;
Two Jews disputing tête-à-tête;
New almanacs composed by seers;
Experiments on felons' ears;
Disdainful prudes, who ceaseless ply
The superb muscle of the eye;
A coquette's April-weather face;
A Queen'brough mayor behind his mace,
And fops in military show,
Are sovereign for the case in view.
If spleen-fogs rise at close of day, I clear my evening with a play, Or to some concert take my way. The company, the shine of lights, The scenes of humour, music's flights, Adjust and set the soul to rights.