Images de page

Prais'd and wounded, he

may starve:
No receipt, to make him rise,
Like inventing loyal lies.
We whose ancestors have shin'd

In arts of peace, and fields of fame,
To ill and idleness inclin'd,

Now are grown a public shame.
Fatal that intestine jar,
Which produc'd our civil war!
Ever since, how sad a race!
Senseless, violent, and base!

Vice has lost its very name,
Skill and cozenage thought the same;
Only playing well the game.
Foul contrivances we see
Call'd but ingenuity:
Ample fortunes often made
Out of frauds in every trade,
Which an awkward child afford
Enough to wed the greatest lord.
The miser starves to raise a son,
But, if once the fool is gone,
Years of thrift scarce serve a day,
Rake-hell squanders all away.
Husbands seeking for a place,

Or toiling for their pay;
While the wives undo their race

By petticoats and play;
Breeding boys to drink and dice,
Carrying girls to comedies,
Where mama's intrigues are shown,
Which ere long will be their own.
Having first at sermon slept,
Tedious day is weekly kept
By worse hypocrites than men,
Till Monday comes to cheat again.
Ev'n among the noblest-born,
Moral virtue is a scorn;
Gratitude, but rare at best,
And fidelity a jest.
All our wit but party-mocks,
All our wisdom raising stocks:
Counted folly to defend
Sinking side, or falling friend.
Long an officer may serve,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


Matthew Prior ward 1664, nach Einigen zu London, nach Anderen zu Winbourne in Dorsetshire geboren. Sein Vater, ein Tischler, starb schon früh und sein Oheim, ein Weinschenk, nahm ihn zu sich und bestimmte ihn für sein Geschäft, liess ihm jedoch eine gute Erziehung geben. Durch Zufall wurde Graf Dorset aufmerksam auf seine Fähigkeiten und sandte ihn auf seine Kosten nach Cambridge. Prior widmete sich darauf dem Staatsdienste, begleitete den Grafen Berkeley als Gesandtschaftssecretair 1690 zu dem Haager-Congress, wurde von Wilhelm I. zum Kammerherrn erhoben, 1696 als Gesandtschaftssecretair bei dem Friedensschlusse zu Ryswik verwendet und 1697 als Staatssecretair nach Irland, so wie bald nachher als Gesandtschaftssecretair nach Frankreich gesandt. 1700 trat er als Mitglied für East-Grinstead in das Parlament. 1711 ging er dagegen

als Gesandter wieder nach Frankreich, wo er bis zum Tode der Königin Anna blieb. Als jedoch die Whigs, deren Partei er verlassen, wieder die Oberhand gewannen, ward er 1715 in den Kerker geworfen und sogar von der Amnestie ausgeschlossen und erhielt erst 1717 seine Freiheit wieder. Er zog sich nun auf das Land zurück und starb am 18. September 1721 zu Wimpole, dem Landsitze des Grafen von Oxford. Seine irdischen Ueberreste fanden eine Ruhestätte in der Westminster-Abtei.

Prior veranstaltete selbst eine Sammlung seiner Poesieen; sie erschien 1718 zu London in Folio unter dem Titel: Poems on several occasions, und ist seitdem öfter wieder aufgelegt worden. Ihren Inhalt bilden zwei didactische Gedichte: Alma und Solomon, ein erzählendes: Henry and Emma, kleinere Erzählungen, Oden, Lieder, Epigramme u. s. w. Er war ganz ein Dichter wie ihn seine Zeit verlangte, sinnlich, leichtfertig, elegant, witzig und gewandt. Tieferes darf man daher bei ihm nicht suchen, denn selbst hinter seinen Lehrgedichten steckt der sensualistische Schalk, aber seine Anmuth und Grazie, so wie seine natürliche Lebhaftigkeit erfreuen überall, wo er die Schranken der Sitte nicht überschreitet. In Prosa hinterliess er eine Geschichte seiner Zeit.

Select Passages from Henry and Emma. And oft' the pangs of absence to remove

By letters, soft interpreters of love A falconer Henry is, when Emma hawks:

Till Time and Industry (the mighty two With her of tarsels and of lures he talks.

That bring our wishes nearer to our view) Upon his wrist the towering merlin stands,

Made him perceive, that the inclining fair
Practis'd to rise, and stoop at her commands. Receiv'd his vows with no reluctant ear;
And when superior now the bird has flown, That Venus had confirm'd her equal reign,
And headlong brought the tumbling quarry down; And dealt to Emma's heart a share of Henry's
With humble reverence he accosts the fair,

And with the honour'd feather decks her hair.
Yet still, as from the sportive field she goes,
His down-cast eye reveals his inward woes;
And by his look and sorrow is ex prest,
A nobler game pursued than bird or beast.

A shepherd now along the plain he roves;
And, with his jolly pipe, delights the groves.
The neighbouring swains around the stranger A Passage from Solomon.

throng, Or to admire, or emulate his song:

This Abra then While with soft sorrow he renews his lays, I saw her; 'twas humanity; it gave Nor heedful of their envy, nor their praise. Some respite to the sorrows of my slave. But, soon as Emma's eyes adorn the plain, Her fond excess proclaim'd her passion true; His notes he raises to a nobler strain,

And generous pity to that truth was due. Wiih dutiful respect, and studious fear;

Well I entreated her, who well deserved; Lest any careless sound offend her ear.

I call’d her often; for she often served. A frantic gipsey now, the house he haunts, Use made her person easy to my sight; And in wild phrases speaks dissembled wants. And ease insensibly produced delight.

Whene'er I reveli'd in the women's bowers (For first I sought her but at looser hours)

The apples she had gather'd smelt most sweet: But, when bright Emma would her fortune know, The cake she kneaded was the savoury meat: A softer look unbends his opening brow: But fruits their odour lost, and meats their taste, With trembling awe he gazes on her eye, If gentle Abra liad not deck'd the feast. And in soft accents forms the kind reply; Dishonour'd did the sparkling goblet stand, That she shall prove as fortunate as fair; Unless received from gentle Abra's hand: And Hymen's choicest gifts are all reserv'd for And, when the Virgins form’d the evening choir,


Raising their voices, to the Master-lyre, Now oft had Henry chang'd his sly disguise, Too flat I thought this voice, and that too shrill: Unmark'd by all but beauteous Emma's eyes; One show'd too much , and one too little skill; Oft had found means alone to see the dame, Nor could my soul approve the Music's tone; And at her feet to breathe his amorous flame; 'Till all was hush'd, and Abra sung alone.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

A Song

If wine and music have the power,
To ease the sickness of the soul;
Let Phoebus every string explore;
And Bacchus fill the sprightly bowl.
Let them their friendly aid employ,
To make my Cloe's absence light;
And seek for pleasure to destroy
The sorrows of this live-long night.

But she to-morrow will return;
Venus, be thou to-morrow great;

In vain you tell your parting lover,
You wish fair winds may waft him over.
Alas! what winds can happy prove,
That bear me far from what I love?
Alas! what dangers on the main
Can equal those that I sustain,
I'rom slighted vows, and cold disdain?

Be gentle, and in pity choose
To wish the wildest tempest loose:
That, thrown again upon the coast,
Where first my shipwreck'd heart was lost,
I may once more repeat my pain;
Once more in dying notes complain
Of slighted vows, and cold disdain.


John Pomfret wurde 1667 zu Luton in Bedfordshire, wo sein Vater Prediger war, geboren, studirte zu Cambridge und trat dann in den geistlichen Stand. Eine falsch ausgelegte Stelle in seinem Gedichte the Choice hinderte aber seine Beförderung, obgleich er sowohl durch sein Leben wie , durch seine Erklärungen jede Missdeutung widerlegte. Als er sich zu diesem Zwecke eigens nach London begeben hatte, ward er hier von den Blattern überfallen und starb 1703.

Seine 1699 erschienenen Gedichte (London, ein Bd. in 8) fanden zu ihrer Zeit grossen Beifall und haben sich im Andenken seiner Nation erhalten. Er ist im Geschmack seiner Zeit elegant, glücklich in Beschreibungen und gewandt in Behandlung der Form, aber weder warm noch tief.

Die falsch ausgelegte Stelle in seinem besten Gedichte the Choice, sind gegen den Schluss desselben die vier Zeilen, welche mit den Worten beginnen : And as I near approach'd etc.

The Choice.

Near some fair town I'd have a private seat,

Built uniform, not little nor too great; If Heaven the grateful liberty would give, Better, if on a rising ground it stood; That I might choose my method how to live; On this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood. And all those hours propitious Fate should lend, It should within no other things contain, In blissful ease and satisfaction spend;

But what are useful, necessary, plain:

Methinks 'tis nauseous, and I'd ne'er endure Prudence and wisdom to direct her wit:
The needless pomp of gaudy furniture.

Courage to look bold danger in the face;
A little garden, grateful to the eye;

No fear, but only to be proud, or base; And a cool rivulet run murmuring by:

Quick to advise, by an emergence prest, On whose delicious banks a stately row To give good counsel, or to take the best. Of shady limes, or sycamores should grow. I'd have th' expression of her thoughts be such, At th' end of which a silent study plac'd, She might not seem reserv'd, nor talk too much: Should be with all the noblest authors grac'd: That shews a want of judgment, and of sense; Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines More than enough is but impertinence. Immortal wit, and solid learning, shines; Her conduct regular, her mirth refin'd; Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too,

Civil to strangers, to her neighbours kind; Who all the turns of love's soft passion knew : Averse to vanity, revenge, aud pride; He that with judgment reads his charming lines, In all the methods of deceit untried : In which strong art with stronger nature joins, So faithful to lier friend, and good to all, Must grant his fancy does the best excel; No censure might upon her actions fall: His thoughts so tender, and express'd so well: Then would ev'n envy be compell’d to say, With all those moderns, men of steady sense, She goes the least of womankind astray. Esteem'd for learning and for eloquence.

To this fair creature I'd sometimes retire; In some of these, as fancy should advise, Her conversation would new joys inspire; I'd always take my morning exercise:

Give life an edge so keen, no surly care For sure no minutes bring us more content, Would venture to assault my soul, or dare, Than those in pleasing, useful studies spent. Near my retreat, to hide one secret snare.

I'd have a clear and competent estate, But so divine, so noble a repast
That I might live genteelly, but not great: I'd seldom, and with moderation, taste:
As much as I could moderately spend;

For highest cordials all their virtue lose,
A little more, sometimes t'oblige a friend. By a too frequent and too bold a use;
Nor should the sons of poverty repine

And what would cheer the spirits in distress, Too much at fortune, they should taste of mine; Ruins our health, when taken to excess. And all that objects of true pity were,

I'd be concern'd. in no litigious jar; Should be reliev'd with what my wants could Belov’d by all, not vainly popular.


Whate'er assistance I had power to bring, . For that our Maker has too largely given, T'oblige my country, or to serve my king, Should be return'd in gratitude to Heaven. Whene'er they call, I'd readily afford A frugal plenty should my table spread; My tongue, my pen, my counsel, or my sword. Enough to satisfy, and something more, Law-suits I'd shun, with as much studious care, To feed the stranger, and the neighbouring poor. As I would dens where hungry lions are; Strong meat indulges vice, and pampering food And rather put up injuries, than be Creates diseases, and inflames the blood, A plague to him, who'd be a plague to me. But what's sufficient to make nature strong, I value quiet at a price too great, And the bright lamp of life continue long, To give for my revenge so dear a rate : I'd freely take; and, as I did possess,

For what do we by all our bustle gain, The bounteous Author of my plenty bless. But counterfeit delight for real pain ? Would bounteous Heaven once more indulge, If Heaven a date of many years would give,

I'd choose Thus I'd in pleasure, ease and plenty live. (For who would so much satisfaction lose, And as I near approach'd the verge of life, As witty nymphs, in conversation, give) Some kind relation (for I'd have no wife) Near some obliging modest fair to live:

Should take upon him all my worldly care, For there's that sweetness in a female mind, Whilst I did for a better state prepare. Which in a man's we cannot hope to find; Then I'd not be with any trouble vex'd, That, by a secret, but a powerful art,

Nor have the evening of my days perplex'd; Winds up the spring of life, and does impart But by a silent and a peaceful death, Fresh vital heat to the transported heart. Without a sigh, resign my aged breath. I'd have her reason all her passion sway: And, when committed to the dust, I'd have Easy in company , in private gay:

Few tears, but friendly, dropt into my grave; Coy to a fop, to the deserving free;

Then would my exit so propitious be, Still constant to herself, and just to me.

All men would wish to live and die like me. A soul she should have for great actions fit;

To his Friend inclined to marry. Too little is as dangerous as too much.

But chiefly let her humour close with thine, I would not have you, Strephon, choose a mate, Unless where your's does to a fault incline; From too exalted, or too mean a state;

The least disparity in this destroys, For in both these we may expect to find Like sulphurous blasts, the very buds of joys. A creeping spirit, or a haughty mind.

Her person amiable, straight, and free Who moves within the middle region, shares From natural, or chance deformity. The least disquiets, and the smallest cares. Let not her years exceed, if equal thine ; Let her extraction with true lustre shine; For women past their vigour, soon decline: If something brighter, not too bright for thine: Her fortune competent; and, if thy sight Her education liberal, not great;

Can reach so far, take care 'tis gather'd right. Neither inferior nor above her state.

If thine's enough, then her’s may be the less: Let her have wit; but let that wit be free Do not aspire to riches in excess. From affectation, pride, or pedantry:

For that which makes our lives delightful prove, For the effect of woman's wit is such,

Is a genteel sufficiency and love.


Jonathan Swift, der berühmteste politische Satyriker der Engländer, ward am 30. November 1667, wahrscheinlich in Dublin, englischen Eltern geboren. Er studirte in Dublin, zeichnete sich aber so wenig aus, dass ihm das Baccalaureat nur aus besonderer Gunst (by special favour) ertheilt wurde. Sir William Temple nahm sich nachher seiner an, aber es wollte ihm im Staatsdienste nicht glücken und er studirte daher nochmals zu Oxford Theologie und erhielt eine Pfarre in Irland, die er aber wieder aufgab und Secretair des Lord Berkeley wurde. Später in seinen Hoffnungen getäuscht, nahm er die Pfarre zu Caracor in Irland an und ward endlich 1713 Dechant von St. Patrick in Dublin. Anfangs durchaus vom Volke gehasst, wusste er sich durch seine Schriften zur Vertretung der Rechte desselben, die allgemeine Gunst im höchsten Grade zu erwerben. Sein Verhältniss zu den beiden von ihm auch in seinen Gedichten gefeierten Frauen, Stella (einer Mrs. Johnson, mit der er heimlich verheirathet war, was er aber nie anerkannte und worüber sie aus Gram starb) und Vanessa (einer Miss Vanhomrigh, die ihn liebte aber als sie es ihm erklärte von ihm mit der Bemerkung zurückgewiesen wurde, er sei schon vermählt, was ihr ebenfalls das Herz brach) schwebt zu sehr im Dunkel und ist zu verschiedenartig dargestellt worden, um es mehr als vorübergehend zu erwähnen. Nach Stella's Tode (1727) lebte er sehr zurückgezogen bis 1736, wo er das Unglück hatte, blödsinnig zu werden. In diesem Zustande starb er auch, während des Octobers 1744. Er ward in der Kathedrale von Dublin beigesetzt.

Die beste Ausgabe von Swift's Werken besorgte Walter Scott, Edinburgh 1814 fgde 19 Bde in 8.; seine Gedichte, von denen hier allein die Rede sein kann, bilden nur den kleinsten Theil derselben; (sie finden sich auch im 5. Bde der Anderson'schne, im 10. Bde der Johnson'schen und im 16. der Bell'schen Sammlung) und sind das Schwächste, was dieser sonst so bedeutende Geist geschaffen hat. Zwar zeichnen sie sich durch grosse Gewandtheit in der Behandlung, Lebendigkeit, Leichtigkeit, Kraft und Witz aus, aber sie sind meist nur hingeworfene Kinder der Gelegenheit und der in ihnen so vielfach zur Schau getragene Cynismus, schreckt den gebildeten Leser nur zu oft zurück. Wir haben uns daher auch genöthigt gesehen unsere Auswahl aus derselben mehr zu beschränken als es sonst bei einem so hervorragenden Talente der Fall gewesen wäre.

« PrécédentContinuer »