« VorigeDoorgaan »
· Erewhile no shepherd to these woods retir'd,
No lover bless'd the glow-worm's pallid ray; But ill-star'd birds that, listening, not admir'd,
Or listening, envied our superior lay. • Cheer'd by the sun, the vassals of his pow'r,
Let such by day unite their jarring strains, But let us choose the calmı, the silent hour,
Nor want fit audience while Dione reigns.'
HE DESCRIBES HIS VISION
TO AN ACQUAINTANCE.
Cætera per terras omnes animalia, &c.
On distant heaths, beneath autumnal skies,
Pensive I saw the circling shade descend ; Weary and faint I heard the storm arise,
While the sun vanish'd like a faithless friend. No kind companion led my steps aright;
No friendly planet lent its glimmering ray; Ev'n the lone cot refus'd its wonted light,
Where Toil in peaceful slumber clos'd the day. Then the dull bell had giv'n a pleasing sound;
The village cur 'twere transport then to hear; In dreadful silence all was hush'd around,
While the rude storm alonc distress'd mine ear. As led by Orwell's winding banks I stray'd,
Where towering Wolsey breath'd his native air, A sudden lustre chas'd the flitting shade,
The sounding winds were hush d, and all was fair. Instant a grateful form appeard confest;
White were his locks, with awful scarlet crown'd, And livelier far than Tyrian seem'd his vest,
That with the glowing purple ting’d the ground. Stranger! he said, ' amid this pealing rain,
Benighted, lonesome, whither wouldst thou stray? Does wealth or pow'r thy weary step constrain?
Reveal thy wish, and let me point the way. * For know, I trod the trophied paths of pow'r,
Felt every joy that fair Ambition brings, And left the lonely roof of yonder bow'r
To stand beneath the canopies of kings.
Nor meanly rose to bless myself alone;
And bade his wholesome dictate guard the throne. * Low at my feet the suppliant peer I saw;
I saw proud empires my decision wait; My will was duty, and my word was law,
My smile was transport, and my frown was fate.' • Ah me!' said I, “por pow'r I seek, nor gain ;
Nor urg'd by hope of fame these toils endure; A simple youth, that feels a lover's pain,
And from his friend's condolence hopes a cure. • He, the dear youth! to whose abodes I roam,
Nor can mine honours nor my fields extend; Yet for his sake I leave my distant home,
Which oaks embosom, and which hills defend. Beneath that home I scorn the wintry wind;
The Spring, to shade me, robes her fairest tree; And if a friend my grass-grown threshold find,
O how my lonely cot resounds with glee!
Yet, though averse to gold in heaps amass'd,
I wish to bless, I languish to bestow; And though no friend to Fame's obstreperòus blast,
Still to her dulcet murmurs not a foe. « Too proud with servile tone to deign address ; ;
Too mean to think that honours are my due ; Yet should some patron yield my stores to bless,
I sure should deem my boundless thanks were few. • Bat tell me, thou ! that like a meteor's fire
Shot'st blazing forth, disdaining dull degrees, Should I to wealth, to fame, to pow'r aspire,
Must I not pass more rugged paths than these? • Must I not groan beneath a guilty load,
Praise him I scorn, and him I love betray? Does not felonious Envy bar the road ?
Or Falsehood's treacherous foot beset the way? Say, should I pass through Favour's crowded gate,
Must not fair Truth inglorious wait behind?
My best companion no admittance find?
Shall I the rigid sway of Fortune own?
To spurn an altar, and adore a throne ? And when proud Fortune's ebbing tide recedes,
And when it leaves me no unshaken friend, Shall I not weep that e'er I left the meads,
Which oaks embosom, and which hills defend? Oh! if these ills the price of pow'r advance,
Check not my speed where social joys invite ! The troubled vision cast a mournful glance, And, sigbing, vanish'd in the shades of night.
HE DESCRIBES HIS EARLY LOVE OF
TO MR. G- 1745...
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 tun'd iny 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 veterán, that permits his foe
To guide his doubtful step, has more to fear. Nor could my
G m istake the critic's laws, Till pious Friendship mark'd the pleasing way: Welcome such error! ever bless’d the cause !
Ev’n though it lod me boundless leagues astray. Couldst thou reprove me, when I nurs'd the flame
On listening Cherwell's osier banks reclin'd? While foe to Fortune, unseduc'd by Fame,
I sonth'd the bias of a careless mind. Youtlis 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 ?
1 Written after the death of Mr. Pope, YOL. I.
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 Phoebus met the Cyprian queen,
And favour'dRhodes beheld their passion crown'd, Unusual flowers enrich'd the painted green,
And swift spontaneous roses blush'd around. Now sadly lorn, from Twit'nam's widow'd bow'r
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 flow'r that blows,
To form the garland, Elegy! for theeEnough 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,
Pleas'd we behold the graceful umbrage rise, But soon too deep it works its baneful way,
And low on earth the prostrate ruin lies ?.
2 Alludes to what is reported of the bay-tree, that if it is planted too near the walls of an edifice, its roots will work their way upderneath, till they destroy the foundation.