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What youthful bride can equal her array ? “What, what is virtue, but repose of mind, Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ?
A pure, ethereal calm, that knows no storm; From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray, Above the reach of wild ambition's wind,
From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly, Above the passions that this world deform, Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.
And torture man, a proud malignant worm ?
But here, instead, soft gales of passion play, “ Behold the merry minstrels of the morn,
And gently stir the heart, thereby to form The swarming songsters of the careless grove, A quicker sense of joy ; as breezes stray Ten thousand throats ! that from the flowering Across th’ enliven'd skies, and make them still more thorn
gay. Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love,
“ The best of men have ever lov'd repose : Such grateful kindly raptures them emove : They neither plow, nor sow; ne, fit for fail,
They hate to mingle in the filthy fray ; E'er to the barn the nodden sheaves they drove;
Where the soul sours, and gradual rancor grows, Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale,
Embitter'd more from peevish day to day.
Ev'n those whom Fame has lent her fairest ray,
From a base world at last have stol'n away : "Outcast of Nature, man! the wretched thrall
So Scipio, to the soft Cumaan shore
Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
“But if a little exercise you choose,
Amid the groves you may indulge the Muse, To poison Earth, Astræa left the plain;
Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal year;
Along the brook, the crimson-spotted fry
Now the hoarse stream, and now the zephyr's sigh, “Come, ye, who still the cumbrous load of life
Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Fate, For ever vain : come, and, withouten fee,
And gives th' untasted portion you have won, I in oblivion will your sorrows steep,
With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone, Your cares, your toils, will steep you in a sea To those who mock you gone to Pluto's reign, Of full delight: 0 come, ye weary wights, to me! There with sad ghosts to pine, and shadows dun
But sure it is of vanities most vain, “With me. you need not rise at early dawn, To toil for what you here untoiling may obtain." To pass the joyless day in various stounds : Or, louting low, on upstart Fortune fawn,
He ceas'd. But still their trembling ears retain'd And sell fair honor for some paltry pounds ;
The deep vibrations of his witching song; Or through the city take your dirty rounds,
That, by a kind of magic power, constrain'd To cheat, and dun, and lie, and visit pay,
To enter in, pell-mell, the listening throng. Now flattering base, now giving secret wounds :
Heaps pour'd on heaps, and yet tbry slipt along, Or prowl in courts of law for human prey,
In silent ease: as when beneath the beam In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad highway.
of summer-moons, the distant woods among,
Or by some flood all silver'd with the gleam, “ No cocks, with me, to rustic labor call,
The soft-embodied Fays through airy portal stream From village on to village sounding clear :
By the smooth demon so it order'd was, To tardy swain no shrill-voic'd matrons squall;
And here his baneful bounty first began : No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun your ear ;
Though some there were who would not further No hammer's thump; no horrid blacksmith sear,
pass, Ne noisy tradesmen, your sweet slumbers start,
And his alluring baits suspected han, With sounds that are a misery to hear :
The wise distrust the too fair-spoken man. But all is calm, as would delight the heart
Yet through the gate they cast a wishful eye : of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.
Not to move on, perdie, is all they can;
For, do their very best, they cannot My, “ Here nought but candor reigns, indulgent ease, But often each way look, and often sorely sigh. Good-natur'd lounging, sauntering up and down: They who are pleas'd themselves must always When this the watchful wicked wizard saw, please ;
With sudden spring he leap'd upon them straight; On others' ways they never squint a frown, And, soon as touch'd by his unhallow'd paw, Nor heed what haps in hamlet or in town: They found themselves within the cursed gate; Thus, from the source of tender indolence, Full hard to be repass'd, like that of Fate. With milky blood the heart is overflown,
Not stronger were of old the giant crew, Is sooth'd and sweeten'd by the social sense ; Who sought to pull high Jove from regal state ; For Interest, Envy, Pride, and Strife, are banish'd Though feeble wretch he seem'd, of sallow hue : hence.
Certes, who bides his grasp, will that encounter rue show.
For whomsoe'er the villain takes in hand,
With all the lodges that thereto pertain'd, Their joints unknit, their sinews melt apace ; No living creature could be seen to stray ; As lithe they grow as any willow-wand,
While solitude and perfect silence reign'd: And of their vanish'd force remains no trace : So that to think you dreamt you almost was con So when a maiden fair, of modest grace,
strain'd. In all her buxom blooming May of charms, Is seized in some losel's hot embrace,
As when a shepherd of the Hebrid isles, She waxeth very weakly as she warms,
Plac'd far amid the melancholy main, Then sighing yields her up to love's delicious harms.
(Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles ;
Or that aërial beings sometimes deign Wak'd by the crowd, slow from his bench arose
To stand embodied, to our senses plain,) A comely full-spread porter, swoln with sleep:
Sees on the naked hill, or valley low, His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect, breath'd
The whilst in ocean Phæbus dips his wain, repose ; And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep,
A vast assembly moving to and fro: Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep; Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran, Thro' which his half-wak'd soul would faintly peep. Then, taking his black staff, he call'd his man,
Ye gods of quiet, and of sleep profound ! And rous'd himself as much as rouse himself he can.
Whose soft dominion o'er this castle sways,
And all the widely-silent places round, The lad leap'd lightly at his master's call. Forgive me, if my trembling pen displays He was, to weet, a little roguish page,
What never yet was sung in mortal lays. Save sleep and play who minded nought at all, But how shall I attempt such arduous string, Like most the untaught striplings of his age. I, who have spent my nights, and nightly days, This boy he kept each band to disengage,
In this soul-deadening place, loose-loitering? Garters and buckles, task for him unfit, Ah! how shall I for this uprear my moulted wing? But ill-becoming his grave personage,
And which his portly paunch would not permit, Come on, my Muse, nor stoop to low despair, So this same limber page to all performed it.
Thou imp of Jove, touch'd by celestial fire ! Meantime the master-porter wide display'd
Thou yet shalt sing of war, and actions fair, Great store of caps, of slippers, and of gowns ;
Which the bold sons of Britain will inspire ; Wherewith he those that enter'd in, array'd
Of ancient bards thou yet shalt sweep the lyre ; Loose, as the breeze that plays along the downs,
Thou yet shalt tread in tragic pall the stage, And waves the summer-woods when evening
Paint love's enchanting woes, the hero's ire, frowns.
The sage's calm, the patriot's noble rage, O fair undress, best dress! it checks no vein,
Dashing corruption down through every worthless But every flowing limb in pleasure drowns,
age. And heightens ease with grace. This done, right fain,
The doors, that knew no shrill alarming bell, Sir porter sat him down, and turn'd to sleep again.
Ne cursed knocker ply'd by villain's hand,
Self-open'd into halls, where, who can tell Thus easy rob’d, they to the fountain sped, What elegance and grandeur wide expand, That in the middle of the court up-threw
The pride of Turkey and of Persia land ? A stream, high-spouting from its liquid bed, Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread, And falling back again in drizzly dew:
And couches stretch'd around in seemly band ; There each deep draughts, as deep he thirsted, And endless pillows rise to prop the head ; drew.
So that each spacious room was one full-swelling It was a fountain of Nepenthe rare :
bed. Whence, as Dan Homer sings, huge pleasaunce grew,
And everywhere huge cover'd tables stood, And sweet oblivion of vile earthly care ;
With wines high-flavor'd and rich viands crown'd Fair gladsome waking thoughts, and joyous dreams Whatever sprightly juice or tasteful food more fair.
On the green bosom of this Earth are found, This rite perform'd, all inly pleas'd and still,
And all old Ocean genders in his round : Withouten trump, was proclamation made.
Some hand unseen these silently display'd, “ Ye sons of Indolence, do what you will;
Ev'n undemanded by a sign or sound;
You need but wish, and, instantly obey'd,
Here freedom reign'd, without the least alloy ; He little merits bliss who others can annoy."
Nor gossip's tale, nor ancient maiden's gall,
Nor saintly spleen, durst murmur at our joy, Straight of these endless numbers, swarming And with envenom'd tongue our pleasures pall. round,
For why? there was but one great rule for all ; As thick as idle motes in sunny ray,
To wit, that each should work his own desire, Not one eftsoons in view was to be found,
And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall, But every man strolld off his own glad way, Or melt the time in love, or wake the lyre, Wide o'er this ample court's black area,
And carol what, unbid, the Muses might inspire.
The rooms with costly tapestry were hung, When sleep was coy, the bard in waiting there, Where was inwoven many a gentle tale ;
Cheer'd the lone midnight with the Muse's love: Such as of old the rural poets sung,
Composing music bade his dreams be fair, Or of Arcadian or Sicilian vale :
And music lent new gladness to the morning air. Reclining lovers, in the lonely dale, Pour'd forth at large the sweetly-tortur'd heart; Near the pavilions where we slept, still ran Or, sighing tender passion, swell'd the gale, Soft-tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell,
And taught charm'd echo to resound their smart; And sobbing breezes sigh'd, and oft began While flocks, woods, streams, around, repose and (So work'd the wizard) wintry storms to swell, peace impart.
As Heaven and Earth they would together mell ·
At doors and windows, threatening, seem'd to Those pleas'd the most, where, by a cunning
The demons of the tempest, growling fell, Depainted was the patriarchal age;
Yet the least entrance found they none at all; What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land, Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy And pastur'd on from verdant stage to stage,
hall. Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage.
And hither Morpheus sent his kindest dreams, Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed,
Raising a world of gayer tinct and grace; But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage, O'er which were shadowy cast Elysian gleams, And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed :
That play'd, in waving lights, from place to Blest sons of Nature they! true golden age indeed!
And shed a roseate smile on Nature's face. Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
Not Titian's pencil e'er could so array Bade the gay bloom of vernal landskips rise,
So fierce with clouds the pure ethereal space; Or Autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls :
Ne could it e'er such melting forms display,
No, fair illusions ! artful phantoms, no!
My Muse will not attempt your fairy-land:
She has no colors that like you can glow : hue,
To catch your vivid scenes too gross her hand. Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler band
Than these same guileful angel-seeming sprites, Each sound, too, here, to languishment inclin'd,
Who thus in dreams, voluptuous, soft, and bland, Lull'd the weak bosom, and induced ease,
Pour'd all th’ Arabian Heaven upon her nights, Aërial music in the warbling wind,
And bless'd them oft besides with more refin'd At distance rising oft by small degrees,
They were in sooth a most enchanting train, Entangled deep in its enchanting snares,
Ev'n feigning virtue ; skilful to unite The listening heart forgot all duties and all cares.
With evil, good, and strew with pleasure, pain.
But for those fiends, whom blood and broils delight; A certain music, never known before,
Who hurl the wretch, as if to Hell outright, Here lulled the pensive melancholy mind;
Down, down black gulfs, where sullen waters
sleep, Full easily obtain'd.
Behoves no more, But sidelong, to the gently-waving wind,
Or hold him clambering all the fearful night To lay the well-tun'd instrument reclin'd;
On beetling cliffs, or pent in ruins deep; From which, with airy flying fingers light,
They, till due time should serve, were bid far
hence to keep Beyond each mortal touch the most refind,
The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight: Whence, with just cause, the harp of Æolus it hight.
Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear,
From these foul demons shield the midnight Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine ?
gloom : Who up the lofty diapason roll
Angels of fancy and of love, be near, Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
And o'er the blank of sleep diffuse a bloom : Then let them down again into the soul?
Evoke the sacred shades of Greece and Rome, Now rising love they fann'd; now pleasing dole
And let them virtue with a look impart: They breath'd, in tender musings, through the
But chief, awhile, O! lend us from the tomb heart ;
These long-lost friends for whom in love we And now a graver sacred strain they stole,
smart, As when seraphic hands an hymn impart,
And fill with pious awe and joy-mixt woe the
heart. Wild-warbling Nature all above the reach of Art! Such the gay splendor, the luxurious state,
Or are you sportive ?-Bid the morn of youth or caliphs old, who on the Tigris' shore,
Rise to new light, and beam afresh the days In mighty Bagdat, populous and great,
of innocence, simplicity, and truth; Ileld their bright court, where was of ladies store ; To cares estrang'd, and manhood's thorny ways. And verse, love, music, still the garland wore : What transport, to retrace our boyish plays.
Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied ; But what most show'd the vanity of lifo.
Of the wild brooks –But fondly wandering wide, In cruel broils engag'd, and deadly strife :
With honorable ruffians in their hire, One great amusement of our household was, Cause war to rage, and blood around to pour: In a huge crystal magic globe to spy,
Of this sad work when each begins to tire, Still as you turn'd it, all things that do pass
They sit them down just where they were before, Upon this ant-hill Earth ; where constantly Till for new scenes of woe peace shall their force Of idly-busy men the restless fry
restore. Run bustling to and fro with foolish haste, In search of pleasure vain that from them fly, To number up the thousands dwelling here,
Or which obtain'd, the caitiffs dare not taste : An useless were, and eke an endless task ; When nothing is enjoy'd, can there be greater waste ? From kings, and those who at the helm appear,
To gypsies brown in summer-glades who bask. “Of vanity the mirror” this was call’d.
Yea, many a man, perdie, I could unmask, Here you a muckworm of the town might see,
Whose desk and table make a solemn show, At his dull desk, amid his legers stallid,
With tape-tied trash, and suits of fools that ask Eat up with carking care and penurie :
For place or pension laid in decent row; Most like to carcass parch'd on gallow-tree. But these I passen by, with nameless numbers moe. “A penny saved is a penny got;" Firm to this scoundrel maxim keepeth he,
Of all the gentle tenants of the place, Ne of its rigor will he bate a jot,
There was a man of special grave remark: Till it has quench'd his fire, and banished his pot. A certain tender gloom o'erspread his face,
Pensive, not sad, in thought involv’d, not dark; Straight from the filth of this low grub, behold! As soot this man could sing as morning-lark, Comes fluttering forth a gaudy spendthrift heir,
And teach the noblest morals of the heart : All glossy gay, enameld all with gold,
But these bis talents were yburied stark; The silly tenant of the summer-air,
of the fine stores he nothing would impart, In folly lost, of nothing takes he care ;
Which or boon Nature gave, or Nature-painting Pimps, lawyers, stewards, harlots, flatterers vile,
To noontide shades incontinent he ran,
Where purls the brook with sleep-inviting sound;
Or when Dan Sol to slope his wheels began, This globe portray'd the race of learned men,
Amid the broom he bask'd him on the ground, Still at their books, and turning o'er the page
Where the wild thyme and camomile are found : Backwards and forwards : oft they snatch the pen,
There would he linger, till the latest ray As if inspir'd, and in a Thespian rage ;
Of light sat trembling on the welkin's bound ; Then write, and blot, as would your ruth engage.
Then homeward through the twilight shadows Why, authors, all this scrawl and scribbling sore?
stray, To lose the present, gain the future age,
Sauntering and slow. So had he passed many a day!
Yet not in thoughtless slumber were they past :
Beneath the sleeping embers, mounted fast,
And all its native light anew reveal'd : With carts, and cars, and coaches, roaring all : Oft as he travers d the cerulean field, Wide pour'd abroad behold the giddy crew;
And markt the clouds that drove before the wind, See how they dash along from wall to wall! Ten thousand glorious systems would he build, At every door, hark how they thundering call! Ten thousand great ideas fillid his mind; Good Lord! what can this giddy rout excite ?
But with the clouds they fled, and loft no trice Why, on each other with fell tooth to fall;
behind. A neighbor's fortune, fame, or peace to blight, And make new tiresome parties for the coming With him was sometimes join'd, in silent walk, night.
(Profoundly silent, for they never spoke,)
One shyer still, who quite detested talk: The puzzling sons of party next appear'd,
Oft, stung by spleen, at once away he broke, In dark cabals and nightly juntoes met;
To groves of pine, and broad o'ershadowing oak, And now they whisper'd close, now shrugging There, inly thrillid, he wander'd all alone, rear'd
And on himself his pensive fury wroke, Th'important shoulder; then, as if to get
Ne ever utter'd word, save when first shone New light, their twinkling eyes were inward set. The glittering star of eve — “ Thank Heaven! the No sooner Lucifer recalls affairs,
day is done." Than forth they various rush in mighty fret; When, lo! push'd up to power, and crown'd their Here lurk'd a wretch, who had not crept abroad cares,
For forty years, ne face of mortal seen; In comes another set, and kicketh them down In chamber brooding like a lothely toad : stairs.
And sure his linen was not very clean.
Through secret loop-holes, that had practis'd been A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems; Near to his bed, his dinner vile he took ;
+Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain, Unkempt, and rough, of squalid face and mien, On virtue still, and Nature's pleasing themes,
Our castle's shame! whence, from his filthy nook, Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain : We drove the villain out for filter lair to look. The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here laugh'd he careless in his easy seat ; One day there chaunc'd into these halls to rove Here quaff'd encircled with the joyous train, A joyous youth, who took you at first sight; Oft moralizing sage ; his ditty sweet Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove, He lothed much to write, ne cared to repeat. Before the sprightly tempest-tossing light: Certes, he was a most engaging wight,
Full oft by holy feet our ground was trod, Of social glee, and wit humane, though keen, Of clerks good plenty here you mote espy. Turning the night to day, and day to night : A little, round, fat, oily man of God,
For him the merry bells had rung, I ween, Was one I chiefly mark'd among the fry: If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.
He had a roguish twinkle in his eye,
And shone all glittering with ungodly dew, But not ev'n pleasure to excess is good :
If a tight damsel chaunc'd to trippen by; What most elates then sinks the soul as low : Which, when observ'd, he shrunk into his mew, When spring-tide joy pours in with copious flood, And straight would recollect his piety anew. The higher still th' exulting billows flow, The farther back again they flagging go,
Nor be forgot a tribe, who minded nought And leave us grovelling on the dreary shore:
(Old inmates of the place) but state-affairs : Taught by this son of joy, we found it so:
They look'd, perdie, as if they deeply thought; Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar
And on their brow sat every nation's cares. Our madden'd castle all, th' abode of sleep no more. The world by them is parcel'd out in shares,
When in the hall of smoke they congress hold, As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly,
And the sage berry sun-burnt Mocha bears Sprung from the meads, o'er which he sweeps
Has clear'd their inward eye: then, smoke-en along,
rollid, Cheer'd by the breathing bloom and vital sky,
Their oracles break forth mysterious, as of old. Tunes up amid these airy halls his song, Soothing at first the gay reposing throng: And oft he sips their bowl: or, nearly drown'd,
Here languid Beauty kept her pale-fac'd court:
Bevies of dainty dames, of high degree,
From every quarter hither made resort;
Where, from gross mortal care and business
free, Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy round.
They lay, pour'd out in ease and luxury.
Or should they a vain show of work assume, Another guest there was, of sense refin'd,
Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be ? Who felt each worth, for every worth he had ;
To knot, to twist, to range the vernal bloom : Serene, yet warm, humane, yet firm his mind,
But far is cast the distaff, spinning-wheel, and As little touch'd as any man's with bad:
Their only labor was to kill the time;
And labor dire it is, and weary woe.
They sit, they loll, turn o'er some idle rhyme;
Then, rising sudden, to the glass they go, “ Come, dwell with us! true son of virtue, come!
Or saunter forth, with tottering step and slow:
This soon 100 rude an exercise they find ;
Straight on the couch their limbs again they
throw, Ne ever more to quit our quiet glade;
Where hours on hours they sighing lie reclin'd, Yet when at last thy toils but ill apaid Shall dead thy fire, and damp its heavenly spark, And court the vapory god soft-breathing in the
wind. Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural shade,
There to indulge the Muse, and Nature mark : We then a lodge for thee will rear in Hagley-Park."
Now must I mark the villany we found,
But, ah! too late, as shall eftsoons be shown. Here whilom ligg'd th' Esopus* of the age;
A place here was, deep, dreary, under ground, But call’d by Fame, in soul ypricked deep,
Where still our inmates, when unpleasing grown, A noble pride restor'd him to the stage,
Diseas'd and lothesome, privily were thrown. And rous'd him like a giant from his sleep.
Far from the light of Heaven, they languish'd Ev'n from his slumbers we advantage reap:
there, With double force th' enliven'd scene he wakes,
Unpitied uttering many a bitter groan;
For of these wretches taken was no care :
† This character of Mr. Thomson was written by * Mr. Quin.