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And claim the palm for purity of song,
That Lewdness had usurped and worn so long.
Then decent Pleasantry and sterling Sense,
That neither gave, nor would endure offence,
Whipped out of sight, with satire just and keen,
The puppy pack, that had defiled the scene.
In front of these came Addison.
Humour in holiday and sightly trim,
Sublimity and Attic taste combined,
To polish, furnish, and delight the mind.
Then Pope, as harmony itself exact,
In verse well disciplined, complete, compact,
Gave virtue and morality a grace,
That, quite eclipsing Pleasure's painted face,
Levied a tax of wonder and applause,
Even on the fools that trampled on their laws.
But he (his musical finesse was such,
So nice his ear, so delicate his touch)
Made poetry a mere mechanic art;
And every warbler has his tune by heart.
Nature imparting her satiric gift,
Her serious mirth, to Arbuthnot and Swift,
With droll sobriety they raised a smile
"At Folly's cost, themselves unmoved the while.
That constellation set, the world in vain
Must hope to look upon their like again.
A. Are we then left-B. Not wholly in the dark;
Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark,
Sufficient to redeem the modern race
From total night and absolute disgrace.
While servile trick and imitative knack
Confine the million in the beaten track,
Perhaps some courser, who disdains the road,
Snuffs up the wind, and flings himself abroad.
Contemporaries all surpassed, see one;
Short his career indeed, but ably run;
Churchill, himself unconscious of his powers,
In penury consumed his idle hours;
And, like a scattered seed at random sown,
Was left to spring by vigour of his own.
Lifted at length, by dignity of thought
And dint of genius, to an affluent lot,
He laid his head in Luxury's soft lap,
And took, too often, there his easy nap.
If brighter beams than all he threw not forth,
'Twas negligence in him, not want of worth.
Surly, and slovenly, and bold, and coarse,
Teo proud for art, and trusting in mere force,
Spendthrift alike of money and of wit,
Always at speed, and never drawing bit,
He struck the lyre in such a careless mood,
And so disdained the rules he understood,
The laurel seemed to wait on his command,
He snatched it rudely from the Muses' hand.
Nature exerting an unwearied power,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the fields, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads:
She fills profuse ten thousand little throats
With music, modulating all their notes;
And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds un-
With artless airs and concerts of her own;
But seldom (as if fearful of expense)
Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretence-
Fervency, freedom, fluency of thought,
Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought;
Fancy, that, from the bow that spans the sky,
Brings colours, dipped in Heaven, that never die;
A soul exalted above Earth, a mind
Skilled in the characters that form mankind;
And, as the Sun in rising beauty drest,
Looks to the westward from the dappled east,
And marks, whatever clouds may interpose,
Ere yet his race begins, its glorious close;
An eye like his to catch the distant goal
Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll,
Like his to shed illuminating rays
On every scene and subject it surveys: ⚫
Thus graced, the man asserts a poet's name,
And the world cheerfully admits the claim.
Pity Religion has so seldom found
A skilful guide into poetic ground!
The flowers would spring where'er she deigned to stray,
Virtue indeed meets many a rhyming friend,
And every muse attend her in her way.
And many a compliment politely penned;
But unattired in that becoming vest
Religion weaves for her, and half undrest,
Stands in the desert, shivering and forlorn,
A wintry figure, like a withered thorn.
The shelves are full, all other themes are sped;
Hackneyed and worn to the last flimsy thread,
Satire has long since done his best; and curst
And loathsome Ribaldry has done his worst;
Fancy has sported all her powers away
In tales, in trifles, and in children's play;"
And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true,"
Whate'er we write, we bring forth nothing new.
'Twere new indeed to see a bard all fire,
Touched with a coal from Heaven, assume the
And tell the world, still kindling as he sung,
With more than mortal music on his tongue,
That He, who died below, and reigns above,
Inspires the song, and that his name is Love.
For, after all, if merely to beguile,.
By flowing numbers and a flowery stye,.
The tædium that the lazy rich endure,
Which now and then sweet poetry may cure;
Or, if to see the name of idle self,
Stamped on the well-bound quarto, grace the shelf
To float a bubble on the breath of Fame,
Prompt his endeavour and engage his aim,
Debased to servile purposes of pride,
How are the powers of genius misapplied!
The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace him in his word, his works, his ways!
Then spread the rich discovery, and invite
Mankind to share in the divine delight;
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine,
To purchase, at the fool-frequented fair
Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Is profanation of the basest kind-
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind,
A. Hail, Sternhold, then! and Hopkins, hail!
If flattery, folly, lust, employ the pen;
If acrimony, slander, and abuse,
Give it a charge to blacken and traduce;
Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease,
With all that fancy can invent to please,
Adorn the polished periods as they fall,
One madrigal of theirs is worth them all.
A. "Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe,
To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.
B. No matter we could shift when they were
And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.
Si quid loquar audiendum.
SING, muse, (if such a theme, so dark, so long, May find a muse to grace it with a song,) By what unseen and unsuspected arts The serpent Error twines round human hearts; Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades, That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades, The poisonous, black, insinuating worm Successfully conceals her loathsome form. Take, if ye can, ye careless and supine, Counsel and caution from a voice like mine! Truths, that the theorist could never reach, And observation taught me, I would teach.
Not all, whose eloquence the fancy fills, Musical as the chime of tinkling rills, Weak to perform, though mighty to pretend, Can trace her mazy windings to their end; Discern the fraud beneath the specious lure, Prevent the danger, or prescribe the cure. The clear harangue, and cold as it is clear, Falls soporific on the listless ear; Like quicksilver, the rhetoric they display, Shines as it runs, but grasped at slips away. Placed for his trial on this bustling stage, From thoughtless youth to ruminating age, Free in his will to choose or to refuse, Man may improve the crisis, or abuse; Else on the fatalist's unrighteous plan, Say to what bar amenable were man? With nought in charge, he could betray no trust; And, if he fell, would fall because he must; If Love reward him, or if Vengeance strike, His recompence in both unjust alike. Divine authority within his breast Brings every thought, word, action, to the test; Warns him or prompts, approves him or restrains, As Reason, or as Passion, takes the reins. Heaven from above, and Conscience from within, Cries in his startled ear-Abstain from sin! The world around solicits his desire, And kindles in his soul a treacherous fire,
While, all his purposes and steps to guard,
Peace follows Virtue as its sure reward;
And Pleasure brings as surely in her train
Remorse, and Sorrow, and Vindictive Pain.
Man, thus endued with an elective voice,
Must be supplied with objects of his choice;
Where'er he turns, enjoyment and delight,
Or present, or in prospect, meet his sight;
Those open on the spot their honeyed store
These call him loudly to pursuit of more.
His unexhausted mine the sordid vice
Avarice shows, and virtue is the price.
Her various motives his ambition raise-
Power, pomp, and splendour, and the thirst of
There beauty woos him with expanded arms;
E'en Bacchanalian madness has its charms.
Nor these alone, whose pleasures less refined,"
Might well alarm the most unguarded mind,
Seek to supplant his inexperienced youth,
Or lead him devious from the path of truth;
Hourly allurements on his passions press,
Safe in themselves, but dangerous in th' excess.
Hark! how it floats upon the dewy air!
O what a dying, dying close was there!
'Tis harmony from yon sequestered bower,
Sweet harmony that soothes the midnight hour!
Long ere the charioteer of day had run
His morning course, th' enchantment was begun;
And he shall gild yon mountain's height again,
Ere yet the pleasing toil becomes a pain.
. Is this the rugged path, the steep ascent, That Virtue points to? Can a life thus spent Lead to the bliss she promises the wise, Detach the soul from earth, and speed her to the skies?
Ye devotees to your adored employ,
Enthusiasts, drunk with an unreal joy,
Love makes the music of the blest above,
Heaven's harmony is universal love:
And earthly sounds, tho' sweet and well combined, | O fie! 'tis evangelical and pure:
And lenient as soft opiates to the mind,
Leave Vice and Folly unsubdued behind.
Observe each face, how sober and demure!
Ecstacy sets her stamp on every mien;
Gray dawn appears; the sportsman and his train Chins fallen, and not an eye-ball to be seen.
Speckle the bosom of the distant plain;
'Tis he, the Nimrod of the neighbouring lairs;
Save that his scent is less acute than theirs;
For persevering chase, and headlong leaps,
True beagle as the staunchest hound he keeps.
Charred with the folly of his life's mad scene,
He takes offence, and wonders what you mean;
The joy the danger and the toil o'erpays—
"Tis exercise, and health, and length of days.
Again impetuous to the field he flies;
Leaps every fence but one, there falls and dies;
Like a slain deer, the tumbrel brings him home,
Unmissed but by his dogs and by his groom.
Ye clergy, while your orbit is your place,
Lights of the world, and stars of human race;
But if eccentric ye forsake your sphere,
Prodigies ominous, and viewed with fear;
The comet's baneful influence is a dream;
Yours, real and pernicious in th' extreme.
What then!-are appetites and lusts laid down,
With the same ease that man puts on his gown?
Will Avarice and concupiscence give place,
Charmed by the sounds-Your Reverence, or Your
No. But his own engagement binds him fast;
Or, if it does not, brands him to the last,
What atheists call him-a designing knave,
A mere church juggler, hypocrite, and slave.
Oh, laugh or mourn with me the rueful jest,
A cassocked huntsman, and a fiddling priest!
He from Italian songsters takes his cue:
Set Paul to music, he shall quote him too.
He takes the field, the master of the pack
Still I insist, though music heretofore
Has charmed me much, (not e'en Occiduus more,)
Love, joy, and peace, make harmony more meet
For sabbath evenings, and perhaps as sweet.
Will not the sickliest sheep of every flock
Resort to this example as a rock;
There stand, and justify the foul abuse
Of sabbath-hours with plausible excuse?
If apostolic gravity be free
To play the fool on Sundays, why not we?
If he the tinkling harpsichord regards
As inoffensive, what offence in cards?
Strike up the fiddles, let us all be gay,
Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play.
Oh Italy!-Thy sabbaths will be soon
Our sabbaths, closed with mummery and buffoon.
Preaching and pranks will share the motley scene,
Ours parcelled out, as thine have ever been,
God's worship and the mountebank between.
What says the prophet? Let that day be blest
With holiness and consecrated rest.
Pastime and business both it should exclude,
And bar the door the moment they intrude:
Nobly distinguished above all the six.
By deeds, in which the world must never mix.
Hear him again. He calls it a delight,
A day of luxury observed aright,
When the glad soul is made Heaven's welcome
Sits banqueting, and God provides the feast.
But triflers are engaged and can not come;
Their answer to the call is-Not at home.
O the dear pleasures of the velvet plain,
Cries-Well done, saint! and claps him on the The painted tablets, dealt and dealt again!
Is this the path of sanctity? Is this
To stand a waymark in the road to bliss?
Himself a wanderer from the narrow way,
His silly sheep, what wonder if they stray?
Go, cast your orders at your bishop's feet,
Send your dishonoured gown to Monmouth-street!
The sacred function in your hands is made―
Sad privilege! no function, but a trade!
Occiduus is a pastor of renown,
When he has prayed and preached the sabbath
With wire and catgut he concludes the day,
Quavering and semiquavering care away
The full concerto swells upon your ear;
All elbows shake. Look in, and you would swear
The Babylonian tyrant with a nod
Had summoned them to serve his golden god.
So well that thought th' employment seems to suit,
Psaltery and sackbut, dulcimer and flute.
Cards with what rapture, and the polished die,
The yawning chasm of indolence supply!
Then to the dance, and make the sober moon
Witness of joys that shun the sight of noon.
Blame, cynic, if you can, quadrille or ball,
The snug close party, or the splendid hall,
Where night, down-stooping from her ebon throne,
Views constellations brighter than her own.
'Tis innocent, and harmless, and refined,
The balm of care, Elysium of the mind.
Innocent! Oh, if venerable Time
Slain at the foot of Pleasure be no crime,
Then, with his silver beard and magic wand,
Let Comus rise archbishop of the land;
Let him your rubric and your feasts prescribe,
Grand metropolitan of all the tribe.
Of manners rough, and coarse athletic cast,
The rank debauch suits Clodio's filthy taste.
Rufillus, exquisitely formed by rule,
Not of the moral but the dancing school,
Wonders at Clodio's follies, in a tone
As tragical, as others at his own.
He can not drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has the ladies' etiquette by heart.
Go, fool; and, arm in arm with Clodio, plead
Your cause before a bar you little dread;
But know, the law that bids the drunkard die,
Is far too just to pass the trifler by.
Both baby-featured, and of infant size,
Viewed from a distance, and with heedless eyes,
Folly and Innocence are so alike,
The difference, though essential, fails to strike.
Yet Folly ever has a vacant stare,
A simpering countenance, and a trifling air;
But Innocence, sedate, serene, erect,
Delights us, by engaging our respect.
Man, Nature's guest by invitation sweet,
Receives from her both appetite and treat;
But, if he play the glutton and exceed,
His benefactress blushes at the deed;
For Nature, nice, as liberal to dispense,
Made nothing but a brute the slave of sense.
Daniel ate pulse by choice-example rare!
All these belong to virtue, and all prove,
That virtue has a title to your love.
Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
Stand starved at your inhospitable door?
Or if yourself too scantily supplied
Need help, let honest industry provide.
Earn, if you want; if you abound, impart:
These both are pleasures to the feeling heart.
No pleasure? Has some sickly eastern waste
Sent us a wind to parch us at a blast?
Can British Paradise no scenes afford
To please her sated and indifferent lord?
Are sweet philosophy's enjoyments run
Quite to the lees? And has religion none?
Brutes capable would tell you 'tis a lie,
And judge you from the kennel and the stye.
Delights like these, ye sensual and profane,
Ye are bid, begged, besought to entertain;
Called to these crystal streams, do ye turn off
Obscene to swill and swallow at a trough?
Envy the beast then, on whom Heaven bestows
Your pleasures, with no curses in the close.
Pleasure admitted in undue degree
Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free.
'Tis not alone the grape's enticing juice
Heaven blessed the youth, and made him fresh and Unnerves the moral powers, and mars their use;
Gorgonius sits, abdominous and wan,
Like a fat squab upon a Chinese fan:
He snuffs far off th' anticipated joy;
Turtle and ven'son all his thoughts employ;
Prepares for meals as jockeys take a sweat,
Oh, nauseous!-an emetic for a whet!
Will Providence o'erlook the wasted good?
Temperance were no virtue if he could.
Ambition, avarice, and the lust of fame,
And woman, lovely woman, does the same.
The heart, surrendered to the ruling power
Of some ungoverned passion every hour,
Finds by degrees the truths, that once bore sway,
And all their deep impressions, wear away;
So coin grows smooth, in traffic current passed,
Till Cæsar's image is effaced at last.
The breach, tho' small at first, soon opening wide,
That pleasures, therefore, or what such we call, In rushes folly with a full-moon tide,
Are hurtful, is a truth confessed by all;
And some, that seem to threaten virtue less,
Still hurtful in th' abuse, or by th' excess.-
Is man then only for his torment placed
The centre of delights he may not taste;
Like fabled Tantalus, condemned to hear®
The precious stream still purling in his ear,
Lip-deep in what he longs for, and yet curst
With prohibition, and perpetual thirst?
No, wrangler destitute of shame and sense
The precept, that enjoins him abstinence,
Forbids him none but the licentious joy,
Whose fruit, though fair, tempts only to destroy.
Remorse, the fatal egg by Pleasure laid
In every bosom where her nest is made,
Hatched by the beams of Truth, denies him rest,
And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
No pleasure? Are domestic comforts dead?
Are all the nameless sweets of friendship fled;
Has time worn out, or fashion put to shame,
Good sense, good health, good conscience, and
Then welcome errors of whatever size,
To justify it by a thousand lies.
As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
And hides the ruin that it feeds upon.
So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
Mortals, whose pleasures are their only care,
First wish to be imposed on, and then are.
And, lest the fulsome artifice should fail,
Themselves will hide its coarseness with a veil.
Not more industrious are the just and true,
To give to Virtue what is Virtue's due-
The praise of wisdom, comeliness, and worth,
And call her charms to public notice forth-
Than Vice's mean and disingenuous race,"
To hide the shocking features of her face.
Her form with dress and lotion they repair;
Then kiss their idol, and pronounce her fair
The sacred implement I now employ
Might prove a mischief, or at best a toy;
A trifle, if it move but to amuse;
But, if to wrong the judgment and abuse,
Worse than a poniard in the basest hand,
It stabs at once the morals of a land.
Ye writers of what none with safety reads,
Footing it in the dance that Fancy leads;
Ye novelists, who mar what ye would mend,"
Snivelling and drivelling folly without end;
Whose corresponding misses fill the ream,
With sentimental frippery and dream,
Caught in a delicate soft silken net
By some lewd earl, or rakehell baronet:
Ye pimps, who, under virtue's fair pretence,
Steal to the closet of young innocence,
And teach her, unexperienced yet and green,
To scribble as you scribbled at fifteen;
Who kindling a combustion of desire,"
With some cold moral think to quench the fire;
Though all your engineering proves in vain,
The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again:
O that a verse had power, and could command
Far, far away these flesh-flics of the land;
Who fasten without mercy on the fair,
And suck, and leave a craving maggot there!
Howe'er disguised the inflammatory tale,
And covered with a fine-spun specious veil;
Such writers, and such readers, owe the gust
And relish of their pleasure all to lust.
But the muse, eagle-pinioned, has in view A quarry more important still than you; Down, down the wind she swims, and sails away, Now stoops upon it, and now grasps the prey. Petronius! all the muses weep for thee; But every tear shall scald thy memory: The graces too, while Virtue at their shrine Lay bleeding under that soft hand of thine, Felt each a mortal stab in her own breast, Abhorred the sacrifice, and cursed the priest. Thou polished and high-finished foe to truth, Graybeard corrupter of our listening youth, To purge and skim away the filth of vice, That so refined it might the more entice, Then pour it on the morals of thy son; To taint his heart, was worthy of thine own! Now, while the poison all high life pervades, Write, if thou canst, one letter from the shades; One, and one only, charged with deep regret, That thy worse part, thy principles, live yet: One sad epistle thence may cure mankind Of the plague spread by bundles left behind. "Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears, Our most important are our earliest years; The mind, impressible and soft, with ease Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees, And through life's labyrinth holds fast the clew That Education gives her, false or true. Plants raised with tenderness are seldom strong;" Man's coltish disposition asks the thong; And without discipline, the favourite child, Like a neglected forester, runs wild.
But we, as if good qualities would grow
Spontaneous, take but little pains to sow;
We give some Latin, and a smatch of Greek;
Teach him to fence and figure twice a week;
And having done, we think, the best we can,
Praise his proficiency, and dub him man.
From school to Cam or Isis, and thence, home; And thence with all convenient speed to Rome, With reverend tutor clad in habit lay,
To tease for cash, and quarrel with all day;
With memorandum-book for every town,
And every post, and where the chaise broke down;
His stock, a few French phrases got by heart,
With much to learn, but nothing to impart;
The youth obedient to his sire's commands,
Sets off a wanderer into foreign lands.
Surprised at all they meet, the gosling pair,
With awkward gait, stretched neck, and silly stare,
Discover huge cathedrals built with stone,
And steeples towering high much like our own;
But show peculiar light by many a grin,
At popish practices observed within.
Ere long, some bowing, smirking, smart abbé
Remarks two loiterers that have lost their way;
And being always primed with politesse
For men of their appearance and address,
With much compassion undertakes the task,
To tell them more than they have wit to ask;
Points to inscriptions wheresoe'er they tread,
Such as, when legible, were never read,
But, being cankered now and half worn out,
Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt;
Some headless hero, or some Cæsar shows-
Defective only in his Roman nose;
Exhibits elevations, drawings, plans,
Models of Herculanean pots and pans;
And sells them medals, which, if neither rare
Nor ancient, will be so, preserved with care.
Strange the recital! from whatever cause
His great improvement and new light he draws,
The squire, once bashful, is shamefaced no more,
But teems with powers he never felt before:
Whether increased momentum, and the force,
With which from clime to clime he sped his course.
(As axles sometimes kindle as they go)
Chafed him, and brought dull nature to a glow,
Or whether clearer skies and softer air,
That make Italian flowers so sweet and fair,
Freshening his lazy spirits as he ran,
Unfolded genially and spread the man;
Returning he proclaims by many a grace,
By shrugs and strange contortions of his face,
How much a dunce, that has been sent to roam
Excels a dunce, that has been kept at home.
Accomplishments have taken virtue's place,
And wisdom falls before exterior grace:
We slight the precious kernel of the stone,
And toil to polish its rough coat alone