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FROM HOLLAND, TO A FRIEND IN
ENGLAND, IN THE YEAR 1703.
ROM Utrecht's silent walks, by winds, I send
Health and kind wishes to my absent friend.
The winter spent, I feel the poet's fire;
The sun advances, and the fogs retire :
The genial spring unbinds the frozen earth,
Dawns on the trees, and gives the primrose biith.
Loos'd from their friendly harbours, once again
Confederate Acets assemble on the main :
The voice of war the gallant foldier wakes ;
And weeping Cloë parting kisses takes.
On new-plum’d wings the Roman eagle soars ;
The Belgick lion in full fury roars.
Dispatch the leader from your happy coast,
The hope of Europe, and Britannia's boalt :
O, Marlborough, come! fresh laurels for thee rise!
Cne conquest more; and Gallia will
Old Lewis makes his last effort in armis,
And shews how, ev'n in age, ambition charms.
Meanwhile, my friend, the thickening shades I haunt,
And smooth canals, and after rivulets pant :
The smooth canals, alas, too lifeless show!
Nor to the eye, nor to the ear, they flow.
Studious of ease, and fond of humble things,
Below the smiles, below the frowns of kings, 24
Thanks to my stars, I prize the swects of life:
No deepless nights I count, no days of Atrife.
Content to live, content to die, unknown,
Lord of myfélf, accountable to none;
I fleep, I wake, I drink; I sometimes love;
I read, I write; I settle, and I love,
When, and where-e'er, I please : thus, every hour
Gives some new proof of my despotic power. 32
All, that I will, I can; but then, I will
As reason bids; I meditate no ill;
And, pleas'd with things which in my level lie,
Leave it to madmen o’er the clouds to fly.
But this is all romance, a dream to you,
Who fence and dance, and keep the court in view.
White staffs and truncheons, seals and golden keys,
And silver stars, your towering genius please : 40
Such manly thoughts in every infant rise,
Who daily for some tinsel trinket cries.
Go on, and prosper, Sir: but first from me
Learn your own temper; for I know
You can be honest; but you cannot bow,
And cringe, beneath a supercilious brow:
You cannot fawn; your stubborn soul recoils
At baseness; and your blood too highly boils.
"From nature some fubmissive tempers have ;
Unkind to you, she form’d you not a slave.
A courtier must be fupple, full of guile,
Must learn to praise, to flatter, to revile,
The good, the bad, an enemy, a friend,
To give false hopes, and on false hopes depend.
Go on, and prosper, Sir: but learn to hide
Your upright fpirit: 't will be construed pride. 56
The Splendor of a court is all a cheat;
You must be servile, ere you can be great.
Besides, your ancient patrimony wafted,
Your youth run out, your schemes of grandeur blasted,
You may perhaps retire in difcontent,
And curse your patron, for no strange event:
The patron will his innocence protest,
And frown in earnest, though he smil'd in jest.
Man, only from himself, can suffer wrong;
His reason fails, as his desires grow strong:
Hence, wanting ballast, and too full of fail,
He lies expos'd to every rising gale.
From youth to age, for happiness hie's bound :
He splits on rocks, or runs his bark aground,
Or, wide of land, a desert ocean views,
And, to the last, the flying port pursues,
Yet, to the last, the port he does not gain,
And dying finds, too late, he liv'd in vain.
Copenhagen, March 9, 1709.
From streams which northern winds forbid to flow,
What present shall the Muse to Dorset bring,
Or how, so near the Pole, attempt to fing?
The hoary winter here conceals from fight
All pleaning objects which to verse invite.
The hills and dales, and the delightful woods,
The flowery plains, and filver-streaming floods, 8
By snow disguis’d, in bright confusion lie,
And with one dazzling waste fatigue the eye.
No gentle breathing breeze prepares the spring,
No birds within the defert region sing.
The ships, unmov’d, the boisterous winds defy,
While rattling chariots o'er the ocean fly.
The vast Leviathan wants room to play,
And spout his waters in the face of day.
The starving wolves along the main sea prowl,
And to the moon in icy valleys howl.
O'er many a shining league the level main
Here spreads itself into a glassy plain :
There solid billows of enormous size,
Alps of green ice, in wild disorder rise.
And yet but lately have I seen, ev'n here, The winter in a lovely dress appear.
24 Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasur'd snow, Or winds begun through hazy skies to blow, At evening a keen eastern breeze arose, And the descending rain unfully'd froze. Soon as the filent shades of night withdrew, The ruddy morn disclos’d at once to view The face of Nature in a rich disguise, And brighten'd every object to my eyes : For every shrub, and every blade of grass, And every pointed thorn, seem'd wrought in glass ; In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show, While through the ice the crimson berdies glow.
The thick-sprung reeds, which watery marshes yield,
Seem'd polish'd lances in a hostile field.
The stag, in limpid currents, with surprize,
Sees crystal branches on his forehead rise :
The spreading oak, the beech, and towering pine,
Glaz’d over, in the freezing æther thine.
The frighted birds the rattling branches (hun,
Which wave and glitter in the distant fun.
When if a sudden gust of wind arise,
The brittle forest into atoms flies,
The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled fhower the prospect ends :
Or, if a fouthern gale the region warm,
And by degrees unbind the wintery charm,
The traveller a miry country fees,
And journeys sad beneath the dropping trees :
Like some deluded peasant, Merlin leads
Through fragrant bowers, and through delicious meads,
While here inchanted gardens to him rise,
And airy fabricks there attract his eyes,
His wandering feet the magic paths pursue,
And, while he thinks the fair illusion true,
The trackless scenes disperse in fluid air,
And woods, and wilds, and thorny ways appear,
A tedious road the weary wretch returns,
And, as he goes, the transient vision mourns.