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Which snatch'd my best, my favorite curl away:
Happy!. ah ten times happy had I been,
If Hampton-Court these eyes had never seen!
Yet am not I the first mistaken maid
By love of courts to numerous ills betray'd.
Oh had I rather unadmir'd remain'd
In some lone isle, or distant northern land;
Where the gilt chariot never marks the way,
Where none learn ombre, none e'er taste bohea!
There kept my charms conceal'd from mortal eye,
Like roses, that in deserts bloom and die.
What mov'd my mind with youthful lords to roam?
Oh had I stay'd, and said my prayers at home!
"Twas this, the morning omens seem'd to tell,
Thrice from my trembling hand the patch-box fell;
The tottering china shook without a wind,
Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind!
A Sylph too warn'd me of the threats of Fate,
In mystic visions, now believ'd too late!
See the poor remnants of these slighted hairs!
My hand shall rend what ev'n thy rapine spares :
These in two sable ringlets taught to break,
Once gave new beauties to the snowy neck;
The Sister-lock now sits uncouth, alone,
And in its fellow's fate foresees its own;
Uncurl'd it hangs, the fatal shears demands,
And tempts, once more, thy sacrilegious hands.
Oh hadst thou, cruel! been content to seize
Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these!"
SHE said the pitying audience melt in tears;
But Fate and Jove had stopp'd the baron's ears.
In vain Thalestris with reproach assails,
For who can move when fair Belinda fails?
Not half so fix'd the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begg'd and Dido rag'd in vain.
Then grave Clarissa graceful way'd her fan;
Silence ensued, and thus the nymph began:
"Say, why are beauties prais'd and honor'd most,
The wise man's passion, and the vain man's toast?
Why deck'd with all that land and sea afford,
Why angels call'd, and angel-like ador'd? [beaux?
Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd
Why bows the side-box from its inmost rows?
How vain are all these glories, all our pains,
Unless good sense preserve what beauty gains:
That men may say, when we the front-box grace,
Behold the first in virtue as in face!
Oh! if to dance all night and dress all day,
Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old-age away:
Who would not scorn what housewife's cares pro-
Or who would learn one earthly thing of use?
To patch, nay ogle, may become a saint;
Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.
But since, alas, frail beauty must decay;
Curl'd or uncurl'd, since locks will turn to grey;
Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,
And she who scorns a man must die a maid;
What then remains, but well our power to use,
And keep good-humor still, whate'er we lose?
And trust me, dear, good-humor can prevail.
When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding
Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll;
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul."
So spoke the dame, but no applause ensued:
Belinda frown'd, Thalestris call'd her prude.
"To arms, to arms!" the fierce virago cries,
And swift as lightning to the combat flies.
All side in parties, and begin th' attack;
Fans clap, silks rustle, and tough whalebones
Heroes' and heroines' shouts confus'dly rise,
And base and treble voices strike the skies.
No common weapons in their hands are found;
Like gods they fight, nor dread a mortal wound.
So when bold Homer makes the gods engage,
And heavenly breasts with human passions rage;
'Gainst Pallas, Mars; Latona Hermes arms;
And all Olympus rings with loud alarms;
Jove's thunder roars, Heaven trembles all around,
Blue Neptune storms, the bellowing deeps resound:
Earth shakes her nodding towers, the ground gives
And the pale ghosts start at the flash of day!
Triumphant Umbriel on a sconce's height
Clapp'd his glad wings, and sate to view the fight:
Propp'd on their bodkin spears, the Sprites survey
The growing combat, or assist the fray.
While through the press enrag'd Thalestris flies,
And scatters death around from both her eyes,
A beau and witling perish'd in the throng,
One died in metaphor, and one in song.
"O cruel nymph! a living death I bear,"
Cried Dapperwit, and sunk beside his chair.
A mournful glance Sir Fopling upwards cast,
"Those eyes are made so killing"-was his last.
Thus on Maander's flowery margin lies
Th' expiring swan, and as he sings he dies.
When bold Sir Plume had drawn Clarissa down
Chloe stepp'd in, and kill'd him with a frown;
She smil'd to see the doughty hero slain,
But, at her smile, the beau reviv'd again.
Now Jove suspends his golden scales in air,
Weighs the men's wits against the lady's hair;
The doubtful beam long nods from side to side;
At length the wits mount up, the hairs subside.
See, fierce Belinda on the baron flies,
With more than usual lightning in her eyes:
Nor fear'd the chief th' unequal fight to try,
Who sought no more than on his foe to die.
But this bold lord, with manly strength endu'd,
She with one finger and a thumb subdued:
Just where the breath of life his nostrils drew,
A charge of snuff the wily virgin threw;
The Gnomes direct, to every atom just,
The pungent grains of titillating dust.
Sudden, with starting tears each eye o'erflows,
And the high dome re-echoes to his nose.
"Now meet thy fate," incens'd Belinda cried,
And drew a deadly bodkin from her side.
(The same, his ancient personage to deck,
Her great-great-grandsire wore about his neck,
In three seal rings; which after, melted down,
Form'd a vast buckle for his widow's gown:
Her infant grandame's whistle next it grew,
The bells she jingled, and the whistle blew;
Then in a bodkin grac'd her mother's hairs,
Which long she wore, and now Belinda wears.)
"Boast not my fall (he cried), insulting foe!
Thou by some other shalt be laid as low.
Nor think, to die dejects my lofty mind:
All that I dread is leaving you behind!
Roar'd for the handkerchief that caus'd his pain.
But see how oft ambitious aims are cross'd,
And chiefs contend till all the prize is lost!
The Lock, obtain'd with guilt, and kept with pain,
In every place is sought, but sought in vain :
With such a prize no mortal must be blest,
So Heaven decrees! with Heaven who can contest?
Some thought it mounted to the lunar sphere,
Since all things lost on Earth are treasur'd there.
There heroes' wits are kept in ponderous vases,
And beaux in snuff-boxes and tweezer-cases:
There broken vows and death-bed alms are found,
And lovers' hearts with ends of riband bound;
The courtier's promises, and sick man's prayers,
The smiles of harlots, and the tears of heirs,
Cages for gnats, and chains to yoke a flea,
Dried butterflies, and tomes of casuistry.
But trust the Muse-she saw it upward rise,
Though mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes:
(So Rome's great founder to the Heavens withdrew,
To Proculus alone confess'd in view :)
A sudden star, it shot through liquid air,
And drew behind a radiant trail of hair.
Not Berenice's locks first rose so bright,
The Heaven bespangling with dishevell'd light.
The Sylphs behold it kindling as it flies,
And pleas'd pursue its progress through the skies.
This the beau-monde shall from the Mall survey,
And hail with music its propitious ray.
This the blest lover shall for Venus take,
And send up vows from Rosamonda's lake.
This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies,
When next he looks through Galileo's eyes;
And hence th' egregious wizard shall foredoom
The fate of Louis, and the fall of Rome.
Then cease, bright nymph! to mourn thy rav-
Which adds new glory to the shining sphere!
Not all the tresses that fair head can boast,
Shall draw such envy as the Lock you lost.
For, after all the murders of your eye,
When, after millions slain, yourself shall die;
When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,
And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,
This Lock the Muse shall consecrate to fame,
And midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name.
TO MR. ADDISON'S TRAGEDY OF CATO.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold:
For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage,
Commanding tears to stream through every age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to Virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love;
In pitying Love, we but our weakness show,
And wild Ambition well deserves its woe.
Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause,
Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws:
He bids your breasts with ancient ardor rise,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was :
No common object to your sight displays.
But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys,
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause!
Who sees him act, but envies every deed?
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed!
Ev'n when proud Cæsar midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state;
As her dead father's reverend image past,
The pomp was darken'd, and the day o'ercast;
The triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from ev'ry eye;
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd,
And honor'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword.
Britons, attend: be worth like this approv'd.
And show, you have the virtue to be mov'd.
With honest scorn the first fam'd Cato view'd
Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she sub-
Your scene precariously subsists too long
On French translation, and Italian song.
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage,
Be justly warm'd with your own native rage;
Such plays alone should win a British ear,
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
ELOISA TO ABELARD.
Abelard and Eloïsa flourished in the twelfth cen
tury; they were two of the most distinguished
persons of their age in learning and beauty, but
for nothing more famous than for their unfortu
nate passion. After a long course of calamities,
they retired each to a several convent, and con-
secrated the remainder of their days to religion.
It was many years after this separation, that a
letter of Abelard's to a friend, which contained
the history of his misfortune, fell into the hands
of Eloisa. This awakening all her tenderness,
occasioned those celebrated letters (out of which
the following is partly extracted) which give so
lively a picture of the struggles of grace and na
ture, virtue and passion.
IN these deep solitudes and awful cells,
Where heavenly-pensive Contemplation dwells,
And ever-musing Melancholy reigns;
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins ?
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat?
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love!-From Abelard it came,
And Eloisa yet must kiss the name.
Dear, fatal name! rest ever unreveal'd,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence seal'd:
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise.
Where, mix'd with God's, his lov'd idea lies:
O, write it not, my hand-the name appears
Already written-wash it out, my tears!
In vain lost Eloisa weeps and prays,
Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.
Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains
Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains:
Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn ;
Ye grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn!
Shrines! where their vigils pale-ey'd virgins keep;
And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep!
'Though cold like you, unmov'd and silent grown,
I have not yet forgot myself to stone.
All is not Heaven's while Abelard has part,
Still rebel Nature holds out half my heart;
Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain,
Nor tears, for ages taught to flow in vain.
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes.
Oh, name for ever sad! for ever dear!
Sull breath'd in sighs, still usher'd with a tear.
I tremble too, where'er my own I find,
Some dire misfortune follows close behind.
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
Led through a sad variety of woe:
Now warm in love, now withering in my bloom,
Lost in a convent's solitary gloom!
There stern Religion quench'd th' unwilling flame,
There died the best of passions, love and fame.
Yet write, oh write me all, that I may join
Griefs to thy griefs, and echo sighs to thine.
Nor foes nor Fortune take this power away;
And is my Abelard less kind than they?
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare,
Love but demands what else were shed in prayer;
No happier task these faded eyes pursue;
To read and weep is all they now can do.
Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief.
Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid; [spires,
They live, they speak, they breathe what love in-
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,
'The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.
Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy flame,
When Love approach'd me under Friendship's name;
My fancy form'd thee of angelic kind,
Some emanation of th' All-beauteous Mind.
Those smiling eyes, attempering every ray,
Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day.
Guiltless I gaz'd; Heaven listen'd while you sung;
And truths divine came mended from that tongue.
From lips like those what precept fail'd to move?
Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love:
Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran,
Nor wish'd an angel whom I lov'd a man.
Dim and remote the joys of saints I see,
Nor envy them that Heaven I lose for thee.
How oft, when press'd to marriage, have I said,
Curse on all laws but those which love has made!
Love, free as air, at sight of human ties
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.
Let wealth, let honor, wait the wedded dame,
August her deed, and sacred be her fame;
Before true passion all those views remove;
Fame, wealth, and honor! what are you to love?
The jealous god, when we profane his fires,
Those restless passions in revenge inspires,
And bids them make mistaken mortals groan,
Who seek in love for aught but love alone.
Should at my feet the world's great master fall,
Himself, his throne, his world, I'd scorn them all:
Not Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove;
No, make me mistress to the man I love.
If there be yet another name more free,
More fond than mistress, make me that to thee!
Oh, happy state! when souls each other draw,
When love is liberty, and Nature law:
All then is full, possessing and possess'd,
No craving void left aching in the breast:
Ev'n thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart.
This sure is bliss (if bliss on Earth there be)
And once the lot of Abelard and me.
Alas, how chang'd! what sudden horrors rise!
A naked lover bound and bleeding lies!
Where, where was Eloisa? her voice, her hand,
Her poniard had oppos'd the dire command.
Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain;
The crime was common, common be the pain.
I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress'd,
Let tears and burning blushes speak the rest.
Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day,
When victims at yon altar's foot we lay?
Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell,
When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell?
As with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil,
The shrines all trembled and the lamps grew pale:
Heaven scarce believ'd the conquest it survey'd,
And saints with wonder heard the vows I made.
Yet then, to those dread altars as I drew,
Not on the cross my eyes were fix'd, but you:
Not grace, or zeal, love only was my call;
And if I lose thy love, I lose my all.
Come! with thy looks, thy words, relieve my woe;
Those still at least are left thee to bestow.
Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie,
Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press'd ;
Give all thou canst-and let me dream the rest.
Ah, no! instruct me other joys to prize,
With other beauties charm my partial eyes,
Full in my view set all the bright abode,
And make my soul quit Abelard for God.
Ah! think at least thy flock deserves thy care,
Plants of thy hand, and children of thy prayer.
From the false world in early youth they fled,
By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led.
You rais'd these hallow'd walls; the desert smil'd,
And Paradise was open'd in the wild.
No weeping orphan saw his father's stores
Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors;
No silver saints, by dying misers given,
Here bribe the rage of ill-requited Heaven;
But such plain roofs as Piety could raise,
And only vocal with the Maker's praise,
In these lone walls, (their days eternal bound,)
These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd,
Where awful arches make a noon-day night,
And the dim windows shed a solemn light;
Thy eyes diffus'd a reconciling ray,
And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day.
But now no face divine contentment wears,
"Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears.
See how the force of others' prayers I try,
(O pious fraud of amorous charity!)
But why should I on others' prayers depend?
Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend!
Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move,
And all those tender names in one, thy love!
The darksome pines that o'er yon rocks reclin'd
Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind,
The wandering streams that shine between the hills,
The grots that echo to the tinkling rills,
The dying gales that pant upon the trees,
The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze;
No more these scenes my meditation aid,
Or lull to rest the visionary maid :
But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves,
Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves,
Black Melancholy sits, and round her throws
A death-like silence, and a dread repose;
Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene,
Shades every flower and darkens every green,
Deepens the murmur of the falling floods,
And breathes a browner horror on the woods.
Yet here for ever, ever must I stay;
Sad proof how well a lover can obey!
Death, only Death, can break the lasting chain;
And here, ev'n then, shall my cold dust remain ;
Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine.
Far other dreams my erring soul employ,
Far other raptures of unholy joy:
When, at the close of each sad, sorrowing day,
Fancy restores what Vengeance snatch'd away,
Then Conscience sleeps, and leaving Nature free,
All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee.
O curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night!
How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight!
Provoking demons all restraint remove,
And stir within me every source of love.
I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms,
And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms.
I wake-no more I hear, no more I view,
The phantom flies me, as unkind as you.
I call aloud; it hears not what I say:
I stretch my empty arms; it glides away.
To dream once more I close my willing eyes;
Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise!
Alas, no more! methinks we wandering go
Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe
Where round some mouldering tower pale ivy creeps,
And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deepe
Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies:
Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
And wake to all the griefs I left behind.
Ah, wretch believ'd the spouse of God in vain, I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find, Confess'd within the slave of love and man. Assist me, Heaven! but whence arose that prayer? Sprung it from piety, or from despair? Ev'n here where frozen Chastity retires, Love finds an altar for forbidden fires.
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now turn'd to Heaven, I weep my past offence,
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence.
Of all affliction taught & lover yet,
"Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
And love th' offender, yet detest th' offence?
How the dear object from the crime remove,
Or how distinguish penitence from love?
Unequal task! a passion to resign,
For hearts so touch'd, so pierc'd, so lost as mine!
Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,
How often must it love, how often hate!
How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
Conceal, disdain,-do all things but forget!
But let Heaven seize it, all at once 'tis fir'd:
Not touch'd, but rapt; not waken'd, but inspir'd!
Oh, come, oh, teach me Nature to subdue,
Renounce my love, my life, myself—and you.
Fill my fond heart with God alone, for he
Alone can rival, can succeed to thee.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot;
The world forgetting, by the world forgot!
Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind!
Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd;
Labor and rest that equal periods keep;
"Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
Desires compos'd, affections ever even;
Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heaven.
Grace shines around her with serenest beams,
And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams.
For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms,
And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes;
For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring;
For her white virgins hymenæals sing:
To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away,
And melts in visions of eternal day.
For thee the Fates, severely kind, ordain A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain; Thy life a long dead calm of fix'd repose: No pulse that riots, and no blood that glows. Still as the sea, ere winds were taught to blow, Or moving spirit bade the waters flow; Soft as the slumbers of a saint forgiven, And mild as opening gleams of promis'd Heaven. Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread? The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves; Ev'n thou art cold-yet Eloisa loves. Ah, hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn. What scenes appear where'er I turn my view! The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue, Rise in the grove, before the altar rise, Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes. I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee, Thy image steals between my God and me; Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear, With every bead I drop too soft a tear. When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll, And swelling organs lift the rising soul, One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight: In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd, While altars blaze, and angels tremble round.
While prostrate here in humble grief I lie, Kind, virtuous drops just gathering in my eye, While, praying, trembling, in the dust I roll, And dawning grace is opening on my soul: Come, if thou dar'st, all charming as thou art! Oppose thyself to Heaven; dispute my heart; Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes, Blot out each bright idea of the skies; Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears. Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers: Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode; Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole! Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll! Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me, Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign!
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks, (which yet I view!)
Long lov'd, ador'd ideas, all adieu!
O Grace serene! O Virtue heavenly fair!
Divine oblivion of low-thoughted Care!
Fresh-blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky!
And Faith, our early immortality!
Enter, each mild, each amicable guest;
Receive and wrap me in eternal rest!
See in her cell sad Eloïsa spread,
Propt on some tomb, a neighbor of the dead.
In each low wind methinks a spirit calls,
And more than Echoes talk along the walls.
Here, as I watch'd the dying lamp around,
From yonder shrine I heard a hollow sound.
Come, sister, come!" (it said, or seem'd to say) Thy place is here, sad sister, come away! Once like thyself, I trembled, wept, and pray'd, Love's victim then, though now a sainted maid: But all is calm in this eternal sleep:
Here Grief forgets to groan, and Love to weep; Ev'n Superstition loses every fear;
For God, not man, absolves our frailties here."
I come! I come! prepare your roseate bowers, Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers. Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go, Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow; Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay, And smooth my passage to the realms of day; See my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll, Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul! Ah, no-in sacred vestments may'st thou stand, The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand, Present the cross before my lifted eye, Teach me at once, and learn of me to die. Ah, then thy once-lov'd Eloïsa see! It will be then no crime to gaze on me. See from my cheek the transient roses fly! See the last sparkle languish in my eye! Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er; And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more. O Death all eloquent! you only prove What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love. Then too, when Fate shall thy fair frame destroy (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy,) In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd, Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round. From opening skies may streaming glories shine, And saints embrace thee with a love like mine! May one kind grave unite each hapless name, And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er, When this rebellious heart shall beat no more; If ever chance two wandering lovers brings To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads, And drink the falling tears each other sheds; Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd, "O, may we never love as these have lov'd!" From the full choir, when loud hosannas rise, And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice, Amid that scene if some relenting eye Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie, Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heaven, One human tear shall drop, and be forgiven. And sure if Fate some future bard shall join In sad similitude of griefs to mine, Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore, And image charms he must behold no more:
Such, if there be, who loves so long, so well;
Let him our sad, our tender story tell!
The well-sung woes will soothe my pensive ghost;
He best can paint them who shall feel them most!
Written in the Year 1711.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknow. ledgment. The reader, who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title.
The poem is introduced in the manner of the Provençal poets, whose works were for the most part visions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this therefore chose the same sort of exordium.
IN that soft season, when descending showers
Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers;
When opening buds salute the welcome day,
And earth relenting feels the genial ray;
As balmy sleep had charm'd my cares to rest,
And love itself was banish'd from my breast,
(What time the morn mysterious visions brings,
While purer slumbers spread their golden wings,)
A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And join'd, this intellectual scene compose.
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies;
The whole creation open to my eyes:
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise, and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes, were seen;
There towering cities, and the forests green:
Here sailing ships delight the wandering eyes!
There trees and intermingled temples rise:
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays;
The transient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore:
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of ice the structure lay.
Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way;
The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone.
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time subdued;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And poets once had promis'd they should last.
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.