Page images
PDF
EPUB

IO

The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun. What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air ?

He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

TO CYRIAC SKINNER.

CYRIAC! whose grandsire on the royal bench

Of British Themis, with no mean applause
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,

Which others at their bar so often wrench;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench

In mirth, that, after, no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,

And what the Swede intends, and what the French.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;

For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wise in show,

That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

IO

TO THE SAME.

CYRIAC ! this three years' day these eyes, though clear,

To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot,

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year;

Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer

10

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, Friend, to have lost them overplied

In Liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side.

This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.

METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint

Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind :

Her face was veiled; yet to my fancied sight

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked; she fled; and day brought back my night.

IO

[graphic][merged small]

THE FIFTH ODE OF HORACE, LIB. I. Quis multo gracilis te puer in rosa, rendered almost word

for won', without rhyme, according to the Latin measure, as near as the language will permit. WHAT slender youth, bedewed with liquid odours, Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,

Pyrrha ? for whom bind'st thou

In wreaths thy golden hair,
Plain in thy neatness? O how oft shall he
On faith and changed Gods complain, and seas

Rough with black winds and storms

Unwonted shall admire !
Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold;
Who always vacant, always amiable

Hopes thee, of flattering gales

Unmindful. Hapless they
To whom thou untried seem'st fair! Me, in my vowed
Picture, the sacred wall declares to have hung

My dark and dropping weeds
To the stern God of sea.

IO

FROM GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH.

BRUTUS thus addresses Diana in the country of Leogecia.

GODDESS of shades, and huntress! who at will
Walk'st on the rolling spheres, and through the deep;

On thy third reign, the earth, look now, and tell
What land, what seat of rest, thou bidst me seek;
What certain seat, where I may worship thee

For aye, with temples vowed and virgin quires.
To whom, sleeping before the altar, DIANA answers in a vision the

same night:
Brutus ! far to the west, in the ocean wide,
Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,-
Sea-girt it lies, where giants dwelt of old;
Now void, it fits thy people: thither bend
Thy course; there shalt thou find a lasting seat;
There to thy sons another Troy shall rise,
And kings be born of thee, whose dreadful might
Shall awe the world, and conquer nations bold.

FROM DANTE.

Ay, Constantine! of how much ill was cause,
Not thy conversion, but those rich domains
That the first wealthy pope received of thee!

FROM ARIOSTO.

THEN passed he to a flowery mountain green,
Which once smelt sweet, now stinks as odiously:
This was the gift, if you the truth will have,
That Constantine to good Sylvester gave.

FROM HORACE.

WHOM do we count a good man? Whom but he
Who keeps the laws and statutes of the senate,
Who judges in great suits and controversies,
Whose witness and opinion wins the cause?
But his own house, and the whole neighbourhood,
Sees his foul inside through his whited skin.

FROM EURIPIDES. This is true liberty, when freeborn men, Having to advise the public, may speak free; Which he who can, and will, deserves high praise, Who neither can, nor will, may hold his peace: What can be juster in a state than this ?

FROM HORACE.

LAUGHING, to teach the truth, What hinders? As some teachers give to boys Junkets and knacks, that they may learn apace.

FROM HORACE.

- JOKING decides great things, Stronger and better oft than earnest can.

FROM SOPHOCLES. 'Tis you that say it, not I. You do the deeds, And your ungodly deeds find me the words.

FROM SENECA.

There can be slain
No sacrifice to God more acceptable,
Than an unjust and wicked king.

« PreviousContinue »