« PreviousContinue »
The merchant, to secure his treasure,
Conveys it in a borrowed name:
Euphelia serves to grace my measure
But Chloe is my real flame.
My softest verse, my darling lyre,
Upon Euphelia's toilet lay,
When Chloe noted her desire
That I should sing, that I should play.
My lyre I tune, my voice I raise,
But with my numbers mix my sighs;
And whilst I sing Euphelia's praise,
I fix my soul on Chloe's eyes.
Fair Chloe blushed; Euphelia frowned;
I sung and gazed, I played and trembled;
And Venus to the Loves around
Remarked how ill we all dissembled.
Dear Chloe, how blubbered is that pretty face!
Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurled ! Prithee quit this caprice, and (as old Falstaff says)
Let us e'en talk a little like folks of this world.
How canst thou presume thou hast leave to destroy
The beauties which Venus but lent to thy keeping ? Those looks were designed to inspire love and joy;
More ord'nary eyes may serve people for weeping.
To be vexed at a trifle or two that I writ,
Your judgment at once and my passion you wrong; You take that for fact which will scarce be found wit:
Od's life! must one swear to the truth of a song ?
What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows
The diff'rence there is betwixt nature and art: I court others in verse, but I love thee in prose;
And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.
The god of us verse-men (you know, child), the sun,
How after his journeys he sets up his rest; If at morning o'er earth 't is his fancy to run,
At night he reclines on his Thetis's breast.
So when I am wearied with wand'ring all day,
To thee, my delight, in the evening I come: No matter what beauties I saw in my way;
They were but my visits, but thou art my home.
Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war,
And let us like Horace and Lydia agree; For thou art a girl as much brighter than her
As he was a poet sublimer than me.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE MORNING
Now hardly here and there a hackney-coach,
Appearing, showed the ruddy Morn's approach.
The slipshod 'prentice from his master's door
Had pared the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.
Now Moll had whirled her mop with dext'rous airs,
Prepared to scrub the entry and the stairs.
The youth with broomy stumps began to trace
The kennel edge, where wheels had worn the place.
The small-coal man was heard with cadence deep,
Till drowned in shriller notes of chimney-sweep.
Duns at his lordship's gate began to meet,
And brick-dust Moll had screamed through half a street.
The turnkey now his flock returning sees,
Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees.
The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands,
And school-boys lag with satchels in their hands.
STELLA'S BIRTHDAY, MARCH 13, 1727
This day, whate'er the Fates decree,
Shall still be kept with joy by me.
This day, then, let us not be told
That you are sick, and I grown old;
Nor think on our approaching ills,
And talk of spectacles and pills.
To-morrow will be time enough
To hear such mortifying stuff.
Yet, since from reason may be brought
A better and more pleasing thought,
Which can in spite of all decays
Support a few remaining days,
From not the gravest of divines
Accept for once some serious lines.
Although we now can form no more
Long schemes of life, as heretofore,
Yet you, while time is running fast,
Can look with joy on what is past.
Were future happiness and pain
A mere contrivance of the brain,-
As atheists argue, to entice
And fit their proselytes for vice
(The only comfort they propose,
To have companions in their woes),-
Grant this the case, yet sure 't is hard
That virtue, styled its own reward,
And by all sages understood
To be the chief of human good,
Should acting die, nor leave behind
Some lasting pleasure in the mind,
Which, by remembrance, will assuage
Grief, sickness, poverty, and age,
And strongly shoot a radiant dart
To shine through life's declining part.
Say, Stella, feel you no content,
Reflecting on a life well spent ?-
Your skilful hand employed to save
Despairing wretches from the grave,
And then supporting with your store
Those whom you dragged from death before:
So Providence on mortals waits,
Preserving what it first creates.
Your gen'rous boldness to defend
An innocent and absent friend;
That courage which can make you just
To merit humbled in the dust;
The detestation you express
For vice in all its glitt'ring dress;
That patience under tort'ring pain,
Where stubborn Stoics would complain;
Must these like empty shadows pass,
Or forms reflected from a glass,
Or mere chimæras in the mind,
That fly and leave no marks behind ?
Does not the body thrive and grow
By food of twenty years ago ?
And had it not been still supplied,
It must a thousand times have died;
Then who with reason can maintain
That no effects of food remain ?
And is not virtue in mankind
The nutriment that feeds the mind,
Upheld by each good action past,
And still continued by the last?
Then who with reason can pretend
That all effects of virtue end?
Believe me, Stella, when you show
That true contempt for things below,
Nor prize your life for other ends
Than merely to oblige your friends,
Your former actions claim their part,
And join to fortify your heart:
For Virtue in her daily race,
Like Janus, bears a double face;
Looks back with joy where she has gone,
And therefore goes with courage on.
She at your sickly couch will wait,
And guide you to a better state.
O then, whatever Heaven intends,
Take pity on your pitying friends!
Nor let your ills affect your mind
To fancy they can be unkind.
Me, surely me, you ought to spare,
Who gladly would your suff'rings share,
Or give my scrap of life to you,
And think it far beneath your due;
You, to whose care so oft I owe
That I'm alive to tell you so.
VERSES ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT
Before the passing bell begun,
The news through half the town is run.
"O, may we all for death prepare!
What has he left? and who's his heir ?"
"I know no more than what the news is;
'Tis all bequeathed to public uses.”
"To public uses ! there's a whim!
What had the public done for him?
Mere envy, avarice, and pride:
He gave it all-but first he died.
And had the Dean, in all the nation,
No worthy friend, no poor relation?
So ready to do strangers good,
Forgetting his own flesh and blood !"
Here shift the scene, to represent
How those I love my death lament.
Poor Pope would grieve a month, and Gay
A week, and Arbuthnot a day.
St. John himself will scarce forbear
To bite his pen and drop a tear.
The rest will give a shrug, and cry,
“I'm sorry—but we all must die!"
Indifference, clad in Wisdom's guise,
All fortitude of mind supplies;
For how can stony bowels melt
In those who never pity felt ?
When we are lashed, they kiss the rod,
Resigning to the will of God.