Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

On me he fixt his eyes. I crav'd,
Why so forlorn ? he vainly rav’d.

Peace to his mind I did commend :
But, oh! my words were hardly at an end,

When I perceiv'd it was my friend,
My much-lov'd friend; fo down Isat,

And begg'd that I might share his fate:
I laid my cheek to his, when with a gale
Of sighs he eas'd his breast, and thus began his tale :

III.

I am a wretch of honest race ;
My parents not obfcure, nor high in titles were,

They left me heir to no disgrace.
My father was (a thing now rare)

Loyal and brave, my mother chaste and fair :
The pledge of marriage-vows was only I;
Alone I liv'd their much-lov'd fondled boy :
They gave me generous education, high
They ftrove to raise my mind, and with it grew their joy.
The fages that instructed me in arts,

And knowledge, oft would praise my parts,
And chear my parents longing hearts.

When I was call’d to a dispute,
My fellow-pupils oft stood mute ;

Yet never Envy did disjoin
Their hearts from me, nor Pride distemper mine.
Thus my first years in happiness I past,

bitter

cup

did taste : But, oh! a deadly potion came at last.

As

Nor any

[ocr errors]

As I lay loosely on my bed, A thousand pleasant thoughts triumphing in my head, And as my sense on the rich banquet fed, A voice (it seem'd no more, so busy I

Was with myself, I saw not who was nigh)
Pierc'd through my ears; Arise, thy good Senander's dead.
I shook my brain, and from their feast my frighted
fenses fled.

IV.
From thence sad discontent, uneasy fears,
And anxious doubts of what I had to do,

Grew with succeeding years.
The world was wide, but whither should I go?
I, whose blooming hopes all wither'd were,
Who 'd little fortune, and a deal of care ?
To Britain's great metropolis I stray'd,

Where Fortune's general game is play'd; Where honesty and wit are often prais’d,

But fools and knaves are fortunate and rais'd ; My forward spirit prompted me to find

A converse equal to my mind : But by raw judgment easily misled,

(As giddy callow boys

Are very fond of toys) I miss’d the brave and wise, and in their stead On every sort of vanity I fed. Gay coxcombs, cowards, knaves, and prating fools, Bullies of o'er-grown bulks and little fouls, Gamesters, half-wits, and spendthrifts (such as think Mischievous midnight frolics, bred by drink

Arc

Are gallantry and wit,
Because to their lewd understandings fit)

Were those wherewith two years at least I spent, To all their fulsome follies most incorrigibly bent;

Till at the last, myself more to abuse,
I
grew

in love with a deceitful Muse.

V.

No fair deceiver ever us’d such charms,
T'ensnare a tender youth, and win his heart :

Or, when she had him in her arms,

Secur'd his love with greater art. I fancy'd, or I dream'd (as poets always do)

No beauty, with my Muse’s might compare. Lofty she seem’d, and on her front sat a majestic air,

Awful, yet kind; fevere, yet fair.

Upon her head a crown she bore
Of laurel, which she told me should be mine :

And round her ivory neck she wore
A rope of largest pearl. Each part of her did shine

With jewels and with gold,

Numberless to be told ; Which in imagination as I did behold,

And lov’d, and wonder'd more and more, Said she, These riches all, my darling, shall be thine,

Riches which never poet had before.
She promis’d me to raise my fortune and my name,
By royal fovour, and by endless fame ;

But never told
How hard they were to get, how difficult to hold.

Thus

}

Thus by the arts of this most fly

Deluder was I caught,
To her bewitching bondage brought.

Eternal constancy we fwore,
A thousand times our vows were doubled o'er :
And as we did in our entrancements lie,
I thought no pleasure e’er was wrought so high,
No pair so happy as my Muse and I.

VI.
Ne’er was young lover half so fond
When first his pufillage he loft,
Or could of half my pleasure boast.
We never met but we enjoy’d,
Still transported, never cloy’d.
Chambers, closets, fields, and groves,
Bore witness of our daily loves ;

And on the bark of every tree
You might the marks of our endearments see.

Distichs, posies, and the pointed bits Of satire (written when a poet meets

His Muse's caterwauling fits)
You might on every rhind behold, and swear
I and my Clio had been at it there.

Nay, by my Muse too I was blest
With offsprings of the choicest kinds,

Such as have pleas'd the noblest minds, And been approv'd by judgments of the best.

But in this most transporting height,
Whence I look'd down, and laught at fate,

All

}

a

[ocr errors]

All of a sudden I was alter'd grown ;
I round me look'd, and found myself alone ;
My faithless Muse, my faibless Muse, was gone :

I try'd if I a verse could frame :
Oft I in vain invok'd

my

Clio's name.

The more I strove, the more I fail'd
I chaf'd, I bit my pen, curft my dull skull, and rail'd,
Riefolv’d to force m’untoward thought, and at the last
prevail'd.

A line came forth, but such a one,
No travailing matron in her child-birth pains,
Full of the joyful hopes to bear a son,
Was more astonish'd at th’unlook'd-for shape

Of fome deform’d baboon, or ape,
Than I was at the hideous issue of

my

brains.
I tore my paper, stabb’d my pen,

And swore I'd never write again,
Resolv'd to be a doating fool no more.
But when my reckoning I began to make,
I found too long I'd slept, and was too late awake;
I found m’ungrateful Muse, for whose false fake

I did myself undo,

Had robb’d me of my dearest store,
My precious time, my friends, and reputation too;
And left me helpless, friendless, very proud, and poor.

VII.
Reason, which in base bonds my folly had enthrall’d,

I straight to council callid;
Like some old faithful friend, whom long ago
I had cashier'd, to please my flattering fair.

To

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »