Page images

faithful, generous, and polite friend. His fellow-peers have attended to the persuasion of his ela quence; and have been convinced by the solidity of his reasoning. He has, long since, deserved and attained the honour of the garter. He has managed some of the greatest charges of the king. dom with known ability; and laid them down with entire disinteressment. And as he continues the exercises of these eminent virtues, (which that he may to a very old age, shall be my perpetual wish) he may be one of the greatest men that our age, or possibly our nation, has bred; and leave materials for a panegyric, not unworthy the pen of some future Pliny.

From so noble a subject as the earl of Dorset, to so mean a one as myself, is (I confess) a very Pindaric transition. I shall only say one word, and trouble the reader no further. I published my poems formerly, as Monsieur Jourdain sold his silk : he would not be thought a tradesman; lt ordered some pieces to be measured out to his particular friends. Now I give up my shop, and dispose of all my poetical goods at once: I must therefore desire, that the public would please to take them in the gross; and that every body would turn over what he does not like.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

BY MR. PRIOR, 1683.
CONJUNCÌUM Veneri Martem, Danosque Britannis

ON EXODUS 111. 14.
Dum canit altisonis docta caterva modis,

Affero sincerum culto pro carmine votuin,

Quod minus ingenii, plus pietatis habet.
Vivant Ambo diu, vivant feliciter, opto;

Diligat hic sponsam, diligat illa virum.

Junctos perpetuâ teneas, Hymenæe, catena; Max! foolish man!

Junctos, Juno, die protege; nocte, Venus ! Scarce know'st thou how thyself began;
Exultent simili felices prole parentes,

Scarce hast thou thought enough to prove thou art; l't petat hinc multos natio bina duces !

Yet, steel'd with study'd boldness, thou dar'st try
To send thy doubting Reason's dazzled eye

Through the mysterious gulph of vast immensity. From the Hymenæus Cantabrigiensis, Canta- Much thou canst there discern, much thence imbrigiæ, 1683. This copy, notwithstanding the

part. signature, is beyond a doubt the property of the Vain wretch ! suppress thy knowing pride ; facetious Matt. Prior. See the Miscellany Poems,

Mortify thy learned lust. 1781, Vol. VII. p. 93.-All our college exercises Vain are thy thoughts, while thou thyself art dust, are given up, signed only by us, with our surname. — The dean of the college, to whom, in Let Wit her sails, her oars let Wisdom lend; right of his office, Prior's verses were delivered, The helm let politic Experience guide: not knowing, or mistaking Prior's name, who was Yet cease to hope thy short-liv'd bark shall ride then a freshman, marked them with A. instead | Down spreading Fate's unnavigable tide. of M. when he gave them into the university in- What though still it farther tend, spectors for their approbation: or, probably, he

Still 'tis farther from its end ; might have made so aukward an M. that they | And, in the bosom of that boundless sea, mistook it for an A. They bear internal evidence Still finds its errour lengthen'd with its way. of their being written by one, though a freshman, With daring pride and insolent delight, used to write Latin verse; and to write it too, in a

Your oubts resolv'd you boast, your labours great school, under a great master—as was Prior's

crown'd, Dr. Busby. There is a classical terseness in the And, “ETPHKA! your God, forsooth, is fourid diction, and ease and harmony in the numbers. Incomprehensible and infinite. And the distant imitation of Martial's admirable But is he therefore found ? rain scarcher ! no: lines on the Happy Married Pair-or rather the allu. sion to that excellent little piece (for it can hardly That nothing you, the weak detiner, know.

Let your imperfect definition show be called an imitation of it) shows the taste of a master, at the years of a boy, and is not unworthy Say, why should the collected Main the name, or the fame, of Prior. KYNASTON.

Itself within itself contain ?

[blocks in formation]



Why to its caverns should it sometimes creep, Then down with all thy boasted volumes, daung And with delighted silence sleep

Only rest rve the sacred one: On the lov'd bosom of its parent Deep?

Low, reverently low, Why should its numerous waters stay

Make thy stubborn knowledge bow; In coinely discipline, and fair array,

Weep out thy reason's and thy body's eyes ; Till winds and tides exert their high command ! Deject thyself, that thou may'st rise; Then prompt and ready to obey,

To look to Heaven, be blind to all below. Why do the rising surges spread Their opening ranks o'er Earth's submissive head, Then Faith, for Reason's glimmering light, shall

Her immortal perspective; Marching through different paths to different lands?

And Grace's presence Nature's loss retrieve: Why does the constant Sun,

Th n thy enliven'd soul shall see, With measur'd steps, his radiant journies run? That all the volumes of Philosophy, Why does he order the diurnal hours

With all their comments, never could invent To leave Earth's other part, and rise in ours? So politic an instrument, Why does he wake the correspondent Moon, To reach the Heaven of heavens, the high abode And fill her willing lamp with liquid light,

Where Moses places his mysterious God, Commanding her with delegated powers

As was the ladder which old Jacob rear’d, To beautify the world, and bless the night? When light divine had human darkness clear'd ; Why does each animated star

And his enlarg'd ideas found the road, Love the just limits of its proper sphere?

Wbich Faith had dictated, and angels trodo
Why does each consenting sign

With prudent harmony combine
In turns to move, and subsequent appear,
To gird the globe, and regulate the year?
Man does, with dangerous curiosity,

PART OF THE LXXXVIITH PS.ILY. These unfathom'd wonders try :

A college EXERCISE, 1690.
With fancied rules and arbitrary laws
Matter and motion he restrains ;

Heavy, O Lord, on me thy judgments lic,
And studied lines and fictious circles draws: Accurst I am, while God rejects my cry.
Theu, with imagin'd sovereignty,

O'erwhelm'd in darkness and despair I groan; Lord of his new hypothesis he reigns.

And every place is hell; for God is gone. He reigns : how long? till some usurper rise ; O! Lord, and let thy beam control

And he too, mighty thoughtful, mighty wise, Those borrid clouds, that press my frighted soul e Studies new lines, and other circles feigns.

Save the poor wanderer from eternal night,
From this last toil again what knowledge flows? Thou that art the God of Light.

Just as much, perhaps, as shows
That all his predecessor's rules

Downward I hasten to my destin'd place;

There none obtain thy aid, or sing thy praise. Were empty cant, all jargon of the schools; That he on t'other's ruin rears his throne ;

Soon I shall lie in Death's deep ocean drown'd: And shows his friend's mistake, and thence con

Is mercy there, or sweet forgiveness found? firms his own.

O save me yet, whilst on the brink I stand ;

Rebuke the storm, and waft my soul to laudo On earth, in air, amidst the seas and skies, O let her rest beneath thy wing secure, Mountainous heaps of wonders rise,

Thou that art the God of Power.
Whose towering strength will ne'er submit

Behold the prodigal! to thee I come,
To Reason's batteries, or the mines of Wit:
Yet still inquiring, still mistaken man,

To hail my father, and to seek my home.
Each hour repuls'd, each hour dares onward press :

Nor refuge could I find, nor friend abroad, And, levelling at God his wandering guess,

Straying in vice, and destitute of God. (That feeble engine of his reasoning war, (spair)

O let thy terrours, and my anguish end! Which guides his doubts, and combats his de

Be thou my refuge and be thou my friend :

Receive the son thou didst so long reprove,
Laws to his Maker the learn'd wretch can give:
Can bound that nature, and prescribe that will,

Thou that art the God of Love.
Whose preguant word did either ocean till:
Can tell us whence all beings are, and how they

move and live.
Through either occan, foolish man!
That pregnant word sent forth again,

REV. DR. F. TURVER, BISHOP OF ELY, Might to a world extend each atom there ; [star. For every drop call forth a sea, a heaven for every

Let cunning Farth her fruitful wonders hide ; It poets, ere they cloth'd their infant thought, And only lift thy staggering reason up

And the rude work to just perfection brought, To trembling Calvary's astonish'd top;

Did still some god, or godlike man invoke, Then mock thy knowlerlge, and confound thy pride, Whose mighty name their sacred silence broke: Explaining how Perfection suffer'd pain

Your goodness, sir, will easily excuse Almighty languish’d, and Eternal died:,

The bold requests of an aspiring Muse; How by her patient victor Death was slain ; Who, with your blessing, would your aid implore, And Earth profan'd, yet bless'd, with Deicide. And in her weakness justify your power.-



From your fair pattern she would strive to write, That I might see the lovely awful swain,
And with unequal strength pursue your flight ; Wboše holy crosier guides our willing plain;
Yet hopes she ne'er can err that follows you, Whose pleasing power and ruling gowiness keep
Led by your blest commands, and great example Our souls with equal care as we our sheep ;

Whose praise excites each lyre, employs cach Then smiling and aspiring influence give,

tongue: And make the Muse and her endeavours live; Whilst only he who caus:d, dislikes the song. Claim all her future labours as your due,

To this great, humble, parting man I gain'd let every song begin and end with you:

Access, and happy for an hour I reign'd; So to the blest retreat she'll gladly go,

Happy as new-form'd man in paradise, Where the saints' palm and Muses' laurel grow; Ere sin debauch'd his innoffensive bliss; Where kindly both in glad embrace shall join, Happy as heroes after battles won, And round your brow their mingled honours twine; Prophets entranc'd, or monarcbs on the throne; Both to the virtue Jue, which could excel,

But (oh, my friend !) those joys with Daphnis As much in writing, as in living well

To them these tributary tears are due. (tlew.. So shall she proudly press the tuneful string, Anl mighty things in mighty numbers sing ; Nor doubt to strike Prudentius' daring lyre,

Was he so humble then ? those joys so vast?
And humbly bring the verse which you ins; ire.

Cease to admire that both so quickly past.
Too happy should we be, would smiling Fate
Render one blessing durable and great ;
But (oh the sad vicissitude!) how soon
L'nwelcome night succeeds the cheerful noon:

Anu rigid winter nips the flowery pomp of June!

Then grieve not, friend, like you, since all man-

A certain change of joy and sorrow find. skind
Suppress your sigh, your down-cast eyelids raise,
Whom present you revere, him absent praise.






Terl, dear Alexis, tell thy Damon, why
Dost thou in mournful shades obscurely lie?
Why dost thou sigh, why strike thy panting breast? TO THE COUNTESS OF EXETER,
And steal from life the needful hours of rest?
Are thy kids starv'd by winter's early frost ?

Are any of thy bleating stragglers lost ? [ground? | What charms you have, from what high race
Hare strangers' cattle trod thy new-plough'd

you sprung, Has great Joanna, or her greater shepherd, frown'd ? Have been the pleasing subjects of my song:

Unskill'd and young, yet something still I writ,

Of Ca'ndish' beauty join'd to Cecil's wit. See my kids browze, my lambs securely play:

But when you please to show the labouring Muse, (Ah! were their master unconcern'd as they !).

What greater theme your music can produce; No beasts (at noon I look'd) had trod my ground ; | My babbling praises I repeat no more, Nor has Joanna, or her shepherd, frown'd.

But hear, rejoice, stand silent, and adore.

The Persians thus, first gazing on the Sun,

Adinir'd how high'twas plac d, how bright it shone : Then stop the lavish fountain of your eyes,

But, as bis power was known, their thoughts were Nor let those sighs from your swolu bosom rise;

rais'd; Chase sadness, friend, and solitude away ;

And soon they worship’d, what at first they prais'd. And once again rejoice, and once again look gay.

Eliza's glory lives in Spenser's song;
Aud Cowley's verse keeps fair Orinda young.

That as in birth, in beauty you excel,
Say what can more our tortur'd souls annoy,
Than to beholil, adınire, and lose our joy?

The Muse might dictate, and the poet tell:
Whose fate more hard than those who sadly run,

Your art no other art can speak; and you, For the last glimpse of the departing Sun?

To show how well yon play, must play anew : Or what severer sentence can be given,

Your musie's power your music must disclose;

For what light is, 'tis only light that shows. Than, having seen, to be excluded Heaven?

Strange force of harmony, that thus controls

Our thoughts, and turns and sanctities our souls : None, shepherd, none

While with its utmost art your sex could move
Our wonder only, or at best our love:

You far above both these your God did place,
Then cease to chide my cares ! That your high power might worldly thoughts
And rather pity than restrain my tears;

destroy; Those tears, my Damon, which I justly shed, That with your numbers you our zeal might raise, To think how great my joys; how soon they Acd. And, like himself, communicate vour jov. I told thee, friend, (now bless the shepherd's name, When to your native Heaven you shall repair, From whose dear care the kind occasion came) And with your presence crown the blessings there, That I, erer I, might happily receive (gire: Your lute may wind its strings but little bigher, The sacred wealth, which Heaven and Daphnis To tune their notes to that immortal quire.






Your art is perfect here; your numbers do,

Kindness itself too weak a charm will prove
More than our books, inake the rude atheist know To raise the feeble tires of aged love.
That there's a Heaven by what he bears below.

Forc'd compliments, and formal bors,
As in some piece, while Luke bis skill exprest,

Will show thee just above neglect : A cunning angel came, and drew the rest :

The heat with which thy lover glows, So when you play, some godhead does iinpart

Will settle into cold respect : Harmonious ail, divinity helps art;

A talking dull Platonic I shall turn : Some cherub finishes what you begun,

Learn to be civil, when I cease to burn. And to a miracle improves a tune'.

To burning Rome, when frantic Nero play'd, Then shun the ill, and know, my dear, Viewing that face, no more he had survey'd

Kindness and constaney will prove The raging faines; but, struck with strange sur- The only pillars, fit to bear prise,

So vast a weight as that of love. Confcss'd them less than those of Anna's eyes : If thou canst wish to make my flames endure, But, had he heard thy late, he soon had found Thine must be very fierce, and very pure. His rage eluded, and his crime aton'd : Thine, like Amphion's hand, had wak’d the stone,

Haste, Celia, haste, while youth invites, And from destruction callid the rising town :

Obey kind Cupid's present voice ; Malice to Music had been forc'il to vield ;

Fill every sense with soft delights,

And give thy soul a loose to joys :
Nor could he burn so fast, as thou could'st build.

Let millions of repeated blisses prove
That thou all kindness art, and I all love. ,

Be mine, and only mine; take care

Thy looks, thy thoughts, thy dreams, to guide PICTURE OF SENECA DYING IN A BITH; To me alone; nor come so far,

As liking any youth b-side:

What men e'er court thee, fly them, and believe AT TIIE EARL OF EXETER'S, AT BURLEIGH-HOUSE. They're serpents all, and thou the tempted Ere. White cruel Nero only drains

So shall I court thy dearest truth, The inoral Spaniard's ebbing veins,

When beauty ceases to engage; By study worn, and slack with age,

So, thinking on thy charming youth, How dull, how thoughtless, is his rage!

I'll love it o'er again in age: Heighten'd revenge would he have took,

So time itself our raptures shall improve,
He should have burnt his tutor's book;

While still we wake to joy, and live to love.
And long have reig'd supreme in vice :
One nobler wretch can only rise ;
"Tis he whose fury shall deface
The Stoic's image in this piece ;

For while unhurt, divine Jordain,

TO FLEETWOOD SHEPHARD, ES2. Thy work and Seneca's remain, He still has body, still has soul,

When crowding folks, with strange ill faces, And lives and speaks, restor'd and whole. Were making legs, and begging places,

And some with patents, some with merit,

Tir'd out my good lord Dorset's spirit:

Sneaking I stood amongst the crew,

Desiring much to speak with you. Wpire blooming youth and gay delight

I waited while the clock struck thrice, Sit on thy rosy cheeks confest,

And footman brought out fifty lics; Thou hast, my dear, undoubted right

Till, patience vext, and legs grown weary, To triumph o'er this destin'd breast.

I thought it was in vain to tarry : My reason bends to what thy eyes ordain;

But did opine it might be better For I was born to love, and thou to reign.

By penny-post to send a letter; But would you meanly thus rely

Now, if you miss of this epistle,

I'm baulk'd again, and may go whistle.
On power you know I must obey?
Exert a legal tyranny,

My business, sir, you'll quickly guess,
And do an ill, because you may ?

Is to desire some little place;

And fair pretensions I have for 't,
Still must I then, as atheists Heaven, adore ;
Not see thy mercy, and yet dread thy power ?

Much need, and very small desert.

Whene'er I writ to you, I wanted; Take hced, my dear: youth flies apace ; I always begg'd, you always granted. As well as Cupid, Time is blind:

Now, as you took me up when little,
Soon must those glories of thy face

Gave me my learning and my vittle;
The fate of vulgar beauty find :

Ask'd for me, from my lord, things fitting,
The thousand Loves, that arm thy potent eye, Kind as I 'ad been your own begetting;
Must drop their quivers, flag their wings, and die. Confirm what formerly you've given,

Then wilt thou sigh, when in each frown Nor leave me now at six and seven,
A hateful wrinkle more appears;

As Sunderland has left Mun Stephen.
And putting peevish humours on,

No family, that takes a whelp
Seems but the sad effect of years :

When first he laps, and scarce can yelp.

« PreviousContinue »