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FROM HOLLAND, TO A FRIEND IN ENGLAND, IN THE YEAR 1703.
ROM Utrecht's filent walks, by winds, I fend
FHealth and kind wishes to my ablent friend.
The winter spent, I feel the poet's fire;
The fun advances, and the fogs retire :
The genial spring unbinds the frozen earth,
Dawns on the trees, and gives the primrose birth.
Loos'd from their friendly harbours, once again
Confederate fleets affemble on the main :
The voice of war the gallant foldier wakes;
And weeping Cloë parting kiffes takes.
On new-plum'd wings the Roman eagle foars;
The Belgick lion in full fury roars.
Dispatch the leader from your happy coast,
The hope of Europe, and Britannia's boast :
O, Marlborough, come! fresh laurels for thee rife!
One conqueft more; and Gallia will grow wife.
Old Lewis makes his laft effort in arms,
And fhews how, ev'n in age, ambition charms.
Meanwhile, my friend, the thickening fhades I haunt,
And smooth canals, and after rivulets pant:
The fmooth canals, alas, too lifeless fhow!
Nor to the eye, nor to the ear, they flow.
Studious of eafe, and fond of humble things,
Below the fmiles, below the frowns of kings,
Thanks to my stars, I prize the sweets of life:
No fleepless nights I count, no days of strife.
Content to live, content to die, unknown,
Lord of myself, accountable to none;
I fleep, I wake, I drink; I fometimes love;
I read, I write; I fettle, and I rove,
When, and where-e'er, I please: thus, every hour
Gives fome new proof of my defpotic power.
All, that I will, I can; but then, I will
As reafon bids; I meditate no ill;
And, pleas'd with things which in my level lie,
Leave it to madmen o'er the clouds to fly.
But this is all romance, a dream to you,
Who fence and dance, and keep the court in view.
White staffs and truncheons, feals and golden keys,
And filver ftars, your towering genius please:
Such manly thoughts in every infant rise,
Who daily for some tinfel trinket cries.
Learn your own temper; for I know
and profper, Sir: but first from me
You can be honeft; but you cannot bow,
And cringe, beneath a fupercilious brow:
You cannot fawn; your ftubborn foul recoils
At bafenefs; and your blood too highly boils.
"From nature fome fubmiffive tempers have;
Unkind to you, fhe form'd you not a slave.
A courtier must be fupple, full of guile,
Muft learn to praife, to flatter, to revile,
The good, the bad, an enemy, a friend,
To give falfe hopes, and on falfe hopes depend.
Go on, and profper, Sir: but learn to hide
Your upright fpirit: t will be construed pride.
The fplendor of a court is all a cheat;
You must be fervile, ere you can be great.
Befides, your ancient patrimony wafted,
Your youth run out, your fchemes of grandeur blafted, You may perhaps retire in difcontent,
And curfe your patron, for no strange event:
The patron will his innocence protest,
And frown in earnest, though he fmil'd in jeft.
Man, only from himself, can fuffer wrong;
His reafon fails, as his defires grow strong:
Hence, wanting ballast, and too full of fail,
He lies expos'd to every rifing gale.
From youth to age, for happiness he's bound :
He fplits on rocks, or runs his bark aground,
Or, wide of land, a defert ocean views,
And, to the laft, the flying port pursues,
Yet, to the laft, the port he does not gain,
And dying finds, too late, he liv'd in vain.
Copenhagen, March 9, 1709.
ROM frozen climes, and endless tracts of fnow, From ftreams which northern winds forbid to flow, What prefent fhall the Mufe to Dorset bring, Or how, fo near the Pole, attempt to fing? The hoary winter here conceals from fight All pleasing objects which to verse invite.
The hills and dales, and the delightful woods,
The flowery plains, and filver-ftreaming floods,"
By fnow difguis'd, in bright confufion lie,
And with one dazzling wafte fatigue the eye.
No gentle breathing breeze prepares the spring,
No birds within the defert region fing.
The fhips, unmov'd, the boisterous winds defy,
While rattling chariots o'er the ocean fly.
The vaft Leviathan wants room to play,
And fpout his waters in the face of day.
The ftarving wolves along the main sea prowl,
And to the moon in icy valleys howl.
O'er many a shining league the level main
Here spreads itself into a glaffy plain :
There, folid billows of enormous fize,
Alps of green ice, in wild disorder rife.
And yet but lately have I feen, ev'n here,
The winter in a lovely dress appear.
Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasur'd snow,
Or winds begun through hazy skies to blow,
At evening a keen eastern breeze arofe,
And the defcending rain unfully'd froze.
Soon as the filent fhades of night withdrew,
The ruddy morn difclos'd at once to view
The face of Nature in a rich disguise,
And brighten'd every object to my eyes:
For every fhrub, and every blade of grafs,
And every pointed thorn, feem'd wrought in glass;
In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns fhow,
While through the ice the crim fon berries glow.
The thick-fprung reeds, which watery marshes yield,
Seem'd polish'd lances in a hoftile field.
The stag, in limpid currents, with furprize,
Sees crystal branches on his forehead rise :
The spreading oak, the beech, and towering pine,
Glaz'd over, in the freezing æther shine.
The frighted birds the rattling branches fhun,
Which wave and glitter in the distant fun.
When if a fudden gust of wind arife,
The brittle foreft into atoms flies,
The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends,
And in a spangled shower the prospect ends :
Or, if a fouthern gale the region warm,
And by degrees unbind the wintery charm,
The traveller a miry country sees,
And journeys fad beneath the dropping trees:
Like fome deluded peafant, Merlin leads
Through fragrant bowers, and through delicious meads,
While here inchanted gardens to him rise,
And airy fabricks there attract his eyes,
His wandering feet the magic paths purfue,
And, while he thinks the fair illufion true,
The tracklefs fcenes difperfe in fluid air,
And woods, and wilds, and thorny ways appear,
A tedious road the weary wretch returns,
And, as he goes, the tranfient vifion mourns.