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IMPROMPTU, ON LORD HOLLAND'S SEAT AT KINGSGATE.
Old, and abandoned by each venal friend,
Here Holland formed the pious resolution To smuggle a few years, and strive to mend
A broken character and constitution.
On this congenial spot he fixed his choice;
Earl Goodwin trembled for his neighbouring sand; Here sea-gulls scream, and cormorants rejoice,
And mariners, though shipwrecked, dread to land. Here reign the blustering North and blighting East,
No tree is heard to whisper, bird to sing ; Yet Nature could not furnish out the feast,
Art he invokes new horrors still to bring. Here mouldering fanes and battlements arise,
Turrets and arches nodding to their fall, Unpeopled monastries delude our eyes,
And mimic desolation covers all. *Ah !' said the sighing peer, 'had Bute been true,
Nor Mungo's, Rigby's, Bradshaw's friendship vain, Far better scenes than these had blest our view,
And realized the beauties which we feign : 'Purged by the sword, and purified by fire,
Then had we seen proud London's hated walls ; Owls would have hooted in St. Peter's choir,
And foxes stunk and littered in St. Paul's.'
WILLIAM WHITEHEAD. ,
[Born at Cambridge in 1715; educated at Winchester and at Clare Hall, Cambridge. His poems were collected in 1754, and again in 1774. He became Poet Laureale in 1758, and died in 1785, in London.]
William Whitehead, who must not be confused with his clever and disreputable namesake, Paul Whitehead, the poet of the orgies of Medmenham, succeeded Cibber in the laureateship when Gray declined that doubtful honour. He was the perpetual butt of the satire of Churchill, who, as Campbell says, 'completely killed his poetical character!' Indeed his poetry is for the most part tame and conventional enough; yet here and there he emerges from the ruck of Georgian poetasters and becomes noticeable. Variety, a Tale for Married People, which is too long for quotation, is an excellent story in verse-with a moral, of course, as a conte should have told in a light and flowing style not unworthy of Gay. The Enthusiast, an Ode, is here given, because of the admirable way in which it epitomises the debate -it is a perennial debate, but the eighteenth century took one side and we take the other—between Nature and Society.
"O bards, that call to bank and glen,
—when the modern poet writes in this way, we note him as breaking the poetical concert of our age. But the doctrine is one which the poets of Pope's century were for ever enforcing ; even Cowper, antithesis to Pope as he was, enforced it ; and this little ode of Whitehead's is so happy a rendering of their argument that it is worthy of being rescued from the oblivion which has almost overwhelmed its author.
EDITOR. VOL. 111.
THE ENTHUSIAST. AN ODE.
Once—I remember well the day,
Had lost their freshest hues,
Of sunshine and of dews.
In short, 'twas that sweet season's prime
To summer's glowing hand,
Which fan the smiling land.
'Twas then, beside a green-wood shade
I urged my devious way,
So wondrous bright the day.
And now my eyes with transport rove
Unbroken by a cloud !
A full-brimmed river flowed.
I stop, I gaze, in accents rude,
Burst forth th' unbidden lay; 'Begone vile world! the learned, the wise, The great, the busy, I despise, · And pity even the gay.
These, these are joys alone, I cry,
Thou deign'st to fix thy throne !
These, these are joys alone !
Ye pleasures and ye pains!' While thus I spake, over my soul A philosophic calmness stole,
A stoic stillness reigns.
The tyrant passions all subside,
No more my bosom move;
Of universal love.
These monitory strains : "What mean’st thou, man? wouldst thou unbind The ties which constitute thy kind,
The pleasures and the pains?
The same almighty power unseen,
To contemplation's eye,
And quickened every joy.
He bids the tyrant passions rage,
And combat each his foe :
Art thou not man, and dar'st thou find
Presumptuous thought and vain !
Some social good to gain.
Shall light and shade, and warmth and air,
Which active virtue feels,
At her triumphant wheels ?
As rest to labour still succeeds,
Employ his toilsome day,
To soothe him on his way.
Enthusiast go, unstring thy lyre,
How sweet soe'er the strain.
Benevolent in vain ?
Enthusiast go, try every sense,
Thou yet hast learned to scan;
That man was made for man.'