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And hungry hopes regale the while
Scarce known to the fastidious dames, Nor skill'd to call them by their names. Nor can their passports in these days, Your profit warrant, or your praise. On poems by their dictates writ, Critics, as sworn appraisers, sit, And mere upholst'rers in a trice On gems and paintings set a price. These tayl'ring artists for our lays Invent cramp'd rules, and with straight stays Striving free Nature's shape to hit, Emaciate sense, before they fit. A common place, and many friends, Can serve the plagiary's ends, Whose easy vamping talent lies, First wit to pilfer, then disguise. Thus some devoid of art and skill To search the mine on Pindus' hill, Proud to aspire and workmen grow, By genius doom'd to stay below, For their own digging show the town Wit's treasure brought by others down. Some wanting, if they find a mine, An artist's judgment to refine, . On fame precipitately fix’d, The ore with baser metals mix’d Melt down, impatient of delay, And call the vicious mass a play. All these engage to serve their ends, A band select of trusty friends, Who, lesson'd right, extol the thing, As Psapho" taught his birds to sing; Then to the ladies they submit, Returning officers on wit: A crowded house their presence draws, And on the beaus imposes laws, A judgment in its favour ends, When all the pannel are its friends: Their natures merciful and mild Have from mere pity sav'd the child; In bulrush ark the bantling found Helpless, and ready to be drown'd, They have preserv'd by kind support, And brought the baby-muse to court. But there's a youth # that you can name, ! Who needs no leading-strings to fame, Whose quick maturity of brain The birth of Pallas may explain: Dreaming of whose depending fate, I heard Melpomene debate, “This, this is he, that was foretold Should emulate our Greeks of old. Inspir'd by me with sacred art, He sings, and rules the varied heart; If Jove's dread anger he rehearse, We hear the thunder in his verse; If he describes love turn'd to rage, The furies riot in his page.
* Psapho was a Lybian, who desiring to be accounted a god, effected it by this means: he took young birds and taught them to sing, Psapho is a great god. When they were perfect in their lesson he let them fly; and other birds learning the same ditty, repeated it in the woods; on which his countrymen offered sacrifice to him, and considered him as a deity.
+ Mr. Glover, the excellent author of Leonidas, Boadicea, Medea, &c.
If he fair liberty and law By ruffian pow'r expiring draw, The keener passions then engage Aright, and sanctify their rage; If he attempt disastrous love, We hear those plaints that wound the grove. Within the kinder passions glow, And tears distill'd from pity flow.” From the bright vision I descend, And my deserted theme attend. Me never did ambition seize, Strange fever most inflam'd by ease! The active lunacy of pride, That courts jilt Fortune for a bride, This par'dise-tree, so fair and high, I view with no aspiring eye: Like aspen shake the restless leaves, And Sodom-fruit our pains deceives, Whence frequent falls give no surprise, But fits of spleen, call'd growing wise. Greatness in glitt'ring forms display'd Affects weak eyes much us’d to shade, And by its falsely-envy'd scene Gives self-debasing fits of Spleen. We should be pleas'd that things are so, Who do for nothing see the show, And, middle-siz'd, can pass between Life's hubbub safe, because unseen, And midst the glare of greatness trace A wat'ry sunshine in the face, And pleasure fled to, to redress The sad fatigue of idleness. Contentment, parent of delight, So much a stranger to our sight, Say, goddess, in what happy place Mortals behold thy blooming face; Thy gracious auspices impart, And for thy temple choose my heart. They, whom thou deignest to inspire, Thy science learn, to bound desire; By happy alchymy of mind They turn to pleasure all they find; They both disdain in outward mien The grave and solemn garb of Spleen, And meretricious arts of dress, To feign a joy, and hide distress; Unmov’d when the rude tempest blows, Without an opiate they repose; And, cover'd by your shield, defy The whizzing shafts, that round them fly: Nor meddling with the god's affairs, Concern themselves with distant cares; But place their bliss in mental rest, And feast upon the good possess'd. Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r, The blithsome goddess soothes my care, I feel the deity inspire, And thus she models my desire. Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, Annuity securely made, A farm some twenty miles from town, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own; Two maids, that never saw the town, A serving-man, not quite a clown; A boy to help to tread the mow, And drive, while t' other holds the plough; A chief, of temper form'd to please, Fit to converse, and keep the keys; And better to preserve the peace, Commission'd by the name of niece,
With understandings of a size
Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage, And slowly mellowing in age, When Fate extends its gathering gripe, Fall off like fruit grown fully ripe, Quit a worn being without pain, Perhaps to blossom soon again. But now more serious see me grow, And what I think, my Memmius, know. Th' enthusiast's hope, and raptures wild, Have never yet my reason foil'd. His springy soul dilates like air, When free from weight of ambient care, And, hush'd in meditation deep, Slides into dreams, as when asleep; Then, fond of new discoveries grown, Proves a Columbus of her own, Disdains the narrow bounds of place, And through the wilds of endless space, Borne up on metaphysic wings, Chases light forms and shadowy things, And in the vague excursion caught, Brings home some rare exotic thought. The melancholy man such dreams, As brightest evidence, esteems; Fain would he see some distant scene Suggested by his restless Spleen, And Fancy's telescope applies With tinctur'd glass to cheat his eyes. Such thoughts, as love the gloom of night, I close examine by the light; For who, though brib'd by gain to lie, Dare sun-beam-written truths deny, And execute plain common sense On faith's mere hearsay evidence? That superstition mayn't create, And club its ills with those of Fate, I many a notion take to task, Made dreadful by its visor-mask. Thus scruple, spasm of the mind, Is cur'd, and certainty I find. Since optic reason shows me plain, I dreaded spectres of the brain. And legendary fears are gone, Though in tenacious childhood sown. Thus in opinions I commence Freeholder in the proper sense, And neither suit nor service do, Nor homage to pretenders show, Who boast themselves by spurious roll Lords of the manor of the soul; Preferring sense, from chin that's bare, To nonsense thron'd in whisker'd hair. To thee, Creator uncreate, O Entium Ens! divinely great Hold, Muse, nor melting pinions try, Nor near the blazing glory fly, Nor straining break thy feeble bow, Unfeather'd arrows far to throw : Through fields unknown nor madly stray, Where no ideas mark the way. With tender eyes, and colours faint, And trembling hands forbear to paint. Who features veil'd by light can hit? Where can, what has no outline, sit? My soul, the vain attempt forego, Thyself, the fitter subject, know He wisely shuns the bold extreme, Who soon lays by th’ unequal theme, Nor runs, with Wisdom's syrens caught, On quicksands swall'wing shipwreck'd thought :
But, conscious of his distance, gives Mute praise, and humble negatives. In one, no object of our sight, Immutable, and infinite, Who can't be cruel or unjust, Calm and resign'd, I fix my trust; To him my past and present state I owe, and must my future fate. A stranger into life I’m come, Dying may be our going home, Transported here by angry Fate, The convicts of a prior state. Hence I no anxious thoughts bestow On matters I can never know; Through life's foul way, like vagrant pass'd He'll grant a settlement at last, And with sweet ease the wearied crown, By leave to lay his being down. If doom'd to dance th' eternal round Of life no sooner lost but found, And dissolution soon to come, Like sponge, wipes out life's present sum, But can't our state of pow'r bereave An endless series to receive; Then, if hard dealt with here by Fate, We balance in another state, And consciousness must go along, And sign th' acquittance for the wrong. He for his creatures must decree More happiness than misery, Or be supposed to create, Curious to try, what "t is to hate: And do an act, which rage infers, 'Cause lameness halts, or blindness errs. Thus, thus I steer my bark, and sail On even keel with gentle gale; At helm I make my reason sit, My crew of passions all submit. If dark and blust'ring prove some nights, Philosophy puts forth her lights; Experience holds the cautious glass, To shun the breakers, as I pass, And frequent throws the wary lead, To see what dangers may be hid; And once in seven years I'm seen At Bath or Tunbridge, to careen. Though pleas'd to see the dolphins play, I mind my compass and my way, With store sufficient for relief, And wisely still prepar'd to reef, Nor wanting the dispersive bowl Of cloudy weather in the soul, I make, (may Heav'n propitious send Such wind and weather to the end) Neither becalm’d, nor over-blown, Life's voyage to the world unknown.
ON BARCLAY'S APOLOGY FOR THE QUAKERS. *
Thrse sheets primeval doctrines yield,
* This celebrated book was written by its author, in Latin and English, and was afterwards translated into High Dutch, Low Dutch, French, and Spanish, and probably into other languages. It has always been esteemed a very ingenious defence of the principles of Quakerism, even by those ** deny the doctrines which it endeavours to establish. The author was born at Edinburgh in 1648, and received part of his education at the Scots College in Paris, where his uncle was principal. His father became one of the earliest converts to the new sect, and from his example, the son seems to have been induced to tread in his steps. He died on the 3d of October, 1690, in the 42d year of his age.
Here 'tis the soul feels sudden youth, And meets exulting, virgin Truth; Here, like a breeze of gentlest kind, Impulses rustle through the mind; Here shines that light with glowing face, The fuse divine, that kindles grace; Which, if we trim our lamps, will last, 'Till darkness be by dying past. And then goes out at end of night, Extinguish'd by superior light. Ah me ! the heats and colds of life, Pleasure's and pain's eternal strife, Breed stormy passions, which confin'd, Shake, like th’ AFolian cave, the mind. And raise despair; my lamp can last, Plac'd where they drive the furious blast. False eloquence' big empty sound ! Like showers that rush upon the ground ! Little beneath the surface goes, All streams along, and muddy flows. This sinks, and swells the buried grain, And fructifies like southern rain. His art, well hid in mild discourse, Exerts persuasion's winning force, And nervates so the good design, That king Agrippa's case is mine. Well-natur'd, happy shade forgive Like you I think, but cannot live. Thy scheme requires the world's contempt, That from dependence life exempt; And constitution fram'd so strong, This world's worst climate cannot wrong. Not such my lot, not Fortune's brat, I live by pulling off the hat; Compell'd by station every hour To bow to images of power; And in life's busy scenes immers'd, See better things, and do the worst. Eloquent Want, whose reasons sway, And make ten thousand truths give way, While I your scheme with pleasure trace, Draws near, and stares me in the face. “Consider well your state,” she cries, “Like others kneel, that you may rise; Hold doctrines, by no scruples vex'd, To which preferment is annex'd ; Nor madly prove, where all depends, Idolatry upon your friends. See, how you like my rueful face, Such you must wear, if out of place. Crack'd is your brain to turn recluse Without one farthing out at use. They, who have lands, and safe bank-stock, With faith so founded on a rock, May give a rich invention ease, And construe scripture how they please. “The honour'd prophet that of old, Us'd Heav'n's high counsels to unfold, Did, more than courier angels, greet The crows, that brought him bread and meat."
When I first came to London, I rambled about,
And urging their various opinions, intended
Say, father Thames, whose gentle pace Gives leave to view what beauties grace Your flow'ry banks, if you have seen The much-sung Grotto of the queen. Contemplative, forget awhile Oxonian towers, and Windsor's pile, And Wolsey's pride + (his greatest guilt) And what great William since has built; And flowing fast by Richmond scenes, §. retreat of two great queens #) rom Sion-house ||, whose proud survey Brow-beats your flood, look cross the way, And view, from highest swell of tide, The milder scenes of Surrey side. Though yet no palace grace the shore, To lodge that pair you should adore; Nor abbeys, great in ruin, rise, Royal equivalents for vice; Behold a grot, in Delphic grove, The Graces' and the Muses' love. (O, might our laureat study here, How would he hail his new-born year!) A temple from vain glories free, Whose goddess is Philosophy, Whose sides such licens'd idols crown As Superstition would pull down; The only pilgrimage I know, That men of sense would choose to go: Which sweet abode, her wisest choice, Urania cheers with heavenly voice, While all the Virtues gather round, To see her consecrate the ground. If thou, the god with winged feet, In council talk of this retreat, And jealous gods resentment show At altars rais'd to men below ; Tell those proud lords of Heaven, 'tis fit Their house our heroes should admit; While each exists, as poets sing, A lazy lewd immortal thing, They must (or grow in disrepute) With Earth's first commoners recruit. Needless it is in terms unskill'd To praise whatever Boyle S shall build; Needless it is the busts to name Of men, monopolists of fame; Four chiefs adorn the modest stone", For Virtue as for learning known; The thinking sculpture helps to raise Deep thoughts, the genii of the place:
+ Hampton Court, begun by Cardinal Wolsey, and improved by King William III.
# Queen Anne, consort to King Richard II. and Queen Elizabeth, both died at Richmond.
| Sion House is now a seat belonging to the Duke of Northumberland.
§ Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, a nobleman remarkable for his fine taste in architecture. “Never were protection and great wealth more generously and judiciously diffused than by this great person, who had every quality of a genius and artist, except envy.” He died December 4. 1753.
* The author should have said five; there being the busts of Newton, Locke, Wollaston, Clarke, and Boyle.