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Delicious eels-the eels of Trent.
Next morn thro’ wretched roads we steer,
Yet pay at turnpikes devilish dear:
The purple heath we travers d o'er,
And stopt at Barnby on the Moor;
Thence into honest Yorkshire ventur'd,
Which first we at fair Bawtry enter'd:
By three to Doncaster we came,
A town polite of ancient fame,
There will the Muse awhile unbend,
And there this tedious journal end,
Wrote, dearest Anne, at your commands,
And now it flies to kiss your hands.
Sept. 6, 1759
[Afterwards Dutchess of Somerset. ]
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR MDCCXLIV.
You ask me, Madam, if the Muse From Colebrook still my steps pursues : Take then (but first your patience lend) Her story thus from end to end.
She that at Bath so debonair Sung gallant Damon and his Fair, To beauteous Townsend tun'd her lyre, And did, at Pelham's sight, inspire Strains, that her Lincoln's self forgives (You see the daring poet lives !)
She that at Percy-Lodge so late From morn to night was us'd to prate, Almost impertinent and rude, Unbidden would herself intrude
With tale, and epigram, and song,
To waft the cheerful hours along ;
Whilst I, o'erjoy'd myself to view
Alive, and with my Lord and You,
Not once could check her merry vein,
Her unpremeditated strain,
And did, from heedless joy, neglect
To greatness every grave respect ;
This Muse, I say, inconstant grown,
Forsook me, when I came to town;
Friend to my fortune, she withdrew,
When I left Percy-Lodge and You.
Since then, in vain I ask her aid,
In vain her cruelty upbraid ;
The town, she says, was ne'er her choice;
If there she tries to raise her voice,
Her strains are to their théme unjust,
Or drown'd in noise, or choak'd with dust.
Her plea is good. The Muse's theme,
Like the pure, bright, harmonious streamy
Ne'er but in rural channels flows;
Cities and bards are endless foes.
Resolv'd Parnassus' top to climb,
And there to build the lofty rhyme,
I to fam'd Claremont's height aspire,
To borrow thence poetic fire,
To waft, like Cooper's-Hill, its name
On wing's of everlasting fame;
Or, (if that bold attempt be vain)
Your partial ear to entertain.
I mount my chaise, the space between, Fancy anticipates the scene, And Vanity, officious maid, Thus offers her self-pleasing aid.; • Poor Vanbrugh's plan is out of date, • And Garth but saw its rising state, · His verse with tuneful fable rung, • But left its real charms unsung; • But now, to my transported eyes, • In full maturity will rise • The bowers, the temples, and the groves, • That Kent has plann'd, and Pelham loves.'
At length, awaken'd from my dream,
My eyes behold the real theme,
And the gay sketch, that fancy drew,
They find more amiably true.
On a neat structure now they rest,
Where rural plainness is exprest,
With harvests stor’d, compact, and warm,
And, tho? Palladian, yet a farm,
Whence cars, in rustic order drawn,
Pass and repass the sloping lawn,
While flocks, in fleecy groups around,
Or, moving, crop the daisy'd ground,
Or, sunk beneath the tufted trees,
Turn, languid, to the noontide breeze.
The lustier herds, in glare of day,
Bask, and imbibe the sunny ray.
While these I view, on humid wings
The sultry south a tempest brings,
Black clouds invest the low'ring skies,
And all the beauteous vision flies.
Now from the thick-descending rain
I drive across the darken'd plain,
And leave the lovely scene behind,
That just began to charm my mind.
How rare does pleasure stand the test ! With patience now I arm my breast, And, in a moralizing vein, With thoughts like these my grief restrain : “ The skies are clear, when storms are o'er, “ Again smooth waves salute the shore, “ Each sun but sets to rise again, “ And gild with morn the dewy plain; “ This hour, perhaps, hope cheats the mind, “ The next, an equal joy we find.”
Just so; the house a shelter lends,
Within I find the best of friends,
Spence, whose soft bosom oft has known
To make another's woe her own;
She now, with hospitable grace,