Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

the place is not, in my opinion, any violation of nature, if the change be made between the acts; for it is no less easy for the spectator to suppose himself at Athens in the second act, than at Thebes in the first; but to change the scene, as is done by Rowe, in the middle of an act, is to add more acts to the play, since an act is so much of the business as is transacted withont interruption. Rowe, by this licence, easily extricates himself from difficulties; as, in Jane Gray, when we have been terrified with all the dreadful pomp of public execution, and are wondering how the heroine or the poet will proceed, no sooner has Jane pronounced some prophetic rhymes, than-pass and be gone—the scene closes, and Pembroke and Gardiner are turned out upon the stage.

I know not that there can be found in his plays any deep search into nature, any accurate discriminations of kindred qualities or nice display of passion in its progress; all is general and undefined. Nor does he much interest or affect the auditor, except in Jane Shore, who is always seen and heard with pity. Alicia is a character of empty noise, with no resemblance to real sorrow or to natural madness.

Whence, then, has Rowe liis reputation ? From the reasonableness and propriety of some of his scenes, from the elegance of his diction, and the suavity of his verse. He seldom moves either pity or terrour, but he often elevates the sentiments; he seldom pierces the breast, but he always delights the ear, and often iinproves the understanding.

His translation of the Golden Verses, and of the first book of Quillet's Poem, have nothing in them remarkable. The Golden Verses are tedious.

The version of Lucan is one of the greatest productions of English poetry; for there is perhaps none that so completely exhibits the genius and spirit of the original. Lucan is distinguished by a kind of dictatorial or philosophic diguity, rather, as Quintilian observes, declamatory than poetical; full of ambitious morality and pointed sentences, comprised in vigorous and animated lines. This character Rowe has very diligently and successfully preserved. His versification, which is such as his contemporaries practised, without any attempt at innovation or improvement, seldom wants either melody or force. His author's sense is sometimes a little diluted by additional infusions, and sometimes weakened by too much expansion. But such faults are to be espected in all translations, from the constraint of measures and dissimilitude of languages. The Pharsalia of Rowe deserves more notice than it obtains, and as it is more read will be more esteemed.

6 The Life of Rowe is a very remarkable instance of the uncommon strength of Dr. Johnson's memory. When I received from him the MS. he complacently observed, “ that the criticisin vas wlerably well done, considering that he had not seen Rowe's works for thirty years.” N.

PO E MS

OF

NICHOLAS ROW E.

THE GOLDEN VERSES OF PYTHAGORAS. | Bear all thou canst, still with his failings strive,

And to the utmost still, and still forgive;
TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK.

For strong necessity alone explores
TO THE READER.

The secret vigour of our latent powers, I hope the reader will forgive the liberty I have Rouses and urges on the lazy heart, taken in translating these verses somewhat at

Porce, to itself unknown before, t'exert. large, without which it would have been almost By use thy stronger appetites asswage, impossible to have given any kind of turn in Thy gluttony, thy sloth, thy lust, thy rage: English poetry to so dry a subject. The sense

From each dishonest act of shame forbear; of the author is, I hope, no where mistaken; and of others, and thyself, alike beware. if there seems in some places to be some addi- Let reverence of thyself thy thoughts control, tions in the English verses to the Greek text, And guard the sacred temple of thy soul. they are only such as may be justified from Let justice o'er thy word and deed preside, Hierocles's Commentary, and delivered by him and reason e'en thy meanest actions guide: as the larger and explained sense of the au

For know that death is man's appointed doom, thor's short precept. I have in some few places Know that the day of great account will come, ventured to differ from the learned Mr. Daciers When thy past life shall strictly be survey'd, French interpretation, as those that shall give Euch word, each deed, be in the balance laid, themselves the trouble of a strict comparison And all the good and all the ill most justly be rewill find. How far I am in the right, is left to

For wealth, the perishing, uncertain good, (paid. the reader to determine.

Ebbing and flowing like the fickle food,

That knows no sure, no fix'd abiding-place, FIRST to the gods thy bumble homage pay; But wandering loves from hand to hand to pass; The greatest this, and first of laws obey:

Revolve the getter's joy and loser's pain, Perform thy vows, observe thy plighted troth, And think if it be worth thy while to gain, And let religion bind thce to thy oath.

Of all those sorrows that attend mankind, The heroes next demand thy just regard,

With patience bear the lot to thee assign'd: Renown'd on Earth, and to the stars preferr'd, Nor think it chance, nor murmur at the load ; To light and endless life, their virtue's sure re For know what man calls fortune is from God. ward.

In what thou niay'st, from wisdom seek relief, Due rights perform and honours to the dead, And let her healing hand asswage thy grief; To every wise, to every pious shade.

Yet still whate'er the righteous doom ordains, With lowly duty to thy parents bow,

What cause soever multiplies thy pains, And grace and favour to thy kindred show: Let not those pains as ills be understood; For what concern the rest of human kind,

For God delights not to afflict the good. Choose out the man to virtue best inclind; The reasoning art, to various ends apply'd, Him to thy arms receive, him to thy bosom bind. Is oft a sure, but oft an erring guide. Possest of such a friend, preserve him still; Thy judgment therefore sound and cool preserve, Nor thwart his counsels with thy stubborn will; Nor lightly from thy resolution swerve; Pliant to all his admonitions prove,

The dazzling pomp of words does oft deceive, And yield to all his offices of love:

And sweet persuasion wins the easy to believes Him from thy heart, so true, so justly dear, When fools and liars labour to persuade, Let no rash word nor light offences tear.

Be dumb, and let the babblers vainly plead.

This above all, this precept chiefly learn,

In all thou dost first let thy prayers ascend, This nearly does, and first, thyself concern; And to the gods thy labours first comm:nd : (end. Let not example, let no soothing tongue,

From them implore success, and bope a prosperous Prevail upon thee with a Syren's sung,

So shall thy abler mind be taught to soar, 'To do thy soul's immortal essence wrong.

and wisdom in her secret ways explore; Of good and ill by words or deeds exprest

To range through Heaven above and Earth below, ! Choose for thyself, and always choose the best. Immortal gods and mortal men to know.

Let wary thought each enterprise forerun, So shalt thou learn what power does all cntrol, And ponder on thy task before begun,

What bounds the parts, and wbat unites the stole: Lest fully should the wretched work deface, And rightly judge in all its wondrous frany, And mock thy fruitless labours with disgrace. How universal nature is the same ; Fools huddle on, and always are in haste, (waste. So shalt thou ne'er thy rain affections place Act without thought, and thoughtless words they On hopes of what shall never come to pass, But thou, in all thou dost, with early cares

Man, wretcheri man, thou shaltbe taught to kno, Strive to prevent at first a fate like theirs; Who bears within himself the inborn cause of 0. That sorrow on the end may never wait,

Unhappy race! that never yet could tell,
Nor sharp repentance make thee wise too late. How near their good and happiness they dwell,

Beware thy meddling hand in ought to try, Depriv'd of sense, they neither bear nor see;
That does beyond thy reach of knowledge lie; Fetter'd in vice, they seek not to be free,
But seek to know, and bend thy serious thought But stupid, to their own sad fate agree:
To search the profitabie knowledge out.

Like ponderous rolling-stones, oppress'd with ill, So joys on joys for ever shall increase,

The weight that loads them makes them roll on si:], Wisdom shall crown thy labours, and shall bless Béreft of choice and freedom of the will; Thy life with pleasure, and thy end with peace. For native strife in every bosoan reigns,

Nor let the body want its part, but share And secretly an impious war maintains: A just proportion of thy tender care:

Provoke not this, but let the combat cease, For health and welfare prudently provide, And every yielding passion sue for peace. [kind, And let its lawful wants be all supply'd.

Would'st thou, great Jove, thou father of masLet sober draughts refresh, and wholesome fare Reveal the demon for that task assign'd, Decaying nature's wasted force repair;

The wretched race an end of woes wouid find
And sprightly exercise the duller spirits cheer. And yet be bold, O man, divine thou art,
In all things still which to this care belong, And of the gods celestial essence part
Observe this rule, to guard thy soul from wrong. Nor sacred Nature is from thee conceald,
By virtuous use thy life and manners trame, But to thy race her mystic rules revealed
Manly and simply pure, and free from blame. Thesa jf to know thou happily attain,

Proroke not Envy's deadly rage, but fly Soon shalt thou perfect be in all that I ordain.
The glancing curse of her malicious eye.

Thy wounded soul to bealth thou shalt restore, Seek not in needless luxury to waste

And free from every pain she felt before. Thy wealth and substance with a spendthrift's haste. Abstain, I warn, from meats unclean and foal, Yet, flying these, be watchful, lest thy mind, So keep thy body pure, so free thy soul; Prone to extremes, an equal dauger find,

So rightly judge; thy reason to maintain; And be to sordid avarice inclin'd.

Reason which Heaven did for thy guide ordain, Distant alike from each, to neither lean,

Let that best reason erer hold the rein. But ever keep the happy golden mean.

Then if this mortal body thou forsake,
Be careful still to guard thy soul from wrong, And thy glad fight to the pare ether take,
And let thy thought prevent thy hand and tongue. Among the gols exalted shalt thou shine,

Let not the stealing gud of slecp surprise, Immortal, incorruptible, divine:
Nor creep in slumbers on thy weary eyes, The tyrant Death securely shalt thou brare,
Ere every action of the former day

And scorn the dark dominion of the grave.
Strictly thou dost and righteously survey.
With reverence at thy own tribunal stand,
And answer justly to thy owu demand.
Where have I been? In what bave I transgress'd ?

A POEM,
What good or ill has this day's life express d ?

ON THE LATE GLORIOUS SUCCESSES, &C. HUMBLT Where have I faild in what I ought to do?

INSCRIBED TO THE LORD TREASURER GODOLI wbat to God, to man, or to myself I owe?

PHIN. Inquire severe what-e'er from first to last, (past. From morning's dawn, till evening's gloom, has While kings and nations on thy counsels wait, If evil w re thy deeds, repenting mourn,

And Anna trusts to thee the British state And let thy soul with strong reinorse be torn. While Fame, to thee, from every foreign coast, If good, the good with peace of mind repay, Flies with the news of en pires won and lost, And to thy secret self with pleasure say,

Relates whate'er her busy eyes beherd, “Rejoice, my heart, fur all went well to-day." And tells the fortune of each bloody feld;

These thoughts, and chiefly these my mind should While, with officious duty, crowds attend, Employ thy study, and engage thy love. (move, Fo hail the labours of thy god-like friend, These are the rules which will t virtue lead, Vouchsafe the Muse's humbler joy to hear; And teach thy feet her heavenly paths to tread. For sacred numbers shall be still thy care; This by his name I swear, whose sacred lore Though mean the verse, though lowly be the strain, First to mankind explain'd the mystic four, Though least regarded be the Mus, of all the Source of eternal nature and almighty power.

tuneful train,

a crown.

Yet rise, neglected nymph, avow thy fame,

Nor fate denies, what first bis wishes name, Assert th’inspiring god, and greatly aim

Proud Barcelona owos his juster claim, To make thy numbers equal to thy theme. With the first laurel binds his youthful brows, From Heaven derive thy verse; to Heaven belong And, pledge of future crowus, the mural wreath The counsels of the wise, and battles of the strong. Bnt soon the equal of his youthful years, (bestows. To Heaven the royal Anna owes, alone,

Philip of Bourbon's haughty line appears; The virtues which adorn and guard her throne;

Like hopes attend his birth, like glories grace, Thence is her justice wretches to redress,

(If glory can be in a tyrant's race) Thence is her mercy and her love of peace; In numbers proud, he threats no more from far, Thence is her power, her sceptre uncontrold,

But nearer draws the black impending war; To bend the stubbom, and repress the bold; He views his host, then scorns the rebel town, Her peaceful arts fierce factions to assuage,

And dooms to certain death the rival of his crown: To heal their breaches, and to sooth their rage; Now fame and empire, all the nobler spoils Thence is that happy prudence, which presides That urge the hero, and reward his toils, In each design, and every action guides;

Plac'd in their view, alike their hopes engage, Thence is she taught her shining court to grace, And fire their breasts with more than mortal rage, And fix the worthiest in the worthiest place, Not lawless love, nor vengeance, por despair, To trust at home Godolphin's watchful care, So daring, fierce, untam’d, and furious are, And send victorious Churchill forth to war, As when ambition prompts the great to war; Arise, ye nations rescu'd by her sword,

As youthful kings, when, striving for renown, Freed froin the bondage of a foreign lord,

They prore their might in arms, and combat for Arise, and join the heroine to bless, Behold she sends to save you from distress;

Hard was the cruel strife, and doubtful long Rich is the royal bounty she bestows,

Betwixt the chiefs suspended conquest hung; 'Tis plenty, peace, and safety from your foes. Till, forc'd at length, disdaining much to yield, And thou, Iberia! rous'd at length, disdain Charles to his rival quits the fatal field. To wear epslav'd the Gallic tyrant's chain.

Numbers and fortune o'er his right prevail, For see! the British genius comes, to cheer And e'en the British valour seems to fail; Thy fainting sons, and kindle them to war.

And yet they fail'd not all. In that extreme, With her own glorious fires their souls she warms, Conscious of virtue, liberty and fame, And bids them burn for liberty and arms.

They vow the youthful monarch's fate to share, Unhappy land ! the foremost once in fame, Above distress, unconquer'd by despair, Once lifting to the stars thy noble name,

Still to defend the town and animate the war. In arts excelling, and in arms severe,

But, lo! when every better hope was past, The western kingdoms' envy, and their fear: When every day of danger seem'd their last, Where is thy pride, thy conscious honour, flown,

Far on the distant ocean, they survey, Thy ancient valour, and thy first renown? Where a proud navy plows its watery way. Ilow art thou sunk among the nations now! Nor long they doubted, but with joy descry, How hast thou taught thy haughty neck to bow, Upon the chief's tail top-masts waving high, And dropt the warrior's wreathinglorious from The British cross and Belgic lion fly. thy brow!

Loud with tumultuous clamour, loud they rear Not thus of old her valiant fathers bore

Their cries of ecstasy, and rend the air; The bondage of the unbelieving Moor,

In peals on peals the shouts triumphant rise, But, oft, alternate, made the victors yield, Spread swift, and rattle through the spacious skies; And prov'd their might in many a well-fought field; While, from below, old Ocean groans profound, Bold in defence of liberty they stood,

The walls, the rocks, the shores repel the sound, And doubly dy'd their cross in Moorish blood: Ring with the deafening shock, and thunder all 'Then in heroic arms their knights excell'd,

around. The tyrant then and giant then they quell’d. Such was the joy the Trojan youth express'd, Then every nobler thought their minds did move, Who, by the fierce Rutilian's siege distress'd, And those who fought for freedom, sigh'd for love. Were by the Tyrrhene aid at length releas'd; Like one, those sacred fames united live,

When young Ascanius, then in arms first try'd, At once they languish, and at once revive; Numbers and every other want supply'd, Alike they shun the coward and the slave, And hanghty Turnus from his walls defyd: But bless the free, the virtuous, and the brave. Sav'd in the town an empire yet to come, Nor frown, ye fair, nor think my verse untrue: And tix'd the fate of bis imperial Roine. Though we disdain that man should man subdue, Dut oh! what verse, what numbers sha!) reveal Yet all the free-born race are slaves alike to you. Those pangs of rage and grief the vanquish'd feel! Yet, once again that glory to restore,

Who shall retreating Philip's shame impart, The Britons seek the Celtiberian shore.

And tell the anguish of his labouring heart! With echoing peals at Anna's high command, Whatpaint, what speaking pencil shall express Their naval thunder wakes the drowsy land; The blended passions striving in his face! Iligh at their head, Iberia's promis'd lord, [sword; | Hate, indignation, courage, pride, remorse,[curse. Young Charles of Austria, waves his shining With thoughts of glory past, the losers greatest His youthful veins with hopes of empire glow, Fatal Ambition! say what wondrous charms Swell his bold heart, and urge biin on the foe: Delude mankind to tojl for thee in arms! With joy he reads, in every warrior's face, When all thy spoils, thy wreaths in battle won, Some happy omen of a sure success; .

The pride of power, and glory of a crown, Then leaps exulting on the hostile strand,

When all war gives, when all the great can gain, And thinks the destiu'd sceptre in his hand. E'en thy whole pleasure, pays not half the pain. SOL. IX.

HH

All hail! ye softer, happier arts of peace, While flashing flames like lightning dart between, Secur'd from harms, and blest with learned ease; And fill the horror of the fatal scene. In battles, blood, and perils hard, unskill'd, Around the field, all dy'd in purple foarn, Which hauut the warrior in the fatal field; Hate, fury, and insatiate slaughter roam; Butchief, thee, goddess Muse! my verse would raise, Discord with pleasure o'er the ruin treads, And to thy own soft numbers tune thy praise; And laughing wraps her in her tatter'd weeds; Happy the youth inspir'd, beneath thy shade, While fierce Bellona thunders in her car, Thy verdant, ever-living laurels laid!

Shakes terrible her steely whip from far, There, safe, no pleasures, there no pains they kuow, And with new rage revives the fainting war. But those which from thy sacred raptures flow, So when two currents, rapid in their course, Nor wish for crowns, but what thy groves bestow. Rush to a point, and meet with equal force, Me, nymph divine! por scorn my humble prayer, The angry billows rear their heads on high, Receive unworthy, to thy kinder care,

Dashing aloft the foaming surges fly, Doom'd to a gentler, though more lowly, fate, And, rising, cloud the air with misty spry; Nor wishing once, nor knowing to be great; The raging flood is heard from far to roar, Me, to thy peaceful haunts, inglorious bring, By listening shepherds on the distant sbore, Where secret thy celestial sisters sing,

While much they fear, what ills it should portend, Fast by their sacred hill, and sweet Castalian spring. And wonder why the watery gods contend. But nobler thoughts the victor prince employ, High in the midst, Britannia's warlike chief, And raise his heart with high triumphant joy; Too greatly bold, and prodigal of life, From hence a better course of time roll on, Is seen to press where death and dangers call, (fall, And whiter days successive seem to run.

Where the war bleeds, and where the thickest From hence his kinder fortune seems to date He flies, and drives confus'd the fainting Gaul. The rising glories of his future state,

Like heat diffus'd, his great example warms,
From hence!--But oh! too soon the hero mourns And animates the social warriors' arms,
His hopes deceiv'd, and wars inconstant turns. Inflames each colder heart, confirms the bold,
In vain, his echoing trumpets' loud alarms Makes the young heroes, and renews the old,
Provoke the cold Iberian lords to arms;

In forms divine around him watchful wait
Careless of fame, as of their monarch's fate, The guardian genii of the British state;
Iu sullen sloth supinely proud they sate;

Justice and Truth his steps unerring guide,
Or to be slaves or free alike prepard,

And faithful Loyalty defends his side; And trusting Heaven was bound to be their guard, Prudence and Fortitude their Marlborough guard, Untouch'd with shame the noble strife beheld, And pleasing Liberty his labours cheerd; Nor once essay'd to struggle to the field;

But chief, the angel of his queen was there, But sought in the cold shade and rural seat, The union-cross his silver shield did bear, An unmolested ease and calm retreat:

And in his decent hand he shook a warlike spear. Saw each contending prince's arms adyance, While Victory celestial soars above, Then with a lazy dull indifference

Plum'd like the eagle of imperial Jove, Turn'd to their rest, and left the world to chance. Hangs o'er the chief, whom she delights to bless, So when, commanded by the wife of Jove,

And ever arms his sword with sure success, Thaumantian Iris left the realms above,

Dooms him the proud oppressor to destroy, And swift descending on her painted bow,

Then waves her palm, and claps her wings for joy. Sought the dull god of sleep in shades below; Such was young Ammon on Arbela's plain, Nodding and slow, his drowsy head he reard Or such the painter · did the hero feign, And heavily the sacred message heard;

Where rushing on, and fierce, he seems to ride, Then with a yawn at once forgot the pain, With graceful ardor, and majestic pride, And sunk to his first sloth and indolence again." With all the gods of Greece and fortune on his sied But oh, my Muse! th’ungrateful toil forsake, Nor long Bavaria's haughty prince in vain Some task more pleasing to thy numbers take, Labours the fight unequal to maintain; Nor choose in melancholy strains to tell

He sees 'tis doom'd bis fatal friend the Gaul Each harder chance the juster cause befel. Shall share the shame, and in one ruin fall; Or tather turn, auspicious turn thy flight, Flies from the foe too oft in battle try'd, Where Marlborough's heroic arms invite, And Heaven contending on the victor's side; Where highest deeds the poet's breast inspire Then mourns his rash ambition's crime too late, With rage divine, and fan the sacred fire. And yields reluctant to the force of fate. See! where at once Ramillia's noble field

So when Æneas, through night's gloomy shade, Ten thousand themes for living verse shall yield. The dreadful forms of hostile gods survey'd, See! where at once the dreadful objects rise, Hopeless he left the burning town and fled: At once they spread before my wondering eyes, Saw 'twas in vain to prop declining Troy, And shock my labouring soul with vast surprise ; Or save what Heaven had destin'd to destroy. At once the wide-extended battles move,

What vast reward, O Europe, shalt thou pay At once they join, at once their fate they prove. To him who sav'd thee on this glorious day! The roar ascends promiscuous; groans and Bless him, ye grateful nations, where he goes, cries,

And heap the victor's laurel on his brows.
The drums, the cannons' burst, the shout, supplies In every land, in every city freed
One universal anarchy of noise.

Let the proud column rear its marble head,
One din confus'd, sound mixt and lost in sound, To Marlborough and liberty dieereed;
Echoes to all the frighted cities round.

Rich with his wars, triumphal arcbes raise,
Thick dust and smoke in wavy clouds arise,
Stain the bright day, and taint the purer skies;

Le Brun,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »