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STANZAS TO MR. BENTLEY.
[These were in compliment to Mr. Bentley, who drew a set of Designs
for Mr. Gray's Poems, particularly a Head-piece to The Long Story.
IN silent gaze the tuneful choir among,
Half pleas'd, half blushing let the Muse admire, While Bentley leads her sister art along,
And bids the pencil answer to the lyre.
See, in their course, each transitory thought
Fix’d by his touch a lasting essence take ; Each dream, in Fancy's airy colouring wrought,
To local symmetry and life awake!
The tardy rhymes that us’d to linger on,
To censure cold, and negligent of fame, In swifter measures animated run,
And catch a lustre from his genuine flame.
Ah! could they catch his strength, his easy grace,
His quick creation, his unerring line ; The energy of Pope they might efface,
And Dryden's harmony submit to mine.
But not to one in this benighted age
Is that diviner inspiration giv'n, That burns in Shakespeare's or in Milton's page,
The pomp and prodigality of heav'n.
As when conspiring in the diamond's blaze,
The meaner gems, that singly charm the sight, Together dart their intermingled rays,
And dazzle with a luxury of light.
Enough for me, if to some feeling breast
My lines a secret sympathy impart; And as their pleasing influence flows confest, A sigh of soft reflection heave the heart .
* * * * * * * * *
 The words in Italick were supplied by Mr. Mason.
(This was written, at the request of Miss Speed, to an old Air of Ge.
miniani: the thought from the French.]
THYRSIS, when he left me, swore
In the Spring he would return-
And the bud that decks the thorn!
Idle notes! untimely green!
Why such unavailing haste? Gentle gales and sky serene
Prove not always Winter past. Cease, my doubts, my fears to move, Spare the honour of my love.
(The following amatory Lines having been found among the MSS. of
Gray, but bearing no title, I have ventured, for the sake of uniformity in this Volume, to prefix the above. The Lines themselves will be found in a Note in the second volume of Warton's Edition of Pope's Works, lately published.]
W ITH Beauty, with Pleasure surrounded, to
languish To weep without knowing the cause of my an
guish; To start from short slumbers, and wish for the
morningTo close my dull eyes when I see it returning; Sighs sudden and frequent, looks ever dejected — Words that steal from my tongue, by no mean
ing connected! Ah, say, fellow-swains, how these symptoms be
fel me? They smile, but reply not-Sure DELIA CAN
[Mr. Etough (53], of Cambridge University, was a person as remark
able for the eccentricities of his character, as for his personal appearance. A Mr. Tyson, of Bene't College, made an etching of his head, and presented it to Mr. Gray, who wrote under it the following lines:]
THUS Tophet look'd ; so grinn'd the brawling
fiend, Whilst frighted prelates bow'd, and calld him
friend. Our mother-church, with half-averted sight, Blush'd as she bless'd her grisly proselyte ; Hosannas rung thro' Hell's tremendous borders, And Satan's self had thoughts of taking orders.
 Some information respecting this gentleman (who was Rector of Therfield, Herts, and of Colmworth, Bedfordshire) will be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LVI. p. 25. 281. For the SKETCH of his PORTRAIT I am indebted to the kindness of JOHN NICHOLS, Esq.