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A slight offence, Wherewithal I can dispense; But hereafter, for their sake, To myself I'll music make.

PHILARETE. What, because some clown offends, Wilt thou punish all thy friends!

WILLY. Do not, Phil! misunderstand me Those that love me may command me; But thou know'st I am but young, And the pastoral I sung Is by some supposed to be, By a strain, too high for me; So they kindly let me gain Not my labor for my pain. Trust me, I do wonder why They should me my own deny. Though I'm young, I scorn to flit On the wings of borrowed wit; I'll make my own feathers rear ine, Whither others cannot bear me, Yet I'll keep my skill in store, Till I've seen some winters more.

Sitting by the crimson stream;
Where if thou didst well or no
Yet remains the song to show.
Much experience more I've had
Of thy skill, thou happy lad;
And would make the world to know it,
But that time will further show it.
Envy makes their tongues now run,
More than doubt of what is done;
For that needs must be thine own,
Or to be some other's known;
But how then will 't suit unto
What thou shalt hereafter do?
Or I wonder where is he
Would with that song part with thee!
Nay, were there so mad a swain
Could such glory sell for gain,
Phæbus would not have combined
That gift with so base a mind.
Never did the nine impart
The sweet secrets of their art
Unto any that did scorn
We should see their favors worn.
Therefore, unto those that say
Were they pleased to sing a lay
They could do ’t, and will not tho',
This I speak, for this I know
None e'er drank the Thespian spring,
And knew how, but he did sing;
For, that once infused in man,
Makes him shew 't, do what he can;
Nay, those that do only sip,
Or but e'en their fingers dip
In that sacred fount, poor elves !
Of that brood will show themselves.
Yea, in hope to get them fame,
They will speak, though to their shame.
Let those, then, at thee repine
That by their wits measure thine ;
Needs those songs must be thine own,
And that one day will be known.
That poor imputation, too,
I myself do undergo;
But it will appear, ere long,
That 'twas envy sought our wrong,
Who, at twice ten, have sung more
Than some will do at four score.
Cheer thee, honest Willy! then,
And begin thy song again.


But in earnest mean'st thou so-
Then thou art not wise, I trow:
Better shall advise thee Pan,
For thou dost not rightly then ;
That's the ready way to blot
All the credit thou hast got.
Rather in thy age's prime
Get another start of time;
And make those that so fond be,
Spite of their own dulness, see
That the sacred muses can
Make a child in years a man.
It is known what thou canst do ;
For it is not long ago,
When that Cuddy, thou and I,
Each the other's skill to try,
At Saint Dunstan's charmed well,
As some present there can tell,
Sang upon a sudden theme,




Fain I would ; but I do fear,
When again my lines they hear,
If they yield they are my rhymes,
They will feign some other crimes;
And 'tis no safe venturing by
Where we see detraction lie;
For, do what I can, I doubt
She will pick some quarrel out;
And I oft have heard defended
Little said is soon amended.


See'st thou not, in clearest days
Oft thick fogs cloud heaven's rays ?
And that vapors, which do breathe
From the earth's gross womb beneath
Seem unto us with black steams
To pollute the sun's bright beams
And yet vanish into air,
Leaving it, unblemished, fair
So, my Willy, shall it be
With detraction's breath on thee
It shall never rise so high
As to stain thy poesy.
As that sun doth oft exhale
Vapors from each rotten vale,
Poesy so sometimes drains
Gross conceits from muddy brains -
Mists of envy, fogs of spite,
"Twixt men's judgments and her light;
But so much her power may do
That she can dissolve them too.
If thy verse do bravely tower,
As she makes wing she gets power;
Yet the higher she doth soar
She's affronted still the more,
Till she to the high'st hath past,
Then she rests with fame at last.
Let naught, therefore, thee affright,
But make forward in thy flight.
For, if I could match thy rhyme,
To the very stars I'd climb;
There begin again, and fly
Till I reached eternity.
But, alas ! my muse is slow-
For thy place she flags too low;
Yes - the more's her hapless fate -

Her short wings were clipt of late;
And poor I, her fortune ruing,
And myself put up a-mewing.
But if I my cage can rid,
I'll fly where I never did ;
And though for her sake I'm crost,
Though my best hopes I have lost,
And knew she would make my trouble
Ten times more than ten times double,
I should love and keep her too,
'Spite of all the world could do.
For, though banished from my flocks,
And confined within these rocks,
Here I waste away the light,
And consume the sullen night,
She doth for my comfort stay,
And keeps many cares away.
Though I miss the flow'ry fields,
With those sweets the spring-tide yields —
Though I may not see these groves
Where the shepherds chaunt their loves,
And the lasses more excel
Than the sweet-voiced Philomel —
Though of all those pleasures past
Nothing now remains at last
But remembrance, poor relief,
That more makes than mends my grief –
She's my mind's companion still,
Maugre envy's evil will ;
Whence she should be driven too,
Were't in mortal's power to do.
She doth tell me where to borrow
Coinfort in the midst of sorrow,
Makes the desolatest place
To her presence be a grace,
And the blackest discontents
To be pleasing ornaments.
In my former days of bliss
Her divine skill taught me this —
That from every thing I saw
I could some invention draw,
And raise pleasure to her height
Through the meanest object's sight;
By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least bough's rusteling-
By a daisy, whose leaves, spread,
Shut when Titan goes to bed –
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me

Call thyself to mind again -
Are these raptures for a swain
That attends on lowly sheep,
And with simple herds doth keep


Than all nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Some things that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness :
The dull loneness, the black shade
That these hanging-vaults have made;
The strange music of the waves,
Beating on these hollow caves ;
This black den, which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss;
The rude portals that give light
More to terror than delight;
This my chamber of neglect,
Walled about with disrespect ;-
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me, by her might,
To draw comfort and delight.
Therefore, thou best earthly bliss,
I will cherish thee for this.
Poesy, thou sweet'st content
That e'er heaven to mortals lent !
Though they as a trifle leave thee
Whose dull thoughts cannot conceive thee-
Though thou be to them a scorn
That to naught but earth are born
Let my life no longer be
Than I am in love with thee;
Though our wise ones call thee madness,
Let me never taste of gladness
If I love not thy madd'st fits
More than all their greatest wits;
And though some, too seeming holy,
Do account thy raptures folly,
Thou dost teach me to contemn
What makes knaves and fools of them.
O high power! that oft doth carry
Men above

Thanks, my Willy! I had run
Till that time had lodged the sun,
If thou hadst not made me stay ;
But thy pardon here l pray;
Loved Apollo's sacred sire
Had raised up my spirits higher,
Through the love of poesy,
Than indeed they use to fly.
But as I said I say still -
If that I had Willy's skill,
Envy nor detraction's tongue
Should e'er make me leave my song;
But I'd sing it every day,
Till they pined themselves away.
Be thou then advised in this,
Which both just and fitting is -
Finish what thou hast begun,
Or at least still forward run.
Hail and thunder ill he'll bear
That a blast of wind doth fear;
And if words will thus affray thee,
Prythee how will deeds dismay thee?
Do not think so rathe a song
Can pass through the vulgar throng,
And escape without a touch –
Or that they can hurt it much.
Frosts we see do nip that thing
Which is forward'st in the spring;
Yet at last, for all such lets,
Somewhat of the rest it gets;
And I'm sure that so mayst thou.
Therefore, my kind Willy, now,
Since thy folding-time draws on,
And I see thou must be gone,
Thee I earnestly beseech
To remember this my speech,
And some little counsel take,
For Philarete his sake;
And I more of this will say,
If thou come next holiday.


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Cowper's Grave.

I will invite thee, from thy envious hearse
To rise, and 'bout the world thy beams to spread,
That we may see there 's brightness in the dead.


And wrought within his shattered brain

Such quick poetic senses
As hills have language for, and stars

Harmonious influences !
The pulse of dew upon


grass, His own did calmly number; And silent shadow from the trees

Fell o'er him like a slumber.

The very world, by God's constraint,

From falsehood's chill removing, Its women and its men became,

Beside him, true and loving! And timid hares were drawn from woods

To share his home-caresses, Uplooking to his human eyes

With sylvan tendernesses.

It is a place where poets crowned

May feel the heart's decaying – It is a place where happy saints

May weep amid their praying ; Yet let the grief and humbleness,

As low as silence, languish — Earth surely now may give her calm

To whom she gave her anguish. O poets! from a maniac's tongue

Was poured the deathless singing! O Christians ! at your cross of hope

A hopeless hand was clinging ! O men! this man, in brotherhood,

Your weary paths beguiling, Groaned inly while he taught you peace,

And died while ye were smiling! And now, what time ye all may read

Through dimming tears his story – How discord on the music fell,

And darkness on the glory — And how when, one by one, sweet sounds

And wandering lights departed, He wore no less a loving face,

Because so broken-hearted —
He shall be strong to sanctify

The poet's high vocation,
And bow the meekest Christian down

In meeker adoration ;
Nor ever shall he be in praise

By wise or good forsaken —
Named softly, as the household name

Of one whom God hath taken!

But while in blindness he remained

Unconscious of the guiding, And things provided came without

The sweet sense of providing, He testified this solemn truth,

Though frenzy desolated – Nor man nor nature satisfy,

When only God created !

Like a sick child that knoweth not

His mother while she blesses, And droppeth on his burning brow

The coolness of her kisses ; That turns his fevered eyes around —

“My mother! where's my mother" As if such tender words and looks

Could come from any other —

The fever gone, with leaps of heart

He sees her bending o'er him; Her face all pale from watchful love,

Th’unweary love she bore him ! Thus woke the poet from the dream

His life's long fever gave him, Beneath those deep, pathetic eyes

Which closed in death to save him!

With sadness that is calm, not gloom,

I learn to think upon him ;
With meekness that is gratefulness,

On God whose heaven hath won him – Who suffered once the madness-cloud

Toward his love to blind him ; But gently led the blind along

Where breath and bird could find him;

Thus! oh, not thus ! no type of earth

Could image that awaking, Wherein he scarcely heard the chant

Of seraphs, round him breaking

Or felt the new immortal throb

Of soul from body parted; But felt those eyes alone, and knew

“My Saviour! not deserted !”

There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
I sat and eyed the spewing reek,
That filled, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,

The auld clay biggin;
An' heard the restless rattons squeak

About the riggin'.

Deserted ! who hath dreamt that when

The cross in darkness rested, Upon the victim's hidden face

No love was manifested ? What frantic hands outstretched have e'er

The atoning drops averted, What tears have washed them from the soul,

That one should be deserted

All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mused on wasted time-
How I had spent my youthfu' prime,

An' done nae thing
But stringin' blethers up in rhyme,

For fools to sing.

Had I to guid advice but harkit,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit

My cash-account;
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit,

Is a' th' amount.

Deserted ! God could separate

From His own essence rather;
And Adam's sins have swept between

The righteous Son and Father;
Yea! once, Immanuel's orphaned cry

His universe hath shaken -
It went up single, echoless,

“My God, I am forsaken!” It went up from the holy lips

Amid His lost creation,
That of the lost no son should use

Those words of desolation;
That earth's worst frenzies, marring hope,

Should mar not hope's fruition;
And I, on Cowper's grave, should see
His rapture, in a vision !


I started, muttering, “ blockhead ! coof!"
And heaved on high my waukit loof,
To swear by a' yon starry roof,

Or some rash aith,
That I, henceforth, would be rhyme proof

Till my last breath

When click! the string the snick did draw;
And jee ! the door gaed to the wa';
An' by my ingle lowe I saw,

Now bleezin' bright,
A tight, qutlandish hizzie, braw,

Come full in sight.

The Vision.


The sun had closed the winter day, The curlers quat their roaring play, An' hungered maukin ta’en her way

To kail-yards green, While faithless snaws ilk step betray

Whar she has been.

Ye need na doubt I held my whist -
The infant aith, half-formed, was crusht,
I glowered as eerie 's I'd been dush't

In some wild glen,
When sweet, like modest worth, she blusht,

And stepped ben.

The thresher's weary flingin-tree
The lee-lang day had tired me;
And whan the day had closed his ee,

Far i' the west,
Ben i’ the spence right pensivelie

I gaed to rest.

Green, slender, leaf-clad holly-boughs
Were twisted, gracefu', round her brows;
I took her for some Scottish muse

By that same token,
An' come to stop those reckless vows,

Wou'd soon been broken.

A “hair-brained sentimental trace" Was strongly marked in her face;

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