Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Attending each his proper station,
And all in due subordination,
Through every alley to be found,
In garrets high or under ground;
And when they join their pericranies,
Out skips a book of miscellanies.
Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
Lives in a state of war by nature.
The greater for the smallest watch,
But meddle seldom with their match.
A whale of moderate size will draw
A shoal of herrings down his maw;
A fox with geese his belly crams,
A wolf destroys a thousand lambs :
But search among the rhyming race,
The brave are worried by the base.
If on Parnassus' top you sit,
You rarely bite, are always bit.
Each poet of inferior size
On you shall rail and criticise,
And strive to tear you limb from limb,
While others do as much for him.

Oh Grub-street! how do I bemoan thee,
Whose graceless children scorn to own thee!
Their filial piety forgot,
Deny their country like a Scot;
Though, by their idiom and grimace,
They soon betray their native place:
Yet thou hast greater cause to be
Ashamed of them than they of thee,
Degenerate from their ancient brood,
Since first the court allow'd them food.

Remains a difficulty still, To purchase fame by writing ill. From Flecknoe down to Howard's time, How few have reach'd the low sublime ! For when our high-born Howard died, Blackmore alone his place supplied : And, lest a chasm should intervene, When death had finished Blackmore's reign,

[ocr errors]

The leaden crown devolved to thee,
Great poet of the hollow tree.
But ah! how unsecure thy throne !
A thousand bards thy right disown:
They plot to turn, in factious zeal,
Duncenia to a common weal;
And with rebellious arms pretend
An equal privilege to descend.

In bulk there are not more degrees,
From elephants to mites in cheese,
Than what a curious eye may trace
In creatures of the rhyming race.
From bad to worse, and worse, they fall,
But who can reach the worst of all?
For though, in nature, depth and height
Are equally held infinite;
In poetry, the height we know,
'Tis only infinite below.
For instance, when you rashly think
No rhymer can like Welsted sink,
His merits balanced, you shall find
The laureate leaves him far behind.
Concannen, more aspiring bard,
Soars downward deeper by a yard.
Smart Jemmy Moor with vigour drops,
The rest pursue as thick as hops.
With heads to points the gulf they enter,
Link'd perpendicular to the centre;
And as their heels elated rise,
Their heads attempt the nether skies.

Oh, what indignity and shame, To prostitute the Muse's name! By flattering kings, whom heaven design'd The plagues and scourges of mankind; Bred up in ignorance and sloth, And every vice that nurses both.

Fair Britain, in thy monarch bless'd Whose virtues bear the strictest test; Whom never faction could bespatter, Nor minister nor poet flatter;

What justice in rewarding merit!
What magnanimity of spirit!
What lineaments divine we trace
Through all his figure, mien, and face !
Though peace with olive bind his hands,
Confess'd the conquering hero stands.
Hydaspes, Indus, and the Ganges,
Dread from his hand impending changes.
From hin the Tartar and Chinese,
Short by the knees, entreat for peace.
The consort of his throne and bed,
A perfect goddess born and bred,
Appointed sovereign judge to sit
On learning, eloquence, and wit.
Our eldest hope, divine lülus
(Late, very late, oh may he rule us !),
What early manhood has he shown,
Before his downy beard was grown!
Then think, what wonders will be done
By going on as he begun,
And heir for Britain to secure
As long as sun and moon endure.

The remnant of the royal blood
Comes pouring on me like a flood :
Brignt goddesses, in number five;
Duke William, sweetest prince alive.
Now sing the minister of state,
Who shines alone without a mate.
Observe with what majestic port
This Atlas stands to prop the court;
Inient the public debts to pay,
Like prudent Fabius, by delay.
Thou great vicegerent of the king,
Thy praises every Muse shall sing !
In all affairs thou sole director,
Of wit and learning chief protector ;
Though small the time thou hast to spare,
The church is thy peculiar care.
Of pious prelates what a stock
You choose to rule the sable flock !

You raise the honour of your peerage,
Proud to attend you at the steerage.
You dignify the noble race,
Content yourself with humbler place.
Now learning, valour, virtue, sense,
To titles give the sole pretence.
St. George beheld thee with delight
Vouchsafe to be an azure knight,
When on thy breasts and sides Herculean
He fix'd the star and string cerulean.

Say, poet, in what other nation
Shone ever such a constellation!
Attend, ye Popes, and Youngs, and Gays,
And tune your harps and strow your bays:
Your panegyrics here provide ;
You cannot err on flattery's side.
Above the stars exalt your style,
You still are low ten thousand mile.
On Lewis all his bards bestow'd
Of incense many a thousand load;
But Europe mortified his pride,
And swore the fawning rascals lied.
Yet what the world refused to Lewis,
Applied to George, exactly true is.
Exactly true! invidious poet!
'Tis fifty thousand times below it.

Translate me now some lines, if you can, From Virgil, Martial, Ovid, Lucan. They could all power in heaven divide, And do no wrong on either side ; They teach you how to split a hair, Give George and Jove an equal share. Yet why should we be laced so strait ? I'll give my monarch better weight. And reason good; for many a year Jove never intermeddled here : Nor, though his priests be duly paid, Did ever we desire his aid: We now can better do without him, Since Woolston gave us arms to rout him.

THOMAS WARTON.

1687-1745.

RETIREMENT.

On beds of daisies idly laid, The willow waving o'er my head, Now morning, on the bending stem, Hangs the round and glittering gem, Lulld by the lapse of yonder spring, Of nature's various charms I sing : Ambition, pride, and pomp adieu, For what has joy to do with you? Joy, rose-lipp'd dryad, loves to dwell In sunny field or mossy cell ; Delights on echoing hills to hear The reaper's song or lowing steer: Or view, with tenfold plenty spread, The crowded cornfield, blooming mead; While beauty, health, and innocence Transport the eye, the soul, the sense. Not frescoed roofs, not beds of state, Not guards that round a monarch wait, Not crowds of flatterers can scare From loftiest courts intruding Care. Midst odours, splendours, banquets, wine, While minstrels sound, while tapers shine, In sable stole sad Care will come, And darken the sad drawing-room. Nymphs of the groves, in green array'd, Conduct me to your thickest shade, Deep in the bosom of the vale, Where haunts the lonesome nightingale ; Where Contemplation, maid divine, Leans against some aged pine, Wrapp'd in solemn thought profound, Her eyes fix'd steadfast on the ground.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »