Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

You give us torment, and you give us ease, And vary our affections as you please ; Is not a heart so kind as yours in pain, To load your friends with cares you only feign; Your friends in grief, compos’d yourself, to leave? But 'tis the only way you 'll e'er deceive. Then still, great Sir, your moving power employ, To lull our sorrow, and correct our joy.

TO THE

AUTHOR OF CLARISSA.

BY

JOHN DUNCOMBE, A. M.

IF, ʼmid their round of pleasure, to convey
An useful lesson to the young

and

gay ; To swell their eyes with pearly drops, and share, With cards and dress, the converse of the fair: If, with the boasted bards of classic age, Th’attention of the learned to engage, And in the bosom of the rake to raise A tender, social feeling-merit praise ; The gay, the fair, the learn’d, even rakes, agree To give that praise to nature, truth, and thee.

Transported now to Harlowe-Place, we view Thy matchless maid her godlike tasks pursue ; Visit the sick or needy, and bestow Drugs to relieve, or words to soften woe ; Or, with the pious Lewen, hear her soar

Heights unattain’d by female minds before.
Then to her ivy-bower she pleas'd retires,
And with light touch the trembling keys inspires :
While wakeful Philomel no more complains,
But, raptur'd, listens to her sweeter strains.

Now (direful contrast !) in each gloomy shade Behold a pitying swain, or weeping maid ! And hark! with sullen swing, the tolling bell Proclaims that loss which language fails to tell. In awful silence soon a sight appears, That points their sorrows, and renews their tears : For, lo! far-blackening all the verdant meads, With slow parade, the funeral pomp proceeds: Methinks even now I hear th' encumber'd ground, And pavement, echo with a rumbling sound : And see the servants' tearful eyes declare With speaking look, the herse, the herse, is here!

But, O thou sister of Clarissa's heart, Can I the anguish of thy soul impart, When, from

your

chariot flown with breathless haste,
Her clay-cold form, yet beauteous, you embrac'd;
And cried with heaving sobs, and broken strains,
Are these-are these--my much-lov'd friend's re-

mains ?
Then view each Harlowe-face ; remorse, despair,
And self-condemning grief, are pictur'd there.
Now first the brother feels, with guilty. sighs,
Fraternal passions in his bosom rise :

By shame and sorrow equally opprest,
The sister wrings her hands, and beats her breast.
With streaming eyes, too late, the mother blames
Her tame submission to the tyrant James:
Even he, the gloomy father, o'er the herse
Laments his rashness, and recalls his curse.
And thus each parent, who, with haughty sway,
Expects his child to tremble and obey ;
Who hopes his power by rigor to maintain,
And meanly worships at the shrine of gain;
Shall mourn his error, and, repenting, own,
That bliss can ne'er depend on wealth alone.
Riches may charm, and pageantry invite :
But what are these, unless the minds unite ?
Drive then insatiate avarice from your breast,
Nor think a Solmes can make Clarissa blest.

And you, ye fair, the wish of every heart,
Tho' grac'd by nature, and adorn'd by art,
Tho' sprightly youth its vernal bloom bestow,
And on your cheeks the blush of beauty glow,
Here see how soon those roses of a day,
Nipt by a frost, fade, wither, and decay !
Nor youth nor beauty could Clarissa save,
Snatch'd to an early, not untimely grave.
But still her own unshaken innocence,
Spotless and pure, unconscious of offence,
In the dread hour of death her bosom warm'd
With more than manly courage, and disarm’d

The griesly king : in vain the tyrant tried
His awful terrors—for she smil'd, and died.

You too, ye libertines, who idly jest With virtue wrong'd, and innocence distrest; Who vainly boast of what should be your shame, And triumph in the wreck of female fame ; Be warn’d, like Belford, and behold, with dread, The hand of vengeance hovering o'er your head ! If not, in Belton's agonies you view What dying horrors are reserv'd for you.

In vain even Lovelace, healthy, young, and gay, By nature form’d to please, and to betray, Tried from himself, by change of place, to run ; For that intruder, Thought, he could not shun. Tasteless were all the pleasures that he view'd In foreign courts ; for conscience still pursu'd: The lost Clarissa each succeeding night, In starry garment, swims before his sight; Nor ease by day her shrill complaints afford, But far more deeply wound than Morden's sword.

[ocr errors]

O! if a sage

had thus on Attic plains Improv’d at once and charm’d the listening swains ; Had he, with matchless energy of thought, Great truths like these in antient Athens taught: On fam'd Ilyssus' banks in Parian stone His breathing bust conspicuous would have shone;

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »