1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Dyer

Aaron Hill, "The Choice. To Mr. John Dyer, of Aberglasney in Carmarthenshire" Richard Savage, Miscellaneous Poems and Translations (1726) 165-68.



While charm'd, on Aberglasney's quiet Plains,
The Muses, and their Empress, court your Strains,
Tir'd of the noisy Town, so lately try'd,
Methinks, I see you smile, on Towy's Side!
Pensive, her mazy Wand'rings you unwind,
And, on your River's Margin, calm your Mind.
Oh! — Greatly bless'd! — whate'er your Fate requires,
Your ductile Wisdom tempers your Desires!
Balanc'd within, you look Abroad, serene,
And, marking both Extremes, pass clear, between.

Oh! cou'd you your lov'd Example teach your Skill,
And, as it moves my Wonder, mend my Will!
Calm wou'd my Passions grow; — my Lot wou'd please;
And my sick Soul might think itself to Ease!
But, to the Future, while I strain my Eye,
Each present Good slips, undistinguish'd, by.
Still, what I wou'd, contends with what I can,
And my wild Wishes leap the Bounds of Man.

If in my Pow'r it lies to limit Hope,
And my unchain'd Desires can fix a Scope,
This were my Choice — Oh! Friend! pronounce me poor:
For I have Wants, which Wealth can never cure!

Let Others, with a narrow'd Stint of Pride,
In selfish Views, a bounded Hope divide:
If I must wish at all, — Desires are free,
High, as the Highest, I wou'd wish to be!
Then might I, sole supreme, act, unconfin'd,
And with unbounded Influence, bless Mankind.
Mean is that Soul, whom it's own Good can fill!
A prosp'rous World, alone, cou'd feast my Will.
He's poor, at best, who other's Misery sees,
And wants the wish'd-for Pow'r to give 'em Ease!
A Glory this, unreach'd, but on a Throne!
All were enough — And, less than All, is none!

This my first Wish — But, since 'tis wild, and vain,
To grasp at glitt'ring Clouds, with fruitless Pain,
More safely low, let my next Prospect be,
And Life's mild Ev'ning this fair Sunset see.

Far from a Lord's loath'd Neighbourhood, — A State!
Whose little Greatness is a Pride I hate!
On some lone Wild, shou'd my large House be plac'd,
Vastly surrounded by a healthful Waste!
Steril, and coarse, the untry'd Soil shou'd be,
Till forc'd to flourish, and subdu'd by me.
Seas, Woods, Meads, Mountains, Gardens, Streams, and Skies,
Shou'd, with a changeful Grandeur, charm my Eyes
Where-e'er I walk'd, Effects of my past Pains,
Shou'd plume the Mountain Tops, and paint the Plains.
Greatly obscure, and shunning Courts, or Name:
Widely befriended, but escaping Fame;
Peaceful, in studious Quiet, wou'd I live,
Lie hid, for Leisure, and grow Rich, to give!