1739
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode II.

Three Odes. To which is added, the Miss and the Butterfly, a Fable, in the Manner of the Late Mr. Gay.

William Hamilton of Bangour


The "L'Allegro" complement to Hamilton's Ode I.

Robert Anderson: "Of his other Odes, the second and third deserve particular commendation. The second possesses all the exquisite delicacy, picturesque description, and appropriate imagery of Milton's "L'Allegro," of which it is evidently an imitation" British Poets (1795) 9:412.

James Boswell: "Johnson, upon repeated occasions, while I was at Ashbourne, talked slightingly of Hamilton. He said there was no power of thinking in his verses, nothing that strikes one, nothing better than what you generally find in magazines; and that the highest praise they deserved was, that they were very well for a gentleman to hand about among his friends" Life of Johnson (1791) ed. G. B. Hill (1891) 3:170-71.



Begone, pursuits so vain and light,
Knowledge, fruitless of delight;
Lean Study, sire of sallow Doubt,
I put thy musing taper out:
Fantastic all, a long adieu;
For what has Love to do with you?
For, lo, I go where Beauty fires,
To satisfy my soul's desires;
For lo, I seek the sacred walls
Where Love, and gentle Beauty, calls:
For me she has adorn'd the room?
For me has shed a rich perfume:
Has she not prepar'd the tea?
The kettle boils-she waits for me.

I come, nor single, but along
Youthful sports a jolly throng!
Thoughtless joke, and infant wiles;
Harmless wit, and virgin smiles;
Tender words, and kind intent;
Languish fond, and blandishment;
Yielding curtsy, whisper low:
Silken blush, with cheeks that glow;
Chaste desires, and wishes meet;
Thin-clad Hope, a foot-man fleet;
Modesty, that turns aside,
And backward strives her form to hide;
Healthful Mirth, still gay and young,
And Meekness with a maiden's tongue;
Satire, by good humour dress'd
In a many-colour'd vest:
And enter leaning at the door,
Who send'st thy flaunting page before,
The roguish boy of kind delight,
Attendant on the lover's night,
Fair his ivory shuttle flies
Through the bright threads of mingling dies,
As swift his rosy fingers move
To knit the silken cords of Love;
And stop, who softly stealing goes?
Occasion, high on her tiptoes,
Whom Youth with watchful look espies,
To seize the forelock ere she flies,
Ere he her bald pate shall survey,
And well-plied heels to run away.

But, anxious Care, be far from hence;
Vain surmise, and alter'd sense;
Mishapen doubts, the woes they bring;
And Jealousy, of fiercest sting;
Despair, that solitary stands,
And wrings a halter in his hands;
Flatt'ry false and hollow found,
And Dread, with eye still looking round;
Avarice, bending under pelf;
Conceit, still gazing on herself:
O Love! exclude high-crested Pride,
Nymph of amazonian stride:
Nor in these walls, like waiting-maid,
Be Curiosity survey'd,
That to the key-hole lays her ear,
List'ning at the door to hear;
Nor Father Time, unless he's found
In triumph led by Beauty bound,
Forc'd to yield to Vigour's stroke,
His blunted scythe and hour-glass broke.

But come, all ye who know to please;
Inviting glance, and downy ease;
The heart-born joy, the gentle care;
Soft-breath'd wish, and power of prayer;
The single vow, that means no ill;
Believing Quiet, submissive Will;
Constancy of meekest mind,
That suffers long, and still is kind;
All ye who put our woes to flight;
All ye who minister delight;
Nods, and wreaths, and becks and tips;
Meaning winks, and roguish trips;
Fond deceits, and kind surprises;
Sudden sinks and sudden rises;
Laughs, and toys, and gamesome sights;
Jolly dance, and girds, and flights;
Then, to make me wholly blest,
Let me be there a welcome guest.

[Paterson (1850) 51-53]