A philosophical romance in five cantos. While Richard Savage's meandering poem is sui generis, it is linked by its various components to much of the Spenserian tradition. There is an elaborate imitation of Spenser's Despair episode, and various echoes of Milton, though in structure The Wanderer is closer to the Caroline romances, perhaps more particularly to those of Henry More and Joseph Beaumont. But the texture is quite different, consisting largely of emblematic landscapes mingled with physico-theological reflection. While the influence of the recent descriptive poems by Thomson and Mallet is apparent, the philosophical episodes of this perplexed and perplexing poem begin to resemble The Castle of Indolence and The Minstrel, while its visionary episodes anticipate the romantic extravagance of Keats and Shelley. In its subdivisions The Wanderer is titled "A Vision" rather than "A Poem."
Samuel Johnson: "It has been generally objected to The Wanderer that the disposition of the parts is irregular; that the design is obscure, and the plan perplexed; that the images, however beautiful, succeed each other without order; and that the whole performance is not so much a regular fabrick as a heap of shining materials thrown together by accident, which strikes rather with the solemn magnificence of a stupendous ruin than the elegant grandeur of a finished pile. This criticism is universal, and therefore it is reasonable to believe it at least in a great degree just; but Mr. Savage was always of a contrary opinion, and thought his drift could only be missed by negligence or stupidity, and that the whole plan was regular, and the parts distinct.... I shall not dwell upon the particular passages which deserve applause: I shall neither shew the excellence of his description, nor expatiate on the terrifick portrait of suicide, nor point out the artful touches by which he has distinguished the intellectual features of the rebels, who suffered death in his last canto. It is, however, proper to observe that Mr. Savage always declared the characters wholly fictitious, and without the least allusion to any real persons or actions" Lives of the English Poets (1779-81); ed. Hill (1905) 2:365-66.
Isaac D'Israeli: "Savage, in the pressing hour of distress, sold that eccentric poem, The Wanderer, which had occupied him several years, for ten pounds" Curiosities of Literature (1791) 1:63.
Walter Scott to Allan Cunningham: "Did you ever read Savage's beautiful poem of The Wanderer? If no, do so, and you will see the fault which, I think, attaches to Lord Maxwell — a want of distinct precision and intelligibility about the story, which counteracts, especially with ordinary readers, the effect of beautiful and forcible diction, poetical imagery, and animated description" 27 April 1821; in Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 3:135.
Edmund Gosse: "The world has become familiar with the misfortunes and adventures of Richard Savage (1698-1743) through the captivating biography of him written by Dr. Johnson. There is now no question, however, that Johnson was biassed in his judgment of this person by the partiality of friendship, and the life is full of obvious errors of date and fact. Savage ostentatiously described himself on his title-pages as 'Son of the late Earl Rivers,' but it is more than doubtful whether this unwise son knew his own father. It is needful here only to dwell on the fact that at the age of about thirty Savage displayed for two or three years some genuine poetical talent, and published three vigorous works in heroic measure. The Bastard (1728), written in real or feigned indignation against his supposed mother, the Countess of Macclesfield, enjoyed a success of scandal; it is short, terse, and effective. In The Wanderer (1729) Savage made a very different effort to subdue the public, with a long and serious poem in five books. Dr. Johnson, naturally attracted to the moral parts of this work, gives a totally false idea of its character. It is really a kind of prototype of Goldsmith's Traveller, to which it bears the sort of relation that Dryden is conventionally supposed to bear to Pope. What is mainly noticeable in The Wanderer, which describes the flight over Europe of a man who has been bereaved of one Olympia, is the influence of Thomson, enlarging the range of poetic observation, and encouraging an exacter portraiture of natural objects. The last book of Savage's poem is remarkably full of brilliant if often crude colour, and the reader is startled to meet with such attempts to give new landscape-features" History of Eighteenth-Century Literature (1889) 217.
W. J. Courthope: "The justice of the general censure is undeniable: a more ill-compacted poem than The Wanderer it would be difficult to find" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 5:197.
Myra Reynolds: "Most of the descriptions, like those of Mallet's Excursion, are of scenes too remote for damaging comparisons with the reality, as of sunrise at the north pole, or of wide prospects from unknown mounts. The various details are brought together with little sense of unity. He called the poem a vision, and he had perhaps a right to dreamlike combinations of facts, but the result is not a contribution to the study of external Nature. His diction is vague and inexpressive. There is large use of stock poetic words, and there are many Thomsonian echoes. Most of the descriptions are tame, classical imitations. They show no first-hand knowledge of the country" The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry (1909) 109-10.
Dwight Durling: "Richard Savage's Wanderer (1729) is a descriptive and reflective poem which illustrates its period revealingly. Its merits and its faults are equally illuminating. It is a curious hybrid of different genres. There is no consistent plan except that of the poet's imaginary wanderings in time and space. The phenomenon of the seasons are a descriptive bond of unity. The parts of a winter's day and night bind together the first three cantos. The coming and passing of spring is described early in Canto IV, and a summer's day and night then form the link between he fourth and fifth cantos. The fantastic figure of a philosophical hermit, who discourses on ethical and religious topics, appears and reappears, his last visit forming a climax of supernatural vision in the final canto" Georgic Tradition in English Poetry (1935) 128.
In the first canto Savage undertakes to describe the pleasures of retired life: "To prove, by these the Sons of Men may owe | The Fruits of Bliss to bursting Clouds of Woe, | That ev'n Calamity, by Thought refin'd, | Inspirits, and adorns the thinking Mind" p. 2. The figure of frost is allegorically depicted and the poet is transported in vision to a vast wintery landscape, emblematic of his sorrowful prospect. Descending from the mountain heights he encounters a sorrowful young man living in a "Mansion of Despair." This hermit proves to be an Englishman, who sets food before the Wanderer and invites him to examine an elaborate structure built with his own hands: "Pass on — New Scenes, by my creative Pow'r, | Invite Reflection's sweet, and solemn Hour" p. 22. They examine a library stocked with the most recent English poets, leading to reflections on the powers of envy displayed in attacks on Alexander Pope. The Hermit declares his faith in the ability of Providence to direct all things to the general good.
In the second canto Wanderer is led to a chapel which the Hermit has decorated with devotional imagery. It is dominated by a vast monument to Olympia, his departed wife. The Hermit relates his sad history, describing his madness in an allegorical description of Spleen (adapted from Pope's Rape of the Lock) and Suicide (from the Faerie Queene): "From me (she cries) pale Wretch thy Comfort claim, | Born of Despair, and Suicide my Name! | Why shou'd thy Life a Moment's Pain endure? | Here ev'ry Object proffers Grief a Cure" p. 43. As he is about to succumb a divine voice warns him to retire to a distant land where, after slaying the serpent dwelling in the place, the Hermit makes his abode. Olympia appears in a vision to inform her husband that she is now his guardian angel.
The Hermit offers to conduct the Wanderer to a neighbouring city, and the third canto opens with a night piece describing the winter landscape. As they approach the town, the Hermit offers moral instruction, touching on a subject dear to the poet's heart, the cruelty of unnatural mothers: "Can the fond Goat, or tender, fleecy Dam | Howl, like the Wolf, to tear the Kid, or Lamb?" p. 65. A noble but impoverished poet is described pursued by a throng of allegorical menaces. The night-canto concludes with some grisly speculations on the powers of fancy to set to rights injustice. The spirit of Olympia appears and commands the Hermit to return.
Time passes, and passing time becomes the theme of a brief fourth canto describing the turning of the seasons, the times of day, and a medley of georgic topics. The Wanderer is settling into a cave to pursue more elevated contemplations when he is interrupted by an uncanny appearance, which proves to be his friend the Hermit, who advises him to abandon a sacred place for which he is not yet mentally prepared, and to pursue the Muse through surrounding vistas: "She, only she can mortal Thoughts refine, | And raise thy Voice to Visitants divine" p. 97.
The long fifth canto opens with a verdant landscape, an allegorical procession, and finally the Muse herself. The sight of a poor beggar provokes a chain of sympathetic reflections from the Wanderer, to which the Hermit replies, "Were the whole known, what we uncouth suppose, | Doubtless, wou'd beauteous Symmetry disclose" p. 109. They proceed through a fertile landscape where, at the touch of the Muse's wand, the Beggar is transformed into the ghost of a handsome young poet. In a passage Thomas Gray seems to have remembered, the poet points to his own tomb: "there, o'er his sacred Dust, | Arise the sculptur'd Tomb, and labour'd Bust. | Vain Pomp! bestow'd by ostentatious Pride, | Who to a Life of Want Relief deny'd" p. 117. Neglected in life, celebrated in death, the poet, now a seraph, wanders the world performing acts of generosity. The center of the canto is marked by a fantastic account of the rainbow. The poet proceeds to the sad histories of Florio, Cosmo, and Horatio, three rebels whose characters are destroyed, respectively, by luxury, revenge, and ambition. The talk continues into the night, when the Hermit (much to the Wanderer's astonishment) describes the manner of his death. After relating his joys in Heaven, he delivers the moral of Savage's poem: "True Joy's a Seraph, that to Heav'n aspires, | Unhurt it triumphs mid celestial Quires. | But shou'd no Cares a mortal State molest, | Life were a State of Ignorance at best" p. 147. The Hermit then ascends skyward, leaving the Muse behind to comfort the Wanderer.
Fain wou'd my Verse, TYRCONNEL, boast thy Name,
BROWNLOW, at once my Subject, and my Fame!
Oh! cou'd that Spirit, which thy Bosom warms,
Whose Strength surprises, and whose Goodness charms!
That various Worth! — cou'd that inspire my Lays,
Envy shou'd smile, and Censure learn to praise:
Yet, tho' unequal to a Soul, like thine,
A generous Soul, approaching to Divine,
When bless'd beneath such Patronage I write,
Great my Attempt, tho' hazardous my Flight.
O'er ample Nature I extend my Views;
Nature to rural Scenes invites my Muse:
She flies all public Care, all venal Strife,
To try the Still, compar'd with Active Life;
To prove, by these the Sons of Men may owe
The Fruits of Bliss to bursting Clouds of Woe,
That ev'n Calamity, by Thought refin'd,
Inspirits, and adorns the thinking Mind.
Come CONTEMPLATION, whose unbounded Gaze,
Swift in a Glance, the Course of Things, surveys;
Who in Thy-self the various View can'st find
Of Sea, Land, Air, and Heav'n, and Human Kind;
What Tides of Passion in the Bosom roll;
What Thoughts debase, and what exalt the Soul;
Whose Pencil paints, obsequious to thy Will,
All thou survey'st, with a creative Skill!
Oh, leave a-while thy lov'd, sequester'd Shade!
A-while in wintry Wilds vouchsafe thy Aid!
Then waft me to some olive, bow'ry Green;
Where, cloath'd in white, thou shew'st a Mind serene;
Where kind Content from Noise, and court retires,
And smiling sits, while Muses tune their Lyres:
Where Zephyrs gently breathe, while Sleep profound
To their soft Fanning nods, with Poppies crown'd,
Sleep on a Treasure of bright Dreams reclines,
By thee bestow'd; whence Fancy colour'd shines,
And flutters round his Brow a hov'ring Flight,
Varying her Plumes in visionary Light.
The solar Fires now faint, and watry burn,
Just where with Ice Aquarius frets his Urn!
If thaw'd, full-issue from its Mouth severe,
Raw Clouds, that sadden all th' inverted Year.
When FROST and FIRE with martial Pow'rs engag'd,
FROST, northward, fled the War, unequal wag'd!
Beneath, the Pole his Legions urg'd their Flight,
And gain'd a Cave profound, and wide as Night.
O'er cheerless Scenes by Desolation own'd,
High on an Alp of Ice he sits enthron'd!
One clay-cold Hand, his crystal Beard, sustains,
And scepter'd One, o'er Wind, and Tempest, reigns;
O'er stony Magazines of Hail, that storm
The blossom'd Fruit, and flow'ry Spring deform.
His languid Eyes, like frozen Lakes, appear,
Dim-gleaming all the Light, that wanders here.
His Robe snow-wrought, and hoar'd with Age; his Breath
A nitrous Damp, that strikes petrific Death.
Far hence lies, ever-freez'd, the Northern Main,
That checks, and renders Navigation vain;
That, shut against the Sun's dissolving Ray,
Scatters the trembling Tides of vanquish'd Day,
And stretching Eastward half the World secures,
Defies Discov'ry, and like Time endures!
Now FROST sent boreal Blasts to scourge the Air,
To bind the Streams, and leave the Landscape bare;
Yet when far-west, his Violence declines;
Tho' here the Brook, or Lake, his Pow'r confines;
To rocky Pools, to Cat'racts are unknown
His Chains! — to Rivers, rapid like the Rhone!
The falling Moon cast cold, a quiv'ring Light,
Just silver'd o'er the Snow, and sunk! — Pale Night
Retir'd. The Dawn in light-grey Mists arose!
Shrill chants the Cock! — the hungry Heifer lows!
Slow blush yon breaking Clouds! — the Sun's uproll'd!
Th' expansive Grey turns azure, chac'd with Gold;
White-glitt'ring Ice, chang'd like the Topaz, gleams,
Reflecting Saffron Lustre from his Beams.
O Contemplation, teach me to explore,
From Britain far remote, some distant Shore!
From Sleep a Dream distinct, and lively Claim;
Clear let the Vision strike the Moral's Aim!
It comes! I feel it o'er my Soul serene!
Still Morn begins, and Frost retains the Scene!
Hark! — the loud Horn's enlivening Note's begun!
From Rock to Vale sweet-wand'ring Echoes run!
Still floats the Sound shrill-winding from afar!
Wild Beasts astonish'd dread the Sylvan War!
Spears to the Sun in Files embattled play,
March on, charge briskly, and enjoy the Fray!
Swans, Ducks, and Geese, and the wing'd, Winter Brood,
Chatter discordant on yon echoing Flood!
At Babel thus, when Heav'n the Tongue confounds,
Sudden a thousand different, jargon Sounds,
Like jangling Bells, harsh-mingling, grate the Ear!
All stare! all talk! all mean; but none cohere!
Mark! wiley Fowlers meditate their Doom,
And smoky Fate speeds thund'ring thro' the Gloom!
Stop'd short, they cease in airy Rings to fly,
Whirl o'er, and o'er, and, flutt'ring, fall and die.
Still Fancy wafts me on! deceiv'd I stand,
Estrang'd, adventrous on a foreign Land!
Wide and more wide extends the Scene unknown!
Where shall I turn, a Wanderer, and alone?
From hilly Wilds, and Depths where Snows remain,
My winding Steps up a steep Mountain strain!
Emers'd a-top I mark the Hills subside,
And Tow'rs aspire but with inferior Pride!
On this Bleak Height tall Firs, with Ice-work crown'd,
Bend, while their flaky Winter shades the Ground!
Hoarse, and direct, a blust'ring North-wind blows!
On Boughs, thick-rusting, crack the crisped Snows!
Tangles of Frost half fright the wilder'd Eye,
By Heat oft blacken'd like a low'ring Sky!
Hence down the Side two turbid Rivl'ets pour,
And devious Two, in one huge Cat'ract, roar!
While pleas'd the watry Progress I pursue,
Yon Rocks in rough Assemblage rush in View!
In form an Ampitheatre they rise;
And a dark Gulph in their broad Center lies.
There the dim'd Sight with dizzy Weakness fails,
And Horror o'er the firmest Brain prevails!
Thither these Mountain-streams their Passage take,
Headlong foam down, and form a dreadful Lake!
The Lake, high-swelling, so redundant grows,
From the heap'd Store deriv'd a River flows;
Which deep'ning travels thro' a distant Wood,
And, thence emerging, meets a Sister-flood;
Mingled they flash on a wide-opening Plain,
And pass yon City to the far-seen Main.
So blend two Souls by Heav'n for Union made,
And strength'ning forward, lend a mutual Aid,
And prove in ev'ry transient Turn their Aim,
Thro' finite Life to infinite the same.
Nor ends the Landscape — Ocean, to my Sight,
Points a blue Arm, where sailing Ships delight,
In Prospect lessen'd! — Now new Rocks, rear'd high,
Stretch a cross Ridge, and bar the curious Eye!
There lies obscur'd the ripening Diamond's Ray,
And thence red-branching Coral's rent away.
In conic Form there gelid Crystal grows;
Thro' such the Palace-Lamp, gay Lustre, throws!
Lustre, which, tho' dim Night, as various plays,
As play from yonder Snows the changeful Rays!
For nobler Use the Crystal's Worth may rise,
If Tubes perspective hem the spotless Prize;
Thro' these the Beams of the far-lengthen'd Eye
Measure known Stars, and new remoter spy.
Hence Commerce many a shorten'd Voyage steers,
Shorten'd to Months, the Hazard once of Years;
Hence HALLEY'S Soul ethereal Flight essays;
Instructive there from Orb to Orb she strays;
Sees, round new countless Suns, new Systems roll!
Sees God in All! and magnifies the Whole!
Yon rocky Side enrich'd the Summer Scene,
And Peasant's Search with Herbs of healthful Green;
Now naked, pale, and comfortless it lies,
Like Youth extended cold in Death's Disguise.
There, while without the sounding Tempest swells,
Incav'd secure th' exulting Eagle dwells;
And there, when Nature owns prolific Spring,
Spreads o'er her Young a fondling Mother's Wing.
Swains on the Coast the far-fam'd Fish descry,
That gives the fleecy Robe the Tyrian Dye;
While Shells, a scatter'd Ornament, bestow;
The tinctur'd Rivals of the show'ry Bow.
Yon limeless Sands, loose-driving with the Wind,
In future Cauldrons useful Texture find,
Till, on the Furnace thrown, the glowing Mass
Brightens, and bright'ning hardens into Glass.
When winter Halcyons, flick'ring on the Wave,
Tune their Complaints, yon Sea forgets to rave;
Tho' lash'd by Storms, which naval Pride o'erturn,
The foaming Deep in Sparkles seems to burn,
Loud Winds turn Zephyrs to enlarge their Notes,
And each safe Nest on a calm Surface floats.
Now veers the Wind full East; and keen, and sore,
Its cutting Influence akes in ev'ry Pore!
How weak thy Fabrick, Man! — A Puff, thus blown,
Staggers thy Strength, and echoes to thy Groan.
A Tooth's minutest Nerve let Anguish seize,
Swift kindred Fibers catch! (so frail our Ease!)
Pinch'd, pierc'd, and torn, enflam'd, and unassuag'd,
They smart, and swell, and throb, and shoot enrag'd!
From Nerve to Nerve fierce flies th' exulting Pain!
—And are we of this mighty Fabrick vain?
Now my Blood chills! scarce thro' my Veins it glides!
Sure on each Blast a shiv'ring Ague rides!
Warn'd let me this bleak Eminence forsake,
And to the Vale a diff'rent Winding take!
Half I descend: My Spirits fast decay;
A Terrass now relieves my weary Way.
Close with this Stage a Precipice combines;
Whence still the spacious Country far declines!
The Herds seem Insects in the distant Glades,
And Men diminish'd, as at Noon their Shades!
Thick on this Top o'ergrown for Walks are seen
Grey, leafless Wood, and winter Greens between!
The red'ning Berry, deep-ting'd Holly shows,
And matted Mistleto, the white, bestows!
Tho', lost the Banquet of autumnal Fruits,
Tho' on broad Oaks, no vernal Umbrage shoots;
These Boughs, the silenc'd, shiv'ring Songsters seek!
These foodful Berries fill the hungry Beak.
Beneath appears a Place, all outward bare,
Inward the dreary Mansion of Despair!'
The Water of the Mountain-Road, half-stray'd,
Breaks o'er it wild, and falls a brown Cascade.
Has Nature this rough, naked Piece design'd,
To hold Inhabitant of mortal Kind?
She has. Approach'd, appears a deep Descent,
Which opens in a Rock a large Extent!
And hark! — its hollow Entrance reach'd, I hear
A trampling Sound of Footsteps hast'ning near!
A death-like Chillness thwarts my panting Breast:
Soft! the wish'd Object stands at length confest!
Of Youth his Form! — But why with Anguish bent?
Why pin'd with sallow Marks of Discontent?
Yet Patience, lab'ring to beguile his Care,
Seems to raise Hope, and smiles away Despair.
Compassion in his Eye survey's my Grief,
And in his Voice invites me to Relief.
Preventive of thy Call, behold my haste,
(He says.) Nor let warm Thanks thy Spirits waste!
All Fear forgot — Each Portal I possess,
Duty wide-opens to receive Distress.
Oblig'd, I follow, by his Guidance led:
The vaulted Roof re-echoing to our Tread!
And now, in squar'd Divisions, I survey
Chambers sequester'd from the Glare of Day;
Yet needful Lights, are taught to intervene,
Thro' Rifts; each forming a perspective Scene.
In Front a Parlour meets my ent'ring View;
Oppos'd, a Room to sweet Reflection due.
Here my chill'd Veins are warm'd by chippy Fires,
Thro' the bor'd Rock above, the Smoke expires;
Neat, o'er a homely Board, a Napkin's spread,
Crown'd with a heapy Canister of Bread.
A Maple Cup is next dispatch'd, to bring
The Comfort of the salutary Spring:
Nor mourn we absent Blessings of the Vine,
Here laughs a frugal Bowl of rosy Wine;
And sav'ry Cates, upon clear Embers cast,
Lie hissing, till snatch'd off; a rich Repast!
Soon leap my Spirits with enliven'd Pow'r,
And in gay Converse glides the feastful Hour.
The Hermit, thus: Thou wonder'st at thy Fare:
On me, yon City, kind, bestows her Care;
Meat for keen Famine, and the gen'rous Juice,
That warms chill'd Life, her Charities produce:
Accept without Reward; unask'd 'twas mine;
Here what thy Health requires, as free be thine.
Hence learn that GOD, (who, in the Time of Need,
In frozen Desarts can the Raven feed)
Well-sought, will delegate some pitying Breast,
His second Means, to succour Man distrest.
He paus'd. Deep Thought upon his Aspect gloom'd;
Then He, with Smile humane, his Voice resum'd.
I'm just inform'd, (and laugh me not to scorn)
By One unseen by thee, thou'rt English-born.
Of England I — To me the British State,
Rises, in dear Memorial, ever great!
Here stand we conscious! — Diffidence suspend!
Free flow our Words! — Did ne'er thy Muse extend
To Grots, where Contemplation smiles serene,
Where Angels visit, and where Joys convene?
To Groves, where more than mortal Voices rise,
Catch the rapt Soul, and waft it to the Skies?
This Cave! — Yon Walks! — But e'er I more unfold,
What artful Scenes, thy Eyes shall here behold,
Think Subjects of my Toil: nor wond'ring gaze!
What cannot Industry completely raise?
Be the whole Earth in one great Landscape found,
By Industry is all with Beauty crown'd!
He, He alone explores the Mine for Gain,
Hues the hard Rock, or harrows up the Plain;
He forms the Sword to smite; He sheaths the Steel,
Draws Health from Herbs, and shews the Balm to heal;
Or with loom'd Wool the native Robe supplies;
Or bids young Plants in future Forests rise;
Or fells the monarch Oak; which, borne away,
Shall with new Grace the distant Ocean sway;
Hence golden Commerce views her Wealth encrease,
The blissful Child of Liberty and Peace.
He scoops the stubborn Alps, and, still employ'd,
Fills with soft, fertile Mold the steril Void;
Slop'd up white Rocks, small, yellow Harvests grow,
And, green on terrass'd Stages, Vineyards blow!
By him fall Mountains to a level Space,
An Isthmus sinks, and sunder'd Seas embrace!
He founds a City on the naked Shore,
And Desolation starves the Tract no more.
From the wild Waves he won the Belgic Land;
Where wide they foam'd, her Towns, and Trafficks stand;
He clear'd, manur'd, enlarg'd the furtive Ground,
And firms the Conquest with his fenceful Mound.
Ev'n Mid the watry World his Venice rose,
Each Fabric there, as Pleasure's Seat he shows!
There Marts, Sports, Councils are for Action sought,
Landscapes for Health, and Solitude for Thought.
What wonder then I, by his potent Aid,
A Mansion in a barren Mountain made?
Part thou hast view'd — If further we explore,
Let Industry deserve the Applause the more.
No frowning Care yon blest Apartment sees,
There Sleep retires, and finds a Couch of Ease.
Kind Dreams, that fly Remorse, and pamper'd Wealth,
There shed the Smiles of Innocence, and Health.
Mark! — Here descends a Grot, delightful Seat!
Which warms ev'n Winter, tempers Summer's Heat?
See! — Gurgling from a Top, a Spring distils!
In mournful Measures wind the dripping Rills;
Soft Cooes of distant Doves, receiv'd around,
In soothing Mixture, swell the wat'ry Sound;
And hence the Streamlets seek the terrass Shade,
Within, without, alike to all convey'd.
Pass on — New Scenes, by my creative Pow'r,
Invite Reflection's sweet, and solemn Hour.
We enter'd, where in well-rang'd Order, stood
Th' instructive Volumes of the Wise and Good.
These Friends (said he) tho' I desert Mankind,
Good Angels never wou'd permit behind.
Each Genius, Youth conceals, or Time displays,
I know; each Work, some Seraph here conveys,
Retirement thus presents my searchful Thought,
What Heav'n inspir'd, and what the Muse has taught;
What YOUNG Satiric, and Sublime has writ,
Whose Life is Virtue, and whose Muse is Wit.
Rapt I foresee thy MALLET'S early Aim
Shine in full Worth, and shoot at length to Fame.
Sweet Fancy's Bloom in FENTON'S Lay appears,
And the ripe Judgment of instructive Years.
In HILL is all, that gen'rous Souls revere,
To Virtue, and the Muse for ever dear:
And THOMSON, in this Praise, thy Merit see,
The Tongue, that praises Merit, praises thee.
These scorn (said I) the Verse-Wright of their Age,
Vain of a labour'd, languid, useless Page;
To whose dim Faculty the meaning Song
Is glaring, or obscure, when clear, and strong;
Who in cant Phrases gives a Work Disgrace;
His Wit, an Odness of his Tone, and Face;
Let the weak Malice, nurs'd to an Essay,
In some low Libel a mean Hurt display;
Those, who once prais'd, now, undeceiv'd despise,
It lives contemn'd a Day, then harmless dies.
Or shou'd some nobler Bard, their Worth, unpraise,
Deserting Morals, that adorn his Lays,
Alas! too oft each Science shews the same,
The Great grow jealous of a greater Name:
Ye Bards, the Frailty mourn; yet brave the Shock:
Has not a STILLINGFLEET opposs'd a LOCKE?
Oh, still proceed, with sacred Rapture fir'd!
Unenvied had ye liv'd, if unadmir'd.
Let Envy, he replied, all-ireful rise,
Envy pursues alone the Brave, and Wise;
MARO, and SOCRATES inspire her Pain,
And POPE, the Monarch of the tuneful Train;
To whom be Nature's, and Britannia's Praise!
All their bright Honours rush into his Lays!
And all that glorious Warmth his Lays reveal,
Which only Poets, Kings, and Patriots feel!
Tho' gay as Mirth, as curious Thought sedate,
As Elegance polite, as Pow'r elate;
Profound as Reason, and as Justice clear;
Soft as Compassion; yet as Truth severe;
As Bounty copious, as Persuasion sweet,
Like Nature various, and like Art complete;
So fine her Morals, so sublime her Views,
His Life is almost equall'd by his Muse.
O POPE! — Since Envy is decreed by Fate,
Since she pursues alone the Wise, and Great;
In one small, emblematic Landscape see,
How vast a Distance 'twixt thy Foe, and Thee!
Truth from an Eminence surveys our Scene,
(A Hill, where all is clear, and all serene.)
Rude, earth-bred Storms o'er meaner Valleys blow,
And wand'ring Mists roll, black'ning, far below;
Dark, and debas'd, like them, is Envy's Aim,
And clear, and eminent, like Truth, thy Fame.
Thus I. From what dire Cause can Envy spring?
Or why embosom we a Viper's Sting?
'Tis Envy stings our darling Passion, Pride.
Alas! (the Man of mighty Soul replied)
Why chuse we Mis'ries? Most derive their Birth
From one bad Source; we dread superior Worth;
Prefer'd, it seems a Satire on our own;
Then heedless to excel, we meanly moan:
Then we abstract our Views, and Envy show,
Whence springs the Mis'ry, Pride is doom'd to know.
Thus Folly pain creates: By Wisdom's Pow'r,
We shun the Weight of many a restless Hour—
Lo! I meet Wrong, perhaps the Wrong, I feel,
Tends by the Scheme of Things to publick Weal.
I of the Whole am Part — the Joy, Men see,
Must circulate, and so revolve to me.
Why shou'd I then of private Loss complain?
Of Loss, that proves, perchance, a Brother's Gain?
The Wind, that binds one Bark within the Bay,
May waft a richer Freight its wish'd-for Way.
If Rains, redundant, flood the abject Ground,
Mountains are but supplied, when Vales are drown'd;
If, with soft Moisture swell'd, the Vale looks gay,
The Verdure of the Mountain fades away.
Shall Clouds, but at my Welfare's Call descend?
Shall Gravity for me her Laws suspend?
For me shall Suns their Noon-tide Course forbear?
Or Motion not subsist to influence Air?
Let the Means vary, be thy Frost, or Flame,
Thy End, O Nature! still remains the same!
Be This the Motive of a wise Man's Care,
To shun deserving Ills, and learn to bear.
While thus a Mind humane, and wise, he shows,
All-eloquent of Truth his Language flows,
Youth, tho' depress'd, thro' all his Form, appears;
Thus He — Yet farther Industry behold,
Which conscious waits new Wonders to unfold.
Enter my Chapel next — Lo! here begin
The hallow'd rites, that check the Growth of Sin.
When first we met, how soon you seem'd to know
My Bosom, lab'ring with the Throbs of Woe!
Such racking Thoughts! — soft! when I rouse those Cares,
On my chill'd Mind pale Recollection glares!
When moping Frenzy strove my Thoughts to sway,
Here prudent Labours chac'd her Pow'r away.
Full, and rough-rising from yon sculptur'd Wall,
Bold Prophets, Nations to Repentance, call!
Meek Martyrs smile in Flames! gor'd Champions groan!
And Muse-like Cherubs tune their Harps in Stone!
Next shadow'd Light, a rounding Force, bestows,
Swells into Life, and speaking Action grows!
Here pleasing, melancholy Subjects find,
To calm, amuse, exalt the pensive Mind!
This Figure, tender Grief, like mine, implies,
And semblant Thoughts, that earthly Pomp despise.
Such penitential Magdalene reveals:
Loose-veil'd, in Negligence of Charms she kneels.
Tho' Dress, near stor'd, its Vanity supplies,
The Vanity of Dress unheeded lies.
The sinful World in sorrowing Eye she keeps,
As o'er Jerusalem, Messiah weeps.
One Hand, her Bosom smites; in One appears
The lifted Lawn, that drinks her falling Tears.
Since Evil outweighs Good, and sways Mankind,
True Fortitude assumes the patient Mind:
Such prov'd Messiah's, tho' to suff'ring born,
To Penury, Repulse, Reproach, and Scorn.
Here by the Pencil mark his Flight design'd;
The wearied Virgin by a Stream reclin'd,
Who feeds the Child. Her Looks a Charm express,
A modest Charm, that dignifies Distress.
Boughs o'er their Heads with blushing Fruits depend,
Which Angels to her busied Consort bend.
Hence by the smiling Infant seems discern'd,
Trifles, concerning him, all Heav'n, concern'd.
Here the transfigur'd Son, from Earth, retires:
See! the white Form in a bright Cloud aspires!
Full on his Foll'wers bursts a Flood of Rays,
Prostrate they fall beneath th' o'erwhelming Blaze!
Like Noon-tide Summer-Suns the Rays appear,
Unsuff'rable, magnificent, and near!
What Scene of Agony the Garden brings;
The Cup of Gall; the suppliant King of Kings;
The Crown of Thorns; the Cross, that felt him die;
These, languid in the Sketch, unfinish'd, lye.
There from the Dead Centurions see him rise,
See! but struck down with horrible Surprize!
As the first Glory seem'd a Sun at Noon,
This casts the Silver Splendor of the Moon.
Here peopled Day, th' ascending God surveys!
The Glory varies, as the Myriads gaze!
Now soften'd, like a Sun at Distance seen,
When thro' a Cloud bright-glancing, yet serene!
Now fast-encreasing to the Croud amaz'd,
Like some vast Meteor high in Ether rais'd!
My Labour, yon high-vaulted Altar, stains
With Dies, that emulate ethereal Plains.
The convex Glass, which in that Opening glows,
Mid circling Rays a pictur'd Saviour shows!
Bright it collects the Beams, which, trembling All,
Back from the God, a show'ry Radiance, fall,
Light'ning the Scene beneath! a Scene divine!
Where Saints, Clouds, Seraphs intermingling shine!
Here Water-falls, that play melodious round,
Like a sweet Organ, swell a lofty Sound!
The solemn Notes bid earthly Passions fly,
Lull all my Cares, and lift my Soul on High!
This monumental Marble — this I rear
To One — Oh! ever mourn'd! — Oh! ever dear!
He stopt — pathetic Sighs the Pause supply,
And the prompt Tear starts, quiv'ring, on his Eye!
I look'd — two Columns near the Wall were seen,
An imag'd Beauty stretch'd at length between.
Near the wept Fair, her Harp Cecilia strung,
Leaning, from high, a list'ning Angel hung!
Friendship, whose Figure at the Feet remains,
A Phoenix, with irradiate Crest, sustains:
This grac'd one Palm, while One extends t' impart
Two foreign Hands, that clasp a burning Heart.
A pendent Veil two hov'ring Seraphs raise,
Which, opening Heav'n, upon the Roof displays!
And two, benevolent, less-distant, hold
A Vase, collective of Perfumes up-roll'd!
These from the Heart, by Friendship held, arise;
Od'rous as Incense gath'ring in the Skies.
In the fond Pelican is Love exprest,
Who opens to her Young her tender Breast.
Two mated Turtles hov'ring hand in Air,
One by a Faulcon struck! — in wild Despair,
The Hermit cries, — So Death, alas! destroys
The tender Consort of my Cares, and Joys!
Again soft Tears upon his Eye-lid hung,
Again check'd Sounds dy'd, flutt'ring, on his Tongue.
Too well his pining, inmost Thought I know!
Too well ev'n Silence tells the story'd Woe!
To his my Sighs, to his my Tears reply!
I stray o'er all the Tomb a watry Eye!
Next, on the Wall, her Scenes of Life I gaz'd,
The Form back-leaning, by a Globe half-rais'd!
Cherubs a proffer'd Crown of Glory show,
Ey'd wistful by th' admiring Fair below.
In Action eloquent dispos'd her Hands,
One shows her Breast, in Rapture One expands!
This the fond Hermit seiz'd! — o'er all his Soul,
The soft, wild, wailing, am'rous Passion stole!
In stedfast Gaze his Eyes her Aspect keep,
Then turn away, a-while dejected weep;
Then he reverts 'em; but reverts in vain,
Dim'd with the swelling Grief, that streams again.
Where now is my Philosophy? (he cries)
My Joy, Hope, Reason, my Olympia dies!
Why did I e'er that Prime of Blessings know?
Was it, ye cruel Fates! t' imbitter Woe?
Why wou'd your Bolts not level first my Head?
Why must I live to weep Olympia dead?
—Sir, I had once a Wife! fair bloom'd her Youth,
Her Form was Beauty, and her Soul was Truth!
Oh, she was dear! — How dear, what Words can say?
She dies! — My Heav'n at once is snatch'd away!
Ah! what avails, that, by a Father's Care,
I rose a wealthy, and illustrious Heir?
That early in my Youth I learn'd to prove
Th' instructive, pleasing, academic Grove?
That in the Senate Eloquence was mine?
That Valour gave me in the Field to shine?
That Love showr'd Blessings too — far more than All,
High-rapt Ambition e'er cou'd happy call?
Ah! — What are These, which ev'n the Wise adore?
Lost is my Pride! — Olympia is no more!
Had I, ye persecuting Pow'rs! been born
The World's cold Pity, or, at best, its Scorn;
Of Wealth, of Rank, of kindred Warmth bereft;
To Want, to Shame, to ruthless Censure left;
Patience, or Pride, to this, Relief, supplies!
But a lost Wife! — there! there Distraction lies!
Now three sad Years I yield me all to Grief,
And fly the hated Comfort of Relief.
Tho' rich, great, young, I leave a pompous Seat,
(My Brother's now) to seek some dark Retreat:
Mid cloister'd, solitary Tombs I stray,
Despair, and Horror lead the chearless Way!
My Sorrow grows to such a wild Excess,
Life, injur'd Life must wish the Passion less!
Olympia! — My Olympia's lost! (I cry)
Olympia's lost, the hollow Vaults reply!
Louder I make my lamentable Moan;
The swelling Echoes learn like me to groan;
The Ghosts to scream, as thro' lone Isles they sweep;
The Shrines to shudder, and the Saints to weep!
Now Grief, and Rage, by gath'ring Sighs, supprest,
Swell my full Heart, and heave my lab'ring Breast!
With struggling Starts, each vital String they strain,
And strike the tott'ring Fabric of my Brain!
O'er my sunk Spirits frowns a vap'ry Scene,
Woe's dark Retreat! the madding Maze of Spleen!
A deep, damp Gloom o'erspreads the murky Cell;
Here pining Thoughts, and secret Terrors dwell!
Here learn the Great unreal Wants to feign!
Unpleasing Truths here mortify the Vain!
Here Learning, blinded first, and then beguil'd,
Looks dark as Ignorance, as Frenzy wild!
Here first Credulity on Reason won!
And here false Zeal mysterious Rants begun!
Here Love impearls each Moment with a Tear,
And Superstition owes to Spleen her Fear!
Fantastic Lightnings, thro' the dreary Way,
In swift, short Signals, flash the bursting Day!
Above, beneath, across, around, they fly!
A dire Deception strikes the mental Eye!
By the Blue Fires, pale Phantoms grin severe!
Shrill-fancied Echoes wound th' affrighted Ear!
Air-banish'd Spirits flag in Fogs profound,
And all-obscene, shed baneful Damps around!
Now Whispers, trembling in some feeble Wind,
Sigh out prophetic Fears, and freeze the Mind!
Loud laughs the Hag! — She mocks Complaint away,
Unroofs the Den, and lets in more than Day.
Swarms of wild Fancies, wing'd in various Flight,
Seek emblematic Shades, and mystic Light!
Some drive with rapid Steeds the shining Car!
These nod from Thrones! Those thunder in the War!
Till, tir'd, they turn form the delusive Show,
Start from wild Joy, and fix in stupid Woe.
Here the lone Hour, a Blank of Life, displays,
Till now bad Thoughts a Fiend more active raise;
A Fiend in evil Moments ever nigh!
Death in her Hand, and Frenzy in her Eye!
Her Eye all red, and sunk! — A Robe she wore,
With Life's Calamities embroider'd o'er.
A Mirror in one Hand collective shows,
Varied, and multiplied that Group of Woes.
This endless Foe to gen'rous Toil and Pain
Lolls on a Couch for Ease; but lolls in vain;
She muses o'er her woe-embroider'd Vest,
And Self-Abhorrence heightens in her Breast.
To shun her Care, the Force of Sleep she tries,
Still wakes her Mind, tho' Slumbers doze her Eyes:
She dreams, starts, rises, stalks from Place to Place,
With restless, thoughtful, interrupted Pace;
Now eyes the Sun, and curses ev'ry Ray,
Now the green Ground, where Colour fades away.
Dim Spectres dance! Again her Eye she rears;
Then from the blood-shot Ball wipes purpled Tears;
Then presses hard her Brow, with Mischief fraught,
Her Brow half bursts with Agony of Thought!
From me (she cries) pale Wretch thy Comfort claim,
Born of Despair, and Suicide my Name!
Why shou'd thy Life a Moment's Pain endure?
Here ev'ry Object proffers Grief a Cure.
She points where Leaves of Hemlock black'ning shoot!
Fear not! pluck! eat (said she) the sov'reign Root!
Then Death, revers'd, shall bear his ebon Lance;
Soft o'er thy Sight shall swim the shadowy Trance!
Or leap yon Rock, possess a watry Grave,
And leave wild Sorrow to the Wind and Wave!
Or mark — this Ponyard thus from Mis'ry frees!
She wounds her Breast! — the guilty Steel I seize!
Straight, where she struck, a smoaking Spring of Gore
Wells from the Wound, and floats the crimson'd Floor.
She faints! She fades! — Calm Thoughts the Deed revolve,
And now, upstartling, fix the dire Resolve!
Death drops his Terrors, and, with charming Wiles,
Winning, and kind, like my Olympia smiles!
He points the Passage to the Seats divine,
Where Poets, Heroes, sainted Lovers shine!
I come, Olympia! — My rear'd Arm extends;
Half to my Breast the threat'ning Point descends!
Straight Thunder rocks the Land! new Lightnings play!
When, lo! a Voice resounds, Arise! away!
Away! nor murmur at th' afflictive Rod!
Nor tempt the Vengeance of an angry God!
Fly'st thou from Providence for vain Relief?
Such ill-fought Ease shall draw avenging Grief.
Honour, the more obstructed, stronger shines,
And Zeal by Persecution's Rage refines.
By Woe, the Soul to daring Action swells;
By Woe, in plaintless Patience it excels;
From Patience, prudent, clear Experience springs,
And traces Knowledge thro' the Course of Things;
Thence Hope is form'd, thence Fortitude, Success,
Renown: — Whate'er Men covet and caress.
The vanish'd Fiend thus sent a hollow Voice,
Would'st thou be happy? Straight be Death thy Choice;
How mean are those, who passively complain.
While active Souls, more free, their Fetters strain?
Tho' Knowledge thine, Hope Fortitude, Success,
Renown — Whate'er Men covet, and caress;
On Earth Success must in its Turn give way,
And ev'n Perfection introduce Decay.
Never the World of Spirits thus — their Rest
Untouch'd! entire! — once happy, ever blest!
Earnest the heav'nly Voice responsive cries,
Oh, listen not to Subtilty unwise!
Thy guardian Saint, who mourns thy hapless Fate,
Heav'n grants to prop thy Virtue, ere too late.
Know, if thou wilt thy dear-lov'd Wife deplore,
Olympia waits thee on a foreign Shore;
There in a Cell thy last Remains be spent;
Away! deceive Despair, and find Content!
I heard, obey'd; nor more of Fate complain'd;
Long Seas I measur'd, and this Mountain gain'd.
Soon to a yawning Rift, Chance turn'd my Way;
A Den it prov'd, where a huge Serpent lay!
Flame-ey'd he lay! — He rages now for Food,
Meets my first Glance, and meditates my Blood!
His Bulk, in many a gather'd Orb up-roll'd,
Rears Spire on Spire! His Scales, be-dropt with Gold,
Shine burnish'd in the Sun! Such Height they gain,
They dart green Lustre on the distant Main!
Now writh'd in dreadful Slope, he stoops his Crest,
Furious to fix on my unshielded Breast!
Just as he springs, my Sabre smites the Foe!
Headless he falls beneath th' unerring Blow!
Wrath yet remains, tho' Strength his Fabric leaves,
And the meant Hiss, the gasping Mouth, deceives,
The length'ning Trunk slow-loosens ev'ry Fold,
Lingers in Life; then stretches stiff, and cold.
Just as th' invet'rate Son of Mischief ends,
Comes a white Dove, and near the Spot descends.
I hail this Omen! all bad Passions cease,
Like the slain Snake, and all within is Peace.
Next, to Religion, this plain Roof I raise!
In duteous Rites, my hallow'd Tapers blaze!
I bid due Incense on my Altar smoke;
Then, at this Tomb, my promis'd Love invoke!
She hears! — She comes! — My Heart what Raptures warm?
All my Olympia sparkles in the Form!
No pale, wan, livid Mark of Death she bears!
Each roseate Look, a quick'ning Transport, wears!
A Robe of Light, high-wrought, her Shape, invests;
Unzon'd the swelling Beauty of her Breasts!
Her auburn Hair, each flowing Ring, resumes,
In her fair Hand, Love's Branch of Myrtle blooms!
Silent, a-while, each well-known Charm, I trace;
Then thus, (while nearer she avoids th' Embrace)
Thou dear Deceit! — must I a shade pursue?
Dazzled I gaze! — thou swim'st before my View!
Dipt in ethereal Dews, her Bough divine
Sprinkles my Eyes, which, strengthen'd, bear the Shrine:
Still thus I urge, (for still the shadowy Bliss
Shuns the warm Grasp, nor yields the tender Kiss.)
Oh, fly not! — fade not! listen to Love's Call!
She lives! — no more I'm Man! — I'm Spirit all!
Then let me snatch thee! — press thee! — take me whole!
Oh, close! — yet closer! — closer to my Soul!
Twice, round her Waist, my eager Arms entwin'd,
And, twice deceiv'd, my Frenzy clasp'd the Wind!
Then thus I rav'd — Behold thy Husband kneel,
And judge! O judge what Agonies I feel!
O be no longer, if unkind, thus fair;
Take Horror's Shape, and fright me to Despair!
Rather, than thus, unpitying, see my Moan,
Far rather frown, and fix me here in Stone!
But mock not thus — Alas! (the Charmer said,
Smiling; and, in her Smile, soft Radiance play'd)
Alas! no more eluded Strength employ,
To clasp a Shade! — What more is mortal Joy?
Man's Bliss is, like his Knowledge, but surmis'd;
One Ignorance, the other Pain disguis'd;
Thou wert (had all thy Wish been still possest)
Supreamly curst from being greatly blest;
For oh! so fair, so dear was I to Thee,
Thou hadst forgot thy God, to worship me;
This he foresaw, and snatch'd me to the Tomb;
Above I flourish in unfading Bloom.
Think me not lost; for thee I Heav'n implore!
Thy guardian Angel, tho' a Wife no more!
I, when abstracted from this World you seem,
Hint the pure Thought, and frame the heav'nly Dream!
Close at thy Side, when Morning streaks the Air,
In Musick's Voice I wake thy Mind to Prayer!
By me, thy Hymns, like purest Incense, rise,
Fragrant with Grace, and pleasing to the Skies!
And when that Form shall from its Clay refine,
(That only Bar betwixt my Soul, and Thine!)
When thy lov'd Spirit mounts to Realms of Light.
Then shall Olympia aid thy earliest Flight;
Mingled we'll flame in Raptures, that aspire
Beyond all Youth, all Sense, and all Desire.
She ended. Still such Sweetness dwells behind,
Th' inchanting Voice still warbles in my Mind,
But lo! th' unbodied Vision fleets away!—
—Stay my Olympia! — I conjure thee, stay!
Yet stay — for thee my Mem'ry learns to smart!
Sure ev'ry Vein contains a bleeding Heart!
Sooner shall Splendor leave the Blaze of Day,
Than Love, so pure, so vast as mine, decay!
From the same heav'nly Source its Lustre came,
And glows, immortal, with congenial Flame!
Ah! — let me not with Fires neglected, burn!
Sweet Mistress of my Soul, return, return!
Alas! — she's fled! — I traverse now the Place,
Where my enamour'd Thoughts, her Footsteps trace.
Now, o'er the Tomb, I bend my drooping Head,
There Tears, the Eloquence of Sorrow, shed.
Sighs choak my Words, unable to express
The Pangs, the Throbs of speechless Tenderness!
Not with more ardent, more transparent Flame,
Call dying Saints on their Creator's Name,
Than I on her's! — But, thro' yon yielding Door,
Glides a new Phantom o'er th' illumin'd Floor!
The Roof swift-kindles from the beaming Ground,
And Floods of living Lustre flame around!
In all the Majesty of Light array'd,
Awful it shines! — 'tis Cato's honour'd Shade!
As I, the Heav'nly Visitant, pursue,
Sublimer Glory opens to my View!
He speaks! — But, oh! what Words shall dare repeat
His Thoughts? — They leave me fir'd with Patriot Heat!
And own that godlike Passion, Publick Zeal!
But from my Frailty it receives a Stain,
I grow, unlike my great Inspirer, vain;
And burn, once more, the busy World to know,
And wou'd, in Scenes of Action, foremost glow!
Where proud Ambition points her dazzling Rays!
Where Coronets, and Crowns, attractive, blaze!
When my Olympia leaves the Realms above,
And lures me back to solitary Love.
She tells me Truth, prefers an humble State,
That genuine Greatness shuns the being Great!
That mean are those, who false-term'd Honour prize;
Whose Fabricks, from their Country's Ruins, rise;
Who look the Traytor, like the Patriot, fair;
Who to enjoy the Vineyard, wrong the Heir.
I hear! — thro' all my Veins new Transports roll!
I gaze! — Warm Love comes rushing on my Soul!
Ravish'd I gaze! — Again her Charms decay!
Again my Manhood to my Grief gives way!
Cato returns! — Zeal takes her Course to reign;
But Zeal is in Ambition lost again!
I'm now the Slave of Fondness! — now of Pride!
—By Turns they conquer, and by Turns subside!
These ballanc'd Each by Each, the golden Mean,
Betwixt 'em found, gives Happiness serene;
This I'll enjoy! — He ended! — I replied,
O Hermit! thou art Worth severely tried!
But had not innate Grief produc'd thy Woes,
Men, barb'rous Men had prey'd on thy Repose.
When seeking Joy, we seldom Sorrow miss,
And often Mis'ry points the Path to Bliss.
The Soil, most worthy of the thrifty Swain,
Is wounded thus, e'er trusted with the Grain;
The strugling Grain must work obscure, its way,
E'er the first Green springs upward to the Day;
Up-spring, such weed-like Coarseness it betrays,
Flocks on th' abandon'd Blade permissive graze;
Then shoots the Wealth, from Imperfection clear,
And thus a grateful Harvest crowns the Year.
Thus free our social Time from Morning flows,
'Till rising Shades attempt the Day to close.
Thus my new Friend: Behold the Light's Decay:
Back to yon City let me point thy Way.
South-West, behind yon Hill, the sloping Sun,
To Ocean's Verge, his fluent Course, has run:
His parting Eyes a watry Radiance shed,
Glance thro' the Vale, and tip the Mountain's Head;
To which oppos'd, the shad'wy Gulphs, below,
Beauteous, reflect the party-colour'd Snow.
Now dance the Stars, where Vesper leads the Way;
Yet all, faint-glimm'ring with Remains of Day.
Orient, the Queen of Night emits her Dawn,
And throws, unseen, her Mantle o'er the Lawn.
Up the blue Steep, her crimson Orb now shines;
Now on the Mountain-top her Arm reclines,
In a red Crescent seen: Her Zone now gleams,
Like Venus, quiv'ring in reflecting Streams.
Yet red'ning, yet round-burning up the Air,
From the white Cliff, her Feet slow-rising glare!
See! Flames, condens'd, now vary her Attire;
Her Face, a broad Circumference of Fire.
Dark Firs seem kindled in nocturnal Blaze;
Thro' Ranks of Pines, her broken Lustre plays,
Here glares, there brown-projecting Shade bestows,
And glitt'ring sports upon the spangled Snows.
Now Silver turn her Beams! — Yon Den they gain;
The big rouz'd Lion shakes his brinded Main.
Fierce, fleet, gaunt Monsters, All, prepar'd for Gore,
Rend Woods, Vales, Rocks, with wide-resounding Roar.
O dire Presage! — But fear not thou, my Friend,
Our Steps the Guardians of the Just attend.
Home-ward I'll wait thee on — and now survey,
How Men, and Spirits chace the Night away!
Yon Nymphs, and Swains in am'rous Mirth advance;
To breathing Musick moves the circling Dance.
Here the bold Youth in Deeds adventrous glow,
Skimming in rapid Sleds the crackling Snow.
Not when Tidides won the fun'ral Race,
Shot his light Car along in swifter Pace.
Here the glaz'd Way with Iron Feet they dare,
And glide, well-pois'd, like Mercuries in Air.
Three Crouds, with sable Tread, and levell'd Eye,
Lift, and dismiss the Quoits, that whirling fly.
With Force superior, not with Skill so true,
The pond'rous Disk from Roman Sinews flew.
Where neigh'bring Hills some cloudy Sheet sustain,
Freez'd o'er the nether Vale a pensile Plain,
Cross the roof'd Hollow rolls the massy Round,
The crack'd Ice rattles, and the Rocks resound;
Censures, Disputes, and Laughs, alternate, rise;
And deaf'ning Clangor thunders up the Skies.
Thus, amid crouded Images, serene,
From Hour to Hour we pass'd, from Scene to Scene:
Fast wore the Night. Full long we pac'd our way;
Vain Steps! the City yet far-distant lay.
While thus the Hermit, e'er my Wonder spoke,
Methought, with new Amusement, Silence broke,
Yon amber-hued Cascade, which fleecy flies
Thro' Rocks, and strays along the trackless Skies,
To frolick Fairies marks the mazy Ring,
Forth to the Dance from little Cells they spring,
Measur'd to pipe, or harp! — and next they stand,
Marshall'd beneath the Moon, a radiant Band!
A Frost-work now delight the sportive kind:
Now court wild Fancy in the whistling Wind.
Hark! — the funereal Bell's deep-sounding Toll,
To Bliss from Mis'ry, calls some righteous Soul!
Just freed from Life, like swift-ascending Fire,
Glorious it mounts, and gleams from yonder Spire!
Light clapt its Wings! — It views, with pitying Sight,
The Plume high-wrought, that black'ning nods in Air;
The slow-pac'd, weeping Pomp; the solemn Prayer,
The decent Tomb; the Verse, that Sorrow gives;
Where, to Remembrance sweet, fair Virtue lives.
Now to mid Heav'n the whiten'd Moon inclines,
And Shades contract, mark'd out in clearer Lines;
With noiseless Gloom the Plains are delug'd o'er:
See! — from the North, what streaming Meteors pour!
Beneath Bootes spring the radiant Train,
And quiver thro' the Axle of his Wain.
O'er Altars thus, impainted, we behold
Half-circling Glories shoot in Rays of Gold.
Cross Ether swift glance the vivid Fires!
As swift again each pointed Flame retires!
In Fancy's eye encount'ring Armies glare,
And sanguine Ensigns wave unfurl'd in Air!
Hence the weak Vulgar deem impending Fate,
A Monarch ruin'd, or unpeopled State.
Thus Comets, dreadful Visitants! arise
To them wild Omens, Science to the Wise!
These mark the Comet to the Sun incline,
While deep-red Flames around its Center shine!
While its fierce Rear, a winding Tail, displays,
And lights all Ether with the sweepy Blaze!
Or when compell'd, it flies the torrid Zone,
And shoots by Worlds un-number'd, and unknown;
By Worlds, whose People, all-aghast with Fear,
May view that Minister of Vengeance near!
Till now the transient Glow, remote, and lost,
Decays, and darkens mid-involving Frost!
Or when it, Sun-ward, drinks rich Beams again,
And burns imperious on th' ethereal Plain!
The Learn'd-One curious eyes it from afar,
Sparkling thro' Night, a new, illustrious Star!
The Moon, descending, saw us now pursue
The various Talk: — the City near in view!
Here from still Life (he cries) avert thy Sight,
And mark what Deeds adorn, or shame the Night!
But heedful each, immodest Prospect fly;
Where Decency forbids Enquiry's Eye.
Man were not Man, without Love's wanton Fire,
But Reason's Glory is to quell Desire.
What are thy Fruits, O Lust? Short Blessings bought
With long Remorse, the Seed of bitter Thought;
Perhaps some Babe to dire Diseases born,
Doom'd for Another's Crimes, thro' Life, to mourn;
Or murder'd, to preserve a Mother's Fame;
Or cast obscure; the Child of Want, and Shame!
False Pride! What Vices on our Conduct steal,
From the World's Eye one Frailty to conceal?
Ye cruel Mothers! — Soft! those Words command!
So near, shall Cruelty, and Mother stand?
Can the Dove's Bosom snaky Venom draw?
Can its Foot sharpen, like the Vultur's Claw?
Can the fond Goat, or tender, fleecy Dam
Howl, like the Wolf, to tear the Kid, or Lamb?
Yes, there are Mothers — There I fear'd his Aim,
And, conscious, trembled at the coming Name;
Then with a Sigh his issuing Words oppos'd!
Straight with a falling Tear the Speech he clos'd.
That Tenderness, which Ties of Blood deny,
Nature repaid me from a Stranger's Eye.
Pale grew my Cheeks! — But now to gen'ral Views
Our Converse turns, which thus my Friend renews.
Yon Mansion, made by beaming Tapers gay,
Drowns the dim Night, and counterfeits the Day.
From lumin'd Windows glancing on the Eye,
Around, athwart, the frisking Shadows fly.
There Midnight Riot spreads illusive Joys,
And Fortune, Health, and dearer Time destroys.
Soon Death's dark Agent, to luxuriant Ease,
Shall wake sharp Warnings in some fierce Disease.
O Man! thy Fabrick's like a well-form'd State,
Thy Thoughts, first-rank'd, were sure design'd the Great!
Passions Plebeians are, which Faction raise;
Wine, like pour'd Oil, excites the raging Blaze:
Then giddy Anarchy's rude Triumphs rise:
Then sov'reign Reason from her Empire flies:
That Ruler once depos'd, Wisdom, and Wit
To Noise, and Folly, Place, and Pow'r, submit;
Like a frail Bark thy weaken'd Mind is tost,
Unsteer'd, unballanc'd, 'till its Wealth is lost.
The Miser-spirit eyes the spend-thrift Heir,
And mourns, too late, Effects of sordid Care.
His Treasures fly to cloy each fawning Slave;
Yet grudge a Stone, to dignify his Grave.
For this, low-thoughted Craft his Life employ'd;
For this, tho' wealthy, he no Wealth enjoy'd;
For this, he grip'd the Poor, and Alms denied,
Unfriended liv'd, and unlamented died.
Yet smile, griev'd Shade! when that unprosp'rous Store
Fast-lessens, when gay Hours return no more;
Smile at thy Heir, beholding, in his Fall,
Men once oblig'd, like him, ungrateful All!
Then Thought-inspiring Woe his Heart shall mend,
And prove his only wise, unflatt'ring Friend.
Folly exhibits thus unmanly Sport,
While plotting Mischief keeps reserv'd her Court.
Lo! from that Mount, in blasting Sulphur broke,
Stream Flames voluminous, enwrap'd with Smoke!
In Chariot-shape they whirl up yonder Tow'r,
Lean on its Brow, and like Destruction lour!
From the black Depth a fiery Legion springs;
Each bold, bad Spectre claps her sounding Wings;
And straight beneath a summon'd, trait'rous Band,
On Horror bent, in dark Convention stand:
From each Fiend's Mouth a ruddy Vapour flows,
Glides thro' the Roof, and o'er the Council glows:
The Villains, close beneath th' Infection pent,
Feel, all-possess'd, their rising Galls ferment;
And burn with Faction, Hate, and vengeful Ire,
For Rapine, Blood, and Devastation dire;
But Justice marks their Ways: She waves, in Air,
The Sword, high threat'ning like a Comet's Glare.
While here dark Villainy her self deceives,
There studious Honesty our View relieves.
A feeble Taper, from yon lonesome Room,
Scatt'ring thin Rays, just glimmers thro' the Gloom.
There sits the sapient BARD in museful Mood,
And glows impassion'd for his Country's Good!
All the bright Spirits of the Just, combin'd,
Inform, refine, and prompt his tow'ring Mind!
He takes the gifted Quill from Hands divine,
Around his Temples Rays refulgent shine!
Now rapt! now more than Man! — I see him climb,
To view this Speck of Earth from Worlds sublime!
I see him now o'er Nature's works preside!
How clear the Vision! and the Scene how wide!
Let some a Name by Adulation raise,
Or Scandal, meaner than a venal Praise!
My Muse (he cries) a nobler Prospect view!
Thro' Fancy's Wilds some Moral's Point pursue!
From dark Deception clear-drawn Truth display,
As from black Chaos rose resplendent Day!
Awake Compassion, and bid Terror rise!
Bid humble Sorrows strike superior Eyes!
So pamper'd Pow'r, unconscious of Distress,
May see, be mov'd, and being mov'd, redress.
Ye Traytors, Tyrants, fear his stinging Lay!
Ye Pow'rs unlov'd, unpitied in Decay!
But know, to you sweet-blossom'd Fame he brings,
Ye Heroes, Patriots, and paternal Kings!
O Thou, who form'd, who rais'd the Poet's Art,
(Voice of thy Will!) unerring Force impart!
If wailing Wroth can gen'rous Warmth excite,
If Verse can gild Instruction with Delight,
Inspire his honest Muse with orient Flame,
To rise, to dare, to reach the noblest Aim!
But, O my Friend! Mysterious is our Fate!
How mean his Fortune, tho' his Mind elate!
Aeneas-like he passes thro' the Croud,
Unsought, unseen beneath Misfortune's Cloud;
Or seen with slight Regard: Unprais'd his Name:
His after-Honour, and our after-Shame.
The doom'd Desert to Av'rice stands confess'd;
Her Eyes averted are, and steel'd her Breast.
Envy asquint the future Wonder eyes:
Bold Insult, pointing, hoots him as he flies;
While coward Censure, skill'd in darker Ways,
Hints sure Detraction in dissembled Praise!
Hunger, Thirst, Nakedness there grievous fall!
Unjust Derision too! — that Tongue of Gall!
Slow comes Relief, with no mild Charms endued,
Usher'd by Pride, and by Reproach pursued.
Forc'd Pity meets him with a cold Respect,
Unkind as Scorn, ungen'rous as Neglect.
Yet, suff'ring Worth! thy Fortitude will shine!
Thy foes are Virtue's, and her Friends are thine!
Patience is thine, and Peace thy Days shall crown;
Thy Treasure Prudence, and thy Claim renown:
Myriads unborn, shall mourn thy hapless Fate,
And Myriads grow by thy Example Great!
Hark! from the Watch-Tow'r rolls the Trumpet's Sound,
Sweet thro' still Night, proclaiming Safety round!
Yon Shade illustrious quits the Realms of Rest,
To aid some Orphan of its Race distrest,
Safe winds him thro' the subterraneous Way,
That mines yon Mansion, grown with Ruin grey,
And marks the wealthy, unsuspected Ground,
Where green with Rust, long-buried Coins abound.
This plaintive Ghost, from Earth when newly fled,
Saw those, the Living trusted, wrong the Dead;
He saw, by Fraud abus'd, the lifeless Hand
Sign the false Deed, that alienates his Land;
Heard on his Fame injurious Censure thrown,
And mourn'd the beggar'd Orphan's bitter Groan:
Commission'd now the Falshood He reveals,
To Justice soon th' enabled Heir appeals;
Soon by this Wealth are costly Pleas maintain'd,
And by discover'd Truth lost Right regain'd.
But why (may some enquire) why kind Success,
Since mystic Heav'n gives Mis'ry oft to bless?
Tho' Mis'ry leads to Happiness, and Truth,
Unequal to the Load this languid Youth.
Unstrengthen'd Virtue scarce his Bosom fir'd,
And fearful from his growing Wants retir'd.
(Oh, let none censure if, untried by Grief,
If amidst Woe untempted by Relief!)
He stoop'd reluctant to low Arts of Shame,
Which then, ev'n then he scorn'd, and blush'd to name.
Heav'n sees, and makes th' imperfect Worth its Care,
And chears the trembling Heart, unform'd to bear.
Now rising Fortune elevates his Mind,
He shines unclouded, and adorns Mankind.
So in some Engine, that denies a Vent,
If unrespiring is some Creature pent,
It sickens, droops, and pants, and gasps for Breath,
Sad o'er the Sight swim shad'wy Mists of Death;
If then kind Air pours pow'rful in again,
New Heats, new Pulses quicken ev'ry Vein,
From the clear'd, lifted, life-rekindled Eye,
Dispers'd, the dark and dampy Vapours fly.
From trembling Tombs the Ghosts of Greatness rise,
And o'er their Bodies hang with wistful Eyes;
Or discontented stalk, and mix their Howls
With howling Wolves, their Screams with screaming Owls.
The Interval 'twixt Night and Morn is nigh,
Winter more nitrous chills the shadow'd Sky.
Nor smoaking breathe along the whiten'd Scene;
While steamy Currents sweet in Prospect charm,
Like Veins blue-winding on a Fair-one's Arm.
Now Sleep to Fancy parts with half his Pow'r,
And broken Slumbers drag the restless Hour.
The Murder'd seems alive, and ghastly glares,
And in dire Dreams the conscious Murd'rer scares,
Shews the yet-spouting Wound, th' ensanguin'd floor,
The Walls yet smoaking with the spatter'd Gore;
Or shrieks to dozing Justice, and reveals
The Deed, which fraudful Art from Day conceals;
The Delve obscene, where no Suspicion pries;
Where the disfigur'd Coarse unshrouded lies;
The sure, the striking Proof, so strong maintain'd,
Pale Guilt starts self-convicted, when arraign'd.
These Spirits Treason of its Pow'r divest,
And turn the Peril from the Patriot's Breast.
Those solemn Thoughts inspire, or bright descend,
To snatch in Vision sweet the dying Friend.
But we deceive the Gloom, the Matin Bell
Summons to Prayer! — Now breaks th' Inchanter's Spell!
And now — But yon fair Spirit's Form survey!
'Tis she! Olympia beckons me away!
I haste! I fly! — adieu! — and when you see
The Youth, who bleeds with Fondness, think on me!
Tell him my Tale, and be his Pain carest;
By Love I tortur'd was, by Love I'm blest.
When worship'd Woman we entranc'd behold,
We praise the Maker in his fairest Mold;
The Pride of Nature, Harmony combin'd,
And Light immortal to the Soul refin'd!
Depriv'd of charming Woman, soon we miss
The Prize of Friendship, and the Life of Bliss!
Still thro' the Shades Olympia dawning breaks!
What Bloom, what Brightenss lustres o'er her Cheeks!
Again she calls! — I dare no longer stay!
A kind Farewell — Olympia, I obey.
He turn'd, nor longer in my Sight remain'd,
The Mountain he, I safe the City gain'd.
Still o'er my Mind wild Fancy holds her Sway,
Still on strange, visionary Land I stray.
Now Scenes crowd thick! Now indistinct appear!
Swift glide the Months, and turn the varying Year!
Near the Bull's Horn Light's rising Monarch draws;
Now on it's Back the Pleiades he thaws!
From vernal Heat pale Winter forc'd to flie,
Northward retires, yet turns a watry Eye;
Then with an aguish Breath nips infant Blooms,
Deprives unfolding Spring of rich Perfumes,
Shakes the slow-circling Blood of human Race,
And in sharp, livid Looks contracts the Face.
Now o'er Norwegian Hills he strides away:
Such slipp'ry Paths Ambition's Steps betray.
Turning with Sighs, far, spiral Firs he sees,
Which bow obedient to the Southern Breeze.
Now from yon Zemblan Rock his Crest he shrouds,
Like Fame's, obscur'd amid the whitening Clouds;
Thence his lost Empire is with Tears deplor'd:
Such Tyrants shed o'er Liberty restor'd.
Beneath his Eye (that throws malignant Light
Ten Times the measur'd Round of mortal Sight)
A waste, pale-glimm'ring, like a Moon, that wanes,
A wild Expanse of frozen Sea contains.
It cracks! vast, floating Mountains beat the Shore!
Far off he hears those icy Ruins roar,
And from the hideous Crash distracted flies,
Like One, who feels his dying Infant's Cries.
Near, and more near the rushing Torrents sound,
And one great Rift runs thro' the vast Profound,
Swift as a shooting Meteor; groaning loud,
Like deep-roll'd Thunder thro' a rending Cloud.
The late-dark Pole now feels unsetting Day:
In Hurricanes of Wrath he whirls his Way;
O'er many a polar Alp to Frost he goes,
O'er crackling Vales, embrown'd with melting Snows;
Here Bears stalk Tenants of the barren Space,
Few Men, unsocial Those! — a barb'rous Race!
At length the Cave appears! the Race is run:
Now he recounts vast Conquests lost, and won,
And taleful in th' Embrace of Frost remains,
Barr'd from our Climes, and bound in icy Chains.
Mean while the Sun his Beams on Cancer throws,
Which now beneath his warmest Influence glows.
From glowing Cancer fall'n the King of Day,
Red thro' the kindling Lyon, shoots he Ray.
The tawny Harvest pays the earlier Plough,
And mellowing Fruitage loads the bending Bough.
'Tis Day-spring. Now green Lab'rinths I frequent,
Where Wisdom oft retires to meet Content.
The mounting Lark her warbling Anthem lends,
From Note to Note the ravish'd Soul ascends;
As thus it wou'd the Patriarch's Ladder climb,
By some good Angel led to Worlds sublime:
Oft (Legends say) the Snake, with waken'd Ire,
Like Envy rears in many scaly Spire;
Then Songsters drop, then yield their vital Gore,
And Innocence, and Musick are no more.
Mild rides the Morn in orient Beauty drest,
An azure Mantle, and a purple Vest,
Which blown by Gales her gemmy Feet display,
Her amber Tresses negligently gay.
Collected now her rosy Hand they fill,
And, gently wrung, the pearly Dews distill.
The songful Zephyrs, and the laughing Hours
Breathe sweet; and strew her opening Way with Flowers.
The chatt'ring Swallows leave their nested Care,
Each promising Return with plenteous Fare.
So the fond Swain, who to the Market hies,
Stills with big Hopes his Infant's tender Cries.
Yonder two Turtles, o'er their callow Brood,
Hang hov'ring, e'er they seek their guiltless Food.
Fondly they bill. Now to their morning Care,
Like our first Parents part the am'rous Pair:
But ah! — a Pair no more! — with spreading Wings,
From the high, sounding Cliff a Vultur springs;
Steady he sails along th' aerial Grey,
Swoops down, and bears yon tim'rous Dove away.
Start we, who, worse than Vulturs, Nymrods find,
Men meditating Prey on human Kind?
Wild Beasts to gloomy Dens re-pace their Way,
Where their couch'd Young demand the slaughter'd Prey.
Rooks from their nodding Nests black-swarming fly,
And in hoarse Uproar tell the Fowler nigh.
Now in his Tabernacle rouz'd, the Sun
Is warn'd the blue, aetherial Steep to run:
While on his Couch of floating Jasper laid,
From his bright Eye Sleep calls the dewy Shade.
The crystal Dome transparent Pillars raise,
Whence beam'd from Saphirs living Azure plays:
The liquid Floor, in-wrought with Pearls divine,
Where all his Labours in Mosaic shine.
His Coronet, a Cloud of Silver-white;
His Robe with unconsuming Crimson bright,
Varied with Gems, all Heaven's collected Store;
While his loose Locks descend, a golden Shower.
If to his Steps compar'd, we tardy find
The Grecian Racers, who outstript the Wind.
Fleet to the glowing Race behold him start!
His quick'ning Eyes a quiv'ring Radiance dart,
And, while the last, nocturnal Flag is furl'd,
Swift into Life and Motion look the World.
The Sun-flow'r now averts her blooming Cheek
From West, to view his Eastern Lustre break.
What gay, creative Pow'r his Presence brings?
Hills, Lawns, Lakes, Villages! — the Face of Things,
All Night beneath successive Shadows miss'd,
Instant begins in Colours to exist;
But absent these from Sons of Riot keep,
Lost in impure, unmeditating Sleep.
T' unlock his Fence, the new-ris'n Swain prepares,
And e'er forth-driv'n recounts his fleecy Cares;
When, lo! an ambush'd Wolf, with Hunger bold,
Springs at the Prey, and fierce invades the Fold!
But by the Pastor not in vain defied,
Like our arch Foe by some coelestial Guide.
Spread on yon Rock the Sea-Calf I survey,
Bask'd in the Sun his Skin reflects the Day:
He sees yon tow'r-like Ship the Waves divide,
And slips again beneath the glassy Tide.
The watry Herbs, and Shrubs, and Vines, and Flowers
Rear their bent Heads, o'ercharg'd with nightly Showers.
Hail glorious Sun! to whose attractive Fires,
The waken'd, vegetative Life aspires!
The Juices, wrought by thy directive Force,
Thro' Plants, and Trees, perform their genial Course,
Extend in Root, with Bark unyielding bind
The hearted Trunk; or weave the branching Rind;
Expand in Leaves, in flow'ry Blossoms shoot,
Bleed in rich Gums, and swell in ripen'd Fruit.
From thee, bright, universal Pow'r! began
Instinct in Brute, and gen'rous Love in Man.
Talk'd I of Love? — Yon Swain, with am'rous Air,
Soft swells his Pipe, to charm the rural Fair.
She milks the Flocks; then, list'ning as he plays,
Steals in the running Brook a conscious Gaze.
The Trout, that deep, in Winter, ooz'd remains,
Up-springs, and Sunward turns its crimson Stains.
The Tenants of the Warren, vainly chac'd,
Now lur'd to ambient Fields for green Repast,
Seek their small, vaulted Labyrinths in vain;
Entangling Nets betray the skipping Train;
Red Massacres thro' their Republic fly,
And Heaps on Heaps by ruthless Spaniels dye.
The Fisher, who the lonely Beech has stray'd,
And all the live-long Night his Net-work spread,
Drags in, and bears the loaded Snare away;
Where flounce deceiv'd th' expiring, finny Prey.
Near Neptune's Temple, (Neptune's now no more)
Whose Statue plants a Trident on the Shore,
In sportive Rings the gen'rous Dolphins wind,
And eye, and think the Image human-Kind:
Dear, pleasing Friendship! — See! the Pile commands
The Vale, and grim as Superstition stands!
Time's Hand there leaves its Print of mossy green,
With Hollows, carv'd for Snakes, and Birds obscene.
O Gibbs, whose Art the solemn Fane can raise,
Where God delights to dwell, and Man to praise;
When moulder'd thus the Column falls away,
Like some great Prince, majestic in Decay;
When Ignorance, and Scorn the Ground shall tread,
Where Wisdom tutor'd, and Devotion pray'd;
Where shall thy pompous Work our Wonder claim?
What, but the Muse alone, preserve thy Name?
The Sun shines, broken, thro' yon Arch, that rears
This once-round Fabric, half-depriv'd by Years,
Which rose a stately Colonade, and crown'd
Encircling Pillars, now unfaithful found;
In Fragments, these the Fall of those forebode,
Which, nodding, just up-heave their crumbling Load.
High, on yon Column, which has batter'd stood,
Like some stripp'd Oak, the Grandeur of the Wood,
The Stork inhabits her aerial Nest;
By her are Liberty and Peace carest;
She flies the Realms, that own despotick Kings,
And only spreads o'er free-born States her Wings.
The Roof is now the Daw's, or Raven's Haunt,
And loathsome Toads in the dark Entrance pant;
Or Snakes, that lurk to snap the heedless Fly,
And fated Bird, that oft comes flutt'ring by.
An Aqueduct across yon Vale is laid,
It's Channel thro' a ruin'd Arch betray'd;
Whirl'd down a Steep, it flies with torrent-Force,
Flashes, and roars, and plows a devious Course.
Attracted Mists a golden Cloud commence,
While thro' high-colour'd Air strike Rays intense.
Betwixt two Points, which yon steep Mountains show,
Lies a mild Bay, to which kind Breezes flow.
Beneath a Grotto, arch'd for calm Retreat,
Leads length'ning in the Rock — Be this my Seat.
Heat never enters here; but Coolness reigns
O'er Zephyrs, and distilling, watry Veins.
Secluded now I trace th' instructive Page,
And live o'er Scenes of many a backward Age;
Thro' Days, Months, Years, thro' Time's whole Course I run,
And present stand where Time it self begun.
Ye mighty Dead of just, distinguish'd Fame,
Your Thoughts, (ye bright Instructors!) here I claim.
Here ancient Knowledge opens Nature's Springs;
Here Truths historic give the Heart of Kings.
Hence Contemplation learns white Hours to find,
And labours Virtue on th' attentive Mind.
O lov'd Retreat! thy Joys Content bestow,
Nor Guilt, nor Shame, nor sharp Repentance know.
What the fifth Charles long aim'd in Power to see,
That Happiness he found reserv'd in Thee.
Now let me change the Page — Here Tully weeps,
While in Death's icy Arms his Tullia sleeps,
His Daughter dear! — Retir'd I see him mourn,
By all the Frenzy now of Anguish torn.
Wild his Complaint! Nor sweeter Sorrow's Strains,
When Singer for Alexis lost complains.
Each Friend condoles, expostulates, reproves:
More than a Father raving Tully Loves;
Or Sallust censures thus! — Unheeding Blame,
He schemes a Temple to his Tullia's Name.
Thus o'er my Hermit once did Grief prevail,
Thus rose Olympia's Tomb, his moving Tale,
The Sighs, Tears, frantic Starts, that banish Rest,
And all the bursting Sorrows of his Breast.
But hark! a sudden Pow'r attunes the Air!
Th' inchanting Sound enamour'd Breezes bear;
Now low, now high, they sink, or lift the Song,
Which the Cave echoes sweet, and sweet the Creeks prolong.
I listen'd, gaz'd, when, wondrous to behold!
From Ocean steam'd a Vapour gath'ring roll'd:
A blue, round Spot on the Mid-roof it came,
Spread broad, and redden'd into dazzling Flame.
Full-orb'd it shone, and dimm'd the swimming Sight,
While doubling Objects danc'd with darkling Light.
Amaz'd I stood! — amaz'd I still remain!
What earthly Pow'r this Wonder can explain?
Gradual at length the Lustre dies away:
My Eyes restor'd a mortal Form survey.
My Hermit-Friend? 'Tis He. — All hail! (he cries.)
I see, and wou'd alleviate thy Surprize.
The vanish'd Meteor was Heaven's Message meant,
To warn thee hence; I knew the high Intent.
Hear then! In this sequester'd Cave retir'd,
Departed Saints converse with Men inspir'd.
'Tis sacred Ground; nor can thy Mind endure,
Yet unprepar'd, an Intercourse so pure.
Quick let us hence — And now extend thy Views
O'er yonder Lawn; there find the heav'n-born Muse!
Or seek her, where she trusts her tuneful Tale
To mid, silent Wood, or vocal Vale;
Where Trees half check the Light with trembling Shades,
Close in deep Glooms, or open clear in Glades:
Or where surrounding Vistas far descend,
The Landscape varied at each less'ning End!
She, only she can mortal Thoughts refine,
And raise thy Voice to Visitants divine.
We left the Cave. Be Fear (said I) defied!
Virtue (for thou art Virtue) is my Guide.
By time-worn Steps a steep Ascent we gain,
Whose Summit yields a Prospect o'er the Plain.
There bench'd with Turf, an Oak our Seat extends,
Whose Top a verdant, branch'd Pavilion bends.
Vistas with Leaves diversify the Scene,
Some pale, some brown, and some of lively green.
Now from the full-grown Day a beamy Shower
Gleams on the Lake, and gilds each glossy Flower.
Gay Insects sparkle in the genial Blaze,
Various as Light, and countless as its Rays.
They dance on ev'ry Stream, and pictur'd play,
Till by the watry River snatch'd away.
Now, from yon Range of Rocks, strong Rays rebound,
Doubling the Day on flow'ry Plains around:
Kingcups beneath far-striking Colours glance,
Bright as th' ethereal glows the green Expanse.
Gems of the Field! — the Topaz charms the Sight,
Like these, effulging yellow Streams of Light.
From the same Rock fall Rills with soften'd Force,
Meet in yon Mead, and well a River's Source.
Thro' her clear Chanel shine her finny Shoals,
O'er Sands, like Gold, the liquid Crystal rolls.
Dim'd in yon coarser Moor her Charms decay,
And shape thro' rustling Reeds a ruffled Way.
Near Willows short and bushy Shadows throw:
Now lost, she seems thro' nether Tracts to flow;
Yet, at yon Point, winds out in Silver State,
Like Virtue from a Labyrinth of Fate.
In length'ning Rows prone from the Mountains run
The Flocks: — their Fleeces glist'ning in the Sun;
Her Streams they seek, and, 'twixt her neigh'bring Trees,
Recline in various Attitudes of Ease.
Where the Herds sip, the little scaly Fry,
Swift from the Shore, in scatt'ring Myriads fly.
Each liv'ried Cloud, that round th' Horizon glows,
Shifts in odd Scenes, like Earth, from whence it rose.
The Bee hums wanton in yon Jess'mine Bower,
And circling settles, and despoils the Flower.
Melodious there the plumy Songsters meet,
And call charm'd Echo from her arch'd Retreat.
Neat, polish'd Mansions rise in Prospect gay;
Time-batter'd Tow'rs frown awful in Decay;
The Sun plays glitt'ring on the Rocks, and Spires,
And the Lawn lightens with reflected Fires.
Here Mirth, and Fancy's wanton Train advance,
And to light Measures turn the swimming Dance.
Sweet, slow-pac'd Melancholy next appears,
Pompous in Grief, and Eloquent of Tears.
Here Meditation shines in Azure drest,
All-starr'd with Gems: A Sun adorns her Crest.
Religion, to whose lifted, raptur'd Eyes
Seraphic Hosts descend from opening Skies;
Beauty, who sways the Heart, and charms the Sight;
Whose Tongue is Music, and whose Smile Delight;
Whose Brow is Majesty; whose Bosom Peace;
Who bad Creation be, and Chaos cease;
Whose Breath perfumes the Spring; whose Eye divine
Kindled the Sun, and gave its Light to shine.
Here in thy Likeness fair Ophelia seen,
She throws kind Lustre o'er th' enliven'd Green.
Next her Description, robed in various Hues,
Invites Attention from the pensive Muse!
The Muse! — she comes! refin'd the Passions wait,
And Precept, ever winning, wise, and great.
The Muse! a thousand Spirits wing the Air:
(Once Men, who made like her Mankind their Care.)
Inamour'd round her press th' inspiring Throng,
And swell to Extacy her solemn Song.
Thus in the Dame each nobler Grace we find,
Fair Wortley's angel-Accent, Eyes, and Mind.
Whether her Sight the dew-bright Dawn surveys,
The Noon's dry Heat, or Evening's temper'd Rays,
The Hours of Storm, or Calm, the gleby Ground,
The corral'd Sea, gem'd Rock, or Sky profound,
A Raphael's Fancy animates each Line,
Each Image strikes with Energy divine;
Bacon, and Newton in her Thought conspire;
Not sweeter than her voice is Hendel's Lyre.
My Hermit thus. She beckons us away:
Oh, let us swift the high Behest obey!
Now thro' a Lane, which mingling Tracts have crost,
The Way unequal, and the Landscape lost,
We rove. The Warblers lively Tunes essay,
The Lark on Wing, the Linnet on the Spray.
While Music trembles in their songful Throats,
The Bullfinch whistles soft his flute-like Notes.
The bolder Blackbird swells sonorous Lays;
The varying Thrush commands a tuneful Maze;
Each a wild Length of Melody pursues;
While the soft-murm'ring, am'rous Wood-Dove cooes.
And, when in Spring these melting Mixtures flow,
The Cuckoo sends her Unison of Woe.
But as smooth Seas are furrow'd by a Storm;
As Troubles all our tranquil Joys deform;
So, loud thro' Air, unwelcome Noises found,
And Harmony's, at once, in Discord, drown'd.
From yon dark Cypress croaks the Raven's Cry;
As dissonant the Daw, Jay, chatt'ring Pye:
The clam'rous Crows abandon'd Carnage seek,
And the harsh Owl shrills out a sharp'ning Shriek.
At the Lane's End a high-lath'd Gate's prefer'd,
To bar the Trespass of a vagrant Herd.
Fast by, a meager Mendicant we find,
Whose russet Rags hang flutt'ring in the Wind:
Years bow his Back, a Staff supports his Tread,
And soft white Hairs shade thin his palsied Head.
Poor Wretch! — Is this for Charity his Haunt?
He meets the frequent Slight, and ruthless Taunt.
On Slaves of Guilt oft smiles the squand'ring Peer;
But passing knows not common Bounty here.
Vain thing! in what dost thou superior shine?
His our first Sire: what Race more ancient thine?
Less backward trac'd, he may his Lineage draw
From Men, whose Influence kept the World in awe:
Whose worthless Sons, like thee, perchance consum'd
Their ample Store, their Line to Want was doom'd.
So thine may perish by the course of Things,
While his from Beggers re-ascend to Kings.
Now Lazar, as thy Hardships I peruse,
On my own State instructed wou'd I muse.
When I view Greatness, I my Lot lament,
Compar'd to thee, I snatch supreme Content.
I might have felt, did Heav'n not gracious deal,
A Fate, which I must mourn to see thee feel.
But soft! the Cripple our Approach descries,
And to the Gate, tho' weak, officious hies.
I spring preventive, and unbar the Way,
Then, turning, with a Smile of Pity say,
Here, Friend! — this little, copper Alms receive;
Instance of Will, without the Pow'r to give.
Hermit, if here with Pity we reflect,
How must we grieve, when Learning meets Neglect?
When God-like Souls endure a mean Restraint;
When gen'rous Will is curb'd by tyrant Want;
He truly feels what to Distress belongs,
Who, to his private, adds a People's Wrongs;
Merit's a Mark, at which Disgrace is thrown,
And ev'ry injur'd Virtue is his own.
Such their own Pangs with Patience here endure,
Yet there weep Wounds, they are denied to cure.
Thus rich in Poverty, thus humbly Great,
And tho' depress'd superior to their Fate.
Minions in Pow'r, and Misers, mid their Store,
Are mean in Greatness, and in Plenty poor.
What's Pow'r, or Wealth? Were thy not form'd for Aid,
A Spring for Virtue, and from Wrongs a Shade?
In Pow'r we salvage Tyranny behold,
And wily Av'rice owns polluted Gold.
From golden Sands her Pride cou'd Lybia raise,
Cou'd she, who spreads no Pasture, claim our Praise?
Loath'd were her Wealth, where rabid Monsters breed;
Where Serpents, pamper'd, on her Venom, feed.
No sheltry Trees invite the Wand'rer's Eye,
No Fruits, no Grain, no Gums, her Tracts supply;
On her vast Wilds no lovely Prospects run;
But all lies barren, tho' beneath the Sun.
My Hermit thus. I know thy Soul believes,
'Tis hard Vice triumphs, and that Virtue grieves;
Yet oft Affliction purifies the Mind,
Kind Benefits oft flow from Means unkind.
Were the whole known, what we uncouth suppose,
Doubtless, wou'd beauteous Symmetry disclose.
The naked Cliff, that singly rough remains,
In Prospect dignifies the fertile Plains;
Lead-colour'd Clouds, in scatt'ring Fragments seen,
Shew, tho' in broken Views, the blue serene.
Severe Distresses Industry inspire;
Thus Captives oft excelling Arts acquire,
And boldly struggle thro' a State of Shame,
To Life, Ease, Plenty Liberty and Fame.
Sword-law has often Europe's Balance gain'd,
And one red Vict'ry of Peace maintain'd.
We pass thro' Want to Wealth, thro' dismal Strife
To calm Content, thro' Death to endless Life.
Lybia thou nam'st — Let Africk's Wastes appear
Curst by those Heats, that fructify the Year;
Yet the same Suns her Orange-Groves befriend,
Where clust'ring Globes in shining Rows depend.
Here when fierce Beams o'er with'ring Plants are roll'd,
There the green Fruit seems ripen'd into Gold.
Ev'n Scenes, that strike with terrible Surprize,
Still prove a God, just, merciful, and wise.
Sad wintry Blasts, that strip the Autumn, bring
The milder Beauties of a flow'ry Spring.
Ye sulph'rous Fires in jaggy Lightnings break!
Ye Thunders rattle, and ye Nations shake!
Ye Storms of riving Flame the Forest tear!
Deep crack ye Rocks! rent Trees be whirl'd in Air!
Her Tombs wide-shatter'd, and her Dead up-torn;
Were noxious Spirits not from Caverns drawn,
Rack'd Earth wou'd soon in Gulphs enormous yawn:
Then all were lost! — Or shou'd we floating view
The baleful Cloud, there wou'd Destruction brew;
Plague, Fever, Frenzy close-engend'ring lie,
'Till these red Ruptures clear the sullied Sky.
Now a Field opens to enlarge my Thought,
In parcell'd Tracts to various Uses wrought.
Here hard'ning Ripeness the first Blooms behold,
There the last Blossoms Spring-like Pride unfold.
Here swelling Peas on leafy Stalks are seen,
Mix'd Flow'rs of Red and Azure shine between;
Whose waving Beauties, heighten'd by the Sun,
In colour'd Lanes along the Furrows run.
There the next Produce of a genial Shower,
The Bean fresh-blossoms in a speckled Flower;
Whose morning Dews, when to the Sun resign'd,
With undulating Sweets embalm the Wind.
Now daisy Plats of Clover square the Plain,
And part the bearded from the beardless Grain.
There fibrous Flax with Verdure binds the Field,
Which on the Loom shall art-spun Labours yield.
The Mulb'ry, in fair summer Green array'd,
Full in the midst starts up, a silky Shade.
For human Taste the rich'd-stain'd Fruitage bleeds;
The Leaf the silk-emitting Reptile feeds.
As Swans their Down, as Flocks their Fleeces leave,
Here worms for Man their glossy Entrails weave.
Hence to adorn the Fair, in Texture gay,
Sprigs, Fruits, and Flow'rs on figur'd Vestments play:
But Industry prepares them oft to please
The guilty Pride of vain, luxuriant Ease.
Now frequent, dusty Gales offensive blow,
And o'er my Sight a transient Blindness throw.
Windward we shift. Near down th' ethereal Steep,
The Lamp of Day hangs hov'ring o'er the Deep.
Dun Shades, in rocky Shapes up Ether roll'd,
Project long, shaggy Points, deep-ting'd with Gold.
Others take faint th' unripen'd Cherry's Die,
And paint amusing Landscapes on the Eye.
There blue-veil'd Yellow, thro' a Sky serene,
In swelling Mixture forms a floating Green.
Streak'd thro' white Clouds a mild Vermilion shines,
And the Breeze freshens, as the Heat declines.
Yon crooked, sunny Roads change rising Views
From brown, to sandy-red, and chalky Hues.
One mingled Scene another quick succeeds,
Men, Chariots, Teams, yok'd Steers, and prancing Steeds,
Which climb, descend, and, as loud Whips resound,
Stretch, sweat, and smoke along unequal Ground.
On winding Thames, reflecting radiant Beams,
When Boats, Ships, Barges mark the roughen'd Streams,
So mix the Motions, and so shifts the View.
While thus we throw around our gladden'd Eyes,
The Gifts of Heav'n in gay Profusion rise;
Trees rich with Gums, and Fruits; with Jewels Rocks;
Plains with Flow'rs, Herbs, and Plants, and Beeves, and Flocks;
Mountains with Mines; with Oak, and Cedar, Woods;
Quarries with Marble, and with Fish the Floods.
In dark'ning Spots, mid Fields of various Dies,
Tilth new-manur'd, or naked Fallow lies.
Near Uplands fertile Pride enclos'd display,
The green Grass yellowing into scentful Hay,
And thick-set Hedges fence the full-ear'd Corn,
And Berries blacken on the vivid Thorn.
Mark in yon Heath oppos'd the cultur'd Scene,
Wild Thyme, pale Box, and Firs of darker green.
The native Strawberry red-ripening grows,
By Nettles guarded, as by Thorns the Rose.
There Nightingales in unprun'd Copses build,
In shaggy Furzes lie the Hare conceal'd.
'Twixt Ferns, and Thistles, unsown Flow'rs amuse,
And form a lucid Chase of various Hues;
Many half-grey with Dust: Confus'd they lie,
Scent the rich Year, and lead the wand'ring Eye.
Contemplative, we tread the flow'ry Plain,
The Muse preceding with her heav'nly Train.
When, lo! the Mendicant, so late behind,
Strange View! now journeying in our Front we find!
And yet a View more strange our Heed demands;
Touch'd by the Muse's Wand transform'd he stands.
O'er Skin late-wrinkled, instant Beauty spreads;
The late-dimm'd Eye a vivid Lustre sheds;
Hairs, once so thin, now graceful Locks decline;
And Rags, now chang'd, in regal Vestments shine.
The Hermit thus. In him the BARD behold,
Once seen by Midnight's Lamp in Winter's Cold;
The Bard, whose Want so multiplied his Woes,
He sunk a Mortal, and a Seraph rose.
See! — where those stately Yew-Trees darkling grow,
And, waving o'er yon Graves, brown Horrors throw,
Scornful he points — there, o'er his sacred Dust,
Arise the sculptur'd Tomb, and labour'd Bust.
Vain Pomp! bestow'd by ostentatious Pride,
Who to a Life of Want Relief deny'd.
But thus the Bard. Are these the Gifts of State?
Gifts unreceiv'd! — These? Ye ungen'rous Great!
How was I treated when in Life forlorn?
My Claim your Pity; but my Lot your Scorn.
Why were my studious Hours oppos'd by Need?
In me did Poverty from Guilt proceed?
Did I contemporary Authors wrong,
And deem their Worth, but as they priz'd my Song?
Did I sooth Vice, or venal Strokes betray
In the low-purpos'd, loud, polemic Fray?
Did e'er my Verse immodest Warmth contain,
Or, once licentious, heav'nly Truths prophane?
Never. — And yet when Envy sunk my Name,
Who call'd my shadow'd Merit into Fame?
When undeserv'd a Prison's Grate I saw,
What Hand redeem'd me from the wrested Law?
Who cloath'd me naked, or when hungry fed?
Why crush'd the Living? Why extoll'd the Dead?
But foreign Languages adopt my Lays,
And distant Nations shame you into Praise.
Why shou'd unrelish'd Wit these Honours cause?
Custom, not Knowledge, dictates your Applause:
Or think you thus a self-Renown to raise,
And mingle your Vain-Glories with my Bays?
Be Your's the mould'ring Tomb! Be mine the Lay
Immortal! — Thus he scoffs the Pomp away.
Tho' Words like these unletter'd Pride impeach,
To the meek Heart he turns with milder Speech.
Tho' now a Seraph, oft he deigns to wear
The Face of human Friendship, oft of Care;
To walk disguis'd an Object of Relief,
A learn'd, good Man, long exercis'd in Grief.
Forlorn, a friendless Orphan oft to roam,
Craving some kind, some hospitable Home;
Or, like Ulysses, a low Lazar stand,
Beseeching Pity's Eye, and Bounty's Hand;
Or, like Ulysses, Royal Aid request,
Wand'ring from Court to Court, a King distrest.
Thus varying Shapes, the seeming Son of Woe
Eyes the cold Heart, and Hearts that gen'rous glow;
Then to the Muse relates each lordly Name,
Who deals impartial Infamy, and Fame.
Oft, as when Man, in mortal State depress'd,
His Lays taught Virtue, which his Life confess'd,
He now forms visionary Scenes below,
Inspiring Patience in the Heart of Woe;
Patience that softens every sad Extreme,
That casts thro' Dungeon-Glooms a cheerful Gleam,
Disarms Disease of Pain, mocks Slander's Sting,
And strips of Terrors the terrific King,
'Gainst Want, a sourer Foe, its Succour lends,
And smiling sees th' Ingratitude of Friends.
Nor are these Tasks to him alone consign'd,
Millions invisible befriend Mankind.
When watry Structures, seen cross Heav'n t' ascend,
Arch above Arch in radiant Order bend,
Fancy beholds, a-down each glitt'ring Side,
Myriads of missionary Seraphs glide;
She sees good Angels genial Show'rs bestow
From the red Convex of the dewy Bow.
They smile upon the Swain: He views the Prize;
Then grateful bends, to bless the bounteous Skies.
Some collect Winds, and send propitious Gales
Oft where Britannia's Navy spreads her Sails;
There ever wafting, on the Breath of Fame,
Unequal'd Glory in her Sovereign's Name.
Some teach young Zephyrs vernal Sweets to bear,
And float the balmy Health on ambient Air;
Zephyrs, that, oft where Lovers list'ning lie,
Along the Grove in melting Music die,
And in lone Caves to Minds poetical roll
Seraphic Whispers, that abstract the Soul.
Some range the Colours, as they parted fly,
Clear-pointed to the philosophic Eye,
The flaming Red, that pains the dwelling Gaze;
The stainless, lightsome Yellow's gilding Rays;
The clouded Orange, that betwixt them grows,
And to kind Mixture tawny Lustre owes;
All-chearing Green, that gives the Spring its Dye;
The bright, transparent Blue, that robes the Sky;
And Indico, which shaded Light displays;
And Violet, which in the View decays.
Parental Hues, whence Others all proceed;
And ever-mingling, changeful, countless Breed;
Unravel'd, variegated Lines of Light,
When blended, dazzling in promiscuous White.
Oft thro' these Bows departed Spirits range,
New to the Skies, admiring at their Change;
Each Mind a Void, as when first-born to Earth,
Beheld a second Blank in second Birth;
Then, as yon Seraph-Bard fram'd Hearts below,
Each sees him here transcendent Knowledge show.
New Saints he tutors into Truth refin'd,
And tunes to rapt'rous Love the new-form'd Mind.
He swells the Lyre, whose loud, melodious Lays
Call high Hosannah's from the Voice of Praise;
Tho' one bad Age such Poesy cou'd wrong,
Now Worlds around retentive roll the Song:
Now God's high Throne the full-voic'd Raptures gain,
Coelestial Hosts returning Strain for Strain.
Thus he, who once knew Want without Relief,
Sees Joy resulting from well-suff'ring Grief.
Hark! while we talk, a distant, patt'ring Rain
Resounds! — See! up th' broad etherial Plain
Shoots the bright Bow! — The Seraph flitts away;
The Muse, the Graces from our View decay.
Behind yon western Hill the Globe of Light
Drops sudden; fast-pursued by Shades of Night.
Yon Graves from winter-Scenes to Mind recall
Rebellion's Council, and Rebellion's Fall.
What Fiends in sulph'rous, Car-like Clouds upflew?
What midnight Treason glar'd beneath their View?
And now the Traytors rear their Babel Schemes,
Big, and more big, stupendous Mischief seems;
But Justice, rouz'd, superior Strength employs,
Their Scheme wide-shatters, and their Hope destroys.
Discord she wills; the missile Ruin flies;
Sudden, unnatural Debates arise,
Doubt, mutual Jealousy, and dumb Disgust,
Dark-hinted Mutt'rings, and avow'd Distrust;
To secret Ferment is each Heart resign'd;
Suspicion hovers in each clouded Mind;
They jar, accus'd accuse, revil'd revile,
And Wrath to Wrath oppose, and Guile to Guile;
Wrangling they part, themselves themselves betray;
Each dire Device starts naked into Day;
They feel Confusion in the Van with Fear;
They feel the King of Terrors in the Rear.
Of these were Three by diff'rent Motives fir'd,
Ambition One, and One Revenge inspir'd.
The Third, O Mammon, was thy meaner Slave;
Thou Idol seldom of the Great, and Brave.
Florio, whose Life was one continued Feast,
His Wealth diminish'd, and his Debts increas'd,
Vain Pomp, and Equipage his low Desires,
Who ne'er to intellectual Bliss aspires;
He, to repair by Vice what Vice has broke,
Durst with bold Treasons Judgment's Rod provoke.
His Strength of Mind, by Lux'ry half-dissolv'd,
Ill brooks the Woe, where deep he stands involv'd.
He weeps, stamps wild, and to and fro now flies;
Now wrings his Hands, and sends unmanly Cries,
Arraigns his Judge, affirms unjust he bleeds,
And now recants, and now for Mercy pleads;
Now blames Associates, raves with inward Strife,
Upbraids himself; then thinks alone on Life.
He rolls red-swelling, tearful Eyes around,
Sore smites his Breast, and sinks upon the Ground.
He waits, he quite desponds, convulsive lies,
Shrinks from the fancied Ax, and thinks he dies:
Revives, with Hope enquires, stops short with Fear,
Entreats ev'n Flatt'ry, nor the worst will hear;
The worst, alas, his Doom! — What Friend replies?
Each speaks with shaking Head, and down-cast Eyes.
One Silence breaks, then pauses, drops a Tear;
Nor Hope affords, nor quite confirms his Fear;
But what kind Friendship part reserves unknown
Comes thund'ring in his Keeper's surly Tone.
Enough — struck thro' and thro', in ghastly Stare,
He stands transfixt, the Statue of Despair;
Nor ought of Life, nor ought of Death he knows,
Till Thought returns, and brings Return of Woes:
Now pours a Storm of Grief in gushing Streams:
That past — Collected in himself he seems,
And with forc'd Smile retires — His latent Thought
Dark, horrid, as the Prison's dismal Vault.
If with himself at Variance ever-wild,
With angry Heav'n how stands he reconcil'd?
No penitential Orisons arise;
Nay he obtests the Justice of the Skies.
Not for his Guilt, for sentenc'd Life he moans;
His Chains rough-clanking to discordant Groans,
To Bars harsh-grating, heavy-creaking Doors,
Hoarse-echoing Walls, and hollow-ringing Floors,
To Thoughts more dissonant, far, far less kind,
One Anarchy, one Chaos of the Mind.
At length, fatigu'd with Grief, on Earth he lies:
But soon as Sleep weighs down th' unwilling Eyes,
Glad Liberty appears, no Damps annoy;
Treason succeeds, and all transforms to Joy.
Proud Palaces their glitt'ring Stores display;
Gain he pursues, and Rapine leads the Way.
What Gold? What Gems? — He strains to seize the Prize;
Quick from his Touch dissolv'd, a Cloud it flies.
Conscious he cries. — And must I wake to weep?
Ah, yet return, return delusive Sleep!
Sleep comes; but Liberty no more: — Unkind,
The Dungeon-Glooms hang heavy on his Mind.
Shrill Winds are heard, and howling Daemons call;
Wide-flying Portals seem unhing'd to fall;
Then close with sudden Claps; a dreadful Din!
He starts, wakes, storms, and all is Hell within.
His Genius flies — reflects he now on Prayer?
Alas! bad Spirits turn those Thoughts to Air.
What shall he next? What, straight relinquish Breath,
To bar a publick, just, tho' shameful Death?
Rash, horrid Thought! yet now afraid to live,
Murd'rous he strikes — May Heav'n the Deed forgive!
Why had he thus false Spirit to rebel?
And why not Fortitude to suffer well?
Were his Success, how terrible the Blow?
And its Recoil on him eternal Woe.
Heav'n this Affliction then for Mercy meant,
That a good End might close a Life mispent.
Where no kind Lips the hallow'd Dirge resound,
Far form the Compass of yon sacred Ground;
Full in the Center of three meeting Ways,
Stak'd thro' he lies. — Warn'd let the Wicked gaze!
Near yonder Fane, where Mis'ry sleeps in Peace,
Whose Spire fast-lessens, as these Shades encrease,
Left to the North, whence oft brew'd Tempest roll,
Tempests, dire Emblems, Cosmo, of thy Soul!
There mark that Cosmo, much for Guile renown'd!
His Grave by unbid Plants of Poison crown'd.
When out of Pow'r, thro' him the Publick Good,
So strong his factious Tribe, suspended stood.
In Pow'r, vindictive Actions were his Aim,
And Patriots perish'd by th' ungenerous Flame.
If the best Cause he in the Senate chose,
Ev'n Right in him from some wrong Motive rose.
The Bad he loath'd, and wou'd the Weak despise;
Yet courted for dark Ends, and shun'd the Wise.
When ill his Purpose, eloquent his Strain;
His Malice had a Look, and Voice humane.
His Smile, the Signal of some vile Intent,
A private Ponyard, or empoison'd Scent;
Proud, yet to popular Applause a Slave;
No Friend he honour'd, and no Foe forgave.
His Boons unfrequent, or unjust to Need;
The Hire of Guilt, of Infamy the Meed,
But if they chanc'd on Learned Worth to fall,
Bounty in him was Ostentation all.
No true Benevolence his Thought sublimes,
His noblest Actions are illustrious Crimes.
Fine Parts, which Virtue might have rank'd with Fame,
Enhance his Guilt, and magnify his Shame.
When Parts, and Probity in Man combine,
In Wisdom's Eye, how charming must he shine?
Let him, less happy, Truth at least impart,
And what he wants in Genius bear in Heart.
Cosmo, as Death draws nigh, no more conceals
That Storm of Passions, which his Nature feels;
He feels much Fear, more Anger, and most Pride;
But Pride and Anger make all Fear subside.
Dauntless He meets at length untimely Fate,
A desp'rate Spirit! rather Fierce, than Great.
Darkling he glides along the dreary Coast,
A sullen, wand'ring, self-tormenting Ghost.
Where veiny Marble dignifies the Ground,
With Emblem fair in Sculpture rising round,
Just where a crossing, length'ning Isle we find,
Full East; whence God returns to judge Mankind,
Once-lov'd Horatio sleeps, a Mind elate!
Lamented Shade, Ambition was thy Fate!
Ev'n Angels, wond'ring, oft his Worth survey'd;
Behold a Man, like One of Us! they said.
Straight heard the Furies, and with Envy glar'd,
And to precipitate his Fall prepar'd:
First Av'rice came. In vain Self-Love she press'd;
The Poor he pitied still, and still redress'd:
Learning was his, and Knowledge to commend,
Of Arts a Patron, and of Want a Friend.
Next came Revenge: But her Essay, how vain?
Nor Hate, nor Envy, in his Heart remain.
No previous Malice cou'd his Mind engage,
Malice, the Mother of vindictive Rage.
No — from his Life his Foes might learn to live;
He held it still a Triumph to forgive.
At length Ambition urg'd his Country's Weal,
Assuming the fair Look of publick Zeal;
Still in his Breast so gen'rous glow'd the Flame,
The Vice, when there, a Virtue half became.
His pitying Eye saw Millions in Distress,
He deem'd it God-like to have Pow'r to bless;
Thus, when unguarded, Treason stain'd him o'er,
And Virtue, and Content were then no more.
But when to Death by rig'rous Justice doom'd,
His genuine Spirit Saint-like State resum'd.
Oft from soft Penitence distill'd a Tear;
Oft Hope in heav'nly Mercy lighten'd Fear;
Oft wou'd a Drop from strugling Nature fall,
And then a Smile of Patience brighten all.
He seeks in Heav'n a Friend, nor seeks in vain;
His guardian Angel swift descends again;
Not scorning Life, yet all to Death resign'd;
—Ye Chains, fit only to restrain the Will
Of common, desp'rate Veterans in Ill,
Tho' rankling on my Limbs ye lie, declare,
Did e'er my rising Soul your Pressure wear?
No! — free as Liberty, and as quick as Light,
To Worlds remote she takes unbounded Flight.
Ye dungeon-Glooms, that dim corporeal Eyes,
Cou'd ye once blot her Prospect of the Skies?
No! — from her clearer Sight, ye fled away,
Like Error, pierc'd by Truths resistless Ray.
Ye Walls, that witness my repentant Moan!
Ye Echoes, that to midnight Sorrows groan!
Do I, in Wrath, to you of Fate complain?
Or once betray Fear's most inglorious Pain?
No! — Hail, twice hail then ignominious Death!
Behold how willing glides my parting Breath!
Far greater, better far, — Ay far indeed!
Like me, have suffer'd, and like me will bleed.
Apostles, Patriarchs, Prophets, Martyrs all,
Like me, once fell, nor murmur'd at their Fall.
Shall I, whose Days, at best, no Ill design'd,
Whose Virtue shone not, tho' I lov'd Mankind,
Shall I, now guilty Wretch, shall I repine?
Ah, no! to Justice let me Life resign!
Quick, as a Friend, wou'd I embrace my Foe!
He taught me Patience, who first taught me Woe;
But Friends are Foes, they render Woe severe,
For me they wail, from me extort the Tear.
Not those, yet-absent, missive Griefs controul;
These Periods weep, those rave, and these condole.
At Entrance shrieks a Friend, with pale Surpize;
Another panting, prostrate, speechless lies;
One gripes my Hand, one sobs upon my Breast!
Ah, who can bear? — It shocks, it murders Rest!
And is it your's, alas! my Friends to feel?
And is it mine to comfort, mine to heal?
Is mine the Patience, your's the Bosom-strife?
Ah! wou'd rash Love lure back my Thoughts to Life?
Adieu, dear, dang'rous Mourners! swift depart!
Ah, fly me! fly! — I tear ye from my Heart.
Ye Saints, whom Fears of Death cou'd ne'er controul,
In my last Hour compose, support my Soul!
See my Blood wash repented Sin away!
Receive, receive me to eternal Day!
With Words like these the destin'd Hero dies,
While Angels waft his Soul to happier Skies.
Distinction now gives way; yet on we talk,
Full Darkness deep'ning o'er the formless Walk.
Night treads not with light Step the dewy Gale,
Nor bright-distends her Star-embroider'd Veil;
Her leaden Feet inclement Damps distill,
Clouds shut her Face, black Winds her Vesture fill;
An Earth-born Meteor lights the sable Skies,
Eastward it shoots, and, sunk, forgotten dies.
So Pride, that rose from Dust to guilty Pow'r,
Glares out in vain, so Dust shall Pride devour.
Fishers, who yonder Brink by Torches gain,
With teethful Tridents strike the scaly Train.
Like Snakes in Eagles' Claws, in vain they strive,
When heav'd aloft, and quiv'ring yet-alive.
While here, methought, our Time in Converse pass'd,
The Moon Clouds muffl'd, and the Night wore fast.
At prowling Wolves was heard the Mastiff's Bay,
And the warm'd Master's Arms forbad the Prey.
Thus Treason steals, the Patriot thus descries,
Forth-springs the Monarch, and the Mischief flies.
Pale Glow-worms glimmer'd thro' the Depth of Night,
Scatt'ring, like Hope thro' Fear, a doubtful Light.
Lone Philomela tun'd the silent Grove,
With pensive Pleasure listen'd wakeful Love.
Half-dreaming Fancy form'd an Angel's Tongue,
And Pain forgot to groan, so sweet she sung.
The Night-Crone, and the Melody she alarm'd,
Now paus'd, now listen'd, and awhile was charm'd;
But like the Man, whose frequent-stubborn Will
Resists what kind, seraphic Sounds instill;
Her Heart the Love-inspiring Voice repell'd,
Her Breast with agitating Mischief swell'd;
Which clos'd her Ear, and tempted to destroy
The tuneful Life, that charms with virtuous Joy.
Now fast we measure back the trackless Way;
No friendly Stars directive Beams display.
But, lo! — a thousand Lights shoot instant Rays!
Yon kindling Rock reflects the startling Blaze.
I stand astonish'd — thus the Hermit cries,
Fear not, but listen with enlarg'd Surprize!
Still, must these Hours our mutual Converse claim,
And cease to echo still Olympia's Name?
Grots, Riv'lets, Groves Olympia's Name forget,
Olympia now no sighing Winds repeat.
Can I be mortal, and those Hours no more,
Those am'rous Hours, that plaintive Echo's bore?
Am I the same? Ah no! — Behold a Mind,
Unruffl'd, firm, exalted, and refin'd!
Late months, that made the vernal Season gay,
Saw my Health languish off in pale Decay.
No racking Pain yet gave Disease a Date;
No sad, presageful Thought preluded Fate:
Yet number'd were my Days — My destin'd End
Near, and more near — Nay, ev'ry Fear suspend!
I pass'd a weary, ling'ring, sleepless Night;
Then rose, to walk in Morning's earliest Light:
But few my Steps — A faint, and cheerless few!
Refreshment from my flagging Spirits flew.
When, lo! retir'd beneath a Cypress Shade,
My Limbs upon a flow'ry Bank I laid.
Soon by soft-creeping, murm'ring Winds compos'd,
A Slumber press'd my languid Eyes — they clos'd:
But clos'd not long, — methought Olympia spoke;
Thrice loud she call'd, and thrice the Slumber broke.
I wak'd. Forth-gliding from a neigh'ring Wood,
Full in my View the shad'wy Charmer stood.
Rapt'rous I started up to clasp the Shade;
But stagger'd, fell, and found my Vitals fade.
A mantling Chilness o'er my Bosom spread,
As if that Instant number'd with the Dead.
Her Voice now sent a far, imperfect Sound,
When in a swimming Trance my Pangs were drown'd.
I turn'd, — but void of Strength, and Aid to rise;
Short, shorter, shorter yet, my Breath I drew:
Then up my struggling Soul unburthen'd flew.
Thus from a State, where Sin, and Grief abide,
Heav'n summon'd me to Mercy — thus I died.
He said. Th' Astonishment, with which I start,
Like bolted Ice runs shiv'ring thro' my Heart.
Art thou not mortal then? (I cried) But lo!
His Raiment lightens, and his Features glow!
In shady Ringlets falls a Length of Hair;
Embloom'd his Aspect shines, enlarg'd his Air.
Mild from his Eyes enliv'ning Glories beam;
Mild on his Brow sits Majesty supreme.
Bright Plumes of ev'ry Die, that round him flow,
Vest, Robe, and Wings in varied Lustre show.
He looks, and forward steps with Mien Divine;
A Grace celestial gives him all to shine.
He speaks — Nature is ravish'd at the Sound,
The Forests move, and Streams stand list'ning round!
Thus He. As Incorruption I assum'd,
As instant in immortal Youth I bloom'd!
Renew'd, and chang'd, I felt my vital Springs,
With diff'rent Lights discern'd the Form of Things;
To Earth my Passions fell like Mists away,
And Reason open'd in eternal Day.
Swifter than Thought from World to World I flew,
Celestial Knowledge shone in ev'ry View.
My Food was Truth — what Transport cou'd I miss?
My Prospect all Infinitude of Bliss.
Olympia met me first, and, smiling Gay,
Onward to Mercy led the shining Way;
As far transcendent to her wonted Air,
As her dear, wonted self to many a Fair!
In Voice, and Form, Beauty more beauteous shows,
And Harmony still more harmonious grows.
She points out Souls, who taught me Friendship's Charms,
They gaze, they glow, they spring into my Arms!
Well-pleas'd, high Ancestors my View command;
Patrons, and Patriots all; a glorious Band!
Horatio too, by well-borne Fate refin'd,
Shone out white-rob'd with Saints, a spotless Mind!
What once, below, Ambition made him miss,
Humility here gain'd, a Life of Bliss!
Tho' late, let Sinners then from Sin depart!
Heav'n never yet despis'd the contrite Heart.
Last shone, and sweet, exalted Lustre grac'd,
The SERAPH-BARD, in highest Order plac'd!
Seers, Lovers, Legislators, Prelates, Kings,
All raptur'd listen, as he raptur'd sings.
Sweetness, and Strength his Look, and Lays employ,
Greet Smiles with Smiles, and ev'ry Joy with Joy:
Charmful he rose; his ever-charmful Tongue
Joy to our second Hymeneals sung;
Still as we pass'd, the bright, celestial Throng
Hail'd us in social Love, and heav'nly Song.
Of that no more! my deathless Friendship see!
I come an Angel to the Muse and Thee.
These Lights, that vibrate, and promiscuous shine,
Are Emanations all of Forms Divine,
And here the Muse, tho' melted from thy Gaze,
Stands among Spirits, mingling Rays with Rays.
If thou would'st Peace attain, my Words attend,
The last, fond Words of thy departed Friend!
True Joy's a Seraph, that to Heav'n aspires,
Unhurt it triumphs mid celestial Quires.
But shou'd no Cares a mortal State molest,
Life were a State of Ignorance at best.
Know then, if Ills oblige thee to retire,
Those Ills Solemnity of Thought inspire.
Did not the Soul abroad for Objects roam,
Whence cou'd she learn to call Ideas home?
Justly to know thy self, peruse Mankind!
To know thy God, point Nature on thy Mind!
Without such Science of the worldly Scene,
What is Retirement? empty Pride, or Spleen:
But with it Wisdom. There shall Cares refine,
Render'd by Contemplation half-divine.
Trust not the frantick, or mysterious Guide,
Nor stoop a Captive to the Schoolman's Pride.
On Nature's Wonders fix alone thy Zeal!
They dim not Reason, when they Truth reveal;
So shall Religion in thy Heart endure,
From all traditionary Falshood pure;
So Life make Death familiar to thy Eye;
So shalt thou live, as thou may'st learn to die;
And, tho' thou view'st thy worst Oppressor thrive,
From transient Woe, immortal Bliss derive.
Farewell — Nay stop the parting Tear! — I go!
But leave the Muse thy Comforter below.
He said. Instant his Pinions upward soar,
He less'ning as they rise, till seen no more.
While Contemplation weigh'd the mystic View,
The Lights all vanish'd, and the Vision flew.