« ПретходнаНастави »
Begin with care, nor like that curate vile,
Set out in this high prancing stumbling style,
“ Whoever with a piercing eye can see
Through the past records of futurity"-
All gape-no meaning-the puff'd orator
Talks much, and says just nothing for an hour.
Truth and the text he labours to display,
Till both are quite interpreted away :
So frugal dames insipid water pour,
Till green, bohea, and coffee, are no more.
His arguments in silly circles run
Still round and round, and end where they begun
So the poor turn-spit, as the wheel runs round,
The more he gains, the more he loses ground.
CXLV. JAMES THOMPSON.
The lovely young Lavinia once had friends :
And fortune smil'd, deceitful, on her birth:
For, in her helpless years deprived of all,
Of every stay save innocence and Heaven,
She, with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
poor, lived in a cottage far retir'd
Among the windings of a woody vale:
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty conceal’d.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passions and low-minded pride ;
Almost on Nature's common bounty fed,
Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wets its leaves ; unstain’d and pure
As is the lily, or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers :
Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promis'd once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears.
A native grace
Sat fair-proportion’d on her polish'd limbs,
Veilid in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; and loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when unadorn’d, adorn’d the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods.
As in the hollow breast of Apennine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild :
So flourished blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia ; till, at length compelled
By strong necessity's supreme command,
With smiling patience in her looks, she went
To glean Palemon's fields.
2. MISERIES OF HUMAN LIFE. Ah! little think the gay licentious proud, Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround: They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth, And wanton, often cruel, riot waste; Ah! little think they, while they dance along, How many feel, this very moment, death, And all the sad variety of pain; How many sink in the devouring flood, Or more devouring flame: how many bleed, By shameful variance betwixt man and man: How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms, Shut from the common air and common use Of their own limbs : how many drink the cup Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread Of misery : sore pierced by wintry winds, How many shrink into the sordid hut Of cheerless poverty : how many shake With all the fiercer tortures of the mind. Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse ; Whence tumbling headlong from the height of life They furnish matter for the tragic muse:
E'en in the vale, where wisdom loves to dwell,
With friendship, peace, and contemplation joined,
How many racked with honest passions droop
In deep retired distress; how many stand
Around the death-bed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish. Thought fond that
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suffering, and of fate,
Vice i:1 his high career would stand appallid,
And heedleesrambling impulse learn to think :
The conscious heart of charity would warm,
And her wide wish benevolence dilate;
Her social tear would rise, and social sigh:
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
3. ON A FUTURE STATE.
'Tis done, dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquered year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies !
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictured life : pass some few years,
Thy flowering Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober autumn fading into age
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene, Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness ? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness ? those longings after fame ?
Those restless cares ? those busy bustling days ?
Those gay-spent festive nights ? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shared thy life?
All now are vanished! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see !
'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heaven and earth! awakning Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In every heightened form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal scheme,
Involving all and in a perfect whole
Uniting, as the prospect wider spreads,
To reason's eye refined clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous ! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that power,
And wisdom oft arraigned: see now the cause,
Why unassuming worth in secret lived,
And died neglected : why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow and her orphans pin'd
In starving solitude; while Luxury,
In palaces lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants; why heaven-born truth,
And moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of superstition's scourge; why licens'd pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosomed foe,
Imbittered all our bliss. Ye good distrest!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
pressure, yet bear
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deemed evil, is no more:
The storms of wintry time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded spring encircle all.
Tell me, thou soul of her I love,
Ah, tell me, whither art thou iled ;
To what delightful world above
Appointed for the happy dead ?
Or dost thou free, at pleasure, roam,
And sometiines share thy lover's woe;
Where, void of thee, his cheerless home
Can now, alas, no comfort know?
Oh! if thou hoverest round my walk,
While under every well-known tree,
I to thy fancied shadow talk,
tear is full of thee.
Should then the weary eye of grief
Beside some sympathetic stream,
In slumber find a short relief,
O visit thou my soothing dream.
Oh, could a British barony be sold ! I would bright horour buy with dazzling gold Could I the privilege of peer procure, The rich I'd bully, and oppress the poor. To give is wrong, but it is wronger still On any terms to pay a tradesman's bill, I'd make the insolent mechanics stay, And keep my ready money all for play. I'd try if any pleasure could be found In tossing up for twenty thousand pound: Had I whole counties, I to White's would And set land, woods, and rivers, at a throw. But should I meet with an unlucky run, And at a throw be gloriously undone ; My debts of honour I'd discharge the first; Let all my lawful creditors be curst; My title would preserve me from arrest, And seizing hired horses is a jest.
CXLVII. DAVID MALLET.
1. WILLIAM AND MARGARET.
'Twas at the silent, solemn hour,
When night and morning meet ;
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost,
And stood at William's feet.
Her face was like an April morn,
Clad in a wintry cloud;
And clay-cold was her lily hand,
That held her sable shroud.
So shall the fairest face
When youth and years are flown;
Such the robe that kings must wear,
When death has reft their crown.
Her bloom was like the springing flower,
That sips the silver dew;