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And, mere upholsterers, in a trice
On gems and painting set a price.
These tailoring artists, for our lays
Invent cramp'd rules, and with strait stays,
Striving free Nature's shape to hit,
Emaciate sense, before they fit.
A cominon place, and many friends,
Can serve the plagiary's ends :
Whose easy vamping talent lies,
First wit to pilfer, then disguise.
Thus some devoid of art and skill
To search the mine on Pindus' hill,
Proud to aspire and workmen grow,
By genius doom'd to stay below,
For their own digging show the town
Wit's treasure brought by others down.
Some wanting, if they find a mine,
An artist's judginent to refine,
On fame precipitately fix'd,
The ore with baser metals mix'd
Melt down, impatient of delay,
And call the vicious mass-a play.
All these engage, to serve their ends,
A band select of trusty friends,
Who, lesson'd right, extol the thing,
As Psapho* taught his birds to sing ;
Then to the ladies they subunit,
Returning officers on wit :
* Psapho was a Libyan, who, desiring to be recounted a god, effected it by this invention: he took young birds, and taught them to sing, “Psapho is a god.' When they were perfect in their lesson, he let them fly; and other birds learning the same ditty, repeated it in the woods; on which his countrymen offered sacrifice to him, and considered him as a deity.
A crowded house their presence draws,
And on the beaux imposes laws,
A judgment in its favour ends,
When all the pannel are its friends :
Their natures, merciful and mild,
Have from mere pity sav'd the child ;
In bulrush-ark the bantling found
Helpless, and ready to be drown'd,
They have preserv'd by kind support,
And brought the baby-muse to court.
But there's a youth* that you can name,
Who need's no leading-strings to famé,
Whose quick maturity of brain
The birth of Pallas may explain :
Dreaming of whose depending fate,
I heard Melpomene debate ;--
• This, this is he, that was foretold
Should emulate our Greeks of old,
Inspir'd by me with sacred art,
He sings, and rules the varied heart;
If Jove's dread anger he rehearse,
We hear the thunder in his verse ;
If he describes love turn'd to rage,
The furies riot in his page.
If he fair liberty and law,
By ruffian power expiring, draw,
The keener passions then engage
Aright, and sanctify their rage;
If he attempt disastrous love,
We hear those plaints that wound the grove:
Within the kinder passions glow,
And tears distillid from pity flow.'
* Mr. Glover, the excellent author of Leonidas.
From the bright vision I descend, And my deserted theme attend.
Me never did ambition seize,
Strange fever, most inflam'd by ease !
The active lunacy of pride,
That courts jilt Fortune for a bride,
This paradise tree, so fair and high,
I view with no aspiring eye:
Like aspin shake the restless leaves,
And Sodom-fruit our pains deceives,
Whence frequent falls give no surprise,
But fits of Spleen call'd growing wise.
Greatness, in glittering forms display'd,
Affects weak eyes much us'd to shade,
And by its falsely-envied scene
Gives self-debasing fits of Spleen.
We should be pleas’d that things are so,
Who do for nothing see the show,
And middle-siz'd, can pass between
Life's hubbub safe, becausé unseen ;
And midst the glare of greatness trace
A watry sunshine in the face,
And pleasures fled to, to redress
The sad fatigue of idleness.
Contentment, parent of delight,
So much a stranger to our sight,
Say, goddess, in what happy place
Mortals behold thy blooming face;
Thy gracious auspices impart,
And for thy temple choose my heart.
They wbom thou deignest to inspire,
Thy science learn, to bound desire;
By happy alchymy of mind,
They turn to pleasure all they find ;
They both disdain in outward mien
The grave and solemn garb of Spleen,
And meretricious arts of dress,
To feign a joy, and hide distress;
Unmoy'd when the rude tempest blows,
Without an opiate they repose :
And cover'd by your shield, defy
The whizzing shafts, that round them fly:
Nor meddling with the god's affairs,
Concern themselves with distant cares;
But place their bliss in mental rest,
And feast upon the good possess'd.
Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r,
The blithsome goddess sooths my care,
I feel the deity inspire,
And thus she models desire.
Two hundred pounds, half-yearly paid,
Annuity securely made,
A farm some twenty miles from town,
Small, tight, salubrious, and my own:
Two maids that never saw the town,
A serving-man not quite a clown,
A boy to help to tread the mow,
And drive while t'other holds the plough;
A chief, of temper form’d to please,
Fit to converse and keep the keys;
And better to preserve the peace,
Commission'd by the name of niece ;
With understandings of a size
To think their master very wise.
May Heaven (it's all I wish for) send
One genial room to treat a friend,
Where decent cupboard, little plate,
Display benevolence, not state.
And may my humble dwelling stand
Upon some chosen spot of land :
A pond before, full to the brim,
Where cows may cool, and geese may swim;
Behind, a green, like velvet neat,
Soft to the eye and to the feet ;
Where odorous plants, in evening fair,
Breathe all around ainbrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song ;
With opening views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds:
And woods, impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From hills through plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade
Invite, and contemplation aid :
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate,
And dreams beneath the spreading beech,
Inspire, and docile fancy teach ;
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle through the mind :
Here Dryads, scorning Phæbus’ ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in a variety of green: