Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

While each contracts its bounds, or wider grows,
Enlarg'd or straiten'd as the river flows,
On Gallia's side a mighty bulwark stands,
That all the wide-extended plain commands;
Twice, since the war was kindled, has it tried
The victor's rage, and twice has chang'd its side;
As oft whole armies, with the prize o'erjoy'd,
Have the long summer on its walls employ'd.
Hither our mighty chief his arms directs,
Hence future triumphs from the war expects;
And though the dog-star had its course begun,
Carries his arms still nearer to the Sun:
Fixt on the glorious action, he forgets
The change of seasons, and increase of heats;
No toils are painful that can danger show,
No climes unlovely, that contain a foe.

The roving Gaul, to his own bounds restrain'd,
Learns to encamp within his native land,
But soon as the victorious host he spies,
From hill to hill, from stream to stream he flies:
Such dire impressions in his heart remain

Of Marlborough's sword and Hochtste's fatal plain: And round the hero cast a borrow'd blaze.
In vain Britannia's mighty chief besets
Their shady coverts, and obscure retreats;
They fly the conqueror's approaching fame,
That bears the force of armies in his name.

Marlborough's exploits appear divinely bright,
And proudly shine in their own native light,
Rais'd of themselves their genuine charms they
boast,

And those who paint them truest praise them most.

Austria's young monarch, whose imperial sway
Sceptres and thrones are destin'd to obey,
Whose boasted ancestry so high extends
That in the pagan gods his lineage ends,
Comes from afar, in gratitude to own
The great supporter of his father's throne:
What tides of glory to his bosom ran,
Clasp'd in th' embraces of the godlike man!
How were his eyes with pleasing wonder fixt,
To see such fire with so much sweetness mixt,
Such easy greatness, such a graceful port,
So turn'd and finish'd for the camp or court!

Achilles thus was form'd with ev'ry grace,
And Nireus shone but in the second place;
Thus the great father of almighty Rome
(Divinely flusht with an immortal bloom,
That Cytherea's fragrant breath bestow'd)
In all the charms of his bright mother glow'd.
The royal youth by Marlborough's presence
charm'd,

Taught by his counsels, by his actions warm'd,
On Landan with redoubled fury falls,
Discharges all the thunder on its walls,
O'er mines and caves of death provokes the fight,
And learns to conquer in the hero's sight.

The British chief, for mighty toils renown'd,
Increas'd in titles, and with conquests crown'd,
To Belgian coasts his tedious march renews,
And the long windings of the Rhine pursues,
Clearing its borders from usurping foes,
And blest by rescued nations as he goes.
Treves fears no more, freed from its dire alarms;
And Traerbach feels the terror of his arms:
Seated on rocks her proud foundations shake,
While Marlborough presses to the bold attack.
Plants all his batteries, bids his cannon roar,
And shows how Landau might have fall'n before.
Scar'd at his near approach, great Louis fears
Vengeance reserv'd for his declining years,
Forgets his thirst of universal sway,

And scarce can teach his subjects to obey;
His arms he finds on vain attempts employ'd,
Th' ambitious projects for his race destroy'd,
The works of ages sunk in one campaign,
And lives of millions sacrific'd in vain.

Such are th' effects of Anna's royal cares:
By her, Britannia, great in foreign wars,
Ranges through nations, wheresoe'er disjoin'd,
Without the wonted aid of sea and wind.
By her th' unfetter'd Ister's states are free,
And taste the sweets of English liberty:
But who can tell the joys of those that lie
Beneath the contant influence of her eye!
Whilst in diffusive showers her bounties fall
Like Heaven's indulgence, and descend on all,
Secure the happy, succor the distrest,

Make every subject glad, and a whole people blest.
Thus would I fain Britannia's wars rehearse,
In the smooth records of a faithful verse;
That, if such numbers can o'er time prevail,
May tell posterity the wondrous tale.
When actions, unadorn'd, are faint and weak,
Cities and countries must be taught to speak;
Gods may descend in factions from the skies,
And rivers from their oozy beds arise;
Fiction may deck the truth with spurious rays,

TO SIR GODFREY KNELLER,

ON HIS PICTURE OF THE KING.

KNELLER, with silence and surprise
We see Britannia's monarch rise,
A godlike form, by thee display'd
In all the force of light and shade;
And, aw'd by thy delusive hand,
As in the presence-chamber stand.

The magic of thy art calls forth
His secret soul and hidden worth,
His probity and mildness shows,
His care of friends, and scorn of foes,
In every stroke, in every line,
Does some exalted virtue shine,
And Albion's happiness we trace
Through all the features of his face.

O may I live to hail the day,
When the glad nation shall survey
Their sovereign, through his wide command,
Passing in progress o'er the land!
Each heart shall bend, and every voice
In loud applauding shouts rejoice,
Whilst all his gracious aspect praise,
And crowds grow loyal as they gaze.

The image on the medal plac'd,
With its bright round of titles grac'd,
And stampt on British coins shall live,
To richest ores the value give,
Or, wrought within the curious mould,
Shape and adorn the running gold.
To bear this form, the genial Sun
Has daily since his course begun
Rejoic'd the metal to refine,
And ripen'd the Peruvian mine.

Thou, Kneller, long with noble pride,
The foremost of thy art, hast vied
With Nature in a generous strife,
And touch'd the canvas into life.
V 2

Thy pencil has, by monarchs sought,
From reign to reign in ermine wrought,
And, in the robes of state array'd,
The kings of half an age display'd.

Here swarthy Charles appears, and there
His brother with dejected air:
Triumphant Nassau here we find,
And with him bright Maria join'd;
There Anna, great as when she sent
Her armies through the continent,
Ere yet her hero was disgrac'd:
O may fam'd Brunswick be the last,
(Though Heaven should with my wish agree,
And long preserve thy art in thee)
The last, the happiest British king,
Whom thou shalt paint, or I shall sing!

Wise Phidias thus, his skill to prove,
Through many a god advanc'd to Jove,
And taught the polish'd rocks to shine
With airs and lineaments divine;
Till Greece, amaz'd, and half-afraid,
Th' assembled deities survey'd.

Great Pan, who wont to chase the fair, And lov'd the spreading oak, was there; Old Saturn too with upcast eyes

Beheld his abdicated skies;

And mighty Mars, for war renown'd,
In adamantine armor frown'd;

By him the childless goddess rose,
Minerva, studious to compose
Her twisted threads; the web she strung,
And o'er a loom of marble hung:
Thetis, the troubled ocean's queen,
Match'd with a mortal, next was seen,
Reclining on a funeral urn,
Her short-liv'd darling son to mourn.
The last was he, whose thunder slew
The Titan-race, a rebel crew,
That from a hundred hills allied
In impious leagues their king defied.

This wonder of the sculptor's hand Produc'd, his art was at a stand:

For who would hope new fame to raise,
Or risk his well-establish'd praise,
That, his high genius to approve,

Had drawn a George, or carv'd a Jove?

PARAPHRASE ON PSALM XXIII.

THE Lord my pasture shall prepare, And feed me with a shepherd's care; His presence shall my wants supply, And guard me with a watchful eye: My noon-day walks he shall attend, And all my midnight hours defend.

When in the sultry glebe I faint,
Or on the thirsty mountain pant;
To fertile vales and dewy meads
My weary wandering steps he leads:
Where peaceful rivers, soft and slow,
Amid the verdant landscape flow.

Though in the paths of death I tread,
With gloomy horrors overspread,
My stedfast heart shall fear no ill,
For thou, O Lord, art with me still;
Thy friendly crook shall give me aid,
And guide me through the dreadful shade.

Though in a bare and rugged way,
Through devious lonely wilds I stray,
Thy bounty shall my wants beguile :
The barren wilderness shall smile,
With sudden greens and herbage crown'd
And streams shall murmur all around.

MATTHEW PRIOR.

MATTHEW PRIOR, a distinguished poet, was born | It will not be worth while here to take notice of all in 1664, in London according to one account, his changes in the political world, except to mention according to another at Winborne, in Dorsetshire. the disgraces which followed the famous congress His father dying when he was young, an uncle, of Utrecht, in which he was deeply engaged. For who was a vintner, or tavern-keeper, at Charing- the completion of that business he was left in Cross, took him under his care, and sent him to France, with the appointments and authority of an Westminster-school, of which Dr. Busby was ambassador, though without the title, the proud then master. Before he had passed through the Duke of Shrewsbury having refused to be joined in school, his uncle took him home, for the purpose commission with a man so meanly born. Prior, of bringing him into his own business; but the however, publicly assumed the character till he Earl of Dorset, a great patron of letters, having was superseded by the earl of Stair, on the acces found him one day reading Horace, and being sion of George I. The Whigs being now in power, pleased with his conversation, determined to give he was welcomed, on his return, by a warrant from him an university education. He was accordingly the House of Commons, under which he was comadmitted of St. John's College, Cambridge, in mitted to the custody of a messenger. He was ex1682, proceeded bachelor of arts in 1686, and was amined before the Privy Council respecting his soon after elected to a fellowship. After having share in the peace of Utrecht, was treated with proved his poetic talents by some college exercises, rigor, and Walpole moved an impeachment he was introduced at court by the Earl of Dorset, against him, on a charge of high treason, for holdand was so effectually recommended, that, in 1690, ing clandestine conferences with the French pleni he was appointed secretary to the English pleni- potentiary. His name was excepted from an act of potentiaries who attended the congress at the grace passed in 1717: at length, however, he was Hague. Being now enlisted in the service of the discharged, without being brought to trial, to end court, his productions were, for some years, chiefly his days in retirement. directed to courtly topics, of which one of the most We are now to consider Prior among the poetical considerable was an Ode presented to King William characters of the time. In his writings is found in 1695, on the death of Queen Mary. In 1697, that incongruous mixture of light and rather inhe was nominated secretary to the commissioners decent topics with grave and even religious ones, for the treaty of Ryswick; and, on his return, was which was not uncommon at that period. In the made secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. faculty of telling a story with ease and vivacity, he He went to France in the following year, as secre- yields only to Swift, compared to whom his humor tary, first to the earl of Portland, and then to the is occasionally strained and quaint. His songs Earl of Jersey; and being now regarded as one and amatory pieces are generally elegant and clasconversant in public affairs, he was summoned by sical. The most popular of his serious composiKing William to Loo, where he had a confidential tions are "Henry and Emma," or the Nut-brown audience. In the beginning of 1701, he sat in Par-Maid, modernized from an antique original; and liament for East Grinstead. Solomon," the idea of which is taken from the

"

Prior had hitherto been promoted and acted with book of Ecclesiastes. These are harmonious in the Whigs: but the Tories now having become the their versification, splendid and correct in their prevalent party, he turned about, and ever after ad- diction, and copious in poetical imagery; but they hered to them. He even voted for the impeach-exert no powerful effect on the feelings or the ment of those lords who advised that partition fancy, and are enfeebled by prolixity. His "Alma," treaty in which he had been officially employed. a piece of philosophical pleasantry, was written to Like most converts, he embraced his new friends console himself when under confinement, and diswith much zeal, and from that time almost all his plays a considerable share of reading. As to his social connexions were confined within the limits elaborate effusions of loyalty and patriotism, they of his party. seem to have sunk into total neglect.

The life of Prior was cut short by a lingering illness, which closed his days at Wimpole, the seat

The successes in the beginning of Queen Anne's reign were celebrated by the poets on both sides; and Prior sung the victories of Blenheim and of Lord Oxford, in September, 1721, in the 58th Ramilies he afterwards, however, joined in the year of his age. attack of the great general who had been his theme.

240

HENRY AND EMMA.

A POEM,

Upon the Model of the Nut-Brown Maid.

TO CLOE.

THOU, to whose eyes I bend, at whose command
(Though low my voice, though artless be my
hand),

One child he had, a daughter chaste and fair,
His age's comfort, and his fortune's heir.
They call'd her Emma; for the beauteous dame,
Who gave the virgin birth, had borne the name:
The name th' indulgent father doubly lov'd:
For in the child the mother's charms improv'd.
Yet as, when little, round his knees she play'd,
He call'd her oft, in sport, his Nut-brown Maid,
The friends and tenants took the fondling word,
(As still they please, who imitate their lord):
Usage confirm'd what fancy had begun;
The mutual terms around the land were known
And Emma and the Nut-brown Maid were one.

As with her stature, still her charms increas'd
Through all the isle her beauty was confess'd.
Oh! what perfections must that virgin share,
Who fairest is esteem'd, where all are fair!
From distant shires repair the noble youth,
And find report, for once, had lessen'd truth.
By wonder first, and then by passion mov'd,
They came; they saw; they marvell'd; and they
lov'd.

I take the sprightly reed, and sing, and play,
Careless of what the censuring world may say:
Bright Cloe, object of my constant vow,
Wilt thou awhile unbend thy serious brow?
Wilt thou with pleasure hear thy lover's strains,
And with one heavenly smile o'erpay his pains?
No longer shall the Nut-brown Maid be old;
Though since her youth three hundred years have
roll'd:

At thy desire, she shall again be rais'd;
And her reviving charms in lasting verse
prais'd.

No longer man of woman shall complain,
That he may love, and not be lov'd again:
That we in vain the fickle sex pursue,
Who change the constant lover for the new.
Whatever has been writ, whatever said,
Of female passion feign'd, or faith decay'd,
Henceforth shall in my verse refuted stand,
Be said to winds, or writ upon the sand.
And, while my notes to future times proclaim
Unconquer'd love, and ever-during flame,
O fairest of the sex! be thou my Muse:
Deign on my work thy influence to diffuse.
Let me partake the blessings I rehearse,
And grant me, love, the just reward of verse!

As beauty's potent queen, with every grace,
That once was Emma's, has adorn'd thy face;
And, as her son has to my bosom dealt
That constant flame, which faithful Henry felt:
O let the story with thy life agree:

be By public praises, and by secret sighs,

Each own'd the general power of Emma's eyes.
In tilts and tournaments the valiant strove,
By glorious deeds, to purchase Emma's love.
In gentle verse the witty told their flame,
And grac'd their choicest songs with Emma'

name.

In vain they combated, in vain they writ:
Useless their strength, and impotent their wit.
Great Venus only must direct the dart,
Which else will never reach the fair-one's heart,
Spite of th' attempts of force, and soft effects of

art.

Great Venus must prefer the happy one :
In Henry's cause her favor must be shown;
And Emma, of mankind, must love but him alone.
While these in public to the castle came,
And by their grandeur justified their flame;
More secret ways the careful Henry takes;
His squires, his arms, and equipage forsakes:
In borrow'd name, and false attire array'd,
Oft he finds means to see the beauteous maid.

Let men once more the bright example see;
What Emma was to him, be thou to me.
Nor send me by thy frown from her I love,
Distant and sad, a banish'd man to rove.
But, oh! with pity, long-entreated, crown
My pains and hopes; and, when thou say'st that one
Of all mankind thou lov'st, oh! think on me alone.

WHERE beauteous Isis and her husband Tame,
With mingled waves, for ever flow the same,
In times of yore an ancient baron liv'd;
Great gifts bestow'd, and great respect receiv'd.

When dreadful Edward, with successful care,
Led his free Britons to the Gallic war;
This lord had headed his appointed bands,
In firm allegiance to his king's commands;
And (all due honors faithfully discharg'd)
Had brought back his paternal coat, enlarg'd
With a new mark, the witness of his toil,
And no inglorious part of foreign spoil.

From the loud camp retir'd, and noisy court,
In honorable ease and rural sport,
The remnant of his days he safely past;
Nor found they lagg'd too slow, nor flew too fast.
He made his wish with his estate comply,
Joyful to live, yet not afraid to die.

When Emma hunts, in huntsman's habit drest,
Henry on foot pursues the bounding beast.
In his right-hand his beechen pole he bears;
And graceful at his side his horn he wears.
Still to the glade, where she has bent her way,
With knowing skill he drives the future prey.
Bids her decline the hill, and shun the brake;
And shows the path her steed may safest take;
Directs her spear to fix the glorious wound;
Pleas'd in his toils to have her triumph crown'd ;
And blows her praises in no common sound.

A falconer Henry is, when Emma hawks:
With her of tarsels and of lures he talks.
Upon his wrist the towering merlin stands,
Practis'd to rise, and stoop, at her commands.
And when superior now the bird has flown,
And headlong brought the tumbling quarry down
With humble reverence he accosts the fair,
And with the honor'd feather decks her hair.
Yet still, as from the sportive field she goes,
His downcast eye reveals his inward woes;
And by his look and sorrow is exprest,

nobler game pursued than bird or beast.
A shepherd now along the plain he roves;
And, with his jolly pipe, delights the groves.

The neighboring swains around the stranger throng, Here oft the nymph his breathing vows had heard;
Or to admire, or emulate his song:
While with soft sorrow he renews his lays,
Nor heedful of their envy, nor their praise.
But, soon as Emma's eyes adorn the plain,
His notes he raises to a nobler strain,
With dutiful respect and studious fear;
Lest any careless sound offend her ear.

Here oft her silence had her heart declar'd.
As active Spring awak'd her infant buds,
And genial life inform'd the verdant woods;
Henry, in knots involving Emma's name,

Had half express'd, and half conceal'd, his flame,
Upon this tree and, as the tender mark
Grew with the year, and widen'd with the bark,
Venus had heard the virgin's soft address,
That, as the wound, the passion might increase.
As potent Nature shed her kindly showers,
And deck'd the various mead with opening flowers,
Upon this tree the nymph's obliging care
Had left a frequent wreath for Henry's hair;
Which, as with gay delight the lover found,
Pleas'd with his conquest, with her present crown'd,
Glorious through all the plains he oft had gone,
And to each swain the mystic honor shown;
The gift still prais'd, the giver still unknown.

A frantic gipsy now, the house he haunts,
And in wild phrases speaks dissembled wants.
With the fond maids in palmistry he deals:
They tell the secret first, which he reveals;
Says who shall wed, and who shall be beguil'd;
What groom shall get, and squire maintain the child.
But, when bright Emma would her fortune know,
A softer look unbends his opening brow;
With trembling awe he gazes on her eye,
And in soft accents forms the kind reply;
That she shall prove as fortunate as fair;
And Hymen's choicest gifts are all reserv'd for her.

Now oft had Henry chang'd his sly disguise,
Unmark'd by all but beauteous Emma's eyes:
Oft had found means alone to see the dame,
And at her feet to breathe his amorous flame;
And oft, the pangs of absence to remove,
By letters, soft interpreters of love:
Till Time and Industry (the mighty two
That bring our wishes nearer to our view)
Made him perceive, that the inclining fair
Receiv'd his vows with no reluctant ear;
That Venus has confirm'd her equal reign,
And dealt to Emma's heart a share of Henry's pain.
While Cupid smil'd, by kind occasion bless'd,
And, with the secret kept, the love increas'd;
The amorous youth frequents the silent groves;
And much he meditates, for much he loves.
He loves, 'tis true; and is belov'd again:
Great are his joys; but will they long remain?
Emma with smiles receives his present flame;
But, smiling, will she ever be the same?
Beautiful looks are rul'd by fickle minds;
And summer seas are turn'd by sudden winds.
Another love may gain her easy youth:
Time changes thought, and flattery conquers truth. Undaunted then o'er cliffs and valleys strays,
And leads his votaries safe through pathless ways.
Not Argus, with his hundred eyes, shall find
Where Cupid goes; though he, poor guide! is blind
The maiden first arriving, sent her eye
To ask, if yet its chief delight were nigh:
With fear and with desire, with joy and pain,
She sees, and runs to meet him on the plain.
But, oh! his steps proclaim no lover's haste:
On the low ground his fix'd regards are cast;
His artful bosom heaves dissembled sighs;
And tears suborn'd fall copious from his eyes.
With ease, alas! we credit what we love :
His painted grief does real sorrow move
In the afflicted fair; adown her cheek
Trickling the genuine tears their current break;
Attentive stood the mournful nymph: the man
Broke silence first: the tale alternate ran.

O impotent estate of human life!

1

Where Hope and Fear maintain eternal strife;
Where fleeting joy does lasting doubt inspire;
And most we question, what we most desire!
Amongst thy various gifts, great Heaven, bestow
Our cup of love unmix'd; forbear to throw
Bitter ingredients in; nor pall the draught
With nauseous grief: for our ill-judging thought
Hardly enjoys the pleasurable taste;
Or deems it not sincere; or fears it cannot last.
With wishes rais'd, with jealousies opprest,
(Alternate tyrants of the human breast)
By one great trial he resolves to prove
The faith of woman, and the force of love.
If, scanning Emma's virtues, he may find
That beauteous frame inclose a steady mind,
He'll fix his hope of future joy secure;
And live a slave to Hymen's happy power.
But if the fair-one, as he fears, is frail;
If, pois'd aright in Reason's equal scale,
Light fly her merit, and her faults prevail;
His mind he vows to free from amorous care,
The latent mischief from his heart to tear,
Resume his azure arms, and shine again in war.
South of the castle, in a verdant glade,
A spreading beech extends her friendly shade:

His secret note the troubled Henry writes: To the lone tree the lovely maid invites. Imperfect words and dubious terms express, That unforeseen mischance disturb'd his peace; That he must something to her ear commend, On which her conduct and his life depend.

Soon as the fair-one had the note receiv'd,
The remnant of the day alone she griev'd:
For different this from every former note,
Which Venus dictated, and Henry wrote;
Which told her all his future hopes were laid
On the dear bosom of his Nut-brown Maid;
Which always bless'd her eyes, and own'd her

power;

And bid her oft adieu, yet added more.
Now night advanc'd. The house

laid;

sleep were

The nurse experienc'd, and the prying maid,
And, last, that sprite, which does incessant haunt
The lover's steps, the ancient maiden-aunt.
To her dear Henry, Emma wings her way,
With quicken'd pace repairing forc'd delay;
For Love, fantastic power, that is afraid
To stir abroad till Watchfulness be laid,

HENRY.

SINCERE, O tell me, hast thou felt a pain,
Emma, beyond what woman knows to feign?
Has thy uncertain bosom ever strove
With the first tumults of a real love?
Hast thou now dreaded, and now blest his sway,
By turns averse, and joyful to obey?

« PoprzedniaDalej »