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Mournful Cypress, verdant Willow,
Gilding my Aurelia's Brows,
Hear me pay my dying Vows.
Melancholy smooth Meander,
Swiftly purling in a Round,
With thy flow'ry Chaplets crown’d.
Thus when Philomela, drooping,
Softly seeks her silent Mate,
Melody resigns to Fate.
The above is a pleasant burlesque on the gawdy, glittering, florid style and manner of certain descriptive poets. I think the reader will pardon me for laying before him part of a piece of ridicule on the same subject, and of equal merit, which made its first appearance many years ago in the Oxford Student, and is
thus entitled, “Ode to Horror, in the Allegoric, Descriptive,
“Ferreus ingruit Horror."
groves where kept damn'd Furies dire Their blue-tipt battlements of fire; Thou that thro' many a darksome pine, O’er the rugged rock recline, Didst wake the hollow-whisp'ring breeze With care-consumed Eloise : O thou, with whom in cheerless cell, The midnight clock pale pris'ners tell ; O haste thee, mild Miltonic maid, From yonder yews sequester’d shade; More bright than all the fabled nine, Teach me to breathe the solemn line : O bid my well-rang'd numbers rise, Pervious to none but Attic eyes; O give the strain that madness moves, Till every startling sense approves.
What felt the Gallic Traveller, When far in Arab-desert drear, He found within the Catacomb, Alive, the terrors of a tomb? While many a mummy thro’ the shade, In hieroglyphic stole array'd, Seem'd to uprear the mystic head, And trace the gloom with ghostly tread; Thou heard'st him
the stifled groan, Horror! his soul was all thy own!" The author was himself a descriptive poet of the first class. Mr. William Collins thought himself aimed at by this piece of ridicule. His odes had been just published ; and the last lines seemed to refer to a particular passage in them.
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.
I know the thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be silent, and attend !) I know a reasonable Woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a Friend.
Nor warp'd by Passion, aw'd by Rumour,
Not grave through Pride, or gay through Folly, An equal Mixture of good Humour,
And sensible soft Melancholy.
“ Has she no faults then (Envy says) Sir?”
Yes, she has one, I must aver ;
The Woman's deaf and does not hear.
Ver. 1. I know the thing] Equal in elegance to any compliment that Waller has paid to Saccharissa, especially the last stanza, and the answer to Envy. The Lady addressed was Mrs. Howard, of Marble-hill, bed-chamber woman to Queen Caroline, and afterward Countess of Suffolk.
GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM,
MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES, AND MINERALS.
Thou who shalt stop, where Thames' translucent
wave Shines a broad Mirror through the shadowy Cave; Where ling’ring drops from min'ral Roofs distil, And pointed Crystals break the sparkling Rill, Unpolish'd Gems no ray on Pride bestow, 5 And latent Metals innocently glow: Approach Great NATURE studiously behold! And eye
the Mine without a wish for Gold.
After Ver. 6 in the MS.
You see that Island's wealth, where, only free,
Earth to her entrails feels not Tyranny. i. e. Britain is the only place in the globe which feels not tyranny even to its very entrails. W.
On his Grotto] The improving and finishing his Grot was the favourite amusement of his declining years; and the beauty of his poetic genius, in the disposition and ornaments of this romantic recess, appears to as much advantage as in his best contrived poems.
W. Ver. 8.
Horat. I. 3, od. 3.