Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Virginia Paque and PG Distributed
Some of the Pieces in this volume have been separately published,
at different times; the indulgence, I may say favour,
with which they were individually received, has encouraged me
to collect and re-publish them. I have added many others,
which are now first printed. I shall be well satisfied, if they
find as favourable a reception as their precursors; and are
thought not to have increased the size, without at all increasing
the merit, of the book.
I cannot omit this opportunity of thanking those Critics,
who have honoured me by reviewing my verses. I owe them
my warm acknowledgments for candidly measuring my Poems
by their pretensions. They have looked at them as they really
were;--as the amusements of the leisure hours of a man
whose fortune will not favour his inclination to devote himself
to poetry; and conceiving a favourable opinion of them in
that character, have kindly expressed it.
_London, December, 1827._
During the progress of these pages through the press, it has
pleased Providence to inflict upon me the severest calamity that
domestic life can sustain. In the private sorrows of the humble
candidate for literary fame, I am aware that the world will feel
no interest, yet humanity will forgive the weakness that struggles
under such a bereavement, and will pardon the tear that falls
upon such a tomb. If, indeed, the Being who is lost to her family
and society were endowed only with those gifts and graces,
which are shared by thousands of her sex, I should have been
silent at this moment. To those who knew her, and to know
her was to esteem and love, this tribute will be superfluous; but
to those who knew her not, I would say, that, superadded to
every natural advantage, to the charms of every polite accomplishment,
and to a cheerful and sincere piety, she was deeply
imbued with the love of literature and of science. In these, her
Lectures on the Physiology of the External Senses exhibit a
splendid proof of her acquirements in their highest walks, and
are an imperishable memorial of her patient and laborious research.
They who were present at the delivery of these Lectures
will not soon forget the effect of her impressive elocution,
chastened as it was by as unaffected modesty as ever adorned
and dignified a woman. I speak of that which she performed--that
which her capacious mind had meditated I forbear to mention.
For the advancement of her sex in pursuits that are intellectual
she made many sacrifices, both of her feelings and her
time; yet, in all she did, and in all she contemplated, usefulness
was her end and aim--but I must not proceed; less than this I
could not say--more than this might be deemed ostentatious.
What earthly tongue, and, oh! what human pen
Can tell that scene of suffering, too severe.
'Tis ever present to my sight, oh! when
Will the sound cease its torture on mine ear?
Oh! my lost love, thou patient Being, never!
Thy dying look of love can I forget;
The last fond pressure of thy hand, _for ever!_
Thrills in my veins, I see thy struggles yet.
Thy sculptured beauty is before me now:
In thy calm dignity, and sweet repose,
Alas! sad memory re-invests thy brow,
With death's stern agony, and pain's last throes.
Desolate heart be still--forgive, oh God!
The cries of feeble nature stricken sore.
Father! assuage the terrors of thy rod.
Teach me to see thy wisdom--and adore!
[Footnote 1: I cannot resist the melancholy gratification of quoting
from the Literary Gazette, of August 18, in which the death of Mrs. Gent
was announced to the public.--"Science has, since our last, suffered a
severe lost by the death of this accomplished lady; she was well known
for her high attainments as a Lecturer, and her Course on the Physiology
of the External Senses was a perfect model of elegant composition and
refined oratory. Mrs. Gent died at the residence of her husband, Thomas
Gent, Esq. Doctor's Commons, after a month of severe suffering, which
she bore with singular fortitude, and the most pious resignation. There
is a fine bust of her, by Behnes; it was in the Exhibition two years
since, and, from its intrinsic simplicity and beauty alone, has had many
casts made from it."
And one of the most distinguished Poets of the present day, will, I am
sure, forgive me if I quote his beautiful words in writing to me on
this subject--for his talents she had the highest admiration, and no
one was better able than himself to appreciate the excellence of her
character.--"As to condolence, I never condole--what condolence could
any one offer for the loss of so estimable a being as has been lost to
society in your accomplished wife? I had a very great respect and esteem
for her, and it would have highly gratified me to have been able to
lighten the least of her trials; but what avails writing or visiting on
occasions of such real pain. She lived a most amiable being--and for
such there is the highest hope in the Highest World. If I had conceived
that her illness was at all serious, I should have gone to gather wisdom
from her for my own hour--but now, that all her anxieties are past, I
can invent no condolence."]
The Grave of Dibdin
A Sketch from Life
On the Portrait of the Son of J.G. Lambton, Esq.
Written in the Album of the Lady of Counsellor D. Pollock
Sonnet On seeing a Young Lady I had previously known,
confined in a Madhouse
The Sibyl. A Sketch
On a delightful Drawing in my Album
Impromptu. To Oriana, on attending with her, as Sponsors,
at a Christening
To my Spaniel Fanny
Written to the Lady of Dr. George Birkbeck
The Chain-pier, Brighton. A Sketch
On the Death of Dr. Abel
Constancy. To ------
Epistle to a Friend
Here in our Fairy Bowers we Dwell. A Glee
Henry and Eliza
Written on the Death of General Washington
Monody on the Right Hon. R.B. Sheridan
On the beautiful Portrait of Mrs. Forman, as Pandora
Sonnet. To ------, on her Recovery from Illness
To Margaret Jane H------, on her Birth-day
On Reading the Poem of "Paris."
On the Death of Gen. Sir R. Abercrombie
Lines, written in a Copy of the Poem on the Princess Charlotte
To Robert Soothey, Esq. on reading his "Remains of Henry Kirke White"
The State Secret. An Impromptu
The Morning Call
On the Rupture of the Thames' Tunnel
Anacreontic. "The Wisest Men are Fools in Wine."
Lines, written in Hornsey Wood
Black Eyes and Blue
Epigram. Auri Sacra Fames
Sonnet. To Faith
On a Spirited Portrait, by E. Landaeer, Esq.
Sonnet. To Hope
Lines, written on the Sixth of September
Sonnet. To Charity
Reflections of a Poet on going to a great Dinner
On the Death of Nelson
The Blue-eyed Maid
Taking Orders. A Tale, founded on fact
The Gipsy's Home. A Glee
Sonnet. The Beggar
Song. "The Recal of the Hero."
To Eliza. Written in her Album
Elegy on the Death of A. Goldsmid, Esq.
Sonnet. On the Death of Mrs. Charlotte Smith
Mister Punch. A Hasty Sketch
Epitaph. On Matilda
To ------. An Impromptu
Sonnet To Lydia, on her Birth-day
To Sarah, while Singing
Youth and Age
Sent for the Album of the Rev. G----- C-----
Written under an elegant Drawing of a Dead Canary Bird
Lines suggested by the Death of the Princess Charlotte
The Presumptuous Fly
The Heroes of Waterloo
The Night-blowing Cereus
1827; or, the Poet's Last Poem
To the Reviewers
Tis sweet in boyhood's visionary mood,
When glowing Fancy, innocently gay,
Flings forth, like motes, her bright aerial brood,
To dance and shine in Hope's prolific ray;
'Tis sweet, unweeting how the flight of years
May darkling roll in trials and in tears,
To dress the future in what garb we list,
And shape the thousand joys that never may exist.
But he, sad wight! of all that feverish train,
Fool'd by those phantoms of the wizard brain,
Most wildly dotes, whom young ambition stings
To trust his weight upon poetic wings;
He, downward looking in his airy ride,
Beholds Elysium bloom on every side;
Unearthly bliss each thrilling nerve attunes,
And thus the dreamer with himself communes.
Yes! Earth shall witness, 'ere my star be set,
That partial nature mark'd me for her pet;
That Phoebus doom'd me, kind indulgent sire!
To mount his car, and set the world on fire.
Fame's steep ascent by easy flights to win,
With a neat pocket volume I'll begin;
And dirge, and sonnet, ode, and epigram,
Shall show mankind how versatile I am.
The buskin'd Muse shall next my pen descry:
The boxes from their inmost rows shall sigh;
The pit shall weep, the galleries deplore
Such moving woes as ne'er were heard before:
Enough--I'll leave them in their soft hysterics,
Mount, in a brighter blaze, and dazzle with Homerics.
Then, while my name runs ringing through Reviews,
And maids, wives, widows, smitten with my Muse,
Assail me with Platonic _billet-doux_.
From this suburban attic I'll dismount,
With Coutts or Barclays open an account;
Ranged in my mirror, cards, with burnish'd ends,
Shall show the whole nobility my friends;
That happy host with whom I choose to dine,
Shall make set-parties, give his-choicest wine;
And age and infancy shall gape to see
The lucky bard, and whisper "That is he!"
Poor youth! he print--and wakes, _to sleep no more_--
The world goes on, indifferent, as before;
And the first notice of his metric skill
Comes in the likeness of--his printer's bill;
To pen soft notes no fair enthusiast stirs,
Except his laundress--and who values her's?
None but herself: for though the bard may burn
Her _note_, she still expects one in return.
The luckless maiden, all unblest shall sigh;
His pocket _tome_ hath drawn his pockets dry.
His tragedy expires in peals of laughter;
And that soul-thrilling wish--to live hereafter--
Gives way to one as hopeless quite, I fear,
And far more needful--how to _live while here_.
Where are ye now, divine illusions all;
Cheques, dinners, wines, admirers great and small!
Changed to two followers, terrible to see,
Who dog his walks, and whisper "That is he!"
Rhymesters attend! nor scorn & friendly hint,
Restrain your _cacoeths_ fierce to print.
But hark, _my_ printer's devil's at the door,
My leisure cannot yield one moment more:
Nor matters it, advice can ne'er restrain
Madman or poet from his bent:--'tis vain
To strive to point out colours to the blind,
Or set men seeking what they _will not find_.
O Love! divinest dream of youth,
Thy day of ecstacy is o'er,
My bosom, touch'd by time and truth,
Thrills at thy dear deceits no more.
Nor thou, Ambition! e'er again,
With splendour dazzling to betray,
And aspirations fierce and vain,
Shall tempt my steps--away! away!
Alas! by stern Experience cleft,
When life's romance is turn'd to sport;
If man hath consolation left
On this side death--'tis good old port.
And thou, Advice! who glum and chill,
Do'st the _third bottle_ still gainsay;
Smile, and partake it, if you will,
But if you wont--away! away!
THE GRAVE OF DIBDIN.
Lives there who, with unhallow'd hand, would tear,
One leaf from that immortal wreath which shades
The Hero's living brow, or decks his urn?
Breathes there who does not triumph in the thought
That "Nelson's language is his mother tongue,"
And that St. Vincent's country is his own?
Oh! these bright guerdons of renown are won
By means most palpable to sense and sight;
By days of peril and by nights of toil;
By Valour's long probation, closed at last
In Victory's arms--consummated and seal'd
In deathless Glory and immortal Fame.
Musing I stand upon _his_ lowly grave,
Who, though he fought no battle--though he pour'd
No hostile thunders on his country's foes,
Achieved for Britain triumphs, less array'd
"In pomp and circumstance," nor visible
To vulgar gaze--the triumphs of the _Mind_.
He nursed the elements of courage--he
Supplied the aliment that feeds and guides
The daring spirit to its high emprise--
A nation's moral energies, by him
Directed, found a nobler end and aim.
He gave that high discriminating tone
That marks the Brave from mercenary tools--
Features that separate a British Crew
From hireling bravoes, and from pirate hordes.
And yet no marble marks the spot where lies
The dust of DIBDIN;--no inscription speaks
A Nation's gratitude--a Bard's desert.
The youthful Sailor on his midnight watch,
Fixing his gaze upon the tranquil moon,
Felt his heart soften as the thoughts of home
Rush'd on his faithful memory;--then it was
In language meet, and in appropriate strains--
Strains which thy lyre had taught him--he pour'd forth
The feelings of his soul, and all was calm.
Thy Spirit still presides in that carouse,
When to "the Far away" the toast is given,
And "absent Wives and Sweethearts" claim their right,
With Woman's constancy thy songs are rife;
And this pure creed still teaches Man t' endure
Privations, danger, and each form of death.
When not a breath responded to the call,
And Seamen whistled to the winds in vain;
When the loose canvass droop'd in lazy folds,
And idle pennants dangled from the mast;--
There, in that trying moment, thou wert found
To teach the hardest lesson man can learn--
Passive endurance--and the breeze has sprung,
As if obedient to the voice of Song:--
And yet unhonour'd here thy ashes lie!
A nobler lesson learn'd the gallant Tar
From his Orphean lyre--to temper right
The lion's courage with the attributes
That to the gentle and the meek belong;
O'er fallen foes to check the eye of fire--
O'er fallen foes to soften heart of oak.
He turn'd the Fatalist's rash eye to Him
In whom the issues are of life and death;
He taught to whom the battle is--to whom
The victory belongs. His cherub, that aloft
Kept sleepless watch, was Providence--not Chance.
And yet no honours are decreed for him--
Friend of the Brave, thy memory cannot die!
Th'inquiring voice, that eagerly demands
Where rest thy ashes?--shall preserve thy fame.
Thine immortality thyself hast wrought;--
Familiar as the terms of art, thy verse,
Thine own peculiar words are still the mode
In which the Seaman aptly would express
His honest passions and his manly thoughts;
His feelings kindle at thy burning words,
Which speak his duty in the battle's front;
His parting whisper to the maid he loves
Is breathed in eloquence he learned from thee;
Thou art his Oracle in every mood--
His trump of victory--his lyre of love!
A SKETCH FROM LIFE.
She sat in beauty, like some form of nymph
Or naiad, on the mossy, purpled bank
Of her wild woodland stream, that at her feet
Linger'd, and play'd, and dimpled, as in love.
Or like those shapes that on the western clouds
Spread gold-dropp'd plumes, and sing to harps of pearl,
And teach the evening winds their melody:
How shall I tell her beauty?--for the eye,
Fix'd on the sun, is blinded by its beam.
One glance, and then no more, upon that brow
Brighter than marble shining through those curls,
Richer than hyacinths when they wave their bells
In the low breathing of the twilight wind.--
One glance upon that lip, beside whose hue
The morning rose would sicken and grow pale,
'Till it was waked again by the soft breath
That steals in music from those lips of love.
Wert thou a statue I could pine for thee,
But in thy living beauty there is awe;
The sacredness of modesty enshrines
The ruby lip, bright brow, and beaming eye;--
I dare but worship what I must not love.
ON THE PORTRAIT
OF THE SON OF J.G. LAMBTON, ESQ., M.P.
BY SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE, P.R.A.
Beautiful Boy--thy heavenward thoughts
Are pictured in thine eyes,
Thou hast no taint of mortal birth,
Thy communing is not of earth,
Thy holy musings rise:
Like incense kindled from on high,
Ascending to its native sky.
And such a head might once have graced
The infant Samuel, when
Call'd by the favour of his God,
The youthful priest the Temple trod
Beloved of Heaven and men!
The same devotion on his brow
As brightens in thy forehead now.
Or, thou may'st seem to Fancy's eye
One borne by arms Divine;
One, whom on Earth a Saviour bless'd,
And on whose features left impress'd
The Contact's holy sign:
A light, a halo, and a grace,
So pure th' expression of that face.
Or, has the Painter's skill _alone_
Such grace and glory given?
Clothed thee with attributes which seem
Creations of an angel's dream,
To raise the soul to Heaven?
_No, as he found thee, he arrayed,
And Genius taught what God had made!_
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM
OF THE LADY OF COUNSELLOR D. POLLOCK.
Joy to thee, Lady! many years of joy
To thee--and thine--that springtide of the heart,
The bliss of virtuous love, without alloy.
And all that health and gladsome life impart.
How gracefully hast thou thy task perform'd,
The watchful tender mother, matchless wife;
All woman boasts--thou hast indeed adorn'd--
Thine the high merit of an useful life.
For ever cheerful, though the Tragic Muse
May call thee Sister, both in form and mind;
Thou do'st to all those envied charms transfuse,
Which shine so highly temper'd and refined.
Lady revered--the sunbeam and the rose
Are poor in beauty to sweet woman's smiles:
'Tis the bright sunset of life's awful close,
The Poet's deathless wreath! a spell all grief beguiles!
[Footnote 1: The Lady, to whom these lines are addressed has been greatly
noticed for the strong resemblance she bears to Mrs. Siddons.]
There is a flower, whose modest eye
Is turn'd with looks of light and love,
Who breathes her softest, sweetest sigh.
Whene'er the sun is bright above.
Let clouds obscure, or darkness veil,
Her fond idolatry is fled,
Her sighs no more their sweets exhale.
The loving eye is cold--and dead.
Canst thou not trace a moral here,
False flatterer of the prosperous hour?
Let but an adverse cloud appear,
And Thou art faithless, as the Flower!
ON SEEING A YOUNG LADY,
I HAD PREVIOUSLY KNOWN, CONFINED IN A MADHOUSE.
Sweet wreck of loveliness! alas, how soon
The sad brief summer of thy joys hath fled:
How sorrows Friendship for thy hapless doom,
Thy beauty faded, and thy hopes all dead.
Oh! 'twas that beauty's power which first destroy'd
Thy mind's serenity; its charms but led
The faithless friend, that thy pure love enjoy'd,
To tear the beauteous blossom from its bed.
How reason shudders at thy frenzied air!
To see thee smile, with fancy's dreams possess'd;
Or shrink, the frozen image of despair.
Or, love-enraptured, chant thy griefs to rest:
Oh! cease that mournful voice, affliction's child,
My heart but bleeds to hear thy musings wild.
What sovereign good shall satiate man's desires,
Propell'd by Hope's unconquerable fires?
Vain each bright bauble by ambition prized;
Unwon, 'tis worshipp'd--but possess'd, despised.
Yet all defect with virtue shines allied,
His mightiest impulse genius owes to pride.
From conquer'd science graced with glorious spoils,
He still dares on, demands sublimer toils;
And, had not Nature check'd his vent'rous wing,
His eye had pierced her at her primal spring.
Thus when, enwrapt, Prometheus strove to trace
Inspired perceptions of celestial grace,
Th' ideal spirit, fugitive as wind,
Art's forceful spells in adamant confined:
Curved with nice chisel floats the obsequious line;
From stone unconscious, beauty beams divine;
On magic poised, th' exulting structure swims,
And spurns attraction with elastic limbs.
While ravish'd fancy vivifies the form;
While judgment toils to analyze its charm;
While admiration spreads her speaking hands;
The lofty artist undelighted stands.
He longs to ravish from the bless'd abodes
The seal of heaven, the attribute of gods;
To give his labour more than man can give,
Breathe Jove's own breath, and bid the marble live!
Won from her woof, embellishing the skies,
Descending, Pallas soothes her vot'ry's sighs,
Where, 'midst the twilight of o'er-arching groves,
By waking visions led, th' enthusiast roves;
Like summer suns, by showery clouds conceal'd,
With sudden blaze the goddess shines reveal'd:
Behold, she cries, in thy distinguished cause
I challenge Jove's inexorable laws!
With life-stol'n essence let th' awaken'd stone
A super-human generation own.
Defrauded nature shall admire the deed,
And time recoil at thy immortal meed.
Impregn'd with action, and convoked to breathe,
Sighs the still form his ardent hands beneath;
Electric lustres flash from either eve,
O'er its pale cheeks suffusive flushes fly,
And glossy damps its clust'ring curls adorn,
Like dew-drops bright'ning on the brows of morn.
Through nerves that vibrate in unfolding chains,
Foams the warm life-blood, excavating veins;
'Till all infused, and organized the whole,
The finish'd fabric hails the breathing soul!
Then waked tumultuous in th' alarmed breast,
Contending passions claim th' etherial guest;
And still, as each alternate empire proves,
She hopes, she fears, she envies, and she loves;
Owns all sensations that deride the span,
And eternize the little life of man!
It is a mournful pleasure to remember the exquisite taste and
delight she evinced in the arrangement of a Bouquet; and how
often she wished that, hereafter, she might appear to me as a
Oh! lay me where my Rosa lies,
And love shall o'er the moss-grown bed,
When dew-drops leave the weeping skies.
His tenderest tear of pity shed.
And sacred shall the willow be,
That shades the spot where virtue sleeps;
And mournful memory weep to see
The hallow'd watch affection keeps.
Yes, soul of love! this bleeding heart
Scarce beating, soon its griefs shall cease;
Soon from his woes the sufferer part,
And hail thee at the Throne of Peace
So stood the Sibyl: stream'd her hoary hair
Wild as the blast, and with a comet's glare
Glow'd her red eye-balls 'midst the sunken gloom
Of their wild orbs, like death-fires in a tomb.
Slow, like the rising storm, in fitful moans,
Broke from her breast the deep prophetic tones.
Anon, with whirlwind rash, the Spirit came;
Then in dire splendour, like imprison'd flame
Flashing through rifted domes or towns amazed,
Her voice in thunder burst; her arm she raised;
Outstretch'd her hands, as with a Fury's force,
To grasp, and launch the slow descending curse:
Still as she spoke, her stature seem'd to grow;
Still she denounced unmitigable woe:
Pain, want, and madness, pestilence, and death,
Rode forth triumphant at her blasting breath:
Their march she marshall'd, taught their ire to fall--
And seem'd herself the emblem of them all!
Love!--what is love? a mere machine, a spring
For freaks fantastic, a convenient thing,
A point to which each scribbling wight most steer,
Or vainly hope for food or favour here;
A summer's sigh; a winter's wistful tale:
A sound at which th' untutor'd maid turns pale;
Her soft eyes languish, and her bosom heaves,
And Hope delights as Fancy's dream deceives.
Thus speaks the heart which cold disgust invades,
When time instructs, and Hope's enchantment fades;
Through life's wide stage, from sages down to kings,
The puppets move, as art directs the strings:
Imperious beauty bows to sordid gold,
Her smiles, whence heaven flows emanent, are sold;
And affectation swells th' entrancing tones,
Which nature subjugates, and truth disowns.
I love th' ingenuous maiden, practised not
To pierce the heart with ambush'd glances, shot
From eyelashes, whose shadowy length she knows
To a hair's point, their high arch when to close
Half o'er the swimming orb, and when to raise,
Disclosing all the artificial blaze
Of unfelt passion, which alone can move
Him whom the genuine eloquence of love
Affected never, won with wanton wiles,
With soulless sighs, and meretricious smiles;
By nature unimpress'd, uncharm'd by thee,
Sweet goddess of my heart, Simplicity!
ON A DELIGHTFUL DRAWING IN MY ALBUM,
By my friend, T. WOODWARD, ESQ., of a Group, consisting of a
Donkey, a Boy, and a Dog.
Welcome, my pretty Neddy--welcome too
Thy merry Rider with his apron blue;
And thou, poor Dog, most patient thing of all,
Begging for morsels that may never fall!
Oh! 'tis a faithful group--and it might shame
Painters of bold pretence, and greater name--
To see how nature triumphs, and how rare
Such matchless proofs of Nature's triumphs are--
The smallest particle of sand may tell
With what rich ore Pactolus' tide may swell:
And Woodward! this ingenious, chaste design,
Proclaims what treasures lie within the mine--
Pupil of Cooper--Nature's favorite son--
Whom, but to name, and to admire, is one!
Say, why is the stern eye averted with scorn
Of the stoic who passes along?
And why frowns the maid, else as mild as the morn.
On the victim of falsehood and wrong?
For the wretch sunk in sorrow, repentance, and shame,
The tear of compassion is won:
And alone must she forfeit the wretch's sad claim,
Because she's deceived and undone?
Oh! recal the stern look, ere it reaches her heart,
To bid its wounds rankle anew;
Oh! smile, or embalm with a tear the sad smart,
And angels will smile upon you.
Time was, when she knew nor opprobrium nor pain,
And youth could its pleasures impart,
Till some serpent distill'd through her bosom the stain,
As he wound round the strings of her heart.
Poor girl! let thy tears through thy blandishments break,
Nor strive to retrace them within;
For mine would I mingle with those on thy cheek,
Nor think that such sorrow were sin.
When the low-trampled reed, and the pine in its pride,
Shall alike feel the hand of decay,
May thy God grant that mercy the world has denied,
And wipe all your sorrows away!
Respectfully inscribed, with permission, to the Committee
(of which His Majesty is the Patron) for the proposed Monuments
to SHAKSPEARE at Stratford and in London. Intended to be
spoken at one of the Theatres.
While o'er this pageant of sublunar things
Oblivion spreads her unrelenting wings,
And sweeps adown her dark unebbing tide
Man, and his mightiest monuments of pride--
Alone, aloft, immutable, sublime,
Star-like, ensphered above the track of time,
Great SHAKSPEARE beams with undiminish'd ray.
His bright creations sacred from decay,
Like Nature's self, whose living form he drew,
Though still the same, still beautiful and new.
He came, untaught in academic bowers,
A gift to Glory from the Sylvan powers:
But what keen Sage, with all the science fraught,
By elder bards or later critics taught,
Shall count the cords of his mellifluous shell,
Span the vast fabric of his fame, and tell
By what strange arts he bade the structure rise--
On what deep site the strong foundation lies?
This, why should scholiasts labour to reveal?
We all can answer it, we all can feel,
Ten thousand sympathies, attesting, start--
For SHAKSPEARE'S Temple, _is the human heart!_
Lord of a throne which mortal ne'er shall share--
Despot adored! he rales and revels there.
Who but has found, where'er his track hath been,
Through life's oft shifting, multifarious scene,
Still at his side the genial Bard attend,
His loved companion, counsellor, and friend!
The Thespian Sisters nurtured in the schools
Of Greece and Rome, and long coerced by rules,
Scarce moved the inmates of their native hearth
With tiny pathos and with trivial mirth,
Till She, great muse of daring enterprise,
Delighted ENGLAND! saw her SHAKSPEARE rise!
Then, first aroused in that appointed hour,
The Tragic Muse confess'd th' inspiring power;
Sudden before the startled earth she stood,
A giant spectre, weeping tears and blood;
Guilt shrunk appall'd, Despair embraced his shroud,
And Terror shriek'd, and Pity sobb'd aloud;--
Then, first Thalia with dilated ken
And quicken'd footstep pierced the walks of men;
Then Folly blush'd, Vice fled the general hiss,
Delight met Reason with a loving kiss;
At Satire's glance Pride smooth'd his low'ring crest,
The Graces weaved the dance.--And last and best
Came Momus down in Falstaff's form to earth.
To make the world one universe of mirth!
Such Sympathies the glorious Bard endear!
Thus fair he walks in Man's diurnal sphere.
But when, upborne on bright Invention's wings.
He dares the realms of uncreated things,
Forms more divine, more dreadful, start to view,
Than ever Hades or Olympus knew.
Round the dark cauldron, terrible and fell,
The midnight Witches breathe the songs of hell;
Delighted _Ariel_ wings his fiery way
To whirl the storm, the wheeling Orbs to stay;
Then bathes in honey-dews, and sleeps in flowers;
Meanwhile, young _Oberon_, girt with shadowy powers,
Pursues o'er Ocean's verge the pale cold Moon,
Or hymns her, riding in her highest noon.
Thus graced, thus glorified, shall SHAKSPEARE crave
The Sculptor's skill, the pageant of the grave?
HE needs it not--but Gratitude demands
This votive offering at his Country's hands.
Haply, e'er now, from blissful bowers on high,
From some Parnassus of the empyreal sky,
Pleased, o'er this dome the gentle Spirit bends,
Accepts the gift, and hails us as his friends--
Yet smiles, perchance, to think when envious Time
O'er Bust and Urn shall bid his ivies climb,
When Palaces and Pyramids shall fall--
HIS PAGE SHALL TRIUMPH--still surviving all--
'Till Earth itself, "like breath upon the wind,"
Shall melt away, "nor leave a rack behind!"
IMPROMPTU, TO ORIANA.
ON ATTENDING WITH HER, AS SPONSORS, AT A CHRISTENING
Lady! who didst--with angel-look and smile,
And the sweet lustre of those dear, dark eyes,
Gracefully bend before the font of Christ,
In humble adoration, faith, and prayer!
Oh!--as the infant pledge of friends beloved
Received from thy pure lips its future name,
Sweetly unconscious look'd the baby-boy!
How beautifully helpless--and how mild!
--Methought, a seraph spread her shelt'ring wings
Over the solemn scene; and as the sun,
In its full splendour, on the altar came,
God's blessing seem'd to sanctify the deed.
TO MY SPANIEL FANNY.
Fanny! were all the world like thee,
How cheerly then this life would glide,
Dear emblem of Fidelity!
Long may'st thou grace thy master's side.
Long cheer his hours of solitude,
With watchful eye each wish to learn,
And anxious speechless gratitude
Hail with delight each short sojourn.
When sick at heart, thy welcome home
A weary load of grief dispels,
Gladdens with hope the hours to come,
And yet a mournful lesson tells!
To find _thee_ ever faithful, kind,
My guard by night, my friend by day,
While those in friendship more refined
Have with my fortunes flown away.
Why bounteous nature hast thou given
To this poor _Brute_--a boon so kind
As constancy--bless'd gift of Heaven!
And MAN--to waver like the wind?
Tell me, chaste spirit! in yon orb of light,
Which seems to wearied souls an ark of rest,
So calm, so peaceful, so divinely bright--
Solace of broken hearts, the mansion of the bless'd!
Tell me, oh! tell me--shall I meet again
The long lost object of my only love!
--This hope but mine, death were release from pain;
Angel of mercy! haste, and waft my soul above!
[Footnote 1: Mr. T. Millar has composed sweet music to these lines, and
has been peculiarly fortunate in composing and singing some of
the exquisite Melodies of T.H. Bayly, Esq. of Bath.]
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM
OF THE LADY OF DR. GEORGE BIRKBECK, M.D.
President of the London Mechanic's Institution, and of the Chemical
and Meteorological Societies. Founder and Patron of the
Glasgow Mechanic's Institute, &c. &c. &c.
Lady unknown! a pilgrim from the shrine
Of Poesy's fair temple, brings a wreath
Which fame and gratitude alike entwine,
Around a name that charms the monster Death,
And bids him pause!--Amidst despairing life
BIRKBECK's the harbinger of hope and health;
When sordid affluence was with man at strife,
He boldly stripp'd the veil, and show'd the wealth
To aged ignorance, and ardent youth,
Of cultured minds--the freedom of the soul!
The sun of science, and the light of truth,
The bliss of reason--mind without control.
Accept this tribute. Lady! and the praise,
As Consort and the soother of his care!
His offspring's pride--his friend's commingled rays,
And every other grace that man has deem'd most rare!
THE CHAIN-PIER, BRIGHTON;
Hail, lovely morn! and thou, all-beauteous sea!
Sun-sparkling with the diamond's countless rays:
Thy look, how tranquil, one eternal calm,
Which seems to woo the troubled soul to peace!
Now, all is sunshine, and thy boundless breast
Scarce heaves; unruffled, all thy waves subside
(Light murmuring, like the baby sighs of rest)
Into a gentle ripple on the shore.
All hail, dear Woman! saving-ark of man,
His surest solace in this world of woe;
How cheering are thy smiles, which, like the breeze
Of health, play softly o'er the pallid cheek,
And turn its rigid markings to a smile.
England may well be proud of scenes like this;
The beaming Beauty which adorns the PIER!
Hung like a fairy fabric o'er the sea,
The graceful wonder of this wondrous age;
Intrepid Brown, the future page shall tell
Thy generous spirit's persevering aim,
That wrought so much, so well, thy country's weal;
How fit for thee, the gallant seaman's life,
His restless nights, and days of ceaseless toil;
Framed by thy mighty hand, the giant work
Check'd the rude tempest, in its fearful way.
Thy bold inventions gave new life to hope,
Steadied the wavering, and confirm'd the brave,
And bade the timid smile, amidst the storm!
Spirit of Hogarth! had I but one ray
Of that vast sun which warm'd thy varied mind;
How would I now describe the motley groups
Which crowd, in thoughtless ease, thy moving road.
Mark the young Confidence of yesterday,
Offspring of pride, and fortune's blinded fool,
(Engender'd like the vermin of an hour)
All would-be fashion, elegance, and ease,
While, by his side, the weaker vessel smirks,
In tawdry finery, with presuming gait,
As though the world were made for them alone;
Their liveried Lacquey, half-conceal'd in lace,
The vulgar wonder of an upstart race.
How heartlessly they pass that mourner by,
The poor lone Widow, with her death-struck load.
In speechless poverty, she courts the air,
To give its blessing to her suff'ring babe;
Not asking it herself; for life, to her,
Has now no charm--her refuge is the grave!
Here comes the moral Almanack of years--
The prim old maid, and, by her side, her Niece,
Full of bewitching beauty, health, and love.
See, how the tabby watches Laura's eyes,
Lest they should smile upon some pleasing spark,
And violate grim prudery's tyrant ties.
With icy finger, she her charge directs,
To view the faithful dial of the sun,
Whose moral tells how tide and time pass on.
See, there--the fated victim of mischance;
Read, in that hollow eye, and alter'd look,
The deep anxiety which gnaws the heart,
Incessant struggling 'gainst a tide of care,
Which wears his life away;--and there, again,
The empty, lucky Fool, who never thought,
Nor ever will, yet lives and smiles, and thrives!
Mark ye, that Ready-reckoner's figured face?
Cold calculation in his thoughtful step;
The heartless wretch, who never trusts his land,
And never is deceived!--And, next him, comes
Laughing Good-nature, with ruddy cheeks,
And welcome look, determined to be pleased.
He comes to ask--or go with friend to dine;
His labour but to dress--to eat, to sleep:
He knows no suffering equal to bad wine.
There--the prig-Parson, with indented hat,
And formal step--demanding your respect--
Yonder, the lovely insect-chasing Child.
His is, indeed, a life of envious joy;
Hope and anticipation, on the wing,
To him no sad realities e'er bring!
And now, the humble Quaker, plain and proud.
Humility, is this, indeed, thy type?
(I know it is not, for I know the man.)
His lovely Daughter bears an angel form
And mind, that glorifies her sex's charms;
Meekness and charity her life employ--
A seraph sorrowing for a suffering world!
Lo! too, the Matron, with her household gods,
The deities she worships night and day.
Affection has no bounds, nor language words.
To tell a mother's tender ceaseless charge.
Children! can all your future lore repay
The nights of watchfulness, and days of care,
Which a fond parent gives?--
See, last, sad sight! the hardy British Tar,
Cutlass unsheath'd, unlike the truly brave.
Here, watching, night and day--degenerate lot!
To seize a fisherman, or stop a cart,
Or "fright the wandering spirits from the shore."
His "brief authority" has just detain'd
A boat of cockles and a quart of gin!
The smart Lieutenant's epaulette, methinks,
Blushes at this degrading, pimping trade.--
For deeds like these--let objects be employ'd,
Who never shared their country's high renown!
Adieu! vast Ocean, cradle of the brave,
Tablet of England's glory, and her shield!
To thee--and those dear friends who lured me here,
With hospitality's enchanting smile,
And chased away a little age of woe--
Gratefully--I dedicate these _tuneful lays!_
[Footnote 1: My friend, Captain Samuel Brown, of the Royal Navy, whose
inventions and improvements of the iron chain cable, and various
others connected with the naval service, deserve the gratitude of
his country, independent of the admirable Chain-Pier at Brighton,
a Suspension Bridge over the Tweed, Pier at Newhaven, Bridge at
Heckham, the iron work for Hammersmith Suspension Bridge,
and other successful undertakings.]
Light as the breeze that hails the infant morn
The Milkmaid trips, as o'er her arm she slings
Her cleanly pail, some fav'rite lay she sings
As sweetly wild and cheerful as the horn.
O! happy girl I may never faithless love,
Or fancied splendour, lead thy steps astray;
No cares becloud the sunshine of thy day,
Nor want e'er urge thee from thy cot to rove.
What though thy station dooms thee to be poor,
And by the hard-earn'd morsel thou art fed;
Yet sweet content bedecks thy lowly bed,
And health and peace sit smiling at thy door:
Of these possess'd--thou hast a gracious meed,
Which Heaven's high wisdom gives, to make thee rich indeed!
ON THE DEATH OF DR. ABEL,
Physician and Naturalist to Lord Amherst, Governor General of
India, who died at Cawnpoor, 24th of November, 1826.
Another awful warning voice of death
To human dignity, and human pride;
'Tis sad, to mark how short the longest life--
How brief was thine! Thy day is done,
And all its complicated hopes and fears
Lie buried, ABEL! in an early grave.
The unavailing tear for thee shall flow,
And love and friendship faithful record keep
Of all thy varied worth, thy anxious strife
For fame and years, now gone for ever!
Yet o'er thy tomb science and learning
Bend in mute regret, and truth proclaims
Thy just inheritance an honour'd name!
Lamented most by those who knew thee best,
Accept this humble, tributary lay,
From one, who in thy boyhood and thy prime
Had shared thy friendship, and had fondly hoped
When last we parted, many years were thine
And joys in store--that thy elastic mind
Might long have gladden'd life's monotony.
Thine was a princely heart, a joyous soul,
The charm of reason, and the sprightly wit
Which kept dull letter'd ignorance in awe,
Shook the pretender on his tinsel throne,
And claim'd the glorious dignity of mind!
Alas! that in thy prime, when time began
To make thee nearly all the World could wish,
The spoiler Death should unrelenting come
(As though in envy of thy wondrous skill)
And stop the fountain of a noble heart.
Rest, anxious spirit! from life's feverish dream,
From all its sad realities and cares:
Be this thy Epitaph, thy honour'd boast--
Thine was the fame, which thine own mind achieved!
[Footnote 1: Dr. Abel was greatly distinguished in his profession for
his love of it, and for the ardour of his pursuits in useful knowledge.
--He published many ingenious Papers on Medical Science and Natural
History. His account of the Embassy to China, under Lord Amherst, has
been generally admired. He practised with increasing respect as a
Physician, at Brighton, previous to his leaving England for India; and
meditated (as the Author of this article knows) one or two works, which,
from the activity of his mind, may yet be anticipated. Dr. Abel was a
native of Bungay, in Suffolk (where his father was a banker), and it is
supposed was about 35 years of age when he died. It is worthy of remark,
that the present eminent and estimable Dr. Gooch, Librarian to His
Majesty, and Dr. Abel, should both have been pupils of Mr. Borrett,
Surgeon, of Yarmouth.]
Now when dun Night her shadowy veil has spread,
See want and infamy, as forth they come,
Lead their wan daughter from her branded home,
To woo the stranger for unhallow'd bread.
Poor outcast! o'er thy sickly-tinted cheek
And half-clad form, what havoc want hath made;
And the sweet lustre of thine eye doth fade,
And all thy soul's sad sorrow seems to speak.
O! miserable state! compell'd to wear
The wooing smile, as on thy aching breast
Some wretch reclines, who feeling ne'er possess'd;
Thy poor heart bursting with the stifled tear!
Oh! GOD OF MERCY! bid her woes subside,
And be to her a friend, who hath no friend beside.
Dearest love! when thy God shall recall thee,
Be this record inscribed on thy tomb:
Truth, and gratitude, well may applaud thee,
And all thy past virtues relume.
It shall tell--to thy sex's proud honour,
Of sufferings and trials severe,
While still, through protracted affliction,
Not a murmur escaped; but the tear
Of resignment to Heaven's high dictates,
'Twas thine, like a martyr, to shed:
That heart--all affection for others--
For thyself, uncomplainingly, bled.
Midst the storms, which misfortune had gather'd,
What an angel thou wert unto me;
In that hour, when all friendship seem'd sever'd,
Thou didst bloom like the ever-green tree!
All was gloom; and in vain had I striven,
For hope ceased a ray to impart;
When thou cam'st, like a meteor from heaven,
And gave peace to my desolate heart!
EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
Give me the wreath of friendship true,
Whose flowerets fade not in a breath:
From memory gaining many a hue,
To bloom beyond the touch of death.
And I will send it to thy home--
Thy home beloved, my faithful friend!
And pray for its perpetual bloom
And every bliss that earth can send.
Within its magic wreath I'd place
Hearts'-ease and every lovely flower;
To win thee by their matchless grace,
And cheer and bless the lonely hour.
When at the world's unkind return
Of all thy worth, and all thy care,
Thou may'st in spite of manhood turn,
And shed the sad, the bitter, tear.
Then, midst this holy grief of thine,
The thought of some true friend may bless,
And cheer the gloom like angel's smile,
Or sunbeam in a wilderness.
And could I hope I had a claim
On thee in such a rapturous hour?
Oh! that, indeed, I'd own were fame.
The saving ark of friendship's power.
Or that, in future years, thy babes
Should o'er this frail memorial bend,
(For first affection rarely fades!)
And boast that I was once the friend
Whose wit, or worth, possess'd a charm,
By Parents loved, and them caress'd.
That spell would every sorrow calm,
And bid my anxious spirit rest!
HERE IN OUR FAIRY BOWERS WE DWELL.
Sung by Messrs. GOULDEN, PYNE, and NELSON.--Composed by
Here, in our fairy bowers, we dwell,
Women our idol, life's best treasure!
Echo enchanted joys to tell,
Our feast of laugh, of love, and pleasure.
Say, is not this then bliss divine,
Beauty's smiles and rosy wine?
Eternal mirth and sunshine reign,
For grief we cannot find the leisure;
Night's social gods have banish'd pain,
Morn lights us to increasing pleasure.
Say, is not this then bliss divine,
Beauty's smiles and rosy wine?
Here in our fairy bowers, &c.
HENRY AND ELIZA.
O'er the wide heath now moon-tide horrors hung,
And night's dark pencil dimm'd the tints of spring;
The boding minstrel now harsh omens sung,
And the bat spread his dark nocturnal wing.
At that still hour, pale Cynthia oft had seen
The fair Eliza (joyous once and gay),
With pensive step, and melancholy mien,
O'er the broad plain in love-born anguish stray.
Long had her heart with Henry's been entwined,
And love's soft voice had waked the sacred blaze
Of Hymen's altar; while, with him combined,
His cherub train prepared the torch to raise:
When, lo! his standard raging war uprear'd,
And honour call'd her Henry from her charms.
He fought, but ah! torn, mangled, blood-besmear'd,
Fell, nobly fell, amid his conquering arms!
In her sad bosom, a tumultuous world
Of hopes and fears on his dear mem'ry spread;
For fate had not the clouded roll unfurl'd,
Nor yet with baleful hemlock crown'd her head.
Reflection, oft to sad remembrance brought
The well known spot, where they so oft had stray'd;
While fond affection ten-fold ardour caught,
And smiling innocence around them play'd.
But these were past! and now the distant bell
(For deep and pensive thought had held her there)
Toll'd midnight out, with long resounding knell,
While dismal echoes quiver'd in the air.
Again 'twas silence--when from out the gloom
She saw, with awe-struck eye, a phantom glide:
'Twas Henry's form!--what pencil shall presume
To paint her horror!----HENRY AS HE DIED!
Enervate, long she stood--a sculptured dread,
Till waking sense dissolved amazement's chain;
Then home, with timid haste, distracted fled,
And sunk in dreadful agony of pain.
Not the deep sigh, which madden'd Sappho gave,
When from Leucate's craggy height she sprung,
Could equal that which gave her to the grave,
The last sad sound that echo'd from her tongue.
WRITTEN ON THE
DEATH OF GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Lamented Chief! at thy distinguish'd deeds
The world shall gaze with wonder and applause,
While, on fair History's page, the patriot reads
Thy matchless virtue in thy Country's cause.
Yes, it was thine, amid destructive war,
To shield it nobly from oppression's chain;
By justice arm'd, to brave each threat'ning jar,
Assert its freedom, and its rights maintain.
Much honour'd Statesman, Husband, Father, Friend,
A generous nation's grateful tears are thine;
E'en unborn ages shall thy worth commend,
And never-fading laurels deck thy shrine.
Illustrious Warrior! on the immortal base,
By Freedom rear'd, thy envied name shall stand;
And Fame, by Truth inspired, shall fondly trace
Thee, Pride and Guardian of thy Native Land!
In vain, sweet Maid! for me you bring
The first-blown blossoms of the spring;
My tearful cheek you wipe in vain,
And bid its pale rose bloom again.
In vain! unconscious, did I say?
Oh! you alone these tears can stay;
Alone, the pale rose can renew,
Whose sunshine is a smile from you.
Yet not in friendship's smile it lives;
Too cold the gifts that friendship gives:
The beam that warms a winter's day,
Plays coldly in the lap of May.
You bid my sad heart cease to swell,
But will you, if its tale I tell,
Nor turn away, nor frown the while,
But smile, as you were wont to smile?
Then bring me not the blossoms young,
That erst on Flora's forehead hung;
But round thy radiant temples twine,
The flowers whose flaunting mocks at mine.
Give me--nor pinks, nor pansies gay,
Nor violets, fading fast away,
Nor myrtle, rue, nor rosemary,
But give, oh! give, thyself to me!
TO THE MEMORY
OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
The very flattering success which attended the first Edition of this
brief but affectionate Sketch, I must attribute to the interest of the
subject, rather than the merit of the composition; and I cannot but feel
grateful to those Writers who have honoured me by their notice and
I must not again go to press, without acknowledging how much I am
indebted to a kind friend, who happened to be in Norfolk at the time I
was printing the first Edition; with whom I had the happiness to pass
many delightful hours, and to whose admirable taste and judgment I owe
many valuable suggestions. In mentioning John Kemble with Sheridan, I
associate two of the brightest stars that have illumined the Literature
and Drama of the Country.
_Yarmouth, Norfolk_, 1816.
Embalm'd in fame, and sacred from decay,
What mighty name, in arms, in arts, or verse,
From England claims this consecrated day.
Her nobles crowding round the shadowy hearse?
Hark! from yon fane, within whose hallow'd mounds,
Her bards, her warriors, and her statesmen, sleep;
The solemn, slow, funereal bell resounds,
While mournful echoes dread accordance keep.
Spirits revered! beyond that awful bourne.
Who share the dark communion of the tomb,
A kindred genius seeks your dread sojourn;
Ye heirs of glory! hail a brother home.
Obscured, as SHERIDAN to dust descends,
Recedes each ray from Wit's effulgent sphere;
Lo! every Muse in silent sorrow bends,
Her votive laurels mingling o'er his bier.
But chiefly thou, from whose polluted shrine
His filial hand Circean rabble drove;
What pangs, Thalia! in this hour are thine;
What fervent anguish of maternal love!
How long perverted, had the Comic scene,
(The flattering reflex of a sensual age)
Shown prurient Folly's rank licentious mien,
Refined, embellish'd on the pander stage:
While Vanburgh, Congreve, Farquhar, heaven-endow'd,
To scourge bold Vice with Wit's resistless rod,
Embraced her chains, stood forth her priests avow'd,
And scatter'd flowers in every path she trod:
Inglorious praise! though Judgment's self admired
Those wanton strains which Virtue blush'd to hear;
While pamper'd Passion from the scene retired,
With wilder rage to urge his fierce career.
At length, all graced in Fancy's orient hues,
His native fires with added culture bright,
Rose SHERIDAN! to vindicate the Muse,
And gild the drama with meridian light.
Him, skill'd alike great Nature's genuine form,
Or Fashion's light factitious traits to trace,
The scene confess'd;--with glowing pathos warm,
Or gaily sportive in familiar grace.
With what nice art his master-hand he flung
O'er each fine chord which thrills the polish'd breast,
Let Faukland tell! with woes ideal stung;
Let gentle Julia's generous flame attest!
Satire, that oft with castigation rude
Degrades, while zealous to correct mankind,
Refined by him, more generous aims pursued,
Reform'd the vice--but left no sting behind.
Yet, though with Wit's imperishable bays
Enwreath'd, he held an uncontested throne;
Though circling climes, unanimous in praise,
Confirm'd the partial suffrage of his own:
In careless mood he sought the Muse's bower;
His lyre, like that to great Pelides strong,
The soft'ning solace of a vacant boor,
Its airy descant indolently rung.
But when, portentous 'mid the storms of war,
Glared Public danger; when, with withering din,
The spoil-flush'd foe strode furious from afar;
And direr dread! Rebellion raged within:
Then SHERIDAN! dilating to the storm,
Bright as the pharos, as the watch-tower strong,
With all the patriot's inspiration warm,
Thy genius pour'd its thundering voice along.
Who heard thee not, in that tremendous hour,
When Britain mourn'd her surest anchor lost,
And saw her alienated Navies lour,
Like the charged tempest, round their parent coast?
With active zeal, which no cold medium knew,
Nor party ruled, nor prejudice confined,
But, to thy heart's spontaneous impulse true,
Thou gay'st thy country ALL thy mighty mind.
What time Iberia, gash'd with many a scar,
Braved the fierce Gaul, in fervour uncontroll'd,
Though doubts and fears bedimm'd her struggling star,
Its bright ascent thy prescient soul foretold.
Late, too, when France, with sophist cunning fraught,
Essay'd that field which force had fail'd to gain,
And proudly question'd, by success untaught,
Britannia's lineal right--her watery reign!
While meaner foes denounced with equal hate
Her flag, which wide in Freedom's cause unfurl'd,
The saving sign of many a sinking state,
Had chased Oppression from th' insulted world.--
Oh! that beyond the light diurnal page,
Inscribed on high in monumental gold,
That strain might kindle each succeeding age,
Which thus thy generous indignation roll'd:
"If e'er, of ancient energy bereaved,
Britannia, bent by menace or design,
Should stain her naval sceptre, hard-achieved,
And yield one claim, one cherish'd right resign:
"Then, hurl'd in ruin from her radiant sphere,
Sunk her proud Isle in Ocean's depths profound;
May all her glories pass from Memory's ear,
An idle legend--a derided sound!"
Such were his merits whom the Muse deplores,
The Wit, the Statesman, Orator, and Bard!
Nor when his frailties jealous truth explores,
Shall Candour shrink from her supreme award?
If, all propitious, when his ardent prime
Beat high with hope, in conscious powers elate,
Ambition woo'd him from her height sublime,
And partial Fortune op'd her golden gate;
What hostile influence, glooming o'er his way,
Chill'd each fine impulse, each aspiring aim,
Effused bleak clouds round Life's declining ray,
And left his labours no reward but fame?
'Twas not alone that in the festive bower,
Prompt in the social sympathies to melt,
Too long he linger'd; that the genial hour
His fervid sense too exquisitely felt.
But that in tasks of public duty proved,
Onward with faith inflexible he trod;
Alike by Fortune's dazzling lure unmoved,
Or stern Necessity's relentless rod.
E'en Envy's self shall sanction that applause:
And oft, slow pacing yon sepulchral gloom,
With fond regret shall Meditation pause,
And breathe these accents o'er his honour'd tomb:
Ye Muses! come, with ministry divine.
Protect the shrine where SHERIDAN is laid;
Ye Patriot Virtues! here your homage join;
Assert his worth, and soothe his hovering shade.
Emblazon'd high in Albion's rolls of fame,
A guiding star by which her sons may steer;
This proud inscription let his memory claim--
Above himself, he held his Country dear!
[Footnote 1: Rivals.]
ON THE BEAUTIFUL PORTRAIT OF MRS. FOREMAN, AS PANDORA.
In the Somerset-house Exhibition, 1826.--Painted by J.P. Davis.
Oh! had'st thou, Jove! with adamantine locks
Fix'd fast the springs of poor Pandora's box,
Then had she, bright enchantment! bloom'd for ever
In all the charms consenting Gods could give her--
Wit, Wisdom, Beauty, she had every grace
Which makes man play the madman for a face!
But chief, bless'd gift! for him ordain'd to ask it,
The gem of gems, th' incomparable casket;
And, lo! with trembling hands and ardent eyes
The bridegroom claims it--and--behold the prize!
First, like a vapour o'er the heavens obscured,
From that dark confine, rose the fiends immured,
Then groan'd the earth, in fury swell'd the floods,
Blasts smote the harvests, lightning fired the woods;
Blue spotted Plague rode gibbering on the blast,
And nations shriek'd, and perish'd, as he pass'd.
Amazed, indignant, Epimetheus stood,
Vow'd dire revenge, and strung his nerves for blood.
It was not then, that from the coffer's lid
Hope's roseate smile his fierce delirium chid;
He saw, in that fair wife which heaven had sent
But mighty Mischiefs mortal instrument,
And swore not Hope, nor Mercy's self should save her,
Look'd in her face, smiled, sigh'd, and then--forgave her!
ON HER RECOVERY FROM ILLNESS.
Fair flower! that fall'n beneath the angry blast,
Which marks with wither'd sweets its fearful way,
I grieve to see thee on the low earth cast,
While beauty's trembling tints fade fast away.
But who is she, that from the mountain's head
Comes gaily on, cheering the child of earth?
The walks of woe bloom bright beneath her tread,
And Nature smiles with renovated mirth?
'Tis Health! She comes: and, hark! the vallies ring,
And, hark! the echoing hills repeat the sound:
She sheds the new-blown blossoms of the spring,
And all their fragrance floats her footsteps round.
And, hark! she whispers in the zephyr's voice,
Lift up thy head, fair floweret, and rejoice!
Ah! who is he by Cynthia's gleam
Discern'd, the statue of distress;
Weeping beside the willow'd stream
That laves the woodland wilderness?
Why talks he to the idle air?
Why, listless, at his length reclined,
Heaves he the groan of deep despair,
Responsive of the midnight wind?
Speak, gentle shepherd! tell me why?
--Sir! he has lost his wife, they say:--
Of what disorder did, she die?
--Lord, sir! of none--she ran away.
TO MARGARET JANE H----,
ON HER BIRTH-DAY, 17 JUNE.
Thou art indeed a lovely flower,
And I, just like the fleeting hour,
Which few will heed on folly's brink,
So rarely deigns the world to think.
Yet, ere I go, child of my heart--
One faithful offering I'll impart
To thee--thy parents' sole delight:
To me--an angel, pure as light.
Sent on this earth to cheer and bless,
Like sunbeam in a wilderness,
With fascination's form and face,
And all the charms that please and grace.
A guileless heart, a lovely mind,
A temper ardent, yet refined,
And in the early dawn of youth,
Taught to love honour, faith, and truth.
Ah! these--when all the transient joys
Of idle life, when all its toys
Shall fade like mist before the sun,
Yet, ere thy little day is done,
Shall give that calm, that true delight,
Which gilds the darkling hues of night,
The sunset of a well spent day,
A glorious immortality!
ON READING THE POEM OF "PARIS."
BY THE REV GEORGE CROLY, A.M.
Author of "The Angel of the World," "Sebastian," &c.
By the trim taper, and the blazing hearth,
(While loud without the blast of winter sung),
Now thrill'd with awe, and now relax'd with mirth,
Paris, I've roam'd thy varied haunts among,
Loitering where Fashion's insect myriads spread
Their painted wings, and sport their little day;
Anon, by beckoning recollection led
To the dark shadow of the stern ABBAYE,
Pale Fancy heard the petrifying shriek
Of midnight Murder from its turrets bleak,
And to her horrent eye came passing on
Phantoms of those dark times, elapsed and gone,
When Rapine yell'd o'er his defenceless prey,
As unchain'd Anarchy her tocsin rung,
And France! in dust and blood thy throne and altars lay!
Oh! thou, thus skill'd with absolute controul,
Where'er thou wilt to lead th' admiring soul,
Gifted alike with Fancy's train to sport,
And tread light measures in her elfin court;
Or pierce the height where Grandeur sits alone,
Girt by the tempest, on his mountain throne:
Whate'er the theme which wakes thy vocal shell,
Well-pleased I follow where its concords swell;
In regal halls, where pleasure wings the night
With pomp and music, revelry and light,
Or where, unwept by Love's deploring eyes,
In the lone Morgue, the self-doom'd victim lies--
Then, midst the twilight of yon Chapel dim,
To mark Religion's reverend Martyr, him
Who kneels entranced in agony of prayer,
His fellow victims torpid with despair,
Thrill'd by his piercing tones, his beaming eye
Glows, as he glows, nor longer dread to die!
Now, borne to Belgium's plain on bolder wings,
Where England's warriors fix'd the fate of Kings:
At once the Patriot and the Poet glows,
And full the mingling inspiration flows:--
Resume the lyre: not thine in myrtle bowers
To trifle light with Life's uncounted hours--
To crown thy toils, propitious Fame from far
Entwines her noblest wreath, illumes her loftiest star!
WRITTEN ON THE DEATH OF
GENERAL SIR RALPH ABERCROMBIE.
Mute Memory stands at Valour's awful shrine,
In tears Britannia mourns her hero dead;
A world's regret, brave ABERCROMBIE's thine,
For nature sorrow'd as thy spirit fled!
For, not the tear that matchless courage claims,
To honest zeal, and soft compassion due,
Alone is thine--o'er thy adored remains
Each virtue weeps, for all once lived in you.
Yes, on thy deeds exulting I could dwell,
To speak the merits of thy honour'd name;
But, ah! what need my humble muse to tell,
When Rapture's self has echoed forth thy fame?
Yet, still thy name its energies shall deal,
When wild storms gather round thy country's sun;
Her glowing youth shall grasp the gleamy steel,
Rank'd round the glorious wreaths which thou hast
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM
I---- H---- P----, ESQ.
Dear P----, while Painters, Poets, Sages,
Inscribe this volume's votive pages
With partial friendship: why invite
The tribute of a luckless wight
Unknown--by wisdom or by wit
Indulged with no certificate?
Perchance, as in a diadem
Glittering with many a radiant gem,
Some mean metallic foil is placed
Judicious, by the hand of taste;
You seek, amidst the sons of fame,
To set an undistinguish'd name?
If so--that name is freely lent,
A pebble to your gems--T. GENT.
Love, Cupid, Gallantry, whate'er
We call that elf, seen every where,
Half frolicsome, half _ennuyeuse_,
Had chanced a country walk to choose;
When sudden, sweet and bright as May,
Young Beauty tripp'd across his way.--
"Upon my word," exclaims the boy,
"A lucky hit! this pretty toy
To pass an hour, with vapours haunted,
Is quite the thing I wish'd and wanted;
I do not so far condescend
As serious mischief to intend,
But just to show my powers of pleasing
In flattery, _badinage_, and teasing;
But should she, for young girls, poor things!
Are tender as yon insect's wings--
Should she mistake me, and grow fond,
Why, I'll grow serious--and abscond."
First, not abruptly to confound her,
With glance and smile he hovers round her:
Next, like a Bond-street or Pall-mall beau,
Begins to press her gentle elbow;
Then plays at once, familiar walking,
His whole artillery of talking:--
Like a young fawn the blushing maid
Trips on, half pleased and half afraid--
And while she palpitates and listens,
Still fluttering where the sunbeam glistens,
He shows her all his pretty things,
His bow and quiver, dart, and wings;
Now, proud in power, he sees her eyes
Dilate with beautiful surprise;
But most, though fraught with perturbation.
His weapons claim her admiration,
And with an archness most bewitching
(Her naive simplicity enriching),
She wonders where a maid might buy than,
And begs to be allow'd to try them.
With secret scorn, but smiling bland,
He yields them to her curious hand,
When, instant, twang! the arrow flew,
So just her aim, it pierced him through,
Right through his heart, the luckless lad!
(A heart, to do him right, he had);
All prone he lies, in throbbing anguish,
Through many an hour to pine and languish,
And what made all his pangs more bitter,
Off flew the damsel in a titter.
Prudence, conceal'd behind a tree,
Cries out, "you've always laughed at me--
Henceforth you'll recollect, young sir!
'Tis not so safe to laugh at her."
WRITTEN IN A COPY OF THE POEM ON PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
Presented to Mrs. D---- T----.
Madam! when sorrowing o'er the virtuous dead,
The gentlest solace of the tears we shed,
Is, to surviving excellence to turn,
And honour there those merits that we mourn.
The Muse, whose hand fair Brunswick's ashes strew
With votive flowers, would weave a wreath for You;
But living worth forbids th' applausive lay.
Therefore, repressing all respect, would say,
She proffers silently her simple strain;
If you approve--she has not toil'd in vain!
When the rough storm roars round the peasant's cot,
And bursting thunders roll their awful din;
While shrieks the frighted night-bird o'er the spot,
Oh! what serenity remains within!
For there contentment, health, and peace, abide,
And pillow'd age, with calm eye fix'd above;
Labour's bold son, his blithe and blooming bride,
And lisping innocence, and filial love.
To such a scene let proud Ambition turn,
Whose aching breast conceals its secret woe;
Then shall his fireful spirit melt, and mourn
The mild enjoyments it can never know;
Then shall he feel the littleness of state,
And sigh that fortune e'er had made him great.
TO ROBERT SOUTHEY, ESQ.
ON READING HIS
"REMAINS OF HENRY KIRKE WHITE."
Southey! high placed on the contested throne
Of modern verse, a Muse, herself unknown,
Sues that her tears may consecrate the strains
Pour'd o'er the urn enrich'd with WHITE'S Remains!
While touch'd to transport, Taste's responding tone
Makes the rapt poet's ecstasies thine own;
Ah! think that he, whose hand supremely skill'd,
The heart's fine chords with deep vibration thrill'd,
In stagnant silence and petrific gloom,
Unconscious sleeps, the tenant of the tomb!
Extinct that spirit, whose strong-bidding drew
From Fancy's confines Wonder's wild-eyed crew,
Which bade Despair's terrific phantoms pass
Like Macbeth's monarchs in the mystic glass.
Before the youthful bard's impassion'd eye,
Like him, led on, to triumph and to die;
Like him, by mighty magic compass'd round,
And seeking sceptres on enchanted ground.
Such spells invest, such blear illusion waits
The trav'ller bound for Fame's receding gates,
Delusive splendours gild the proud abode,
But lurking demons haunt th' alluring road;
There gaunt-eyed Want asserts her iron reign,
There, as in vengeance of the world's disdain,
This half-flesh'd hag midst Wit's bright blossoms stalks,
And, breathing winter, withers where she walks;
Though there, long outlaw'd, desp'rate with disgrace,
Invidious Dulness wields the critic mace,
And sworn in hate, exerts his ruffian might
Where'er young genius meditates his flight.
Erewhile, when WHITE, by this fell fiend oppress'd,
Felt Hope's fine fervours languish in his breast,
When shrunk with scorn, and trembling to aspire,
He dropp'd desponding his insulted lyre.
Alert in zeal, with art benigh endued,
SOUTHEY! thy hand his blasted strength renew'd,
And lured him on, his labours scarce begun,
To win those laurels which thyself had won.
In vain! though vivified with pristine force,
O'er learning's realms he shot with meteor course;
To worth relentless, Fate's despotic frown
Scowl'd in the bright perspective of renown:
Timeless he falls, in Death's pale triumph led.
And his first laurels shade his grassy bed.
So sinks the Muse's offspring, doom'd to try,
Like a caged eagle panting tow'rds the sky,
A foil'd ascent, while adverse fortune flings
Her strong link'd meshes o'er his flutt'ring wings,
Sinks, while exalted Ignorance supine,
Unheeded slumbers like the pamper'd swine;
Obsequious slaves in his voluptuous bowers
Young pleasures warble, while the dancing Hours
In sickly sweetness languishingly move,
Like new-waked virgins flush'd with dreams of love--
Him, when by Death's dark angel swept away
From sloth's embrace, in premature decay,
Surviving friends, donation'd into grief,
Shall mourn with anguish audible and brief,
And pander-bards ring round in goodly chime
His liberal heart, high wit, and soul sublime;
But Flattery's frauds impartial Time disowns,
Funereal pomp, and adulative tones;
Slow where she moves through monumental aisles,
With stern contempt insulted Reason smiles,
While Falsehood, shrined above th' emblazon'd palls,
Shames sanctity from consecrated walls:
She seeks, with pensive step and saintly eyes,
Some lonely grave, where rude the grass-tufts rise;
Nor sculptured angels tell, nor chisell'd lines,
There slumbers CHATTERTON--here WHITE reclines!
But nobler triumphs WHITE'S probation claims
Than ever blazon'd Wit's recorded names;
For Virtue's sons, to bliss immortal born,
Tower to their native heaven, and view with scorn
The vain distinction of the trophied sod,
'Tis theirs to gain distinction with their God!
THE STATE SECRET.
"Murder will out:"--and so will truth sometimes;
For once I'll prove it in a dozen lines.--
At one of those parties where Julia's sweet face
Added interest to beauty, and archness to grace,
Where many fine folks met; and one very great,