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Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete by George Gilfillan

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8 How at the needless question would she smile,
When asked what she desired or counted fit?
Still bidding me examine mine own will,
And read the surest answer ready writ.
So centred was her heart in mine, that she
Would own no wish, if first not wished by me.

9 Delight was no such thing to her, if I
Relished it not: the palate of her pleasure
Carefully watched what mine could taste, and by
That standard her content resolved to measure.
By this rare art of sweetness did she prove
That though she joyed, yet all her joy was love.

10 So was her grief: for wronged herself she held
If I were sad alone; her share, alas!
And more than so, in all my sorrows' field
She duly reaped: and here alone she was
Unjust to me. Ah! dear injustice, which
Mak'st me complain that I was loved too much!

* * * * *

11 She ne'er took post to keep an equal pace
Still with the newest modes, which swiftly run:
She never was perplexed to hear her lace
Accused for six months' old, when first put on:
She laid no watchful leaguers, costly vain,
Intelligence with fashions to maintain.

12 On a pin's point she ne'er held consultation,
Nor at her glass's strict tribunal brought
Each plait to scrupulous examination:
Ashamed she was that Titan's coach about
Half heaven should sooner wheel, than she could pass
Through all the petty stages of her dress.

13 No gadding itch e'er spurred her to delight
In needless sallies; none but civil care
Of friendly correspondence could invite
Her out of doors; unless she 'pointed were
By visitations from Heaven's hand, where she
Might make her own in tender sympathy.

14 Abroad, she counted but her prison: home,
Home was the region of her liberty.
Abroad diverson thronged, and left no room
For zeal's set task, and virtue's business free:
Home was her less encumbered scene, though there
Angels and gods she knew spectators were.

* * * * *

15 This weaned her heart from things below,
And kindled it with strong desire to gain
Her hope's high aim. Life could no longer now
Flatter her love, or make her prayers refrain
From begging, yet with humble resignation,
To be dismissed from her mortal station.

16 Oh, how she welcomed her courteous pain,
And languished with most serene content!
No paroxysms could make her once complain,
Nor suffered she her patience to be spent
Before her life; contriving thus to yield
To her disease, and yet not lose the field.

17 This trying furnace wasted day by day
(What she herself had always counted dross)
Her mortal mansion, which so ruined lay,
That of the goodly fabric nothing was
Remaining now, but skin and bone; refined
Together were her body and her mind.

18 At length the fatal hour--sad hour to me!--
Released the longing soul: no ejulation
Tolled her knell; no dying agony
Frowned in her death; but in that lamb-like fashion
In which she lived ('O righteous heaven!' said I,
Who closed her dear eyes,) she had leave to die.

19 O ever-precious soul! yet shall that flight
Of thine not snatch thee from thy wonted nest:
Here shalt thou dwell, here shalt thou live in spite
Of any death--here in this faithful breast.
Unworthy 'tis, I know, by being mine;
Yet nothing less, since long it has been thine.

20 Accept thy dearer portraiture, which I
Have on my other Psyche fixed here;
Since her ideal beauties signify
The truth of thine: as for her spots, they are
Thy useful foil, and shall inservient be
But to enhance and more illustrate thee.


1 Thus came the monster to his dearest place
On earth, a palace wondrous large and high,
Which on seven mountains' heads enthroned was;
Thus, by its sevenfold tumour, copying
The number of the horns which crowned its king.

2 Of dead men's bones were all the exterior walls,
Raised to a fair but formidable height;
In answer to which strange materials,
A graff of dreadful depth and breadth
Upon the works, filled with a piteous flood
Of innocently-pure and holy blood.

3 Those awful birds, whose joy is ravenous war,
Strong-taloned eagles, perched upon the head
Of every turret, took their prospect far
And wide about the world; and questioned
Each wind that travelled by, to know if they
Could tell them news of any bloody prey.

4 The inner bulwarks, raised of shining brass,
With firmitude and pride were buttressed.
The gate of polished steel wide opened was
To entertain those throngs, who offered
Their slavish necks to take the yoke, and which
That city's tyrant did the world bewitch.

5 For she had wisely ordered it to be
Gilded with Liberty's enchanting name;
Whence cheated nations, who before were free,
Into her flattering chains for freedom came.
Thus her strange conquests overtook the sun
Who rose and set in her dominion.

6 But thick within the line erected were
Innumerable prisons, plated round
With massy iron and with jealous fear:
And in those forts of barbarism, profound
And miry dungeons, where contagious stink,
Cold, anguish, horror, had their dismal sink.

7 In these, pressed down with chains of fretting brass,
Ten thousand innocent lambs did bleating lie;
Whose groans, reported by the hollow place,
Summoned compassion from the passers by;
Whom they, alas! no less relentless found,
Than was the brass which them to sorrow bound.

8 For they designed for the shambles were
To feast the tyrant's greedy cruelty,
Who could be gratified with no fare
But such delight of savage luxury.


1 Sweet End, thou sea of satisfaction, which
The weary streams unto thy bosom tak'st;
The springs unto the spring thou first doth reach,
And, by thine inexhausted kindness, mak'st
Them fall so deep in love with thee, that through
All rocks and mountains to thy arms they flow.

2 Thou art the centre, in whose close embrace,
From all the wild circumference, each line
Directly runs to find its resting-place:
Upon their swiftest wings, to perch on thine
Ennobling breast, which is their only butt,
The arrows of all high desires are shot.

3 All labours pant and languish after thee,
Stretching their longest arms to catch their bliss;
Which in the way, how sweet soe'er it be,
They never find; and therefore on they press
Further and further, till desired thou,
Their only crown, meet'st their ambition's brow.

4 With smiles the ploughman to the smiling spring
Returns not answer, but is jealous till
His patient hopes thy happy season bring
Unto their ripeness with his corn, and fill
His barns with plenteous sheaves, with joy his heart;
For thou, and none but thou, his harvest art.

5 The no less sweating and industrious lover
Lays not his panting heart to rest upon
Kind looks and gracious promises, which hover
On love's outside, and may as soon be gone
As easily they came; but strives to see
His hopes and nuptials ratified by thee.

6 The traveller suspecteth every way,
Though they thick traced and fairly beaten be;
Nor is secure but that his leader may
Step into some mistake as well as he;
Or that his strength may fail him; till he win
Possession of thee, his wished inn.

7 Nobly besmeared with Olympic dust,
The hardy runner prosecutes his race
With obstinate celerity, in trust
That thou wilt wipe and glorify his face:
His prize's soul art thou, whose precious sake
Makes him those mighty pains with pleasure take.

8 The mariner will trust no winds, although
Upon his sails they blow fair flattery;
No tides which, with all fawning smoothness, flow
Can charm his fears into security;
He credits none but thee, who art his bay,
To which, through calms and storms, he hunts his way.

9 And so have I, cheered up with hopes at last
To double thee, endured a tedious sea;
Through public foaming tempests have I passed;
Through flattering calms of private suavity;
Through interrupting company's thick press;
And through the lake of mine own laziness:

10 Through many sirens' charms, which me invited
To dance to ease's tunes, the tunes in fashion;
Through many cross, misgiving thoughts, which frighted
My jealous pen; and through the conjuration
Of ignorant and envious censures, which
Implacably against all poems itch:

11 But chiefly those which venture in a way
That yet no Muse's feet have chose to trace;
Which trust that Psyche and her Jesus may
Adorn a verse with as becoming grace
As Venus and her son; that truth may be
A nobler theme than lies and vanity.

12 Which broach no Aganippe's streams, but those
Where virgin souls without a blush may bathe;
Which dare the boisterous multitude oppose
With gentle numbers; which despise the wrath
Of galled sin; which think not fit to trace
Or Greek or Roman song with slavish pace.

13 And seeing now I am in ken of thee,
The harbour which inflamed my desire,
And with this steady patience ballas'd[1] me
In my uneven road; I am on fire,
Till into thy embrace myself I throw,
And on the shore hang up my finished vow.

[1] 'Ballas'd:' ballasted.




1 Tis a child of fancy's getting,
Brought up between hope and fear,
Fed with smiles, grown by uniting
Strong, and so kept by desire:
'Tis a perpetual vestal fire
Never dying,
Whose smoke like incense doth aspire,
Upwards flying.

2 It is a soft magnetic stone,
Attracting hearts by sympathy,
Binding up close two souls in one,
Both discoursing secretly:
'Tis the true Gordian knot, that ties
Yet ne'er unbinds,
Fixing thus two lovers' eyes,
As well as minds.

3 Tis the spheres' heavenly harmony,
Where two skilful hands do strike;
And every sound expressively
Marries sweetly with the like:
'Tis the world's everlasting chain
That all things tied,
And bid them, like the fixed wain,
Unmoved to bide.


When I thee all o'er do view
I all o'er must love thee too.
By that smooth forehead, where's expressed
The candour of thy peaceful breast,
By those fair twin-like stars that shine,
And by those apples of thine eyne:
By the lambkins and the kids
Playing 'bout thy fair eyelids:
By each peachy-blossomed cheek,
And thy satin skin, more sleek
And white than Flora's whitest lilies,
Or the maiden daffodillies:
By that ivory porch, thy nose:
By those double-blanched rows
Of teeth, as in pure coral set:
By each azure rivulet,
Running in thy temples, and
Those flowery meadows 'twixt them stand:
By each pearl-tipt ear by nature, as
On each a jewel pendent was:
By those lips all dewed with bliss,
Made happy in each other's kiss.


Oh, those smooth, soft, and ruby lips,
* * * * *
Whose rosy and vermilion hue
Betrays the blushing thoughts in you:
Whose fragrant, aromatic breath
Would revive dying saints from death,
Whose siren-like, harmonious air
Speaks music and enchants the ear;
Who would not hang, and fixed there
Wish he might know no other sphere?
Oh for a charm to make the sun
Drunk, and forget his motion!
Oh that some palsy or lame gout
Would cramp old Time's diseased foot!
Or that I might or mould or clip
His speedy wings, whilst on her lip
I quench my thirsty appetite
With the life-honey dwells on it!
* * * * *
Then on his holy altar, I
Would sacrifice eternally,
Offering one long-continued mine
Of golden pleasures to thy shrine.



1 My mind to me a kingdom is,
Such perfect joy therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That God or nature hath assigned:
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

2 No princely port, nor wealthy store,
Nor force to win a victory;
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to win a loving eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall,
For why, my mind despise them all.

3 I see that plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soonest fall;
I see that such as are aloft,
Mishap doth threaten most of all;
These get with toil, and keep with fear:
Such cares my mind can never bear.

4 I press to bear no haughty sway;
I wish no more than may suffice;
I do no more than well I may.
Look what I want, my mind supplies;
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
My mind's content with anything.

5 I laugh not at another's loss,
Nor grudge not at another's gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
I brook that is another's bane;
I fear no foe, nor fawn on friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.

6 My wealth is health and perfect ease,
And conscience clear my chief defence;
I never seek by bribes to please,
Nor by desert to give offence;
Thus do I live, thus will I die;
Would all do so as well as I!


1 An old song made by an aged old pate,
Of an old worshipful gentleman, who had a great estate,
That kept a brave old house at a bountiful rate,
And an old porter to relieve the poor at his gate:
Like an old courtier of the queen's,
And the queen's old courtier.

2 With an old lady, whose anger one word assuages;
They every quarter paid their old servants their wages,
And never knew what belonged to coachmen, footmen, nor pages,
But kept twenty old fellows with blue coats and badges:
Like an old courtier, &c.

3 With an old study filled full of learned old books,
With an old reverend chaplain, you might know him by his looks,
With an old buttery hatch worn quite off the hooks,
And an old kitchen, that maintained half-a-dozen old cooks:
Like an old courtier, &c.

4 With an old hall, hung about with pikes, guns, and bows,
With old swords and bucklers, that had borne many shrewd blows,
And an old frieze coat, to cover his worship's trunk-hose,
And a cup of old sherry, to comfort his copper nose:
Like an old courtier, &c.

5 With a good old fashion, when Christmas was come,
To call in all his old neighbours with bagpipe and drum,
With good cheer enough to furnish every old room,
And old liquor able to make a cat speak, and man dumb:
Like an old courtier, &c.

6 With an old falconer, huntsmen, and a kennel of hounds,
That never hawked, nor hunted, but in his own grounds;
Who, like a wise man, kept himself within his own bounds,
And when he died, gave every child a thousand good pounds:
Like an old courtier, &c.

7 But to his eldest son his house and lands he assigned,
Charging him in his will to keep the old bountiful mind,
To be good to his old tenants, and to his neighbours be kind:
But in the ensuing ditty you shall hear how he was inclined:
Like a young courtier of the king's,
And the king's young courtier.

8 Like a flourishing young gallant, newly come to his land,
Who keeps a brace of painted madams at his command,
And takes up a thousand pounds upon his father's land,
And gets drunk in a tavern till he can neither go nor stand:
Like a young courtier, &c.

9 With a newfangled lady, that is dainty, nice, and spare,
Who never knew what belonged to good housekeeping or care,
Who buys gaudy-coloured fans to play with wanton air,
And seven or eight different dressings of other women's hair:
Like a young courtier, &c.

10 With a new-fashioned hall, built where the old one stood,
Hung round with new pictures that do the poor no good,
With a fine marble chimney, wherein burns neither coal nor wood,
And a new smooth shovel-board, whereon no victual ne'er stood:
Like a young courtier, &c.

11 With a new study, stuffed full of pamphlets and plays,
And a new chaplain, that swears faster than he prays,
With a new buttery hatch, that opens once in four or five days,
And a new French cook, to devise fine kickshaws and toys:
Like a young courtier, &c.

12 With a new fashion, when Christmas is drawing on,
On a new journey to London straight we all must begone,
And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John,
Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone:
Like a young courtier, &c.

13 With a new gentleman usher, whose carriage is complete,
With a new coachman, footmen, and pages to carry up the meat,
With a waiting gentlewoman, whose dressing is very neat,
Who, when her lady has dined, lets the servants not eat:
Like a young courtier, &c.

14 With new titles of honour, bought with his father's old gold,
For which sundry of his ancestors' old manors are sold;
And this is the course most of our new gallants hold,
Which makes that good housekeeping is now grown so cold
Among the young courtiers of the king,
Or the king's young courtiers.



1 There is a garden in her face,
Where roses and white lilies grow;
A heavenly paradise is that place,
Wherein all pleasant fruits do grow;
There cherries grow that none may buy,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.

2 Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds filled with snow:
Yet them no peer nor prince may buy,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.

3 Her eyes like angels watch them still;
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill
All that approach with eye or hand
These sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till cherry-ripe themselves do cry.


1 In melancholic fancy,
Out of myself,
In the vulcan dancy,
All the world surveying,
Nowhere staying,
Just like a fairy elf;
Out o'er the tops of highest mountains skipping,
Out o'er the hills, the trees, and valleys tripping,
Out o'er the ocean seas, without an oar or shipping.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

2 Amidst the misty vapours,
Fain would I know
What doth cause the tapers;
Why the clouds benight us
And affright us,
While we travel here below.
Fain would I know what makes the roaring thunder,
And what these lightnings be that rend the clouds asunder,
And what these comets are on which we gaze and wonder.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

3 Fain would I know the reason
Why the little ant,
All the summer season,
Layeth up provision
On condition
To know no winter's want;
And how housewives, that are so good and painful,
Do unto their husbands prove so good and gainful;
And why the lazy drones to them do prove disdainful.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go 1

4 Ships, ships, I will descry you
Amidst the main;
I will come and try you
What you are protecting,
And projecting,
What's your end and aim.
One goes abroad for merchandise and trading,
Another stays to keep his country from invading,
A third is coming home with rich wealth of lading.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

5 When I look before me,
There I do behold
There's none that sees or knows me;
All the world's a-gadding,
Running madding;
None doth his station hold.
He that is below envieth him that riseth,
And he that is above, him that's below despiseth,
So every man his plot and counter-plot deviseth.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

6 Look, look, what bustling
Here I do espy;
Each another jostling,
Every one turmoiling,
The other spoiling,
As I did pass them by.
One sitteth musing in a dumpish passion,
Another hangs his head, because he's out of fashion,
A third is fully bent on sport and recreation.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

7 Amidst the foamy ocean,
Fain would I know
What doth cause the motion,
And returning
In its journeying,
And doth so seldom swerve!
And how these little fishes that swim beneath salt water,
Do never blind their eye; methinks it is a matter
An inch above the reach of old Erra Pater!
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

8 Fain would I be resolved
How things are done;
And where the bull was calved
Of bloody Phalaris,
And where the tailor is
That works to the man i' the moon!
Fain would I know how Cupid aims so rightly;
And how these little fairies do dance and leap so lightly;
And where fair Cynthia makes her ambles nightly.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go!

9 In conceit like Phaeton,
I'll mount Phoebus' chair;
Having ne'er a hat on,
All my hair a-burning
In my journeying,
Hurrying through the air.
Fain would I hear his fiery horses neighing,
And see how they on foamy bits are playing;
All the stars and planets I will be surveying!
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

10 Oh, from what ground of nature
Doth the pelican,
That self-devouring creature,
Prove so froward
And untoward,
Her vitals for to strain?
And why the subtle fox, while in death's wounds is lying,
Doth not lament his pangs by howling and by crying;
And why the milk-white swan doth sing when she's a-dying.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou got

11 Fain would I conclude this,
At least make essay,
What similitude is;
Why fowls of a feather
Flock and fly together,
And lambs know beasts of prey:
How Nature's alchemists, these small laborious creatures,
Acknowledge still a prince in ordering their matters,
And suffer none to live, who slothing lose their features.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

12 I'm rapt with admiration,
When I do ruminate,
Men of an occupation,
How each one calls him brother,
Yet each envieth other,
And yet still intimate!
Yea, I admire to see some natures further sundered,
Than antipodes to us. Is it not to be wondered,
In myriads ye'll find, of one mind scarce a hundred!
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

13 What multitude of notions
Doth perturb my pate,
Considering the motions,
How the heavens are preserved,
And this world served,
In moisture, light, and heat!
If one spirit sits the outmost circle turning,
Or one turns another continuing in journeying,
If rapid circles' motion be that which they call burning!
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

14 Fain also would I prove this,
By considering
What that which you call love is:
Whether it be a folly
Or a melancholy,
Or some heroic thing!
Fain I'd have it proved, by one whom love hath wounded,
And fully upon one his desire hath founded,
Whom nothing else could please though the world were rounded.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

15 To know this world's centre,
Height, depth, breadth, and length,
Fain would I adventure
To search the hid attractions
Of magnetic actions,
And adamantic strength.
Fain would I know, if in some lofty mountain,
Where the moon sojourns, if there be trees or fountain;
If there be beasts of prey, or yet be fields to hunt in.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

16 Fain would I have it tried
By experiment,
By none can be denied;
If in this bulk of nature,
There be voids less or greater,
Or all remains complete?
Fain would I know if beasts have any reason;
If falcons killing eagles do commit a treason;
If fear of winter's want makes swallows fly the season.
Hallo, my fancy, whither wilt thou go;

17 Hallo, my fancy, hallo,
Stay, stay at home with me,
I can thee no longer follow,
For thou hast betrayed me,
And bewrayed me;
It is too much for thee.
Stay, stay at home with me; leave off thy lofty soaring;
Stay thou at home with me, and on thy books be poring;
For he that goes abroad, lays little up in storing:
Thou'rt welcome home, my fancy, welcome home to me.

'Alas, poor scholar!
Whither wilt thou go?'
'Strange alterations which at this time be,
There's many did think they never should see.'


1 Come, follow, follow me,
You, fairy elves that be;
Which circle on the green,
Come, follow Mab, your queen.
Hand in hand let's dance around,
For this place is fairy ground.

2 When mortals are at rest,
And snoring in their nest;
Unheard and unespied,
Through keyholes we do glide;
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
We trip it with our fairy elves.

3 And if the house be foul
With platter, dish, or bowl,
Up-stairs we nimbly creep,
And find the sluts asleep;
There we pinch their arms and thighs;
None escapes, nor none espies.

4 But if the house be swept,
And from uncleanness kept,
We praise the household maid,
And duly she is paid;
For we use, before we go,
To drop a tester in her shoe.

5 Upon a mushroom's head
Our tablecloth we spread;
A grain of rye or wheat
Is manchet which we eat;
Pearly drops of dew we drink,
In acorn cups filled to the brink.

6 The brains of nightingales,
With unctuous fat of snails,
Between two cockles stewed,
Is meat that's easily chewed;
Tails of worms, and marrow of mice,
Do make a dish that's wondrous nice.

7 The grasshopper, gnat, and fly,
Serve us for our minstrelsy;
Grace said, we dance a while,
And so the time beguile;
And if the moon doth hide her head,
The glow-worm lights us home to bed.

8 On tops of dewy grass
So nimbly do we pass,
The young and tender stalk
Ne'er bends when we do walk;
Yet in the morning may be seen
Where we the night before have been.



With an Introductory Essay,







To a very young Lady

The Choice


The Splendid Shilling


The Dispensary


An Ode to the Right Hon. John Lord Gower

The Bush aboon Traquair

To the Earl of Warwick, on the death of Mr Addison

Elegy XIII


The Bastard

An American Love Ode

Baucis and Philemon
On Poetry
On the Death of Dr Swift
A Character, Panegyric, and Description of the Legion-Club,1736

Few Happy Matches
The Sluggard
The Rose
A Cradle Hymn
Breathing toward the Heavenly Country
To the Rev. Mr John Howe

A Fragment of Sappho

The Braes of Yarrow

Lochaber no more
Tho Last Time I came o'er the Moor
From 'The Gentle Shepherd'--Act I., Scene II.


Imitation of Thomson
Imitation of Pope
Imitation of Swift

Song, occasioned by a Fly drinking out of a Cup of Ale

The Miseries of a Poet's Life

Sally in our Alley

William and Margaret
The Birks of Invermay

The Chameleon

Ode to Solitude

To the Cuckoo
Elegy, written in Spring

Song to David

Bristowe Tragedy
Minstrel's Song
The Story of William Canynge
February, an Elegy

From the 'Monody'

May-eve; or, Kate of Aberdeen

The Farmer's Ingle


The Tears of Old May-Day

The Brown Jug

From 'The Country Justice'
A Case where Mercy should have mitigated Justice

The Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse

Ode on hearing the Drum
The Tempestuous Evening

Woo'd, and Married, and a'
The Rock an' the wee pickle Tow

From 'Leonidas,' Book XII
Admiral Hosier's Ghost


Cumnor Hall
The Mariner's Wife

Ode to Mankind

The Lovers
Written in a Visit to the Country in Autumn
Complaint of Nature

The Author's Picture
Ode to Aurora, on Melissa's Birthday

The Flowers of the Forest
The Same

A Persian Song of Hafiz

To Mrs Bishop
To the Same

The Nabob
What Ails this Heart o' mine?

Ossian's Address to the Sun
Desolation of Balclutha
Fingal and the Spirit of Loda
Address to the Moon
Fingal's Spirit-home
The Cave

Epitaph on Mrs Mason
An Heroic Epistle to Sir William Chambers

Mary's Dream

Ode to Fancy

Verses, copied from the Window of an obscure Lodging-house, in the
neighbourhood of London
The Old Bachelor
Careless Content
A Pastoral
Ode to a Tobacco-pipe
Away! let nought to Love displeasing
Richard Bentley's sole Poetical Composition
Lines addressed to Pope



* * * * *



* * * * *


Sedley was one of those characters who exert a personal fascination over
their own age without leaving any works behind them to perpetuate the
charm to posterity. He was the son of Sir John Sedley of Aylesford, in
Kent, and was born in 1639. When the Restoration took place he repaired
to London, and plunged into all the licence of the time, shedding,
however, over the putrid pool the sheen of his wit, manners, and genius.
Charles was so delighted with him, that he is said to have asked him
whether he had not obtained a patent from Nature to be Apollo's viceroy.
He cracked jests, issued lampoons, wrote poems and plays, and, despite
some great blunders, was universally admired and loved. When his comedy
of 'Bellamira' was acted, the roof fell in, and a few, including the
author, were slightly injured. When a parasite told him that the fire of
the play had blown up the poet, house and all, Sedley replied, 'No; the
play was so heavy that it broke down the house, and buried the poet in
his own rubbish.' Latterly he sobered down, entered parliament, attended
closely to public business, and became a determined opponent of the
arbitrary measures of James II. To this he was stimulated by a personal
reason. James had seduced Sedley's daughter, and made her Countess of
Dorchester. 'For making my daughter a countess,' the father said, 'I
have helped to make his daughter' (Mary, Princess of Orange,) 'a queen.'
Sedley, thus talking, acting, and writing, lived on till he was sixty-
two years of age. He died in 1701.

He has left nothing that the world can cherish, except such light and
graceful songs, sparkling rather with point than with poetry, as we
quote below.


1 Ah, Chloris! that I now could sit
As unconcerned, as when
Your infant beauty could beget
No pleasure, nor no pain.

2 When I the dawn used to admire,
And praised the coming day;
I little thought the growing fire
Must take my rest away.

3 Your charms in harmless childhood lay,
Like metals in the mine,
Age from no face took more away,
Than youth concealed in thine.

4 But as your charms insensibly
To their perfection pressed,
Fond Love as unperceived did fly,
And in my bosom rest.

5 My passion with your beauty grew,
And Cupid at my heart,
Still as his mother favoured you,
Threw a new flaming dart.

6 Each gloried in their wanton part,
To make a lover, he
Employed the utmost of his art,
To make a Beauty, she.

7 Though now I slowly bend to love,
Uncertain of my fate,
If your fair self my chains approve,
I shall my freedom hate.

8 Lovers, like dying men, may well
At first disordered be,
Since none alive can truly tell
What fortune they must see.


1 Love still has something of the sea,
From whence his mother rose;
No time his slaves from doubt can free,
Nor give their thoughts repose.

2 They are becalmed in clearest days,
And in rough weather tossed;
They wither under cold delays,
Or are in tempests lost.

3 One while they seem to touch the port,
Then straight into the main
Some angry wind, in cruel sport,
The vessel drives again.

4 At first Disdain and Pride they fear,
Which if they chance to 'scape,
Rivals and Falsehood soon appear,
In a more cruel shape.

5 By such degrees to joy they come,
And are so long withstood;
So slowly they receive the sum,
It hardly does them good.

6 'Tis cruel to prolong a pain;
And to defer a joy,
Believe me, gentle Celemene,
Offends the winged boy.

7 An hundred thousand oaths your fears,
Perhaps, would not remove;
And if I gazed a thousand years,
I could not deeper love.


The author of the once popular 'Choice,' was born in 1667. He was the
son of the rector of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and, after attending
Queen's College, Cambridge, himself entered the Church. He became
minister of Malden, which is also situated in Bedfordshire, and there he
wrote and, in 1699, published a volume of poems, including some Pindaric
essays, in the style of Cowley and 'The Choice.' He might have risen
higher in his profession, but Dr Compton, Bishop of London, was
prejudiced against him on account of the following lines in the

'And as I near approached the verge of life,
Some kind relation (for I'd have no wife)
Should take upon him all my worldly care,
Whilst I did for a better state prepare.'

The words in the second line, coupled with a glowing description, in a
previous part of the poem, of his ideal of an 'obliging modest fair'
one, near whom he wished to live, led to the suspicion that he preferred
a mistress to a wife. In vain did he plead that he was actually a
married man. His suit for a better living made no progress, and while
dancing attendance on his patron in London he caught small-pox, and died
in 1703, in the thirty-sixth year of his age.

His Pindaric odes, &c., are feeble spasms, and need not detain us. His
'Reason' shews considerable capacity and common sense. His 'Choice'
opens up a pleasing vista, down which our quiet ancestors delighted to
look, but by which few now can be attracted. We quote a portion of what
a biographer calls a 'modest' preface, which Pomfret prefixed to his
poems:--'To please every one would be a new thing, and to write so as to
please nobody would be as new; for even Quarles and Withers have their
admirers. It is not the multitude of applauses, but the good sense of
the applauders which establishes a valuable reputation; and if a Rymer
or a Congreve say it is well, he will not be at all solicitous how great
the majority be to the contrary.' How strangely are opinions now
altered! Rymer was some time ago characterised by Macaulay as the worst
critic that ever lived, and Quarles and Withers have now many admirers,
while 'The Choice' and its ill-fated author are nearly forgotten.


If Heaven the grateful liberty would give,
That I might choose my method how to live,
And all those hours propitious fate should lend,
In blissful ease and satisfaction spend,
Near some fair town I'd have a private seat,
Built uniform, not little, nor too great:
Better, if on a rising ground it stood,
On this side fields, on that a neighbouring wood.
It should within no other things contain,
But what are useful, necessary, plain:
Methinks 'tis nauseous, and I'd ne'er endure,
The needless pomp of gaudy furniture.
A little garden, grateful to the eye;
And a cool rivulet run murmuring by,
On whose delicious banks, a stately row
Of shady limes or sycamores should grow.
At the end of which a silent study placed,
Should be with all the noblest authors graced:
Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines
Immortal wit and solid learning shines;
Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too,
Who all the turns of love's soft passion knew;
He that with judgment reads his charming lines,
In which strong art with stronger nature joins,
Must grant his fancy does the best excel;
His thoughts so tender, and expressed so well;
With all those moderns, men of steady sense,
Esteemed for learning and for eloquence.
In some of these, as fancy should advise,
I'd always take my morning exercise;
For sure no minutes bring us more content,
Than those in pleasing, useful studies spent.
I'd have a clear and competent estate,
That I might live genteelly, but not great;
As much as I could moderately spend,
A little more sometimes t' oblige a friend.
Nor should the sons of poverty repine
Too much at fortune; they should taste of mine;
And all that objects of true pity were,
Should be relieved with what my wants could spare;
For that our Maker has too largely given,
Should be returned in gratitude to Heaven.


This noble earl was rather a patron of poets than a poet, and possessed
more wit than genius. Charles Sackville was born on the 24th January
1637. He was descended directly from the famous Thomas, Lord Buckhurst.
He was educated under a private tutor, travelled in Italy, and returned
in time to witness the Restoration. In the first parliament thereafter,
he sat for East Grinstead, in Surrey, and might have distinguished
himself, had he not determined, in common with almost all the wits of
the time, to run a preliminary career of dissipation. What a proof of
the licentiousness of these times is to be found in the fact, that young
Lord Buckhurst, Sir Charles Sedley, and Sir Thomas Ogle were fined for
exposing themselves, drunk and naked, in indecent postures on the public
street! In 1665, the erratic energies of Buckhurst found a more
legitimate vent in the Dutch war. He attended the Duke of York in the
great sea-fight of the 3d June, in which Opdam, the Dutch admiral, was,
with all his crew, blown up. He is said to have composed the song,
quoted afterwards, 'To all you ladies now at land,' on the evening
before the battle, although Dr Johnson (who observes that seldom any
splendid story is wholly true) maintains that its composition cost him
a whole week, and that he only retouched it on that remarkable evening.
Buckhurst was soon after made a gentleman of the bed-chamber, and
despatched on short embassies to France. In 1674, his uncle, James
Cranfield, the Earl of Middlesex, died, and left him his estate, and
the next year the title, too, was conferred on him. In 1677, he became,
by the death of his father, Earl of Dorset, and inherited the family
estate. In 1684, his wife, whose name was Bagot, and by whom he had no
children, died, and he soon after married a daughter of the Earl of
Northampton, who is said to have been celebrated both for understanding
and beauty. Dorset was courted by James, but found it impossible to
coincide with his violent measures, and when the bishops were tried
at Westminster Hall, he, along with some other lords, appeared to
countenance them. He concurred with the Revolution settlement, and,
after William's accession, was created lord chamberlain of the
household, and received the Order of the Garter. His attendance on the
king, however, eventually cost him his life, for having been tossed with
him in an open boat on the coast of Holland for sixteen hours, in very
rough weather, he caught an illness from which he never recovered. On
19th January 1705-6, he died at Bath.

During his life, Dorset was munificent in his kindness to such men of
genius as Prior and Dryden, who repaid him in the current coin of the
poor Parnassus of their day--gross adulation. He is now remembered
mainly for his spirited war-song, and for such pointed lines in his
satire on Edward Howard, the notorious author of 'British Princes,' as
the following:--

'They lie, dear Ned, who say thy brain is barren,
When deep conceits, like maggots, breed in carrion;
Thy stumbling, foundered jade can trot as high
As any other Pegasus can fly.
So the dull eel moves nimbler in the mud
Than all the swift-finned racers of the flood.
As skilful divers to the bottom fall
Sooner than those who cannot swim at all,
So in this way of writing without thinking,
Thou hast a strange alacrity in sinking.'

This last line has not only become proverbial, but forms the distinct
germ of 'The Dunciad.'



1 To all you ladies now at land,
We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
How hard it is to write;
The Muses now, and Neptune too,
We must implore to write to you,
With a fa, la, la, la, la.

2 For though the Muses should prove kind,
And fill our empty brain;
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind,
To wave the azure main,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Roll up and down our ships at sea.
With a fa, &c.

3 Then if we write not by each post,
Think not we are unkind;
Nor yet conclude our ships are lost,
By Dutchmen, or by wind;
Our tears we'll send a speedier way,
The tide shall bring them twice a-day.
With a fa, &c.

4 The king, with wonder and surprise,
Will swear the seas grow bold;
Because the tides will higher rise
Than e'er they used of old:
But let him know, it is our tears
Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs.
With a fa, &c.

5 Should foggy Opdam chance to know
Our sad and dismal story,
The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,
And quit their fort at Goree:
For what resistance can they find
From men who've left their hearts behind?
With a fa, &c.

6 Let wind and weather do its worst,
Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapour, Spaniards curse,
No sorrow we shall find:
'Tis then no matter how things go,
Or who's our friend, or who's our foe.
With a fa, &c.

7 To pass our tedious hours away,
We throw a merry main;
Or else at serious ombre play:
But why should we in vain
Each other's ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you.
With a fa, &c.

8 But now our fears tempestuous grow,
And cast our hopes away;
Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
Sit careless at a play:
Perhaps, permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan.
With a fa, &c.

9 When any mournful tune you hear,
That dies in every note,
As if it sighed with each man's care,
For being so remote,
Think how often love we've made
To you, when all those tunes were played.
With a fa, &c.

10 In justice you can not refuse
To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honour lose
Our certain happiness;
All those designs are but to prove
Ourselves more worthy of your love.
With a fa, &c.

11 And now we've told you all our loves,
And likewise all our fears,
In hopes this declaration moves
Some pity from your tears;
Let's hear of no inconstancy,
We have too much of that at sea.
With a fa, la, la, la, la.


Bampton in Oxfordshire was the birthplace of this poet. He was born
on the 30th of December 1676. His father, Dr Stephen Philips, was
archdeacon of Salop, as well as minister of Bampton. John, after some
preliminary training at home, was sent to Winchester, where he
distinguished himself by diligence and good-nature, and enjoyed two
great luxuries,--the reading of Milton, and the having his head combed
by some one while he sat still and in rapture for hours together. This
pleasure he shared with Vossius, and with humbler persons of our
acquaintance; the combing of whose hair, they tell us,

'Dissolves them into ecstasies,
And brings all heaven before their eyes.'

In 1694, he entered Christ Church, Cambridge. His intention was to
prosecute the study of medicine, and he took great delight in the
cognate pursuits of natural history and botany. His chief friend was
Edmund Smith, (Rag Smith, as he was generally called,) a kind of minor
Savage, well known in these times as the author of 'Phaedra and
Hippolytus,' and for his cureless dissipation. In 1703, Philips produced
'The Splendid Shilling,' which proved a hit, and seems to have diverted
his aspirations from the domains of Aesculapius to those of Apollo.
Bolingbroke sought him out, and employed him, after the battle of
Blenheim, to sing it in opposition to Addison, the laureate of the
Whigs. At the house of the magnificent but unprincipled St John, Philips
wrote his 'Blenheim,' which was published in 1705. The year after, his
'Cider,' a poem in two books, appeared, and was received with great
applause. Encouraged by this, he projected a poem on the Last Day,
which all who are aware of the difficulties of the subject, and the
limitations of the author's genius, must rejoice that he never wrote.
Consumption and asthma removed him prematurely on the 15th of February
1708, ere he had completed his thirty-third year. He was buried in
Hereford Cathedral, and Sir Simon Harcourt, afterwards Lord Chancellor,
erected a monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey.

Bulwer somewhere records a story of John Martin in his early days. He
was, on one occasion, reduced to his last shilling. He had kept it, out
of a heap, from a partiality to its appearance. It was very bright. He
was compelled, at last, to part with it. He went out to a baker's shop
to purchase a loaf with his favourite shilling. He had got the loaf into
his hands, when the baker discovered that the shilling was a bad one,
and poor Martin had to resign the loaf, and take back his dear, bright,
bad shilling once more. Length of time and cold criticism in like manner
have reduced John Philips to his solitary 'Splendid Shilling.' But,
though bright, it is far from bad. It is one of the cleverest of
parodies, and is perpetrated against one of those colossal works which
the smiles of a thousand caricatures were unable to injure. No great or
good poem was ever hurt by its parody:--the 'Paradise Lost' was not by
'The Splendid Shilling'--'The Last Man' of Campbell was not by 'The Last
Man' of Hood--nor the 'Lines on the Burial of Sir John Moore' by their
witty, well-known caricature; and if 'The Vision of Judgment' by Southey
was laughed into oblivion by Byron's poem with the same title, it was
because Southey's original was neither good nor great. Philip's poem,
too, is the first of the kind; and surely we should be thankful to the
author of the earliest effort in a style which has created so much
innocent amusement. Dr Johnson speaks as if the pleasure arising from
such productions implied a malignant 'momentary triumph over that
grandeur which had hitherto held its captives in admiration.' We think,
on the contrary, that it springs from our deep interest in the original
production, making us alive to the strange resemblance the caricature
bears to it. It is our love that provokes our laughter, and hence the
admirers of the parodied poem are more delighted than its enemies. At
all events, it is by 'The Splendid Shilling' alone--and that principally
from its connexion with Milton's great work--that Philips is memorable.
His 'Cider' has soured with age, and the loud echo of his Blenheim
battle-piece has long since died away.


"... Sing, heavenly Muse!
Things unattempted yet, in prose or rhyme,"
A Shilling, Breeches, and Chimeras dire.

Happy the man who, void of cares and strife,
In silken or in leathern purse retains
A Splendid Shilling: he nor hears with pain
New oysters cried, nor sighs for cheerful ale;
But with his friends, when nightly mists arise,
To Juniper's Magpie or Town-Hall[1] repairs:
Where, mindful of the nymph whose wanton eye
Transfixed his soul and kindled amorous flames,
Chloe, or Phillis, he each circling glass
Wisheth her health, and joy, and equal love.
Meanwhile, he smokes, and laughs at merry tale,
Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint.
But I, whom griping Penury surrounds,
And Hunger, sure attendant upon Want,
With scanty offals, and small acid tiff,
(Wretched repast!) my meagre corpse sustain:
Then solitary walk, or doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
Regale chilled fingers; or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polished jet,
Exhale mundungus, ill-perfuming scent!
Not blacker tube, nor of a shorter size,
Smokes Cambro-Briton (versed in pedigree,
Sprung from Cadwallader and Arthur, kings
Full famous in romantic tale) when he
O'er many a craggy hill and barren cliff,
Upon a cargo of famed Cestrian cheese,
High over-shadowing rides, with a design
To vend his wares, or at the Arvonian mart,
Or Maridunum, or the ancient town
Ycleped Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream
Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil!
Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vie
With Massic, Setin, or renowned Falern.

Thus while my joyless minutes tedious flow,
With looks demure, and silent pace, a Dun,
Horrible monster! hated by gods and men,
To my a๋rial citadel ascends,
With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate,
With hideous accent thrice he calls; I know
The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound.
What should I do? or whither turn? Amazed,
Confounded, to the dark recess I fly
Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect
Through sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedews
My shuddering limbs, and, wonderful to tell!
My tongue forgets her faculty of speech;
So horrible he seems! His faded brow,
Entrenched with many a frown, and conic beard,
And spreading band, admired by modern saints,
Disastrous acts forebode; in his right hand
Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves,
With characters and figures dire inscribed,
Grievous to mortal eyes; ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous men! Behind him stalks
Another monster, not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar called
A Catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods,
With force incredible, and magic charms,
Erst have endued; if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch
Obsequious, as whilom knights were wont,
To some enchanted castle is conveyed,
Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains,
In durance strict detain him, till, in form
Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.

Beware, ye Debtors! when ye walk, beware,
Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken
The caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and oft
Lies perdue in a nook or gloomy cave,
Prompt to enchant some inadvertent wretch
With his unhallowed touch. So (poets sing)
Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky gap,
Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
Sure ruin. So her disembowelled web
Arachne, in a hall or kitchen, spreads
Obvious to vagrant flies: she secret stands
Within her woven cell; the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly, proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make: with eager strides,
She towering flies to her expected spoils;
Then, with envenomed jaws, the vital blood
Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcasses triumphant drags.

So pass my days. But, when nocturnal shades
This world envelop, and the inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood;
Me lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk
Of loving friend, delights; distressed, forlorn,
Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,
Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts
My anxious mind; or sometimes mournful verse
Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,
Or desperate lady near a purling stream,
Or lover pendent on a willow-tree.
Meanwhile I labour with eternal drought,
And restless wish, and rave; my parched throat
Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose:
But if a slumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy's still awake,
Thoughtful of drink, and, eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale,
In vain; awake I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.

Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarred,
Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays
Mature, john-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrowed coat secure,
Nor medlar, fruit delicious in decay;
Afflictions great! yet greater still remain:
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
By time subdued (what will not time subdue!)
An horrid chasm disclosed with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship,
Long sailed secure, or through the Aegean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla, or Charybdis (dangerous rocks!)
She strikes rebounding; whence the shattered oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea; in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage,
Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize
The mariners; Death in their eyes appears,
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they pray;
Vain efforts! still the battering waves rush in,
Implacable, till, deluged by the foam,
The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.

[1]'Magpie or Town-hall:' two noted alehouses at Oxford in 1700.

We may here mention a name or two of poets from whose verses we can
afford no extracts,--such as Walsh, called by Pope 'knowing Walsh,'
a man of some critical discernment, if not of much genius; Gould, a
domestic of the Earl of Dorset, and afterwards a schoolmaster, from whom
Campbell quotes one or two tolerable songs; and Dr Walter Pope, a man of
wit and knowledge, who was junior proctor of Oxford, one of the first
chosen fellows of the Royal Society, and who succeeded Sir Christopher
Wren as professor of astronomy in Gresham College. He is the author of
a comico-serious song of some merit, entitled 'The Old Man's Wish.'


Of Garth little is known, save that he was an eminent physician, a
scholar, a man of benevolence, a keen Whig, and yet an admirer of old
Dryden, and a patron of young Pope--a friend of Addison, and the author
of the 'Dispensary.' The College of Physicians had instituted a
dispensary, for the purpose of furnishing the poor with medicines
gratis. This measure was opposed by the apothecaries, who had an obvious
interest in the sale of drugs; and to ridicule their selfishness Garth
wrote his poem, which is mock-heroic, in six cantos, copied in form from
the 'Lutrin,' and which, though ingenious and elaborate, seems now
tedious, and on the whole uninteresting. It appeared in 1696, and the
author died in 1718. We extract some of the opening lines of the first
canto of the poem.


Speak, goddess! since 'tis thou that best canst tell
How ancient leagues to modern discord fell;
And why physicans were so cautious grown
Of others' lives, and lavish of their own;
How by a journey to the Elysian plain
Peace triumphed, and old Time returned again.
Not far from that most celebrated place,
Where angry Justice shows her awful face;
Where little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state;
There stands a dome, majestic to the sight,
And sumptuous arches bear its oval height;
A golden globe, placed high with artful skill,
Seems, to the distant sight, a gilded pill:
This pile was, by the pious patron's aim,
Raised for a use as noble as its frame;
Nor did the learn'd society decline
The propagation of that great design;
In all her mazes, nature's face they viewed,
And, as she disappeared, their search pursued.
Wrapped in the shade of night the goddess lies,
Yet to the learn'd unveils her dark disguise,
But shuns the gross access of vulgar eyes.
Now she unfolds the faint and dawning strife
Of infant atoms kindling into life;
How ductile matter new meanders takes,
And slender trains of twisting fibres makes;
And how the viscous seeks a closer tone,
By just degrees to harden into bone;
While the more loose flow from the vital urn,
And in full tides of purple streams return;
How lambent flames from life's bright lamps arise,
And dart in emanations through the eyes;
How from each sluice a gentle torrent pours,
To slake a feverish heat with ambient showers;
Whence their mechanic powers the spirits claim;
How great their force, how delicate their frame;
How the same nerves are fashioned to sustain
The greatest pleasure and the greatest pain;
Why bilious juice a golden light puts on,
And floods of chyle in silver currents run;
How the dim speck of entity began
To extend its recent form, and stretch to man;
To how minute an origin we owe
Young Ammon, Caesar, and the great Nassau;
Why paler looks impetuous rage proclaim,
And why chill virgins redden into flame;
Why envy oft transforms with wan disguise,
And why gay mirth sits smiling in the eyes;
All ice, why Lucrece; or Sempronia, fire;
Why Scarsdale rages to survive desire;
When Milo's vigour at the Olympic's shown,
Whence tropes to Finch, or impudence to Sloane;
How matter, by the varied shape of pores,
Or idiots frames, or solemn senators.

Hence 'tis we wait the wondrous cause to find,
How body acts upon impassive mind;
How fumes of wine the thinking part can fire,
Past hopes revive, and present joys inspire;
Why our complexions oft our soul declare,
And how the passions in the features are;
How touch and harmony arise between
Corporeal figure, and a form unseen;
How quick their faculties the limbs fulfil,
And act at every summons of the will.
With mighty truths, mysterious to descry,
Which in the womb of distant causes lie.

But now no grand inquiries are descried,
Mean faction reigns where knowledge should preside,
Feuds are increased, and learning laid aside.
Thus synods oft concern for faith conceal,
And for important nothings show a zeal:
The drooping sciences neglected pine,
And Paean's beams with fading lustre shine.
No readers here with hectic looks are found,
Nor eyes in rheum, through midnight watching, drowned;
The lonely edifice in sweats complains
That nothing there but sullen silence reigns.

This place, so fit for undisturbed repose,
The god of sloth for his asylum chose;
Upon a couch of down in these abodes,
Supine with folded arms he thoughtless nods;
Indulging dreams his godhead lull to ease,
With murmurs of soft rills and whispering trees:
The poppy and each numbing plant dispense
Their drowsy virtue, and dull indolence;
No passions interrupt his easy reign,
No problems puzzle his lethargic brain;
But dark oblivion guards his peaceful bed,
And lazy fogs hang lingering o'er his head.


Our next name is that of one who, like the former, was a knight, a
physician, and (in a manner) a poet. Blackmore was the son of Robert
Blackmore of Corsham, in Wiltshire, who is styled by Wood _gentleman_,
and is believed to have been an attorney. He took his degree of M.A. at
Oxford, in June 1676. He afterwards travelled, was made Doctor of Physic
at Padua, and, when he returned home, began to practise in London with
great success. In 1695, he tried his hand at poetry, producing an epic
entitled 'King Arthur,' which was followed by a series on 'King Alfred,'
'Queen Elizabeth,' 'Redemption,' 'The Creation,' &c. Some of these
productions were popular; one, 'The Creation,' has been highly praised
by Dr Johnson; but most of them were heavy. Matthew Henry has preserved
portions in his valuable Commentary. Blackmore, a man of excellent
character and of extensive medical practice, was yet the laughingstock
of the wits, perhaps as much for his piety as for his prosiness. Old,
rich, and highly respected, he died on the 8th of October 1729, while
some of his poetic persecutors came to a disgraceful or an early end.

We quote the satire of John Gay, as one of the cleverest and best
conditioned, although one of the coarsest of the attacks made on poor
Sir Richard:--


See who ne'er was, nor will be half read,
Who first sang Arthur, then sang Alfred;
Praised great Eliza in God's anger,
Till all true Englishmen cried, Hang her;
Mauled human wit in one thick satire,
Next in three books spoiled human nature;
Undid Creation at a jerk,
And of Redemption made ---- work;
Then took his Muse at once, and dipt her
Full in the middle of the Scripture;
What wonders there the man grown old did,
Sternhold himself he out Sternholded;
Made David seem so mad and freakish,
All thought him just what thought King Achish;
No mortal read his Solomon
But judged Reboam his own son;
Moses he served as Moses Pharaoh,
And Deborah as she Sisera;
Made Jeremy full sore to cry,
And Job himself curse God and die.

What punishment all this must follow?
Shall Arthur use him like King Tollo?
Shall David as Uriah slay him?
Or dext'rous Deborah Sisera him?
Or shall Eliza lay a plot
To treat him like her sister Scot?
No, none of these; Heaven save his life,
But send him, honest Job, thy wife!


No more of courts, of triumphs, or of arms,
No more of valour's force, or beauty's charms;
The themes of vulgar lays, with just disdain,
I leave unsung, the flocks, the amorous swain,
The pleasures of the land, and terrors of the main.
How abject, how inglorious 'tis to lie
Grovelling in dust and darkness, when on high
Empires immense and rolling worlds of light,
To range their heavenly scenes the muse invite;
I meditate to soar above the skies,
To heights unknown, through ways untried, to rise;
I would the Eternal from his works assert,
And sing the wonders of creating art.
While I this unexampled task essay,
Pass awful gulfs, and beat my painful way,
Celestial Dove! divine assistance bring,
Sustain me on thy strong extended wing,
That I may reach the Almighty's sacred throne,
And make his causeless power, the cause of all things, known.
Thou dost the full extent of nature see,
And the wide realms of vast immensity;
Eternal Wisdom thou dost comprehend,
Rise to her heights, and to her depths descend;
The Father's sacred counsels thou canst tell,
Who in his bosom didst for ever dwell;
Thou on the deep's dark face, immortal Dove!
Thou with Almighty energy didst move
On the wild waves, incumbent didst display
Thy genial wings, and hatch primeval day.
Order from thee, from thee distinction came,
And all the beauties of the wondrous frame.
Hence stamped on nature we perfection find,
Fair as the idea in the Eternal Mind.
See, through this vast extended theatre
Of skill divine, what shining marks appear!
Creating power is all around expressed,
The God discovered, and his care confessed.
Nature's high birth her heavenly beauties show;
By every feature we the parent know.
The expanded spheres, amazing to the sight!
Magnificent with stars and globes of light,
The glorious orbs which heaven's bright host compose,
The imprisoned sea, that restless ebbs and flows,
The fluctuating fields of liquid air,
With all the curious meteors hovering there,
And the wide regions of the land, proclaim
The Power Divine, that raised the mighty frame.
What things soe'er are to an end referred,
And in their motions still that end regard,
Always the fitness of the means respect,
These as conducive choose, and those reject,
Must by a judgment foreign and unknown
Be guided to their end, or by their own;
For to design an end, and to pursue
That end by means, and have it still in view,
Demands a conscious, wise, reflecting cause,
Which freely moves, and acts by reason's laws;
That can deliberate, means elect, and find
Their due connexion with the end designed.
And since the world's wide frame does not include
A cause with such capacities endued,
Some other cause o'er nature must preside,
Which gave her birth, and does her motions guide;
And here behold the cause, which God we name,
The source of beings, and the mind supreme;
Whose perfect wisdom, and whose prudent care,
With one confederate voice unnumbered worlds declare.


This author, who was very much respected by his contemporaries, and who
translated a portion of the Odyssey in conjunction with Pope, was born
May 20, 1683, at Newcastle, in Staffordshire; studied at Cambridge,
which, owing to his nonjuring principles, he had to leave without a
degree; and passed part of his life as a schoolmaster, and part of it
as secretary to Charles, Earl of Orrery. By his tragedy of 'Mariamne' he
secured a moderate competence; and during his latter years, spent his
life comfortably as tutor in the house of Lady Trumbull. He died in
1730. His accomplishments were superior, and his character excellent.
Pope, who was indebted to him for the first, fourth, nineteenth, and
twentieth of the books of the Odyssey, mourns his loss in one of his
most sincere-seeming letters. Fenton edited Waller and Milton, wrote a
brief life of the latter poet,--with which most of our readers are
acquainted,--and indited some respectable verse.



1 O'er Winter's long inclement sway,
At length the lusty Spring prevails;
And swift to meet the smiling May,
Is wafted by the western gales.
Around him dance the rosy Hours,
And damasking the ground with flowers,
With ambient sweets perfume the morn;
With shadowy verdure flourished high,
A sudden youth the groves enjoy;
Where Philomel laments forlorn.

2 By her awaked, the woodland choir
To hail the coming god prepares;
And tempts me to resume the lyre,
Soft warbling to the vernal airs.
Yet once more, O ye Muses! deign
For me, the meanest of your train,
Unblamed to approach your blest retreat:
Where Horace wantons at your spring,
And Pindar sweeps a bolder string;
Whose notes the Aonian hills repeat.

3 Or if invoked, where Thames's fruitful tides,
Slow through the vale in silver volumes play;
Now your own Phoebus o'er the month presides,
Gives love the night, and doubly gilds the day;
Thither, indulgent to my prayer,
Ye bright harmonious nymphs, repair,
To swell the notes I feebly raise:
So with aspiring ardours warmed
May Gower's propitious ear be charmed
To listen to my lays.

4 Beneath the Pole on hills of snow,
Like Thracian Mars, the undaunted Swede[1]
To dint of sword defies the foe;
In fight unknowing to recede:
From Volga's banks, the imperious Czar
Leads forth his furry troops to war;
Fond of the softer southern sky:
The Soldan galls the Illyrian coast;
But soon, the miscreant Moony host
Before the Victor-Cross shall fly.

5 But here, no clarion's shrilling note
The Muse's green retreat can pierce;
The grove, from noisy camps remote,
Is only vocal with my verse:
Here, winged with innocence and joy,
Let the soft hours that o'er me fly
Drop freedom, health, and gay desires:
While the bright Seine, to exalt the soul,
With sparkling plenty crowns the bowl,
And wit and social mirth inspires.

6 Enamoured of the Seine, celestial fair,
(The blooming pride of Thetis' azure train,)
Bacchus, to win the nymph who caused his care,
Lashed his swift tigers to the Celtic plain:
There secret in her sapphire cell,
He with the Nais wont to dwell;
Leaving the nectared feasts of Jove:
And where her mazy waters flow
He gave the mantling vine to grow,
A trophy to his love.

7 Shall man from Nature's sanction stray,
With blind opinion for his guide;
And, rebel to her rightful sway,
Leave all her beauties unenjoyed?
Fool! Time no change of motion knows;
With equal speed the torrent flows,
To sweep Fame, Power, and Wealth away:
The past is all by death possessed;
And frugal fate that guards the rest,
By giving, bids him live To-Day.

8 O Gower! through all the destined space,
What breath the Powers allot to me
Shall sing the virtues of thy race,
United and complete in thee.
O flower of ancient English faith!
Pursue the unbeaten Patriot-path,
In which confirmed thy father shone:
The light his fair example gives,
Already from thy dawn receives
A lustre equal to its own.

9 Honour's bright dome, on lasting columns reared,
Nor envy rusts, nor rolling years consume;
Loud Paeans echoing round the roof are heard
And clouds of incense all the void perfume.
There Phocion, Laelius, Capel, Hyde,
With Falkland seated near his side,
Fixed by the Muse, the temple grace;
Prophetic of thy happier fame,
She, to receive thy radiant name,
Selects a whiter space.

[1] Charles XII.


Robert Crawford, a Scotchman, is our next poet. Of him we know only that
he was the brother of Colonel Crawford of Achinames; that he assisted
Allan Ramsay in the 'Tea-Table Miscellany;' and was drowned when coming
from France in 1733. Besides the popular song, 'The Bush aboon Traquair,'
which we quote, Crawford wrote also a lyric, called 'Tweedside,' and some

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