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ANNA L^TITIA BARBAULD.
PRINTED BY RICHARD TAYLOR, SHOE-LANE.
ANNA L^ETITIA BARBAULD
WITH A MEMOIR
BY LUCY AIKIN.
Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts that breathe and words that burn.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
The Invitation. To Miss B***** 12
The Groans of the Tankard 23
On the Backwardness of the Spring 1771 29
Verses written in an Alcove 31
The Mouse's Petition 35
To Mrs. p******, with some drawings of birds and
Characters \ ... 47
An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley's Study . 55
On a Lady's Writing 59
On the Deserted Village 60
Hymn to Content 61
To Wisdom 65
The Origin of Song- writing 67
Delia. An Elegy . 87
Ovid to his Wife 93
To a Lady, with some painted flowers 100
Ode to Spring 102
Epithalamium . . . . 106
Verses on Mrs. Rowe .108
To a Dog Ill
To Miss R****, on her attendance upon her mother at
On the Death of Mrs. Jennings 115
An Address to the Deity 117
A Summer Evening's Meditation 122
The Epiphany 129
To Mr. Barbauld 134
To Mr. Barbauld, with a map of the Land of Matrimony 137
Love and Time ' 140
To Miss F. B., on her asking for Mrs. B.'s "Love and
Lines placed over a Chimney-piece 147
Written on a Marble 148
A School Eclogue 149
What do the Futures speak of? in answer to a question
in the Greek grammar .......... 157
Autumn. A fragment ........... 159
To the Baron de S tonne, who had wished at the next
transit of Mercury to find himself again between Mrs.
La Borde and Mrs. B 161
To the Baron de Stonne, with Aikin's Essay on Song-
To the Miss Websters, with Dr. Aikin's " Wish," which
they expressed a desire to have a copy of . . . .166
Epistle to Dr. Enfield, on his revisiting Warrington in
Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq., on the Rejection of
the Bill for abolishing the Slave Trade, 1791 . . .173
On the expected general Rising of the French Nation in
To Dr. Priestley 183
The Rights of Woman 185
Inscription for an Ice-house 188
An Autumnal Thought 190
To the Poor 192
To a little Invisible Being who is expected soon to be
come visible 199
Verses inscribed on a Pair of Screens . . *. . . .207
To Mr. S. T. Coleridge 209
Peace and Shepherd 212
On the Death of Mrs. Martineau senior 215
On a Portrait 218
West End Fair 220
Dirge .. .' 224
The Unknown God. 227
Eighteen Hundred and Eleven 232
Ode to Remorse 251
On the King's Illness, 1811 263
A Thought on Death 266
Stanzas, in the manner of Spenser . 268
To Miss T 271
The First Fire 273
The Caterpillar 278
On the Death of the Princess Charlotte . .281
The Wake of the King of Spain 283
The Baby-house 286
Riddle . . 293
Prologue to a Drama, performed by a family party on
the anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. C.'s marriage . . 298
Lines written in a young Lady's Album of different-co
loured paper 302
To a Friend 303
To Mrs. Marissal . . 306
Epitaph on the same 308
To Mr. Bowring, on his poetical translations from various
Octogenary Reflections .313
The Death of the Virtuous . 315
Sabbath Hymns 343
ANNA LJETITIA BARBAULD, aname long
dear to the admirers of genius and the
lovers of virtue, was born at the village of
Kibworth Harcourt, in Leicestershire, on
June 20th, 1743, the eldest child and only
daughter of John Aikin, D.D. and Jane
his wife, daughter of the Rev. John Jen
nings of Kibworth, and descended by her
mother from the ancient family of Win-
gate, of Harlington in Bedfordshire.
That quickness of apprehension by which
she was eminently distinguished, mani
fested itself from her earliest infancy. Her
mother thus writes respecting her in a letter
VOL. i. b
which is still preserved : "I once indeed
knew a little girl who was as eager to learn
as her instructors could be to teach her,
and who, at two years old, could read sen
tences and little stories in her wise book,
roundly, without spelling, and in half a year
more could read as well as most women ;
but I never knew such another, and I be
lieve never shall/'
Her education was entirely domestic, and
principally conducted by her excellent
mother, a lady whose manners were po
lished by the early introduction to good
company which her family connexions had
procured her ; whilst her mind had been
cultivated and her principles formed, partly
by the instructions of religious and en
lightened parents, partly by the society of
the celebrated Dr. Doddridge, who was
for some years domesticated under her pa
In the middle of the last century a strong
prejudice still existed against imparting to
females any tincture of classical learning ;
and the father of Miss Aikin, proud as he
justly was of her uncommon capacity, long
refused to gratify her earnest desire of
being initiated in this kind of knowledge.
At length, however, she in some degree
overcame his scruples ; and with his assist
ance she enabled herself to read the Latin
authors with pleasure and advantage ; nor
did she rest satisfied without gaining some
acquaintance with the Greek.
The obscure village of Kibworth was
unable to afford her a single suitable com
panion of her own sex : her brother, the late
Dr. Aikin, was more than three years her
junior ; and as her father was at this period
the master of a school for boys, it might
have been apprehended that conformity of
pursuits, as well as age, would tend too
nearly to assimilate her with the youth of
the ruder sex by whom she found herself
encompassed. But maternal vigilance ef
fectually obviated this danger, by instilling
into her a double portion of bashfulness
and maidenly reserve ; and she was accus
tomed to ascribe an uneasy sense of con
straint in mixed society, which she could
never entirely shake off, to the strictness
and seclusion in which it had thus become
her fate to be educated. Her recollections
of childhood and early youth were, in fact,
not associated with much of the pleasure
and gaiety usually attendant upon that pe
riod of life : but it must be regarded as a
circumstance favourable, rather than other
wise, to the unfolding of her genius, to
have been thus left to find, or make in so
litude her own objects of interest and pur
suit. The love of rural nature sunk deep
into her heart ; her vivid fancy exerted
itself to colour, to animate, and to diversify
all the objects which surrounded her : the
few but choice authors of her father's li-
brary, which she read and re-read, hud
leisure to make their full impression, to
mould her sentiments and to form her
taste ; the spirit of devotion, early incul
cated upon her as a duty, opened to her
by degrees an exhaustless source of tender
and sublime delight ; and while yet a child,
she was surprised to find herself a poet.
Just at the period when longer seclusion
might have proved seriously injurious to
her spirits, an invitation given to her
learned and exemplary father to undertake
the office of classical tutor in a highly re
spectable dissenting academy at Warring-
ton in Lancashire, was the fortunate means
of transplanting her to a more varied and
animating scene. This removal took place
in 1758, when Miss Aikin had just attained
the age of fifteen ; and the fifteen succeed
ing years passed by her at Warrington
comprehended probably the happiest, as
well as the most brilliant portion of her ex
istence. She was at this time possessed of
great beauty, distinct traces of which she
retained to the latest period of life. Her
person was slender, her complexion ex
quisitely fair, with the bloom of perfect
health ; her features were regular and ele
gant, and her dark blue eyes beamed with
the light of wit and fancy.
A solitary education had not produced
on her its most frequent ill effects, pride
and self-importance : the reserve of her
manners proceeded solely from bashful-
ness, for her temper inclined her strongly
to friendship and to social pleasures ; and
her active imagination, which represented
all objects tinged with hues " unborrowed
of the sun/' served as a charm against that
disgust with common characters and daily
incidents, which so frequently renders the
conscious possessor of superior talents at
once unamiable and unhappy. Nor was
she now in want of congenial associates.
Warrington academy included among its
tutors names eminent both in science and
in literature : with several of these, and
especially with Dr. Priestley and Dr. Enfield
and their families, she formed sincere and
lasting friendships. The elder and more
accomplished among the students com
posed an agreeable part of the same so
ciety ; and its animation was increased by
a mixture of young ladies, either residents
in the town or occasional visitors, several of
whom were equally distinguished for per
sonal charms, for amiable manners, and
cultivated minds. The rising institution,
which flourished for several years in high
reputation, diffused a classic air over
all connected with it. Miss Aikin, as was
natural, took a warm interest in its suc
cess ; and no academic has ever celebrated
his alma mater in nobler strains, or with
a more filial affection, than she has mani
fested in that portion of her early and
beautiful poem The Invitation, where her
theme is this " nursery of men for future
About the close of the year 1771 ? her
brother, after several years of absence, re
turned to establish himself in his profes
sion at Warrington ; an event equally wel
come to her feelings and propitious to her
literary progress. In him she possessed
a friend with discernment to recognise the
stamp of genius in her productions and
anticipate their fame, combined with zeal
and courage sufficient to vanquish her re
luctance to appear before the public in the
character of an author. By his persuasion
and assistance her Poems were selected,
revised, and arranged for publication : and
when all these preparations were com
pleted, finding that she still hesitated and
lingered, like the parent bird who pushes
off its young to their first flight, he pro
cured the paper, and set the press to work
on his own authority. The result more
than justified his confidence of her success :
four editions of the work (the first in 4to,
the succeeding ones in 8vo,) were called for
within the year of publication, 1773 ; com
pliments and congratulations poured in
from all quarters ; and even the periodical
critics greeted her Muse with nearly un
She was not permitted to repose upon
her laurels : her brother, who possessed all
the activity and spirit of literary enterprise
in which she was deficient, now urged her
to collect her Prose Pieces, and to join him
in forming a small volume, which appeared,
also in the year 1773, under the title of
" Miscellaneous Pieces, in Prose, by J. and
A. L. Aikin." These likewise met with
much notice and admiration, and have
been several times reprinted. The au
thors did not think proper to distinguish
their respective contributions, and several
of the pieces have in consequence been
generally misappropriated. The fragment
of Sir Bertrand in particular, though alien
from the character of that brilliant and
airy imagination which was never conver
sant with terror, and rarely with pity, has
been repeatedly ascribed to Mrs. Barbauld,
even in print.
Having thus laid the foundation of a
lasting reputation in literature. Miss Aikin
might have been expected to proceed with
vigour in rearing the superstructure ; and
the world awaited with impatience the re
sult of her further efforts. But an event,
the most important of her life, was about
to subject her to new influence, new
K . iMirr-'-r n- nmiimm -- mnimm i i
duties, to alter her station, her course of
life, and to modify even the bent of her
mind. This event was her marriage,
which took place in May 1774.
IP* The Rev. Rochemont Barbauld, whom
J she honoured with her hand, was descend
ed from a family of French protestants.
During the persecutions of Louis XIV.,
his grandfather, then a boy, was carried
on board a ship inclosed in a cask, and
conveyed to England. Here he settled
and had a son who became a clergyman of
the Establishment, and on the marriage of
one of the daughters of George II. to
the elector of Hesse was appointed her
chaplain, and attended her to Cassel. At
\/ this place his son Rochemont was born and
passed his childhood : on the breaking up
of the household of the electress he spent
a year at Paris, and then accompanied his
father to England, who destined him for
the church, but, somewhat unadvisedly,
sent him for previous instruction to the
dissenting seminary of Warrington. The
principles which he here imbibed, impelled
him to renounce all his expectations from
the Establishment ; though by such a renun
ciation, which threw him upon the world
without a profession and without fortune,
he raised obstacles which might well have
appeared insuperable, to the completion
of that union on which he had long rested
his fondest hopes of earthly felicity. Whilst
the prospects of the young couple were
still full of uncertainty, some distinguished
persons, amongst whom was Mrs. Monta
gue, at once admirers of the genius of
Miss Aikin and patrons of a more en
larged system of female education than
was then prevalent, were induced to pro
pose to her to establish under their au-
\spices what might almost have been called
a College for young ladies. On a dis
tant view, the idea had something noble
and striking, but it was not calculated to
bear a close examination : and it called
forth from her the following remarks, well
worthy of preservation, as a monument of
her acuteness and good sense, and of the
just and comprehensive ideas which, at a
rather early age, and with slender oppor
tunities of acquainting herself with the
great world, she had been enabled to form
of the habits and acquirements most im
portant to females, and particularly to
those of rank and fashion. It is also inter
esting as an instance of the humility with
which she estimated her own accomplish
" A kind of Literary Academy for ladies
(for that is what you seem to propose),
where they are to be taught in a regular
systematic manner the various branches of
science, appears to me better calculated to
form such characters as the 'Precieuses'
or the 'Fcmmes scavantes' of Moliere, than
good wives or agreeable companions.
Young gentlemen, who are to display their
knowledge to the world, should have every
motive of emulation, should be formed into
regular classes, should read and dispute
together, should have all the honours and,
if one may so say, the pomp of learning
set before them, to call up their ardour :
it is their business, and they should apply
to it as such. But young ladies, who
ought only to have such a general tincture
of knowledge as to make them agreeable
companions to a man of sense, and to en
able them to find rational entertainment for
a solitary hour, should gain these accom
plishments in a more quiet and unobserved
manner : subject to a regulation like that
of the ancient Spartans, the thefts of know
ledge in our sex are only connived at while
carefully concealed, and if displayed, pu
nished with disgrace. The best way for
women to acquire knowledge is from con
versation with a father, a brother or friend,
in the way of family intercourse and easy
conversation, and by such a course of read
ing as they may recommend. If you add
to these an attendance upon those masters
which are usually provided in schools, and
perhaps such a set of lectures as Mr. Fer
guson's, which it is not uncommon for
ladies to attend, I think a woman will be in
a way to acquire all the learning that can
be of use to those who are not to teach or
engage in any learned profession. Per-
haps you may think, that having myself
stepped out of the bounds of female
reserve in becoming an author, it is with
an ill grace I offer these sentiments : but
though this circumstance may destroy the
grace, it does not the justice of the remark ;
and I am full well convinced that to have a
too great fondness for books is little favour
able to the happiness of a woman, espe
cially one not in affluent circumstances.
My situation has been peculiar, and would
be no rule for others.
" I should likewise object to the age
proposed. Their knowledge ought to be
acquired at an earlier period, geography,
those languages it may be proper for them
to learn, grammar, &c., are best learned
from about nine to thirteen or fourteen,
and will then interfere less with other du
ties. I should have little hopes of culti
vating a love of knowledge in a young lady
of fifteen, who came to me ignorant and un-
taught; and if she has laid a foundation,
she will be able to pursue her studies with
out a master, or with such a one only as
Rousseau gives his Sophie. It is too late
then to begin to learn. The empire of the
passions is coming on ; a new world opens
to the youthful eye ; those attachments be
gin to be formed which influence the hap
piness of future life ; the care of a mo
ther, and that alone, can give suitable at
tention to this important period. At this
period they have many things to learn
which books and systems never taught.
The grace and ease of polished society,
with the established modes of behaviour to
every different class of people ; the detail of
domestic economy, to which they must be
gradually introduced ; the duties, the pro
prieties of behaviour which they must prac
tise in their own family, in the families
where they visit, to their friends, to their
acquaintance : lastly, their behaviour to
the other half of their species, with whom
before they were hardly acquainted, and
who then begin to court their notice ; the
choice of proper acquaintance of that sex,
the art to converse with them with a hap
py mixture of easy politeness and grace
ful reserve, and to wear off by degrees
something of the girlish bashfulness with
out injuring virgin delicacy. These are
the accomplishments which a young woman
has to learn from fourteen or fifteen till she
is married, or fit to be so ; and surely these
are not to be learned in a school. They
must be learnecj. partly at home, and partly
by visits in genteel families : they cannot be
taught where a number are together ; they
cannot be taught without the most intimate
knowledge of a young lady's temper, con
nexions, and views in life ; nor without an
authority and influence established upon
all the former part of her life. For all
these reasons, it is my full opinion that the
best public education cannot at that period
VOL. i. c
be equally serviceable with I had almost
said an indifferent private one.
" My next reason is, that I am not at all
qualified for the task. I have seen a good
deal of the manner of educating boys, and
know pretty well what is expected in the
care of them; but in a girls' boarding-school
I should be quite a novice : I never was at
one myself, have not even the advantage
of younger sisters, which might have given
me some notion of the management of
girls ; indeed, for the early part of my life
I conversed little with my own sex. In
the village where I was, there were none to
converse with; and this, I am very sensible,
has given me an awkwardness in many
common things, which would make me
most peculiarly unfit for the education of
my own sex. But suppose I were tolerably
qualified to instruct those of my own rank ;
consider, that these must be of a class far
superior to those I have lived amongst and
conversed with. Young ladies of that rank
ought to have their education superintend
ed by a woman perfectly well-bred, from
whose manner they may catch that ease
and gracefulness which can only be learned
from the best company ; and she should be
able to direct them, and judge of their pro
gress in every genteel accomplishment. I
could not judge of their music, their dan
cing ; and if I pretended to correct their air,
they might be tempted to smile at my own ;
for I know myself remarkably deficient in
gracefulness of person, in my air and man
ner, and in the easy graces of conversation.
Indeed, whatever the kind partiality of my
friends may think of me, there are few
things I know well enough to teach them
with any satisfaction, and many I never
could learn myself. These deficiencies
would soon be remarked when I was intro
duced to people of fashion ; and were it
possible that, notwithstanding, I should
meet with encouragement, I could never
prosecute with any pleasure an undertaking
to which I should know myself so unequal :
I am sensible the common boarding-schools
are upon a very bad plan, and believe I
could project a better, but I could not ex
The arguments thus forcibly urged, ap
pear to have convinced all parties con
cerned, that she was right in declining the
proposal. Mr. Barbauld soon after accept
ed the charge of a dissenting congregation
at Palgrave near Diss, and immediately be
fore his marriage announced his intention
of opening a boarding-school at the neigh
bouring village of Palgrave in Suffolk.
The rapid and uninterrupted success
which crowned this undertaking was doubt
less in great measure owing to the literary
celebrity attached to the name of Mrs.
Barbauld, and to her active participation
with her husband in the task of instruction.
It fortunately happened, that two of the
eight pupils with which Palgrave school
commenced, were endowed with abilities
worthy of the culture which such an in
structress could alone bestow. One of these,
William Taylor, Esq. of Norwich, known
by his English Synonyms, his exquisite
Iphigenia in Tauris from the German, his
Leonora from Burger , and many other fruits
of genius and extensive learning, has con
stantly acknowledged her, with pride and
affection, for the "mother of his mind;"
and in a biographical notice prefixed to
The collective worksof Frank Sayers,M.D.
of the same city, author of the Dramatic
Sketches of Northern Mythology, he has
thus recorded the congenial sentiments of his
friend. " Among the instructions bestowed
at Palgrave, Dr. Sayers has repeatedly ob
served to me, that he most valued the les
sons of English composition superintended
by Mrs. Barbauld. On Wednesdays and
Saturdays the boys were called in separate
classes to her apartment : she read a fable,
a short story, or a moral essay, to them
aloud, and then sent them back into the
school-room to write it out on the slates in
their own words. Each exercise was sepa
rately overlooked by her ; the faults of
grammar were obliterated, the vulgarisms
were chastised, the idle epithets were can
celled, and a distinct reason was always
assigned for every correction ; so that the
arts of enditing and of criticizing were in
some degree learnt together. Many a lad
from the great schools, who excels in Latin
and Greek, cannot write properly a verna
cular letter, for want of some such disci
The department of geography was also
undertaken by Mrs. Barbauld; and she re
lieved the dryness of a study seldom ren
dered interesting to children, by so many
lively strokes of description, and such lu-
minous and attractive views of the con
nexion of this branch of knowledge with the
revolutions of empires, with national man
ners, and with the natural history of ani
mals, that these impressive lectures were
always remembered by her auditors less
among their tasks than their pleasures.
A public examination of the boys was
always held at the close of the winter ses
sion : at the termination of the summer
one they performed a play; and upon
Mrs. Barbauld principally devolved, to
gether with the contrivance of dresses and
decorations, and the composition of pro
logues, epilogues, and interludes the in
struction of the young exhibitors in the art
of declamation. In this branch she like
wise excelled ; and the neglected though
delightful arts of good reading and grace
ful speaking were nowhere taught with
more assiduity and success.
In 1775 Mrs. Barbauld committed to
the press a small volume entitled Devo
tional Pieces compiled from the Psalms of
David, with Thoughts on the Devotional
Taste, and on Sects and Establishments.
As a selection it did not meet with great
success ; nor did the essay escape without
some animadversion. It was afterwards
separated from the Psalms and reprinted
with the Miscellaneous Pieces, and will be
further noticed in the sequel.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld
proved unfruitful, and they sought to fill
the void, of which in the midst of their
busy avocations they were still sensible,
by the adoption of a son out of the family
of Dr. Aikin. Several particulars rela
tive to this subject will be found in the
letters of Mrs. Barbauld to her brother :
it is sufficient here to mention, that
they received the child when somewhat
under two years of age, and that his edu
cation became thenceforth a leading object
of Mrs. Barbauld's attention. For the
use of her little Charles she composed
those Early Lessons which have justly
gained for her the reverence and love of
both parents and children ; a work which
may safely be asserted to have formed an
aera in the art of early instruction, and to
stand yet unrivaled amid numberless imi
The solicitations of parents anxious to
obtain for their sons what they regarded
as the best tuition, now induced her to re
ceive as her own peculiar pupils several
little boys, to whom she condescended to
teach the first rudiments of literature.
Thomas Denman, Esq., now a distinguish
ed member of the legal profession and of
the House of Commons, was committed to
her care before he had accomplished his
fourth year. Sir William Cell, the zealous
explorer of the plain of Troy, was another
of her almost infant scholars ; and it was for
the benefit of this younger class that her
Hymns in Prose for Children were writ
ten, in which it was her peculiar object (to
use her own words in the preface) " to im
press devotional feelings as early as possi
ble on the infant mind/' " to impress
them, by connecting religion with a varie
ty of sensible objects, with all that he sees,
all he hears, all that affects his young
mind with wonder or delight; and thus,
by deep, strong and permanent associa
tions, to lay the best foundation for prac
tical devotion in future life."
None of her works is a fairer monument
than this, of the elevation of her soul and
the brightness of her genius. While dis
carding the aid of verse, she everywhere
bursts forth into poetry ; while stooping
to the comprehension of infancy, she has
produced a precious manual of devotion,
founded on the contemplation of nature,
fitted to delight the taste and warm the
piety of the most accomplished minds and
Meantime Palgrave school was progres
sively increasing in numbers and reputa
tion, and several sons of noble families
were sent to share in its advantages ; of
whom may be named, the late amiable and
lamented Basil Lord Daer (a favourite pu
pil), and three of his brothers, including
the last Earl of Selkirk ; two sons of Lord
Templetown, Lord More,Lord Aghrim, and
the Honourable Augustus Phipps : these,
who were parlour-boarders, enjoyed most
of the benefit of the conversation and oc
casional instructions of Mrs. Barbauld ;
and all, it is believed, quitted the school
with sentiments towards her of high respect
A course of honourable and prosperous
exertion must always be productive of sa
tisfaction to a well-constituted mind ; and
in this view Mrs. Barbauld might regard
with complacency her situation atPalgrave.
Its cares and its monotony were also relieved
by vacations, which she and Mr. Barbauld
usually passed either in agreeable visits to
their friends in different parts of the coun
try, or in the more animated delights of
London society. As their connexions were
extensive, they were now enabled to pro
cure themselves a considerable share of that
amusing and instructive variety of scenes
and characters which forms the peculiar
charm of the metropolis. At the splendid
mansion of her early and constant admirer
Mrs. Montague, Mrs. Barbauld beheld in
perfection the imposing union of literature
and fashion ; under the humbler roof of
her friend and publisher, the late worthy
Joseph Johnson of St. Paul's Church-yard,
she tasted, perhaps with higher relish,
" the feast of reason and the flow of soul/'
in a chosen knot of lettered equals. Her
own connexions introduced her to leading
characters among the dissenters and per
sons of opposition-politics ; those of Mr.
Barbauld led her among courtiers and sup
porters of the establishment. Her own
candid spirit, and courteous though re
tiring manners, with the varied graces of
her conversation, recommended her alike
The business of tuition, however, to
those by whom it is faithfully and zea
lously exercised, must ever be fatiguing
beyond almost any other occupation ; and
Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld found their health
and spirits so much impaired by their ex
ertions, that at the end of eleven years
they determined upon quitting Palgrave,
and allowing themselves an interval of
complete relaxation before they should
again embark in any scheme of active life.
Accordingly, in the autumn of 1785 they
embarked for Calais ; and after extending
their travels as far as Geneva, returned to
winter in the south of France. In the
spring they again bent their course north
wards, and after a leisurely survey of Pa
ris returned to England in the month of
June 1786. The remainder of that year
they passed chiefly in London, undecided
with respect to a future place of residence ;
but early in the following one, Mr. Bar-
bauld having been elected their pastor by
a small dissenting congregation at Hamp-
stead, they fixed themselves in that agree
able village, where for several years Mr.
Barbauld received a few young gentlemen
as his pupils, while Mrs. Barbauld gave
daily instructions to a young lady whose
mother took up her residence at Hamp-
stead for the benefit of this tuition : some
years after, she accepted another pupil on
a similar plan.
Her brother, who placed no small part
of his own pride in the efforts of her genius
and the extension of her fame, observed
with little complacency that her powers
were wasted in supineness or in trivial oc
cupations ; and early in 1790 he apostro
phized her in the following sonnet :
Thus speaks the Muse, and bends her brow severe :
" Did I, Laetitia, lend my choicest lays,
And crown thy youthful head with freshest bays,
That all the' expectance of thy full-grown year
Should lie inert and fruitless ? O revere
Those sacred gifts whose meed is deathless praise,
Whose potent charms the* enraptured soul can raise
Far from the vapours of this earthly sphere !
Seize, seize the lyre ! resume the lofty strain !
T is time, 't is time ! hark how the nations round
With jocund notes of liberty resound,
And thy own Corsica has burst her chain !
O let the song to Britain's shores rebound,
WhereFreedom's once-loved voice is heard, alas! in vain."
This animating expostulation conspiring
with the events of the spirit-stirring times
which now approached, had the effect of
once more rousing her to exertion. In
1790, the rejection of a bill for the repeal
of the Corporation and Test Acts called
forth her eloquent and indignant Address
to the Opposers of this repeal : her Poeti
cal Epistle to Mr. Wilberforce on the re
jection of the bill for abolishing the Slave
Trade was written in 1791- The next year
produced her Remarks on Mr. Gilbert
Wakefield's Inquiry into the expediency
and propriety of public or social Worship :
and her Sins of Government Sins of the Na
tion, or a Discourse for the Fast, appeared
in 1793. She also supplied some valuable
contributions to Dr. Aikin's popular book
for children, Evenings at Home, the first
volume of which appeared in 1792 : but
her share in this work has generally been
supposed much greater than in fact it was :
of the ninety-nine pieces of which it con
sisted, fourteen only are hers*.
* They are the following: The Young Mouse;
The Wasp and Bee ; Alfred, a drama ; Animals and
Countries ; Canute's Reproof; The Masque of Nature;
Things by their right Names ; The Goose and Horse ;
By this time, the effervescence caused
by the French revolution had nearly sub
sided ; and Mrs. Barbauld, who could sel
dom excite herself to the labour of compo
sition, except on the spur of occasion, gave
nothing more to the public for a consider
able number of years, with the exception
of two critical essays ; one prefixed to an
ornamented edition of Akenside's Pleasures
of Imagination, the other to a similar one
of the Odes of Collins ; of which the first
appeared in 1795, the second in 1797-
Both are written with elegance, taste and
acuteness ; but, on the whole, they are less
marked with the peculiar features of her
style than perhaps any other of her prose
No event worthy of mention occurred
On Manufactures ; The Flying-fish ; A Lesson in the
Art of Distinguishing ; The Phoenix and Dove ; The
Manufacture of Paper ; The Four Sisters. In a new
edition will be added, Live Dolls.
VOL. I. d
till 1802, when Mr. Barbauld accepted
an invitation to become pastor of the con
gregation (formerly Dr. Price's) at New-
ington Green ; and quitting Hampstead,
they took up their abode in the village of
Stoke Newington. The sole motive for this
removal, which separated them from a re
sidence which they liked and friends to
whom they were cordially attached, was
the mutual desire of Dr. Aikin and Mrs.
Barbauld to pass the closing period of their
lives in that near neighbourhood which
admits of the daily and almost hourly in
tercourses of affection, a desire which was
thus affectingly expressed by the former in
an epistle addressed to his sister during
her visit to Geneva in 1785:
" Yet one dear wish still struggles in my breast,
And points one darling object unpossest :
How many years have whirled their rapid course,
Since we, sole streamlets from one honoured source,
In fond affection as in blood allied,
Have wandered devious from each other's side ;
Allowed to catch alone some transient view,
Scarce long enough to think the vision true !
O then, while yet some zest of life remains,
While transport yet can swell the beating veins,
While sweet remembrance keeps her wonted seat,
And fancy still retains some genial heat ;
When evening bids each busy task be o'er,
Once let us meet again, to part no more ! "
The evening which was the object of
these earnest aspirations had now arrived ;
and it proved a long, though by no means
an unclouded one ; twenty years elapsed
before the hand of death sundered this
A warm attachment to the authors of
what has been called the Augustan age of
English literature, on whom herown taste
and style were formed, was observable in
the conversation of Mrs. Barbauld, and
often in her writings ; and she gratified this
sentiment by offering to the public, in
1804, a Selection from the Spectator ,Tatler,
Guardian and Freeholder, with a Prelimi-
nary Essay, to which she gave her name*.
This delightful piece may perhaps be re
garded as the most successful of her efforts
in literary criticism ; and that it should be
so, is easily to be accounted for. There
were many striking points of resemblance
between her genius and that of Addison.
As prose writers, both were remarkable for
uniting wit of the light and sportive kind
with vividness of fancy, and a style at once
rich and lively, flowing and full of idiom :
both of them rather avoided the pathetic :
in both, " the sentiments of rational and
liberal devotion " were " blended with the
speculations of philosophy and the paint
ings of a fine imagination :" both were
admirable for " the splendour they diffused
over a serious, the grace with which they
touched a lighter subject/' The humorous
delineation of manners and characters in
deed, in which Addison so conspicuously
j - ,
* Three vols. 12mo, Johnson 1804.
shone, was never attempted by Mrs Bar-
bauld : in poetry, on the other hand, she
surpassed him in all the qualities of which
excellence in that style is composed. Cer
tainly this great author could not elsewhere
have found a critic so capable of entering,
as it were, into the soul of his writings,
culling their choicest beauties, and draw
ing them forth for the admiration of a
world by which they had begun to be neg
lected. Steele and the other contributors
to these periodical papers are also ably,
though briefly, characterized by her ; and
such pieces of theirs are included in the
Selection as could fairly claim enduring
The essay opens with the observation,
" that it is equally true of books as of their
authors, that one generation passeth away
and another cometh." The mutual influ
ence exerted by books and manners on
each other is then remarked ; and the si-
lent and gradual declension from what
might be called the active life of an ad
mired and popular book, to the honourable
retirement of a classic, is lightly, but im
pressively, traced ; closed by remarks on
the mutations and improvements which
have particularly affected the works in
question. To young persons chiefly the
Selection is offered, as containing the " es
sence " of a celebrated set of works. An in
structive account is added of each of these
in particular, of the state of society at
the time of their appearance, the objects at
which they aimed, and their effects. This
essay will not be found in the present vo
lumes, because it was considered that to
separate it from the Selection which it was
written to introduce, would be to defeat its
During the same year (1804) Mrs. Bar-
bauld was prevailed upon to undertake the
task of examining and making a selection
from the letters of Richardson the novelist
and his correspondents, of which a vast
collection had remained in the hands of
his last surviving daughter; after whose
death they were purchased of his grand
children. It must be confessed that, on the
whole, these letters were less deserving of
public attention than she had probably ex
pected to find them ; and very good judges
have valued more than all the remaining
contents of the six duodecimo volumes
which they occupy, the elegant and inter
esting life of Richardson, and the finished
reviewal of his works prefixed by the editor.
It is probable that Mrs. Barbauld con
sented to employ herself in these humbler
offices of literature, chiefly as a solace un
der the pressure of anxieties and apprehen
sions of a peculiar and most distressing
nature, which had been increasing in ur
gency during a long course of time, and
which found their final completion on the
llth of November, 1808, in the event by
which she became a widow. She has touch-
ingly alluded, in her poem of Eighteen
Hundred and Eleven, to
" that sad death whence most affection bleeds,
Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes."
And though the escape of a sufferer from
the most melancholy of human maladies
could not in itself be a subject of rational
regret, her spirits were deeply wounded,
both by the severe trials through which she
had previously passed, and by the mourn
ful void which always succeeds the removal
of an object of long and deep, however
painful, interest. An affecting Dirge will
be found among her poems, which records
her feelings on this occasion. She also com
municated to the Monthly Repository of
Theology and General Literature, a memoir
of Mr. Barbauld; in which his character is
" The scenes of life Mr. Barbauld pass
ed through were common ones, but his cha
racter was not a common one. His rea
soning powers were acute, and sharpened
by exercise ; for he was early accustom
ed to discussion, and argued with great
clearness ; with a degree of warmth in
deed, but with the most perfect candour
towards his opponent. He gave the most
liberal latitude to free inquiry, and could
bear to hear those truths attacked which
he most steadfastly believed ; the more
because he steadfastly believed them ; for
he was delighted to submit to the test of
argument, those truths, which he had no
doubt could, by argument, be defended.
He had an uncommon flow of conver
sation on those points which had engaged
his attention, and delivered himself with
a warmth and animation which enlivened
the driest subject. He was equally at
home in French and English literature ;
and the exquisite sensibility of his mind,
with the early culture his taste had received,
rendered him an excellent judge of all those
works which appeal to the heart and the
imagination. His feelings were equally
quick and vivid; his expressive counte
nance was the index of his mind, and of
every instantaneous impression made upon
it. Children, who are the best physiogno
mists, were always attracted to him, and he
delighted to entertain them with lively nar
ratives suited to their age, in which he had
great invention. The virtues of his heart
will be acknowledged by all who knew
him. His benevolence was enlarged : it
was the spontaneous propensity of his na
ture, as well as the result of his religious
system. He was temperate, almost to ab
stemiousness ; yet without any tincture of
ascetic rigour. A free, undaunted spirit,
a winning simplicity, a tendency to enthu
siasm, but of the gentle and liberal kind,
formed the prominent lineaments of his
character. The social affections were all
alive and active in him. His heart over
flowed with kindness to all, the lowest that
came within his sphere. There never was
a human being who had less of the selfish
and worldly feelings, they hardly seemed
to form a part of his nature. His was truly
the charity which thinketh no ill. Great
singleness of heart, and a candour very op
posite to the suspicious temper of worldly
sagacity, made him slow to impute un
worthy motives to the actions of his fellow-
men ; yet his candour by no means sprung
from indifference to moral rectitude, for
when he could no longer resist conviction,
his censure was decided and his indigna
tion warm and warmly expressed. His
standard of virtue was high, and he felt no
propensities which disposed him to lower
it. His religious sentiments were of the
most pure and liberal cast ; and his pulpit
services, when the state of his spirits se-
conded the ardour of his mind, were cha
racterized by the rare union of a fervent
spirit of devotion, with a pure, sublime
philosophy, supported by arguments of
metaphysical acuteness. He did not speak
the language of any party, nor exactly co
incide with the systems of any. He was a
believer in the pre-existence of Christ, and,
in a certain modified sense, in the atone
ment ; thinking those doctrines most con
sonant to the tenour of scripture ;....but he
was too sensible of the difficulties which
press upon every system, not to feel indul
gence for all, and he was not zealous for
any doctrine which did not affect the heart.
Of the moral perfections of the Deity he
had the purest and most exalted ideas ; on
these was chiefly founded his system of re
ligion, and these together with his own be
nevolent nature led him to embrace so
warmly, his favourite doctrine of the final
salvation of all the human race, and in
deed, the gradual rise and perfectibility of
all created existence His latter days
were oppressed by a morbid affection of
his spirits, in a great degree hereditary,
which came gradually upon him, and closed
the scene of his earthly usefulness ; yet in
the midst of the irritation it occasioned,
the kindness of his nature broke forth, and
some of his last acts were acts of benevo
Mrs. Barbauld had the fortitude to seek
relief from dejection in literary occupation ;
and incapable as yet of any stronger effort,
she consented to edit a collection of the
British Novelists, which issued from the
press in 1810. The Introductory Essay
shows extent of reading combined with her
usual powers of style ; and the Biographical
and Critical Notices prefixed to the works
of each author are judiciously and grace
In the following year she compiled for
the use of young ladies an agreeable col
lection of verse and prose, in one volume
12mo, entitled The Female Speaker.
Having thus braced her mind, as it were,
to the tone of original composition, she
produced that beautiful offspring of her
genius, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, the
longest, and perhaps the most highly finish
ed, of all her poems. The crisis at which
this piece was produced, and concerning
which it treats, was confessedly one of the
most distressful within the memory of the
present generation, and the author's own
state of spirits deepened the gloom. She,
like Cassandra, was the prophetess of woe :
at the time, she was heard perhaps with
less incredulity, but the event has happily
discredited her vaticination in every point.
That the solemn warning which she here
attempted to hold forth to national pride
and confidence, should cause her lines to
be received by the public with less ap
plause than their intrinsic merit might well
have claimed, was perhaps in some degree
to be expected ; that it would expose its
author its venerable and female author
to contumely and insult, could only have
been anticipated by those thoroughly ac
quainted with the instincts of the hired
assassin of reputation shooting from his
coward ambush. Can any one read the
Yet O my country, name beloved, revered !
the proud and affectionate enumeration of
the names which encircle the brow of
Britain with the halo of immortal glory ;
of the spots consecrated by the footsteps
of genius and virtue, where the future pil
grim from the West would kneel with beat
ing heart ; the splendid description of Lon
don with all its " pomp and circumstance "
of greatness, the complacent allusion to
"angel charities/' and " the book of life"
held out "to distant lands/' and doubt
for a moment that this strain was dictated
by the heart of a true patriot, a heart which
feared because it fondly loved ?
This was the last of Mrs. Barbauld's se
parate publications. Who indeed, that knew
and loved her, could have wished her to
expose again that honoured head to the
scorns of the unmanly, the malignant, and
the base? Her fancy was still in all its
brightness ; her spirits might have been
cheered and her energy revived, by the
cordial and respectful greetings, the thanks
and plaudits, with which it was once the
generous and graceful practice of contem
porary criticism to welcome the re-appear
ance of a well-deserving veteran in the
field of letters. As it was, though still vi
.... the thoughts that voluntary move
she for the most part confined to a few
friends all participation in the strains
which they inspired. She even laid aside
the intention which she had entertained of
preparing a new edition of her Poems,
long out of print and often inquired for in
vain; well knowing that a day must come
when the sting of Envy would be blunted,
and her memory would have its fame.
No incident worthy of mention hence
forth occurred to break the uniformity of
her existence. She gave up all distant
journeys ; and confined at home to a nar
row circle of connexions and acquaint
ance, she suffered life to slide away, as it
were, at its own pace,
Nor shook the outhasting sands, nor bid them stay.
An asthmatic complaint, which was slowly
undermining her excellent constitution,
more and more indisposed her for any
considerable exertion either of mind or
body : but the arrival of a visitor had al
ways the power to rouse her from a state
of languor. Her powers of conversation
suffered little declension to the last, al-
though her memory of recent circumstances
became somewhat impaired. Her disposi
tion, of which sensibility was not in earlier
life the leading feature, now mellowed
into softness, pleasingly exhibited
Those tender tints that only Time can. give.
Her manners, never tainted by pride,
which, with the baser but congenial affec
tion of envy, was a total stranger to her
bosom, were now remarkable for their
extreme humility : she spoke of every one
not merely with the candour and forbear
ance which she had long practised; but
with interest, with kindness, with an in
dulgence which sometimes appeared but
too comprehensive ; she seemed reluctant
to allow, or believe, that any of her fellow-
creatures had a failing, while she gave them
credit gratuitously for many virtues. This
state of mind, which, with her native acute-
ness of discernment, it must apparently have
cost her some struggles to attain, had at least
the advantage of causing her easily to admit
of such substitutes as occurred for those
contemporary and truly congenial friend
ships which, in the course of nature, were
now fast failing her. She lost her early
and affectionate friend Mrs. Kenrick in
1819. In December 1822 her brother
sunk under a long decline, which had
served as a painful preparation to the final
parting. A few months later she lost, in
the excellent Mrs. John Taylor of Nor
wich, perhaps the most intimate and most
highly valued of all her distant friends ;
to whose exalted and endearing character
she bore the following well-merited testi
mony in a letter addressed to one of her
" Receive the assurance of my most af
fectionate sympathy in those feelings with
which you must be now contemplating the
loss of that dear woman, so long the object
of your respect and affection ; nor indeed
yours only, but of all who knew her. A
prominent part of those feelings, however,
must be, that the dear object of them is
released from suffering, has finished her
task, and entered upon her reward
Never will she be forgotten by those who
knew her ! Her strong sense, her feeling,
her energy, her principle, her patriot feel
ings, her piety rational yet ardent, all
these mark a character of no common sort.
When to these high claims upon general
regard are added those of relation or
friend, the feeling must be such as no
course of years can efface/'
A gentle and scarcely perceptible de
cline was now sloping for herself the pass
age to the tomb : she felt and hailed its
progress as a release from languor and
infirmity, a passport to another and a
higher state of being. Her friends, how
ever, flattered themselves that they might
continue to enjoy her yet a little longer ;
and she had consented to remove under
the roof of her adopted son, that his affec
tionate attentions and those of his family
might be the solace of every remaining
hour. But Providence had ordained it
otherwise: she quitted indeed her own
house, but whilst on a visit at the neighbour
ing one of her sister-in-law Mrs. Aikin,the
constant and beloved friend of nearly her
whole life, her bodily powers gave way
almost suddenly ; and after lingering a few
days, on the morning of March the 9th,
1825, she expired without a struggle, in the
eighty-second year of her age.
To claim for this distinguished woman
the praise of purity and elevation of mind
may well appear superfluous. Her educa
tion and connexions, the course of her
life, the whole tenour of her writings^ bear
abundant testimony to this part of her cha
racter. It is a higher, or at least a rarer com-
mendation to add, that no one ever better
loved " a sister's praise/' even that of such
sisters as might have been peculiarly re
garded in the light of rivals. She was ac
quainted with almost all the principal fe
male writers of her time ; and there was
not one of the number whom she failed
frequently to mention in terms of admira
tion, esteem or affection, whether in con
versation, in. letters to her friends, or in
print. To humbler aspirants in the career
of letters, who often applied to her for ad
vice oi- assistance, she was invariably cour
teous, and in many instances essentially
serviceable. The sight of youth and beauty
was peculiarly gratifying to her fancy and
her feelings ; and children and young per
sons, especially females, were accordingly
large sharers in her benevolence : she
loved their society, and would often invite
them to pass weeks or months in her house,
when she spared no pains to amuse and
instruct them; and she seldom failed,
after they had quitted her, to recall herself
from time to time to their recollection, by
affectionate and playful letters, or welcome
In the conjugal relation, her conduct
was guided by the highest principles of
love and duty. As a sister, the uninter
rupted flow of her affection, manifested by
numberless tokens of love, not alone to
her brother, but to every member of his
family, will ever be recalled by them
with emotions of tenderness, respect, and
gratitude. She passed through a long life
without having dropped, it is believed, a
single friendship, and without having drawn
upon herself a single enmity which could
properly be called personal.
We now proceed to offer some account
of the contents of the present volumes,
with a few remarks on the genius of their
author. The small bulk of the writings of
Mrs. Barbauld, compared with the long
course of years during which she exercised
the pen, is a sufficient proof that she offered
to the public none but the happiest inspira
tions of her Muse, and not even these till
they had received all the polish of which she
judged them susceptible. To a friend who
had expressed his surprise at not finding
inserted in her volume a poem which he
had admired in manuscript, she well and
characteristically replied ; " I had rather it
should be asked of twenty pieces why they
are not here, than of one why it is." Her
representatives have in the present in
stance followed, to the best of their judge
ment, a similar principle of selection. Out
of a considerable number of pieces which
appear from their dates to have been re
jected by herself from her first publication,
they have printed only two : that agreeable
jeu tf esprit The Inventory of the Furniture
of Dr. Priestley's Study, probably omitted
in the first instance for reasons which no
longer exist; and the elegant Lines on The
Deserted Village, which are given partly
for the sake of connecting the name of
their author as a contemporary with that
of a poet who has been so long enrolled
among the classics of his country. It may
also be mentioned, that Goldsmith, whose
envy is well known, bore involuntary testi
mony to the merit of these lines, by exhi
biting no sentiment but mortification on
hearing them read with applause in a Lon
Of the pieces composed since the first
publication of Mrs. Barbauld's Poems
(which form the larger part of the present
collection); the two longest, the Epistle to
Mr. Wilberforce, and Eighteen Hundred
and Eleven, have already appeared in se
parate pamphlets ; and the first of them is
added to the last edition of the Poems :
several of the smaller ones have also been
inserted in periodical works. Corrected
copies of most of those now printed for
the first time were found among her pa
pers, evidently prepared for insertion in
the enlarged volume which she long medi
tated, but never completed.
The Poems have been disposed, with
some unimportant exceptions, in chronolo
gical order, as nearly as it could be ascer
tained. When the productions of a writer
extend over so long a period as nearly sixty
years, they become in some measure the re
cord of an age, a document for the his
torian of literature and opinions ; and they
ought to be arranged with some view to
this secondary object, by which their in
terest is enhanced. Tt is also agreeable to
trace the author's progress from youth to
age, by changes of style, or the succession
of different trains of thought. In the wri
tings of Mrs. Barbauld, however, the cha
racter of the style varies little from the
beginning to the end. It is nowhere to be
found in an unformed state ; for so relent
lessly did she destroy all her juvenile
essays, that the editor is not aware of the
existence of a single piece which can be
ascertained to have been composed before
the age of twenty : the printed ones are
all, it is believed, of a considerably later
date. Her earliest pieces too, as well as her
more recent ones, exhibit in their imagery
and allusions the fruits of extensive and
varied reading. In youth, the power of
her imagination was counterbalanced by
the activity of her intellect, which exer
cised itself in rapid, but not unprofitable
excursions over almost every field of know
ledge. In age, when this activity abated,
imagination appeared to exert over her an
The quality which principally distin
guishes the later productions of her Muse
is pathos. In some tempers sensibility ap
pears an instinct, while in others it is the
gradual result of principle and reflection,
of the events and the experience of life. It
was certainly so in that of Mrs. Barbauld.
Her Epistle to Dr. Enfield, on his revisit
ing Warrington in 1789, is the first of her
poems which indicates deep feeling ; and
this was dictated by the tender recollections
of departed youth, and the memory of an
honoured parent, the first near connexion
from whom she had been parted by death.
Her other pathetic pieces, The Lines on the
Death of Mrs. Martineau the Dirge the
Thought on Death the Lines on the Ill
ness of the late King those on the Death
of the Princess Charlotte the Octogenary
Reflections, and a few others, may easily
be traced either to particular afflictive in
cidents of her life, ,or to reflections natu
rally arising under the influence of decli
ning years and domestic solitude. By the
reader of taste and sentiment these will
not be esteemed the least interesting por
tion of the collection.
The second volume of the present work
contains a selection from the private cor
respondence of Mrs. Barbauld, her entire
share of the Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose
written by herself and her brother con
jointly, her three pamphlets, and several
occasional pieces, some of them now first
given to the world, others reprinted from
periodical works where they appeared ano
It is equally true of the style of Mrs.
Barbauld in prose as in verse, that it was
never produced to the public till it had
reached its perfect stature : the early vo
lume of Miscellaneous Pieces contained
specimens in various kinds which she
never surpassed. In the allegory of the
Hill of Science she tried her strength with
Addison, and sustained no defeat. The
Essay on Romances is a professed imitation
of the style of Dr. Johnson ; and it was al
lowed by that celebrated rhetorician him-
self, to be the best that was ever attempt
ed ; because it reflected the colour of his
thoughts, no less than the turn of his ex
pressions. Here it appears as a foil to the
" easy and inimitable graces " of her own
natural manner. Of the Essay against In
consistency in our Expectations, the editor
feels it superfluous to speak : it has long
been acknowledged to stand at the head of
Of a different character are her Thoughts
on the Devotional Taste, on Sects and
on Establishments. This piece betrays,
it must be confessed, that propensity to
tread on dangerous ground which some
times appears an instinct of genius. It
recommends a spirit of devotion which
yet she is obliged to allow to be in some
measure incompatible with an enlightened
and philosophical theology. That part,
however, which delineates the character
istics of sects and of establishments, and
balances their respective advantages and
inconveniences, evinces great acuteness
and a rare impartiality ; and the whole must
be admired as eloquence, if it cannot be
altogether acquiesced in as reason.
Amongst her later pieces, two which
first appeared in the Monthly Magazine,
the Essay on Education, and that on Pre
judice, which may be regarded as in some
measure a sequel to it, have justly earned
for her not merely applause, but gratitude.
The first served to calm the apprehensions
of many an anxious parent, who had risen
from the examination of the numerous con
flicting systems of education then fashion
able, alarmed rather than edified, by
pointing out, that the success of the great
and familiar process of fitting a human
creature to bear well his part in life, de
pended not for its success on elaborate
schemes of artificial management, such as
few have leisure to attend to or power to
execute ; but, most of all, on circumstances
which no parent can controul ; and next,
on examples such as discreet and virtuous
parents in any situation of life are enabled
to give, and give indeed unconsciously.
The second essay encourages the parent to
use without scruple the power of influen
cing the opinions of his child which God
and nature have put into his hands, and
not to believe on the word of certain spe-
culatists, that it is either necessary or de
sirable to abstain from imbuing his off
spring with what he conceives to be im
portant and salutary truths, from the dread
of instilling prejudices and crippling the
efforts of his infant reason. In these ex
cellent productions we are uncertain which
most to admire, the sagacious and discri
minating intellect, the practical good sense
and acute observation of life which sug
gest the remarks, or the spirited and ex-
pressive style which rouses attention, strikes
the imagination, and carries them with con
viction to the heart.
It appears from a letter of Mrs. Bar-
bauld's, that she early read with great de
light, though in an English translation, the
Dialogues of Lucian. Perhaps we may
remotely trace to the impression thus pro
duced, the origin of her witty and inge
nious Dialogue between Madame Cosmo-
gunia and a philosophical Inquirer of the
Eighteenth Century, as well as of her Dia
logue in the Shades. The allegorical or enig
matical style, however, in which the first
of these pieces is composed, seemed pecu
liarly adapted to her genius ; and the skill
and elegance with which she composed in
this difficult manner is further attested
by her Letter of John Bull, by the Four
Sisters, (published in Evenings at Home,) by
many entertaining Riddles, a few of which
are now included among her Poems, and
VOL. i. f
by several little fancy pieces scattered
among her familiar letters. Even her con
versation was often enlivened with these
graceful sports of wit and imagination.
Of the three Pamphlets now republished
among her Prose Works, the editor has only
to observe, that though composed on par
ticular occasions, these pieces were not
formed to pass away with those occasions :
they treat of subjects permanently inter
esting to the champion of religious liberty,
to the conscientious patriot, and to the Chris
tian worshiper, and they so treat of them,
that while English eloquence is made a
study, while English literature is not for
gotten, their praise shall live, their memory
It only remains to speak of her familiar
letters. These were certainly never intend
ed by herself to meet the public eye. She
kept no copies of them ; and it is solely by
the indulgence of her correspondents or
their representatives, an indulgence for
which she here desires to offer her grateful
acknowledgements, that the editor has
been enabled to give them to the world.
She flatters herself that their publication
will not be considered as a trespass either
against the living or the dead : some of
them, particularly a considerable propor
tion of those addressed to Dr. Aikin,
seemed to claim insertion as biographical
records ; and those written during her re
sidence in France, in the years 1785 and
1786, appeared no less curious and valua
ble at the present day for the matter they
contain, than entertaining and agreeable
from the vivacity with which they are writ
ten. But it was impossible not to be in
fluenced also by the desire of thus commu
nicating to those admirers of Mrs. Bar-
bauld's genius who did not enjoy the ad
vantage of her personal acquaintance, a
just idea of the pointed and elegant remark,
the sportive and lambent wit, the affec
tionate spirit of sympathy, and the cour
teous expression of esteem and benevo
lence, which united to form at once the
graces of her epistolary style and the in
expressible charm of her conversation.
Mrs. Barbauld composed at different pe
riods a considerable number of miscella
neous pieces for the instruction and amuse
ment of young persons, especially females,
which will appear in a separate form about
the close of the present year.
Hampstead, June 20th, 1825.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1769.
A manly race
Of unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave ;
Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard
To hold a generous undiminished state;
Too much in vain !
HAIL, generous Corsica ! unconquered isle !
The fort of freedom ; that amidst the waves
Stands like a rock of adamant, and dares
The wildest fury of the beating storm.
And are there yet, in this late sickly age,
Unkindly to the towering growths of virtue,
Such bold exalted spirits ? Men whose deeds,
To the bright annals of old Greece opposed,
Would throw in shades her yet unrivaled name,
And dim the lustre of her fairest page !
And glows the flame of Liberty so strong
In this lone speck of earth ! this spot obscure,
Shaggy with woods, and crusted o'er with rock,
By slaves surrounded, and by slaves oppressed !
What then should Britons feel? should they not catch
The warm contagion of heroic ardour,
And kindle at a fire so like their own ?
Such were the working thoughts which swelled the breast
Of generous Boswel ; when with nobler aim
And views beyond the narrow beaten track
By trivial fancy trod, he turned his course
From polished Gallia's soft delicious vales,
From the grey reliques of imperial Rome,
From her long galleries of laureled stone,
Her chiseled heroes and her marble gods,
Whose dumb majestic pomp yet awes the world,
To animated forms of patriot zeal ;
Warm in the living majesty of virtue;
Elate with fearless spirit ; firm ; resolved ;
By fortune nor subdued, nor awed by power.
How raptured fancy burns, while warm in thought
1 trace the pictured landscape ; while I kiss
With pilgrim lips devout the sacred soil
Stained with the blood of heroes. Cyrnus, hail !
Hail to thy rocky, deep indented shores,
And pointed cliffs, which hear the chafing deep
Incessant foaming round their shaggy sides.
Hail to thy winding bays, thy sheltering ports
And ample harbours, which inviting stretch
Their hospitable arms to every sail :
Thy numerous streams, that bursting from the cliffs
Down the steep channeled rock impetuous pour
With grateful murmur : on the fearful edge
Of the rude precipice, thy hamlets brown
And straw-roofed cots, which from the level vale
Scarce seen, amongst the craggy hanging cliffs
Seem like an eagle's nest aerial built.
Thy swelling mountains, brown with solemn shade
Of various trees, that wave their giant arms
O'er the rough sons of freedom ; lofty pines,
And hardy fir, and ilex ever green,
And spreading chesnut, with each humbler plant,
And shrub of fragrant leaf, that clothes their sides
With living verdure ; whence the clustering bee
Extracts her golden dews : the shining box,
And sweet-leaved myrtle, aromatic thyme,
The prickly juniper, and the green leaf
Which feeds the spinning worm ; while glowing bright
Beneath the various foliage, wildly spreads
The arbutus, and rears his scarlet fruit
Luxuriant, mantling o'er the craggy steeps ;
And thy own native laurel crowns the scene.
Hail to thy savage forests, awful, deep ;
Thy tangled thickets, and thy crowded woods,
The haunt of herds untamed ; which sullen bound
From rock to rock with fierce unsocial air,
And wilder gaze, as conscious of the power
That loves to reign amid the lonely scenes
Of unquelled nature : precipices huge,
And tumbling torrents ; trackless deserts, plains
Fenced in with guardian rocks, whose quarries teem
With shining steel, that to the cultured fields
And sunny hills which wave with bearded grain
Defends their homely produce. Liberty,
The mountain Goddess, loves to range at large
Amid such scenes, and on the iron soil
Prints her majestic step. For these she scorns
The green enameled vales, the velvet lap .
Of smooth savannahs, where the pillowed head
Of Luxury reposes ; balmy gales,
And bowers that breathe of bliss. For these, when first
This isle emerging like a beauteous gem
From the dark bosom of the Tyrrhene main
Reared its fair front, she marked it for her own,
And with her spirit warmed. Her genuine sons,
A broken remnant, from the generous stock
Of ancient Greece, from Sparta's sad remains,
True to their high descent, preserved unquenched
The sacred fire through many a barbarous age :
Whom, nor the iron rod of cruel Carthage,
Nor the dread sceptre of imperial Rome,
Nor bloody Goth, nor grisly Saracen,
Nor the long galling yoke of proud Liguria,
Could crush into subjection. Still unquelled
They rose superior, bursting from their chains,
And claimed man's dearest birthright, liberty :
And long, through many a hard unequal strife
Maintained the glorious conflict ; long withstood,
With single arm, the whole collected force
Of haughty Genoa, and ambitious Gaul.
And shall withstand it Trust the faithful Muse !
It is not in the force of mortal arm,
Scarcely in fate, to bind the struggling soul
That galled by wanton power, indignant swells
Against oppression ; breathing great revenge,
Careless of life, determined to be free.
And favouring Heaven approves : for see the Man,
Born to exalt his own, and give mankind
A glimpse of higher natures: just, as great;
The soul of council, and the nerve of war ;
Of high unshaken spirit, tempered sweet
With soft urbanity, and polished grace,
And attic wit, and gay unstudied smiles :
Whom Heaven in some propitious hour endowed
With every purer virtue : gave him all
That lifts the herb, or adorns the man.
Grave him the eye sublime ; the searching glance,
Keen, scanning deep, that smites the guilty soul
As with a beam from heaven ; on his brow
Serene, and spacious front, set the broad seal
Of dignity and rule ; then smiled benign
On this fair pattern of a God below,
High wrought, and breathed into his swelling breast
The large ambitious wish to save his country.
O beauteous title to immortal fame !
The man devoted to the public, stands
In the bright records of superior worth
A step below the skies : if he succeed,
The first fair lot which earth affords, is his ;
And if he falls, he falls above a throne.
When such their leader, can the brave despair ?
Freedom the cause, and Paoli the chief!
Success to your fair hopes ! A British Muse,
Though weak and powerless, lifts her fervent voice,
And breathes a prayer for your success. O could
She scatter blessings as the morn sheds dews,
To drop upon your heads ! But patient hope
Must wait the appointed hour ; secure of this,
That never with the indolent and weak
Will Freedom deign to dwell ; she must be seized
By that bold arm that wrestles for the blessing :
Tis Heaven's best prize, and must be bought with blood.
When the storm thickens, when the combat burns,
And pain and death in every horrid shape
That can appal the feeble, prowl around,
Then Virtue triumphs ; then her towering form
Dilates with kindling majesty ; her mien
Breathes a diviner spirit, and enlarged
Each spreading feature, with an ampler port
And bolder tone, exulting, rides the storm,
And joys amidst the tempest. Then she reaps
Her golden harvest ; fruits of nobler growth
And higher relish than meridian suns
Can ever ripen ; fair, heroic deeds,
And godlike action. Tis not meats and drinks,
And balmy airs, and vernal suns and showers,
That feed and ripen minds ; 'tis toil and danger ;
And wrestling with the stubborn gripe of fate ;
And war, and sharp distress, and paths obscure
And dubious. The bold swimmer joys not so
To feel the proud waves under him, and beat
With strong repelling arm the billowy surge ;
The generous courser does not so exult
To toss his floating mane against the wind,
And neigh amidst the thunder of the war,
As Virtue to oppose her swelling breast
Like a firm shield against the darts of fate.
And when her sons in that rough school have learned
To smile at danger, then the hand that raised
Shall hush the storm, and lead the shining train
Of peaceful years in bright procession on.
Then shall the shepherd's pipe, the Muse's lyre,
On Cyrnus' shores be heard : her grateful sons
With loud acclaim and hymns of cordial praise
Shall hail their high deliverers ; every name
To Virtue dear be from oblivion snatched
Arid placed among the stars : but chiefly thine,
Thine, Paoli, with sweetest sound shall dwell
On their applauding lips ; thy sacred name,
Endeared to long posterity, some Muse,
More worthy of the theme, shall consecrate
To after-ages, and applauding worlds
Shall bless the godlike man who saved his country.
* ******;*. * , ft, *
CORSICA. 1 1
So vainly wished, so fondly hoped the Muse :
Too fondly hoped. The iron fates prevail,
And Cyrnus is no more. Her generous sons,
Less vanquished than overwhelmed, by numbers crushed,
Admired, unaided fell. So strives the moon
In dubious battle with the gathering clouds,
And strikes a splendour through them ; till at length
Storms rolled on storms involve the face of heaven
And quench her struggling fires. Forgive the zeal
That, too presumptuous, whispered better things,
And read the book of destiny amiss.
Not with the purple colouring of success
Is virtue best adorned : the attempt is praise.
There yet remains a freedom, nobler far
Than kings or senates can destroy or give ;
Beyond the proud oppressor's cruel grasp
Seated secure, uninjured, undestroyed ;
Worthy of Gods :....the freedom of the mind.
TO MISS B*****.
HEALTH to my friend, and long unbroken years,
By storms unruffled and unstained by tears :
Winged by new joys may each white minute fly ;
Spring on her cheek, and sunshine in her eye :
O'er that dear breast, where love and pity springs,
May peace eternal spread her downy wings :
Sweet beaming hope her path illumine still,
And fair ideas all her fancy fill !
From glittering scenes which strike the dazzled sight
With mimic grandeur and illusive light,
From idle hurry, and tumultuous noise,
From hollow friendships, and from sickly joys,
THR INVITATION. IS
Will Delia, at the Muse's call, retire
To the pure pleasures rural scenes inspire ?
Will she from crowds and busy cities fly,
Where wreaths of curling smoke involve the sky,
To taste the grateful shade of spreading trees,
And drink the spirit of the mountain breeze ?
When winter's hand the roughening year deforms,
And hollow winds foretell approaching storms,
Then Pleasure, like a bird of passage, flies
To brighter climes, and more indulgent skies :
Cities and courts allure her sprightly train,
From the bleak mountain and the naked plain ;
And gold and gems with artificial blaze
Supply the sickly sun's declining rays.
But soon, returning on the western gale,
She seeks the bosom of the grassy vale :
There, wrapt in careless ease, attunes her lyre
To the wild warblings of the woodland quire : '
14 THE INVITATION.
The daisied turf her humble throne supplies,
And early primroses around her rise.
We '11 follow where the smiling goddess leads,
Through tangled forests or enameled meads ;
O'er pathless hills her airy form we '11 chase,
In silent glades her fairy footsteps trace :
Small pains there needs her footsteps to pursue,
She cannot fly from friendship, and from you.
Now the glad earth her frozen zone unbinds,
And o'er her bosom breathe the western winds.
Already now the snow-drop dares appear,
The first pale blossom of the unripened year ;
As Flora's breath, by some transforming power,
Had changed an icicle into a flower :
Its name and hue the scentless plant retains,
And winter lingers in its icy veins.
To these succeed the violet's dusky blue,
And each inferior flower of fainter hue ;
Till riper months the perfect year disclose,
And Flora cries exulting, See my Rose !
THE INVITATION. 15
The Muse invites ; my Delia, haste away,
And let us sweetly waste the careless day.
Here gentle summits lift their airy brow ;
Down the green slope here winds the labouring plough ;
Here, bathed by frequent showers cool vales are seen,
Clothed with fresh verdure and eternal green ;
Here smooth canals, across the extended plain,
Stretch their long arms to join the distant main * :
The sons of toil with many a weary stroke
Scoop the hard bosom of the solid rock ;
Resistless, through the stiff opposing clay,
With steady patience work their gradual way ;
Compel the genius of the unwilling flood
Through the brown horrors of the aged wood ;
* The Duke of Bridgewater's canal, which in many places crosses
the road, and in one is carried by an aqueduct over the river Irwell.
Its head is at Worsley, where it is conveyed by deep tunnels under
the coal pits, for the purpose of loading the boats.
16 THE INVITATION.
'Cross the lone waste the silver urn they pour,
And cheer the barren heath or sullen moor.
The traveller with pleasing wonder sees
The white sail gleaming through the dusky trees ;
And views the altered landscape with surprise,
And doubts the magic scenes which round him rise.
Now, like a flock of swans, above his head
Their woven wings the flying vessels spread ;
Now meeting streams in artful mazes glide,
While each unmingled pours a separate tide ;
Now through the hidden veins of earth they flow,
And visit sulphurous mines and caves below ;
The ductile streams obey the guiding hand,
And social plenty circles round the land.
But nobler praise awaits our green retreats ;
The Muses here have fixed their sacred seats.
Mark where its simple front yon mansion rears,
The nursery of men for future years !
THE INVITATION. 17
Here callow chiefs and embryo statesmen lie,
And unfledged poets short excursions try :
While Mersey's gentle current, which too long,
By fame neglected and unknown to song,
Between his rushy banks, no poet's theme,
Had crept inglorious, like a vulgar stream,
Reflects the* ascending seats with conscious pride,
And dares to emulate a classic tide.
Soft music breathes along each opening shade,
And soothes the dashing of his rough cascade.
With mystic lines his sands are figured o'er,
And circles traced upon the lettered shore.
Beneath his willows rove the' inquiring youth,
And court the fair majestic form of Truth.
Here Nature opens all her secret springs,
And heaven-born Science plumes her eagle-wings.
Too long had bigot rage, with malice swelled,
Crushed her strong pinions, and her flight withheld ;
Too long to check her ardent progress strove :
So writhes the serpent round the bird of Jove ;
VOL. i. c
18 THE INVITATION.
Hangs on her flight, restrains her towering wing,
Twists its dark folds, and points its venomed sting.
Yet still, if aught aright the Muse divine,
Her rising pride shall mock the vain design ;
On sounding pinions yet aloft shall soar,
And through the azure deep un traveled paths explore.
Where science smiles, the Muses join the train ;
And gentlest arts and purest manners reign.
Ye generous youth who love this studious shade,
How rich a field is to your hopes displayed !
Knowledge to you unlocks the classic page,
And virtue blossoms for a better age.
O golden days ! O bright unvalued hours !
What bliss did ye but know that bliss were yours !
With richest stores your glowing bosoms fraught,
Perception quick, and luxury of thought ;
The high designs that heave the labouring soul,
Panting for fame, impatient of controul ;
And fond enthusiastic thought, that feeds
On pictured tales of vast heroic deeds ;
THE INVITATION. 19
And quick affections, kindling into flame
At virtue's or their country's honoured name ;
And spirits light, to every joy in tune ;
And friendship, ardent as a summer's noon ;
And generous scorn of vice's venal tribe ;
And proud disdain of interest's sordid bribe ;
And conscious honour's quick instinctive sense ;
And smiles unforced ; and easy confidence ;
And vivid fancy ; and clear simple truth ;
And all the mental bloom of vernal youth.
How bright the scene to Fancy's eye appears,
Through the long perspective of distant years,
When this, this little group their country calls
From academic shades and learned halls,
To fix her laws, her spirit to sustain,
And light up glory through her wide domain !
Their various tastes in different arts displayed,
Like tempered harmony of light and shade,
20 THE INVITATION.
With friendly union in one mass shall blend,
And this adorn the state, and that defend.
These the sequestered shade shall cheaply please,
With learned labour and inglorious ease :
While those, impelled by some resistless force,
O'er seas and rocks shall urge their venturous course ;
Rich fruits matured by glowing suns behold,
And China's groves of vegetable gold ;
From every land the various harvest spoil,
And bear the tribute to their native soil :
But tell each land, while every toil they share,
Firm to sustain, and resolute to dare,
MAN is the nobler growth our realms supply,
And SOULS are ripened in our northern sky.
Some pensive creep along the shelly shore ;
Unfold the silky texture of a flower ;
With sharpened eyes inspect an hornet's sting,
And all the wonders of an insect's wing.
THE INVITATION. 21
Some trace with curious search the hidden cause
Of Nature's changes, and her various laws ;
Untwist her beauteous web, disrobe her charms,
And hunt her to her elemental forms :
Or prove what hidden powers in herbs are found,
To quench disease and cool the burning wound ;
With cordial drops the fainting head sustain,
Call back the flitting soul, and still the throbs of pain.
The patriot passion, this shall strongly feel,
Ardent, and glowing with undaunted zeal,
With lips of fire shall plead his country's cause,
And vindicate the majesty of laws :
This, clothed with Britain's thunder, spread alarms
Through the wide earth, and shake the pole with arms :
That, to the sounding lyre his deeds rehearse,
Enshrine his name in some immortal verse,
To long posterity his praise consign,
And pay a life of hardships by a line.
22 THE INVITATION.
While others, consecrate to higher aims.
Whose hallowed bosoms glow with purer flames,
Love in their heart, persuasion in their tongue,
With words of peace shall charm the listening throng,
Draw the dread veil that wraps the' eternal throne,
And launch our souls into the bright unknown.
Here cease my song. Such arduous themes require
A master's pencil and a poet's fire :
Unequal far such bright designs to paint,
Too weak her colours, and her lines too faint,
My drooping Muse folds up her fluttering wing,
And hides her head in the green lap of Spring.
THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.
Dulci digne inero ! HORAT.
OF strange events I sing, and portents dire ;
The wondrous themes a reverent ear require :
Though strange the tale, the faithful Muse believe,
And what she says, with pious awe receive.
T was at the solemn, silent, noon-tide hour,
When hunger rages with despotic power,
When the lean student quits his Hebrew roots
For the gross nourishment of English fruits,
And throws unfinished airy systems by
For solid pudding and substantial pie ;
24 THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.
When hungry poets the glad summons own,
And leave spare Fast to dine with Gods alone :
Our sober meal dispatched with silent haste,
The decent grace concludes the short repast :
Then, urged by thirst, we cast impatient eyes
Where deep, capacious, vast, of ample size,
The Tankard stood, replenished to the brink
With the cold beverage blue-eyed Naiads drink.
But lo ! a sudden prodigy appears,
And our chilled hearts recoil with startling fears :
Its yawning mouth disclosed the deep profound,
And in low murmurs breathed a sullen sound ;
Cold drops of dew did on the sides appear ;
No finger touched it, and no hand was near.
At length the 7 indignant vase its silence broke,
First heaved deep hollow groans, and then distinctly spoke.
" How changed the scene! for what unpardoned crimes
" Have I survived to these degenerate times ?
TEIE GROANS OF THE TANKARD. 95
" I, who was wont the festal board to grace,
" And 'midst the circle lift my honest face
" White o'er with froth, like Etna crowned with snow,
" Which mantled o'er the brown abyss below,
" Where Ceres mingled with her golden store
" The richer spoils of either India's shore,
" The dulcet reed the Western islands boast,
" And spicy fruit from Banda's fragrant coast.
" At solemn feasts the nectared draught I poured,
" And often journeyed round the ample board :
" The portly Alderman, the stately Mayor,
" And all the furry tribe my worth declare ;
" And the keen Sportsman oft, his labours done,
" To me retreating with the setting sun,
" Deep draughts imbibed, and conquered land and sea,
" And overthrew the pride of France by me.
" Let meaner clay contain the limpid wave,
" The clay for such an office nature gave ;
26 THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.
" Let China's earth, enriched with coloured stains,
" Penciled with gold, and streaked with azure veins,
" The grateful flavour of the Indian leaf,
" Or Mocho's sunburnt berry glad receive :
" The nobler metal claims more generous use,
" And mine should flow with more exalted juice.
" Did I for this my native bed resign
" In the dark bowels of Potosi's mine ?
" Was I for this with violence torn away,
" And dragged to regions of the upper day ?
" For this the rage of torturing furnace bore,
" From foreign dross to purge the brightening ore ?
" For this have I endured the fiery test,
" And was I stamped for this with Britain's lofty crest ?
" Unblest the day, and luckless was the hour,
" Which doomed me to a Presbyterian's power :
" Fated to serve the Puritanic race,
" Whose slender meal is shorter than their grace ;
IHI. GROANS OF T1IK TANKARD. 27
" Whose moping sons no jovial orgies keep ;
" Where evening brings no summons but to sleep ;
" No Carnival is even Christmas here,
" And one long Lent involves the meagre year.
" Bear me, ye powers ! to some more genial scene,
" Where on soft cushions lolls the gouty Dean,
" Or rosy Prebend with cherubic face,
" With double chin, and paunch of portly grace,
" Who lulled in downy slumbers shall agree
" To own no inspiration but from me.
" Or to some spacious mansion, Gothic, old,
" Where Comus' sprightly train their vigils hold ;
" There oft exhausted, and replenished oft,
" O let me still supply the' eternal draught,
" Till Care within the deep abyss be drowned,
" And Thought grows giddy at the vast profound !"
More had the goblet spoke ; but lo ! appears
An ancient Sibyl, furrowed o'er with years.
28 THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.
Her aspect sour and stern ungracious look
With sudden damp the conscious vessel struck :
Chilled at her touch its mouth it slowly closed,
And in long silence all its griefs reposed :
Yet still low murmurs creep along the ground,
And the air vibrates with the silver sound.
ON THE BACKWARDNESS OF THE
JEstatem increpitans seram, Zephyrosque morantes.
IN vain the sprightly sun renews his course,
Climbs up the' ascending signs and leads the day,
While long embattled clouds repel his force,
And lazy vapours choke the golden ray.
In vain the Spring proclaims the new-born year ;
No flowers beneath her lingering footsteps spring,
No rosy garland binds her flowing hair,
And in her train no feathered warblers sing ;
Her opening breast is stained with frequent showers,
Her streaming tresses bathed in chilling dews ;
And sad before her move the pensive Hours,
Whose flagging wings no breathing sweets diffuse.
SO ON THE BACKWARDNESS OF SPRING.
Like some lone pilgrim clad in mournful weed,
Whose wounded bosom drinks her falling tears,
On whose pale cheek relentless sorrows feed,
Whose dreary way no sprightly carol cheers.
Not thus she breathed on Arno's purple shore,
And called the Tuscan Muses to her bowers ;
Not this the robe in Enna's vale she wore,
When Ceres' daughter filled her lap with flowers.
Clouds behind clouds in long succession rise,
And heavy snows oppress the springing green ;
The dazzling waste fatigues the aching eyes,
And Fancy droops beneath the' unvaried scene.
Indulgent Nature, loose this frozen zone ;
Through opening skies let genial sunbeams play ;
Dissolving snows shall their glad impulse own,
And melt upon the bosom of the May.
VERSES WRITTEN IN AN ALCOVE.
Jam Cytherea chores ducit Venus, immincnte Luna.
Now the moonbeam's trembling lustre
Silvers o'er the dewy green,
And in soft and shadowy colours
Sweetly paints the chequered scene.
Here between the opening branches
Streams a flood of softened light ;
There the thick and twisted foliage
Spreads the browner gloom of night.
32 VERSES WRITTEN IN AN ALCOVE.
This is sure the haunt of fairies,
In yon cool alcove they play ;
Care can never cross the threshold,
Care was only made for day. %
Far from hence be noisy Clamour,
Sick Disgust and anxious Fear ;
Pining Grief and wasting Anguish
Never keep their vigils here.
Tell no tales of sheeted spectres
Rising from the quiet tomfy ;
Fairer forms this cell shall visit,
Brighter visions gild the gloom.
Choral songs and sprightly voices
Echo from her cell shall call ;
Sweeter, sweeter than the murmur
Of the distant waterfall.
VERSES WRITTEN IN AN ALCO\ 1
Every ruder gust of passion
Lulled with music dies away,
Till within the charmed bosom
None but soft affections play :
Soft as when the evening breezes
Gently stir the poplar grove ;
Brighter than the smile of Summer,
Sweeter than the breath of Love.
Thee the* enchanted Muse shall follow,
Lissy ! to the rustic cell ;
And each careless note repeating,
Tune them to her charming shell.
Not the Muse who wreathed with laurel
Solemn stalks with tragic gait,
And in clear and lofty vision
Sees the future births of fate ;
VOL. I. D
34 VERSES WRITTEN IN AN ALCOVE.
Not the maid who crowned with cypress
Sweeps along in sceptred pall,
And in sad and solemn accents
Mourns the crested hero's fall ;
But that other smiling sister,
With the blue and laughing eye,
Singing, in a lighter measure,
Strains of woodland harmony :
All unknown to fame and glory,
Easy, blithe and debonair,
Crowned with flowers, her careless tresses
Loosely floating on the air.
Then when next the star of evening
Softly sheds the silent dew,
Let me in this rustic temple,
Lissy ! meet the Muse and you.
THE MOUSE'S PETITION*.
O HEAR a pensive prisoner's prayer,
For liberty that sighs ;
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the wretch's cries!
For here forlorn and sad I sit,
Within the wiry grate ;
And tremble at the' approaching morn,
Which brings impending fate.
* Found in the trap where he had been confined all night by
Dr. Priestley, for the sake of making experiments with different
kinds of air.
56 THE MOUSE'S PETITION.
If e'er thy breast with freedom glowed,
And spurned a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-borri mouse detain !
O do not stain with guiltless blood
Thy hospitable hearth !
Nor triumph that thy wiles betrayed
A prize so little worth.
The scattered gleanings of a feast
My frugal meals supply ;
But if thine unrelenting heart
That slender boon deny,
The cheerful light, the vital air,
Are blessings widely given ;
Let Nature's commoners enjoy
The common gifts of Heaven.
THE MOUSE'S PETITION. 37
The well-taught philosophic mind
To all compassion gives ;
Casts round the world an equal eye,
And feels for all that lives.
If mind, as ancient sages taught,
A never dying flame,
Still shifts through matter's varying forms,
In every form the same ;
Beware, lest in the worm you crush,
A brother's soul you find ;
And tremble lest thy luckless hand
Dislodge a kindred mind.
Or, if this transient gleam of day
Be all of life we share,
Let pity plead within thy breast
That little all to spare.
38 THE MOUSE'S PETITION.
So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crowned ;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.
So when destruction lurks unseen,
Which men, like mice, may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare.
TO MRS. ?*#***#**,
WITH SOME DRAWINGS OF BIRDS AND INSECTS.
The kindred arts to please tliee shall conspire,
One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
AMANDA bids ; at her command again
I seize the pencil, or resume the pen ;
No other call my willing hand requires,
And Friendship, better than a Muse inspires.
Painting and Poetry are near allied ;
The kindred arts two sister Muses guide :
40 TO MRS. p******** ?
This charms the eye, that steals upon the ear ;
There sounds are tuned, and colours blended here :
This with a silent touch enchants our eyes,
And bids a gayer, brighter world arise :
That, less allied to sense, with deeper art
Can pierce the close recesses of the heart \
By well-set syllables, and potent sound,
Can rouse, can chill the breast, can soothe, can wound ;
To life adds motion, and to beauty soul,
And breathes a spirit through the finished whole :
Each perfects each, in friendly union joined ;
This gives Amanda's form, and that her mind .
But humbler themes my artless hand requires,
Nor higher than the feathered tribe aspires.
Yet who the various nations can declare
That plough with busy wing the peopled air ?
These cleave the crumbling bark for insect food ;
Those dip their crooked beak in kindred blood :
WITH DRAWINGS. 41
Some haunt the rushy moor, the lonely woods ;
Some bathe their silver plumage in the floods ;
Some fly to man, his household gods implore,
And gather round his hospitable door,
Wait the known call, and find protection there
From all the lesser tyrants of the air.
The tawny Eagle seats his callow brood
High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood.
On Snowdon's rocks, or Orkney's wide domain,
Whose beetling cliffs o'erhang the Western main,
The royal bird his lonely kingdom forms
Amidst the gathering clouds and sullen storms ;
Through the wide waste of air he darts his sight,
And holds his sounding pinions poised for flight ;
With cruel eye premeditates the war,
And marks his destined victim from afar :
Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,
His pinions like the rush of waters sound ;
42 TO MRS. p********,
The fairest of the fold he bears away,
And to his nest compels the struggling prey ;
He scorns the game by meaner hunters tore,
And dips his talons in no vulgar gore.
With lovelier pomp along the grassy plain
The Silver Pheasant draws his shining train.
On Asia's myrtle shores, by Phasis' stream,
He spreads his plumage to the sunny gleam ;
But when the wiry net his flight confines,
He lowers his purple crest, and inly pines :
The beauteous captive hangs his ruffled wing,
Opprest by bondage and our chilly spring.
To claim the verse unnumbered tribes appear,
That swell the music of the vernal year :
Seized with the spirit of the kindly May,
They sleek the glossy wing, and tune the lay ;
With emulative strife the notes prolong,
And pour out all their little souls in song.
WITH DRAWINGS. 43
When winter bites upon the naked plain,
Nor food nor shelter in the groves remain,
By instinct led, a firm united band,
As marshaled by some skillful general's hand.
The congregated nations wing their way
In dusky columns o'er the trackless sea ;
In clouds unnumbered annual hover o'er
The craggy Bass, or Kilda's utmost shore ;
Thence spread their sails to meet the southern wind,
And leave the gathering tempest far behind ;
Pursue the circling sun's indulgent ray,
Course the swift seasons, and o'ertake the day.
Not so the insect race, ordained to keep
The lazy sabbath of a half-year's sleep :
Entombed beneath the filmy web they lie,
And wait the influence of a kinder sky.
When vernal sunbeams pierce their dark retreat,
The heaving tomb distends with vital heat ;
44 TO MRS. p********,
The full-formed brood, impatient of their cell,
Start from their trance, and burst their silken shell ;
Trembling awhile they stand, and scarcely dare
To launch at once upon the untried air :
At length assured, they catch the favouring gale,
And leave their sordid spoils, and high in ether sail.
So when brave Tancred struck the conscious rind,
He found a nymph in every trunk confined ;
The forest labours with convulsive throes,
The bursting trees the lovely births disclose,
And a gay troop of damsels round him stood,
Where late was rugged bark and lifeless wood.
Lo, the bright train their radiant wings unfold !
With silver fringed, and freckled o'er with gold :
On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower
They idly fluttering live their little hour ;
Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,
All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.
Not so the child of sorrow, wretched Man,
His course with toil concludes, with pain began ;
WITH DRAWINGS. 45
That his high destiny he might discern,
And in misfortune's school this lesson learn....
Pleasure 's the portion of the inferior kind ;
But glory, virtue, Heaven for Man designed.
What atom-forms of insect life appear !
And who can follow Nature's pencil here ?
Their wings with azure, green, and purple glossed,
Studded with coloured eyes, with gems embossed,
Inlaid with pearl, and marked with various stains
Of lively crimson through their dusky veins.
Some shoot like living stars athwart the night,
And scatter from their wings a vivid light,
To guide the Indian to his tawny loves,
As through the woods with cautious step he moves.
See the proud giant of the beetle race ;
What shining arms his polished limbs enchase !
Like some stern warrior formidably bright,
His steely sides reflect a gleaming light :
40 TO MRS. p********, WITH DRAWINGS.
On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,
And high in air the branching antlers bears :
O'er many an inch extends his wide domain,
And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.
Thy friend thus strives to cheat the lonely hour,
With song or paint, an insect or a flower :
Yet if Amanda praise the flowing line,
And bend delighted o'er the gay design,
I envy not nor emulate the fame
Or of the painter's or the poet's name :
Could I to both with equal claim pretend,
Yet far, far dearer were the name of Friend.
O BORN to soothe distress and lighten care,
Lively as soft, and innocent as fair !
Blest with that sweet simplicity of thought
So rarely found, and never to be taught ;
Of winning speech, endearing, artless, kind,
The loveliest pattern of a female mind ;
Like some fair spirit from the realms of rest,
With all her native heaven within her breast ;
So pure, so good, she scarce can guess at sin,
But thinks the world without like that within ;
Such melting tenderness, so fond to bless,
Her charity almost becomes excess.
Wealth may be courted, Wisdom be revered,
And Beauty praised, and brutal Strength be feared
But Goodness only can affection move,
And love must owe its origin to love.
Illam quicquid agit, quoquo vestigia flectit,
Componit furtim, subsequiturque decor.
OF gentle manners, and of taste refined;
With all the graces of a polished mind ;
Clear sense and truth still shone in all she spoke,
And from her lips no idle sentence broke.
Each nicer elegance of art she knew ;
Correctly fair, and regularly true.
Her ready fingers plied with equal skill
The pencil's task, the needle, or the quill ;
So poised her feelings, so composed her soul,
So subject all to reason's calm controul/
< IIARACTERS. I'
One only passion, strong and unconfined,
Disturbed the balance of her even mind :
One passion ruled despotic in her breast,
In every word, and look, and thought confest :
But that was love ; and love delights to bless
The generous transports of a fond excess.
HAPPY old man! who stretched beneath the shade
Of large grown trees, or in the rustic porch
With woodbine canopied, where linger yet
The hospitable virtues, calm enjoy 'st
Nature s best blessings all ; a healthy age
Ruddy and vigorous, native cheerfulness,
Plain-hearted friendship, simple piety,
The rural manners and the rural joys
Friendly to life. O rude of speech, yet rich
In genuine worth, not unobserved shall pass
VOL. I. E
Thy bashful virtues ! for the Muse shall mark,
Detect thy charities, and call to light
Thy secret deeds of mercy ; while the poor,
The desolate and friendless, at thy gate,
A numerous family, with better praise
Shall hallow in their hearts thy spotless name.
SUCH were the dames of old heroic days,
Which faithful story yet delights to praise ;
Who, great in useful works, hung o'er the loom,
The mighty mothers of immortal Rome :
Obscure, in sober dignity retired,
They more deserved than sought to be admired ;
The household virtues o'er their honoured head
Their simple grace and modest lustre shed :
Chaste their attire, their feet unused to roam,
They loved the sacred threshold of their home ;
Yet true to glory, fanned the generous flame,
Bade lovers, brothers, sons aspire to fame ;
In the young bosom cherished Virtue's seed,
The secret springs of many a godlike deed.
So the fair stream in some sequestered glade
With lowly state glides silent through the shade ;
Yet by the smiling meads her urn is blest,
With freshest flowers her rising banks are drest,
And groves of laurel, by her sweetness fed,
High o'er the forest lift their verdant head.
Is there whom genius and whom taste adorn
With rare but happy union ; in whose breast
Calm, philosophic, thoughtful, largely fraught
With stores of various knowledge, dwell the powers
That trace out secret causes, and unveil
Great Nature's awful face ? Is there whose hours
Of still domestic leisure breathe the soul
Of friendship, peace, and elegant delight
Beneath poetic shades, where leads the Muse
Through walks of fragrance, and the fairy groves
Where young ideas blossom ? Is there one
Whose tender hand, lenient of human woes,
Wards off the dart of death, and smooths the couch
Of torturing anguish ? On so dear a name
May blessings dwell, honour, and cordial praise ;
Nor need he be a brother to be loved.
CHAMPION of Truth, alike through Nature's field,
And where in sacred leaves she shines reveaFd,
Alike in both, eccentric, piercing, bold,
Like his own lightnings, which no chains can hold ;
Neglecting caution, and disdaining art,
He seeks no armour for a naked heart :
CHAi; u i MKS. i:;
Pursue the track thy ardent genius shows,
That like the sun illumines where it goes ;
Travel the various map of Science o'er,
Record past wonders, and discover more ;
Pour thy free spirit o'er the breathing page,
And wake the virtue of a careless age.
But O forgive, if touched with fond regret
Fancy recalls the scenes she can't forget,
Recalls the vacant smile, the social hours
Which charmed us once, for once those scenes were ours !
And while thy praises through wide realms extend,
We sit in shades, and mourn the absent friend.
So where the' impetuous river sweeps the plain,
Itself a sea, and rushes to the main ;
While its firm banks repel conflicting tides,
And stately on its breast the vessel glides ;
Admiring much the shepherd stands to gaze,
Awe-struck, and mingling wonder with his praise :
Yet more he loves its winding path to trace
Through beds of flowers, and Nature's rural face,
While yet a stream the silent vale it cheered,
By many a recollected scene endeared,
Where trembling first beneath the poplar shade
He tuned his pipe, to suit the wild cascade.
AN INVENTORY OF THE FURNITURE
IN DR. PRIESTLEY'S STUDY.
A MAP of every country known,
With not a foot of land his own.
A list of folks that kicked a dust
On this poor globe, from Ptol. the First ;
He hopes, indeed it is but fair,
Some day to get a corner there.
A group of all the British kings,
Fair emblem ! on a packthread swings.
The Fathers, ranged in goodly row,
A decent, venerable show,
Writ a great while ago, they tell us,
And many an inch o'ertop their fellows.
56 AN INVENTORY OF THE FURNITURE
A Juvenal to hunt for mottos ;
And Ovid's tales of nymphs and grottos.
The meek- robed lawyers, all in white ;
Pure as the lamb, at least, to sight.
A shelf of bottles, jar and phial,
By which the rogues he can defy all,
All filled with lightning keen and genuine,
And many a little imp he '11 pen you in ;
Which, like Le Sage's sprite, let out,
Among the neighbours makes a rout ;
Brings down the lightning on their houses,
And kills their geese, and frights their spouses.
A rare thermometer, by which
He settles, to the nicest pitch,
The just degrees of heat, to raise
Sermons, or politics, or plays.
Papers and books, a strange mixed olio,
From shilling touch to pompous folio ;
Answer, remark, reply, rejoinder,
Fresh from the mint, all stamped and coined here ;
IN DR. IMU1>TLEY'S STUDY. 57
Like new-made glass, set by to cool,
Before it bears the workman's tool.
A blotted proof-sheet, wet from Bowling.
" How can a man his anger hold in ? "
Forgotten rimes, and college themes,
Worm-eaten plans, and embryo schemes ;
A mass of heterogeneous matter,
A chaos dark, nor land nor water ;
New books, like new-born infants, stand,
'Waiting the printer's clothing hand ;
Others, a motley ragged brood,
Their limbs imfashioned all, and rude,
Like Cadmus' half-formed men appear;
One rears a helm, one lifts a spear,
And feet were lopped and fingers torn
Before their fellow limbs were born j
A leg began to kick and sprawl
Before the head was seen at all,
Which quiet as a mushroom lay
Till crumbling hillocks gave it way ;
58 FURNITURE IN DR. PRIESTLEY'S STUDY.
And all, like controversial writing,
Were born with teeth, and sprung up fighting.
" But what is this," I hear you cry,
" Which saucily provokes my eye?"
A thing unknown, without a name,
Born of the air and doomed to flame.
ON A LADY'S WRITING.
I ""':::' :U-
HER even lines her steady temper show,
Neat as her dress, and polished as her brow j
Strong as her judgement, easy as her air;
Correct though free, and regular though fair :
And the same graces o'er her pen preside,
That form her manners and her footsteps guide.
ON THE DESERTED VILLAGE.
IN vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains,
She moves our envy who so well complains ;
In vain has proud oppression laid her low,
So sweet a garland on her faded brow.
Now, Auburn, now absolve impartial fate,
Which if it made thee wretched, makes thee great :
So, unobserved, some humble plant may bloom,
Till crushed it fills the air with sweet perfume ;
So, had thy swains in ease and plenty slept,
Thy Poet had not sung, nor Britain wept.
Nor let Britannia mourn her drooping bay,
Unhonoured genius, and her swift decay ;
O Patron of the poor ! it cannot be,
While one one Poet yet remains like thee !
Nor can the Muse desert our favoured isle,
Till thou desert the Muse and scorn her smile.
HYMN TO CONTENT.
natura heat is
Omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti.
O THOU, the Nymph with placid eye !
O seldom found, yet ever nigh !
Receive my temperate vow :
Not all the storms that shake the pole
Can e'er disturb thy halcyon soul,
And smooth unaltered brow.
O come, in simple vest arrayed,
With all thy sober cheer displayed,
To bless my longing sight ;
Thy mien composed, thy even pace,
Thy meek regard, thy matron grace,
And chaste subdued delight.
62 HYMN TO CONTENT.
No more by varying passions beat,
O gently guide my pilgrim feet
To find thy hermit cell ;
Where in some pure and equal sky,
Beneath thy soft indulgent eye,
The modest virtues dwell.
Simplicity in Attic vest,
And Innocence with candid breast,
And clear undaunted eye ;
And Hope, who points to distant years,
Fair opening through this vale of tears
A vista to the sky.
There Health, through whose calm bosom glide
The temperate joys in even tide,
That rarely ebb or flow ;
And Patience there, thy sister meek,
Presents her mild unvarying cheek
To meet the offered blow.
HYMN TO (OMKNT. 63
Her influence taught the Phrygian sage
A tyrant master's wanton rage
With settled smiles to meet :
Inured to toil and bitter bread,
He bowed his meek submitted head,
And kissed thy sainted feet.
But thou, O Nymph retired and coy !
In what brown hamlet dost thou joy
To tell thy tender tale ?
The lowliest children of the ground,
Moss-rose, and violet blossom round,
And lily of the vale.
say what soft propitious hour
1 best may choose to hail thy power,
And court thy gentle sway ?
When Autumn, friendly to the Muse,
Shall thy own modest tints diffuse,
And shed thy milder day.
(U HYMN TO CONTENT.
When Eve, her dewy star beneath,
Thy balmy spirit loves to breathe,
And every storm is laid ;
If such an hour was e'er thy choice,
Oft let me hear thy soothing voice
Low whispering through the shade.
Dona praesentis rape laetus horse, ac
O WISDOM ! if thy soft controul
Can soothe the sickness of the soul,
Can bid the warring passions cease,
And breathe the calm of tender peace ;
Wisdom ! I bless thy gentle sway,
And ever, ever will obey.
But if thou com'st with frown austere,
To nurse the brood of Care and Fear ;
To bid our sweetest passions die,
And leave us in their room a sigh ;
66 TO WISDOM.
O if thine aspect stern have power
To wither each poor transient flower
That cheers this pilgrimage of woe,
And dry the springs whence hope should flow
Wisdom ! thine empire I disclaim,
Thou empty boast of pompous name !
In gloomy shade of cloisters dwell,
But never haunt my cheerful ce.ll.
Hail to Pleasure's frolic train !
Hail to Fancy's golden reign!
Festive Mirth, and Laughter wild,
Free and sportful as the child !
Hope with eager sparkling eyes,
And easy faith, and fond surprise !
Let these, in fairy colours drest,
For ever share my careless breast :
Then, though wise I may not be,
The wise themselves shall envy me.
THE ORIGIN OF SONG-WRITING
II lie indocto primum se exercuit arcu;
Hei mihi quam doctas nunc habet ille manus !
WHEN Cupid, wanton boy ! was young,
His wings unfledged, and rude his tongue,
He loitered in Arcadian bowers,
And hid his bow in wreaths of flowers ;
Or pierced some fond unguarded heart
With now and then a random dart :
But heroes scorned the idle boy,
And .love was but a shepherd's toy.
* Addressed to the Author of Essays on Song- Writing.
68 THE ORIGIN OF SONG-WRITING.
When Venus, vexed to see her child
Amid the forests thus run wild,
Would point him out some nobler game,
Gods, and godlike men to tame.
She seized the boy's reluctant hand,
And led him to the virgin band,
Where the sister Muses round
Swell the deep majestic sound ;
And in- solemn strains unite,
Breathing chaste, severe delight ;
Songs of chiefs and heroes old,
In unsubmitting virtue bold :
Of even valour's temperate heat,
And toils, to stubborn patience sweet ;
Of nodding plumes and burnished arms,
And glory's bright terrific charms.
The potent sounds like lightning dart
Resistless through the glowing heart ;
THE ORIGIN OF SONG-WRITING. 69
Of power to lift the fixed soul
High o'er Fortune's proud controul ;
Kindling deep, prophetic musing ;
Love of beauteous death infusing ;
Scorn, and unconquerable hate
Of tyrant pride's unhallowed state.
The boy abashed, and half afraid,
Beheld each chaste immortal maid :
Pallas spread her Egis there ;
Mars stood by with threatening air;
And stern Diana's icy look
With sudden chill his bosom struck.
" Daughters of Jove, receive the child,"
The queen of beauty said, and smiled ;
Her rosy breath perfumed the air,
And scattered sweet contagion there ;
Relenting Nature learned to languish,
And sickened with delightful anguish :
70 THE ORIGIN OF SONG-WRITING.
" Receive him, artless yet and young ;
Refine his air, and smooth his tongue :
Conduct him through your favourite bowers,
Enriched with fair perennial flowers,
To solemn shades and springs that lie
Remote from each unhallowed eye ;
Teach him to spell those mystic names
That kindle bright immortal flames ;
And guide his young unpractised feet
To reach coy Learning's lofty seat.''
Ah, luckless hour ! mistaken maids,
When Cupid sought the Muse's shades !
Of their sweetest notes beguiled,
By the sly insidious child ;
Now of power his darts are found
Twice ten thousand times to wound.
Now no more the slackened strings
Breathe of high immortal things,
II IK ORIGIN OF SONG- WRITING. 71
But Cupid tunes the Muse's lyre
To languid notes of soft desire.
In every clime, in every tongue,
Tis love inspires the poet's song.
Hence Sappho's soft infectious page ;
Monimia's woe ; Othello's rage ;
Abandoned Dido's fruitless prayer ;
And Eloisa's long despair ;
The garland, blest with many a vow,
For haughty Sacharissa's brow ;
And, washed with tears, the mournful verae
That Petrarch laid on Laura's herse.
But more than all the sister quire,
Music confessed the pleasing fire. v
Here sovereign Cupid reigned alone ;
Music and song were all his own.
Sweet, as in old Arcadian plains,
The British pipe has caught the strains :
72 THE ORIGIN OF SONG-WRITING.
And where the Tweed's pure current glides,
Or Liffy rolls her limpid tides ;
Or Thames his oozy waters leads
Through rural bowers or yellow meads,
With many an old romantic tale
Has cheered the lone sequestered vale ;
With many a sweet and tender lay
Deceived the tiresome summer day.
Tis yours to cull with happy art
Each meaning verse that speaks the heart ;
And fair arrayed, in order meet,
To lay the wreath at Beauty's feet.
COME here, fond youth, whoe'er thou be,
That boasts to love as well as me ;
And if thy breast have felt so wide a wound,
Come hither, and thy flame approve ;
I '11 teach thee what it is to love,
And by what marks true passion may be found.
It is to be all bathed in tears ;
To live upon a smile for years ;
To lie whole ages at a beauty's feet :
To kneel, to languish, and implore ;
And still, though she disdain, adore :
It is to do all this, and think thy sufferings sweet.
It is to gaze Upon her eyes
With eager joy and fond surprise ;
Yet tempered with such chaste and awful fear
As wretches feel who wait their doom ;
Nor must one ruder thought presume,
Though but in whispers breathed, to meet her ear,
It is to hope, though hope were lost ;
Though heaven and earth thy passion crossed ;
Though she were bright as sainted queens above,
And thou the least and meanest swain
That folds his flock upon the plain,
Yet if thou darest not hope, thou dost not love.
It is to quench thy joy in tears ;
To nurse strange doubts and groundless fears :
If pangs of jealousy thou hast not proved,
Though she were fonder and more true
Than* any nymph old poets drew,
O never dream again that thou hast loved !
If when the darling maid is gone,
Thou dost not seek to be alone,
Wrapt in a pleasing trance of tender woe,
And muse, and fold thy languid arms,
Feeding thy fancy on her charms,
Thou dost not love, for love is nourished so.
If any hopes thy bosom share
But those which Love has planted there,
Or any cares but his thy breast enthrall,-
Thou never yet his power hast known ;
Love sits on a despotic throne,
And reigns a tyrant, if he reigns at all.
Now if thou art so lost a thing,
Here all thy tender sorrows bring,
And prove whose patience longest can endure :
We '11 strive whose fancy shall be lost
In dreams of fondest passion most ;
For if thou thus hast loved, O never hope a cure !
IF ever thou didst joy to bind
Two hearts in equal passion joined,
O son of Venus ! hear me now,
And bid Florella bless my vow.
If any bliss reserved for me
Thou in the leaves of fate shouldst see ;
If any white propitious hour,
Pregnant with hoarded joys in store ;
Now, now the mighty treasure give,
In her for whom alone I live ;
In sterling love pay all the sum,
And I '11 absolve the fates to come.
In all the pride of full-blown charms
Yield her, relenting, to my arms :
Her bosom touch with soft desires,
And let her feel what she inspires.
But, Cupid, if thine aid be vain
The dear reluctant maid to gain ;
If still with cold averted eyes
She dash my hopes, and scorn my sighs ;
O grant! 'tis all I ask of thee,
That I no more may change than she ;
But still with duteous zeal love on,
When every gleam of hope is gone.
Leave me then alone to languish ;
Think not time can heal my anguish ;
Pity the woes which I endure,
But never, never grant a cure.
SYLVIA. LEAVE me, simple shepherd, leave me ;
Drag no more a hopeless chain :
I cannot like, nor would deceive thee ;
Love the maid that loves again.
CORIN. Though more gentle nymphs surround me,
Kindly pitying what I feel ;
Only you have power to wound me :
Sylvia, only you can heal.
SYLVIA. Corin, cease this idle teasing ;
Love that 's forced is harsh and sour :
If the lover be displeasing,
To persist disgusts the more.
CORIN. Tis in vain, in vain to fly me,
Sylvia, I will still pursue ;
Twenty thousand times deny me,
I will kneel and weep anew.
SYLVIA. Cupid ne'er shall make me languish,
I was born averse to love ;
Lovers' sighs, and tears, and anguish,
Mirth and pastime to me prove.
CORIN. Still I vow with patient duty
Thus to meet your proudest scorn ;
You for unrelenting beauty,
I for constant love was born.
But the Fates had not consented,
Since they both did fickle prove ;
Of her scorn the maid repented,
And the shepherd of his love.
WHEN gentle Celia first I knew,
A breast so good, so kind, so true,
Reason and taste approved ;
Pleased to indulge so pure a flame,
I called it by too soft a name,
And fondly thought I loved.
Till Chloris came : with sad surprise
I felt the lightning of her eyes
Through all my senses run ;
All glowing with resistless charms,
She filled my breast with new alarms,
I saw, and was undone.
Celia ! dear unhappy maid,
Forbear the weakness to upbraid
Which ought your scorn to move ;
1 know this beauty false and vain,
I know she triumphs in my pain,
Yet still I feel I love.
Thy gentle smiles no more can please,
Nor can thy softest friendship ease
The torments I endure :
Think what that wounded breast must feel,
Which truth and kindness cannot heal,
Nor e'en thy pity cure.
Oft shall I curse my iron chain,
And wish again thy milder reign
With long and vain regret :
All that I can, to thee I give ;
And could I still to reason live,
I were thy captive yet.
VOL. i. G
But Passion's wild impetuous sea
Hurries me far from peace and thee ;
Twere vain to struggle more.
Thus the poor sailor slumbering lies,
While swelling tides around him rise,
And push his bark from shore :
In vain he spreads his helpless arms,
His pitying friends with fond alarms
In vain deplore his state ;
Still far and farther from the coast,
On the high surge his bark is tost,
And foundering yields to fate.
As near a weepingj spring reclined.
The beauteous Araminta pined,
And mourned a false ungrateful youth ;
While dying echoes caught the sound,
And spread the soft complaints around
Of broken vows and altered truth ;
An aged shepherd heard her moan,
And thus in pity's kindest tone
Addressed the lost despairing maid :
" Cease, cease, unhappy fair, to grieve,
For sounds, though sweet, can ne'er relieve
A breaking heart by love betrayed.
" Why shouldst thou waste such precious showers,
That fall like dew on withered flowers,
But dying passion ne'er restored ?
In Beauty's empire is no mean,
And woman, either slave or queen,
Is quickly scorned when not adored.
" Those liquid pearls from either eye,
Which might an Eastern empire buy,
Unvalued here and fruitless fall :
No art the season can renew,
When love was young, and Damon true ;
No tears a wandering heart recall.
" Cease, cease to grieve ; thy tears are vain,
Should those fair orbs in drops of rain
Vie with a weeping southern sky :
For hearts overcome with love and grief
All nature yields but one relief;
Die ! hapless Araminta, die !"
WHEN first upon your tender cheek
I saw the morn of beauty break
With mild and cheering beam,
I bowed before your infant shrine ;
The earliest sighs you had were mine,
And you my darling theme.
I saw you in that opening morn
For Beauty's boundless empire born,
And first confessed your sway ;
And ere your thoughts, devoid of art,
Could learn the value of a heart,
I gave my heart away.
I watched the dawn of every grace,
And gazed upon that angel face,
While yet 'twas safe to gaze ;
And fondly blessed each rising charm,
Nor thought such innocence could harm
The peace of future days.
But now despotic o'er the plains
The awful noon of beauty reigns,
And kneeling crowds adore ;
Its beams arise too fiercely bright,
Danger and death attend the sight,
And I must hope no more.
Thus to the rising God of day
Their early vows the Persians pay,
And bless the spreading fire ;
Whose glowing chariot mounting soon
Pours on their heads the burning noon ;
They sicken, and expire.
tecum ut longae sociarem gaudia vita?,
Inquc tuo caderet nostra senccta sinu.
YES, Delia loves ! My fondest vows are blest :
Farewell the memory of her past disdain ;
One kind relenting glance has healed my breast,
And balanced in a moment years of pain.
O'er her soft cheek consenting blushes move,
And with kind stealth her secret soul betray ;
Blushes, which usher in the morn of love,
Sure as the reddening east foretells the day.
Her tender smiles shall pay me with delight
For many a bitter pang of jealous fear;
For many an anxious day arid sleepless night,
For many a stifled sigh and silent tear.
Delia shall come and bless my lone retreat :
She does not scorn the shepherd's lowly life ;
She will not blush to leave the splendid seat,
And own the title of a poor man's wife.
The simple knot shall bind her gathered hair,
The russet garment clasp her lovely breast ;
Delia shall mix among the rural fair,
By charms alone distinguished from the rest.
And meek Simplicity, neglected maid,
Shall bid my fair in native graces shine ;
She, only she, shall lend her modest aid,
Chaste, sober priestess, at sweet Beauty's shrine !
How sweet to muse by murmuring springs reclined !
Or loitering careless in the shady grove,
Indulge the gentlest feelings of the mind,
And pity those who live to aught but love !
When Delia's hand unlocks her shining hair,
And o'er her shoulder spreads the flowing gold ;
Base were the man who one bright tress would spare
For all the ore of India's coarser mold.
By her dear side with what content I 'd toil !
Patient of any labour in her sight ;
Guide the slow plough, or turn the stubborn soil,
Till the last lingering beam of doubtful light.
But softer tasks divide my Delia's hours ;
To watch the firstlings at their harmless play ;
With welcome shade to screen the languid flowers
That sicken in the summer's parching ray.
Oft will she stoop amidst her evening walk,
With tender hand each bruised plant to rear ;
To bind the drooping lily's broken stalk,
And nurse the blossoms of the infant year.
When beating rains forbid our feet to roam,
We '11 sheltered sit, and turn the storied page ;
There see what passions shake the lofty dome
With mad ambition or ungoverned rage :
What headlong ruin oft involves the great ;
What conscious terrors guilty bosoms prove ;
What strange and sudden turns of adverse fate
Tear the sad virgin from her plighted love.
Delia shall read, and drop a gentle tear ;
Then cast her eyes around the low-roofed cot,
And own the Fates have dealt more kindly here,
That blessed with only love our little lot.
For Love has sworn, I heard the awful vow,
The wavering heart shall never be his care,
That stoops at any baser shrine to bow ;
And what he cannot rule, he scorns to share.
My heart in Delia is so fully blest,
It has no room to lodge another joy ;
My peace all leans upon that gentle breast,
And only there misfortune can annoy.
Our silent hours shall steal unmarked away,
In one long tender calm of rural peace,
And measure many a fair unblemished day
Of cheerful leisure and poetic ease.
The proud unfeeling world their lot shall scorn,
Who 'midst inglorious shades can poorly dwell :
Yet if some youth, for gentler passions born,
Shall chance to wander near our lowly cell,
His feeling breast with purer flames shall glow ;-
And leaving pomp, and state, and cares behind,
Shall own the world has little to bestow
Where two fond hearts in equal love are joined.
OVID TO HIS .WIFE.
IMITATED FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF HIS TRISTIA,
Jam mea cygneas imitantur tempora plumas,
Inficit et nigras alba senecta comas.
TRIST. Lib. iv. Eleg. 8.
MY aged head now stoops its honours low,
Bowed with the load of fifty winters' snow ;
And for the raven's glossy black assumes
The downy whiteness of the cygnet's plumes :
Loose scattered hairs around my temples stray,
And spread the mournful shade of sickly gray :
I bend beneath the weight of broken years,
Averse to change, and chilled with causeless fears.
The season now invites me to retire
To the dear lares of my household fire ;
94 OVID TO HIS WIFE.
To homely scenes of calm domestic peace,
A poet's leisure, and an old man's ease ;
To wear the remnant of uncertain life
In the fond bosom of a faithful wife ;
In safe repose my last few hours to spend,
Nor fearful nor impatient of their end.
Thus a safe port the wave-worn vessels gain,
Nor tempt again the dangers of the main :
Thus the proud steed, when youthful glory fades,
And creeping age his stiffening limbs invades,
Lies stretched at ease on the luxuriant plain,
And dreams his morning triumphs o'er again :
The hardy veteran from the camp retires,
His joints unstrung, and feeds his household fires ;
Satiate with fame, enjoys well-earned repose,
And sees his stormy day serenely close.
Not such my lot ! Severer fates decree
My shattered bark must plough an unknown sea.
OVID TO HIS WIFE.
Forced from my native seats and sacred home,
Friendless, alone, through Scythian wilds to roam ;
With trembling knees o'er unknown hills I go,
Stiff with blue ice and heaped with drifted snow.
Pale suns there strike their feeble rays in vain,
Which faintly glance against the marble plain :
Red Ister there, which madly lashed the shore,
His idle urn sealed up, forgets to roar :
Stern Winter in eternal triumph reigns,
Shuts up the bounteous year and starves the plains.
My failing eyes the weary waste explore,
The savage mountains and the dreary shore,
And vainly look for scenes of old delight ;
No loved familiar objects meet my sight ;
No long-remembered streams nor conscious bowers
Wake the gay memory of youthful hours.
I fondly hoped, content with learned ease,
To walk amidst cotemporary trees ;
In every scene some favourite spot to trace,
And meet in all some kind domestic face ;
96 OVID TO HIS WIFE.
To stretch my limbs upon -my native soil,
With long vacation from unquiet toil ;
Resign my breath where first that breath I drew,
And sink into the spot from whence I grew.
But if my feeble age is doomed to try
Unusual seasons and a foreign sky,
To some more genial clime let me repair,
And taste the healing balm of milder air ;
Near to the glowing sun's directer ray,
And pitch my tent beneath the eye of day.
Could not the winter in my veins suffice,
Without the added rage of Scythian skies ?
The snow of time my vital heat exhaust,
And hoary age, without Sarmatian frost ?
Yet storm and tempest are of ills the least
Which this inhospitable land infest :
Society than solitude is worse,
And man to man is still the greatest curse.
OVID TO HIS WIFE. 97
A savage race my fearful steps surround,
Practised in blood and disciplined to wound ;
Unknown alike to pity as to fear,
Hard as their soil, and as their skies severe.
Skilled in each mystery of direst art,
They arm with double death the poisoned dart ;
Uncombed and horrid grows their spiky hair ;
Uncouth their vesture, terrible their air ;
The lurking dagger at their side hung low,
Leaps in quick vengeance on the hapless foe.
No steadfast faith is here, no sure repose ;
An armed truce is all this nation knows :
The rage of battle works, when battles cease ;
And wars are brooding in the lap of peace.
Since Caesar wills, and I a wretch must be,
Let me be safe at least in misery !
To my sad grave in calm oblivion steal,
Nor add the woes of fear to all I feel !
Ye tuneful maids ! who once in happier days
Beneath the myrtle grove inspired my lays,
VOL. i. H
98 OVID TO HIS WIFE.
How shall I now your wonted aid implore ;
Where seek your footsteps on this savage shore,
Whose ruder echoes ne'er were taught to bear
The poet's numbers or the lover's care ?
Yet here, for ever here, your bard must dwell,
Who sung of sports and tender loves so well.
Here must he live : But when he yields his breath,
O let him not be exiled even in death !
Lest mixed with Scythian shades, a Roman ghost
Wander on this inhospitable coast.
Caesar no more shall urge a wretch's doom ;
The bolt of Jove pursues not in the tomb.
To thee, dear wife, some friend with pious care
All that of Ovid then remains shall bear ;
Then wilt thou weep to see me so return,
And with fond passion clasp my silent urn.
O check thy grief, that tender bosom spare,
Hurt not thy cheeks, nor soil thy flowing hair.
OVID TO HIS WIFE.
Press the pale marble with thy lips, and give
One precious tear, and bid my memory live :
The silent dust shall glow at thy command,
And the warm ashes feel thy pious hand.
TO A LADY.
WITH SOME PAINTED FLOWERS.
tibi lilia plenis
Ecce ferunt nymphae calathis.
FLOWERS to the fair : To you these flowers I bring,
And strive to greet you with an earlier spring.
Flowers, sweet and gay and delicate like you,
Emblems of innocence and beauty too.
With flowers the Graces bind their yellow hair,
And flowery wreaths consenting lovers wear.
Flowers, the sole luxury which Nature knew,
In Eden's pure and guiltless garden grew.
To loftier forms are rougher tasks assigned ;
The sheltering oak resists the stormy wind,
TO A LADY: WITH FLOWERS. 101
The tougher yew repels invading foes,
And the tall pine for future navies grows ;
But this soft family, to cares unknown,
Were born for pleasure and delight alone :
Gay without toil, and lovely without art,
They spring to cheer the sense, and glad the heart.
Nor blush, my fair, to own you copy these ,
Your best, your sweetest empire is to please.
ODE TO SPRING.
SWEET daughter of a rough and stormy sire,
Hoar Winter's blooming child ; delightful Spring !
Whose unshorn locks with leaves
And swelling buds are crowned ;
From the green islands of eternal youth,
Crowned with fresh blooms and ever springing shade/
Turn, hither turn thy step,
O thou, whose powerful voice
More sweet than softest touch of Doric reed,
Or Lydian flute, can soothe the madding winds,
And through the stojmy deep
Breathe thine own tender calm.
ODE TO SPRING. 103
Thee, best beloved ! the virgin train await
With songs and festal rites, and joy to rove
Thy blooming wilds among,
And vales and dewy lawns,
With untired feet ; and cull thy earliest sweets
To weave fresh garlands for the glowing brow
Of him, the favoured youth
That prompts their whispered sigh.
Unlock thy copious stores, those tender showers
That drop their sweetness on the infant buds ;
And silent dews that swell
The milky ear's green stem,
And feed the flowering osier's early shoots ;
And call those winds which through the whispering boughs
With warm and pleasant breath
Salute the blowing flowers.
104 ODE TO SPRING.
Now let me sit beneath the whitening thorn,
And mark thy spreading tints steal o'er the dale ;
And watch with patient eye
Thy fair unfolding charms.
O nymph, approach ! while yet the temperate sun
With bashful forehead through the cool moist air
Throws his young maiden beams,
And with chaste kisses wooes
The earth's fair bosom ; while the streaming veil
Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade
Protects thy modest blooms
From his severer blaze.
Sweet is thy reign, but short : The red dog-star
Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower's scythe
Thy greens, thy flowerets all,
Remorseless shall destroy.
ODE TO SPRING. 105
Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewell :
For O, not all that Autumn's lap contains,
Nor Summer's ruddiest fruits,
Can aught for thee atone,
Fair Spring ! whose simplest promise more delights
Than all their largest wealth, and through the heart
Each joy and new-born hope
With softest influence breathes.
VIRGIN, brighter than the morning,
Haste and finish thy adorning !
Hymen claims his promised day,
Come from thy chamber, come away !
Roses strew, and myrtles bring,
Till you drain the wasted Spring ;
The altars are already drest,
The bower is fitted for its guest,
The scattered rose begins to fade,
Come away, reluctant maid !
See what a war of blushes breaks
O'er the pure whiteness of her cheeks ;
* Designed for the opening of a Tragedy.
The shifting colours prove by turns
The torch of Love unsteady burns.
Pleading now, now lingering, fainting,
Her soft heart with fear is panting ;
Cling not to thy mother so,
Thy mother smiles, and bids thee go.
Mind not what thy maidens say ;
Though they chide the cruel day,
Though they weep, and strive to hold thee
From his arms that would enfold thee ;
Kiss, and take a short farewell,
They wish the chance to them befell.
Mighty Love demands his crown
Now for all his sufferings done ;
For all Love's tears, for all his sighs,
Thyself must be the sacrifice.
Virgin, brighter than the day,
Haste from thy chamber, come away !
VERSES ON MRS. ROWE.
SUCH were the notes our chaster Sappho sung,
And every Muse dropped honey on her tongue.
Blest shade ! how pure a breath of praise was thine,
Whose spotless life was faultless as thy line ;
In whom each worth and every grace conspire,
The Christian's meekness, and the poet's fire.
Learn'd without pride, a woman without art ;
The sweetest manners, and the gentlest heart.
Smooth like her verse her passions learned to move,
And her whole soul was harmony and love.
Virtue that breast without a conflict gained,
And easy, like a native monarch, reigned.
On earth still favoured as by Heaven approved,
The world applauded, and Alexis loved.
VERSES ON MRS. ROWE. 109
With love, with health, with fame and friendship blest,
And of a cheerful heart the constant feast,
What more of bliss* sincere could earth bestow ?
What purer heaven could angels taste below?
But bliss from earth's vain scenes too quickly flies ;
The golden cord is broke ; Alexis dies !
Now in the leafy shade and widowed grove
Sad Philomela mourns her absent love ;
Now deep retired in Frome's enchanting vale,
She pours her tuneful sorrows on the gale ;
Without one fond reserve the world disclaims,
And gives up all her soul to heavenly flames.
Yet in no useless gloom she wore her days ;
She loved the work, and only shunned the praise :
Her pious hand the poor, the mourner blest ;
Her image lived in every kindred breast.
Thynn, Carteret, Blackmore, Orrery approved,
And Prior praised, and noble Hertford loved ;
Seraphic Kenn, and tuneful Watts were thine,
And virtue's noblest champions filled the line.
110 VERSES ON MRS. ROWE.
Blest in thy friendships ! in thy death, too, blest !
Received without a pang to endless rest.
Heaven called the saint matured by length of days.
And her pure spirit was exhaled in praise.
Bright pattern of thy sex, be thou my Muse ;
Thy gentle sweetness through my soul diffuse :
Let me thy palm, though not thy laurel share,
And copy thee in charity and prayer : ,
Though for the bard my lines are far too faint,
Yet in my life let me transcribe the saint.
TO A DOG.
DEAR faithful object of my tender care,
Whom but my partial eyes none fancy fair ;
May I unblamed display thy social mirth,
Thy modest virtues, and domestic worth :
Thou silent, humble flatterer, yet sincere,
More swayed by love than interest or fear ;
Solely to please thy most ambitious view,
As lovers fond, and more than lovers true.
Who can resist those dumb beseeching eyes,
Where genuine eloquence persuasive lies ?
Those eyes, where language fails, display thy heart
Beyond the pomp of phrase and pride of art.
Thou safe companion, and almost a friend,
Whose kind attachment but with life shall end,
Blest were mankind if many a prouder name
Could boast thy grateful truth and spotless fame !
TO MISS R****,
ON HER ATTENDANCE UPON HER MOTHER
WHEN blooming beauty in the noon of power,
While offered joys demand each sprightly hour,
With all that pomp of charms and winning mien
Which sure to conquer needs but to be seen ;
When she, whose name the softest love inspires,
To the hushed chamber of Disease retires,
To watch and weep beside a parent's bed,
Catch the faint voice, and raise the languid head,
What mixt delight each feeling heart must warm !
An angel's office suits an angel's form.
Thus the tall column graceful rears its head
To prop some mouldering tower with moss overspread,
TO MISS R***. 113
Whose stately piles and arches yet display
The venerable graces of decay :
Thus round the withered trunk fresh shoots are seen
To shade their parent with a cheerful green.
More health, dear maid ! thy soothing presence brings
Than purest skies, or salutary springs.
That voice, those looks such healing virtues bear,
Thy sweet reviving smiles might cheer despair ;
On the pale lips detain the parting breath,
And bid hope blossom in the shades of death.
Beauty, like thine, could never reach a charm
So powerful to subdue, so sure to warm.
On her loved child behold the mother gaze,
In weakness pleased, and smiling through decays,
And leaning on that breast her cares assuage ;
How soft a pillow for declining age !
For this, when that fair frame must feel decay,
Ye Fates protract it to a distant day,
VOL. I. I
114 TO MISS R****.
When thy approach no tumults shall impart,
Nor that commanding glance strike through the heart,
When meaner beauties shall have leave to shine,
And crowds divide the homage lately thine,
Not with the transient praise those charms can boast
Shall thy fair fame and gentle deeds be lost :
Some pious hand shall thy weak limbs sustain,
And pay thee back these generous cares again ;
Thy name shall flourish, by the good approved,
Thy memory honoured, and thy dust beloved,
ON THE DEATH OF MRS. JENNINGS*.
Est tamen quiete, et pure, et eleganter actae aetatis,
placida ac lenis senectus.
CICERO DK SENECT.
'T is past : dear venerable shade, farewell !
Thy blameless life thy peaceful death shall tell.
Clear to the last thy setting orb has run ;
Pure, bright, and healthy like a frosty sun :
And late old age with hand indulgent shed
Its mildest winter on thy favoured head.
For Heaven prolonged her life to spread its praise,
And blessed her with a patriarch's length of days.
The truest praise was hers, a cheerful heart,
Prone to enjoy, and ready to impart.
* The Author's Grandmother.
116 ON THE DEATH OF MRS. JENNINGS.
An Israelite indeed, and free from guile,
She showed that piety and age could smile.
Religion had her heart, her cares, her voice ;
'T was her last refuge, as her earliest choice.
To holy Anna's spirit not more dear
The church of Israel, and the house of prayer.
Her spreading offspring of the fourth degree
Filled her fond arms, and clasped her trembling knee.
Matured at length for some more perfect scene,
Her hopes all bright, her prospects all serene,
Each part of life sustained with equal worth,
And not a wish left unfulfilled on earth,
Like a tired traveller with sleep opprest,
Within her children's arms she dropped to rest.
Farewell ! thy cherished image, ever dear,
Shall many a heart with pious love revere :
Long, long shall mine her honoured memory bless,
Who gave the dearest blessing I possess.
AN ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
GOD of my life ! and author of my days !
Permit my feeble voice to lisp thy praise ;
And trembling, take upon a mortal tongue
That hallowed name to harps of seraphs sung.
Yet here the brightest seraphs could no more
Than veil their faces, tremble, and adore.
Worms, angels, men, in every different sphere
Are equal all, for all are nothing here.
All nature faints beneath the mighty name,
Which nature's works though all their parts proclaim.
I feel that name my inmost thoughts controul,
And breathe an awful stillness through my soul ;
118 AN ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
As by a charm, the waves of grief subside ;
Impetuous Passion stops her headlong tide :
At thy felt presence all emotions cease,
And my hushed spirit finds a sudden peace,
Till every worldly thought within me dies,
And earth's gay pageants vanish from my eyes ;
Till all my sense is lost in infinite,
And one vast object fills my aching sight.
But soon, alas ! this holy calm is broke ;
My soul submits to wear her wonted yoke ;
With shackled pinions strives to soar in vain,
And mingles with the dross of earth again.
But he, our gracious Master, kind as just,
Knowing our frame, remembers man is dust.
His spirit, ever brooding o'er our mind,
Sees the first wish to better hopes inclined ;
Marks the young dawn of every virtuous aim,
And fans the smoking flax into a flame.
AN ADDRESS TO THE DEITY. 11!)
His ears are open to the softest cry,
His grace descends to meet the lifted eye ;
He reads the language of a silent tear,
And sighs are incense from a heart sincere.
Such are the vows, the sacrifice I give ;
Accept the vow, and bid the suppliant live :
From each terrestrial bondage set me free ;
Still every wish that centres not in thee ;
Bid my fond hopes, my vain disquiets cease,
And point my path to everlasting peace.
If the soft hand of winning Pleasure leads
By living waters, and through flowery meads,
When all is smiling, tranquil, and serene,
And vernal beauty paints the flattering scene,
O teach me to elude each latent snare,
And whisper to my sliding heart Beware !
With caution let me hear the syren's voice,
And doubtful, with a trembling heart, rejoice.
120 AN ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
If friendless, in a vale of tears I stray,
Where briars wound, and thorns perplex my way,
Still let my steady soul thy goodness see,
And with strong confidence lay hold on thee ;
With equal eye my various lot receive,
Resigned to die, or resolute to live ;
Prepared to kiss the sceptre or the rod,
While God is seen in all, and all in God.
I read his awful name, emblazoned high
With golden letters on the illumined sky ;
Nor less the mystic characters I see
Wrought in each flower, inscribed in every tree ;
In every leaf that trembles to the breeze
I hear the voice of God among the trees ;
With thee in shady solitudes I walk,
With thee in busy crowded cities talk ;
In every creature own thy forming power,
In each event thy providence adore.
AN ADDRESS TO THE DEITY. 121
Thy hopes shall animate my drooping soul,
Thy precepts guide me, and thy fears controul :
Thus shall I rest, unmoved by all alarms,
Secure within the temple of thine arms ;
From anxious cares, from gloomy terrors free,
And feel myself omnipotent in thee.
Then when the last, the closing hour draws nigh,
And earth recedes before my swimming eye ;
When trembling on the doubtful edge of fate
I stand, and stretch my view to either state :
Teach me to quit this transitory scene
With decent triumph and a look serene ;
Teach me to fix my ardent hopes on high,
And having lived to thee, in thee to die.
A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION.
'T IS past ! The sultry tyrant of the south
Has spent his short-lived rage ; more grateful hours
Move silent on ; the skies no more repell
The dazzled sight, but with mild maiden beams
Of tempered lustre court the cherished eye
To wander o'er their sphere ; where hung aloft
Dian's bright crescent, like a silver bow
New strung in heaven, lifts high its beamy horns
Impatient for the night, and seems to push
Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus shines
Even in the eye of day ; with sweetest beam
Propitious shines, and shakes a trembling flood
A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION. 123
Of softened radiance from her dewy locks.
The shadows spread apace ; while meekened Eve,
Her cheek yet warm with blushes, slow retires
Through the Hesperian gardens of the west,
And shuts the gates of day. T is now the hour
When Contemplation from her sunless haunts,
The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth
Of unpierced woods, where wrapt in solid shade
She mused away the gaudy hours of noon,
And fed on thoughts unripened by the sun,
Moves forward ; and with radiant finger points
To yon blue concave swelled by breath divine,
Where, one by one, the living eyes of heaven
Awake, quick kindling o'er the face of ether
One boundless blaze ; ten thousand trembling fires,
And dancing lustres, where the unsteady eye,
Restless and dazzled, wanders unconfined
O'er all this field of glories ; spacious field,
And worthy of the Master : he, whose hand
With hieroglyphics elder than the Nile
124 A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION.
Inscribed the mystic tablet, hung on high
To public gaze, and said, " Adore, O man !
The finger of thy God." From what pure wells
Of milky light, what soft overflowing urn,
Are all these lamps so fill'd ? these friendly lamps,
For ever streaming o'er the azure deep
To point our path, and light us to our home.
How soft they slide along their lucid spheres !
And silent as the foot of Time, fulfill
Their destined courses : Nature's self is hushed,
And, but a scattered leaf, which rustles through
The thick-wove foliage, not a sound is heard
To break the midnight air ; though the raised ear,
Intensely listening, drinks in every breath.
How deep the silence, yet how loud the praise !
But are they silent all? or is there not
A tongue in every star, that talks with man,
And woos him to be wise ? nor woos in vain :
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And Wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION. 125
At this still hour the self-collected soul
Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there
Of high descent, and more than mortal rank ;
An embryo God ; a spark of fire divine,
Which must burn on for ages, when the sun,
Fair transitory creature of a day !
Has closed his golden eye, and wrapt in shades
Forgets his wonted journey through the east.
Ye citadels of light, and seats of Gods !
Perhaps my future home, from whence the soul,
Revolving periods past, may oft look back
With recollected tenderness on all
The various busy scenes she left below,
Its deep-laid projects and its strange events,
As on some fond and doting tale that soothed
Her infant hours O be it lawful now
To tread the hallowed circle of your courts,
And with mute wonder and delighted awe
Approach your burning confines. Seized in thought,
126 A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION.
On Fancy's wild and roving wing I sail,
From the green borders of the peopled Earth,
And the pale Moon, her duteous fair attendant ;
From solitary Mars ; from the vast orb
Of Jupiter, whose huge gigantic bulk
Dances in ether like the lightest leaf;
To the dim verge, the suburbs of the system,
Where cheerless Saturn 'midst his watery moons
Girt with a lucid zone, in gloomy pomp,
Sits like an exiled monarch : fearless thence
I launch into the trackless deeps of space,
Where, burning round, ten thousand suns appear,
Of elder beam, which ask no leave to shine
Of our terrestrial star, nor borrow light
From the proud regent of our scanty day ;
Sons of the morning, first-born of creation,
And only less than Him who marks their track,
And guides their fiery wheels. Here must I stop,
Or is there aught beyond ? What hand unseen
Impells me onward through the glowing orbs
A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION.
Of habitable nature, far remote,
To the dread confines of eternal night,
To solitudes of vast unpeopled space,
The deserts of creation, wide and wild ;
Where embryo systems and unkindled suns
Sleep in the womb of chaos ? fancy droops,
And thought astonished stops her bold career.
But thou mighty mind ! whose powerful word
Said, thus let all things be, and thus they were,
Where shall I seek thy presence ? how unblamed
Invoke thy dread perfection ?
Have the broad eyelids of the morn beheld thee ?
Or does the beamy shoulder of Orion
Support thy throne ? O look with pity down
On erring, guilty man ! not in thy names
Of terror clad ; not with those thunders armed
That conscious Sinai felt, when fear appalled
The scattered tribes ; thou hast a gentler voice,
That whispers comfort to the swelling heart,
Abashed, yet longing to behold her Maker.
128 A SUMMER EVENING'S MEDITATION.
But now my soul, unused to stretch her powers
In flight so daring, drops her weary wing,
And seeks again the known accustomed spot,
Drest up with sun, and shade, and lawns, and streams,
A mansion fair, and spacious for its guest,
And full replete with wonders. Let me here,
Content and grateful, wait the appointed time,
And ripen for the skies : the hour will come
When all these splendours bursting on my sight
Shall stand unveiled, and to my ravished sense
Unlock the glories of the world unknown.
DEEP in Sabea's fragrant groves retired,
Long had the Eastern Sages studious dwelt,
By love sublime of sacred science fired :
Long had they trained the' inquiring youth,
With liberal hand the bread of wisdom dealt,
And sung in solemn verse mysterious truth.
The sacred characters they knew to trace
Derived from Egypt's elder race ;
And all that Greece, with copious learning fraught,
Thro' different schools by various masters taught ;
And all Arabia's glowing store
Of fabled truths and rich poetic lore :
Stars, plants and gems, and talismans they knew,
And far was spread their fame and wide their praises grew,
VOL. I. K
ISO THE EPIPHANY,
The 7 admiring East their praises spread :
But with uncheated eyes themselves they viewed j
Mourning they sat with dust upon their head,
And oft in melancholy strain
The fond complaint renewed,
How little yet they knew, how much was learned in vain.
For human guilt and mortal woe
Their sympathizing sorrows flow ;
Their hallowed prayers ascend in incense pure ;
They mourned the narrow bounds assigned
To the keen glances of the searching mind,
They mourned the ills they could not cure,
They mourned the doubts they could not clear,
They mourned that prophet yet, nor seer,
The great Eternal had made known,
Or reached the lowest step of that immortal throne.
And oft the starry cope of heaven beneath,
When day's tumultuous sounds had ceased to breathe,
THE EPIPHANY. 131
With fixed feet, as rooted there,
Through the long night they drew the chilly air ;
While sliding o'er their head,
In solemn silence dread,
The' ethereal orbs their shining course pursued,
In holy trance enwrapt the sages stood,
With folded arms laid on their reverend breast,
And to that Heaven they knew, their orisons addresst.
A Star appears ; they marked its kindling beam
O'er night's dark breast unusual splendours stream :
The lesser lights that deck the sky,
In wondering silence softly gliding by,
At the fair stranger seemed to gaze,
Or veiled their trembling fires and half withdrew their rays.
The blameless men the wonder saw,
And hailed the joyful sign with pious awe ;
They knew 't was none of all the train
With which in shadowy forms and shapes uncouth,
132 THE EPIPHANY.
Monsters of earth and of the main,
Remote from nature as from truth,
Their learned pens the sky had figured o'er :
No star with such kind aspect shone before ;
Nor e'er did wandering planet stoop so low
To guide benighted pilgrims through this vale of woe.
The heavenly impulse they obey,
The new-born light directs their way ;
Through deserts never marked by human tread,
. And billowy waves of loose, unfaithful sand,
O'er many an unknown hill and foreign strand
The silver clue unerring led,
And peopled towns they pass, and glittering spires ;
No cloud could veil its light, no sun could quench its fires.
Thus passed the venerable pilgrims on,
Till Salem's stately towers before them shone,
And soon their feet her hallowed pavements presst ;
Not in her marble courts to rest,
THE EPIPHANY. 133
From pomp and royal state aloof,
Their shining guide its beams withdrew ;
And points their path, and points their view,
To Bethlehem's rustic cots, to Mary's lowly roof.
There the bright sentinel kept watch,
While other stars arose and set;
For there, within its humble thatch,
Weakness and power, and heaven and earth were met.
Now, sages, now your search give o'er,
Believe, fall prostrate, and adore !
Here spread your spicy gifts, your golden offerings here ;
No more the fond complaint renew,
Of human guilt and mortal woe,
Of knowledge checked by doubt, and hope with fear :
What angels wished to see, ye view ;
What angels wished to learn, ye know ;
Peace is proclaimed to man, and heaven begun below.
TO MR. BARBAULD,
NOVEMBER, 14, 1778.
COME, clear thy studious looks awhile,
T is arrant treason now
To wear that moping brow,
When I, thy empress, bid thee smile.
What though the fading year
One wreath will not afford
To grace the poet's hair,
Or deck the festal board ;
A thousand pretty ways we '11 find
To mock old Winter's starving reign ;
We '11 bid the violets spring again,
TO MR. BARBAULD. 135
Bid rich poetic roses blow,
Peeping above his heaps of snow ;
We '11 dress his withered cheeks in flowers,
And on his smooth bald head
Fantastic garlands bind :
Garlands, which we will get
From the gay blooms of that immortal year,
Above the turning seasons set,
Where young ideas shoot in Fancy's sunny bowers.
A thousand pleasant arts we '11 have
To add new feathers to the wings of Time,
And make him smoothly haste away :
We'll use him as our slave,
And when we please we '11 bid him stay,
And clip his wings, and make him stop to view
Our studies, and our follies too ;
How sweet our follies are, how high our fancies climb.
136 TO MR. BARBAULD.
We '11 little care what others do,
And where they go, and what they say
Our bliss, all inward and our own,
Would only tarnished be, by being shown.
The talking restless world shall see,
Spite of the world we '11 happy be ;
But none shall know
How much we 're so,
Save only Love, and we.
TO MR. BARBAULD,
WITH A MAP OF THE LAND OF MATRIMONY*.
THE sailor worn by toil and wet with storms,
As in the wished-for port secure he rides,
With transport numbers o'er the dangers past
From threatning quicksands and from adverse tides.
Joyous he tells among his jocund mates
Of loud alarms that chased his broken sleep,
And blesses every kinder star that led
His favoured vessel though the raging deep.
* The Map published under this title was a jeu-d f esprit of
Mrs, Barbauid's. EDITOR.
138 TO MR. BARBAULD.
Thus canst thou, Rochemont, view this pictured chart,
And trace thy voyage to the promised shore ;
Thus does thy faithful bosom beat with joy,
To think the tempest past, the wanderings o'er ?
Canst thou recall the days when jealous Doubt,
When boding Fears thy anxious heart oppresst,
When Hope, our star, shone faintly through the gloom,
And the pale cheek betrayed the tortured breast ?
And say ;- the land through Fancy's glass descried,
The bright Elysian fields her pencil drew,
Has time the dear ideas realized ?
Or are her optics false, her tints untrue ?
O say they are not ! Though life's ceaseless cares,
JLife's ceaseless toils demand thy golden hours,
Tell her glad heart whose hand these lines confess,
That Peace resides in Hymen's happy bowers.
TO MR. lUHKAt'LD. 139
But soon the restless seaman longs to change
His bounded view and tempt the deeps again ; f
Careless he breaks from weeping Susan's arms,
To fight with billows and to plough the main.
So shalt not thou, for no returning prow
E'er cut the ocean which thy bark has past ;
Too strong relentless Fate has fixed her bars,
And I my destined captive hold too fast.
LOVE AND TIME.
TO MRS. MULSO.
ON Stella's brow as lately envious Time
His crooked lines with iron pencil traced,
That brow, erewhile like ivory tablets smooth,
With Love's high trophies hung, and victories graced,
Digging him little caves in every cell,
And every dimple, once where Love was wont to dwell ;
He spied the God : and wondered still to spy,
Who higher held his torch in Time's despite ;
Nor seemed to care for aught that he could do.
Then sternly thus he sought him thence to' affright :
The sovereign boy entrenched in a smile,
At his sour crabbed speech sat mocking all the while.
LOVE AND TIME. 141
" What dost thou here, fond boy ? Away, for shame !
Mine is this field, by conquest fairly won ;
Love cannot reap his joys where Time has ploughed,
Thou and thy light-winged troop should now begone.
Go revel with fresh Youth in scenes of folly,
Sage Thought I bring, and Care, and pale-eyed Melancholy.
" Thy streams are froze, that once so briskly ran,
Thy bough is shaken by the mellow year ;
Boreas and Zephyr dwell not in one cave,
And swallows spread their wings when winter 's near ;
See where Florella's cheeks soft bloom disclose,
Go seek the springing bud, and leave the faded rose."
Thus spake old Time, of Love the deadliest foe,
Ah me, that gentle Love such foes should meet !
But nothing daunted he returned again,
Tempering with looks austere his native sweet ;
And, " Fool ! " said he, " to think I e'er shall fly
From that rich palace where my choicest treasures lie.
142 LOVE AND TIME.
" Dost thou not see, or art thou blind with age,
How many Graces on her eyelids sit,
Linking those viewless chains that bind the soul,
And sharpening smooth discourse with pointed wit ;
How many where she moves attendant wait,
The slow smooth step inspire, or high commanding gait ?
" Each one a several charm around her throws,
Some to attract, some powerful to repell,
Some mix the honeyed speech with winning smiles,
Or call wild Laughter from his antic cell ;
Severer some, to strike with awful fear
Each rude licentious tongue that wounds the virtuous ear.
" Not one of them is of thy scythe in dread,
Or for thy cankered malice careth aught,
Thy shaking fingers never can untwist
The magic caestus by their cunning wrought ;
And I, their knight, their bidding must obey,
For where the Graces are, will Love for ever stay.
LOVE AND TIME. H3
" In my rich fields now boast the ravage done,
Those lesser spoils, her brow, her cheek, her hair,
All that the touches of decay can feel,
Take these, she has enough besides to spare ;
I cannot thee dislodge, nor shalt thou me,
So thou and I, old Time, perforce must once agree.
" Nor is the boasted ravage all thine own,
Nor was the field by conquest fairly gained ;
For leagued with Sickness, Life and Nature's foe,
That fiend accurst thy savage wars maintained ;
His hand the furrows sunk where thou didst plough,
[e undermined the tree, where thou didst shake the bough.
But both unite, for both I here defy ;
Spoil ye have made, but have no triumphs won ;
And though the daffodil more freshly blooms,
Spreading her gay leaves to the morning sun,
Yet never will I leave the faded rose,
Whilst the pale lovely flower such sweetness still bestows."
144 LOVE AND TIME.
This said, exulting Cupid clapped his wings.
The sullen power, who found his rage restrained,
And felt the strong controul of higher charms,
- Shaking his glass, vowed while the sands would run
For many a year the strife should be maintained :
But Jove decreed no force should Love destroy,
Nor time should quell the might of that immortal boy.
TO MISS F. B.
ON HER ASKING FOR MRS. B.'S "LOVE AND TIME."
OF Love and Time say what would Fanny know ?
That Time is precious, and that Love is sweet ?
That both, the choicest blessings lent below,
With gay Sixteen in envied union meet ?
Time without Love is tasteless, dull, and cold,
Love out of Time will fond and doting prove ;
To bright sixteen are all their treasures told,
Love suits the Time, and Time then favours Love.
No longer then of matron brows inquire
For sprightly Love, or swiftly-wasting Time;
Look but at home, you have what you require,
With gay sixteen they both are in their prime.
VOL. I. L
SEE where the falling day
In silence steals away
Behind the western hills withdrawn :
Her fires are quenched, her beauty fled,
While blushes all her face overspread,
As conscious she had ill fulfilled
The promise of the dawn.
Another morning soon shall rise,
Another day salute our eyes,
As smiling and as fair as she,
And make as many promises :
But do not thou
The tale believe,
They're sisters all,
And all deceive.
PLACED OVER A CHIMNEY-PIECE.
SURLY Winter, come not here;
Bluster in thy proper sphere :
Howl along the naked plain,
There exert thy joyless reign ;
Triumph o'er the withered flower,
The leafless shrub, the ruined bower ;
But our cottage come not near;
Other springs inhabit here,
Other sunshine decks our board,
Than the niggard skies afford.
Gloomy Winter, hence ! away !
Love and Fancy scorn thy sway ;
Love and Joy, and friendly Mirth,
Shall bless this roof, these walls, this hearth ;
The rigour of the year controul,
And thaw the winter in the soul.
WRITTEN ON A MARBLE.
THE world's something bigger,
But just of this figure
And speckled with mountains and seas ;
Your heroes are overgrown schoolboys
Who scuffle for empires and toys,
And kick the poor ball as they please.
Now Caesar, now Pompey, gives law ;
And Pharsalia's plain,
Though heaped with the slain,
Was only a game at taw.
A SCHOOL ECLOGUE.
HIST, William ! hist ! what means that air so gay ?
Thy looks, thy dress, bespeak some holiday :
Thy hat is brushed ; thy hands, with wondrous pains,
Are cleansed from garden mould and inky stains ;
Thy glossy shoes confess the lacquey's care ;
And recent from the comb shines thy sleek hair.
What god, what saint, this prodigy has wrought * ?
Declare the cause, and ease my labouring thought ?
John, faithful John, is with the horses come ;
Mamma prevails, and I am sent for home.
* Sed tamen, ille Deus qui sit, da Tityre nobis.
150 A SCHOOL ECLOGUE.
Thrice happy whom such welcome tidings greet * !
Thrice happy who reviews his native seat !
For him the matron spreads her candied hoard,
And early strawberries crown the smiling board ;
For him crushed gooseberries with rich cream combine,
And bending boughs their fragrant fruit resign :
Custards and sillabubs his taste invite ;
Sports fill the day, and feasts prolong the night.
Think not I envy, 1 admire thy fate f :
Yet, ah ! what different tasks thy comrades wait !
Some in the grammar's thorny maze to toil,
Some with rude strokes the snowy paper soil,
Some o'er barbaric climes in maps to roam,
Far from their mother-tongue, and dear loved home J.
* Fortunate senex, hie inter flumina nota.
f Non equidem invideo, miror magis.
J At nos hinc alii sitientes ibimus Afros,
Pars Scythiam, et rapidum Crete veniemus Oaxem.
A SCHOOL ECLOGUE. 151
Harsh names, of uncouth sound, their memories load,
And oft their shoulders feel the' unpleasant goad.
Doubt not our turn will come some future time.
Now, William, hear us twain contend in rime ;
For yet thy horses have not eat their hay,
And unconsumed as yet the* allotted hour of play.
Then spout alternate, I consent to hear*,
Let no false rime offend my critic ear ;
But say, what prizes shall the victor hold ?
I guess your pockets are not lined with gold !
A ship these hands have built, in every part
Carved, rigged, and painted, with the nicest art ;
* Alternis dicetis.
152 A SCHOOL ECLOGUE.
The ridgy sides are black with pitchy store,
From stem to stern 't is twice ten inches o'er.
The lofty mast, a straight smooth hazel framed,
The tackling silk, the Charming Sally named ;
And, but take heed lest thou divulge the tale,-
The lappet of my shirt supplied the sail ;
An azure ribband for a pendant flies :
Now, if thy verse excell, be this the prize.
For me at home the careful housewives make,
With plums and almonds rich, an ample cake.
Smooth is the top, a plain of shining ice,
The West its sweetness gives, the East its spice
From soft Ionian isles, well known to fame,
Ulysses* once, the luscious currant came.
The green transparent citron Spain bestows,
And from her golden groves the orange glows.
So vast the heaving mass, it scarce has room
Within the oven's dark capacious womb ;
A SCHOOL ECLOGUE. 153
Twill be consigned to the next carrier's care,
I cannot yield it all, be half thy share.
Well does the gift thy liquorish palate suit ;
I know who robbed the orchard of its fruit*.
When all were wrapt in sleep, one early morn,
While yet the dewdrop trembled on the thorn,
I marked when o'er the quickset hedge you leapt,
And, sly, beneath the gooseberry bushes creptf; - <
Then shook the trees ; a shower of apples fell,
And where the hoard you kept I know full well ;
The mellow gooseberries did themselves produce,
For through thy pocket oozed the viscous juice.
I scorn a telltale, or I could declare
How, leave unasked, you sought the neighbouring fair;
Then home by moonlight spurred your jaded steed,
And scarce returned before the hour of bed.
* Non ego, te vidi, Damonis
f Tn post carecta latebas.
154 A SCHOOL ECLOGUE.
Think how thy trembling heart had felt affright,
Had not our master supped abroad that night.
On the smooth whitewashed ceiling near thy bed,
Mixed with thine own, is Anna's cypher read ;
From wreaths of dusky smoke the letters flow ;
Whose hand the waving candle held, I know.
Fines and jobations shall thy soul appall,
Whene'er our mistress spies the sullied wall.
Unconned her lesson once, in idle mood,
Trembling before the master, Anna stood ;
I marked what prompter near her took his place,
And, whispering, saved the virgin from disgrace :
Much is the youth belied, and much the maid,
Or more than words the whisper soft conveyed.
Think not I blush to own so bright a flame,
Even boys for her assume the lover's name ;
A SCHOOL ECLOGUE. 155
As far as alleys beyond taws we prize*,
Or venison pasty ranks above school pies ;
As much as peaches beyond apples please,
Or Parmesan excells a Suffolk cheese ;
Or Palgrave donkeys lag behind a steed,
So far do Anna's charms all other charms exceed.
Tell, if thou canst, where is that creature bred,
Whose wide-stretched mouth is larger than its head :
Guess, and my great Apollo thou shalt bef,
And cake and ship shall both remain with thee.
Explain thou first, what portent late was seen,
With strides impetuous, posting o'er the green ;
Three heads, like Cerberus, the monster bore,
And one was sidelong fixed, and two before ;
* Lenta salix quantum pallenti cedit olivae.
f Die quibus in terris, et eris inihi magnus Apollo.
156 A SCHOOL ECLOGUE.
Eight legs, depending from his ample sides,
Each well-built flank unequally divides ;
For five on this, on that side three are found,
Four swiftly move, and four not touch the ground.
Long time the moving prodigy I viewed,
By gazing men, and barking dogs pursued.
Cease ! cease your carols, both ! for lo the bell,
With jarring notes, has rung out Pleasure's knell.
Your startled comrades, ere the game be done,
Quit their unfinished sports, and trembling run.
Haste to your forms before the master call !
With thoughtful step he paces o'er the hall,
Does with stern looks each playful loiterer greet,
Counts with his eye, and marks each vacant seat ;
Intense the buzzing murmur grows around,
Loud through the dome the usher's strokes resound
Sneak off, and to your places slily steal,
Before the prowess of his arm you feel.
WHAT DO THE FUTURES SPEAK OF?
IN ANSWER TO A QUESTION IN THE GREEK
TH EY speak of never-withering shades,
And bowers of opening joy ;
They promise mines of fairy gold,
And bliss without alloy.
They whisper strange enchanting things
Within Hope's greedy ears ;
And sure this tuneful voice exceeds
The music of the spheres.
158 WHAT DO THE FUTURES SPEAK OF?
They speak of pleasure to the gay,
And wisdom to the wise ;
And soothe the poet's beating heart
With fame that never dies.
To virgins languishing in love
They speak the minute nigh ;
And warm consenting hearts they join,
And paint the rapture high.
In every language, every tongue,
The same kind things they say ;
In gentle slumbers speak by night,
In waking dreams by day.
Cassandra's fate reversed is theirs ;
She true, no faith could gain,
They every passing hour deceive,
Yet are believed again.
FAREWELL the softer hours, Spring's opening blush
And Summer's deeper glow, the shepherd's pipe
Tuned to the murmurs of a weeping spring,
And song of birds, and gay enameled fields,
Farewell ! 'T is now the sickness of the year,
Not to be medicined by the skillful hand.
Pale suns arise that like weak kings behold
Their predecessor's empire moulder from them ;
While swift-increasing spreads the black domain
Of melancholy Night ; no more content
With equal sway, her stretching shadows gain
On the bright morn, and cloud the evening sky.
Farewell the careless lingering walk at eve,
160 AUTUMN, A FRAGMENT.
Sweet with the breath of kine and new-spread hay ;
And slumber on a bank, where the lulled youth,
His head on flowers, delicious languor feels
Creep in the blood. A different season now
Invites a different song. The naked trees
Admit the tempest ; rent is Nature's robe ;
Fast, fast, the blush of Summer fades away
From her wan cheek, and scarce a flower remains
To deck her bosom ; Winter follows close,
Pressing impatient on, and with rude breath
Fans her discoloured tresses. Yet not all
Of grace and beauty from the falling year
Is torn ungenial. Still the taper fir
Lifts its green spire, and the dark holly edged
With gold, and many a strong perennial plant,
Yet cheer the waste : nor does yon knot of oaks
Resign its honours to the infant blast.
This is the time, and these the solemn walks,
When inspiration rushes o'er the soul
Sudden, as through the grove the rustling breeze.
TO THE BARON DE STONNE,
WHO HAD WISHED AT THE NEXT TRANSIT OF MERCURY TO FIND
HIMSELF AGAIN BETWEEN MRS. LA BORDE AND MRS. B.
IN twice five winters more and one,
Hermes again will cross the Sun ;
Again a dusky spot appear,
Slow-journeying o'er his splendid sphere :
The stars shall slide into their places,
Exhibiting the self-same faces,
And in the like position fix
As Thursday morning, eighty-six.
But changing mortals hope in vain
Their lost position more to gain ;
VOL. i. M
162 TO THE BARON DE STONNE.
Once more between La Borde and me !
Ah, wish not what will never be !
For wandering planets have their rules,
Well known in astronomic schools ;
But life's swift wheels will ne'er turn back,
When once they've measured o'er their track,
Eleven years, twice five and one,
Is a long hour in Beauty's sun :
Those years will pilfer many a grace
Which decks La Borde's enchanting face ;
The little Loves which round her fly,
Will moult the wing, and droop, and die :
And I, grown dull, my lyre unstrung
In some old chimney corner hung,
Gay scenes of Paris all forgot,
Shall rust within my silent cot :
Life's summer ended, and life's spring,
Nor she shall charm, nor I shall sing.
Even Cook, upon whose blooming brow
The youthful graces open now,
TO TIIE BARON DE STONNE. 163
Eleven years may vastly change :
No more the Provinces he '11 range ;
No more with humid eyes entreat,
And wait his doom at Beauty's feet ;
Married and grave, he '11 spend his time
Far from the idleness of rime ;
Forgetting oranges and myrtle,
Will drink his port and eat his turtle ;
Perhaps with country justice sit,
And turn his back on thee and Wit.
For thee, my friend, whose copious vein
Pours forth at will the polished strain,
With every talent formed to please,
Each fair idea quick to seize ;
Who knows within so long a space
What scenes the present may efface,
What course thy stream of life may take,
What winds may curl, what storms may shake,
164 TO THE BARON DE STONNE.
What varying colours, gay or grave,
Shall tinge by turns the passing wave ;
Of objects on its banks what swarms
The loftier or the fairer forms
Shall glide before the liquid glass,
And print their image as they pass ?
Let Fancy then and Friendship stray
In Pleasure's flowery walks today,
Today improve the social hours,
And build today the Muse's bowers ;
And when life's pageant on will go,
Try not to stop the passing show ;
But give to scenes that once were dear,
A sigh, a farewell, and a tear.
TO THE BARON DE STONNE,
WITH AIKIN'S ESSAY ON SONG-WRITING.
To Gallia's gay and gallant coast
Haste, little volume, speed thy flight ;
And proudly there go make thy boast
How Britons love how Britons write.
Say, Love can hold his torch as high
Beneath our heaven deformed with showers,
As in her pure and brilliant sky,
By vine-clad hills or myrtle bowers :
Ask if her damsels bloom more fair ;
Ask if her swains can love as true ;
And urge her poets' tuneful care
To sing their praise in numbers due.
TO THE MISS WEBSTERS,
WITH DR. AIKIN'S "WISH," WHICH THEY EXPRESSED
A DESIRE TO HAVE A COPY OF.
NOT this the Wish in life's first, gayest page,
Becomes your opening years and golden prime ;
Not these the hopes should your soft thoughts engage,
Whose buds of joy are yet uncropt by Time.
When blood begins to creep, when fled is youth,
And nature verges toward lethargic rest,
Gardens and groves the languid mind may soothe,
And fire-side comforts satisfy the breast.
TO THE MISS WEBSTERS. 107
For you, quick Fancy spreads her brightest stores,
Paints high the colour of each opening joy,
Enthusiastic hope to rapture soars,
And untried scenes the busy thoughts employ.
O may her soft enchantment late prolong
The fond romance of innocence and youth !
To elder life no happier hours belong,
No richer cordial dealt by hoary Truth.
Nor fear, while you the gaudy dream pursue,
Life's serious aim and sober joys to miss :
While fluttering pulses dance, and scenes are new,
Your Wish is transport, and your Hopes are bliss.
EPISTLE TO DR. ENFIELD,
ON HIS REVISITING WARRINGTON IN 1789.
FRiENDof those yearswhichfromYouth's sparkling fount
With silent lapse down Time's swift gulf have run !
Friend of the years, whatever be their amount,
Which yet remain beneath life's evening sun !
O when thy feet retrace that western shore
Where Mersey winds his waters to the main,
When thy fond eyes familiar haunts explore,
And paths well-nigh effaced are tracked again ;
Will not thy heart with mixed emotions thrill,
As scenes succeeding scenes arise to view ?
While joy or sorrow past alike shall fill
Thy glistening eyes with Feeling's tender dew.
EPISTLE TO DR. ENEIELD. 1C9
Shades of light transient Loves shall pass thee by,
And glowing Hopes, and Sports of youthful vein ;
And each shall claim one short, half pleasing sigh,
A farewell sigh to Love's and Fancy's reign.
Lo there the seats where Science loved to dwell,
Where Liberty her ardent spirit breathed ;
While each glad Naiad from her secret cell
Her native sedge with classic honours wreathed.
O seats beloved in vain ! Your rising dome
With what fond joy my youthful eyes surveyed ;
Pleased by your sacred springs to find my home,
And tune my lyre beneath your growing shade !
Does Desolation spread his gloomy veil
Your grass-grown courts and silent halls along ?
Or busy hands there pile the cumbrous sail,
And Trade's harsh din succeed the Muse's song ?
170 EPISTLE TO DR. ENFIELD.
Yet still, perhaps, in some sequestered walk
Thine ear shall catch the tales of other times ;
Still in faint sounds the learned echoes talk,
Where unprofaned as yet by vulgar chimes.
Do not the deeply-wounded trees still bear
The dear memorial of some infant flame ?
And murmuring sounds yet fill the hallowed air,
Once vocal to the youthful poet's fame ?
For where her sacred step impressed the Muse,
She left a long perfume through all the bowers ;
Still mayst thou gather thence Castalian dews
In honeyed sweetness clinging to the flowers.
Shrowded in stolen glance, here timorous Love
The grave rebuke of careful Wisdom drew,
With wholesome frown austere who vainly strove
To shield the sliding heart from Beauty's view.
EPISTLE TO DR. ENFIELD. I , I
Go fling this garland in fair Mersey's stream,
From the true lovers that have trod his banks ;
Say, Thames to Avon still repeats his theme ;
Say, Hymen's captives send their votive thanks.
Visit each shade and trace each weeping rill
To holy Friendship or to Fancy known,
And climb with zealous step the fir-crowned hill,
Where purple foxgloves fringe the rugged stone :
And if thou seest on some neglected spray
The lyre which soothed my careless hours so much ;
The shattered relic to my hands convey,
The murmuring strings shall answer to thy touch.
Were it, like thine, my lot once more to tread
Plains now but seen in distant perspective,
With that soft hue, that dubious gloom o'erspread,
That tender tint which only time can give ;
172 EPISTLE TO DR. ENFIELD.
How would it open every secret cell
Where cherished thought and fond remembrance sleep !
How many a tale each conscious step would tell !
How many a parted friend these eyes would weep !
But O the chief! If in thy feeling breast
The tender charities of life reside,
If there domestic love have built her nest,
And thy fond heart a parent's cares divide ;
Go seek the turf where worth, where wisdom lies,
Wisdom and worth, ah, never to return !
There, kneeling, weep my tears, and breathe my sighs,
A daughter's sorrows o'er her father's urn !
TO WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
ON THE REJECTION OF THE BILL FOR ABOLISHING
THE SLAVE TRADE, 1791.
CEASE, Wilberforce, to urge thy generous aim !
Thy Country knows the sin, and stands the shame !
The Preacher, Poet, Senator in vain
Has rattled in her sight the Negro's chain ;
With his deep groans assailed her startled ear,
And rent the veil that hid his constant tear ;
Forced her averted eyes his stripes to scan,
Beneath the bloody scourge laid bare the man,
Claimed Pity's tear, urged Conscience* strong controul,
And flashed conviction on her shrinking soul.
The Muse too, soon awaked, with ready tongue
At Mercy's shrine applausive paeans rung ;
174 EPISTLE TO W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
And Freedom's eager sons in vain foretold
A new Astrean reign, an age of gold :
She knows and she persists Still Afric bleeds,
Unchecked, the human traffic still proceeds ;
She stamps her infamy to future time,
And on her hardened forehead seals the crime.
In vain, to thy white standard gathering round,
Wit, Worth, and Parts and Eloquence are found :
In vain, to push to birth thy great design,
Contending chiefs, and hostile virtues join ;
All, from conflicting ranks, of power possesst
To rouse, to melt, or to inform the breast.
Where seasoned tools of Avarice prevail,
A Nation's eloquence, combined, must fail :
Each flimsy sophistry by turns they try ;
The plausive argument, the daring lie,
The artful gloss, that moral sense confounds,
The* acknowledged thirst of gain that honour wounds
EPISTLE TO W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ. 175
Bane of ingenuous minds ! the' unfeeling sneer,
Which sudden turns to stone the falling tear :
They search assiduous, with inverted skill,
For forms of wrong, and precedents of ill ;
With impious mockery wrest the sacred page,
And glean up crimes from each remoter age :
Wrung Nature's tortures, shuddering, while you tell,
From scoffing fiends bursts forth the laugh of hell ;
In Britain's senate, Misery's pangs give birth
To jests unseemly, and to horrid mirth
Forbear ! thy virtues but provoke our doom,
And swell the' account of vengeance yet to come ;
For, not unmarked in Heaven's impartial plan,
Shall man, proud worm, contemn his fellow-man !
And injured Afric, by herself redresst,
Darts her own serpents at her tyrant's breast.
Each vice, to minds depraved by bondage known,
With sure contagion fastens on his own ;
In sickly languors melts his nerveless frame,
And blows to rage impetuous Passion's flame :
176 EPISTLE TO \v. W1LBERFORCF
Fermenting swift, the fiery venom gains
The milky innocence of infant veins ;
There swells the stubborn will, damps learning's fire,
The whirlwind wakes of uncontrouled desire,
Sears the young heart to images of woe,
And blasts the buds of Virtue as they blow.
Lo ! where reclined, pale Beauty courts the breeze,
Diffused on sofas of voluptuous ease ;
With anxious awe her menial train around
Catch her faint whispers of half-uttered sound ;
See her, in monstrous fellowship, unite
At once the Scythian and the Sybarite !
Blending repugnant vices, misallied,
Which frugal nature purposed to divide ;
See her, with indolence to fierceness joined,
Of body delicate, infirm of mind,
With languid tones imperious mandates urge ;
With arm recumbent wield the household scourge ;
EPISTLE TO W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ. 177
And with unruffled mien, and placid sounds,
Contriving torture, and inflicting wounds.
Nor, in their palmy walks and spicy groves,
The form benign of rural Pleasure roves ;
No milk-maid's song, or hum of village talk,
Soothes the lone poet in his evening walk :
No willing arm the flail unwearied plies,
Where the mixed sounds of cheerful labour rise ;
No blooming maids and frolic swains are seen
To pay gay homage to their harvest queen :
No heart-expanding scenes their eyes must prove
Of thriving industry and faithful love :
But shrieks and yells disturb the balmy air,
Dumb sullen looks of woe announce despair
And angry eyes through dusky features glare
Far from the sounding lash the Muses fly,
And sensual riot drowns each finer joy.
Nor less from the gay East, on essenced wings,
Breathing unnamed perfumes, Contagion springs ;
VOL. i. N
178 EPISTLE TO W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
The soft luxurious plague alike pervades
The marble palaces and rural shades ;
Hence thronged Augusta builds her rosy bowers,
And decks in summer wreaths her smoky towers ;
And hence, in summer bowers, Art's costly hand
Pours courtly splendours o'er the dazzled land :
The manners melt ; one undistinguished blaze
Overwhelms the sober pomp of elder days ;
Corruption follows with gigantic stride,
And scarce vouchsafes his shameless front to hide
The spreading leprosy taints every part,
Infects each limb, and sickens at the heart.
Simplicity, most dear of rural maids,
Weeping resigns her violated shades :
Stern Independence from his glebe retires,
And anxious Freedom eyes her drooping fires ;
By foreign wealth are British morals changed,
And Afric's sons, and India's, smile avenged.
For you, whose tempered ardour long has borne
Untired the labour, and unmoved the scorn ;
EPISTLE TO W. WILBERFORCE, ESQ. 179
In Virtue's fasti be inscribed your fame,
And uttered yours with Howard's honoured name ;
Friends of the friendless Hail, ye generous band !
Whose efforts yet arrest Heaven's lifted hand,
Around whose steady brows, in union bright,
The civic wreath and Christian's palm unite :
Your merit stands, no greater and no less,
Without, or with the varnish of success :
But seek no more to break a nation's fall,
For ye have saved yourselves and that is all.
Succeeding times your struggles, and their fate,
With mingled shame and triumph shall relate ;
While faithful History, in her various page,
Marking the features of this motley age,
To shed a glory, and to fix a stain,
Tells how you strove, and that you strove in vain.
ON THE EXPECTED
GENERAL RISING OF THE FRENCH NATION,
RISE, mighty nation, in thy strength,
And deal thy dreadful vengeance round ; s
Let thy great spirit, roused at length,
Strike hordes of despots to the ground !
Devoted land ! thy mangled breast
Eager the royal vultures tear ;
By friends betrayed, by foes opprest,
And Virtue struggles with Despair.
The tocsin sounds ! arise, arise !
Stern o'er each breast let Country reign ;
Nor virgin's plighted hand nor sighs
Must now the ardent youth detain :
ON THE GENERAL RISING OF THE FRENCH. 181
Nor must the hind who tills thy soil
The ripened vintage stay to press,
Till Rapture crown the flowing bowl,
And Freedom boast of full success.
Briareus-like extend thy hands,
That every hand may crush a foe ;
In millions pour thy generous bands,
And end a warfare by a blow !
Then wash with sad repentant tears
Each deed that clouds thy glory's page ;
Each phrensied start impelled by fears,
Each transient burst of headlong rage :
Then fold in thy relenting arms
Thy wretched outcasts where they roam ;
From pining want and war's alarms,
O call the child of misery home !
182 ON THE GENERAL RISING OF THE FRENCH.
Then build the tomb O not alone
Of him who bled in Freedom's cause ;
With equal eye the martyr own
Of faith revered and ancient laws.
Then be thy tide of glory staid ;
Then be thy conquering banners furled ;
Obey the laws thyself hast made,
And rise the model of the world !
TO DR. PRIESTLEY,
DECEMBER 29, 1792.
STIRS not thy spirit, Priestley ! as the train
With low obeisance, and with servile phrase,
File behind file, advance, with supple knee,
And lay their necks beneath the foot of power ?
Burns not thy cheek indignant, when thy name,
On which delighted Science loved to dwell,
Becomes the bandied theme of hooting crowds ?
With timid caution, or with cool reserve,
When e'en each reverend brother keeps aloof,
Eyes the struck deer, and leaves thy naked- side
A mark for Power to shoot at? Let it be.
" On evil days though fallen and evil tongues,"
184 TO DR. PRIESTLEY.
To thee, the slander of a passing age
Imports not. Scenes like these hold little space
In his large mind, whose ample stretch of thought
Grasps future periods. Well canst thou afford
To give large credit for that debt of fame
Thy country owes thee. Calm thou canst consign it
To the slow payment of that distant day,
If distant, when thy name, to Freedom's joined,
Shall meet the thanks of a regenerate land.
THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
YES, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!
Woman ! too long degraded, scorned, opprest ;
O born to rule in partial Law's despite,
Resume thy native empire o'er the breast !
Go forth arrayed in panoply divine ;
That angel pureness which admits no stain ;
Go, bid proud Man his boasted rule resign,
And kiss the golden sceptre of thy reign.
Go, gird thyself with grace ; collect thy store
Of bright artillery glancing from afar ;
Soft melting tones thy thundering cannon's roar,
Blushes and fears thy magazine of war.
186 THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN.
Thy rights are empire : urge no meaner claim,
Felt, not defined, and if debated, lost ;
Like sacred mysteries, which withheld from fame,
Shunning discussion, are revered the most.
Try all that wit and art suggest to bend
Of thy imperial foe the stubborn knee ;
Make treacherous Man thy subject, not thy friend ;
Thou mayst command, but never canst be free.
Awe the licentious, and restrain the rude ;
Soften the sullen, clear the cloudy brow :
Be, more than princes' gifts, thy favours sued ;
She hazards all, who will the least allow.
But hope not, courted idol of mankind,
On this proud eminence secure to stay ;
Subduing and subdued, thou soon shalt find
Thy coldness soften, and thy pride give way.
THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN. 187
Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought,
Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move,
In Nature's school, by her soft maxims taught.
That separate rights are lost in mutual love.
INSCRIPTION FOR AN ICE-HOUSE.
STRANGER, approach ! within this iron door
Thrice locked and bolted, this rude arch beneath
That vaults with ponderous stone the cell ; confined
By man, the great magician, who controuls
Fire, earth and air, and genii of the storm,
And bends the most remote and opposite things
To do him service and perform his will,
A giant sits ; stern Winter ; here he piles,
While summer glows around, and southern gales
Dissolve the fainting world, his treasured snows
Within the rugged cave. Stranger, approach !
He will not cramp thy limbs with sudden age,
Nor wither with his touch the coyest flower
That decks thy scented hair. Indignant here,
INSCRIPTION FOR AN ICE-HOUSE. 189
Like fettered Sampson when his might was spent
In puny feats to glad the festive halls
Of Gaza's wealthy sons ; or he who sat
Midst laughing girls submiss, and patient twirled
The slender spindle in his sinewy grasp ;
The rugged power, fair Pleasure's minister,
Exerts his art to deck the genial board ;
Congeals the melting peach, the nectarine smooth,
Burnished and glowing from the sunny wall :
Darts sudden frost into the crimson veins
Of the moist berry ; moulds the sugared hail :
Cools with his icy breath our flowing cups ;
Or gives to the fresh dairy's nectared bowls
A quicker zest. Sullen he plies his task,
And on his shaking fingers counts the weeks
Of lingering Summer, mindful of his hour
To rush in whirlwinds forth, and rule the year.
AN AUTUMNAL THOUGHT
'Tis past! we breathe ! assuaged at length
The flames that drank our vital strength !
Smote with intolerable heat
No more our throbbing temples beat.
How clear the sky, how pure the air,
The heavens how bright, the earth how fair !
The bosom cool, the spirits light,
Active the day, and calm the night !
But O, the swiftly shortening day !
Low in the west the sinking ray !
With rapid pace advancing still
" The morning hoar, the evening chill,"
The falling leaf, the fading year,
And Winter ambushed in the rear !
AN AUTUMNAL THOUGHT. 191
Thus, when the fervid Passions cool,
And Judgement, late, begins to rule ;
When Reason mounts her throne serene,
And social Friendship gilds the scene ;
When man, of ripened powers possest,
Broods o'er the treasures of his breast ;
Exults, in conscious worth elate,
Lord of himself almost of fate ;
Then, then declines the' unsteady flame,
Disease, slow mining, saps the frame ;
Cold damps of age around are shed,
That chill the heart, and cloud the head.
The failing spirits prompt no more,
The curtain drops, life's day is o'er.
TO THE POOR.
CHILD of distress, who meet'st the bitter scorn
Of fellow-men to happier prospects born,
Doomed Art and Nature's various stores to see
Flow in full cups of joy and not for thee ;
Who seest the rich, to heaven and fate resigned,
Bear thy afflictions with a patient mind ;
Whose bursting heart disdains unjust controul,
Who feel'st oppression's iron in thy soul,
Who dragg'st the load of faint and feeble years,
Whose bread is anguish, and whose water tears ;
Bear, bear thy wrongs fulfill thy destined hour,
Bend thy meek neck beneath the foot of Power ;
But when thou feel'st the great deliverer nigh,
And thy freed spirit mounting seeks the sky,
TO THE POOR. 193
Let no vain fears thy parting hour molest,
No whispered terrors shake thy quiet breast :
Think not their threats can work thy future woe,
Nor deem the Lord above like lords below ;
Safe in the bosom of that love repose
By whom the sun gives light, the ocean flows;
Prepare to meet a Father undismayed,
Nor fear the God whom priests and kings have made.*
* These lines, written in 1795, were described by Mrs. B., on
sending them to a friend, as " inspired by indignation on hearing
sermons in which the poor are addressed in a manner which
evidently shows the design of making religion an engine of go
VOL. I. O
" YE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH."
SALT of the earth, ye virtuous few,
Who season human-kind ;
Light of the world, whose cheering ray
Illumes the realms of mind :
Where Misery spreads her deepest shade,
Your strong compassion glows ;
From your blest lips the balm distils,
That softens mortal woes.
By dying beds, in prison glooms,
Your frequent steps are found ;
Angels of love ! you hover near,
To bind the stranger's wound.
You wash with tears the bloody page
Which human crimes deform ;
When vengeance threats, your prayers ascend.
And break the gathering storm.
As down the summer stream of vice
The thoughtless many glide ;
Upward you steer your steady bark,
And stem the rushing tide.
Where guilt her foul contagion breathes,
And golden spoils allure ;
Unspotted still your garments shine
Your hands are ever pure.
Whene'er you touch the poet's lyre,
A loftier strain is heard ;
Each ardent thought is yours alone,
And every burning word.
Yours is the large expansive thought,
The high heroic deed ;
Exile and chains to you are dear
To you 'tis sweet to bleed.
You lift on high the warning voice,
When public ills prevail ;
Yours is the writing on the wall
That turns the tyrant pale.
The dogs of hell your steps pursue,
With scoff, and shame, and loss ;
The hemlock bowl 'tis yours to drain,
To taste the bitter cross.
E'en yet the steaming scaffolds smoke,
By Seine's polluted stream ;
With your rich blood the fields are drenched,
Where Polish sabres gleam.
E'en now, through those accursed bars,
In vain we send our sighs ;
Where, deep in Olmutz' dungeon glooms,
The patriot martyr lies.
Yet yours is all through History's rolls
The kindling bosom feels ;
And at your tomb, with throbbing heart,
The fond enthusiast kneels.
In every faith, through every clime,
Your pilgrim steps we trace ;
And shrines are dressed, and temples rise,
Each hallowed spot to grace ;
And paeans loud, in every tongue,
And choral hymns resound ;
And lengthening honours hand your name
To time's remotest bound.
Proceed ! your race of glory run,
Your virtuous toils endure !
You come, commissioned from on high,
And your reward is sure.
TO A LITTLE INVISIBLE BEING
WHO IS EXPECTED SOON TO BECOME VISIBLE.
GERM of new life, whose powers expanding slow
For many a moon their full perfection wait,
| " Haste, precious pledge of happy love, to go
Auspicious borne through life's mysterious gate.
What powers lie folded in thy curious frame,
Senses from objects locked, and mind from thought
How little canst thou guess thy lofty claim
To grasp at all the worlds the Almighty wrought !
200 TO A LITTLE INVISIBLE BEING WHO
And see, the genial season's warmth to share,
Fresh younglings shoot, and opening roses glow !
Swarms of new life exulting fill the air,
Haste, infant bud of being, haste to blow !
For thee the nurse prepares her lulling songs,
The eager matrons count the lingering day ;
But far the most thy anxious parent longs
On thy soft cheek a mother's kiss to lay.
She only asks to lay her burden down,
That her glad arms that burden may resume ;
And nature's sharpest pangs her wishes crown,
That free thee living from thy living tomb.
She longs to fold to her maternal breast
Part of herself, yet to herself unknown ;
To see and to salute the stranger guest,
Fed with her life through many a tedious moon.
IS EXPECTED SOON TO BECOME VISIBLE. 201
Come, reap thy rich inheritance of love !
Bask in the fondness of a Mother's eye !
Nor wit nor eloquence her heart shall move
Like the first accents of thy feeble cry.
Haste, little captive, burst thy prison doors !
Launch on the living world, and spring to light !
Nature for thee displays her various stores,
Opens her thousand inlets of delight.
If charmed verse or muttered prayers had power,
With favouring spells to speed thee on thy way,
Anxious I 'd bid my beads each passing hour,
Till thy wished smile thy mother's pangs o'erpay.
and their voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in its sound.
THE Muses are turned gossips ; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come then, domestic Muse,
In slipshod measure loosely prattling on
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or drowning ^lies, or shoe lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face ;
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded Washing-Day.
Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,
With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day
Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on
Too soon ; for to that day nor peace belongs
Nor comfort ; ere the first gray streak of dawn,
The red-armed washers come and chase repose.
Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,
E'er visited that day : the very cat,
From the wet kitchen scared and reeking hearth,
Visits the parlour, an unwonted guest.
The silent breakfast-meal is soon dispatched ;
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the lowering sky, if sky should lower.
From that last evil, O preserve us, heavens !
For should the skies pour down, adieu to all
Remains of quiet : then expect to hear
Of sad disasters, dirt and gravel stains
Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once
Snapped short, and linen-horse by dog thrown down,
And all the petty miseries of life.
Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack,
And Guatimozin smiled on burning coals ;
But never yet did housewife notable
Greet with a smile a rainy washing-day.
But grant the welkin fair, require not thou
Who call'st thyself perchance the master there,
Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat,
Or usual 'tendance ; ask not, indiscreet,
Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents
Gape wide as Erebus ; nor hope to find
Some snug recess impervious : shouldst thou try
The 'customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue
The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs,
Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight
Of coarse checked apron, with impatient hand
Twitched off when showers impend : or crossing lines
Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet
Flaps in thy face abrupt. Woe to the friend
Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim
On such a day the hospitable rites !
Looks, blank at best, and stinted courtesy,
Shall he receive. Vainly he feeds his hopes
With dinner of roast chicken, savoury pie,
Or tart or pudding : pudding he nor tart
That day shall eat ; nor, though the husband try,
Mending what can't be helped, to kindle mirth
From cheer deficient, shall his consort's brow
Clear up propitious : the unlucky guest
In silence dines, and early slinks away.
I well remember, when a child, the awe
This day struck into me ; for then the maids,
I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from them :
Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope
Usual indulgencies ; jelly or creams,
Relic of costly suppers, and set by
For me their petted one ; or buttered toast,
When butter was forbid ; or thrilling tale
Of ghost or witch, or murder so I went
And sheltered me beside the parlour fire :
There my dear grandmother, eldest of forms,
Tended the little ones, and watched from harm,
Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles
With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins
Drawn from her ravelled stocking, might have soured
One less indulgent.-
At intervals my mother's voice was heard,
Urging dispatch : briskly the work went on,
All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,
To fold, and starch, and clap, and iron, and plait.
Then would I sit me down, and ponder much
Why washings were. Sometimes through hollow bowl
Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft
The floating bubbles ; little dreaming then
To see, Mongolfier, thy silken ball
Ride buoyant through the clouds so near approach
The sports of children and the toils of men.
Earth, air, and sky, and ocean, hath its bubbles,
And verse is one of them this most of all.
INSCRIBED ON A PAIR OF SCREENS.
TO DR. A.
WITHIN the cot the Muses love,
May Peace reside, that household dove !
Beneath this roof, around this hearth,
Mild Wisdom mix with social Mirth !
May Friendship often seek the door
Where Science pours her varied store !
Her richest dyes may Flora spread,
And early paint the garden's bed !
May Health descend with healing wing,
Bright days and balmy nights to bring !
208 VERSES INSCRIBED ON A PAIR OF SCREENS.
And tried Affection still be by,
Love's watchful ear and anxious eye ;
And Sport and Laughter hither move,
To bless the cot the Muses love !
TO MRS. A.
You whose clear life, one fair, well-ordered day,
In useful tenour calmly glides away ;
In whom the eye of Malice never spied
Aught she could wish to spread, or you .to hide,
Whose looks with words accord, and word with deed,
Receive the only screen you e'er can need !
TO MR. S. T. COLERIDGE
MIDWAY the hill of science, after steep
And rugged paths that tire the* unpractised feet,
A grove extends ; in tangled mazes wrought,
And filled with strange enchantment : dubious shapes
Flit through dim glades, and lure the eager foot
Of youthful ardour to eternal chase.
Dreams hang on every leaf: unearthly forms
Glide through the gloom ; and mystic visions swim
Before the cheated sense. Athwart the mists,
Far into vacant space, huge shadows stretch,
And seem realities ; while things of life,
Obvious to sight and touch, all glowing round,
Fade to the hue of shadows Scruples here,
VOL. i. p
210 TO MR. COLERIDGE.
With filmy net, most like the autumnal webs
Of floating gossamer, arrest the foot
Of generous enterprise ; and palsy hope
And fair ambition with the chilling touch
Of sickly hesitation and blank fear.
Nor seldom Indolence these lawns among
Fixes her turf-built seat ; and wears the garb
Of deep philosophy, and museful sits,
In dreamy twilight of the vacant mind,
Soothed by the whispering shade ; for soothing soft
The shades ; and vistas lengthening into air,
With moonbeam rainbows tinted. Here each mind
Of finer mould, acute and delicate,
In its high progress to eternal truth
Rests for a space, in fairy bowers entranced ;
And loves the softened light and tender gloom ;
And, pampered with most unsubstantial food,
Looks down indignant on the grosser world,
And matter's cumbrous shapings. Youth beloved
Of Science of the Muse beloved, not here,
TO MR. COLERIDGE. 211
Not in the maze of metaphysic lore,
Build thou thy place of resting ! lightly tread
The dangerous ground, on noble aims intent ;
And be this Circe of the studious cell
Enjoyed, but still subservient. Active scenes
Shall soon with healthful spirit brace thy mind ;
And fair exertion, for bright fame sustained,
For friends, for country, chase each spleen-fed fog
That blots the wide creation.
Now Heaven conduct thee with a parent's love !
PEACE AND SHEPHERD.
Low in a deep sequestered vale,
Whence Alpine heights ascend,
A beauteous nymph, in pilgrim garb,
Is seen her steps to bend.
Her olive garland drops with gore ;
Her scattered tresses torn,
Her bleeding breast, her bruised feet,
Bespeak a maid forlorn.
From bower, and hall, and palace driven,
To these lone wilds I flee ;
My name is Peace, I love the cot ;
O Shepherd, shelter me \"
PEACE AND SHEPHERD. .'1 )
" O beauteous pilgrim, why dost thou
From bower and palace flee ?
So soft thy voice, so sweet thy look,
Sure all would shelter thee."
" Like Noah's dove, no rest I find ;
The din of battle roars
Where once my steps I loved to print
Along the myrtle shores :
" For ever in my frighted ears
The savage war-whoop sounds ;
And, like a panting hare, I fly
Before the opening hounds."
" Pilgrim, those spiry groves among,
The mansions thou mayst see,
Where cloistered saints chaunt holy hymns,
Sure such would shelter thee !"
PEACE AND SHEPHERD.
" Those roofs with trophied banners stream,
There martial hymns resound ;
And, shepherd, oft from crosiered hands
This breast has felt a wound."
" Ah ! gentle pilgrim, glad would I
Those tones for ever hear !
With thee to share my scanty lot,
That lot to me were dear.
" But lo, along the vine-clad steep,
The gleam of armour shines ;
His scattered flock, his straw-roofed hut,
The helpless swain resigns.
" And now the smouldering flames aspire ;
Their lurid light I see ;
I hear the human wolves approach :
J cannot shelter thee."
THE DEATH OF MRS. MARTINEAU, SENR.
YE who around this venerated bier
In pious anguish pour the tender tear,
Mourn not! Tis Virtue's triumph, Nature's doom,
When honoured Age, slow bending to the tomb,
Earth's vain enjoyments past, her transient woes,
Tastes the long sabbath of well-earned repose.
No blossom here, in vernal beauty shed.
No lover lies, warm from the nuptial bed ;
Here rests " the full of days," each task fulfilled,
Each wish accomplished, and each passion stilled.
You raised her languid head, caught her last breath,
And cheered with looks of love the couch of death.
216 ON THE DEATH OF MRS. MARTINEAU, SENR.
Yet mourn ! for sweet the filial sorrows flow,
When fond affection prompts the gush of woe ;
No bitter drop, 'midst nature's kind relief,
Sheds gall into the fountain of your grief;
No tears you shed for patient love abused,
And counsel scorned, and kind restraints refused ;
Not yours the pang the conscious bosom wrings,
When late Remorse inflicts her fruitless stings.
Living you honoured her, you mourn for dead ;
Her God you worship, and her path you tread :
Your sighs shall aid reflection's serious hour,
And cherished virtues bless the kindly shower :
On the loved theme your lips unblamed shall dwell ;
Your lives, more eloquent, her worth shall tell.
Long may that worth, fair Virtue's heritage,
From race to race descend, from age to age !
Still purer with transmitted lustre shine,
The treasured birthright of the spreading line !
ON THE DEATH OF MRS. MARTINEAU, SENR. 217
For me, as o'er the frequent grave I bend,
And pensive down the vale of years descend ;
Companions, parents, kindred called to mourn,
Dropt from my side, or from my bosom torn ;
A boding voice, methinks, in Fancy's ear
Speaks from the tomb, and cries " Thy friends are here !"
ON A PORTRAIT.
BLEST art! What magic powers with thine may vie,
That brings (too seldom seen) a Brother nigh ?
That gives, by colours into canvass wrought,
The hue of sentiment, and tinge of thought ?
The lips, with soft affection's smile that glow,
And the mild wisdom of the studious brow ?
I look, again I look, and still 't is there ;
I catch, with varying lights, a happier air ;
Approach, step back, the favouring distance choose,
And, line by line, the well known face peruse :
Almost expect the opening lips to pour
With usual flow the treasured mental store,
And fondly dream our meeting glances prove
The' accustomed beamings of fraternal love.
ON A PORTRAIT. 219
But O ! should fate in some disastrous day,
Avert it Heaven ! the living form decay ;
Hide, hide, ye pitying friends, the mimic light,
Veil, veil the image from my tortured sight ;
The shadow of past joys I could not bear,
Nor would it speak of comfort, but despair.
WEST END FAIR.
DAME Charity one day was tired
With nursing of her children three,
So might you be
If you had nursed and nursed so long
A little squalling throng ;
So she, like any earthly lady,
Resolved for once she 'd have^a play-day.
" I cannot always go about
To hospitals and prisons trudging,
Or fag from morn to night
Teaching to spell and write
A barefoot rout,
WKVl I-.ND FAIK. 221
Swept from the streets by poor Lancaster,
" That Howard ran me out of breath,
And Thornton and a hundred more
Will be my death :
The air is sweet, the month is gay,
And I," said she, " must have a holiday."
So said, she doffed her robes of brown
In which she commonly is seen,
Like French Beguine,
And sent for ornaments to town :
And Taste in Flavians form stood by,
Penciled her eyebrows, curled her hair,
Disposed each ornament with care,
And hung her round with trinkets rare,
She scarcely, looking in the glass,
Knew her own face.
222 WEST END FAIR.
So forth she sallied blithe and gay,
And met dame Fashion by the way ;
And many a kind and friendly greeting
Passed on their meeting :
Nor let the fact your wonder move,
Abroad, and on a gala-day,
Fashion and she are hand and glove.
So on they walked together,
Bright was the weather ;
Dame Charity was frank and warm ;
But being rather apt to tire,
She leant on Fashion's arm.
And now away for West End fair,
Where whiskey, chariot, coach, and chair,
Are all in requisition.
In neat attire the Graces
WEST END FAIR.
Behind the counters take their places,
And humbly do petition
To dress the booths with flowers and sweets,
As fine as any May- day,
Where Charity with Fashion meets,
And keeps her play-day.
WRITTEN NOVEMBER 1808.
PURE spirit ! O where art thou now !
O whisper to my soul !
O let some soothing thought of thee,
This bitter grief controul !
Tis not for thee the tears I shed,
Thy sufferings now are o'er ;
The sea is calm, the tempest past,
On that eternal shore.
No more the storms that wrecked thy peace
Shall tear that gentle breast ;
Nor Summer's rage, nor Winter's cold,
Thy poor, poor frame molest.
Thy peace is sealed, thy rest is sure,
My sorrows are to come ;
Awhile I weep and linger here,
Then follow to the tomb.
And is the awful veil withdrawn,
That shrouds from mortal eyes,
In deep impenetrable gloom,
The secrets of the skies ?
O, in some dream of visioned bliss,
Some trance of rapture, show
Where, on the bosom of thy God,
Thou rest'st from human woe !
Thence may thy pure devotion's flame
On me, on me descend ;
To me thy strong aspiring hopes,
Thy faith, thy fervours lend.
VOL. i. Q
Let these my lonely path illume,
And teach my weakened mind
To welcome all that 's left of good,
To all that's lost resigned.
Farewell ! With honour, peace, and love, N
Be thy dear memory blest !
Thou hast no tears for me to shed,
When I too am at rest.
THE UNKNOWN GOD.
To learned Athens, led by fame,
As once the man of Tarsus came,
With pity and surprise
Midst idol altars as he stood,
O'er sculptured marble, brass and wood,
He rolled his awful eyes.
But one, apart, his notice caught,
That seemed with higher meaning fraught,
Graved on the wounded stone ;
Nor form nor name was there expressed ;
Deep reverence filled the musing breast,
Perusing, " To the God unknown."
228 THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Age after age has rolled away,
Altars and thrones have felt decay,
Sages and saints have risen ;
And, like a giant roused from sleep,
Man has explored the pathless deep,
And lightnings snatched from heaven,
And many a shrine in dust is laid,
Where kneeling nations homage paid,
By rock, or fount, or grove :
Ephesian Dian sees no more
Her workmen fuse the silver ore,
Nor Capitolian Jove.
E'en Salem's hallowed courts have ceased
With solemn pomps her tribes to feast,
No more the victim bleeds ;
To censers filled with rare perfumes,
And vestments from Egyptian looms,
A purer rite succeeds.
THE UNKNOWN GOD. 229
Yet still, where'er presumptuous man
His Maker's essence strives to scan,
And lifts his feeble hands,
Though saint and sage their powers unite,
To fathom that abyss of light,
Ah ! still that altar stands.
THE year has run
Its round of seasons, has fulfilled its course,
Absolved its destined period, and is borne,
Silent and swift, to that devouring gulf,
Their womb and grave, where seasons, months and years,
Revolving periods of uncounted time,
All merge, and are forgotten . Thou alone,
In thy deep bosom burying all the past,
Still art ; and still from thine exhaustless store
New periods spring, Eternity. Thy name
Or glad, or fearful, we pronounce, as thoughts
Wandering in darkness shape thee. Thou strange being,
Which art and must be, yet which contradict'st
All sense, all reasoning, thou, who never wast
Less than thyself, and who still art thyself
Entire, though the deep draught which Time has taken
Equals thy present store No line can reach
To thy unfathomed depths. The reasoning sage
Who can dissect a sunbeam, count the stars,
And measure distant worlds, is here a child,
And, humbled, drops his calculating pen.
On and still onward flows the ceaseless tide,
And wrecks of empires and of worlds are borne
Like atoms on its bosom. Still thou art
And he who does inhabit thee.
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
STILL the loud death drum, thundering from afar,
O'er the ^e^t nations pours the storm of war:
To the stern call still Britain bends her ear,
Feeds the fiercejstnfe, the' alternate hope and fear ;
Bravely, though vainly, dares to strive with Fate,
4e> hc^ ? u^/*y>p0r-f*
And seeks by turns to prop each sinking state.
Colossal power with overwhelming force
Bears down each fort of Freedom in its course ;
KuUr ^ n\f-fcxtf-wc
Prostrate she lies beneath the Despot's sway,
While the hushed nations curse him and obey.
Bounteous in vain, with frantic man at strife,
Glad Nature pours the means the joys of life ;
- s tv ftti * ^ '
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 233
In vain with orange-blossoms scents the gale,
The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale ;
Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,
Disease and Rapine follow in her train ;
The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,
The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,
And where the soldier gleans the scant supply,
The helpless peasant but retires to die ;
No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,
And war's least horror is the' ensanguined field.
Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride
The blooming youths that grace her honoured side ;
No son returns to press her widowed hand,
Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.
Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,
Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace ;
Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,
And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.
234 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name,
By deeds of blood is lifted into fame ;
Oft o'er the daily page some soft one bends
To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,
Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,
Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,
Asks where the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,
And learns its name but to detest the sound.
And think'st thou, Britain, still to sit at ease,
An island queen amidst thy subject seas,
While the vext billows, in their distant roar,
But soothe thy slumbers, and but kiss thy shore ?
To sport in wars, while danger keeps aloof,
Thy grassy turf unbruised by hostile hoof?
So sing thy flatterers ; but, Britain, know,
Thou who hast shared the guilt must share the woe.
Nor distant is the hour ; low murmurs spread,
And whispered fears, creating what they dread ;
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 235
Ruin, as with an earthquake shock, is here,
There, the heart-witherings of unuttered fear,
And that sad death, whence most affection bleeds,
Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes.
Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away,
Like mists that melt before the morning ray :
No more on crowded mart or busy street
Friends, meeting friends, with cheerful hurry greet ;
Sad, on the ground thy princely merchants bend
Their altered looks, and evil days portend,
And fold their arms, and watch with anxious breast
The tempest blackening in the distant West.
Yes, thou must droop ; thy Midas dream is o'er;
The golden tide of Commerce leaves thy shore,
Leaves thee to prove the* alternate ills that haunt
Enfeebling Luxury and ghastly Want ;
Leaves thee, perhaps, to visit distant lands,
And deal the gifts of Heaven with equal hands.
236 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
Yet, O my Country, name beloved, revered,
By every tie that binds the soul endeared,
Whose image to my infant senses came
Mixt with Religion's light and Freedom's holy flame !
If prayers may not avert, if 'tis thy fate
To rank amongst the names that once were great,
Not like the dim, cold Crescent shalt thou fade,
Thy debt to Science and the Muse unpaid;
Thine are the laws surrounding states revere,
Thine the full harvest of the mental year,
Thine the bright stars in Glory's sky that shine,
And arts that make it life to live are thine.
If westward streams the light that leaves thy shores,
Still from thy lamp the streaming radiance pours.
Wide spreads thy race from Ganges to the pole,
O'er half the western world thy accents roll :
Nations beyond the Apalachian hills
Thy hand has planted and thy spirit fills :
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 237
Soon as their gradual progress shall impart
The finer sense of morals and of art,
Thy stores of knowledge the new states shall know,
And think thy thoughts, and with thy fancy glow ;
Thy Lockes, thy Paleys shall instruct their youth,
Thy leading star direct their search for truth ;
Beneath the spreading platan's tent-like shade,
Or by Missouri's rushing waters laid,
" Old father Thames " shall be the poet's theme,
Of Hagley's woods the* enamoured virgin dream,
And Milton's tones the raptured ear enthrall,
Mixt with the roaring of Niagara's fall ;
In Thomson's glass the' ingenuous youth shall learn
A fairer face of Nature to discern ;
Nor of the bards that swept the British lyre
Shall fade one laurel, or one note expire.
Then, loved Joanna, to admiring eyes
Thy storied groups in scenic pomp shall rise ;
Their high-souled strains and Shakespear's noble rage
Shall with alternate passion shake the stage.
238 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
Some youthful Basil from thy moral lay
With stricter hand his fond desires shall sway ;
Some Ethwald, as the fleeting shadows pass,
Start at his likeness in the mystic glass ;
The tragic Muse resume her just controul,
With pity and with terror purge the soul,
While wide o'er transatlantic realms thy name
Shall live in light, and gather all its fame.
Where wanders Fancy down the lapse of years
Shedding o'er imaged woes untimely tears ?
Fond moody power ! as hopes as fears prevail,
She longs, or dreads, to lift the awful veil,
On visions of delight now loves to dwell,
Now hears the shriek of woe or Freedom's knell :
Perhaps, she says, long ages past away,
And set in western waves our closing day,
Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains
Where Power is seated, and where Science reigns ;
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 239
England, the seat of arts, be only known
By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone ;
That Time may tear the garland from her brow,
And Europe sit in dust, as Asia now.
Yet then the* ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires
With pictured glories of illustrious sires,
With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take
From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario's lake,
With fond adoring steps to press the sod
By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod ;
On Isis' banks to draw inspiring air,
From Runnymede to send the patriot's prayer ;
In pensive thought, where Cam's slow waters wind,
To meet those shades that ruled the realms of mind ;
In silent halls to sculptured marbles bow,
And hang fresh wreaths round Newton's awful brow.
Oft shall they seek some peasant's homely shed,
Who toils, unconscious of the mighty dead,
240 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
To ask where Avon's winding waters stray,
And thence a knot of wild flowers bear away ;
Anxious inquire where Clarkson, friend of man,
Or all-accomplished Jones his race began ;
If of the modest mansion aught remains
Where Heaven and Nature prompted Cowper's strains
Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong
The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,
Led Ceres to the black and barren moor
Where Ceres never gained a wreath before * :
With curious search their pilgrim steps shall rove
By many a ruined tower and proud alcove,
Shall listen for those strains that soothed of yore
Thy rock, stern Skiddaw, and thy fall, Lodore ;
Feast with Dun Edin's classic brow their sight,
And " visit Melross by the pale moonlight."
* The Historian of the age of Leo has brought into cultivation
the extensive tract of Chatmoss.
EIGHTEEN lHM)l(r.l) AM) \\L\\\ TA. 241
But who their mingled feelings shall pursue
When London's faded glories rise to view ?
The mighty city, which by every road,
In floods of people poured itself abroad ;
Ungirt by walls, irregularly great,
No jealous drawbridge, and no closing gate ;
Whose merchants(such the state which commerce brings)
Sent forth their mandates to dependent kings ;
Streets, where the turban J d Moslem, bearded Jew,
And woolly Afric, met the brown Hindu ;
Where through each vein spontaneous plenty flowed,
Where Wealth enjoyed, and Charity bestowed.
Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet
Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street;
Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,
The broken stairs with perilous step shall climb,
Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,
By scattered hamlets trace its ancient bound,
242 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
And, choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey
Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.
With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread
The hallowed mansions of the silent dead,
Shall enter the long isle and vaulted dome
Where Genius and where Valour find a home ;
Awe- struck, midst chill sepulchral marbles breathe,
Where all above is still, as all beneath ;
Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn
To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,
The ponderous mass of Johnson's form to greet,
Or breathe the prayer at Howard's sainted feet.
Perhaps some Briton, in whose musing mind
Those ages live which Time has cast behind,
To every spot shall lead his wondering guests
On whose known site the beam of glory rests :
Here Chatham's eloquence in thunder broke,
Here Fox persuaded, or here Garrick spoke ;
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 243
Shall boast how Nelson, fame and death in view,
To wonted victory led his ardent crew,
In England's name enforced, with loftiest tone*,
Their duty, and too well fulfilled his own :
How gallant Moore f, as ebbing life dissolved,
But hoped his country had his fame absolved.
Or call up sages whose capacious mind
Left in its course a track of light behind ;
Point where mute crowds on Davy's lips reposed,
And Nature's coyest secrets were disclosed ;
Join with their Franklin, Priestley's injured name,
Whom, then, each continent shall proudly claim.
Oft shall the strangers turn their eager feet
The rich remains of ancient art to greet,
* Every reader will recollect the sublime telegraphic dispatch ,
" England expects every man to do his duty."
f " I hope England will be satisfied," were the last words of
214 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
The pictured walls with critic eye explore,
And Reynolds be what Raphael was before.
On spoils from every clime their eyes shall gaze,
Egyptian granites and the' Etruscan vase ;
And when midst fallen London, they survey
The stone where Alexander's ashes lay,
Shall own with humbled pride the lesson just
By Time's slow finger written in the dust.
There walks a Spirit o'er the peopled earth,
Secret his progress is, unknown his birth ;
Moody and viewless as the changing wind,
No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind ;
Where'er he turns, the human brute awakes,
And, roused to better life, his sordid hut forsakes
He thinks, he reasons, glows with purer fires,
Feels finer wants, and burns with new desires :
Obedient Nature follows where he leads ;
The steaming marsh is changed to fruitful meads
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 245
The beasts retire from man's asserted reign,
And prove his kingdom was not given in vain.
Then from its bed is drawn the ponderous ore,
Then Commerce pours her gifts on every shore,
Then Babel's towers and terraced gardens rise,
And pointed obelisks invade the skies ;
The prince commands, in Tyrian purple drest,
And Egypt's virgins weave the linen vest.
Then spans the graceful arch the roaring tide,
And stricter bounds the cultured fields divide.
Then kindles Fancy, then expands the heart,
Then blow the flowers of Genius and of Art ;
Saints, heroes, sages, who the land adorn,
Seem rather to descend than to be born ;
Whilst History, midst the rolls consigned to fame,
With pen of adamant inscribes their name.
The Genius now forsakes the favoured shore,
And hates, capricious, what he loved before ;
246 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
Then empires fall to dust, then arts decay,
And wasted realms enfeebled despots sway ;
Even Nature's changed ; without his fostering smile
Ophir no gold, no plenty yields the Nile ;
The thirsty sand absorbs the useless rill,
And spotted plagues from putrid fens distill.
In desert solitudes then Tadmor sleeps,
Stern Marius then o'er fallen Carthage weeps ;
Then with enthusiast love the pilgrim roves
To seek his footsteps in forsaken groves,
Explores the fractured arch, the ruined tower,
Those limbs disjointed of gigantic power;
Still at each step he dreads the adder's sting,
The Arab's javelin, or the tiger's spring ;
With doubtful caution treads the echoing ground,
And asks where Troy or Babylon is found.
And now the vagrant Power no more detains
The vale of Tempe, or Ausonian plains ;
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 247
Northward he throws the animating ray,
O'er Celtic nations bursts the mental day :
And, as some playful child the mirror turns,
Now here now there the moving lustre burns ;
Now o'er his changeful fancy more prevail
Batavia's dykes than Arno's purple vale,
And stinted suns, and rivers bound with frost,
Than Enna's plains or Baia's viny coast ;
Venice the Adriatic weds in vain,
And Death sits brooding o'er Campania's plain ;
O'er Baltic shores and through Hercynian groves,
Stirring the soul, the mighty impulse moves ;
Art plies his tools, and Commerce spreads her sail,
And wealth is wafted in each shifting gale.
The sons of Odin tread on Persian looms,
And Odin's daughters breathe distilled perfumes
Loud minstrel bards, in Gothic halls, rehearse
The Runic rhyme, and " build the lofty verse :"
The Muse, whose liquid notes were wont to swell
To the soft breathings of the' ^Eolian shell,
248 . EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
Submits, reluctant, to the harsher tone,
And scarce believes the altered voice her own.
And now, where Caesar saw with proud disdain
The wattled hut and skin of azure stain,
Corinthian columns rear their graceful forms,
And light varandas brave .the wintry storms,
While British tongues the fading fame prolong
Of Tully's eloquence and Maro's song.
Where once Bonduca whirled the scythed car,
And the fierce matrons raised the shriek of war,
Light forms beneath transparent muslins float,
And tutored voices swell the artful note.
Light-leaved acacias and the shady plane
And spreading cedar grace the woodland reign ;
While crystal walls the tenderer plants confine,
The fragrant orange and the nectared pine ;
The Syrian grape there hangs her rich festoons,
Nor asks for purer air, or brighter noons :
Science and Art urge on the useful toil,
New mould a climate and create the soil,
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN. 249
Subdue the rigour of the northern Be.ar,
O'er polar climes shed aromatic air,
On yielding Nature urge their new demands,
And ask not gifts but tribute at her hands.
London exults : on London Art bestows
Her summer ices and her winter rose ;
Gems of the East her mural crown adorn,
And Plenty at her feet pours forth her horn ;
While even the exiles her just laws disclaim,
People a continent, and build a name :
August she sits, and with extended hands
Holds forth the book of life to distant lands.
But fairest flowers expand but to decay ;
The worm is in thy core, thy glories pass away ;
Arts, arms and wealth destroy the fruits they bring ;
Commerce, like beauty, knows no second spring.
Crime walks thy streets, Fraud earns her unblest bread,
O'er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread,
250 EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND ELEVEN.
And angel charities in vain oppose :
With grandeur's growth the mass of misery grows.
For see, to other climes the Genius soars,
He turns from Europe's desolated shores ;
And lo, even now, midst mountains wrapt in storm,
On Andes' heights he shrouds his awful form ;
On Chimborazo's summits treads sublime,
Measuring in lofty thought the march of Time ;
Sudden he calls : " 'Tis now the hour!" he cries,
Spreads his broad hand, and bids the nations rise.
La Plata hears amidst her torrents' roar ;
Potosi hears it, as she digs the ore :
Ardent, the Genius fans the noble strife,
And pours through feeble souls a higher life,
Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea,
And swears Thy world, Columbus, shall be free.
ODE TO REMORSE.
DREAD offspring of the holy light within,
Offspring of Conscience and of Sin,
Stern as thine awful sire, and fraught with woe
From bitter springs thy mother taught to flow,
Remorse ! To man alone 't is given
Of all on earth, or all in heaven,
To wretched man thy bitter cup to drain,
Feel thy awakening stings, and taste thy wholesome pain.
Midst Eden's blissful bowers,
And amaranthine flowers,
252 ODE TO REMORSE.
Thy birth portentous dimmed the orient day,
What time our hapless sire,
Overcome by fond desire,
The high command presumed to disobey ;
Then didst thou rear thy snaky crest,
And raise thy scorpion lash to tear the guilty breast :
And never, since that fatal hour,
May man, of woman born, expect to' escape thy power.
Thy goading stings the branded Cain
Cross the' untrodden desert drove,
Ere from his cradling home and native plain
Domestic man had learnt to rove.
By gloomy shade or lonely flood
Of vast primeval solitude,
Thy step his hurried steps pursued,
Thy voice awoke his conscious fears,
For ever sounding in his ears
A father's curse, a brother's blood j
ODE TO REMORSE. ^J
Till life was misery too great to bear,
And torturing thought was lost in sullen, dumb despair.
The king who sat on Judah's throne,
By guilty love to murder wrought,
Was taught thy searching power to own,
When, sent of Heaven, the seer his royal presence sought.
As, wrapt in artful phrase, with sorrow feigned,
He told of helpless, meek distress,
And wrongs that sought from power redress,
The pity-moving tale his ear obtained,
And bade his better feelings wake :
Then, sudden as the trodden snake
On the scared traveller darts his fangs,
The prophet's bold rebuke aroused thy keenest pangs.
And O that look, that soft upbraiding look !
A thousand cutting, tender things it spoke,-
The sword so lately drawn was not so keen,
Which, as the injured Master turned him round,
254, ODE TO REMORSE.
In the strange solemn scene,
And the shrill clarion gave the' appointed sound,
Pierced sudden through the reins,
Awakening all thy pains,
And drew a silent shower of bitter tears
Down Peter's blushing cheek, late pale with coward
Cruel Remorse ! where Youth and Pleasure sport,
And thoughtless Folly keeps her court,
Crouching midst rosy bowers thou lurk'st unseen ;
Slumbering the festal hours away,
While Youth disports in that enchanting scene ;
Till on some fated day
Thou with a tiger-spring dost leap upon thy prey,
And tear his helpless breast, o'erwhelmed with wild
Mark that poor wretch with clasped hands !
Pale o'er his parent's grave he stands,
ODE TO REMORSE. 255
The grave by his ingratitude prepared ;
Ah then, where'er he rests his head,
On roses pillowed or the softest down,
Though festal wreaths his temples crown,
He well might envy Guatimozin's bed,
With burning coals and sulphur spread,
And with less agony his torturing hour have shared.
For Thou art by to point the keen reproach ;
Thou draw'st the curtains of his nightly couch,
Bring'st back the reverend face with tears bedewed,
That o'er his follies yearned ;
The warnings oft in vain renewed,
The looks of anguish and of love,
His stubborn breast that failed to move,
When in the scorner's chair he sat, and wholesome
Lives there a man whose labouring breast
Is with some dark and guilty secret prest,
236 ODE TO REMORSE.
Who hides within its inmost fold
Strange crimes to mortal ear untold ?
In vain to sad Chartreuse he flies,
Midst savage rocks and cloisters dim and drear,
And there to shun thee tries :
In vain untold his crime to mortal ear,
Silence and whispered sounds but make thy voice more
Lo, where the cowled monk with frantic rage
Lifts high the sounding scourge, his bleeding shoulders
Penance and fasts his anxious thoughts engage,
Weary his days and j oyless are his nights,
His naked feet the flinty pavement tears,
His knee at every shrine the marble wears ;
Why does he lift the cruel scourge ?
The restless pilgrimage why urge ?
'Tis all to quell thy fiercer rage,
ODE TO REMORSE. 257
Tis all to soothe thy. deep despair,
He courts the body's pangs, for thine he cannot bear.
See o'er the bleeding corse of her he loved,
The jealous murderer bends unmoved,
Trembling with rage, his livid lips express
His frantic passion's wild and rash excess.
O God, she 's innocent ! transfixt he stands,
Pierced thro* with shafts from thine avenging hands ;
Down his pale cheek no tear will flow,
Nor can he shun, nor can he bear, his woe.
Twas phantoms summoned by thy power
Round Richard's couch at midnight hour,
That scared the tyrant from unblest repose ;
With frantic haste, "To horse! to horse!" he cries,
While on his crowned brow cold sweat-drops rise,
And fancied spears his spear oppose ;
But not the swiftest steed can bear away
From thy firm grasp thine agonizing prey,
VOL. i. s
258 ODE TO REMORSE.
Thou wast the fiend, and thou alone,
That stood'st by Beaufort's mitred head,
With upright hair and visage ghastly pale :
Thy terrors shook his dying bed,
Past crimes and blood his sinking heart assail,
His hands are clasped, hark to that hollow groan !
See how his glazed, dim eye-balls wildly roll,
'Tis not dissolving Nature's pains ; that pang is of the so
Where guilty souls are doomed to dwell,
T is thou that mak'st their fiercest hell,
The vulture thou that on their liver feeds,
As rise to view their past unhallowed deeds ;
With thee condemned to stay,
Till time has rolled away
Long aeras of uncounted years,
And every stain is washed in soft repentant tears.
Servant of God but unbeloved proceed,
For thou must live and ply thy scorpion scourge ;
ODE TO REMORSE. :>:,<)
Thy sharp upbraidings urge
Against the 'unrighteous deed,
Till thine accursed mother shall expire,
And a new world spring forth from renovating fire.
O ! when the glare of day is fled,
And calm, beneath the evening star,
Reflection leans her pensive head,
And calls the passions to her solemn bar ;
Reviews the censure rash, the hasty word,
The purposed act too long deferred,
Of time the wasted treasures lent,
And fair occasions lost and golden hours misspent :
When anxious Memory numbers o'er
Each offered prize we failed to seize ;
Or friends laid low, whom now no more
Our fondest love can serve or please,
And thou, dread power ! bring'st back in terrors drest,
The' irrevocable past, to sting the careless breast ;
2GO ODE TO REMORSE.
O ! in that hour be mine to know,
While fast the silent sorrows flow,
And wisdom cherishes the wholesome pain,
No heavier guilt, no deeper stain,
Than tears of meek contrition may atone,
Shed at the mercy -seat of Heaven's eternal throne.
Animula, vagula, blandula.
LIFE! I know not what thou art,
But know that thou and I must part ;
And when, or how, or where we met,
I own to me 's a secret yet.
But this I know, when thou art fled,
Where'er they lay these limbs, this head,
No clod so valueless shall be,
As all that then remains of me.
O whither, whither dost thou fly,
Where bend unseen thy trackless course,
And in this strange divorce,
Ah tell where I must seek this compound I ?
262 L I F E.
To the vast ocean of empyreal flame,
From whence thy essence came,
Dost thou thy flight pursue, when freed
From matter's base encumbering weed ?
Or dost thou, hid from sight,
Wait, like some spell-bound knight,
Through blank oblivious years the' appointed hour,
To break thy trance and reassume thy power ?
Yet canst thou without thought or feeling be ?
O say what art thou, when no more thou 'rt thee ?
Life ! we 've been long together,
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather ;
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear;
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear;
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time ;
Say not Good night, but in some brighter clime
Bid me Good morning.
ON THE KING'S ILLNESS
REST, rest, afflicted spirit, quickly pass
Thine hour of bitter suffering ! Rest awaits thee,
There, where, the load of weary life laid down,
The peasant and the king repose together :
There peaceful sleep, thy quiet grave bedewed
With tears of those who loved thee. Not for thee,
In the dark chambers of the nether world,
Shall spectre kings rise from their burning thrones
And point the vacant seat, and scoffing say,
Art thou become like us ? O not for thee !
For thou hadst human feelings, and hast lived
A man with men ; and kindly charities,
Even such as warm the cottage hearth, were thine.
264 ON THE KING'S ILLNESS.
And therefore falls the tear from eyes not used
To gaze on kings with admiration fond.
And thou hast knelt at meek Religion's shrine
With no mock homage, and hast owned her rights
Sacred in every breast : and therefore rise,
Affectionate, for thee, the orisons
And mingled prayers, alike from vaulted domes
Whence the loud organ peals, and raftered roofs
Of humbler worship.- Still remembering this,
A nation's pity and a nation's love
Linger beside thy couch, in this the day
Of thy sad visitation, veiling faults
Of erring judgement, and not will perverse.
Yet, O that thou hadst closed the wounds of war !
That had been praise to suit a higher strain.
Farewell the years rolled down the gulf of time !
Thy name has chronicled a long bright page
Of England's story ; and perhaps the babe
Who opens, as thou closest thine, his eyes
ON THE KING'S ILLNESS. 2G.5
Oil this eventful world, when aged grown,
Musing on times gone by, shall sigh and say,
Shaking his thin grey hairs, whitened with grief,
Our fathers' days were happy. Fare thee well!
My thread of life has even run with thine
For many a lustre ; and thy closing day
I contemplate, not mindless of my own,
Nor to its call reluctant.
A THOUGHT ON DEATH
WHEN life as opening buds is sweet,
And golden hopes the fancy greet,
And Youth prepares his joys to meet,
Alas ! how hard it is to die !
When just is seized some valued prize,
And duties press, and tender ties
Forbid the soul from earth to rise,
How awful then it is to die !
When, one by one, those ties are torn,
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
And man is left alone to mourn,
Ah then, how easy 'tis to die !
A THOUGHT ON DEATH. 267
When faith is firm, and conscience clear,
And words of peace the spirit cheer,
And visioned glories half appear,
Tis joy, 'tis triumph then to die.
When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
And films, slow gathering, dim the sight,
And clouds obscure the mental light,
Tis nature's precious boon to die.
IN THE MANNER OF SPENSER.
So long estranged from every Muse's lyre,
And groveling in the tangled net of Care ;
What powerful breath shall kindle up that fire
Smothered with damps of most unkindly air ?
Ah, how is quenched the lamp that burnt so fair !
Come, sweet seducers, late too far away,
Once more to my deserted cell repair ;
Your rebel courts again your gentle sway ;
Come, soothe the winter's night, and charm the sum
Come, dear companions of my youthful hour,
Fill my fond breast with your majestic themes ;
Meet me again on hill, by stream, or bower,
And bathe my fancy in the bliss of dreams.
Vain wish ! no more the star of Fancy gleams ;
They with becoming scorn reject thy prayer :
Nor will they haunt thy bower, or bless thy streams,
No more to thy deserted cell repair :
" Go, court the world," they cry, " thou art not worth
Bustle and hurry, noise and thrall they hate,
And plodding Method with her leaden rule ;
And all that swells the' unwieldy pomp of state,
And all that binds to earth the golden fool ;
And creeping Labour with his patient tool :
Free like the birds they wander unconfined.
Nor dip their wings in Lucre's muddy pool ;
Business they hate, in crowded nook enshrined.
That spins her dirty web, and clouds the* ethereal mind,
Ah, why should man, in hard unsocial strife,
And withering care whose vigils never cease,
Fretting away this little thread of life,
Of his sad birthright reap such large increase !
Why should he toil for aught but bread and peace ?
Why rear to heaven his clay-built pyramids ?
JSTor from his tasks himself, poor slave ! release ;
With anxious thought, which wholesome rest forbids,
Drying the balm of sleep from sorrow's swollen lids.
Despising cheap delights, he loves to scoop
His marble palace from the rock's hard breast,
And in close dungeon walls himself to coop,
On golden couches wooing pale unrest ;
With foreign looms his stately halls are drest,
And grim-wrought tapestry clothes the darkened room;
While in the flowery vale Peace builds her nest,
Amidst the purple heath or yellow broom,
Or where midst rustling corn the nodding poppies bloom.
TO MISS T.
SWEET are the thoughts that stir the virgin's breast
When love first enters there, a timid guest ;
Before her dazzled eyes gay visions shine,
And laughing Cupids wreaths of roses twine ;
And conscious beauty hastens to employ
Her span of empire and her dream of joy.
Sarah ! not thus to thee his power is shown ;
More stern he greets thee from his awful throne.
Thee, called to bid thy cheering converse flow,
And shed thy sweetness in the house of woe ;
The solemn sympathies of grief to share,
And, sadly smiling, soothe a sister's care.
272 TO MISS T.
O'er her young hopes the sable pall is spread ;
Her wedded heart holds converse with the dead ;
To ties, no longer earthly, fondly true,
Each thought that breathes of love, must breathe of
Thus, Sarah, love thy nobler mind prepares,
Shows thee his dangers, duties, sorrows, cares ;
Thus with severer lessons schools thy heart,
And, pleased his happiest influence to impart,
For thee, dismissing from his chastened train
Each motley form of fickle, light, or vain,
Builds the strong fabric of that love sublime
Which conquers Death, and triumphs over Time.
THE FIRST FIRE.
OCTOBER 1st, 1815.
HA, old acquaintance ! many a month has past
Since last I viewed thy ruddy face ; and I,
Shame on me ! had mean time well nigh forgot
That such a friend existed. Welcome now !
When summer suns ride high, and tepid airs
Dissolve in pleasing languor ; then indeed
We think thee needless, and in wanton pride
Mock at thy grim attire and sooty jaws,
And breath sulphureous, generating spleen,
As Frenchmen say ; Frenchmen, who never knew
The sober comforts of a good coal fire.
Let me imbibe thy warmth, and spread myself
Before thy shrine adoring : magnet thou
Of strong attraction, daily gathering in
VOL. I. T
274 THE FIRST FIRE,
Friends, brethren, kinsmen, variously dispersed,
All the dear charities of social life,
To thy close circle. Here a man might stand,
And say, This is my world ! Who would not bleed
Rather than see thy violated hearth
Prest by a hostile foot ? The winds sing shrill ;
Heap on the fuel ! Not the costly board,
Nor sparkling glass, nor wit, nor music, cheer
Without thy aid. If thrifty thou dispense
Thy gladdening influence, in the chill saloon
The silent shrug declares the' unpleased guest.
How grateful to belated traveller
Homeward returning, to behold the blaze
From cottage window, rendering visible
The cheerful scene within ! There sits the sire,
Whose wicker chair, in sunniest nook enshrined,
His age's privilege, a privilege for which
Age gladly yields up all precedence else
In gay and bustling scenes, supports his limbs.
Cherished by thee, he feels the grateful warmth
THE FIRST FIRE. 275
Creep through his feeble frame and thaw the ice
Of fourscore years, and thoughts of youth arise.
Nor less the young ones press within, to see
Thy face delighted, and with husk of nuts,
Or crackling holly, or the gummy pine,
Feed thy immortal hunger : cheaply pleased
They gaze delighted, while the leaping flames
Dart like an adder's tongue upon their prey ;
Or touch with lighted reed thy wreaths of smoke ;
Or listen, while the matron sage remarks
Thy bright blue scorching flame and aspect clear,
Denoting frosty skies. Thus pass the hours, ,
While Winter spends without his idle rage.
Companion of the solitary man,
From gayer scenes withheld ! With thee he sits,
Converses, moralizes ; musing asks
How many aeras of uncounted time
Have rolled away since thy black unctuous food
Was green with vegetative life, and what
276 THE FIRST FIRE.
This planet then : or marks, in sprightlier mood,
Thy flickering smiles play round the' illumined room,
And fancies gay discourse, life, motion, mirth,
And half forgets he is a lonely creature.
Nor less the bashful poet loves to sit
Snug, at the midnight hour, with only thee
Of his lone musings conscious. Oft he writes,
And blots, and writes again ; and oft, by fits,
Gazes intent with eyes of vacancy
On thy bright face ; and still at intervals,
Dreading the critic's scorn, to thee commits,
Sole confidant and safe, his fancies crude.
O wretched he, with bolts and massy bars
In narrow cell immured, whose green damp walls,
That weep unwholesome dews, have never felt
Thy purifying influence ! Sad he sits
Day after day, till in his youthful limbs
Life stagnates, and the hue of hope is fled
THE FIRST FIRE. 277
From his wan cheek. And scarce less wretched he
When wintry winds blow loud and frosts bite keen,
The dweller of the clay-built tenement,
Poverty-struck, who, heartless, strives to raise
From sullen turf, or stick plucked from the hedge,
The short-lived blaze ; while chill around him spreads
The dreary fen, and Ague, sallow-faced,
Stares through the broken pane ; Assist him, ye
On whose warm roofs the sun of plenty shines,
And feel a glow beyond material fire !
No, helpless thing, I cannot harm thee now ;
Depart in peace, thy little life is safe,
For I have scanned thy form with curious eye,
Noted the silver line that streaks thy back,
The azure and the orange that divide
Thy velvet sides ; thee, houseless wanderer,
My garment has enfolded, and my arm
Felt the light pressure of thy hairy feet ;
Thou hast curled round my ringer ; from its tip,
Precipitous descent! with stretched out neck,
Bending thy head in airy vacancy,
This way and that, inquiring, thou hast seemed
To ask protection ; now, I cannot kill thee.
Yet I have sworn perdition to thy race,
THE CATERPILLAR. 279
And recent from the slaughter am I come
Of tribes and embryo nations : I have sought
With sharpened eye and persecuting zeal,
Where, folded in their silken webs they lay
Thriving and happy ; swept them from the tree
And crushed whole families beneath my foot ;
Or, sudden, poured on their devoted heads
The vials of destruction. This I Ve done,
Nor felt the touch of pity : but when thou,-
A single wretch, escaped the general doom,
Making me feel and clearly recognise
Thine individual existence, life,
And fellowship of sense with all that breathes,
Present'st thyself before me, I relent,
And cannot hurt thy weakness. So the storm
Of horrid war, overwhelming cities, fields,
And peaceful villages, rolls dreadful on :
The victor shouts triumphant ; he enjoys
The roar of cannon and the clang of arms,
And urges, by no soft relentings stopped,
280 THE CATERPILLAR.
The work of death and carnage. Yet should one,
A single sufferer from the field escaped,
Panting and pale, and bleeding at his feet,
Lift his imploring eyes, the hero weeps ;
He is grown human, and capricious Pity,
Which would not stir for thousands, melts for one
With sympathy spontaneous : T is not Virtue,
Yet 'tis the weakness of a virtuous mind.
DEATH OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
YES, Britain mourns, as with electric touch,
For youth, for love, for happiness destroyed,
Her universal population melts
In grief spontaneous, and hard hearts are moved,
And rough unpolished natures learn to feel
For those they envied, leveled in the dust
By Fate's impartial stroke ; and pulpits sound
With vanity and woe to earthly goods,
And urge and dry the tear. Yet one there is
Who midst this general burst of grief remains
In strange tranquillity ; whom ; not the stir
And long-drawn murmurs of the gathering crowd,
That by his very windows trail the pomp
Of hearse, and blazoned arms, and long array
282 ON THE DEATH OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
Of sad funereal rites, nor the loud groans
And deep-felt anguish of a husband's heart,
Can move to mingle with this flood one tear :
In careless apathy, perhaps in mirth,
He wears the day. Yet is he near in blood,
The very stem on which this blossom grew,
And at his knees she fondled in the charm
And grace spontaneous which alone belongs
To untaught infancy : Yet O forbear !
Nor deem him hard of heart ; for awful, struck
By Heaven's severest visitation, sad,
Like a scathed oak amidst the forest trees,
Lonely he stands ; leaves bud, and shoot, and fall ;
He holds no sympathy with living nature
Or time's incessant change. Then in this hour,
While pensive thought is busy with the woes
And restless change of poor humanity,
Think then, O think of him, and breathe one prayer,
From the full tide of sorrow spare one tear,
For him who does not weep !
THE WAKE OF THE KING OF SPAIN.*
ARRAYED in robes of regal state,
But stiff and cold, the monarch sate ;
In gorgeous vests, his chair beside,
Stood prince and peer, the nation's pride ;
And paladin and high-born dame
Their place amid the circle claim :
And wands of office lifted high,
And arms and blazoned heraldry,
* The kings of Spain for nine days after death are placed sitting
in robes of state with their attendants around them, and solemnly
summoned by the proper officers to their meals and their amuse
ments as if living.
284, THE WAKE OF THE KING OF SPAIN.
All mute like marble statues stand,
Nor raise the eye, nor move the hand :
No voice, no sound to stir the air,
The silence of the grave is there.
The portal opens hark, a voice !
" Come forth, O king ! O king, rejoice !
The bowl is filled, the feast is spread,
Come forth, O king !" The king is dead,
The bowl, the feast, he tastes no more,
The feast of life for him is o'er.
Again the sounding portals shake,
And speaks again the voice that spake :
" The sun is high, the sun is warm,
Forth to the field the gallants swarm,
The foaming bit the courser champs,
His hoof the turf impatient stamps ;
Light on their steeds the hunters spring :
The sun is high Come forth, O king !"
THE WAKE OF THE KING OF SPAIN.
Along these melancholy walls
In vain the voice of pleasure calls :
The horse may neigh, and bay the hound,
He hears no more ; his sleep is sound.
Retire ; once more the portals close ;
Leave, leave him to his dread repose.
DEAR Agatha, I give you joy,
And much admire your pretty toy,
A mansion in itself complete
And fitted to give guests a treat ;
With couch and table, chest and chair,
The bed or supper to prepare ;
We almost wish to change ourselves
To fairy forms of tripping elves,
To press the velvet couch and eat
From tiny cups the sugared meat.
THE BABY-HOUSE. 287
I much suspect that many a sprite
Inhabits it at dead of night ;
That, as they dance, the listening ear
The pat of fairy feet might hear ;
That, just as you have said your prayers,
They hurry-scurry down the stairs :
And you '11 do well to try to find
Tester or ring they Ve left behind.
But think not, Agatha, you own
That toy, a Baby-house, alone ;
For many a sumptuous one is found
To press an ampler space of ground.
The broad-based Pyramid that stands
Casting its shade in distant lands,
Which asked some mighty nation's toil
With mountain-weight to press the soil,
And there has raised its head sublime
Through aeras of uncounted time,
Its use if asked, 'tis only said,
A Baby-house to lodge the dead.
Nor less beneath more genial skies
The domes of pomp and folly rise,
Whose sun through diamond windows streams,
While gems and gold reflect his beams ;
Where tapestry clothes the storied wall,
And fountains spout and waters fall ;
The peasant faints beneath his load,
Nor tastes the grain his hands have sowed,
While scarce a nation's wealth avails
To raise thy Baby-house, Versailles.
And Baby-houses oft appear
On British ground, of prince or peer ;
Awhile their stately heads they raise,
The' admiring traveller stops to gaze ;
He looks again where are they now ?
Gone to the hammer or the plough :
Then trees, the pride of ages, fall,
And naked stands the pictured wall;
THE BABY-HOUSE. 289
And treasured coins from distant lands
Must feel the touch of sordid hands ;
And gems, of classic stores the boast,
Fall to the cry of Who bids most?
Then do not, Agatha, repine
That cheaper Baby-house is thine.
FOR man's support I came at first from earth,
But man perverts the purpose of my birth ;
Beneath his plastic hand new forms I take,
And either sex my services partake ;
The flowing lawn in stricter folds I hold,
And bind in chains unseen each swelling fold ;
The band beneath the double chin I grace,
And formal plaits that edge the Quaker's face :
By me great Bess, who used her maids to cuff,
Shone in the dignity of full-quilled ruff.
Such is my whole ; but, parted and disjoined,
New wonders in my varying form you'll find.
What makes the cit look big with conscious worth ;
What bursts from pale surprise or boisterous mirth ;
The sweep Rialto forms, or your fair brow
The fault to youthful valour we allow ;
A word by which possession we denote,
A letter high in place and first in note ;
What guards the beauty from the scorching ray ;
What little master first is taught to say ;
Great Nature's rival, handmaid, sometimes foe ;
The most pathetic counterpart of " Oh !"
The whiskered pilferer and her foe demure ;
The lamps unbought which light the houseless poor ;
What bore famed heroes through the ranks of war ;
What's heard when falls from high the ponderous jar;
What holy Paul did at Gamaliel's feet
What Bavius writes, what schoolboys love to eat ;
Of eager gamesters what decides the fate ;
The homely rough support of Britain's state ;
What, joined to " been," is fatal to a toast ;
What guards the sailor from the shelving coast ;
The stage whence villains make their^last harangue ;
What in your head and bones gives many a pang ;
What introduces long-tailed similes ;
A preposition that to place agrees ;
A stately animal in forests bred,
A tree that lifts on high its lofty head ;
What best unbinds the weary student's mind
A beauteous fish in northern lakes we find ;
A grateful blemish on a soldier's breast :
All these are in my single name exprest.
FROM rosy bowers we issue forth,
From east to west, from south to north,
Unseen, unfelt, by night, by day,
Abroad we take our airy way :
We foster love and kindle strife,
The bitter and the sweet of life :
Piercing and sharp, we wound like steel ;
Now, smooth as oil, those wounds we heal
Not strings of pearl are valued more,
Or gems enchased in golden ore ;
Yet thousands of us every day,
Worthless and vile, are thrown away.
Ye wise, secure with bars of brass
The double doors through which we pass ;
For, once escaped, back to our cell
No human art can us compel.
TO THE LADIES.
HARD is my stem and dry, no root is found
To draw nutritious juices from the ground ;
Yet of your ivory fingers' magic touch
The quickening power and strange effect is such,
My shrivelled trunk a sudden shade extends,
And from rude storms your tender frame defends ;
A hundred times a day my head is seen
Crowned with a floating canopy of green ;
A hundred times, as struck with sudden blight,
The spreading verdure withers to the sight.
Not Jonah's gourd by power unseen was made
So soon to flourish, and so soon to fade.
Unlike the Spring's gay race, I flourish most
When groves and gardens all their bloom have lost ;
Lift my green head against the rattling hail,
And brave the driving snows and freezing gale ;
And faithful lovers oft, when storms impend,
Beneath my friendly shade together bend,
There join their heads within the green recess,
And in the close-wove covert nearer press.
But lately am I known to Britain's isle,
Enough You Ve guessed I see it by your smile.
THIS creature, though extremely thin,
In shape is almost square ;
Has many heads, on which ne'er grew
One single lock of hair.
Yet several of their tribe there are,
Whose case you must bewail,
Of whom in truth it may be said
They Ve neither head nor tail.
In purer times, ere vice prevailed,
They met with due regard,
The wholesome counsels that they
With reverence were heard.
To marriages and funerals
Their presence added grace,
And though the king himself were by,
They took the highest place.
Their business is to stir up men
A constant watch to keep ;
Instead of which, O sad reverse,
They make them fall asleep.
Not so in former times it was,
Howe'er it came to pass ;
Though they their company ne'er left
Till empty was the glass.
The moderns can't be charged with this,
But may their foes defy,
To prove such practices on them,
Though they 're extremely dry.
PROLOGUE TO A DRAMA,
PERFORMED BY A FAMILY PARTY ON THE ANNI
VERSARY OF MR. AND MRS. C.'S MARRIAGE
" To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart,"
Hold, hold ! that 's not my cue, we Ve no intention
By " tender strokes " to sharpen girls' invention :
The soul will waken time enough, ne'er fear ;
No lines shall rouse the slumbering passions here.
O ! ever sacred be the deep repose
Which Youth, on Innocence' pure bosom, knows ;
Before a wish, a throb, a care, have taught
The pangs of feeling or the lines of thought.
PROLOGUE TO A DRAMA. 29f)
O happy period ! soon to pass aw.iv.
Soon will the swelling gales assert their sway,
And drive the vessel from the sheltered port, -
O guide it Heaven ! of winds and waves the sport.
Nor yet " to raise the genius " is our aim,
With Shakespear's high-wrought scenes and words of
A little story, drawn from fairy lore,
A nursery tale, this evening we explore :
" To mend the heart," indeed, we mean to try,
And show what poison lurks in flattery.
'T is true our hero was a prince what then !
Believe me, Flattery stoops to common men.
A little dose, made up with skill and care,
A grain or two of incense, all can bear :
T is life's first rule, by complaisance we live ;
All flatter all, and to receive we give.
Myself, for instance, am sent here tonight
With soothing speech your favour to invite ;
300 PROLOGUE TO A DRAMA.
And when our piece is done, perhaps e'en you,
My gentle auditors, may flatter too,
And make us boast our talents and our skill,
When all the merit is in your good will.
But there 's a theme which asks a verse this day,
Where Flattery has no power her tints to lay ;
This hallowed day, in Hymen's golden bands
Which joined consenting hearts and willing hands.
How many years ago should any ask,
Look round, to count them is an easy task ;
Each tiptoe girl, and each aspiring boy,
Date, as they pass, the years of love and joy.
O happy state ! where blessings number years,
And smiles are only quenched in more delicious tears.
Here, should my willing lips the theme pursue,
And draw the lovely scene in colours due,
Paint the well-ordered home, the sacred seat
Where social joys and active virtues meet ;
These wield in love, and those in love obey
The peaceful sceptre of domestic sway ;
PROLOGUE TO A DRAMA. 301
Where sparkling Fancy weaves her airy dream,
And Science sheds around her steady beam,
Each answering heart the faithful sketch would own,
And glow with feelings raised by truth alone.
WRITTEN IN A YOUNG LADY'S ALBUM OF DIF
LIFE'S chequered scenes these varied leaves display,
Pure white, and tenderest blush, and fading gray :
The rosy tints of morning will not last,
And youth's gay flattering season soon is past.
O may thy gentle breast no changes know,
But such as from time's smoothest current flow ;
No cares, but those whose mellowing influence steals
Mild o'er the' expansive heart that thinks and feels ;
And with affection tried, experienced truth
Tint the white page of innocence and youth !
May Love for thee exert his fullest power,
And gild with sunniest gleams life's latest hour !
And friendship, health, and pleasure long be thine,
When cold the heart that pens this feeble line !
TO A FRIEND.
MAY never more of pensive melancholy
Within thy heart, beneath thy roof appear,
Than just to break the charm of idle folly,
And prompt for others' woes the melting tear ;
No more than just that tender gloom to spread
Where thy beloved Muses wont to stray,
To lift the thought from this low earthy bed,
Or bid hope languish for a brighter day ;
And deeper sink within thy feeling heart
Love's pleasing wounds, or friendship's polished dart !
WHEN sickness clouds the languid eye,
And seeds of sharp diseases fly
Swift through the vital frame ;
Rich drugs are torn from earth and sea,
And balsam drops from every tree,
To quench the parching flame.
But oh ! what opiate can assuage
The throbbing breast's tumultuous rage,
Which mingling passions tear !
What art the wounds of grief can bind,
Or soothe the sick impatient mind
Beneath corroding care !
Not all the potent herbs that grow
On purple heath, or mountain's brow,
Can banished peace restore ;
In vain the spring of tears to dry,
For purer air or softer sky
We quit our native shore.
Friendship, the richest balm that flows,
Was meant to heal our sharpest woes,
But runs not always pure ;
And Love has sorrows of his own,
Which not an herb beneath the moon
Is found of power to cure.
Soft Pity, mild dejected maid,
With tenderest hand applies her aid
To dry the frequent tear ;
But her own griefs, of finer kind,
Too deeply wound the feeling mind
With anguish more severe.
TO MRS. MARISSAL:
WHITHER, whither, wearied dove,
Wilt thou fly to seek thy rest?
Beat with many a heavy storm,
Where repose thy tender breast ?
Hither, hither, gentle dove,
Bend thy flight and build thy home
Here repose thy tender breast,
Fix thy foot, and never roam.
Welcome, welcome, soft-eyed dove,
To the sheltering low-roofed cot,
Leave the splendid city's throng,
Meekly kiss thy quiet lot.
TO MRS. MARISSAL. 307
Low-roofed cots and whispering groves
Suit thy pensive sweetness best ;
Health shall bloom, and Peace shall smile
Round thy small but downy nest.
Try thy thrilling notes once more,
Plume again thy ruffled wing ;
With thy sister turtles coo,
Drink at Pleasure's native spring.
EPITAPH ON THE SAME.
FA RE WELL, mild saint! meek child of love, farewell !
Ill can this stone thy finished virtues tell.
Rest, rest in peace ! the task of life is o'er ;
Sorrows shall sting, and sickness waste no more.
But hard our task from one so loved to part,
While fond remembrance clings round every heart,
Hard to resign the sister, friend, and wife,
And all that cheers, and all that softens life.
Farewell ! for thee the gates of bliss unclose, .
And endless joy succeeds to transient woes.
TO MR. BOWRING,
ON HIS POETICAL TRANSLATIONS FROM VARIOUS
BOWRING, the music of thy polished strains
Through every tongue its equal power sustains.
To the rude Russ it gives a softer touch,
It melts to mellower sounds the homely Dutch,
With bloodless conquest from each land it bears
The precious spoil of long-recorded years ;
And, pleased its holy ardour to diffuse,
With thy own spirit sanctifies the Muse.
Thus, in some window's deep recesses laid,
The soft ^Eolian harp its power displayed,
From the shrill east wind and the stormy north
It drew soft airs and gentle breathings forth ;
310 TO MR. BO WRING.
Subdued to harmony each passing sound,
Waked with unusual notes the echoes round,
With happy magic softened, as it past,
The hollow whistling of the keenest blast;
And each rude gust that swept the changing sky
Dissolved to strains -of liquid harmony.
As the poor schoolboy, when the slow-paced months
Have brought vacation times, and one by one
His playmates and companions all are fled
Or ready ; and to him to him alone
No summons comes ; he left of all the train
Paces with lingering step the vacant halls,
No longer murmuring with the Muse's song,
And silent play-ground scattered wide around
With implements of sports, resounding once
With cheerful shouts ; and hears no sound of wheels
To bear him to his father's bosom home ;
For, conscious though he be of time misspent,
And heedless faults and much amiss, yet hopes
A father's pardon and a father's smile
Blessing his glad return Thus I
Look to the hour when I shall follow those
That are at rest before me.
SAY, ye who through this round of eighty years
Have proved its joys and sorrows, hopes and fears,-
Say, what is life, ye veterans, who have trod,
Step following step, its flowery, thorny road ?
Enough of good to kindle strong desire,
Enough of ill to damp the rising fire,
Enough of love and fancy, joy and hope,
To fan desire and give the passions scope.
Enough of disappointment, sorrow, pain,
To seal the wise man's sentence, All is vain,
And quench the wish to live those years again.
Science for man unlocks her various store,
And gives enough to urge the wish for more ;
314 OCTOGENARY REFLECTIONS.
Systems and suns lie open to his gaze,
Nature invites his love, and God his praise ;
Yet doubt and ignorance with his feelings sport,
And Jacob's ladder is some rounds too short.
Yet still to humble hope enough is given
Of light from reason's lamp, and light from heaven,
To teach us what to follow, what to shun,
To bow the head and say " Thy will be done!"
THE DEATH OF THE VIRTUOUS.
SWEET is the scene when Virtue dies !
When sinks a righteous soul to rest,
How mildly beam the closing eyes,
How gently heaves the' expiring breast !
So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o'er ;
So gently shuts the eye of day ;
So dies a wave along the shore.
Triumphant smiles the victor brow,
Fanned by some angel's purple wing ;
Where is, O Grave ! thy victory now ?
And where, insidious Death ! thy sting ?
316 THE DEATH OF THE VIRTUOUS.
Farewell, conflicting joys and fears,
Where light and shade alternate dwell ;
How bright the' unchanging morn appears !
Farewell, inconstant world, Farewell !
Its duty done, as sinks the clay,
Light from its load the spirit flies ;
While heaven and earth combine to say,
" Sweet is the scene when Virtue dies!"
JEHOVAH reigns : let every nation hear,
And at his footstool bow with holy fear ;
Let heaven's high arches echo with his name,
And the wide peopled earth his praise proclaim ;
Then send it down to hell's deep glooms resounding,
Through all her caves in dreadful murmurs sounding.
He rules with wide and absolute command
O'er the broad ocean and the steadfast land :
Jehovah reigns, unbounded, and alone,
And all creation hangs beneath his throne :
He reigns alone ; let no inferior nature
Usurp, or share the throne of the Creator.
He saw the struggling beams of infant light
Shoot through the massy gloom of ancient night ;
His spirit hushed the' elemental strife,
And brooded o'er the kindling seeds of life :
Seasons and months began their long procession,
And measured o'er the year in bright succession.
The joyful sun sprung up the' ethereal way,
Strong as a giant, as a bridegroom gay ;
And the pale moon diffused her shadowy light
Superior o'er the dusky brow of night ;
Ten thousand glittering lamps the skies adorning,
Numerous as dew-drops from the womb of morning.
Earth's blooming face with rising flowers he drest,
And spread a verdant mantle o'er her breast ;
Then from the hollow of his hand he pours
The circling water round her winding shores,
The new-born world in their cool arms embracing,
And with soft murmurs still her banks caressing.
At length she rose complete in finished pride,
All fair and spotless, like a virgin bride ;
Fresh with untarnished lustre as she stood,
Her Maker blessed his work, and called it good ;
The morning- stars with joyful acclamation
Exulting sang, and hailed the new creation.
Yet this fair world, the creature of a day,
Though built by God's right hand, must pass away ;
And long oblivion creep o'er mortal things,
The fate of empires, and the pride of kings :
Eternal night shall veil their proudest story,
And drop the curtain o'er all human glory.
The sun himself, with weary clouds opprest,
Shall in his silent dark pavilion rest ;
His golden urn shall broke and useless lie,
Amidst the common ruins of the sky ;
The stars rush headlong in the wild commotion,
And bathe their glittering foreheads in the ocean.
320 HYMN S.
But fixed, O God ! for ever stands thy throne ;
Jehovah reigns, a universe alone ;
The' eternal fire that feeds each vital flame,
Collected, or diffused, is still the same.
He dwells within his own unfathomed essence,
And fills all space with his unbounded presence.
But oh ! our highest notes the theme debase,
And silence is our least injurious praise :
Cease, cease your songs, the daring flight controul,
Revere him in the stillness of the soul ;
With silent duty meekly bend before him,
And deep within your inmost hearts adore him.
PRAISE to God, immortal praise,*
For the love that crowns our days ;
Bounteous source of every joy,
Let thy praise our tongues employ ;
For the blessings of the field,
For the stores the gardens yield,
For the vine's exalted juice,
For the generous olive's use ;
* Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be
in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall
yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there
shall be no herd in the stalls : Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will
joy in the God of my salvation. HABAKKUK iii. 17, 18.
VOL. i. Y
Flocks that whiten all the plain,
Yellow sheaves of ripened grain ;
Clouds that drop their fattening dews,
Suns that temperate warmth diffuse :
All that Spring with bounteous hand
Scatters o'er the smiling land :
All that liberal Autumn pours
From her rich overflowing stores :
These to thee, my God, we owe ;
Source whence all our blessings flow j
And for these my soul shall raise
Grateful vows and solemn praise.
Yet should rising whirlwinds tear
From its stem the ripening ear ;
Should the fig-tree's blasted shoot
Drop her green untimely fruit ;
HYMN S. 323
Should the vine put forth no more,
Nor the olive yield her store ;
Though the sickening flocks should fall,
And the herds desert the stall ;
Should thine altered hand restrain
The early and the latter rain ;
Blast each opening bud of joy,
And the rising year destroy :
Yet to thee my soul should raise
Grateful vows, and solemn praise ;
And, when every blessing 's flown,
Love thee for thyself alone.
FOR EASTER SUNDAY.
AGAIN the Lord of life and light
Awakes the kindling ray ;
Unseals the eyelids of the morn,
And pours increasing day.
O what a night was that, which wrapt
The heathen world in gloom !
O what a sun which broke this day,
Triumphant from the tomb !
This day be grateful homage paid,
And loud hosannas sung ;
Let gladness dwell in every heart,
And praise on every tongue.
Ten thousand differing lips shall join
To hail this welcome morn,
Which scatters blessings from its wings,
To nations yet unborn.
Jesus, the friend of human kind,
With strong compassion moved,
Descended like a pitying God,
To save the souls he loved.
The powers of darkness leagued in vain
To bind his soul in death ;
He shook their kingdom when he fell,
With his expiring breath.
Not long the toils of hell could keep
The hope of Judah's line ;
Corruption never could take hold
On aught so much divine.
And now his conquering chariot-wheels
Ascend the lofty skies ;
While broke beneath his powerful cross,
Death's iron sceptre lies.
Exalted high at God's right hand,
The Lord of all below,
Through him is pardoning love dispensed,
And boundless blessings flow.
And still for erring, guilty man,
A brother's pity flows ;
And still his bleeding heart is touched
With memory of our woes.
To thee, my Saviour and my King,
Glad homage let me give ;
And stand prepared like thee to die,
With thee that I may live.
BEHOLD, where breathing love divine,
Our dying Master stands !
His weeping followers gathering round
Receive his last commands.
From that mild teacher's parting lips
What tender accents fell !
The gentle precept which he gave
Became its author well.
" Blest is the man whose softening heart
Feels all another's pain ;
To whom the supplicating eye
Was never raised in vain.
" Whose breast expands with generous warmth
A stranger's woes to feel ;
And bleeds in pity o'er the wound
He wants the power to heal.
" He spreads his kind supporting arms
To every child of grief ;
His secret bounty largely flows,
And brings unasked relief.
" To gentle offices of love
His feet are never slow ;
He views through mercy's melting eye
A brother in a foe.
" Peace from the bosom of his God,
My peace to him I give ;
And when he kneels before the throne,
His trembling soul shall live.
To him protection shall be shown,
And mercy from above
Descend on those who thus fulfill
The perfect law of love."
AWAKE, my soul! lift up thine eyes,
See where thy foes against thee rise,
In long array, a numerous host ;
Awake, my soul ! or thou art lost.
Here giant Danger threatening stands
Mustering his pale terrific bands ;
There Pleasure's silken banners spread,
And willing souls are captive led.
See where rebellious passions rage,
And fierce desires and lusts engage ;
The meanest foe of all the train
Has thousands and ten thousands slain.
Thou tread'st upon enchanted ground,
Perils and snares beset thee round ;
Beware of all, guard every part,
But most, the traitor in thy heart.
" Come then, my soul, now learn to wield
The weight of thine immortal shield ; "
Put on the armour from above
Of heavenly truth and heavenly love.
The terror and the charm repell,
And powers of earth, and powers of hell ;
The Man of Calvary triumphed here ;
Why should his faithful followers fear?
How blest the sacred tie that binds
In union sweet according minds !
How swift the heavenly course they run,
Whose hearts, whose faith, whose hopes are one !
To each, the soul of each how dear,
What jealous love, what holy fear!
How doth the generous flame within
Refine from earth and cleanse from sin !
Their streaming tears together flow
For human guilt and mortal woe ;
Their ardent prayers together rise,
Like mingling flames in sacrifice.
Together both they seek the place
Where God reveals his awful face ;
How high, how strong, their raptures swell,
There's none but kindred souls can tell.
Nor shall the glowing flame expire
When nature droops her sickening fire ;
Then shall they meet in realms above,
A heaven of joy because of love.
Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give
COME, said Jesus' sacred voice,
Come and make my paths your choice :
I will guide you to your home ;
Weary pilgrim, hither come !
Thou, who houseless, sole, forlorn,
Long hast borne the proud world's scorn,
Long hast roamed the barren waste,
Weary pilgrim, hither haste !
Ye who tossed on beds of pain,
Seek for ease, but seek in vain,
Ye whose swollen and sleepless eyes
Watch to see the morning rise ;
Ye, by fiercer anguish torn,
In strong remorse for guilt who mourn ;
Here repose your heavy care,
A wounded spirit who can bear !
Sinner, come ! for here is found
Balm that flows for every wound ;
Peace, that ever shall endure,
Rest eternal, sacred, sure.
336 - HYMNS.
The world is not their friend, nor the world's law.
Lo where a crowd of pilgrims toil
Yon craggy steeps among !
Strange their attire, and strange their mien,
As wild they press along.
Their eyes with bitter streaming tears
Now bend towards the ground,
Now rapt, to heaven their looks they raise,
And bursts of song resound.
And hark ! a voice from 'midst the throng
Cries, " Stranger, wouldst thou know
Our name, our race, our destined home,
Our cause of joy or woe,-
" Our country is Emanuel's land,
We seek that promised soil ;
The songs of Zion cheer our hearts,
While strangers here we toil.
" Oft do our eyes with joy overflow,
And oft are bathed in tears ;
Yet nought but heaven our hopes can raise,
And nought but sin our fears.
" The flowers that spring along the road
We scarcely stoop to pluck ;
We walk o'er beds of shining ore,
Nor waste one wishful look :
" We tread the path our Master trod,
We bear the cross he bore ;
And every thorn that wounds our feet
His temples pierced before :
VOL. i. z
" Our powers are oft dissolved away
In ecstasies of love ;
And while our bodies wander here,
Our souls are fixed above :
" We purge our mortal dross away,
Refining as we run ;
But while we die to earth and sense,
Our heaven is begun."
HYMN S. 330
JOY to the followers of the Lord !
Thus saith the sure the eternal word.
Not of earth the joy it brings,
Tempered in celestial springs :
Tis the joy of pardoned sin,
When conscience cries, 'Tis well within ;
Tis the joy that fills the breast
When the passions sink to rest :
T is a joy that, seated deep,
Leaves not when we sigh and weep ;
It spreads itself in virtuous deeds,
With sorrow sighs, in pity bleeds.
Stern and awful are its tones
When the patriot martyr groans,
And the throbbing pulse beats high
To rapture, mixed with agony.
A tenderer, softer form it wears,
Dissolved in love, dissolved in tears,
When humble souls a Saviour greet,
And sinners clasp the mercy-seat.
Tis joy e'en here ! a budding flower,
Struggling with snows and storm and shower,
And waits the moment to expand,
Transplanted to its native land.
A PASTORAL HYMN.
" Gentle pilgrim, tell me why
Dost thou fold thine arms and sigh,
And wistful cast thine eyes around ?
Whither, pilgrim, art thou bound ?"
" The road to Zion's gates I seek ;
If thou canst inform me, speak."
" Keep yon right-hand path with care,
Though crags obstruct, and brambles tear ;
You just discern a narrow track,
Enter there, and turn not back."
" Say where that pleasant path-way leads,
Winding down yon flowery meads?
Song and dance the way beguiles,
Every face is drest in smiles."
" Shun with care that flowery way ;
Twill lead thee, pilgrim, far astray."
" Guide or counsel do I need?"
" Pilgrim, he who runs may read."
" Is the way that I must keep
Crossed by waters wide and deep ?"
" Did it lead through flood and fire
Thou must not stop thou must not tire."
'' Till I have my journey past
Tell me will the daylight last?
Will the sky be bright and clear
Till the evening shades appear?"
" Though the sun now rides so high,
Clouds may veil the evening sky ;
Fast sinks the sun, fast wears the day,
Thou must not stop thou must not
God speed thee, pilgrim, on thy way
stay : >
SLEEP, sleep today, tormenting cares
Of earth and folly born !
Ye shall not dim the light that streams
From this celestial morn.
Tomorrow will be time enough
To feel your harsh controul ;
Ye shall not violate this day,
The sabbath of my soul.
Sleep, sleep for ever, guilty thoughts !
Let fires of vengeance die ;
And, purged from sin, may I behold
A God of purity !
344 SABBATH HYMNS.
WHEN, as returns this solemn day,
Man comes to meet his maker God,
What rites, what honours shall he pay ?
How spread his sovereign's praise abroad ?
From marble domes and gilded spires
Shall curling clouds of incense rise ?
And gems, and gold, and garlands deck
The costly pomp of sacrifice ?
Vain sinful man ! Creation's lord
Thy golden offerings well may spare ;
But give thy heart, and thou shalt find,
Here dwells a God who heareth prayer.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
Printed by Richard Taylor,
t BINDING SECT. <|UL 11 1968
PR Barbauld, Anna Letitia
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