« ForrigeFortsett »
Surly and slovenly, and bold, and coarse,
Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force,
Spendthrift alike of money and of wit,
Always at speed, and never drawing bit,
He struck the lyre in such a careless mood,
And so disdained the rules he understood,
The laurel seemed to wait on his command;
He snatch'd it rudely from the muses' hand.
Nature, exerting an unwearied power,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to, every flower:
Spreads the fresh verdure of the fields, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads:
She fills profuse ten thousand little throats
With music, modulating all their notes;
And charms the woodland scenes, and wilds un-
With artless airs and concerts of her own:
But seldom (as if fearful of expense)
Vouchsafes to man a poet's just pretence-
Fervency, freedom, Auency of thought,
Harmony, strength, words exquisitely sought;
Fancy, that from the bow, that spans the sky,
Brings colours, dipt in heaven, that never die;
A soul exalted above earth, a mind
Skilled in the characters that form mankind;
And, as the sun in rising beauty dressed,
Looks to the westward from the dappled east,
And marks, whatever clouds may interpose,
his race begins, its glorious close;
An eye like his to catch the distant goal;
Or, ere the wheels of verse begin to roll,
Like his to shed illuminating rays
On every scene and subject it surveys:
Thus graced, the man asserts a poet's name,
And the world cheerfully admits the claim.
Pity religion has so seldom found
A skilful guide into poetic ground !
The flowers would spring wherever she deigned to
And every muse attend her in her way.
Virtue indeed meets many a rhiming friend,
And many a compliment politely penned;
But, unattired in that becoming vest
Religion weaves for her, and half undressed,
Stands in the desert, shivering and forlorn,
A wintry figure, like a withered' thorn.
The shelves are full, all other themes are sped !
Hackneyed and worn to the last Aimsy thread,
Satire has long since done his best; and curst
And loathsome ribaldry has done his worst:
Fancy has sported all her powers away
In tales, in trifles, and in children's play;
And 'tis the sad complaint, and almost true,
Whatever we write, we bring forth nothing new,
'Twere new indeed to see a bard all fire,
Touched with a coal from heaven, assume the lyre
And tell the world, still kindling as he sung,
With more than mortal music on his tongue,
That He, who died below, and reigns above,
Inspires the song, and that his name is love.
For, after all, if merely to beguile,
By flowing numbers and a flowery style,
The tædium that the lazy rich endure,
Which now and then sweet poetry may cure;
Or, if to see the name of idle self,
Stamped on the well-bound quarto, grace the
To float a bubble on the breath of fame,
Prompt his endeavour and engage his aim,
Debased to servile purposes of pride,
How are the powers of genius misapplied !
The gift, whose office is the Giver's praise,
To trace him in his word, his works, his ways!
Then spread the rich discovery, and invite
Mankind to share in the divine delight.
Distorted from its use and just design,
To make the pitiful possessor shine,
To purchase, at the fool-frequented fair
Of vanity, a wreath for self to wear,
Is profanation of the basest kind-
Proof of a trifling and a worthless mind.
A. Hail Sternhold, then; and Hopkins, hail !
If flattery, folly, lust, employ the pen;
If acrimony, slander, and abuse,'
Give it a charge to blacken and traduce;
Though Butler's wit, Pope's numbers, Prior's ease,
With all that fancy can invent to please,
Adorn the polished periods as they fall,
One madrigal of their's is worth them all.
A. 'Twould thin the ranks of the poetic tribe, To dash the pen through all that you proscribe.
B. No matter we could shift when they were
not; And should, no doubt, if they were all forgot.