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ODES ON SEVERAL SUBJECTS. BOOK I.
Pan danc'd their measure with the sylvan throng:But that thy song
Was proud to unfold
What thy base rulers trembled to behold;
Amid corrupted Thebes was proud to tell
The deeds of Athens and the Persian shame:
Hence on thy head their impious vengeance fell.
But thou, O faithful to thy fame,
The Muse's law didst rightly know;
That who would animate his lays,
And other minds to virtue raise, ,
Must feel his own with all her spirit glow.
Are there, approv'd of later times,
Who>e vorse adom'd a tyrant's ' crimes r
Who saw majestic Rome betray'd,
And lent the imperial ruffian aid?
AUs! not one polluted bard,
No, not the strains that Mincius heard,
Or Tibur's hills reply'd,
Dare to the Muse's ear a-pire;
Save that, instructed by the Grecian lyre,
With Freedom's ancient notes their shameful task
they hide. Mark, how the dread Pantheon stands,
Amid the domes of modern hands:
Amid the toys of idle state,
How simply, how severely great!
Then turn, and, while each western clime
Presents her tuneful sons to Time,
So mark thou Milton's name;
And add, "Thus differs from the throng
The spirit which inform'd thy awful song, [fame."
Which bade thy potent voice protect thy country's
Yet hence barbaric Zeal His memory with unholy rage pursues; While from these arduous cares of public weal She bids each bard begone, and rest him with his Muse.
0 fool! to think the man, whose ample mind Must grasp at all that yonder stars survey;
Must join the noblest forms of every kind,
The world's most perfect image to display,
Can e'er his country's majesty behold,
Unmov'd or cold!
O fool! to deem
That he, whose thought must visit every theme,
Whose heart must every strong emotion know
laspirM by Nature, or by Fortune taught;
That he, if haply some presumptuous foe,
With false ignoble science fraught,
Shall spurn at Freedom's faithful band;
That he their dear defence will shun,
Or hide their glories from the Sun,
Or deal their vengeance with a woman's band!
1 care not that in Amo's plain,
Or on the sportive banks of Seine,
From public themes the Muse's quirt
Content with polish'd ease retire. Where priests the studious head command,
Where tyrants bow the warlike hand
To vile Ambition's aim,
Sty, what can public themes afford,
Save renal honours to an hateful lord, (Tame?
E»««rVd for angry Heaven, and scorn'd of honest
* Octavianus Carsar.
But here, where Freedom's equal throne
To all her valiant sons is known;
Where all are conscious of her cares,
And each the power, that rules him, shares;
Here let the Bard, whose dastard tongue
Leaves public arguments unsung,
Bid public praise farewell:
Let him to fitter climes remove,
Far from the hero's and the patriot's love,
And lull mysterious monks to slumber in their cell.
O Hastings, not to all
Can ruling Heaven the same endowments lend:
Yet still doth Nature to her offspring call,
That to one general weal their different powers
Unenvious. Thus alone, though strains divine
Inform the bosom of the Muse's son;
Though with new honours the patrician's line
Advance from age to age; yet thus alone
They win the suffrage of impartial Fame.
The poet's name
He best shall prove,
Whose lays the soul with noblest passions move.
But thee, O progeny of heroes old,
Thee to severer toils thy fate requires:
The fate which form'd thee in a chosen mould,
The grateful country of thy sires,
Thee to sublimer paths demand;
Sublimer than thy sires could trace,
Or thy own Edward teach his race,
Though Gaul's proud genius sank beneath his hand.
V. From rich domains and subject farms.
They led the rustic youth to arms;
And kings their stern achievements fear'd;
While private Strife their banners rear'd.
But loftier scenes to thee are shown,
Where Empire's wide-establish'd throne
No private master fills:
Where, long foretold, the people reigns:
Where each a vassals humble heart disdains;
And judgeth what he sees; and, as he judgeth, wills.
Here be it thine to calm and guide
The swelling democratic tide;
To watch the state's uncertain frame,
And baffle Faction's partial aim:
But chiefly, with determin'd zeal,
To quell that senile band, who kneel
To Freedom's banish'd foes;
That monster, which is daily found
Expert and bold thy country's peace to wound j
Yet dreads to handle arms, nor manly counsel knows.
Tis highest Heaven's command, That guilty aims should sordid paths pursue; That what ensnares the heart should maim the hand, And Virtue's worthless foes be false to Glory too*. But look on Freedom. See, through every age, What labours, perils, griefs, hath she disdain'd! What arms, what regal pride, what priestly rage, Have her dread offspring conquer'd or sustain'd! For Albion well have conquer'd. Let the strains Of happy swains,
Which now resound [bound,
Where Scarsdale's cliffs the swelling pastures
Bear witness. There, oft let the farmer hail The sacred orchard which imbowers his gate, And show to strangers passing down the vale, Where Ca'ndish, Booth, and Osborne sate; When, bursting from their country's chain, Even in the midst of deadly arms, Of papal snares and lawless arms, They plann'd for Freedom this her noblest reign.
This reign, these laws, this public care,
Which Nassau grave us all to share,
Had ne'er adorn'd the English name,
Could Fear have silenc'd Freedom's claim.
But Fear in vain attempts to biud
Those lofty efforts of the mind
Which social Good inspires;
Where men, for this, assault a throne,
Each adds the common welfare to his own;
And each unconquer'd heart the strength of all ac-
Say, was it thus, when late we view'd
Our fields in civil blond imbrued?
When Fortune crown'd the barbarous host,
And half the astonish'd isle was lost?
Did one of all that vaunting train,
Who dare affront a peaceful reign,
Durst one in arms appear?
Durst one in counsels pledge his life?
Stake his luxurious fortunes in the strife?
Or lend his boasted name his vagrant friends tocheer?
Yet, Hastings, these are they Who challenge to themselves thy country's love; The true; the constant: who alone can weigh, What Glory should demand, or Liberty approve! But let their works declare them. Thy free powers, The generous powers of thy prevailing mind, Not for the tasks of their confederate hours, Lewd brawls and lurking slander, where design'd. Be thou thy own approver. Honest praise Oft nobly sways Ingenuous youth:But, sought from cowards and the lying mouth, Praise is reproach. Eternal God alone For mortals fixeth that sublime award. He, from the faithful records of his throne, Bids the historian and the bard Dispose of honour and of scorn; Discern the patriot from the slave; And write the good, the wise, the brave, For lessons to the multitude unborn.
BOOK THE SECOND.
THE REMONSTRANCE OP SHAKSPEAFIE: SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN SPOKEN AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL, WHILE THE FRENCH COMEDIANS WERE ACTING BY SUBSCRIPTION.
If, yet regardful of your native land,
Old Shakspeare's tongue you deign to understand,
Lo! from the blissful bowers where Heaven rewards
Instructive sages and unbleraUh'd bards,
I come, the ancient founder of the stage,
Intent to learn, in this discerning age,
What form of wit your fancies have embrae'd,
And whither tends your elegance of taste,
That thus at length our homely toils you spurn,
That thus to foreign scenes you proudly turn,
That from my brow the laurel wreath you claim
To crown the rivals of your country's fame.
What, though the footsteps of my devious Muse
The measur'd walks of Grecian art refuse?
Or though the frankness of my hardy style
Mock the nice touches of the critic's file?
Yet, what my age and climate held to view,
Impartial I survey'd and fearless drew.
And say, ye skilful in the human heart,
Who know to prize a poet's noblest part,
What age, what clime, could e'er an ampler field
For lofty thought, for daring fancy, yield?
I saw this England break the shameful bands
Forg'd for the souls of men by sacred hands:
I saw each groaning realm her aid implore;
Her sons the heroes of each warlike shore:
Her naval standard (the dire Spaniard's bane)
Obey'd through all the circuit of the main.
Then too great Commerce, for a late-found world.
Around your coast her eager sails unfurl'd:
New hopes, new passions, thence the bosom fir'd;
New plans, new arts, the genius thence inspir'd;
Thence every scene, which private fortune knows.
In stronger life, with bolder spirit, rose.
Disgrac'd I this full prospect which I drew?
My colours languid, or my strokes untrue?
Have not your sages, warriors, swains, and kings,
Confess'd the living draught of men and things?
What other bard in any clime appears
Alike the master of your smiles and tears?
Yet have I deign'd your audience to entice
With wretched bribes to Luxury and Vice?
Or have my various scenes a purpose known
Which Freedom, Virtue, Glory, might not own f
Such from the first was my dramatic plan;
It should be yours to crown what I began:
And now that England spurns her Gothic chain,
And equal laws and social science reign,
I thought, Now surely shall my zealous eyes
View nobler bards and juster critics rise,
Intent with learned labour to refine
The copious ore of Albion's native mine,
Our stately Muse more graceful airs to teach,
And form her tongue to more attractive speech.
Till rival nations listen at her feet,
And own her polish'd, as they own'd her great.
But do you thus my favourite hopes fulfil?
Is France at last the standard of your skill?
Alas for you! that so betray a mind
Of art unconscious, and to beauty blind.
Say; does her language your ambition raise,
Her barren, trivial, unharmonious phrase,
Which fetters eloquence to scantiest bounds,
And maims the cadence of poetic sounds?
Say; does your humble admiration choose
The gentle prattle of her comic Muse,
While wits, plain-dealers, fops, and fools appear,
Charg'd to say nought but what the king may hear?
Or rather melt your sympathizing hearts,
Won by her tragic scene's romantic arts,
Where old and young declaim on soft desire,
And heroes never, but for love, expire?
No. Though the charms of novelty, a while, Perhaps too fondly win your thoughtless smile,
ODES ON SEVERAL
SUBJECTS. BOOK II.
Yet not for you design'd indulgent Fate
The modes or manners of the Bourbon state.
And ill your minds my partial judgment reads,
And many an augury my hope misleads,
If the fair maids of yonder blooming train
To their light courtship would an audience deign,
Or those chaste matrons a Parisian wife
Choose for the model of domestic life;Or if one youth of all that generous band,
The strength and splendour of their native land,
Would yield his portion of his country's fame,
And quit old Freedom's patrimonial claim,
With lying smiles Oppression's pomp to see,
And judge of glory by a king's decree.
O blest at home with justly-envied laws,
O long the chiefs of Europe's general cause,
Whom Heaven hath chosen at each dangerous hour
To check the inroads of barbaric power,
The rights of trampled nations to reclaim,
And guard the social world from bonds and shame;
Oh! let not Luxury's fantastic charms
Thus give the lie to your heroic arms:
Nor for the ornaments of life embrace
Dishonest lessons from that vaunting race,
Whom Fate's dread laws (for, in eternal Fate,
Despotic Rule was heir to Freedom's hate)
Whom, in each warlike, each commercial part,
In civil counsel, and in pleasing art,
The judge of Earth predestin'd for your foes,
And made it fame and virtue to oppose.
Tuou silent power, whose welcome sway Charms every anxious thought away; In whose divine oblivion drown'd, Sore pain and weary toil grow mild, Love is with kinder looks beguil'd, And Grief forgets her fondly-cherish'd wound;O whither hast thou flown, indulgent god? God of kind shadows and of healing dews, Whom dost thou touch with thy Lcthaean rod? Around whose temples now thy opiate airs diffuse?
Lo! Midnight from her starry reign Looks awful down on earth and main. The tuneful birds lie hush'd in sleep, With all that crop the verdant food, With all that skim the crystal flood, Or haunt the caverns of the rocky steep. No rushing winds disturb the tufted bowers;No wakeful sound the moon-light valley knows, Save where the brook its liquid murmur pours, And lulls the waving scene to more profound repose.
O let not me alone complain,
Alone invoke thy power in vain!
Descend, propitious, on my eyes;Not from the couch that bears a crown,
Not from the courtly statesman's down, Nor where the miser and his treasure lies: Bring not the shapes that break the murderer's rest, Nor those the hireling soldier loves to see, Nor those which haunt the bigot's gloomy hreast: fir he their guilty nights, and far their dreams
Nor yet those awful forms present, For chiefs and heroes only meant: The tigur'd hrass, the choral song, The rescued people's glad applause, The listening senate, and the laws Fix'd by the counsels of Timoleon'si tongue. Are scenes too grand for Fortune's private ways; And though they shine in youth's ingenuous view, The sober gainful arts of modern days To such romantic thoughts have bid a long adieu.
I ask not, god of dreams, thy care To banish Love's presentments fair: Nor rosy cheek, nor radiant eye Can arm him with such strong command That the young sorcerer's fatal hand Shall round my soul his pleasing fetters tie. Nor yet the courtier's hope, the giving smile (A lighter phantom, and a baser chain) Did e'er in slumber my proud lyre beguile To lend the pomp of thrones her ill-according strain.
But, Morpheus, on thy balmy wing Such honourable visions bring, As sooth'd great Milton's injur'd age, When in prophetic dreams he saw The race unhorn with pious awe Imbibe each virtue from his heavenly page: Or such as Mead's benignant fancy knows When Health's deep treasures, hy his art explor'd, Have sav'd the infant from an orphan's woes, Or to the trembling sire his age's hope restor'd.
ODE III. TO THE CUCKOO.
0 Rustie herald of the Spring,
At length in yonder woody vale
Fast by the brook I hear thee sing;
And, studious of thy homely tale,
Amid the vespers of the grove,
Amid the chaunting choir of love,
Thy sage responses hail.
The time has been when I have frown'd
To hear thy voice the woods invade;
And while thy solemn accent drown'd
Some sweeter poet of the shade,
"Thus," thought I, "thus the sons of Care
Some constant youth, or generous fair,
With dull advice uphraid."
I said, "While Philomela's song
Proclaims the passion of the grove, It ill beseems a cuckoo's tongue
Her charming language to reprove"—
Alas! how much a lover's ear
Hates all the sober truth to hear,
The sober truth of Love!
i After Timoleon had delivered Syracuse from the tyranny of Dionysius, the people on every important deliheration sent for him into the puhlic assemhly, asked his advice, and voted according to it. Plutarch.
When hearts are in each other bless'd, When nought but lofty Faith can rule The nymph's and swain's consenting breast, How cuckoo-like in Cupid's school, With store of grave prudential saws On Fortune's power and Custom's laws, Appears each friendly fool!
Yet think betimes, ye gentle train
Whom Love and Hope and Fancy sway, Whom every harsher care disdain, Who by the morning judge the day, Think that, in April's fairest hours, To warbling shades and painted flowers The cuckoo joins his lay.
AKENSIDE'S POEMS.Had this been bom to shield
The cause which Cromwell's impious hand betray^,
Or that, like Verc, display'd
His redcross banner o'er the Belgian field;
Yet where the will divine
Hath shut those loftiest paths, it next remains,
With reason clad in strains
Of harmony, selected minds to inspire,
And Virtue's living fire
To feed and eternize in hearts like thine.
TnE HONOURABLE CHARLES TOWNSHEND.
IS THE COUNTRY.
How oft shall I survey This humble roof, the lawn, the greenwood shade,
The vale with sheaves o'erspread,
The glassy brook, the flocks which round thee stray;
When will thy cheerful mind
Of these have utter'd all her dear esteem?
Or, tell me, dnst thou deem
No more to join in Cilory's toilsome race,
But here content embrace
That happy leisure which thou hadst resign'd?
Alas! ye happy hours,
When books and youthful sporU the soul could share,
Ere one ambitious care
Of civil life had aw'd her simpler powersj
Oft as your winged train
Revisit here my friend in white array,
O fail not to display
Each fairer scene where I perchance had part,
That so his generous heart
The abode of even friendship may remain.
For not imprudent of my loss to come,
I saw from Contemplation's quiet cell
His feet ascending to another home
Where public Praise and envied Greatness dwell.
But shall we therefore, O my lyre,
Reprove Ambition's best desire?
Extinguish Glory's flame?
Far other was the task enjoin'd
When to my hand thy strings were first assign'd:
Far other faith belongs to Friendship's honourM
Thee, Townshend, not the arms
Of slumbering Ease, nor Pleasure's rosy chain,
Were destin'd to detain:
No, nor bright Science, nor the Muse's charms.
For them high Heaven prepares
Their proper votaries, an humbler band:
And ne'er would Spenser's hand
Have deign'd to strike the warbling Tuscan shell,
Nor Harrington to tell
What habit an immortal city wears.
For never shall the herd, whom Envy sways, So quell my purpose or my tongue control, That I should fear illustrious worth to praise. Because its master's friendship mov'd my soul. Yet if this undissembling strain Should now perhaps thine ear detain With any pleasing sound, Remember thou that righteous Fame From hoary Age a strict account will claim Of each auspicious palm with which thy youth wa« crown'd.
Nor obvious is the way Where Heaven expects thee; nor the traveller leads,
Through flowers or fragrant meads,
Or groves that hark to Philomela's lay.
The impartial laws of Fate
To nobler virtues wed severer cares.
Is there a man who shares
The summit next where heavenly natures dwell?
Ask him (for he can tell)
Whatstorms beat round that rough laborious height.
Ye heroes, who of old
Did generous England Freedom's throne ordain;
From Alfred's parent reign
To Nassau, great deliverer, wise and bold;
I know your perils hard.
Your wounds, your painful marches, wintry sca«,
The night estrang'd from ease, The day by cowardice and falsehood vex'd,
The head with doubt perplex'd,
The indignant heart disdaining the reward
Which Envy hardly grants. But, O Renown,
O praise from judging Heaven and virtuous
If thus they purchas'd thy divincst crown,
Say, who shall hesitate f or who complain?
And now they sit on thrones above:
And when among the gods they move
Before the sovereign mind,
"Lo, these," he saith, " lo, these are they
Who to the laws of mine eternal sway
From violence and fear asserted human kiud."'
Thus honour'd while the train
Of legislators in his presence dwell;
If I may aught foretell,
The statesman shall the second palm obtain.
For dreadful deeds of arms
Let vulgar bards, with undiscerning praise,
More glittering trophies raise:
But wisest Heaven what deeds may chiefly move
To favour and to love?
What, save wide blessings, or averted harms i
Nor to the embattled field
Shall the achievements of the peaceful gown
The green immortal crown
Of valour, or the songs of conquest yield.
Not Fairfax wildly hold,
While bare of crest he hew'd his fatal way,
Through Nasehy's firm array,
To heavier dangers did his breast oppose
Than Pym's free virtue chose,
When the proud force of Strafford he control'd.
But what is man at enmity with truth?What were the fruits of Wentworth's copious
mind, When (blighted all the promise of his youth)
The patriot in a tyrant's league had join'd?
Let Ireland's loud-lamenting plains,
Let Tyne's and numher's trampled swains,
Let menac'd Ixindon tell
How impious Guile made Wisdom base;
How generous Zeal to cruel Rage gave place;
And how unhless'd he liv'd, and how diBhonour'd
Thence never hath the Muse
Around his tomb Pierian roses flung:
Nor shall one poet's tongue
His name for Music's pleasing lahour choose.
And sure, when Nature kind
Hath deck'd some favour'd hreast ahove the throng,
That man with grievous wrong
Affronts and wounds his genius, if he bends
To Guilt's ignoble ends
The functions of his ill-suhmitting mind.
For worthy of the wise
Nothing can seem but Virtue; nor Earth yield
Their fame an equal field,
Save where impartial Freedom gives the prize.
There Somers fix'd his name,
Enroll'd the next to William. There shall Time
To every wondering clime
Point out that Somers, who from Faction's crowd,
The slanderous and the loud,
Could fair assent and modest reverence claim.
Nor aught did laws or social arts acquire,
Nor this majestic weal of Alhion's land
Did aught accomplish, or to aught aspire,
Without his guidance, his superior hand.
And rightly shall the Muse's care
Wreaths like her own for him prepare,
Whose mind's enamour'd aim
Could forms of civil beauty draw
Sublime as ever sage or poet saw,
let still to life's rude scene the proud ideas tame,
Let none profane he near I
The Muse was never foreign to his hreast:
On Power's grave seat confess'd,
Still to her voice he bent a lover's ear.
And if the blessed know
Their ancient cares, even now the unfading groves,
Where haply Milton roves
With Spenser, hear the enchanted echoes round
Through furthest Heaven resound
Wise Somers, guardian of their fame helow.
SUBJECTS. BOOK II. II3He knew, the patriot knew, That letters and the Muses' powerful art
Exalt the ingenuous heart, And hrighten every form of just and true.
They lend a nobler sway
To civil Wisdom, than Corruption's lure
Could ever yet procure:
They too from Envy's pale malignant light
Conduct her forth to sight,
Cloth'd in the fairest colours of the day.
O Townshend, thus may Time, the judge severe, Instruct my happy tongue of thee to tell: And when I speak of one to Freedom dear For planning wisely and for acting well, Of one whom Glory loves to own, Who still hy liheral means alone Hath liberal ends pursued; Then, for the guerdon of my lay, "This man with faithful friendship," will I say, "From youth to honour'd age my arts and me hath view'di"
ON LOVE OF PRAISE.
Of all the springs within the mind,
Which prompt her steps in Fortune's maze,
From none more pleasing aid we find
Than from the genuine love of praise.
Nor any partial, private end
Such reverence to the puhlic hears; Nor any passion, Virtue's friend, So like to Virtue's self appears.
For who in glory can delight
Without delight in glorious deeds?
Wrhat man a charming voice can slight,
Who courts the echo that succeeds r
But not the echo on the voice More, than on virtue praise depends;To which, of course, its real price
The judgment of the praiser lends.
If praise then with religious awe From the sole perfect judge be sought, A nobler aim, a purer law, Nor priest, nor bard, nor sage hath taught.
With which in character the same
Though in an humbler sphere it lies, I count that soul of human fame.
The suffrage of the good and wise.
TO WILLIAM HALL, ESQUIRE;
WITH TUB WOaKS OF CBAULIXUi
Attf.sn to Chaulieu's wanton lyre;
While, fluent as the sky-lark sings
When first the morn allures its wings.
The epicure his theme pursues:
And tell me if, among the choir
Whose music charms the banks of Seine,
So full, so free, so rich a strain
E'er dictated the warhling Muse.