« ForrigeFortsett »
THE TEARS OF THE MUSES:
A rOEM, MOOD TO THE MEMORY OF THE EICKT HONOURABLE ANNE, VISCOUNTESS OF STORMONT. ANNO MDCCXXXV.
Suhlatam ex oculis quaerimus invidi.
TO THE EIGHT HONOURABLE
DAVID, LORD VISCOUNT OF STORMONT,
LORD MURRAY OF BALVAIRD, LOCUM ABEN, AND COMLONGON,
TN JUST AND GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT Of HtS LORDSHIP'S MANY SINGULAR AND GENEROUS FAVOURS,
THIS ESSAY IS, WITH THE SINCEREST DUTY AND RESPECT, INSCRIBED BY
MOST FAITHFUL, MOST OBLIGED,
AND MOST OBEDIENT SERVANT,
THE TEARS OF THE MUSES:
O when meet now
Such pain? in mutual love and honour join'd!
As late the thoughtful Muse, in pensive mood,
"In vain, lost youth! in shades you seek relief,
Great as your anguish is she asks it all."
Suhmiss, I answer'd,—" Goddess, deign to say, This peerless fair whose loss your looks display,
A stranger here in characters unread,
Ohlig'd to live ohscur' d hy fortune's shade!
Oh speak!—alarm'd, my pressing fears forgive,
Is Arria, Eglinton ?—does Arria live?"
"Long Eglinton shall live her country's pride!
Bnt now heneath a mutual loss we hend,
I mourn a daughter, and she mourns a friend;
If she can suffer, and if I complain,
Think what must he the hushand-lover's pain;
Think how disconsolate her Stormont mourns,
While every tender passion wounds hy turns!
Then raise thy voice, the tremhling lyre awake,
Attentive hear, and dictate as I speak.
"Whathlending virtues crown'd her spotless youth?
What artless innocence, what native truth?
How did in life the early charmer rise,
And with uncommon heauties strike the eyas?
So does, in spring, the gently opening rose.
Profuse of fragrance, all its sweets disclose;
Or, so unhlemish'd, from its parent hed
The tender lily rears its snowy head!
But oh, her cheeks a fairer hloom confess'd,
And lilies languish'd on her purer hreast!
Mourn, weeping sisters, join with me to mourn,
"How many lovers with desiring eyes.
"Her choice, where judgment held the hetter part.
"Enraptur'd, oft heneath the sylvan scene,
"How did her lord, exalting, smile to see
How did her hosom give reflection room.
"Scarce had the fair excelling matron-wife
"So, in these cold inclement northern skies,
Mourn, weeping sisters, join with me to moum,
"See where, yet scarce recover' d from the hlow,
"Go, Heav'n-instructed Muse, dispatchful go,
"Nor is she, tho' the lovely form she wont
To Stormont lost!—tho' lost perhaps in name,
"Mean time in those superior regions hless'd,
"Go, helpless youth! record the sacred verse.
The goddess ceas'd :—and in a radiant shrowd,
'One cannot without pleasure read the following passage in Mr. Ramsay's Cyrus; (a work that ahounds with the nohlest and justest sentiments.) "I comfort myself (says that prince of the eastern philosophers) with the hopes of seeing Selima again in the sphere of fire, the pure element of love! souls only make acquaintance here helow, it is ahove their union is consummated! O Selima! Selima! onr flame will he eternal! I know that in these superior regions your happiness will not he complete till I share it with you I Those who have loved each other purely, will love for ever. True love is immortal!" Those who had the honour and happiness of knowing this nohle pair, will see with pleasure the justice of this application.
AN HEROIC ODE.
OCCASIONED BT THE AUSPICIOUS SUCCESS Or HIS MAJESTY S COUNSELS, AND HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HAPPY RETURN, H36-7.
IN THE STANZA OF SPENSER.
Tua, Caesar! aetas
Fruges, et agros rettulit uhcres,
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
SIR ROBERT WALPOLE,
CHANCELLOR OF HIS MAJESTY'S EXCHEaUTR, PIRST LORD COMMISSIONER OP THE TREASURY, ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY-COUNCIL, AND KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OP THE GARTER,
THIS ESSAY IS MOST HUMBLY INSCRIBED,
BY THE AUTHOR.
The reader will easily perceive, that the following ode is formed upon the same model with that heautiful one of the late Mr. Prior to her majesty queen Anne in the year I706. The difference of the suhjects has indeed given that gentleman an advantage I wanted; for conquests, and the glory arising from arms, a fluid a much larger 6eld for description than times of peace and serenity. For the rest I pretend to no sort of competition with that admirahle author, content to follow his steps at a distance; and, while I endeavour to imitate his heauties, confess with pleasure I owe my little talent this way, principally to the perusal of his invaluahle remains.
In the short ahridgment of our own history here attempted, I have hlindly followed no author nor party; and how far I have succeeded in it, I am yet to learn myself; tho' if I may guess at it from the success which attended the first edition, I have no reason to he elated on the performance. Satire is, I know, the prevailing taste of the age, and for that I am not ashamed to own I have neither genins uor disposition. If any thing in this design pleases those few who judge candidly, and are hest capahle of judging, it will fully satisfy my amhition; to such I will only say, I have kept in my eye faithfully that rule of the Roman master:
Semper ad eventum festinat, et in medias res
Hor. de Arte Poet.
THE OLIVE: AN HEROIC ODE.
THE ARGUMENT. The Muse, from the late pacification of the trouhles in Europe, and his majesty's cafe and happy
return, takes occasion to deduce the history of Britain from its earliest time, and concludes with showing our present happiness under his majesty's gracious and mild administration.
Long had Bellona rais'd her furious hand.
Dispersing terrour to th' affrighted world; Long had she shook on high her flammg hrand,
And wide promiscuous devastation hurl'd! From rapid Rhine to silver-streaming Po,
Opposing camps deform'd the hostile plain; Sarmatia, laid hy predal rapine low,
Mourn'd the hard yoke, and sought relief in vain! While, proudly mounted on her iron car, The goddess spread the marks of desolating war.
Engag'd in arms, the Austrian Caesar hurn'd
The adverse force too potent to restrain; To Britain oft, and oft to Belgia turn'd,
And Churchill wish'd, and Auverquerk again! His languid eagle droop'd her feehle wing,
His hopes scarce found a shelter from despair! Nor knew intent Britannia's watchful king
Held the depending scale, and weigh'd the war: And like deciding Heav'n, whose place he held, Knew when to hush the storm, and hid the tempest yield!
At length commission'd came the angel down,
The smiling messenger of heav'nly peace!
Thence to the world display'd his cheerful face: His heamy presence new-horn life restor'd
To lands too long forhid his healing ray: War's grizly pow'r the seraph's flight explor'd,
And sick'ning shrunk in guilty shades away! Quiet return'd with all her haleyon train, And plenty hless'd ouce more the cultivated plain.
While thus from liavock Europe hreathes relfas'd,
Whose hand too long had laid her hosom hare; While the shrill sounds of discord sink appeas'd,
And the glad nations feel a miWer air; Walpole! wilt thou, to whose enperiene'd thought
Our great Augustus trusts the world's repose, Whose prudence hath this change pacific wrought,
And trinmph'd over thine and Britain's foes: Wilt thou, Maecenas-like, heneath thy wings The wand'ring dove receive, this olive-garland hrings?
Let heroes false in deeds of prowess shine,
And hold adventures hoast, with shame achiev'd: To hless mankind, superior George he thine!
Tyrants to curh, and smile on states reliev'd: These are the toils hecome Britannia's king.
By these posterity shall mark thy name; These are the nohlest fruits thy pow'r can hring,
To found on goodness an unhlemish'd fame; And to succeeding times distinguished stand [land! The greatest prince that rul'd fair Alhion's happy
But whither would the daring Muse aspire,
That aims so high a pitch her vent'rous flight? Misled perhaps hy fond Icarian fire.
She seeks her ruin in the arduous height! While she directs her eyes to Britain's throne.
And tees such dazzling rays of virtue join'd; Wisdom and mercy fairer looks put on;
In one imperial hand of pow'r comhin'd! With rev'rence aw'd she makes a sudden stand, Duhious to quit the lyre :—and steps her tremhlmg hand!
Yet when hold Spenser stretch'd the shadowy wing,
Eliza could the poet's flight regard;
Maria's audience crown'd the happy hard:
Of prostrate Gaul heneath the British spear! As Marlhro's mighty deeds inspir'd their tongue,
All-condescending Anna deign'd to hear. The triumphs of her reign their page relate, Ahove description high,—heyond expression great!
Tho' all too mean for such a task I deem
My artless hand, and yet unpractis'd voice; Yet, if to thee th' attempt shall duteous seem,
If thou, consummate judge! approve her choice: The geo'rous flame, that glows in Walpole's hreast,
Shall swell with vigour the recording lyre; His love of Britain, on the Muse imprest,
Shall aid imagination's houndless fire; In lasting colours ardent to display Her present hlissful state, her calm meridian day!
Down through the deep'ning gloom of distant time
The Muse looks hack with retrospective eyes; Curious to mark her much-lov'd Alhion's prime,
When from her amhient sea she seem'd to rise: When the Phenician sought her sunny shore,
Her harmless natives ignorantly good, Her revi rend Druids kept her mystic lore,
Their rites ohserving thro' the hallow'd wood: Peace then her joy, and liherty her flame, Nature's and Britain's laws were equally the same!
At length, when Rome's imperious eagles flew
O'er the suhjected earth to fix her sway; As now near Gaul's remotest coast they drew,
Across the wat'ry hound they ey'd this prey! Her Julins, then unequall'd chief in fight,
In fancy saw his vast amhition crown'd; But to retreat compel I'd—if not to flight,
Then first his arms reverse of fortune found: Ohlig'd to own, that foes so nohly hrave Deserv'd to keep the land indulgent Nature gave.
Unahle to retain her hold hy force
(Such spirit freedom gives to valiant minds) Rome had to ancient artifice recourse,
And from division surer footing finds: The seeds of jealousy her agents spread
Fomenting thro' the hrave allies dehate; Encroaching thus an easy conquest made,
And fix'd in Alhion first her sov'reign seat; The people learnt her gentle sway to hear, [air! The Roman manners caught, and gain'd their milder
Tho' Alhion thus heneath the yoke resign'd,
She found the victor no inclement foe; Arts she was taught, the love of humankind,
And civil rights, and social ties to know! Then cities peopled grew, and temples rose,
Her polish'd face a fairer form put on; And to descrihe her early change, she chose
Recording hrass, and monumental stone!
Like some rapacious wolf inur'd to hlood,
By age enfeehled, hy the swains pursu'd,
So now the Roman empire over-run,
By northern swarms heneath its weight declin'd, Britain heheld recall'd her legions gone,
New lords to prove of a severer kind: By long succeeding trials doom'd to get [great! Strength from her falls, and rise more prevalently
Scots now and Picts, a rude and lawless hand,
With rapid course her hoasted fence destroy'd; Thence wide mis-rule, and rapine o'er the land,
The wasteful spoilers spread on every side: Britain that once a Caesar's arms repell'd,
Enervated too long with servile ease, Inglorious now was fore'd to quit the field,
And cast her eyes for help across the seas; Where eastward dwelt a race in arms renown'd. For legislature fam'd, with conquest ever crown'd!
To these the pensive snppliant, press'd with grief,
At large her sufTrings and her wrongs display'd; Implor'd the gen'rous Saxon's kind relief,
Who fir'd hy glory hast'ned to her aid: By two illustrious warrior-Brothers led,
On Britain's coast arriv'dtheir hardy hands; The vanquish'd foe hefore their presence fled,
Their succour paid with Thanet's fruitful lands: Where ravish'd with a soil so richly sweet, They reap'd their toils, and fix'd their strongly rooted seat.
But seldom cause to wide amhition fails,
The secret seeds of discord quickly grow; New strength arrives—the Saxon sword prevails,
The Britons yield heneath the potent foe! Seven different chiefs the pa reel I'd land ohey'd,
Who each hy conquest fix'd a regal throne: Till, as the stronger on the weaker prey'd,
They, hy degrees, were swallow'd up in one: When mighty Eghert, with auspicious reign, Rul'd the ohedient land, and pacify'd the main.
Yet, thus heneath the Saxon pow'r suhdu'd,
Her first of hlessings hence Britannia drew; Worth all the purchase of her nohlest hlood,
Eternal ohject of her faithful view! Freedom! the genial sun, whose heav'nly heams
With douhle lustre gild her happy isle! Freedom ! thespring, whose clear refreshing streams
Make her glad vales with endless plenty smile! The privilege with life her children claim, Characteristic dear! each Briton's fa v'rite name.
Hence the mild sweets of temperated sway,
Princes hy just prerogative confin'd; The people hence with willing heart ohey [join'd:
Laws, which to dictate, they themselves have Our constitution hence its hirth receiv'd,
The latent principles of lasting life; Which all diseases, all attacks has hrav'd,
A nd secret wounds defied, and civil strife: By Brunswie's race secur'd, shall keep its pow'r, As mountains lift their heads, when storms can hlow no more!
Like some fair virgin cloth'd in Nature's dress,
The simple majesty of artless charms; Contending suitors for her favour press,
Her heauty draws new dangers to her arms: So England next the lustful Dane survey'd,
Allur'd, the predal raven took his flight, Her coasts at first attempting to invade,
And violate her sweets with rude delight:
Each taste renew'd, hut 6r'd the rohber's soul, Nor ccaa'd his wild pursuit, till he enjoy'd the whole!
Nor long the ravisher his prize detain'd,
(Compulsion seldom wios a gentle heart) The Saxon soon his plighted hride rrgain'd,
The hold intruder was constrain'd to part: Short were their joys—from the Armoric shore
New clouds arising threat'ned short repose; The Norman came with well-appointed pow't,
And cut his passage to the throne, he rose; Acknowledg'd king, the conqu'ror left his place, Inheritance devolv'd—his lasting line to grace! Yet not of new advantages devoid,
Britain heheld the stranger seize her throne; New sanctions hence her former rights enjoy'd,
The fix'd estate more safe was handed down: The law with higher rev'rence arm'd her hand,
To curh wild riot, and oppressive sway; Justice enlarg'd her course, and through the land
Progressive, shed her more immediate ray: And property and freedom still ally'd. In more enduring hands, their friendly union ty'd! Power oft to mortals spreads hewitching charms,
Alluring to extend its hounds too wide; This to restrain, the harons oft in arms,
Emhattled strong, the regal sword defy'd: Wii h difTrent aspect long the contest held,
Was often pacify'd, and oft renew'd; Till on fair Running's celehrated field,
Britain her charter got, unstain'd with hlood: In which acknowledg'd all her rights were shown Tli' eternal rule, hy which her monarchs held their crown.
From hence to warlike Edward's glorious reign,
Britannia rose through various turns of fate; Then foreign princes first endur'd her chain,
And vanquish'd nations own'd her fame complete! On Crecy's plain, and Poitier's well-fought field,
In air her sanguine cross victorious flew! By arms transplanted to her ampled shield,
The Gallic lilies took a fairer hue: And, like her matchless king's estahlish'd star, Her morning lustre heam'd, and spread its glory far!
A darker period next displays its pow'r,
Scenes, the sad Muse in silence would conceal! When social discord, in ill-omen'd hour,
Bade desolation o'er the land prevail:
Aspiring to the sweets of envied reign,
And many a hloody field with slaughter stain:
Then Britain moum'd for many a nohle life,
In the contending houses' quarrel lost; For't is the genuine curse of civil-strife,
Still to last longest, and to rage the most! Beav'n smil'datlast:—and hade the tempest cease,
Returning industry along the plain Shed from her hands the healing halm of peace,
The wounds of war relenting clos'd again; And gently twin'd round Henry's prosp'rous head, The rival-roses twin'd, increasing fragrance shed! Ascending, now the prospect fairer grows,
As from the height of some advantage ground, The weary pilgrim pauses as he goes,
And forward looks on different heauties round!
So hence from hlameless Edward's placid ray,
To the hright splendour of Eliza's day,
Britain hegan her new-gain'd ease to taste;
And conscious felt heneath her equal reign,
For forty rolling years, tranquillity serene!
Britannia sav'd from Rome's tyrannic yoke,
Hihernia civiliz'd, and Belgia freed; Iheria's mighty pow'r for ages hroke,
Shall shine to future days Eliza's deed! Between contending kings her steady hand
And prudent eye sustain'd the duhious scale; And undisturh'd preserv'd this happy land,
When war did o'er the continent prevail: In her expir'd Planlagenct's high race. As sets in liquid gold the Sun's augmented face!
Now to the widow'd rose, as next ally'd,
Its hranch the northern thistle nearer drew; In closer hands their kindred union ty'd,
Engrafted thus more flourishing they grew: Around the hlushing flow'r its pointed arms
The hardy plant defensive fondly spread; The hlushing flow'r, with ornamental charms,
And fruitful sweets, enrich'd its consort's hed! Britain, till then, hy diffring int'rests sway'd, Divided now no more, one rightful rule ohey'd!
Whether too rough to suit so rich a soil,
Not long the thistle felt the southern smile.
Soon sickness seiz'd, and storms destroy'd the root. [en'd eyes.
Then hled great Charles !——o'er Britain's dark-
Till monarchy reviving clear'd the skies,
The law its ancient channels re-assum'd,
Andwith redouhled grace returning freedom hloom'd!
Sadly intentive as the Muse surveys
These recent marks of heauteous Britain's scars, With honest warmth insph'd she ardent prays,
Heav'n long may shield her from intestine jars! Blasted hy fate, detested hy the skies,
By earth deserted he th' accursed hand! That open force or secret faction tries.
To plunge in civil wars his native land: Let Walpole's care this worst of ills repetl, And guard that liherty, he knows and loves so wall!
Wisely would men improve the ills of fate.
The frowns of Heav'n were not hestow'd in Tain: Kings then would learn, the secret to he great
Was in their suhjects' hearts to fix their reign! Had hut the royal pair this wisdom known,
Charles had not sacrifie'd his darling ease; His hrother then had fiil'd a peaceful throne.
Nor in a second exile clos'd his days: Doom'd an eternal monument to prove, A prince's hest defence lies in his people's lore!
As when the shore intrusive jets too far,
Encroaching on the empire of the deep; Th' assemhled waves hegin the wintry war.
And o'er the weak harrier impetuous sweep! So when alarm'd Britannia saw the crown
Attempt th' estahlish'd hars which Freedom laid: Eager to keep that hlessing still her own,
To Nassau's virtue she apply'd for aid: Timely the hero interpos'd to save, And nohly gain'd the style, the rescued nation gave!