Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Spurn'd the rich gem thou gavest him. Wherefore,
Why not on me that favour, (worthier sure!) [ah!
Conferr’dst thou, goddess! Thou art blind thou sayst:
Enough!-thy blindness shall excuse the deed.

Nor does my muse no benefit exhale
From this thy scant indulgence !-even here
Hints worthy sage philosophy are found;
Illustrious hints, to moralize my song!
This ponderous heel of perforated hide
Compact, with pegs indented, many a row,
Haply (for such its massy form bespeaks)
The weighty tread of some rude peasant clown
Upbore: on this, supported oft, he stretch'd,
With uncouth strides, along the furrow'd glebe,
Flattening the stubborn clod, till cruel time
(What will not cruel time) on a wry step
Sever'd the strict cohesion; when, alas !
He, who could erst, with even, equal pace,
Pursue his destined way with symmetry,
And some proportion form’d, now on one side
Curtaild and maim'd, the sport of vagrant boys,
Cursing his frail supporter, treacherous prop!
With toilsome steps, and difficult, moves on.
Thus fares it oft with other than the feet
Of humble villager—the statesman thus,
Up the steep road where proud ambition leads,
Aspiring, first uninterrupted winds
His prosperous way; nor fears miscarriage foul,
While policy prevails, and friends prove true:
But, that support soon failing, by him left

On whom he most depended, basely left, Betray'd, deserted; from his airy height Headlong he falls; and through the rest of life Drags the dull load of disappointment on.

1748.

AN ODE,
ON READING RICHARDSON'S HISTORY OF SIR CHARLES

GRANDISON.

Say, ye apostate and profane,
Wretches, who blush not to disdain

Allegiance to your God,-
Did e'er your idly wasted love
Of virtue for her sake remove

And lift you from the crowd ?

Would you the race of glory run,
Know, the devout, and they alone,

Are equal to the task:
The labours of the illustrious course
Far other than the unaided force

Of human vigour ask.

To arm against reputed ill
The patient heart too brave to feel

The tortures of despair:
Nor safer yet high-crested pride,
When wealth flows in with every tide

To gain admittance there.

To rescue from the tyrant's sword
The oppress'd;—unseen and unimplored,

To cheer the face of woe;
From lawless insult to defend
An orphan's right-a fallen friend,

And a forgiven foe;

These, these distinguish from the crowd,
And these alone, the great and good,

The guardians of mankind;
Whose bosoms with these virtues heave,
O with what matchless speed they leave

The multitude behind!

Then ask ye, from what cause on earth
Virtues like these derive their birth ?

Derived from Heaven alone,
Full on that favour'd breast they shine,
Where faith and resignation join

To call the blessing down.

Such is that heart:—but while the muse
Thy theme, O Richardson, pursues,

Her feeble spirits faint:
She cannot reach, and would not wrong,
The subject for an angel's song,

The hero, and the saint !
1753.

VOL. VII.

AN EPISTLE TO ROBERT LLOYD, ESQ.

'Tis not that I design to rob
Thee of thy birthright, gentle Bob,
For thou art born sole heir, and single,
Of dear Mat Prior's easy jingle;
Not that I mean, while thus I knit
My threadbare sentiments together,

To show my genius or my wit,
When God and you know I have neither;
Or such as might be better shown
By letting poetry alone.
'Tis not with either of these views
That I presumed to address the muse:
But to divert a fierce banditti,
(Sworn foes to every thing that's witty!)
That, with a black, infernal train,
Make cruel inroads in my brain,
And daily threaten to drive thence
My little garrison of sense;
The fierce banditti which I mean
Are gloomy thoughts, led on by spleen.
Then there's another reason yet,
Which is, that I may fairly quit
The debt, which justly became due
The moment when I heard from you;
And you might grumble, crony mine,
If paid in any other coin;

Since twenty sheets of lead, God knows,
(I would say twenty sheets of prose,)
Can ne'er be deem'd worth half so much
As one of gold, and yours was such.
Thus, the preliminaries settled,
I fairly find myself pitchkettled, *
And cannot see, though few see better,
How I shall hammer out a letter.

First, for a thought—since all agree-
A thought-I have it—let me see –
'Tis gone again-plague on't! I thought
I had it-but I have it not
Dame Gurton thus, and Hodge her son,
That useful thing, her needle, gone!
Rake well the cinders--sweep the floor,
And sift the dust behind the door;
While eager Hodge beholds the prize
In old grimalkin's glaring eyes;
And Gammer finds it on her knees
In every shining straw she sees.
This simile were apt enough;
But I've another, critic-proof!
The virtuoso thus, at noon,
Broiling beneath a July sun,
The gilded butterfly pursues,
O'er hedge and ditch, through gaps and mews;

* Pitchkettled, a favourite phrase at the time when this Epistle was written, expressive of being puzzled, or what in the Spectator's time would have been called bamboozled.

« ForrigeFortsett »