Sidebilder
PDF

ON MRS. MONTAGU'S FEATHER HANGINGS.

The Birds put off their every hue,

To dress a room for Montagu.

The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,

His rainbows and his starry eyes;

The Pheasant, plumes which round infold

His mantling neck with downy gold;

The Cock his arched tail's azure show;

An'd, river blanched, the Swan his snow.

All tribes beside of Indian name,

That glossy shine, or vivid flame,

Where rises and where sets the day,

Whate'er they boast of rich and gay,

Contribute to the gorgeous plan,

Proud to advance it all they can.

This plumage neither dashing shower,

Nor blasts that shake the dripping bower,

Shall drench again or discompose,

But, screened from every storm that blows,

It boasts a splendour ever new,

Safe with protecting Montagu.

To the same patroness resort,

Secure of favour at her court,

Strong Genius, from whose forge of thought

Forms rise, to quick perfection wrought,

Which, though new-born, with vigour move,

Like Pallas, springing armed from Jove;

Imagination scattering round

Wild roses over furrowed ground.

Which Labour of his frown beguile,

And teach Philosophy a smile;

Wit flashing on Religion's side,

Whose fires, to sacred truth applied,

The gem, though luminous before,

Obtrudes on human notice more,

Like sunbeams on the golden height

Of some tall temple playing bright;

Well-tutored Learning, from his books

Dismissed with grave, not haughty looks,

Their order on his shelves exact,

Not more harmonious or compact

Than that, to which he keeps confined

The various treasures of his mind;

All these to Montagu's repair,

Ambitious of a shelter there.

There Genius, Learning, Fancy, Wit,

Their ruffled plumage calm refit,

(For stormy troubles loudest roar

Around their flight who highest soar,)

And in her eye, and by her aid,

Shine safe without a fear to fade.

She thus maintains divided sway
With yon bright regent of the day;
The plume and Poet both, we know,
Their lustre to his influence owe;
And she, the works of Phoebus aiding,
Both Poet sayes and plume from fading.

ON THE DEATH OF MRS. THROCKMORTON'S BULLFINCH.

Ye Nymphs, if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,

Oh, share Maria's grief!
Her favourite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage ?)

Assassined by a thief.

Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung,

And though by nature mute
Or only with a whistle blessed,
Well-taught he all the sounds expressed

Of flageolet or flute.

The honours of his ebon poll

Were brighter than the sleekest mole,

His bosom of the hue
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise

To sweep away the dew.

Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike of bird and mouse,

No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,

Large built and latticed well.

Well latticed,—but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,

For Bully's plumage sake,
But smooth with wands from Ouse's side,
With which, when neatly peeled and dried,

The swains their baskets make.

Night veiled the pole: all seemed secure:
When, led by instinct sharp and sure,

Subsistence to provide,
A beast forth sallied on the scout,
Long backed, long tailed, with whiskered snout,

And badger-coloured hide.

He, entering at the study door,
Its ample area 'gan explore;
And something in the wind
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,
Better than all the books he found,
Food chiefly for the mind.

Just then, by adverse fate impressed,
A dream disturbed pour Bully's rest;

In sleep he seemed to view
A rat fast clinging to the cage,
And, screaming at the sad presage,

Awoke and found it true.

For, aided both by ear and scent,

Right to his mark the monster went,—
Ah, Muse ! forbear to speak

Minute the horrors that ensued;

His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.

Oh, had he made that too his prey!
That beak, whence issued many a lay

Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,

Fast stuck within his own.

Maria weeps,—the Muses mourn;—
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,

On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell,
His head alone remained to tell

The cruel death he died.

THE ROSE.

The rose had been washed, just washed in a shower

Which Mary to Anna conveyed;
The plentiful moisture encumbered the flower,

And weighed down its beautiful head.

The cup was all filled, and the leaves were all wet,

And it seemed, to a fanciful view,
To weep for the buds it had left with regret

On the flourishing bush where it grew.

I hastily seized it, unfit as it was

For a nosegay, so dripping and drowned,

And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
I snapped it; it fell to the ground.

And such, I exclaimed, is the pitiless part

Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart

Already to sorrow resigned.

The Poets New-years Gift. 359

This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,

Might have bloomed with its owner awhile;

And the tear that is wiped with a little address,
May be followed perhaps by a smile.

ODE TO APOLLO.

ON AN INK-GLASS ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN.

Patron of all those luckless brains
That, to the wrong side leaning,

Indite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning;

Ay, why, since oceans, rivers, streams,

That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,

In constant exhalations;

Why, stooping from the noon of day,

Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stolen away

A poet's drop of ink?

Upborne into the viewless air,

It floats a vapour now,
Impelled through regions dense and rare,

By all the winds that blow;

Ordained perhaps ere summer flies,
Combined with millions more,

To form an Iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before.

Illustrious drop! and happy then

Beyond the happiest lot,
Of all that ever passed my pen,

So soon to be forgot!

Phcebus, if such be thy design,

To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may shine

With equal grace below.

THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT.

TO MRS. (AFTERWARDS LADV) THROCKMORTON.

Maria! I have every good
For thee wished many a time,

Both sad and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.

To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly,

360 PAIR IS G TIME ANTICIPATED.

Or more ingenuous, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.

What favour then not yet possessed

Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already blessed,

To thy whole heart's desire?

None here is happy but in part;

Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart,

And doubtless one in thine.

That wish, on some fair future day
Which Fate shall brightly gild,

('Tis blameless, be it what it may,)
I wish it all fulfilled.

PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.

A FABLE.

I Shall not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau,1

If birds confabulate or no;

'Tis clear that they were always able

To hold discourse, at least in fable;

And e'en the child who knows no better

Than to interpret by the letter

A story of a cock and bull,

Must have a most uncommon skull.

It chanced then on a winter's day,
But warm and bright and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
i' In many an orchard, copse, and grove

Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much shatter
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a bullfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And silence publicly enjoined,
Delivered briefly thus his mind:

My friends! be cautious how ye creat
The subject upon which we meet;
I fear we shall have winter yet.

A finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and satin poll,

1 It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fames which ascribe reason and speech to animals, should be withheld from children, as bemg only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by . them, or can be, agamst the evidence of his senses?

« ForrigeFortsett »