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She walks in beauty, like the night
     Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
     Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
     Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
     Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
     Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
     How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
     So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
     But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
     A heart whose love is innocent!
Who would not laugh, if Lawrence, hired to grace
His costly canvas with each flattered face,
Abused his art, till Nature, with a blush,
Saw cits grow Centaurs underneath his brush?
Or, should some limner join, for show or sale,
A Maid of Honour to a Mermaid’s tail?
Or low Dubost—as once the world has seen—
Degrade ***’s creatures in his graphic spleen?
Not all that forced politeness, which defends
Fools in their faults, could gag his grinning friends.
Believe me, Moschus, like that picture seems
The book which, sillier than a sick man’s dreams,
Displays a crowd of figures incomplete,
Poetic Nightmares, without head or feet.

  Poets and painters, as all artists know,
May shoot a little with a lengthened bow;
We claim this mutual mercy for our task,
And grant in turn the pardon which we ask;
But make not monsters spring from gentle dams—
Birds breed not vipers, tigers nurse not lambs.

  A laboured, long Exordium, sometimes tends
(Like patriot speeches) but to paltry ends;
And nonsense in a lofty note goes down,
As Pertness passes with a legal gown:
Thus many a Bard describes in pompous strain
The clear brook babbling through the goodly plain:
The groves of Granta, and her Gothic halls,
King’s Coll-Cam’s stream-stained windows, and old walls:
Or, in adventurous numbers, neatly aims
To paint a rainbow, or the river Thames.

  You sketch a tree, and so perhaps may shine—
But daub a shipwreck like an alehouse sign;
You plan a vase—it dwindles to a ***;
Then glide down Grub-street—fasting and forgot:
Laughed into Lethe by some quaint Review,
Whose wit is never troublesome till—true.

In fine, to whatsoever you aspire,
Let it at least be simple and entire.

  The greater portion of the rhyming tribe
(Give ear, my friend, for thou hast been a scribe)
Are led astray by some peculiar lure.
I labour to be brief—become obscure;
One falls while following Elegance too fast;
Another soars, inflated with Bombast;
Too low a third crawls on, afraid to fly,
He spins his subject to Satiety;
Absurdly varying, he at last engraves
Fish in the woods, and boars beneath the waves!

  Unless your care’s exact, your judgment nice,
The flight from Folly leads but into Vice;
None are complete, all wanting in some part,
Like certain tailors, limited in art.
For galligaskins Slowshears is your man
But coats must claim another artisan.
Now this to me, I own, seems much the same
As Vulcan’s feet to bear Apollo’s frame;
Or, with a fair complexion, to expose
Black eyes, black ringlets, but—a bottle nose!

  Dear Authors! suit your topics to your strength,
And ponder well your subject, and its length;
Nor lift your load, before you’re quite aware
What weight your shoulders will, or will not, bear.
But lucid Order, and Wit’s siren voice,
Await the Poet, skilful in his choice;
With native Eloquence he soars along,
Grace in his thoughts, and Music in his song.

  Let Judgment teach him wisely to combine
With future parts the now omitted line:
This shall the Author choose, or that reject,
Precise in style, and cautious to select;
Nor slight applause will candid pens afford
To him who furnishes a wanting word.
Then fear not, if ’tis needful, to produce
Some term unknown, or obsolete in use,
(As Pitt has furnished us a word or two,
Which Lexicographers declined to do;)
So you indeed, with care,—(but be content
To take this license rarely)—may invent.
New words find credit in these latter days,
If neatly grafted on a Gallic phrase;
What Chaucer, Spenser did, we scarce refuse
To Dryden’s or to Pope’s maturer Muse.
If you can add a little, say why not,
As well as William Pitt, and Walter Scott?
Since they, by force of rhyme and force of lungs,
Enriched our Island’s ill-united tongues;
’Tis then—and shall be—lawful to present
Reform in writing, as in Parliament.

  As forests shed their foliage by degrees,
So fade expressions which in season please;
And we and ours, alas! are due to Fate,
And works and words but dwindle to a date.
Though as a Monarch nods, and Commerce calls,
Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals;
Though swamps subdued, and marshes drained, sustain
The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain,
And rising ports along the busy shore
Protect the vessel from old Ocean’s roar,
All, all, must perish; but, surviving last,
The love of Letters half preserves the past.
True, some decay, yet not a few revive;
Though those shall sink, which now appear to thrive,
As Custom arbitrates, whose shifting sway
Our life and language must alike obey.

  The immortal wars which Gods and Angels wage,
Are they not shown in Milton’s sacred page?
His strain will teach what numbers best belong
To themes celestial told in Epic song.

  The slow, sad stanza will correctly paint
The Lover’s anguish, or the Friend’s complaint.
But which deserves the Laurel—Rhyme or Blank?
Which holds on Helicon the higher rank?
Let squabbling critics by themselves dispute
This point, as puzzling as a Chancery suit.

  Satiric rhyme first sprang from selfish spleen.
You doubt—see Dryden, Pope, St. Patrick’s Dean.
Blank verse is now, with one consent, allied
To Tragedy, and rarely quits her side.
Though mad Almanzor rhymed in Dryden’s days,
No sing-song Hero rants in modern plays;
Whilst modest Comedy her verse foregoes
For jest and ‘pun’ in very middling prose.
Not that our Bens or Beaumonts show the worse,
Or lose one point, because they wrote in verse.
But so Thalia pleases to appear,
Poor ******! ****** some twenty times a year!

Whate’er the scene, let this advice have weight:—
Adapt your language to your Hero’s state.
At times Melpomene forgets to groan,
And brisk Thalia takes a serious tone;
Nor unregarded will the act pass by
Where angry Townly “lifts his voice on high.”
Again, our Shakespeare limits verse to Kings,
When common prose will serve for common things;
And lively Hal resigns heroic ire,—
To “hollaing Hotspur” and his sceptred sire.

  ’Tis not enough, ye Bards, with all your art,
To polish poems; they must touch the heart:
Where’er the scene be laid, whate’er the song,
Still let it bear the hearer’s soul along;
Command your audience or to smile or weep,
Whiche’er may please you—anything but sleep.
The Poet claims our tears; but, by his leave,
Before I shed them, let me see ‘him’ grieve.

  If banished Romeo feigned nor sigh nor tear,
Lulled by his languor, I could sleep or sneer.
Sad words, no doubt, become a serious face,
And men look angry in the proper place.
At double meanings folks seem wondrous sly,
And Sentiment prescribes a pensive eye;
For Nature formed at first the inward man,
And actors copy Nature—when they can.
She bids the beating heart with rapture bound,
Raised to the Stars, or levelled with the ground;
And for Expression’s aid, ’tis said, or sung,
She gave our mind’s interpreter—the tongue,
Who, worn with use, of late would fain dispense
(At least in theatres) with common sense;
O’erwhelm with sound the Boxes, Gallery, Pit,
And raise a laugh with anything—but Wit.

  To skilful writers it will much import,
Whence spring their scenes, from common life or Court;
Whether they seek applause by smile or tear,
To draw a Lying Valet, or a Lear,
A sage, or rakish youngster wild from school,
A wandering Peregrine, or plain John Bull;
All persons please when Nature’s voice prevails,
Scottish or Irish, born in Wilts or Wales.

  Or follow common fame, or forge a plot;
Who cares if mimic heroes lived or not!
One precept serves to regulate the scene:
Make it appear as if it might have been.

  If some Drawcansir you aspire to draw,
Present him raving, and above all law:
If female furies in your scheme are planned,
Macbeth’s fierce dame is ready to your hand;
For tears and treachery, for good and evil,
Constance, King Richard, Hamlet, and the Devil!
But if a new design you dare essay,
And freely wander from the beaten way,
True to your characters, till all be past,
Preserve consistency from first to last.

  Tis hard to venture where our betters fail,
Or lend fresh interest to a twice-told tale;
And yet, perchance,’tis wiser to prefer
A hackneyed plot, than choose a new, and err;
Yet copy not too closely, but record,
More justly, thought for thought than word for word;
Nor trace your Prototype through narrow ways,
But only follow where he merits praise.

  For you, young Bard! whom luckless fate may lead
To tremble on the nod of all who read,
Ere your first score of cantos Time unrolls,
Beware—for ***’s sake, don’t begin like Bowles!
“Awake a louder and a loftier strain,”—
And pray, what follows from his boiling brain?—
He sinks to Southey’s level in a trice,
Whose Epic Mountains never fail in mice!
Not so of yore awoke your mighty Sire
The tempered warblings of his master-lyre;
Soft as the gentler breathing of the lute,
“Of Man’s first disobedience and the fruit”
He speaks, but, as his subject swells along,
Earth, Heaven, and Hades echo with the song.”
Still to the “midst of things” he hastens on,
As if we witnessed all already done;
Leaves on his path whatever seems too mean
To raise the subject, or adorn the scene;
Gives, as each page improves upon the sight,
Not smoke from brightness, but from darkness—light;
And truth and fiction with such art compounds,
We know not where to fix their several bounds.

  If you would please the Public, deign to hear
What soothes the many-headed monster’s ear:
If your heart triumph when the hands of all
Applaud in thunder at the curtain’s fall,
Deserve those plaudits—study Nature’s page,
And sketch the striking traits of every age;
While varying Man and varying years unfold
Life’s little tale, so oft, so vainly told;
Observe his simple childhood’s dawning days,
His pranks, his prate, his playmates, and his plays:
Till time at length the mannish tyro weans,
And prurient vice outstrips his tardy teens!

  Behold him Freshman! forced no more to groan
O’er Virgil’s devilish verses and his own;
Prayers are too tedious, Lectures too abstruse,
He flies from Tavell’s frown to “Fordham’s Mews;”
(Unlucky Tavell! doomed to daily cares
By pugilistic pupils, and by bears,)
Fines, Tutors, tasks, Conventions threat in vain,
Before hounds, hunters, and Newmarket Plain.
Rough with his elders, with his equals rash,
Civil to sharpers, prodigal of cash;
Constant to nought—save hazard and a *****,
Yet cursing both—for both have made him sore:
Unread (unless since books beguile disease,
The P——x becomes his passage to Degrees);
Fooled, pillaged, dunned, he wastes his terms away,
And unexpelled, perhaps, retires M.A.;
Master of Arts! as hells and clubs proclaim,
Where scarce a blackleg bears a brighter name!

  Launched into life, extinct his early fire,
He apes the selfish prudence of his Sire;
Marries for money, chooses friends for rank,
Buys land, and shrewdly trusts not to the Bank;
Sits in the Senate; gets a son and heir;
Sends him to Harrow—for himself was there.
Mute, though he votes, unless when called to cheer,
His son’s so sharp—he’ll see the dog a Peer!

  Manhood declines—Age palsies every limb;
He quits the scene—or else the scene quits him;
Scrapes wealth, o’er each departing penny grieves,
And Avarice seizes all Ambition leaves;
Counts cent per cent, and smiles, or vainly frets,
O’er hoards diminished by young Hopeful’s debts;
Weighs well and wisely what to sell or buy,
Complete in all life’s lessons—but to die;
Peevish and spiteful, doting, hard to please,
Commending every time, save times like these;
Crazed, querulous, forsaken, half forgot,
Expires unwept—is buried—Let him rot!

  But from the Drama let me not digress,
Nor spare my precepts, though they please you less.
Though Woman weep, and hardest hearts are stirred,
When what is done is rather seen than heard,
Yet many deeds preserved in History’s page
Are better told than acted on the stage;
The ear sustains what shocks the timid eye,
And Horror thus subsides to Sympathy,
True Briton all beside, I here am French—
Bloodshed ’tis surely better to retrench:
The gladiatorial gore we teach to flow
In tragic scenes disgusts though but in show;
We hate the carnage while we see the trick,
And find small sympathy in being sick.
Not on the stage the regicide Macbeth
Appals an audience with a Monarch’s death;
To gaze when sable Hubert threats to sear
Young Arthur’s eyes, can ours or Nature bear?
A haltered heroine Johnson sought to slay—
We saved Irene, but half ****** the play,
And (Heaven be praised!) our tolerating times
Stint Metamorphoses to Pantomimes;
And Lewis’ self, with all his sprites, would quake
To change Earl Osmond’s ***** to a snake!
Because, in scenes exciting joy or grief,
We loathe the action which exceeds belief:
And yet, *** knows! what may not authors do,
Whose Postscripts prate of dyeing “heroines blue”?

  Above all things, Dan Poet, if you can,
Eke out your acts, I pray, with mortal man,
Nor call a ghost, unless some cursed scrape
Must open ten trap-doors for your escape.
Of all the monstrous things I’d fain forbid,
I loathe an Opera worse than Dennis did;
Where good and evil persons, right or wrong,
Rage, love, and aught but moralise—in song.
Hail, last memorial of our foreign friends,
Which Gaul allows, and still Hesperia lends!
Napoleon’s edicts no embargo lay
On ******—spies—singers—wisely shipped away.
Our giant Capital, whose squares are spread
Where rustics earned, and now may beg, their bread,
In all iniquity is grown so nice,
It scorns amusements which are not of price.
Hence the pert shopkeeper, whose throbbing ear
Aches with orchestras which he pays to hear,
Whom shame, not sympathy, forbids to snore,
His anguish doubling by his own “encore;”
Squeezed in “Fop’s Alley,” jostled by the beaux,
Teased with his hat, and trembling for his toes;
Scarce wrestles through the night, nor tastes of ease,
Till the dropped curtain gives a glad release:
Why this, and more, he suffers—can ye guess?—
Because it costs him dear, and makes him dress!

  So prosper eunuchs from Etruscan schools;
Give us but fiddlers, and they’re sure of fools!
Ere scenes were played by many a reverend clerk,
(What harm, if David danced before the ark?)
In Christmas revels, simple country folks
Were pleased with morrice-mumm’ry and coarse jokes.
Improving years, with things no longer known,
Produced blithe Punch and merry Madame Joan,
Who still frisk on with feats so lewdly low,
’Tis strange Benvolio suffers such a show;
Suppressing peer! to whom each vice gives place,
Oaths, boxing, begging—all, save rout and race.

  Farce followed Comedy, and reached her prime,
In ever-laughing Foote’s fantastic time:
Mad wag! who pardoned none, nor spared the best,
And turned some very serious things to jest.
Nor Church nor State escaped his public sneers,
Arms nor the Gown—Priests—Lawyers—Volunteers:
“Alas, poor Yorick!” now for ever mute!
Whoever loves a laugh must sigh for Foote.

  We smile, perforce, when histrionic scenes
Ape the swoln dialogue of Kings and Queens,
When “Crononhotonthologos must die,”
And Arthur struts in mimic majesty.

  Moschus! with whom once more I hope to sit,
And smile at folly, if we can’t at wit;
Yes, Friend! for thee I’ll quit my cynic cell,
And bear Swift’s motto, “Vive la bagatelle!”
Which charmed our days in each ægean clime,
As oft at home, with revelry and rhyme.
Then may Euphrosyne, who sped the past,
Soothe thy Life’s scenes, nor leave thee in the last;
But find in thine—like pagan Plato’s bed,
Some merry Manuscript of Mimes, when dead.

  Now to the Drama let us bend our eyes,
Where fettered by whig Walpole low she lies;
Corruption foiled her, for she feared her glance;
Decorum left her for an Opera dance!
Yet Chesterfield, whose polished pen inveighs
‘Gainst laughter, fought for freedom to our Plays;
Unchecked by Megrims of patrician brains,
And damning Dulness of Lord Chamberlains.
Repeal that act! again let Humour roam
Wild o’er the stage—we’ve time for tears at home;
Let Archer plant the horns on Sullen’s brows,
And Estifania gull her “Copper” spouse;
The moral’s scant—but that may be excused,
Men go not to be lectured, but amused.
He whom our plays dispose to Good or Ill
Must wear a head in want of Willis’ skill;
Aye, but Macheath’s examp
Still must I hear?—shall hoarse FITZGERALD bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall,
And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch Reviews
Should dub me scribbler, and denounce my Muse?
Prepare for rhyme—I’ll publish, right or wrong:
Fools are my theme, let Satire be my song.

  Oh! Nature’s noblest gift—my grey goose-quill!
***** of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
The pen! foredoomed to aid the mental throes
Of brains that labour, big with Verse or Prose;
Though Nymphs forsake, and Critics may deride,
The Lover’s solace, and the Author’s pride.
What Wits! what Poets dost thou daily raise!
How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!
Condemned at length to be forgotten quite,
With all the pages which ’twas thine to write.
But thou, at least, mine own especial pen!
Once laid aside, but now assumed again,
Our task complete, like Hamet’s shall be free;
Though spurned by others, yet beloved by me:
Then let us soar to-day; no common theme,
No Eastern vision, no distempered dream
Inspires—our path, though full of thorns, is plain;
Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.

  When Vice triumphant holds her sov’reign sway,
Obey’d by all who nought beside obey;
When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime,
Bedecks her cap with bells of every Clime;
When knaves and fools combined o’er all prevail,
And weigh their Justice in a Golden Scale;
E’en then the boldest start from public sneers,
Afraid of Shame, unknown to other fears,
More darkly sin, by Satire kept in awe,
And shrink from Ridicule, though not from Law.

  Such is the force of Wit! I but not belong
To me the arrows of satiric song;
The royal vices of our age demand
A keener weapon, and a mightier hand.
Still there are follies, e’en for me to chase,
And yield at least amusement in the race:
Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame,
The cry is up, and scribblers are my game:
Speed, Pegasus!—ye strains of great and small,
Ode! Epic! Elegy!—have at you all!
I, too, can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme,
A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame;
I printed—older children do the same.
’Tis pleasant, sure, to see one’s name in print;
A Book’s a Book, altho’ there’s nothing in’t.
Not that a Title’s sounding charm can save
Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave:
This LAMB must own, since his patrician name
Failed to preserve the spurious Farce from shame.
No matter, GEORGE continues still to write,
Tho’ now the name is veiled from public sight.
Moved by the great example, I pursue
The self-same road, but make my own review:
Not seek great JEFFREY’S, yet like him will be
Self-constituted Judge of Poesy.

  A man must serve his time to every trade
Save Censure—Critics all are ready made.
Take hackneyed jokes from MILLER, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A man well skilled to find, or forge a fault;
A turn for punning—call it Attic salt;
To JEFFREY go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet:
Fear not to lie,’twill seem a sharper hit;
Shrink not from blasphemy, ’twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling—pass your proper jest,
And stand a Critic, hated yet caress’d.

And shall we own such judgment? no—as soon
Seek roses in December—ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that’s false, before
You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore;
Or yield one single thought to be misled
By JEFFREY’S heart, or LAMB’S Boeotian head.
To these young tyrants, by themselves misplaced,
Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste;
To these, when Authors bend in humble awe,
And hail their voice as Truth, their word as Law;
While these are Censors, ’twould be sin to spare;
While such are Critics, why should I forbear?
But yet, so near all modern worthies run,
’Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun;
Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike,
Our Bards and Censors are so much alike.
Then should you ask me, why I venture o’er
The path which POPE and GIFFORD trod before;
If not yet sickened, you can still proceed;
Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read.
“But hold!” exclaims a friend,—”here’s some neglect:
This—that—and t’other line seem incorrect.”
What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got,
And careless Dryden—”Aye, but Pye has not:”—
Indeed!—’tis granted, faith!—but what care I?
Better to err with POPE, than shine with PYE.

  Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days
Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise,
When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied,
No fabled Graces, flourished side by side,
From the same fount their inspiration drew,
And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew.
Then, in this happy Isle, a POPE’S pure strain
Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain;
A polished nation’s praise aspired to claim,
And raised the people’s, as the poet’s fame.
Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song,
In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong.
Then CONGREVE’S scenes could cheer, or OTWAY’S melt;
For Nature then an English audience felt—
But why these names, or greater still, retrace,
When all to feebler Bards resign their place?
Yet to such times our lingering looks are cast,
When taste and reason with those times are past.
Now look around, and turn each trifling page,
Survey the precious works that please the age;
This truth at least let Satire’s self allow,
No dearth of Bards can be complained of now.
The loaded Press beneath her labour groans,
And Printers’ devils shake their weary bones;
While SOUTHEY’S Epics cram the creaking shelves,
And LITTLE’S Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves.
Thus saith the Preacher: “Nought beneath the sun
Is new,” yet still from change to change we run.
What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!
The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas,
In turns appear, to make the ****** stare,
Till the swoln bubble bursts—and all is air!
Nor less new schools of Poetry arise,
Where dull pretenders grapple for the prize:
O’er Taste awhile these Pseudo-bards prevail;
Each country Book-club bows the knee to Baal,
And, hurling lawful Genius from the throne,
Erects a shrine and idol of its own;
Some leaden calf—but whom it matters not,
From soaring SOUTHEY, down to groveling STOTT.

  Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew,
For notice eager, pass in long review:
Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace,
And Rhyme and Blank maintain an equal race;
Sonnets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode;
And Tales of Terror jostle on the road;
Immeasurable measures move along;
For simpering Folly loves a varied song,
To strange, mysterious Dulness still the friend,
Admires the strain she cannot comprehend.
Thus Lays of Minstrels—may they be the last!—
On half-strung harps whine mournful to the blast.
While mountain spirits prate to river sprites,
That dames may listen to the sound at nights;
And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner’s brood
Decoy young Border-nobles through the wood,
And skip at every step, Lord knows how high,
And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why;
While high-born ladies in their magic cell,
Forbidding Knights to read who cannot spell,
Despatch a courier to a wizard’s grave,
And fight with honest men to shield a knave.

  Next view in state, proud prancing on his roan,
The golden-crested haughty Marmion,
Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight,
Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight.
The gibbet or the field prepared to grace;
A mighty mixture of the great and base.
And think’st thou, SCOTT! by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance,
Though MURRAY with his MILLER may combine
To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line?
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade,
Let such forego the poet’s sacred name,
Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame:
Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain!
And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain!
Such be their meed, such still the just reward
Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo’s venal son,
And bid a long “good night to Marmion.”

  These are the themes that claim our plaudits now;
These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow;
While MILTON, DRYDEN, POPE, alike forgot,
Resign their hallowed Bays to WALTER SCOTT.

  The time has been, when yet the Muse was young,
When HOMER swept the lyre, and MARO sung,
An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name:
The work of each immortal Bard appears
The single wonder of a thousand years.
Empires have mouldered from the face of earth,
Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth,
Without the glory such a strain can give,
As even in ruin bids the language live.
Not so with us, though minor Bards, content,
On one great work a life of labour spent:
With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Behold the Ballad-monger SOUTHEY rise!
To him let CAMOËNS, MILTON, TASSO yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked BEDFORD for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory’s niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A ****** Phoenix from her ashes risen.
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on,
Arabia’s monstrous, wild, and wond’rous son;
Domdaniel’s dread destroyer, who o’erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e’er knew.
Immortal Hero! all thy foes o’ercome,
For ever reign—the rival of Tom Thumb!
Since startled Metre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense!
Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, and Prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville’s, and not so true.
Oh, SOUTHEY! SOUTHEY! cease thy varied song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;
If still in Berkeley-Ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil,
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue:
“*** help thee,” SOUTHEY, and thy readers too.

  Next comes the dull disciple of thy school,
That mild apostate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay
As soft as evening in his favourite May,
Who warns his friend “to shake off toil and trouble,
And quit his books, for fear of growing double;”
Who, both by precept and example, shows
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose;
Convincing all, by demonstration plain,
Poetic souls delight in prose insane;
And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme
Contain the essence of the true sublime.
Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy,
The idiot mother of “an idiot Boy;”
A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way,
And, like his bard, confounded night with day
So close on each pathetic part he dwells,
And each adventure so sublimely tells,
That all who view the “idiot in his glory”
Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

  Shall gentle COLERIDGE pass unnoticed here,
To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear?
Though themes of innocence amuse him best,
Yet still Obscurity’s a welcome guest.
If Inspiration should her aid refuse
To him who takes a Pixy for a muse,
Yet none in lofty numbers can surpass
The bard who soars to elegize an ***:
So well the subject suits his noble mind,
He brays, the Laureate of the long-eared kind.

Oh! wonder-working LEWIS! Monk, or Bard,
Who fain would make Parnassus a church-yard!
Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow,
Thy Muse a Sprite, Apollo’s sexton thou!
Whether on ancient tombs thou tak’st thy stand,
By gibb’ring spectres hailed, thy kindred band;
Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page,
To please the females of our modest age;
All hail, M.P.! from whose infernal brain
Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train;
At whose command “grim women” throng in crowds,
And kings of fire, of water, and of clouds,
With “small grey men,”—”wild yagers,” and what not,
To crown with honour thee and WALTER SCOTT:
Again, all hail! if tales like thine may please,
St. Luke alone can vanquish the disease:
Even Satan’s self with thee might dread to dwell,
And in thy skull discern a deeper ****.

Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir
Of virgins melting, not to Vesta’s fire,
With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flushed
Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are hushed?
’Tis LITTLE! young Catullus of his day,
As sweet, but as immoral, in his Lay!
Grieved to condemn, the Muse must still be just,
Nor spare melodious advocates of ****.
Pure is the flame which o’er her altar burns;
From grosser incense with disgust she turns
Yet kind to youth, this expiation o’er,
She bids thee “mend thy line, and sin no more.”

For thee, translator of the tinsel song,
To whom such glittering ornaments belong,
Hibernian STRANGFORD! with thine eyes of blue,
And boasted locks of red or auburn hue,
Whose plaintive strain each love-sick Miss admires,
And o’er harmonious fustian half expires,
Learn, if thou canst, to yield thine author’s sense,
Nor vend thy sonnets on a false pretence.
Think’st thou to gain thy verse a higher place,
By dressing Camoëns in a suit of lace?
Mend, STRANGFORD! mend thy morals and thy taste;
Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be chaste:
Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusian Bard to copy MOORE.

Behold—Ye Tarts!—one moment spare the text!—
HAYLEY’S last work, and worst—until his next;
Whether he spin poor couplets into plays,
Or **** the dead with purgatorial praise,
His style in youth or age is still the same,
For ever feeble and for ever tame.
Triumphant first see “Temper’s Triumphs” shine!
At least I’m sure they triumphed over mine.
Of “Music’s Triumphs,” all who read may swear
That luckless Music never triumph’d there.

Moravians, rise! bestow some meet reward
On dull devotion—Lo! the Sabbath Bard,
Sepulchral GRAHAME, pours his notes sublime
In mangled prose, nor e’en aspires to rhyme;
Breaks into blank the Gospel of St. Luke,
And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch;
And, undisturbed by conscientious qualms,
Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.

  Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brings”
A thousand visions of a thousand things,
And shows, still whimpering thro’ threescore of years,
The maudlin prince of mournful sonneteers.
And art thou not their prince, harmonious Bowles!
Thou first, great oracle of tender souls?
Whether them sing’st with equal ease, and grief,
The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf;
Whether thy muse most lamentably tells
What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells,
Or, still in bells delighting, finds a friend
In every chime that jingled from Ostend;
Ah! how much juster were thy Muse’s hap,
If to thy bells thou would’st but add a cap!
Delightful BOWLES! still blessing and still blest,
All love thy strain, but children like it best.
’Tis thine, with gentle LITTLE’S moral song,
To soothe the mania of the amorous throng!
With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears,
Ere Miss as yet completes her infant years:
But in her teens thy whining powers are vain;
She quits poor BOWLES for LITTLE’S purer strain.
Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine
The lofty numbers of a harp like thine;
“Awake a louder and a loftier strain,”
Such as none heard before, or will again!
Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
By more or less, are sung in every book,
From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Nor this alone—but, pausing on the road,
The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode,
And gravely tells—attend, each beauteous Miss!—
When first Madeira trembled to a kiss.
Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell,
Stick to thy Sonnets, Man!—at least they sell.
But if some new-born whim, or larger bribe,
Prompt thy crude brain, and claim thee for a scribe:
If ‘chance some bard, though once by dunces feared,
Now, prone in dust, can only be revered;
If Pope, whose fame and genius, from the first,
Have foiled the best of critics, needs the worst,
Do thou essay: each fault, each failing scan;
The first of poets
5.4k
Ad Lesbiam
Translation From Catullus.


Equal to Jove that youth must be—
Greater than Jove he seems to me—
Who, free from Jealousy’s alarms,
Securely views thy matchless charms;
That cheek, which ever dimpling glows,
That mouth, from whence such music flows,
To him, alike, are always known,
Reserv’d for him, and him alone.
Ah! Lesbia! though ’tis death to me,
I cannot choose but look on thee;
But, at the sight, my senses fly,
I needs must gaze, but, gazing, die;
Whilst trembling with a thousand fears,
Parch’d to the throat my tongue adheres,
My pulse beats quick, my breath heaves short,
My limbs deny their slight support;
Cold dews my pallid face o’erspread,
With deadly languor droops my head,
My ears with tingling echoes ring,
And Life itself is on the wing;
My eyes refuse the cheering light,
Their orbs are veil’d in starless night:
Such pangs my nature sinks beneath,
And feels a temporary death.
High in the midst, surrounded by his peers,
Magnus his ample front sublime uprears:
Plac’d on his chair of state, he seems a ***,
While Sophs and Freshmen tremble at his nod;
As all around sit wrapt in speechless gloom,
His voice, in thunder, shakes the sounding dome;
Denouncing dire reproach to luckless fools,
Unskill’d to plod in mathematic rules.

Happy the youth! in Euclid’s axioms tried,
Though little vers’d in any art beside;
Who, scarcely skill’d an English line to pen,
Scans Attic metres with a critic’s ken.

What! though he knows not how his fathers bled,
When civil discord pil’d the fields with dead,
When Edward bade his conquering bands advance,
Or Henry trampled on the crest of France:
Though marvelling at the name of Magna Charta,
Yet well he recollects the laws of Sparta;
Can tell, what edicts sage Lycurgus made,
While Blackstone’s on the shelf, neglected laid;
Of Grecian dramas vaunts the deathless fame,
Of Avon’s bard, rememb’ring scarce the name.

Such is the youth whose scientific pate
Class-honours, medals, fellowships, await;
Or even, perhaps, the declamation prize,
If to such glorious height, he lifts his eyes.
But lo! no common orator can hope
The envied silver cup within his scope:
Not that our heads much eloquence require,
Th’ ATHENIAN’S glowing style, or TULLY’S fire.
A manner clear or warm is useless, since
We do not try by speaking to convince;
Be other orators of pleasing proud,—
We speak to please ourselves, not move the crowd:
Our gravity prefers the muttering tone,
A proper mixture of the squeak and groan:
No borrow’d grace of action must be seen,
The slightest motion would displease the Dean;
Whilst every staring Graduate would prate,
Against what—he could never imitate.

The man, who hopes t’ obtain the promis’d cup,
Must in one posture stand, and ne’er look up;
Nor stop, but rattle over every word—
No matter what, so it can not be heard:
Thus let him hurry on, nor think to rest:
Who speaks the fastest’s sure to speak the best;
Who utters most within the shortest space,
May, safely, hope to win the wordy race.

The Sons of Science these, who, thus repaid,
Linger in ease in Granta’s sluggish shade;
Where on Cam’s sedgy banks, supine, they lie,
Unknown, unhonour’d live—unwept for die:
Dull as the pictures, which adorn their halls,
They think all learning fix’d within their walls:
In manners rude, in foolish forms precise,
All modern arts affecting to despise;
Yet prizing Bentley’s, Brunck’s, or Porson’s note,
More than the verse on which the critic wrote:
Vain as their honours, heavy as their Ale,
Sad as their wit, and tedious as their tale;
To friendship dead, though not untaught to feel,
When Self and Church demand a Bigot zeal.
With eager haste they court the lord of power,
(Whether ’tis PITT or PETTY rules the hour;)
To him, with suppliant smiles, they bend the head,
While distant mitres to their eyes are spread;
But should a storm o’erwhelm him with disgrace,
They’d fly to seek the next, who fill’d his place.
Such are the men who learning’s treasures guard!
Such is their practice, such is their reward!
This much, at least, we may presume to say—
The premium can’t exceed the price they pay.
Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run,
Along Morea’s hills the setting Sun;
Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright,
But one unclouded blaze of living light;
O’er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws,
Gilds the green wave that trembles as it glows;
On old ægina’s rock and Hydra’s isle
The *** of gladness sheds his parting smile;
O’er his own regions lingering loves to shine,
Though there his altars are no more divine.
Descending fast, the mountain-shadows kiss
Thy glorious Gulf, unconquered Salamis!
Their azure arches through the long expanse,
More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance,
And tenderest tints, along their summits driven,
Mark his *** course, and own the hues of Heaven;
Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep,
Behind his Delphian rock he sinks to sleep.

  On such an eve his palest beam he cast
When, Athens! here thy Wisest looked his last.
How watched thy better sons his farewell ray,
That closed their murdered Sage’s latest day!
Not yet—not yet—Sol pauses on the hill,
The precious hour of parting lingers still;
But sad his light to agonizing eyes,
And dark the mountain’s once delightful dyes;
Gloom o’er the lovely land he seemed to pour,
The land where Phoebus never frowned before;
But ere he sunk below Cithaeron’s head,
The cup of Woe was quaffed—the Spirit fled;
The soul of Him that scorned to fear or fly,
Who lived and died as none can live or die.

  But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain
The Queen of Night asserts her silent reign;
No murky vapour, herald of the storm,
Hides her fair face, or girds her glowing form;
With cornice glimmering as the moonbeams play,
There the white column greets her grateful ray,
And bright around, with quivering beams beset,
Her emblem sparkles o’er the Minaret;
The groves of olive scattered dark and wide,
Where meek Cephisus sheds his scanty tide,
The cypress saddening by the sacred mosque,
The gleaming turret of the *** kiosk,
And sad and sombre ’mid the holy calm,
Near Theseus’ fane, yon solitary palm;
All, tinged with varied hues, arrest the eye;
And dull were his that passed them heedless by.
Again the ægean, heard no more afar,
Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war:
Again his waves in milder tints unfold
Their long expanse of sapphire and of gold,
Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle
That frown, where gentler Ocean deigns to smile.

  As thus, within the walls of Pallas’ fane,
I marked the beauties of the land and main,
Alone, and friendless, on the magic shore,
Whose arts and arms but live in poets’ lore;
Oft as the matchless dome I turned to scan,
Sacred to Gods, but not secure from Man,
The Past returned, the Present seemed to cease,
And Glory knew no clime beyond her Greece!

  Hour rolled along, and Dian’******on high
Had gained the centre of her softest sky;
And yet unwearied still my footsteps trod
O’er the vain shrine of many a vanished ***:
But chiefly, Pallas! thine, when Hecate’s glare
Checked by thy columns, fell more sadly fair
O’er the chill marble, where the startling tread
Thrills the lone heart like echoes from the dead.
Long had I mused, and treasured every trace
The wreck of Greece recorded of her race,
When, lo! a giant-form before me strode,
And Pallas hailed me in her own Abode!

  Yes,’twas Minerva’s self; but, ah! how changed,
Since o’er the Dardan field in arms she ranged!
Not such as erst, by her divine command,
Her form appeared from Phidias’ plastic hand:
Gone were the terrors of her awful brow,
Her idle ægis bore no Gorgon now;
Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance
Seemed weak and shaftless e’en to mortal glance;
The Olive Branch, which still she deigned to clasp,
Shrunk from her touch, and withered in her grasp;
And, ah! though still the brightest of the sky,
Celestial tears bedimmed her large blue eye;
Round the rent casque her owlet circled slow,
And mourned his mistress with a shriek of woe!

  “Mortal!”—’twas thus she spake—”that blush of shame
Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name;
First of the mighty, foremost of the free,
Now honoured ‘less’ by all, and ‘least’ by me:
Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found.
Seek’st thou the cause of loathing!—look around.
Lo! here, despite of war and wasting fire,
I saw successive Tyrannies expire;
‘Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth,
Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both.
Survey this vacant, violated fane;
Recount the relics torn that yet remain:
‘These’ Cecrops placed, ‘this’ Pericles adorned,
‘That’ Adrian reared when drooping Science mourned.
What more I owe let Gratitude attest—
Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest.
That all may learn from whence the plunderer came,
The insulted wall sustains his hated name:
For Elgin’s fame thus grateful Pallas pleads,
Below, his name—above, behold his deeds!
Be ever hailed with equal honour here
The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer:
Arms gave the first his right, the last had none,
But basely stole what less barbarians won.
So when the Lion quits his fell repast,
Next prowls the Wolf, the filthy Jackal last:
Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make their own,
The last poor brute securely gnaws the bone.
Yet still the Gods are just, and crimes are crossed:
See here what Elgin won, and what he lost!
Another name with his pollutes my shrine:
Behold where Dian’s beams disdain to shine!
Some retribution still might Pallas claim,
When Venus half avenged Minerva’s shame.”

  She ceased awhile, and thus I dared reply,
To soothe the vengeance kindling in her eye:
“Daughter of Jove! in Britain’s injured name,
A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim.
Frown not on England; England owns him not:
Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot.
Ask’st thou the difference? From fair Phyles’ towers
Survey Boeotia;—Caledonia’s ours.
And well I know within that ******* land
Hath Wisdom’s goddess never held command;
A barren soil, where Nature’s germs, confined
To stern sterility, can stint the mind;
Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth,
Emblem of all to whom the Land gives birth;
Each genial influence nurtured to resist;
A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist.
Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain
Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,
Till, burst at length, each wat’ry head o’erflows,
Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows:
Then thousand schemes of petulance and pride
Despatch her scheming children far and wide;
Some East, some West, some—everywhere but North!
In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth.
And thus—accursed be the day and year!
She sent a Pict to play the felon here.
Yet Caledonia claims some native worth,
As dull Boeotia gave a Pindar birth;
So may her few, the lettered and the brave,
Bound to no clime, and victors of the grave,
Shake off the sordid dust of such a land,
And shine like children of a happier strand;
As once, of yore, in some obnoxious place,
Ten names (if found) had saved a wretched race.”

  “Mortal!” the blue-eyed maid resumed, “once more
Bear back my mandate to thy native shore.
Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yet is mine,
To turn my counsels far from lands like thine.
Hear then in silence Pallas’ stern behest;
Hear and believe, for Time will tell the rest.

  “First on the head of him who did this deed
My curse shall light,—on him and all his seed:
Without one spark of intellectual fire,
Be all the sons as senseless as the sire:
If one with wit the parent brood disgrace,
Believe him ******* of a brighter race:
Still with his hireling artists let him prate,
And Folly’s praise repay for Wisdom’s hate;
Long of their Patron’s gusto let them tell,
Whose noblest, native gusto is—to sell:
To sell, and make—may shame record the day!—
The State—Receiver of his pilfered prey.
Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard, West,
Europe’s worst dauber, and poor Britain’s best,
With palsied hand shall turn each model o’er,
And own himself an infant of fourscore.
Be all the Bruisers culled from all St. Giles’,
That Art and Nature may compare their styles;
While brawny brutes in ****** wonder stare,
And marvel at his Lordship’s ’stone shop’ there.
Round the thronged gate shall sauntering coxcombs creep
To lounge and lucubrate, to prate and peep;
While many a languid maid, with longing sigh,
On giant statues casts the curious eye;
The room with transient glance appears to skim,
Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb;
Mourns o’er the difference of now and then;
Exclaims, ‘These Greeks indeed were proper men!’
Draws slight comparisons of ‘these’ with ‘those’,
And envies Laïs all her Attic beaux.
When shall a modern maid have swains like these?
Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules!
And last of all, amidst the gaping crew,
Some calm spectator, as he takes his view,
In silent indignation mixed with grief,
Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief.
Oh, loathed in life, nor pardoned in the dust,
May Hate pursue his sacrilegious ****!
Linked with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome,
Shall vengeance follow far beyond the tomb,
And Eratostratus and Elgin shine
In many a branding page and burning line;
Alike reserved for aye to stand accursed,
Perchance the second blacker than the first.

  “So let him stand, through ages yet unborn,
Fixed statue on the pedestal of Scorn;
Though not for him alone revenge shall wait,
But fits thy country for her coming fate:
Hers were the deeds that taught her lawless son
To do what oft Britannia’s self had done.
Look to the Baltic—blazing from afar,
Your old Ally yet mourns perfidious war.
Not to such deeds did Pallas lend her aid,
Or break the compact which herself had made;
Far from such counsels, from the faithless field
She fled—but left behind her Gorgon shield;
A fatal gift that turned your friends to stone,
And left lost Albion hated and alone.

“Look to the East, where Ganges’ swarthy race
Shall shake your tyrant empire to its base;
Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head,
And glares the Nemesis of native dead;
Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood,
And claims his long arrear of northern blood.
So may ye perish!—Pallas, when she gave
Your free-born rights, forbade ye to enslave.

  “Look on your Spain!—she clasps the hand she hates,
But boldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates.
Bear witness, bright Barossa! thou canst tell
Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell.
But Lusitania, kind and dear ally,
Can spare a few to fight, and sometimes fly.
Oh glorious field! by Famine fiercely won,
The Gaul retires for once, and all is done!
But when did Pallas teach, that one retreat
Retrieved three long Olympiads of defeat?

  “Look last at home—ye love not to look there
On the grim smile of comfortless despair:
Your city saddens: loud though Revel howls,
Here Famine faints, and yonder Rapine prowls.
See all alike of more or less bereft;
No misers tremble when there’s nothing left.
‘Blest paper credit;’ who shall dare to sing?
It clogs like lead Corruption’s weary wing.
Yet Pallas pluck’d each Premier by the ear,
Who Gods and men alike disdained to hear;
But one, repentant o’er a bankrupt state,
On Pallas calls,—but calls, alas! too late:
Then raves for’——’; to that Mentor bends,
Though he and Pallas never yet were friends.
Him senates hear, whom never yet they heard,
Contemptuous once, and now no less absurd.
So, once of yore, each reasonable frog,
Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign ‘log.’
Thus hailed your rulers their patrician clod,
As Egypt chose an onion for a ***.

  “Now fare ye well! enjoy your little hour;
Go, grasp the shadow of your vanished power;
Gloss o’er the failure of each fondest scheme;
Your strength a name, your bloated wealth a dream.
Gone is that Gold, the marvel of mankind.
And Pirates barter all that’s left behind.
No more the hirelings, purchased near and far,
Crowd to the ranks of mercenary war.
The idle merchant on the useless quay
Droops o’er the bales no bark may bear away;
Or, back returning, sees rejected stores
Rot piecemeal on his own encumbered shores:
The starved mechanic breaks his rusting loom,
And desperate mans him ‘gainst the coming doom.
Then in the Senates of your sinking state
Show me the man whose counsels may have weight.
Vain is each voice where tones could once command;
E’en factions cease to charm a factious land:
Yet jarring sects convulse a sister Isle,
And light with maddening hands the mutual pile.

  “’Tis done, ’tis past—since Pallas warns in vain;
The Furies seize her abdicated reign:
Wide o’er the realm they wave their kindling brands,
And wring her vitals with their fiery hands.
But one convulsive struggle still remains,
And Gaul shall weep ere Albion wear her chains,
The bannered pomp of war, the glittering files,
O’er whose *** trappings stern Bellona smiles;
The brazen trump, the spirit-stirring drum,
That bid the foe defiance ere they come;
The hero bounding at his country’s call,
The glorious death that consecrates his fall,
Swell the young heart with visionary charms.
And bid it antedate the joys of arms.
But know, a lesson you may yet be taught,
With death alone are laurels cheaply bought;
Not in the conflict Havoc seeks delight,
His day of mercy is the day of fight.
But when the field is fought, the battle won,
Though drenched with gore, his woes are but begun:
His deeper deeds as yet ye know by name;
The slaughtered peasant and the ravished dame,
The rifled mansion and the foe-reaped field,
Ill suit with souls at home, untaught to yield.
Say with what eye along the distant down
Would flying burghers mark the blazing town?
How view the column of ascending flames
Shake his red shadow o’er the startled Thames?
Nay, frown not, Albion! for the torch was thine
That lit such pyres from Tagus to the Rhine:
Now should they burst on thy devoted coast,
Go, ask thy ***** who deserves them most?
The law of Heaven and Earth is life for life,
And she who raised, in vain regrets, the strife.”
Away with your fictions of flimsy romance,
  Those tissues of falsehood which Folly has wove;
Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,
  Or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with fantasy glow,
  Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;
From what blest inspiration your sonnets would flow,
  Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love.

If Apollo should e’er his assistance refuse,
  Or the Nine be dispos’d from your service to rove,
Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the Muse,
  And try the effect, of the first kiss of love.

I hate you, ye cold compositions of art,
  Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove;
I court the effusions that spring from the heart,
  Which throbs, with delight, to the first kiss of love.

Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,
  Perhaps may amuse, yet they never can move:
Arcadia displays but a region of dreams;
  What are visions like these, to the first kiss of love?

Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,
  From Adam, till now, has with wretchedness strove;
Some portion of Paradise still is on earth,
  And Eden revives, in the first kiss of love.

When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove—
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love.
How sweetly shines, through azure skies,
  The lamp of Heaven on Lora’s shore;
Where Alva’s hoary turrets rise,
  And hear the din of arms no more!

But often has yon rolling moon,
  On Alva’s casques of silver play’d;
And view’d, at midnight’s silent noon,
  Her chiefs in gleaming mail array’d:

And, on the crimson’d rocks beneath,
  Which scowl o’er ocean’s sullen flow,
Pale in the scatter’d ranks of death,
  She saw the gasping warrior low;

While many an eye, which ne’er again
  Could mark the rising orb of day,
Turn’d feebly from the gory plain,
  Beheld in death her fading ray.

Once, to those eyes the lamp of Love,
  They blest her dear propitious light;
But, now, she glimmer’d from above,
  A sad, funereal torch of night.

Faded is Alva’s noble race,
  And grey her towers are seen afar;
No more her heroes urge the chase,
  Or roll the crimson tide of war.

But, who was last of Alva’s clan?
  Why grows the moss on Alva’s stone?
Her towers resound no steps of man,
  They echo to the gale alone.

And, when that gale is fierce and high,
  A sound is heard in yonder hall;
It rises hoarsely through the sky,
  And vibrates o’er the mould’ring wall.

Yes, when the eddying tempest sighs,
  It shakes the shield of Oscar brave;
But, there, no more his banners rise,
  No more his plumes of sable wave.

Fair shone the sun on Oscar’s birth,
  When Angus hail’d his eldest born;
The vassals round their chieftain’s hearth
  Crowd to applaud the happy morn.

They feast upon the mountain deer,
  The Pibroch rais’d its piercing note,
To gladden more their Highland cheer,
  The strains in martial numbers float.

And they who heard the war-notes wild,
  Hop’d that, one day, the Pibroch’s strain
Should play before the Hero’s child,
  While he should lead the Tartan train.

Another year is quickly past,
  And Angus hails another son;
His natal day is like the last,
  Nor soon the jocund feast was done.

Taught by their sire to bend the bow,
  On Alva’s dusky hills of wind,
The boys in childhood chas’d the roe,
  And left their hounds in speed behind.

But ere their years of youth are o’er,
  They mingle in the ranks of war;
They lightly wheel the bright claymore,
  And send the whistling arrow far.

Dark was the flow of Oscar’s hair,
  Wildly it stream’d along the gale;
But Allan’s locks were bright and fair,
  And pensive seem’d his cheek, and pale.

But Oscar own’d a hero’s soul,
  His dark eye shone through beams of truth;
Allan had early learn’d controul,
  And smooth his words had been from youth.

Both, both were brave; the Saxon spear
  Was shiver’d oft beneath their steel;
And Oscar’s ***** scorn’d to fear,
  But Oscar’s ***** knew to feel;

While Allan’s soul belied his form,
  Unworthy with such charms to dwell:
Keen as the lightning of the storm,
  On foes his deadly vengeance fell.

From high Southannon’s distant tower
  Arrived a young and noble dame;
With Kenneth’s lands to form her dower,
  Glenalvon’s blue-eyed daughter came;

And Oscar claim’d the beauteous bride,
  And Angus on his Oscar smil’d:
It soothed the father’s feudal pride
  Thus to obtain Glenalvon’s child.

Hark! to the Pibroch’s pleasing note,
  Hark! to the swelling nuptial song,
In joyous strains the voices float,
  And, still, the choral peal prolong.

See how the Heroes’ blood-red plumes
  Assembled wave in Alva’s hall;
Each youth his varied plaid assumes,
  Attending on their chieftain’s call.

It is not war their aid demands,
  The Pibroch plays the song of peace;
To Oscar’s nuptials throng the bands
  Nor yet the sounds of pleasure cease.

But where is Oscar? sure ’tis late:
  Is this a bridegroom’s ardent flame?
While thronging guests and ladies wait,
  Nor Oscar nor his brother came.

At length young Allan join’d the bride;
  “Why comes not Oscar?” Angus said:
“Is he not here?” the Youth replied;
  “With me he rov’d not o’er the glade:

“Perchance, forgetful of the day,
  ’Tis his to chase the bounding roe;
Or Ocean’s waves prolong his stay:
  Yet, Oscar’s bark is seldom slow.”

“Oh, no!” the anguish’d Sire rejoin’d,
  “Nor chase, nor wave, my Boy delay;
Would he to Mora seem unkind?
  Would aught to her impede his way?

“Oh, search, ye Chiefs! oh, search around!
  Allan, with these, through Alva fly;
Till Oscar, till my son is found,
  Haste, haste, nor dare attempt reply.”

All is confusion—through the vale,
  The name of Oscar hoarsely rings,
It rises on the murm’ring gale,
  Till night expands her dusky wings.

It breaks the stillness of the night,
  But echoes through her shades in vain;
It sounds through morning’s misty light,
  But Oscar comes not o’er the plain.

Three days, three sleepless nights, the Chief
  For Oscar search’d each mountain cave;
Then hope is lost; in boundless grief,
  His locks in grey-torn ringlets wave.

“Oscar! my son!—thou *** of Heav’n,
  Restore the prop of sinking age!
Or, if that hope no more is given,
  Yield his assassin to my rage.

“Yes, on some desert rocky shore
  My Oscar’s whiten’d bones must lie;
Then grant, thou ***! I ask no more,
  With him his frantic Sire may die!

“Yet, he may live,—away, despair!
  Be calm, my soul! he yet may live;
T’ arraign my fate, my voice forbear!
  O ***! my impious prayer forgive.

“What, if he live for me no more,
  I sink forgotten in the dust,
The hope of Alva’s age is o’er:
  Alas! can pangs like these be just?”

Thus did the hapless Parent mourn,
  Till Time, who soothes severest woe,
Had bade serenity return,
  And made the tear-drop cease to flow.

For, still, some latent hope surviv’d
  That Oscar might once more appear;
His hope now droop’d and now revived,
  Till Time had told a tedious year.

Days roll’d along, the orb of light
  Again had run his destined race;
No Oscar bless’d his father’s sight,
  And sorrow left a fainter trace.

For youthful Allan still remain’d,
  And, now, his father’s only joy:
And Mora’s heart was quickly gain’d,
  For beauty crown’d the fair-hair’d boy.

She thought that Oscar low was laid,
  And Allan’s face was wondrous fair;
If Oscar liv’d, some other maid
  Had claim’d his faithless *****’s care.

And Angus said, if one year more
  In fruitless hope was pass’d away,
His fondest scruples should be o’er,
  And he would name their nuptial day.

Slow roll’d the moons, but blest at last
  Arriv’d the dearly destin’d morn:
The year of anxious trembling past,
  What smiles the lovers’ cheeks adorn!

Hark to the Pibroch’s pleasing note!
  Hark to the swelling nuptial song!
In joyous strains the voices float,
  And, still, the choral peal prolong.

Again the clan, in festive crowd,
  Throng through the gate of Alva’s hall;
The sounds of mirth re-echo loud,
  And all their former joy recall.

But who is he, whose darken’d brow
  Glooms in the midst of general mirth?
Before his eyes’ far fiercer glow
  The blue flames curdle o’er the hearth.

Dark is the robe which wraps his form,
  And tall his plume of gory red;
His voice is like the rising storm,
  But light and trackless is his tread.

’Tis noon of night, the pledge goes round,
  The bridegroom’s health is deeply quaff’d;
With shouts the vaulted roofs resound,
  And all combine to hail the draught.

Sudden the stranger-chief arose,
  And all the clamorous crowd are hush’d;
And Angus’ cheek with wonder glows,
  And Mora’s tender ***** blush’d.

“Old man!” he cried, “this pledge is done,
  Thou saw’st ’twas truly ***** by me;
It hail’d the nuptials of thy son:
  Now will I claim a pledge from thee.

“While all around is mirth and joy,
  To bless thy Allan’s happy lot,
Say, hadst thou ne’er another boy?
  Say, why should Oscar be forgot?”

“Alas!” the hapless Sire replied,
  The big tear starting as he spoke,
“When Oscar left my hall, or died,
  This aged heart was almost broke.

“Thrice has the earth revolv’d her course
  Since Oscar’s form has bless’d my sight;
And Allan is my last resource,
  Since martial Oscar’s death, or flight.”

“’Tis well,” replied the stranger stern,
  And fiercely flash’d his rolling eye;
“Thy Oscar’s fate, I fain would learn;
  Perhaps the Hero did not die.

“Perchance, if those, whom most he lov’d,
  Would call, thy Oscar might return;
Perchance, the chief has only rov’d;
  For him thy Beltane, yet, may burn.

“Fill high the bowl the table round,
  We will not claim the pledge by stealth;
With wine let every cup be crown’d;
  Pledge me departed Oscar’s health.”

“With all my soul,” old Angus said,
  And fill’d his goblet to the brim:
“Here’s to my boy! alive or dead,
  I ne’er shall find a son like him.”

“Bravely, old man, this health has sped;
  But why does Allan trembling stand?
Come, drink remembrance of the dead,
  And raise thy cup with firmer hand.”

The crimson glow of Allan’s face
  Was turn’d at once to ghastly hue;
The drops of death each other chace,
  Adown in agonizing dew.

Thrice did he raise the goblet high,
  And thrice his lips refused to taste;
For thrice he caught the stranger’s eye
  On his with deadly fury plac’d.

“And is it thus a brother hails
  A brother’s fond remembrance here?
If thus affection’s strength prevails,
  What might we not expect from fear?”

Roused by the sneer, he rais’d the bowl,
  “Would Oscar now could share our mirth!”
Internal fear appall’d his soul;
  He said, and dash’d the cup to earth.

“’Tis he! I hear my murderer’s voice!”
  Loud shrieks a darkly gleaming Form.
“A murderer’s voice!” the roof replies,
  And deeply swells the bursting storm.

The tapers wink, the chieftains shrink,
  The stranger’s gone,—amidst the crew,
A Form was seen, in tartan green,
  And tall the shade terrific grew.

His waist was bound with a broad belt round,
  His plume of sable stream’d on high;
But his breast was bare, with the red wounds there,
  And fix’d was the glare of his glassy eye.

And thrice he smil’d, with his eye so wild
  On Angus bending low the knee;
And thrice he frown’d, on a Chief on the ground,
  Whom shivering crowds with horror see.

The bolts loud roll from pole to pole,
  And thunders through the welkin ring,
And the gleaming form, through the mist of the storm,
  Was borne on high by the whirlwind’s wing.

Cold was the feast, the revel ceas’d.
  Who lies upon the stony floor?
Oblivion press’d old Angus’ breast,
  At length his life-pulse throbs once more.

“Away, away! let the leech essay
  To pour the light on Allan’s eyes:”
His sand is done,—his race is run;
  Oh! never more shall Allan rise!

But Oscar’s breast is cold as clay,
  His locks are lifted by the gale;
And Allan’s barbèd arrow lay
  With him in dark Glentanar’s vale.

And whence the dreadful stranger came,
  Or who, no mortal wight can tell;
But no one doubts the form of flame,
  For Alva’s sons knew Oscar well.

Ambition nerv’d young Allan’s hand,
  Exulting demons wing’d his dart;
While Envy wav’d her burning brand,
  And pour’d her venom round his heart.

Swift is the shaft from Allan’s bow;
  Whose streaming life-blood stains his side?
Dark Oscar’s sable crest is low,
  The dart has ***** his vital tide.

And Mora’s eye could Allan move,
  She bade his wounded pride rebel:
Alas! that eyes, which beam’d with love,
  Should urge the soul to deeds of ****.

Lo! see’st thou not a lonely tomb,
  Which rises o’er a warrior dead?
It glimmers through the twilight gloom;
  Oh! that is Allan’s nuptial bed.

Far, distant far, the noble grave
  Which held his clan’s great ashes stood;
And o’er his corse no banners wave,
  For they were stain’d with kindred blood.

What minstrel grey, what hoary bard,
  Shall Allan’s deeds on harp-strings raise?
The song is glory’s chief reward,
  But who can strike a murd’rer’s praise?

Unstrung, untouch’d, the harp must stand,
  No minstrel dare the theme awake;
Guilt would benumb his palsied hand,
  His harp in shuddering chords would break.

No lyre of fame, no hallow’d verse,
  Shall sound his glories high in air:
A dying father’s bitter curse,
  A brother’s death-groan echoes there.
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:—
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?—
With silence and tears.
3.1k
Darkness
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chilled into a selfish prayer for light;
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those which dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanoes, and their mountain-torch;
A fearful hope was all the world contained;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguished with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them: some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnashed their teeth and howled; the wild birds shrieked,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawled
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food;
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again;—a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails—men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assailed their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famished men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the drooping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress—he died.
The crowd was famished by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heaped a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage: they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects—saw, and shrieked, and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—
A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropped
They slept on the abyss without a surge—
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The Moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perished! Darkness had no need
Of aid from them—She was the Universe!
“I cannot but remember such things were,
  And were most dear to me.”
  ‘Macbeth’

  [”That were most precious to me.”
  ‘Macbeth’, act iv, sc. 3.]


When slow Disease, with all her host of Pains,
Chills the warm tide, which flows along the veins;
When Health, affrighted, spreads her rosy wing,
And flies with every changing gale of spring;
Not to the aching frame alone confin’d,
Unyielding pangs assail the drooping mind:
What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe,
Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow,
With Resignation wage relentless strife,
While Hope retires appall’d, and clings to life.
Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour,
Remembrance sheds around her genial power,
Calls back the vanish’d days to rapture given,
When Love was bliss, and Beauty form’d our heaven;
Or, dear to youth, pourtrays each childish scene,
Those fairy bowers, where all in turn have been.
As when, through clouds that pour the summer storm,
The orb of day unveils his distant form,
Gilds with faint beams the crystal dews of rain
And dimly twinkles o’er the watery plain;
Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams,
The Sun of Memory, glowing through my dreams,
Though sunk the radiance of his former blaze,
To scenes far distant points his paler rays,
Still rules my senses with unbounded sway,
The past confounding with the present day.

Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought,
Which still recurs, unlook’d for and unsought;
My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields,
And roams romantic o’er her airy fields.
Scenes of my youth, develop’d, crowd to view,
To which I long have bade a last adieu!
Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes;
Friends lost to me, for aye, except in dreams;
Some, who in marble prematurely sleep,
Whose forms I now remember, but to weep;
Some, who yet urge the same scholastic course
Of early science, future fame the source;
Who, still contending in the studious race,
In quick rotation, fill the senior place!
These, with a thousand visions, now unite,
To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight.

IDA! blest spot, where Science holds her reign,
How joyous, once, I join’d thy youthful train!
Bright, in idea, gleams thy lofty spire,
Again, I mingle with thy playful quire;
Our tricks of mischief, every childish game,
Unchang’d by time or distance, seem the same;
Through winding paths, along the glade I trace
The social smile of every welcome face;
My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy or woe,
Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe,
Our feuds dissolv’d, but not my friendship past,—
I bless the former, and forgive the last.
Hours of my youth! when, nurtur’d in my breast,
To Love a stranger, Friendship made me blest,—
Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth,
When every artless ***** throbs with truth;
Untaught by worldly wisdom how to feign,
And check each impulse with prudential rein;
When, all we feel, our honest souls disclose,
In love to friends, in open hate to foes;
No varnish’d tales the lips of youth repeat,
No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit;
Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen’d years,
Matured by age, the garb of Prudence wears:
When, now, the Boy is ripen’d into Man,
His careful Sire chalks forth some wary plan;
Instructs his Son from Candour’s path to shrink,
Smoothly to speak, and cautiously to think;
Still to assent, and never to deny—
A patron’s praise can well reward the lie:
And who, when Fortune’s warning voice is heard,
Would lose his opening prospects for a word?
Although, against that word, his heart rebel,
And Truth, indignant, all his ***** swell.

  Away with themes like this! not mine the task,
From flattering friends to tear the hateful mask;
Let keener bards delight in Satire’s sting,
My Fancy soars not on Detraction’s wing:
Once, and but once, she aim’d a deadly blow,
To hurl Defiance on a secret Foe;
But when that foe, from feeling or from shame,
The cause unknown, yet still to me the same,
Warn’d by some friendly hint, perchance, retir’d,
With this submission all her rage expired.
From dreaded pangs that feeble Foe to save,
She hush’d her young resentment, and forgave.
Or, if my Muse a Pedant’s portrait drew,
POMPOSUS’ virtues are but known to few:
I never fear’d the young usurper’s nod,
And he who wields must, sometimes, feel the rod.
If since on Granta’s failings, known to all
Who share the converse of a college hall,
She sometimes trifled in a lighter strain,
’Tis past, and thus she will not sin again:
Soon must her early song for ever cease,
And, all may rail, when I shall rest in peace.

  Here, first remember’d be the joyous band,
Who hail’d me chief, obedient to command;
Who join’d with me, in every boyish sport,
Their first adviser, and their last resort;
Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant’s frown,
Or all the sable glories of his gown;
Who, thus, transplanted from his father’s school,
Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule—
Succeeded him, whom all unite to praise,
The dear preceptor of my early days,
PROBUS, the pride of science, and the boast—
To IDA now, alas! for ever lost!
With him, for years, we search’d the classic page,
And fear’d the Master, though we lov’d the Sage:
Retir’d at last, his small yet peaceful seat
From learning’s labour is the blest retreat.
POMPOSUS fills his magisterial chair;
POMPOSUS governs,—but, my Muse, forbear:
Contempt, in silence, be the pedant’s lot,
His name and precepts be alike forgot;
No more his mention shall my verse degrade,—
To him my tribute is already paid.

  High, through those elms with hoary branches crown’d
Fair IDA’S bower adorns the landscape round;
There Science, from her favour’d seat, surveys
The vale where rural Nature claims her praise;
To her awhile resigns her youthful train,
Who move in joy, and dance along the plain;
In scatter’d groups, each favour’d haunt pursue,
Repeat old pastimes, and discover new;
Flush’d with his rays, beneath the noontide Sun,
In rival bands, between the wickets run,
Drive o’er the sward the ball with active force,
Or chase with nimble feet its rapid course.
But these with slower steps direct their way,
Where Brent’s cool waves in limpid currents stray,
While yonder few search out some green retreat,
And arbours shade them from the summer heat:
Others, again, a pert and lively crew,
Some rough and thoughtless stranger plac’d in view,
With frolic quaint their antic jests expose,
And tease the grumbling rustic as he goes;
Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray
Tradition treasures for a future day:
“’Twas here the gather’d swains for vengeance fought,
And here we earn’d the conquest dearly bought:
Here have we fled before superior might,
And here renew’d the wild tumultuous fight.”
While thus our souls with early passions swell,
In lingering tones resounds the distant bell;
Th’ allotted hour of daily sport is o’er,
And Learning beckons from her temple’s door.
No splendid tablets grace her simple hall,
But ruder records fill the dusky wall:
There, deeply carv’d, behold! each Tyro’s name
Secures its owner’s academic fame;
Here mingling view the names of Sire and Son,
The one long grav’d, the other just begun:
These shall survive alike when Son and Sire,
Beneath one common ****** of fate expire;
Perhaps, their last memorial these alone,
Denied, in death, a monumental stone,
Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave
The sighing weeds, that hide their nameless grave.
And, here, my name, and many an early friend’s,
Along the wall in lengthen’d line extends.
Though, still, our deeds amuse the youthful race,
Who tread our steps, and fill our former place,
Who young obeyed their lords in silent awe,
Whose nod commanded, and whose voice was law;
And now, in turn, possess the reins of power,
To rule, the little Tyrants of an hour;
Though sometimes, with the Tales of ancient day,
They pass the dreary Winter’s eve away;
“And, thus, our former rulers stemm’d the tide,
And, thus, they dealt the combat, side by side;
Just in this place, the mouldering walls they scaled,
Nor bolts, nor bars, against their strength avail’d;
Here PROBUS came, the rising fray to quell,
And, here, he falter’d forth his last farewell;
And, here, one night abroad they dared to roam,
While bold POMPOSUS bravely staid at home;”
While thus they speak, the hour must soon arrive,
When names of these, like ours, alone survive:
Yet a few years, one general wreck will whelm
The faint remembrance of our fairy realm.

  Dear honest race! though now we meet no more,
One last long look on what we were before—
Our first kind greetings, and our last adieu—
Drew tears from eyes unus’d to weep with you.
Through splendid circles, Fashion’s gaudy world,
Where Folly’s glaring standard waves unfurl’d,
I plung’d to drown in noise my fond regret,
And all I sought or hop’d was to forget:
Vain wish! if, chance, some well-remember’d face,
Some old companion of my early race,
Advanc’d to claim his friend with honest joy,
My eyes, my heart, proclaim’d me still a boy;
The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around,
Were quite forgotten when my friend was found;
The smiles of Beauty, (for, alas! I’ve known
What ’tis to bend before Love’s mighty throne;)
The smiles of Beauty, though those smiles were dear,
Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near:
My thoughts bewilder’d in the fond surprise,
The woods of IDA danc’d before my eyes;
I saw the sprightly wand’rers pour along,
I saw, and join’d again the joyous throng;
Panting, again I trac’d her lofty grove,
And Friendship’s feelings triumph’d over Love.

  Yet, why should I alone with such delight
Retrace the circuit of my former flight?
Is there no cause beyond the common claim,
Endear’d to all in childhood’s very name?
Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates here,
Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear
To one, who thus for kindred hearts must roam,
And seek abroad, the love denied at home.
Those hearts, dear IDA, have I found in thee,
A home, a world, a paradise to me.
Stern Death forbade my orphan youth to share
The tender guidance of a Father’s care;
Can Rank, or e’en a Guardian’s name supply
The love, which glistens in a Father’s eye?
For this, can Wealth, or Title’s sound atone,
Made, by a Parent’s early loss, my own?
What Brother springs a Brother’s love to seek?
What Sister’s gentle kiss has prest my cheek?
For me, how dull the vacant moments rise,
To no fond ***** link’d by kindred ties!
Oft, in the progress of some fleeting dream,
Fraternal smiles, collected round me seem;
While still the visions to my heart are prest,
The voice of Love will murmur in my rest:
I hear—I wake—and in the sound rejoice!
I hear again,—but, ah! no Brother’s voice.
A Hermit, ’midst of crowds, I fain must stray
Alone, though thousand pilgrims fill the way;
While these a thousand kindred wreaths entwine,
I cannot call one single blossom mine:
What then remains? in solitude to groan,
To mix in friendship, or to sigh alone?
Thus, must I cling to some endearing hand,
And none more dear, than IDA’S social band.

  Alonzo! best and dearest of my friends,
Thy name ennobles him, who thus commends:
From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise;
The praise is his, who now that tribute pays.
Oh! in the promise of thy early youth,
If Hope anticipate the words of Truth!
Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name,
To build his own, upon thy deathless fame:
Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list
Of those with whom I lived supremely blest;
Oft have we drain’d the font of ancient lore,
Though drinking deeply, thirsting still the more;
Yet, when Confinement’s lingering hour was done,
Our sports, our studies, and our souls were one:
Together we impell’d the flying ball,
Together waited in our tutor’s hall;
Together join’d in cricket’s manly toil,
Or shar’d the produce of the river’s spoil;
Or plunging from the green declining shore,
Our pliant limbs the buoyant billows bore:
In every element, unchang’d, the same,
All, all that brothers should be, but the name.

  Nor, yet, are you forgot, my jocund Boy!
DAVUS, the harbinger of childish joy;
For ever foremost in the ranks of fun,
The laughing herald of the harmless pun;
Yet, with a breast of such materials made,
Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid;
Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel
In Danger’s path, though not untaught to feel.
Still, I remember, in the factious strife,
The rustic’s musket aim’d against my life:
High pois’d in air the massy weapon hung,
A cry of horror burst from every tongue:
Whilst I, in combat with another foe,
Fought on, unconscious of th’ impending blow;
Your arm, brave Boy, arrested his career—
Forward you sprung, insensible to fear;
Disarm’d, and baffled by your conquering hand,
The grovelling Savage roll’d upon the sand:
An act like this, can simple thanks repay?
Or all the labours of a grateful lay?
Oh no! whene’er my breast forgets the deed,
That instant, DAVUS, it deserves to bleed.

  LYCUS! on me thy claims are justly great:
Thy milder virtues could my Muse relate,
To thee, alone, unrivall’d, would belong
The feeble efforts of my lengthen’d song.
Well canst thou boast, to lead in senates fit,
A Spartan firmness, with Athenian wit:
Though yet, in embryo, these perfections shine,
LYCUS! thy father’s fame will soon be thine.
Where Learning nurtures the superior mind,
What may we hope, from genius thus refin’d;
When Time, at length, matures thy growing years,
How wilt thou tower, above thy fellow peers!
Prudence and sense, a spirit bold and free,
With Honour’s soul, united beam in thee.

Shall fair EURYALUS, pass by unsung?
From ancient lineage, not unworthy, sprung:
What, though one sad dissension bade us part,
That name is yet embalm’d within my heart,
Yet, at the mention, does that heart rebound,
And palpitate, responsive to the sound;
Envy dissolved our ties, and not our will:
We once were friends,—I’ll think, we are so still.
A form unmatch’d in Nature’s partial mould,
A heart untainted, we, in thee, behold:
Yet, not the Senate’s thunder thou shall wield,
Nor seek for glory, in the tented field:
To minds of ruder texture, these be given—
Thy soul shall nearer soar its native heaven.
Haply, in polish’d courts might be thy seat,
But, that thy tongue could never forge deceit:
The courtier’s supple bow, and sneering smile,
The flow of compliment, the slippery wile,
Would make that breast, with indignation, burn,
And, all the glittering snares, to tempt thee, spurn.
Domestic happiness will stamp thy fate;
Sacred to love, unclouded e’er by hate;
The world admire thee, and thy friends adore;—
Ambition’s *****, alone, would toil for more.

  Now last, but nearest, of the social band,
See honest, open, generous CLEON stand;
With scarce one speck, to cloud the pleasing scene,
No vice degrades that purest soul serene.
On the same day, our studious race begun,
On the same day, our studious race was run;
Thus, side by side, we pass’d our first career,
Thus, side by side, we strove for many a year:
At last, concluded our scholastic life,
We neither conquer’d in the classic strife:
As Speakers, each supports an equal name,
And crowds allow to both a partial fame:
To soothe a youthful Rival’s early pride,
Though Cleon’s candour would the palm divide,
Yet Candour’s self compels me now to own,
Justice awards it to my Friend alone.

  Oh! Friends regretted, Scenes for ever dear,
Remembrance hails you with her warmest tear!
Drooping, she bends o’er pensive Fancy’s urn,
To trace the hours, which never can return;
Yet, with the retrospection loves to dwell,
And soothe the sorrows of her last farewell!
Yet greets the triumph of my boyish mind,
As infant laurels round my head were twin’d;
When PROBUS’ praise repaid my lyric song,
Or plac’d me higher in the studious throng;
Or when my first harangue receiv’d applause,
His sage instruction the primeval cause,
What gratitude, to him, my soul possest,
While hope of dawning honours fill’d my breast!
For all my humble fame, to him alone,
The praise is due, who made that fame my own.
Oh! could I soar above these feeble lays,
These young effusions of my early days,
To him my Muse her noblest strain would give,
The song might perish, but the theme might live.
Yet, why for him the needless verse essay?
His honour’d name requires no vain display:
By every son of grateful IDA blest,
It finds an ech
When Man, expell’d from Eden’s bowers,
  A moment linger’d near the gate,
Each scene recall’d the vanish’d hours,
  And bade him curse his future fate.

But, wandering on through distant climes,
  He learnt to bear his load of grief;
Just gave a sigh to other times,
  And found in busier scenes relief.

Thus, Lady! will it be with me,
  And I must view thy charms no more;
For, while I linger near to thee,
  I sigh for all I knew before.

In flight I shall be surely wise,
  Escaping from temptation’s snare:
I cannot view my Paradise
  Without the wish of dwelling there.
2.3k
The Waltz
Muse of the many-twinkling feet! whose charms
Are now extended up from legs to arms;
Terpsichore!—too long misdeemed a maid—
Reproachful term—bestowed but to upbraid—
Henceforth in all the bronze of brightness shine,
The least a Vestal of the ****** Nine.
Far be from thee and thine the name of *****:
Mocked yet triumphant; sneered at, unsubdued;
Thy legs must move to conquer as they fly,
If but thy coats are reasonably high!
Thy breast—if bare enough—requires no shield;
Dance forth—sans armour thou shalt take the field
And own—impregnable to most assaults,
Thy not too lawfully begotten “Waltz.”

  Hail, nimble Nymph! to whom the young hussar,
The whiskered votary of Waltz and War,
His night devotes, despite of spur and boots;
A sight unmatched since Orpheus and his brutes:
Hail, spirit-stirring Waltz!—beneath whose banners
A modern hero fought for modish manners;
On Hounslow’s heath to rival Wellesley’s fame,
Cocked, fired, and missed his man—but gained his aim;
Hail, moving muse! to whom the fair one’s breast
Gives all it can, and bids us take the rest.
Oh! for the flow of Busby, or of Fitz,
The latter’s loyalty, the former’s wits,
To “energise the object I pursue,”
And give both Belial and his Dance their due!

  Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine
(Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),
Long be thine import from all duty free,
And Hock itself be less esteemed than thee;
In some few qualities alike—for Hock
Improves our cellar—thou our living stock.
The head to Hock belongs—thy subtler art
Intoxicates alone the heedless heart:
Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims,
And wakes to Wantonness the willing limbs.

  Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe,
As heaven-born Pitt can testify below,
Ere cursed Confederation made thee France’s,
And only left us thy d—d debts and dances!
Of subsidies and Hanover bereft,
We bless thee still—George the Third is left!
Of kings the best—and last, not least in worth,
For graciously begetting George the Fourth.
To Germany, and Highnesses serene,
Who owe us millions—don’t we owe the Queen?
To Germany, what owe we not besides?
So oft bestowing Brunswickers and brides;
Who paid for ******, with her royal blood,
Drawn from the stem of each Teutonic stud:
Who sent us—so be pardoned all her faults—
A dozen dukes, some kings, a Queen—and Waltz.

  But peace to her—her Emperor and Diet,
Though now transferred to Buonapartè’s “fiat!”
Back to my theme—O muse of Motion! say,
How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way?

  Borne on the breath of Hyperborean gales,
From Hamburg’s port (while Hamburg yet had mails),
Ere yet unlucky Fame—compelled to creep
To snowy Gottenburg-was chilled to sleep;
Or, starting from her slumbers, deigned arise,
Heligoland! to stock thy mart with lies;
While unburnt Moscow yet had news to send,
Nor owed her fiery Exit to a friend,
She came—Waltz came—and with her certain sets
Of true despatches, and as true Gazettes;
Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch,
Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match
And—almost crushed beneath the glorious news—
Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue’s;
One envoy’s letters, six composer’s airs,
And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs:
Meiners’ four volumes upon Womankind,
Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind;
Brunck’s heaviest tome for ballast, and, to back it,
Of Heynè, such as should not sink the packet.

  Fraught with this cargo—and her fairest freight,
Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a Mate,
The welcome vessel reached the genial strand,
And round her flocked the daughters of the land.
Not decent David, when, before the ark,
His grand Pas-seul excited some remark;
Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought
The knight’s Fandango friskier than it ought;
Not soft Herodias, when, with winning tread,
Her nimble feet danced off another’s head;
Not Cleopatra on her Galley’s Deck,
Displayed so much of leg or more of neck,
Than Thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the Moon
Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune!

  To You, ye husbands of ten years! whose brows
Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse;
To you of nine years less, who only bear
The budding sprouts of those that you shall wear,
With added ornaments around them rolled
Of native brass, or law-awarded gold;
To You, ye Matrons, ever on the watch
To mar a son’s, or make a daughter’s match;
To You, ye children of—whom chance accords—
Always the Ladies, and sometimes their Lords;
To You, ye single gentlemen, who seek
Torments for life, or pleasures for a week;
As Love or ***** your endeavours guide,
To gain your own, or ****** another’s bride;—
To one and all the lovely Stranger came,
And every Ball-room echoes with her name.

  Endearing Waltz!—to thy more melting tune
Bow Irish Jig, and ancient Rigadoon.
Scotch reels, avaunt! and Country-dance forego
Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands,
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne’er before—but—pray “put out the light.”
Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier
Shines much too far—or I am much too near;
And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this remark,
“My slippery steps are safest in the dark!”
But here the Muse with due decorum halts,
And lends her longest petticoat to “Waltz.”

  Observant Travellers of every time!
Ye Quartos published upon every clime!
0 say, shall dull Romaika’s heavy round,
Fandango’s wriggle, or Bolero’s bound;
Can Egypt’s Almas—tantalising group—
Columbia’s caperers to the warlike Whoop—
Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn
With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be born?
Ah, no! from Morier’s pages down to Galt’s,
Each tourist pens a paragraph for “Waltz.”

  Shades of those Belles whose reign began of yore,
With George the Third’s—and ended long before!—
Though in your daughters’ daughters yet you thrive,
Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive!
Back to the Ball-room speed your spectred host,
Fool’s Paradise is dull to that you lost.
No treacherous powder bids Conjecture quake;
No stiff-starched stays make meddling fingers ache;
(Transferred to those ambiguous things that ape
Goats in their visage, women in their shape;)
No damsel faints when rather closely pressed,
But more caressing seems when most caressed;
Superfluous Hartshorn, and reviving Salts,
Both banished by the sovereign cordial “Waltz.”

  Seductive Waltz!—though on thy native shore
Even Werter’s self proclaimed thee half a *****;
Werter—to decent vice though much inclined,
Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind—
Though gentle Genlis, in her strife with Staël,
Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball;
The fashion hails—from Countesses to Queens,
And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes;
Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads,
And turns—if nothing else—at least our heads;
With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce,
And cockney’s practise what they can’t pronounce.
Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts,
And Rhyme finds partner Rhyme in praise of “Waltz!”
Blest was the time Waltz chose for her début!
The Court, the Regent, like herself were new;
New face for friends, for foes some new rewards;
New ornaments for black-and royal Guards;
New laws to hang the rogues that roared for bread;
New coins (most new) to follow those that fled;
New victories—nor can we prize them less,
Though Jenky wonders at his own success;
New wars, because the old succeed so well,
That most survivors envy those who fell;
New mistresses—no, old—and yet ’tis true,
Though they be old, the thing is something new;
Each new, quite new—(except some ancient tricks),
New white-sticks—gold-sticks—broom-sticks—all new sticks!
With vests or ribands—decked alike in hue,
New troopers strut, new turncoats blush in blue:
So saith the Muse: my——, what say you?
Such was the time when Waltz might best maintain
Her new preferments in this novel reign;
Such was the time, nor ever yet was such;
Hoops are  more, and petticoats not much;
Morals and Minuets, Virtue and her stays,
And tell-tale powder—all have had their days.
The Ball begins—the honours of the house
First duly done by daughter or by spouse,
Some Potentate—or royal or serene—
With Kent’s *** grace, or sapient Gloster’s mien,
Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush
Might once have been mistaken for a blush.
From where the garb just leaves the ***** free,
That spot where hearts were once supposed to be;
Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
The strangest hand may wander undisplaced:
The lady’s in return may grasp as much
As princely paunches offer to her touch.
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip
One hand reposing on the royal hip!
The other to the shoulder no less royal
Ascending with affection truly loyal!
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand;
And all in turn may follow in their rank,
The Earl of—Asterisk—and Lady—Blank;
Sir—Such-a-one—with those of fashion’s host,
For whose blest surnames—vide “Morning Post.”
(Or if for that impartial print too late,
Search Doctors’ Commons six months from my date)—
Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
The genial contact gently undergo;
Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk,
If “nothing follows all this palming work?”
True, honest Mirza!—you may trust my rhyme—
Something does follow at a fitter time;
The breast thus publicly resigned to man,
In private may resist him—if it can.

  O ye who loved our Grandmothers of yore,
Fitzpatrick, Sheridan, and many more!
And thou, my Prince! whose sovereign taste and will
It is to love the lovely beldames still!
Thou Ghost of Queensberry! whose judging Sprite
Satan may spare to peep a single night,
Pronounce—if ever in your days of bliss
Asmodeus struck so bright a ****** as this;
To teach the young ideas how to rise,
Flush in the cheek, and languish in the eyes;
Rush to the heart, and lighten through the frame,
With half-told wish, and ill-dissembled flame,
For prurient Nature still will storm the breast—
Who, tempted thus, can answer for the rest?

  But ye—who never felt a single thought
For what our Morals are to be, or ought;
Who wisely wish the charms you view to reap,
Say—would you make those beauties quite so cheap?
Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side,
Where were the rapture then to clasp the form
From this lewd grasp and lawless contact warm?
At once Love’s most endearing thought resign,
To press the hand so pressed by none but thine;
To gaze upon that eye which never met
Another’s ardent look without regret;
Approach the lip which all, without restraint,
Come near enough—if not to touch—to taint;
If such thou lovest—love her then no more,
Or give—like her—caresses to a score;
Her Mind with these is gone, and with it go
The little left behind it to bestow.

  Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus blaspheme?
Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme.
Terpsichore forgive!—at every Ball
My wife now waltzes—and my daughters shall;
My son—(or stop—’tis needless to inquire—
These little accidents should ne’er transpire;
Some ages hence our genealogic tree
Will wear as green a bough for him as me)—
Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends
Grandsons for me—in heirs to all his friends.
“It is the voice of years, that are gone! they roll before me, with
  all their deeds.”

  Ossian.


NEWSTEAD! fast-falling, once-resplendent dome!
Religion’s shrine! repentant HENRY’S pride!
Of Warriors, Monks, and Dames the cloister’d tomb,
Whose pensive shades around thy ruins glide,

Hail to thy pile! more honour’d in thy fall,
  Than modern mansions, in their pillar’d state;
Proudly majestic frowns thy vaulted hall,
  Scowling defiance on the blasts of fate.

No mail-clad Serfs, obedient to their Lord,
  In grim array, the crimson cross demand;
Or *** assemble round the festive board,
  Their chief’s retainers, an immortal band.

Else might inspiring Fancy’s magic eye
  Retrace their progress, through the lapse of time;
Marking each ardent youth, ordain’d to die,
  A votive pilgrim, in Judea’s clime.

But not from thee, dark pile! departs the Chief;
  His feudal realm in other regions lay:
In thee the wounded conscience courts relief,
  Retiring from the garish blaze of day.

Yes! in thy gloomy cells and shades profound,
  The monk abjur’d a world, he ne’er could view;
Or blood-stain’d Guilt repenting, solace found,
  Or Innocence, from stern Oppression, flew.

A Monarch bade thee from that wild arise,
  Where Sherwood’s outlaws, once, were wont to prowl;
And Superstition’s crimes, of various dyes,
  Sought shelter in the Priest’s protecting cowl.

Where, now, the grass exhales a murky dew,
  The humid pall of life-extinguish’d clay,
In sainted fame, the sacred Fathers grew,
  Nor raised their pious voices, but to pray.

Where, now, the bats their wavering wings extend,
  Soon as the gloaming spreads her waning shade;
The choir did, oft, their mingling vespers blend,
  Or matin orisons to Mary paid.

Years roll on years; to ages, ages yield;
  Abbots to Abbots, in a line, succeed:
Religion’s charter, their protecting shield,
  Till royal sacrilege their doom decreed.

One holy HENRY rear’d the Gothic walls,
  And bade the pious inmates rest in peace;
Another HENRY the kind gift recalls,
  And bids devotion’s hallow’d echoes cease.

Vain is each threat, or supplicating prayer;
  He drives them exiles from their blest abode,
To roam a dreary world, in deep despair—
  No friend, no home, no refuge, but their ***.

Hark! how the hall, resounding to the strain,
  Shakes with the martial music’s novel din!
The heralds of a warrior’s haughty reign,
  High crested banners wave thy walls within.

Of changing sentinels the distant hum,
  The mirth of feasts, the clang of burnish’d arms,
The braying trumpet, and the hoarser drum,
  Unite in concert with increas’d alarms.

An abbey once, a regal fortress now,
  Encircled by insulting rebel powers;
War’s dread machines o’erhang thy threat’ning brow,
  And dart destruction, in sulphureous showers.

Ah! vain defence! the hostile traitor’s siege,
  Though oft repuls’d, by guile o’ercomes the brave;
His thronging foes oppress the faithful Liege,
  Rebellion’s reeking standards o’er him wave.

Not unaveng’d the raging Baron yields;
  The blood of traitors smears the purple plain;
Unconquer’d still, his falchion there he wields,
  And days of glory, yet, for him remain.

Still, in that hour, the warrior wish’d to strew
  Self-gather’d laurels on a self-sought grave;
But Charles’ protecting genius hither flew,
  The monarch’s friend, the monarch’s hope, to save.

Trembling, she ******’d him from th’ unequal strife,
  In other fields the torrent to repel;
For nobler combats, here, reserv’d his life,
  To lead the band, where godlike FALKLAND fell.

From thee, poor pile! to lawless plunder given,
  While dying groans their painful requiem sound,
Far different incense, now, ascends to Heaven,
  Such victims wallow on the gory ground.

There many a pale and ruthless Robber’s corse,
  Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod;
O’er mingling man, and horse commix’d with horse,
  Corruption’s heap, the savage spoilers trod.

Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o’erspread,
  Ransack’d resign, perforce, their mortal mould:
From ruffian fangs, escape not e’en the dead,
  Racked from repose, in search for buried gold.

Hush’d is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,
  The minstrel’s palsied hand reclines in death;
No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,
  Or sings the glories of the martial wreath.

At length the sated murderers, gorged with prey,
  Retire: the clamour of the fight is o’er;
Silence again resumes her awful sway,
  And sable Horror guards the massy door.

Here, Desolation holds her dreary court:
  What satellites declare her dismal reign!
Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen’d birds resort,
  To flit their vigils, in the hoary fane.

Soon a new Morn’s restoring beams dispel
  The clouds of Anarchy from Britain’s skies;
The fierce Usurper seeks his native ****,
  And Nature triumphs, as the Tyrant dies.

With storms she welcomes his expiring groans;
  Whirlwinds, responsive, greet his labouring breath;
Earth shudders, as her caves receive his bones,
  Loathing the offering of so dark a death.

The legal Ruler now resumes the helm,
  He guides through gentle seas, the prow of state;
Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
  And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied Hate.

The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
  Howling, resign their violated nest;
Again, the Master on his tenure dwells,
  Enjoy’d, from absence, with enraptured zest.

Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
  Loudly carousing, bless their Lord’s return;
Culture, again, adorns the gladdening vale,
  And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn.

A thousand songs, on tuneful echo, float,
  Unwonted foliage mantles o’er the trees;
And, hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,
  The hunters’ cry hangs lengthening on the breeze.

Beneath their coursers’ hoofs the valleys shake;
  What fears! what anxious hopes! attend the chase!
The dying stag seeks refuge in the lake;
  Exulting shouts announce the finish’d race.

Ah happy days! too happy to endure!
  Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew:
No splendid vices glitter’d to allure;
  Their joys were many, as their cares were few.

From these descending, Sons to Sires succeed;
  Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart;
Another Chief impels the foaming steed,
  Another Crowd pursue the panting hart.

Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
  Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay;
The last and youngest of a noble line,
  Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway.

Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
  Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep;
Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers;
  These, these he views, and views them but to weep.

Yet are his tears no emblem of regret:
  Cherish’d Affection only bids them flow;
Pride, Hope, and Love, forbid him to forget,
  But warm his *****, with impassion’d glow.

Yet he prefers thee, to the gilded domes,
  Or gewgaw grottos, of the vainly great;
Yet lingers ’mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
  Nor breathes a murmur ‘gainst the will of Fate.

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet, may shine,
  Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
Hours, splendid as the past, may still be thine,
  And bless thy future, as thy former day.
When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnoticed all his worth—
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:
While Man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive Heaven.
Oh Man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is ****, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on—it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a Friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one,—and here he lies.
When fierce conflicting passions urge
The breast, where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe?
The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortur’d breast no more;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.

But if affection gently thrills
The soul, by purer dreams possest,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills
In love can soothe the aching breast:
If thus thou comest in disguise,
Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,
What heart, unfeeling, would despise
The sweetest boon the Gods have given?

But, never from thy golden bow,
May I beneath the shaft expire!
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance! source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!

May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!
May all the hours be winged with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above!
Fair Venus! on thy myrtle shrine
May I with some fond lover sigh!
Whose heart may mingle pure with mine,
With me to live, with me to die!

My native soil! belov’d before,
Now dearer, as my peaceful home,
Ne’er may I quit thy rocky shore,
A hapless banish’d wretch to roam!
This very day, this very hour,
May I resign this fleeting breath!
Nor quit my silent humble bower;
A doom, to me, far worse than death.

Have I not heard the exile’s sigh,
And seen the exile’s silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn’d to fly,
A pensive, weary wanderer here?
Ah! hapless dame! no sire bewails,
No friend thy wretched fate deplores,
No kindred voice with rapture hails
Thy steps within a stranger’s doors.

Perish the fiend! whose iron heart
To fair affection’s truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly lov’d depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne’er unlocks with silver key,
The milder treasures of his soul;
May such a friend be far from me,
And Ocean’s storms between us roll!
2.0k
The Dream
I

Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world,
And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of eternity;
They pass like spirits of the past—they speak
Like sibyls of the future; they have power—
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not—what they will,
And shake us with the vision that’s gone by,
The dread of vanished shadows—Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow?—What are they?
Creations of the mind?—The mind can make
Substances, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which I dreamed
Perchance in sleep—for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.

II

I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
Green and of mild declivity, the last
As ’twere the cape of a long ridge of such,
Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes of men
Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs: the hill
Was crowned with a peculiar diadem
Of trees, in circular array, so fixed,
Not by the sport of nature, but of man:
These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
Gazing—the one on all that was beneath
Fair as herself—but the boy gazed on her;
And both were young, and one was beautiful:
And both were young—yet not alike in youth.
As the sweet moon on the horizon’s verge,
The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
The boy had fewer summers, but his heart
Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye
There was but one beloved face on earth,
And that was shining on him; he had looked
Upon it till it could not pass away;
He had no breath, no being, but in hers:
She was his voice; he did not speak to her,
But trembled on her words; she was his sight,
For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers,
Which coloured all his objects;—he had ceased
To live within himself: she was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all; upon a tone,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow,
And his cheek change tempestuously—his heart
Unknowing of its cause of agony.
But she in these fond feelings had no share:
Her sighs were not for him; to her he was
Even as a brother—but no more; ’twas much,
For brotherless she was, save in the name
Her infant friendship had bestowed on him;
Herself the solitary scion left
Of a time-honoured race.—It was a name
Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not—and why?
Time taught him a deep answer—when she loved
Another; even now she loved another,
And on the summit of that hill she stood
Looking afar if yet her lover’s steed
Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.

III

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
There was an ancient mansion, and before
Its walls there was a steed caparisoned:
Within an antique Oratory stood
The Boy of whom I spake;—he was alone,
And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon
He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced
Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned
His bowed head on his hands and shook, as ’twere
With a convulsion—then rose again,
And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear
What he had written, but he shed no tears.
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
Into a kind of quiet: as he paused,
The Lady of his love re-entered there;
She was serene and smiling then, and yet
She knew she was by him beloved; she knew—
For quickly comes such knowledge—that his heart
Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw
That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
He took her hand; a moment o’er his face
A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced, and then it faded, as it came;
He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps
Retired, but not as bidding her adieu,
For they did part with mutual smiles; he passed
From out the massy gate of that old Hall,
And mounting on his steed he went his way;
And ne’er repassed that hoary threshold more.

IV

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
The Boy was sprung to manhood: in the wilds
Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
And his Soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt
With strange and dusky aspects; he was not
Himself like what he had been; on the sea
And on the shore he was a wanderer;
There was a mass of many images
Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
A part of all; and in the last he lay
Reposing from the noontide sultriness,
Couched among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruined walls that had survived the names
Of those who reared them; by his sleeping side
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
Were fastened near a fountain; and a man,
Glad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
While many of his tribe slumbered around:
And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That *** alone was to be seen in heaven.

V

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love was wed with One
Who did not love her better: in her home,
A thousand leagues from his,—her native home,
She dwelt, begirt with growing Infancy,
Daughters and sons of Beauty,—but behold!
Upon her face there was a tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
What could her grief be?—she had all she loved,
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not,
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved,
Nor could he be a part of that which preyed
Upon her mind—a spectre of the past.

VI

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was returned.—I saw him stand
Before an altar—with a gentle bride;
Her face was fair, but was not that which made
The Starlight of his Boyhood;—as he stood
Even at the altar, o’er his brow there came
The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock
That in the antique Oratory shook
His ***** in its solitude; and then—
As in that hour—a moment o’er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced—and then it faded as it came,
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,
And all things reeled around him; he could see
Not that which was, nor that which should have been—
But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall,
And the remembered chambers, and the place,
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade,
All things pertaining to that place and hour,
And her who was his destiny, came back
And ****** themselves between him and the light;
What business had they there at such a time?

VII

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love;—Oh! she was changed,
As by the sickness of the soul; her mind
Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes,
They had not their own lustre, but the look
Which is not of the earth; she was become
The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts
Were combinations of disjointed things;
And forms impalpable and unperceived
Of others’ sight familiar were to hers.
And this the world calls frenzy; but the wise
Have a far deeper madness, and the glance
Of melancholy is a fearful gift;
What is it but the telescope of truth?
Which strips the distance of its fantasies,
And brings life near in utter nakedness,
Making the cold reality too real!

VIII

A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was alone as heretofore,
The beings which surrounded him were gone,
Or were at war with him; he was a mark
For blight and desolation, compassed round
With Hatred and Contention; Pain was mixed
In all which was served up to him, until,
Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
But were a kind of nutriment; he lived
Through that which had been death to many men,
And made him friends of mountains; with the stars
And the quick Spirit of the Universe
He held his dialogues: and they did teach
To him the magic of their mysteries;
To him the book of Night was opened wide,
And voices from the deep abyss revealed
A marvel and a secret.—Be it so.

IX

My dream is past; it had no further change.
It was of a strange order, that the doom
Of these two creatures should be thus traced out
Almost like a reality—the one
To end in madness—both in misery.
Oh! snatched away in beauty’s bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:

And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturbed the dead!

Away! ye know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou—who tell’st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
Translation From Anacreon


I wish to tune my quivering lyre,
To deeds of fame, and notes of fire;
To echo, from its rising swell,
How heroes fought and nations fell,
When Atreus’ sons advanc’d to war,
Or Tyrian Cadmus rov’d afar;
But still, to martial strains unknown,
My lyre recurs to Love alone.
Fir’d with the hope of future fame,
I seek some nobler Hero’s name;
The dying chords are strung anew,
To war, to war, my harp is due:
With glowing strings, the Epic strain
To Jove’s great son I raise again;
Alcides and his glorious deeds,
Beneath whose arm the Hydra bleeds;
All, all in vain; my wayward lyre
Wakes silver notes of soft Desire.
Adieu, ye Chiefs renown’d in arms!
Adieu the clang of War’s alarms!
To other deeds my soul is strung,
And sweeter notes shall now be sung;
My harp shall all its powers reveal,
To tell the tale my heart must feel;
Love, Love alone, my lyre shall claim,
In songs of bliss and sighs of flame.
1.8k
Solitude
To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,
Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, ’tis but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
Thy verse is “sad” enough, no doubt:
  A devilish deal more sad than witty!
Why we should weep I can’t find out,
  Unless for thee we weep in pity.

Yet there is one I pity more;
  And much, alas! I think he needs it:
For he, I’m sure, will suffer sore,
  Who, to his own misfortune, reads it.

Thy rhymes, without the aid of magic,
  May once be read—but never after:
Yet their effect’s by no means tragic,
  Although by far too dull for laughter.

But would you make our bosoms bleed,
And of no common pang complain—
If you would make us weep indeed,
Tell us, you’ll read them o’er again.
Remind me not, remind me not,
  Of those beloved, those vanish’d hours,
    When all my soul was given to thee;
Hours that may never be forgot,
  Till Time unnerves our vital powers,
    And thou and I shall cease to be.

Can I forget—canst thou forget,
  When playing with thy golden hair,
    How quick thy fluttering heart did move?
Oh! by my soul, I see thee yet,
  With eyes so languid, breast so fair,
    And lips, though silent, breathing love.

When thus reclining on my breast,
Those eyes threw back a glance so sweet,
    As half reproach’d yet rais’d desire,
And still we near and nearer prest,
  And still our glowing lips would meet,
  As if in kisses to expire.

And then those pensive eyes would close,
  And bid their lids each other seek,
    Veiling the azure orbs below;
While their long lashes’ darken’d gloss
  Seem’d stealing o’er thy brilliant cheek,
    Like raven’s plumage smooth’d on snow.

I dreamt last night our love return’d,
  And, sooth to say, that very dream
    Was sweeter in its phantasy,
Than if for other hearts I burn’d,
  For eyes that ne’er like thine could beam
    In Rapture’s wild reality.

Then tell me not, remind me not,
  Of hours which, though for ever gone,
    Can still a pleasing dream restore,
Till thou and I shall be forgot,
  And senseless, as the mouldering stone
    Which tells that we shall be no more.
If Fate should seal my Death to-morrow,
  (Though much I hope she will postpone it,)
I’ve held a share Joy and Sorrow,
  Enough for Ten; and here I own it.

I’ve lived, as many others live,
And yet, I think, with more enjoyment;
For could I through my days again live,
I’d pass them in the ’same’ employment.

That ‘is’ to say, with ’some exception’,
For though I will not make confession,
I’ve seen too much of man’s deception
Ever again to trust profession.

Some sage ‘Mammas’ with gesture haughty,
Pronounce me quite a youthful Sinner—
But ‘Daughters’ say, “although he’s naughty,
You must not check a ‘Young Beginner’!”

I’ve loved, and many damsels know it—
But whom I don’t intend to mention,
As ‘certain stanzas’ also show it,
‘Some’ say ‘deserving Reprehension’.

Some ancient Dames, of virtue fiery,
(Unless Report does much belie them,)
Have lately made a sharp Enquiry,
And much it ‘grieves’ me to ‘deny’ them.

Two whom I lov’d had ‘eyes’ of ‘Blue’,
To which I hope you’ve no objection;
The ‘Rest’ had eyes of ‘darker Hue’—
Each Nymph, of course, was ‘all perfection’.

But here I’ll close my ‘chaste’ Description,
Nor say the deeds of animosity;
For ’silence’ is the best prescription,
To ‘physic’ idle curiosity.

Of ‘Friends’ I’ve known a ‘goodly Hundred’—
For finding ‘one’ in each acquaintance,
By ’some deceived’, by others plunder’d,
‘Friendship’, to me, was not ‘Repentance’.

At ‘School’ I thought like other ‘Children’;
Instead of ‘Brains’, a fine Ingredient,
‘Romance’, my ‘youthful Head bewildering’,
To ‘Sense’ had made me disobedient.

A victim, ‘nearly’ from affection,
To certain ‘very precious scheming’,
The still remaining recollection
Has ‘cured’ my ‘boyish soul’ of ‘Dreaming’.

By Heaven! I rather would forswear
The Earth, and all the joys reserved me,
Than dare again the ’specious Snare’,
From which ‘my Fate’ and ‘Heaven preserved’ me.

Still I possess some Friends who love me—
In each a much esteemed and true one;
The Wealth of Worlds shall never move me
To quit their Friendship, for a new one.

But Becher! you’re a ‘reverend pastor’,
Now take it in consideration,
Whether for penance I should fast, or
Pray for my ’sins’ in expiation.

I own myself the child of ‘Folly’,
But not so wicked as they make me—
I soon must die of melancholy,
If ‘Female’ smiles should e’er forsake me.

‘Philosophers’ have ‘never doubted’,
That ‘Ladies’ Lips’ were made for ‘kisses!’
For ‘Love!’ I could not live without it,
For such a ‘cursed’ place as ‘This is’.

Say, Becher, I shall be forgiven!
If you don’t warrant my salvation,
I must resign all ‘Hopes’ of ‘Heaven’!
For, ‘Faith’, I can’t withstand Temptation.


P.S.—These were written between one and two,
after ’midnight’. I have not ‘corrected’, or ‘revised’.
Yours, BYRON.
Hail! generous youth, whom glory’s sacred flame
Inspires, and animates to deeds of fame;
Who feel the noble wish before you die
To raise the finger of each passer-by:
Hail! may a future age admiring view
A Falkland or a Clarendon in you.
But as your blood with dangerous passion boils,
Beware! and fly from Venus’ silken toils:
Ah! let the head protect the weaker heart,
And Wisdom’s ægis turn on Beauty’s dart.

     *       *       *       *       *

But if ’tis fix’d that every lord must pair,
And you and Newstead must not want an heir,
Lose not your pains, and scour the country round,
To find a treasure that can ne’er be found!
No! take the first the town or court affords,
Trick’d out to stock a market for the lords;
By chance perhaps your luckier choice may fall
On one, though wicked, not the worst of all:

     *       *       *       *       *

One though perhaps as any Maxwell free,
Yet scarce a copy, Claribel, of thee;
Not very ****, and not very old,
A little pert indeed, but not a scold;
One that, in short, may help to lead a life
Not farther much from comfort than from strife;
And when she dies, and disappoints your fears,
Shall leave some joys for your declining years.

But, as your early youth some time allows,
Nor custom yet demands you for a spouse,
Some hours of freedom may remain as yet,
For one who laughs alike at love and debt:
Then, why in haste? put off the evil day,
And ****** at youthful comforts while you may!
Pause! nor so soon the various bliss forego
That single souls, and such alone, can know:
Ah! why too early careless life resign,
Your morning slumber, and your evening wine;
Your loved companion, and his easy talk;
Your Muse, invoked in every peaceful walk?
What! can no more your scenes paternal please,
Scenes sacred long to wise, unmated ease?
The prospect lengthen’d o’er the distant down,
Lakes, meadows, rising woods, and all your own?
What! shall your Newstead, shall your cloister’d bowers,
The high o’erhanging arch and trembling towers!
Shall these, profaned with folly or with strife,
An ever fond, or ever angry wife!
Shall these no more confess a manly sway,
But changeful woman’s changing whims obey?
Who may, perhaps, as varying humour calls,
Contract your cloisters and o’erthrow your walls;
Let Repton loose o’er all the ancient ground,
Change round to square, and square convert to round;
Root up the elms’ and yews’ too solemn gloom,
And fill with shrubberies *** and green their room;
Roll down the terrace to a *** parterre,
Where gravel’d walks and flowers alternate glare;
And quite transform, in every point complete,
Your Gothic abbey to a country seat.

Forget the fair one, and your fate delay;
If not avert, at least defer the day,
When you beneath the female yoke shall bend,
And lose your wit, your temper, and your friend.
1.7k
The Adieu
Written under the impression that the author would soon die.


Adieu, thou Hill! where early joy
  Spread roses o’er my brow;
Where Science seeks each loitering boy
  With knowledge to endow.
Adieu, my youthful friends or foes,
Partners of former bliss or woes;
  No more through Ida’s paths we stray;
Soon must I share the gloomy cell,
Whose ever-slumbering inmates dwell
  Unconscious of the day.
Adieu, ye hoary Regal Fanes,
  Ye spires of Granta’s vale,
Where Learning robed in sable reigns.
  And Melancholy pale.
Ye comrades of the jovial hour,
Ye tenants of the classic bower,
On Cama’s verdant margin plac’d,
Adieu! while memory still is mine,
For offerings on Oblivion’s shrine,
These scenes must be effac’d.

Adieu, ye mountains of the clime
Where grew my youthful years;
Where Loch na Garr in snows sublime
His giant summit rears.
Why did my childhood wander forth
From you, ye regions of the North,
With sons of Pride to roam?
Why did I quit my Highland cave,
Marr’s dusky heath, and Dee’s clear wave,
To seek a Sotheron home?

Hall of my Sires! a long farewell—
Yet why to thee adieu?
Thy vaults will echo back my knell,
Thy towers my tomb will view:
The faltering tongue which sung thy fall,
And former glories of thy Hall,
Forgets its wonted simple note—
But yet the Lyre retains the strings,
And sometimes, on æolian wings,
In dying strains may float.

Fields, which surround yon rustic cot,
  While yet I linger here,
Adieu! you are not now forgot,
  To retrospection dear.
Streamlet! along whose rippling surge
My youthful limbs were wont to urge,
  At noontide heat, their pliant course;
Plunging with ardour from the shore,
Thy springs will lave these limbs no more,
  Deprived of active force.

And shall I here forget the scene,
  Still nearest to my breast?
Rocks rise and rivers roll between
  The spot which passion blest;
Yet Mary, all thy beauties seem
Fresh as in Love’s bewitching dream,
  To me in smiles display’d;
Till slow disease resigns his prey
To Death, the parent of decay,
  Thine image cannot fade.

And thou, my Friend! whose gentle love
  Yet thrills my *****’s chords,
How much thy friendship was above
  Description’s power of words!
Still near my breast thy gift I wear
Which sparkled once with Feeling’s tear,
  Of Love the pure, the sacred gem:
Our souls were equal, and our lot
In that dear moment quite forgot;
  Let Pride alone condemn!

All, all is dark and cheerless now!
  No smile of Love’s deceit
Can warm my veins with wonted glow,
  Can bid Life’s pulses beat:
Not e’en the hope of future fame
Can wake my faint, exhausted frame,
  Or crown with fancied wreaths my head.
Mine is a short inglorious race,—
To humble in the dust my face,
  And mingle with the dead.

Oh Fame! thou goddess of my heart;
  On him who gains thy praise,
Pointless must fall the Spectre’s dart,
  Consumed in Glory’s blaze;
But me she beckons from the earth,
My name obscure, unmark’d my birth,
  My life a short and ****** dream:
Lost in the dull, ignoble crowd,
My hopes recline within a shroud,
  My fate is Lethe’s stream.

When I repose beneath the sod,
  Unheeded in the clay,
Where once my playful footsteps trod,
  Where now my head must lay,
The meed of Pity will be shed
In dew-drops o’er my narrow bed,
  By nightly skies, and storms alone;
No mortal eye will deign to steep
With tears the dark sepulchral deep
  Which hides a name unknown.

Forget this world, my restless sprite,
  Turn, turn thy thoughts to Heaven:
There must thou soon direct thy flight,
  If errors are forgiven.
To bigots and to sects unknown,
Bow down beneath the Almighty’s Throne;
  To Him address thy trembling prayer:
He, who is merciful and just,
Will not reject a child of dust,
  Although His meanest care.

Father of Light! to Thee I call;
  My soul is dark within:
Thou who canst mark the sparrow’s fall,
  Avert the death of sin.
Thou, who canst guide the wandering star
Who calm’st the elemental war,
  Whose mantle is yon boundless sky,
My thoughts, my words, my crimes forgive;
And, since I soon must cease to live,
  Instruct me how to die.
Montgomery! true, the common lot
  Of mortals lies in Lethe’s wave;
Yet some shall never be forgot,
  Some shall exist beyond the grave.

“Unknown the region of his birth,”
  The hero rolls the tide of war;
Yet not unknown his martial worth,
  Which glares a meteor from afar.

His joy or grief, his weal or woe,
  Perchance may ’scape the page of fame;
Yet nations, now unborn, will know
  The record of his deathless name.

The Patriot’s and the Poet’s frame
  Must share the common tomb of all:
Their glory will not sleep the same;
  ‘That’ will arise, though Empires fall.

The lustre of a Beauty’s eye
  Assumes the ghastly stare of death;
The fair, the brave, the good must die,
  And sink the yawning grave beneath.

Once more, the speaking eye revives,
  Still beaming through the lover’s strain;
For Petrarch’s Laura still survives:
  She died, but ne’er will die again.

The rolling seasons pass away,
  And Time, untiring, waves his wing;
Whilst honour’s laurels ne’er decay,
  But bloom in fresh, unfading spring.

All, all must sleep in grim repose,
  Collected in the silent tomb;
The old, the young, with friends and foes,
  Fest’ring alike in shrouds, consume.

The mouldering marble lasts its day,
  Yet falls at length an useless fane;
To Ruin’s ruthless fangs a prey,
  The wrecks of pillar’d Pride remain.

What, though the sculpture be destroy’d,
  From dark Oblivion meant to guard;
A bright renown shall be enjoy’d,
  By those, whose virtues claim reward.

Then do not say the common lot
  Of all lies deep in Lethe’s wave;
Some few who ne’er will be forgot
  Shall burst the ******* of the grave.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostrils all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
I would I were a careless child,
  Still dwelling in my Highland cave,
Or roaming through the dusky wild,
  Or bounding o’er the dark blue wave;
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride,
  Accords not with the freeborn soul,
Which loves the mountain’s craggy side,
  And seeks the rocks where billows roll.

Fortune! take back these cultur’d lands,
  Take back this name of splendid sound!
I hate the touch of servile hands,
  I hate the slaves that cringe around:
Place me among the rocks I love,
  Which sound to Ocean’s wildest roar;
I ask but this—again to rove
  Through scenes my youth hath known before.

Few are my years, and yet I feel
  The World was ne’er design’d for me:
Ah! why do dark’ning shades conceal
  The hour when man must cease to be?
Once I beheld a splendid dream,
  A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth!—wherefore did thy hated beam
  Awake me to a world like this?

I lov’d—but those I lov’d are gone;
  Had friends—my early friends are fled:
How cheerless feels the heart alone,
  When all its former hopes are dead!
Though *** companions, o’er the bowl
  Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though Pleasure stirs the maddening soul,
  The heart—the heart—is lonely still.

How dull! to hear the voice of those
  Whom Rank or Chance, whom Wealth or Power,
Have made, though neither friends nor foes,
  Associates of the festive hour.
Give me again a faithful few,
  In years and feelings still the same,
And I will fly the midnight crew,
  Where boist’rous Joy is but a name.

And Woman, lovely Woman! thou,
  My hope, my comforter, my all!
How cold must be my ***** now,
  When e’en thy smiles begin to pall!
Without a sigh would I resign,
  This busy scene of splendid Woe,
To make that calm contentment mine,
  Which Virtue knows, or seems to know.

Fain would I fly the haunts of men—
  I seek to shun, not hate mankind;
My breast requires the sullen glen,
  Whose gloom may suit a darken’d mind.
Oh! that to me the wings were given,
  Which bear the turtle to her nest!
Then would I cleave the vault of Heaven,
  To flee away, and be at rest.
In one who felt as once he felt,
This might, perhaps, have fann’d the flame;
But now his heart no more will melt,
Because that heart is not the same.

As when the ebbing flames are low,
The aid which once improved their light,
And bade them burn with fiercer glow,
Now quenches all their blaze in night.

Thus has it been with Passion’s fires—
As many a boy and girl remembers—
While every hope of love expires,
Extinguish’d with the dying embers.

The first, though not a spark survive,
  Some careful hand may teach to burn;
The last, alas! can ne’er survive;
  No touch can bid its warmth return.

Or, if it chance to wake again,
  Not always doom’d its heat to smother,
It sheds (so wayward fates ordain)
  Its former warmth around another.
Mingle with the genial bowl
The Rose, the ‘flow’ret’ of the Soul,
The Rose and Grape together quaff’d,
How doubly sweet will be the draught!
With Roses crown our jovial brows,
While every cheek with Laughter glows;
While Smiles and Songs, with Wine incite,
To wing our moments with Delight.
Rose by far the fairest birth,
Which Spring and Nature cull from Earth—
Rose whose sweetest perfume given,
Breathes our thoughts from Earth to Heaven.
Rose whom the Deities above,
From Jove to ****, dearly love,
When Cytherea’s blooming Boy,
Flies lightly through the dance of Joy,
With him the Graces then combine,
And rosy wreaths their locks entwine.
Then will I sing divinely crown’d,
With dusky leaves my temples bound—
Lyæus! in thy bowers of pleasure,
I’ll wake a wildly thrilling measure.
There will my gentle Girl and I,
Along the mazes sportive fly,
Will bend before thy potent throne—
Rose, Wine, and Beauty, all my own.
And thou wert sad—yet I was not with thee!
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near;
Methought that joy and health alone could be
Where I was not—and pain and sorrow here.
And is it thus?—it is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils
Upon itself, and the wrecked heart lies cold,
While heaviness collects the shattered spoils.
It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumbed, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore,
When all is lost, except a little life.

I am too well avenged!—but ’twas my right;
Whate’er my sins might be, thou wert not sent
To be the Nemesis who should requite—
Nor did heaven choose so near an instrument.
Mercy is for the merciful!—if thou
Hast been of such, ’twill be accorded now.
Thy nights are banished from the realms of sleep!—
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel
A hollow agony which will not heal,
For thou art pillowed on a curse too deep;
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
The bitter harvest in a woe as real!
I have had many foes, but none like thee;
For ‘gainst the rest myself I could defend,
And be avenged, or turn them into friend;
But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread—in thy own weakness shielded,
And in my love which hath but too much yielded,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not spare—
And thus upon the world—trust in thy truth—
And the wild fame of my ungoverned youth—
On things that were not, and on things that are—
Even upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument whose cement hath been guilt!
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord,
And hewed down, with an unsuspected sword,
Fame, peace, and hope—and all the better life
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
Might still have risen from out the grave of strife,
And found a nobler duty than to part.
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice,
Trafficking with them in a purpose cold,
For present anger, and for future gold—
And buying other’s grief at any price.
And thus once entered into crooked ways,
The early truth, which was thy proper praise,
Did not still walk beside thee—but at times,
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes,
Deceit, averments incompatible,
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits—the significant eye
Which learns to lie with silence—the pretext
Of Prudence, with advantages annexed—
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired end—
All found a place in thy philosophy.
The means were worthy, and the end is won—
I would not do by thee as thou hast done!
Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless crew!
My strains were never meant for you;
Remorseless Rancour still reveal,
And **** the verse you cannot feel.
Invoke those kindred passions’ aid,
Whose baleful stings your ******* pervade;
Crush, if you can, the hopes of youth,
Trampling regardless on the Truth:
Truth’s Records you consult in vain,
She will not blast her native strain;
She will assist her votary’s cause,
His will at least be her applause,
Your prayer the gentle Power will spurn;
To Fiction’s motley altar turn,
Who joyful in the fond address
Her favoured worshippers will bless:
And lo! she holds a magic glass,
Where Images reflected pass,
Bent on your knees the Boon receive—
This will assist you to deceive—
The glittering gift was made for you,
Now hold it up to public view;
Lest evil unforeseen betide,
A Mask each canker’d brow shall hide,
(Whilst Truth my sole desire is nigh,
Prepared the danger to defy,)
“There is the Maid’s perverted name,
And there the Poet’s guilty Flame,
Gloaming a deep phosphoric fire,
Threatening—but ere it spreads, retire.
Says Truth Up Virgins, do not fear!
The Comet rolls its Influence here;
’Tis Scandal’s Mirror you perceive,
These dazzling Meteors but deceive—
Approach and touch—Nay do not turn
It blazes there, but will not burn.”—
At once the shivering Mirror flies,
Teeming no more with varnished Lies;
The baffled friends of Fiction start,
Too late desiring to depart—
Truth poising high Ithuriel’s spear
Bids every Fiend unmask’d appear,
The vizard tears from every face,
And dooms them to a dire disgrace.
For e’er they compass their escape,
Each takes perforce a native shape—
The Leader of the wrathful Band,
Behold a portly Female stand!
She raves, impelled by private pique,
This mean unjust revenge to seek;
From vice to save this virtuous Age,
Thus does she vent indecent rage!
What child has she of promise fair,
Who claims a fostering Mother’s care?
Whose Innocence requires defence,
Or forms at least a smooth pretence,
Thus to disturb a harmless Boy,
His humble hope, and peace annoy?
She need not fear the amorous rhyme,
Love will not tempt her future time,
For her his wings have ceased to spread,
No more he flutters round her head;
Her day’s Meridian now is past,
The clouds of Age her Sun o’ercast;
To her the strain was never sent,
For feeling Souls alone ’twas meant—
The verse she seized, unask’d, unbade,
And ****’d, ere yet the whole was read!
Yes! for one single erring verse,
Pronounced an unrelenting Curse;
Yes! at a first and transient view,
Condemned a heart she never knew.—
Can such a verdict then decide,
Which springs from disappointed pride?
Without a wondrous share of Wit,
To judge is such a Matron fit?
The rest of the censorious throng
Who to this zealous Band belong,
To her a general homage pay,
And right or wrong her wish obey:
Why should I point my pen of steel
To break “such flies upon the wheel?”
With minds to Truth and Sense unknown,
Who dare not call their words their own.
Rail on, Rail on, ye heartless Crew!
Your Leader’s grand design pursue:
Secure behind her ample shield,
Yours is the harvest of the field.—
My path with thorns you cannot strew,
Nay more, my warmest thanks are due;
When such as you revile my Name,
Bright beams the rising Sun of Fame,
Chasing the shades of envious night,
Outshining every critic Light.—
Such, such as you will serve to show
Each radiant tint with higher glow.
Vain is the feeble cheerless toil,
Your efforts on yourselves recoil;
Then Glory still for me you raise,
Yours is the Censure, mine the Praise.
Dear simple girl, those flattering arts,
(From which thou’dst guard frail female hearts,)
Exist but in imagination,
Mere phantoms of thine own creation;
For he who views that witching grace,
That perfect form, that lovely face,
With eyes admiring, oh! believe me,
He never wishes to deceive thee:
Once in thy polish’d mirror glance
Thou’lt there descry that elegance
Which from our *** demands such praises,
But envy in the other raises.—
Then he who tells thee of thy beauty,
Believe me, only does his duty:
Ah! fly not from the candid youth;
It is not flattery,—’tis truth.
Dear BECHER, you tell me to mix with mankind;
  I cannot deny such a precept is wise;
But retirement accords with the tone of my mind:
  I will not descend to a world I despise.

Did the Senate or Camp my exertions require,
  Ambition might prompt me, at once, to go forth;
When Infancy’s years of probation expire,
  Perchance, I may strive to distinguish my birth.

The fire, in the cavern of Etna, conceal’d,
  Still mantles unseen in its secret recess;
At length, in a volume terrific, reveal’d,
  No torrent can quench it, no bounds can repress.

Oh! thus, the desire, in my *****, for fame
  Bids me live, but to hope for Posterity’s praise.
Could I soar with the Phoenix on pinions of flame,
  With him I would wish to expire in the blaze.

For the life of a Fox, of a Chatham the death,
  What censure, what danger, what woe would I brave!
Their lives did not end, when they yielded their breath,
  Their glory illumines the gloom of their grave.

Yet why should I mingle in Fashion’s full herd?
  Why crouch to her leaders, or cringe to her rules?
Why bend to the proud, or applaud the absurd?
  Why search for delight, in the friendship of fools?

I have tasted the sweets, and the bitters, of love,
  In friendship I early was taught to believe;
My passion the matrons of prudence reprove,
  I have found that a friend may profess, yet deceive.

To me what is wealth?—it may pass in an hour,
  If Tyrants prevail, or if Fortune should frown:
To me what is title?—the phantom of power;
  To me what is fashion?—I seek but renown.

Deceit is a stranger, as yet, to my soul;
  I, still, am unpractised to varnish the truth:
Then, why should I live in a hateful controul?
  Why waste, upon folly, the days of my youth?
The roses of Love glad the garden of life,
  Though nurtur’d ’mid weeds dropping pestilent dew,
Till Time crops the leaves with unmerciful knife,
  Or prunes them for ever, in Love’s last adieu!

In vain, with endearments, we soothe the sad heart,
  In vain do we vow for an age to be true;
The chance of an hour may command us to part,
  Or Death disunite us, in Love’s last adieu!

Still Hope, breathing peace, through the grief-swollen breast,
  Will whisper, “Our meeting we yet may renew:”
With this dream of deceit, half our sorrow’s represt,
  Nor taste we the poison, of Love’s last adieu!

Oh! mark you yon pair, in the sunshine of youth,
  Love twin’d round their childhood his flow’rs as they grew;
They flourish awhile, in the season of truth,
  Till chill’d by the winter of Love’s last adieu!

Sweet lady! why thus doth a tear steal its way,
  Down a cheek which outrivals thy ***** in hue?
Yet why do I ask?—to distraction a prey,
  Thy reason has perish’d, with Love’s last adieu!

Oh! who is yon Misanthrope, shunning mankind?
  From cities to caves of the forest he flew:
There, raving, he howls his complaint to the wind;
  The mountains reverberate Love’s last adieu!

Now Hate rules a heart which in Love’s easy chains,
  Once Passion’s tumultuous blandishments knew;
Despair now inflames the dark tide of his veins,
  He ponders, in frenzy, on Love’s last adieu!

How he envies the wretch, with a soul wrapt in steel!
  His pleasures are scarce, yet his troubles are few,
Who laughs at the pang that he never can feel,
  And dreads not the anguish of Love’s last adieu!

Youth flies, life decays, even hope is o’ercast;
  No more, with Love’s former devotion, we sue:
He spreads his young wing, he retires with the blast;
  The shroud of affection is Love’s last adieu!

In this life of probation, for rapture divine,
  Astrea declares that some penance is due;
From him, who has worshipp’d at Love’s gentle shrine,
  The atonement is ample, in Love’s last adieu!

Who kneels to the ***, on his altar of light
  Must myrtle and cypress alternately strew:
His myrtle, an emblem of purest delight,
  His cypress, the garland of Love’s last adieu!
(Reply of the Pythian Oracle to Philip of Macedon.)


Oh! could LE SAGE’S demon’s gift
  Be realis’d at my desire,
This night my trembling form he’d lift
  To place it on St. Mary’s spire.

Then would, unroof’d, old Granta’s halls,
  Pedantic inmates full display;
Fellows who dream on lawn or stalls,
  The price of venal votes to pay.

Then would I view each rival wight,
  PETTY and PALMERSTON survey;
Who canvass there, with all their might,
  Against the next elective day.

Lo! candidates and voters lie
  All lull’d in sleep, a goodly number!
A race renown’d for piety,
  Whose conscience won’t disturb their slumber.

Lord H—indeed, may not demur;
  Fellows are sage, reflecting men:
They know preferment can occur,
  But very seldom,—now and then.

They know the Chancellor has got
  Some pretty livings in disposal:
Each hopes that one may be his lot,
  And, therefore, smiles on his proposal.

Now from the soporific scene
  I’ll turn mine eye, as night grows later,
To view, unheeded and unseen,
  The studious sons of Alma Mater.

There, in apartments small and damp,
  The candidate for college prizes,
Sits poring by the midnight lamp;
  Goes late to bed, yet early rises.
He surely well deserves to gain them,
  With all the honours of his college,
Who, striving hardly to obtain them,
  Thus seeks unprofitable knowledge:

Who sacrifices hours of rest,
  To scan precisely metres Attic;
Or agitates his anxious breast,
  In solving problems mathematic:

Who reads false quantities in Seale,
  Or puzzles o’er the deep triangle;
Depriv’d of many a wholesome meal;
  In barbarous Latin doom’d to wrangle:

Renouncing every pleasing page,
  From authors of historic use;
Preferring to the letter’d sage,
  The square of the hypothenuse.

Still, harmless are these occupations,
That hurt none but the hapless student,
Compar’d with other recreations,
Which bring together the imprudent;

Whose daring revels shock the sight,
When vice and infamy combine,
When Drunkenness and dice invite,
As every sense is steep’d in wine.

Not so the methodistic crew,
Who plans of reformation lay:
In humble attitude they sue,
And for the sins of others pray:

Forgetting that their pride of spirit,
Their exultation in their trial,
Detracts most largely from the merit
Of all their boasted self-denial.

’Tis morn:—from these I turn my sight:
What scene is this which meets the eye?
A numerous crowd array’d in white,
Across the green in numbers fly.

Loud rings in air the chapel bell;
’Tis hush’d:—what sounds are these I hear?
The *****’s soft celestial swell
Rolls deeply on the listening ear.

To this is join’d the sacred song,
The royal minstrel’s hallow’d strain;
Though he who hears the music long,
Will never wish to hear again.

Our choir would scarcely be excus’d,
E’en as a band of raw beginners;
All mercy, now, must be refus’d
To such a set of croaking sinners.

If David, when his toils were ended,
Had heard these blockheads sing before him,
To us his psalms had ne’er descended,—
In furious mood he would have tore ’em.

The luckless Israelites, when taken
By some inhuman tyrant’s order,
Were ask’d to sing, by joy forsaken,
On Babylonian river’s border.

Oh! had they sung in notes like these
Inspir’d by stratagem or fear,
They might have set their hearts at ease,
The devil a soul had stay’d to hear.

But if I scribble longer now,
The deuce a soul will stay to read;
My pen is blunt, my ink is low;
’Tis almost time to stop, indeed.

Therefore, farewell, old Granta’s spires!
No more, like Cleofas, I fly;
No more thy theme my Muse inspires:
The reader’s tir’d, and so am I.
Spot of my youth! whose hoary branches sigh,
Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky;
Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod,
With those I loved, thy soft and verdant sod;
With those who, scatter’d far, perchance deplore,
Like me, the happy scenes they knew before:
Oh! as I trace again thy winding hill,
Mine eyes admire, my heart adores thee still,
Thou drooping Elm! beneath whose boughs I lay,
And frequent mus’d the twilight hours away;
Where, as they once were wont, my limbs recline,
But, ah! without the thoughts which then were mine:
How do thy branches, moaning to the blast,
Invite the ***** to recall the past,
And seem to whisper, as they gently swell,
“Take, while thou canst, a lingering, last farewell!”

  When Fate shall chill, at length, this fever’d breast,
And calm its cares and passions into rest,
Oft have I thought, ’twould soothe my dying hour,—
If aught may soothe, when Life resigns her power,—
To know some humbler grave, some narrow cell,
Would hide my ***** where it lov’d to dwell;
With this fond dream, methinks ’twere sweet to die—
And here it linger’d, here my heart might lie;
Here might I sleep where all my hopes arose,
Scene of my youth, and couch of my repose;
For ever stretch’d beneath this mantling shade,
Press’d by the turf where once my childhood play’d;
Wrapt by the soil that veils the spot I lov’d,
Mix’d with the earth o’er which my footsteps mov’d;
Blest by the tongues that charm’d my youthful ear,
Mourn’d by the few my soul acknowledged here;
Deplor’d by those in early days allied,
And unremember’d by the world beside.
THE FOLLOWING ILLIBERAL IMPROMPTU APPEARED IN THE “MORNING POST.”

“Our Nation’s foes lament on Fox’s death,
But bless the hour, when PITT resign’d his breath:
These feelings wide, let Sense and Truth unclue,
We give the palm, where Justice points its due.”
Few years have pass’d since thou and I
  Were firmest friends, at least in name,
And Childhood’s *** sincerity
  Preserved our feelings long the same.

But now, like me, too well thou know’st
  What trifles oft the heart recall;
And those who once have loved the most
  Too soon forget they lov’d at all.

And such the change the heart displays,
  So frail is early friendship’s reign,
A month’s brief lapse, perhaps a day’s,
  Will view thy mind estrang’d again.

If so, it never shall be mine
  To mourn the loss of such a heart;
The fault was Nature’s fault, not thine,
  Which made thee fickle as thou art.

As rolls the Ocean’s changing tide,
  So human feelings ebb and flow;
And who would in a breast confide
  Where stormy passions ever glow?

It boots not that, together bred,
  Our childish days were days of joy:
My spring of life has quickly fled;
  Thou, too, hast ceas’d to be a boy.

And when we bid adieu to youth,
  Slaves to the specious World’s controul,
We sigh a long farewell to truth;
  That World corrupts the noblest soul.

Ah, joyous season! when the mind
  Dares all things boldly but to lie;
When Thought ere spoke is unconfin’d,
  And sparkles in the placid eye.

Not so in Man’s maturer years,
  When Man himself is but a tool;
When Interest sways our hopes and fears,
  And all must love and hate by rule.

With fools in kindred vice the same,
  We learn at length our faults to blend;
And those, and those alone, may claim
  The prostituted name of friend.

Such is the common lot of man:
  Can we then ’scape from folly free?
Can we reverse the general plan,
  Nor be what all in turn must be?

No; for myself, so dark my fate
  Through every turn of life hath been;
Man and the World so much I hate,
  I care not when I quit the scene.

But thou, with spirit frail and light,
  Wilt shine awhile, and pass away;
As glow-worms sparkle through the night,
  But dare not stand the test of day.

Alas! whenever Folly calls
  Where parasites and princes meet,
(For cherish’d first in royal halls,
  The welcome vices kindly greet,)

Ev’n now thou’rt nightly seen to add
  One insect to the fluttering crowd;
And still thy trifling heart is glad
  To join the vain and court the proud.

There dost thou glide from fair to fair,
  Still simpering on with eager haste,
As flies along the *** parterre,
  That taint the flowers they scarcely taste.

But say, what nymph will prize the flame
  Which seems, as marshy vapours move,
To flit along from dame to dame,
  An ignis-fatuus gleam of love?

What friend for thee, howe’er inclin’d,
  Will deign to own a kindred care?
Who will debase his manly mind,
  For friendship every fool may share?

In time forbear; amidst the throng
  No more so base a thing be seen;
No more so idly pass along;
  Be something, any thing, but—mean.
And wilt thou weep when I am low?
  Sweet lady! speak those words again:
Yet if they grieve thee, say not so—
  I would not give that ***** pain.

My heart is sad, my hopes are gone,
  My blood runs coldly through my breast;
And when I perish, thou alone
  Wilt sigh above my place of rest.

And yet, methinks, a gleam of peace
  Doth through my cloud of anguish shine:
And for a while my sorrows cease,
  To know thy heart hath felt for mine.

Oh lady! blessèd be that tear—
  It falls for one who cannot weep;
Such precious drops are doubly dear
  To those whose eyes no tear may steep.

Sweet lady! once my heart was warm
  With every feeling soft as thine;
But Beauty’s self hath ceased to charm
  A wretch created to repine.

Yet wilt thou weep when I am low?
Sweet lady! speak those words again:
Yet if they grieve thee, say not so—
I would not give that ***** pain.
1.5k
The Tear
O lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
  Ducentium ortus ex animo; quater
    Felix! in imo qui scatentem
      Pectore te, pia Nympha, sensit.

               GRAY, ‘Alcaic Fragment’.

   When Friendship or Love
   Our sympathies move;
When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
   The lips may beguile,
   With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection’s a Tear.

   Too oft is a smile
   But the hypocrite’s wile,
To mask detestation, or fear;
   Give me the soft sigh,
   Whilst the soul-telling eye
Is dimm’d, for a time, with a Tear.

   Mild Charity’s glow,
   To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
   Compassion will melt,
   Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear.

   The man, doom’d to sail
   With the blast of the gale,
Through billows Atlantic to steer,
   As he bends o’er the wave
   Which may soon be his grave,
The green sparkles bright with a Tear.

   The Soldier braves death
   For a fanciful wreath
In Glory’s romantic career;
   But he raises the foe
   When in battle laid low,
And bathes every wound with a Tear.

   If, with high-bounding pride,
   He return to his bride!
Renouncing the gore-crimson’d spear;
   All his toils are repaid
   When, embracing the maid,
From her eyelid he kisses the Tear.

   Sweet scene of my youth!
   Seat of Friendship and Truth,
Where Love chas’d each fast-fleeting year;
   Loth to leave thee, I mourn’d,
   For a last look I turn’d,
But thy spire was scarce seen through a Tear.

   Though my vows I can pour,
   To my Mary no more,
My Mary, to Love once so dear,
  In the shade of her bow’r,
  I remember the hour,
She rewarded those vows with a Tear.

   By another possest,
   May she live ever blest!
Her name still my heart must revere:
   With a sigh I resign,
   What I once thought was mine,
And forgive her deceit with a Tear.

   Ye friends of my heart,
   Ere from you I depart,
This hope to my breast is most near:
   If again we shall meet,
   In this rural retreat,
May we meet, as we part, with a Tear.

   When my soul wings her flight
   To the regions of night,
And my corse shall recline on its bier;
  As ye pass by the tomb,
  Where my ashes consume,
Oh! moisten their dust with a Tear.

  May no marble bestow
  The splendour of woe,
Which the children of Vanity rear;
  No fiction of fame
  Shall blazon my name,
All I ask, all I wish, is a Tear.
Sweet girl! though only once we met,
That meeting I shall ne’er forget;
And though we ne’er may meet again,
Remembrance will thy form retain;
I would not say, “I love,” but still,
My senses struggle with my will:
In vain to drive thee from my breast,
My thoughts are more and more represt;
In vain I check the rising sighs,
Another to the last replies:
Perhaps, this is not love, but yet,
Our meeting I can ne’er forget.

What, though we never silence broke,
Our eyes a sweeter language spoke;
The tongue in flattering falsehood deals,
And tells a tale it never feels:
Deceit, the guilty lips impart,
And hush the mandates of the heart;
But soul’s interpreters, the eyes,
Spurn such restraint, and scorn disguise.
As thus our glances oft convers’d,
And all our bosoms felt rehears’d,
No spirit, from within, reprov’d us,
Say rather, “’twas the spirit mov’d us.”
Though, what they utter’d, I repress,
Yet I conceive thou’lt partly guess;
For as on thee, my memory ponders,
Perchance to me, thine also wanders.
This, for myself, at least, I’ll say,
Thy form appears through night, through day;
Awake, with it my fancy teems,
In sleep, it smiles in fleeting dreams;
The vision charms the hours away,
And bids me curse Aurora’s ray
For breaking slumbers of delight,
Which make me wish for endless night.
Since, oh! whate’er my future fate,
Shall joy or woe my steps await;
Tempted by love, by storms beset,
Thine image, I can ne’er forget.

Alas! again no more we meet,
No more our former looks repeat;
Then, let me breathe this parting prayer,
The dictate of my *****’s care:
“May Heaven so guard my lovely quaker,
That anguish never can o’ertake her;
That peace and virtue ne’er forsake her,
But bliss be aye her heart’s partaker!
Oh! may the happy mortal, fated
To be, by dearest ties, related,
For her, each hour, new joys discover,
And lose the husband in the lover!
May that fair ***** never know
What ’tis to feel the restless woe,
Which stings the soul, with vain regret,
Of him, who never can forget!”
“But if any old Lady, Knight, Priest, or Physician,
   Should condemn me for printing a second edition;
   If good Madam Squintum my work should abuse,
   May I venture to give her a smack of my muse?”

   Anstey’s ‘New Bath Guide’, p.69.


Candour compels me, BECHER! to commend
The verse, which blends the censor with the friend;
Your strong yet just reproof extorts applause
From me, the heedless and imprudent cause;
For this wild error, which pervades my strain,
I sue for pardon,—must I sue in vain?
The wise sometimes from Wisdom’s ways depart;
Can youth then hush the dictates of the heart?
Precepts of prudence curb, but can’t controul,
The fierce emotions of the flowing soul.
When Love’s delirium haunts the glowing mind,
Limping Decorum lingers far behind;
Vainly the dotard mends her prudish pace,
Outstript and vanquish’d in the mental chase.
The young, the old, have worn the chains of love;
Let those, they ne’er confined, my lay reprove;
Let those, whose souls contemn the pleasing power,
Their censures on the hapless victim shower.
Oh! how I hate the nerveless, frigid song,
The ceaseless echo of the rhyming throng,
Whose labour’d lines, in chilling numbers flow,
To paint a pang the author ne’er can know!
The artless Helicon, I boast, is youth;—
My Lyre, the Heart—my Muse, the simple Truth.
Far be’t from me the “******’s mind” to “taint:”
Seduction’s dread is here no slight restraint:
The maid whose ****** breast is void of guile,
Whose wishes dimple in a modest smile,
Whose downcast eye disdains the wanton leer,
Firm in her virtue’s strength, yet not severe;
She, whom a conscious grace shall thus refine,
Will ne’er be “tainted” by a strain of mine.
But, for the nymph whose premature desires
Torment her ***** with unholy fires,
No net to snare her willing heart is spread;
She would have fallen, though she ne’er had read.
For me, I fain would please the chosen few,
Whose souls, to feeling and to nature true,
Will spare the childish verse, and not destroy
The light effusions of a heedless boy.
I seek not glory from the senseless crowd;
Of fancied laurels, I shall ne’er be proud;
Their warmest plaudits I would scarcely prize,
Their sneers or censures, I alike despise.
From Job


A spirit passed before me: I beheld
The face of immortality unveiled—
Deep sleep came down on every eye save mine—
And there it stood,—all formless—but divine:
Along my bones the creeping flesh did quake;
And as my damp hair stiffened, thus it spake:

“Is man more just than ***? Is man more pure
Than He who deems even Seraphs insecure?
Creatures of clay—vain dwellers in the dust!
The moth survives you, and are ye more just?
Things of a day! you wither ere the night,
Heedless and blind to Wisdom’s wasted light!”
Oh, Friend! for ever lov’d, for ever dear!
What fruitless tears have bathed thy honour’d bier!
What sighs re-echo’d to thy parting breath,
Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears ****** the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart’s relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey;
Thou still hadst liv’d to bless my aching sight,
Thy comrade’s honour and thy friend’s delight.
If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,
A grief too deep to trust the sculptor’s art.
No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep,
But living statues there are seen to weep;
Affliction’s semblance bends not o’er thy tomb,
Affliction’s self deplores thy youthful doom.
What though thy sire lament his failing line,
A father’s sorrows cannot equal mine!
Though none, like thee, his dying hour will cheer,
Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here:
But, who with me shall hold thy former place?
Thine image, what new friendship can efface?
Ah, none!—a father’s tears will cease to flow,
Time will assuage an infant brother’s woe;
To all, save one, is consolation known,
While solitary Friendship sighs alone.
If, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont
(What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!

If, when the wintry tempest roared,
He sped to Hero, nothing loath,
And thus of old thy current poured,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!

For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I’ve done a feat today.

But since he crossed the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story,
To woo—and—Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;

’Twere hard to say who fared the best:
Sad mortals! thus the gods still plague you!
He lost his labour, I my jest;
For he was drowned, and I’ve the ague.
1.4k
To Emma
Since now the hour is come at last,
  When you must quit your anxious lover;
Since now, our dream of bliss is past,
  One pang, my girl, and all is over.

Alas! that pang will be severe,
  Which bids us part to meet no more;
Which tears me far from one so dear,
  Departing for a distant shore.

Well! we have pass’d some happy hours,
  And joy will mingle with our tears;
When thinking on these ancient towers,
  The shelter of our infant years;

Where from this Gothic casement’s height,
  We view’d the lake, the park, the dell,
And still, though tears obstruct our sight,
  We lingering look a last farewell,

O’er fields through which we us’d to run,
  And spend the hours in childish play;
O’er shades where, when our race was done,
  Reposing on my breast you lay;

Whilst I, admiring, too remiss,
  Forgot to scare the hovering flies,
Yet envied every fly the kiss,
  It dar’d to give your slumbering eyes:

See still the little painted bark,
  In which I row’d you o’er the lake;
See there, high waving o’er the park,
  The elm I clamber’d for your sake.

These times are past, our joys are gone,
  You leave me, leave this happy vale;
These scenes, I must retrace alone;
  Without thee, what will they avail?

Who can conceive, who has not prov’d,
  The anguish of a last embrace?
When, torn from all you fondly lov’d,
  You bid a long adieu to peace.

This is the deepest of our woes,
  For this these tears our cheeks bedew;
This is of love the final close,
  Oh, ***! the fondest, last adieu!
He who, sublime, in epic numbers roll’d,
And he who struck the softer lyre of Love,
By Death’s unequal hand alike controul’d,
Fit comrades in Elysian regions move!
Animula! vagula, Blandula,
Hospes, comesque corporis,
Quæ nunc abibis in Loca—
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis Jocos?

TRANSLATION.

Ah! gentle, fleeting, wav’ring Sprite,
Friend and associate of this clay!
  To what unknown region borne,
Wilt thou, now, wing thy distant flight?
No more with wonted humour ***,
  But pallid, cheerless, and forlorn.
Anne’s Eye is liken’d to the Sun,
  From it such Beams of Beauty fall;
And this can be denied by none,
  For like the Sun, it shines on All.

Then do not admiration smother,
  Or say these glances don’t become her;
To you, or I, or any other
  Her Sun, displays perpetual Summer.
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