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Still to new heights his restless wishes tow'r;
Claim leads to claim, and pow'r advances pow'r;
Till conquest unresisted ceas'd to please,
Aud rights submitted left him none to seise."
Atlength his sov reign frowns-the train of state
Mark the keen glance,and watch the sign to hate.
Where'er he turns he meets a stranger's eye,
His suppliants scorn him, and his followers fly:
Now drops at once the pride of awful state,
The golden canopy, the glitt'ring plate,
The regal palace, the luxurious board,
The liv'ried ariny, and the menial lord.
With age, with cares, with maladies opprest,
He seeks the refuge of monastic rest.
Grief aids disease, remember'd folly stings,
And his last sighs reproach the faith of kings.
Speak thou, whose thoughts at humble peace
Shall Wolsey's wealth with Wolsey's end be thine?
Or liv'st thou now, with safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent!
For why did Wolsey, near the steeps of fate,
Or weak foundations raise th' enormous weight?
Way but to sink, beneath misfortune's blow,
With louder ruin to the gulphs below?
What gave great Villiers to th'assassin's knife,
And fix'd disease on Harley's closing life?
What murder'd Wentworth, and what exil'd
By kings protected, and to kings ally'd?
What but their wish indulg'd in courts to shine,
And pow'r too great to keep, or to resign?
When first the college rolls receive his name,
The young enthusiast quits his ease for fame;
Resistless burns the fever of renown,
Caught from the strong contagion of the gown:
O'er Bodley's dome his future labors spread,
And Bacon's mansion trembles o'er his head.
Are these thy views? proceed, illustrious youth,
And Virtue guard thee to the throne of Truth!
Yet should thy soul indulge the gen'rous heat,
Till captive Science yields her last retreat;
Should Reason guide thee with her brightest ray,
And pour on misty Doubt resistless day :
Should no false kindness lure to loose delight,
Nor praise relax, nor difficulty fright;
Should tempting Novelty thy cell refrain,
And Sloth effuse her opiate fumes in vain;
Should Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart,
Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart;
Should no disease thy torpid veins invade,
Nor Melancholy's phantom's haunt thy shade;
Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
Nor think the doom of inan revers'd for thee:
Deign on the paing world to turn thine eyes,
And pause a while from learning, to be wise:
There mark what ills the scholar's life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.
See nations slowly wise, and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
If dreams yet flatter, once again attend,
Hear Lydiat's life §, and Galileo's end.
Nordeem, when Learning her last prize bestows,
The glitt'ring eminence exempt from foes;
See, when the vulgar 'scapes, despis'd or aw'd,
Rebellion's vengeful talons seise on Laud.
From meaner mines, tho' smaller fines content,
The plunder'd palace, or sequester'd rent;
Mark'd out by dang'rous parts he meets the shock,
And fatal Learning leads him to the block:
Around his tomb let Art and Genius weep,
But hear his death, ye blockheads, hear and sleep.
The festal blazes, the triumphal show,
The ravish'd standard, and the captive foe,
The senate's thanks, the gazette's pompous tale,
With force resistless o'er the brave prevail.
Such bribes the rapid Greek o'er Asia whirl'd,
For such the steady Romans shook the world;
For such in distant lands the Britons shine,
And stain with blood the Danube or the Rhine;
This pow'r has praise, that virtue scarce can warm
Till fame supplies the universal charm.
Yet Reason frowns on War's unequal game,
Where wasted nations raise a single name!
And mortgag'd states their grandsires wreaths
From age to age in everlasting debt;
Wreaths which at last the dear-bought right con-
To rust on medals, or on stones decay.
On what foundation stands the warrior's
There is a tradition, that the study of friar Bacon, built on an arch over the bridge, will fall when a man greater than Bacor. shall pass under it.
§ A very learned divine and mathematician, fellow of New College Oxford, and rector of Okerton near Banbury. He wrote, among many others, a Latin Treatise, De Natura Cali, &c. in which he attacked the sentiments of Scaliger and Aristotle; not bearing to hear it urged that some things are true in philosophy and false in divinity. He made above six hundred sermons on the harmony of the Evangelists. Being unsuccessful in publishing his works, he lay in the prison of Bocardo at Oxford, and the king's-bench, till bishop Usher, Dr. Laud, Sir William Boswell, and Dr. Pink, released him by paying his debts. He petitioned King Charles I. to be sent into Ethiopia, &c. to procure MSS. Having spoken in favor of monarchy and bishops, he was plundered by the parliament forces, and twice carried away prisoner from his rectory; and afterwards had not a shirt to shift him in three months, unless he borrowed it, and he died very poor in 1646.
Peace courts his hand, but spreads her charms in vain ;
Think nothing gain'd, he cries, till nought remain,
"On Moscow's walls till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the polar sky."
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern Famine guards the solitary coast,
And Winter barricades the realms of Frost ;
He comes, nor want nor cold his course delay;-
Hide, blushing Glory, hide Pultowa's day:
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands,
Condemn'd a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not Chance at length her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?
His fall was destin'd to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
All times their scenes of pompous woes afford,
From Persia's tyrant, to Bavaria's lord.
In gay hostility, and barb'rous pride,
With half mankind embattl'd at his side,
Great Xerxes comes to seise the certain prey,
And starves exhausted regions in his way;
Attendant Flatt'ry counts his myriads o'er,
Till counted myriads sooth his pride no more;
Fresh praise is try'd till madness fires his mind,
The waves he lashes, and enchains the wind;
New pow'rs are claim'd, new pow'rs are still
Till rude resistance lops the spreading god ;
The daring Greeks deride the martial show,
And heap their vallies with the gaudy foe;
Th' insulted sea with humbler thoughts he gains,
A single skiff to speed his flight remains:
The incumber'd oar scarce leaves the dreaded coast
Thro' purple billows and a floating host.
The bold Bavarian, in a luckless hour,
Tries the dread summits of Cæsarean pow'r,
With unexpected legions bursts away,
And sees defenceless realms receive his sway,
Short sway! fair Austria spreads her mournful
The queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms;
From hill to hill the beacon's rousing blaze
Spreads wide the hope of plunder and of praise;
The fierce Croatian, and the wild Hussar,
With all the sons of ravage crowd the war;
The baffled prince in honor's flatt'ring bloom
Of hasty greatness finds the fatal dooin,
Ilis foes derision, and his subjects blame,
And steals to death from anguish and from shame.
Enlarge my life with multitude of days;'
In health, in sickness, thus the suppliant prays;
Hides from himself his state, and shuns to know,
That life protracted is protracted woe.
Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the passages of joy :"
In vain their gifts their bounteous seasons pour,
The fruit autumnal, and the vernal flow'r-
With listless eyes the dotard views the store,
He views, and wonders that they please no more;
Now pall the tasteless meats, and joyless wines,
And Luxury with sighs her slave resigns.
Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain,
Diffuse the tuneful lenitives of pain :
No sounds, alas! would touch th' impervious ear,
Though dancing mountains witness'd Orpheus
Nor lute nor lyre his feeble pow'rs attend, [near;
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend :
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave, or positively wrong.
The still returning tale, or ling'ring jest,
Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest,
While growing hopes scarce awe the gathering
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear; [sneer,
The watchful guests still hint the last offence,
The daughter's petulance, the son's expence,
Improve his heady rage with treach'rous skill,
And mould his passions till they make his will.
Unnumber'd maladies his joints invade,
Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade;
But unextinguish'd Av'rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
His bonds of debt, and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies.
But grant, the virtues of a temp'rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime;
An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence away;
Whose peaceful day Benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating Conscience cheers;
The gen'ral fav'rite as the gen'ral friend:
Such age there is, and who shall wish its end?
Yet ev'n on this her load Misfortune flings, To press the weary minutes flagging wings; New sorrow rises as the day returns, A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns. Now kindred Merit fills the sable bier, Now lacerated Friendship claims a tear. Year chases year, decay pursues decay, Still drops some joy from with'ring life away; New forms arise, and diff'rent views engage, Superfluous lags the vet'ran on the stage, Till pitying Nature signs the last release, And bids afflicted worth retire to peace.
But few there are whom hours like these await, Who set unclouded in the gulphs of Fate. From Lydia's monarch should the search descend, By Solon caution'd to regard his end, In life's last scene what prodigies surprise, Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise! From Marlb'rough's eyes the streams of dotage And Swift expires a driv'ler and a show. [flow,
The teeming mother, anxious for her race, Begs for each birth the fortune of a face;
Yet Vane could tell what ills from beauty spring:
And Sedley cors'd the form that pleas'd a king.
Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes,
Whoin Pleasure keeps too busy to be wise,
Whom joys with soft varieties invite,
By day the frolic, and the dance by night,
Who frown with vanity, who smile with art,
And ask the latest fashion of the heart,
What care, what rules your heedless charms shall save,
Each nymphyour rival, and each youthyourslave?
Against your fame with fondness hate combines,
The rival batters, and the lover inines.
With distant voice neglected Virtue calls,
Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls;
Tir'd with contempt, she quits the slipp'ry rein,
And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain.
In crowd at once, where none the pass defend,
The harmless freedom, and the private friend.
The guardians yield, by force superior ply'd
To Int'rest, Prudence; and to Flatt'ry, Pride.
Here beauty falls betray'd, despis'd distrest,
And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
Where then shall Hope and Fear their objects
Must dull Suspense corrupt the stagnant mind?
Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Must no dislike alarm, no wishes rise,
No cries invoke the mercies of the skies?
Enquirer, cease, petitions yet remain
Which Heav'n may hear nor deem religion vain;
Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
But leave to Heav'n the measure and the choice,
Safe in his pow'r, whose eyes discern afar
The secret ambush of a specious pray'r,
Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
Secure whate er he gives, he gives the best.
Yet when the sense of sacred presence fires,
And strong devotion to the skies aspires,
Pour forth thy fervors for a healthful mind,
Obedient passions, and a will resign'd;
For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
For patience, sov'reign o'er transmuted ill;
For faith, that, panting for a happier seat,
Counts death kind Nature's signal of retreat:
These goods for man the laws of Heav'n ordain,
These goods he grants, who grants the pow'r to
With these celestial Wisdom calms the mind,
And makes the Happiness she does not find.
$75. Elegy on the Death of Lady Coventry. Written in 1760. Mason.
THE midnight clock has toll'dand, hark
Of death beats slow! heard ye the note pro-
It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
Yes-Coventry is dead. Attend the strain,
Daughters of Albion ye that, light as air,
So oft have tripp'd in her fantastic train,
With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair: For she was far beyond your brightest bloom;
(This envy owns,since now her blcom is fled), Fair as the forms that, wove in Fancy's loom, Float in light vision round the poet's head. Whene'er with soft serenity she smil'd,
Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise,
How sweetly mutable, how brightly wild,
The liquid lustre darted from her eyes!
Each look, each motion, wak'da new-born grace,
That o'er her form its transient glory cast:
Some lovelier wonder soon usurp'd the place,
Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the last.
That bell again! It tells us what she is ;
Luxuriant fancy, pause! an hour like this
On what she was, no more the strain prolong;
Demands the tribute of a serious song.
Maria claims it from that sable bier,
Where cold and wan the slumb'rer rests her head;
In still small whispers to reflection's car
She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead.
O catch the awful notes, and lift them loud! Proclaim the theme by sage, by fool rever'd, Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud! "Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard. Yes; ye shall hear, and tremble as ye
hear, E'en in the midst of pleasure's mad career, [leap; While, high with health, your hearts exulting The mental monitor shall wake and weep! For say, than Coventry's propitious star, What brighter planet on your births arose ? Or gave of fortune's gifts an ampler share, In life to lavish, or by death to lose? Early to lose! While, borne on busy wing,
Ye sip the nectar of each varying bloom; Nor fear, while basking in the beams of spring, The wintry storm thatswceps you to the tomb; Think of her fate! revere the heavenly hand
That led her hence, tho' soon by steps so slow; Long at her couch Death took his patient stand, And menac'd oft, and oft withheld the blow. To give reflection time, with lenient art,
Each fond delusion from her soul to steal! Teach her from felly peaceably to part,
And wean her from a world she lov'd so well Say, are you sure his mercy shall extend
To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh! [friend, Make then, while yet ye may, your God your And learn with equal ease to sleep or die!· Nor think the Muse, whose sober voice ye hear, Contracts with bigot frown her sullen brow; Casts round religion's orb the mists of fear, [glow.
Or shades with horrorswhat with smiles should No--she would warn you with scraphic fire, Heirs as ve are of heaven's eternal day; Would bid you boldly to that heaven aspire, Nor sink and sluniber in your cells of clay. Know
Par un même destin il ne pensera plus!
Non, rien n'est plus certain, soyons en convaincu.
It is to this Epistle that the latter part of the
§ 76. Elegy to a young Nobleman leaving the
Know, ye were form'd to range yon azure field,
In yon ethereal founts of bliss to lave:
Force then, secure in faith's protection shield,
Thesting from death, the victory from the grave!
Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain! [steep:
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dullness
Go sooth your souls in sickness, grief, or pain,
With the sad solace of eternal sleep!
Yet will I praise you, triflers as you are,
More thanthose preachers of your fav'ritecreed,
Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war,
Who froni the phalanx, bid the battle bleed,
Nor wish for more; who conquer bnt to die.
Hear, Folly, hear, and triumph in the tale!
Like you they reason, not like you enjoy
The breeze of bliss, that fills your silken sail:Yet
On pleasure's glittring stream ye gaily steer
Your little course to cold oblivion's shore;
They dare the storm, and thro' th' inclement year
Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's
Is it for glory? That just Fate denies ;
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Ere from her trump the heaven-breath'd accents That lift the hero from the fighting crowd! [rise
Is it his grasp of empire to extend?
To curb the fury of insulting foes? Ambition, cease! the idle contest end:
"Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose. And why must murder'd myriads lose their all (If life be all), why desolation low'r With famish'd frown on this affrighted ball, That thou mayst flame the meteor of an hour? Go, wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high? Weave the light dance, with festive freedom gay, And live your moment, since the next die! Yet know, vain sceptics! know, th' Almighty Mind,
Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire, Bade his free soul, by earth nor time confin'd To heav'n, to immortality aspire.
Nor shall the pile of hope his mercy rear'd
By vain philosophy be e'er destroy'd: Eternity, by all or wish'd or fear'd,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd!
Nore. In a book of French verses, intitled, Ouvres du Philosophe de Sans Souci, and lately reprinted at Berlin by authority, under the title of Poesies Diverses, may be found an Epistle to Marshal Keith, written professedly against the immortality of the soul. By way of specimen of the whole, take the following lines:
De l'avenir, cher Keith, jugeons par le passé :
Comme avant que je fusse il n'avoit point pensé;
De même,après ma inort, quand toutes mes parties
Par la corruption seront anéanties,
ERE yet, ingenuous youth, thy steps retire [vale,
From Cam's smooth margin, and the peaceful
Where Science call'd thee to her studious quire,
And met thee musing in her cloisters pale;
O let thy friend (and may he boast the name!)
Breathe from his artless reed one parting lay:
A lay like this thy early virtues claim,
And this let voluntary friendship pay.
know, the time arrives, the dang'rous time, When all those virtues, 'op'ning now so fair, Transplanted to the world's tempestuous clime, Must learn each passion's boist'rous breath to bear;
There, if ambition, pestilent and pale,
Or luxury should taint their vernal glow;
If cold self-interest, with herchillinggale, [blow;
Should blast th' unfolding blossoms ere they
If mimic hues, by art or fashion spread,
Their genuine simple coloring should supply;
O may with them these laureate honors fade,
And with them (if it can) my friendship die!
Then do not blame, if, tho' thyself inspire,
Cautious I strike the panegyric string;
The Muse full oft pursues a meteor fire,
Aud, vainly vent'rous, soars on waxen wing:
Too actively awake at friendship's voice,
The poet's bosom pours the fervent strain,
Till sad reflection blames the hasty choice,
And oft invokes oblivion's aid in vain.
Call we the shade of Pope from that blest_bow'r,
Where thron'd he sits with many a tuneful sage;
Ask, if he ne'er bemoans that hapless hour
When St. John's name illumin'd glory's page.
Ask, if the wretch, who dar'd his mem'ry stain;
Ask, if his country's, his religion's foe,
Deserv'd the need that Marlbro' fail'd to gain;
The deathless meed he only could bestow:
The bard will tell thee, the misguided praise
Clouds the celestial sunshine of his breast;
Ev'n now, repentant of his erring lays,
He heaves a sigh amid the realms of rest.
If Pope thro" friendship fail'd, indignant view,
Yet pity, Dryden-hark, whene'er he sings,
How adulation drops her courtly dew
On titled rhymers and inglorious kings!
See, from the depths of his exhaustless mine,
His glitt'ring stores the tuneful spendthrift
Where fear or int'rest bids, behold they shine;
Now grace aCromwell's, now aCharles'sbrows. Born with too gen'rous or too mean a heart,
Dryden! in vain to thee those stores were lent;
Thy sweetest numbers but a trifling art:
Thy strongest diction idly eloquent.
The simplest lyre, if truth directs its lays,
Warbles a melody ne'er heard from thine:
Not to disgust with false or venal praise,
Was Parnell's modest fame, and may be mine.
Go then, my friend, nor let thy candid breast
Condemn me, if I check the plausive string;
Go to the wayward world; complete the rest;
Be what the purest Muse would wish to sing.
Be still thyself: that open path of truth,
Which led thee here, let manhood firm pursue;
Retain the sweet simplicity of youth;
And all thy virtue dictates dare to do.
Still scorn, with conscious pride, the mask of art,
On vice's front let fearful caution low'r;
And teach the diffident, discreeter part
Of knaves that plot, and fools that fawn for
So, round thy brow when age's honors spread, When death's cold hand unstrings thy Mason's lyre,
When the green turf lies lightly on his head, Thy worth shall some superior bard inspire: He to the amplest bounds of time's domain
On raptures plume shall give thy name to fly; For trust, with rev'rence trust, this Sabine strain, The Muse forbids the virtuous man to die.
As on a day, reflecting on his age
For highest deeds now ripe, Alcides sought
Retirement, nurse of contemplation sage,
Step following step, and thought succeeding
Musing, with steady pace the youth pursued
His walk, and lost in meditation stray'd
Far in a lonely vale, with solitude
Conversing; while intent his mind survey'd The dubious path of life: before him lay, [way. Here virtue's rough ascent, there pleasure's flow'ry Much did the view divide his wav'ring mind: Now glow'd his breast with gen'rous thirst of Now love of ease to softer thoughts inclin'd [fame; His yielding soul,and quench'd the rising flame: When, lo! far off two female forms he spies: Direct to him their stops they seem to bear; Both large and tall, exceeding humpan size ; Both, far exceeding human beauty, fair.
Graceful, yet each with different grace they move This striking sacred awe; that, softer winning love. The first in native dignity surpass'd;
Artless and unadorn'd she pleas'd the more; Health o'er her looks a genuine lustre cast;
A vest more white than new-fallen snow she
August she trod, yet modest was her air; [wore :
Still she drew near, and nearer still more fair,
Serene her eye, yet darting heavenly fire;
Pleasure corrected with an awful fear;
More mild, appear'd: yet such as might inspire
Majestically sweet, and amiably severe.
The other dame seem'd even of fairer hue;
But bold her mien, unguarded rov'd her eye,
And her flush'd cheeks confess'd at nearer view
The borrow'd blushes of an artful dye.
All soft and delicate, with airy swim
Lightly she danc'd along; her robe betray'd Thro' the clear texture every tender limb,
Height'ning the charms it only seem'd to shade. And as it flow'd adown, so loose and thin, [skin. Her stature show'd more tall, moresnowywhiteher Oft with a smile she view'd herself askance;
Even on her shade a conscious look she threw: Then all around her cast a careless glance,
To mark what gazing eyes her beauty drew. As they came near, before that other maid Approaching decent, eagerly she press'd With hasty step; nor of repulse afraid, [dress'd;
With freedom bland the wond'ring youth adWith winning fondness on his neck she hung; Sweet as the honey-dew flow'd her enchanting
"Dear Hercules, whence this unkind delay?
Dear youth, what doubts can thus distract thy Securely follow where I lead the way, [mind?
And range thro' wilds of pleasure unconfin'd. With me retire from noise, and pain, and care, Embath'd in bliss, and wrapt in endless ease : Rough is the road to fame, thro' blood and war; Smooth is my way, and all my paths are peace. With me retire, from toils and perils free, Leave honor to the wretch! pleasures were made for thee.
"Then will I grant thee all thy soul's desire;
All that may charm thine ear, and please thy
All that the thought can frame, or wish require,
To steep thy ravish'd senses in delight:
The sumptuous feast, enhanc'd with music's
Fittest to tune the melting soul to love, [sourd, Rich odors, breathing choicest sweets around;
The fragrant bow'r, cool fountain, shady grove; Fresh flow'rs to strew thy couch, and crown thy [thy bed.
Joy shall attend thy steps, and ease shall smooth "These will I freely, constantly supply,
Pleasure's not earn'd with toil, nor mix'd with Far from thy rest repining want shall fly, [woe; Nor labor bathe in sweat thy careful brow. Mature the copious harvest shall be thine, Let the laborious hind subdue the soil;