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The first, Conceit, with tow'ring crest,
Who look'd with scorn upon the rest ;
Fond of herself, nor less, I deem,
Than duchess in her own esteem.
Next Affectation, fair and young,
With half-form'd accents on her tongue;
Whose antic shapes, and various face,
Distorted ev'ry native grace.
Then Vanity, a wanton maid,
Flaunting in brussels and brocade;
Fantastic, frolicsome, and wild,
With all the trinkets of a child.
The people, loyal to the queen,
Wore their attachment in their mien;
With cheerful heart they homage paid,
And happiest he who most obey'd;
While they who sought their own applause,
Promoted most their sov'reign's cause.
The minds of all were fraught with guile;
Their manners dissolute and vile;
And ev'ry tribe, like Pagans, run
To kneel before the rising sun.
But now some clam'rous sounds arise,
And all the pleasing vision flies.
Once more I clos'd my eyes to sleep,
And gain'd th' imaginary deep;
Fancy presided at the helm,
And steer'd me back to Friendship's realm.
But, oh! with horror I relate
The revolutions of her state;
The Trojan chief could hardly more
His Asiatic tow'rs deplore.
For Flatt'ry view'd those fairer plains
With longing eyes, where Friendship reigns:
With envy heard her neighbour's fame,
And often sigh'd to gain the same;
At length, by pride and int'rest fir'd,
To Friendship's kingdom she aspir'd.
And, now commencing open foe,
She plans in thought some mighty blow;
Draws out her forces on the green,
And marches to invade the
The river Truth the hosts withstood,
And roll'd her formidable flood:
Her current strong, and deep, and clear;
No fords were found, no ferries near,
But as the troops approach'd the waves,
Their fears suggest a thousand graves;
They all retir'd with haste extreine,
And shudder'd at the dang'rous stream.
Hypocrisy the gulph explores;
She forms a bridge, and joins the shores.
Thus often art or fraud prevails,
When military prowess fails:
The troops an easy passage find,
And vict'ry follows close behind.
Friendship with ardor charg'd her foes,
And now the fight promiscuous grows ;
But Flatt'ry threw a poison'd dart,
And pierc'd the empress to the heart.
The Virtues all around were seen
To fall in heaps about the queen.
The tyrant stripp'd the mangled fair;
She wore her spoils, assum'd her air;
And, mounting next the sufferer's throne,
Claim'd the queen's titles as her own.
Ah, injur'd maid!' aloud I cried;
Ah, injur'd maid!' the rocks replied.
But judge my griefs, and share them too,
For the sad tale pertains to you;
Judge, reader, how severe the wound,
When Friendship's foes were mine, I found;
When the sad scene of pride and guile
Was Britain's poor degen'rate isle!
The Amazons, who propp'd the state,
Haply survey'd the gen'ral fate.
Justice to Powis House is fled,
And Yorke sustains her radiant head.
The virtue, Fortitude, appears
In open day at Ligonier's;
Illustrious heroine of the sky,
Who leads to vanquish or to die!
'Twas she our vet'rans breasts inspir'd,
When Belgia's faithless sons retir'd:
For Tournay's treach'rous tow'rs can tell
Britannia's children greatly fell.
No partial Virtue of the plain!
She rous'd the lions of the inain:
Hence Vernon's little fleet succeeds'
And hence the gen'rous Cornwall bleeds †,
Hence Grenville glorious! for she smil'd
On the young hero from a child.
Tho' in high life such virtues dwell,
They'll suit plebeian breasts as well.
Say, that the mighty and the great
Blaze, like meridian suns of state;
Effulgent excellence display,
Like Hallifax, in floods of day;
Our lesser orbs may pour their light,
Like the mild crescent of the night.
Tho' pale our beams, and small our sphere,
Still we may shine serene and clear.
Give to the judge the scarlet gown;
To martial souls the civic crown:
What then? Is merit their's alone?
Have we no worth to call our own?
Shall we not vindicate our part
In the firm breast and upright heart?
Reader, these virtues may be thine,
Tho' in superior life they shine.
I can't discharge great Hardwicke's trust;
True-but my soul may still be just:
And tho' I can't the state defend,
I'll draw the sword to serve my friend.
Two golden virtues are behind,
Of equal import to the mind;
Prudence, to point out Wisdom's way,
Or to reclaim us when we stray;
Temp'rance, to guard the youthful heart,
When Vice and Folly throw the dart :
Each virtue, let the world agree,
Daily resides with you and me.
And when our souls in friendship join,
We'll deem the social bond divine;
† Died in a late engagement with the French fleet.
Against the combined fleets of France and Spain.
Thro' ev'ry scene maintain our trust,
Nor e'er be timid or unjust.
That breast, where Honor builds his throne,
That breast, which Virtue calls her own,
Nor Iut'rest warps, nor Fear appals,
When Danger frowns, or Lacre calls.
No! the true friend collected stands,
Fearless his heart, and pure his hands:
Let Int'rest plead, let storms arise,
He dares be honest, tho' he dies!
For when the sun deserts the skies,
And the dull winter evenings rise,
Then for a husband's social pow'r
To form the calm, conversive hour;
The treasures of thy breast explore,
From that rich mine to draw the ove
Fondly each gen'rous thought refine,
And give thy native gold to shine;
Show thee, as really thou art,.
Tho' fair, yet fairer still at heart.
Say, when life's purple blossoms fade.
As soon they must, thou charming maid!
§ 87. Vision VII. Marriage. Inscribed to When in thy cheek the roses die,
FAIREST, this Vision is thy due ;
I form'd th' instructive plan for you.
Slight not the rules of thoughtful age;
Your welfare actuates ev'ry page;
But ponder well my sacred theme,
And tremble while you read my dream.
These awful words, till death do part,'
May well alarm the youthful heart :
No after-thought when once a wife,
The die is cast, and cast for life;
Yet thousands venture ev'ry day,
As some base passion leads the way.
Pert Sylvia talks of wedlock scenes,
Tho' hardly enter'd on her teens;
Smiles on her whining spark, and hears
The sugar'd speech with raptur'd ears ;
Impatient of a parent's rule,
She leaves her sire, and weds a fool.
Want enters at the guardless door,
And Love is fled, to come no more.
Some few they are of sordid mould,
Who barter youth and bloom for gold,
Careless with what or whom they mate;
Their ruling passion's all for state,
But Hymen, gen'rous, just, and kind,
Abhors the mercenary mind;
Such rebels groan beneath his rod;
For Hymen's a vindictive god :
Be joyless ev'ry night,' he said;
And barren be their nuptial bed!"
Attend, my fair, to wisdom's voice;
A better fite shall crown thy choice.
A married life, to speak the best,
Is all a lottery confest :
Yet, if my fair one will be wise,
I will ensure my girl a prize,
Tho' not a prize to match thy worth:
Perhaps thy equal's not on earth!
Tis an important point, to know
There's no perfection here below.
Man's an odd compound, after all;
And ever has been since the fall.
Say, that he loves you from his soul,
Still man is proud, nor brooks control;
And tho' a slave in love's soft school,
In wedlock claims his right to rule.
The best, in short, has faults about him;
If few those faults, you must not flout him.
With some, indeed, you can't dispense,
As want of temper and of sense:
And sickness clouds that brilliant eye;
Say, when or age or pains invade,
And those dear limbs shall call for aid ;
If thou art fetter'd to a fool,
Shall not his transient passion cool?
And, when thy health and beauty end,
Shall thy weak mate persist a friend ?
But to a man of sense, my dear,
E'en then thou lovely shalt appear;
He'll share the griefs that wound thy heart,
And, weeping, claim the larger part:
Tho' age impairs that beauteous face,
He'll prize the pearl beyond it's case.
In wedlock when the sexes meet,
Friendship is only then complete.
Bless'd state! where souls each other draw;
Where love is liberty and law !
The choicest blessing found below,
That man can wish, or Heaven bestow!
Trust me, these raptures are divine,
For lovely Chloe once was mine!
Nor fear the varnish of my style;
Tho' poet, I'm estrang'd to guile.
Ah me! my faithful lips impart
The genuine language of my heart!
When bards extol their patrons high,
Perhaps 'tis gold extorts the lie ;
Perhaps the poor reward of bread-
But who burns incense to the dead?
He, whom a fond affection draws,
Careless of censure or applause ;
Whose soul is upright and sincere,
With nought to wish, and nought to fear.
Now to my visionary scheme
Attend, and profit by my dream.
Amidst the slumbers of the night,
A stately temple rose to sight;
And antient as the human race,
If Nature's purposes you trace:
This fane, by all the wise rever'd,
To wedlock's pow'rful god was rear'd..
Hard by I saw a graceful sage,
His locks were frosted o'er by age;
His garb was plain, his mind screne,
And wisdom dignified his mien.
With curious search his name I sought,
And found 'twas Hymen's fav'rite, Thought.
Apace the giddy crowds advance,
And a lewd satyr led the dance.
I griev'd to see whole thousands run,
For oh! what thousands were undone!
The sage, when these mad troops he spied,
In pity flew to join their side:
The disconcerted pairs began
To rail against him to a man;
Vow'd they were strangers to his name,
Nor knew from whence the dotard came.
But mark the sequel — for this truth
Highly concerns impetuous youth.
Long ere the honey-moon could wane,
Perdition seis'd on every twain;
At ev'ry house, and all day long,
Repentance plied her scorpion thong:
Disgust was there with frowning mien,
And ev'ry wayward child of spleen.
Hymen approach'd his awful fane,
Attended by a num’rous train.
Love, with each soft and nameless grace,
Was first in favor and in place:
Then came the god, with solemn gait,
Whose ev'ry word was big with fate;
His hand a flaming taper bore,
That sacred svinbol, fam'd of yore.
Virtue, adorn'd with every charın,
Sustain'd the god's incumbent arm;
Beauty improv'd the glowing scene
With all the roses of eighteen.
Youth led the gaily smiling fair;
His purple pinions wav'd in air;
Wealth, a close hunks, walk'd hobbling nigh,
With vulture-claw, aud eagle-eye,
Who threescore years had seen, or more
(Tis said his coat had seen a score):
Proud was the wretch, tho' clad in rags,
Presuming much upon his bags.
A female next her arts display'd;
Poets alone can paint the maid:
Trust me, Hogarth (tho' great thy fame),
Twould pose thy skill to draw the same;
And yet thy mimic pow'r is more
Than ever painter's was before.
Now she was fair as cygnet's down,
Now as Mat Prior's Emma brown;
And, changing as the changing flow'r,
Her dress she varied ev'ry hour.
Twas Fancy, child—you know the fair,
Who pins your gown, and sets your hair.
Lo! the god mounts his throne of state,
And sits the arbiter of fate :
His head, with radiant glories drest,
Gently reclin'd on Virtue's breast.
Love took his station on the right:
His quiver beam'd with golden light:
Beauty usurp'd the second place,
Ambitious of distinguish'd grace;
She claim'd this ceremonial joy,
Because related to the boy;
Said it was hers to point his dart,
And speed his passage to the heart;
While on the god's inferior hand
Fancy and Wealth obtain'd their stand.
And now the hallow'd rites proceed,
And now a thousand heart-strings bleed
I saw a blooming, trembling bride,
A toothless lover join'd her side;
Averse she turn'd her weeping face,
And shudder'd at the cold embrace.
But various baits their force impart ;
Thus titles lie at Celia's heart.
A passion, much too foul to name,
Costs supercilious prudes their fame :
Prudes wed to publicans and sinners;
The hungry poet weds for dinners.
The god with frown indignant view'd
The rabble covetous or lewd;
By ev'ry vice his altar stain'd,
By ev'ry fool his rites profan'd:
When Love complain'd of Wealth aloud,
Affirming Wealth debauch'd the crowd;
Drew up in form his heavy charge,
Desiring to be heard at large.
The god consents, the throng divide,
The young espous'd the plaintiff's side;
The old declar'd for the defendant,
For age is money's sworn attendant.
Love said, that wedlock was design'd
By gracious Heaven to match the mind;
To pair the tender and the just,
And his the delegated trust:
That Wealth had play'd a knavish part,
And taught the tongue to wrong the heart
But what avails the faithless voice?
The injur'd heart disdains the choice.
Wealth straight replied, that Love was blind,
And talk'd at random of the mind:
That killing eyes, and bleeding hearts,
And all th' artillery of darts,
Were long ago exploded fancies,
And laugh'd at even in romances.
Poets indeed style love a treat,
Perhaps for want of better meat:
And love might be delicious fare,
Could we, like poets, live on air.
But grant that angels feast on love
(Those purer essences above),
Yet Albion's sons, he understood,
Preferr'd a more substantial food.
Thus while with gibes he dress'd his cause,
His grey admirers hemm'd applause.
With seeming conquest pert and proud,
Wealth shook his sules, and chuckled loud;
When Fortune, to restrain his pride,
And fond to favor Love beside,
Op'ning the miser's tape-tied vest,
Disclos'd the cares which stung his breast:
Wealth stood abash'd at his disgrace,
And a deep crimson flush'd his face.
Love sweetly simper'd at the sight;
Ilis gay adherents laugh'd outright.
The god, tho' grave his temper, smil'd;
For Hymen dearly priz'd the child.
But he who triumphs o'er his brother,
In turn is laugh'd at by another.
Such cruel scores we often find
Repaid the criminal in kind:
For Poverty, that famish'd fiend!
Ambitious of a wealthy friend,
Advanc'd into the miser's place,
And star'd the stripling in the face;
Whose lips grew pale, and cold as clay:
I thought the chit would swoon away.
The god was studious to employ
His cares to aid the vanquish'd boy;
And therefore issued his decree,
That the two parties straight agree:
When both obey'd the god's commands,
And Love and Riches join'd their hands.
What wond'rous change in each was wrought,
Believe me, fair, surpasses thought.
If love had many charms before,
He now had charms ten thousand more:
If Wealth had serpents in his breast,
They now were dead, or lull'd to rest.
Beauty, that vain, affected thing,
Who join'd the hymeneal ring,
Approach'd, with round unthinking face;
And thus the trifler states her case:
She said that Love's complaints, 'twas known,
Exactly tallied with her own:
That Wealth had learn'd the felon's arts,
And robb'd her of a thousand hearts;
Desiring judgement against Wealth,
For falfehood, perjury, and stealth:
All which she could on oath depose;
And hop'd the court would slit his nose.
But Hymen, when he heard her name,
Call'd her an interloping dame;
Look'd through the crowd with angry state,
And blam'd the porter at the gate
For giving entrance to the fair,
When she was no essential there.
To sink this haughty tyrant's pride,
He order'd Fancy to preside.
Hence, when debates on beauty rise,
And each bright fair disputes the prize,
To Fancy's court we straight apply,
And wait the sentence of her eye;
In beauty's realms she holds the seals,
And her awards preclude appeals.
$88. Vision VIII. Life.
LET not the young my precepts shun;
Who slight good counsels are undone.
Your poet sung of love's delights,
Of halcyon days and joyous nights;
To the gay fancy lovely themes;
And fain I'd hope they 're more than dreams.
But, if you please, before we part,
I'd speak a language to your heart.
We'll talk of Life, tho' much I fear
Th' ungrateful tale will wound your ear.
You raise your sanguine thoughts too high,
And hardly know the reason why:
But say, Life's tree bears golden fruit,
Some canker shall corrode the root;
Some unexpected storm shall rise,
Or scorching suns, or chilling skies;
And (if experienced truths avail)
All your autumnal hopes shall fail.
But, poet, whence such wide extremes?
Well may you style your labors dreams.
A son of sorrow thou, I ween,
Whose Visions are the brats of Spleen.
Is bliss a vague, unmeaning name?
Speak then the passions' use or aim;
Why rage desires without control,
And rouse such whirlwinds in the soul?
Why Hope erects her tow'ring crest,
And laughs and riots in the breast!
Think not my weaker brain turns round;
Think not I tread on fairy ground;
Think not your pulse alone beats true-
Mine makes as healthful music too.
Our joys, when Life's soft spring we trace,
Put forth their early buds apace
See the bloom loads the tender shoot;
The bloom conceals the future fruit.
6 Yes, manhood's warm meridian sun
Shall ripen what in spring begun.
Thus infant roses, ere they blow,
In germinating clusters grow;
And only wait the summer's ray,
To burst and blossom to the day.'
What said the gay unthinking boy?
Methought Hilario talk'd of joy!
Tell, if thou canst, whence joys arise,
Or what those mighty joys you prize.
You'll find (and trust superior years)
The vale of life a vale of tears.
Could wisdom teach where joys abound,
Or riches purchase them when found,
Would sceptred Solomon complain
That all was fleeting, false, and vain?
Yet sceptred Solomon could say,
Returning clouds obscur'd his day.
Those maxims, which the preacher drew,
The royal sage experienc'd true.
He knew the various ills that wait
Our infant and meridian state;
That toys our earliest thoughts engage,
And diff'rent toys maturer age;
That grief at ev'ry stage appears,
But diff'rent griefs at diff'rent years;
That vanity is scen, in part,
Inscrib'd on ev'ry human heart;
In the child's breast the spark began,
Grows with his growth, and glares in man.
But when in life we journey late,
If follies die, do griefs abate?
Ah! what is life at fourscore years? [and tears.
One dark, rough road, of sighs, groans, pains,
Perhaps you 'll think I act the same
As a sly sharper plays his game:
You triumph ev'ry deal that 's past,
He's sure to triumph at the last!
Who often wins some thousands more
Than twice the sums you won before.
But I'm a loser with the rest;
For life is all a deal at best,
Where not the prize of wealth or fame
Repays the trouble of the game
(A truth no winner e'er denied,
An hour before that winner died).
Not that with me these prizes shine;
For neither fame nor wealth is mine,
My cards, a week plebeian band,
With scarce an honor in my hand!
And, since my trumps are very few,
What have I more to boast than you?
Nor am I gainer by your fall;
That harlot Fortune bubbles all!
'Tis truth (receive it ill or well),
Tis melancholy truth I tell.
Why should the preacher take your pence,
And smoother truth to flatter sense?"
I'm sure physicians have no merit,
Who kill thro' lenity of spirit.
That life's a game, divines confess;
This says at cards, and that at chess:
But, if our views be centred here,
Tis all a losing game I fear.
Sailors, you know, when wars obtain,
And hostile vessels crowd the main,
If they discover from afar
A bark as distant as a star,
Hold the perspective to their eyes,
To learn its colors, strength, and size;
And, when this secret once they know,
Make ready to receive the foe,
Let and I from sailors learn
Important truths of like concern.
I clos'd the day, as custom led,
With reading till the time of bed;
Where Fancy, at the midnight hour,
Again display'd her magic pow'r-
(For know that Fancy, like a sprite,
Prefers the silent scenes of night).
She lodg'd me in a neighb'ring wood,
No matter where the thicket stood;
The Genius of the place was nigh,
And held two pictures to my eye.
The curious painter had pourtray'd
Life in each just and genuine shade.
They, who have only known its dawn,
May think these lines too deeply drawn;
But riper years, I fear, will show
The wiser artists paint too true.
One piece presents a rueful wild,
Where not a summer's sun had smil'd;
The road with thorns is cover'd wide,
And Grief sits weeping by the side;
Her tears with constant tenor flow,
And form a mournful lake below;
Whose silent waters, dark and deep,
Thro' all the gloomy valley creep.
Passions that flatter, or that slay,
Are beasts that fawn, orbirds that prey.
Here Vice assumes the serpent's shape;
There Folly personates the ape:
Here Av'rice gripes with harpy's claws;
There Malice grins with tiger's jaws;
While sons of Mischief, Art, and Guile,
Are alligators of the Nile.
E'en Pleasure acts a treach'rous part; She charms the sense, but stings the heart: And when she gulls us of our wealth, Or that superior pearl, our health, Restores us nought but pains and woe, And drowns us in the lake below.
There a commission'd angel stands,
With desolation in his hands!
He sends the all-devouring flame,
And cities hardly boast a name:
Or wings the pestilential blast,
And, lo! ten thousands breathe their last.
He speaks- obedient tempests roar,
And guilty nations are no more:
He speaks the fury Discord raves,
And sweeps whole armies to their graves;
Or Famine lifts her mildew'd hand,
And Hunger howls thro' all the land.
Oh! what a wretch is man!' I cried; Expos'd to death on ev'ry side!
And sure as borne to be undone By evils which he cannot shun! Besides a thousand baits to sin, A thousand traitors lodg'd within! For soon as Vice assaults the heart, The rebels take the damon's part.' I sigh, my aching bosom bleeds; When straight the milder plan succeeds. The lake of tears, the dreary shore, The same as in the piece before; But gleams of light are here display'd, To cheer the eye, and gild the shade; Affliction speaks a softer style, And Disappointment wears a smile: A group of virtue's blossom near; Their roots improve by ev'ry tear.
Here Patience, genile maid! is nigh, To calm the storm, and wipe the eye; Hope acts the kind physician's part, And warms the solitary heart: Religion nobler comfort brings, Disarms our griefs, or blunts their stings; Points out the balance on the whole, And Heaven rewards the struggling soul. But while these raptures I pursuc, The Genius suddenly withdrew.
$89. Vision the last. Death.
'Tis thought my Visions are too grave
A proof I'm no designing knave.
Perhaps, if int'rest held the scales,
I had devis'd quite diff'rent tales;
Had join'd the laughing, low buffoon,
And scribbled satire and lampoon;
Or stirr'd each source of soft desire,
And fann'd the coals of wanton fire:
Then had my paltry Visions sold;
Yes, all my dreams had turn'd to gold;
Had prov'd the darling of the town,
And I-a Poet of renown!
Let not my awful theme surprise;
Let no unmanly fears arise.
I wear no inelancholy hue;
No wreaths of cypress, or of yew.
The shrowd, the coffin, pall, or hearse,
Shall ne'er deform my softer verse.
Let me consign the fun'ral plume,
The herald's paint, the sculptur'd tomb,
* See the Monthly Review of New Books, for February 1751.