« PreviousContinue »
Another guest* there was, of sense refined,
And sometimes would he make our valley glad; Whenas we found he would not here be pent, To him the better sort this friendly message sent:
'Come, dwell with us! true son of virtue, come! But if, alas! we cannot thee persuade
To lie content beneath our peaceful dome,
Yet when at last thy toils but ill apaid
Shall dead thy fire, and damp its heavenly spark,
Thou wilt be glad to seek the rural shade,
There to indulge the muse, and nature mark:
We then a lodge for thee will rear in Hagley Park.'
Here whilom ligg'd the Esopust of the age;
*George, Lord Lyttelton.
† Mr. Quin.
Even from his slumbers we advantage reap: With double force the enliven'd scene he wakes, Yet quits not nature's bounds. He knows to keep
Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well urged sense the enlighten'd judgment takes.
A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems;
He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.
Full oft by holy feet our ground was trod,
The following lines of this stanza were writ by a friend of the author (since understood to have been Lord Lyttelton), and were designed to portray the character of Thomson.
†The Rev. Mr. Murdoch, Thomson's friend and biographer.
If a tight damsel chanced to trippen by ; Which when observed, he shrunk into his mew, And straight would recollect his piety anew.
Nor be forgot a tribe, who minded nought
Their oracles break forth mysterious as of old.
Here languid Beauty kept her pale-faced court: Bevies of dainty dames, of high degree,
From every quarter hither made resort; Where, from gross mortal care and business free, They lay, pour'd out in ease and luxury. Or should they a vain show of work assume, Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be? To knot, to twist, to range the vernal bloom; But far is cast the distaff, spinning-wheel, and loom.
Their only labour was to kill the time; (And labour dire it is, and weary woe)
They sit, they loll, turn o'er some idle rhyme;
Where hours on hours they sighing lie reclined, And court the vapoury god, soft breathing in the
Now must I mark the villany we found,
Unpitied uttering many a bitter groan ;
For of these wretches taken was no care:
Fierce fiends, and hags of hell, their only nurses
*After this stanza, the following one was introduced, in the edition of 1746:
One nymph there was, methought, in bloom of May,
On whom the idle Fiend glanced many a look,
In hopes to lead her down the slippery way
Alas! the change! from scenes of joy and rest, To this dark den, where sickness toss'd alway. Hère Lethargy, with deadly sleep oppress'd, Stretched on his back, a mighty lubbard, lay, Heaving his sides, and snored night and day; To stir him from his traunce it was not eath, And his half open'd eyne he shut straightway; He led, I wot, the softest way to death,
And taught withouten pain and strife to yield the breath.
Of limbs enormous, but withal unsound,
For still he drank, and yet he still was dry.
And some her frantic deem'd, and some her deem'd a wit.
A lady proud she was, of ancient blood,