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An Epistle to a Friend.
et pauper agelle,
Point out the green lane rough with fern and flowers;
And the white front through mingling elms reveald.
And, lo, majestic as thy manly song, We have admittance to Horace at all hours. We Flows the full tide of human life along. enjoy the company and conversation at his table; and Still must my partial pencil love to dwell his suppers, like Plato's, « non solum in præsentia, sed on the home-prospects of my hermit-cell; etiam postero die jucundæ sunt., But when we look The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, round as we sit there, we find ourselves in a Sabine Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses scen; farm, and not in a Roman villa. His windows have And the brown path-way, that, with careless flow, every charm of prospect; but his furniture might have Sinks, and is lost among the trees below. descended from Cincinnatus; and gems, and pictures, Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) and old marbles, are mentioned by bim more than once
Each tleeting charm that bids the landscape live. with a seeming indifference.
Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass (1) His English Imitator thought and felt, perhaps, more Browsing the hedge by fits the pannier'd ass; correctly on the subject; and embellished his garden The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight, and grotto with great industry and success. But to these Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight; alone he solicits our notice. On the ornaments of his And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid, house he is silent; and he appears to have reserved all with brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. the minuter touches of his pencil for the library, the Far to the south a mountain-vale retires, chapel, and the banquetting-room of Timon, « Le sa- Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires : voir de notre siècle, , says Rousseau, • tend beaucoup Its upland-lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, plus à détruire qu'à édifier. On censure d'un ton de Its wizard-stream, por nameless nor unsung: maitre; pour proposer, il en faut prendre un autre.. And through the various year, the various day, (2)
It is the design of this Epistle to illustrate the virtue What scenes of glory burst, and melt away! of True Taste ; and to show how little she requires to
When April-verdure springs in Grosvenor-squarc,
There let her strike with momentary ray,
There let her practise from herself to steal,
And look the happiness she does not feel ;
The ready smile and bidden bluslı employ An invitation - The approach to a Villa described--Its At Faro-routs that dazzle to destroy;
situation-Its few apartments-furnished with casts Fan with affected ease the essenced air, from the Antique, etc.—The dining-room--The library And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare. -A cold-bath-A winter-walk-A summer-walk
Be thine to meditate a humbler flight, The invitation renewed-Conclusion.
When morning fills the fields with rosy light;
Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim,
Here no state-chambers in long line unfold,
Bright with broad mirrors, rough with frested gold ; Its subtle web-work, or its venom'd sting;
Yet modest ornament, with use combined, Lel me, to claim a few unvalued hours,
Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.
Small change of scene, small space his home requires, (3), When from his classic dreams the student steals,
Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels,
To muse unnoticed—while around him press From every point a ray of genius flows! (4)
The meteor-forms of equipage and dress ; Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill,
Alone, in wonder lost, he seems to stand That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;
A very stranger in his native land!
And (though perchance of current coin possest,
And modern phrase by living lips exprest)
Like those blest Youths, (10) forgive the fabling page,
Whose blameless lives deceived a twilight age, Those finer forms, the miracles of art;
Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade
Unclosed the cavern, and the morning played.
Ah! what their strange surprise, their wild delight! A Michael's grandeur, and a Raphael's grace!
New arts of life, new manners meet their sight! Thy Gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls,
In a new world they wake, as from the dead ; And my low roof the Vatican recalls!
Yet doubt the trance dissolved, the vision fled!
O come, and, rich in intellectual wealth, Soon as the morning-dream my pillow flies, Blend thought with exercise, with knowledge health! To waking sense what brighter visions rise!
Long, in this sheltered scene of lettered talk, O mark! again the coursers of the Sun,
With sober step repeat the pensive walk; At Guido's call, (5) their round of glory run!
Nor scorn, when graver triflings fail to please, Again the rosy Hours resume their flight,
The cheap amusements of a mind at ease; Obscured and lost in floods of golden light!
Here every care in sweet oblivion cast, But could thine erring friend so long forget
And many an idle hour-not idly passed. (Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret)
No tuneful echoes, ambush'd at my gate, That here its warmest hues the pencil flings,
Catch the blest accents of the wise and great. (u) Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings;
Vain of its various page, no Album breathes And still the Few best loved and most revered (6) The sigh that Friendship or the Muse bequeaths. Rise round the board their social smile endeared ? Yet some good Genii o'er my hearth preside,
Oft the far friend, with secret spell, to guide; Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours ;
And there I trace, when the grey evening lours, There shal! thy ranging mind be fed on flowers! .
A silent chronicle of happier hours ! There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams,
When Christmas revels in a world of snow,
And bids her berries blush, her carols flow;
His spangling shower when Frost the wizard dings; -Ah, most that Art my grateful rapture calls,
Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings,
O'er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves, Which breathes a soul into the silent walls; 2
And gems with icicles the sheltering eaves ; Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue, (9)
-Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues, All on whose words departed nations hung;
What time the sun the yellow crocus wooes, Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet;
Screened from the arrowy North ; and duly lies 2 Guides in the world, companions in retreat!
To meet the morning-rumour as it flies;
The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew.
When Spring bursts forth in blossoms through the vale, Seems motionless, yet ever glides away!
And her wild music triumphs on the gale,
Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile ; 3
Framing loose numbers, till declining day
And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers.
Nor boast, 0 Choisy! seat of soft delight, And all the dull impertinence of life,
The secret charm of thy voluptuous night. These eyelids open to the rising ray,
Vain is the blaze of wealth, the pomp of power! And close, when Nature bids, at close of day.
Lo, here, attendant on the shadowy hour, Here, at the dawn, the kindling landscape glows;
Thy closet-supper, served by hands unseen,
Sheds, like an evening-star, its ray serene, (12)
Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumsit Athenas,
Libris et curis, statuå taciturnius exit
1 Fallacem circum, vespertinumque pererro
Sæpe forum. 2 Postea verò quàm Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens addita Tantôt un livre en main, errant dans les prairies-videtur meis ædibus.
To hail our coming. Not a step profane
Distant views contain the greatest variety, both Dares, with rude sound, the cheerful rite restrain; in themselves and in their accidental variations. And, while the frugal banquet glows reveald,
Note 3, page 21, col. 1. Pure and unbought, '— the natives of my field;
Small change of scene, small space his home requires. While blushing fruits through scattered leaves invite, Still clad in bloom, and veiled in azure light!
Many a great man, in passing through the apartments With wine, as rich in years as llorace sings,
of his palace, has made the melancholy reflection of
the venerable Cosmo : Questa è troppo gran casa à With water, clear as his own fountain flings, The shifting side-board plays its humbler part,
si poco famiglia.»- Mach. Ist. Fior. lib. vii. Beyond the triumphs of a Lorioi's art. (13)
« Parva, sed apta mihi,, was Ariosto's inscription Thus, in this calm recess, so richly fraught
over his door in Ferrara; and who can wish to say more? With mental light, and luxury of thought,
• I confess,» says Cowley, "I love littleness almost in My life steals on; (0 could it blend with thine!)
all things. A little convenient estate, a little clieerful Careless my course, yet not without design.
house, a little company, and a very little feast. • — Essay vi. So through the vales of Loire the bee-hives glide, (14)
When Socrates was asked why he had built for him
self so small a house, The light raft dropping with the silent tide;
« Small as it is, he replied, " I
wish I could fill it with friends..—PHÆDRUS, I. iii, 9. So, till the laughing scenes are lost in night,
These indeed are all that a wise man would desire to The busy people wing their various flight,
assemble; « for a crowd is not company,
and faces are Culling unnumber'd sweels from nameless flowers,
but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymThat scent the vineyard in its purple hours.
bal, where there is no love.» Rise, ere the watch-relieving clarions play, Caught through St James's groves a blush of day; (15)
Note 4, page 21, col, 1. Ere its full voice the choral anthem flings
From overy point a ray of genius flows ! Through trophied tombs of heroes and of kings.
By this means, when all nature wears a lowering Haste to the tranquil shade of learned case, 2
countenance, I withdraw myself into the visionary Though skilled alike to dazzle and to please;
worlds of art; where I meet with shining landscapes, Thoughi cach gay scene be scarch'd with anxious eye,
gilded triumphs, beautiful faces, and all those other obNor thy shut door be passed without a sigh.
jects that fill the mind with gay ideas, etc. Addison. If, when this roof shall know thy friend no more,
It is remarkable that Antony, in his adversity, passed Some, formed like thee, should once, like thee, explore; some time in a small but splendid retreat, which lie callInvoke the lares of his loved retreat,
ed his Timonium, and from which might originate the And his lone walks imprint with pilgrim-feet;
idea of the Parisian Boudoir, that favourite apartment, Then be it said, (as, vain of better days,
où l'on se retire pour être seul, mais où l'on ne boude Some grey domestic prompts the partial praise)
point.--STRABO, I. xvii. Plur. in Vil. Anton. • Unknown he lived, unenvied, not unblest; Reason his guide, and Happiness his guest.
Note 5, page 21, col. 1. In the clear mirror of his moral page,
At Guido's call, etc. We trace the manners of a purer age.
Alluding to his celebrated fresco in the Rospigliosi Ilis soul, with thirst of genuine glory fraught,
Palace at Rome. Scorned the false lustre of licentious thought.
Note 6, page 21, col. 1. -Onc fair asylum from the world he knew,
And still the Few best loved and most revered. One chosen scat, that charms with various view!
The dining-room is dedicated to Conviviality; or, as Who hoasts of more (believe the serious strain)
Cicero somewhere expresses it, • Communitati vitæ atSighs for a homc, and sighs, alas! in vain.
que victûs.. There we wishi most for the society of our Through each he roves, the tenant of a day, And, with the swallow, wings the year away!. (16)
friends; and, perliaps, in their absence, most require
their portraits. -dapes inemplas.
The moral advantages of this furniture may be illus? Innocuas amo delicias doctamque quietem.
Trated by the pretty story of an Athenian courtezan, « wlio, in the midst of a riotous banquet with her lovers,
accidentally cast her eye on the portrait of a pbilosoNOTES.
pher, that hung opposite to her seat: the happy character of temperance and virtue struck her with so lively
an image of her own unworthiness, that she instantly Note 1, page 20, col. 2.
quitted the room; and, retiring home, became ever after Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass.
an example of temperance, as she had been before of
debauchery." Cosmo of Medicis took most pleasure in bis Apennine villa, because all that he commanded from its windows
Note 7, page 21, col. 1. was exclusively his own. llow unlike the wise Athe
Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams. nian, who, when he had a farm to sell, directed the cryer
The reader will liere remember that passage of Hoto proclaim, as its best recommendation, that it had a
race, Nunc veterum libris, nunc somno, etc. which was good neighbourhood.-Plut. in Vit. Themist.
inscribed by Lord Chesterfield on the frieze of his li
Note 8, page 21,
col. 1. And through the various year, the various day.
And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there. Horace commends the house, « longos quæ prospicit Siquidem non solum ex auro argentove, aut certe ex
are in bibliothecis dicantur illi, quorum immortales Hence every artist requires a broad and high light. animæ in iisdem locis ibi loquuntur: quinimo etiam lepce also, in a banquet-scene, the most picturesque quæ non sunt, finguntur, pariuntque desideria non tra- of all poets has thrown his light from the ceiling.diti vultus, sicut in Homero evenit. Quo majus ( ut En.i, 726. equidem arbitror) nullum est felicitatis specimen, quam And hence the • starry lamps. of Milton, that semper omnes scire cupere, qualis fuerit aliquis. -Plin.
from the arched roof Nat. Hist.
Pendent by subtle magic, Cicero speaks with pleasure of a little seat under
As from a sky. Aristotle in the library of Atticus. Literis sustentor et recreor; maloque in illa tua sedecula, quam habes sub
Note 13, page 22,
col. 1. imagine Aristotelis, sedere quàm in istorum sella cu
Beyond the triumphs of a Loriot's art. ruli!,- Ep.ad Att. iv, 10. Nor should we forget that Dryden drew inspiration
At the petits soupers of Choisy were first introduced from the « majestic face, of Shakspeare; and that a
those admirable pieces of mechanism, afterwards carportrait of Newton was the only ornament of the closet ried to perfection by Loriot, the Confidente and the of Buffon.-Ep. to Kneller. Voyage à Montbart.
Servante; a table and a side-board, which descended,
And In the chamber of a man of genius we
and rose again covered with viands and wines.
thus the most luxurious Court in Europe, after all its Write all down:
boasted refinements, was glad to return at last, by this Such and such pictares :--there the window the arras, figures,
singular contrivance, to the quiet and privacy of humWhy, such and sacb.
ble life.- Vie privée de Louis XV, tom. ii, p. 43.
Between l. 10 and 1. 11, col. 1, were these lines, since Note 9, page 21, col. 1.
omitted : Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue.
Hail, sweet Society! in crowds unknown, Quis tantis non gaudeat et glorietur hospitibus, ex
Though the rain world would claim thee for its own. claims Petrarch.--Spectare, ctsi nihil aliud, certè juvat. Still wbere thy small and cheerful converse flows,
– Homerus apud me mutus, imò verò ego apud illum Bo mine to enter, ere the circle close. surdus sum. Gaudeo tamen vel aspectû solo, et sæpe
When in retreat Fox lays his thunder by.
And Wit and Taste their mingled charms supply; illum amplexus ac suspirens dico: 0 magne vir, etc.
When Siddons, born to melt and freeze the heart, Epist. Var. lib. 20.
Performs at home her more endearing part;
When he, who best interprets to mankind
The winged messengers from mind 10 mind,
Leans on his spade, and, playful as profound,
His genius sheds its evening-sunshine round, See the Legend of the Seven Sleepers.—GIBBON, C. 33.
Be mine to listen; pleased yet not elate,
Ever too modest or too proud to rate
Myself by my companions, self-compelled
To earn ibe station that in life I held.
Note 14, page 22, col. 1. ing catalogue. «Semper hi parietes columnæque cru
So through the vales of Loire the bee-hives glide. ditis vocibus resonuerunt..
An allusion to the floating bee-house, or barge Another is also preserved at Chanteloup, the seat of laden with bee-hives, which is seen in some parts of the Duke of Choiseul.
France and Piedmont.
Note 15, page 22, col. 1.
Caught through St James's groves at blush of day.
After this line in the MS.
Groves that Belinda's star illomines still,
And ancient Courts and faded splendours fill.
Note 16, page 22, col. 1.
And, with the swallow, wings ibe year away! On the proper degree and distribution of light we may consult a great master of effect. Il lume grande, ed It was the boast of Lucullus that he changed his clialto, e non troppo potente, sarà quello, che renderà le mate with the birds of passage-Plut. in Vit. Lucull. particole de' corpi molto grate.
How often must he have felt the truth here inculTratt. della Pittura di LIONARDO DI Vinci, c. xli. cated, that the master of many houses has no home!
I. "T was Autumn; through Provence had ceased The vintage, and the vintage-feast. The sun had set behind the hill, The moon was up, and all was still, And from the convent's neighbouring tower The clock had tolld the midnight-hour, When Jacqueline came forth alone, Her kerchief o'er her tresses thrown; A guilty thing and full of fears, Yet ah, how lovely in her tears! She starts, and what has caught her eye? What-but her shadow gliding by? She stops, she pants; with lips apart She listens-to her beating heart! Then, through the scanty orchard stealing, The clustering boughs her track concealing, She flics, nor casts a thought behind, But gives her terrors to the wind; Flies from her home, the humble spliere Of all her joys and sorrows here, Her father's house of mountain-stone, And by a mountain-vine o'ergrown. At such an hour in such a night, So calm, so clear, so heavenly bright, Who would have seen, and not confess'd It looked as all within were blest? What will not woman, when she loves? Yet lost, alas, who can restore her?She lifts the latch, the wicket moves ; And now the world is all before her.
Up rose St Pierre, when morning shone; And Jacqueline, his child, was gone! Oh what the madd’ning thought that came ? Dishonour coupled with his name! By Condé at Rocroy he stood; By Turenne, when the Rhine ran blood; Two banners of Castile he gave Aloft in Notre Dame to wave; Nor did thy Cross, St Louis, rest Upon a purer, nobler breast. Ile slung bis old sword by his side, And snatch'd his staff and rush'd to save; Then sunk-and on his threshold cried, - Oh lay me in my grave!
- Constance! Claudine! where were ye then?
Unhappy in thy youth!, he said.
And who but she could soothe the boy,
And, as she pass'd her father's door,
Oh.! she was good as she was fair;
her modest grace,
Soon as the sun the glittering pane