Page images

An Epistle to a friend.


et pauper agelle,
Me tibi, et hos unâ mecum, et quos semper amavi,


Point out the green lane rough with fern and flowers,

The shelter'd gate that opens to my field, Every reader turns with pleasure to those pas. And the white front through mingling elms reveald sages of Horace, and Pope, and Boileau, which de- In vain, alas, a village-friend invites scribe how they lived and where they dwelt; and To simple comforts, and domestic rites, which, being interspersed among their satirical writ- When the gay months of Carnival resume ings, derive a secret and irresistible grace from the Their annual round of glitter and perfume; contrast, and are admirable examples of what in When London hails thee to its splendid mart, Painting is termed repose.

Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art; We have admittance to Horace at all hours. We And, lo, majestic as thy manly song, enjoy the company and conversation at his table; and Flows the full tide of human life along. his suppers, like Plato's, “non solum in præsentia, sed Sull must my partial pencil love to dwell etiam postero die jucundæ sunt." But when we look on the home-prospects of my hermit-cell; round as we sit there, we find ourselves in a Sabine The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, farm, and not in a Roman villa. His windows have Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen; every charm of prospect; but his furniture might have And the brown pathway, that, with careless fois, descended from Cincinnatus; and gems, and pictures, Sinks, and is lost among the trees below. and old marbles, are mentioned by him more than Suill must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) once with a seeming indifference.

Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live. His English Imitator thought and felt, perhaps, more Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass (1) correctly on the subject; and embellished his garden Browsing the hedge by fits the pannier'd ass ; and grotto with great industry and success. But to The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight, these alone he solicits our notice. On the ornaments Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's fight; of his house he is silent; and he appears to have re- And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid, served all the minuter touches of his pencil for the With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. library, the chapel, and the banqueting-room of Far to the south a mountain-vale retires, Timon. “Le savoir de notre siècle,” says Rousseau, Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires : “tend beaucoup plus à détruire qu'à édifier. On cen- Its upland-lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, sure d'un ton de maitre ; pour proposer, il en faut Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung : 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-square. secure, not only the comforts, but even the elegancies And the furr'd Beauty comes to winter there, of life. True Taste is an excellent Economist. She She bids old Nature mar the plan no more ; confines her choice to few objects, and delights in Yet still the seasons circle as before. producing great effects by small means : while False Ah, still as soon the young Aurora plays, Taste is for ever sighing after the new and the rare; Though moons and flambeaux trail their broadest blaze, and reminds us, in her works, of the Scholar of As soon the sky-lark pours his matin-song, Apelles, who, not being able to paint his Helen Though evening lingers at the mask so long. beautiful, determined to make her fine.

There let her strike with momentary ray,
As tapers shine their little lives away ;

There let her practise from herself to steal,

And look the happiness she does not feel; An invitation—The approach to a Villa described—Its The ready smile and bidden blush employ situation-Its few apartments_furnished with casts

At Faro-routs that dazzle to destroy: from the Antique, etc.— The dining-room-The And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare.

Fan with affected ease the essenced air, library—A cold-bath-A winter-walk-A summer-walk—The invitation renewed—Conclusion. When morning fills the fields with rosy light;

Be thine to meditate a humbler flight,

Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim, WAEN, with a Reaumur's skill, thy curious mind Repose with dignity, with quiet fame. Has class'd the insect-tribes of human kind,

Here no stale-chambers in long line unfold, Fach with its busy hum, or gilded wing,

Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold, Its subtle web-work, or its venom'd sting;

Yet modest ornament, with use combined, Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours,

|Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.

Small change of scene, small space his home re- When from his classic dreams the student steals,' quires, (3)

Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels, Who leads a life of satisfied desires.

To muse unnoticed-while around him press

The meteor-forms of equipage and dress; What though no marble breathes, no canvas glows, Alone, in wonder lost, he seems 10 stand From every point a ray of genius flows! (4)

A very stranger in his native land! Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill,

And (though perchance of current coin possest, That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will;

And modern phrase by living lips exprest) And cheaply circulates, through distant climes, Like those blest Youths, (10) forgive the fabling page, The fairest relics of the purest times.

Whose blameless lives deceived a twilight age, Here from the mould to conscious being start

Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade Those finer forms, the miracles of art;

Unclosed the cavern, and the morning play'd. Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine,

Ah! what their strange surprise, their wild delight! That slept for ages in a second mine;

New arts of life, new manners meet their sight! And here the faithful graver dares to trace

In a new world they wake, as from the dead; A Michael's grandeur, and a Raphael's grace!

Yet doubt the trance dissolved, the vision fled! Thy Gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls,

O come, and, rich in intellectual wealth, And my low roof the Vatican recalls!

Blend thought with exercise, with knowledge health! Soon as the morning-dream my pillow flies, Long, in this shelter'd scene of letter'd talk, To waking sense what brighter visions rise ! With sober step repeat the pensive walk; O mark! again the courses of the Sun,

Nor scorn, when graver triflings fail to please, At Guido's call, (5) their round of glory run! The cheap amusements of a mind at ease ; Again the rosy Hours resume their fight,

Here every care in sweet oblivion cast, Obscured and lost in floods of golden light! And many an idle hour-not idly pass'd. But could thine erring friend so long forget

No tuneful echoes, ambush'd at my gate,

Catch the blest accents of the wise and great. (11) (Sweet source of pensive joy and fond regret) That here its warmest hues the pencil Alings,

Vain of its various page, no Album breathes Lo! here the lost restores, the absent brings;

The sigh that Friendship or the Muse bequeaths. And still the Few best loved and most revered (6)

Yet some good Genii o'er my hearth preside,

Oft the far friend, with secret spell, to guide ; Rise round the board their social smile endear'd ?

And there I trace, when the grey evening lours, Selected shelves shall claim thy studious hours; A silent chronicle of happier hours ! There shall thy ranging mind be fed on flowers!' When Christmas revels in a world of snow, There, while the shaded lamp's mild lustre streams, And bids her berries blush, her carols flow; Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams ; (7) His spangling shower when Frost the wizard flings And, when a sage's bust arrests thee there, (8) Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings, Pause, and his features with his thoughts compare. O’er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves, -Ah, most that Art my grateful rapture calls, And gems with icicles the sheltering eves ; Which breathes a soul into the silent walls ; ? -Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues, Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue, (9) What time the sun the yellow crocus wooes, All on whose words departed nations hung; Screened from the arrowy North; and duly hies 2 Still prompt to charm with many a converse sweet; To meet the morning-rumor as it flies ; Guides in the world, companions in retreat!

To range the murmuring market-place, and view Though my thatch'd bath no rich Mosaic knows, The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew. A limpid spring with unfelt current flows.

When Spring bursts forth in blossoms through the Emblem of Life! which, still as we survey,

vale, Seems motionless, yet ever glides away!

And her wild music triumphs on the gale, The shadowy walls record, with Attic art, Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile;8 The strength and beauty that its waves impart. Oft in my porch the listless noon beguile, Here Thetis, bending, with a mother's fears Framing loose numbers, till declining day Dips her dear boy, whose pride restrains his tears. Through the green trellis shoots a crimson ray; There, Venus, rising, shrinks with sweet surprise,

Till the West-wind leads on the twilight hours, As her fair self reflected seems to rise !

And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers. Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife,

Nor boast, 0 Choisy! seat of soft delight,

The secret charm of thy voluptuous night. And all the dull impertinence of life,

Vain is the blaze of wealth, the pomp of power! These eye-lids open to the rising ray,

Lo, here, attendant on the shadowy hour, And close, when nature bids, at close of day.

Thy closel-supper, served by hands unseen, Here, at the dawn, the kindling landscapo glows;

Sheds, like an evening-star, its ray serene, (12) There noon-day levees call from faint repose. Here the flush'd wave flings back the parting light;

1 Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumsit Athenas, There glimmering lamps anticipate the night.

Et studiis annos septem dedit, insenuitque
Libris et curis, statuà taciturnius exit

1 -a pis Matina
More modoque

2 Fallacem circum, vespertinumque pereiro
Grata carpentis thyma—Hor.

Sæpe forum.

Hor. 2 Postea verd quàm Tyrannio mihi libros disposuit, mens ad

3 Tantôt un livre en main, errant dans les prairies

Boilear dita videtur meis ædibus.-Cic.

[ocr errors]

To hail our coming. Not a step profane

agros.” Distant views contain the greatest variety Dares, with rude sound, the cheerful rite restrain; both in themselves and in their accidental variations. And, while the frugal banquet glows reveal'd,

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 scatter'd leaves invite,
Stili clad in bloom, and veil'd in azure light!

Many a great man, in passing through the apart.
With wine, as rich in years as HORACE sings,

ments of his palace, has made the melancholy reflec

Lion of the venerable Cosmo: "Questa è troppo gran With water, clear as his own fountain flings,

casa à si poco famiglia."--Mach. Ist. Fior. lib. vii. The shifting side-board plays its humbler part,

Parva, sed apta mihi,” was Ariosto's inscription
Beyond the triumphs of a Loriot's art. (13)

over his door in Ferrara ; and who can wish to say
Thus, in this calm recess, so richly fraught more ? “I confess," says Cowley, “I love littleness
With mental light, and luxury of thought, almost in all things. A little convenient estate, a
My life steals on ; (O could it blend with thine !) little cheerful house, a little company, and a very
Careless my course, yet not without design. little feast."-Essay vi.
So through the vales of Loire the bee-hives glide, (14) When Socrates was asked why he had built for
The light raft dropping with the silent tide ; himself so small a house, “Small as it is,” he replied,
So, till the laughing scenes are lost in night, “I wish I could fill it with friends.”—PHÆDRUS, I.
The busy people wing their various flight,

ü, 9.
Culling unnumber'd sweets from nameless flowers, These indeed are all that a wise man would de-
That scent the vineyard in its purple hours. sire to assemble; for a crowd is not company, and

Rise, ere the watch-relieving clarions play, faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a
Caught through St. James's groves a blush of day;(15) tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Ere its full voice the choral anthem Alings

Note 4, page 21, col. 1.
Through trophied tombs of heroes and of kings.

From every point a ray of genius flows! Haste to the tranquil shade of learned ease,?

By this means, when all nature wears a louring Though skill'd alike to dazzle and to please ;

countenance, I withdraw myself into the visionary Though each gay scene be search'd with anxious eye, worlds of art; where I meet with shining landscapes, Nor thy shut door be pass'd without a sigh.

gilded triumphs, beautiful faces, and all those other If, when this roof shall know thy friend no more, objects that fill the mind with gay ideas, etc. Addison. Some, form'd like thee, should once, like thee, explore; It is remarkable that Antony, in his adversity, Invoke the lares of this loved retreat,

passed some time in a small but splendid retreat, And his lone walks imprint with pilgrim-feet; which he called his Timonium, and from which Then be it said, (as, vain of better days,

might originate the idea of the Parisian Boudoir, Some grey domestic prompts the partial praise) that favorite apartment, l'on se retire pour être seul, “ Unknown he lived, unenvied, not unblest; mais l'on ne boude point.--STRABO, l. xvii. Plut. Reason his guide, nnd Happiness his guest.

in Vit. Anton. In the clear mirror of his moral page,

Note 5, page 21, col. 1.
We trace the manners of a purer age.

At Guido's call, etc.
His soul, with thirst of genuine glory fraught, Alluding 10 his celebrated fresco in the Rospigliosi
Scorn'd the false lustre of licentious thought. Palace at Rome.
-One fair asylum from the world he knew,

Note 6, page 21, col..).
One chosen seat, that charms with various view!

And still the Few best loved and most revered.
Who boasts of more (believe the serious strain)
Sighs for a home, and sighs, alas! in vain.

The dining-room is dedicated to Conviviality ; or,
Through each he roves, the tenant of a day,

as Cicero somewhere expresses it, Communitati vitæ And, with the swallow, wings the year away!" (16) atque vietûs.” There we wish most for the society

of our friends; and, perhaps, in their absence, most
require their portraits.

The moral advantages of this furniture may be

illustrated by the pretty story of an Athenian cour-
tesan, “who, in the midst of a riotous banquet with

her lovers, accidentally cast her eye on the portrait
Note 1, page 20, col. 2.

of a philosopher, that hung opposite to her seat: the On o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass.

happy character of temperance and virtue struck her Cosmo of Medicis took most pleasure in his Apen. with so lively an image of her own unworthiness, mine villa, because all that he commanded from its that she instantly quitted the room; and, retiring windows was exclusively his own. How unlike the home, became ever after an example of temperance, wisc Athenian, who, when he had a farm to sell, as she had been before of debauchery." directed the crier to proclaim, as its best recommen.

Note 7, page 21, col. 1. dation, that it had a good neighborhood.-Plut. in

Read ancient books, or dream inspiring dreams. lil. Themist

The reader will here remember that passage of
Note 2, page 20, col. 2.

Horace, Nunc veterum libris, nunc somno, etc. which
And through the various year, the various day. was inscribed by Lord Chesterfield on the frieze of
Horace commends the house, “ longos quæ prospicit his library.

Note 8, page 21, col. 1. 1 -dapes inemptas.- Hor.

And, when a sage's bust arrests the thore. 2 Innocuas amo delicias doctamque quietem

Siquidem non solum ex auro argentove, aut certe ox

ere in bibliothecis dicantur illi, quorum immortales Hence every artist requires a broad and high animæ in iisdem locis ibi loquuntur: quinimo etiam light. Hence also, in a banquet-scene, the most quæ non sunt, finguntur, pariuntque desideria non picturesque of all poets has thrown his light from traditi vultus, sicut in Homero evenit. Quo majus the ceiling.--Æn. i, 726. (ut equidem arbitror) nullum est felicitatis specimen, And hence the "starry lamps" of Milton, that quam semper omnes scire cupere, qualis fuerit ali

- from the arched roof quis.- Plin. Nat. Hist.

Pendent by subtle magic, Cicero speaks with pleasure of a little seat under

-yielded light Aristotle in the library of Auicus. “Literis sustentor

As from a sky. et recreor; maloque in illa tua sedecula, quam habes

Note 13, page 22, col. 1. sub imagine Aristotelis, sedere quàm in istorum sella

Beyond the triumphs of a Loriot's art. curuli!"-Ep. ad Alt. iv, 10. Nor should we forget that Dryden drew inspira: duced those admirable pieces of mechanism, after

At the petits soupers of Choisy were first introtion from the “ majestic face” of Shakspeare; and that a portrait of Newton was the only ornament and the Servante; a table and a side-board, which

wards carried to perfection by Loriot, the Confidento of the closet of Buffon.--Ep. to Kneller. Voyage à Montbart.

descended and rose again covered with viands and In the chamber of a man of genius we

wines. And thus the most luxurious Court in Eu

rope, after all its boasted refinements, was glad to Write all down: Such and such pictures ;-there the window

return at last, by this singular contrivance, to the -the arras, figures,

quiet and privacy of humble life.- Vie privée de Why, such and such.

Louis XV, tom. ii, p. 43.
Note 9, page 21, col. 1.

Between l. 10, and I. 11, col. 1, were these lines,

since omitted : Which gathers round the Wise of every Tongue. Quis tantis non gaudeat et glorietur hospitibus,

Hail, sweet Society! in crowds unknown,

Though the vain world would claim thee for its own. exclaims Petrarch.-Spectare, etsi nihil aliud, certè

Still where thy small and cheerful converse flows, jurat.-Homerus apud me mutus, imo verò ego apud Be mine to enter, ere the circle close. illam surdus sum. Gaudeo tamen vel aspectû solo, When in retreat Fox lays his thunder by, et sepe illum amplexus ac suspirens dico: O magne

And Wit and Taste their mingled charms supply;

When Siddons, born to melt and freeze the heart, vir, etc.- Epist. Var. lib. 20.

Performs at home her more endearing part;

When he, who best interprets to mankind
Note 10, page 21, col. 2.

The winged messengers from mind to mind,
Like thoso blest Youths.

Leans on his spade, and, playful as profound,
See the Legend of the Seven Sleepers.-GIBBON,

His genius sheds its evening-sunshine round,

Be mine to listen; pleased yet not elate, e. 33.

Ever too modest or too proud to rate
Note 11, page 21, col. 2.

Myself by my companions, self-compellid

To carn the station that in life I held.
Catch the blest accents of the wise and great.

They were written in 1796.
Mr. Pope delights in enumerating his illustrious
guests. Nor is this an exclusive privilege of the

Note 14, page 22, col. 1. poet. The Medici Palace at Florence exhibits a

So through the vales of Loire the bee-hives glide. long and imposing catalogue. “Semper hi parietes

An allusion to the floating bee-house, or barge culumnæque eruditis vocibus resonuerunt."

laden with bee-hives, which is seen in some parts Another is also preserved at Chanteloup, the seat of France and Piedmont. of the Duke of Choiseul.

Note 15, page 22, col. 1.
Note 12, page 21, col. 2.

Caught through St. James's groves at blush of day.
Sheds, like an evening-star, its ray serene.

After this line in the MS. At a Roman supper, statues were sometimes em

Groves that Belinda's star illumines still, ployed to hold the lamps.

And ancient Courts and faded splendors fill
-Aurea sunt juvenum simulacra per ædleis,

Note 16, page 22, col. 1.
Lampadas igniseras manibus retinentia dextris.

Lucr. ii, 24.

And, with the swallow, wings the year away! A fashion as old as Homer !-Odyse. vii, 100. It was the boast of Lucullus that he changed his

On the proper degree and distribution of light, we climate with the birds of passage.--Plut. in Vit may consult a great master of effect. Il lume grande, Lucull. ed alto, e non troppo potente, sarà quello, che ren. How often must he have felt the truth here in derà le particole de' corpi molto grate.- Tratt. della culcated, that the master of many houses has no Presara di LIONARDO DI Vinci, c. xli.




[ocr errors]

1. "T WAS Autumn; through Provence had ceased 'The vintage, and the vintage-feast. The sun had set behind the hill, The mooni was up, and all was still, And from the convent's neighboring tower The clock had toll'd 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 flies, nor casts a thought behind, But gives her terrors to the wind; Flies from her home, the humble sphere 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 ?
Dishonor 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.
He slung his 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 ?
But stand not there. Away! away!
'Thou, Frederic, by thy father stay.
'Though old, and now forgot of men,
Both must not leave him in a day."
Then, and he shook his hoary head,
“Unhappy in thy youth!” he said.
“Call as thou wilt, thou call'st in vain;
No voice sends back thy name again.
To mourn is all thou hast to do;
Thy play-mate lost, and teacher too."

And who but she could soothe the boy,
Or turn his tears to tears of joy?
Long had she kiss'd him as he slept,
Long o'er his pillow hung and wept;

|And, as she pass'd her father's duor,
She stood as she would stir no more.
But she is gone, and gone for ever!
No, never shall they clasp her-never !
They sit and listen to their fears;
And he, who through the breach had led
Over the dying and the dead,
Shakes if a cricket's cry he hears !

Oh! she was good as she was fair;
None-none on earth above her!
As pure in thought as angels are,
To know her was to love her.
When little, and her eyes, voice,
Her every gesture said " rejoice,"
Her coming was a gladness;
And, as she grew, her modest grace,
Her down-cast look 't was heaven to trace
When, shading with her hand her face
She half inclined to sadness.
Her voice, whate'er she said, enchanted
Like music to the heart it went.
And her dark eyes—how eloquent!
Ask what they would, 't was granted.
Her father loved her as his fame;
-And Bayard's self had done the same

Soon as the sun the glittering pane
On the red floor in diamonds threw,
His songs she sung and sung again,
Till the last light withdrew.
Every day, and all day long,
He mused or slumber'd to a song,
But she is dead to him, to all!
Her lute hangs silent on the wall;
And on the stairs, and at the door
Her fairy-step is heard no more!
At every meal an empty chair
Tells him that she is not there;
She, who would lead him where he went
Charm with her converse while he leant;
Or, hovering, every wish prevent;
At eve light up the chimney.nook,
Lay there his glass within his book ;
And that small chest of curious mould,
(Queen Mab's, perchance, in days of old,)
Tusk of elephant and gold;
Which, when a tale is long, dispenses
Its fragrant dust to drowsy senses.
In her who mourn'd not, when they miss a ser
The old a child, the young a sister?
No more the orphan runs to take
From her loved hand the barley-cake.
No more the matron in the school
Expects her in the hour of rule,

To sit amid the elfin brood,
Praising the busy and the good.
The widow trims her hearth in vain,
She comes not—nor will come again!
Not now, his little lesson done,
With Frederic blowing bubbles in the sun ;

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »