« PreviousContinue »
And still new leaches and new drugs would try, Her humour ever wavering to and fro:
For sometimes she would laugh, and sometimes
Then sudden waxed wroth, and all she knew not
Fast by her side a listless maiden pined, With aching head, and squeamish heart-burnings;
Pale, bloated, cold, she seem'd to hate mankind, Yet loved in secret all forbidden things. And here the Tertian shakes his chilling wings; The sleepless Gout here counts the crowing cocks, A wolf now gnaws him, now a serpent stings; Whilst Apoplexy cramm'd Intemperance knocks Down to the ground at once, as butcher felleth ox.*
*The four concluding stanzas were claimed by Doctor Armstrong, and inserted in his Miscellanies.
The Knight of Arts and Industry,
ESCAPED the castle of the sire of sin,
I now must sing of pleasure turn'd to pain, And of the false enchanter INDOLENCE complain.
Is there no patron to protect the Muse,
To every labour its reward accrues,
And they are sure of bread who swink and moil; But a fell tribe the Aonian hive despoil,
As ruthless wasps oft rob the painful bee;
Thus while the laws not guard that noblest toil,
They praised are alone, and starve right merrily.
I care not, Fortune, what you me deny :
You cannot bar my constant feet to trace
The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve: Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace, And I their toys to the great children leave: Of fancy, reason, virtue, nought can me bereave.
Come, then, my Muse, and raise a bolder song; Come, lig no more upon the bed of sloth, Dragging the lazy languid line along,
Fond to begin, but still to finish loath, Thy half-writ scrolls all eaten by the moth: Arise, and sing that generous imp of fame, Who with the sons of softness nobly wroth, To sweep away this human lumber came, Or in a chosen few to rouse the slumbering flame.
In Fairy Land there lived a knight of old,
Of feature stern, Selvaggio well yclep'd,
A rough unpolish'd man, robust and bold,
Now scorch'd by June, now in November steep'd,
He still in woods pursued the libbard and the boar.
As he one morning, long before the dawn, Prick'd through the forest to dislodge his prey, Deep in the winding bosom of a lawn,
With wood wild fringed, he mark'd a taper's ray, That from the beating rain, and wintry fray, Did to a lonely cot his steps decoy ;
There, up to earn the needments of the day, He found dame Poverty, nor fair nor coy : Her he compress'd, and fill'd her with a lusty boy.
Amid the greenwood shade this boy was bred,
The same to him glad summer, or the winter breme.
So pass'd his youthly morning, void of care, Wild as the colts that through the commons run: For him no tender parents troubled were, He of the forest seem'd to be the son, And, certes, had been utterly undone, But that Minerva pity of him took, With all the gods that love the rural wonne, That each to tame the soil and rule the crook ; Ne did the sacred Nine disdain a gentle look.
Of fertile genius him they nurtured well,
By which mankind the thoughtless brutes excel,
That brace the nerves, or make the limbs alert, And mix elastic force with firmness hard:
Was never knight on ground mote be with him compared.
Sometimes, with early morn, he mounted gay
Yclad in steel, and bright with burnish'd mail,