« PreviousContinue »
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh lasting as those Colours may they shine,
Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line;
New graces yearly like thy works display,
Soft without weakness, without glaring gay;
Led by some rule, that guides, but not con-
And finish'd more through happiness than pains.
The kindred Arts shall in their praise conspire,
One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre.
Yet should the Graces all thy figures place,
And breathe an air divine on ev'ry face;
Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll
Strong as their charms, and gentle as their soul;
With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie,
And these be sung till Granville's Myra die:
Alas! how little from the grave we claim!
Thou but preserv'st a Face, and I a Name.
Henrietta, Countess of Godolphin, afterwards Dutchess of Marlborough; Anne, Countess of Sunderland; Elizabeth, Countess of Bridgewater; and Mary, Dutchess of Montagu. Their portraits are at Blenheim. Lady Bridgewater, whom Jervas affected to be in love with, and who amused herself at his expense, was the most beautiful of the four sisters. She died, March 1713-14, aged 27. In 1720, her husband was created Duke of Bridgewater.
Ver. 60. Worsley's eyes:] This was Frances Lady Worsley, Wife of Sir Robert Worsley, Bart. of Appuldercombe, in the Isle of Wight; Mother of Lady Carteret, Wife of John Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville. There is an excellent letter of this Lady to Dr. Swift in his Letters, p. 77. Warton.
Он be thou blest with all that Heav'n can send, Long Health, long Youth, long Pleasure, and a Friend:
Not with those Toys the female world admire,
Riches that vex, and Vanities that tire.
With added years if Life bring nothing new,
But like a Sieve let ev'ry blessing through,
Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o'er,
And all we gain, some sad Reflection more;
Is that a Birth-day? 'tis alas! too clear,
"Tis but the Fun'ral of the former year.
Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content,
And the gay Conscience of a life well spent,
Ver. 10. 'Tis but the Fun'ral] Immediately after this line were these four following, in the original:
"If there's no hope, with kind tho' fainter ray,
To gild the evening of our future day;
If every page of life's long volume tell
The same dull story, Mordaunt, thou did'st well!"
Colonel Mordaunt, who destroyed himself, though not under pressure of any ill or misfortune.
Calm ev'ry thought, inspirit ev'ry grace,
Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a pain, a trouble, or a fear;
Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
In some soft Dream, or extasy of Joy,
Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the Tomb,
And wake to Raptures in a Life to come.
Ver. 15. Originally thus in the MS.
And oh since Death must that fair frame destroy,
Die, by some sudden extasy of Joy;
In some soft dream may thy mild soul remove,
And be thy latest gasp a sigh of Love.
WITH THE WORKS OF VOITURE.
In these gay thoughts the Loves and Graces shine,
And all the Writer lives in ev'ry line;
His easy Art may happy Nature seem,
Trifles themselves are elegant in him.
Sure to charm all was his peculiar fate,
Who without flatt'ry pleas'd the fair and great;
Still with esteem no less convers'd than read;
With wit well-natur'd, and with books well-bred :
His heart, his mistress and his friend did share,
His time, the Muse, the witty, and the fair.
Thus wisely careless, innocently gay,
Cheerful he play'd the trifle, Life, away;
Till fate scarce felt his gentle breath supprest,
As smiling Infants sport themselves to rest,
Ev'n rival Wits did Voiture's death deplore,
And the gay mourn'd, who never mourn'd before;
Ver. 13. As smiling Infants, &c.] There is a beautiful passage of this sort in Temple's Essays:- "After all, life is like a froward child, that must be trifled with, and played with, till it falls asleep, and then the care is over."
The truest hearts for Voiture heav'd with sighs,
Voiture was wept by all the brightest Eyes:
The Smiles and Loves had died in Voiture's death,
But that for ever in his lines they breathe. 20
Let the strict life of graver mortals be
A long, exact, and serious Comedy;
In ev'ry scene some Moral let it teach,
And, if it can, at once both please and preach.
Let mine an innocent gay Farce appear,
And more diverting still than regular,
Have humour, wit, a native ease and grace,
Tho' not too strictly bound to time and place;
Critics in Wit, or Life, are hard to please,
Few write to those, and none can live to these. 30
Too much your Sex is by their forms confin'd,
Severe to all, but most to Womankind;
Custom, grown blind with age, must be your guide;
Your pleasure is a vice, but not your pride;
By Nature yielding, stubborn but for fame;
Made Slaves by honour, and made Fools by shame.
Marriage may all those petty Tyrants chase,
But sets up one, a greater in their place:
"Etrusca Veneres, Camoenæ Iberæ,
Hermes Gallicus, et Latina Siren;
Risus, Deliciæ, et Dicacitates,
Lusûs, Ingenium, Joci, Lepores:
Et quidquid unquam fuit elegantiarum,
Quo Vecturius hoc jacent sepulcro."
Ver. 19. The Smiles] Alluding to an elegant epitaph on Voiture: