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From Nature's bounty-that humane addrefs
But, once enflav'd, farewel! I could endure
Made vocal for th' amufement of the reft:
And the clear voice fymphonious, yet diftinct,
$47. Liberty renders England preferable to other Nations, notwithstanding Taxes, &c. Cow PER.
TIS IS liberty alone that gives the flow'r Of fleeting life its luttre and perfume, And we are weeds without it. All constraint, Except what wisdom lays on evil men, Is cvil; hurts the faculties, impedes Their progress in the road of fcience; blinds The eye-fight of difcovery, and begets In thofe that fuffer it a fordid mind Bettial, a meagre intellect, unfit To be the tenant of man's noble form. Thee therefore till, blame-worthy as thou art, With all thy lofs of empire, and though squeez'd By public exigence till annual food Fails for the craving hunger of the state, Thee I account till happy, and the chief Among the nations, fecing thou art free! My native nook of earth! thy clime is rude, Replete with vapours, and difpofes much All hearts to fadnefs, and none more than mine; Thine unadult'rate manners are lefs foft And plaufible than focial life requires, And thou haft need of difcipline and art To give thee what politer France receives
$48. Defeription of a Poet. COWPER.
KNOW the mind that feels indeed the fire
The Poet's heart, he looks to diftant ftorms,
Scizes events as yet unknown to man,
49. Love Elegies. By
TIS night, dead night; and o'er the plain Darkness extends her ebon ray, While wide along the gloomy fcene
Deep filence holds her folemn sway.
The melancholic eye furveys,
The favage race (fo Heaven decrees)
Disturbs the ftillness of the grove.
The village fwain forgets his care: Sleep, that the fting of Sorrow charms, And heals all fadnefs but Defpair. Defpair alone her pow'r denies;
And, when the fun withdraws his rays, To the wild beach distracted flies,
Or cheerlefs through the defert ftrays; Or, to the church-yard's horrors led,
While fearful echoes burft around, On fome cold ftone he leans his head,
Or throws his body on the ground. To fome fuch drear and folemn fcene,
Some friendly pow'r direct my way, Where pale misfortune's haggard train,
Sad luxury! delight to stray. Wrapp'd in the folitary gloom,
Retir'd from life's fantaftic crew, Refign'd I'll wait my final doom,
And bid the bufy world adicu. The world has now no joy for me,
Nor can life now one pleasure boast; Since all my eyes defir'd to fee,
My with, my hope, my all, is loft; Since fhe, fo form'd to pleafe and blefs, So wife, fo innocent, fo fair, Whole converfe fweet made forrow lefs,
And brighten'd all the gloom of careSince he is loft. Ye pow'rs divine,
What have I done, or thought, or faid? O fay, what horrid act of mine
Has drawn this vengeance on my head! Why fhould Heaven favour Lycon's claim? Why are my heart's beft wishes croft ? What fairer decds adorn his name?
What nobler merit can he boaft › What higher worth in him was found
My true heart's fervice to outweigh? A fenfelefs fop! a dull compound
Of scarcely animated clay
He drefs'd, indeed, he danc'd with cafe, And charm'd her by repeating o'er Unmeaning raptures in her praife,
That twenty fools had told before: But I, alas! who thought all art
My pathon's force would meanly prove, Could only boaft an honeft heart,
And claim'd no merit but my love. Have I not fat-ye confcious hours,
Be witnefs-while my Stella fung From morn to eve, with all my pow'rs
Rapt in th' enchantment of her tongue! Ye confcious hours, that faw me stand
Entranc'd in wonder and surprise, In filent rapture prefs her hand,
With pailion burfting from my eyes
Have I not lov'd? O earth and heaven!
Is all her friendship come to this?
And each fond lover be undone ? Are vows no more? Almighty Love, The fad remembrance let me fhun!
It will not be my honeft heart
The dear fad image ftill retains; And, fpite of reason, spite of art,
The dreadful memory remains. Ye Pow'rs divine, whofe wondrous skill Deep in the womb of time can fee, Behold, I bend me to your will,
Nor dare arraign your high decree. Let her be bleft with health, with ease, With all your bounty has in ftore; Let forrow cloud my future days:
Be Stella bleft; I ask no more.
But, lo! where high in yonder east
The star of morning mounts apace! Hence let me fly th' unwelcome guest, And bid the Mufe's labour cease.
WHEN, young, life's journey I began,
And Fame her golden trumpet blew ;
And Pow'r difplay'd her gorgeous charms; And Wealth engag'd my wandering view; And Pleasure woo'd me to her arms; To each by turns my vows I paid,
As Folly led me to admire; While Fancy magnified each fhade,
And Hope increas'd each fond defire.
And learn'd the fond purfuit to fhun,
And Wealth had Terror for her gueft;
Tir'd of the chace, I gave it o'er;
And, in a far fequefter'd fhade, To Contemplation's fober pow'r
My youth's next fervices I paid. There Health and Peace adorn'd the scene; And oft, indulgent to my pray'r, With mirthful eye and frolic mien The Mufe would deign to vifit there.
There would the oft delighted rove
And bid ideal worlds arife.
One with alone my foul could frame, And Heaven beftow'd, to crown the reft, A friend, and Thyrfis was his name. For manly conftancy and truth,
And worth, unconfcious of a ftain, He bloom'd the flow'r of Britain's youth; The boaft and wonder of the plain. Still with our years our friendship grew;
No carcs did then my peace deftroy; Time brought new bleffings as he flew,
And ev'ry hour was wing'd with joy. But foon the blissful feene was loft,
Soon did the fad reverfe appear; Love came, like an untimely froft,
To blaft the promife of my year. I faw young Daphine's angel form
(Fool that I was! I blefs'd the fmart) And while I gaz'd, nor thought of harm,
The dear infection feiz'd my heart. She was, at least in Damon's eyes,
Made up of loveliness and grace;
Her mind as perfect as her face.
And Heaven was open'd in her smile!
And feem'd at length to fhare my pain. She faid the lov'd-and I, poor youth!
(How foon, alas! can hope perfuade) Thought all the faid no more than truth;
And all my love was well repaid. In joys unknown to courts or kings,
With her I fat the live-long day, And faid and look'd fuch tender things As none befide could look or fay! How foon can Fortune fhift the fcene,
And all our earthly blifs destroy! Care hovers round, and Grief's fell train Still treads upon the heels of Joy. My age's hope, my youth's beft boast,
My foul's chief bfeffing and my pride, In one fad moment all were loft,
And Daphne chang'd, and Thyrfis died!
Oh! who, that heard her vows erewhile, Could dream thofe vows were infincere ! Or who could think, that faw her finile,
That fraud could find admittance there! Yet he was falfe-my heart will break ! Her fraud, her perjuries were fuchSome other tongue than mine muft speakI have not pow'r to fay how much!
§ 50. An Efay on Poetry. BUCKINGHAM,
Which, though fometimes behind a cloud retir'd,
* The Effay on Satire, which was written by this noble author and Mr. Dryden, is printed among the
Poems of the latter.
A flame that glows amidst conceptions fit;
Sometimes with pow'rful charms to hurry me
From pleatures of the night and bufinefs of the day?
Even now, too far transported, I am fain
Here I fhall all the various forts of verfe, And the whole art of poetry, rehearse; But who that talk would after Horace do? The beft of mafters and examples too! Echoes at beft, all we can fay is vain; Dull the defign, and fruitlefs were the pain. 'Tis true, the ancients we may rob with cafe! But who with that mean fhift himfelf can please, Without an actor's pride? A player's art Is above his who writes a borrow'd part. Yet modern laws are made for latter faults, And new abfurdities infpire new thoughts; What need has Satire then to live on theft, When fo much fresh occafion ftill is left? Fertile our foil, and full of rankeft weeds, And monsters worse than ever Nilus breeds. But hold-the fool fhall have no caufe to fear; 'Tis wit and fenfe that are the fubject here: Defects of witty men deferve a cure; And thofe who are fo will ev'n this endure.
First then of fongs which now fo much abound; Without his fong no fop is to be found; A moft offenfive weapon, which he draws On all he meets, againft Apollo's laws. Though nothing feems more eafy, yet no part Of poetry requires a nicer art; For as in rows of richest pearl there lies Many a blemish that efcapes our eyes, The leaft of which defects is plainly fhewn In one fmall ring, and brings the value down; So fongs fhould be to just perfection wrought; Yet where can one be seen without a fault? Exact propriety of words and thought; Expreffion eafy, and the fancy high; Yet that not feem to creep, nor this to fly; No words tranfpes'd, but in fuch order all, As wrought with care, yet feem by chance to fall.
Here, as in all things elfe, is most unfit,
Next, Elegy, of sweet but folemn voice,
A higher flight, and of a happier force, Are Odes: the Mufes' moft unruly horfe, That bounds fo fierce, the rider has no reft, Here foams at mouth,and moves like one poffefs'd. The poet here must be indeed infpir'd With fury too, as well as fancy fir'd. Cowley might boast to have perform'd this part, Had he with nature join'd the rules of art; But fometimes diction mean, or verfe ill-wrought, Deadens, or clouds, his noble frame of thought. Though all appear in heat and fury done, The language ftill muft foft and caly run. Thefe laws may found a little too fevere; But judgment yields, and fancy governs here; Which, though extravagant, this Mufe allows, And makes the work much easier than it fhews.
Of all the ways that wifeft men could find
The Earl of Rochefter.- -It may be obferved, nobleman were fpurious. + Waller's.
however, that many of the worst fongs afcribed to this + Denham's.
This poem must be more exactly made, And sharpest thoughts in smootheft words convey'd.
Some think, if fharp enough, they cannot fail,
Here reft, my Mufe, fufpend thy cares awhile; A more important task attends thy toil. As fome young eagle, that defigns to fly A long unwonted journey through the sky, Weighs all the dangerous enterprise before, O'er what wide lands and feas the is to foar; Doubts her own strength so far, and justly fears The lofty road of airy travellers; But yet, incited by fome bold defign, That does her hopes beyond her fears incline, Prunes ev'ry feather, views herself with care, At last, refolv'd, the cleaves the yielding air; Away fhe flies, fo ftrong, fo high, fo faft, She leffens to us, and is loft at last : So (though too weak for fuch a weighty thing) The Mufc infpires a fharper note to fing. And why should truth offend, when only told To guide the ignorant, and warn the bold? On, then, my Mufe; advent'rously engage To give inftructions that concern the Stage.
The unities of action, time, and place, Which, if obferv'd, give plays fo great a grace, Are, tho' but little practis'd, too well known To be taught here, where we pretend alone From nicer faults to purge the prefent age, Lefs obvious errors of the English ftage.
Firk, then, Soliloquies had need be few, Extremely fhort, and spoke in paífion too. Our lovers talking to themfelves, for want Of others, make the pit their confidant; Nor is the matter mended yet, if thus They truft a friend, only to tell it us; Th' occafion fhould as naturally fall, As when Bellario confeffes all §.
What things are thefe who would be poets thought,
By nature not infpir'd, nor learning taught?
As what a man would fay in fuch a cafe:
Expofe no fingle fop, but lay the load
Figures of fpeech, which poets think so fine (Art's needlefs varnish to make nature shine) All are but paint upon a beauteous face, And in defcriptions only claim a place: But, to make rage declaim, and grief difcourfe, From lovers in defpair fine things to force, Muft needs fucceed; for who can choofe but pity A dying hero, miferably witty? But oh! the Dialogues, where jeft and mock Are held up like a reft at fhuttle-cock; Or elfe like bells eternally they chime; They figh in Simile, and dye in Rhyme.
* M. Dryden. A famous fatirical Poem of his. In Philafter, a play of Beaumont and Fletcher,
A poem called the Hind and Panther. The matchlefs character of Shakefpear.