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From Nature's bounty-that humane addrefs
And sweetness, without which no pleasure is
'n converse, either starv'd by cold referve,
Or flush'd with fierce difpute, a fenfelefs brawl;
Yet, being free, I love thee: For the fake
Of that one feature, can be well content,
Difgrac'd as thou haft been, poor as thou art,
To feek no fublunary reft befide.

But, once enflav'd, farewel! I could endure
Chains no where patiently; and chains at home,
Where I am free by birthright, not at all.
Then what were left of roughnefs in the grain
Of British natures, wanting its excufe
That it belongs to freemen, would difguft
And fhock me. I thould then with double pain
Feel all the rigour of thy fickle clime;
And if I must bewail the bleffing loft
For which our Hampdens and our Sidneys bled,
I would at leaft bewail it under skies
Milder, among a people lefs auftere,
In fcenes which having never known me free,
Would not reproach me with the lofs I felt.

Made vocal for th' amufement of the reft:
The fprightly lyre, whofe treasure of fweet founds
The touch from many a trembling chord thakes


And the clear voice fymphonious, yet diftinct,
And in the charming ftrife triumphant ftill,
Beguile the night, and fet a keener edge
On femele industry; the threaded steel
Flies Swiftly, and unfelt the talk proceeds.
The volume clos'd, the customary rites
Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal,
Such as the mistress of the world once found
Delicious, when her patriots of high note,
Perhaps by moon-light at their humble doors,
And under an old oak's domestic thade,
Enjoy'd, fpare feast! a radith and an egg.
Difcourfe enfues, not trivial, yet not dull,
Nor fuch as with a frown forbids the play
Of fancy, or prefcribes the found of mirth.
Nor do we madly, like an impious world,
Who deem religion phrenfy, and the God
That made them an intruder on their joys,
Start at his awful name, or deem his praise
A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone
Exiting oft our gratitude and love,
While we retrace with memory's pointing wand,
That calls the past to our exact review,
The dangers we have 'cap'd, the broken fnare,
The difappointed foe, deliv'rance found
Unlook'd for, life preferv'd and peace reftor'd,
Fruits of omnipotent eternal love.
Oh evenings worthy of the gods exclaim'd
The Sabine bard. Oh evenings! I reply,
More to be priz'd and coveted than yours,
As more illumin'd and with nobler truths,
That I, and Mine, and those we love, enjoy.

$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 mufe imparts, and can command the lyre,
Acts with a force, and kindles with a zeal,
Whate'er the theme, that others never feel.
If human woes her foft attention claim,
A tender fympathy pervades the frame;
She pours a fenfibility divine
Along the nerve of ev'ry feeling line.
But if a deed not tamely to be borne
Fire indignation, and a fenfe of fcorn,
The ftrings are fwept with fuch a pow'r, so loud,
The ftorm of mufic fhakes th' aftonifh'd crowd,
So when remote futurity is brought
Before the keen enquiry of her thought,
A terrible fagacity informs

The Poet's heart, he looks to diftant ftorms,
He hears the thunder ere the tempeft low'rs,
And, arm'd with ftrength furpalling human

Scizes events as yet unknown to man,
And darts his foul into the dawning plan.
Hence, in a Roman mouth, the graceful name
Of Prophet and of Poet was the fame;
Hence British poets too the priesthood shar'd,
And ev'ry hallow'd Druid was a bard.

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.
Throughout the earth no cheerful beam

The melancholic eye furveys,
Save where the worm's fantastic gleam
The 'nighted traveller betrays,

The favage race (fo Heaven decrees)
No longer through the foreft rove;
All nature refts, and not a breeze

Disturbs the ftillness of the grove.
All nature refts; in Sleep's foft arms

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!
Where now is all my youthful boast;
The dear exchange I hop'd was given,
For flighted fame and fortune loft?
Where now the joys that once were mine?
Where all my hopes of future blifs?
Muft I thofe joys, thofe hopes, refign?

Is all her friendship come to this?
Muft then each woman faithlefs prove,

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,
The glittering profpect charm'd my eyes,
I faw along th' extended plan
Joy after joy fucceffive rife;

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.
But foon I found 'twas all a dream;

And learn'd the fond purfuit to fhun,
Where few can reach their purpos'd aim,
And thousands daily are undone :
And Fame, I found, was empty air;

And Wealth had Terror for her gueft;
And Pleafure's path was ftrewn with Care;
And Pow'r was vanity at best.

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
The flow'r-enamell'd vale along;
Or wander with me through the grove,
And liften to the woodlark's fong:
Or 'mid the foreft's awful gloom,
Whilft wild amazement fill'd my eyes,
Recall paft ages from the tomb,

And bid ideal worlds arife.
Thus in the Mufe's favour bleft,

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 heart a ftranger to difguife,

Her mind as perfect as her face.
To hear her fpeak, to fee her move
(Unhappy I, alas! the while),
Her voice was joy, her look was love,

And Heaven was open'd in her smile!
She heard me breathe my amorous pray'rs,
She liften'd to the tender ftrain,
She heard my fighs, the faw my tears,

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!

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§ 50. An Efay on Poetry. BUCKINGHAM,
OF all thole arts in which the wife excel,
Nature's chief mafter-piece is writing well:
No writing lifts exalted man fo high
As facred and foul-moving Poefy:
No kind of work requires to nice a touch;
And, if well finifh'd, nothing fhines fo much.
But Heaven forbid we should be so profane,
To grace the vulgar with that noble name!
'Tis not a flash of fancy, which fometimes,
Dazzling our minds, fets off the flighteft rhymes;
Bright as a blaze, but in a moment done:
True wit is everlasting, like the fun;

Which, though fometimes behind a cloud retir'd,
Breaks out again, and is by all admir'd.
Number, and rhyme, and that harmonious found,
Which not the niceft ear with harfhnefs wound,
Are neceffary, yet but vulgar arts;
And all in vain these fuperficial parts
Contribute to the ftructure of the whole,
Without a genius too, for that 's the foul:
A fpirit which infpires the work throughout,
As that of nature moves the world about;

* The Effay on Satire, which was written by this noble author and Mr. Dryden, is printed among the

Poems of the latter.

A flame

A flame that glows amidst conceptions fit;
Even fomething of divine, and more than wit;
Itfelf unfeen, yet all things by it fhewn,
Defcribing all men, but defcrib'd by none.
Where doft thou dwell? what caverns of the brain
Can fuch a vast and mighty thing contain?
When I,at vacant hours, in vain thy abfence mourn,
Oh! where doft thou retire? and why doft thou


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
To check thy courfe, and use the needful rein.
As all is dullnefs when the fancy 's bad;
So, without judgment, fancy is but mad :
And judgment has a boundlefs influence
Not only in the choice of words, or fenfe,
But on the world, on manners, and on men;
Fancy is but the feather of the pen ;
Reafon is that fubftantial useful
Which gains the head, while t'other wins the



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,
Bare ribaldry, that poor pretence to wit;
Such naufeous fongs by a late author * made,
Call an unwilling cenfure on his fhade.
Not that warm thoughts of the transporting joy
Can fhock the chafteft, or the nicest cloy;
But words obfcene, too grofs to move defire,
Like heaps of fuel only choke the fire.
On other themes he well deferves our praife;
But palls that appetite he meant to raife.

Next, Elegy, of sweet but folemn voice,
And of a fubject grave exacts the choice;
The praife of beauty, valour, wit contains;
And there too oft defpairing love complains:
In vain, alas! for who by wit is mov'd,
That Phonix-fhe deferves to be belov'd;
But noify nonfenfe, and fuch fops as vex
Mankind, take moft with that fantastic sex.
This to the praife of thofe who better knew;
The many raife the value of the few.
But here (as all our fex too oft have tried)
Women have drawn my wand 'ring thoughts afide.
Their greateft fault, who in this kind have writ,
Is not defect in words, or want of wit:
But fhould this Mufe harmonious numbers yield,
And ev'ry couplet be with fancy fill'd;
If yet a juft coherence be not made
Between each thought; and the whole model laid
So right, that ev'ry line may higher rife,
Like goodly mountains, till they reach the fkies;
Such trifles may perhaps of late have pafs'd,
And may be lik'd awhile, but never last;
'Tis epigram, 'tis point, 'tis what you will,
But not an elegy, nor writ with skill,
No + Panegyric, nor a ‡ Cooper's Hill.


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
To mend the age, and mortify mankind,
Satire well writ has moft fuccefsful prov'd,
And cures, becaufe the remedy is lov'd.
'Tis hard to write on fich a fubject more,
Without repeating things faid oft before :
Some vulgar errors only we 'll remove,
That stain a beauty which we fo much love.
Of chofen words fome take not care enough,
And think they should be as the fubject rough;

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,
As if their only butinefs was to rail:
But human frailty nicely to unfold,
Diftinguibes a fatyr from a fcold.
Rage you must hide, and prejudice lay down;
A fatyr's fmile is fharper than his frown:
So while you feem to flight fome rival youth,
Malice itfelf may país fometimes for truth.
The Laureat here may justly claim our praife,
Crown'd by Mac Flecknoe + with immortal bays;
Yet once his Pegasus has borne dead weight,
Rid by fome lumpish minifter of state.


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?
Some wit they have, and therefore may deferve
A better courie than this, by which they starve:
But to write plays! why, 'tis a bold pretence
To judgment, breeding, wit, and eloquence:
Nay more; for they muft look within, to find
Thofe fecret turns of nature in the mind.
Without this part, in vain would be the whole,
And but a body all, without a foul.
All this united yet but makes a part
Of Dialogue, that great and pow'rful art,
Now almoft loft, which the old Grecians knew,
From whom the Romans fainter copies drew,
Scarce comprehended fince but by a few.
Plato and Lucian are the beft remains
Of all the wonders which this art contains;
Yet to ourfelves we juftice muft allow,
Shakefpear and Fletcher are the wonders now:
Confider then, and read them o'er and o'er;
Go fee them play'd, then read them as before;
For though in many things they grofsly fail,
Over our paflions ftill they fo prevail,
That our own grief by theirs is rock'd afleep;
The dull are forc'd to feel, the wife to weep.
Their beauties imita c, avoid their faults;
Firft, on a plot employ thy careful thoughts;
Turn it, with time, a thoufand fev'ral ways;
This oft, alone, has given success to plays.
Reject that vulgar error (which appears
So fair) of making perfect characters;
There's no fuch thing in nature, and you'll draw
A faultlefs monfter-which the world ne'er faw.
Some faults must be, that his misfortunes drew,
But fuch as may deferve compaffion too.
Besides the main defign compos'd with art,
Each moving fcene must be a plot apart;
Contrive each little turn, mark ev'ry place,
As painters first chalk out the future face:
Yet be not fondly your own flave for this,
But change hereafter what appears amifs.
Think not fo much where fhining thoughts to

As what a man would fay in fuch a cafe:
Neither in comedy will this fuffice,
The player too must be before your eyes;
And, though 'tis drudgery to stoop so low,
To him you muft your fecret meaning fhew.

Expofe no fingle fop, but lay the load
More equally, and spread the folly broad;
Mere coxcombs are too obvious; oft we fee
A fool derided by as bad as he:
Hawks fly at nobler game; in this low way,
A very owl may prove a bird of prey.
Small poets thus will one poor fop devour:
But to collect, like bees, from ev'ry flow'r,
Ingredients to compofe that precious juice,
Which ferves the world for pleasure and for use,
In spite of faction-this would favour get;
But Falstaff || stands inimitable yet.

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.


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