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See! see! he upward springs, and, towering high,
Spurns the dull province of mortality;
Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms,
And sets the' Almighty Thunderer in arms!
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst every verse arrayed in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critic's nicer laws.
How are you struck with terror and delight,
When angel with archangel copes in fight!
When great Messiah's outspread banner shines,
How does the chariot rattle in his lines!
What sound of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare
And stun the reader with the din of war!
To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire:
But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
And view the first gay scene of Paradise;
What tongue, what words of rapture, can express
A vision so profuse of pleasantness!
ADDRESS TO GREAT BRITAIN.
FROM THOMSON'S SUMMER.
-FOR lofty sense,
Creative fancy, and inspection keen
Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast?
Is not each great, each amiable, Muse
Of classic ages in thy MILTON met?
A genius universal as his theme;
Astonishing as Chaos; as the bloom
Of blowing Eden fair; as Heaven sublime!
ACTED AT DRURY-LANE THEATRE, APRIL 5, 1750. For the Benefit of Milton's Grand-Daughter.
YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame,
Yenymphs, whose bosoms beat at MILTON's name,
Whose generous zeal, unbought by flattering
Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times;
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise!
Let Wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage
With close malevolence, or public rage;
Let Study, worn with Vistue's fruitless lore,
Behold this Theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguish'd by your smiles, shall tell,
That never Britain can in vain excel;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,
And rising ages hasten to be just.
At length our mighty Bard's victorious lays
Fill the loud voice of universal praise ;
And baffled Spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his towering name :
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorned below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threatening o'er her slow decay.
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No favouring Muse her morning-dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Her's the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus graced with humble Virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
'Tis yours to crown desert-beyond the grave.
GRAY'S PROGRESS OF POESY.
NOR Second HE that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of ecstasy;
The secrets of the abyss to spy,
He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where Angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
HIGH on some cliff, to Heaven up-piled,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,
Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o'erbrow the vallies deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head
An Eden, like HIS OWN, lies spread;
I view that oak the fancied glades among,
By which as MILTON lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that drop'd etherial dew,
Nigh sphered in Heaven, its native strains could
On which that ancient trump he reached was hung;
Thither oft his glory greeting,
From Waller's myrtle shades retreating,
With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue,
My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue;
In vain: -Such bliss to one alone
Of all the sons of Soul was known;
And Heaven and Fancy, kindred Powers, Have now o'erturn'd the' inspiring bowers, Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view.
MASON'S ODE TO MEMORY.
RISE, hallow'd MILTON! rise, and say,
How, at thy gloomy close of day;
How, when 'depress'd by age, beset with wrongs;'
When fallen on evil days and evil tongues :'
When Darkness, brooding on thy sight,
Exiled the sovereign lamp of light;
Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse?
What friends were thine, save Memory and the
Hence the rich spoils, thy studious youth
Caught from the stores of ancient Truth:
Hence all thy busy eye could pleased explore,
When Rapture led thee to the Latian shore;
Each scene, that Tiber's bank supply'd;
Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side
The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly;
The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;
Were still thine own: thy ample mind
Each charm received, retain'd, combined.
And thence the nightly Visitant,' that came
To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,
Recall'd the long-lost beams of
That whilom shot from Nature's face,
When God, in Eden, o'er her youthful breast Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorgeous vest.
EPISTLE ON THE ENGLISH POETS.
ADDRESSED TO CHRISTOPHER ANSTEY, ESQ.
POET of other times! to thee I bow
With lowliest reverence. Oft thou takest my soul,
And waft'st it by thy potent harmony
To that empyreal mansion, where thine ear
Caught the soft warblings of a seraph's harp,
What time the nightly visitant unlock'd
The gates of Heaven, and to thy mental sight
Display'd celestial scenes. She from thy lyre
With indignation tore the tinkling bells,
And tuned it to sublimest argument.