« AnteriorContinua »
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace high triumph hold;
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and juage the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear,
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream,
On summer eves, by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Johnson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the ineeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running;
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of Harmony:
That Orpheus,self may heave his head
From golden slumber, on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free,
His half-regained Eurydice.
These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
III.-On the Pursuits of Mankind.
HONOUR and shame from no condition rise; Act well your part-there all the honour lies. Fortune in men has some small difference made, One flaunts in rags-one flutters in brocade; The cobbler apron'd, and the parson gown'd; The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd. "What differ more," you cry, " than crown and cowl?" I'll tell you friend--a wise man and a fool. You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk, Or, cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk; Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow : The rest is all but leather or prunello.
Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race,
In quiet flow from Lucrece, to Lucrece :
But by your father's worth if yours you rate,
Count me those only who were good and great.
Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood
Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood:
Go! and pretend your family is young,
Nor own your fathers have been fools so long.
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness-say where greatness lies.
"Where, but among the heroes and the wise?"
Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede:
The whole strange purpose of their lives to find,
Or make an enemy of all mankind.
Not one looks backward; onward still he goes;
Yet ne'er looks forward, farther than his nose.
No less alike the politic and wise;
All sly slow things with circumspective eyes.
Men in their loose, unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer; these can cheat;
Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great.
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Or, failing, smiles in exile or in chains;
Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
Like Socrates--that man is great indeed.
What's fame? a fancy'd life in others' breath, A thing beyond us, e'en before our death. All fame is foreign, but of true desert, Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart; One self-approving hour whole years outweighs Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas : And more true joy, Marcellus exil'd, feels, Than Cæsar, with a Senate at his heels.
In parts superior what advantage lies? Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise? 'Tis but to know how little can be known; To see all others' faults, and feel our own; Condemn'd in business or in arts to drudge, Without a second, or without a judge. Truths would you teach, to save a sinking land? All fear, none aid you, and few understand. Painful pre-eminence! yourself to view Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.
Bring then these blessings to a strict account;
Make fair deductions, see to what they 'mount;
How much, of other, each is sure to cost:
How each, for other, oft is wholly lost;
How inconsistent greater goods with these;
How sometimes life is risk'd, and always ease:
Think. And, if still such things thy envy call,
Say, would'st thou be the man to whom they fall?
To sigh for ribands, if thou art so silly,
Mark how they grace Lord Umbra, or Sir Billy.
Is yellow dirt the passion of thy life?
Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife.
If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shin'd;
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.
Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
See Cromwell damn'd to everlasting fame.
If all, united, thy ambition call,
From ancient story, learn to scorn them all.
IV.-Adam and Eve's Morning Hymn.
THESE are thy glorious works! Parent of good!
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair: Thyself how wondrous, then,
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen ́
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye behold them, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne, rejoicing. Ye in heaven!
On earth, join, all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars! last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn.
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st
Moon! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires! that move
In mystic dance, not without song; resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise,
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray.
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling, still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds! that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines
With every plant, in sign of worship, wave.
Fountains and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling, tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls. Ye birds,
That, singing, up to heaven's gate ascend,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise,
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep!
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.--
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still,
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal'd-
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
V-Parting of Hector and Andromache.
HECTOR now pass'd, with sad presaging heart, To seek his spouse, his soul's far dearer part. At home he sought her; but he sought in vain ; She, with one maid, of all her menial train, Had thence retir'd; and with her second joy, The young Astyanax, the hope of Troy. Pensive she stood on Ilion's towery height, Beheld the war, and sicken'd at the sight: There her sad eyes in vain her lord d explore, Or weep the wounds her bleeding country bore. Hector, this heard, return'd without delay; Swift through the town he took his former way, Through streets of palaces, and walks of state, And met the mourner at the Scaan gate. With haste to meet him sprung the joyful fair, His blameless wife, Aetion's wealthy heir.
The nurse stood near; in whose embraces press'd, His only hope hung, smiling at her breast; Whom each soft charm and early grace adorn, Fair as the new-born star that gilds the morn. Silent, the warrior smil'd; and pleas'd, resign'd To tender passions, all his mighty mind. His beauteous princess cast a mournful look, Hung on his hand, and then, dejected, spoke. Her bosom labour'd with a boding sigh, And the big tear stood trembling in her eye.
"Too daring prince! ah! whither wilt thou run? Ah! too forgetful of thy wife and son!
And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be?
A widow I, a helpless orphan he!