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J OH N P O M F R E T.
“ The Poems of Dr. Watts were by my recommendation inserted in this Collection ; the Readers of " which are to impute to me whatever pleasure or weariness they may find in the perusal of Blackmore, “ Watts, Pomfret, and Yalden.”
P R E F A C E. T will be to little purpose, the Author presumes, to offer any reasons, why the true ; and if he does, it is much greater odds, whether the gentle reader is so courteous as to believe him.
He could tell the world, according to the laudable cuftom of Prefaces, that it was through the irresistible importunity of friends, or Come other excuse of ancient renown, that he ventured them to the press ; but he thought it much better to leave every man to guess for himself, and then he would be sure to satisfy himself: for, let what will be pretended, people are grown so
very apt to fancy they are always in the right, that, unless it hit their humour, it is immediately condemned for a sham and hypocrify.
In short, that which wants an excuse for being in print, ought not to have been printed at all; but whether the ensuing poems deserve to stand in that class, the world must have leave to determine. What faults the true judgment of the Gentleman may find out, it is to be hoped his candour and good-humour will easily pardon; but those which the peevishness and ill-nature of the Critic may discover, must expect to be unmercifully used : Though, methinks, it is a very prepofterous pleasure, to scratch other persons till the blood comes, and then laugh at and ridicule them.
Some persons, perhaps, may wonder, how Things of this Nature dare come into the world without the protection of some great name, as they call it, and a fulfome Epiftle Dedicatory to his Grace, or Right Honourable : for, if a Poem ftru out under my Lord's Patronage, the Author imagines it is no less than scandalum magnatum to dislike it; especially if he thinks fit to tell the world, that this fame Lord is a person of wonderful Wit and Understanding, a notable Judge of Poetry, and a very considerable Poet himself. But if a Poem have no intrinsic excellencies, and real beauties, the greatest name in the world will never induce a man of sense to approve it; and if it has them, Tom Piper's is as good as my Lord Duke's; the only difference is, Tom claps half an ounce of snuff into the Poet's and, and his Grace twenty guineas : for, indeed there lies the strength of a great name, and the greatest protection an Author can receive from it.
To please every one, would be a new thing; and to write so as to please nobody, vould be as new: for even Quarles and Withers have their admirers. The Author s not so fond of fame, to desire it from the injudicious Many ; nor of fo mortified a emper, , not to wish it from the discerning Few. It is not the multitude of aplauses, but the good sense of the applauders, which establishes a valuable reputason ; and if a Rymer or a Congreve say it is well, he will not be at all solicitous How great the majority may be to the contrary,
London, 1699 VOL. II.
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F Heaven the grateful liberty would give, I'd have a little vault, but always for'd
With the best wines each vintage could afferd. And all those hours propitious Fate should lend, Wine whets the wit, improves its native force, In blissful ease and satisfaction spend;
And gives a pleasant flavour to discourse: Near some fair town I'd have a private seat,
By making all our spirits debonair, Built uniform, not little, nor too great :
Throws off the lees, the sediment of case. Better, if on a rising ground it stood;
But as the greatest blessing Heaven lends On this fide fields, on that a neighbouring wood.
May be debauch'd, and serve ignoble ends; It should within no other things contain,
So, but too oft, the grape's refreshing juice But what are useful, necessary, plain :
Does many inischievous effects produce. Methinks 'tis nauseous; and I'd ne'er endure
My house should no such rude disorders know, The needless pomp of gaudy furniture.
As from high drinking confequently low; A little garden, grateful to the eye;
Nor would I use what was so kindly given, And a cool rivulet run murmuring by :
To the dishonour of indulgent Heaven. On whose delicious banks a stately row
If any neighbour came, he should be free, Of shady limes, or sycamores, should grow.
Us’d with respect, and not uneasy be, At th' end of which a filent study placid,
In my retreat, or to himself or me. Should be with all the noblest authors grac’d:
What freedom, prudence, and right reason gave, Horace and Virgil, in whose mighty lines
All men may, with impunity, receive : Immortal wit, and solid learning, shines ;
But the leaft swerving from their rule 's too much ; Sharp Juvenal, and amorous Ovid too,
For what's forbidden us, 'tis death to touch. Who all the turns of love's soft paflion knew:
That life may be more comfortable yet,
A great advance to my felicity :
Discreet, and men as well as books have known: Efteem'd for learning, and for cloquence.
Brave, generous, witty, and exadly free In some of these, as fancy should advise,
From loose behaviour, or formality: I'd always take my morning exercise:
Airy and prudent ; merry, but not light; For fure no minutes bring us more content,
Quick in discerning, and in judging right : Than those in pleafing, useful studies spent.
Secret they should be, faithful to their trust; I'd have a clear and competent estate,
In reasoning cool, strong, temperate, and jut; That I might live genteely, but not great :
Obliging, open, without huffing, brave; As much as I could moderately spend;
Brisk in gay talking, and in fober, grave: A little more, sometimes t'oblige a friend,
Clofe in dispute, but not tenacious; try'à Nor should the fons of poverty repine
By folid reason, and let that decide : Too much at fortune, they should taste of mine; Not prone to luft, revenge, or envious hate ; And all that objects of true pity were,
Nor busy medlers with intrigues of state: Should be reliev'd with what my wants could spare : Strangers to Nander, and sworn foes to spite; For that our Maker has too largely given,
Not quarrelsome, but stout enough to fight ; Should be return'd in gratitude to Heaven.
Loyal, and pious, friends to Cæsar ; true A frugal plenty should my table spread;
As dying Martyrs, to their Maker 100. With healthy, not luxurious, dishes spread :
In their society I could not miss Enough to satisfy, and something more,
A permanent, fincere, fubftantial bliss. To feed the stranger, and the neighbouring poor.
Would bounteous Heaven once more indulge
, I'd Strong meat indulges vice, and pampering food
choose Creates diseases, and inflames the blood.
(For who would so much fatisfaction lafe, But what's fufficient to make nature strong,
As witty nymphs, in conversation give) And the bright lamp of life continue long,
Near some obliging modest fair to live: I'd freely take; and, as I did poffels,
For there 's that fwectness in a female mind, The bounteous Author of my plenty bless.
Which in a man's we cannot hope to find;
LOVE TRIUMPHANT OVER REASON.
That, by a secret, but a powerful art,
I'd have her reason all her passions (way:
To this fair creature I'd sometimes retire;
I'd be concern'd in no litigious jar ;
If Heaven a date of many years would give, Thus I'd in pleasure, ease, and plenty live. And as I rear approach'd the verge of life, Some kind relation (for I'd have no wife) Should take upon him all my worldly care, Whilst I did for a better state prepare. Then I'd not be with any trouble vex'd, Nor have the evening of my days perplex'd ; But by a filent and a peaceful death, Without a figh, resign my aged breath. And when committed to the dust, I'd have Few tears, but friendly, dropt into my grave, Then would my exit to propitious be, 111 men would wish to live and dię like me.
All the long night, and drove away my reft ;
Methought I walk'd in a delightful grove,
Youth! the reply'd, this place belongs to one,
6 [B] 3
In these retirements freely to possess
You know the danger, your own methods use;
Thou great directress of our minds, fad I,
Then she rejoin'd; you may successful prove,
Then the convey'd me to a dismal fhade, Which melancholy yew and cypress made ; Where I beheld an antiquated pile Of rugged building in a narrow ise; The water round it gave a nauseous smell, Like vapours steeming from a sulphurous cell. The ruin'd wall, compos'd of stinking mud, O'er-grown with hemlock, on supporters food; As did the roof, ungrateful to the view: "Twas both an hospital, and bedlam too. Before the entrance, mouldering bones were spread, Some skeletons entire, fome lately dead; A little rubbish loosely scatter'd o'er Their bodies uninterr'd, lay round the door. No funeral rites to any here were paid, But dead like dogs into the dust conveyd. From hence, by Reafon's conduct, I was brought, Through various turnings to a spacious vault, Where I beheld, and 't was a mournful fight, Vaft crowds of wretches all debart'd from light, But what a few dim lamps, expiring, had; Which made the prospect more amazing fad. Some wept, some ray'd, some mufically mad: Some swearing loud, and others laughing : Some Were always talking; others always dumb. Here one, a dagger in his breaft, expires, And quenches with his blood his amorous fires: There hangs a second ; and, not far remor'd, A third lies poison'd, who false Celia lov'd. All sorts of madness, every kind of death, By which unhappy mortals lose their breatii, Were here expos'd before my wondering eyes, The sad effects of female treacheries;
Others I saw, who were not quite bereft
Who'd eat with emperors, if o'er his head Of sense, though very small remains were left, A poniard hung but by a single thread *? Curfing the fatal folly of their youth,
Love's banquets are extravagantly sweet, For trusting to perjurious woman's truth.
And either kill, or surfeit, all that eat; There on the left. _Upon the right a view Who, when the fated appetite is tird, Of equal horror, equal misery too;
E'en loath the thoughts of what they once admir’d. Amazing! all employ'd my troubled thought, You ’ve promis.d, Strephon, to forsake the charms And, with new wonder, new averfion brought. Of Delia, though she courts you to her arms; There I beheld a wretched, numerous throng And sure I may your resolution trust; Of pale, lean mortals; some lay stretch'd along You 'll never want temptation, but be just. On beds of straw, disconsolate and poor ;
Vows of this nature, youth, must not be broke; Others extended naked on the floor;
You 're always bound, though 't is a gentle yoke. Exild from human piry, here they lie,
Would men be wise, and my advice pursue, And know no end of misery till they die,
Love's conquests would be small, his triumphs few But death, which comes in gay and prosperous days For nothing can oppose his tyranny, Too foon, in time of misery delays.
With such a prospect of success as I. These dreadful spectacles had so much power,
Me he detests, and from my presence flies,
Who know his arts, and stratagems despise,
By which he cancels mighty Wisdom's rules,
To make himself the deity of fools: Which breeds such fad variety of woe.
Him dully they adore, him blindly serve, Then we descended, by some few degrees,
Some while they're sots, and others while they larve From this stupendous scene of miseries ;
For those who under his wild conduct go, Bold Reason brought me to another cave,
Either come coxcombs, or he makes them so ; Dark as the inmoft chambers of the grave.
His charms deprive, by their strange influence,
The brave of courage, and the wise of sense;
The scholar's learning, and the poet's wit,
A while may struggle, but at last submit;
Well-weigh'd results and wife conclufions seem
His opiates seize so strongly on the brain,
They make all prudent application vain: And you may bless the happy want of light.
If, therefore, you resolve to live at ease, But my tormented ears were fill'd with sighs,
To taste the sweetness of internal peace ; Expiring groans, and lamentable cries,
Would not for safety to a battle fly, So very sad I could endure no more;
Or choose a shipwreck, if afraid to die ; Methought I felt the miseries they bore.
Far from these pleasurable fhades remove,
And leave the fond, inglorious toil of Love.
This said, she vanih'd, and methought I found Which, if I dare infringe, be this my fate,
Myself transported to a riling ground; To die thus wretched, and repent too late.
From whence I did a pleasant vale survey, The charms of beauty I'll no more pursue :
Large was the prospecz, beautiful, and gay, Delia, farewell, farewell for ever too.
There I beheld th' apartments of delight,
Whofe curious forms oblig'd the wondering sight; Then we return'd to the delightful grove ;
Some in full view upon the champain plac'd, Where Reason still diffuaded me from Love.
With lofty walls and cooling streams embrac'd : You see, the cry'd, what misery attends
Others, in fhady groves, retir'd from noise, On Love, and where too frequently it ends ;
The seat of private and exalted joys. And let not that unwieldy passion sway
At a great distance I perceiv'd there stood Your soul, which none but whining fools obey, A stately building in a spacious wood, The masculine, brave spirit scorns to own
Whose giided turrets rais'd their beauteous heads The proud ufurper of my facred throne;
High in the air, to view the neighbouring meads, Vor with idolatrouis deyotion pays
Where vulgar lovers spend their happy days, To the false god, or sacrifice, or praise.
In ruftic dancing, and delightful plays. The Syren's music charms the sailor's ear;
But whilc I gaz'd with admiration round, But he is ruin'd if he stops to hear :
I heard from far cæleftial music found; And, if you listen, Love's harmonious voice
So soft, so moying, fo harmonious, all As much delights, as certainly destroys.
The artful charming notes did rise and fall; Ambrofia mix'd with Aconite may have
My soul, transported with the graceful airs, pleasant taste, but sends you to the grave; Shook off the pressures of its former fears ; For though the latent poison may be still
I felt afresh the little god begin while, it very seldom fails to kill.
To stir himself, and gentle move within.
* The fear of Damocles.