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See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings, No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
And heap'd with products of Sabean springs ! Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier
For thee Idumé's spicy forests blow,
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow. By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd ;
See Heaven his sparkling portals wide display, By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
By strangers honor'd, and by strangers mourn'd! No more the rising Sun shall gild the morn, What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, But lost, dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
And bear about the mockery of woe One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
To midnight dances, and the public show?
O'erflow thy courts: the Light himself shall shine What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine ! Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay, What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away! Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
But fix'd his word, his saving power remains ; Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dressid,
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns! And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy relics made. TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
So, peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. What beckoning ghost, along the moonlight shade, How lov'd, how honor'd once, avails thee not, Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
To whom related, or by whom begot; "Tis she-but why that bleeding bosom gor’d,
A heap of dust alone remains of thee, Why dimly gleams the visionary sword ?
"Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be! Oh, ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, Is it, in Heaven, a crime to love too well ?
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, To act a lover's or a Roman's part ?
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part: For those who greatly think, or bravely die ? And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more!
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods :
Thence to their images on Earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage :
The first Part (to verse 132.) imitated in the Year 1714, by Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Dr. Swift; the latter Part added afterwards.
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
I'VE often wish'd that I had clear
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
For life, six hundred pounds a year, From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die) A handsome house to lodge a friend, Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
A river at my garden's end, As into air the purer spirits flow,
A terrace-walk, and half a rood And separate from their kindred dregs below; Of land, set out to plant a wood. So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Well, now I have all this and more,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
I ask not to increase my store;
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, “But here a grievance seems to lie,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
All this is mine but till I die ;
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
I can't but think 'twould sound more clever These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death ; To me and to my heirs for ever. Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, “If I ne'er got or lost a groat, And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
By any trick, or any fault; Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball,
And if I pray by Reason's rules, Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall: And not like forty other fools: On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
As thus, Vouchsafe, oh gracious Maker! And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates : To grant me this and t'other acre: There passengers shall stand, and pointing say, Or, if it be thy will and pleasure, (While the long funerals blacken all the way,) Direct my plow to find a treasure :' “Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steel'd, But only what my station fits, And curst with hearts unknowing how to yield.” And to be kept in my right wits, Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
Preserve, Almighty Providence! The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
Just what you gave me, competence : So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow And let me in these shades compose For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
Something in verse as true as prose ; What can atone, oh, ever-injur'd shade :
Remov'd from all th' ambitious scene, Thy fate unpilied, and thy rites unpaid ?
Nor puff'd by pride, nor sunk by spleen."
In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent;
Nor cross the Channel twice a year,
To spend six months with statesmen here.
I must by all means come to town,
'Tis for the service of the crown.
“Lewis, the Dean will be of use,
Send for him up, take no excuse.”
The toil, the danger of the seas;
Great ministers ne'er think of these ;
Or let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money's sound.
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
“Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,
Let my lord know you 're come to town.”
I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day;
And find his honor in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green .
How should I thrust myself between ?
Some wag observes me thus perplext,
And smiling whispers to the next,
“I thought the Dean had been too proud,
To justle here among a crowd."
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
“So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a duke."
I own, I'm pleas’d with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw:
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly penn'd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly offers me his case-
That, begs my int'rest for a place-
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
“ To-morrow my appeal comes on,
Without your help the cause is gone."-
The duke expects my lord and you,
About some great affair, at two-
Put my lord Boling broke in mind,
To get my warrant quickly sign'd.
Consider 'tis my first request.”.
Be satisfied, I'll do my best :-
Then presently he falls to tease,
“ You may for certain, if you please ;
I doubt not, if his lordship knew-
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you—"
'Tis (let me see) three years and more,
(October next it will be four,)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
As, “ What's o'clock ?" And, “How's the wind ?"
“ Who's chariot's that we left behind ?''
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs ;
Or, “ Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay ?"
Such tattle often entertains
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes, inter nos,
Might be proclaim’d at Charing-Cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell,
Because they see me us'd so well:
" How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together, tête-à-tête.
What, they admire him for his jokes—
See but the fortune of some folks!"
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopt by all the fools I meet,
And catechis d in every street.
“You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great;
Inform us, will the emp'ror treat ?
Or do the prints and papers lie ?"
Faith, Sir, you know as much as I.
“Ah, doctor, how you love to jest !
'Tis now no secret"-I protest
'Tis one to me-" Then tell us, pray,
When are the troops to have their pay ?"
And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord-mayor,
They stand amaz’d, and think me grown
The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd,
My choicest hours of life are lost;
Yet always wishing to retreat,
Oh, could I see my country-seat!
There, leaning near a gentle brook,
Sleep, or peruse some ancient book,
And there in sweet oblivion drown
Those cares that haunt the court and town.
O charming noons! and nights divine!
Or when I sup, or when I dine,
My friends above, my folks below,
Chatting and laughing all-a-row,
The beans and bacon set before 'em,
The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum :
Each willing to be pleas'd, and please,
And ev'n the very dogs at ease!
Here no man prates of idle things,
How this or that Italian sings,
A neighbor's madness, or his spouse's,
Or what's in either of the houses :
But something much more our concern,
And quite a scandal not to learn :
Which is the happier, or the wiser,
A man of merit, or a miser ?
Whether we ought to choose our friends,
For their own worth, or our own ends ?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what, the very best of all ?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know) A tale extremely à propos : Name a town life, and in a trice He had a story of two mice. Once on a time (so runs the fable) A country mouse, right hospitable, Receiv'd a town mouse at his board, Just as a farmer might a lord. A frugal mouse upon the whole, Yet lov'd his friend, and had a soul, Knew what was handsome, and would do't, On just occasion, coûle qui coûte. He brought him bacon (nothing lean); Pudding, that might have pleas'd a dean; Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make, But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL
Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems
published by our Author, after the said Earl's im prisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, “I vow you're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men;
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I :
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learnt at court.")
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn:
('Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late.)
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shin'd in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls ;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors :
But let it (in a word) be said,
The Moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red:
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sate, têle-à-tête.
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
· Que ca est bon! Ah goûtez ca !
That jelly 's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in."
Was ever such a happy swain!
Ho stuffs and swills, and stutis again.
“I'm quite asham'd—'tis mighty rude
To eat so much--but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give-
My lord alone knows how to live.”
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all :
"A rat! a rat! clap to the door!"-
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no k.)
“ An't please your honor," quoth the peasant,
“This same dessert is not so pleasant :
Give me again my hollow tree,
A crust of bread, and liberty!"
Such were the notes thy once-lov'd poet sung, Till Death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh just beheld, and lost! admir'd, and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd! Blest in each science, blest in every strain!
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend ;
For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dextrous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear.)
Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome days,
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate,
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great ;
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call,
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
Above all pain, and passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath,
The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
"Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th' oblig'd desert, and all the rain ;
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Ev’n now she shades thy evening-walk with baya,
(No hireling she, no prostitute to praise);
Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sun-set of thy various day,
Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.