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Slow-wasting sickness, or the sudden burst
Of valve arterial in the noble parts,
Curtail the miseries of human life?
Tho' varied is the cause, the effect's the same;
All to one common dissolution tends.
Dec. 25th, 1769.
No more, dear Smith, the hackney'd tale renew;
I own their censure, I approve it too.
For how can idiots, destitute of thought,
Conceive, or estimate, but as they're taught?
Say, can the satirizing pen of Shears,
Exalt his name or mutilate his ears?
None, but a Lawrence, can adorn his lays,
Who in a quart of claret drinks his praise.
T--r repeats, what Catcott told before,
But lying T--r is believ'd no more.
If in myself I think my notion just,
The church and all her arguments are dust.
Religion's but opinion's bastard son,
A perfect mystery, more than three in one.
'Tis fancy all, distempers of the mind;
As education taught us, we're inclin'd.
Happy the man, whose reason bids him see
Mankind are by the state of nature free;
Who, thinking for himself, despises those,
That would upon his better sense impose;
Is to himself the minister of God,
Nor dreads the path where Athanasius trod.
Happy (if mortals can be) is the man,
Who, not by priest, but reason rules his span;1
Reason, to its possessor a sure guide,
Reason, a thorn in revelation's side.
If reason fails, incapable to tread
Thro' gloomy revelation's thick'ning bed,
On what authority the church we own?
How shall we worship deities unknown?
Can the Eternal Justice pleas'd receive
The prayers of those, who, ignorant, believe?
Search the thick multitudes of ev'ry sect, The church supreme, with Whitfield's new elect; No individual can their God define, No, not great Penny, in his nervous line. But why must Chatterton selected sit, The butt of ev'ry critic's little wit? Am I alone for ever in a crime; Nonsense in prose, or blasphemy in rhyme! All monosyllables a line appears? Is it not very often so in Shears? See gen'rous Eccas, length'ning out my praise Inraptur'd with the music of my lays; In all the arts of panegyric grac'd, The cream of modern literary taste.
Why, to be sure, the metaphoric line Has something sentimental, tender, fine; But then how hobbling are the other two; There are some beauties, but they're very few. Besides the author, 'faith 'tis something odd, Commends a reverential awe of God. Read but another fancy of his brain; He's atheistical in every strain. Fallacious is the charge: 'tis all a lie, As to my reason I can testify. I own a God, immortal, boundless, wise, Who bid our glories of creation rise;
Who form'd his varied likeness in mankind,
Centring his many wonders in the mind;
Who saw religion, a fantastic night,
But gave us reason to obtain the light;
Indulgent Whitfield scruples not to say,
He only can direct to Heaven's high-way.
While bishops, with as much vehemence tell,
All sects heterodox are food for Hell.
Why then, dear Smith, since doctors disagree,
Their notions are not oracles to me:
What I think right I ever will pursue,
And leave you liberty to do so too.
TO MR. G. CATCOTT.
Аn blame me not, Catcott, if from the right way
My notions and actions run far.
How can my ideas do other but stray,
Depriv'd of the ruling north-star?
Ah blame me not, Broderip, if mounted aloft,
I chatter and spoil the dull air;
How can I imagine thy foppery soft,
When discord's the voice of my fair?
If Turner remitted my bluster and rhymes, If Harding was girlish and cold,
If never an ogle was met from Miss Grimes, If Flavia was blasted and old;
I chose without liking, and left without pain, Nor welcom'd the frown with a sigh;
I scorn'd, like a monkey, to dangle my chain, And paint them new charms with a lie.
Once Cotton was handsome; I flam'd, and I burn'd,
I died to obtain the bright queen:
But when I beheld my epistle return'd,
By Jesu it alter'd the scene.
"She's damnable ugly," my vanity cried, "You lie," says my conscience, " you lie;" Resolving to follow the dictates of pride, I'd view her a hag to my eye.
But should she regain her bright lustre again, And shine in her natural charms,
'Tis but to accept of the works of my pen, And permit me to use my own arms.
HECCAR AND GAIRA, AN AFRICAN ECLOGUE.
Jan. 3, 1770.
WHERE the rough Caigra rolls the surgy wave,
Urging his thunders thro' the 2 echoing cave;
Where the sharp rocks, in distant horrour seen,
Drive the white currents thro' the spreading green;
Where the loud tiger, pawing in his rage,
Bids the black archers of the wilds engage;
Sorts is written under sects. Both in the author's hand-writing, and uncancelled.
2 Distant is written under echoing in the MSS. HK
Stretch'd on the sand, two panting warriors lay,
In all the burning torments of the day;
Their bloody jav'lins reek'd one living steam,
Their bows were broken at the roaring stream;
Heccar the chief of Jarra's fruitful hill,
Where the dark vapours nightly dews distil,
Saw Gaira, the companion of his soul,
Extended where loud Caigra's billows roll;
Gaira, the king of warring archers found,
Where daily lightnings plough the sandy ground,
Where brooding tempests howl along the sky,
Where rising deserts whirl'd in circles fly.
Gaira, 'tis useless to attempt the chase,
Swifter than hunted wolves they urge the race;
Their lessening forms elude the straining eye,
Upon the plumage of macaws they fly.
Let us return, and strip the reeking slain,
Leaving the bodies on the burning plain.
Heccar, my vengeance still exclaims for blood,
'Twould drink a wider stream than Caigra's flood.
This jav'lin, oft in nobler quarrels try'd,
Put the loud thunder of their arms aside.
Fast as the streaming rain, I pour'd the dart,
Hurling a whirlwind thro' the trembling heart:
But now my ling'ring feet revenge denies,
O could I throw my jav'lin from my eyes!
When Gaira the united armies broke, [stroke.
Death wing d the arrow; Death impell'd the
See, pil'd in mountains, on the sanguine sand
The blasted of the lightnings of thy hand.
Search the brown desert, and the glossy green;
There are the trophies of thy valour seen.
The scatter'd bones mantled in silver white,
Once animated, dared the force 3 in fight.
The children of the wave, whose pallid race,
Views the faint Sun display a languid face,
From the red fury of thy justice fled,
Swifter than torrents from their rocky bed.
Fear with a sicken'd silver ting'd their hue:
The guiity fear, when vengeance is their due.
Rouse not remembrance from her shadowy cell,
Nor of those bloody sons of mischief tell.
Cawna, O Cawna! deck'd in sable charms,
What distant region holds thee from my arms?
Cawna, the pride of Afric's sultry vales,
Soft as the cooling murmur of the gales,
Majestic as the many-colour'd snake,
Trailing his glories thro' the blossom'd brake:
Black as the glossy rocks, where Eascal roars,
Foaming thro' sandy wastes to Jaghirs shores;
Swift as the arrow, hasting to the breast,
Was Cawna, the companion of my rest.
The Sun sat low'ring in the western sky,
The swelling tempest spread around the eye;
Upon my Cawna's bosom I reclin'd,
Catching the breathing whispers of the wind:
Swift from the wood a prowling tiger came;
Dreadful his voice, his eyes a glowing flame;
I'bent the bow, th never-erring dart
Pierc'd his rough armour, but escap'd his heart;
8 2uery, whether not intended for foes?
He fled, tho' wounded, to a distant waste,
I urg'd the furious flight with fatal haste;
He fell, he dy'd-spent in the fiery toil,
I stripp'd his carcase of the furry spoil,
And as the varied spangles met my eye,
"On this," I cried," shall my lov'd Cawna lie."
The dusky midnight hung the skies in grey;
Impell'd by love, I wing'd the airy way;
In the deep valley and the mossy plain,
I sought my Cawna, but I sought in vain,
The pallid shadows of the azure waves
Had made my Cawna and my children slaves.
Reflection maddens, to recall the hour,
The gods had given me to the demon's power.
The dusk slow vauish'd from the hated lawn,
I gain'd a mountain glaring with the dawn.
There the full sails, expanded to the wind,
Struck horrour and distraction in my mind;
There Cawna, mingled with a worthless train,
In common slav'ry drags the hated chain.
Now judge, my Heccar, have I cause for rage?
Should aught the thunder of my arm assuage?
In ever-reeking blood this jav'lin dy'd
With vengeance shall be never satisfied;
I'll strew the beaches with the mighty dead,
And tinge the lily of their features red.
When the loud shriekings of the hostile cry
Roughly salute my ear, enrag'd I'll fly;
Send the sharp arrow quivering thro' the heart;
Chill the hot vitals with the venom'd dart;
Nor heed the shining steel or noisy smoke,
Gaira and vengeance shall inspire the stroke.
SAYS Tom to Jack, "Tis very odd, These representatives of God, In colour, way of life and evil, Should be so very like the Devil." Jack, understand, was one of those, Who mould religion in the nose, A red hot Methodist; his face Was full of puritanic grace, His loose lank hair, his low gradation, Declar'd a late regeneration; Among the daughters long renown'd, For standing upon holy ground; Never in carnal battle beat, Tho' sometimes forc'd to a retreat. But Ct, hero as he is, Knight of incomparable phiz, When pliant Doxy seems to yield, Courageously forsakes the field. Jack, or to write more gravely, John, Thro' hills of Wesley's works had gone; Could sing one hundred hymns by rote; Hymns which will sanctify the throte: But some indeed compos'd so oddly, You'd swear 'twas bawdy songs made godly.
COLIN INSTRUCTED. 1770. YOUNG Colin was as stout a boy As ever gave a maiden joy;
A love-taught tongue, angelic air,
A sentiment, a skill
In all the graces of the fair,
Mark Fanny of the Hill.
Thou mighty power, eternal fate,
My happiness to till,
O bless a wretched lover's fate,
With Fanny of the Hill.
HAPPINESS. 1770. [From Love and Madness. Corrected from Mr. Catcott's copy.]
SINCE happiness was not ordain'd for man, Let's make ourselves as easy as we can; Possest with fame or fortune, friend or we, But think it happiness-we want no more.
Hail Revelation! sphere-envelop'd dame,
To some divinity, to most a name,
Reason's dark-lantern, superstition's sun,
Whose cause mysterious and effect are one-
From thee, ideal bliss we only trace,
Fair as ambition's dream, or beauty's face,
But, in reality, as shadowy found
As seeming truth in twisted mysteries bound.
What little rest from over-anxious care
The lords of nature are design'd to share,
To wanton whim and prejudice we owe.
Opinion is the only god we know.
Our furthest wish, the Deity we fear
In diff'rent subjects, differently appear.
Where's the foundation of religion plac'd?
On every individual's fickle taste.
The narrow way the priest-rid mortals tread,
By superstitious prejudice misled.—
This passage leads to Heaven-yet, strange to tell!
Another's conscience finds it lead to Hell.
Conscience, the soul-camelion's varying hue,
Reflects all notions, to no notion true.-
The bloody son of Jesse, when he saw
The mystic priesthood kept the Jews in awe,
He made himself an ephod to his mind,
And sought the Lord, and always found him kind.
in murder, horrid cruelty, and lust,
The Lord was with him, and his actions just.
Priesteraft, thou universal blind of all, Thou ido!, at whose feet all nations fall. Father of misery, origin of sin, Whose first existence did with fear begin; Still sparing deal thy seeming blessings out, Veil thy Elysium with a cloud of doubtSince present blessings in possession cloy, Bid hope in future worlds expect the joyOr, if thy sons the airy phantoms slight, And dawning reason would direct them right, Some glittering trifle to their optics hold; Perhaps they 'li think the glaring span le gold, And, madded in the search of coins and toys, Eager pursue the momentary joys.
Mercator worships mammon, and adores No other deity but gold and w -es.
The name of Fanny, which was first written, was afterwards cancelled, and that of Betsy substituted in its stead: but for what reason was best known to the author..
Catcott is very fond of talk and fame;
His wish a perpetuity of name;
Which to procure, a pewter altar's made,
To bar his name, and signify his trade,
In pomp burlesqu'd the rising spire to head,
To tell futurity a pewterer's dead.
Incomparable Catcott, still pursue
The seeming happiness thou hast in view:
Unfinish'd chimneys, gaping spires complete,
Eternal fame on oval dishes beat:
Ride four-inch bridges, clouded turrets climb,
And bravely die-to live in after-time.
Horrid idea! if on rolls of fame
The twentieth century only find thy name.
Unnotic'd this in prose or tagging flower,
He left his dinner to ascend the tower.
Then, what avails thy anxious spitting pain?
Thy laugh-provoking labours are in vain.
On matrimonial pewter set thy hand;
Hammer with ev'ry power thou canst command;
Stamp thy whole self, original as 'tis,
To propagate thy whimsies, name and phyz-
Then, when the tottering spires or chimneys fall,
A Catcott shall remain admir'd by all.
Eudo, who has some trifling couplets writ, Is only happy when he's thought a wit- [views, Thinks I've more judgment than the whole ReBecause I always compliment his Muse. If any mildly would reprove his faults, They're critics envy-sicken'd at his thoughts. To me he flies, his best-beloved friend, Reads me asleep, then wakes me to commend. Say, sages-if not sleep-charm'd by the rhyme, Is flattery, much-lov'd flattery, any crime? Shall dragon satire exercise his sting, And not insinuating flattery sing? Is it more noble to torment than please? How ill that thought with rectitude agrees!
Come to my pen, companion of the lay, And speak of worth where merit cannot say; Let lazy Barton undistinguish'd snoar, Nor lash his generosity to Hóare; Praise him for sermons of his curate bought, His easy flow of words, his depth of thought; His active spirit, ever in display, His great devotion when he drawls to pray; His sainted soul distinguishably seen, With all the virtues of a modern dean.
Varo, a genius of peculiar taste, His misery in his happiness is plac'd; When in soft calm the waves of fortune roll, A tempest of reflection storms the soul; But what would make another man distrest, Gives him tranquillity and thoughtless rest: No disappointment can his peace invade, Superior to all troubles not self-madeThis character let grey Oxonians scan, And tell me of what species he's a man. Or be it by young Yeatman criticized, Who damns good English if not Latinized, In Aristotle's scale the Muse he weighs, And damps her little fire with copied lays! Vers'd in the mystic learning of the schools, He rings bob-majors by Leibnitzian rules.
Pulvis, whose knowledge centres in degrees, Is never happy but when taking fees. Blest with a bushy wig and solemn grace, Catcott admires him for a fossile face. When first his farce of countenance began, Ere the soft down had mark'd him almost man,
A solemn dullness occupied his eyes,
And the fond mother thought him wond'rous wise:
-But little had she read in Nature's book,
That fools assume a philosophic look.
O Education, ever in the wrong,
To thee the curses of mankind belong;
Thou first great author of our future state,
Chief source of our religion, passions, fate:
On every atom of the doctor's frame
Nature has stampt the pedant with his name;
But thou hast made him (ever wast thou blind)
A licens'd butcher of the human kind.
-Mould'ring in dust the fair Lavinia lies;
Death and our doctor clos'd ber sparkling eyes.
O all ye powers, the guardians of the world!
Where is the useless bolt of vengeance hurl'd?
Say, shail this leaden sword of plague prevail,
And kill the mighty where the mighty fail!
Let the red bolus tremble o'er his head,
And with his cordial julep strike him dead.
But to return-in this wide sea of thought, How shall we steer our notions as we ought? Content is happiness, as sages say➡ But what's content? The trifle of a day. Then, friend, let inclination be thy guide, Nor be by superstition led aside. The saint and sinner, fool and wise attain An equal share of easiness and pain.
FROM LOVE AND MADNESS.
O GOD, whose thunder shakes the sky;
Whose eye this atom globe surveys;
To thee, my only rock, I fly,
Thy mercy in thy justice praise.
The mystic mazes of thy will,
The shadows of celestial light,
Are past the power of human skill-
But what th' Eternal acts is right.
O teach me in the trying hour,
When anguish swells the dewy tear,、
To still my sorrows, own thy pow'r,
Thy goodness love, thy justice fear.
If in this bosom aught but thee
Incroaching sought a boundless sway,
Omniscience could the danger see,
And Mercy look the cause away.
Then why, my soul, dost thou complain?
Why drooping seek the dark recess?
Shake off the melancholy chain,
For God created all to bless.
But ah! my breast is human still;
The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill,
The sickness of my soul declare.
But yet, with fortitude resign'd,
I'll thank th' inflicter of the blow;
Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,
Nor let the gush of mis'ry flow.
The gloomy mantle of the night,
Which on my sinking spirit steals,
Will vanish at the morning light,
Which God, my East, my Sun, reveals
[From a copy in Chatterton's hand-writing de-
posited by Dr. Glyn in the British Museum.]
CLIFTON, Sweet village! now demands the lay,
The lov'd retreat of all the rich and gay;
The darling spot which pining maidens seek
To give health's roses to the pallid cheek.
Warm from its font the holy water pours,
And lures the sick to Clifton's neighbouring
Let bright Hygeia her glad reign resume,
And o'er each sickly form renew her bloom.
Me, whom no fell disease this hour compels
To visit Bristol's celebrated Wells,
Far other motives prompt my eager view;
My heart can here its fav'rite bent pursue,
Here can I gaze, and pause, and muse between,
And draw some moral truth from ev'ry scenc.
Yon dusky rocks, that from the stream arise
In rude rough grandeur, threat the distant
Seem as if Nature in a painful throe,
With dire convulsions, lab'ring to and fro,
(To give the boiling waves a ready vent)
At one dread stroke the solid mountain rent;
The huge cleft rocks transmit to distant fame
The sacred gilding of a good saint's name.
Now round the varied scene attention turns
Her ready eye-my soul with ardour burns;
For on that spot my glowing fancy dwells,
Where cenotaph its mournful story tells-
How Briton's heroes, true to honour's laws,
Fell, bravely fighting in their country's cause.
But tho' in distant fields your limbs are laid,
In fame's long list your glories ne'er will fade;
But blooming still beyond the gripe of death,
Fear not the blast of time's inclouding breath.
Your generous leader rais'd this stone to say,
You follow'd still where honour led the way;
And by this tribute, which his pity pays,
Twines his own virtues with his soldiers' praise.
Now Brandon's cliff's my wand'ring gazes meet,
Whose craggy surface mocks the ling`ring feet;
Queen Bess's gift, (so ancient legends say)
To Bristol's fair; where to the Sun's warm ray
On the rough bush the linen white they spread,
Or deck with russet leaves the mossy bed.
Here as I musing take my pensive stand, Whilst evening shadows lengthen o'er the land, O'er the wide landscape cast the circling eye, How ardent mem'ry prompts the fervid sigh; O'er the historic page my fancy runs, Of Britain's fortunes of her valiant sons. Yon castle, erst of Saxon standards proud, Its neighbouring meadows dy'd with Danish blood. Then of its later fate a view I take:
Here the sad monarch lost his hope's last stake;
When Rupert bold, of well-achiev'd renown,
Stain'd all the fame his former prowess won.
But for its ancient use no more employ'd,
Its walls all moulder'd and its gates destroy'd;
In hist'ry's roll it still a shade retains,
Tho' of the fortress scarce a stone remains.
Eager at length I strain each aching limb,
And breathless now the mountain's summit climb.
Here does attention her fixt gaze renew,
And of the city takes a nearer view.
The yellow Avon, creeping at my side,
In sullen billows rolls a muddy tide;
No sportive Naiads on her streams are seen,
No cheerful pastimes deck the gloomy scene;
Fixt in a stupor by the cheerless plain,
For fairy flights the fancy toils in vain:
For tho' her waves, by commerce richly blest,
Roll to her shores the treasures of the West,
Tho' her broad banks trade's busy aspect wears,
She seems unconscious of the wealth she bears.
Near to her banks, and under Brandon's hill,
There wanders Jacob's ever-murmʼring rill,
That, pouring forth a never-failing stream,
To the dim eye restores the steady beam.
Here too (alas! tho' tott'ring now with age)
Stands our deserted, solitary stage,
Where oft our Powell, Nature's genuine son,
With tragic tones the fix'd attention won:
Fierce from his lips his angry accents fly,
Fierce as the blast that tears the northern sky;
Like snows that trickle down hot Etna's steep,
His passion melts the soul, and makes us weep:
But O! how soft his tender accents move-
Soft as the cooings of the turtle's love-
Soft as the breath of morn in bloom of spring,
Dropping a lucid tear on Zephyr's wing:
O'er Shakespear's varied scenes he wandered wide,
In Macbeth's form all human pow'r defy'd;
In shapeless Richard's dark and fierce disguise,
In dreams he saw the murder'd train arise;
Then what convulsions shook his trembling breast,
And strew'd with pointed thorns his bed of rest!
But fate has snatch'd thee-early was thy doom,
How soon enclos'd within the silent tomb!
No more our raptur'd eyes shall meet thy form,
No more thy melting tones our bosoms warm.
Without thy pow'rful aid, the languid stage
No more can please at once and mend the age.
Yes, thou art gone! and thy belov'd remains
Yon sacred old cathedral wall contains;
There does the muffled bell our grief reveal,
And solemn organs swell the mournful peal;
Whilst hallow'd dirges fill the holy shrine,
Deserved tribute to such worth as thine.
No more at Clifton's scenes my strains o'erflow,
For the Muse, drooping at this tale of woe,
Slackens the strings of her enamour'd lyre,
The flood of gushing grief puts out her fire:
Else would she sing the deeds of other times,
Of saints and heroes sung in monkish rhymes;
Else would her soaring fancy burn to stray,
And thro' the cloister'd aisle would take her way,
Where sleep (ah! mingling with the common dust)
The sacred bodies of the brave and just.
But vain th' attempt to scan that holy lore,
These soft'ning sighs forbid the Muse to soar.
So treading back the steps I just now trod,
Mournful and sad I seek my lone abode.
TO MISS HOYLAND.
[From a MS. of Chatterton's in the British Museum.]
SWEET are thy charming smiles, my lovely maid, Sweet as the flow'rs in bloom of spring array'd; Those charming smiles thy beauteous face adorn, As May's white blossoms gaily deck the thorn. Then why, when mild good-nature basking lies Midst the soft radiance of thy melting eyes,