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When my fond tongue would strive thy heart to move,
And tune its tones to every note of love;
Why do those smiles their native soil disown,
And (chang'd their movements) kill me in a frown!
Yet, is it true, or is it dark despair,
That fears you 're cruel whilst it owns you fair?
O speak, dear Hoyland! speak my certain fate,
Thy love enrapt'ring, or thy constant hate.
If death's dire sentence hangs upon thy tongue,
E'en death were better than suspense so long.
TO MR. FOW'ELL.
[From a MS. of Chatterton's, in the British Museum.]
WHAT language, Powell! can thy merits tell,
By Nature form'd in every path t' excel:
To strike the feeling soul with magic skill,
When every passion bends beneath thy will.
Loud as the howlings of the northern wind
Thy scenes of anger harrow up the mind;
But most thy softer tones our bosoms move,
When Juliet listens to her Romeo's love.
How sweet thy gentle movements then to see—
Each melting heart must sympathize with thee.
Yet, though design'd in every walk to shine,
Thine is the furious, and the tender thine;
Though thy strong feelings and thy native fire
Still force the willing gazers to admire,
Though great thy praises for thy scenic art,
We love thee for the virtues of thy heart.
ON HEARING HER PLAY ON THE HARPSICHORD.
[From a MS. of Chatterton's, in the British Museum.]
HAD Israel's Monarch, when misfortune's dart Pierc'd to its deepest core his heaving breast, Heard but thy dulcet tones, his sorrowing heart At such soft tones, had sooth'd itself to rest.
Yes, sweeter far than Jesse's son's thy strains,
Yet what avail if sorrow they disarm;
Love's sharper sting within the soul remains,
The melting movements wound us as they charm.
THE ART OF PUFFING, BY A BOOKSELLER'S JOURNEYMAN. [Copied from a MS. of Chatterton.] VERS'D by experience in the subtle art, The myst'ries of a title I impart: Teach the young author how to please the town, And make the heavy drug of rhyme go down. Since Curl, immortal, never-dying name! A Double Pica in the book of Fame, By various arts did various dunces prop, And tickled every fancy to his shop: Who can, like Pottinger, ensure a book? Who judges with the solid taste of Cooke? Villains exalted in the midway sky, Shall live again to drain your purses dry:
Nor yet unrivall'd they: see Baldwin comes,
Rich in inventions, patents, cuts, and hums:
The honourable Boswell writes, 'tis true,
What else can Paoli's supporter do.
The trading wits endeavour to attain,
Like booksellers, the world's first idol, gain:
For this they puff the heavy Goldsmith's line,
And hail his sentiment, tho' trite, divine;
For this, the patriotic bard complains,
And Bingley binds poor Liberty in chains:
For this was every reader's faith deceiv'd,
And Edmunds swore what nobody believ'd:
For this the wits in close disguises fight;
For this the varying politicians write;
For this each month new magazines are sold,
With dullness fill'd and transcripts of the old.
The Town and Country struck a lucky hit,
Was novel, sentimental, full of wit:
Aping her walk the same success to find,
The Court and City hobbles far behind:
Sons of Apollo learn; merit's no more
Than a good frontispiece to grace the door.
The author who invents a title well,
Will always find his cover'd dullness sell;
Flexney and every bookseller will buy,
Bound in neat calf, the work will never die.
July 22, 1770.
COPY OF VERSES WRITTEN BY CHATTERTON,
TO A LADY IN BRISTOL.
[From a copy given by Chatterton to Mr. H. Kater, of Bristol.] To use a worn out simile, From flow'r to flow'r the busy bee With anxious labour flies, Alike from scents which give distaste, By fancy as disgusting plac'd, Repletes his useful thighs.
Nor does his vicious taste prefer
The fopling of some gay parterre,
The mimickry of art!
But round the meadow-Violet dwells,
Nature replenishing his cells,
Does ampler stores impart.
So I, a humble dumble drone, Anxious and restless when alone
Seek comfort in the fair, And featur'd up in tenfold brass, A rhyming, staring, am'rous ass, To you address my pray❜r.
But ever in my love-lorn flights
Nature untouch'd by art delights,
Why, says some priest of mystic thought,
Art ever gives disgust.
The bard alone by nature taught,
Is to that nature just.
But ask your orthodox divine
If ye perchance should read this line
Which fancy now inspires:
Will all his sermons, preaching, prayers,
His Hell, his Heaven, his solemn airs,
Quench nature's rising fires?
THE WHORE OF BABYLON,
BOOK THE FIRST.
[From the original, copied by Mr. Catcott.]
NEWTON', accept the tribute of a line
From one whose humble genius honours thine.
Mysterious shall thy mazy numbers seem,
To give thee matter for a future dream.
Thy happy talents, meanings to untie,
My vacancy of meaning may supply;
And where the Muse is witty in a dash
Thy explanations may enforce the lash:
How shall the line grow servile in respect,
To North or Sandwich infamy direct.
Unless a wise ellipsis intervene,
How shall I satyrize the sleepy dean2.
Perhaps the Muse might fortunately strike
An highly finish'd picture, very like,
But deans are all so lazy, dull and fat,
None could be certain worthy Barton sat.
Come then, my Newton, leave the musty lines
Where revelation's farthing candle shines,
In search of hidden truths let others go,
Be thou the fiddle to my puppet-show:
What are these hidden truths but secret lies,
Which from diseas'd imaginations rise;
What if our politicians should succeed
In fixing up the ministerial creed,
Who could such golden arguments refuse
Which melts and proselytes the harden'd Jews.
Dr. Newton, then bishop of Bristol.
Dr. Barton, dean of Bristol,
When universal reformation bribes
With words and wealthy metaphors the tribes,
To empty pews the brawny chaplain swears,
Whilst nor but trembling superstition hears.
When ministers with sacerdotal hands
Baptise the flock in streams of golden sands,
Thro' ev'ry town conversion wings her way,
And conscience is a prostitute for pay.
Faith removes mountains, like a modern dean;
Faith can see vi tues which were never seen.
Our pious ministry this sentence quote,
To prove their instrument's superior vote,
Whilst Luttrell, happy in his lordship's voice,
Bids faith persuade us 'tis the people's choice.
This mountain of objections to remove,
This knotty, rotten argument to prove,
Faith insufficient, Newton caught the pen,
And show'd by demonstration, one was ten.
What boots it if he reason'd right or no,
'Twas orthodox, the Thane3 would have it so.
And who shall doubts and false conclusions draw
Against the inquisitions of the law;
With gaolers, chains, and piliories must plead,
And Mansfield's conscience settle right his creed:
"Is Man-field's conscience then," will reason cry,
"A standard block to dress our notions by.
Why what a blunder has the fool let fail.
That Mansfield has no conscience, none at all."
Pardon me, freedom! this and something more
The knowing writer might have known before;
But bred in Bristol's mercenary cell,
Compell'd in scenes of avarice to dwell,
What gen'rous passion can refine my breast?
What besides interest has my mind possest?
And should a gabbling truth like this be told
By me instructed here to slave for gold,
My prudent neighbours, (who can read,) would see
Another Savage to be starv'd in me.
Faith is a pow'rful virtue ev'ry where:
By this once Bristol drest, for Cato, Clare;
But now the blockheads grumble, Nugent's made
Lord of their choice, he being lord of trade.
They bawl'd for Clare when little in their eyes,
But cannot to the titled villain rise.
This state credulity, a bait for fools,
Employs his lordship's literary tools.
Murphy, a bishop of the chosen sect,
A ruling pastor, of the Lord's elect,
Keeps journals, posts, and magazines in awe,
And parcels out his daily statute law.
Would you the bard's veracity dispute?
He borrows persecution's scourge from Bute,
An excommunication-satire writes,
And the slow mischief trifles till it bites.
This faith, a subject for a longer theme,
Is not the substance of a waking dream;
Tho' blind and dubious to behold the right,
Its optics mourn a fixt Egyptian night.
Yet things unseen, are seen so very clear,
She knew fresh muster must begin the year;
She knows that North by Bute and conscience led,
Will hold his honours till his favour's dead;
She knows that Martin, ere he can be great,
Must practice at the targot of the state:
If then his erring pistol should not kill,
Why Martin must remain a traitor still.
His gracious mistress, gen'rous to the brave,
Will not neglect the necessary knave,
3 Lord Bute,
Since pious Ch-dl-gh is become her grace,
Martin turns rump, to occupy her place.
Say. Rigby, in the honours of the door
How properly a knave succeeds a whore.
She knows the subject almost slipt my quill,
Lost in that pistol of a woman's will;
She knows when Bute would exercise his rod,
The worthiest of the worthy sons of God.
But (say the critics) this is saying much,
The Scriptures teli us peace-makers are such.
Who can dispute his title, who deny
What taxes and oppression justify?
Who of the Thane's beatitude can doubt?
Oh! was but North as sure of being out.
And, (as I end whatever I begin,)
Was Chatham but as sure of being in.
But foster child of fate, dear to a dame,
Whom satire freely would, but dare not name.
Ye prodding barristers who hunt a flaw,
What mischief would you from the sentence draw. Which all perforce must outwardly obey,
Tremble and stand attentive as a dean,
Know, royal favour is the thing I mean.
To sport with royalty the Muse forbears,
And kindly takes compassion on my ears.
When once Shebbeare in glorious triumph stood
Upon a rostrum of distinguish'd wood,
Who then withheld his guinea or his praise,
Or envy'd him his crown of English bays?
But now Modestus, truant to the cause,
Assists the pioneers who sap the laws,
Wreaths infamy around a sinking pen,
Who could withho'd the pillory again.
But ifted into not ce, by the eyes
Of one whose optics always set to rise,
Forgive a pun, ye rationals, forgive
A flighty youth as yet unlearnt to live.
When I have conn'd cach sage's musty rule,
I may with greater reason play the fool.
Burgum and I, in ancient lore untaught,
Are always, with our nature, in a fault:
Tho' Cn would instruct us in the part,
Our stubborn morals would not err by art.
Having in various starts from order stray'd,
We'll call imagination to our aid.
See Bute astride upon a wrinkled hag,
His hand replenish'd with an open'd bag,
Whence fly the chosts of taxes and supplies,
The sales of places, and the last excise.
Upon the ground in seemly order laid
The Stuarts stretch'd the majesty of plaid.
Rich with the peer, dependance bow'd the head,
And saw their hopes, arising from the dead,
His countrymen were muster'd into place,
And a Scotch piper was above his grace.
But say, astrologers, could this be strange,
The lord of the ascendant rul'd the change,
And music, whether bagpipes, fiddles, drums,
All which is sense as meaning overcomes.
So now this universal fav'rite Scot
His former native poverty forgot,
The highest member of the car of state,
He sought to throw his chain upon the mind,
Nor would he leave conjectures unconfin'd;
We saw his measures wrong, and yet in spite
Of reason we must think these measures right:
Whilst curb'd and check'd by his imperious rein,
We must be satisfied, and not complain.
Complaints are libels, as the present age
Are all instructed by a law-wise sage,
Who, happy in his eloquence and fees,
Advances to preferment by degrees,
Trembles to think of such a daring step,
As from a tool to chancellor to leap.
But lest his prudence should the law disgrace,
He keeps a longing eye upon the mace.
Whilst Bute was suffer'd to pursue his plan,
And ruin freedom as he rais'd his clan,
Could not his pride, his universal pride,
With working undisturb'd be satisfied?
But when we saw the villany and fraud,
What conscience but a Scotchman's could applaud?
But yet 'twas nothing cheating in our sight,[right.
We should have humm'd ourselves and thought them
This faith, established by the mighty Thane,
Will long outlive that system of the Dane:
This faith-but now the number must be brief,
All human things are center'd in belief;
And, (or the philosophic sages dream,)
Nothing is really so as it may seem.
Faith is a glass to rectify our sight,
And teach us to distinguish wrong from right:
By this corrected Bute appears a Pitt,
And candour marks the lines which Murphy
Then let this faith support our ruin'd cause,
And give us back our liberties and laws.
No more complain of fav'rites made by lust,
No more think Chatham's patriot reasons just,
But let the Babylonish harlot see,
You to her Baal bow the humble knee.
Lost in the praises of the fav'rite Scot,
My better theme, my Newton, was forgot,
Blest with a pregnant wit, and never known
Where well he plays at blindman's buff with fate: To boast of one impertinence his own,
He warp'd his vanity to serve his God,
And in the paths of pious fathers trod :
Tho' genius might have started something new,
He honour'd lawn, and prov'd his scripture true;
No literary worth presum'd upon,
If fortune condescends to bless his play,
And drop a rich Havannah in his way,
He keeps it with intention to release
All conquests at the gen'ral day of peace.
When first and foremost to divide the spoil,
Some millions down might satisfy his toil:
To guide the car of war he fancied not
Where honour, and not money, could be got.
The Scots have tender honours to a man;
Honour's the tie that bundles up the clan.
They want one requisite to be divine,
One requisite in which all others shine.
They 're very poor; then who can blame the hand
Who polishes by wealth his native land.
And to complete the worth possest before
Gives ev'ry Scotchman one perfection more,
Nobly bestows the infamy of place,
And C-mpb-li struts about in doubled lace.
Who says Bute barters place, and nobly sold
His king, his union'd countrymen, for gold?
When ininisterial hirelings proofs defy,
If Musgrave cannot prove it, how can I?
No facts unwarranted shall soil my quill,
Suffice it, there's a strong suspicion still.
When Bute the iron rod of favour shook,
And bore his haughty passions in his look,
Nor yet contented with bis boundless sway,
He wrote the understrapper of St. John,
Unravell'd every mystic simile,
Rich in the faith, and fanciful as me,
Pull'd revelation's sacred robes aside,
And saw what uriestly modesty should hide;
Then seiz'd the pen, and with a good intent,
Discover'd hidden meanings never meant.
The reader, who in carnal notions bred,
Has Athanasius without rev'rence read;
Will make a scurvy kind of Lenten-feast
Upon the tortur'd offals of the beast;
But if, in happy superstition taught,
He never once presum'd to doubt in thought,
Like C, lost in prejudice and pride,
He takes the literal meaning for his guide.
Let him read Newton, and his bill of fare.
What prophesies unprophesied are there!
In explanations he's so justly skill'd,
The pseudo prophet's myst'ries are fulfill'd;
No superficial reasons have disgrac'd
The worthy prelate's sacerdotal taste;
No flaming arguments he holds in view,
Like Cn he affirms it, and 'tis true. [crutch,
Faith, Newton, is the tott'ring churchman's
On which our biest religion builds so much;
Thy fame would feel the loss of this support,
As much as Sawny's instruments at court:
For secret services, without a name,
"Enough," says Mungo, "reassume the quill,
And what I can afford to give, I will.”
When Bute the ministry and people's head
With royal favour pension'd Johnson dead,
The Muse in undeserv'd oblivion sunk,
Was read no longer, and the man was drunk.
Some blockhead, ever envious of his fame,
Massacred Shakespear, in the doctor's name:
The pulpit saw the cheat, and wonder'd not,
Death is of all mortality the lot.
Kenrick had wrote his Elegy, and penn'd
A piece of decent praise for such a friend;
And universal catealls testified
How moura'd the critics when the genius dy'd.
But now, tho' strange the fact to deists seem,
His ghost is risen in a venal theme!
And emulation madden'd all the Row,
To catch the strains which from a spectre flow,
And print the reasons of a bard deceas'd,
Who once gave all the town a weekly feast.
As beer to ev'ry drinking purpose dead,
Is to a wond'rous metamorphose led,
And open'd to the action of the winds,
In vinegar a resurrection finds,
His genius dead, and decently interr'd,
The clam'rous noise of duns sonorous heard,
Tour'd into life, assum'd the heavy pen,
And saw existence for an hour again,
Scatter'd his thoughts spontaneous from his brain,
And prov'd we had no reason to complain;
Whilst from his fancy, figures budded out,
As hair on humid carcases will sprout.
Horn set this restless shallow spirit still,
And from his venai fingers snatch'd the quill
If in defiance of the priestly word
He still will scribble learnedly absurd,
North is superior in a potent charm,
To lay the terrours of a false alarm.
Another hundred added to his five
No longer is the stumbling-block alive,
Fix'd in his chair, contented and at home,
The busy Rambler will no longer roam,
Releas'd from servitude, (such 'tis to think,)
He'll prove it perfect happiness to drink,
Once, (let the lovers of Irene weep,)
He thought it perfect happiness to sleep:
Irene, perfect composition, came
To give us happiness, the author fame;
A suore was much more grateful than a clap,
And box, pit, gallery, own'd it in a nap.
Hail, Johnson, chief of bards, thy rigid laws
Bestow'd due praise, and critics snoar'd applause
If from the humblest station in a place,
By writers fix'd eternal in disgrace,
Long in the literary world unknown,
To all but scribbling blockheads of its own,
Then only introduc'd (unhappy fate)
The subject of a satire's deadly hate;
Whilst equally the butt of ridicule,
The town was dirty, and the bard a fool:
If from this place where catamites are found
To swarm like Scotchmen Sawney's shade around,
I may presume to exercise the pen,
And write a greeting to the best of men;
Health is the ruling minister I send,
Nor has the minister a better friend:
Greater perhaps in titles, pensions, place,
He inconsiderately prefers his grace.
Ah! North! a humbler bard is better far;
Friendship was never found near Grafton's star
And myst'ries in religion are the same. But, to return to state, from whence the Muse In wild digression smaller themes pursues, And rambling from his grace's magic rod, Descends to lash the ministers of God. Both are adventures perilous and hard, And often bring destruction on the bard; For priests and hirelings, ministers of state, Are priests in love, infernals in their hate. The church, no theme for satire, scorns the lash, And will not suffer scandal in a dash. Not Bute, so tender in his spotless fame; Not Bute, so careful of his lady's name. Has sable lost its virtue? will the bell No longer send a straying sprite to Hell? Since souls, when animate with life, are sold For benetices, bishoprics, and gold; Since mitres, nightly laid upon the breast, Can charm the nightman, conscience, into rest, And learn'd exorcists very lately made Greater improvements in the living trade; Since Warburton (of whom in future rhymes) Has settled reformation on the times, Whilst from the teeming press his numbers fly, And, like his reasons, just exist and die; Since in the steps of clerical degree All thro' the telescope of fancy see: Tho' fancy under reason's lash may fall, Yet fancy in religion's all in all. Amongst the cassock'd worthies is there one Who has the conscience to be freedom's son? Horn, patriotic Horn, will join the cause, And tread on mitres to procure applause. Prepare thy book, and sacerdotal dress, To lay a walking spirit of the press, Who knocks at midnight at his lordship's door, And roars in hollow voice, "An hundred more:" A hundred more"-his rising lordship cries, Astonishment and terrour in his eyes: "A hundred more-By G-d, I wo'nt comply:" "Give," quoth the voice," I'll raise a hue and cry: In a wrong scent the leading beagle's gone, Your interrupted measures may go on; Grant what I ask, I'll witness to the Thane 1'an not another Fanny of Cock-lane."
Bishops are not by office orthodox: Who'd wear a title when they'd titled Fox; Nor does the honorary shame stop here, Have we not Weymouth, Barrington, and Clare. If noble murders, as in tale we're told, Made heroes of the ministers of old; If noble murders, Barrington's divine, His merit claims the laureated line; Let officers of train-bands wisely try To save the blood of citizens and fly. When some bold urchin beats his drum in sport, Our tragic trumpets entertain the court, The captain flies thro' every street in town, And safe from dangers wears his civic crown: Our noble secretary scorn'd to run, But with his magic wand discharg'd his gun; I leave him to the comforts of his breast, And midnight ghosts to howl him into rest. Health to the instruments of Bute the tool, Who with the little vulgar seems to rule; But since the wiser maxims of the age Marks for a Neddy Ptolomy the sage, Since Newton and Copernicus have taught Our blundering senses are alone in fault, The wise look further, and the wise can see The hand of Sawney actuating thee; The clock-work of thy conscience turns about, Just as his mandates wind thee in and out. By his political machine my rhimes Conceive an estimation of the times, And as the wheels of state in measures move, See how time passes in the world above, While tott'ring on the slipp'ry age of doubt Sir Fletcher sees his train-bands flying out, Thinks the minority, acquiring state, Will undergo a change, and soon be great. North issues out his hundred to the crew, Who catch the atoms of the golden dew. The etiquettes of wise sir Robert takes The doubtful, stand resolv'd, and one forsakes. He shackles ev'ry vote in golden chains, And Johnson in his list of slaves maintains: Rest, Johnson, hapless spirit, rest and drink, No more defile thy claret-glass with ink, In quiet sleep repose thy heavy head, Kenrick disdains to p-s upon the dead; Administration will defend thy fame, And pensions add importance to thy name. When sovereign judginent owns thy work divine, And ev'ry writer of reviews is thine, Let busy Kenrick vent his little spleen, And spit his venom in a magazine. Health to the minister, nor will I dare To pour out flatt'ry in his noble ear: His virtues, stoically great, disdains Smooth adulation's entertaining strains, And, red with virgin modesty, withdraws From wondering crowds and murmurs of applause. Here let no disappointed rhymer say, Because his virtue shuns the glare of day, And, like the conscience of a Bristol dean, Is never by the subtlest optic seen, That virtue is with North a priestish jest By which a mere nonentity's exprest. No-North is strictly virtuous, pious, wise, As ev y pension'd Johnson testifies. But, reader, I had rather you should see His virtues in another than in me. Bear witness, Bristol, nobly prove that I From thee or North, was never paid to lie.