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Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
E'en he whose soul now melts in mournful lays, For those who greatly think, or bravely die? Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays ;
Why bade ye else, ye powers ! her soul aspire Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart!
The muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!
To Mr. Addison's Tragedy of Cato.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, Like eastern kings, a lazy state they keep,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart; And, close confined to their own palace, sleep. To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
From these perhaps (ere nature bade her die) Live o'er each scene, and be what they behold : , Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky. For this the Tragic Muse first trod the stage, As into air the purer spirits flow,
Commanding tears to stream through every age': And separate from their kindred dregs below:
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept, So flew the soul to its congenial place,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept. Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; Thou mean deserter of thy brother's blood !
In pitying love, we but our weakness show, See on these ruby lips the trembling breath, And wild ambition well deserves its woe. These cheeks now fading at the blast of death! Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause, Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before, Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws ; And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise, Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes. Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws, On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was : And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates : No common object to your sight displays, There passengers shall stand, and pointing, say, But what with pleasure Heaven itself surveys, (While the long funerals blacken all the way,)
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate, Lo! these were they, whose souls the furies steeld, And greatly falling with a falling state. And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.' While Cato gives his little senate laws, Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause ? The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
Who sees him act, but envies every deed ? So perish all whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed ? For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
E'en when proud Cæsar, 'midst triumphal cars, What can atone (oh ever injured shade !) The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars, Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
Ignobly vain, and impotently great, No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state ; Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier : As her dead father's reverend image pass'd, By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
The pomp was darken’d, and the day o'ercast; By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, The triumph ceased, tears gush'd from every eye; By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd, The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by: By strangers honour'd and by strangers mourn'd!
Her last good man dejected Romé adored, What though no friends in sable weeds appear, Aud honour'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword. Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year, Britons, attend : be worth like this approved, And bear about the mockery of woe
And show, you have the virtue to be moved. To midnight dances, and the public show?
With honest scorn the first famed Cato view'd What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace, Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdued Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
Your scene precariously subsists too long What'though no sacred earth allow thee room, On French translation and Italian song: Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb?
Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage, Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd
Be justly warm’d with your own native rage: And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
Such plays alone should win a British ear
As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
TO MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE. How loved, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
Designed for Mrs. Oldfield.
PRODIGIOUS this! the frail-one of our play
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung; You might have held the pretty head aside, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue : Peep'd in your fans, been serious, thus, and cried,
“The play may pass—but that strange creature Shore Say, lovely youth, that dost my heart command,
Ask not the cause that I new numbers choose,
Love taught my tears in sadder notes to flow, Our sex are still forgiving at their heart;
And tuned my heart to elegies of woe. And did not wicked custom so contrive,
I burn, I burn, as when through ripen'd corn We'd be the best, good-natured things alive. By driving winds the spreading flames are borne.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, Phaon to Etna's scorching fields retires, That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ;
While I consume with more than Etna's fires ! Such rage without betrays the fire within ;
No more my soul a charm in music finds, In some close corner of the soul, they sin ; Music has charms alone for peaceful minds: Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice,
Soft scenes of solitude no more can please, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice.
Love enters there, and I'm my own disease. The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, No more the Lesbian dames my passion move, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams : Once the dear objects of my guilty love; Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners ? All other loves are lost in only thine, Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sinners. Ah, youth ungrateful to a flame like mine! Well, if our author in the wife offends,
Whom would not all those blooming charms surprise, He has a husband that will make amends :
Those heavenly looks, and dear deluding eyes ? He draws him gentle, tender, and forgiving, The harp and bow would you like Phæbus bear, And sure such kind good creatures may be living A brighter Phæbus Phaon might appear : In days of old they pardon'd breach of vows; Would you with ivy wreathe your flowing hair, Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse :
Not Bacchus' self with Phaon could compare : Plu— Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life? Yet Phæbus loved, and Bacchus felt the flame, Tells us, that Cato dearly loved his wife :
One Daphne warm’d, and one the Cretan dame; Yet if a friend, a night or so, should need her, Nymphs that in verse no more could rival me, He'd recommend her as a special breeder. Than e'en those gods contend in charms with thee To lend a wife, few here would scruple make; The muses teach me all their softest lays, But, pray, which of you all would take her back? And the wide world resounds with Sappho's praise Though with the stoic chief our stage may ring, Though great Alcæus more sublimely sings, The stoic husband was the glorious thing.
And strikes with bolder rage the sounding strings, The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true, No less renown attends the moving lyre, And loved his country—but what's that to you? Which Venus tunes, and all her loves inspire; Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye, To me what nature has in charms denied, But the kind cuckold might instruct the city. Is well by wit's more lasting flames supplied. There many an honest man may copy Cato, Though short my stature, yet my name extends Who ne'er saw naked sword, or look'd in Plato. To heaven itself, and earth's remotest ends. If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
Brown as I am, an Ethiopian dame That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face ; Inspired young Perseus with a generous flame; To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
Turtles and doves of different hues unite, In all the rest so impudently good;
And glossy jet is pair'd with shining white. Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign, Come here in crowds, and stare the strumpet down. But such as merit, such as equal thine,
By none, alas! by none thou canst be moved :
Phaon alone by Phaon must be loved !
Yet once thy Sappho could thy cares employ;
Once in her arms you centred all your joy:
For, oh ! how vast a memory has love!
moured of Sappho, a lady of Lesbos, from whom he met And all my words were music to your ear. with the tenderest returns of passion : but his affec. You stopp'd with kisses my enchanting tongue, tion afterwards decaying, he left her and sailed for And found my kisses sweeter than my song. Sicily. She, unable to bear the loss of her lover; In all I pleased, but most in what was best ; hearkened to all the mad suggestions of despair; and seeing no other remedy for her present miseries, re. And the last joy was dearer than the rest. solved to throw herself into the sea, from Leucate, a Then with each word, each glance, each motion fired, promontory of Epirus, which was thought a cure in You still enjoy'd, and yet you still desired, cases of obstinate love, and therefore had obtained the Till all'dissolving in the trance we lay, name of the Lover's Leap. But before she ventured And in tumultuous raptures died away. upon this last step, entertaining still some fond hopes The fair Sicilians now thy soul inflame: that she might reclaim her inconstant, she wrote him Why was I born, ye gods! a Lesbian dame ? this epistle, in which she gives him a strong picture of her distress and misery, occasioned by his absence : But ah, beware, Sicilian nymphs! nor boast and endeavours by all the artful insinuations and That wandering heart which I so lately lost; moving expressions she is mistress of, to sooth him to Nor be with all those tempting words abused, softness and mutual feeling. (Anon.)
Those tempting words were all to Sappho used.
And you that rule Sicilia's happy plains,
| His hated image ever haunts my eyes; Have pity, Venus, on your poet's pains!
"And why this grief? thy daughter lives,' he cries Shall fortune still in one sad tenor run,
Stung with my love, and furious with despair, And still increase the woes so soon begun ? All torn my garments, and my bosom bare, Inured to sorrow from my tender years,
My woes, thy crimes, I to the world proclaim : My parent's ashes drank my early tears :
Such inconsistent things are love and shame!
My daily longing, and my dream by night.
And dress'd in all its visionary charms,
A thousand melting kisses give and take: Nor braids of gold the varied tresses bind,
Then fiercer joys: I blush to mention these, That fly disordered with the wanton wind : Yet, while I blush, confess how much they please. For whom should Sappho use such arts as these? But when, with day, the sweet delusions fly, He's gone, whom only she desired to please! And all things wake to life and joy, but I; Cupid's light darts my tender bosom move, As if once more forsaken, I complain, Still is there cause for Sappho still to love: And close my eyes to dream of you again; So from my birth the Sisters fixed my doom, Then frantic rise, and like some fury rove And gave to Venus all my life to come;
Through lonely plains, and through the silent grove: Or, while my muse in melting notes complains, As if the silent grove, and lonely plains, My yielding heart keeps measure to my strains. That knew my pleasures, could relieve my pains. By charms like thine, which all my soul have won, I view the grotto, once the scene of love, Who might notah! who would not be undone ? The rocks around, the hanging roofs above, For those Aurora Cephalus might scorn,
That charm'd me more, with native moss o'ergrown, And with fresh blushes paint the conscious morn: Than Phrygian marble, or the Parian stone. For those might Cynthia lengthen Phaon's sleep, I find the shades that veil'd our joys before ! And bid Endymion nightly tend his sheep : But, Phaon gone, those shades delight no more. Venus for those had rapt thee to the skies, Here the press'd herbs with bending tops betray But Mars on thee might look with Venus eyes. Where oft entwined in amorous folds we lay ; O scarce a youth, yet scarce a tender boy! I kiss that earth which once was pressed by you, O useful time for lovers to employ!
And all with tears the withering herbs bedew.
For thee the fading trees appear to mourn,
A spring there is, whose silver waters show,
Eternal greens the mossy margin grace, Nor knew I then how much I was to grieve. Watch'd by the sylvan genius of the place. No lover's gift your Sappho could confer,
Here as I lay, and swell'd with tears the flood, And wrongs and woes were all you left with her, Before my sight a watery virgin stood : No charge I gave you, and no charge could give, She stood and cried, O you that love in vain; But this, ' Be mindful of your loves, and live.' Fly hence, and seek the fair Leucadian main : Now by the Nine, those powers adored by me, There stands a rock, from whose impending steep And Love, the god that ever waits on thee, Apollo's fane surveys the rolling deep; When first I heard (from whom I hardly knew) There injured lovers, leaping from above, That you were fled, and all my joys with you, Their flames extinguish, and forget to love. Like some sad statue, speechless, pale I stood, Deucalion once with hopeless fury burn'd, Griefchill'd my breast, and stopp'd my freezing blood; In vain he loved : relentless Pyrrha scorn'd: No sigh to rise, no tear had power to flow, But when from hence he plunged into the main, Fix'd in a stupid lethargy of wo:
Deucalion scorn'd, and Pyrrha loved in vain. But when its way the impetuous passion found, Haste, Sappho, haste, from high Leucadia throw I rend my tresses, and my breast I wound; Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below!" I rave; then weep; curse, and then complain ; She spoke, and vanish'd with the voice-I rise, Now swell to rage, now melt in tears again. And silent tears fall trickling from my eyes Not fiercer pangs distract the mournful dame, I go, ye nymphs! those rocks and seas to prove; Whose first-born infant feeds the funeral flame. How much I fear, but ah, how much I love! My scornful brother with a smile appears, I go, ye nymphs! where furious love inspires; esults my woes, and triumphs in my tears , Let female fears submit to female fires.
To rocks and seas I fly from Phaon's hate,
their days to religion. It was many years after this And hope from seas and rocks a milder fate.
separation, that a letter of Abelard's to a friend, Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow,
which contained the history of his misfortune, fell
into the hands of Eloisa. This awakening all her And softly lay me on the waves below!
tenderness, occasioned those celebrated letters (out of And thou, kind Love, my sinking limbs sustain,
which the following is partly extracted) which give so Spread thy soft wings, and waft me o'er the main,
lively a picture of the struggles of grace and nature, Nor let a lover's death the guiltless flood profane ! virtue and passion. On Phoebos' shrine my harp I'll then bestow, And this inscription shall be plac'd below;
In these deep solitudes and awful cells, • Here she who sung, to him who did inspire,
Where heavenly-pensive contemplation dwells, Sappho to Phæbus consecrates her lyre;
And ever-musing melancholy reigns, What suits with Sappho, Phæbus, suits with thee,
What means this tumult in a vestal's veins. ? The gift, the giver, and the god agree.'
Why rove my thoughts beyond this last retreat ? But why, alas! relentless youth, ah why
Why feels my heart its long-forgotten heat?
Yet, yet I love !_From Abelard it came,
Dear fatal name! rest ever unreveald,
Nor pass these lips, in holy silence seal'd,, O far more faithless, and more hard than they?
Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise,
Where, mix'd with God's, his loved idea lies :
Her heart still dictates, and her hand obeys.
Relentless walls! whose darksome round contains My languid numbers have forgot to flow,
Repentant sighs, and voluntary pains : And fancy sinks beneath a weight of wo.
Ye rugged rocks! which holy knees have worn; Ye Lesbian virgins, and ye Lesbian dames, Ye grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid thorn; Themes of my verse, and objects of my flames,
Shrines ! where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep; . No more your groves with my glad songs shall ring, And pitying saints, whose statues learn to weep; No more these hands shall touch the trembling Though cold like you, unmoved and silent grown, string :
I have not yet forgot myself to stone. (My Phaon 's fled, and I those arts resign,
All is not Heaven's while Abelard has part: Wretch that I am, to call that Phaon mine!) Still rebel nature holds out half my heart; Return, fair youth, return, and bring along
Nor prayers nor fasts its stubborn pulse restrain, Joy to my soul, and vigour to my song:
Nor tears for ages taught to flow in vain. Absent from thee, the poet's flame expires ;
Soon as thy letters trembling I unclose,
That well-known name awakens all my woes ;
Line after line my gushing eyes o'erflow,
Tears still are mine, and those I need not spare; Ah let me seek it from the raging seas :
Love but demands what else were shed in prayer; To raging seas unpitied I'll remove,
No happier task these faded eyes pursue; .
Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief:
Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires, ARGUMENT.
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires,
The virgin's wish without her fears impart, Abelard and Eloisa flourished in the twelth century: Excuse the blush, and pour out all the heart,
they were two of the most distinguished persons of their age in learning and beauty, but for nothing
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul, more famous than for their unfortunate passion. And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole! After a long course of calamities they retired each to Thou know'st how guiltless first I met thy name, a several convent, and consecrated the remainder of When love approach'd me under friendship's name,
My fancy form'd the. of angelic kind,
Ah! think at least thy flock deserves thy care, Some emanation of the All-beauteous Mind, Plants of thy hand, and children of thy prayer. Those smiling eyes, attempering every ray, From the false world in early youth they fled, Shone sweetly lambent with celestial day. By thee to mountains, wilds, and deserts led, Guiltless I gazed : Heaven listen'd while you sung,
You raised these hallow'd walls ; the desert smiled And truths divine came mended from that tongue. And paradise was open'd in the wild. From lips like those what precept fail'd to move? Na weeping orphan saw his father's stores Too soon they taught me 'twas no sin to love : Our shrines irradiate, or emblaze the floors; Back through the paths of pleasing sense I ran, No silver saints, by dying misers given, Nor wish'd an angel whom I loved a man. Here bribe the rage of ill-requited Heaven ; Dim and remote the joys of saints I see,
But such plain roofs as piety could raise, Nor envy them that heaven I lose for thee. And only focal with the Maker's praise.
How oft, when press'd to marriage, have I said; In these lone walls (their days eternal bound) Curse on all laws but those which love has made! These moss-grown domes with spiry turrets crown'd, Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
Where awful arches make a noon-day night, Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies. And the dim windows shed a solemn light, Let wealth, let honour, wait the wedded dame, Thy eyes diffused a reconciling ray, August her deed, and sacred be her fame; And gleams of glory brighten'd all the day: Before true passion all those views remove; But now no face divine contentment wears; Fame, wealth, and honour ! what are you to love? "Tis all blank sadness, or continual tears. The jealous god, when we profane his fires, See how the force of others' prayers I try, Those restless passions in revenge inspires, (Oh pious fraud of amorous charity!) And bids them make mistaken mortals groan, But why should I on others' prayers depend ? Who seek in love for aught but love alone. Come thou, my father, brother, husband, friend! Should at my feet the world's great master fall, Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move, Himself, his throne, his world, I'd scorn them all: And all those tender names in one, thy love! Not Cæsar's empress would I deign to prove ; The darksome pines that o'er yon rocks reclined, No, make me mistress to the man I love.
Wave high, and murmur to the hollow wind. If there be yet another name more free,
The wandering streams that shine between the hills, More fond than mistress, make me that to thee! The grots that echo to the tinkling rills, Oh, happy state! when souls each other draw, The dying gales that pant upon the trees, When love is liberty, and nature law;
The lakes that quiver to the curling breeze; All then is full, possessing and possess'd,
No more these scenes my meditation aid, No craving void left aching in the breast :
Or lull to rest the visionary maid : E'en thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part, But o'er the twilight groves and dusky caves, And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart. Long-sounding aisles, and intermingled graves, This sure is bliss (if bliss on earth there be) Black melancholy sits, and round her throws And once the lot of Abelard and me.
A death-like silence, and a dread repose ; Alas, how changed! what sudden horrors rise ! Her gloomy presence saddens all the scene, A naked lover bound and bleeding lies !
Shades every flower, and darkens every green, Where, where was Eloïse ? her voice, her hand, Deepens the murmur of the falling floods, Her poniard had opposed the dire command. And breathes a browner horror on the woods. Barbarian, stay! that bloody stroke restrain :
Yet here for ever, ever must I stay; The crime was common, common be the pain. Sad proof how well a lover can obey ! I can no more; by shame, by rage suppress'd, Death, only death, can break the lasting chain; Let tears and burning blushes speak the rest. And here, e'en then, shall my cold dust remain ;
Canst thou forget that sad, that solemn day, Here all its frailties, all its flames resign, When victims at yon altar's foot we lay?
And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine. Canst thou forget what tears that moment fell, Ah, wretch! believed the spouse of God in vain, When, warm in youth, I bade the world farewell ? Confess'd within the slave of love and man. As with cold lips I kiss'd the sacred veil,
Assist me, Heaven! but whence arose that prayer?
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought;
Repent old pleasures, and solicit new;
Now think of thee, and curse my innocence. Still on that breast enamour'd let me lie,
or all affliction taught a lover yet, Still drink delicious poison from thy eye,
"Tis sure the hardest science to forget! Pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be press'd;
How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense, Give all thou canst-and let me dream the rest And love the offender, yet detest the offence ? Ah, no! instruct me other joys to prize,
How the dear object from the crime rernove, With other beauties-charm my partial eyes : Or how distinguish penitence from loven? Full in my view set all the bright abode,
Unequal task ! a passion to resign, And make my soul quit Abolard for God.
For hearts so touch'd, so pierced, so lost as mine!