ePub 版

Ah no! the mighty names are heard no more :

Pride's thought sublime, and Beauty's kindling bloom, Serve but to sport one flying moment o'er,

And swell, with pompous verse, the scutcheon'd tomb.

For me-may Passion ne'er my soul invade,

Nor be the whims of towering Frenzy given; Let Wealth ne'er court me from the peaceful shade, Where Contemplation wings the soul to Heaven!

O guard me safe from Joy's enticing snare !

With each extreme that Pleasure tries to hide, The poison'd breath of slow-consuming Care,

The noise of Folly, and the dreams of Pride.

But oft, when midnight's sadly solemn knell

Sounds long and distant from the sky-topp'd tower, Calm let me sit in Prosper's lonely cell,*

Or walk with Milton through the dark obscure. Thus, when the transient dream of life is fled,

May some sad friend recall the former years, Then stretch'd in silence o'er my dusty bed, Pour the warm gush of sympathetic tears!




WELL-though our passions riot, fret, and rave, Wild and capricious as the wind and wave,

* See Shakspeare's Tempest.

One common folly, say whate'er we can,
Has fix'd, at last, the mercury of man;
And rules, as sacred as his father's creed,
O'er every native of the Thames and Tweed.

ye what power it is that dares to claim
So vast an empire, and so wide a fame ?
What God unshrined in all the ages past?
I'll tell
you, friend! in one short word-'tis Taste;
Taste, that, without or head, or ear, or heart,
One gift of nature, or one grace of art,
Ennobles riches, sanctifies expense,

And takes the place of spirit, worth and sense.
In elder times, ere yet our fathers knew
Rome's idle arts, or panted for Virtu,
Or sat whole nights Italian songs to hear,
Without a genius, and without an ear;
Exalted sense, to warmer climes unknown,
And manly wit was Nature's, and our own.
But when our virtues, wrapp'd by wealth and peace,
Began to slumber in the lap of ease—
When Charles return'd to his paternal reign,
With more than fifty tailors in his train,
We felt for Taste-for then obliging France
Taught the rough Briton how to dress, and dance;
Politely told him all were brutes, and fools,
But the gay coxcombs of her happier schools;
That all perfection in her language lay,
And the best author was her own Rabelais.
Hence, by some strange malignity of fate,
We take our fashions from the land we hate;
Still slaves to her, howe'er her taste inclines,
We wear her ribbands, and we drink her wines;

Eat as she eats, no matter which or what,
A roasted lobster, or a roasted cat ;
And fill our houses with an hungry train
Of more than half the scoundrels of the Seine.

Time was, a wealthy Englishman would join
A rich plumb pudding to a fat sirloin;

Or bake a pasty, whose enormous wall
Took up almost the area of his hall:
But now, as art improves and air refines,
The demon Taste attends him when he dines :
Serves on his board an elegant regale,
Where three stew'd mushrooms flank a larded quail
Where infant turkeys, half a month resign'd
To the soft breathings of a southern wind,
And, smother'd in a rich ragout of snails,
Outstink a lenten supper at Versailles.
Is there a saint that would not laugh to see
The good man piddling with his fricasee?
Forced by the luxury of Taste to drain
A flask of poison, which he calls champagne!
While he, poor idiot, though he dare not speak,
Pines all the while for porter, and ox-cheek.

Sure 'tis enough to starve for pomp and show, To drink, and curse the clarets of Bordeaux : Yet such our humor, such our skill to hit Excess of folly through excess of wit,

We plant the garden, and we build the seat,
Just as absurdly as we drink and eat.

For is there aught that Nature's hand has sown
To bloom and ripen in her hottest zone?
Is there a shrub which, ere its verdures blow,
Asks all the suns that beam upon the Po?

Is there a floweret whose vermilion hue
Can only catch its beauty in Peru?
Is there a portal, colonnade, or dome,
The pride of Naples or the boast of Rome ?
We raise it here, in storms of wind and hail,
On the bleak bosom of a sunless vale;
Careless alike of climate, soil, and place,
The cast of nature, and the smiles of grace.

Hence all our stucco'd walls, Mosaic floors, Palladian windows, and Venetian doors; Our Gothic fronts, whose Attic wings unfold Fluted pilasters tipp'd with leaves of gold; Our massy ceilings, graced with gay festoons, The weeping marbles of our damp saloons, Lawns fringed with citrons, amaranthine bowers, Expiring myrtles, and unopening flowers. Hence the good Scotsman bids th' anana blow In rocks of crystal, or in Alps of snow; On Orcus' steep extends his wide arcade, And kills his scanty sunshine in a shade.

One might expect a sanctity of style August and manly in an holy pile, And think an architect extremely odd To build a play-house for the church of God; Yet half our churches, such the mode that reigns, Are Roman theatres, or Grecian fanes; Where broad arch'd windows to the eye convey The keen diffusion of too strong a day; Where, in the luxury of wanton pride, Corinthian columns languish side by side, Closed by an altar exquisitely fine, Loose and lascivious as a Cyprian shrine.

Of late, 'tis true, quite sick of Rome and Greece, We fetch our models from the wise Chinese : European artists are too cool and chaste, For Mandarin only is the man of taste; Whose bolder genius, fondly wild to see His grove a forest, and his pond a sea, Breaks out-and, whimsically great, designs Without the shackles or of rules or lines. Form'd on his plans, our farms and seats begin To match the boasted villas of Pekin. On every hill a spire-crown'd temple swells, Hung round with serpents, and a fringe of bells: Junks and balloons along our waters sail, With each a gilded cock-boat at its tail; Our choice exotics to the breeze exhale Within th' enclosure of a zig-zag rail; In Tartar huts our cows and horses lie, Our hogs are fatted in an Indian stye; On every shelf a Joss divinely stares, Nymphs laid on chintzes sprawl upon our chairs; While o'er our cabinets Confucius nods, "Midst porcelain elephants, and China gods.

Peace to all such-but you whose chaster fires True greatness kindles, and true sense inspires, Or ere you lay a stone, or plant a shade, Bend the proud arch, or roll the broad cascade, Ere all your wealth in mean profusion waste, Examine nature with the eye of Taste; Mark where she spreads the lawn, or pours the rill, Falls in the vale, or breaks upon the hill,

Plan as she plans, and where her genius calls, There sink your grottos, and there raise your walls.


« 上一頁繼續 »