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THE BIRTH OF FLATTERY.
Who could in view those shadowy beings bring,
And with bold hand remove each dark
Wherein love, hatred, scorn, or anger lies:
By whom when led she droops, when lead-
In that same plain a nymph, of curious
A cottage (plann'd with all her skill) had
What seem'd a window was but painted
But by a secret spring the wall would move, And daylight drop through glassy door above:
'Twas all her pride, new traps for praise to
And all her wisdom was to hide her way;
Yet, though united in their fortune, still Their ways were diverse; varying was their will;
Nor long the maid had bless'd the simple man,
Wretch that I am! what misery have found,
Since my sure craft was to thy calling bound!
Oh! vaunt of worthless art, the swain replied, Scowling contempt, how pitiful this pride! What are these specious gifts, these paltry gains,
But base rewards for ignominious pains? With all thy tricking, still for bread we strive,
Thine is, proud wretch! the care that cannot thrive;
By all thy boasted skill and baffled hooks, Thou gainst no more than students by their books;
No more than I for my poor deeds am paid, Whom none can blame, will help, or dare upbraid.
Call this our need, a bog that all devours,Then what thy petty arts, but summerflowers,
Gaudy and mean, and serving to betray The place they make unprofitably gay? Who know it not,some useless beauties see,But ah! to prove it, was reserved for me.
Unhappy state! that, in decay of love, Permits harsh truth his errors to disprove; While he remains, to wrangle and to jar, Is friendly tournament, no fatal war; Love in his play will borrow arms of hate, Anger and rage, upbraiding and debate; And by his power the desperate weapons thrown,
Become as safe and pleasant as his own; But left by him, their natures they assume, And fatal, in their poisoning force, become.
Time fled, and now New cause for fear
the swain, compell'd
Is this thy thrift? quoth he. To whom the wife with cheerful voice replied: :
Thou moody man, lay all thy fears aside,
On our fair child, how glorious were my dream!
This heard the husband, and, in surly smile, Aim'd at contempt, but yet he hoped the while :
I|For as, when sinking, wretched men are found To catch at rushes rather than be drown'd; So on a dream our peasant placed his hope, And found that rush as valid as a rope.
Now Fortune changed, who, were she constant long, Would leave us few adventures for our song. A wicked elfin roved this land around, Whose joys proceeded from the griefs he found;
Envy his name:-his fascinating eye
Like the first foe, he sought th' abode of joy,
Soil'd the fresh sweet, and changed the rosy hue;
The wise, the good, with anxious heart, he saw,
The great-what calm content the cottage bless'd;
To part the learned and the rich he tried, Till their slow friendship perish'd in their pride.
Such was the fiend, and so secure of prey, That only Misery pass'd unstung away.
Soon as he heard the fairy-babe was born. Scornful he smiled, but felt no more than scorn;
For why, when Fortune placed her state so | Why art thou grieved? Be_rather glad, that he,
In useless spite his lofty malice show? Why, in a mischief of the meaner kind, Exhaust the vigour of a ranc'rous mind? But, soon as Fame the fairy-gifts proclaim'd, Quick-rising wrath his ready soul inflamed, To swear, by vows that e'en the wicked tie, The nymph should weep her varied destiny; That every gift, that now appear'd to shine In her fair face and make her smiles divine, Should all the poison of his magic prove, And they should scorn her, whom she sought for love.
His spell prepared,in form an ancient dame, A fiend in spirit, to the cot he came ; There gain'd admittance, and the infant press'd
(Muttering his wicked magic) to his breast; And thus he said :—Of all the powers, who wait
On Jove's decrees and do the work of fate, Was I alone, despised or worthless, found, Weak to protect, or impotent to wound? See then thy foe, regret the friendship lost, And learn my skill, but learn it at your cost. Know then, O child! devote to fates severe, The good shall hate thy name, the wise shall fear;
Wit shall deride, and no protecting friend
A humble foe, will greater scorn declare;
He spake and vanish'd, other prey to find, And waste in slow disease the conquer'd mind.
Awed by the elfin's threats, and fill'd with dread,
The parents wept, and sought their infant's bed:
Despair alone the father's soul possess'd; But hope rose gently in the mother's breast; For well she knew that neither grief nor joy Pain'd without hope, or pleased without alloy; And while these hopes and fears her heart divide,
A cheerful vision bade the fears subside.
She saw descending to the world below An ancient form, with solemn pace and slow.
Daughter, no more be sad (the phantom
Success is seldom to the wise denied;
Who hates the happy, aims his darts at thee;
(So envy wills and such the voice of fate), Yet if that name be prudently suppress'd, She shall be courted, favour'd, and caress'd. For what are names? and where agree mankind,
In those to persons or to acts assign'd? Brave, learn'd, or wise, if some their favourites call,
Have they the titles or the praise from all? Not so, but others will the brave disdain As rash, and deem the sons of wisdom vain; The self-same mind shall scorn or kindness
And the same deed attract contempt and love. So all the powers who move the human soul, With all the passions who the will control, Have various names-One giv'n by Truth divine
(As Simulation thus was fix'd for mine), The rest by man, who now, as wisdom's, prize My secret counsels, now as art despise; One hour,as just, those counsels they embrace, And spurn, the next, as pitiful and base. Thee,too,my child, those fools as Cunning fly, Who on thy counsel and thy craft rely; That worthy craft in others they condemn, But 'tis their prudence, while conducting them.
Be FLATTERY, then, thy happy infant's name,
And decent Truth be call'd, and loved, as
Envy himself shall to thy accents bend, Force a faint smile and sullenly attend, When thou shalt call him Virtue's jealous friend,
Whose bosom glows with generous rage to find
How fools and knaves are flatter'd by mankind.
The sage retired, who spends alone his days, And flies th' obstreperous voice of public praise ;
The vain, the vulgar cry, shall gladly meet, And bid thee welcome to his still retreat; Much will he wonder, how thou cam'st to find A man to glory dead, to peace consign'd.
✪ Fame! he'll cry (for he will call thee | On the cold fen I see thee turn thine eyes, Its mists recede, its chilling vapour flies; Th' enraptured lord th' improving ground
From thee I fly, from thee conceal my name; But thou shalt say: Though Genius takes his flight,
He leaves behind a glorious train of light, And hides in vain: - yet prudent he that flies
The flatterer's art, and for himself is wise. Yes, happy child! I mark th' approaching day,
When warring natures will confess thy sway; When thou shalt Saturn's golden reign restore,
And vice and folly shall be known no more, Pride shall not then in human - kind have place,
Changed by thy skill to Dignity and Grace; While Shame, who now betrays the inward
Of secret ill, shall be thy Diffidence ; Avarice shall thenceforth prudent Forecast be,
And bloody Vengeance Magnanimity;
And Indiscretion be Contempt of art:
And deal the gifts of Heaven from hand to hand.
In thy blest days no tyrant shall be seen,
The gainful secret from the cautious breast;
Forbears the pleasure it indulged so long?
While grace and gladness join thy flow'ry way;
While every voice is praise, while every heart is gay. From thee all prospects shall new beauties
And for his Eden asks the traveller's praise, Which yet, unview'd of thec, a bog had been,
Where spungy rushes hide the plashy green. I see thee breathing on the barren moor, That seems to bloom although so bleak before;
There, if beneath the gorse the primrose spring,
Or the pied daisy smile below the ling, They shall new charms, at thy command, disclose,
And none shall miss the myrtle or the rose. The wiry moss, that whitens all the hill, Shall live a beauty by thy matchless skill; Gale from the bog shall yield Arabian balm, And the gray willow wave a golden palm. I see thee smiling in the pictured room, Now breathing beauty, now reviving bloom; There, each immortal name 'tis thine to give,
To graceless forms, and bid the lumber live. Shouldst thou coarse boors or gloomy martyrs see,
These shall thy Guidos,those thy Teniers be; There shalt thou Raphael's saints and angels trace,
There make for Rubens and for Reynolds place, And all the pride of art shall find, in her, disgrace.
Delight of either sex! thy reign commence; With balmy sweetness soothe the weary
and, as he preach'd alond,
"Tis thine to seek them and 'tis thine to Well-pleased he caught her whispers from
Those whispers, soothing-sweet to every | The rich-could they a constant friend condemn?
Which some refuse to pay,but none to hear :- The poor believed-for who should flatter
The learn'd confess'd that she their merits
Thus on her name though all disgrace attend,
In every creature she beholds a friend.
Yet thus, when we our way discern,
By long experience taught, we now
Can all the worth of these allow,
We can for sacred truth forego;
And bear to praise the fiercest foe: To what effect? Our friends are gone, Beyond reproof, regard, or care; And of our foes remains there one,
The mild relenting thoughts to share?
Now 'tis our boast that we can quell
And their impetuous wrath assuage:
Art warring with the mighty dead? Revenge, ambition, scorn, and pride,
And strong desire and fierce disdain, The giant-brood, by thee defied,
Lo! Time's resistless strokes have slain.
Yet Time, who could that race subdue, O'erpow'ring strength, appeasing rage, Leaves yet a persevering crew,
To try the failing powers of age. Vex'd by the constant call of these, Virtue awhile for conquest tries, But weary grown and fond of case,
She makes with them a compromise: Av'rice himself she gives to rest,
But rules him with her strict commands; Bids Pity touch his torpid breast,
And Justice hold his eager hands.