ePub 版


Fair Amoret is gone astray;

Pursue and seek her every lover;
I'll tell the signs by which you may
The wandering shepherdess discover.

Coquet and coy at once her air,

Both studied, though both seem neglected; Careless she is with artful care,

Affecting to seem unaffected.

With skill her eyes dart every glance,

Yet change so soon you'd ne'er suspect 'em; For she'd persuade they wound by chance, Though certain aim and art direct 'em.

She likes herself, yet others hates

For that which in herself she prizes; And, while she laughs at them, forgets She is the thing that she despises.


False though she be to me and love,
I'll ne'er pursue revenge;
For still the charmer I approve,
Though I deplore her change.

In hours of bliss we oft have met,
They could not always last;
And though the present I regret
I'm grateful for the past.


[SAMUEL GARTH was born at Bolam in Durham about the year 1660. He was knighted at the accession of George I, and died on Jan. 18, 1718. The Dispensary appeared in 1699, and quickly ran through numerous editions. The short poem on Claremont came out in 1715, and in 1717 Garth edited a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which Dryden's versions were completed by a great number of hands, he himself contributing the fourteenth book and parts of others.]


Garth is mainly interesting at the present day because he was the first writer who took the couplet, as Dryden had fashioned it, from Dryden's hands, and displayed it in the form it maintained throughout the eighteenth century. In some respects it may be said that no advance in this peculiar model was ever made on The Dispensary. Its best lines are equal to any of Pope's in mere fashion, and in it appear clearly enough the inherent defects of the form when once Dryden's energy divine' and his cunning admixture of what looked like roughness had been lost or rejected. The monotony, the mannerism, and the other defects, emerge side by side with the polish and smoothness which are its great merits. Except for its versification, which not only long preceded Pope, but also anticipated Addison's happiest effort by some years, The Dispensary is not now an interesting poem. The dispute on which it is based is long forgotten, its mock heroic plan looks threadbare to our eyes, and the machinery and imagery have lost all the charm that they may at one time have had. But as a versifier Garth must always deserve a place in the story of English literature. Claremont and his other minor works display the same faculty, but at their date it was already common enough. We therefore here give extracts from The Dispensary only, reminding the reader that the poem gives a burlesque account of the opposition made by physicians and apothecaries to the plan of giving gratuitous advice and medicine to the poor. We may add that our selections form part of the 'descriptions and episodes' added by the author


in the edition of 1703.


[ocr errors][merged small]

[Dr. Horoscope flies to consult Fortune at Teneriffe.]

The wondering sage pursues his airy flight,
And braves the chill unwholesome damps of night:
He views the tracts where luminaries rove,

To settle seasons here, and fates above;
The bleak Arcturus still forbid the seas,
The stormy Kids, the weeping Hyades;
The shining lyre with strains attracting more

Heaven's glittering mansions now than Hell's before;
Glad Cassiopeia circling in the sky,

And each fair Churchill of the galaxy.

Aurora, on Etesian breezes borne,

With blushing lips breathes out the sprightly morn:
Each flower in dew their short-liv'd empire weeps,
And Cynthia with her lov'd Endymion sleeps.
As through the gloom the magus cuts his way
Imperfect objects tell the doubtful day:
Dim he discerns majestic Atlas rise,

And bend beneath the burden of the skies;
His towering brows aloft no tempests know,
Whilst lightning flies, and thunder rolls below.
Distant from hence beyond a waste of plains,
Proud Teneriff, his giant brother, reigns;
With breathing fire his pitchy nostrils glow,
As from his sides he shakes the fleecy snow.
Around this hoary prince, from watery beds,
His subject islands raise their verdant heads;
The waves so gently wash each rising hill,
The land seems floating, and the ocean still.
Eternal spring with smiling verdure here
Warms the mild air, and crowns the youthful year.
From crystal rocks transparent rivulets flow;
The tuberose ever breathes, and violets blow;

The vine undressed her swelling clusters bears,
The labouring hind the mellow olive cheers;
Blossoms and fruit at once the citron shows,
And, as she pays, discovers still she owes.
The orange to her sun her pride displays,
And gilds her fragrant apples with his rays.
No blasts e'er discompose the peaceful sky,
The springs but murmur and the winds but sigh.
The tuneful swans on gliding rivers float,
And warbling dirges die on every note.
Where Flora treads, her zephyr garlands flings,
And scatters odours from his purple wings;
Whilst birds from woodbine bowers and jasmine groves
Chant their glad nuptials, and unenvy'd loves.
Mild seasons, rising hills, and silent dales,
Cool grottos, silver brooks, and flowery vales,
Groves fill'd with balmy shrubs, in pomp appear,
And scent with gales of sweets the circling year.
These happy isles, where endless pleasures wait,
Are styl'd by tuneful bards-the Fortunate.

On high, where no hoarse winds nor clouds resort,
The hoodwink'd goddess keeps her partial court:
Upon a wheel of amethyst she sits,

Gives and resumes, and smiles and frowns by fits.
In this still labyrinth, around her lie

Spells, philters, globes, and schemes of palmistry:
A sigil in this hand the gipsy bears,

In th' other a prophetic sieve and sheers.


[Fortune speaks.]

"Tis I that give, so mighty is my power,
Faith to the Jew, complexion to the Moor,
I am the wretch's wish, the rook's pretence,
The sluggard's ease, the coxcomb's providence.
Sir Scrape-quill, once a supple smiling slave,
Looks lofty now, and insolently grave;
Builds, settles, purchases, and has each hour
Caps from the rich, and curses from the poor,

[ocr errors]

Spadillio, that at table serv'd of late,

Drinks rich tokay himself and eats in plate; Has levees, villas, mistresses in store,

And owns the racers which he rubb'd before. Souls heavenly born my faithless boons defy; The brave is to himself a deity;

Though blest Astrea's gone, some soil remains Where Fortune is the slave, and Merit reigns. The Tiber boasts his Julian progeny,

Thames his Nassau, the Nile his Ptolemy.
Iberia, yet for future sway design'd,
Shall, for a Hesse, a greater Mordaunt find.
Thus Ariadne in proud triumph rode;
She lost a hero, and she found a god.

« 上一頁繼續 »