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THE NEW LYRE.

TO A FRIEND. 1

I STRUNG my lyre, when Love appear'd,
Demanding a light-wanton lay:
"Christ!" I began the trifler heard,
And shook his wings, and pass'd away.

The strings rebellious to my hand
Refuse to charm: in vain I sue,
The strings are mute to my demand-
I broke the old, and form'd a new.

"Christ!" I began: the sacred lyre Responsive swell'd with notes divine, And warm'd me with seraphic-fire: Sweet Jesus, I am only thine!

O wake to life this springing grace,
And water with thy heavenly dew:
Display the glories of thy face,
My spirit and my heart renew!

Direct my soul, direct my hand:-
O blessed change! thy pow'r I feel:
My numbers flow at thy command,
My strings with holy raptures swell.

And, you, whose pious pains unfold Those truths, receive this tribute due; You once endur'd my Muse of old, Nor scorn the firstfruits of the new.

SICKNESS, A POEM:

IN FIVE BOOKS.

BOOK I.

The Lord comfort him, when he lieth sick upon his bed; make thou all his bed in his sickness. Psalins.

ARGUMENT.

Subject proposed. The folly of employing poetry on wanton or trifling subjects. Invocation of Urania. Reflections on the instability of life itself: frailness of youth, beauty, and health. The suddenness and first attacks of a distemper, in particular of the small pox. Moral and religious observations resulting from sickness.

Of days with pain acquainted, and of nights
Unconscious of the healing balms of sleep,
That burn in restless agonies away;
Of Sickness, and its family of woes,
The fellest enemies of life, I sing,
Horizon'd close in darkness. While I touch
The ebon-instrument, of solemn tone,
Pluckt from the cypress' melancholy boughs,
Which, deep'ning, shade the house of mourning,

groans

He lent me a MS. discourse on these words "Old things are passed away, and lo! all things

are become new."

And hollow wailings, through the damps of night,
Responsive wound the ear. The sprightly pow'rs
Of musical enchantment wave their wings,
And seek the fragrant groves and purple fields,
Where Pleasure rolls her honey-trickling streams,
Of blooming Health and laughter-dimpled Joy.

Me other scenes than laughing Joy, and Health High-blooming, purple-living fields and groves, Fragrant with Spring, invite. Too long the Muse, Ah! much too long, a libertine diffus'd On Pleasure's rosy lap, has, idly, breath'd Love-sighing elegies, and pastoral-strains, The soft seducers of our youthful hours, Soothing away the vigour of the mind, And energy of virtue. But farewel, Ye myrtle walks, ye lily-mantied meads, Of Paphos, and the fount of Acidale, Where, oft, in summer, Grecian fables tell, The daughters of Eurynome and Jove, Thalia and her sister-Graces cool

Their glowing features, at the noontide hour,
Farewel!-But come, Urania, from thy bow'rs
Of everlasting day; O condescend
To lead thy votary (with rapt'rous zeal
Adoring Nature's God, the great Three-One!)
To Salem; where the shepherd-monarch wak'd
The sacred breath of melody, and swell'd
His harp, to angels' kindred notes attun'd,
With music worthy Heaven! O bathe my breast,
With praises burning, in the morning-dews,
Which sparkle, Sion, on thy holy hill.

The prophets, eagle-ey'd, celestial maid,
Those poets of the sky! were taught to chant
The glories of Messiah's reign by thee:
Kindled by thee, the eastern-pages flame
With light'ning, and with thunder shake the soul;
While, from the whirlwind, God's all-glorious
Bursts on the tingling ears of Job: the writ [voice
Of Moses, meek in spirit, but his thoughts
Lofty as Heav'n's blue arch. My humble hopes
Aspire but to the alpha of his song;
Where, roll'd in ashes, digging for a grave,
More earnest than the covetous for gold
Or hidden treasures crusted o'er with boils,
And roaring in the bitterness of soul,
And heart-sick pain, the man of Uz complains,
Themes correspondent to thy servant's theine.
I sing to you, ye sons of men! of dust,
Say rather: what is man, who proudly lifts
His brow audacious, as confronting Heav'n,
But moulded clay? an animated heap
And tramples, with disdain, his mother Earth,
Of dust, that shortly shall to dust return?

We dream of shadows, when we talk of life,
Of Pelops' shoulder, of Pythagoras' thigh,
Of Surius's saints, and Ovid's gods;
Mere tales to cheat our children with to rest;
And, when the tale is told, they sink to sleep,
Death's image! so inane is mortal-man!
Man's but a vapour, toss'd by every wind,
The child of smoke, which in a moment flies,
And, sinking into nothing, disappears.
Man's a brisk bubble floating on the waves
Of wide eternity: he dances now
Gay-gilded by the Sun (tho' empty proud ;)
Phantastically fine! and now he drops
In a broad sheet of waters deep involv'd
And gives his place to others. O, ye song
Of vanity, remember, and be wise!
Man is a flow'r, which in the morning, fair

As day-spring, swelling from its slender stem,
In virgin-modesty, and sweet reserve,
Lays out its blushing beauties to the day,
As Gideon's fleece, full with the dews of Heav'n.
But if some ruder gale, or nipping wind,
Disastrous, blow too hard, it, weeping, mourns
In robes of darkness; it reclines its head
In languid softness; withers every grace;
And ere the ev'ning-star the west inflames,
It falls into the portion of those weeds
Which, with a careless hand, we cast away—
Ye thoughtless fair-ones, moralize my song!

Thy pulse beats music; thou art high in health;
The rather tremble. When the least we fear,
When Folly lulls us on her couch of down,
And wine and lutes and odours fill the sense
With their soft affluence of bewitching joys;
When years of rapture in thy fancy glow
To entertain thy youth; a sudden burst
Of thunder from the smallest cloud of Fate,
Small as the prophet's hand, destroys, confounds,
And lays thy visionary hopes in dust.
By my example taught, examples teach
Much more than precepts, learn to know thy end.
The day was Valentine's: when lovers' wounds
Afresh begin to bleed, and sighs to warm
The chilly rigour of relenting skies:
Sacred the day to innocence and mirth,
The festival of youth! in seeming health
(As custom bids) I hail'd the year's fair morn,
And with its earliest purple braid my brows,
The violet, or primrose, breathing sweets
New to the sense. lanthe by my side,
More lovely than the season! rais'd her voice,
Observant of his rites, in festal lays,
And thus addrest the patron of the Spring:

|

"Hail, Valentine! at thy approach benign,
Profuse of gems, the bosom of the Earth
Her fragrant stores unfolds: the fields rejoice,
And, in the infancy of plenty, smile:
The valleys laugh and sing: the woods, alive,
Sprout into floating verdure, to embow'r
Those happy lovers, who record thy praise.

66

Hail, Valentine! at thy approach benign, Inhaling genial raptures from the Sun, The plumy nations swell the song of joy, Thy soaring choiristers! the lark, the thrush, And all th' aerial people, from the wren And linnet to the eagle, feel the stings Of amorous delight, and sing thy praise.

"Hail, Valentine! at thy approach benign, Quick o'er the soft'ning soul the gentle gales Of Spring, awaking bliss, instinctive move The ardent youth to breathe the sighs of faith Into the virgin's heart; who, sick of love, With equal fires, and purity of truth, Consenting, blushes while she chants thy praise."

So sung lanthe: to my heart I prest Her spotless sweetness: when, (with wonder, hear!) Tho' she shone smiling by, the torpid pow'rs Of heaviness weigh'd down my beamless eyes, And press'd them into night. The dews of death Hung, clammy, on my forehead, like the damps Of midnight sepulchres; which, silent, op'd By weeping widows, or by friendship's hand, Yawn hideous on the Moon, and blast the stars With pestilential reek. My head is torn With pangs insufferable, pulsive starts, And pungent aches, gliding thro' the brain, To madness hurrying the tormented sense,

And hate of being.-Poor Ianthe wept
In bitterness, and took me by the hand
Compassionately kind: "Alas!" she cry'd,
"What sudden change is this?" (Again she wept.)
"Say, can Ianthe prove the source of pain
To Thomalin? forbid it, gracious Heav'n!"
"No, beauteous innocence! as soon the rose
Shall poison with its balm; as soon the dove
Become a white dissembler, and the stream
With lulling murmurs, creeping thro' the grove,
Offend the shepherd's slumber"-Scarce my tongue
These fault'ring accents stammer'd, down I sink,
And a lethargic stupor steeps my sense
In dull oblivion: till returning pain,
Too faithful monitor! and dire disease
Bid me remember, pleasure is a dream,
That health has eagle's wings, nor tarries long.
New horrours rise. For in my pricking veins
I feel the forky flame: the rapid flood
Of throbbing life, excursive from the laws
Of sober Nature and harmonious Health,
Boils in tumultuary eddies round

Its bursting channels. Parching thirst, anon,
Drinks up the vital maze, as Simois dry,
Or Xanthus, by the arm-ignipotent,
With a red torrent of involving flames
Exhausted; when Achilles with their floods
Wag'd more than mortal war: the god of fire
Wide o'er the waters pour'd th' inundant blaze,
The shrinking waters to the bottom boil
And biss in ruin. O! ye rivers, roll
Your cooling crystal o'er my burning breast,
For Ætna rages here! ye snows descend;
Bind me in icy chains, ye northern winds,
And mitigate the furies of the fire!

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Good Heav'n! what hoards of unrepented guilt Have drawn this vengeance down, have rais'd this To lash me with his flames? But, O, forgive [fiend My rashness, that dares blame thy just decrees. It is thy rod: I kiss it with my heart, As well as lips: like Aaron's may it bloom With fruits of goodness: not, like Moses, turn A serpent; or, to tempt me to accuse The kind oppression of thy righteous hand, Or, sting me to despair.-Affliction, hail! Thou school of virtue! open wide thy gates, Thy gates of ebony! Yet, O, correct Thy servant, but with judgment, not in wrath, But with thy mercy, Lord! thy stripes will heal. Thus without heresy, afflictions prove A purgatory; save us as by fire: And purifying off the dross of sin, Like old Elijah's chariot, rap the soul, On wings of Meditation, to the skies.

In health we have no time to visit Truth: Health's the disease of morals: few in health Turn o'er the volumes which will make us wise. What are ye, now, ye tuneful triflers! once The eager solace of my easy hours, Ye dear deluders or of Greece or Rome, Anacreon, Horace, Virgil, Homer, what? The gay, the bright, the sober, the sublime? And ye of softer strain, ye amorous fools, Correctly indolent, and sweetly vain, Tibullus, Ovid, and the female-verse

Of her, who, plunging from Leucadia's heights, Extinguish'd, with her life, her hopeless fires, Or rose a swan, as love-struck Fancy deem'd. Who wou'd not, in these hours of wisdom, give A Vatican of wits for one saint Paul?

Dare Tully, with the golden mouth of Greece,
With Chrysostom in rhet'ric-thunder join,
Advent'rous, now? as soon the feeble sound,
Salmoneus, of thy brazen bridge contends
With Jove's etherial peal, and bursting roar
Fulminous, rending Earth, o'erturning air,
And shaking Heav'n. Or shall the pointed pen
Of Corduba', with hostile labour bend
Its sentences obscure against the force
Of Hierom's noble fire? as soon the Moon,
With blunted horn, dares pour her pallid beam
Against the boundless majesty of day,

The Sun's refulgent throne; when, high, in noon
He kindles up the Earth to light and joy.
My best instructor, Sickness, shuts the eye
From Vanity; she draws the curtains round
The couch, nor gives admittance to the world:
But to Harpocrates consigns the door,
And, silent, whispers me that "life is vain.”

If life be vain, on what shall man depend!
Depend on Virtue. Virtue is a rock
Which stands for ever; braves the frowning flood,
And rears its awful brow, direct, to Heaven.
Tho' Virtue save not from the grave, she gives
Her votaries to the stars; she plucks the sting
From the grim king of terrours; smoothes the bed
Of anguish, and bids Death, tho' dreadful, smile.
Death smiles on Virtue: and his visage, black,
Yet comely seems. A Christian scorns the bounds
Where limited Creation said to Time,

"Here I have end." Rapt'rous, he looks beyond Or time or space; he triumphs o'er decay; And fills eternity: the next to God.

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P. 38. Paphos, a city of Cyprus; formerly dedicated to Venus.

Acidale. A fountain in Orchomenus, a city of Boeotia, where the Graces were supposed to bathe themselves. The genealogy of the Graces is very diversely related. But Hesiod says, they were the offspring of Jupiter and Eurynome. Theog. Page 38. Burst on the tingling ears of Job, &c. The book of Job is ascribed to various authors, and amongst the rest to Moses. I am proud to observe that Dr. Young has strengthened this opinion in his notes to his admirable poem on Job. Most of the arguments on each side of the question may be found in Pole's Synopsis Critic. in the beginning of his notes on the book of Job: and in Mr. S. Wesley's curious dissertation on the same subject.

P. 38. We dream of shadows, when we talk of
life.

Pind. Pith. Ode 8.
Σκιας οναρ ανθρωποι
Sophocles has much the same thought in his

'Seneca was born at Corduba in Spain.

Ajax; and, to dignify the sentiment, he puts it into the mouth of Ulysses:

Ορω γαρ ημας υδεν οντας αλλο πλην
Ειδωλ' όσοι περ ζωμεν, η κόψην σκιαν.

The scholiast observes, that he borrowed the sen→ timent from Pindar.

P. 38. We dream, &c. Of Pelops' shoulder— The poets feign that Tantalus served up his son Pelops to the table of the gods: they reunited the fragments, and formed his shoulder, which was lost, of ivory. Ovid. Met. Lib. vi. Humeroque Pelops insignis eburno. Virg. Georg. iii.

-

I shall add this beautiful passage from Tibullus:
Carmina ni sint,

Ex humero Pelopis non nituisset ebur.
Lib. i. Eleg. 4.

P. 38. Of Pythagoras' thigh.

This is told with so much humour by Mr. Addison in one of his finest works, that I rather choose to give an authority from him, than any of the ancients. "The next man astonished the whole table with his appearance: he was slow, solemn and silent, in his behaviour, and wore a raiment curiously wrought with hieroglyphics. As he came into the middle of the room, he throw back the skirt of it, and discovered a golden thigh. Socrates, at the sight of it, declared against keeping company with any who were not made of flesh and blood; and therefore desired Diogenes the Laertian to lead him to the apartment allotted the fabulous heroes, and worthies of dubious existence, &c.

The Table of Fame, Tatler, Vol. II. No. 81. P. 38. Of Surius's saints.

Surius writ the voluminous legend of the Romish saints, in six volumes in folio. Dr. Donne in his Satyrs has given him this character:

outlie either

Jovius, or Surius, or both together. Sat. 4.

P. 39. Ianthe by my side.

Sickness being a subject so disagreeable in itself to human nature, it was thought necessary, as fable is the soul of poetry, to relieve the imagination with the following, and some other episodes. For to describe the anguish of a distemper without a mixture of some more pleasing incidents, would, no doubt, disgust every good-natured and tender reader.

P. 40. Salmoncus, of thy brazen bridge, &c.

Salmoneus king of Elis, a province in the Peloponnesus. He was so arrogant as to affect being thought a god: for which end he built a bridge of brass, by driving over which in his chariot, he endeavoured to make himself be believed the Thunderer. But Jupiter, enraged at his impiety, struck him dead with a real thunderbolt.

Vidi crudeles dantem Salmonca pænas,
Dum flammas Jovis & sonitus imitatur Olympi
Demens qui nimbos, & non imitabile fulmea
Are & cornipedum cursu imitarat equorum.
Virg. Æn. Lib. 4.

P. 40. And to Harpocrates consigns the door. Harpocrates, the god of silence amongst the Egyptians.

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Which, humid, dim the mirror of the mind;
(As Venus gave Eneas to behold

Si quicquam tacite commissum est fido ab amico,
Me unum esse invenies illorum jure sacratum,
Corneli, & factum esse puta Harpocratem.

The angry gods with flame o'erwhelming Troy,
Neptune and Pallas) not in vain, I'll sing
The mystic terrours of this gloomy reign:
And, led by her, with dangerous courage press
Through dreary paths, and haunts, by mortal foot
Rare visited; unless by thee, I ween,
Father of Fancy, of descriptive verse,
And shadowy beings, gentle Edmund, hight
Spenser the sweetest of the tuneful throng,
Or recent, or of eld1. Creative bard,
Thy springs unlock, expand thy fairy scenes,
Thy unexhausted stores of fancy spread,
And with thy images enrich my song.

Catull.

Hence Erasmus, Lib. Adag. tells us, that redere Harpocratem is the same as mutum reddere. So Catullus in another place:

Patruum reddidit Harpocratem.

Ovid describes him in the same manner, without taking notice of his name, amongst the attendants of Isis:

Come, Hertford! with the Muse, awhile, vouch

[safe.

Metam. Lib. ix.

Quique premit vocem, digiteqne silentia suadet. (The softer virtues melting in thy breast,
The tender graces glowing in thy form)
Vouchsafe, in all the beauty of distress,
To take a silent walk among the tombs:
There lend a charm to Sorrow, smooth her brow,
As when the dove3, (thy emblem, matchiess dame!
And sparkle through her tears in shining woe.
Spread all its colours o'er the boundless deep,
For beauty, innocence, and truth are thine)
(Empyreal radiance quivering round the gloom)
Chaos reform'd, and bade distraction smile!

This description entirely agrees with the several medals and statues of Harpocrates, which the learned antiquary Gisb. Cuperus exhibits in his laborious dissertation on that subject, printed with Monumenta Antiqua.

Sublimely mournful: to the eye it seems
Deep in a desert-vale, a palace frowns

But upon another account likewise, Harpocrates
may justly be appointed to attend upon the sick;
for he is numbered amongst the salutary gods,
who assisted in extreme dangers; as appears from
Artemidorus, Oneir. L. ii. C. 44. where, after
having mentioned Serapis, Isis, Anubis, and Har-The mansion of Despair, or ancient Night.
pocrates, he goes on thus: " Semper enim serva-
tores crediti sunt hi dii, eorum qui per omnia
exercitati sunt, & ad extremum periculum per-
venerunt, &c." Kircher also, in his Oedip. Egyp.
p. 2. vol. II. p. 315. amongst others to the same
purpose, has these remarkable words:

Reverebantur Ægypti, præter cætera numina maximè Isin & Osirin, ac horum sive Harpocratem, tanquam Iatricos genios.

THE PALACE OF DISEASE.

BOOK II.

Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear.
Milton.

ARGUMENT.

Reflections. Invocation of the genius of Spenser.
Apostrophe to the dutchess of Somerset. The
Palace of Disease. War. Intemperance. Me-
lancholy. Fever. Consumption, Small-pox.
Complaint on the death of lord Beauchamp.

To shed their bounty here, or smiling, bless
The graces of the Seasons never knew
Uncultivated. Nor the various robe
With hospitable foot, its bleak domain,

Of flushing Spring, with purple gay, invests
Its blighted plains; nor Summer's radiant hand
Profusive, scatters o'er its baleful fields
The rich abundance of her glorious days;
And golden Autumn here forgets to reign.

Here only hemlock, and whatever weeds
Med a gather'd, or Canidia brew'd,
Wet with Avernus' waves, or Pontus yields,
Or Colchos, er Thessalia, taint the winds,
And choke the ground unhallow'd. But the soil
Refuses to embrace the kindly seeds
Of healing vegetation, sage, and rue,
Dittany and amello, blooming still
In Virgil's rural page. The bitter yew,
The church-yard's shade! and cypress' wither'd
In formidable ranks surround its courts [arms
With umbrage dun; administ'ring a roof
To birds of ominous portent; the bat,
The raven boding death, the screaming owl
Of heavy wing, while serpents, rustling, hiss,
And croaking toads the odious concert aid.

DEATH was not man's inheritance, but life
Immortal, but a Paradise of bliss,
Unfading beauty, and eternal spring,.
(The cloudless blaze of Innocence's reign:)

The peevish East, the rheumy South, the North
Pregnant with storms, are all the winds that blow:
While, distant far, the pure Etesian-gales,
And western-breezes fan the spicy beds
Of Araby the blest, or shake their balm

The gifts of God's right-hand! till monstrous Sin, O'er fair Britannia's plains, and wake her flow'rs.
The motly child of Satan and of Hell,
Eternal damps, and deadly humours, drawn
Invited dire Discase into the world,
In pois'nous exhalations from the deep,
And her distorted brood of ugly shapes,
Conglomerated into solid night,
Echidna's brood! and fix'd their curs'd abode And darkness, almost to be felt, forbid
On Earth, invisible to human sight,
The portion and the scourge of mortal man.
Yet tho' to human sight invisible,

If she, whom i implore, Urania, deign,
With euphrasy to purge away the mists

1 Old.

The present dutchess of Somerset. 3 The Platonists suppose that Love, or the celestial Venus (of whom the dove is likewise an emblem) created the world out of chaos.

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