« 上一頁繼續 »
All who have witnessed or felt the inspiriting effects of fine mountain scenery on invalids, will subscribe to the truth so happily expressed in the concluding lines of this passage. The blank verse of Armstrong somewhat resembles that of Cowper in compactness and vigour, but his imagination was hard and literal, and wanted the airy expansiveness and tenderness of pure inspiration. It was a high merit, however, to succeed where nearly all have failed, in blending with a subject so strictly practical and prosaic, the art and fancy of the poet. Much learning, skill, and knowledge are compressed into his poem, in illustration of his medical and ethical doctrines. The whole is divided into four books or divisions—the first on air, the second on diet, the third on exercise, and the fourth on the passions. In his first book, Armstrong has penned a ludicrously pompous invective on the climate of Great Britain, steeped in continual rains, or with raw fogs bedewed.' He exclaims
Of summers, balmy airs, and skies serene:
Good Heaven! for what unexpiated crimes
This dismal change! The brooding elements
Do they, your powerful ministers of wrath,
Prepare some fierce exterminating plague?
Or is it fixed in the decrees above,
That lofty Albion melt into the main?
Indulgent nature! O, dissolve this gloom;
Bind in eternal adamant the winds
That drown or wither; give the genial west
To breathe, and in its turn the sprightly south,
And may once more the circling seasons rule
The year, not mix in every monstrous day!
Now, the fact we believe is, that in this country there are more good days in the year than in any other country in Europe. A few extracts from the 'Art of Preserving Health' are subjoined. The last, which is certainly the most energetic passage in the whole poem, describes the 'sweating sickness' which scourged England
Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent
Their ancient rage at Bosworth's purple field.
In the second, Armstrong introduces an apostrophe
to his native stream, which perhaps suggested the
more felicitous ode of Smollett to Leven Water. It
is not unworthy of remark, that the poet entirely
overlooks the store of romantic association and
ballad-poetry pertaining to Liddisdale, which a
mightier than he, in the next age, brought so pro-
minently before the notice of the world.
[Wrecks and Mutations of Time.]
[Recommendation of Angling.]
But if the breathless chase o'er hill and dale
Exceed your strength, a sport of less fatigue,
Not less delightful, the prolific stream
Affords. The crystal rivulet, that o'er
A stony channel rolls its rapid maze,
Swarms with the silver fry: such through the bounds
Of pastoral Stafford runs the brawling Trent;
Such Eden, sprung from Cumbrian mountains; such
The Esk, o'erhung with woods; and such the stream
On whose Arcadian banks I first drew air;
Liddel, till now, except in Doric lays,
Tuned to her murmurs by her love-sick swains,
Unknown in song, though not a purer stream
Through meads more flowery, or more romantic groves,
Rolls towards the western main. Hail, sacred flood!
May still thy hospitable swains be blest
In rural innocence, thy mountains still
Teem with the fleecy race, thy tuneful woods
For ever flourish, and thy vales look gay
With painted meadows and the golden grain;
Oft with thy blooming sons, when life was new,
Sportive and petulant, and charmed with toys,
In thy transparent eddies have I laved;
Oft traced with patient steps thy fairy banks,
With the well-imitated fly to hook
The eager trout, and with the slender line
And yielding rod solicit to the shore
The struggling panting prey, while vernal clouds
And tepid gales obscured the ruffled pool,
And from the deeps called forth the wanton swarms.
Formed on the Samian school, or those of Ind,
There are who think these pastimes scarce humane;
Yet in my mind (and not relentless I)
His life is pure that wears no fouler stains.
[Pestilence of the Fifteenth Century.]
Ere yet the fell Plantagenets had spent
While, for which tyrant England should receive,
Their ancient rage at Bosworth's purple field;
Her legions in incestuous murders mixed,
And daily horrors; till the fates were drunk
With kindred blood by kindred hands profused:
Another plague of more gigantic arm
Arose, a monster never known before,
This rapid fury not, like other pests,
Reared from Cocytus its portentous head;
Pursued a gradual course, but in a day
Rushed as a storm o'er half the astonished isle,
And strewed with sudden carcases the land.
First through the shoulders, or whatever part
Was seized the first, a fervid vapour sprung;
With rash combustion thence, the quivering spark
Shot to the heart, and kindled all within;
And soon the surface caught the spreading fires.
Through all the yielding pores the melted blood
Gushed out in smoky sweats; but nought assuaged
The torrid heat within, nor aught relieved
What does not fade? The tower that long had stood The stomach's anguish. With incessant toil,
The crush of thunder and the warring winds,
Shook by the slow but sure destroyer Time,
Now hangs in doubtful ruins o'er its base,
And flinty pyramids and walls of brass
Descend. The Babylonian spires are sunk;
Achaia, Rome, and Egypt moulder down.
Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones,
And tottering empires rush by their own weight.
This huge rotundity we tread grows old,
And all those worlds that roll around the sun;
The sun himself shall die, and ancient night
Again involve the desolate abyss,
Till the great Father, through the lifeless gloom,
Extend his arm to light another world,
And bid new planets roll by other laws.
Desperate of case, impatient of their pain,
They tossed from side to side. In vain the stream
Ran full and clear, they burnt, and thirsted still.
The restless arteries with rapid blood
Beat strong and frequent. Thick and pantingly
The breath was fetched, and with huge labourings
At last a heavy pain oppressed the head,
A wild delirium came: their weeping friends
Were strangers now, and this no home of theirs.
Harassed with toil on toil, the sinking powers
Lay prostrate and o'erthrown; a ponderous sleep
Wrapt all the senses up: they slept and died.
In some a gentle horror crept at first
O'er all the limbs; the sluices of the skin
Withheld their moisture, till by art provoked
The sweats o'erflowed, but in a clammy tide;
Now free and copious, now restrained and slow;
Of tinctures various, as the temperature
Had mixed the blood, and rank with fetid streams:
As if the pent-up humours by delay
Were grown more fell, more putrid, and malign.
Here lay their hopes (though little hope remained),
With full effusion of perpetual sweats
To drive the venom out. And here the fates
Were kind, that long they lingered not in pain.
For, who survived the sun's diurnal race,
Rose from the dreary gates of hell redeemed;
Some the sixth hour oppressed, and some the third.
Of many thousands, few untainted 'scaped;
Of those infected, fewer 'scaped alive;
Of those who lived, some felt a second blow;
And whom the second spared, a third destroyed.
Frantic with fear, they sought by flight to shun
The fierce contagion. O'er the mournful land
The infected city poured her hurrying swarms:
Roused by the flames that fired her seats around,
The infected country rushed into the town.
Some sad at home, and in the desert some
Abjured the fatal commerce of mankind.
In vain; where'er they fled, the fates pursued.
Others, with hopes more specious, crossed the main,
To seek protection in far distant skies;
But none they found. It seemed the general air,
From pole to pole, from Atlas to the east,
Was then at enmity with English blood;
For but the race of England all were safe
In foreign climes; nor did this fury taste
The foreign blood which England then contained.
Where should they fly? The circumambient heaven
Involved them still, and every breeze was bane:
Where find relief? The salutary art
Was mute, and, startled at the new disease,
In fearful whispers hopeless omens gave.
To heaven, with suppliant rites they sent their
Heaven heard them not. Of every hope deprived,
Fatigued with vain resources, and subdued
With woes resistless, and enfeebling fear,
Passive they sunk beneath the weighty blow.
Nothing but lamentable sounds were heard,
Nor aught was seen but ghastly views of death.
Infectious horror ran from face to face,
And pale despair. 'Twas all the business then
To tend the sick, and in their turns to die.
In heaps they fell; and oft the bed, they say,
The sickening, dying, and the dead contained.
An admirable translation of The Lusiad' of Camoens, the most distinguished poet of Portugal, was executed by WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE, himself a poet of taste and fancy, but of no great originality or energy. Mickle was son of the minister of Langholm, in Dumfriesshire, where he was born in 1734. He was engaged in trade in Edinburgh as conductor, and afterwards partner, of a brewery; but he failed in business, and in 1764 went to London, desirous of literary distinction. Lord Lyttelton noticed and encouraged his poetical efforts, and Mickle was buoyed up with dreams of patronage and celebrity. Two years of increasing destitution dispelled this vision, and e poet was glad to accept the situation of corrector of the Clarendon press at Oxford. Here he publish Pollio, an elegy, and The Concubine, a moral poem in the manner of Spenser, which he afterwards reprinted with the title of Syr Martyn. Mickle adopted the obsolete phraseology of Spenser, which was too antiquated even for the age of the
'Faery Queen,' and which Thomson had almost wholly discarded in his Castle of Indolence.' The first stanza of this poem has been quoted by Sir Walter Scott (divested of its antique spelling) in illustration of a remark made by him, that Mickle, 'with a vein of great facility, united a power of verbal melody, which might have been envied by bards of much greater renown:'
Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale,
And Fancy to thy faery bower betake;
with balmly sweetness, breathes the gale, Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake; Through the pale willows faltering whispers wake, And Evening comes with locks bedropped with dew; On Desmond's mouldering turrets slowly shake The withered rye-grass and the harebell blue, And ever and anon sweet Mulla's plaints renew. Sir Walter adds, that Mickle, 'being a printer by profession, frequently put his lines into types without taking the trouble previously to put them into writing.' This is mentioned by none of the poet's biographers, and is improbable. The office of a corrector of the press is quite separate from the mechanical operations of the printer. Mickle's poem was highly successful (not the less, perhaps, because it was printed anonymously, and was ascribed to different authors), and it went through three editions. In 1771 he published the first canto of his great translation, which was completed in 1775; and being supported by a long list of subscribers, was highly advantageous both to his fame and fortune. In 1779 he went out to Portugal as secretary to Commodore Johnston, and was received with much distinction in Lisbon by the countrymen of Camoens. On the return of the expedition, Mickle was appointed joint agent for the distribution of the prizes. His own share was considerable; and having received some money by his marriage with a lady whom he had known in his obscure sojourn at Oxford, the latter days of the poet were spent in ease and leisure. He died at Forest Hill, near Oxford, in 1788.
The most popular of Mickle's original poems is his ballad of Cumnor Hall, which has attained additional celebrity by its having suggested to Sir Walter Scott the groundwork of his romance of Kenilworth.* The plot is interesting, and the versification easy and musical. Mickle assisted in Evans's Collection of Old Ballads (in which Cumnor Hall' and other pieces of his first appeared); and though in this style of composition he did not copy the direct simplicity and unsophisticated ardour of the real old ballads, he had much of their tenderness and pathos. A still stronger proof of this is afforded by a Scottish song, the author of which was long unknown, but which seems clearly to have been written by Mickle. An imperfect, altered, and corrected copy was found among his manuscripts after his death; and his widow being applied to, confirmed the external evidence in his favour, by an express declaration that her husband had said the song was his own, and that he had explained to her the Scottish words. It is the fairest flower in his poetical chaplet. The delineation of humble matrimonial happiness and affection which the song presents, is almost unequalled
Sae true his words, sae smooth his speech,
His breath like caller air!
His very foot has music in't
As he comes up the stair.
*Sir Walter intended to have named his romance Cumnor
Hall, but was persuaded by Mr Constable, his publisher, to adopt the title of Kenilworth.
The dews of summer night did fall,
The moon (sweet regent of the sky) Silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall,
And many an oak that grew thereby.
Now nought was heard beneath the skies
(The sounds of busy life were still),
Save an unhappy lady's sighs,
That issued from that lonely pile.
'Leicester,' she cried, 'is this thy love
That thou so oft hast sworn to me,
To leave me in this lonely grove,
Immured in shameful privity?
No more thou com'st, with lover's speed,
Thy once beloved bride to see;
But be she alive, or be she dead,
I fear, stern Earl's, the same to thee.
Not so the usage I received
When happy in my father's hall; No faithless husband then me grieved, No chilling fears did me appal.
I rose up with the cheerful morn,
No lark so blithe, no flower more gay; And, like the bird that haunts the thorn, So merrily sung the live-long day. If that my beauty is but small, Among court ladies all despised, Why didst thou rend it from that hall, Where, scornful Earl, it well was prized? And when you first to me made suit,
How fair I was, you oft would say!
And, proud of conquest, plucked the fruit,
Then left the blossom to decay.
Yes! now neglected and despised,
The rose is pale, the lily's dead;
But he that once their charms so prized,
Is sure the cause those charms are fled.
For know, when sickening grief doth prey,
And tender love's repaid with scorn,
The sweetest beauty will decay:
What floweret can endure the storm?
At court, I'm told, is beauty's throne,
Where every lady's passing rare,
That eastern flowers, that shame the sun,
Are not so glowing, not so fair.
Then, Earl, why didst thou leave the beds
Where roses and where lilies vie,
To seek a primrose, whose pale shades
Must sicken when those gauds are by?
'Mong rural beauties I was one;
Among the fields wild flowers are fair;
Some country swain might me have won,
And thought my passing beauty rare.
But, Leicester (or I much am wrong),
It is not beauty lures thy vows;
Rather ambition's gilded crown
Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.
Then, Leicester, why, again I plead
(The injured surely may repine),
Why didst thou wed a country maid,
When some fair princess might be thine?
Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And, oh! then leave them to decay?
Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave me to mourn the live-long day?
The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lowly as they go:
Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a countess can have wo.
The simple nymphs! they little know
How far more happy's their estate;
To smile for joy, than sigh for wo;
To be content, than to be great.
How far less blessed am I than them,
Daily to pine and waste with care!
Like the poor plant, that, from its stem
Divided, feels the chilling air.
Nor, cruel Earl! can I enjoy
The humble charms of solitude; Your minions proud my peace destroy,
By sullen frowns, or pratings rude.
Last night, as sad I chanced to stray,
The village death-bell smote my ear;
They winked aside, and seemed to say,
"Countess, prepare-thy end is near."
And now, while happy peasants sleep,
Here I sit lonely and forlorn;
No one to soothe me as I weep,
Save Philomel on yonder thorn.
My spirits flag, my hopes decay;
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear;
And many a body seems to say,
Countess, prepare-thy end is near."' Thus sore and sad that lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear;
And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.
And ere the dawn of day appeared,
In Cumnor Hall, so lone and drear,
Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.
The death-bell thrice was heard to ring,
An aerial voice was heard to call,
And thrice the raven flapped his wing
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.
The mastiff howled at village door,
The oaks were shattered on the green;
Wo was the hour, for never more
That hapless Countess e'er was seen.
And in that manor, now no more
Is cheerful feast or sprightly ball;
For ever since that dreary hour
Have spirits haunted Čumnor Hall.
The village maids with fearful glance,
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall;
Nor ever lead the merry dance
Among the groves of Cumnor Hall. ·
Full many a traveller has sighed,
And pensive wept the Countess' fall, As wandering onwards they've espied
The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall.
The Mariner's Wife.
But are ye sure the news is true?
And are ye sure he's weel?
Is this a time to think o' wark?
Ye jauds, fling bye your wheel.
For there's nae luck about the house,
There's nae luck at a',
There's nae luck about the house,
When our gudeman's awa.
Is this a time to think o' wark,
When Colin's at the door?
Rax down my cloak-I'll to the key,
And see him come ashore.
Rise up and make a clean fireside,
Put on the mickle pat;
Gie little Kate her cotton goun,
And Jock his Sunday's coat.
And mak their shoon as black as slaes,
Their stockins white as snaw;
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman—
He likes to see them braw.
There are twa hens into the crib,'
Hae fed this month and mair,
Mak haste and thraw their necks about,
That Colin weel may fare.
My Turkey slippers I'll put on,
My stockins pearl blue-
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman,
For he's baith leal and true.
Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue;
His breath's like caller air;
His very fit has music in't,
As he comes up the stair.
And will I see his face again?
And will I hear him speak?
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought:
In troth I'm like to greet.
[The Spirit of the Cape.]
[From the Lusiad."]
Now prosperous gales the bending canvass swelled;
From these rude shores our fearless course we held:
Beneath the glistening wave the god of day
Had now five times withdrawn the parting ray,
When o'er the prow a sudden darkness spread,
And slowly floating o'er the mast's tall head
A black cloud hovered; nor appeared from far
The moon's pale glimpse, nor faintly twinkling star;
So deep a gloom the lowering vapour cast,
Transfixed with awe the bravest stood aghast.
Meanwhile a hollow bursting roar resounds,
As when hoarse surges lash their rocky mounds;
Nor had the blackening wave, nor frowning heaven,
The wonted signs of gathering tempest given.
Amazed we stood-O thou, our fortune's guide,
Avert this omen, mighty God, I cried;
Or through forbidden climes adventurous strayed,
Have we the secrets of the deep surveyed,
Which these wide solitudes of seas and sky
Were doomed to hide from man's unhallowed eye?
Whate'er this prodigy, it threatens more
Than midnight tempest and the mingled roar,
When sea and sky combine to rock the marble shore.
I spoke, when rising through the darkened air,
Appalled we saw a hideous phantom glare;
High and enormous o'er the flood he towered,
And thwart our way with sullen aspect lowered.
Unearthly paleness o'er his cheeks was spread,
Erect uprose his hairs of withered red;
Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose,
Sharp and disjoined, his gnashing teeth's blue rows;
His haggard beard flowed quivering on the wind,
Revenge and horror in his mien combined;
His clouded front, by withering lightning scared,
The inward anguish of his soul declared.
His red eyes glowing from their dusky caves
Shot livid fires: far echoing o'er the waves
His voice resounded, as the caverned shore
With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar.
Cold gliding horrors thrilled each hero's breast;
Our bristling hair and tottering knees confessed
Wild dread; the while with visage ghastly wan,
His black lips trembling, thus the Fiend began:
'O you, the boldest of the nations, fired
By daring pride, by lust of fame inspired,
Who, scornful of the bowers of sweet repose,
Through these my waves advance your fearless prows,
Regardless of the lengthening watery way,
And all the storms that own my sovereign sway,
Who 'mid surrounding rocks and shelves explore
Where never hero braved my rage before;
Ye sons of Lusus, who, with eyes profane,
Have viewed the secrets of my awful reign,
Have passed the bounds which jealous Nature drew,
To veil her secret shrine from mortal view,
Hear from my lips what direful woes attend,
And bursting soon shall o'er your race descend.
With every bounding keel that dares my rage,
Eternal war my rocks and storms shall wage;
The next proud fleet that through my dear domain,
With daring search shall hoist the streaming vane,
That gallant navy by my whirlwinds tost,
And raging seas, shall perish on my coast.
Then He who first my secret reign descried,
A naked corse wide floating o'er the tide
Shall drive. Unless my heart's full raptures fail,
O Lusus! oft shalt thou thy children wail;
Each year thy shipwrecked sons shalt thou deplore,
Each year thy sheeted masts shall strew my shore.'**
He spoke, and deep a lengthened sigh he drew,
A doleful sound, and vanished from the view;
The frightened billows gave a rolling swell,
And distant far prolonged the dismal yell;
Faint and more faint the howling echoes die,
And the black cloud dispersing leaves the sky.
DR JOHN LANGHORNE, an amiable and excellent clergyman, has long lost the popularity which he possessed in his own day as a poet; but his name nevertheless claims a place in the history of English literature. He was born at Kirkby Steven, in Westmoreland, in 1735, and held the curacy and lectureship of St John's, Clerkenwell, in London. He afterwards obtained a prebend's stall in Wells cathedral, and was much admired as a preacher. He died in 1779. Langhorne wrote various prose works, the most successful of which was his Letters of Theodosius and Constantia; and, in conjunction with his brother, he published a translation of Plutarch's Lives, which still maintains its ground as the best English version of the ancient author. His poetical works were chiefly slight effusions, dictated by the passion or impulse of the moment; but he made an abortive attempt to repel the coarse satire of Churchill, and to walk in the magic circle of the drama. His ballad, Owen of Carron, founded on the old Scottish tale of Gil Morrice, is smoothly versified, but in poetical merit is inferior to the original. The only poem of Langhorne's which has a cast of originality is his Country Justice. Here he seems to have anticipated Crabbe
in painting the rural life of England in true colours. His picture of the gipsies, and his sketches of venal clerks and rapacious overseers, are genuine likenesses. He has not the raciness or the distinctness of Crabbe, but is equally faithful, and as sincerely a friend to humanity. He pleads warmly for the poor vagrant tribe :
Still mark if vice or nature prompts the deed;
Still mark the strong temptation and the need:
On pressing want, on famine's powerful call,
At least more lenient let thy justice fall.
For him who, lost to every hope of life,
Has long with Fortune held unequal strife,
Known to no human love, no human care,
The friendless homeless object of despair;
For the poor vagrant feel, while he complains,
Nor from sad freedom send to sadder chains.
Alike if folly or misfortune brought
Those last of woes his evil days have wrought;
Believe with social mercy and with me,
Folly 's misfortune in the first degree.
Perhaps on some inhospitable shore
The houseless wretch a widowed parent bore;
Who then, no more by golden prospects led,
Of the poor Indian begged a leafy bed.
Cold on Canadian hills or Minden's plain,
Perhaps that parent mourned her soldier slain;
Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolved in dew,
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew,
Gave the sad presage of his future years,
The child of misery, baptised in tears.
This allusion to the dead soldier and his widow on the field of battle was made the subject of a print by Bunbury, under which were engraved the pathetic lines of Langhorne. Sir Walter Scott has mentioned, that the only time he saw Burns, the Scottish poet, this picture was in the room. Burns shed tears over it; and Scott, then a lad of fifteen, was the only person present who could tell him where the lines were to be found. The passage is beautiful in itself, but this incident will embalm and preserve it for ever,
When the poor hind, with length of years decayed,
Leans feebly on his once-subduing spade,
Forgot the service of his abler days,
His profitable toil, and honest praise,
Shall this low wretch abridge his scanty bread,
This slave, whose board his former labours spread?
When harvest's burning suns and sickening air
From labour's unbraced hand the grasped hook tear,
Where shall the helpless family be fed,
That vainly languish for a father's bread!
See the pale mother, sunk with grief and care,
To the proud farmer fearfully repair;
Soon to be sent with insolence away,
Referred to vestries, and a distant day!
Referred-to perish! Is my verse severe ?
Unfriendly to the human character?
Ah! to this sigh of sad experience trust:
The truth is rigid, but the tale is just.
If in thy courts this caitiff wretch appear,
Think not that patience were a virtue here.
His low-born pride with honest rage control;
Smite his hard heart, and shake his reptile soul.
But, hapless! oft through fear of future wo,
And certain vengeance of the insulting foe;
Oft, ere to thee the poor prefer their prayer,
The last extremes of penury they bear.
Wouldst thou then raise thy patriot office higher!
To something more than magistrate aspire!
And, left each poorer, pettier chase behind,
Step nobly forth, the friend of human kind!
The game I start courageously pursue!
Adieu to fear! to insolence adieu !
And first we'll range this mountain's stormy side,
Where the rude winds the shepherd's roof deride,
As meet no more the wintry blast to bear,
And all the wild hostilities of air.
That roof have I remembered many a year;
It once gave refuge to a hunted deer-
Here, in those days, we found an aged pair;
But time untenants-ha! what seest thou there?
Horror!-by Heaven, extended on a bed
of naked fern, two human creatures dead!
Embracing as alive!-ah, no !-no life!
"Tis the shepherd and his wife.
[Appeal to Country Justices in Behalf of the Rural I knew the scene, and brought thee to behold
Let age no longer toil with feeble strife,
Worn by long service in the war of life;
Nor leave the head, that time hath whitened, bare
To the rude insults of the searching air;
Nor bid the knee, by labour hardened, bend,
O thou, the poor man's hope, the poor man's friend!
If, when from heaven severer seasons fall,
Fled from the frozen roof and mouldering wall,
Each face the picture of a winter day,
More strong than Teniers' pencil could portray;
If then to thee resort the shivering train,
Of cruel days, and cruel man complain,
Say to thy heart (remembering him who said),
"These people come from far, and have no bread.'
Nor leave thy venal clerk empowered to hear;
The voice of want is sacred to thy ear.
He where no fees his sordid pen invite,
Sports with their tears, too indolent to write;
Like the fed monkey in the fable, vain
To hear more helpless animals complain.
But chief thy notice shall one monster claim;
A monster furnished with a human frame-
The parish-officer!-though verse disdain
Terms that deform the splendour of the strain,
It stoops to bid thee bend the brow severe
On the sly, pilfering, cruel overseer;
The shuffling farmer, faithful to no trust,
Ruthless as rocks, insatiate as the dust!
What speaks more strongly than the story toldThey died through want
'By every power I swear,
If the wretch treads the earth, or breathes the air,
Through whose default of duty, or design,
These victims fell, he dies.'
They fell by thine. Swear on no pretence :
A swearing justice wants both grace and sense.
[An Advice to the Married.]
Should erring nature casual faults disclose,
Wound not the breast that harbours your repose;
For every grief that breast from you shall prove,
Is one link broken in the chain of love.
Soon, with their objects, other woes are past,
But pains from those we love are pains that last.
Though faults or follies from reproach may fly,
Yet in its shade the tender passions die.
Love, like the flower that courts the sun's kind ray,
Will flourish only in the smiles of day;
Distrust's cold air the generous plant annoys,
And one chill blight of dire contempt destroys.
Oh shun, my friend, avoid that dangerous coast,
Where peace expires, and fair affection's lost;
By wit, by grief, by anger urged, forbear
The speech contemptuous and the scornful air.