Mrs. Elizabeth Carter,
a New Edition of Her
To Which Are Added, Some
Miscellaneous Essays in Prose,
Together With Her
Notes on the Bible,
Answers to Objections Concerning the
By the Rev. Montagu Pennington, M.A.
Vicar of Northbourn, and perpetual curate of St. George’s
Chapel, Deal, in Kent, her nephew and executor.
In two volumes.
Printed for F.C. and J. Rivington,
No. 62, St. Paul’s Church-Yard;
By R. & R. Gilbert, St. John’s-Square, Clerkenwell. 18161816.
To the Earl of Bath.
The world will judge the more favourably of this Collection, from being told that it was printed by your desire; and my own scruples about the publication will be the less painful, if you accept it as a testimony of the gratitude and respect, with which I have the honour to be,
Whatever honour the Author of this Collection may derive from the following fine Verses, there is no part of it which she sets so high a value, as the being allowed to declare, that she is indebted for them to Lord Lyttelton.
On Reading Mrs. Carter’s Poems in Manuscript.
Such were the notes that struck the wond’ring ear
Of silent Night, when, on the verdant banks
Of Siloe’s hallow’d brook, celestial harps,
According to seraphic voices, sung
Glory to God on high, and on the earth
Peace, and good-will to men!—Resume the lyre
Chauntress divine, and ev’ry Briton call
Its melody to hear—so shall thy strains,
More pow’rful than the song of Orpheus, tame
The savage heart of brutal Vice, and bend
At pure Religion’s shrine the stubborn knees
Of bold Impiety— Greece shall no more
Of Lesbian Sappho boast, whose wanton Muse,
Like a false Syren, while she charm’d, seduc’d
To guilt and ruin. For the sacred head
Of Britain’s poetess the Virtues twine
A nobler wreath by them from Eden’s grove
Unfading gather’d, and direct the hand
Of Montague to fix it on her brows.
These Poems are all corrected from the author’s manuscripts, with their respective dates, and the names of the persons to whom they were addressed, supplied wherever they could be ascertained, which indeed was mostly from Mrs. Carter’s own communication to the editor. A few notes are added by the way of illustration.
The Poems which are reprinted from Cave’s edition in 17381738, are preserved more as literary curiosities than from their intrinsic merit; in which, though some of them are not deficient, they are very unequal to those which were her later productions. But it should be remembered, that they were all written before Mrs. Carter had attained the age of twenty years, and that they were thought at the time to be extraordinary proofs of early genius. With respect to those which have never before appeared in print, they were selected from among several others, which, having had a cross with a pencil drawn over them, it was supposed her maturer judgment chose to reject. On those which are given to † the 7 B4r the Public there was no such mark of reprobation, and it was therefore thought that the Editor might exercise his own discretion concerning them.
☞Those Poems which have never been published before are distinguished by an *.
Those which have never appeared but in Cave’s edition in 17381738, by ‡
Poems On Several Occasions
In Diem Natalem. 17351735.
Thou Pow’r supreme! by whose command I live,
The grateful tribute of my praise receive:
To thy indulgence I my being owe,
And all the joys which from that being flow.
Scarce eighteen suns have formed the rolling year,
And run their destined courses round this sphere,
Since thy creative eye my form survey’d,
Midst undistinguish’d heaps of matter laid.
Thy skill my elemental clay refin’d,
The vagrant particles in order join’d:
With perfect symmetry compos’d the whole,
And stamp’d thy sacred image on my soul:
A soul susceptible of endless joy,
Whose frame nor Force, nor Time can e’er destroy;
Which shall survive, when Nature claims mybreath,
And bid defiance to the darts of Death;
In Diem Natalem.
Tu Deus Omnipotens, quo dante, hoe æthere vescor,
Debita tu laudum præmia numen habe:
Esse mihi, indulgens hominum Pater, ipse dedisti,
Ipse voluptates, hoc quot ab esse fluunt.
Vix annus ter sextus adhuc sua sydera torsit
Bisve novem longos sol tulit orbe gyros,
Ex quo vigineâ, hæc sine formâ mass jacebat,
Te lustrante, rudi semisepulta chao.
Te formante, lutumq; elementaq; prima coibant,
Nexaq; membra stabant, ordine quæq; suo.
Te partes formante ligat symphonia concors,
Et tua sacrâ animam signat imago notâ.
Das animam æquiparem superis, æviq; perennem
Quam non vis perdet, non teret atra dies.
Hæc manet ætherea eg corpore cum volet aura,
Hæc falcem mortis, telaq; dura fugat.Hæc 10 B5v 10
To realms of bliss with active freedom soar,
And live when earth and skies shall be no more
Author of life! in vain my tongue essays,
For this immortal gift to speak thy praise!
How shall my heart its grateful sense reveal,
Where all the energy of words must fail?
O may its influence in my life appear,
And ev’ry action prove my thanks sincere!
Grant me, great God, a heart to Thee inclin’d:
Increase my faith, and rectify my mind:
Teach me betimes to tread thy sacred ways,
And to thy service consecrate my days.
Still as thro’ life’s perplexing maze I stray,
Be thou the guiding star to mark my way.
Conduct the steps of my unguarded youth,
And point their motions to the paths of Truth.
Protect me by thy providential care,
And warn my soul to shun the Tempter’s snare.
Thro’ all the shifting scenes of varied life,
In calms of ease, or ruffling storms of grief,
Thro’ each event of this inconstant state,
Preserve my temper equal and sedate.
Give me a mind, that nobly can despise
The low designs, and little arts of vice.
Be my religion such as taught by Thee,
Alike from pride and superstition free.
Inform my judgment, regulate my will,
My reason strengthen, and my passions still.
To gain thy favour be my first great end,
And to that scope may ev’ry action tend.Amidst 11 B6r 11
Hæa resoluta petit sedes habitatq; beatas
Postquam abiere oculis, sydera, terra, fretum.
Aucta, benigne Parens! tanto quâ munere linguâ
Qua laudem æternam dicere voce queam?
Quâve ope cor fundet sensum, qua gaudia spiret,
Vis ubi sermonis, vanaq; verba cadunt?
O utinam memorem pietas me vitaq; monstrent!
Atq; ferat gratam pectore quicquid ago!
Corde, Pater, toto vivam tibi dedita, mentem
Corrige, & accumula pectora plena fide.
Te monstrante iter insistat cæleste puella
Desq; viam hanc mulier, des pede carpat anus
Dumq; erro incertas vitæ perplexa per undas,
Tu mihi sis magnes tu mihi sydus eas.
Dirige tu infirmae vestigia læta juventæ
Inq; vias veri Tu bone fleebe gradus.
Pasce manu, Pater, et curâ defende perenni,
Disce Orci ut fugiam præda petita plagas.
Humanæ facies vitæ quæcumq; resurgat
Otia seu hine rident, seu furit inde dolor,
Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum,
Mens intacta malis sit mea parq; sibi.
Des animam vitii turpes quæ spernere noscat
Nobilis insidias, artificesq; dolos.
Sit mea religio data Te divinitus; inflat
Quam non hinc fastus, non premit inde timor.
Sit mihi judicium rectum, sit recta voluntas,
Ipsa regam affectus, me ratio alma regat.
Efficiam quæ facta probas; hoc sinc quiescam:
Hanc metam vitæ munera quæq; petant.Gaudia 12 B6v 12
Amidst the pleasures of a prosp’rous state,
Whose flatt’ring charms th’untutor’d heart elate,
May I reflect to whom those gifts I owe,
And bless the bounteous hand, from whence they flow.
Or, if an adverse fortune be my share,
Let not it’s terrors tempt me to despair:
But fixt on Thee a steady faith maintain,
And own all good, which thy decrees ordain.
On thy unfailing Providence depend,
The best protector, and the surest friend!
Thus on life’s stage may I my part sustain,
And at my exit thy applauses gain.
When thy pale herald summons me away,
Support me in that dread catastrophe.
In that last conflict guard me from alarms,
And take my soul expiring to thy arms.Epitaph 13 B7r 13
Gaudia dum cingunt, rapit et mea vela secunda
Aura, quibus nimium mens tumet alta bonis
Ne fugiat, bona cui tanta hæc accepta referri
Par sit; at unde fluunt sit mihi nota manus.
Sive me in adversâ teneat certamen arenâ
Nec male vitam orem, spe neq; lapsa cadam.
Ast armata fide stabili, Deus optime, credam
Optime agi quod agis, nam tibi velle bonum est,
Viribus hine validis pendere et numine discam
(Rerum O summa salus, præsidiumq;!) Tuo.
Sic agat humano partes, spectanda, theatro,
Exeat et plausa mima superba tuo.
Pallida cumq; tuo jussu Mors ostia pulsat,
Da scenam ut superâ nex bene claudat ope:
Tu, Pater, extremo hoc certamine pelle timorem,
Emissamq; animam corpore tolle sina.
Epitaph on a Young Lady. 17351735.
Sleep here, fair Saint, secure from mortal woes,
And shelt’ring Angels guard thy soft repose.
Let pious awe each bold attempt restrain,
That no rude hand thy sacred dust profane.
Rest undisturb’d till Jesus bid thee rise,
Then quit the tomb, and wake to endless joys.
Anacreon. Ode XXX. 17341734.
Αἱ μουσαι τον Ερωτα, &c;
The Muses once, intent on play,
Young Cupid roving caught:
With flow’ry wreaths his hands confin’d,
And bound to Beauty brought.
Fond Venus ranges all the pain,
To seek her little joy:
And soon a pow’rful ransom brings,
To free th’ imrison’d Boy.
But tho’ releas’d, the captive god,
Refus’d to quit his chains:
And still to Beauty’s gentle sway
A willing slave remains.
Now Nature quickens with the vernal breeze,
Again their leafy honours deck the trees.
That smiling Earth renews her blooming pride,
And less’ning streams within their channels glide.
The Nymphs and Graces on the plains advance,
And in gay circles lead the sprightly dance.
The various changes of the seasons show,
That nought immortal must be hop’d below.
The swift-wing’d hours this serious truth convey,
Whose rapid motion hurries on the day.
The flow’ry Spring bids blust’ring tempests cease,
To Summer’s reign the flow’ry Spring gives place;
That too must fly when Autumn yields her store,
And Winter next resumes its gloomy pow’r.
Yet as the Moon renews her silver horn,
Each dormant season shall to life return.
But we, when destin’d to that darksome place
From which nor Tullus’ wealth, nor Ancus’ race,
Nor ev’n Æneas’ piety could free,
Are nought but fleeting air, and lifeless clay.
Who knows if Heav’n will add to-morrow’s sun,
To crown those minutes we’ve already run?
Then each delight to sooth thy mind prepare;
What’s spent in this, shall ’scape a greedy heir.When 16 B8v 16
When Fate has once consign’d thee to the tomb,
And the stern Judge pronounc’d thy final doom;
Nor Wit, Descent, nor Piety can aid,
To rescue thee from Death’s eternal shade.
For neither can the goddess of the Wood
Free her chaste favourite from the Stygian flood;
Nor Theseus (all his valiant efforts vain)
Release Pirithous from th’ infernal chain.
‡ A Riddle. 17361736.
Nor form, nor substance in my being share,
I’m neither Fire nor Water, Earth nor Air;
From Motion’s force alone my birth derive;
I ne’er can die, for never was alive;
And yet with such extensive empire reign,
That very few escape my magic chain.
Nor time, nor place my wild excursions bound;
I break all order, Nature’s laws confound;
Raise schemes without contradictions join;
Transfer the Thames where Ganges’ waters roll,
Unite th’ Equator to the frozen Pole;
Midst Zembla’s ice bid blushing rubies glow,
And British harvests bloom in Scythian snow;
Cause trembling flocks to skim the raging main,
And scaly fishes graze the verdant plain;7 Make 17 C1r 17
Make light descend, and heavy bodies rise,
Stars sink to the earth, and earth ascend the skies.
If nature lie deform’d in win’try frost,
And all the beauties of the Spring be lost,
Rais’d by my pow’r new verdure decks the ground,
And smiling flow’rs diffuse their sweets around.
The sleeping dead I summon from the tomb,
And oft anticipate the living’s doom;
Convey offenders to the fatal tree,
When law or strategem have set them free.
Aw’d by no checks my roving flights can soar
Beyond Imagination’s active pow’r.
I view each country of the spacious earth;
Nay, visit Realms that never yet had birth;
Can trace the pathless regions of the air,
And fly with ease beyond the starry sphere,
So swift my operations, in an hour
I can destroy a town, or build a tow’r;
Play tricks would puzzle all the search of wit,
And show whole volumes that were never writ.
In sure records my mystic pow’rs confest,
Charg’d in prophetic emblems to relate
Approaching wrath, and his peculiar fate.
Oft to the good by Heav’n in Mercy sent,
I’ve arm’d their thoughts against some dire event;
As oft in chains presumptuous villains bind,
And haunt with restless fears the guilty mind.
A virtuous man whose acts and thoughts are pure,
Without the help of weapons is secure;
Without a quiver or impoison’d spear,
His stedfast soul forgets the sense of fear.
Whether through Libya’s burning sands he goes,
Or Caucase horrid with perpetual snows;
Surveys those regions where Hydaspes strays,
Or tost by tempests in the raging seas;
Safe in his own intrinsic worth remains,
And arm’d with that each obstacle disdains;
Toils, dangers, difficulties, all defy’d,
His passport Virtue, Providence his guide. ――Providence their guide. Par. Lost. B.12.
If plac’d by Fate beneath the torrid zone,
Scorch’d by the fury of too near a sun;
Or sent where never Phœbus’ cheerful ray
Glads the dark climate with one glimpse of day;
Where no gay verdure decks th’ unfruitful ground
But winter spreads its empire all around:
Amidst the terrors of that dismal scene,
His mind preserves a settled calm within,To 19 C2r 19
To him the gloomy waste shall seem to smile,
And conscious Virtue ev’ry care beguile.
Virtue alike its tenor can maintain,
In splendid courts, or on a barren plain.
Whate’er we think on’t, Forune’s but a toy,
Which cheats the soul with empty shows of joy;
A mere ideal creature of the brain,
That reigns the idol of the mad and vain;
Deludes their senses with a fair disguise,
And sets an airy bliss before their eyes.
But when they hope to grasp the glitt’ring prey,
Th’ unstable fantom vanishes away.
So vap’ry fires mislead unwary swains,
Who rove benighted o’er the dewy plains.
Drawn by the faithless Meteor’s glimm’ring ray,
Through devious paths, and lonely wilds they stray;
Too late convinc’d their sad mistake deplore,
And find their home more distant than before.
Could Mortals learn to limit their desires,
Little supplies what Nature’s want requires; Man wants but little here below. Goldsmith’s Ballad. Nec trepides in usum Pscentis ævi pauca. Lib. 2. Ode II.C2 Content 20 C2v 20
Content affords an inexhausted store,
And void of that a Monarch’s wealth is poor.
Grant but ten thousand pounds, Philaurus cries,
That happy sum would all my wants suffice.
Assenting powers the golden blessing grant,
But with his wealth his wishes too augment.
With anxious care he pines amidst his store,
And starves himself to get ten thousand more.
Ambition’s charms Philotimus inspire,
A Treas’rer’s staff the pitch of his desire:
The staff he gains, yet murmurs at his fate,
And longs to shine first minister of state.
A coach and four employ’d Cosmelia’s cares,
For this she hourly worried Heav’n with pray’rs.
Did this when gained, her restless temper fix?
No, she still prays—For what?—a coach and six.
Thus when through Fortune’s airy rounds we stray,
Our footsteps rove from Nature’s certain way;
Through endless labyrinths of error run,
And by the fond delusions are undone;
Still vainly reaching at a transient bliss,
Pursue the shadow, and the substance miss;
Till after all our wond’ring schemes, we find,
That true content dwells only in the mind.
Those joys on no external aid depend,
But in ourselves begin, and there must end.
From virtue only those delights must flow,
Which neither wealth nor titles can bestow.
A soul which uncorrupted Reason sways,
With calm indiff’rence Fortune’s gift surveys.
If Providence an affluent store denies,
It’s own intrinsic worth that want supplies.
Disdains by vicious actions to acquire
That glitt’ring trifle vulgar minds admire.
With ease to Heav’n’s superior will resigns,
Nor meanly at another’s wealth repines.
Firmly adheres to Virtue’s steady rules,
And scorns the fickle deity of fools. This Poem is particularly curious, as being the only attempt at satire which Mrs. Carter ever made; at least no other is now remaining. If it be not a very happy one, it should be remembered, that she was under twenty years of age when she tried her powers in this kind of composition, to which she had in general a great dislike. In this instance she seems to have taken Dr. Young for her model.
On the Death of Her Sacred Majesty Queen Caroline. This poem was presented to King George II. by Sir Robert Walpole, through Sir Goerge Oxenden, then one of the Lords of the Treasury. In Mr. Cox’s Memoirs of Sir Robert Walpole, this Poem is inserted, and ascribed to Lord Melcombe; which mistake arose from its having been found by Mr. Wyndham among his papers, and in his own handwriting. Mr Coxe, with his usual candor, has allowed the Editor to publish this statement. See 2d Letter from Lady Hertford, vol. i. p. 53.
When Heav’n’s decrees a Prince’s fate ordain,
And kneeling people supplicate in vain;
Too well our tears this mournful truth express,
And in a Queen’s a parent’s loss confess:
A loss the gen’ral grief can best rehearse,
A theme superior to the pow’r of verse.
Though just our grief, be ev’ry murmur still,
Nor dare pronounce His dispensations ill,
In whose wise councils, and disposing hand,
The fates of monarchies, and monarchs stand;
Who only knows the state for either fit,
And bids the erring sense of man submit.
Ye grateful Britons to her mem’ry just,
With pious tears embalm her sacred dust.
Confess her grac’d with all that’s good and great,
A public blessing to a favour’d state;
Patron of freedom and her country’s laws,
Sure friend to virtue’s and religion’s cause;
Religion’s cause! whose charms superior shone
To ev’ry gay temptation of a crown!
Whose awful dictates all her soul possess’d,
Her one great aim to make a people bless’d.
Ye drooping Muses, mourn her hasty doom,
And spread your deathless honours round her tomb:
Her name to long succeeding ages raise,
Who both inspir’d and patroniz’d your lays.
Each gen’rous art, sit pensive o’er her urn,
And ev’ry grace and ev’ry virtue mourn.
Attending Angels, bear your sacred prize
Amidst the radiant glories of the skies,
Where God-like Princes, who below pursu’d,
That noblest end of rule, the public good,
Now sit secure, Post ingentia facta, Deorum in templa recepti, Dum terras, hominumq; colunt genus, &c; 2. Epist, i. 6. their gen’rous labour past,
With all the just rewards of virtue grac’d.
In that bright train distinguished let her move,
Who built her empire on a people’s love.
To Mr. Duck, Stephen Duck, the thresher, patronized and pensioned by Queen Caroline, an amiable man, though a bad poet. In these lines his Muse seems to have inspired Mrs. Carter, for they are the worst she ever wrote; and of this she was sensible herself, and never liked to hear of them. Had they not been published before, they would not have been inserted here. They are the most laboured, and least original of any in the collection. Occasioned By a Present of his Poems.
Accept, O Duck, the Muse’s grateful lay,
Who owns a favour which she can’t repay.
Good-nature, sense, and modest wit must claim
The honours of an universal fame;
These gifts procure thee, that which few attend,
In ev’ry reader to obtain a friend.
Ev’n snarling critics must forget their rage,
And love the author, tho’ they blame the page.
For ev’ry line discovers what thou art,
And speaks the language of an honest heart;
A temper fix’d in ev’ry changing state,
Nor meanly sunk, nor giddily elate:
A happy art which truth with sweetness blends,
And lashes vice,yet never once offends. Oft she rejects, but never once offends. Rape of the Lock. .
Or if some description grace thy song,
Soft are the numbers, and the image strong.
On the bleak margin of the sea-beat shore,
When Richmond’s scenes shall charm my eyes no more,
Thy verse the gay ideas shall renew,
And all the beauteous prospect glad my view.
Happy thy studies on that blissful plain,
Blessed with the smiles of a propitious Queen.
Oh let thy Muse in mournful colours paint,
—But here, alas! the pow’r of verse is faint.
How just our grief when Carolina fell,
Let truth, let science, and religion tell.
Yet pleas’d, the Muses through the gloom survey,
The cheerful glimm’rings of a rising day,
Illustrious offspring of a Queen, whose name,
Till time shall cease, must be the boast of fame,
Form’d by her precept, by example fir’d,
Shall copy those bright virtues she inspir’d;
Like her shall patronize each useful art,
And sooth the anguish of the drooping heart;
With gen’rous pity hear the orphan’s pray’r.
Forbid the sigh, and stop the falling tear;
The mournful graces to their bloom restore,
And be what Carolina was before.
May he on whom the fate of the Princes wait,
The watchful guardian of the good and great,With 26 C5v 26
With ev’ry god-like virtue form their mind,
And make them public blessings to mankind.
Then late, oh late! to realms of bliss remove,
Where their great parent sits enthron’d above.
While clear the night, and ev’ry thought serene,
Let Fancy wander o’er the solemn scene:
And, wing’d by active Contemplation, rise
Amidst the radiant wonders of the skies.
Here, Cassiopeia fills a lucid throne,
There blaze the splendors of the Northern crown:
While the slow car the cold Triones roll
O’er the pale countries of the frozen pole,
Whose faithful beams conduct the wand’ring ship
Through the wide desart of the pathless deep.
Throughout the Galaxy’s extended line,
Unnumber’d orbs in gay confusion shine:Where 27 C6r 27
Where ev’ry star that gilds the gloom of night
With the faint tremblings of a distant light,
Perhaps illumes some system of its own
With the strong influence of a radiant sun.
Plac’d on the verge, which Titan’s realm confines,
The slow revolving orb of Saturn shines; But modern discoveries have so extended the solar system, that Saturn’s orbit is now central between the sun and its extreme known limits.
Where the bright pow’r whose near approaching ray
Gilds our gay climates with the blaze of day,
On those dark regions glimmers from afar,
With the pale lustre of a twinkling star.
While, glowing with unmitigated day,
The nearer planets roll their rapid way.
Let stupid atheists boast th’ atomic dance,
And call these beauteous worlds the work of chance:
But nobler minds from guilt and passion free,
Where Truth unclouded darts her heav’nly ray,
Or on the earth, or in th’ ethereal road,
Survey the footsteps of a ruling God:
Sole Lord of Nature’s universal frame,
Thro’ endless years unchangeably the same:
Whose presence, unconfin’d by time or place,
Fills all the vast immensity of space.He 28 C6v 28
He saw while matter yet a Chaos lay:
The shapeless Chaos own’d his potent sway.
His single fiat form’d th’ amazing whole,
And taught the new-born planets where to roll;
With wise direction curv’d their steady course,
Imprest the central and projectile force,
Lest in one mass their orbs confus’d should run,
Drawn by th’ attractive virtue of the sun,
Or quit th’ harmonious round, and wildly stray
Beyond the limits of his genial ray.
To thee, Endymion, Mr. Wright, the Astronomer, mentioned in the Memoirs. I devote my song;
To minds like thee, these subjects best belong;
Whose curious thoughts with active freedom soar,
And trace the wonders of creating pow’r.
For this, some nobler pen shall speak thy fame;
But let the Muse indulge a gentler theme,
While pleas’d she tells thy more engaging part,
Thy social temper and diffusive heart.
Unless these charms their soft’ning aid bestow,
Science turns Pride, and Wit a common foe.
On Hearing Miss Lynch One of the daughters of Dr. George Lynch, of Canterbury, and afterwards wife of Isaac Bargrave, of Eastrycourt, Esq. Sing. 17391739.
Sweet Echo, vocal nymph, whose mimic tongue
Return’d the music of my Delia’s song,
O still repeat the soft enchanting lay
That gently steals the ravish’d soul away.
Shall sounds like these in circling air be tost,
And in the stream of vulgar noises lost?
Ye guardian Sylphs, who listen while she sings,
Bear the sweet accents on your rosy wings:
With studious care the fading notes retain,
Nor let that tuneful breath be spent in vain.
Yet, if too soon this transient pleasure fly,
A charm more lasting shall the loss supply;
While harmony, with each attractive grace,
Plays in the fair proportions of her face;
Where each soft air, engaging and serene,
Beats measure to the well-tun’d mind within
Alike her singing and her silence move,
Whose voice is music, and whose looks are love.
On the Death of Mrs. Rowe. 17391739. First published in the Gentleman’s Magazine. See the Memoirs.
Oft’ did Intrigue it’s guilty arts unite,
To blacken the records of female wit:
The tuneful song lost ev’ry modest grace,
And lawless freedoms triumph’d in their place:
The Muse, for vices not her own accus’d,
With blushes view’d her sacred gifts abus’d;
Those gifts for nobler purposes assign’d,
To raise the thoughts, and moralize the mind;
The chaste delights of virtues to inspire,
And warm the bosom with seraphic fire;
Sublime the passions, lend devotion wings,
And celebrate the first great cause of things.
Those glorious tasks where Philomela’s part,
Who charms the fancy, and who mends the heart.
In her was ev’ry bright distinction join’d,
Whate’er adorns, or dignifies the mind:
Her’s ev’ry happy elegance of thought,
Refin’d by virtue, as by genius wrought.
Each low-born care her pow’rful strains controul,
And wake the nobler motions of the soul.
When to the vocal wood or winding stream,
She hymn’d th’ Almighty Author of it’s frame,Trans- 31 C8r 31
Transported echoes bore the sounds along,
And all creation listen’d to the song:
Full, as when raptur’d seraphs strike the lyre;
Chaste, as the vestal’s consecrated fire;
Soft as the balmy airs that gently play
In the calm sun-set of a vernal day;
Sublime as Virtue; elegant as Wit;
As Fancy various; and as Beauty sweet.
Applauding Angels with attention hung,
To learn the heav’nly accents from her tongue;
They, in the midnight hour, beheld her rise
Beyond the verge of sublunary skies;
Where, rapt in joys to mortal sense unknown,
She felt a flame extatic as their own.
O while distinguish’d in the realms above,
The blest abode of harmony and love,
Thy happy spirit joins the heav’nly throng,
Glows with their transports, and partakes their song;
Fixt on my soul shall thy example grow,
And be my genius and my guide below;
To this I’ll point my first, my noblest views,
Thy spotless verse shall regulate my Muse.
And O forgive, though faint the transcript be,
That copies an original like thee:
My justest pride, my best attempt for fame,
That joins my own to Philomela’s name.
Ode to Melancholy. 17391739.
Come Melancholy! silent Pow’r,
Companion of my lonely hour,
To sober thought confin’d:
Thou sweetly-sad ideal guest,
In all thy soothing charms confest,
Indulge my pensive mind.
No longer wildly hurried thro’
The tides of Mirth, that ebb and flow,
In Folly’s noisy stream;
I from the busy croud retire,
To court the objects that inspire
Thy philosophic dream.
Thro’ yon dark grove of mournful yews,
With solitary steps I muse,
By the direction led:Here 33 D1r 33
Here, cold to Pleasure’s tempting forms,
Consociate with my sister-worms. Job. xvii. 14.
And mingle with the dead.
Ye midnight horrors! awful gloom!
Ye silent regions of the tomb,
My future peaceful bed:
Here shall my weary eyes be clos’d,
And ev’ry sorrow lie repos’d
In Death’s refreshing shade.
Ye pale inhabitants of night,
Before my intellectual sight
In solemn pomp ascend:
O tell how trifling now appears
The train of idle hopes and fears
That varying life attend.
Ye faithless idols of our sense,
Here own how vain your fond pretence,
Ye empty names of joy!
Your transient forms like shadows pass,
Frail offspring of the magic glass,
Before the mental eye.
The dazzling colours, falsely bright,
Attract the gazing vulgar sight
With superficial state:Vol. II. D Thro’ 34 D1v 34
Thro’ Reason’s clearer optics view’d,
How stript of all its pomp, how rude
Appears the painted cheat.
Can wild ambition’s tyrant pow’r,
Or ill-got Wealth’s superfluous store,
The dread of death controul?
Can Pleasure’s more bewitching charms
Avert, or sooth the dire alarms
That shake the parting soul?
Religion! e’er the hand of Fate
Shall make Reflection plead too late,
My erring senses teach,
Amidst the flatt’ring hopes of youth,
To meditate the solemn truth,
These awful relics preach.
Thy penetrating beams disperse
The mist of error, whence our fears
Derive their fatal spring:
’Tis thine the trembling heart to warm,
And soften to an angel form
The pale terrific King.
When sunk by guilt in sad despair,
Repentance breathes her humble pray’r,
And owns thy threat’nings just:Thy 35 D2r 35
The voice the shudd’ring suppliant chears,
With Mercy calms her tort’ring fears,
And lifts her from the dust.
Sublim’d by thee, the soul aspires
Beyond the range of low desires,
In nobler views elate:
Unmov’d her destin’d change surveys,
And, arm’d by Faith, intrepid pays
The universal debt.
In Death’s soft slumber lull’d to rest,
She sleeps, by smiling visions blest,
That gently whisper peace:
’Till the last morn’s fair op’ning ray
Unfolds the bright eternal day
Of active life and bliss.
With restless agitations tost,
And low immers’d in woes,
When shall my wild distemper’d thoughts
Regain their lost repose?
Beneath the deep oppressive gloom
My languid spirirts fade:
And all the drooping pow’rs of life
Decline to Death’s cold shade.
O thou! the wretched’s sure retreat,
These tort’ring cares controul,
And with the cheerful smile of peace,
Revive my fainting soul!
Did ever thy relenting ear
The humble plea disdain?
Or when did plaintive mis’ry sigh,
And supplicate in vain?
Opprest with grief and shame, dissolv’d
In penitential tears,
Thy goodness calms our restless doubts,
And dissipates our fears.
New life, from thy refreshing grace
Our sinking hearts receive;
Thy gentle, best-lov’d attribute
To pity and forgive.
From that blest source propitious Hope
Appears serenely bright,
And sheds her soft diffusive beam
O’er Sorrow’s dismal night.
Dispers’d by her superior force,
The sullen shades retire,
And op’ning gleams of new-born joy
The conscious soul inspire.
My griefs confess her vital pow’r,
And bless the friendly ray:
Fair Phosphor to the smiling morn
Of everlasting day.
Thoughts at Midnight. 17391739.
While Night in solemn shade invests the Pole,
And calm reflection soothes the pensive soul;
While Reason undisturb’d asserts her sway,
And life’s deceitful colours fade away:
To thee! all-conscious presence! I devote
This peaceful interval of sober thought.
Here all my better faculties confine,
And be this hour of sacred silence thine.
If by the day’s illusive scenes misled,
My erring soul from Virtue’s path has stray’d;
If by example snar’d, by passion warm’d,
Some false delight my giddy sense has charm’d,
My calm thoughts the wretched choice reprove,
And my best hopes are center’d in thy love.Depriv’d 38 D3v 38
Depriv’d of this, can life one joy afford!
It’s utmost boast a vain unmeaning word.
But ah! how oft my lawless passions rove,
And break those awful precepts I approve!
Pursue the fatal impulse I abhor,
And violate the virtue I adore!
Oft’ when thy gracious Spirit’s guardian care
Warn’d my fond soul to shun the tempting snare,
My stubborn will his gentle aid represt,
And check’d the rising goodness in my breast,
Mad with vain hopes, or urg’d by false desires,
Still’d his soft voice, and quench’d his sacred tires,
With grief opprest, and prostrate in the dust,
Should’st thou condemn, I own the sentence just.
But oh thy softer titles let me claim,
And plead my cause by mercy’s gentle name.
Mercy, that wipes the penitential tear,
And dissipates the horrors of despair:
From rig’rous Justice steals the vengeful hour:
Softens the dreadful attribute of power;
Disarms the wrath of an offended God,
And seals my pardon in a Saviour’s blood.
All pow’rful Grace, exert thy gentle sway,
And teach my rebel passions to obey:
Lest lurking Folly with insidious art
Regain my volatile inconstant heart.
Shall ev’ry high resolve devotion frames,
Be only lifeless sounds and specious names?Or 39 D4r 39
Or rather while thy hopes and fears controul,
In this still hour each motion of my soul,
Secure its safety by a sudden doom,
And be the soft retreat of sleep my tomb.
Calm let me slumber in that dark repose,
’Till the last morn its orient beam disclose:
Then, when the great Archangel’s potent sound,
Shall echo thro’ Creation’s ample round,
Wak’d from the sleep of Death, with joy survey
The op’ning splendours of eternal day.
A Dialogue. 17401740.
Says Body to Mind, When this Poem was first handed about in manuscript, some captious and frivolous objections were made to its tendency, which occassioned the following letter to Mrs. Carter from her father. February 12, 1740-1. I cannot, even by the help of my spectacles, discern any thing in the Dialogue injurious to the orthodoxy either of reason or religion. I am aware, that some Sceptics will charge charge this position with contradiction. For what third party can carry it fair with two others, which are (say they) always quarrelling? Sed ad rem. I like the verses well, and think the objections against mud walls improperly made. ’Twas the business of each litigant to run down its opponent. And truly (though it is a coarse expression for me to use to a lady) the body is no better. The interpretation of Restlessness, Discontent, is scarce less ridiculous than the sagacious conjecture of its intention to run down all speculative knowledge. Speculative knowledge, I suppose, comes from the exercise of the mind; and I was so dull at my first (and continue so at my second) reading of this piece, as to think the moral (or, if you please, the design) of it was to teach us, that the mind is the better part, and ought therefore to be chiefly cultivated by us. And why too should an endeavour to call us off from too great a love of our bodies to a greater regard to our mind, be interpreted Spleen and Discontent? In a word, I think them very pretty, and am not at all charged in my sentiments by the criticisms against them. ’Tis amazing to see,
We’re so nearly related yet never agree,
But lead a most wrangling strange sort of a life,
As great plagues to each other as husband and wife.The 40 D4v 40
The fault’s all your own, who with flagrant oppression,
Encroach ev’ry day on my lawful possession.
The best room in my house The head. you have seiz’d for your own,
And turn’d the whole tenement quite upside down,
While you hourly call in a disorderly crew
Of vagabond rogues, The thoughts. who have nothing to do
But to run in and out, hurry scurry, and keep
Such a horrible uproar, I cant get to sleep.There 41 D5r 41
There’s my kitchen The stomach. sometimes is as empty as sound,
I call for my servants, The spirits. not one’s to be found:
They all are sent out on your Ladyship’s errand,
To fetch some more riotous guests in, I warrant!
And since things are growing, I see, worse and worse,
I’m determined to force you to alter your course.
Poor Mind, who heard all with extreme moderation,
Thought it now time to speak, and make her allegation.
’Tis I, that, methinks, have most cause to complain,
Who am crampt and confin’d like a slave in a chain,
I did but step out, on some weighty affairs,
To visit, last night, my good friends in the stars,
When before I was got half as high as the moon,
You dispatch’d Pain and Languor to hurry me down;
Vi et Armis they seiz’d me, in midst of my flight,
And shut me in caverns as dark as the night.
’Twas no more, reply’d Body, than what you deserv’d,
While you rambled abroad, I at home was half starv’d:† And, 42 D5v 42
And, unless I had closely confin’d you in hold,
You had left me to perish with hunger and cold,
I’ve a friend, answers Mind, who, tho’ slow, is yet sure,
And will rid me, at last, of your insolent pow’r:
Will knock down your mud walls, the whole fabric demolish,
And at once your strong holds and my slav’ry abolish:
And while in the dust your dull ruins decay,
I shall snap off my chains and fly freely away.
Written Extempore on the SeaShore. 17411741.—By Moon Light.
Thou restless fluctuating deep,
Expressive of the human mind,
In thy for ever varifying form,
My own inconstant self I find.
How soft now flow thy peaceful waves,
In just gradations to the shore;
While on thy brow, unclouded shines
The regent of the midnight hour.
Blest emblem of that equal state,
Which I this moment feel within:
Where thought to thought succeeding rolls,
And all is placid and serene.
As o’er thy smoothly flowing tide,
Their light the trembling moon-beams dart,
My lov’d Eudocia’s image smiles,
And gaily brightens all my heart.
But ah! this flatt’ring scene of peace,
By neither can be long possest,
When Eurus breaks thy transient calm,
And rising sorrows shake my breast.
Obscur’d thy Cynthia’s silver ray
When clouds opposing intervene:
And ev’ry joy that Friendship gives
Shall fade beneath the gloom of spleen.
To Miss Sarah Lynch. Afterwards wife of William Tatton, D.D. Prebendary of Canterbury, &c; 17421742.
I have lately, dear Mira, presented a prayer,
Which was safely conveyed to Apollo’s right ear;
The intent of this pray’r was to beg his assistance
To write a few lines to a friend at a distance.
The god half agreed, asked on what I would write,
I answered on you, as I thought that I might.
On hearing my theme he fell into a passion,
And uttered such things as are past my expression.“Would 44 D6v 44
Would she scribble on Pope it might well be forgiv’n,
But Mira’s a subject for none under heav’n.
Besides, cried Apollo, and turned up his nose,
Would she write in verse, let her first mend her prose.
To Miss Lynch. 17431743.
While thus my thoughts their softer sense express,
And strive to make the tedious hours seem less,
Say, shall these lines the name I hide impart,
And point their author to my Cynthia’s heart?
Will she, by correspondent friendship, own
A verse the Muse directs to her alone?
Dear object of a love whose fond excess
No studied forms of language can express,
How vain those arts which vulgar cares controul
To banish thy remembrance from my soul!
Which fixt and constant to its fav’rite theme,
In spite of time and distance is the same:
Still feels thy absence equally severe,
Nor tastes without thee a delight sincere.
Now cold Aquarius rules the frozen sky,
And with pale horrors strikes the chearless eye;
Sooth’d by the melancholy gloom I rove,
With lonely footsteps thro’ the leafless grove;While 45 D7r 45
While sullen clouds the face of heav’n invest,
And, in rude murmurs, howls the bleak North-east:
Ev’n here thy image rises to my sight,
And gilds the shade with momentary light;
It’s magic pow’r transforms the wintry scene,
And gay as Eden blooms the faded plain.
From solitude to busy crowds I fly,
And there each wild amusement idly try:
Where laughing Folly sports in various play,
And leads the chorus of the young and gay.
But here the fancy only takes a part,
The giddy mirth ne’er penetrates my heart,
Which, cold, unmov’d by all I hear or see,
Steals from the circle to converse with thee.
To calm Philosophy I next retire,
And seek the joys her sacred arts inspire,
Renounce the frolics of unthinking youth,
To court the more engaging charms of Truth:
With Plato soar on Comtemplation’s wing,
And trace perfection to th’ eternal spring;
Observe the vital emanations flow,
That animate each fair degree below:
Whence Order, Elegance, and Beauty move
Each finer sense, that tunes the mind to love;
Whence all that harmony and fire that join,
To form a temper, and a soul like thine.
Thus thro’ each diff’rent track my thoughts pursue,
Thy lov’d idea ever meets my view.Of 46 D7v 46
Of ev’ry joy, of ev’ry wish a part,
And rules each varying motion of my heart.
May Angels guard thee with distinguish’d care.
And ev’ry blessing be my Cynthia’s share!
Thro’ flow’ry paths securely may she tread,
By Fortune follow’d, and by Virtue led;
While health and ease in ev’ry look express,
The glow of beauty, and the calm of peace.
Let one bright sunshine form life’s vernal day,
And clear and smiling be its ev’ning ray.
Late may she feel the softest blast of Death,
As roses droop beneath a Zephyr’s breath.
Thus gently fading, peaceful rest in earth,
’Till the glad spring of Nature’s second birth:
Then quit the transient winter of the tomb
To rise and flourish in immortal bloom.
To the Memory of ――. There are no memoranda remaining to show to whose memory these, and the following affecting verses, are addressed. Their meaning, however, is sufficiently obvious, though Florio’s real name be not known; and they are too beautiful to be supprest, though probably Mrs. Carter’s delicacy would not allow her to publish them.
Obiit. 1747-10-13Oct. 13, 1747.
Could modest sense with softest manners join’d
Attract the due attention of mankind,1 Unhappy 47 D8r 47
Unhappy Florio! thy ungentle fate
Had ne’er reproached the welathy or the great.
In vain admir’d, applauded, and rever’d,
No gen’rous hand thy drooping genius cheared;
It’s useless talents destined to deplore,
And sink neglected on a foreign shore;
There all thy prospects, all thy sufferings cease.
In Death, the last kind refuge of distress.
Tho’ by the world abandon’d and forgot,
Let one be just and mourn thy hapless lot;
Unlike thy sex whom selfish views inspire,
To pain the guiltless object they admire,
Thy silent truth each teizing suit represt,
And only wished to see another blest.
Tho’ cold to passion, true to thy desert,
Take the last tribute of a grateful heart,
Which not unconscious saw thy generous aim,
And gave thee, all it had to give, esteem;
Still o’er thy tomb it’s pious sorrows rise,
And Virtue sheds the tear which Love denies.
On the Same.
Oft has the wintry blast deformed the year,
And Zephyr oft restored the vernal bloom,
Florio! Since first I breathed the sigh sincere,
And twin’d the cypress garland round thy tomb.
Tho’ long composed thy peaceful ashes sleep
In worlds remote beneath the Southern pole;
Nor wide stretched lands, nor interposing deep,
Can check the progess of th’ unfetter’d soul.
Perhaps thy gentle spirit still surveys,
With some regard the object once so dear,
Nor undelighted feels the honest praise
Which Truth bestows on Death’s unflattered ear.
Yet no vain wish recals thee from the tomb
To tread the toilsome round of mortal years,
But kind Compassion, smiling, heard the doom,
That stopt thy progress thro’ a vale of tears.
A vale of tears to thee was all below,
Where no glad prospect cheered the thorny way.
Save that which Virtue’s piercing eyes bestow
Thro’ Death’s dark perspective to endless day.
To Miss Lynch. 17441744.
Occasioned By an Ode Written By Mrs. Philips.
Narcissa! still thro’ ev’ry varying name,
My constant care and bright enliv’ning theme,In 49 E1r 49
In what soft language shall the Muse declare
The fond extravagance of love sincere?
How all those pleasing sentiments convey,
That charm my fancy, when I think on thee?
A theme like this Orinda’s The poetical name of Mrs. Philips. thoughts inspir’d,
Nor less by Friendship than by Genius fir’d.
Then let her happier, nore persuasive art
Explain th’ agreeing dictates of my heart:
Sweet may her fame to late remembrance bloom,
And everlasting laurels shade her tomb,
Whose spotless verse with genuine force exprest
The brightest passion of the human breast.
In what blest clime, beneath what fav’ring skies,
Did thy fair form, propitious Friendship rise?
With mystic sense, the poet’s tuneful tongue
Urania’s birth in glitt’ring fiction sung. There were two Venuses among the Ancients; one called Pandemus, to whom they attributed the love of wild disorderly pleasures; the other named Urania, the patroness and inspirer of Friendship, Knowledge, and Virtue.
That Paphos first her smiling presence own’d,
Which wide diffus’d its happy influence round,
With hands united, and with looks serene,
Th’ attending Graces hail’d their new-born Queen;
The Zephyrs round her wav’d their purple wing,
And shed the fragrance of the breathing Spring;
The rosy Hours, advanc’d in silent flight,
Led sparling Youth, and ever new Delight.Vol. II. E Soft 50 E1v 50
Soft sigh the winds, the waters gently roll,
A purer azure vests the lucid Pole,
All Nature welcom’d in the beauteous train,
Amd Heav’n and Earth smil’d conscious of the scene.
But long e’er Paphos rose, or Poet sung,
In heav’nly breasts the sacred passion sprung:
The same bright flames in raptur’d Seraphs glow,
As warm consenting tempers here below:
While one attraction mortal, Angel, binds,
Virtue, which forms the unison of minds:
Friendship her soft harmonious touch affords,
And gently strikes the sympathetic chords,
Th’ agreeing notes in social measures roll,
And the sweet concert flows from soul to soul.
By Heav’n’s enthusiastic impulse taught
What shining visions rose on Plato’s thought!
While by the Muses gently winding flood, Ilyssus, a river near Athens, dedicated to the Muses. On the banks of this river, under a platane, Plato lays the scene of some of his Dialogues on Love and Beauty.
His searching fancy trac’d the sov’reign good!
The laurell’d Sisters touch’d the vocal lyre,
And Wisdom’s goddess led their tuneful choir.
Beneath the genial Platane’s spreading shade,
How sweet the philosophic music play’d!
Thro’ all the gore, along the flow’ry shore
The charming sounds responsive echoes bore.
Here, from the cares of vulgar life refin’d,
Immortal pleasures open’d on his mind:5 In 51 E2r 51
In gay succession to his ravish’d eyes
The animating pow’rs of beauty rise;
On ev’ry object round, above, below,
Quick to the sight her vivid colours glow:
Yet, not to Matter’s shadowy forms confin’d,
The Fair and Good he sought remain’d behind:
’Till gradual rising thro’ the boundless whole,
He view’d the blooming graces of the soul;
Where, to the beam of intellectual day,
The genuine charms of moral Beauty play:
With pleasing force the strong attractions move
Each finer sense, and tune it into love.
To Miss D’Aeth. Bethia, daughter of Sir Thomas D’Aeth, of Knolton; Bart.; first wife of Herbert Palmer, Esq. and afterwards of Lieutenant-Colonel Cosnan. 17441744.
Say, dear Bethia, can thy gentle mind,
In hurrying crowds a genuine pleasure find?
Amidst those scenes the giddy world admires
That whim directs, and levity inspires?
Where Folly each revolving hour employs
In one mad circle of unsettled joys:
Her bells she jingles and her tinsel spreads,
To please deluded hearts, and flutt’ring heads:
With baubles arm’d her trifling race are taught,
To kill that foe to human quiet, Thought.E2 With 52 E2v 52
With Vanity’s fantastic colours gay
In youth’s warm sun the glitt’ring insects play,
Careless how soon the wintry blast must come
That sweeps their useless beings to the tomb.
Tir’d with unmeaning sounds and painted shows,
Which this vain theatre of life compose;
Let peaceful Thought to happier scenes remove,
And seek the lov’d retreat of Knolton grove,
Where Nature sheds her vernal sweets around,
And Fancy wanders o’er Elysian ground.
Ye flow’rs that bright in living colours glow,
Ye gales, which sweet o’er op’ning roses blow,
Ye lawns enliven’d by the solar beam,
Ye groves that wave o’er Contemplation’s dream:
How aptly were your peaceful joys design’d
To match the temper of Bethia’s mind,
Which here from cares and busy crowds removed,
Enjoy’d the calm retirement that it lov’d.
But now no more these blooming senses excite
The finer sense of elegant delight:
The vernal pride of drooping Nature fades,
No more Bethia’s smiles illume the shades;
No more with music’s soft prevailing art
The beauteous harmonist inchants the heart,
Nor Zephyr wafts along the vocal grove
Such sounds as list’ning Angels might approve,
While her prevailing lyre directs our choice
To long eternity and purer joys.
Ah! dear Bethia, how perverse the fate
That drives thee far from this congenial state.
Why were these once transporting pleasures known,
Or why, alas! irreparably flown!
Thus the vain impotence of reasoning pride
Arraigns the present, blind to all beside.
Yet Heav’n all wise, indulgently severe,
Which makes out truest happiness its care,
These cross events of varying life design’d,
To prove the latent forces of the mind:
Let human bliss an equal tenor boast,
And half our Nature’s excellence is lost.
Virtue by Fortune lull’d in soft repose,
Is wak’d to action by alarming woes:
When in the beam of Fate’s unclouded day,
She walks with Pleasure, through the flow’ry way,
She only shares a weak divided fame,
Our erring senses think their form the same;
O’er Sorrow’s night her rays distinguish’d shine,
And Heav’n and Earth confess her charms divine.
Still may her aid each absent good supply,
Prompt the bright hope, and check the rising sigh:
Tho’ now the dark inclement seasons low’r:
Immortal Virtue mocks their feeble pow’r:
Secur’d by Heaven her fair possession lies,
Beyond the gloom of sublunary skies.
There smiles the spring in endless verdure gay,
While Knolton’s flow’ry propects fade away,1 And 54 E3v 54
And all my lov’d Bethia loses here,
The blooming walks of Eden shall repair.
Written at Midnight in a Thunder Storm.
To Miss Lynch. 17431743.
Let coward Guilt with pallid Fear,
To shelt’ring caverns fly,
And justly dread the vengeful fate,
That thunders thro’ the sky.
Protected by that Hand, whose law
The threat’ning storms obey,
Intrepid Virtue smiles secure,
As in the blaze of day.
In the thick clouds tremendous gloom,
The light’nings lurid glare,
It views the same all-gracious pow’r,
That breathes the vernal air.
Thro’ Nature’s ever varying scene,
By diff’rent ways pursu’d,
The one eternal end of Heav’n
Is universal good.
The same unchanging mercy rules
When flaming Æther glows,
As when it tunes the linnet’s voice,
Or blushes in the rose.
By Reason taught to scorn those fears
That vulgar minds molest;
Let no fantastic terrors break
My dear Narcissa’s rest.
Thy life may all the tend’rest care
Of Providence defend;
And delegated Angels round
Their guardian wings extend.
When thro’ Creation’s vast expense,
The last dread thunders roll,
Untune the concord of the spheres,
And shake the rising soul;
Unmov’d mayst thou the final storm,
Of jarring worlds survey,
That ushers in the glad serene
Of everlasting day.
To Dr. Walwyn. Prebendary of Canterbury. That which was his house, stands in the South-west corner of the Green-court, and now belongs to Dr. Coombe. The walk, however, was not spared. 17451745.
On His Design of Cutting Down a Shady Walk.
In plaintive notes, that tun’d to woe
The sadly sighing breeze,
A weeping Hamadryad mourn’d,
Her fate-devoted trees.
Ah! stop thy sacriligious hand,
Nor violate the shade,
Where Nature form’d a silent haunt
For Contemplation’s aid.
Canst thou, the son of Science, train’d
Where learned Isis flows,
Forget, that nurs’d in shelt’ring groves
The Grecian genius rose!
Beneath the platane’s spreading branch,
Immortal Plato taught:
And fair Lyceum form’d the depth
Of Aristotle’s thought.
To Latian groves reflect Reflect is properly a verb active, and is here used in the original Latin sense for turn back. When it is made (as grammarians call it, but I think improperly) a verb neuter in the sense of consider, as it is a few lines below, an accusative is understood, reflect, or turn back thy thoughts. thy view,
And bless the Tuscan Tuscan, Poetica licentiâ, for Tusculan, Cicero’s villa. loom:
Where Eloquence deplor’d the fate
Of Liberty and Rome.
Within the beechen shade retir’d,
From each inspiring bough,
The Muses wove unfading wreaths,
To circle Virgil’s brow.
Reflect, before the fatal axe
My threatened doom has wrought:
Nor sacrifice to sensual taste
The nobler growth of thought.
Not all the glowing fruits, that blush
On India’s sunny coast,
Can recompense thee for the worth
Of one idea lost.
My shade a produce may supply,
Unknown to solar fire;
And what excludes Apollo’s rays,
Shall harmonize his lyre. This last stanza contains that sort of point which the Italians call Concetto; a kind of wit which Mrs Carter greatly disliked, disliked, and of which this is, I believe, the only instance to be found in her writings.
On the Death of Master Quested Only son of a private gentleman at Canterbury. 17451745.
How vain the joys that human pride elate,
Dependent on the slightest chance of fate!
Here all the flatt’ring hopes of youthful bloom
Untimely blasted, wither in the tomb:
Grac’d with each merit years like his could boast,
Too soon discover’d, as too early lost:
Studious by ev’ry pleasing art to prove,
Th’ endearing tenderness of filial love,
Which guided still by Nature’s gentlest voice,
Prepar’d him for that Heav’n he now enjoys.
Yet let not grief pronounce that doom unjust,
Which lays a parent’s fairest hopes in dust:
The lovely object of these selfish tears,
Felt ev’ry joy of life without it’s cares;
To him the world display’d its first best sight,
And touch’d his infant senses with delight.
What more, alas! had added years to give?
To live for Virtue is alone to live:
And what that Virtue is alone to live;
And what that Virtue, but with painful art,
To check the strong emotions of the heart:
The hydra forms of Folly to subdue,
And strive with passions, which he never knew.Heav’n 59 E6r 59
Heav’n, which the doubtful conflict kindly spar’d,
Without the toil, bestow’d the bright reward:
Death gently call’d him from his guiltless play,
And clos’d his eyes to wake in endless day.
Let Grief submit to Pow’r all good and wise,
And yield the spotless victim to the skies.
To Miss Lynch. 1746-04-09April 9, 1746.
Still may this morn with fairest lustre rise,
And find thee still more happy and more wise;
The smiling year with some new pleasure crown,
And add some virtue to the past unknown;
E’en that, whose future progress shall deface
The transient pride of each external grace,
Survey the soul more beauteous, young, and gay,
And chearful to the latest natal day,
Which gilds the ruins of declining age,
And lights it safely to its farthest stage.
Where roses blush, and soft-wing’d zephyrs play,
Thro’ Pleasure’s walks if youth unbounded stray,
Enjoy each product of the vernal hour,
Seize ev’ry green, and rifle ev’ry flow’r;
Though with each smiling hue the garland bloom,
And Fortune add her variegated plume,
How soon, alas! the gay fantastic wreath
Must wither on the pallid brow of Death!It’s 60 E6v 60
It’s languid sweets in mournful dust be laid,
And all it’s unreviving colours fade!
Thus the false forms of vanity descend,
And in the gloom of long oblivion end:
Unreal phantoms, empty void of pow’r,
Borne on the fleeting pinions of an hour!
Desert in death the disappointed mind,
Nor leave a trace of happiness behind!
O blest with talents fitted to obtain
What wild unthinking Folly seeks in vain,
To whom, peculiarly indulgent, Heav’n
The noblest means of happiness has giv’n,
From joys unfixt, that in possession die,
From Falshood’s path my dear Narcissa fly.
See Faith with steady light direct the road
That leads unerring to the sov’reign Good;
See Virtue’s hand immortal joys bestow,
That ever new in fair succession blow,
Nor dread, secure of undecaying bloom,
The ineffectual winter of the tomb.
Such sure rewards the happy choice attend,
Form’d on our Nature’s origin and end.
Pure from th’ eternal source of being came
That ray divine that lights the human frame:
Yet oft, forgetful of it’s heavenly birth,
It sinks obscur’d beneath the weight of the earth: ――Corpus onustum —affigit humo divinæ particulum auræ. 2. Sat. 2, 77, &c;Mechanic 61 E7r 61
Mechanic pow’rs retard it’s flight, and hence
The storms of Passion, and the clouds of Sense:
’Tis Life’s great task their influence to controul,
And keep the native splendor of the soul:
From false desires which wild Opinion frames,
From raging Folly’s inconsistent schemes,
To guard it safe by those unerring laws,
That re-unite it to its first Great Cause.
To this bright mark may all thy actions tend,
And Heav’n succeed the wishes of a friend.
Whose faithful love directs its tender cares
Beyond the flight of momentary years:
Beyond the grave, where vulgar passions end,
To future worlds it’s nobler views extend,
Which soon each imperfection must remove.
And ev’ry charm of friendship shall improve.
’Till then, the Muse essays the tuneful art,
To fix her moral lesson on thy heart,
Illume thy soul with Virtue’s brightest flame,
And point it to that Heav’n from whence it came.
To Miss Hall. Afterwards wife of Rev. John Nairn, of Kingston, near Canterbury. 17461746.
While soft thro’ water, earth, and air,
The vernal spirits rove,
From noisy joys, and giddy crowds,
To rural scenes remove.
The mountain snows are all dissolv’d
And hush’d the blust’ring gale:
While fragrant Zephyrs gently breathe,
Along the flow’ry vale.
The circling planets constant rounds Damna tamen celeres reparent cælestia Lunæ; &c; Ode vii. Lib. 4.
The wintry wastes repair:
And still, from temporary death,
Renew the verdant year.
But ah! when once our transient bloom,
The spring of life is o’er,
That rosy season takes its flight,
And must return no more.
Yet judge by Reason’s sober rules,
From false opinion free,
And mark how little pilf’ring years
Can steal from you to me.
Each moral pleasure of the heart,
Each lasting charm of truth,
Depends not on the giddy aid
Of wild, inconstant youth.
The vain coquet, whose empty pride
A fading face supplies,
May justly dread the wintry gloom
Where all it’s glory dies.
Leave such a ruin to deplore,
To fading forms confin’d;
Nor age, nor wrinkles discompose
One feature of the mind.
Amidst the universal change
Unconscious of decay,
It views, unmov’d, the scythe of Time
Sweep all besides away.
Fixt on it’s own eternal frame,
Eternal are it’s joys:
While, borne on transitory wings,
Each mortal pleasure flies.
While ev’ry short liv’d flower of sense
Destructive years consume,
Thro’ Friendship’s fair enchanting walks
Unfading myrtles bloom.
Nor with the narrow bounds of Time,
The beauteous prospect ends,
But lengthen’d thro’ the vale of Death
To Paradise extends.
Ode to . First published in the Gentleman’s Magazine, and then by Richardson in his Clarissa. See his letter in the Memoirs. Wisdom 17461746.
The solitary Bird of Night
Thro’ the pale shadows now wings his flight,
And quits the time-shook tow’r:
Where, shelter’d from the blaze of day,
In philosophic gloom he lay,
Beneath his ivy bow’r.
With joy I hear the solemn sound,
Which midnight echoes waft around,
And sighing gales repeat:
Fav’rite of Pallas! I attend,
And faithful to thy summons bend,
At Wisdom’s awful seat.
She loves the cool, the silent eve,
Where no false shows of life deceive,
Beneath the lunar ray:
Here Folly drops each vain disguise,
Nor sport her gaily-colour’d dyes,
As in the glare of day.
O Pallas! Queen of ev’ry art
That glads the sense, or mends the heart,
Blest source of purer joys:In 65 F1r 65
In ev’ry form of beauty bright,
That captivates the mental sight,
With pleasure and surprize!
To thy unspotted shrine I bow,
Assist thy modest suppliant’s vow,
That breathes no wild desires:
But taught by thy unerring rules,
To shun the fruitless wish of fools,
To nobler views aspires.
Not Fortune’s gem, Ambition’s plume,
Nor Cytherea’s fading bloom,
Be objects of my pray’r:
Let Av’rice, Vanity, and Pride,
These glitt’ring envy’d toys divide,
The dull rewards of Care.
To me thy better gifts impart,
Each moral beauty of the heart
By studious thought refin’d:
For Wealth, the smiles of glad Content,
For Pow’r, it samplest, best extent,
An empire o’er my mind.
When Fortune drops her gay parade,
When Pleasure’s transient roses fade,
And wither in the tomb:Vol. II. F Unchang’d 66 F1v 66
Unchang’d is thy immortal prize,
Thy ever-verdant laurels rise
In undecaying bloom.
By thee protected, I defy
The coxcomb’s sneer, the stupid lie
Of ignorance and spite:
Alike contemn the leaden fool,
And all the pointed ridicule
Of undiscerning wit.
From envy, hurry, noise, and strife,
The dull impertinence of life,
In thy retreat I rest:
Pursue thee to the peaceful groves,
Where Plato’s sacred spirit roves
In all thy graces drest.
He bid Ilyssus’ tuneful stream
Convey thy philosophic theme
Of perfect, fair and good:
Attentive Athens caught the sound,
And all her list’ning sons around,
In awful silence stood.
Reclaim’d her wild licentious youth,
Confest the potent voice of truth,
And felt it’s just controul:The 67 F2r 67
The Passions ceas’d their loud alarms,
And Virtue’s soft persuasive charms
O’er all their senses stole.
Thy breath inspires the poet’s song,
The patriot’s free unbiass’d tongue,
The hero’s gen’rous strife:
Thine are Retirement’s silent joys,
And all the sweet endearing ties
Of still, domestic life.
No more to fabled names confin’d,
To Thee! Supreme, all-perfect mind,
My thoughts direct their flight:
Wisdom’s thy gift, and all her force
From Thee deriv’d, unchanging source
Of intellectual light!
O send her sure her steady ray,
To regulate my doubtful way,
Thro’ Life’s perplexing road:
The mists of error to controul,
And thro’ it’s gloom direct my soul
To happiness and good.
Beneath her clear discerning eye
The visionary shadows fly
Of Folly’s painted show: See St. James i. 5 & 17.F2 She 68 F2v 68
She sees, thro’ ev’ry fair disguise,
That all, but Virtue’s solid joys,
Is vanity and woe.
From Miss Wilbraham. 17461746.
Eliza bids me boldly try
To pluck the laurel bough,
And with unfading garlands deck
My unambitious brow.
When Friendship’s voice thus soothing calls
Thro’ Vanity to stray,
Tho’ conscious of the rash attempt,
I readily obey.
With steps by her injunctions wing’d,
I seek th’ immortal grove:
Less prompted by desire of Fame,
Than fond complying Love.
Th’ offended laurel seem’d to shrink,
As trembling I drew near:
The vocal leaves these sounds convey’d
To my attentive ear:
Rash spoiler cease; nor let thy hand
My sacred branch profane:
These honours to the wise belong,
Not to the weak and vain.
To Miss Wilbraham. 17471747.
In Answer to the Foregoing.
Let not ungentle Daphne’s scorn
Thy rising hopes restrain:
Apollo, Pow’r of Wit and Verse,
Her favour su’d in vain.
Tho’ rude at first, the sacred branch
Of Honour she denies,
Repeated efforts shall prevail,
And gain the beauteous prize.
That beauteous prize the patient toils
Of Perseverance claim:
Whose hand alone must weave the wreath
Of undecaying fame.
Far from the downy bed of sloth
The tuneful sisters fly;
Whose soul-refining arts, each grace
Of polish’d life supply.
At gay Aurora’s early call
Their pleasing labours rise:
Nor cease when Vesper’s silent beam
Illumes the western skies.
At first, thro’ paths perplex’d and rude
Their trembling vot’ries tread:
But soon confess the tedious way,
And ev’ry toil repaid.
When safe, beyond the storms of life,
Before their ravish’d eyes,
The fair poetic land of joy
In smiling prospect lies.
There vernal airs eternal play,
To mortal climes unknown:
And flow’rs in living colours glow
Beneath a brighter sun.
There forms, thht never struck the sense
Of vulgar sight, appear:
And music breathes, that never charm’d
The dull untutor’d ear.
No puzzling schemes of low-born care
Distract the peaceful mind,
Whose thoughts are by the gentle pow’rs
Of harmony refin’d.
No longer, then, the faithful voice
Of soothing Friendship blame:
But follow, where the Muses lead,
To happiness and fame.
To Miss Ethelred Lynch. Daughter to the Rev. Dr. Lynch, Dean of Canterbury, &c;, afterwards wife of the Rev. Thomas Hey, D.D. 17471747.
From Her Guardian Angel.
From climes, where one eternal spring
Emblooms the verdant year,
See, watchful o’er his beauteous charge,
Thy guardian pow’r appear.
Thy infant hours, so Heav’n ordain’d,
Engag’d my tender care:
And still unwearied I attend,
To point the hidden snare.
O listen to my faithful voice,
Which, mov’d by sacred truth,
From fading joys to real good,
Shall guide thy careless youth.
Seek not from charms of mortal birth
To purchase empty fame:
With early wisdom learn to trace
Thy being’s nobler aim.
While sighing crouds of rival youths
Their idle homage pay,
Reflect, how soon the transient reign
Of beauty must decay.
By Nature’s unrelenting law
Is fixt it’s certain date:
Nor flatt’ry’s unavailing breath,
Can change eternal fate.
Amidst the frolic sports of youth,
Some lasting charm engage,
To gild the solitary gloom
Of unadmir’d old age.
To Time’s inexorable pow’r
Has Heav’n’s decree consign’d,
All but the undecaying bloom
Of fair, immortal Mind.
While Vanity’s fantastic schemes
The gay coquet employ,
Let Virtue’s nobler study form
My Ethelinda’s joy.
For Folly’s transports of an hour,
And low-designing art,
Be Reason’s sober Pleasures thine,
And innocence of heart.
Tho’ charms thus modest and retir’d
Attract no coxcomb’s sight,
Applauding Angels own their worth,
And view them with delight.
To ―― 17481748.
The midnight moon serenely smiles,
O’er Nature’s soft repose;
No low’ring cloud obscures the sky,
No ruffling tempest blows.
Now ev’ry passion sinks to rest,
The throbbing heart lies still:
And varying schemes of life no more
Distract the lab’ring will.
In silence hush’d, to Reason’s voice,
Attends each mental pow’r:
Come dear Emilia, and enjoy
Reflection’s fav’rite hour.
Come: while the peaceful scene invites,
Let’s search this ample round,
Where shall the lovely fleeting form
Of Happiness be found?
Does it amidst the frolic mirth
Of gay assemblies dwell?
Or hide beneath the solemn gloom,
That shades the hermit’s cell?
How oft the laughing brow of joy
A sick’ning heart conceals!
And thro’ the cloister’s deep recess,
Invading Sorrow steals.
In vain thro’ Beauty, Fortune, Wit,
The fugitive we trace:
It dwells not in the faithless smile,
That brighten’s Clodio’s face.
Perhaps the joy to these deny’d,
The heart in friendship finds:
Ah! dear delusion! gay conceit
Of visionary minds!
Howe’er our varying notions rove,
Yet all agree in one,
To place it’s being in some state,
At distance from our own.
O blind to each indulgent aim,
Of Pow’r supremely wise,
Who fancy happiness in ought
The hand of Heav’n denies!
Vain is alike the joy we seek,
And vain what we possess,
Unless harmonious Reason tunes
The passions into peace.
To temper’d wishes, just desires,
Is happiness confin’d,
And deaf to Folly’s call, attends
The music of the mind.
To Miss Hall. 17481748.
Written at an Oratorio.
Ye Pow’rs of Harmony, whose gentle aid
Could once the finest sense of joy excite,
Where now is all your vital influence fled,
Where vanish’d ev’ry elegant delight!
Me better fits in unfrequented wastes,
To sooth each tender sentiment of woe,
Where, in sad concert sigh the wintry blasts,
And dying streams in plaintive numbers flow.
Or, lonely wand’ring o’er the dewy plain,
By pensive Cynthia’s melancholy light,
I’ll fly from music’s ineffectual strain,
Attentive to the wailing bird of night.
To me how tasteless ev’ry scene of joy,
The vacant heart by happy impulse feels:
While mine, which thoughts of genuine grief employ,
From cheerful crowds to drear Retirement steals.
There, hapless coward in the doubtful strife
My fainting pow’rs each active function leave,
I droop beneath the dull fatigue of life,
And wish the peaceful refuge of the grave.
Impatient wish! Shall suff’rers of an hour,
With impious voice ungratefully complain,
Forgetful that the gracious hand of Pow’r,
With happy ages pays the transient pain!
To Miss Hall. 17491749.
Thus sunk in Fancy’s melancholy dream,
The Muse her lyre to strains of sorrow tun’d,
The string still vibrates with the mournful theme,
And starting Mem’ry dreads the painful sound.
At length ’tis past, the threat’ning danger o’er,
No more I toss on Life’s tempestuous seas,
But idly slumb’ring on the peaceful shore,
Enjoy the calm of unexpected ease.
Tho’ each gay scheme to Youth and Fancy dear,
In one wild storm is wreck’d and ever lost;
No fond complaint shall call the fate severe
That lands myself securely on the coast.
Deep in Retirement’s silent vale confin’d,
The world in all its tempting forms I lose;
Nor idly murmur at the change assign’d,
Forgetful of the blessings it bestows.
As Heav’n all-wise determines each event,
May it’s just laws my ductile passions guide.
Clear the dark brow of sullen Discontent,
And check the restless insolence of Pride.
Unchang’d my gay serenity of mind,
Tho’ ever fixt on this extremest shore;
As when, my dear Myrtilla, unconfin’d,
With thee I wandered on the banks of Stour.
Tho’ now, as several lots our fate divide,
Through varying life by different roads we tend,
The same directing pow’r, our common guide,
Shall re-unite us at our journey’s end.
Till then attentive to the present hour,
The good it brings with grateful sense we’ll taste; Dona præsentis rape lætus horæ. Lib. 3. Ode 8.
While Virtue shall our future joys secure,
And faithful Memory guard the pleasing past.
To the Same. 17491749. This Poem was founded upon Mrs. Carter’s having lost her way in returning home from a visit to her friend.
Well did my dear Myrtilla’s prayer,
To guardian Heav’n’s protecting care
Her wand’ring friend commit:
Whose steps by faithless eyes Alluding to her being remarkably near-sighted. misled,
Bewilder’d in the dubious shade
The well known path-way quit.
What could I do? Pexplex’d, alone,
In vain the constellations shone,
Too weak to mark my way:
No guide the choral Pleiads gave,
And beauteous smil’d the star of Eve
With ineffectual ray.
’Tis dreary solitude around:
To chear my hopes no village sound,
No taper thro’ the trees:
The distant waters murm’ring roll,
Dire sung the lamentable owl,
And faintly sigh’d the breeze.
But soon, in diff’rent notes, too near
Discordant voices stun my ear,
With formidable roar;The 79 F8r 79
The lawless crew of revelling Sin,
Their midnight orgies now begin,
To Bacchus’ frantic pow’r.
Yet tho’ by fear confused and lost,
My path no son of riot crost,
Unhurt I pass the gloom:
Unconscious where, or how I fled
By watchful Providence convey’d,
I gain my wish’d-for home.
In Life’s long journey Tho’ this little Poem is scarcely anything more than a plain narrative, yet it affords a proof of Mrs. Carter’s constant attention, to draw a useful and religious moral from every occurence of life. as we tend,
The same all-gracious Pow’r defend,
And lead us safely thro’:
Protect when threat’ning fears assail,
And where the lights of Reason fail,
A surer guide bestow!
Whether in flow’ry paths we stray
Or labour thro’ a gloomy way
Perplexing and unev’n:
Thro’ Passion’s snare, and Error’s night,
Conduct our falt’ring steps aright
To reach their native Heav’n.
To Miss Burton. 17501750.
On a Watch.
While this gay toy attracts thy sight,
Thy reason let it warn;
And seize, my dear, that rapid time
That never must return.
If idly lost, no art or care
The blessing can restore:
And Heav’n exacts a strict account
For ev’ry mis-spent hour.
Short is our longest day of life,
And soon its prospects end:
Yet on that day’s uncertain date
Eternal years depend.
Yet equal to our being’s aim
The space to Virtue giv’n:
And ev’ry minute well improv’d
Secures an age in Heav’n.
To Miss Underdown. Afterwards wife to John Carter, Esq. of Deal. 17501750.
On a Watch.
Unlike the triflers whose contracted view,
Ne’er looks beyond a glitt’ring outside show,
In this machine with moral eyes survey
How gliding life steals silently away;
And, mindful of its short determined space,
Improve the flying years as they pass.
See rolling years with quick dispatch, decide
The transient date of sublunary pride:
See Beauty, Genius, Fortune, Fair, Sublime,
Borne headlong down the rapid stream of Time:
O’er their sad wrecks, along the fatal shore,
Rapacious Death asserts his tyrant pow’r;
There all their momentary glories fade,
In dull Oblivion’s everlasting shade.
Is all that Nature or that Art can boast
In undistinguish’d, final ruin lost?
Must all partake the same unalter’d doom,
The sport of Time, and victims of the Tomb?
One only good, secure, unchang’d, defies
The giddy whirl of sublunary skies;
Which see, uninfluenc’d by their wild comtroul,
Offspring of Heav’n, the undecaying soul.
To this unfailing excellence devote
The morn of Reason, and the prime of Thought.
Tho’ youth and beaity diff’rent tasks persuade,
That youth must languish, and that beauty fade:
Destructive years no graces leave behind,
But those which Virtue fixes in the mind,
How vain the want of real worth to hide,
Each flatter’d Talent’s superficial pride!
Its touch in vain the mimic pencil tries,
And sounds harmonious from the lyre arise.
For the original of this beautiful illustration, see Matt. vii. 24. As some fair structure, rais’d by skilful hand,
But weakly founded on the shaking sand,
Securely stands, in sculptur’d foliage gay,
While vernal airs around its columns play:
But soon the rains descend, the tempest beat,
And each unsolid ornament defeat:
The faithless base betrays its feeble trust,
And all the beauteous trifle sinks in dust:
So sinks each grace of Nature and of Art,
Unprop’d by strong integrity of heart!
Let idle flutt’rers, miserably gay,
In dress and trifling waste their useless day;
That day, for nobler exercises giv’n,
T’ adorn the soul for happiness and Heav’n:
Beyond the triumph of these shadowy charms,
Which ev’ry beating pulse of Time alarms,To 83 G2r 83
To fairer views let thy ambition tend,
Our nature’s glory, and our being’s end;
And seek from beauties form’d on Virtue’s rules,
Th’ applause of Angels, not the gaze of fools.
Horace, B. I. Ode XV. The Prophecy of Nereus. 17511751. First Published in Duncombe’s Horace.
From Sparta’s Hospitable shore,
His prize when faithless Paris bore,
While guilt impatient crowds his sail,
Prophetic Nereus checks the gale;
By force the flying robber holds:
And thus the wrath of Heav’n unfolds:
In vain thy fleet transports the Dame,
Whom injur’d Greece shall soon reclaim;
Prepar’d to break thy lawless tye,
And Priam’s ancient realm destroy.
Behold the troops, the foaming steed,
To labours doom’d, and doom’d to bleed!
See! Victim to thy lewd desires,
Thy country blaze with fun’ral fires!
See! Pallas eager to engage,
Prepares her car and martial rage:G2 She 84 G2v 84
She waves her Ægis, nods her plumes,
And all the pomp of war assumes!
In vain, devoted to thy side,
Shall Cytherea swell thy pride;
In vain thy graceful locks express
The studied elegance of dress;
Thy languid harp, with am’rous air,
In vain shall charm the list’ning fair;
The palace screen thy conscious heart
In vain, against the Cretan dart,
And Ajax, nimble to pursue.
What tho’ conceal’d from public view,
The chamber guards thy nicer ear
From all the horrid din of war;
At length, adult’rer! fall thou must,
And trail those beauteous locks in dust!
See! Author of thy country’s fate,
Ulysses, practis’d in deceit.
Behold the hoary Pylian sage
Against her forfeit tow’rs engage.
Teucer and Sthenelus unite
With various skill, in various fight.
Tydides, greater than his sire,
To find thee, burns with martial fire.
But as a grazing stag, who spies
The distant wolf, with terror flies;
So shalt thou fly, with parting breath,
And falt’ring limbs, th’approach of Death.† Where 85 G3r 85
Where is thy boasted courage? Where
Thy promise plighted to the Fair?
Tho’ fierce Achilles’ sullen hate
A while protracts the City’s fate,
Heav’n shall its righteous doom require,
And Troy in Grecian flames expire! If the rest of the Odes had been translated as elegantly as this, we could have no reason to doubt their being well received by the Public. However, the Editor cannot but think himself happy in the friendship with which he is honored by the ingenious Translator. Note by Mr. Duncombe.
To ――. Of this beautiful Poem Mrs. Carter never chose to say to whom it was addressed, as some degrees of censure seems to be implied by it. It is one of the most highly finished of the collection. 17531753.
Say, dear Emilia, what untry’d delight
Has earth, or Air, or Ocean to bestow,
That checks thy active spirit’s nobler flight,
And bounds it narrow view to scenes below?
Is Life thy passion? Let it not depend
On flutt’ring pulses, and a fleeting breath:
In sad Despair the fruitless wish must end,
That seeks it in the gloomy range of Death.
This world, deceitful idol of thy soul,
Is all devoted to his tyrants pow’r:
To form his prey the genial planets roll,
To speed his conquests flies the rapid hour.
This verdant Earth, these fair surrounding skies,
Are all the triumphs of his wasteful reign:
’Tis but to set, the brightest suns arise;
’Tis but to wither, blooms the flow’ry plain.
’Tis but to die, Mortality was born;
Nor struggling Folly breaks the dread decree;
Then cease the common destiny to mourn,
Nor wish thy Nature’s laws revers’d for thee.
The sun that sets, again shall gild the skies;
The faded plain reviving flow’rs shall grace:
But hopeless fall, Like leaves—a very ancient metaphor. See Isaiah xl. ver. 6, &c; And . , Il. 6. v. 146Οιη περ φυλλων γενεη, τοιηδε και ανδρων. no more on earth to rise,
The transitory forms of human race.
No more on Earth: but see, beyond the gloom,
Where the short reign of Time and Death expires,
Victorious o’er the ravage of the tomb,
Smiles the fair object of thy fond desires.
The seed of Life, below, imperfect lies,
To Virtue’s hand its cultivation giv’n:
Form’d by her care, the beauteous plant shall rise,
And flourish with unfading bloom in heav’n.
Del Abate Metastasio.
Sogni, e Favole io fingo, e pure in Carte
Mentre Favole e Sogni orno e disegno,
In lor, folle ch’ io son! prendo tal parte
Che del mal ch’ inventai, piango e mi sdegno.
Ma forse ch’ allor che non m’inganna l’arte
Più saggio io sono; è l’agitato Ingegno
Torse allor più tranquillo? o forse parte
da più salda Cagion l’Amor, lo sdegno?
Ah che non sol quello ch’io Canto e Scrivo
Favole son; ma quanto Temo o Spero
Tutto e Menzogna: e delirando io vivo.
Sogno della mea vita e il Corso intero
Deh Tu Signor, quando a destarmi arrivo,
Fa ch’io trovi Riposo in Sen del vero.
Fables and dreams my sportive genius feigns:
Yet dreams and fables while I range with art,
Caught by their magic force, to serious pains
Th’ inventive head betrays the simple heart:
Imagin’d woes with real grief I mourn,
Imagin’d wrongs resent with real scorn.
Yet, when by Fancy’s influence unconfin’d,
Does Wisdom give my throbbing bosom laws?
Do calmer thoughts compose my ruffled mind?
Springs love or anger from a better cause?
Ah! not alone the Muse’s gay deceit
Is empty fable, but my hopes and fears:
This busy scene is one perpetual cheat,
One wild delirium all my fruitless years!
An idle dream is all I act or speak,
The cares of age, the vivid starts of youth:
Thou! when from Folly’s fev’rish sleep I wake,
Great God! compose me in the arms of Truth!
Del Abate Metastasio
Ecco quel fiero Istante
Nice, mia Nice addio!
Come viv’rò Ben mio
Così Iontan da tè?
Io vivro sempre in pene
Io non avrò più Bene
E tu, chi sa se mai
Ti sovverrai di me?
Soffri ch’in Traccio almeno
Di mia perduta pace
Venga il pensier seguace
Sul’ orme del tuo piè
Sempre nel tuo Camino,
Sempre m’avrai vicino.
E tu, &c;
Io fra romite Sponde,
Mesto volgendo i passi,
Andro Chiedendo a i Sassi,
La Ninfa mia dov’eg?
Dal un a l’altra Aurora,
I’ andro Chiamando ognora.
E tu, &c;
Ah Delia! see the fatal hour, This Song was set to music by Kotzwara, a German composer, who met with a premature end a few years since under peculiar circumstances of the most abandoned vice.
Farewell my soul’s delight!
But how shall wretched Damon live,
Thus banish’d from thy sight?
To my fond heart no rival joy
Supplies the loss of thee:
But who can tell if thou, my dear,
Wilt e’er remember me?
Yet while my restless wand’ring thoughts
Pursue their lost repose,
Unwearied may they trace the path
Where’er my Delia goes.
For ever Damon shall be there,
Attendant on thy way,
But who can tell, &c;
Alone thro’ unfrequented wilds,
With pensive steps I rove;
I ask the rocks, I ask the streams,
Where dwells my absent love?
The silent Eve, the rosy Morn,
My constant search survey;
But who can tell, &c;
Io revedrò Sovente,
Le amene Spiagge, o Nice,
Ove Vivea felice,
Quando Vivea con te.
A mi saran Tormento.
Cento Memorie e cento
E tu, &c;
Quanti vedrai giungendo.
Al nuovo tuo Soggiorno,
Quanti venirti intorno,
Ed offrirti Amor e Fè:
Ah Dio che sa, fra tanti
Tenere Omaggi e pianti
An Dio che sa se mai
Ti sovverai di me?
Pensa qual dolce Strale,
Cara mi lasci in Seno:
Pensa ch’ama Fileno,
Senza Sperar Merce.
Pensa mia Nice a questo
Barbaro Adio funesto.
Pensa―― ah chi sa se mai
Ti sovverrai di me!
Oft I’ll review the smiling scene,
Each fav’rite brook and tree,
Where gaily past the happy hours,
Those hours I past with thee.
What painful fond memorials rise
From ev’ry place I see:
But who, &c;
How many rival vot’ries soon
Their soft address shall move,
Surround thee in thy new abode,
And tempt thy soul to love.
Ah who can tell, while sighing crouds
Their tender homage pay,
Ah, who can tell, if thou, my dear,
Wilt then remember me!
Think, Delia, with how deep a wound
The sweetly-painful dart,
Which thy remembrance leaves behind,
Has pierc’d a hopeless heart.
Think on this fatal, sad adieu,
That severs me from thee:
Think—Ah who knows, if thou, my love,
Wilt ever think on me!
To Mrs. Honeywood.
Occasioned By the Sight of Some Verses Addressed to General Honeywood Her Husband.
O’er these soft lines the drooping Graces sigh,
And injur’d Love his rosy chaplet tears:
The useless lustre fades in Beauty’s eye,
And Genius, while it frames the verse, despairs.
Were these the patient suff’rer’s only boast,
How deep the ruin! how severe the smart!
When all, that charms the world beside, is lost
On tasteless Damon’s cold unfeeling heart.
Yet tho’ from these the faithless rover flies,
On surer aids her better hopes depend;
While fickle human passions fall and rise,
Secure of fixing one unfailing friend.
Acquaint thyself with Him, Job. xxii. 21. and be at peace,
To his attentive ear thy griefs confide:
His tender care each throbbing pain shall ease,
His arm sustain thee, and his counsel guide. See Isaiah xl. 11.
No cold neglect the faithful heart repays,
Whose steadfast aim solicits his regard:
Each wish for merit, each attempt to please
He views, and his approaching smiles reward.
Thro’ ev’ry changing scene his constant love
Alike shall make its happy object blest:
Shall ev’ry joy of active life improve,
And sooth its latest agonies to rest.
When Youth and Beauty deck that form no more,
And Time, at length, shall claim what long it spares,
His vital smile shall ev’ry charm restore,
And bid them bloom thro’ everlasting years.
Till then the hope, by Damon’s vows betray’d,
And wand’ring long on Passion’s stormy seas,
By his unerring guidance safely led,
Shall fix her anchor on the rock of Peace.
To the Rev. Dr. Carter.
Thou by whose fondness and paternal care
Distinguish’d blessings glad my cheerful days,
While first my thoughts indulgent Heav’n revere
Receive the second tribute of my praise.
Thy hand my infant mind to Science form’d,
And gently led it thro’ the thorny road:
With love of Wisdom, and of Virtue warm’d,
And turn’d from idle toys to real good.
O gift beyond Ambition’s giddy aim,
Superior to the envy’d blaze of Wealth,
The loudest triumphs of applauding Fame,
And ev’ry joy of idly lavish’d Health!
Whate’er the tuneful Muse, or pensive Sage
To Fancy warbled, or to Reason show’d,
To treasur’d stores of each enlighten’d age
My studious search to thy direction ow’d.
Ne’er did thy voice assume a master’s pow’r,
Nor force assent to what thy precepts taught;
But bid my independent spirit soar,
In all the freedom of unfett’red thought.
Nor e’er by blind Constraint amd servile Awe,
Compell’d to act cold external part;
But fixt my duties by that sacred law,
That rules the secret movement of the heart.
Blest law of liberty! with gentle lead
To regulate our erring nature giv’n,
And vindicate, from slavish human dread,
To unreserv’d obedience due to Heav’n.
Still be that sacred law my faithful guide,
Conduct my actions, and my soul engage:
Then ev’ry generous care, thy youth apply’d,
Shall form the comfort of declining age.
To Miss Talbot.
How sweet the calm of this sequester’d shore,
Where ebbing waters musically roll:
And Solitude, and silent Eve restore
The philosphic temper of the soul.
The sighing gale, whose murmurs lull to rest
The busy tumult of declining day,
To sympathetic quiet soothes the breast,
And ev’ry wild emotion dies away.
Farewell the objects of diurnal care,
Your task be ended with the setting sun:
Let all be undisturb’d vacation here,
While o’er yon wave ascends the peaceful moon.
What beauteous visions o’er the soften’d heart,
In this still moment all their charms diffuse,
Serener joys, and brighter hopes impart,
And chear the soul with more than mortal views.
Here, faithful Mem’ry wakens all her pow’rs,
She bids her fair ideal forms ascend,
And quick to ev’ry gladden’d thought restores
The social Virtue, and the absent Friend.
Come Musidora, come, and with me share
The sober pleasures of this solemn scene,
While no rude tempest clouds the ruffled air,
But all, like thee, is smiling and serene.
Come, while the cool, the solitary hours
Each foolish care, and giddy wish controul,
With all thy soft persuasion’s wonted pow’rs,
Beyond the stars transport my listening soul.
Oft, when on Earth detain’d by empty show,
Thy voice has taught the trifler how to rise;
Taught her to look with scorn on things below,
And seek her better portion in the skies.
Come: and the sacred eloquence repeat:
The world shall vanish at its gentle sound,
Angelic forms shall visit this retreat,
And op’ning Heav’n diffuse its glories round.
To Miss Margaret Carter. Afterwards wife of the Rev. Dr. Pennington.
Ah! why with restless, anxious search explore,
Thro’ distant realms the progress of disease?
In ev’ry clime, with like destructive pow’r
The hand of Death his hapless prey shall seize.
Not more remote where genial suns arise,
And healthful airs o’er fragrant blossoms play,
Than where the putrid vapour blasts the skies,
And spreads infection o’er the lurid day.
Where sprightly Youth, and blooming Beauty sport,
He joins the chorus, and partakes the show:
And where the Graces and the Loves resort,
Amidst their roses, twines his cypress bough.
The bowl he snatches from ungovern’d Joy,
Where Riot calls, a quick rapacious guest:
And, slowly-sure, his lurking arts destroy
The solitary Hermit’s frugal feast.
To what blest realm can trembling Fear retire,
Unconscious of his universal sway?
Then why with anxious fruitless search enquire
Who first or last must fall his destin’d prey?
Yes: one blest realm shall grant a safe retreat,
One faithful guide the living way supply:
To his direction let the soul submit,
And calmly yield to death whate’er can die.
To Mrs. Montagu.
Where are those hours, on rosy pinions borne,
Which brought to ev’ry guiltless wish success?
When Pleasure gladden’d each returning morn,
And ev’ry ev’ning clos’d in calms of Peace.
How smil’d each object, when by friendship led,
Thro’ flow’ry paths we wander’d unconfin’d;
Enjoy’d each airy hill, or solemn shade,
And left the bustling empty world behind.
With philosophic, social sense survey’d
The noon-day sky in brighter colours shone:
And softer o’er the dewy landscape play’d
The peaceful radiance of the silent moon.
Those hours are vanish’d with the changing year,
And dark December clouds the summer scene
Perhaps, alas! for ever vanish’d here,
No more to bless distinguish’d life again.
Yet not like those by thoughtless Folly drown’d,
In blank Oblivion’s sullen, stagnant deep,
Where, never more to pass their fated bound,
Their ruins of neglected being sleep.
But lasting traces mark the happier hours,
Which active Zeal in Life’s great task employs:
Which Science from the waste of Time secures,
Or various Fancy gratefully enjoys.
O still be ours to each improvement giv’n,
Which Friendship doubly to the heart endears;
Those hours, when banish’d hence, shall fly to Heav’n,
And claim the promise of eternal years.
To the Earl of Bath.
Bright are the beams meridian suns diffuse;
Yet drooping Nature mourns their force severe:
And hails the gentle fall of ev’ning dews,
Whose cooling drops the wither’d world repair.
Bright is our mortal being’s noon-tide state,
The glowing breast when new-born spirits fire:
When vast designs th’ aspiring soul elate,
And fair achievements ev’ry wish inspire.
While unrelax’d the springs of Action play,
And gay Success on raptur’d Fancy smiles,
She bids all dangers and all doubts give way,
To crown the Hero’s, or the Statesman’s toils.
Untaught what cross events the wise confound,
How Time and Chance the boast of pow’r deride,
Exulting Hope o’erleaps the fated bound,
By imperfection fixt to human pride.
Subdu’d at length beneath laborious life.
With Passion struggling, and by Care deprest,
In peaceful age, that ends the various strife,
The harrass’d Virtues gladly sink to rest.
Yet not in flow’ry Indolence reclin’d,
They waste th’ important gift of sober hours:
To ev’ry state has Heav’n its task assign’d,
To ev’ry task assign’d its needful pow’rs.
Within the fun’ral cypress awful gloom,
Shall Pleasure her fantastic garlands wreathe?
Shall giddy Mirth profane the neighb’ring tomb,
And Folly riot in the vale of Death?
For better purposes, to favour’d man
Is length of days, tremendous blessing! given;
To regulate our life’s disorder’d plan,
And purify the blemish’d soul for Heav’n.
For oft, alas! amidst our fairest aim,
The busy passions mix their fatal art,
Perplex defective Virtue’s genuine scheme,
And slily warp the unsuspecting heart.
Oft too, by inconsistent crouds misled,
Our devious steps thro’ winding mazes stray:
How few the simple path of duty tread,
And stedfast keep their Heav’n-directed way!
With calm severity, unpassion’d Age
Detects the specious fallacies of Youth:
Reviews the motives, which no more engage,
And weighs each action in the scale of Truth.
The soul no more on mortal good relics,
But nobler objects urge her hopes and fears,
And, sick of Folly, views no tempting prize
Beneath the radiant circle of the stars.
How blest, who thus by added years improv’d,
With cautious steps their lengthened journey tread:
And, from the task of sultry life remov’d,
Converse with Wisdom in it’s evening shade.
Such, gracious Heav’n! be Pultency’s setting day,
And cheerful peace it’s various labours close;
May no dark cloud obscure its soften’d ray,
Nor ruffling tempest shake it’s calm repose.
Amidst the waste of years, preserve intire
The undecaying spirit’s nobler part,
The vivid spark of intellectual fire,
And all the gentler graces of the heart.
When late he sinks beneath the common doom,
May sacred Hope attend his parting breath:
May Virtue gild his passage to the tomb,
And pow’rful Faith disarm the dart of Death.
To Miss Sutton. 17631763.
Heir of immortal being! whence that sigh
O’er transcient Life’s probationary woes!
Why droops that spirit form’d to seek the sky,
Not idly languish in a long repose?
Why wanders Fancy thro’ the cypress gloom,
Where boding ravens croak the dirge of night?
Direct it’s view to Eden’s living bloom,
The songs of Seraphs, and the realms of light.
Tho’ now a toiling tenant of the dust,
See! Heav’n it’s fair inheritance displays:
And warm with gen’rous hope and filial trust,
Exalt thy soul to joy, thy voice to praise.
He claims this tribute, whose paternal care
Incessant watches o’er our helpless frame,
And bids the changing scenes of life prepare
Our rising nature to a nobler aim.
Mixt with our woes, what objects of delight
Our fated task with kind indulgence cheer!
With Beauty’s endless forms He strikes the sight,
And glads with Harmony the ravish’d ear.
He gives the soul enlivening pow’rs that rove
Thro’ the wide range of Nature and of Art:
And soothes by ev’ry charm of social love,
The sympathetic feelings of the heart.
Oft when the phantoms of delusive good
With soft seduction round our senses play,
He bids Affliction lift her chast’ning rod,
And drive their unsubstantial forms away.
By mercy prompted his correcting hand
Inflicts the stroke of salutary pain,
To check tyrannic Passions’s wild demand,
And free our Reason from it’s slavish chain.
Our folly tutor’d, and subdued our pride,
His healing smiles our griefs and fears controul:
And gently, thro’ the paths of duty, guide
The ductile temper of the soften’d soul.
From Death’s deep vale, sad refuge of despair,
My Isabella! raise thy drooping flight:
Nor faint beneath the task allotted here,
While Faith and Hope to happier scenes invite.
Our Nature’s conflict with an inborn foe,
Paternal Goodness views with pitying eyes:
Virtue, a trembling penitent below,
Exult a joyful victor in the skies.
Ah trust, for future good, that gracious Pow’r,
Whose various gifts our mortal being bless,
Nor doubt his mercy, at the last dread hour
Shall shed the smiles of pardon, and of peace.
On the Death of Friend. 17631763.
While pensive Memory o’er Louisa’s tomb,
Recalls each tender sentiment of woe,
The pitying pow’r that fixt her early doom,
Uncensur’d bids the virtuous sorrows flow.
With every loss, which fond affection mourns,
Our follies sicken, and our wishes rise;
The mended heart the world’s gay trifles scorns,
And feels a nearer interest in the skies.
By Nature aided, Faith new strength assumes,
And every duty to the soul endears,
Which leads where each rewarded virtue blooms,
That claims a parent’s or a sister’s tears.
Written During the Sleeping of an Afflicted Friend. 17641764.
Angels of Peace! whose heav’nly whisper cheers
The drooping heart opprest by guiltless woes,
Shed your soft comforts o’er Cecilia’s cares,
And lull the beauteous suff’rer to repose.
Let no sad image of distressful day,
Touch the quick feeling of suspended grief:
Nor hopes that vanish at the morning ray,
Delude her sorrows by a false relief.
Ye delegated guardians of the good!
While the calm hours of vacant slumber last,
Conduct her fancy to the blest abode,
Where virtue smiles onn every trial past.
When waking life it’s scene of care renews,
The radiant vision on her mind shall glow,
Inspirit every duty’s gen’rous views,
And soften every painful task below.
To Mrs. Vesey. 17661766.
Silent and cool the dews of ev’ning fall,
Hush’d is the vernal music of the groves,
From yon thick boughs the birds of darkness call,
And mark the walk that Contemplation loves.
In shapeless grandeur thro’ the dubious shade,
That Gothic structure rises unconfin’d:
Imagination feels a sacred dread,
And awes to sober thought th’ astonish’d mind.
Successive seasons as they roll, survey
Still unimpair’d these solemn columns stand,
While cold and senseless moulder in decay
The limbs which rais’d them, and the head
which plann’d. The Chiefs who conquer’d, and the Bard who sung. Tickel, on the Death of Lord Cadogan.
Quid spectans nisi etiam postera saecula ad se pertinere? Tusc. Quæst. Lib.1. Not for themselves the toiling artists build,
Not for himself contrives the studious sage:
To distant views by mystic force compell’d,
All give the present to the future age.
Beneath the shelter of this reverend pile
The various schemes of busy care repose:
O’er the dark tombs, along each peopled isle,
The moon’s pale beam a faint reflection throws.
Here Death his melancholy pomp displays,
And all his terrors strike on Fancy’s eye:
To Fancy’s ear each hollow gale conveys,
In chilling sounds, the last expiring sigh.
Mute is each Syren Passion’s faithless song
Check’d and suspended by the solemn scene:
Mute the wild clamours of the giddy throng,
And only heard the still small voice 1 Kings, xix. 12. within.
Ambition sick’ning views the laurel’d bust,
The weak reward for years of rival strife:
While Pleasure’s garland withering in the dust,
Confutes the gayer hope of frolic life.
While Folly dictates, and while Reason scorns
The vain regrets of disappointed Art,
E’en Virtue sighs, while poor Affection mourns
The blasted comforts of the desert heart.
Yet check that impious thought, my gentle friend,
Which bounds our prospects by our fleeting breath,
Which hopeless sees unfinish’d Life descend,
And ever bars the prison gates of Death.
Ah! what is Friendship, if at once disjoin’d,
The sympathetic tie unites no more?
Ah! what is Virtue, if below confin’d?
The fruitless struggle of a toilsome hour.
To perfect good, thro’ each progressive stage
The pow’rs of intellectual being tend,
Nor raging elements, nor wasting age,
Shall e’er defeat their Heav’n-appointed end.
To perfect joy, from pain and chance secure,
The sighing heart springs upward from the dust,
Where safe from suff’ring, and from frailty pure,
Unite the social spirits of the just.
O’er the sad relics of our mortal clay,
No more let Fancy sink in hopeless grief:
But, rais’d by Faith to happier views, survey
The blooming forms of renovated life.
To Nature rescu’d from Corruption’s pow’r,
The glad Archangel lifts his awful voice:
He swears that Time and Change shall be no more;
Hear Earth and Heav’n! and Earth and Heav’n rejoice! It is worthy of observation how the author’s style rises with her subject: in this last stanza it is elevated above the generally equal elegance of her poetry, almost to sublimity. See the same idea expressed in Prose, Letter V. second Paragraph, near the end of this vol. It is not known which is the original.
Elegy on the Death of Miss Sutton. Ob. 1768-11-12Nov. 12, 1768.
Yes, weak Humanity! thy tender tear
Sheds it’s soft grief o’er Isabella’s urn,
Laments the polish’d sense, the heart sincere,
The social charm which never must return.
Ah why with fond regret that fate lament,
Which she so oft as Heav’n’s best gift implor’d?
Her morn of youth in joyless languor spent,
What better hope could added years afford.
In vain did Virtue guide, and Fotune smile,
The weight of Life hung heavy on her breast:
Her fainting spirit sunk beneath it’s toil,
And sigh’d impatient for the hour of rest.
That hour is come: ere yet her sun declin’d,
The welcome shades of Death it’s labours close,
Contract the date to human woes assign’d,
And call the weary mourner to repose.
Farewell, my much-lov’d friend! releas’d from pain,
Possess the quiet of thy wish’d abode:
There sleep till He, who died and rose again,
To joy shall wake thee with the trump of God.
To the Right Hon. Lady Dartrey. Now Viscountess Cremorne. 17721772.
O skill’d by ev’ry pow’r of tuneful art,
Whose magic leads the willing mind along,
To touch the finest feelings of the heart,
And lend to Virtue all the charms of song:
When in the dark abode, where silence reigns,
That ear, which hears thee now, shall hear no more;
Shall thy lov’d music in pathetic strains,
The friend it charm’d in life, in death deplore?
Yes: when from ev’ry busy scene retir’d,
Amidst the solemn twilight’s dubious rays,
Thy thoughts by peaceful Solitude inspir’d,
Recall the phantoms of departed days:
When to thy soften’d soul my form appears,
By fond Affection view’d in Fancy’s dream,
Thy gentle voice, in sweetly plaintive airs,
Shall to the lyre accord it’s tender theme.
If then thy friend, each dreaded fault forgiven,
Above all mortal cares, all mortal aims,
In glad security enjoys that Heav’n,
Which trembling Penitence from Mercy claims;
Perhaps ev’n then above yon starry sphere,
Thy Song a blameless transport shall impart,
Soft witness to the friendship once so dear,
By faithful Mem’ry graven on thy heart.
Touch’d by the sorrows which from Virtue flow,
The purest spirit might to earth incline,
To Angels point that worth it lov’d below,
And own it’s union with a soul like thine.
To the Hon. Thomas Dawson. Son to Lord Viscount Cremorne by his present lady. Ætat. 2. 17731773.
Sweet Innocence! whose infant heart
With op’ning life securely plays,
May ease and sprightly health conspire
To crown thy first and fairest days.
Too soon by hast’ning Time led on
To years of folly, years of care,
With fond regret That regret, which even the most virtuous and happy have generally cause to feel from the tremendous blessing of protracted life, the amiable youth sought a better world too soon to know by experience. shalt thou recall
Thy guiltless smiles, and joys sincere.
Thy easy path now strown with flow’rs,
Shall soon become a winding way,
Where Error spreads it’s dark’ning mist,
And dang’rous Passions wildly stray.
Ah! then may Heav’n’s directing aid
Conduct thee thro’ the mazy road,
Where duty’s steady hand has trac’d
The narrow line of human good.
To Mrs. Montagu.
No more, my friend, pursue a distant theme,
While nearer objects call Reflection home,
Farewell the vivid fire, the deep-laid scheme
Of polish’d Athens, and imperial Rome.
By Fancy led thro’ many a British age,
O’er Winton’s melancholy walks we’ll stray:
Where once so busy on this mortal stage,
The wearied actors close their short-liv’d play.
O’er the pale sleepers wave the wings of Night,
And solemn Silence guards their long repose;
May no rude clamour, or detecting light,
Disturb this last retreat of human woes!
May never more retrun that impious age,
When dire Rebellion scourg’d our guilty isle,
When civil Discord, and fanatic Rage,
Profan’d the shelter of this reverend pile. Many of the tombs in Winchester cathedral were defaced by Cromwell’s soldiers.
The mad enthusiast sacks the sacred dome,
He rends the trophy from the hero’s bust:
Nor weeping Angels o’er the vestal’s tomb
From insult shield the violated dust.
Sepulchral Darkness felt a painful ray,
And Silence waken’d by the trumpet fled:
While wanton Outrage, to the frighted day,
Unveil’d the mould’ring horrors of the dead.
Barbarian, stop! these kindred atoms claim
The feeling heart, the sympathetic tear;
Stop! and bethink thee of a brother’s name,
Nor mock the weakness thou must quickly share.
Ah, gracious God! when erring man has paid
The last sad forfeit of our guilty race,
The goodness bids Earth’s parent bosom shade
Our nature’s ruin, and our form’s disgrace.
From Sin, dark principle of Death, refin’d,
This ransom’d dust shall one day quit the tomb,
And rise, fit partner to the spotless mind,
In new-born glory, and unfading bloom.
While pensive wandring o’er this equal scene,
Where blended sleep the humble and the great,
Let Wisdom whisper to our souls how vain
The short distinctions of our mortal state.
From yon fair shrine, where letter’d Wykeham rests,
(Its Gothic beauties finish’d from his plan)
A warning voice to high to low attest,
The sacred truth, that manners make the man. William of Wykeham’s motto.
To Death is destin’d all we seek below,
Except what Virtue fixes for our own:
While the vain flourish of external show
Ends in the blazon’d hearse, and sculptur’d stone.
All wealth is poor, unless with gen’rous skill
The lib’ral hand it’s trusted gift impart:
All pow’r is weak, but that which curbs the will,
All science vain, but that which mends the heart.
O blest with ev’ry talent, ev’ry grace,
Which native fire, or happy art supplies,
How short a period, how confin’d a space
Must bound thy shining course below the skies!
For wider glories, for immortal fame,
Were all those talents, all those graces giv’n:
And may the life pursue that noblest aim,
The final plaudit of approving heav’n.
To Viscountess Cremorne. 1795-01-05Jan. 5. 1795. There was no copy of this Poem, written at the age of 77 years, but that which was in the hands of the lady to whom it was addressed, who has kindly permitted the Editor, at his earnest request, to enrich this Collection with it. It is supposed that there are very few instances of a Poem so much merit, written at so advanced a time of life. Of the third stanza in particular, it may be said that it would not disgrace any poet of any age. The thoughts are, I believe, original, and the versification is excellent. Being the firm persuasion of her heart, it is expressed con amore; and how appropriate the praise is, to those who know the subject of it, need not be pointed out.
Tho’ youth’s gay spirit, lull’d in deep repose,
No longer tunes the lyre, nor chants the lay,
Yet still my heart with warm affection glows,
And greets with transport this distinguish’d day.
Thro’ many a rolling year may it return,
From every cloud of dark disaster free;
And still with grateful praise be hail’d the morn,
That gave a blessing to the world and me.
Friend of my soul! with fond delight each hour,
From earth to heaven I see thee urge thy race,
From every virtue crop the fairest flow’r,
And add to nature ev’ry winning grace.
Father of light! from whose unfailing source
Descends each perfect gift, each guiding ray.
And lead her safe through life’s perplexing course,
And point her road to happines and thee.
The following Inscription, in the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral, to the memory of Stephen, son of Crisp Stephen Hall, Esq. who died an infant in 17921792. is said by Hasted, in the last edition of his History of Kent, to have been written by Mrs. Carter; See 8vo. edition, Vol II. p. 514, note. The Editor knows not upon what authority his assertion is made. , No No copy of these lines was found among Mrs. Carter’s papers, nor did he ever hear her speak of them, or the subject of them. In the date as given by Hasted there is certainly some mistake. There is also an Epitaph on Richardson, inserted in his life lately published, and ascribed to Mrs. Carter, concerning which the same observation may be made. She had no copy of it, nor ever mentioned to her own family that she had written it. Yet it is to be supposed, considering Mrs. Barbauld’s well-known character, that she would not have hazarded the assertion without good grounds. If the Epitaph be really her’s, it appears to the Editor, as well as to much better judges of poetry, to be very inferior to her usual style. As it is doubtful, and the work in whichb it is inserted is so generally known, it is not reprinted here. It has been mentioned in the Memoirs, that there is a French translation of some of Mrs. Carter’s Poems. Since they went to the press, the Editor has found the following mention of it in a letter from Mrs. Carter to Mrs. Montagu, August 24, 1796:— I was much surprized yesterday on receiving a little pamphlet containing a French translation of some of my Poems by M. le Comte de Bedee. Has this gentleman the honour of your acquaintance? As far as I have been able to read, the translation is excellent. I wish you would read it. and indeed both the idea 119 I4r 119 idea and manner of expressing it are not unlike her style, and pious way of thinking— Since the first Edition was printed, the fact has been ascertained, that this Epitaph was written by Mrs. Carter. The infant was Brother to Miss Hall, to whom some of the Poems are addressed: she died 1742-04-12April 12th, 1742.
Though infant years no pompous honours claim,
The vain parade of monumental fame,† To 120 I4v 120
To better praise the last great day shall rear
The spotless innocence that slumbers here.
End of the Poems.excerptpp.121-423;I5-I8,J-Z,Aa-Ee7
To Donna Dorothea Ruffo,
Youngest Daughter of H. E. Prince Castelcicala.
With Mrs. Carter’s Poems, 1805-01-01Jan. 1, 1805.
Eliza once in youth and beauty gay,
By Wisdom nurtur’d sung the moral lay:
Nor only sung—she practic’d what she taught,
Her heart with truth, her mind with learning fraught.
Now hoary Time with lenient hand has shed
His silv’ry honours o’er her peaceful head;
Yet still she smiles—nor feels the pond’rous load,
But reaps the harvest which in youth she sow’d.
Accept her song, my fair, my blooming friend!
And may each calm delight thy steps attend!
May virtue guard thee through this vale of tears,
And bliss await thee at Eliza’s years.
Impromptu, These and the preceding lines were written by Miss Cornelia Knight, author of Marcus Flaminius, Latium, and other classical and highly esteemed works. They were not designed for publication, but being found among Mrs. Carter’s papers, Miss Knight has permitted the Editor, at his earnest request, to insert them. Mrs. Carter was much pleased with them, and valued this, and every proof of Miss Knight’s friendship, as it deserved. Of the Oak some account is given in the Memoirs. It was planted about the year 17701770.
Addressed to the Most Eastern Oak in His Majesty’s Dominions.
Grace of our Isle, and guardian of our coast,
Auspicious tree! our bulwark and our boast!
May no rude blast thy leafy brows deform,
Safe be thy honours from the raging storm!
O could I sing like Cecrops’ sons of old,
In strains sublime thy glories should be told;
Buit ev’ry Muse will guard from fortune’s stroke
Minerva’s Olive and Eliza’s Oak.
Lines To the Memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, 1806-02-28Feb. 28, 1806.
Within the silent chambers of the dead,
Her sacred clay lies wrapp’d in peaceful sleep,
With years and honour crown’d. Time gently led
Her steady footsteps down the giddy steep
Of human life; surrounded by the blaze
Of talents, fair desert, and high distinguish’d praise.
In early youth, from pleasure’s train retir’d,
Willing she trod stern Learning’s rugged way;
By praise undazzl’d, humble, tho’ admir’d,
She tun’d her lyre to Wisdom’s moral lay;
Ev’n in that season, when the sportive pow’r
Of Fancy strews our path with many a blooming flow’r.
Mild in the even temper of her mind,
Benevolent to all; to merit just,
Still on the side of mercy most inclin’d,
Unwillingly she blam’d, where blame she must.
Pious as learned; and in faith sincere,
Her trust was fix’d on heav’n, her hope already there.
Oh Virtue! how divine thy form appears,
Adorn’d by genius, and with knowledge crown’d!
When smiles benign thy lovely aspect wears,
When gentle charities thy throne surround.
Such was the blessed spirit now at rest,
Releas’d from mortal cares to mingle with the
bless’d. These lines were a Tribute of Affection from the elegant and well known pen of Mrs. Hunter, who has kindly allowed the Editor to oblige the public with them. There had been a long intimacy between this lady and Mrs. Carter.
On the Death of Mrs. Carter, 1806-04-02April 2, 1806. These lines were sent to the Editor by the post from London, accompanied by the following anonymous note:— Sir,The above humble tribute to departed excellence, to you I am sure cannot be unacceptable.Your’s, the Author.
When ancient Greece her Socrates deplor’d,
And godlike Plato taught her sons no more,
Surrounding nations still their name ador’d,
As their bright precepts spread from shore to shore.So 428 428
So Carter’s genius rose to bless our isle,
Pure spark divine of that refulgent ray,
That taught the Grecian sage in chains to smile,
That soar’d with Plato to the realms of day.
No strains more sweet the Mantuan Bard could reach,
Than flow’d mellifluous in her tuneful song,
Nought more divine could ancient Wisdom teach,
Than pour’d in gentle accents from her tongue.
Accept, bless’d shade, whose intellectual eye
No mists of prejudice can now impede,
The warmest tribute of affection’s sigh,
That lov’d thee living, and reveres thee dead.
Printed by R. and R. Gilbert, St. John’s Square, London.