Death of Amnon.
Printed for the author,
by N. Rollason, Coventry.
To Bertie Greatheed, Esq.
The difficulties which an Author, under my circumſtances, has to contend with—born in obſcurity, and never emerging beyond the lower ſtations in life—muſt have been an inſurmountable bar to the publication of the following poems, had not the approbation and zeal of ſome particular friends to ſerve me, been exerted in a manner which demands my moſt thankful acknowledgments, and with a ſucceſs which I had little reaſon to expect. Nothing could A have iv A1v have added more to the ſatisfaction which I have felt from their flattering efforts, than the permiſſion which I have obtained of prefixing your name to them. This honour from a Gentleman ſo diſtinguiſhed for literary, as well as every other polite accompliſhment, will, I truſt, enſure me the candour, if not the attention of the Public.
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- Browne, Mr. Bartholomew, London
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- Buckland, Rev. Mr. Corpus Chriſti College, Oxon
- Bucknill, Mrs. Rugby
- Bucknill, Mrs. S. ditto
- Buffery, Mr. Rowington
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- *Burgh, Richard, Eſq.
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- Buſh, Miſs, ditto
- Butlin, Mrs. Rugby
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- Bircham, Mrs. ditto
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- Congreve, Miſs Ann, ditto
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- Fell, Mrs. Rugby
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- Fombelle, Mr. Henry, London
- Fombelle, Mr. Peter, ditto
- Ford, Mr. Samuel, Birmingham *Forſteen, xv A7r
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- Frances, Mrs. Stretton
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- *Frewen, Miſs, ditto
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- *Gill, W. Right Hon. Lord Mayor of London
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- *Glynne, Sir Stephen, Bart.
- *Glynne, Lady
- *Glynne, Francis, Eſq.
- *Glynne, Miſs
- Gardner, Rev. Mr. Catherine Hall, Cambridge
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- Geaſt, Miſs Ann, ditto
- Geaſt, Miſs Mary, ditto
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- Grove, William, Eſq.
- Grove, Edward, Eſq.
- Grove, Rev. Thomas, Rotheram
- Groves, Mr. T. Daventry
- Gunning, Mr. Chriſt College, Cambridge
- Gilbert, Miſs
- Ganning, Mrs. Norwich
- Gay, Mrs. ditto
- *Hautford, Marquis de
- Hewitt, Hon. William
- Hill, Hon. Mr.
- Hatton, Lady
- *Hacket, Andrew, Eſq.
- *Hacket, Mrs.
- Hakeſley, Mr. Edward, jun. Branſton
- Hakeſley, Mr. Thomas, ditto
- Hall, Mr. Halford, xvii ar
- Halford, ——, Eſq.
- Hall, Mr.
- *Halſtead, Thomas, Eſq.
- Halſtead, Rev. Mr. Tamworth
- Hanbury, Mr. Weſtminſter
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- Hardwick, Mrs.
- Hardy, Mrs. Iſabella, London
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- Harris, Mr. H. Offchurch
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- Hawkes, Miſs, Charlecote
- Hayward, Mrs. Harrietſham
- *Heber, Rev. Mr. Malpas
- Hedges, Mr. Henry, London
- Hemming, Mr. S. a Herbert, xviii av
- Herbert, Mr. T. Rowington
- Herbert, Mrs.
- Hewitt, Mrs. R. Draycote
- Hewitt, Mr. S. Stretton
- Heydon, Mr. John, Banbury
- *Heydon, Mr. Richard, ditto
- Heygate, Mr. J. London
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- Holden, Mr. B. Wolſton
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- Hollingſworth, Mrs. Newport-Pagnell
- Hollis, Mr. John, Stretton
- Homer, Rev. Henry, ſen.
- *Homer, Rev. Henry, jun.
- Homer, Mr. Edward, Birmingham
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- Homer, Rev. Arthur, Magdalen College, Oxon Homer, xix a2r
- Homer, Rev. Philip B. Rugby. Two copies
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- Homer, Miſs D.
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- Horbery, Mrs. Lichfield
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- Horne, Mrs. Frankton
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- Herwood, Mr. Trentham
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- Howkins, Captain, Rugby
- Howlett, Mr. Thomas, Rowington
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- Huddesford, Miſs, Alleſley. Two copies
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- Hughes, Mr. Wellesburne
- Huiſh, Mr. Nottingham
- Hume, Miſs, Rugby
- Hunt, Rev. Mr. King’s College, Cambridge
- *Hunt, Mr.
- *Hunter, Mrs.
- Hurlock, Mr. Philip, London
- *Hurſt, Rev. Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon a2 Hurſt, xx a2v
- Hurſt, Rev. Mr. Worceſter College, Oxon
- Husbands, Mr. Coventry
- Hutchins, Mrs. Anſley
- Hyde, Mr. James, London
- *Johnſton, Right Hon. Lady Cecilia
- *Johnſton, General
- Jackſon, John, Eſq.
- Jackſon, Mr. William, Granborough
- Jackſon, Miſs, Bedworth
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- James, Mrs.
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- Jemſon, Mr. S. Daventry
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- Jennet, Miſs, Coventry
- Jephcote, Mr. Richard, Willoughby
- *Jervoiſe, J.C. jun. Eſq. M.P.
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- Knightley, Rev. Mr. Charlton
- Knipe, Mr. Queen’s College, Oxon
- *Lanſdown, Right Hon. Marquis of. Two copies
- *Landaff, Right Rev. Lord Biſhop of
- Lichfield and Coventry, Right Rev. Lord Biſhop of
- *Legge, Hon. Mr. Edward, Chriſt College, Oxon
- *Legge, Hon. Auguſtus
- *Legge, Heneage, Eſq.
- *Legge, Mrs.
- *Ladbroke, Robert, Eſq. M.P.
- Ladbroke, Mr. John, Rugby
- Lander, Mr. Wiſhaw
- Landon, Rev. Mr. Worceſter College, Oxon
- Lant, Mr. Alleſley Lane, xxii a3v
- Lane, Rev. Mr. Chriſt College, Cambridge
- Langham, Mr. John, Sidney College, ditto
- La Roque, Rev. Mr. Priors-Hardwick
- Latimer, Mrs. Marton
- Lawley, William, Eſq. Bath
- Lawrence, Mrs. Leamington-Priors
- Lawrence, Mrs. Wapenbury
- Lea, Mr. Coventry
- Leake, Dr. London
- Lee, Mr. David, Coventry
- Leggate, Mr. Henley
- Levett, Mr. Chriſt College, Oxon
- *Lewis, H. Greſwold, Eſq.
- Lewis, Mrs. Coventry
- Lightoler, Miſs, Warwick
- Lilly, Mr. Charles, Coventry
- Line, Mr. Robert, Long-Lawford
- Linnel, Mr. John, Harberbury
- Little, Thomas, Eſq.
- Little, William, Eſq.
- Loader, Mr. William, London
- Loins, Mr. H. Birdingbury
- Lombe, Mr. Cambridge. Two copies
- Long, Robert, Eſq.
- Long, William, Eſq.
- *Loveday, Dr.
- *Loveday, Mrs.
- *Loveday, Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon
- *Loveday, Miſs
- *Loveday, Mr. William, jun. London
- Loveday, Mrs. ditto
- *Lomb, Sir John, Bart. Norfolk
- Lickoriſh, Rev. R.
- *Lowe, Jeremiah, Eſq.
- Lowe, Mr. Oriel College, Oxon
- Lowke, Mr. Willoughby
- Lowth, Rev. Mr. Prebendary Lucas, xxiii a4r
- *Lucas, William, Eſq.
- Lucy, Miſs, Charlcote
- *Ludford, John, Eſq.
- *Ludford, Mrs.
- Ludford, Miſs, Camp-Hill
- Ludford, Miſs Frances
- Ludford, Miſs Millicent
- Luke, Mr. Robert, Sidney College, Cambridge
- Lutterworth Society
- Lyon, Miſs Sarah, London
- Mansfield, Right Hon. the Earl of
- Middleton, Right Hon. Lady
- Murray, Hon. Miſs
- Murray, Hon. Miſs
- *Mordaunt, Sir John, Bart.
- *Mordaunt, Lady
- *Mordaunt, Mrs. Warwick
- *Mordaunt, Miſs
- *Mordaunt, Miſs Sophia
- Marſh, Miſs, Norwich
- Mann, Mr. Edward, Wolſton
- Mackorkel, Mr. Birmingham
- *Madan, Rev. Mr. Rector, ditto
- Malin, Miſs, Rugby
- Mallory, Robert, Eſq.
- *Malony, Mr. Arthur
- Mander, Miſs, Coventry. Two copies
- Mann, Mr. C. Stretton
- *Mansfield, James, Eſq. King’s Counſel
- Manton, Mrs. H.
- Manwaring, Mr. St. John’s College, Cambridge
- Mapletoft, Rev. Edmund
- Mapletoft, Mr. Emanual College, Cambridge
- Marriott, Rev. Dr. Cottesbatch
- Mariſs, Mr. Exeter College, Cambridge
- Markam, Mr. Thomas, Napton Marſhall, xxiv a4v
- Marſhall, Miſs, Meriden
- Marſam, Mr. Thomas
- Martin, Mr. St. John’s College, Cambridge
- Martin, Mr. John, Dunchurch
- Martin, Mrs. Bayſwater
- *Martin, Mrs. White-Knights
- Maſon, Thomas, Eſq. Temple
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- Maſſingberd, Rev. Mr. Magdalen College, Oxon. Two copies
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- Mauleverer, ——, Eſq. London
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- Mayo, Mrs. Stratford
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- *Medcalf, Major
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- Mieres, Mrs. Lichfield
- Millar, A. Grammar, Eſq.
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- Millington, Mr. Rugby
- Minſter, Mr. William, Coventry
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- Newdigate, Lady
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- *Norris, James, Eſq. Norwich. Two copies b Norris xxvi bv
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- Orton, Mr. John, Bubbenhall
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- *Shaw, Rev. Mr.
- Scott, Mr. Cambridge
- Shaw, Rev. Mr. All Souls College, Oxon b3 Shaw, xxx b3v
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- Spooner, Mr. Abraham
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- Stafford, Rev. Egerton Stanfield, xxxi b4r
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- Steane, Mr. Edward, Leamington
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- Villers, Mr. William, Birmingham
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- *Warwick, Right Hon. Earl of. Two copies
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- *Woodhouſe, Sir John, Bart. M.P.
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- Wheler, Sir William, Bart.
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- Walker, J. Eſq. London
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- Walker, Rev. Mr. Mears-Aſhby
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- Wall, Mr. Richard, London
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- Ward, Mr. Henley
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- Wedge, Mr. Packington
- *Welford, John, Eſq. London
- Wells, Rev. Mr. Worceſter College, Oxon
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- *Whitwell, Mr. Coventry. Two copies
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- Wiſſet, Robert, Eſq. London
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- Wood, Mr. William, Coventry
- Woodcock, Mr. Trinity College, Oxon
- Wooderfield, Mrs. Highgate
- Woodeſon, Dr. Vin. Prof. Oxon
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- Woodruff, Mr. Thomas, London
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- Woolley, Mr. Birmingham
- Worral, Mr. Thomas, Leamington-Priors
- Worth, Mr. John, Dunchurch
- Wratiſlavia, Mrs. Rugby
- *Wright, William, Eſq. London
- Wright, Rev. Mr. Emanual College, Cambridge
- Wright, Mr. London
- Wright, Sir Sampſon, Knt. Alderman of London
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- *Yardley, Mrs. Coventry
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- Young, Mr. Richard, Whitnaſh
- Young, Miſs, Ardley
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Subscribers, Whoſe Names came too late to be inſerted in their proper Places.
- Beales, Mr. Cambridge
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- Hopkins, Mr. ditto
- Hume, Mrs. Knightsbridge.
Death of Amnon.
The Death of Amnon.
Canto the First.
The Royal youth I ſing, whoſe ſiſter’s charms
Inſpir’d his heart with love; a latent love
That prey’d upon his health; he droop’d; ſo droops
A beauteous flow’r, when in the ſtalk ſome vile
Opprobrious inſect ’bides. In conſcious pain
He paſſ’d the hapleſs hours, while in his breaſt
Th’ aſpiring paſſion, yet by virtue ſway’d
It’s proper limits knew. I love, ſaid he,
Whom do I love? my ſiſter—ah; my ſiſter;
Can I my miſplac’d paſſion gratify,
And bring diſgrace on her? No, ſweeteſt maid,
I am thy brother; ’tis a brother’s part
Thy honour to protect and not deſtroy.
When Shechem burning with untam’d deſireB Diſ- 2 B1v [ 2 ]
Diſhonour’d Dinah, how her brethren rag’d!
Each took his ſword, the princely raviſher,
And every citizen a victim fell
To their juſt fury. I’m an Iſra’lite;
Shall I forego this high prerogative,
And plunge myſelf and ſiſter into ruin?
An act that ev’n an heathen would degrade.
No; ſooner ſhall my paſſion unreveal’d
Lie cank’ring in my boſom, till it taints
My very blood, and ſtops my panting breath.
Better my lov’d companions paſs my grave,
And ſhed a tear to think I died ſo young,
Than ſhun me living as a vile reproach
To nature, royalty, and Iſrael.
Already I perceive my ſtrength to fail,
The ruddy bloom of health forſakes my cheeks;
Perhaps death’s not far off.—O welcome gueſt,
Haſten thy tardy ſteps, why linger’ſt thou,
Or wait’ſt on thoſe, who wiſh thee far away?
O thou, that haſt the pow’rs of life and death,
Take hence my life, and end my wretchedneſs.
A ſpacious land I ſee on ev’ry ſide
Bleſſ’d with fertility; the cultured vales
Yield plenteous crops; the riſing hills are rich,
With verdant paſture mantled, crown’d with trees;My 3 B2r [ 3 ]
My father’s kingdom this.—What is’t to me?
It fires not my ambition, all I ask
Is one ſmall ſpot of earth to lay me down
Beneath the turf, forgetting and forgot,
A ſmall requeſt, and yet though ſmall, denied.
Methinks I feel my ſtrength renew’d; ’tis ſo;
Struggling with life I ſigh for death in vain.
Again my paſſions riſe, again rebel;
I ſtill muſt live and live in miſery.
But I’ve a thought, that ſtings me yet more deep;
Doubtleſs ſome happy rival will be crown’d
With Tamar’s love; O tort’ring thought, muſt I
Behold her deck’d in bridal robes to bleſs
A rival; ’tis too much;—I cannot bear
E’en to ſuppoſe it, I’ll from court retire;
My gay companions now are irkſome grown,
And all my pleaſures are transform’d to pains.
My ſiſter’s cheering ſmiles, that once convey’d
Soft raptures to my heart, awake ſuch pangs,
As I can ſcarce endure. Again I feel
My ſpirits ſink; Oh! welcome fading ſickneſs!
I’ll cheriſh thee and aid thee with my ſighs,
To ſtill this heart, that now rebellious beats
Againſt my reaſon’s ſtrongeſt argument.
Though Tamar’s beauty prompts my warmeſt wiſh,B2 Her 4 B2v [ 4 ]
Her fairer virtues keep me ſtill in awe,
Forbidding my aſpir’ing love to ſoar.
With ſweet ſimplicity ſhe ſmiles, ſecure
In innocence, commanding my reſpect,
And this command I muſt—I will obey;
But fly her preſence, leſt ſome hapleſs ſmile
Inflame my ſoul, and I in paſſions phrenſy
Should act againſt my final reſolution
To bear my griefs untold, and ſecret pine
Till ſadd’ning ſorrow ſinks me to the grave.
Thus, to himſelf complaining, he reſolv’d,
Nor ſought a confidant to ſhare his grief.
Nam’d Jonadab; a man by nature ſubtle,
Proud and ambitious; yet would meanly ſtoop
To the moſt baſe and moſt ignoble acts,
Oft to its plauſibilities gave ear,
Not e’en ſuſpecting, that beneath the cloak
Of formal flatt’ries ſelf-int’reſt hides
It’s ſerpent head. Yet ſtill the youth from him
His wayward paſſion labour’d to conceal,
By forcing ſmiles to veil his grief; nor knew,
How little they reſemble thoſe, that ſpring
From gentle impulſes of hearts at eaſe.For 5 B3r [ 5 ]
For Jonadab, with penetrating eye,
Quickly diſcern’d the grief, he ſtrove to hide.
What cauſe, ſaid he, can Amnon have to mourn?
A King’s ſon now,—a King in time may be.
Was it in probability, that I
Should be a King, the very contemplation
Would ſhut my ſoul to ſorrow. Oh! the thought
Swells my imagination. Did but Amnon
Aſpire as much to greatneſs, I could plot
Surprizing ſtratagems. But he poor Prince
Has long imbib’d ſuch cloſe contracted notions,
As bar his path to honour. Like a maid
He talks of virtue, weeps at others woes,
Yet talks of greatneſs too; ’tis in the ſoul,
He ſays, all greatneſs dwells; ’tis not the crown,
That makes his father great, but ’tis his virtues;
And thoſe alone he wiſhes to inherit,
Thereby to gain dominion o’er himſelf,
And reign unenvi’d; but perchance there now
Springs in his ſoul ſome change of ſentiment;
And he his principles, ſo long retain’d,
Loth to renounce, may want a friend to prompt,
And urge him to the attainment of his will.
Then who ſo fit for ſuch a taſk as I?
I’m great in his eſteem, have free acceſsB3 To 6 B3v [ 6 ]
To him at all times; but, if now I’m ſlack,
Perhaps I may be rivall’d in his favour
By ſome more forward to promote his wiſh.
I’ll to him ſtraight, in theſe cool ev’ning hours
Into his private garden he retires,
Sighs to the winds, and to the moon complains.
But I muſt him approach with ſeeming awe,
As fearful to diſturb his ſolitude,
And with a gentle flow of ſoothing words
Inſinuate myſelf into his ſoul,
Then guide him as I pleaſe. The love-ſick youth
Beneath the thickeſt ſolitary ſhade
Was wand’ring, loſt in melancholy mood,
So deep in thought, he ne’er perciev’d th’ approach
Of Jonadab, till ſtartled by his voice;
Then ſmil’d, as uſual, as his friend drew near,
Who thus the Royal youth addreſs’d—Oh! why
Doſt thou, a King’s ſon, pine in diſcontent?
Can there be ought, that’s unattainable
To crown thy ſoul with peace? Thy father’s kind,
Too fond and too indulgent to refuſe
A ſon’s requeſt, be what it will methinks.
But why from me conceal thy griefs? am I
A friend, unworthy of thy confidence?
Have I e’er been unfaithful to my truſt?Or 7 B4r [ 7 ]
Or has ſome jealous whiſperer impos’d
Upon my Royal friend’s credulity,
To vilify his faithful Jonadab?
Half loſt in thought, the Prince made no reply,
And Jonadab a while ſuſpended ſtood;
But, recollecting, took his hand and ſaid;
Why weeps my Prince? what ſorrow wounds thy heart?
I love, ſays Amnon; and his hand withdrew
To wipe his tears, and turn’d from Jonadab:
Then ſeems returning, then he onward goes
In penſive ſadneſs. Jonadab purſues,
Reſolv’d to urge his full confeſſion, leſt
Some other ſhould be made his confidant,
And he diſcarded, loſe the Prince’s favour.
Amnon return’d, as ready to confeſs
As he to hear, and thus his ſpeech began.
O friend, I love—I love thee as my friend,
And ſuch thou art, the ſharer of my joys;
All my delights were doubled, ſhar’d with thee.
But now a ſtrange dilemma has befall’n me;
I would not ſpeak it to an ear but thine;
I love my ſiſter Tamar; tell it not,
My reaſon almoſt fails to be my guide.
This paſſion, Oh! this wild rebellious paſſion,
If cheriſh’d, faſt it grows as noiſome weeds,B4 And, 8 B4v [ 8 ]
And, if ſuppreſs’d, ſtill ſtrengthens in the ſtalk.
So let it ſtrengthen, till, too ſtrong for me,
I ſink beneath its weight. But Jonadab,
Ne’er let the ſecret paſs thy lips, for I
So much reſpect and honour her I love,
That for the richeſt diadem on earth
I would not give her pain; her heart’s ſo prone
To pity, it would burſt in grief for me,
Did ſhe but know the half I feel for her.
Then Jonadab, with ſeeming kind affection,
And tears of ſympathy reply’d; kind Prince,
Diſtruſt me not, thy confidence I claim;
Thou know’ſt the feelings of my friendly heart
Admit no reſt, if Amnon is unhappy;
Shall David’s meaneſt ſubjects ſmile ſecure
Beneath his prudent equitable ſway,
Their leaſt complaints regarded? and his ſon
Repine without redreſs? It muſt not be.
Amnon reply’d, I cannot thee diſtruſt,
And if thou know’ſt a way to eaſe my heart,
Diſcover it my friend, for I deſpair.
Diſpel thoſe uſeleſs tears, ſays Jonadab:
Think not to drown it in thoſe briny floods;
Love is a flame thoſe waters cannot quench;
Nor is there any cure ſhort of enjoyment.Then 9 B5r [ 9 ]
Then there’s no hope for me, the Prince reply’d,
Till the kind earth receive me; for can I?
I cannot—Oh! I cannot injure her.
Droop not, my gentle friend, ſays Jonadab;
This tim’rous tenderneſs but ill becomes
A Royal Prince, the hope of Iſrael,
The ſon of David; think but who thou art,
The eldeſt ſon of Iſrael’s mighty King;
Whoſe dreaded name thro’ all the nations round
Strikes terror to his enemies, and fills
The grateful hearts of all his friends with joy;
Whoſe tongues with pleaſure tell his mighty deeds,
And virgins celebrate his fame in ſongs;
While Amnon thus effeminately weeps,
Like ſome fair captive maid, ſnatch’d from the arms
Of her fond lover. O my royal friend,
Better ten thouſand injur’d virgins mourn,
Than David’s ſon thus live inglorious.
There is a ſort of viand ſhe prepares,
Unparallel’d, of which none other knows
The juſt proportion of ingredients us’d.
A ſickneſs feign’d might veil the deep deſign,
And put her in thy power; by this excuſe
That thou canſt take nought elſe; nor fear but ſhe
Will keep the ſecret, to preſerve her fame.After 10 B5v [ 10 ]
After a little pauſe the youth reply’d,
It ſhall be ſo;—but yet I doubt—I fear—
If I—I’ll think no more of conſequences,
I am determin’d—yes, it ſhall be ſo.
To-morrow be it done, ſaid Jonadab.
Amnon reply’d—to-morrow is the day.
So parted they that night; and Jonadab
In conſcious pride of ſelf-ſufficiency,
Thus to himſelf his Royal friend derides.
Poor thing, how eaſily he’s wrought upon?
In time the kingdom will be his, and I,
In fact, ſhall reign, though he the title bears.
That time might be anticipated, but
Amnon wants courage for ſo bold a ſtroke.
He’s unambitious, nor has reſolution
To ſeize a tempting crown within his reach;
But ſhould it gently fall upon his head,
Perhaps he’ll wear it, if ſome bolder hand
Don’t ſnatch it off. But this Amour may prove
A clew to guide to greater enterprizes.
When theſe preciſe ones once extend beyond
The bounds their narrow minds have circumſcrib’d,
From ſtep to ſtep inſenſibly they go,
Till ſo familiariz’d by cuſtom, they
With calmneſs will tranſact the very things,Which 11 B6r [ 11 ]
Which but to mention, ere they launch’d ſo far,
They’d ſhudder at. But I muſt wait th’ event.
So ſaying, he retir’d to take repoſe,
The common bleſſing graciouſly diffus’d
Through Nature, to refreſh her wearied ſons;
That with new ſtrength and vigour they may hail
The riſing day, rejoicing in the light.
Of Hanun, their proud contumacious King,
Whoſe inſolence had caus’d his overthrow,
The conquering King of Iſrael return’d
In glorious triumph to Jeruſalem;
There from exhauſting toils of bloody war
In ſafety to repoſe his wearied ſoul,
And taſte the ſweets of calm domeſtic bliſs.
But ere the tumults of triumphal joy
Subſided, and the ſacred rites perform’d
Of general praiſes with the harp and ſong,
The King’s long-wiſh’d tranquility’s diſturb’d
By the ſad news, that Amnon, his dear ſon,
A captive now to dang’rous ſickneſs lies,
While life and death diſpute their doubtful right.
The pious King laid down his harp, the ſong
Unfiniſh’d, and with anxious haſte repair’d
To Amnon, whoſe diſſimulation paſs’d
Quite unſuſpected. How could he ſuſpect
A fraud of ſuch ſort in a virtuous ſon?
Full oft a partial parent overlooks
An obvious fault, or by affection blindDiſ- 13 B7r [ 13 ]
Diſcerns it not; but here no cauſe appear’d
T’ awake ſuſpicion, for his languid eyes
And palid cheeks gave ſignals of diſeaſe.
While thus the ſon in feeble tone complain’d,
The tender father ſtooping low to hear,—
I’m very ſick, and whatſoever food
My ſervants here prepare, gives me diſguſt.
My ſiſter Tamar, with ſuperior ſkill,
Prepares a cake delicious to my taſte;
This I could eat methinks from her kind hand,
Was ſhe permitted to attend me here.
The King with fond ſolicitude retir’d,
And ſpeedily diſpatch’d a meſſenger
To Tamar, ſaying, ’twas his royal will,
That ſhe ſhould go direct to Amnon’s houſe,
And there adminiſter, with friendly aid,
Whate’er his ſickly appetite demands.
The hour had paſs’d, at which the royal maid
Came from her cloſet, ſplendidly attir’d;
Her hair with precious ſparkling gems beſet,
Faint mimicks of her more illuſtrious eyes.
About her neck a ſhining golden chain,
And o’er her looſely thrown, in careleſs folds,
A various colour’d robe, which, as ſhe mov’d,
Trail’d on the ground, or flutter’d in the wind.Thus 14 B7v [ 14 ]
Thus all the virgin daughters of the King
In ſplendid raiment ſhone; but none ſo bright
In beauty, as the daughter of Maacah.
Soon as the ſun had drank the morning dew,
Into her garden walk’d the lovely fair;
Not like a proud imperious haughty Queen,
With toſſing head and ſcornful eyes, that glar’d
Malignant, ſcattering diſcontent around,
And vain in fancied greatneſs. Greater ſhe
In inoffenſive modeſty, and bright
In virtue, as the rays that gild the morn,
Warming the flow’rs to ripeneſs, and exhaling
Their various ſweets to fill the garden air.
Pleas’d with the grateful ſmell, ſhe skips about
From flow’r to flow’r, and cautiouſly ſelects
The ſweeteſt in a wreath, to deck that breaſt,
Which never yet inflam’d by vicious thought,
Or by unreaſonable rebukes depreſs’d,
Had felt a ſecret pang, or learn’d to ſigh.
But oh! how happy for the mortal race,
That from their eyes the future is obſcur’d;
Did we but know the ſecret ills that wait
In darkneſs to ſurprize us, what would be
Our life, but one ſad ſcene of miſery?
All preſent pleaſures would be bitter madeBy 15 B8r [ 15 ]
By aggravating thoughts of ills to come.
But blind to future things the preſent bleſs.
When peace and plenty ſmile auſpiciouſly,
The heart with ſenſe of Providence impreſs’d
O’erflows with gratitude, and conſcious joy.
Such joy now fill’d the royal fair one’s breaſt,
Intent on the formation of her wreath;
When lo! her handmaid came to her in haſte,
With tidings, that a meſſage had arriv’d
Straight from the King, declaring his deſire,
That ſhe to Amnon’s houſe immediately
Would go, and dreſs him cakes, for he is ſick.
The King’s command ſhe inſtantly obey’d;
Down dropt the unfiniſh’d wreath; ſhe skimm’d along
O’er the parterres, nor ſtay’d to find the path.
Her ſweeping garments gently bruſh’d the flow’rs;
The ripeſt ſhedding, ſtrew’d the way ſhe went
With variegated fragments. So the breeze
Whisks o’er the foreſt, and ſome ſhatt’ring leaves
Fall gently ruſtling thro’ the ſhrubs beneath.
Then, gath’ring up her robe, ſhe onward ſprang,
And ſiſterly affection urg’d her haſte.
Amnon in higheſt expectation lyes
Counting the ſlow-pac’d moments as they paſs’d;
Now thinks his ſcheme’s diſcover’d—he’s betray’d—Or 16 B8v [ 16 ]
Or ſome curs’d intervening accident
Delays, perhaps prevents her coming. Thus
Doubts, fears, and wild impatience in his breaſt
Tumultuouſly contended, till ſhe came,
With all the feelings of a tender ſiſter;
But not a thought of vile licentious love
Profan’d her breaſt; to ſee him thus ſhe wept,
But turning, wip’d her tears, ſuppreſs’d her grief,
And with officious haſte the cakes prepar’d.
Wiſdom has pow’r, like the meridian ſun,
To hide all other brightneſs in its glare;
But virgin modeſty, with winning ſmiles,
Shines a perpetual morning. So ſhe ſhone
Serenely mild, nor knew her pow’r to pleaſe.
But oh! the graceful dignity of virtue
Unthinking captivates the worthy ſoul,
The feebly good with emulation fires,
And ſtrikes the very libertines with awe.
So Amnon, aw’d to ſee her lovely form,
Became irreſolute; and recantation
Stagger’d his purpoſe.—Firſt he paus’d; then thus
Expoſtulating with himſelf he lay;
Oh! how can I deſpoil this lovely maid,
This faireſt of the fair? I cannot—no—
I’ll let her go untouch’d. But then muſt IStill 17 C1r [ 17 ]
Still pine in languiſhment, as heretofore;
And Jonadab will at my weakneſs laugh.
At laſt ſome wine he ſnatch’d, and eager drank
To drown his ſcruples, and to fire his ſoul.
Such aid the moſt abandoned oft require,
When unſuſpecting innocence at once
Tempts and forbids, more pow’rfully forbids,
Than the perſuaſive eloquence of ſpeech.
But the defence, which innocence can boaſt
With tears and mild intreaties, is but weak,
When love and wine unite their frantick pow’rs,
And leaving virtue fainting in the rear,
Ruſh on impetuous.—Hapleſs Tamar thus
To lawleſs outrage falls th’ unwilling prey.
Heav’n gave to man ſuperior ſtrength, that he
The weaker ſex might ſuccour and defend;
But he that dares pervert this giv’n bleſſing,
To ruin and deſtroy their innocence,
Shall feel purſuing vengeance, nor eſcape
Her rod uplifted, nor avert the ſtroke.
Conviction’s ſword ſhall pierce him, and remorſe
With all the tortures of the mind aſſail,
Till he a victim falls to grim deſpair;
Except repentance timely to his aid
Come with her tears, to ſooth, to mitigate;
While her attendant hope extends a ray,
To point where mercy ſpreads her healing wings.
Nor e’en with this is vengeance ſatisfied,
She’ll ſtill purſue with ſome external ills,
Exhauſted health and ſpirits;—drooping—drear,
An outcaſt of ſociety he roams,
Alike diſcarded by his friends and foes;
Perhaps aſſaſſination proves his end.
The hapleſs Amnon from his couch aroſe,
Inflam’d with hatred more than once with love.
Frantick with keen remorſe and conſcious guilt,He 19 C2r [ 19 ]
He rav’d—he ſtamp’d—when to him Jonadab
Came to congratulate him; but the Prince
Shot from his eyes a keen malignant glance,
That ſpoke diſpleaſure, and with threat’ning hand
Upheld, thus in an angry tone began:
Hence from my ſight, thou baſeſt worſt of fiends
Nor ever dare approach my preſence more.
Struck with this ſtrange reception, Jonadab
Step’d back, and bowing with reſpectful awe,
Said,—O my Prince, why am I thus diſcarded?
I ſtill remain thy well affected friend,
Ready to——prompt me,(interrupts the Prince)
To do ſome greater crime than I have done.
Curſe on thy inſtigations; to my heart,
T’ infuſe licentiouſneſs; and thou a friend?
Ere thou preſum’ſt to take that ſacred name,
Abandon thy baſe principles, and learn
’Tis virtue only conſtitutes a friend.
He paus’d—th’ aſtoniſh’d Jonadab approach’d
Nearer to Amnon; beg’d him to reſume
His wonted calmneſs, but to hear him ſpeak.
I’ll hear no more of thee, reply’d the Prince;
I’m loſt, I’m irrecoverably loſt:
What were the pains I felt to thoſe I feel?C2 An 20 C2v [ 20 ]
An hell within me burns, and deep remorſe,
That never dying worm, now gnaws my ſoul;
And thou, my inſtigator. Villain, flee,
Leſt this my crime I complicate with murder.
Then Jonadab withdrew chagrin’d, and full
Of ran’crous malice; mutt’ring as he went,
But thou the murder’d,—not the murderer.
I’ll hence to Abſalom, the brother kind
Of this fair injur’d maid; he doubtleſs will
Avenge her wrongs, and ſhew himſelf a brother.
He has a noble, calm, undaunted ſpirit;
Deliberately reſolute, and fit
For ſuch an enterprize; and Jonadab
Shall not be ſlack to aggravate the crime,
And urge him on, or aid him, if requir’d.
But I muſt veil my real ſentiments
With counterfeited ſorrow, and obſerve
Each ſecret movement of his varying ſoul,
And ſympathiſe with him. Young Abſalom
Returning from the fields, where he had been
To view his teeming flocks, jocund and gay,
In all the ſprightlineſs of youth and beauty,
Upon his ſlow-pac’d mule rode gently on
In careleſs attitude, and ſmil’d to ſeeAll 21 C3r [ 21 ]
All nature ſmile around; when Jonadab,
With ſolitary gait, approach’d, then turn’d
Aſide, as if to ſhun the Royal youth;
Which Abſalom percieving, ſtopp’d his mule,
And leaning on his neck, with courteous air
Thus Jonadab in gentleſt tone addreſs’d:
What mean thoſe ſolemn looks, that down-caſt eye?
Now peace and plenty bleſs our happy land:
Joy ſhould methinks extend its cheering ray
To ev’ry individual; but thou
Look’ſt half dejected, wand’ring in the fields
At this late hour; the day is in decline;
The ſhepherds to their folds have led their flocks,
And to their peaceful homes are haſt’ning. Come,
Return with me, my friend, nor farther go;
If ought diſtreſs thee, hide it not from me,
I have an heart to feel for the diſtreſs’d;
An hand too ever ready to revenge
The wrongs impos’d by violence and injuſtice
Smile and be happy, ſaid the Royal youth;
And riſing from his leaning poſture, look’d
So gracefully endearing and ſo kind,
That Jonadab thus ventur’d to begin:—
’Tis not for me to ſmile, moſt noble Prince,
While inconſolable and unredreſs’d,C3 Diſ- 22 C3v [ 22 ]
Diſhonour’d Tamar weeps in bitter woe.
Diſhonour’d, and by whom? ſays Abſalom,
Name but the villain, vengeance on his head
Shall inſtant fall; this hand ſhall ſtrike the blow.
Earth, canſt thou bear the wretch’s feet to touch
Thy ſurface, and not groan? Whoe’er he be,
The miſcreant ſhall not ſee to-morrow’ ſun.
Too haſty, Prince, ſays Jonadab; be calm;
Recall the fatal ſentence; tis too much
To raiſe thine hand againſt a brother’s life,
Thine elder brother——Brother, ſaid the Prince,
And is it poſſible my brother thus
SouldShould be deprav’d? my brother Amnon too?
O virtue, where doſt thou reſide, if not
In Amnon? but if he’s thus loſt to ſhame,
It cancels all the duty that I owe him;
Henceforth ſhall intercourſe between us ceaſe,
Till I have form’d a ſcheme to be reveng’d;
Amnon ſhall die, and die by Abſalom.
Go Jonadab, go home, and ſecret keep
This purpoſe of my ſoul;—I’ll be thy friend,
Said Abſalom.—Then, onward as he paſs’d,
Thus Jonadab congratulates himſelf:
Oh! happy I, no ſooner have I loſt
The favour of one Prince, but I have gain’dAno- 23 C4r [ 23 ]
Another; Abſalom is more aſpiring;
Not cool and paſſive, like the ſilly Amnon,
But pants to rule; he has a kingly ſpirit.
Once in his garden, as I lay conceal’d,
I heard him in ſoliloquy, Oh! to reign—
To wield a ſceptre and eſtabliſh laws;
Oh! did the people ſeek to me for judgment,
And Princes wait for my deciſive voice,
Ere they the cauſe determin’d; could I hear
The loud applauding multitude exclaim,
Long live King Abſalom.—He’s fit to rule.
When Amnon is diſpatch’d, perhaps he may
Aſsume the kingdom—Be it ſo, and I
Will be his ready agent, if he pleaſe,
To aid his plots, or form them. Oh! how ſweet
The counſel that is fram’d to pleaſe our wills,
How readily adopted; how deſpis’d
That which is adverſe, be it e’er ſo good.
But dear, dear ſelf ſtands firſt in the account
Of friends, and that’s the friend I’ll ever ſerve:
Whether to Amnon or to Abſalom
I pay external homage. If to me
This Abſalom proves too imperious,
I’ll aid the King, and keep myſelf ſecure.
Ay—that’s the centre to which I muſt pointC4 All 24 C4v [ 24 ]
All ſchemes and plots; then ſmiling as he went,
With eager pace he haſten’d to his home.
Grief and revenge now labour’d in the breaſt
Of Abſalom; but artfully he hides
The ſtruggling paſſions; a compoſure feign’d,
Sits on his countenance with placid eaſe;
And he in ſeeming gaiety rode home.
His ſervants there in readineſs attend,
Each anxious to receive the firſt command;
Nor fear unjuſt reproofs, nor angry frowns,
Th’ unwelcome greetings of imperious Lords.
Too oft do maſters, void of judgment, check,
By frowardforward peeviſhneſs and diſcontent,
The many little aſſiduities,
Which otherwiſe a ſervant’s zeal would mark,
Nor make diſtinction between good and bad;
But Abſalom, with niceſt judgment, ſcans
Their merits and defects; he in reproof
Is ſlowly cautious, and exactly juſt;
No clam’rous oaths re-eccho thro’ his hall,
Nor mutt’ring ſervants whiſper imprecations;
Tho’ affable and courteous, yet he ne’er
To low familiarity deſcends;
But with great dignity is nobly kind,
Reigns in their hearts, and by enliv’ning ſmilesEn- 25 C5r [ 25 ]
Encourag’d, they ſpontaneouſly attend,
And love completes their ſervitude with joy.
So now, as always at their lord’s approach,
A ſecret tranſport thrill’d thro’ ev’ry heart.
The gate one open’d, one receiv’d the mule,
Whilſt he diſmounting with a ſprightly bound,
Tripp’d lightly o’er the pavement; and thoſe eyes
Which ever ſpread ſerenity around,
Sparkled with ſeeming pleaſure till he came,
Ent’ring his manſion, to where Tamar ſat
In the moſt ſtriking attitude of woe;
Her head, beſtrew’d with aſhes and reclin’d,
One trembling hand ſupported; th’ other hid
Among the fragments of her robe, which ſhe
In the firſt agonies of her grief had torn.
He ſtopp’d, turn’d pale; then in his changing face
Reſentment fluſh’d, and ſorrow ſwell’d his heart,
Which lab’ring to ſuppreſs he trembling ſtood;
But like a torrent, which breaks down a bank
New rais’d to ſtop its courſe, ſo burſt his grief
Thro’ all his feign’d compoſure. In his arms
He claſp’d the grieving fair, and mutual tears
Proclaim’d the anguiſh of their burden’d hearts.
But tho’ his ſorrow thus had burſt its bounds,
Revenge in ambuſh lurk’d, while thus the PrinceWith 26 C5v [ 26 ]
With ſoothing words his ſiſter thus addreſs’d,—
I know the ſad occaſion of thy woe;
But he’s thy brother; ſilent bear thy wrongs,
Nor by immod’rate grief enhance the ill
Which cannot be redreſs’d. No blame is thine;
My ſiſter ſtill in heart is undefil’d.
Tamar attempts reply; but from their ſprings
In ſwifter currents flow’d the briny pearls;
At length the pow’r of ſpeech return’d, the fair
Heav’d a deep ſigh, and thus her moan began,—
O injury unparallel’d! O deed
More cruel than the murd’rers deadly blow!
He takes our life, ’twas lent but for a time;
Perhaps ſome years—perhaps a day—an hour:
But he that robs a woman of her honour,
Robs her of more than life;—a brother too
Still aggravates the guilt.—O purity,
Thou firſt of female charms, to thee we owe
Our dignity; which, if in meekneſs clad,
Gives us inſuperable pow’r; but, if
Of this depriv’d, our moſt preſumpt’ous claim
Is cool compaſſion. O dejected ſtate!
That humble homage we receive from men,
In ſuch proportion as our virtue fails,
Diminiſhes. Th’ ineſtimable gem,More 27 C6r [ 27 ]
More precious than fine gold or rubies,—far
Outvies the dazzling rays of beaut’ous forms,
Which like gay meteors but excite our gaze,
Then fade away. But this pre-eminence
No more I boaſt; now ſtamp’d with infamy,
That due reſpect, that def’rence ever paid
To my exalted ſtate ſhall hence be chang’d
To ſcorn: tho’ by the dignity of birth
Protected from low inſult, can I ’ſcape
The meaning leer, the vain contemptuous ſmile,
Or the more humbling pity of the proud?
Such moving ſtrains in Abſalom call’d forth
All the fond raptures of fraternal love;
Abandon’d to the ſcorn of taunting dames,
Who triumph in the downfaldownfall of the fair.
My home be ever thine; in me behold
Thy guardian, brother, friend, companion kind.
’T ſhall be my earlieſt and my lateſt care,
With chearful converſe to enliv’n thy hours;
All thou canſt wiſh, which I have pow’r to grant,
Expect from me. His ſiſter gave her hand,
An earneſt of conformity—he preſs’d
The giv’n pledge; her grateful heart reply’d,—
O brother, always kind, now doubly ſo,To 28 C6v [ 28 ]
To ope thy friendly arms in this diſtreſs,
And take me to protection: I accept
Thy offer’d boon. Farewell, ye courtly ſcenes;
No more ſhall Tamar ſhine in your reſorts;
But here recluſe and tranquil ever ’bide;
Regaling in that never-cloying feaſt,
Th’internal calm of an untainted mind.
This none can raviſh from me; this is life.
That God which rais’d my father to the throne,
And ſtill protects him with his pow’rful arm,
Shall be my all in all. To him I’ll pray
Inceſſant, and the great Jehovah’s name
Shall fire my theme, and fill my heav’nly ſong.
Now ſolemn evening drew her ſilent veil
O’er ſmiling nature, and the pious King
In ſupplication ſpent the ſacred hour
With ſpecial fervour, making interceſſion
To the great ſole diſpenſer of all good
To bleſs his ſon, and ſoon reſtore his health.
He ſcarce had ended prayer, when tidings came
That Jonadab beg’d audience.—The King
Eager to learn, thus inſtantly reply’d,
Go ſend him hither; welcome to my ſoul
Is Jonadab, my Amnon’s ſocial friend;
He doubtleſs comes to bring me news of him.
He enters.—Thus the King,—O Jonadab,
How does thy friend, my ſon, my Amnon now?
Amnon is well, O King, ſays Jonadab.
Is well! return’d the aſtoniſh’d King, is well!
’Tis but few hours ſince I myſelf him ſaw,
And ſaw him ſick,—and ſay’ſt thou now he’s well;
Thou know’ſt it not, which much I wonder at,
Becauſe I know he loves thee; go now to him,
Go act a friendly part, go comfort him,
I tell thee he is ſick.—Says Jonadab,I can 30 C7v [ 30 ]
I can inform thee of the whole device
Of his pretended ſickneſs. Then the King,—
Say’ſt thou pretended ſickneſs? If there is
Diſſimulation in my ſon, declare it;
I’ll hear thee;—but take heed thou ſlander not,
Nor cenſure him unjuſtly, on thy life.
Amnon has not been ſick, ſays Jonadab;
’Twas but a feint to lure his ſiſter there
To his embraces, and he has ſucceeded.
What do I hear? reply’d the King; my ſon
Defil’d my daughter! Riſing as he ſpoke,
With indignation flaſhing from his eyes:
Forth from his houſe he ruſh’d with haſty ſteps
To Amnon, who was unprepar’d to ſee
This unexpected viſitant: The youth
Already ſelf-convicted, now abaſh’d,
Ne’er ventur’d once to raiſe his down-caſt eyes,
But ſpeechleſs and confounded ſtood to hear
His ſharp rebuke; when thus the King began:—
O ſon, thou ſhameful troubler of my houſe;
What haſt thou done? Where are thy princely virtues
Inculcated ſo long? Now blaſted all.
My elder-born, my firſt, my greateſt joy,
Thus to debaſe thyſelf, thou that ſhould’ſt be
The firſt in virtue, as the firſt in birth.How 31 C8r [ 31 ]
How can a Prince, himſelf debas’d with crimes,
Aſpire to judge and puniſh wicked men?
In which of all my ſons can I confide,
Now Amnon fails, whom I have faultleſs deem’d?
Thou bitter herb,—thou blemiſh of my honour;
How can I brook this foul diſgrace? Muſt I
For ever bear confuſion in my face,
And bluſh for thee, thou worſe than enemy?
Amnon, no longer able to ſupport
Such juſt reproof, in ſilence turn’d away,
And burſting into tears withdrew.—The King
Return’d with anger burning in his breaſt,
Mingled with ſorrow for his daughter’s wrongs;
My daughter! Oh! my daugher! he exclaim’d,
I would avenge thy wrongs; but oh! if I
Avenge my daughter, I deſtroy my ſon.
Then, all a father’s tenderneſs prevail’d,
He wept,—his wrath ſubſided and he paus’d,
His own paſt failings riſing in his mind;
His guilty love for Bathſheba—he ſigh’d
Her murder’d huſband; ſhudd’ring at the thought,
He ſaw no way to ſooth the preſent ills
But ſuff’ring and forbearance.—Then the King,
As if the ſtroke came from the hand of Heav’n,
Fell proſtrate to the earth, ſubmitting thus:Right- 32 C8v [ 32 ]
Righteous art thou, O Lord, and all thy judgments juſt.
Amnon mean while, with piercing grief oppreſs’d,
Doubled by th’ ſore diſpleaſure of the King,
Sat down and wept, while tears ſupply’d their ſtreams.
Then riſing, walk’d about with reſtleſs ſteps,
And thus in bitter agonies complain’d:
What am I now, and where? Of late I pin’d
In hopeleſs love, yet then I had ſome ſtay,
An heart-felt innocence, that could ſupport
And cheer the drooping ſpirits. But alas!
Virtue has left me now, and I’m expos’d;
Expos’d to what? to what, alas! I know not;
’Tis Hell itſelf burſts in upon my ſoul,
And pours forth all its torments.—Terrors! Death!
O irrecoverable innocence!
Where art thou gone? for ever baniſh’d hence.
Ariſe ye thickeſt miſts, ye darkeſt clouds
O’er-caſt thoſe twinkling ſtars. O ſable night,
Wrap me in deepeſt ſhades, nor let a beam
Of penetrating light expoſe me more;
Darkneſs is fitted to the guilty mind
That ſhrinks and ſtarts at ev’ry glimmering ray.
But oh! it is not in the pow’r of darkneſs
To hide the hated ſelf from ſelf; within
A ſacred light perpetually ſhines,Ex- 33 D1r [ 33 ]
Expoſing ev’ry failure to the ſenſe,
That vainly ſtruggles to compoſe the mind,
And huſh her ſad inquietudes to peace.
But peace, the gueſt of innocence alone,
Takes an eternal leave when guilt intrudes,
And now has took eternal leave of me.
Ah! wretched me! Oh! curſe on vicious friends!
Had Jonadab advis’d me virtuouſly,
I’d ſtill been innocent, and Tamar pure;
My father ſtill had ſmil’d on me with joy,
Nor had I trembled at his chiding frowns;
Abſalom would have call’d me brother ſtill,
But now he’ll own me not.—This ſlight is juſt,
And this the leaſt part of my puniſhment;
For inward guilt has yet ſeverer pangs.
So wander’d he, complaining half the night,
Then ſought for reſt in ſleep, but ſought in vain:
Terrific dreams invade his wiſh’d repoſe;
He ſleeps, ſtarts, wakes;—then ſleeps and ſtarts again;
And riſes ſoon, but not to meet the morn
With joy as heretofore; but to bewail
The loſs of that ſweet calm that ever dwells
Within the guiltleſs breaſt; and in the world
Dwells no one more entitled to the bliſs
That waits on virtue, than was Amnon once:D He 34 D1v [ 34 ]
He therefore more ſeverely feels the loſs
For having taſted in its firſt degree
Its ſov’reign bleſſedneſs.—Who’d then forſake
The peaceful path of virtue to purſue
Alluring vice through folly’s labyrinth,
Graſping at ſhadows of felicity,
’Till overtaken by her evil train
Of ſhame, remorſe, confuſion, and deſpair?
Such evils now the hapleſs Amnon haunt,
While in th’ avenging hand of Abſalom
Death lurking lies.—Th’ ambitious Prince, reſolv’d
At once t’ avenge his ſiſter, and remove
An obſtacle betwixt him and the crown,
With unremitting vigilance attends
The ſilent ſhades and unfrequented paths
Where Amnon uſed to walk, and meditate,
Hoping to meet defenceleſs and alone
The deſtin’d youth, and ſteal away his life.
But Amnon now as cautiouſly avoids
His dreaded preſence; not with dread of death;
Such fear ne’er fill’d his unſuſpicious breaſt;
But conſcious guilt, that daunter of the ſoul,
That few can brave, deter’d the timid youth.
Two years within the breaſt of Abſalom
Revenge in ambuſh lurk’d, while in his faceThe 35 D2r [ 35 ]
The mildeſt gentleneſs and ſweetneſs play’d:
Thus ſecret burns the ſubterraneous fire,
While on earth’s teeming ſurface gaily ſmiles
The verdant herbage ſtrew’d with various flowers,
Till, burſting from beneath, the ſulph’rous fumes
O’erturn the mountains, and the crumbling mould
Buries the blooming beauties that it bore:
So he unable longer to contain
The hidden rancour burning in his breaſt
Determin’d by ſome bold and deſp’rate ſtroke
T’ effect his purpoſe; and with Jonadab
Conſulted, who thus readily advis’d:—
Aſsume the friend,—entice him to thine houſe;
The cred’lous youth will ne’er ſuſpect a fraud.
Now is the time, now comes the yearly feaſt
When ſhepherds fleece their flocks: make him thy gueſt
With all thy brothers: when with mirth and wine
His heart’s elate, how eaſy will it be
To give the final blow. With lowring brow
Revengeful Abſalom the raſh advice
Adopted, and a ſullen gloom o’ercaſt
His lively features. Stern as that grim Lord
That through the foreſt takes his fearleſs way,
With high deportment Abſalom retir’d.
Returning ſummer now came ſmiling on,
Exciting ev’ry peaceful breaſt to mirth;
But Amnon meets with tears the fatal ſeaſon:
This ſad remembrancer of his paſt crime
Awoke his grief, and from his couch he roſe
Ere yet th’ approaching day began to dawn,
While the full moon reign’d miſtreſs of the night.
Sleep on, ye ſons of innocence and eaſe,
(The reſtleſs Amnon with a ſigh exclaim’d,
As from his window high he caſt a look
Over the ſilent ſtreets, for not a voice
Diſturb’d the ſolemn hour) ſleep on—ſleep on:
So was I wont to ſleep away the night,
Riſe with the morn, and in the day rejoice:
But now in morn or night, or ſleep or ’wake,
I feel no joy. Oh that I could forget
I once was happy! Oh that this one ſtep,
One erring ſtep, ſhould kill my peace for ever.
O moon, I bluſh beneath thy ſilver beams;
I’ve oft beheld thee with exulting heart,
But now I ſhrink at ev’ry thing that’s pure:
A modeſt virgin, innocent and fair,Strikes 37 D3r [ 37 ]
Strikes terror to my ſoul: to me ſhe ſeems
Exalted high above my fallen ſtate:
If ſuch an one I venture to approach,
I inſtantly recoil, and juſtly pay
A ſecret adoration to the breaſt
Of innocence; for Oh! what parity
Can there ſubſiſt ’twixt innocence and guilt?
The world’s reproaches and cenſorious ſneers
Harrow the heart and aggravate the ſenſe:
But yet that aggravation poiz’d againſt
The pangs of guilt, is of but little weight:
The world offended may again be won,
Or all its vain reproaches ſet at nought,
When the heart, firmly ſteel’d with innocence,
Shrinks not, but riſes with true nobleneſs,
Superior to the grov’ling ſons of vice,
And ſmiles at pow’rleſs envy.—But alas!
To me returns, whether of day or night,
Aid ſharp reflection and new point its ſpears.
Now waking birds in chearful concert join
Their ev’ry note proclaims them innocent.
The ſun ariſes and the world awakes;
The Prince retires with melancholy ſteps
Into his garden, where recluſe and ſtill
Beneath the arching boughs of ſhady trees,D3 With 38 D3v [ 38 ]
With head declin’d and arms lock’d round his breaſt,
He ſigh’d the heavy ſlow-pac’d hours away;
’Till interrupted by a meſſenger,
Who, with due deference approaching near,
Thus ſpake: O Prince, I come from Abſalom,
His ſheep he ſhears to-morrow, and intreats
Thee, with thy Royal brothers, to partake
The feaſt, and ſpend with him the day in mirth.
Surprize and pleaſure ruſh’d into his heart
At ſuch an unexpected invitation,
Which he accepted, nor did heſitate
One moment to reſolve; for Amnon ſtill
Was unſuſpicious as an infant child,
That fearleſs truſts itſelf to ev’ry arm
That opens to receive it. With quick ſtep
He paces to and fro; his boſom glows,
And thus anticipates th’ expected bliſs.
O joyful day when I again ſhall meet
My dear offended brother, whom ſo long
I’ve cautiouſly avoided: his good will
Greatly exceeds my moſt advent’rous hope:
Forgetful of my faults, he kindly now
Invites me to his houſe, without reproach
Or intimation of my late miſdeeds.
Yes, my good brother, I will be thy gueſt—My 39 D4r [ 39 ]
My grateful heart o’erflows; I now could fall
Down at thy feet, and from thy hand receive
The death I do deſerve. Thus Amnon ſtill,
In humble ſtrain and true repentant heart,
Pour’d forth his ſoul in ſuch ſoliloquies
All day and night, till in the morning fair,
The foremoſt of the princely cavalcade,
He gladly haſted to the fatal feaſt.
Now Abſalom with ſecret pleaſure ſees
The long wiſh’d day arrive, and in the morn
Aſſiduouſly in comely dreſs array’d
His lovely perſon, lovely in extreme:
Not in all Iſrael’s num’rous tribes was found
His peer in beauty; for from head to foot
No blemiſh, no deformity was ſeen,
But well proportion’d limbs, and features fair,
With ev’ry natural, ev’ry borrow’d grace
That gives to beauty power. The conſcious Prince
Omitted no external ornament
That might, if poſſible, ſuch gifts improve:
But looking at his ſpotleſs hands, he ſaid,—
Muſt theſe be dy’d in blood? a brother’s blood?
No, I have ſervants, they ſhall give the blow.
Then to and fro he through his chamber ſtalk’d,D4 Re- 40 D4v [ 40 ]
Revolving in his mind the conſequence
Of op’ning his deſign. He paus’d, he thought
His ſervants might refuſe—or worſe, betray.
At length he ſays,—I’m wrong to cenſure them;
Great proofs I’ve had of their fidelity;
I’ll truſt them now. Then call’d he thoſe he lov’d:
They came. He ſays, You have done all things well
According to my order for this feaſt,
But on your cares I can ſo well depend,
That whatſoever is given to your charge
I think no more of, for I’ve always found
You true and faithful; therefore I make choice
Of you for my accomplices this day:
’Tis not intended for a day of mirth,
As it appears, and muſt as yet appear
Till I’ve fulfill’d the purpoſe of my ſoul.
Our gueſts muſt ſumptuouſly be entertain’d:
But when they have partook the rich repaſt,
And wine exhilerates and mirth prevails,
Be you prepar’d, and when I give the word,
Pierce Amnon to the heart, for he muſt die.
His ſervants tremble at the dire command.
Why tremble ye? ſaid Abſalom, fear not,
’Tis I command you—all the deed is mine;Ye 41 D5r [ 41 ]
Ye are but inſtruments within my graſp,
And of his blood are ſpotleſs: if there’s guilt
In taking vengeance for the atrocious crime,
Let all that guilt be mine: ſince juſtice ſleeps
In his fond father’s hand, ’tis right that I
Aſsume the pow’r, and on his impious head
Hurl vengeance. But obſerve, it next behoves
Us to evade the ſtorm that will enſue:
In Geſhur we ſhall find a ſafe retreat:
My fleeteſt horſes for the flight prepare:
Soon as the wound is given, we’ll mount and flee;
Swift as the ſweeping winds we’ll o’er the hills,
And leave the King to bury him, and mourn.
His ſervants, more by love than duty bound,
All bow’d obedient to his ſov’reign will.
Now came the Royal gueſts, and Amnon firſt
Diſmounting from his mule, with conſcious bluſh
And fault’ring voice thus ventur’d to addreſs
Th’ offended brother:—O my Abſalom,
Forgive, he ſaid—and interrupting tears
Pleading more pow’rfully than eloquence,
Stagger’d the purpoſe of Maacah’s ſon,
And in his feeling ſoul a conflict rais’d
Betwixt his brother’s life and ſiſter’s fame:He 42 D5v [ 42 ]
He ſilent paus’d; but in his breaſt revenge
Was too deep rooted by a two year’s growth
For one ſoft moment to eradicate:
He therefore wip’d away a piteous tear,
And made to Amnon this compos’d reply:
I did not ſend for thee to weep and mourn;
To-day I have a feaſt; this proſp’rous year
Increaſing flocks increaſe the ſhepherds joy:
Rejoice with me, my brother, and be glad.
Then did he warmly preſs his hand, and point
The chiefeſt place. The Prince ſhed tears of joy,
Then ſat him down, forgot his grief and ſmil’d.
Wine in profuſion ſparkled in the bowls,
Inſpiring ſocial mirth; they freely quaff’d;
But Abſalom th’ emolient draught evades,
Leſt it relax his ſtern determination;
But quick repleniſhes the ſinking bowls,
Preſſing on all the intoxicating cup,
’Till mirth predominates, and ev’ry heart
Expands with ſocial freedom; Abſalom
Then gives the fatal word; his ſervants plunge
The deſtin’d dart, and from the Prince’s ſide
Guſh’d forth life’s reeking ſtream—he fell—uproſe
In conſternation thoſe whom vengeance ſpar’d,Each 43 D6r [ 43 ]
Each trembling for his life; confus’d they fled:
Mingling with gore, the wine in currents flow’d;
While, rolling in the flood, the murder’d Prince
Alone, in all the agonies of woe,
Groan’d out his ſoul, and clos’d his eyes in death.
Appendix. Containing Pastorals, &c;46 D7v 47 D8r
On the Suppoſition of an Advertiſement appearing in a Morning Paper, of the Publication of a Volume of Poems, by a Servant Maid.
The tea-kettle bubbled, the tea things were ſet,
The candles were lighted, the ladies were met;
The how d’ye’s were over, and entering buſtle,
The company ſeated, and ſilks ceas’d to ruſtle:
The great Mrs. Conſequence open’d her fan;
And thus the diſcourſe in an inſtant began:
(All affected reſerve, and formality ſcorning,)
I ſuppoſe you all ſaw in the paper this morning,
A Volume of Poems advertis’d—’tis ſaid
They’re produc’d by the pen of a poor Servant Maid.
A ſervant write verſes! ſays Madam Du Bloom;
Pray what is the ſubject?—a Mop, or a Broom?
He, he, he,—ſays Miſs Flounce; I ſuppoſe we ſhall ſee
An Ode on a Diſhclout—what elſe can it be?Says 48 D8v [ 48 ]
Says Miſs Coquettilla, why ladies ſo tart?
Perhaps Tom the Footman has fired her heart;
And ſhe’ll tell us how charming he looks in new clothes,
And how nimble his hand moves in bruſhing the
Or how the laſt time that he went to May-Fair,
He bought her ſome ſweethearts of ginger-bread ware.
For my part I think, ſays old lady Marr-joy,
A ſervant might find herſelf other employ:
Was ſhe mine I’d employ her as long as ’twas light,
And ſend her to bed without candle at night.
Why ſo? ſays Miſs Rhymer, diſpleas’d; I proteſt
’Tis pity a genius ſhould be ſo depreſt!
What ideas can ſuch low-bred creatures conceive,
Says Mrs. Noworthy, and laught in her ſleeve.
Says old Miſs Prudella, if ſervants can tell
How to write to their mothers, to ſay they are well,
And read of a Sunday the Duty of Man;
Which is more I believe than one half of them can;
I think ’tis much properer they ſhould reſt there,
Than be reaching at things ſo much out of their ſphere.
Says old Mrs. Candour, I’ve now got a maidThat’s 49 E1r [ 49 ]
That’s the plague of my life—a young goſsipping jade;
There’s no end of the people that after her come,
And whenever I’m out, ſhe is never at home;
I’d rather ten times ſhe would ſit down and write,
Than goſſip all over the town ev’ry night.
Some whimſical trollop moſt like, ſays Miſs Prim,
Has been ſcribbling of nonſenſe, juſt out of a whim,
And conſcious it neither is witty or pretty,
Conceals her true name, and aſcribes it to Betty.
I once had a ſervant myſelf, ſays Miſs Pines,
That wrote on a Wedding, ſome very good lines:
Says Mrs. Domeſtic, and when they were done,
I can’t ſee for my part, what uſe they were on;
Had ſhe wrote a receipt, to’ve inſtructed you how
To warm a cold breaſt of veal, like a ragou,
Or to make cowſlip wine, that would paſs for
It might have been uſeful, again and again.
On the ſofa was old lady Pedigree plac’d,
She own’d that for poetry ſhe had no taſte,
That the ſtudy of heraldry was more in faſhion,
And boaſted ſhe knew all the creſts in the nation.
Says Mrs. Routella,—Tom, take out the urn,
And ſtir up the fire, you ſee it don’t burn.E The 50 E1v [ 50 ]
The tea things remov’d, and the tea-table gone,
The card-tables brought, and the cards laid thereon,
The ladies ambitious for each others crown,
Like courtiers contending for honours ſat down.
On the Suppoſition of the Book having been publiſhed and read.
The dinner was over, the table-cloth gone,
The bottles of wine and the glaſſes brought on,
The gentlemen fill’d up the ſparkling glaſſes,
To drink to their king, to their country and laſſes:
The ladies a glaſs or two only requir’d,
To th’drawing-room then in due order retir’d;
The gentlemen likewiſe that choſe to drink tea;
And, after diſcuſsing the news of the day,
What wife was ſuſpected, what daughter elop’d,
What thief was detected, that ’twas to be hop’d,
The raſcals would all be convicted, and rop’d;
What chambermaid kiſs’d when her lady was out;
Who won, and who loſt, the laſt night at the rout;What 51 E2r [ 51 ]
What lord gone to France, and what tradeſman unpaid,
And who and who danc’d at the laſt maſquerade;
What banker ſtopt payment with evil intention,
And twenty more things much too tedious to mention.
Miſs Rhymer ſays, Mrs. Routella, ma’am, pray
Have you ſeen the new book (that we talk’d of that day,
At your houſe you remember) of Poems, ’twas ſaid
Produc’d by the pen of a poor Servant Maid?
The company ſilent, the anſwer expected;
Says Mrs. Routella, when ſhe’d recollected;
Why, ma’am, I have bought it for Charlotte; the child
Is ſo fond of a book, I’m afraid it is ſpoil’d:
I thought to have read it myſelf, but forgat it;
In ſhort, I have never had time to look at it.
Perhaps I may look it o’er ſome other day;
Is there any thing in it worth reading, I pray?
For your nice attention, there’s nothing can ’ſcape.
She anſwer’d,—There’s one piece, whoſe ſubject’s a Rape.
A Rape! interrupted the Captain Bonair,
A delicate theme for a female I ſwear;E2 Then 52 E2v [ 52 ]
Then ſmerk’d at the ladies, they ſimper’d all round,
Touch’d their lips with their fans,—Mrs. Conſequence frown’d.
The ſimper ſubſided, for ſhe with her nods,
Awes theſe lower aſſemblies, as Jove awes the gods.
She ſmil’d on Miſs Rhymer, and bad her proceed—
Says ſhe, there are various ſubjects indeed:
With ſome little pleaſure I read all the reſt,
But the Murder of Amnon’s the longeſt and beſt.
Of Amnon, of Amnon, Miſs Rhymer, who’s he?
His name, ſays Miſs Gaiety’s quite new to me:—
’Tis a Scripture tale, ma’am,—he’s the ſon of King David,
Says a Reverend old Rector: quoth madam, I have it;
A Scripture tale?—ay—I remember it—true;
Pray is it i’th’ old Teſtament or the new?
If I thought I could readily find it, I’d borrow
My houſe-keeper’s Bible, and read it to-morrow.
’Tis in Samuel, ma’am, ſays the Rector:—Miſs Gaiety
Bow’d, and the Reverend bluſh’d for the laity.
You’ve read it, I find, ſays Miſs Harriot Anderſon;
Pray, ſir, is it any thing like Sir Charles Grandiſon?
How you talk, ſays Miſs Belle, how ſhould ſuch a girl writeA novel, 53 E3r [ 53 ]
A novel, or any thing elſe that’s polite?
You’ll know better in time, Miſs:—She was but fifteen:
Her mamma was confus’d—with a little chagrin,
Says,—Where’s your attention, child? did not you hear
Miſs Rhymer ſay, that it was poems, my dear?
Says Sir Timothy Turtle, my daughters ne’er look
In any thing elſe but a cookery book:
The propereſt ſtudy for women deſign’d;
Says Mrs. Domeſtic, I’m quite of your mind.
Your haricoes, ma’am, are the beſt I e’er eat,
Says the Knight, may I venture to beg a receipt.
’Tis much at your ſervice, ſays madam, and bow’d,
Then flutter’d her fan, of the compliment proud.
Says Lady Jane Rational, the bill of fare
Is th’ utmoſt extent of my cookery care:
Moſt ſervants can cook for the palate I find,
But very few of them can cook for the mind.
Who, ſays Lady Pedigree, can this girl be;
Perhaps ſhe’s deſcended of ſome family:—
Of family, doubtleſs, ſays Captain Bonair,
She’s deſcended from Adam, I’d venture to ſwear.
Her Ladyſhip drew herſelf up in her chair,
And twitching her fan-ſticks, affected a ſneer.E3 I know 54 E3v [ 54 ]
I know ſomething of her, ſays Mrs. Devoir,
She liv’d with my friend, Jacky Faddle, Eſq.
’Tis ſometime ago though; her miſtreſs ſaid then,
The girl was exceſſively fond of a pen;
I ſaw her, but never convers’d with her—though
One can’t make acquaintance with ſervants, you know.
’Tis pity the girl was not bred in high life,
Says Mr. Fribbello:—yes,—then, ſays his wife,
She doubtleſs might have wrote ſomething worth notice:
’Tis pity, ſays one,—ſays another, and ſo ’tis.
O law! ſays young Seagram, I’ve ſeen the book, now
I remember, there’s ſomething about a mad cow.
A mad cow!—ha, ha, ha, ha, return’d half the room;
What can y’ expect better, ſays Madam Du Bloom?
They look at each other,—a general pauſe—
And Miſs Coquettella adjuſted her gauze.
The Rector reclin’d himſelf back in his chair,
And open’d his ſnuff-box with indolent air;
This book, ſays he,(ſnift, ſnift) has in the beginning,
(The ladies give audience to hear his opinion)
Some pieces, I think, that are pretty correct;
A ſtile elevated you cannot expect:
To ſome of her equals they may be a treaſure,And 55 E4r [ 55 ]
And country laſſes may read ’em with pleaſure.
That Amnon, you can’t call it poetry neither,
There’s no flights of fancy, or imagery either;
You may ſtile it proſaic, blank-verſe at the beſt;
Some pointed reflections, indeed, are expreſt;
The narrative lines are exceedingly poor:
Her Jonadab is a —— the drawing-room door
Was open’d, the gentlemen came from below,
And gave the diſcourſe a definitive blow.
Wit and Beauty. A Pastoral.
Our ſhepherds are gone o’er the hill,
To ſport on the neighbouring plain;
Let’s ſit by this murmuring rill,
And ſing till they come back again.
We’ll ſing of our favourite ſwains,
By whom our fond hearts are poſſeſt;
And Daphne ſhall judge of the ſtrains,
Which ſings of her ſhepherd the beſt.
Come ſing then, and Daphne will hear,
Nor linger the time to prolong;
And this wreath of roſes I wear,
Shall crown the fair victor in ſong.
My Thirſis is airy and gay,
His pride is in pleaſing the fair;
He ſings and drives the ſorrow away,
His humour will baniſh all care.
To Daphnis the pride of my lay,
The merits of beauty belong;
His ſmiles will chaſe ſorrow away,
As well as your ſhepherd’s fine ſong.
When piping my Thirſis is ſeen,
The virgins aſſemble around;
And all the blithe ſwains of the green,
Approve, while they envy the ſound.
When Daphnis approaches the plains,
The virgins all bluſh with ſurpriſe;
With negligence treating their ſwains,
And fix on my Daphnis their eyes.
If e’er I am penſive and ſad,
Or ſigh to the evening gale;
I’m cheer’d by the voice of my lad,
Who tells me a humorous tale.
When I am perplexed with fears,
And nothing can give me delight;
As ſoon as my Daphnis appears,
I languiſh away at the ſight.
Now ceaſe to contend, my dear laſſes,
My wreath I’ll acknowledge your due;
Nor yet can I tell which ſurpaſſes,
Your merits you equally ſhew.
’Twas Strephon that gave me the treaſure,
Which now I to you ſhall impart;
(That name! O, I ſpeak it with pleaſure!
It ever enraptures my heart.)
Nor Sylvia, nor Celia, ſhall have it,
I’ll juſtly divide it in two;
Believe me, my Strephon, that gave it,
Is beautiful, witty, and—true.
Absence and Death. A Pastoral.
When ev’ry eye that knew no cauſe to weep,
And peaceful minds were huſh’d in pleaſing ſleep,
Two virgin nymphs, whom Love had left forlorn,
Ne’er clos’d their weeping eyes, from eve to morn:
For Strephon’s abſence, Daphne’s tears were ſhed,
And Hebe mourn’d her faithful Collin dead;
Their ſorrows were not to each other known,
Alike they mourn’d, and ſilent was their moan;
Awhile they wept, ’till one the ſilence broke;
Thus Hebe anſwer’d, and thus Daphne ſpoke.
Say, gentle maid, whence ſpring thy anxious fears?
What inward ſorrows prompt thy guſhing tears?
Thy caſe thou ſafely may’ſt to me impart,
True to my truſt, and faithful from the heart;
My grief, I will ſuſpend awhile to hear
Thy tale, and ſhed a sympathetic tear.
And will not Daphne then her grief impart?
To tell the ſorrow, is to eaſe the heart.Say 60 E6v [ 60 ]
Say firſt, why heaves thy breaſt that lab’ring ſigh,
And Hebe will alternately reply;
The plaintive ſounds ſhall die along the vales,
And neighb’ring hills reſound the moving tales.
A ſhepherd’s abſence I am doom’d to mourn,
While rigid fate forbids him to return;
Perhaps, like me, he mourns his forc’d delay,
Perhaps ſome fairer maid may tempt his ſtay;
Awhile, with flattering gales of hope I ſteer,
Then, daſh’d and ſhipwreck’d on the rock of fear.
Young Collin did my yielding heart ſubdue,
A foreſter he was, and he was true;
He vow’d his heart from me ſhould never rove;
I heard with joy, and gave him love for love:
But my dear ſwain, my Collin’s dead, and I
Now live, but only to deſpair, and die.
My ſhepherd is the choiceſt of the ſwains,
That climb the hills, or traverſe o’er the plains;
His radiant eyes beam forth a milder ray,
Than the fair ſtar, that leads the dawning day;
Nor are the flocks, that graze the plains, ſo fair
As the dear ſwain that makes thoſe flocks his care.
My foreſter was comely to behold,
His looks were pleaſing as the tale he told;
The frock he wore, was of a freſher green
Than the gay foreſts, where he oft was ſeen;
And ſtately he, among his fellow ſwains,
As the tall fir, that o’er the foreſt reigns.
How ſwift the ſeaſons fly throughout the year,
How oft the ſpring returns without my dear;
Yet ſhould ſome bliſsful hour, ſome diſtant ſpring,
My long-mourn’d Strephon to his Daphne bring;
One happy hour with him, wou’d far o’er-pay
All I have ſuffer’d by his long delay.
No gloomy phantom has my joys o’er-caſt,
My hopes are wither’d by a deadly blaſt;
See the ſurrounding woods, how ev’ry tree
Has dropp’d its leaves, and ſeems to mourn with me;
Though ſpring will quickly re-adorn the grove,
Yet I can never hope to ſee my love.
Young Damon gay, a faithful-hearted ſwain,
Long ſought fair Daphne’s love, but ſought in vain;
He often told her how ſincere he lov’d,
As oft the nymph his ardent flame reprov’d;
While yet his paſſion labour’d in his mind,
He walk’d abroad his ſtraying ſteeds to find;
Juſt then fair Laura went acroſs the green,
Long time this nymph fair Daphne’s friend had been;
The ſwain to meet her ſtept acroſs the way;
She ſtopt to hear what Damon had to ſay.
Say, friendly maid, why wand’ring here alone?
Where is thy friend, the lovely Daphne gone?
Ah! has ſome rival led her to the grove?
And may I never hope for Daphne’s love?
A ſhepherd’s fav’rite dog long loſt has been,
Fair Daphne found him wand’ring on the green;
Much does the ſhepherd-ſwain his loſs deplore,
The nymph is gone the wand’rer to reſtore.
Ah, wretched Damon! doom’d to love in vain,
She loves the dog, ſhe loves the ſhepherd-ſwain;
Oh Daphne! I’ll to death thy loſs deplore,
Theſe lips ſhall ne’er ſalute a virgin more.
Deſpair not, Damon, of fair Daphne’s love,
Thy vows repeated, may her pity move;
See, up yon hill aſcends the maiden gay,
Thou may’ſt o’ertake her, Damon, haſte away.
She ſaid, and Damon turn’d his eyes around,
And ſaw the maid aſcend the riſing ground;
Swift are the feet of meſſengers, that bring
Glad news of conqueſts to their ſov’reign King;
But up the ſteep more ſwiftly Damon came,
Love, urg’d by fear, has ſwifter wings than fame.
The lovely Daphne ſmil’d to ſee him run,
And thus the ſwain in humble ſuit begun:
Why Daphne here, from ev’ry friend apart?
What on this hill can charm thy virgin heart?
If down the other ſide thou would’ſt deſcend,
My lovely maid, permit me to attend.
Now ſpring with verdure ev’ry field adorns,
And birds are ſinging on the bloomy thorns,
Can ſuch things fail to charm? but Damon ſay,
How did you know that I was come this way?
I walk’d abroad, my ſtraying ſteeds to ſee;
But my fond heart was ſtill purſuing thee;
They were my ſmall, but thou my greater care,
O happy chance, that led me to my fair.
A ſhepherd’s dog has long been gone aſtray,
I found him on the green the other day;
This fav’rite dog, the ſwain does much lament,
I’ll lead him home, and give the ſwain content.
Why in ſuch haſte! the ſun, my fair one, ſee,
Is yet as high as yonder lofty tree;
Thoſe verdant meadows, where freſh daiſies grow,
Invite our ſteps, my Daphne, ſhall we go?
The maid conſented, making no reply;
What maid could ſuch a ſmall requeſt deny?
A chryſtal ſtream, in gentle murmurs glides
Along the valley, and the meads divides;Along 65 F1r [ 65 ]
Along the banks the verdant alders grow,
Their branches bending to the ſtream below;
The tender leaves that hung on ev’ry ſpray,
And hawthorn bloſſoms ſhew’d the month was May;
Flow’rs, of various hue, bedeck’d the ſhade,
And there young Damon led the tender maid:
Her ſlender waiſt no gaudy ribband bound,
But Damon’s arm did form a circle round;
Soft were the whiſp’rings of the weſtern gale,
But with more ſoftneſs Damon told his tale;
The pleaſing tale the maid in ſilence heard,
But in her heart the gentle ſwain preferr’d;
Thus o’er one meadow they were quickly gone,
Yet ſtill by pleaſant meadows tempted on,
How ſoon the lovers moments paſs away,
How ſoon, how ſoon, approach’d the cloſe of day,
The ſun departed, and the plains grew damp,
And riſing Cynthia trimm’d her ſilver lamp;
No more birds to charm the year aſpir’d,
And wand’ring lovers from the plain retir’d;
The ſwain ne’er thought to go, his ſteeds to find,
The nymph forgot to leave her dog behind.
Love and Friendship. A Pastoral.
Two nymphs to whom the pow’rs of verſe belong,
Alike ambitious to excel in ſong,
With equal ſweetneſs ſang alternate ſtrains,
And courteous echo told the liſt’ning plains;
That of her lover ſung, this of her friend;
Ye rural nymphs and village ſwains attend.
O Love, ſoft ſov’reign, ruler of the heart!
Deep are thy wounds, and pleaſing is the ſmart;
When Strephon ſmiles the wint’ry fields look gay,
Cold hearts are warm’d, and hard ones melt away.
Through ev’ry ſcene of temp’ral bliſs is there
A greater bleſsing than a friend ſincere?
’Tis Corydon that bears that tender name,
And Sylvia’s breaſt returns the gen’rous flame.
When happy I ſurvey my Strephon’s charms,
His beauty holds me faſter than his arms,My 67 F2r [ 67 ]
My heart is in a flood of pleaſures toſs’d,
I faint, I die, and am in raptures loſt.
And what are all theſe tumults of the heart,
But certain omens of a future ſmart?
In friendſhip we more ſolid comforts find,
It cheers the heart, nor leaves a ſting behind.
Surely no lark in ſpring was e’er ſo glad
To ſee the morn, as I to ſee my lad;
At his approach all anxious griefs remove,
And ev’ry other joy gives place to love.
O happy I! with ſuch a friend to live!
Our joys united double pleaſure give;
Our inmoſt thoughts with freedom we unfold,
And grief’s no longer grief, when once ’tis told.
All that is lovely in my ſwain I find,
But am to all his imperfections blind;
What have I ſaid? I ſurely do him wrong,
No imperfections can to him belong.
The faithful friend ſees with impartial eyes,
Nor ſcorns reproof, but ſpeaks without diſguiſe;
Blind to all faults, the eager lover ſues,
Friends ſee aright, and ev’ry fault excuſe.
Then Daphne from beneath a hawthorn ſprung,
Where ſhe attentive ſat to hear the ſong;
Her breaſt was conſcious of the tenser glow,
That faithful friends, in mutual friendſhip know;
Her tender heart, by love’s impulſes mov’d,
With ardour beat to ſing the ſwain ſhe lov’d;
With emulation fir’s, the conſcious maid
Thus to the fair contending virgins ſaid.
Bleſt Celia, happy in a love dear;
Bleſt Sylvia, happy in a friend ſincere;
But ſurely I am doubly bleſt to find,
At once a friend ſincere, and lover kind;
My Thirſis is my friend, my friend I ſay
And who in lvoe can bear a greater ſway
Strephon muſt his ſuperior power own,
Nor is he leſs ſincere than Corydon
Young Corydon,a blitheſome ſwain,
As ever tended ſheep,
Upon the verdant banks of Leam,
Was wont his flock to keep.
One ev’ning when the riſing Moon
Was peeping in the ſlood,
And ev’ry bird that ſings by day,
Sat ſilent in the wood.
With dog and ſtaff he took his way,
And Whiſtled as he went;
To gather up his ſtraying ewes,
Was all the ſhepherd meant.
And while he ſought the meadows round,
Where they were wont to ſtray,
A maid more lovely than his ewes,
Came tripping o’er the way.
The ſheep no longer fill’d his thoughts,
The nymph was all his care;
And thus the gentle ſhepherd-ſwain,
Addreſsed the tender fair.
Why comes my nymph ſo late abroad,
To wander in the vale;
To hear the murmuring of the flood,
And ſee the moon ſhine pale?
Or is it an appointed hour
To meet ſome happy ſwain?
For maids are ſeldom ſeen alone
So late upon the plain.
I’ve been to viſit a friend,
That lives by yonder grove,
Where ſhepherds tell their tender tales,
And liſt’ning virgins rove:
I with my friend converſing ſtood,
Abſtracted from all care,
The ſun went down, and night drew on
Before I was aware.
The ſwains were ſurely all unkind,
That ſuch a maid as you
Should e’er be ſeen to walk alone,
And in the ev’ning too:
Now Corydon moſt gladly will
Attend you if he may;
You ſee the moon is haſting on,
Then why ſhould we delay?
He ſaid, and took her by the hand;
O happy ſhepherd he!
Paſtora too was pleas’d as well
As ſhepherdeſs could be.
The ſwain no longer ſought around,
His ſtraying ewes to find:
O happy nymphs that live in plains,
Where ſhepherds are ſo kind.
As Thirſis and Daphne, upon the new hay
Were ſeated, ſurveying the plain;
No guilt in their boſoms their joys to allay,
Or give them a moment of pain.
Not Venus, but Virtue had made them her care,
She taught them her innocent ſkill;
The ſwain knew no art, but to pleaſure the fair
That Nature had form’d to his will.
Inſpired by love, on his pipe he did play;
O Virtue! how happy the ſwain!
While ſweet Robin-red-breaſt that perch’d on the ſpray,
And Daphne was pleas’d with the ſtrain.
How pleaſing the proſpect, how cooling the breeze;
The ſun ſhone delightfully ’round;
And apples half ripe, grew ſo thick on the trees,
The boughs almoſt bent to the ground.
Thus happily ſeated, by ſympathy bound,
How pleaſing the mutual chain;
When either is abſent, the proſpects around
Diſplay all their beauties in vain.
They ſat till the miſt that aroſe from the brook,
Inform’d them the ev’ning was nigh;
The ſwain ſhook his head with a languiſhing look,
And ’roſe from his ſeat with a ſigh.
His flute he disjointed, and ſilent a while
He gaz’d on his maid with delight;
Then gave her his hand, ſhe aroſe with a ſmile,
He kiſs’d her, and bid her good night.
Let the vain avaricious with oaths ſafely bind,
Leſt either forgetfully rove;
The band of affection ſecureth the mind,
When the wiſhes are centered in love.
If virtue alone is the guide of the will,
Diſtruſt has no right to be there;
The ſwain has no reaſon to doubt of his ſkill,
And the fair one has nothing to fear.
A Pastoral Dialogue.
O Theron, ſay what means that down-caſt eye,
What new found grief has taught thy breaſt to ſigh?
Has ſome intruding ſwain thy purpoſe croſt?
Or has ſome favourite ewe her lambkin loſt?
Aſſume thy wonted cheerfulneſs dear lad,
Or tell thy Damon why thou look’ſt ſo ſad.
Freſh as the ſpring, and fair as op’ning day,
My Jeſſy ſmil’d, and ſtole my heart away;
But when of love I did to her complain,
She ſcarcely ſmil’d, nor anſwer’d me again:
None e’er could think, but thoſe that feel the ſmart,
So fair a form could hide ſo hard a heart.
Ah, ſilly ſwain! and was thy beauty made,
For the cool frowns of one falſe nymph to fade?
O Theron, Theron, ſcorn the power of love,
Forbid the tender impulſes to move:
See how that bee forſakes the blooming may,
And leaves it for the next that comes this way.
Muſt I, like fickle Jeſſy, learn to ſlight?
Yes,—what my Damon ſays is always right.
See’ſt thou that nymph, beneath the ſhady tree?
She looks this way; I wiſh ſhe look’d at me:
If e’er thy Theron ſhould his heart transfer
From his loſt Jeſſy, it muſt go to her.
O ſay no more—no more of her, my friend;
For ſhe is mine—my Doris!—O ſuſpend—
Suſpend thy choice, my ſwain, till thou haſt ſeen
The village maids aſſemble on the green;
And if you would your fickle heart transfer,
Then take your choice of all the reſt but her.
Why are you angry now, my friend, my ſwain!
Your own advice I’ll give you back again:
O Damon, Damon, ſcorn the power of love;
Forego your nymph, your ſimile to prove:
Forſake her, as the bee forſakes the may,
And I will be the next that comes this way.
Thirsisand Daphne. A Poem.
My muſe of Thirſis ſings, and of the ſhade,
Where he, poor ſhepherd, with his Daphne ſtray’d:
On Dunsmore waſte, there ſtands a ſhady grove,
The ſweet receſs of ſolitude and love;
Hazles on this, on that ſide elms are ſeen,
To ſhade the verdant path that leads between.
A roſe, leſs lovely than young Thirſis gay,
Adorns the ſprig that bends acroſs the way;
The way that does with various flow’rs abound,
The gentle ſhepherd caſt his eyes around;
He ſought a flower with Daphne to compare,
And thought the drooping lily ſeem’d leſs fair:
A flame as pure as that fair ſacred light,
That ſhines between the hazle boughs at night,
Inſpires the am’rous Thirſis’ tender breaſt,
Which, by that light, has often been confeſs’d:
Soft was his ſpeech, and languiſhing his eye,
When he approach’d his Daphne with a ſigh;
No dark deceit did to his heart belong,
And flatt’ry was as foreign to his tongue;I love, 77 F7r [ 77 ]
I love, ſays he, (and took her by the hand)
And my poor wounded heart’s at your command;
For you I’m doom’d in love’s fierce flames to burn;
Be kind, my dear, and love me in return.
Thus ſaid the ſwain, and paus’d a little while;
The fair one’s anſwer was a ſilent ſmile:
To ſee her ſmile, he ſmil’d amidſt his pain,
And thus purſu’d his gentle ſuit again.
How long muſt I be toſs’d ’twixt hope and fear,
And tell my pain to your regardleſs ear?
No more in ſilence hear me thus complain,
Nor force thoſe flatt’ring ſmiles, to hide diſdain;
But ſay you love, and end my anxious care,
Or frown, and let me die in ſad deſpair.
To hear him thus his ardent flame expreſs,
Poor ſwain! ſhe pity’d him; what could ſhe leſs?
Her love, perhaps, at length may be attain’d,
By the dear ſwain that has her pity gain’d.
Perplexity. A Poem.
Ye tender young virgins attend to my lay,
My heart is divided in twain;
My Collin is beautiful, witty, and gay,
And Damon’s a kind-hearted ſwain.
Whenever my lovely young Collin I meet,
What pleaſures ariſe in my breaſt;
The dear gentle ſwain looks ſo charming and ſweet,
I fancy I love him the beſt.
But when my dear Damon does to me complain,
So tender, ſo loving and kind,
My boſom is ſoften’d to hear the fond ſwain,
And Collin ſlips out of my mind.
Whenever my Damon repeats his ſoft tale,
My heart overflows with delight;
But when my dear Collin appears in the vale,
I languiſh away at the ſight.
’Tis Collin alone ſhall poſſeſs my fond heart,
Now Damon for ever adieu;But 79 F8r [ 79 ]
But can I?—I cannot from Damon thus part!
He’s lov’d me ſo long, and ſo true.
My heart to my Damon I’ll inſtantly bind,
And on him will fix all my care;
But, O ſhould I be to my Collin unkind,
He ſurely will die with deſpair.
How happy, how happy with Damon I’d been,
If Collin I never had knew;
As happy with Collin, if I’d never ſeen
My Damon, ſo tender and true.
A Pastoral Song.
One ev’ning in May, the ſweet ſeaſon of love,
Amintor, with heart light as air;
And his hat on one ſide, ran in haſte to the grove,
To meet his dear Delia there.
He waited a little, impatient no doubt,
A minute to lovers is long;
Then ſnapping his fingers, he ſaunter’d about,
And thus of his Delia ſung.
My Delia is mild as an April morn,
And fair as the bloſſoms in May
That ſweeten the air, and enamel the thorn;
She’s fairer, ſhe’s ſweeter than they!
So chearful and ſprightly, good humour’d and gay,
No paſſions e’er ruffle her breaſt;
In innocent frolicks ſhe paſſes the day,
Till ev’ning invites her to reſt.
Let prudes and coquets to their artfulneſs truſt,
They ne’er ſhall have place in my arms;
Their wits and their arts do but give me diſguſt,
’Tis virgin ſimplicity charms.
My lovely dear Delia’s unſkill’d in their wiles,
And all the coquetry of love:
She thoughtleſsly meets me, with innocent ſmiles,
And trips with me into the grove.
Juſt then the fair Delia came tripping along,
Diſplaying her innocent charms;
Amintor no longer continued his ſong,
But claſp’d the dear maid in his arms.
The Favourite Swain.
My generous muſe, aſſiſtance lend;
Ye ſimple village-ſwains attend;
I mean not to complain:
I’ll tell you what the youth muſt be,
That hopes to gain the love of me,
And be my Fav’rite Swain.
I ne’er can love the ſilly ſwain,
That quits the village and the plain,
To flutter round the ſtate;
Nor fool that leaves the woodbine bower,
To fix on that uncertain flower,
The favour of the great:
But I ſome artleſs youth muſt find,
That knows not how to veil his mind,
But ſpeaks without diſguiſe;
His count’nance cheering as the dawn,
That ſmiles upon the flowery lawn,
And bids the ſky-lark riſe:
His eyes like dew drops on the thorn,
When daiſies opening to the morn,Beſpeak 83 G2r [ 83 ]
Beſpeak that morning fair;
His breath as ſweet as weſtern breeze,
That ſweeps the ſweeteſt ſmelling trees,
To ſcent the evening air.
And when he pipes upon the plain,
He muſt all approbation gain,
In ſpite of envious pride;
And force his rival ſwains to ſay,
His matchleſs ſkill muſt bear the ſway,
It cannot be denied.
No paſſions like the northern wind,
Muſt diſcompoſe his ſteady mind,
By ſeriouſneſs poſſeſt;
Yet ſadneſs be as far away,
As darkeſt midnight from noon-day,
Or point of eaſt from weſt.
His temper mild as April rain,
Whoſe gentle ſhower bedews the plain,
And gems the budding ſpray;
In manners like the lowly rill,
That creeps beneath the graſſy hill,
Where ſhining fiſhes play.
No headſtrong paſſion muſt incline
Him to my arms, or make him mine,
But reaſon muſt approve;
To niceſt honour be conſign’d,
While virtue rules his generous mind,
And friendſhip crowns his love.
Methinks the envious youths around,
Say ſuch a one was never found,
And all my ſearch is vain:
Miſtaken ſwains know this my ſong,
Does to my Thirſis all belong,
For he’s my Fav’rite Swain.
On a Wedding.
Hark! hark! how the bells ring, how happy the day,
Now Thirſis makes Daphne his bride;
See cheerful birds chirping on ev’ry green ſpray,
And ſummer ſhines forth in its pride.
The lads and the laſſes, ſo jocund and gay,
Their happineſs hail with a ſong;
And Thirſis enchantingly pipes to their lay,
Inſpiring with mirth all the throng.
The bride and the bride-groom then join in the dance
And ſmiling trip nimbly around;
The ſprightly gay bride’s-maids as nimbly advance,
And anſwer their ſmiles with a bound.
With all marriage articles pen’d on the heart,
The parties ſo ſweetly agreed;
They needed no lawyer, with quibbling art,
Or parchment to draw up a deed.
For Love, the firſt bleſſing of bleſſings below,
That Heaven to mortals can give,
Was all the kind ſhepherdeſs had to beſtow,
And all that ſhe wiſh’d to receive.
As Lob among his cows one day,
Was filling of their cribs with hay;
As he to th’ crib the hay did carry,
It came into his head to marry;
Says he, there’s little merry Nell,
I think I like her very well;
But ſhe, perhaps, at me will ſcoff,
Beſides, ſhe lives a great way off:
He mus’d a while, then judg’d it better,
The courtſhip to begin by letter;
So he a bit of paper found,
’Twas neither long, nor ſquare, nor round;
It was the beſt that he could find,
And on it thus, he wrote his mind:
Dear Nelly, I make bold to ſend
My love to you, and am your friend;
I think you are a pretty maid,
And wonder much that you don’t wed;
If you can like a country man,
I’ll come and ſee you, if I can,
When roads are good, and weather fine,
But firſt I hope you’ll ſend a line.
Then he in haſte this letter ſent,Alſo 87 G4r [ 87 ]
Alſo two apples did preſent,
Which Nell receiv’d, and read the letter,
(But ſhe lik’d the apples better);
When read ſhe into the fire threw it,
And never ſent an anſwer to it.
When ſpring drew on, the cuckow ſung,
The roads were dry, and days were long,
The cows were all turn’d out to graſs,
Then Lob ſet out to ſee his laſs;
He oil’d his ſhoes, and comb’d his hair,
As if a going to a fair:
He was a very clever clown,
His frock was of the fuſtian brown,
His ſtick was bended like a bow,
His handkerchief too made a ſhow,
His hat ſtood like the pot-lid round,
So on he went, and Nell he found.
What Nelly! how doſt do? ſays he,
Come, will you go along with me
O’er yonder ſtile, a little way
Along that cloſe; Nell, what doſt ſay?
Me go with you o’er yonder ſtile?
Says Nell, indeed I can’t a-while;
So ſhe ſtept in, and ſhut the door,
And he ſhabb’d off, and ſaid no more.
The Rural Maid in London, To her Friend in the Country. An Epistle.
Rejoice, dear nymph! enjoy your happy grove,
Where birds and ſhepherds warble ſtrains of love,
While baniſh’d I, alas! can nothing hear,
But ſounds too harſh to ſooth a tender ear.
Here gilded beaux fine painted belles purſue,
But how unlike to village-ſwains and you;
At twelve o’clock they rub their ſlumb’ring eyes,
And, ſeeing day-light, from their pillows riſe;
To the dear looking-glaſs due homage pay,
Look o’er the play-bills while they ſip their tea;
Then order John the chariot to prepare,
And drive to th’ Park, to take the morning air.
When duſky ev’ning ſpreads her gloomy ſhade,
And rural nymphs are in ſoft ſlumbers laid,
Then coaches rattle to the ladies rout,
With belles within, and mimic beaux without;
The vulgar way of counting time they ſcorn,
Their noon is evening, and their evening morn.But 89 G5r [ 89 ]
But what is yet more wonderful than all,
Theſe ſtrange diſorders they do pleaſures call:
Such tinſel joys ſhall ne’er my heart obtain,
Give me the real pleaſures of the plain,
Where unmov’d conſtancy has fix’d her ſeat,
And love, and friendſhip, make their ſweet retreat.
There lives my friend, my dear Belinda gay,
Could I with her the freſh’ning vales ſurvey;
To make a wreath, I’d gather flow’rs full blown,
But ſpare the tender buds, till riper grown:
If I ſhould ſee a black-bird, or a thruſh,
Sit on her neſt within the hawthorn buſh,
She undiſturb’d ſhould hatch her little brood;
Who fright her thence has not a heart that’s good;
It ſurely is a pity to moleſt,
A little bird, when ſitting on her neſt.
Should love by chance invite your friend to rove,
I’d take a trip into the ſilent grove;
There if my ſwain ſhould pipe, then I would ſing,
And be as happy as the birds in ſpring;
No title but a nymph I’d wiſh to know,
Nor e’er commence a belle, to win a beau.
Corinna to Lycidas.
Where’er my Lycidas ſhall turn his eyes,
May pleaſures ſpring, and lovely proſpects ’riſe;
While your Corinna, on the banks of Stower,
In penſive ſadneſs views each ripening flower:
Why am I penſive? all things elſe are gay,
Fawns dance around, and harmleſs lambkins play;
Surrounding groves invite my ſteps to rove,
Reſembling that in which I learn’d to love;
They each returning morn, grow freſher ſtill,
And happy birds their leafy branches fill;
O lovely ſcenes! but what are theſe to me?
Joy is no joy without ſociety.
If I a friend like Lycidas could find,
To ſhare my joys, or ſooth my anxious mind;
Then morn and night, I’d tune my cheerful lay,
Sing with the birds, and be more glad than they;
But while your abſence I am doom’d to bear,
Your fancied preſence in my thoughts ſhall ſhare;
I’ll bleſs the hour in which our love began,
And ever be as conſtant as I can.
My dear Maria, my long abſent friend,
If you can ſpare one moment to attend,
The plaintive ſtrains of your Belinda hear,
Who is your friend, and as yourſelf ſincere.
Let love-ſick nymphs their faithful ſhepherds prove,
Maria’s friendſhip’s more to me than love;
When you were here, I ſmil’d throughout the day,
No ruſtic ſhepherdeſs was half ſo gay;
But now, alas! I can no pleaſure know,
The tedious hours of abſence move ſo ſlow;
I ſecret mourn, not daring to complain,
Still ſeeking for relief, but ſeek in vain.
When I walk forth to take the morning air,
I quickly to ſome riſing hill repair,
From whence I may ſurvey your village ſpire,
Then ſigh to you, and languiſh with deſire.
At ſultry noon retiring to the groves,
In ſearch of you, my wand’ring fancy roves,
From ſhade to ſhade, pleas’d with the vain delight,
Imagination brings you to my ſight;Fatigu’d 92 G6v [ 92 ]
Fatigu’d I ſink into my painted chair,
And your ideal form attends me there.
My garden claims one ſolitary hour,
When ſober ev’ning cloſes ev’ry flow’r;
The drooping lily my reſemblance bears,
Each penſive bloom a ſhining dew-drop wears;
Such ſhining drops my cloſing eyes bedew,
While I am abſent from the ſight of you.
When on my couch reclin’d my eyes I cloſe,
The God of Sleep refuſes me repoſe;
I ’riſe half dreſs’d, and wander to and fro
Along my room, or to my window go:
Enraptur’d I behold the moon ſhine clear,
While falling waters murmur in my ear;
My thoughts to you then in a moment fly,
The moon ſhines miſty, and my raptures die.
Thus ev’ry ſcene a gloomy proſpect wears,
And ev’ry object prompts Belinda’s tears:
’Tis you, Maria, and ’tis only you,
That can the wonted face of things renew:
Come to my groves; command the birds to ſing,
And o’er the meadows bid freſh daiſies ſpring:
No! rather come and chaſe my gloom away,
That I may ſing like birds, and look like daiſies gay.
Leander and Belinda.
Belinda is the lovelieſt fair,
Of all the rural train,
That dance upon the flow’ry lawn,
Or trip acroſs the plain.
Her pleaſing air, and winning grace,
The village ſwains admire;
But not a youth in all that place,
To court her durſt aſpire.
Her robes were of the whiteſt lawn,
As ſpotleſs as her fame;
And all the bluſhing virgin train,
Rever’d Belinda’s name.
At laſt her fame Leander hears,
Who in the city dwells;
And he, for this fair village-maid,
Forſook the city belles.
His coat was of the crimſon dye,
His ſpurs were ſilver bright;
And thus equip’d away he rode,
To court this nymph in white.
With each acquir’d accompliſhment
Endow’d, and on his tongue
The pow’rful art of flattery,
In full perſuaſion hung.
He told to her ſuch pleaſing tales,
As anxious lovers tell;
Such as he’d often told before,
To many a ſhining belle.
Into the garden walk’d this pair,
To view the flowers gay;
Belinda look’d like lilies fair,
That grew about the way.
By her fair hand Leander took,
This lovely charming maid;
Like Strephon’s flocks at ſummer’s noon,
From ſhade to ſhade they ſtray’d.
They walk’d ’till drooping dewy flow’rs,
Proclaim’d the ev’ning nigh;
And that ſweet bird that ſings i’ th’ air,
Deſcended from the ſky.
Leander ſeeing nature’s pride,
The tales of ev’ning tell,
He with reluctancy retir’d,
And bade his nymph farewell.
But vow’d he quickly would return,
And make the fair one his;
Then with an oath his promiſe bound,
And ſeal’d it with a kiſs.
Yet the next news Belinda hears,
Is that Leander’s wed;
A wealthier, not a fairer dame,
He to the church had led.
But ere the honey-moon was paſt,
A fever ſeiz’d his bride;
And though he left nor pains, nor coſt,
Nor medicine untry’d.
Not all the ſkill’d phyſician’s art,
Could heal his ſicken’d ſpouſe;
Coſmelia died, a juſt reward
For all his broken vows.
Observation, On an Evening.
Sweet and refreſhing are the dews,
That deck the ev’ning ſhade;
Sweet are the winds that ſweep the plains,
And whiſper through the glade.
We faint beneath the ſultry ſun,
But when the day is o’er,
We gladly meet the ev’ning ſhade,
And think of toil no more.
So when the dew of heav’nly grace,
Falls gently on the ſoul,
It cheers the fainting, drooping heart,
And bids new pleaſures roll:
To ev’ry doubt, and ev’ry fear,
This brings a ſweet relief;
Superior joy! compar’d with this,
All other joy is grief.
Written while the Author ſat on a Cock of Hay.
Fair Daphne to the meadow went,
To teddtend the new mown hay;
She went alone,
For well ’twas known,
No ſhepherd went that way.
And when ſhe to the meadow came,
And caſt her eyes around,
She ſaw green hills,
And purling rills,
The fertile ſpot ſurround.
The alders and the poplars tall,
Did form a circling ſhade;
The cooling breeze,
Stole by the trees,
Along the open glade.
Beneath the ſhade a murm’ring brook,
Purſues its crooked way;H There 98 H1v [ 98 ]
There fiſhes glide,
In conſcious pride,
And ſhining ſcales diſplay.
The beauteous blooming gifts of ſpring,
Are fallen from the thorn;
But the wild roſe,
More beauteous grows,
The willow tree t’ adorn.
The ſun that o’er Arabian fields,
Bids ſpicy odours play;
By the ſame pow’r,
Doth in an hour,
Raiſe ſweetneſs from the hay.
The choriſters from ev’ry grove,
In num’rous bands appear;
From ſpray to ſpray,
Tune forth their lay,
To charm the virgin’s ear.
But yet amidſt this pleaſing ſcene,
Our nymph doth ſullen prove;
Such things ſays ſhe,
Might pleaſure me,
If I was not in love.
To cheerful ſtrains I’ll not aſpire,
Since fate that led me here,
Forbids my ſwain,
To tread this plain,
I’ll drop a ſilent tear.
On Contemplative Ease.
Rejoice ye jovial ſons of mirth,
By ſparkling wine inſpir’d;
A joy of more intrinſic worth
I feel, while thus retir’d.
Excluded from the ranting crew,
Amongſt theſe fragrant trees
I walk, the twinkling ſtars to view,
In ſolitary eaſe.
Half wrap’d in clouds, the half-form’d moon
Beams forth a cheering ray,
Surpaſſing all the pride of noon,
Or charms of early day.
The birds are huſh’d, and not a breeze
Diſturbs the pendant leaves;
My paſſion’s huſh’d as calm as theſe,
No ſigh my boſom heaves.
While great ones make a ſplendid ſhow,
In equipage or dreſs,
I’m happy here, nor wiſh below
For greater happineſs.
Written on Their Majesties coming to Kew.
He comes, he comes, our ſacred King,
Now bids the town adieu;
And all the bells at Richmond ring,
To welcome him to Kew.
The air ſerene, the ev’ning clear,
The moon ſo fair to view;
Sweet emblem of our gracious Queen,
That came to day to Kew.
Now ſoftly blows the weſtern gale,
To waft the joyful ſtrains,
Along the lowly winding vale,
And tell the diſtant plains.
In Spring’s freſh robes the trees are clad,
The fields are fair to view;
And every loyal heart is glad
The King is come to Kew.
Ye lovers of inconſtancy,
Now bluſh and take a view;H3 A bright 102 H3v [ 102 ]
A bright example you may ſee,
The royal pair at Kew.
May God continue ſtill to give
Them pleaſures ever new;
And many ſummers may they live
To reign and viſit Kew.
Whilst I beneath this ſilent ſhade,
Contented ſit and ſing,
I envy not the great their joys,
That from their riches ſpring.
Let thoſe who have in courts been bred,
There ſtill in ſplendor ſhine;
Their lot of bliſs may not ſurpaſs,
Perhaps not equal mine,
While no unwelcome viſitants,
My ſolitude invade;
The monarch is not more ſecure,
Than I beneath this ſhade.
Theſe friendly trees on either ſide,
From heat a ſhelter ſtand;
The white roſe on the brier hangs,
And ſeems t’ invite my hand.
Ah! roſe, no longer to my eyes
Thy pow’rful charms diſplay,
For I’ve a ſweeter flow’r than you,
And one that looks more gay.
The Widower’s Courtship.
Roger a doleful widower,
Full eighteen weeks had been,
When he, to meet the milk-maid Nell,
Came ſmiling o’er the green.
Blithe as a lad of ſeventeen,
He thus accoſted Nell;
Give me your pail, I’ll carry it
For you, if you think well.
Says Nell, indeed my milking-pail
You ſhall not touch, I vow;
I’ve carried it myſelf before,
And I can carry it now.
So ſide by ſide they walk’d a-while,
Then he at laſt did ſay;
My inclination is to come
And ſee you, if I may.
Nell underſtood his meaning well,
And briſkly anſwer’d ſhe;
You may ſee me at any time,
If you look where I be.Says 105 H5r [ 105 ]
Says he, but hear me yet a-while,
I’ve ſomething more to tell;
I gladly wou’d a ſweetheart be
Unto you, Miſtreſs Nell.
A ſweetheart I don’t want, ſays Nell,
Kind Sir, and if you do,
Another you may ſeek, for I
Am not the laſs for you.
When ſhe had made him this reply,
He’d nothing more to ſay
But—Nelly, a good night to you,
And homeward went his way.
Observation on the Works of Nature.
Now night ſubmits to the encroaching day,
And groves, and fields, put on their ſpring array;
Now various flowers of various hues diſplay’d,
Adorn the green, or deck the lonely ſhade.
Theſe ſhow the pow’r of the Almighty’s hand;
They ſpring, they blow, they fade at his command:
United Nature does his word fulfil,
’Tis Man alone rejects his Maker’s will.
Oh where, Oh where are all thoſe joys,
That in ten thouſand forms ariſe,
T’ elude the wand’ring eye,
When youth its vigorous charms diſplays,
And beauty ſheds its ſoftening rays
To move the wiſhful ſigh.
Ah! youth is but a ſummer’s morn,
When ſhining drops the fields adorn,
Their twinkling ſoon is o’er:
So beauty by encroaching years
Exhilarates and diſappears,
And youth returns no more.
What happineſs attends the pair,
Whoſe bliſs no low intruding care,
Or adverſe fates deſtroy;
When youth and beauty diſappears,
Their virtues, ripening with their years,
Increaſe their mutual joy.
But how, Oh! how can I relate
The heart-felt tale—the hapleſs fate?Where 108 H6v [ 108 ]
Where are you gone, my tears?
O come and give my heart relief,
For Collin’s dead, alas! and grief
Embitters Hebe’s years.
When health ſat blooming on his face,
And beauty with reſplendent grace,
In every feature ſhone;
Voracious death ſeiz’d on his prey,
No warning ſickneſs mark’d his way;
He died—alas, he’s gone!
When roſy health, with flattering ſmiles,
Th’ unwary thoughtleſs youth beguiles,
He counts his coming years;
Preſumptuous man! by Collin’s fate,
Learn to contract the doubtful date,
And pity Hebe’s tears.
Friendship. An Ode.
The ſacred lay
My boſom fires;
Let friendly virgins tune their lyres,
In concert join, angelic choirs,
Due rites to pay.
Let envy ſhrink away,
As darkneſs flies approaching day;
Her ſerpent creſt in vain ſhe rears,
And her curſt ſting prepares;
She counteracts herſelf; for ſee
The knot of friendſhip ty’d,
In virtuous pride,
And firm ſincerity.
O friendſhip, firſt of bleſſings here below,
The beſt gift Heaven can beſtow!Thou 110 H7v [ 110 ]
Thou ſecret balm,
Serene and calm;
O ſtream of bliſs, in gentleſt currents flow!
Calm, humble bliſs of friendſhip riſe,
Superior to the ſplendid joys,
That glitter round the world;
Temptations ſo profuſely ſpread,
With dazzling glares miſlead
The feet that heedleſs tread,
And all thoſe joys are in confuſion hurl’d.
But Oh! ’tis friendſhip’s rite,
To give and take delight,
Fly hence, deſpair,
Nor more annoy;
Firm friendſhip’s joy
Shines undiminiſh’d in diſtreſs,
The wretched and the bleſt to bleſs;
Its ſweet and ſovereign power let every tongue confeſs.
Phillis to Damon. A Song.
Remember, falſe Damon, how often you’ve ſaid,
You lov’d me as well as a man could a maid;
Though you ſlight me at laſt, and I cannot tell why,
Yet, truſt me, I never with ſorrow ſhall die.
In my boſom ſo tender, your power to prove,
You planted the fair blooming flow’ret of love;
But for its deſtruction a frown you prepar’d,
To blaſt at your pleaſure the flowret you rear’d.
Yet boaſt not your conqueſt, tho’ from me you part,
Nor think yourſelf wholly poſſeſs’d of my heart;
Your ſmiles are not ſummer to melt the cold ſnow,
And your frowns are not winter, I’d have you to know.
Go ſeek for a maid that has money in ſtore,
And amuſe yourſelf often in counting it o’er;
Yet, Damon, believe me, your bliſs will be ſmall,
If counting your gold and your ſilver be all.He 112 H8v [ 112 ]
He that ſets his heart riches and honour to find,
Will learn that a kingdom’s too ſmall for his mind;
He hoards up his treaſures, and thinks himſelf ſcant,
While the poor that’s contented ne’er feels any want.
The joys of the wealthy are joys of a day,
For riches have wings and do oft fly away;
And when they are flying we generally find,
A long train of ſorrow’s impending behind.
May all pleaſures attend you, that treaſures can bring,
May you find of your joys a perpetual ſpring;
Yet I’ll envy her not, that has money in ſtore,
Nor think myſelf wretched, although I am poor.
Perhaps I the truth of ſome ſhepherd may prove,
Whoſe treaſure’s contentment, whoſe pleaſure is love;
The I without wealth ſhall be happy as you,
So Damon, falſe Damon, for ever adieu.
On an Unsociable Family.
O What a ſtrange parcel of creatures are we,
Scarce ever to quarrel, or ever agree;
We all are alone, though at home altogether,
Except to the fire conſtrain’d by the weather;
Then one ſays, ’tis cold, which we all of us know,
And with unanimity anſwer, ’tis ſo:
With ſhrugs and with ſhivers all look at the fire,
And ſhuffle ourſelves and our chairs a bit nigher;
Then quickly, preceded by ſilence profound,
A yawn epidemical catches around:
Like ſocial companions we never fall out,
Nor ever care what one another’s about;
To comfort each other is never our plan,
For to pleaſe ourſelves, truly, is more than we can.
Reflection on Meditation.
To earth it bows the knees, but lifts the ſoul
So high above all ſublunary things,
That this low world ſhews like a fleeting dream
Already paſt away.
On Reading Pope’s Eloiza to Abelard.
Sure, hapleſs Fair, no hearts can ever know,
But baniſh’d lovers, baniſh’d lovers’ woe!
Ah! Eloiza, ever exil’d maid,
I read thy ſorrows, ſorrowing as I read:
My ſympathetic heart now ſhares thy grief,
Repeats thy ſighs, and wiſhes thy relief:
But when I hear thee unrelenting boaſt
Thy tainted virtue, and thy honour loſt,
All ſenſe of pity in my boſom dies,
And direful tumults of reproaches riſe:
No paſſions ſoft, or ſadly-pleaſing pain,
But rage and madneſs in thy boſom reign;
Ah! muſt thy Abelard exalted be,
Above the Maker of himſelf and thee!
And dareſt thou thus explode the wedded dame,
Diſclaim her virtues, and diſdain her fame:
Bluſh, Eloiza, at a thought ſo vain,
Thy face with crimſon let confuſion ſtain;
And while thy boſom glows with guilty fire,
Let every hope of happineſs expire;
But if again thou would’ſt my pity move,
Lament at once thy honour and thy love.
Written, originally extempore, on ſeeing a Mad Heifer run through the Villagewhere the Author lives.
When ſummer ſmil’d, and birds on ev’ry ſpray,
In joyous warblings tun’d their vocal lay,
Nature on all ſides ſhew’d a lovely ſcene,
And people’s minds were, like the air, ſerene;
Sudden from th’ herd we ſaw an heifer ſtray,
And to our peaceful village bend her way.
She ſpurns the ground with madneſs as ſhe flies,
And clouds of duſt, like autumn miſts, ariſe;
Then bellows loud: the villagers alarm’d,
Come ruſhing forth, with various weapons arm’d:
Some run with pieces of old broken rakes,
And ſome from hedges pluck the rotten ſtakes;
Here one in haſte, with hand-ſtaff of his flail,
And there another comes with half a rail:
Whips, without laſhes, ſturdy plough-boys bring,
While clods of dirt and pebbles others fling:
Voices tumultuous rend the liſtening ear;
Stop her—one cries; another—turn her there:
But furiouſly ſhe ruſhes by them all,
And ſome huzza, and ſome to curſing fall:I2 A mo- 116 I2v [ 116 ]
A mother ſnatch’d her infant off the road,
Cloſe to the ſpot of ground where next ſhe trod;
Camilla walking, trembled and turn’d pale;
See o’er her gentle heart what fears prevail!
At laſt the beaſt, unable to withſtand
Such force united, leapt into a pond:
The water quickly cool’d her madden’d rage;
No more ſhe’ll fright our village, I preſage.
Ye ſwains ceaſe to flatter, our hearts to obtain,
If your perſons plead not, what your tongues ſay is vain;
Though fickle you call us, believe me you’re wrong,
We’re fixt as a rock, as a rock too are ſtrong.
Though ſometimes, when ſuddenly ſtruck with your charms,
We melt into ſoftneſs, and ſink in your arms,
Or breathe a ſoft ſigh, when you from us depart;
That ſhakes not the purpoſe that’s firm in the heart.
Too vainly ye boaſt we are eaſily won;
If on you, as on all, we ſhould ſmile like the ſun,
You laugh in your ſleeves, when you from us retire,
And think that we love, when we only admire.
We are not ſo eaſily led by the noſe,
Though with coxcombs we chatter, and flirt with the beaux;
Yet ſeldom or never our hearts they command,
Though ſometimes through pity we give them our hand.I3 A tony, 118 I3v [ 118 ]
A tony, a coxcomb, a beau, or a clown,
Well ſeaſon’d with money, may ſometimes go down;
But theſe in our hearts we can never revere;
The worthy man only can hold a place there.
Far from the woods, alas, I rove,
Far from the ſwain I dearly love:
Sure ſome ill ſtar did rule the day,
When firſt my heedleſs feet did ſtray,
From my dear ſwain ſo far away.
’Tis now the morning of the ſpring,
And larks and linnets ſweetly ſing;
I might have ſung as well as they,
If I had never learnt to ſtray,
From my dear ſwain ſo far away.
Oh! that I had ne’er left the plain,
Oh! that I could return again;
But here I mourn my abject ſtate,
Like a poor dove that’s loſt her mate,
And ſigh, alas! but ſigh too late.
When Chloe, ſmiling, gave conſent,
To be Philander’s bride,
Name but the time, and I’m content,
Th’ enraptur’d ſhepherd cry’d.
Next Sunday morn, ſays Doris ſoon,
Shall be the happy hour;
And I, with all the flow’rs of June,
Will deck the nuptial bow’r.
But Doris counteracts the plan,
How ſly the artful maid;
She ſmil’d, and won the am’rous man,
And Chloe was betray’d.
With joy the ſwain produc’d the ring,
For Chloe once deſign’d;
And Doris, cheerful as the ſpring,
Was to Philander join’d.
No nuptial bow’r on Sunday morn,
For Chloe deck’d ſhall be;
The ſlighted maid may ſigh forlorn,
Beneath the willow tree.
When Collin’s tuneful pipe with ſoft’ning ſtrains,
Fill’d with melodious ſounds the neighb’ring plains;
The nightingale reſponſive, in the grove
Sung her ſweet lay, and tun’d my heart to love:
But abſent now from all that’s to me dear,
A charm in Muſic I no longer hear.
Where are the joys the early ſeaſons bring?
For herds the graſs, for bees the flowers ſpring;
The black-birds ſing on ev’ry blooming thorn,
And freſh’ning daiſies ev’ry vale adorn:
In vain the ſpring for me adorns the plains,
While in my heart ſo cold a winter reigns.
The herds in Summer ſeek the cooling ſtreams,
Where ſhady trees exclude the ſultry beams;
The ſhepherds to ſome op’ning glade repair,
Where gentle breezes temperate the air:
But no cool breeze can fan my flame away,
Nor cooler ſtreams the latent fire allay.
Rich Autumn now adds profit to delight,
And rip’ning apples ev’ry hand invite;Each 121 I5r [ 121 ]
Each ſwain divides his apple with his fair,
So I with Collin once was wont to ſhare:
But now no fruits to pleaſe my taſte have pow’r,
Not gather’d by his hand, all fruits are ſour.
Winter a-while each growing herb reſtrains,
And locks all nature in his icy chains;
His reign but for a ſeaſon doth endure,
Spring ſmiles, and nature feels the pow’rful cure:
But ah! my heart’s in faſter fetters bound,
Which ſtill grow ſtronger as the years go round.
To Thirsis, On his ſignifying his intention to lay aſide his Hautboy.
What ſpurious offspring of low-thoughted care
Aſſumes the graceful muſes winning air,
And bids my Thirſis lay aſide his reed,
That dulneſs may ſerenity ſucceed;
This ſtep ſtill onward her dark purpoſe brings,
For out of dulneſs, melancholy ſprings;
Nor here the gloomy phantom ends her care,
For next to melancholy, comes deſpair:
When fainting virtue makes her ſlow retreat,
Vice ready ſtands, to fill the vacant ſeat.
Oft have I ſeen the ſwains aſſembled round,
With ſilent awe, till Thirſis led the ſound:
Still, as your breath, the cheering pipe inſpires,
Conduct the voices of the hymning choirs:
If thou, their leader and ſupport ſhould’ſt fail,
Slack negligence will o’er the reſt prevail;
No more the evenings of the holy-days,
Shall ſend to Heav’n their well-accepted lays;
But giddy youths to vanities ſhall run,
Nay, well if darker ſcenes of vice they ſhun.
On the Author’s Lying-In, 1785-08August, 1785.
O God, the giver of all joy,
Whoſe gifts no mortal can deſtroy,
Accept my grateful lays:
My tongue did almoſt aſk for death,
But thou did’ſt ſpare my lab’ring breath,
To ſing thy future praiſe.
I live! my God be prais’d, I live,
And do moſt thankfully receive,
The bounty of my life:
I live, ſtill longer to improve,
The fondeſt husband’s tender love,
To the moſt happy wife.
I live within my arms to claſp,
My infant with endearing graſp,
And feel my fondneſs grow:
O God endow her with thy grace,
And heav’nly gifts, to hold a place
Among thy Saints below.
May ſhe in duty, as ſhe ought,
By thy unerring precepts taught,
To us a bleſſing prove:
And thus prepar’d for greater joys,
May ſhe, with thine elect ariſe
To taſte the joys above.
I come, a friend to man, I’m ne’er his foe
But when he indiſcreetly makes me ſo.
My name is——Stop tho’——what am I about?
They that would know my name may find it out.
I’m ſeen in Summer in the ſhady grove,
Where penſive ſpeculating maidens rove;
And when the verdure of the foreſt flies
Before th’ Autumnal winds, that bluſt’ring riſe
To waft the yellow fragments o’er the plain,
Firm and unſhaken ſtill my leaves remain;
But in the Winter I ſome covert crave,
Nor dare the rigour of that ſeaſon brave:
Yet if too near the fire I take my ſtand,
My rind contracts, and leaves too much expand;
Doctors extract my eſſence and apply’t
To ſtop diſorders, and to give delight;
And ſome that would my properties define,
Declare I am eſſentially divine:
Nay ſome, by arrant ſuperſtition taught,
Say I immediately from Heav’n was brought;
But that I am in Heav’n, let none deny,
The Scripture ſays it, can the Scripture lye?
Critical Fragments, On Some of the English Poets.
Milton, in pond’rous verſe, moves greatly on,
Weilding his maſſy theme; with wond’rous ſtrength
He labours forward.
Shakespear gently glides,
And, like a poliſh’d mirror, as he paſses
Reflects all nature.
Young, in thought profound,
Muſes, contemplates, ſees, and feels the woes
That clog the ſoul; yet with aſpiring wing
Behold him ’riſe majeſtically ſlow,
And like an eagle ſoar, and ſoar aloft:
But Swift delights as much to rout
I’th’ dirt, and then to throw’t about.
Pope ſings a ſoft and ſweet harmonious lay,
So mellow flutes in pleaſant concert play.
Matt. Prior, like an eaſy horſe,
Keeps ambling on, ne’er out of courſe:
But trotting Butler beats him hollow,
He leads a way that none can follow;
He daſhes on through thick and thin,
Nor for the criticks cares a pin;
From cenſure he’s receiv’d acquittal,
And grammar, metre, rhyme ſubmit all.