Price Five Shillings
Milkwoman of Clifton, Near Bristol;
Being Her Second Work.
Printed for the author,
and sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinson,
To the Right Honourable and Right Reverend Frederick, Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry, &c; &c;
As a ſingular, not a conſpicuous character, I approach you. Unadorned by art, unaccompliſhed by ſcience, and, conſequently, undeſerving of popular applauſe, I humbly claim your Lordſhip’s protection.
The few inſignificant pieces which compoſe this volume, are the effuſions of nature only; yet, convinced of your Lordſhip’s liberality of ſoul, I preſume to lay them at your feet with all their imperfections. On peruſing them, you will remember, that they were written in the ſhort intervals of a life of labour, and under every diſadvantage which can poſſibly reſult from a confined education.
With the higheſt veneration for your virtues,
I am, My Lord, Your Lordſhip’s obliged, Ever grateful, and Very humble Servant,
A Prefatory Letter to Mrs. Montagu. By Miss Hannah More.
Briſtol, Oct. 20, 1784
There is nothing more inconvenient than a high reputation, as it ſubjects the poſſeſſor to continual applications, which thoſe of a contrary character entirely eſcape. The delight which you are known to feel in protecting real genius, and in cheriſhing depreſſed virtue, expoſes you to the preſent intruſion, from which a cold heart, and an illiberal ſpirit, would have effectually ſecured you. On viii viii
On my return from Sandleford, a copy of verſes was ſhewn me, ſaid to be written by a poor illiterate woman in this neighbourhood, who ſells milk from door to door. The ſtory did not engage my faith, but the verſes excited my attention; for, though incorrect, they breathed the genuine ſpirit of Poetry, and were rendered ſtill more intereſting, by a certain natural and ſtrong expreſſion of miſery, which ſeemed to fill the heart and mind of the Author. On making diligent enquiry into her hiſtory and character, I found that ſhe had been born and bred in her preſent humble ſtation, and had never received the leaſt education, except that her brother had taught her to write. Her mother, who was alſo a milk-woman, appears to have had ſenſe and piety, and to have given an early tincture of religion to this poor woman’s mind. She is about eight-and-twenty, was married very young, to a man who is ſaid to be honeſt and ſober, but of a turn of mind very different from her own. Repeated loſſes, and a numerous family, for they had ſix children in ſeven years, reduced them very low, and the rigours of the laſt ſevere winter ſunk them to the extremity of diſtreſs. For your ſake, dear Madam, and for my own, I wish I could entirely paſs over this part of her ſtory; but ſome of her moſt affecting verses would be unintelligible without it. Her aged mother, her ſix little infants, and herſelf (expecting every hour to lie in), were actually on the point of periſhing, and had given up every hope of human aſſiſtance, when the Gentleman, so gratefully mentioned in her Poem to Stella, providentially heard of their diſtreſs, which I am afraid ſhe had too carefully concealed, and haſtened to their relief. The poor woman and her children were preſerved; but— (imagine, dear Madam, a ſcene which will not bear a detail) for the unhappy mother, all aſſiſtance came too late; ſhe had the joy to ſee it arrive, but it was a joy ſhe was no longer able to bear, and 7 it ix b1r ix it was more fatal to her than famine had been. You will find our Poeteſs frequently alluding to this terrible circumſtance, which has left a ſettled impreſſion of ſorrow on her mind.
When I went to ſee her, I obſerved a perfect ſimplicity in her manners, without the leaſt affectation or pretenſion of any kind: ſhe neither attempted to raiſe my compaſſion by her diſtreſs, nor my admiration by her parts. But, on a more familiar acquaintance, I have had reaſon to be ſurpiſed at the juſtneſs of her taſte, the faculty I leaſt expected to find in her. In truth, her remarks on the books ſhe has read are ſo accurate, and ſo conſonant to the opinions of the beſt critics, that, from that very circumſtance, they would appear trite and common-place, in any one who had been in habits of ſociety; for, without having ever converſed with any body above her own level, ſhe ſeems to poſſeſs the general principles of sound taſte and just thinking.
I was curious to know what poetry ſhe had read. With the Night Thoughts, and Paradiſe Loſt, I found her well acquainted; but ſhe was aſtoniſhed to learn that Young and Milton had written any thing elſe. Of Pope, ſhe had only ſeen the Eloiſa; and Dryden, Spenſer, Thomſon, and Prior, were quite unknown to her, even by name. She has read a few of Shakeſpeare’s Plays, and ſpeaks of a tranſlation of the Georgics, which ſhe has ſomewhere ſeen, with the warmeſt poetic rapture.
But though it has been denied to her to drink at the pure wellhead of Pagan Poeſy, yet, from the true fountain of divine Inſpiration,b tion, x b1v x tion, her mind ſeems to have been wonderfully nouriſhed and enriched. The ſtudy of the ſacred Scriptures has enlarged her imagination, and ennobled her language, to a degree only credible to thoſe, who, receiving them as the voice of everlaſting Truth, are at the pains to appreciate the various and exquiſite beauties of compoſition which they exhibit. For there is, as I have heard you remark, in the Prophets, in Job, and in the Pſalms, a character of thought, and a ſtyle of expreſſion, between Eloquence and Poetry, by which a great mind, diſpoſed to either, may be ſo elevated and warmed, as, with little other aſſiſtance, to become a Poet or an Orator.
By the next poſt, I will ſend you ſome of her wild wood-notes. You will find her, like all unlettered Poets, abounding in imagery, metaphor, and perſonification; her faults, in this reſpect, being rather thoſe of ſuperfluity than of want. If her epithets are now and then bold and vehement, they are ſtriking and original; and I ſhould be ſorry to ſee the wild vigour of her ruſtic muſe poliſhed into elegance, or laboured into correctneſs. Her ear is perfect; there is ſometimes great felicity in the ſtructure of her blank verſe, and ſhe often varies the pauſe with a happineſs which looks like ſkill. She abounds in falſe concords, and inaccuracies of various kinds; the groſſeſt of which have been corrected. You will find her often diffuſe from redundancy, and oftener obſcure from brevity; but you will ſeldom find in her thoſe inexpiable poetic ſins, the falſe thought, the puerile conceit, the diſtorted image, and the incongruous metaphor, the common reſources of bad Poets, and the not uncommon blemiſhes of good ones. If xi b2r xi
If this commendation be thought exaggerated, qualify it, dear Madam, with the reflection that it belongs to one who writes under every complicated diſadvantage; who is deſtitute of all the elegancies of literature, the accomodations of leiſure, and I will not barely ſay the conveniencies, but the neceſſaries of life: to one who does not know a ſingle rule of Grammar, and who has never ever ſeen a Dictionary. Chill Penury repreſs’d her noble rage,And froze the genial current of her ſoul.
Though I have a high reverence for art, ſtudy, and inſtitution, and for all the mighty names and maſter ſpirits who have given laws to Taſte, yet I am not ſorry, now and then, to convince the ſupercilious Critic, whoſe maſs of knowledge is not warmed by a ſingle particle of native fire, that genius is antecedent to rules, and independent on criticiſm; for who, but his own divine and incomprehenſible genius, pointed out to Shakeſpeare, while he was holding horſes at the play-houſe door, every varied poſition of the human mind, every ſhade of diſcrimination in the human character? all the diſtinct affections, and all the complicated feelings of the heart of man? Who taught him to give to the dead letter of narrative the living ſpirit of action; to combine the moſt philoſophic turn of thinking with the warmeſt energies of Paſſion, and to embelliſh both with all the graces of Imagination, and all the enthuſiaſm of Poetry? to make every deſcription a picture, and every ſentiment an axiom? to know how every being which did exiſt, would ſpeak and act in every ſuppoſed circumſtance of ſituation; and how every being, which did not exist but in imagination, muſt ſpeak and act, if ever he were to be called into real exiſtence?b2 But xii b2v xii
But to return to the ſubject of my Letter: When I expreſſed to her my ſurpiſe at two or three claſſical alluſions in one of her Poems, and inquired how ſhe came by them, ſhe ſaid ſhe had taken them from little ordinary prints which hung in a ſhop-window. This hint may, perhaps, help to account for the manner in which a late untutored, and unhappy, but very ſublime genius of this town, Chatterton. caught ſome of thoſe ideas which diffuſe through his writings a certain air of learning, the reality of which he did not poſſeſs. A great mind at once ſeizes and appropriates to itſelf whatever is new and ſtriking; and I am purſuaded, that a truly poetic ſpirit has often the art of appearing to be deeply informed on ſubjects of which he only knows the general principle; by ſkilfully ſeizing the maſter feature, he is thought artfully to reject the detail with which, in fact, he is unacquainted; and obtains that credit for his knowledge which is better due to his judgment.
I have the ſatisfaction to tell you, dear Madam, that our poor Enthuſiaſt is active and induſtrious in no common degree. The Muſes have not cheated her into an opinion, that the retailing a few fine maxims of virtue, may exempt her from the moſt exact probity in her conduct. I have had ſome unequivocal proofs that her morality has not evaporated in ſentiment, but is, I verily believe, fixed in a ſettled principle. Without this, with all her ingenuity, as ſhe would not have obtained my friendſhip, ſo I ſhould not have had the courage to solicit for her your protection.
I already anticipate your generous concurrence in a little project I have in view for her relief. It is not intended to place her in ſuch xiii b3r xiii ſuch a ſtate of independence as might ſeduce her to devote her time to the idleneſs of Poetry. I hope ſhe is convinced, that the making of verſes is not the great buſineſs of human life; and that, as a wife and a mother, ſhe has duties to fill, the ſmallest of which is of more value than the fineſt verſes ſhe can write: but as it has pleaſed God to give her theſe talents, may they not be made an inſtrument to mend her ſituation, if we publiſh a ſmall volume of her Poems by ſubſcription? The liberality of my friends leaves me no room to doubt of ſucceſs.—Preſſing as her diſtreſſes are, if I did not think her heart was rightly turned, I ſhould be afraid of propoſing ſuch a meaſure, lest it ſhould unſettle the ſobriety of her mind, and, by exciting her vanity, indiſpoſe her for the laborious employments of her humble condition; but it would be cruel to imagine that we cannot mend her fortune without impairing her virtue.
For my own part, I do not feel myſelf actuated by the idle vanity of a diſcoverer; for I confeſs, that the ambition of bringing to light a genius buried in obſcurity, operates much leſs powerfully on my mind, than the wiſh to rescue a meritorious woman from miſery, for it is not fame, but bread, which I am anxious to ſecure to her.
I ſhould aſk your pardon for this dull and tedious Letter, if I were not aſſured that you are always ready to ſacrifice your moſt elegant purſuits to the humbleſt claims of humanity; and that the ſweetneſs of renown has not leſſened your ſenſibility for the pleaſuresſures xiv b3v xiv ſures of benevolence, nor deſtroyed your reliſh for that moſt touching and irreſiſtible eloquence, the bleſsing of him who was ready to periſh.
To the Noble and Generous Subscribers, who so liberally patronized a book of poems, published under the auspices of Miss H. More, of Park-Street, Bristol, The following narrative is moſt humbly addreſſed.
I am ſaid to have proved ungrateful to my patroneſs—The charge I diſclaim. Every return that powerleſs gratitude could make, I have offered; but have fatally experienced, that ſimple expreſſion only was inadequate to Miſs More’s extenſive and ſuperior mind.—To exculpate myſelf from the monſtrous charge of ingratitude falls to my lot. Moſt irkſome the taſk! yet, with the moſt humble deference to the noble patronage I am honoured with, I will purſue it. Highly xvi b4v xvi
Highly meritorious would it have been in Miſs H. More, not to have urged me to the taſk, by injuring my character, after chaining me down by obligations. And, great as thoſe obligations are, which that Lady has conditionally laid on me, I would gladly reſign every advantage reſulting from them, for that untainted and happy obſcurity I once poſſeſſed.
When the firſt edition of my book came out, and the balance was paid by the bookſeller to Miſs H. More, ſhe ordered her Attorney to prepare a deed of truſt, appointing Mrs. Montagu (for whom I will ever retain the higheſt veneration and reſpect) with herſelf, the truſtees. It was ſent to Briſtol the day my books came here, with an order for it to be ſigned by my husband and me immediately, and returned to London the next morning.—I had no time to peruſe it, nor take a copy; and from the rapidity with which this circumſtance was conducted, I feared to aſk it. The eldeſt Miſs More read the deed, who, in a converſation ſome time before, had told me, that if her ſiſter chose to ſay ſhe had but twopence of mine, ſhe might, for the world could not get it out of her hands.—My feelings were all ſtruck at—I felt as a mother deemed unworthy the tuition or care of her family; and imagined my conduct and principles muſt of neceſſity be falſely repreſented to a generous public, in order to juſtify the preſent meaſure.—Even the intereſt was not allowed me, but on the capricious terms, that ſhe ſhould lay it out as ſhe thought proper; without any condition in the deed whereby my children might have an undeniable claim in future. In ſhort, every circumstance was calculated to depreſs a mind naturally deſpairing; and in despair I ſigned this incomplete and unſatisfactory deed; and I vainly imagined, by this ſubmission, I had ſecured my character from the imputation of ingratitude, as I 7 relin- xvii c1r xvii relinquiſhed all, even the rights of a mother, at Miſs H. More’s requeſt. When that lady came to Briſtol, we had ſeveral interviews, in one of which her ſiſter mentioned my owing a little money. Miss H. More ſaid ſhe was ſorry I owed any money; adding, If it is much, I cannot pay it—Will you give me an account, to a ſhilling, what you owe?—I told her, I believed it was about ten pounds. She ſaid it ſhould be paid. I was invited to ſup with her a few nights after, and ſhe then gave me the above ſum; addreſſng me, after ſupper, in the following words: Mrs. Yearſley, now you know what you have to truſt to. I can do no more, if any thing ſhould happen; the money lodged in the funds is three hundred and fifty pounds, which nobody but myſelf or Mrs. Montagu can ever call out. You have complained much of being in debt—we hear it from every quarter.—Madam, ſaid I, I From this time, I became very obnoxious to Miſs H. More, on account of a very trifling additional circumſtance, the diſcovery of my buying what is called the hogwaſh of her kitchen; and I am charged with the publication of it. I told her, when ſe charged me with it, that I could not ſee how it could offend her, as it was the perquiſite of her Cook, and had been paid for by the perſon who had it before I had the honour of knowing her. complain of nothing, but for the want of a declaration of the deed for the future ſecurity of my children; therefore ſhall be much obliged to you for it, and a copy of the deed itſelf. —Miſs H. More exclaimed, Are you mad, Mrs. Yearſley? or have you drank a glaſs too much? Who are your adviſers? I am certain you have drank, or you would not talk to me in this manner.
I replied, Madam, you are very wrong to think I have drank. I am only anxious on my children’s account. Circumſtances c “may xviii c1v xviii may change, ten or twenty years hence, when perhaps I am no more; and I only wiſh for a copy of the deed, as a little memorandum for my children; nor do I think the requiſition unreaſonable.
Miſs Betty More ſaid, I don’t think you unreaſonable, Mrs. Yearſley; but there is a manner of ſpeaking.—I told her, As to the manner of ſpeaking, I fear I ſhall always err in that, as I have not been accuſtomed to your rules of poliſhed life.—Miſs H. More ſaid, I wonder you can ſuſpect Mrs. Montagu, if you ſuſpect me.—I anſwered, Far be it from me to ſuſpect either; nor do I think I have acted as if I was ſuſpicious.—Miſs H. More replied, How would you have acted if you were?— Different from what I have, Madam, ſaid I.—[My anſwer here alluded to my confidence in giving Miſs More all the preſents I had received, from time to time, from thoſe generous friends who viſted me while I was writing my poems; often leaving myſelf without a ſhilling. My motive was, that no perſon’s generoſity might be concealed.]
Miſs H. More then ſaid, Why it is your openneſs of heart, Mrs. Yearſley, that has always charmed us.
I felt more emotion from this trifling commendation, than from all ſhe had haughtily expreſſed; and, finding I could not conceal it, haſtily withdrew, only wiſhing the ladies a good night.
Three weeks elapſed before I again ſaw Miſs H. More, though I went daily to the houſe for the diſh-waſhings. I am greatly hurt in obliging my readers to deſcend to this poor circumſtance; but the explanation will further elucidate Stella’s friendly letter to a lady in London, wherein ſhe ſays, At the time this wretch is arraigning my conduct, ſhe is fetching the waſh every day from my house.—It was in the courſe of theſe three weeks her letter was wrote, and, in this interval, the ſervant offered me the money which I had paid for the year paſt, which I did not accept. wherein xix c2r xix
Miſs More, from that period, intirely altered her conduct to me. Though, after the moſt diligent enquiry, ſhe had given me the moſt flattering character, in her letter to Mrs. Montagu, informing that lady, That it has been denied this poor recluſe to drink at the pure well-head of pagan poeſy; yet, from the true fountain of divine inſpiration, her mind has been wonderfully cheriſhed and enriched; nor has the retailing a few fine maxims of virtue cheated her of the moſt exact probity of heart: induſtrious in no common degree, pious, unambitious, ſimple and unaffected in her manners, of which I have received inconteſtable proofs.
Theſe, with many more perfections, are the ornaments with which this very conſiſtent lady has thought fit to adorn the Milkwoman of Clifton! But, alas! how fallacious is eloquence! how inconſtant capricious affection, when ſteady principle is not the baſis!—From elaborate commendation, the elevated Stella deſcends to low ſcurrility, charging me with drunkeneſs, gambling, extravagance, and terming me wretched, baſe, ungrateful, ſpendthrift; boaſting, in the ſame letter, of her charity to a departed mother, whom, I ſolemnly declare, Miſs More never ſaw, nor ever relieved. My mother quitted this life in March; the first time I ſaw Miſs More was in September following, when ſhe presented me with a guinea, from the worthy Mrs. Montagu, which was afterwards charged to the ſubſcription, and added to the money which Miſs More allowed me while I was writing my poems. c2 The xx c2v xx
The laſt and final interview between Miſs More and me, took place in July, when three gentlemen were preſent, and all took a part in the converſation. I ſpoke but little, my ſpirits were depreſſed, but I carefully concealed my emotion.—Miſs More appeared to be greatly moved, and told me imperiouſly, that I was a ſavage—that my veracity agreed with my other virtues— that I had a reprobate mind, and was a bad woman.—I replied, that her accuſations could never make me a bad woman—that ſhe deſcended in calling me a ſavage, nor would ſhe have had the temerity to do it, had I not given myſelf that name!
Miſs More then gave me her account of the money ſhe had advanced me ſince her friendſhip firſt commenced, which was twentyeight pounds fourteen ſhillings, and offered me the dividend for the firſt half-year; which, with ſo much inſult, I could not accept; Stella wrote to London, that I daſhed the money in her face, and that I was otherwiſe very violent. I declare thoſe charges to be totally without foundation: the money lay on the table, but was not touched by me. but told her calmly, that ſhe had rendered obligation inſupportable already, and I never would make it more oppreſſive; but ſhould be obliged to her if ſhe would return my MS. copies.
Miſs More replied, They are left at the Printer’s, Mrs. Yearſley—Don’t think I ſhall make any uſe of them—They are burnt. —Burnt! ſaid I!!—She ſeemed confuſed—my heart felt for her;—thoſe ſhort pauſes convinced me that ſhe was hurt, and from that conſideration I was ſilent; but am ſtill concerned that ſhe would not return thoſe poems which are not publiſhed.—Miſs More gave me a copy of the deed. I told her I deſired no more, and took my leave. Motives xxi c3r xxi
Motives the moſt powerful and natural that can poſſeſs the female breaſt, urged me to require a copy of the deed; nor can I now, at this preſent period, repent the requiſition, though it has been attended with ſo much calumny, and ſo many falſe repreſentations.— My character, which in one moment appeared ſo bright, and in the next tinged with every vice that can diſgrace the ſex, excited many gentlemen and ladies to viſit me. To theſe I ſimply rehearſed the real fact; and produced the copy of the deed. None could juſtify it:—but I am particularly indebted to Mr. Shiells, for his generous and diſintereſted friendſhip. On reading the copy, that worthy gentleman immediately wrote to Miſs H. More; but received no anſwer. Inſtead of anſwering his letter, the ingenuous Stella wrote to a lady in London, deſiring her letter might be read to Mr. Shiells.—It was; and contained all thoſe falſe charges on my character which I have here mentioned.—Mr. S. immediately wrote to Miſs More, deſiring he might be allowed a copy of this ſcurrilous letter; but received no anſwer.—Three months elapſed before any thing more was done. Miſs More was adviſed either to grant a new deed, or reſign the truſt; both which ſhe peremptorily refuſed, declaring, that no power upon earth ſhould oblige her to give up the truſt. But my friends becoming ſtill more in earneſt and determined, ſhe at last reſigned; but ſtill continues to juſtify her conduct, by defaming mine.—Deplorable extremity! when innate principle condemns the varniſhed tale.
Every cauſe of difference being now removed, my generous friend (Mr. S.) wrote to Miſs More, through the channel of her bookſeller, not knowing where to addreſs her.—The contents of his impartial letter may not be unpleaſing to the mind that dare profeſs itſelf candid and unprejudiced. “Mr. xxii c3v xxiiMr. S— preſents his compliments to Mr. C—, and informs him, that by a letter he has lately received from a friend at Briſtol, he is agreeably informed, that by the interpoſition and good offices of the friends of Miſs More and the Milkwoman, the difference which unfortunately took place ſome months ago, has been happily brought to a concluſion; Miſs M— having complied with the requiſition of Mrs. Yearſley, and both their friends. It is therefore to be hoped that Miſs M— will how herſelf, or permit ſome friend of both to draw up a ſhort paragraph, to wipe away the ill-founded charges too haſtily thrown upon that poor woman’s character—he is perſuaded, not from a badneſs of heart, but in the warmth of reſentment for her haſty requiſition of a copy of the deed of truſt, (which all her friends thought ſhe ought to have had a declaration of that deed, inſtead of the copy.) That buſineſs may now be happily terminated, by the inſertion of a paragraph in the Public Advertiſer, this being the proper period for the purpoſe, as the public opinion on the ſubject has been arreſted for ſome months, as to the cauſe of ſuch altercation between the Patroneſs and Client, which produced that invidious paragraph in the Public Advertiſer, on the 8th of September laſt, which is ſtrongly ſuſpected to come from Miſs H. M— (ſhe having been called upon to diſavow it, without effect) and the conſequent appearance of that of the 10th of the ſame month, in reply. —Here is now a fair opportunity of putting the whole matter upon a pleaſant footing, if Miſs M— poſſeſſes the mind ſhe is generally allowed to have; but if ſhe ſhould decline, at leaſt a public reconciliation, ſhe can blame none but herſelf.—This application proceeds from no other motive than that of being inſtrumental“ſtrumental xxiii c4r xxiii ſtrumental in opening again that ſource of kindly intercourſe between minds ſo congenial. If this hint be adopted, it muſt certainly create very pleaſing emotions, as well in the breaſt of Miſs M—, as in every one of thoſe who are held in ſuſpence till it happens; but muſt have a contrary effect if it is neglected. By complying with this advice, the intereſt and happineſs of this poor woman, whom ſhe has brought into public view, may ſtill receive the advantage of her future patronage, and her own character be preſerved from the ſtrong ſuſpicion of jealouſy, pique, or intereſted views. Lambeth, 1786-01-06January 6th, 1786.
But to proceed to the narrative.—Inſtead of benefiting from the friendly advice given by the above note, ſhe ſtill remained inexorable; and returned her anſwer in the following lines to her bookseller:Miſs More’s compliments to Mr. C—; will be obliged to him to let Mr. Sheills know, that, as nothing has happened to alter her opinion of the Milk-woman, there never can be any more communication between them: and ſhe thinks ſhe has a right to deſire, that no use may be made of her name in any news-paper or publication whatever; at leaſt it never will be with her conſent. Hampton, 1786-01-12January 12th, 1786. 5 This xxiv c4v xxiv
This very generous and ultimate note was conveyed to my friend by the bookſeller:—who has paid me the caſh in his hands, after deducting all expences, with his declaration, that he will not engage any farther with me.—And, being by him informed, that my poems are out of print, I have preſumed to publiſh this fourth edition, with a faithful ſlate of facts as they ſucceſſively aroſe.
Shielded by popular opinion, the ungenerous Stella aims at a defenceleſs breaſt—her arrows are of the most malignant kind—yet her endeavours to cruſh an inſignificant wretch need not be ſo amazingly ſtrenuous; for I ſhould have ſunk into obſcurity again, had not my reputation been ſo cruelly wounded.—I have to lament, that it does not require one ſhort hour for this expeditious lady to make her wonderful tranſit from the zenith of praiſe to the center of malicious detraction.—For all the perfection, fame, or virtues ſhe can boaſt of poſſeſſing, I would not be ſo much a Proteus!
It having been repreſented that my laſt work received great ornament and addition from a learned and ſuperior genius, and my manuſcripts not exiſting to contradict it, I have ventured, without a guide, on a ſecond volume of poems, and will complete them with as much expedition as the more important duties of my family will permit.
Here let me cloſe this true but unpleaſant narrative, with the humble hope of your forgiveneſs, for obtruding on your attention ſo inſignificant a tale: but, as character is more precious than life itſelf, the protection of that alone compelled me to the taſk.— And, in order to wipe away the ſuggeſtion of having been aided by other xxv d1r xxv other aſſiſtance, I will loſe as little time as poſſible in laying before you and the public the promiſed work, and reſt in full confidence of your future protection and ſupport.
Ann Yearsley.Clifton Hill, 1786-10-12October12th, 1786.
The above narrative was prefixed to a fourth edition of my poems, which I have had the ſatiſfaction to hear has been well received; but the non-publication of the Deed of Truſt occaſioned many to doubt, whether there was any thing unreaſonable in it: to vindicate my own character, I ſhall now ſubmit an exact copy to the conſideration of the public.—Mrs. Montagu’s name I think profaned in a proceeding of this nature; nor do I ſuppoſe that lady was ever made acquainted with the contents of the Deed before it was ſigned.
Deed of Trust.
To all to whom theſe preſents ſhall come, John Yearſley, of Clifton, near Briſtol, in the county of Glouceſter, labourer, and Ann his wife, ſend greeting. Whereas the ſaid Ann Yearſley hath written and compoſed a volume of poems, which have lately been publiſhed by Subſcription, and whereas Hannah More, of Briſtol aforeſaid, ſpinſter, having patronized the said Ann Yearſley, hath obtained voluntary contributions and ſubſcriptions, from ſundry perſons, who at her requeſt, and under her influence, have encouraged the publication of the ſaid Poems to a conſiderable amount. And whereas the ſaid John Yearſley, and Ann his wife, have agreed, That after payment of the expences of printing and publiſhing the ſaid volume of Poems, and other charges incident thereto, the balance, or ſum, which ſhall then remain in the hands of the ſaid Hannah More, on account of the aforeſaid ſubſcriptions and voluntary contributions, ſhall be laid out, and inveſted by her, in ſome, or one, of the Parliamentary Funds, or Government Securities of Great Britain, or any other ſecurity which the ſaid Hannah More ſhall think fit, in the joint names of Elizabeth Montagu, of Portman-ſquare, in the county of Middleſex, widow, and her the ſaid Hannah More; and that they, the ſaid Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, ſhall be at liberty to lay out, expend, apply, and dispose d2 of, xxviii d2v xxviii of, as well the principal ſum, as the intereſt thereof, from time to time, in ſuch way and manner as they ſhall think moſt for the benefit and advantage of her, the ſaid Ann Yearſley, and her children.
Now theſe preſents witneſs, And the ſaid John Yearſley doth, for himſelf and the ſaid Ann his wife, their heirs, executors and adminiſtrators, covenant, promiſe and agree, to and with the ſaid Elizabeth Montagu, and Hannah More, and with their executors, adminiſtrators and aſſigns, by theſe preſents, that it ſhall and may be lawful to, and for the ſaid Elizabeth Montagu, and Hannah More, and they are herby authoriſed and empowered, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to pay, apply, and diſpose of all, and ſingular, ſuch ſum and ſums of money as ſhall remain in the hands of the ſaid Hannah More, on account of the beforementioned ſubſcriptions, and voluntary contributions, after payment thereout of the expences of printing and publiſhing the aforesaid volume of Poems, and other charges incident thereto, together with the intereſt of ſuch ſum or ſums of money, in ſuch way and manner as they, the ſaid Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, ſhall judge moſt for the benefit of, and advantage of, the ſaid Ann Yearſley and her children, and that the ſame, or any part thereof ſhall not be ſubject or liable to the debts, controul, or engagements of him, the ſaid John Yearſley, her preſent, nor of any future huſband ſhe may hereafter marry.
And further, That ſuch application and diſpoſal of the ſaid principal-money, and intereſt, from time to time, by the ſaid Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, and all and every ſum and ſums of money which they ſhall thereout pay, lay out, and expend, for the uſe, benefit, or advantage, of the ſaid Ann Yearſley and her children, illegible ſhall xxix d3r xxix ſhall be as good and effectual payment, as if ſuch ſum and ſums of money was, or were, paid unto him, the ſaid John Yearſley; and they, the ſaid Hannah More, and Elizabeth Montagu, ſhall not be ſubject to any claim, or demand, of him, the ſaid John Yearſley, on account thereof, or of the monies which ſhall, at any time, remain in their hands, it being the true intent and meaning of theſe preſents, and of the ſaid John Yearſley and Ann his wife, that they, the ſaid Elizabeth Montagu and Hannah More, ſhall continue poſſeſſed of ſuch monies until the ſame ſhall be wholly paid, applied, and diſpoſed of, for the purpoſes above-mentioned, without being ſubject to any claim, or demand, either at law, or in equity, of him, the ſaid John Yearſley, his executors, adminiſtrators, or aſſigns, on account thereof. And that the ſame, or any part thereof, ſhall not be ſubject to the debts, controul, or engagements, moleſtation, hindrance or interruption of him, the ſaid John Yearſley, his executors, administrators, or aſſigns.
In witneſs whereof, they, the ſaid John Yearſley and Ann his wife, have hereunto ſet their hands and ſeals this tenth day of June, in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of our Sovereign, Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the faith, &c; and in the year of our Lord 1785one thouſand, ſeven hundred and eighty-five.
Ann Yearsley.Sealed and delivered (being firſt duly ſtamped) in the preſence of Mary More, John Ford.
Mrs. Yearsley’s Propoſals, in Behalf of her Children, preſented to Miſs Hannah More, and rejected.
The money to continue in the future diſpoſition of Mrs. Montague and Miſs H. More, allowing Ann Yearſley to be admitted as a joint truſtee, the money to be equally divided according to the number of her children, and ſubject to their demand on their arrival at the age of twenty-one years. Ann Yearſley, her preſent, or any future huſband, never to have the leaſt demand on the principal ſum, but wiſhes to receive the intereſt without controul.
A List of Subscribers.
- Right Hon. Lord Arden
- Mrs. Arnold
- Colonel Ackland
- James Ackland, Eſq;
- Rev. Mr. Anſley
- Mr. Arthur
- Mr. Alder
- Mrs. Alder
- Miſs Atkinſon
- Rev. W. Atkinſon, M.A.
- Mr. Anderſon
- Miſs Jane Anderſon
- Miſs Jannet Anderſon
- Mrs. Alder
- Mrs. Allen, Surrey-place.
- Rt. Hon. the Earl of Briſtol, 20 copies
- Lady Beard
- Mr. J. Burnett, Vauxhall
- Mr. Robert Burnett, Vauxhall
- Miſs Burnett, Union Place
- Mrs. J. Burnett, Kenſington-lane
- Mr. Brown, 4 copies
- Mrs. Ann Baylis
- Mrs. Borham
- B. Anonymous
- Mrs. Edward Brudenell
- Miſs Brown
- Mr. Batty
- Miſs Bluct
- Mrs. B. anonymous
- Mr. Broadley
- Mrs. Birdſall
- Mrs. Blenkhorn
- Mr. Edward Beckwith
- Miss Beckwith
- Mrs. Brooke
- Mr. Bell
- Miſs Bate Miſs xxxii d4v xxxii
- Miſs Banks
- Mr. Barſtow
- Mrs. Bains
- Rev. Mr. Slade Baker
- George Beſt, Eſq;
- Mrs. G. Beſt
- Lady Boyd
- John Boyd, Eſq;
- Mrs. Boyd
- Sir John Boyd, Bart.
- Miſs Boyd
- Mrs. Boyd
- Robert Blencowe, Eſq;
- Mrs. Barnardiſton
- Rev. Mr. Brandt
- Miſs Burt
- W. Bray, Eſq;
- Dr. Backhouſe
- Mrs. Bencroft
- Miſs Bently
- Miſs Benniſon
- Mr. Batchelor
- Miſs Blackwood
- Miſs Brown
- Mr. Bowden
- Mr. Baker
- Miſs Berrow
- John Blencowe, Eſq;
- Mrs. Bragge
- Mrs. Bunn
- Lady Brookes
- Mrs. Braſſry
- Miſs S. Bentley
- Thomas Chamberlayne, Eſq;
- Sir Grey Cooper, Bart.
- Lady Cooper
- Miſs Cooper
- Miſs C. Cooper
- Frederick Cooper, Eſq;
- Hugh Crofton, Eſq;
- Mrs. Crook
- Mr. Chillcott
- Edward le Craſs, Eſq;
- Miſs Crompe
- Mrs. Craidoe
- Mr. Cawling
- Rev. John Croſby, M.A.
- Mr. Candler
- Miſs Clark
- Mr. Creſwell
- Miſs Chaytor
- Miſs Jane Chaytor
- Miſs Cullingworth
- Mr. Conſtable
- Mr. Cameron
- Rev. Mr. Edmund Cartwright
- Rev. Mr. Campbell
- Mr. Caley
- Miſs A. Cleaver
- Miſs Cullingworth
- Miſs Codd
- Mrs. Cuſt
- Mr. Crofts
- John Crank, Eſq;
- Felix Clay, Eſq;
- Mr. Crookſon, Trinity College
- Miſs Carter
- William Clay, Eſq;
- Mrs. Cheveley
- Miſs Cheveley
- Miſs A. Cheveley
- Miſs Charſley
- Mr. Dawſon
- Mrs. Dawſon
- Miſs Eliza Dawson
- Mr. William Dawſon
- Miſs Dawſon
- Miſs M. Dawſon
- Miſs Dawſon
- Mr. J. Davidſon
- Thomas Donaldſon, Eſq; Miſs xxxiii e1r xxxiii
- Miſs Daviſon
- Mr. Dunhill
- Mr. Dixon
- Hon. Baron Dimſdale
- Baroneſs Dimſdale
- Baron Nathaniel Dimſdale
- Miſs Dimſdale
- Robert Dimſdale, Eſq;
- Richard Dimſdale, Eſq;
- John Dimſdale, Eſq;
- Mrs. Dimſdale
- Right Hon. Lady Mary Drummond
- Andrew Drummond, Eſq;
- Right Hon. the Earl of Donegal
- Vice Admiral Drake
- Mrs. Drake
- Miſs Drake
- Miſs S. Drake
- Miſs Davies
- Miſs Dumareſk
- Miſs C. Duncane
- —Dutton, Eſq;
- Miſs Dutton
- Miſs S. Dutton
- Miſs H. Dutton
- Rev. Henry Dabzac, D.D.
- Mr. Dupont
- Mr. Dwyer
- Mr. H. Davies
- Lord Deerhurſt
- Lady Deerhurſt
- Mrs. Dring
- Miſs Dring
- Right Hon. Sir G. Elliot, Knt. of the Bath, Governor and Commander in Chief of his Majeſty’s Forces in Gibraltar
- Sir Thomas Edwards, Bart.
- Miſs Edwards
- T. Eagles, Eſq;
- Mrs. Ewbank
- Colonel Edmeſton
- Mr. William Eaſton
- Mr. S. B. Edmeſton
- Mr. Egerton, St. Peter’s Coll.
- Mr. Eddie, Strand, London
- Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Fane
- Francis Fane, Eſq;
- Mrs. Fuller
- —Fiſher, Eſq;
- Mrs. Fiſher
- Miſs Fiſher
- Miss M. Fiſher
- John Freeman, Eſq;
- Rev. Mr. Freeman
- Mrs. Freeman
- Mr. Forſter, St. Peter’s Coll.
- D. T. Fenning
- Samuel Fenning, jun.
- Lady Fuſt
- Mr. Fiſburn
- Mrs. Fairfax
- Miſs Finny
- Miſs Forſter
- Miſs F. Forſter
- Mr. Forſter, St. Stephen’s Coll.
- Mr. Fieckney
- Mrs. Fenwick
- Mr. Fleming, jun.
- Mr. Greenalgh, Trin. Coll.
- Grantham Book Club e Mrs. xxxiv e1v xxxiv
- Mrs. Gee
- Miſs E. Gavin
- Miſs Grey
- Rev. Page Godfrey
- Mr. Burnett Grieve
- Mrs. Grieve
- Wilmer Goſſip, Eſq;
- Mr. Alexander Gibſon
- Mrs. Grant
- Robert Gray, Esq;
- Mr. Gibbons
- Mrs. Gibbons
- Edward Grey, Eſq;
- Miſs Grote
- Miſs L. Grote
- Mr. G. Gibſon
- Mr. J. Gibſon
- Charles Hawkins, Eſq;
- Mr. Hill
- Mrs. Harris
- Mrs. J. Heathcoate
- Samuel Heathcoate, Eſq;
- Thomas Hemmings, Eſq;
- Mrs. Hemmings
- Mr. Hemmings, jun.
- Rev. Mr. Hinton
- Miſs H. Hume
- Miſs Haddock
- Miſs Henſhawe
- Mrs. Huddy
- Miſs Hamilton, Ireland
- Francis Haward, Eſq;
- Mr. R. Heron
- Miſs Henly
- Mr. Hamilton
- Mr. Hyde
- Mr. Hughes
- Miſs H. Heber
- Miſs Hawes
- Mrs. Haverfield
- Mr. Hipſley
- Mrs. Huttons
- Miſs Hills
- Mrs. H. anonymous
- Mr. J. Holt
- Miſs Hartley
- Miſs Harvey
- Mrs. Harriſon
- Mr. C. Harriſon
- Mr. Robert Hardy
- Captain Homes
- Thomas Hills, Eſq;
- Timothy Hunton, Eſq;
- Mr. William Hall
- Mr. Henry
- Mr. Holmes, Trinity Coll.
- Mrs. Hedger
- Rev. Mr. Ingles
- Miſs H. Iſham
- Mr. Ikin
- Mr. Jones
- Mr. Jeffreys
- Mrs. Jameſon
- Mrs. Jameſon
- Mr. J. Jeffery
- Mr. Jeffery
- Robert James, Eſq; Temple
- Mr. Jenkins
- Mr. Kieft
- Mrs. Kington
- Mr. Kimberly
- Mrs. Knight Lady xxxv e2r xxxv
- Lady Maria Keith
- Miſs E. Knipe
- Miſs Kenyon
- Mr. Kilvington
- Mr. Andrew Kearſ
- Mr. Knipe
- Mrs. Key
- Sir Lyonel Lyde
- Miſs Lenthall
- Miſs Lightowler
- —Lewes, Eſq;
- Mrs. Louth
- Miſs Louth
- Mr. William Ludlow
- John LeFevre, Eſq;
- Mrs. Laing
- James Godfrey Lill, Eſq;
- Mr. La Bas
- Mrs. Montague
- Mr. Morley
- Miſs Mooſom
- Mrs. C. Movutt
- Mr. Mandall, jun.
- Mr. William Mills
- Mrs. Moore
- Mr. Meliſs
- Mrs. Meliſs
- James Murray, Eſq;
- Mr. Walter Miller
- Miſs Mortimer
- Miſs Merrick
- Job Matthew, Eſq;
- Mrs. Miles
- William Miles, jun. Eſq;
- Miſs Miles
- Miſs Charlotte Miles
- Philip Miles, Eſq;
- Mrs. P. Miles
- Mr. Marſh
- Mr. Maddick
- Henry Major, Eſq;
- William Vans Murray, Eſq; Temple
- Mr. William Meyler, Bath
- Mrs. Minnet
- Mr. Moreglaine
- Mr. M‘Pherſon, Walcot-place
- His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, 4 copies
- Her Grace the Ducheſs of Northumberland, 4 copies
- Mr. Norton, Briſtol, 12 copies
- Miſs A. Neſham
- Mr. Neal
- Molyneux Hyde Nephean, London
- Henry Nichols, Eſq;
- G. Nicol, Eſq;
- Mrs. Odell
- Charles Oſborne, Eſq;
- Miſs Oxley
- Mrs. McOmic
- Right Honourable Lady Elizabeth Percival
- Right Honourable Lady Frances Percival e2 Right xxxvi e2v xxxvi
- Right Hon. Lady Margaret Percival
- Right Hon. Spenſer Percival
- Mr. Pine
- Mrs. Puget
- Miſs E. Puget
- Miſs H. Puget
- Miſs Pierce
- Miſs Jane Pipon
- Miſs Protheroe
- Miſs Potter
- Mr. Penſon
- Mr. Potts
- Mrs. Procter
- Mr. Paton
- Mrs. Percivil
- Mr. Plumer, Trinity Coll.
- Mrs. Puget
- Alexander Renton, Eſq;
- Mr. James Richardſon
- Mr. Lewes Robertſon
- Mr. Rycroft
- Miſs Richardſon
- Mrs. Romer
- Rev. Mr. Rumney
- Mr. Iſaac Robinſon
- Miſs Roſe
- Mr. James Ramſey
- William Roberts, Eſq;
- Capt. Roberts, Eſq; of the Navy
- Richard Roberts, Eſq;
- Robert Roberts, Eſq;
- Mr. Richards
- Charles Raikes, Eſq;
- William Matthew Raikes, Eſq;
- Robert Raikes, Eſq;
- Miſs Raikes
- Miſs Ruſſell
- William Ramus Eſq;
- Miſs Ramus
- Mrs. Reeve
- Mr. R. Reyds
- Mr. Geo. Richardſon, Architect
- Capt. Shand of the Artillery
- Dr. Stevenſon
- William Thomas Skynner
- Mr. George Suttell
- Mr. Shipton
- Miſs Stoddard
- Miſs Scott
- Mr. Singleton
- Miſs Slaytor
- Mrs. Steward
- Miss Sterling
- Miſs Selby
- Major Scott
- Mrs. Springle
- Mr. Stonehouſe
- Mrs. J. G. Sandiman
- John Stewart, Eſq;
- Mr. John Stewart
- Mrs. J. Shepherd
- Mrs. Stretten
- Mr. Smith
- Right Hon. Counteſs of Shaftsbury
- James Shiells, Eſq;
- Miſs Shiells
- Miſs Scott
- Mr. Seward
- Samuel Spann, Eſq;
- Mrs. Spann
- Mr. Smith
- Mr. Seymour
- C.M.S. anonymous
- Miſs Scrofton
- Mr. Speed Miſs xxxvii e3r xxxvii
- Miſs Margaret Scott
- Mr. Sautier
- Miſs Smith
- William Scott, Eſq;
- Mrs. Snelling
- Mr. Smith, Trinity Coll.
- Mrs. Smith, Walcot-place
- John Trevanion, Eſq;
- A. Trail, Liſburn, Ireland
- Mrs. Trevanion
- Mr. Travers
- Miſs Thornton
- Charles Talbot, Eſq;
- Miſs Tobin
- Mr. Taylor
- John Tyler, Eſq;
- Miſs Tyler
- Mrs. W. Tomkins
- Mr. Taylor
- Capt. Terrot
- Mr. Thornton
- Mrs. W. Turnbull
- Mr. Thrall
- Mr. Jacob Thompſon
- Miſs Underwood
- Richard Vaughan, Eſq;
- Mrs. Vaughan
- Lady Wallace
- Miſs Wilkie
- Mr. Whitfield
- James Wilkie
- George Wright, Eſq;
- Mrs. Wright
- Mr. Whitelock
- Mrs. Whithers
- Miſs Whitehead
- Miſs Walker
- John Wilkie, Eſq;
- Mrs. Wilkie
- Miſs Woodcock
- Mr. Woodcock, jun.
- Mrs. Wood
- Lady Elizabeth Worſley
- William Willet, Eſq;
- Miſs Watſon
- Sir John Webb, Bart.
- Miſs Sophia Wynhard
- Miſs Waterhouſe
- Mr. Wells
- Miſs Williamſon
- John Wightwick, Eſq;
- Samuel Worral, Eſq;
- James Wilmot, Eſq;
- Rev. Geo. Watts
- Simon Wilſon, Eſq;
- Mr. Wood, Trinity Coll.
- Mr. Wilſon, Trinity Coll.
- Mr. Waud, Trinity Coll.
- Mr. Whatley, Lambeth
- Richard Weld, Eſq.
- Rev. Mr. Watkins, Shropſhire.
- Rev. Mr. Youll
- John Young, Eſq;
N.B. The Names of several Subſcribers not having come to Hand time enough for Inſertion, were unavoidably omitted in the above Liſt— but the Books ſhall be carefully delivered to their Order.
Addressed to Sensibility
Oh! Sensibility! Thou buſy nurſe
Of Inj’ries once receiv’d, why wilt thou feed
Thoſe ſerpents in the ſoul? their ſtings more fell
Than thoſe which writh’d round Priam’s prieſtly ſon;
I feel them here! They rend my panting breaſt,
But I will tear them thence: ah! effort vain!
Diſturb’d they grow rapacious, while their fangsB strike 002 B1v 2
Strike at poor Memory; wounded ſhe deplores
Her raviſh’d joys, and murmurs o’er the paſt.
Why ſhrinks my ſoul within theſe priſon Bedlam. walls,
Where wretches ſhake their chains? Ill-fated youth,
Why does thine eye run wildly o’er my form,
Pointed with fond enquiry? ’Tis not Me,
Thy reſtleſs thought would find; the ſilent tear
Steals gently down his cheek: ah! could my arms
Afford thee refuge, I would bear thee hence
To a more peaceful dwelling. Vain the wiſh!
Thy pow’rs are all unhing’d, and thou wouldſt ſit
Inſenſible to ſympathy: farewell.
Lamented being! ever loſt to hope,
I leave thee, yea deſpair myſelf of cure.
For, oh, my boſom bleeds, while griefs like thine
Increaſe the recent pang. Penſive I rove,
More wounded than the hart, whoſe ſide yet holds
The deadly arrow: Friendſhip, boaſt no more
Thy hoard of joys, o’er which my ſoul oft hung;
Like the too anxious miſer o’er his gold.
My treaſures all are wreck’d; I quit the ſcene
Where haughty Inſult cut the ſacred ties
Which long had held us: Cruel Julius! take
My laſt adieu. The wound thou gav’ſt is death,
Nor can’ſt e’en thou recall my frighted senſe
With Friendſhip’s pleaſing ſound; yet will I claſp
Thy valued image to my aching mind,
And viewing that, forgive thee; will deplore
The blow that ſever’d two congenial ſouls!
Officious Senſibility! ’tis thine
To give the fineſt anguiſh, to diſſolve
The droſs of ſpirit, till all eſſence, ſhe
Refines on real woe; from thence extracts
Sad unexiſting phantoms, never ſeen.
Yet, dear ideal mourner, be thou near
When on Lyſander’s tears I ſilent gaze;
Then, with thy viewleſs pencil, form his ſigh,
His deepeſt groan, his ſorrow-tinged thought,
Wiſh immature, impatience, cold deſpair,
With all the tort’ring images that play,
In ſable hue, within his waſted mind.
And when this dreary group ſhall meet my thought,
Oh! throw my pow’rs upon a fertile ſpace,Where 005 B3r 5
Where mingles ev’ry varied ſoft relief.
Without thee, I could offer but the dregs
Of vulgar conſolation; from her cup
He turns the eye, nor dare it ſoil his lip!
Raiſe thou my friendly hand; mix thou the draught
More pure than ether, as ambroſia clear,
Fit only for the ſoul; thy chalice fill
With drops of ſympathy, which ſwiftly fall
From my afflicted heart: yet—yet beware,
Nor ſtoop to ſeize from Paſſion’s warmer clime
A pois’nous ſweet.—Bright cherub, ſafely rove
Thro’ all the deep receſſes of the ſoul!
Float on her raptures, deeper tinge her woes,
Strengthen emotion, higher waft her ſigh,
Sit in the tearful orb, and ardent gaze
On joy or ſorrow. But thy empire endsWithin 006 B3v 6
Within the line of spirit. My rough ſoul,
O Senſibility! defenceleſs hails,
Thy feelings moſt acute. Yet, ye who boaſt
Of bliſs I ne’er muſt reach, ye, who can fix
A rule for ſentiment, if rules there are,
(For much I doubt, my friends, if rule e’er held
Capacious ſentiment) ye ſure can point
My mind to joys that never touch’d the heart.
What is this joy? Where does its eſſence reſt?
Ah! ſelf-confounding ſophiſts, will ye dare
Pronounce that joy which never touch’d the heart?
Does Education give the tranſport keen,
Or ſwell your vaunted grief? No, Nature feels
Moſt poignant, undefended; hails with me
The Pow’rs of Senſibility untaught.
On the Death of Her Grace, The Ducheſs Dowager of Portland. Her Grace the Ducheſs Dowager of Portland ſubſcribed twenty guineas to the Author’s firſt work, and was the only ſubſcriber with whoſe generoſity Mrs. Yearſley was ever made acquainted.
That ſigh’s the laſt! Illuſtrious ſpirit fly,
Nor pauſe, nor caſt one ling’ring look behind.
The doors of life are clos’d: the harps on high
Vibrating wait till with thy raptures join’d.
Upborne on ſoaring exſtaſy ſhe dares
Her flight progreſſive, ting’d with heav’nly rays;
Behold! refulgence on her form appears,
More bright than that which Iris’ bow diſplays.
Beneath her far, wide beds of waters lie,
Diſtant ſhe ſees obedient lightnings bound;
Whole ſeas of fire ſtrike on her wond’ring eye,
And winds, and thunders, breathe a dying ſound.
Celeſtial beings gliding to and fro,
Hail the fair ſtranger, and with ſmile divine,
Point where the dazzling emanations flow
From Deity,—where worlds of glory ſhine.
With angel troops thro’ light ſhe roves afar,
And her lov’d Lord with added raptures ſpies,
Reclin’d in bliſs, while ſeraphs ſing the war,
When Heav’ns bright rebel loſt his native ſkies.
The happy ſpirits, each with tranſport hail’d,
Both join the ſeraphim’s exalted tone,
Whoſe beauteous faces, tho’ with pinions veiled,
They ne’er oppoſe to Great Jehovah’s Throne.
Hail, Portland, hail! and ſhould’ſt thou pauſe in joy,
In that ſhort moment to my numbers bend;
Time ne’er my ſtrong effuſions shall alloy,
My ſoul exults that thou wert once her friend.
To a Sensible But Passionate Friend.
Trivial circumſtances riſing
Strike thy ſoul with lightning’s haſte;
Quick ſenſations, Rule deſpiſing,
Give thee ſtrongeſt, keeneſt taſte.
Exquiſite thy mental pleaſure,
Common tranſports are not thine;
Far ſurpaſſing vulgar meaſure,
All thy joys are near divine.
Keep thy heights of bliſs, nor venture
On the ſcene of painful thought;
Think how deeply grief muſt center
In a ſoul ſo finely wrought.
Oft I’ve ſeen thy boſom heaving,
Oft have mark’d the ſigh ſuppreſs’d;
Still the ſenſeleſs eye deceiving,
When the pang has rack’d thy breaſt.
****** ſuch ſouls as thine muſt languiſh,
Like majeſtic ruin lie;
None but equals ſhare thine anguiſh,
Fools deride thy deepeſt ſigh.
Yet Philoſophy deſpairing,
Mourns thy richeſt feelings loſt;
When from ſelf-denial veering
Thou’rt on ſtorms of paſſion toſt.
Shou’dſt thou view a weaker ſpirit,
Moving in her ſphere confin’d,
Be it ſtill thy greateſt merit
To forgive, and be reſign’d.
To the Bristol Marine Society.
Come, thou unconquer’d pow’r! that aid’ſt the line,
And boldly bidd’ſt the wild idea riſe,
Ruſh on my ſenſe! ſwift o’er my tranquil ſoul
Breathe thy ſtrong influence, till her deepeſt ſprings
Are all in motion ſet. Lo! the calm ſea,
Like me, inactive, waits the breath of Heav’n;
Once caught! obedient to his cauſe, he rolls
His aged billows to their deſtin’d ſhore,
Bearing the wiſhing rover to his home.
But you! who mourn the majeſty of man,
Too early marr’d in the fair ſhameleſs youth;
You, who have ſigh’d, when in the liſt of ſin,
A blooming champion in her cauſe he ſtood,
Till vengeance met him in her full career,
And hurl’d him blotted to a timeleſs grave;
To you I bend, to you I ſtrike the lyre,
Ruſtic and unharmonious—from your walls
Lo! ſhrieking Infamy for ever flies,
Whoſe poiſons long ſate heavy on the winds,
While from her bliſter’d tongue the furies fell,
More thick than motes, which revel in the ſun.
Fame bears your plaudit o’er the freezing wave,
Where ſhiv’ring ſeamen wait their friendly ſtar
Which warns them from the ſtatue-forming coaſt,1 Nor 017 D1r 17
Nor there alone, beyond the burning line,
Her breath more fragrant than Arabia’s gale,
Shall waft your name, and ſing the ſocial joy
That vibrates on the heart, when Pity ſtrikes
The trembling chords. Ah! what the tranſient gleam
Of falſly-glaring Greatneſs—what the bliſs
Of loud unfeeling Mirth—oppoſed to this
Of reaching out your friendly hand, to ſave
The ſinking form of Innocence, ere Vice
Hath dragg’d her down to miſery and ſhame?
What roaring hurricane, or lightning blue,
Can fright the ſoul, who, thro’ the op’ning clouds,
Diſcerns the arm of Deity? Oh, Faith!
Thou buoy of mortals, firmly fix’d on thee,
Triumphing, we beſtride the ſtorms of life,
Nor quit thee wreck’d on Death’s unjoyful ſhore.
Tremendous ſcene! when the unwieldly hulk
Sleeps on the breaſt of Ocean, nor obeys
The eager efforts of deſpairing man.
Bereft of her tall maſt, and friendly ſail,
Like a too ſtubborn beauty ſtript of pride,
She diſobeys, or runs to wild miſrule.
Then, what’s her giddy motion? Who ſhall ſteer
The crazy helm of Hope? Yon liquid hills
She lazily attempts, or having gain’d
Their wanton ſummit, lo! ſhe ſinks again,
More faintly moves. The next approaching wave
Breaks on her boſom, and ſhe ſtrives no more.
In that ſad moment, the devoted youth,
Whom your ſtrong hand ſnatch’d early from the jaws
Of ſoul-devouring Guilt, ſhall tranquil meet2 The 019 D2r 19
The death he cannot ſhun; and hope to riſe,
When Jeſus, walking on the wave, ſhall bid
The deep throw up her treaſures. Awful thought!
Then ſhall old Ocean end his wonted toils,
And wond’ring, hail Omnipotence: huge ſeas,
Riſe o’er the promontory’s hoary brow,
Where girt by pow’r, they never more ſhall ruſh
Down to their long-lov’d beds, but leave expoſed
The monſt’rous phocæ with their horrid forms.
Here mingled atoms in formation pant,
Impatient for perfection; here the whale,
Rapacious ſhark, and crocodile, more falſe
Than lover’s tears, are ſuddenly arouz’d
By the tremendous uproar; loathing air,
They beat their fins and die. The em’rald, dropt
From Celia’s ear, is ſeen; the lovely maidD2 Long, 020 D2v 20
Long, long, forgotten! Ingots rare, and gems
Of wond’rous price, by ſurly Nabob priz’d,
All meet the eye in vain. Oh hideous world!
Where ceaſeleſs motion reigns; whence the wild roar
Of Chaos, chain’d to thy foundation, sounds
Thro’ all thy regions; while triumphant Death,
Amid the lawleſs anarchy, awaits
The ſtruggling mariner, and bears him down.
Ah! hapleſs Marcius! long thy faithful arm
Bore up thy ſinking bride, till loſt to hope,
Swift ye deſcended in a fond embrace:
Ariſe, ye pair! this is the fated hour,
When dreary Death throws ope his priſon doors,
While ſpirits ruſh on day; and in this hour
The Sons of Commerce may with firmneſs gaze
On Heav’ns recording angel; who, with ſmiles,Holds 021 D3r 21
Holds high their inſtitution: ſtrike, ye throngs
Of winged cherubims! yet louder ſound
The ſtrain of mercy, mix’d with grateful praiſe.
Hail, ſacred few! who bade the ſea-boy fix
His eye on attributes which ſtrike his ſoul
With deep amazement! See he ſtands aghaſt!
While the red thunder-bolt is ſwiftly borne
Near his aſtoniſh’d ear: the dreadful ſound
With horror chills his blood, nor dares weak ſenſe
Reſt on th’ avenging herald, but ſhuts out
The image of his threaten’d diſſolution.
’Tis paſt! and now the humbled ſoul would turn
Moſt willing to her cauſe. Hark, ſilent joy,
In the unbidden ſigh, with force aſcends;
The ſhort ejaculation’s breath’d in haſte,And 022 D3v 22
And half-pronounced, leſt the loud crew ſhould feel
An unavailing fear. O hard Deſpair!
Too oft thou ſitt’ſt in darkneſs on the mind
Of the old ſeaman, ſtubborn in his woes;
Who, when he braves the death he’s ſure to meet,
Will ſeldom own Religion. Happy ye!
Who gently ſhed on poor neglected youth
The joys of ſocial love; but chiefly thou,
O Burke, Recorder of Briſtol whoſe ſenſibility is pain,
Melting with keeneſt agony, accept
The praiſes of this long-forgotten race.
Bristol ſhall hail thy name, and ſacred hold
Thy records from oblivion’s deep abyſs,
While Glory, nurs’d within her merchants arms,
Shall blaze refulgent on a wond’ring world.
Familiar Epistle to a Friend,
Who appeared hurt on the Author’s deſiring him to Live upon Remembrance.
Lucius, ſuppreſs the ſigh, nor let the pang
Rend thy too ſoften’d boſom: from my tongue
No accent, that envenom’d meaning bears,
Shall ever cut its paſſage to thine heart.
Why then this keen ſenſation? Why on earth
Fix thy late chearful eye, whoſe beams were wont
To light freſh rapture in the ſoul refin’d?
Thy mind ſo nice, ſtarts at a feign’d alarm,
And ſhudders at an injury ſuppos’d.
Fatal miſtake! for who would wound thy breaſt,
That feel by ſympathy the pangs they give?
The ſubject was peculiar, and my friend
Sullenly trembled for his well-earn’d fame;
Yet why?—no vict’ry was by me purſued,
Nor would I, for her trophies, bid thee yield.
Ah! Lucius, think how rich the hoarded joys
Of dear remembrance! think when jocund youth
Sate on the cheek of Delia, how her eye,
Struck ſilent on thy heart, bidding it heave
With tranſport undefin’d, while mutual love
Taught her ſoft boſom to return thy ſigh,Sooth- 025 E1r 25
Soothing the guiltleſs rapture. Mem’ry holds
The charts of Innocence, when, through the ſhade,
Relying on thy virtue, and her own,
The Virgin, fearleſs, wander’d; Truth, like thine,
Chac’d ev’ry horror from the midnight hour;
Nor could the ſurly future blast your ſcene.
’Tis paſt! Time leaves the tender hour behind,
When Delia, borne upon the blaſts of Fate,
Reluctant, left thine arms—nor fills them more.
Thus rent the fabric of thy promis’d joys,
E’er thy young mind could form her little plan.
Yet, shall poor Memory claſp thy Delia’s form,
When ſtealing on thee, in the penſive hour,
She leads thee back to pure, untainted bliſs.E The 026 E1v 26
The present is not valu’d; reſtleſs man
Lives for the paſt, and future, fix’d his eye
On op’ning proſpects that ſhall never end,
Till, in the vaſt purſuit, the rover falls.
And would the future tempt the ardent wiſh
Did not completion live within the paſt?
Aſk the old miſer if he’d graſp at wealth,
Cou’d he but once forget it? Aſk the youth,
Who melts in ſofteſt languiſhment of woe,
Why he adores the maid? Ah! he ſhall own
His ſoul can ne’er forget her. Would the ſage
Tempt Nature’s mineral depths, or trace the ſtars
Thro’ their nocturnal courſe, was he deny’d
The joys of memory? Would the hero glow
Amid the mingled ſound of Death and War?8 Did 027 E2r 27
Did he not hope to conquer, and reflect
On danger, bravely dar’d?—or could my ſoul
Keep up her friendly intercourſe with thine,
Was bright remembrance loſt? With pleaſing ſtrength
She bears me back, thro’ Time’s once beaten path,
Again to thee, and to thy ſocial hearth.
Hail, happy ſpot! where Friendſhip ſtrove to heal
The wound of recent woe, and to my ſoul
Apply’d her ſofteſ t balm. Oh! ’twas the tear
Of Sympathy that fill’d thy manly eye,
When Mem’ry brought the long-loſt ſmiling boy,
In haſte to thy fond mind, bidding thee feel
For ſorrows like thy own. Sink! ſink! my pen,
Nor jar the ſoul with unavailing ſtrains.
May dark Oblivion’s wideſt cavern ope,E2 And 028 E2v 28
And all our mis’ries hail the deep profound;
But Memory, keep thy more than veſtal fire,
Burning eternal at the ſhrine of joy!
What ails my heart when thou art nigh?
Why heaves the tender riſing ſigh?
Ah, Delia, is it love?
My breath in ſhorten’d pauſes fly;
I tremble, languiſh, burn and die;
Dost thou thoſe tremors prove?
Does thy fond boſom beat for me?
Dost thou my form in abſence ſee,
Sill wiſhing to be near?Does 030 E3v 30
Does melting languor fill thy breaſt?
That ſomething, which was ne’er expreſt,
Ah! tell me—if you dare.
But tho’ my ſoul, ſoft, fond, and kind,
Could in thy arms a refuge find,
Secur’d from ev’ry woe;
Yet, ſtrict to Honour’s louder ſtrains,
A laſt adieu alone remains,
’Tis all the Fates beſtow.
Then blame me not, if doom’d to prove
The endleſs pangs of hopeleſs love,
And live by thee unbleſt:
My joyleſs hours fly faſt away;
Let them fly on, I chide their ſtay,
For ſure ’tis Heav’n to reſt.
To Mr. V—,
On his pronouncing the Author to be in Love, when ſhe wrote the preceding.
On the axis of Love, wheels the Univerſe round,
In rotation continued, and thrifty;
While ſome tender minds at fifteen feel the wound,
And ſome hold it out till they’re fifty.
O ye Gods, then defend me from fifty, in love,
When that language has left the bright eye,
Which ſpeaks to the ſoul, tho’ our tongues never move,
And ſhall conquer, when accent muſt die.
Love was ever the touchſtone to try the fine mind,
Sterling Virtue ’twill never debaſe;
No alloy can we know, from a paſſion refin’d,
But to Beauty it ſtill adds a grace.
Corroſive, curſt Av’rice, ſtill preys on the heart;
Ambition high ſtretches the mind;
Loud Fame may awhile her falſe tranſport impart,
Yet all leave their torment behind.
But to love, and be lov’d, does the ſoul aſk for more?
No; here to her ſummit ſhe’s rais’d:
With ſcorn ſhe looks down on old mammon’s bright ſtore,
She’s bleſs’d, and her Maker is prais’d.
And now, my good friend, your concluſion to prove,
(Perhaps, too, I hint it in ſpite)
From Precept, write Sermons; from Nature write Love;
And then you’ll be ſure to do right.
Yet, ſay, if on Love I moſt aptly define,
By that, can you fathom my ſoul?
No paſſion ſhall ever my ſpirit confine,
Independent, I ſmile at controul.
While a bosom like yours, ſoft emotions perplex,
When bright objects ſtrike full on your eye;
And may Love’s tranſitions continue to vex,
’Till in age ev’ry rapture muſt die.
Epitaph, on the Sudden Death of an Accomplished Youth,
Deſigned for a Tomb-Stone.
Death (deem’d abrupt) ſits on my mortal frame;
But can aught fall as ſudden from a God?
Does not his pitying eye in mercy view
Man in his ſwift progreſſion? What avails
The early year, or date of lengthen’d age?
Merely to live, boaſts a Creator’s hand,
And life’s firſt moment ſtamp’d my ſoul immortal.F2 “Then 036 F2v 36
Then truſt Infinity, ye weeping friends,
Nor ſpend that moment, in a fruitleſs ſigh,
Which to your ſoul belongs; already lodg’d
Beyond the graſp of Death; my warfare’s o’er,
Then mourn but for yourſelves, and own a God.
Written on the Banks of the Avon, where the Author took a laſt Farewel of her Brother.
Oh! thou falſe wave, that ſeemd’ſt ſo wondrous ſmooth,
When a lov’d brother preſs’d thy yielding boſom,
What ſhall be ſaid of thee? Shall I arraign
Thee, ſimple inſtrument, that proudly bore
A darling boy from his fond mother’s arms?
Ah, no! far, far remote th’ all-powerful cauſe
Of thy officious zeal.—Yet in thy depthsLives 038 F3v 38
Lives there a Nereid, or a Sea-god, ſtern,
Who bore the mandate down thy fatal ſtream,
Or, with their tridents, puſh’d the wand’ring youth
To his laſt port? O God, what tremors ſhook
The ſtrongeſt pow’rs of my reluctant ſoul,
When, from his eyes, I took their farewel gaze;
So penſive, yea, ſo full of promis’d death,
That my ſad boſom ſlow reſponſes beat,
And all my mother ſhudder’d in my breaſt;
For her fond hopes I felt; for her my ſoul
Forgot its reſolutions: ſure, the pang
Of pity, pointed with another’s woe,
Is then moſt ſtrong. But, ah, too fatal wave!
Why tempt ſo oft the wild deſpairing wretch
To thy cold bed? Here ſad Maria Mary Smith, who in a fit of deſpair, plunged into the Avon. ſoughtOblivion 039 F4r 39
Oblivion; here ſhe dar’d the dreadful change,
From which poor Nature ſtarts. Now o’er the mead,
Her ſhade, light-bearing on the ſilver dews,
Perhaps, may hail my penſive pitying lay.
Ah, hapleſs maid! ſhould thy wan ghoſt be near,
And with me ſigh to Cynthia’s chilling beam;
Yet list, nor fly mortality; my ſoul,
Heedleſs of horror, mid the starleſs gloom,
Would hang on thy ſhrill ſound: Oh! could’ſt thou dare
Unfold the charts of never-ending ſpace,
How would my ſpirit ſtrike the eager wing,
To claim her new creation! ’Twill not be:
Here muſt I joyleſs rove; yet, not like thee,
Will I throw off my Being. Mercy gave4 Exiſtence, 040 F4v
Exiſtence, as the origin of bliſs,
And ſhall I caſt it lightly? Shall I dare
This life-ſubduing wave? Yea, farther, dare
Preſumptuously my God? No; ’tis enough
That I, one day, may find thee; near thee find
A kind Creator, who in pity ſtrikes,
From thy account, this heav’n-oppoſed act.
Why glide thus ſwiftly from my mental eye?
Wouldſt thou eſcape yon pale dejected form,
Who lightly treads on the unyielding ſtream?
It comes with tardy ſtep; Ah! tis the ſhade
Of thy lov’d Brother: See! he waves his hand,
And beckons thee again to prove the deep.Abrupt, 041 G1r 41
Abrupt, he ſunk in Friendſhip’s ſtrongest act;
When bearing young Philander to the ſhore,
He ſigh’d his ſoul away. Oh! ’twas a ſcene,
Where Horror revell’d; on the margin ſtood
Horatio, R. Smith, (Brother to Maria) who ſeeing their younger brother ſinking, plung’d into the river with his clothes on; he ſaved the youth, but was drowned himſelf. ſmiling at the ſportive youth,
Who fain would laſh the wave with ſtrengthleſs arm.
Ah, effort vain! Down! down! he hopeleſs ſinks:
While in Horatio’s boſom Nature ſwell’d
More ſtrong than tempeſt wild; dauntleſs he plung’d
’Mid liquid death. Yet ſhall this wat’ry world
One day her cold inhabitants reſign
To the demand of Mercy. Charming truth!
Here thou may’ſt blazon Virtue unrefin’d,
And in a vulgar breaſt: Where ſhall romance
Strike weeping Fancy with an act like this?
Oh, Pity, dear tormentor! ’tis not now
My ſoul would hail thee; ſtrike not my weak ſenſe
With all thy pomp of ſorrow. Why bend o’er
Yon wave-drench’d boy, Son to R. Smith, drowned two years after, near the ſame place, with his father. who ſinks with ſeeming ſmile,
To claſp his much lov’d ſire; in playful mood
The chearful rover felt the chilling death,
Nor paus’d repentant, liſtleſs of his fate.
Gone! ever gone! ye kindred ſouls: yet hear
My plaintive lay, ſhould Cromartie’s The Author’s brother. wan ghoſt
Flit thro’ your airy paths, oh, bear my ſigh
To that fond brother! Whither, whither fled,
Thou long-lov’d youth! ’tis dreary ſilence all;
No anſwer, ſave the hoarſe-reſounding Avon.
Yet here, with me, thou trodd’ſt the dewy mead,
When the bright daiſy woo’d our infant hand,
In life’s young hour; and oft the flow’ry wreath
I wrought for thy dear brow, when laughing May
Danc’d o’er the gay Creation; faded long
The blooming garland, wither’d ſoon, they fell,
Like thee, neglected, and are ſeen no more.
Ah, when! or where ſhall I now hail thy ſhade,
Or claſp thee to my boſom? Fancy, come!
Haſte! haſte! with all thy ſorrow-ſoothing hues,
And paint the ſcene which yields a long embrace.
Oh, bear my ſpirit thro’ the gulph of Death!
Where Being, from oblivion inſtant ſprings
Eternity’s firm Heir; pointing my ſoul
To where a mother hangs on her lov’d boy;
Yet trembling with her change****
To Miss Eliza Dawson, of Oxton, Yorkshire.
Come, fair Eliza! bleſs the vale,
And realize what fancy forms:
I hear thee in the whiſp’ring gale;
I ſee thee weep the wint’ry ſtorms,
Which on Lactilla’s boſom beat,
While fleecy ſnows in haſte deſcend:
They ſeek my heart—melting retreat,
For there’s the image of my friend.
All glowing, ’mid immortal fire,
Eliza owns my ruſtic ſoul,
Before her light’nings pale expire,
And thunders ſeek the diſtant pole.
Oh! thou canſt cheer the dreary wild;
Rememb’ring thee, my ſorrows die:
Thy friendſhip renders horror mild,
And calms the rude inclement ſky.
When wand’ring o’er yon rugged rocks
Unſeen, Eliza hovers near.
Ah, no!—the lovely phantom mocks
My eager ſoul—ſhe is not there!
Idea, die, nor falſely play
With tints which my Eliza grace;
You Eaſtern bluſh muſt ſure diſplay
A guiltleſs emblem of her face.
Yet deathleſs Fancy, near me live!
Lo! grateful Ardour lends her flame,
Bidding Eliza’s charms ſurvive,
And dying accents ſigh her name.
Indiff’rence come! thy torpid juices ſhed
On my keen ſenſe: plunge deep my wounded heart,
In thickeſt apathy, till it congeal,
Or mix with thee incorp’rate. Come, thou foe
To ſharp ſenſation, in thy cold embrace
A death-like ſlumber ſhall a reſpite give
To my long reſtleſs ſoul, toſt on extreme,
From bliſs to pointed woe. Oh, gentle Pow’r,H Dear 050 H1v 50
Dear ſubſtitute of Patience! thou canſt eaſe
The Soldier’s toil, the gloomy Captive’s chain,
The Lover’s anguiſh, and the Miſer’s fear.
Proud Beauty will not own thee! her loud boaſt
Is virtue—while thy chilling breath alone
Blows o’er her ſoul, bidding her paſſions ſleep.
Miſtaken Cauſe, the frozen Fair denies
Thy ſaving influence. virtue never lives,
But in the boſom, ſtruggling with its wound:
There ſhe ſupports the conflict, there augments
The pang of hopeleſs Love, the ſenſeleſs ſtab
Of gaudy Ign’rance, and more deeply drives
The poiſon’d dart, hurl’d by the long-lov’d friend;
Then pants with painful Victory. Bear me hence,Thou 051 H2r 51
Thou antidote to pain! thy real worth
Mortals can never know. What’s the vain boaſt
Of Senſibility but to be wretched?
In her beſt tranſports lives a latent ſting,
Which wounds as they expire. On her high heights
Our ſouls can never fit; the point ſo nice,
We quick fly off—ſecure, but in deſcent.
To sensibility, what is not bliſs
Is woe. No placid medium’s ever held
Beneath her torrid line, when ſtraining high
The fibres of the ſoul. Of Pain, or Joy,
She gives too large a ſhare; but thou, more kind,
Wrapp’ſt up the heart from both, and bidd’ſt it reſt
In ever-wiſh’d-for eaſe. By all the pow’rs
Which move within the mind for diff’rent ends,H2 I’d 052 H2v 52
I’d rather loſe myſelf with thee, and ſhare
Thine happy indolence, for one ſhort hour,
Than live of Senſibility the tool
For endleſs ages. Oh! her points have pierc’d
My ſoul, till, like a sponge, it drinks up woe.
Then leave me, Senſiblity! be gone,
Thou chequer’d angel! Seek the ſoul refin’d:
I hate thee! and thy long progreſſive brood
Of joys and mis’ries. Soft Indiff’rence, come!
In this low cottage thou ſhalt be my gueſt,
Till Death ſhuts out the hour: here down I’ll ſink
With thee upon my couch of homely ruſh,
Which fading forms of Friendſhip, Love, or Hope,
Muſt ne’er approach. Ah!—quickly hide, thou pow’r,7 Thoſe 053 H3r 53
Thoſe dear intruding images! Oh, ſeal
The lids of mental ſight, leſt I abjure
My freezing ſupplication.—All is ſtill.
Idea, ſmother’d, leaves my mind a waſte,
Where sensibility muſt loſe her prey.
Hark!—Chloe, ſwells ſtrong Vict’ry’s ardent ſound,
While Wolfe, and Manners, viewleſs hover round;
Muſic’s harmonious God her boſom fires,
And Pallas bends, when War’s loud ſtrain inſpires.
Wildeſt ardour ſtrikes the breaſt,
Thro’ the ſhiv’ring frame confeſt;
High the panting ſpirits fly,
Cut the air, and ſeek the ſky!
Floating on her buoyant ſtrain,
Ah!—no more they ſink again.
For ſee, her much-lov’d youth with joy appears,
Her yielding ſoul diſſolves in ſoft’ning cares;
Confus’d ſhe trembling plays, the dying ſound
Firſt ſooths, then melts each liſt’ning ſpirit round.
Now ſhe breathes the pleaſing woe;
Hark! her ſounds are ſoft and ſlow;
While the tone of languid pleaſure
Vibrates ſoft in Sappho’s meaſure;
Sinking from the arduous ſtrain,
She ſighs, nor chants the bleeding plain.
To gentler love fair Chloe’s heart’s reſign’d,
Lo, on the youth her tender eye reclin’d;
To hear his vows the loud delight is o’er:
Thus Muſic, huſh’d by Love, is heard no more.
To thoſe who accuſe the author of ingratitude.
You, who thro’ optics dim, ſo falſely view
This wond’rous maze of things, and rend a part
From the well-order’d whole, to fit your ſenſe
Low, groveling, and confin’d; ſay from what ſource
Spring your all-wiſe opinions? Can you dare
Pronounce from proof, who ne’er purſu’d event
To its minuteſt cauſe? Yet farther ſoar,
In ſwift gradation, to the verge of ſpace;
Where, wrapt in worlds, Time’s origin exiſts:I There 058 I1v 58
There breathe your queſtion; there the cauſe explore,
Why dark afflictions, borne upon the wing
Of Love inviſible, light on the wretch
Inured and patient in the pangs of woe?
Or Wiſdom infinite with Pride arraign;
Rebuke the Deity, and madly aſk,
Why Man’s ſad hour of anguiſh ever ends?
What are your boaſts, ye incapacious ſouls,
Who would confine, within your narrow orbs,
Th’ extenſive All? Can ſenſe, like yours, diſcern
An object, wand’ring from her deſtin’d courſe,
Quitting the purer path, where ſpirit roves,
To ſip Mortality’s ſoul-clogging dews,
And feaſt on Craft’s poor dregs? What tho’ ſhe own’dAn 059 I2r 59
An office, would have borne her to the ſtars
While liſt’ning Angels had the plaudit hail’d,
And bleſs’d her force of ſoul, unequal prov’d
Her ſtrongeſt pow’rs, to top fair Virtue’s height,
Or, on the act, to fix the ſtamp of Merit.
What’s noos’d opinion but a creeping curſe,
That leads the Idiot thro’ yon beaten track,
When keener ſpirits aſk it? Which of you
Dare, on the wing of Candour, ſtretch afar
To ſeize the bright ſublimity of Truth?
A wiſh to ſhare the falſe, tho’ public din,
In which the popular, not virtuous, live;
A fear of being ſingular, which claims
A fortitude of mind you ne’er could boaſt;I2 A love 060 I2v 60
A love of baſe detraction, when the charm
Sits on a flowing tongue, and willing moves
Upon its darling topic. Theſe are yours.
But were the ſtedfaſt adamantine pow’rs
Of Principle unmov’d? Fantaſtic group!
Spread wide your arms, and turn yon flaming Sun
From his moſt fair direction; daſh the ſtars
With Earth’s poor pebbles, and aſk the World’s great Sire,
Why, in Creation’s ſyſtem, He dare fix
More orbs than your weak ſenſe shall e’er diſcern?
Then ſcan the feelings of Lactilla’s ſoul.
To Frederick Yearsley,
On his return from the Sacred Font, where the Right Honourable the Earl of Briſtol ſtood Sponſor, the Child being diſtinguiſhed by taking his Lordſhip’s Name.
Smiling, unconſcious Boy! thy angel-mind
No great ambition fires; yet ſhall this hour
Be penn’d by Fame in thy unſully’d annals,
While Briſtol’s glories, blazing on the day
By ſtrong reflection, ſtrike thine infant brow.
Exulting rapture, ſtrain’d to painful thought,
Yet is not thine, elſe would thy gentle ſoul
O’erſtretch Olympus, pant to catch the flameWhich 062 I3v 62
Which lights him down to ages. My fond heart
Throbs with unuſual motion. O my babe!
This hour, Affliction, Poverty, or Ill,
Shall never own: then come, ye brighteſt forms,
Who, viewleſs, from the boſom of the air,
Behold fond man ſtretch out the web of Hope,
Ne’er to attain completion: quick direct
My lovely Boy to catch the pious deed,
White-wing’d Idea, Faith, and firm Reſolve.
Point his dear eye to Briſtol’s wond’rous mind,
Where ſteady Principle, more fix’d appears
Than hoary Atlas, where the mighty thought,
With Virtue on its awful front, is ſeen
By ſouls congenial—by the ſlaves who gaze
Thro’ optics falſe, Virtue is ne’er diſcern’d.
Spirits like his (my Fred’rick) calmly view8 Grim- 063 I4r 63
Grim-viſaged Woe uplift her keeneſt dart;
To her worſt anguiſh ope their dauntleſs breaſts,
And boldly cry, Thy Pangs were made for Man.
Unyielding Fortitude! bright Cherub, haſte!
Early ſupport my Boy’s infantine ſenſe
With all thy ſtubborn pow’rs; be thine the taſk
To ſhut up ev’ry paſſage of his ſoul,
When guilty Mis’ry, dreſs’d in artful guiſe,
Would trifle with his juſtice: bid him ſit
On Truth’s most rugged point; his ſpirit guide
Thro’ all the ſtorms of wild tumultuous paſſion,
Nor grant him ſelf-applauſe by eaſe obtain’d.
Yet, who would dare, for all the wealth of Ind,
Quench that bright ſpark which burns, and ſtill ſhall burnEternal 064 I4v 64
Eternal in the ſoul? To Glory dead,
Creation muſt be deſart! Virtue ſleeps
While all the fineſt faculties of mind
Ruſt, like the iron long unus’d; then turn,
My deareſt Fred’rick, turn, when glory calls,
But ſeize that point which trembles to the ſoul,
With ſympathy magnetic. Self-applauſe
Is her moſt valu’d gem; ſhe holds it high;
For who the ſpirit-raiſing gift receives
From aught, but juſt conviction, falſely boaſts.
For me the wing of Time is nearly plum’d;
For thee, yet ſcarcely fledg’d; yet, when the hour
Of Judgment comes, with filial feeling join’d,
Remember, Frederick, ’twas a Mother’s wiſh,
That ſelf-denying Virtue, rigid Rule,
And Heaven-attempting Hope be ever thine.
On the Death of Frederick Yearsley.
Obdurate angel! ſpare my Fred’rick’s heart;
Ah, yet forbear! Behold the infant ſmile!
His innocence will dull thy barbed dart,
And ev’ry horror of its ſting beguile.
Oh claſp him not within thine icy arms!
But give him to my tender warm embrace;
Let me but breathe upon his op’ning charms,
And call the flying beauties to his face.
Down! down! he ſinks on Death’s ungentle breaſt,
Nor liſts attentive to the voice of Fame;
While Glory weeping, from his infant creſt,
Bears back to Briſtol his too mighty name.
Diſtinguiſh’d Babe, farewel! a few ſhort years,
And I will meet thee on a happier ſhore;
Thy angel ſmile ſhall there repay my tears,
Then ſhall this anguiſh of the ſoul be o’er.
Ode, To Miss Shiells, on Her Art of Painting.
Long, dear Idea, gentle Love’s ſoft nurſe,
Lay ſilent, inexpreſſive in the mind;
Long did the Spirit wreſtle with its force,
Till, dreſs’d by Art, it riſes unconfin’d.
Lo, the tints of Clara flow;
Thoughts embodied, ardent glow;
Gently breathes the pleaſing form,
And paſſions truly painted warm.K2 Ah! 068 K2v 68
Ah! lovely Artiſt, ſee
The heav’nly band
Of Graces ſtand
In beauty clad by thee.
There, dire Alecto! ſtung by madneſs, ſhakes
Her gory ringlets, while her burning hand
Graſps in a twisted knot the writhing ſnakes,
Whose ſlender forms ſeem reſtleſs in command.
Hurl’d to poor Philander’s breaſt,
In the ghaſtly look confeſt,
Deep they ſink; awhile his heart
Swells with the ſtrong envenom’d ſmart.
Ah! now he fainter feels
The furies die,
His placid eye
Returning peace reveals.
Thus bright Idea mingles with the ſhade,
Till Nature pauſing, claim’d the pleaſing line:
So true her beauties were, by Art diſplay’d,
She gaz’d with extacy, and cry’d—’tis mine!
Hold a moment, Clara cries,
Love and Virtue ſtill ſhall riſe;
Friendſhip too, aſſiſt my Piece,
And Induſtry its charms increaſe.
The pleading eye of Love
Shall ſilent wound,
Tho’ tender ſound
Muſt ne’er the boſom move.
But, ah! what ſolemn beauty now appears!
’Tis Virtue; Love reluctant feels controul,
Dear ſocial Pity hers—no more ſhe dares!
But chains the Paſſions deep within the ſoul.Lo! 070 K3v 70
Lo! Reſolve directs her eye,
Chill’d ſhe ſees the murm’rer die;
Yet with Love her pow’rs oft blend
To form the Huſband, and the Friend.
Happy Union hail!
Ah, Carlos, ſee!
She points at thee;
With thee her pow’rs prevail.
Again, my Clara’s pencil ſtrongly forms
Friendſhip, the nobleſt proof of manly minds,
In whoſe ſoft arms, from life’s afflicting ſtorms,
The faint, deſpairing wretch a refuge finds.
Surely this is more than ſhade;
Quickly ſay, enchanting Maid,
From what ſubſtance haſt thou ſtole
The flame which burns but in the soul?“From 071 K4r 71
From Carlos, ſhe reply’d,
His gen’rous breaſt,
Is here expreſt,
And Nature is my guide.
Laſt, Induſtry, with features coarſe and ſtrong,
Riſes behind, ſhaking his bliſter’d hand;
The ſlow unwilling plough he drives along;
The dews of Labour on his forehead ſtand.
Seize him, Clara!—make him thine!
Health and Beauty ſoon ſhall join;
With him o’er yon hillocks run,
To meet the early bluſhing ſun!
Now down the pencil’s laid;
At riſing dawn,
She hails the lawn,
And Nature charms the Maid.
Lines, compoſed in a Carriage, on ſeeing an Half-blown Primroſe in the Mouth of a Peaſant; the Author being on the Road to Bath.
Upon the Ruſtic’s ruddy lip,
I’ve ſeen the Primroſe mourn
That ruthleſs hand, which thus could nip
Its beauty—ſoon as born.
The lovely Flow’r, emblem of Youth!
Struck on my penſive mind;
Whiſp’ring, there’s nought but blooming Truth,
Shall leave a rack behind.
To thee, my Clara, Fancy flew,
Painting thy faded cheek,
On which the Roſe, with pride once grew,
Nor richer ſoil could ſeek.
Ah! fell Disease, no more return!
Bid all thy pangs retreat;
Let vital warmth yet gently burn,
And leave her pulſe to beat.
Elſe, like yon Flow’r, ſhe ſoon muſt fade,
Before thy chilling breath;
Her beauties ſtrew the dreary ſhade,
Preſs’d by the foot of Death.
Forbid it Heav’n! Come, blooming Spring,
Re-cheer her guiltleſs ſoul;
While hoary Winter plumes his wing,
To ſeek his frozen pole.
Let him fly on! Unwelcome gueſt!
I hate his freezing toils;
But Rapture fills my rural breaſt,
When beauteous Flora ſmiles.
To Mr. ****, an Unlettered Poet, on Genius Unimproved.
Florus, canſt thou define that innate ſpark
Which blazes but for glory? Canſt thou paint
The trembling rapture in its infant dawn,
Ere young Ideas ſpring; to local Thought
Arrange the buſy phantoms of the mind,
And drag the diſtant timid ſhadows forth,
Which, ſtill retiring, glide unform’d away,
Nor ruſh into expreſſion? No; the pen,Tho’ 078 L3v 78
Tho’ dipp’d in awful Wiſdom’s deepeſt tint,
Can never paint the wild extatic mood.
Yet, when the bolder Image ſtrikes thine eye,
And uninvited graſps thy ſtrongeſt thought,
Reſolv’d to ſhoot into this World of Things,
Wide fly the gates of Fancy; all alarm’d,
The thin ideal troop in haſte advance,
To uſher in the ſubſtance-ſeeking Shade.
And what’s the Shade which ruſhes on the world
With pow’rful glare, but emblem of the ſoul?
Ne’er hail the fabled Nine, or ſnatch rapt Thought
From the Caſtalian ſpring; ’tis not for thee,
From embers, where the Pagan’s light expires,To 079 L4r 79
To catch a flame divine. From one bright ſpark
Of never-erring Faith, more rapture beams
Than wild Mythology could ever boaſt.
Purſue the Eaſtern Magi through their groves,
Where Zoroaſter holds the myſtic clue,
Which leads to great Ormazes; there thou’lt find
His God thy own; or bid thy Fancy chaſe
Reſtleſs Pythag’ras thro’ his varied forms,
And ſhe ſhall ſee him ſitting on a heap
Of poor Abſurdity; where chearful Faith
Shall never reſt, nor great Omniſcience claim.
What are the Muſes, or Apollo’s ſtrains,
But harmony of ſoul? Like thee, eſtrang’d
From Science, and old Wiſdom’s claſſic lore,5 I’ve 080 L4v 80
I’ve patient trod the wild entangled path
Of unimprov’d Idea. Dauntleſs Thought
I eager ſeiz’d, no formal Rule e’er aw’d;
No Precedent controul’d; no Cuſtom fix’d
My independent ſpirit: on the wing
She ſtill ſhall guideleſs ſoar, nor ſhall the Fool,
Wounding her pow’rs, e’er bring her to the ground.
Yet Florus, liſt! to thee I loudly call;
Dare thee, by all the tranſport Mind can reach,
Yea, by the boaſted privilege of Man,
To ſtretch with me the ſpirit-raiſing wing
Of artleſs Rapture! Seek Earth’s fartheſt bound,
Till Fancy panting, drops from endleſs ſpace.
Deep in the ſoul live ever tuneful ſprings,
Waiting the touch of Ecſtaſy, which ſtrikes
Moſt pow’rful on defenceleſs, untaught Minds;
Then, in ſoft uniſon, the trembling ſtrings
All move in one direction. Then the ſoul
Sails on Idea, and would eager dart
Thro’ yon ethereal way; reſtleſs awhile,
Again ſhe ſinks to ſublunary joy.
Florus, rove on! pluck from the pathleſs vale
Of Fancy, all her lovelieſt, wildeſt ſweets;
Theſe beſt can pleaſe; but ah! beware, my Friend:
Timid Idea ſhrinks, when coldly thou
Would’ſt hail the tender ſhade; then ſtrongly claſp
The coy, reluctant fugitive, or ſeizeM The 082 M1v 82
The rover, as ſhe flies; that breaſt alone
Is her’s, all glowing with immortal flame;
And that be thine.
On Being Presented With a Silver Pen.
Fair proof of Friendſhip! be thy numbers ſtrong,
Paint high her raptures in thine artleſs Song;
Her beauties aſk, Idea all divine,
While Paſſion daunted, drops beneath the line.
But can thy lovely form pointed by Art
More deeply ſtrike the feelings of the heart
Than this poor quill? Which now neglected lies,
Tho’ oft it bade the willing tranſport riſe?
No; avaricious ſouls alone can know
Superior ardours, if from thee they flow.
Yet, Friendſhip conſecrates thee at her ſhine,
And while her blaze aſcends, the off’ring’s mine.
O, Friendſhip! ſocial angel, never ſeen,
But thro’ the miſts of woe and anguiſh keen;
Soul of this lower world! whoſe genial ray
Strikes more refulgent than the God of Day;
On gloomy ſpace thy brighteſt glories reſt,
With flaming light on firm Rinaldo’s breaſt:
Come then, thou emblem of his pureſt thought!
First-born of ſentiment, with eſſence fraught;
Warm my chill’d ſoul, from Inſult languid grown;
Seize all her pow’rs, and ſeal them for thine own.8 I hold 085 M3r 85
I hold thee! on thy ſtrongest plume I go!
Before thee melt vaſt worlds of frozen woe.
Lo! down they ſink—while claſp’d in thy embrace,
Old Time ſmiles on me and forgets his race.
My God! what is this life to Friendſhip loſt?
Like ſpirits ſtranded on a joyleſs coaſt,
We ſolitary pine our hours away,
To Doubt, Suſpicion, and Deſpair a prey.
We ſee thoſe virtues, which we dare approve,
In ſome unnotic’d mind; our wiſhes move,
With rapid haſte, her kindeſt thought to ſhare,
And loſe Affliction in her pitying tear.
But oh, Diſtruſt! thou baſiliſk moſt fell,
In whoſe death-darting eye deſtructions dwell,
Thou, fast’ning on the soul, freezest her joys,
While thy curſt breath her infant hope deſtroys.
What’s Wealth enjoy’d, unſocial and unknown,
Meeting the tear of Merit with a frown?
Ungenial Miſer! thou ſhalt never know
The ſecret raptures which ſpontaneous flow
From Friendſhip’s boſom; but thy date expir’d,
Sink down, nor lov’d, lamented, nor admir’d.
But, ah! what wild emotions fill the breaſt,
When we behold a valu’d friend diſtreſt!
Rule, from the ardent ſoul is quickly thrown,
She ruſhes on, makes every woe her own;
Strangles the images of grief which lie
At his ſad heart—by Friendſhip’s hand they die;
Lull’d by her voice the ſigh forgets to riſe,
And the full torrent leaves the trembling eyes.
Extatic, dear employ! would gracious Heav’n
Add to thoſe bleſſings it has kindly given,
These raptures ſhould be mine; but who can prove
Thy force, O Friendſhip, in ideal Love!
Too pow’rful Wealth, thou muſt this Angel guide,
Yea, raiſe her hand to Mis’ry’s bleeding ſide;
Elſe all her tender murmurs are in vain,
For pow’rleſs feelings muſt ſupport their Pain.
Yet, Friendſhip! without thee, who would receive
That balm, which haughty Wealth with ſcorn may give;
Her cures may reach externals, leave them whole,
But never! never! heal the wounded ſoul.
The cooly-wife, with ſelf-applauding glance,
And taunting air, cries, Friendſhip’s all romance:
It ne’er exiſted, but in pleaſing ſound;
Nor has it been, or ever will be found.
Have we not ſeen the World? Do we not know,
How far its rapid ſtreams exactly flow?
’Tis to relieve Diſtreſs—this is the ſum,
But let your Prudence point out what’s to come.
Keep wretches humble, for when once reliev’d,
They oft-times prove our Charity deceiv’d:
Therefore be cautious, nor their merits truſt;
They may have very few—if poor—they muſt.
Think not a ſavage virtuous—but confine,
His future acts by obligation’s line:
He ſurely muſt be humble, grateful, true,
While he’s dependent—the ſuperiour you.
Hence, hoary caitiff! where’s the gen’rous flame
Which fills two boſoms, lively and the ſame;
That dear ſeraphic ardour, ſtrength of ſoul,
On which we ſhoot from Indus to the Pole?
Grant me, ye Pow’rs, the ſympathetic bliſs;
Oh! let my higheſt privilege be this,
To ſnatch my Friend from Mis’ry’s iron breaſt,
And point his joyleſs eye to future reſt,
When, in lethargic woe, the Paſſions ſleep,
When all we own, is but to think and weep,
Soft Friendſhip’s voice is heard: but you, who reſt
On doubtful colours; you, who make a jeſt
Of purer Friendſhip—conſcious of your fault,
It is not ſouls like your’s, I would aſſault.N With 090 N1v 90
With ſentiment unknown, by you unfelt,
Virtue alone could ne’er your boſoms melt.
But giving Paſſion her deluſive reign,
With bandag’d eyes ſhe drives you o’er the plain;
Nor know you when to pauſe, or where decline;
But by your haſty journey—meaſure mine.
Away, ye dupes! yet hail, ye ſacred few,
Who feel thoſe mental joys to Friendship due,
And on them moveleſs reſt; to you, my lay,
Tho’ rough, congenial, would its tribute pay.
My late-diſcover’d ſoul, like Nature’s mine,
With gems, you boaſt, may yet too faintly ſhine;But 091 N2r 91
But give your poliſh’d luſtre, tho’ I claim
No native glory, I will catch your flame;
Like Luna ſhine, rememb’ring whence I ſtole
The brighteſt ardours of the Female Soul.
Ah, valued Pen! why thus the taſk decline;
Will not thy beauties ſwell the glowing line?
Lo, Rapture dies!—haſt thou the magic pow’r,
To raiſe my ſpirit in her drooping hour?
No; reſt—while thought to rural toil deſcends,
Resigning ev’ry Image—but my Friend’s.
Addressed to Ignorance,
Occaſioned by a Gentleman’s deſiring the Author never to aſſume a Knowledge of the Ancients.
Lend me thy dark Veil.—Science darts her ſtrong ray;
In the orb of bright Learning ſhe ſits:
Haſte! haſte! Cloth’d by thee, I can yet keep my way,
Still ſecure from her Critics, or Wits.
All ſlight thee; no Beauty e’er boaſts of thy pow’r;
No Beau on thy Influence depends;
No Stateſman ſhall own thee; no Poet implore,
But Lactilla and thou muſt be friends.
Then come, gentle Goddeſs, ſit full in my looks;
Let my accents be ſounded by thee:
While Crito in pomp, bears his burden of books,
On the plains of wild Nature I’m free.
When Ign’rance forbids me in ambuſh to move,
Or to feed on the ſeraps of the Sage,
I am blind to the Ancients—yet Fancy would prove,
That Pythagoras lives thro’ each age.
She ſhews me blind Homer, who ne’er muſt be ſtill,
To motion perpetual decreed;
Forgetful of Ilium, he now turns a mill,
While old Neſtor, quite dumb, roves the mead.
In a Tyger, Achilles bounds o’er the wide plain;
As a Fox, ſly Ulysses is ſeen;
Doubly horn’d, Menelaus now ſcorns to complain,
But more bleſt, in a Buck ſkips the green.
Fond Paris, three changes with ſighs has gone through,
Firſt a Goat, then a Monkey compleat;
Enrag’d, to the river Salmacis he flew,
Waſh’d his face—and forgot his fair mate.
But Zeno, Tibullus, and Socrates grave,
In the bodies of wan Garreteers,
All tatter’d, cold, hungry, by turns ſigh and rave
At their Publiſher’s bill of arrears.
Diogenes lives in an ambling old Beau;
Plato’s ſpirit is damp’d in yon fool;
While the ſoul of Lycurgus to Tyburn muſt go,
Longinus now breathes in a Huntſman, and ſwears
That each Critic rides over his brother;
That Muſes are jilts, and that poor Garreteers
Should in Helicon, drown one another.
There’s Virgil, the Courtier, with hoſe out at heel,
And Heſiod, quite shoeleſs his foot;
Poor Ovid walks ſhiv’ring, behind a cart-wheel,
While Horace cries, ſweep for your ſoot.
Fair Julia ſees Ovid, but paſſes him near,
An old broom o’er her ſhoulder is thrown;
Penelope lends to five lovers an ear,
Walking on with one ſleeve to her gown.
But Helen, the Spartan, ſtands near Charing-Croſs,
Long laces and pins doom’d to cry;
Democritus, Solon, bear baſkets of moſs,
While Pliny ſells woodcocks hard by.
In Billingſgate Nell, Clytemneſtra moves ſlow,
All her fiſhes die quick in the air;
Agamemnon peeps ſtern, thro’ the eye of old Joe,
At Egyſthus, who, grinning, ſtands there.
Stout Ajax, the form of a butcher now takes,
But the laſt he paſt thro’ was a calf;
Yet no revolution his spirit awakes,
For no Troy is remember’d by Ralph.
More modern Voltaire joyleſs ſits on yon bench,
Thin and meagre, bewailing the day
When he gave up his Maker, to humour a wench,
And then left her in doubt and diſmay.
Wat Tyler, in Nicholſon, dares a King’s life,
At St. James’s the blow was deſign’d;
But Jove lean’d from heaven, and wreſted the knife,
Then in haſte laſh’d the wings of the wind.
Here’s Trojan, Athenian, Greek, Frenchman and I,
Heav’n knows what I was long ago;
No matter, thus ſhielded, this age I defy,
And the next cannot wound me, I know.
Addressed to Revenge.
Why doſt thou glare at me! holding the brand
Of Inſult to my ſight? Its burning pow’r
Scorches the eye of Virtue. Oh, be gone!
Thou dire tormentor of the injur’d ſoul.
I loathe thy curſt acquaintance: urg’d by thee,
The wounded Victim plucks the arrow forth,3 Writhing 102 O3v 102
Writhing with anguiſh ſtrikes the guilty Foe,
Then groans in horrid ſympathy. ’Tis thine,
To hang up human frailty to the view,
Of a poor pitileſs World. Seize Virtue, fled,
And place the Fugitive full in the eye
Of the fond Fool that ſcorn’d her. O, Revenge!
This were a proſpect, where thy tints would glow
With fatal warmth; but my cool ſpirit turns
From fire-ey’d Fury, tho’ refulgent Truth
Might mingle with her flames. Cruel the hand!
Which tears the veil of Time from black Diſhonour;
Or, with the iron pen of Juſtice, cuts
Her cypher on the ſears of early Shame.
I charge thee not with Inj’ries; ’tis not thou,
Canſt eaſe my lab’ring heart: the wounds I feel,7 In 103 O4r 103
In baſe Revenge, ſhall never find their cure.
My ſoul ſits conſcious of a nobler claim,
Firm in her full meridian, thence looks down,
Smiling on thy dark labours. Her ſtrong height
Thou ſhalt not reach.—Then fly me, fell Revenge;
Seize more defenceleſs holds, where Honour mourns
Internal deſolation. There aſſume
Malignant empire; fix thy burning throne
On injur’d Innocence; preſs thy hot foot
Upon the martyr’d friend; thy ſceptre deck
With Serpents, while, with Gorgon pow’r, thou turn’ſt
The heart to adamant. Whole legions there
Shall hail thee; there vile Calumny ſends forth
Red blaſts of peſtilence, which dim the eye
Of fair Opinion, while her pois’nous dews
Fall heavy on the frugal crop, that ſpringsFrom 104 O4v 104
From rough, uncultur’d Virtue. But, beware,
Ungentle Fiend! Ah, ſpare the ſlave of Fame,
Whoſe wiſhes, ’mid ideal banquets pine:
Be not loquacious on a tender fault,
Nor whiſper aught of inadvertent Love.
Behold yon wretch with ſilent horror fill’d,
And ſullen in extreme! His doubts are hell,
Whilſt each diſcordant pow’r of his dark ſoul,
Performs its office but to yield him woe.
Vile ravager of Order! who ſhall hold
Thy line of falſe Mortality? Who boaſt
Of Virtues which exiſt without a cauſe?
Perfection, be it trifling as the mote
Which revels in the Sun-beam, cannot own
Its eſſence ſelf-originating. Vain
Are all thy pleas to ſocial rules of Man!
Vain are thy toils in Science! Vain the web
Hoary Philosophy ſhall ever ſpin,
If, in thy future views, thou ne’er canſt form
Some good to hope for!
Lucy, A Tale For the Ladies.
When firſt young Reaſon lends her ray,
We chearful hail each riſing day;
Raptures our guiltleſs boſoms fill,
Whilſt roving o’er the lawn or hill.
The bird, the lamb, the fearful fawn,
The ſtarry night, the breaking dawn,
Dew-drinking cowſlip, primroſe pale,
Each trifling flow’ret of the vale,P2 All 108 P2v 108
All give us joy, when tender Thought,
With careleſs innocence is fraught.
The dream is pure, the ſlumber light,
No fears add horror to the night;
But ſhelter’d by paternal care,
No forms of future woe appear.
Hail, ſacred ſhades of fondeſt love,
Where Infancy may ſafely rove
Unheedful, tho’ the diſtant ſtorm
Deſtroys a king, or whelms a worm.
Beneath a Father’s rev’rend arms,
Young Lucy ſlept ſecure from harms:
On her ſoft cheek bright Beauty ſate,
To melt the frown of ſurly Fate;For 109 P3r 109
For ſwift her infant moments waſte,
While bluſhing Youth approach’d in haſte;
Bidding her quit the lov’d retreat,
Each ſelf-conducted joy to meet:
Whiſpers, that Knowledge ſwells the Great,
That Fortune muſt the Buſy wait;
Yea, more, that Love ſhall crown her hour,
Nor dark Diſtruſt the bleſſing ſour:
Then adds, that Precept, long poſſeſſ’d,
From Guilt defends the virtuous breaſt.
New wiſhes now exulting play;
The doll with ſcorn is thrown away:
Romance ſhe reads, and gently ſighs,
When weak impatient Werter dies.Deplores 110 P3v 110
Deplores Philoſophy profan’d,
Religious duties deeper ſtain’d;
But pities Charlotte, and defends
The Lady ’mid her prudiſh friends:
Pleads loudly for Platonic Love,
Is ſure her boſom ne’er could prove
A paſſion of leſs ſpotleſs kind,
Than that which ſooths the nobleſt mind.
Alas, dear Maid, thy gentle ſoul
Views nought but Virtue thro’ the whole;
But coarſer wretches will not join,
Their pois’nous breath to pleas like thine.
When at the Altar thou haſt bow’d,
And Hymen’s rites with awe avow’d;From 111 P4r 111
From friendly converſe thou must haſte,
Tho’ ev’ry thought is coldly chaſte.
Tho’ Lelius proves, from ſenſe refin’d,
That Honour fills his manly mind;
And that each wiſh from guilt is free,
Yet Malice ſtrikes at him and thee.
Hard leſſon!—Yet, dear girl, ’tis true,
For marriage-rights are very few.
Lelius had bid each paſſion bend,
In him the richeſt virtues blend;
And when, at morn or ev’ning pray’r,
Lucy each vagrant ſigh would ſhare;
But from the lap of Fortune thrown,
By a ſtern Father’s rigid frown,5 He 112 P4v 112
He ſcorn’d that Lucy e’er ſhould ſhare,
With him, the bitter bread of care:
Big Silence ſwell’d his noble breaſt,
His eyes, Deſpair and Love confeſt;
Yet from his lip no accent flow’d,
That pureſt Friendſhip diſallow’d:
Hopeleſs, at length, he ſigh’d, adieu,
And o’er the diſtant hills withdrew.
Lucy oft ſought the leafy ſhade;
Her Father ſees the penſive maid;
He, from Experience, cold and wiſe,
Now lightly weigh’d a Lover’s ſighs;
But in warm youth, for Celia’s ſake,
Had reſtleſs mourn’d whole nights awake.And 113 Q1r 113
And ere the midnight bell had rung,
While Philomel yet loudly ſung,
That mimic witch, we Fancy call,
Would bear him o’er this gloomy ball,
To where fair Celia ſleeping lay,
In dreams of love diſſolv’d away:
He heard the ſigh, which gently ſtole,
Scarce-breathing from her gentle ſoul;
Ran ſwiftly o’er each graceful charm,
Which can the gen’rous boſom warm;
Then proudly cry’d, tho’ ſunk to reſt,
I ever fill my Celia’s breaſt.
’Twas Fancy all, for Celia’s heart
Was fix’d on one leſs wiſe, but ſmart;Q For 114 Q1v 114
For him ſhe murmur’d thro’ the night,
For him ſhe curſt approaching light,
That chas’d his lovely form away,
While hated lectures waſte the day.
Nor did her pooreſt thought e’er fix
On Mevius, but contempt would mix.
He knew his worth,—was mighty ſure
That Wiſdom muſt the heart allure;
That thro’ her ear he could impart,
A genuine paſſion to her heart;
Nor once ſuſpects—moſt women prize
The arrow pointed thro’ the eyes.
By Celia ſcorn’d—he ſought the grove,
And liv’d awhile on mental love;4 But 115 Q2r 115
But as her Image left his mind,
He weds,—but holds this frigid rule,
Who weds for Love, is quite a fool.
Nat’ral effect! for Age came on,
And all his dear delights were gone:
That glowing Paſſion, which had fed
His youthful joys, is ever dead:
Nor can it leave a trace behind,
When Av’rice chills the hoary mind.
Thus wiſe, by paſt infatuation,
He views his daughter with vexation;
Yet independent Love would riſe,
In ſilent wiſhes to her eyes.
Why ſhould it not?—’tis Nature’s plea,
And ſtruggles ſtrong with you and me.
But throwing all her hopes aſide,
Old Mevius dooms her Cymon’s Bride,
A ſtupid money-loving man,
Whoſe ſoul ne’er ſtretch’d beyond the plan
Of vulgar ſenſe, and cuſtoms own’d,
Nor one rich mental joy had found;
She ſighs!—yet hopes one day to prove,
The fair, once wed, may learn to love.
Heroic thought! dear Self-denial,
Sure proof of Virtue’s ſtrongeſt trial!
May future conflicts ne’er moleſt
Thy mind, of Honour thus poſſeſt!
The joyleſs hours now ſlowly roll;
Confin’d Idea ſwells her ſoul:
She pants for converſe, ſoft, yet ſtrong,
In vain!—none flows from Cymon’s tongue.
They ſilent ſit; he ſinks to ſleep,
Leaving the choice—to think, or weep.
Ah! fatal leiſure, loſt in thought;
Of woe ſhe drinks a deeper draught:
She ſees her proſpects waſte and drear,
In anguiſh paints each coming year.
Heav’n ſympathetic Joy denies,
While Sentiment expreſsly dies;
Yet oft, with ſmiles, ſhe ſtrove to cheer
The gath’ring frowns which would appearOn 118 Q3v 118
On Cymon’s brow; the ſullen Brute
Can find no joy, but in diſpute.
Soon to his Gothic manſion rude,
Built in the breaſt of Solitude,
In haſte he hies; and near the ſeat,
Lelius unknown, had hail’d Retreat.
Wealth ſmiling came, but came too late
To render wiſh’d-for joy compleat:
Tho’ o’er the hills his flocks were ſpread,
And Ceres ſtrew’d th’ extenſive mead.
The golden harveſt, fleecy tribes,
Refulgent ſtore which Av’rice bribes,
Eve’s gentle hour, or bluſhing morn,
Ne’er ſooth, for he was doom’d to mourn:Books 119 Q4r 119
Books gave relief, to thoſe he ſlew;
While Virtue nouriſh’d, ſtrongly grew.
Cymon retir’d, no joy can find;
His beſt ſupport, a vacant mind:
His gentler neighbour soon addreſt,
And Lelius was his choſen gueſt.
When Huſbands chooſe a pleaſing friend,
Much, ſure, muſt on the Wife depend;
Yet ſurly tyrants ne’er will own,
Platonic Love exiſts alone.
In this the Men are fairly out,
For Sterling Virtue ſolves the doubt.
Lelius on Lucy fix’d his eyes,
But check’d the painful, vain ſurpriſe.A fix’d 120 Q4v 120
A fix’d deſpair was now his own,
Whilſt Honour bade him ſtand unknown:
From his wan cheek fair Health was fled;
Reſiſtleſs Languor o’er him ſpread;
And oft the deep-laid ſigh would ſtart,
Unbidden from his burden’d heart:
Yet the ſoft converſe pleas’d he hears,
When Cymon’s wife the ſtory ſhares:
And when the charming pleader ends,
He ev’ry moral proof defends.
Congenial Sentiment appears,
In all he ſees, in all he hears.
The gentle balm ſooths ev’ry grief,
Granting a poor, a ſhort relief;
For ſtill a prey to latent Woe,
Death’s ſtride was ſure, tho’ ſeeming ſlow.
To Lucy oft he’d faintly read,
Athwart the lawn and dewy mead;
Or gaze, reflecting on the ſtream,
Emblem of life’s too fleeting dream;
On which Event is borne away,
Scorning with fool, or ſage, to ſtay;
But when the thunders roll’d around,
While Nature trembled at the ſound;
He rais’d her timid Fancy higher,
To catch the pale electric fire.
Hark, Lucy! Cenſure lifts her tongue;
On its fell point thy name is hung.
Now ſtriding o’er the villa’s near,
Nor thee, nor Lelius, will ſhe ſpare;R But 122 R1v 122
But breathing ſtrong the venom’d blaſt,
Fame’s brighter trophies down are caſt.
Good Wives, whoſe wiſhes ne’er were try’d,
And therefore on the ſureſt ſide;
Who ne’er could dare e’en Friendſhip’s ray,
Leſt weak Reſolve ſhould melt away;
Now meet, and whilſt the diſh goes round,
Their darling topic loudly ſound:
Religion, Politics, they hate;
Their early faults they throw on Fate:
But Scandal! dear delightful ſtrain,
Sounds thro’ the roof—nor ſounds in vain.
To Cymon’s ear it wings its flight;
He, conſcious of a huſband’s right,Stares 123 R2r 123
Stares full on Lucy with vexation,
Talks loudly of loſt Reputation;
Swears he’ll no Britiſh huſband prove,
And coarſely rails at Wives and Love.
With cold contempt, the fair one hears
Her huſband’s threats and jealous fears;
Yet the weak ſigh, or tear, reſtrains,
For real Virtue ne’er complains.
A chillneſs o’er her boſom ſtole,
While blank Indiff’rence fill’d her ſoul:
But Cymon ne’er knew how to prove,
The languid ſpark of dying love;
He ſnatch’d from Duty’s with’ring hand,
Pale Joy, which ſhrunk from ſtern command.
To Lelius flew the line ſevere,
Enrich’d with Lucy’s ſilent tear:
The mandate rous’d his fainting thought,
Which back each guiltleſs pleaſure brought.
Conſcious of injur’d Fame, he tries
His rectitude of ſoul, but flies
The taſk—for public Fame he knew,
To ſecret Virtue ne’er was true.
To heav’n he caſt his mournful eyes;
All joyleſs ſeem’d the earth and ſkies:
It’s paſt, he cry’d, Friendship’s no more;
Nor dare I murmur, or implore.
Oh! ſtubborn Honour, fix’d on thee,
Th’ immortal ſpirit dares be free:’Tis 125 R3r 125
’Tis thou canſt bid my ſoul aſcend,
Far o’er the weak or guilty friend.
And when my ſhorten’d voyage is paſt,
Thy bright reflection ſtill ſhall laſt.
More languid grown; his heaving breaſt,
By pond’rous death, is cloſely preſt:
He gives the ſtruggle o’er, and cries,
A laſt adieu,—then groans, and dies.
Now ſtab his Mem’ry! ye that quote
Cold lines from ſlighted prudes, by rote;
Or ye, who preach in language faint,
Of early dupe, ſince made a ſaint;
Be this your taſk: for well you know,
Quick to convert our bliſs to woe;Be’t 126 R3v 126
Be’t yours to blaſt Life’s pureſt joy,
And Friendſhip’s dear delights deſtroy.
The Parthian thus from conflict flies;
Yet flying ſtill, the foe defies.
He backward ſhoots the random dart,
And wounds a more deſerving heart.
Our flight is conqueſt;—true, my friends,
When Vict’ry’s wreath on flight depends:
But when the glory muſt be won,
By conflict, or the mind undone;
Then, dare you conquer? Dare you own
Poor Virtue for herſelf alone?
No; ’tis not your illiberal ſouls,
The angel on her liſt enrolls.
Lelius is gone; ſad Lucy hears
His paſſing bell at morning pray’rs;
Her ſpirit faints; Devotion fled
Before the Image of the dead;
Lelius uſurps the vacant ſeat,
Bidding e’en charming Faith retreat.
Ah, unavailing Mem’ry, ceaſe!
Nor thus intrude on wounded peace;
But bid thy tints of pleaſure laſt!
Ah, animate the joy that’s paſt!
Ne’er let thy Pencil fainter grow,
But give to Time thy richeſt glow:
Then ſhall thy Images delight,
And Fancy ſooth the wretches’ night.
Intent on preſent grief, the mind
Ne’er heeds her hoard of bliſs behind:
Or taught by freezing precept, deems
Her once-lov’d pleaſures, fleeting dreams;
Ye Sages ſay, which ſhould we mourn,
Thoſe valu’d joys that ne’er return?
Or ills, which paſſing ſwell the ſtore,
Of hated ſorrow gone before?
To me, thy joys, dear Mem’ry give!
For while thy purer tranſports live,
Anguish ſhall fade at Friendſhip’s name,
Till Death’s fell dews ſhall quench her flame.
Now Lucy joyleſs ſpends the hour,
Still Cymon grew more ſtern and ſour:8 She 129 S1r 129
She reads, and o’er her proſpect mourns;
He burns her book, her mildneſs ſcorns.
Repeated inſult wounds her mind;
Too ſwift her lovely form declin’d.
Bright wit in languid ſilence dies;
The pointed rapture leaves her eyes;
Her heart with deep affliction heaves,
Whoſe pang ſoft ſympathy relieves;
But wanting that congenial tear,
Ne’er hails the groſs or vulgar ear.
She dies! and Cymon’s poignant grief,
Is finely wrought in bas-relief.
To prove he does his wife lament,
How grand, ſuperb, her monument:S There 130 S1v 130
There weeping angels cut in stone,
The roſe ſnapt off ere fully blown,
The empty urn—muſt ſurely prove,
Cymon’s deep ſorrow, and his love.
On Jephthah’s Vow, Taken in a Literal Sense.
What ſudden impulſe ruſhes thro’ the mind,
And gives that momentary wild reſolve
Which ſeals the binding vow? Alas, poor man!
Blind to a dark futurity, yet raſh
To mad extreme; why thus, with impious ſoul,
Throw up to Heav’n the edict of thy will;
Eraſe humility, and madly call
Events thy own, which may be born in woe?
Or what ſad wretch dare lift th’ accuſing eye
To an inſulted Deity, when torn
By dire effect, recoiling Nature feels
Thoſe horrors he with loud preſumption claim’d?
O, Jephthah! the ſoft boſom melts for thee;
When ſtung with ardour ’mid the din of war,
Thy ſpirit panted for the wreath of glory,
Trembling, and eager, leſt her trophies crown
The brow of Ammon’s King. In blind deſpair
Thou bargain’dſt with thy God. Ah, yet retract!
In vain! the vow is breath’d, and, awful, borne
Moſt rapidly to Heaven! Now the deep groan
Of dying foes reverb’rate on the ear
With pleaſing horror. Iſrael’s hero feels
Freſh inſpiration from his ill-tim’d faith.Dealing 133 S3r 133
Dealing each ſtroke with death, the thirſty plain
Drinks deep of Ammonitiſh blood: their Chiefs
Yield with reluctance to the chance of war,
And murm’ring kiſs the ground. The tawny ſlave,
With faithful arm, ſupports his dying Lord,
Heedleſs, in grief; while whizzing thro’ the air
The arrow flies, which ſoon ſhall meet his heart.
’Tis come! See how it revels in the flood
That carries life away. Jephthah returns
With vict’ry nodding on his gaudy plume;
While his exulting troops, with ruthleſs foot,
Preſs out the ſoul, yet quiv’ring on the lip
Of Ammon’s ſons, diſfigur’d in the duſt.
Hark! babb’ing Echo, riding on the blaſt,
Bears far the plaudit. Ammon, ſunk in death,Heeds 134 S3v 134
Heeds not the ſound: huſh’d as the infant babe,
The Warriour ſlumbers in eternal reſt.
Now Mizpeh’s native ſpires ſalute the eye;
While Jephthah’s boſom ſwells with glowing thought,
The ſoft parental rapture, fond embrace,
Kind gratulation, ſmile of filial love,
All form a deep impreſſion; quick his ſoul
Diſſolves in pleaſing imag’ry. Arriv’d!
Behold his gates are widely thrown; the ſong
Of joy is louder, with the clarion ſhrill,
The cymbal, pſalter, and the fav’rite harp.
Hence, Jephthah! turn thine eye;—yet, yet prolongThe 135 S4r 135
The hour of Fate! for lo! thy daughter comes
Rich in the ſweets of Innocence: ah, turn!
Nor meet the blooming maid. Unconſcious ſhe,
With fatal haſte, now ruſhes to thy arms.
He droops! the ſoft ſenſation inſtant dies,
And awful terrors ſhake his inmoſt ſoul.
Swift from his brow, in anguiſh torn, he hurls
The laurel dearly won; yet, in his arms,
For one fond moment, claſps the tender maid.
Short tranſport! Recollection blaſts the ſcene.
He holds her from him; and with looks of woe,
In which the pangs of Pity, Love, and Death,
Alternately appear. He murmurs loud1 Againſt 136 S4v 136
Againſt aſſiduous Duty; wildly aſks,
Why She, the firſt, to welcome Jephthah home?
Alas! the queſtion freezes; theſe are ſounds
Stern and unuſual to her liſt’ning ear,
Which oft had hung on accents breath’d in love.
She ſtands amaz’d: her fire, with ſighs, exclaims,
Oh, thou haſt brought me low! my ſoul deſponds,
For I have pledg’d thee to the Lord of Hoſts,
A victim to my conqueſt and ambition;
Yes, thou muſt die: the regiſters of Heav’n
Are ope’d, nor dare I trifle with my God.
The bluſh in haste forſook her lovely cheek
At the too rigid ſentence: yet reſign’dTo 137 T1r 137
To all a father ow’d, or Heav’n would aſk,
She meekly cry’d, Thy will was ever mine.
An off’ring chearful on the altar laid,
This frame ſhall ſoon conſume; my ſoul to God
Shall fly with ſpeed; yet will I ſlowly rove
O’er yon high mountain, till the moon hath ſpent
Two portions of her light. Ye Virgins, come!
Let your ſoft notes the fatal vow deplore,
Without accuſing Jephthah. On ſhe goes,
Leaving her father fix’d in ſpeechleſs grief.
Bright Cynthia twice had fill’d her waſted horn:
When the ſad hour approach’d, ſhe quits the hills,
And Iſrael’s prieſts lead on the charming maid.
The fillet, cenſer, frankincenſe, and myrrh,
Are all prepar’d; the altar’s blaze aſcendsT In 138 T1v 138
In curling flame; while bigots dare pronounce
The ſacrifice acceptable to Heaven.
Hence, dupes! nor make a Moloch of your God.
Tear not your Infants from the tender breaſt,
Nor throw your Virgins to conſuming fires.
He aſks it not; and ſay, what boaſting fool,
To great Omnipotence a debt can owe?
Or owing, can repay it? Would’ſt thou dare
Barter upon equality! Oh, man!
Thy notion of a Deity is poor,
Contracted, curb’d, within a narrow ſpace,
Which muſt on finite reſt. Hark! Jephthah groans!
And ’tis the groan of horror. Virgins, ſigh
For the fair victim: vain the melting tear!
She’s gone, while Jewiſh records hold the vow
To future ages, penn’d with cruel pride.
Written on a Visit.
Delightful Twick’nham! may a ruſtic hail
Thy leafy ſhades, where Pope in rapture ſtray’d,
Claſp young-ey’d Ecſtaſy amid the vale,
And ſoar, full-pinion’d, with the buoyant maid?
Ah! no, I droop! her fav’rite Bard ſhe mourns;
Yet Twick’nham, ſhall thy groves aſſiſt my ſong;
For while, with grateful love my boſom burns,
Soft Zephyr bears the artleſs ſtrain along.
Through Maro’s peaceful haunt with joy I rove:
Here Emma’s ſpotleſs lamb forgets to bleat;
Nor heeds her native lawn, or woolly love,
But gently breathes her thanks at Beauty’s feet.
Emblem of whiteſt Innocence! how bleſt!
No cruel maſtiff on thy heart ſhall prey,
Nor ſanguine ſteel e’er rend thy panting breaſt;
But life, with happy eaſe, ſtill glide away.
Far be the hour that muſt demand thy breath;
For ah! that hour ſhall claim my Emma’s tear:
E’en Maro’s manly eye ſhall grace thy death;
Nor will the pang Lactilla’s boſom ſpare.
But hence, Melpomene! to cells of woe;
I would not now thy melting languors own:
Here Friendſhip bids exulting Rapture glow,
While Sorrow, liſt’ning, ſtills her deepeſt groan.
Protected thus from ev’ry barbed dart,
Which oft from ſoul-corroding paſſion flies,
I own the tranſport of a blameleſs heart,
While on the air the pow’rleſs fury dies.
Hail! ſteady Friendſhip, ſtubborn in thy plea!
Moſt juſtly ſo, when Virtue is thy guide:
Beneath your mingled ray my ſoul is free,
And native Genius ſoars with conſcious Pride.
See, Maro points the vaſt, the ſpacious way,
Where ſtrong Idea may on Rapture ſpring:
I mount!—Wild Ardour ſhall ungovern’d ſtray;
Nor dare the mimic pedant clip my wing.
Rule! what art thou? Thy limits I diſown!
Can thy weak law the ſwelling thought confine?
Snatch glowing Tranſport from her kindred zone,
And fix her melting on thy frozen line?
As well command the hoary Alps to bear
The Amaranth, or Phoebus-loving flow’r!
Bid the Behemoth cut the yielding air,
Or rob the Godhead of creative pow’r!
Yet, Precept! ſhall thy richeſt ſtore be mine,
When ſoft’ning pleaſure would invade my breaſt;
To thee my ſtruggling ſpirit ſhall reſign;
On thy cold boſom will I ſink to reſt.
Farewel, ye groves! and when the friendly moon
Tempts each fair ſiſter o’er the vernal green,
Oh, may each lovely maid reflect how ſoon
Lactilla ſaw, and ſighing left the ſcene.
Elegy, on Mr. Chatterton.
Forgive, neglected ſhade! my penſive lay,
While o’er thy tomb I hang my rural wreath;
The modeſt violet to thee I’ll pay,
That bloom’d and dy’d upon yon barren heath.
Bring, artleſs Virgins, ev’ry rural ſweet,
And cull the hare-bell from the mountain’s brow;
On whoſe brown breaſt, untrod by cautious feet,
The languid flow’r is fainting ſeen to blow.
Ah! ſee in vain it plays on Zephyr’s wing,
In vain it humbly bends to ev’ry blaſt;
Its beauties drop ungather’d as I ſing,
And oe’r the precipice by winds are caſt.
Emblem of Merit in a frozen world,
Thine azure tints ſhall yet our garland grace;
Like thee this joyleſs Youth was quickly hurl’d,
From Hope’s fair height, to Death’s unlov’d embrace.
Bluſh! bluſh! ye patrons of the tuneful Nine,
(Hark! his ſad Ghoſt ſings on the buoyant air)
Ye ſaw me feebly graſp Apollo’s ſhrine;
Ye ſaw the God ’mid all his rays appear.
Wrapt in his glories did my Spirit ſtand;
Breathleſs I panted with the tranſport new;
But Mis’ry came and ſeiz’d my helpleſs hand:
She led me on; I vainly ſhriek’d to you.
Why did you ſee the haggard fiend prevail,
When Phœbus gave whate’er a God could give?
With cruel Mis’ry, Song could ne’er avail;
She pierc’d my heart, my raptures ceas’d to live.
Scorning to fawn at laughing Inſult’s knee,
My woes were doubled, deeper rais’d my groan;
More ſharp, more exquiſite, came Agony;
And latent Anguiſh ſeal’d me for her own.
I aſk no laurel, claim no late-born ſigh;
Yet ſhould ſome ruſtic Muſe, in Nature dreſt,
Strike her ſoft boſom with a tearful eye,
While keen Emotion’s in her ſtrain confeſt,
Reſting on yon white cloud, I will be near.—
Huſh’d dies the ſound, ſhrill as the midnight wind;
Now deck the garland, nor your flow’rets ſpare,
With mournful Cypreſs, and the Yew entwin’d.
High on this Willow hangs the ſilent lyre,
So late attun’d to faithful Ella’s woe;
Still is that finger, quench’d that heav’nly fire,
Whoſe touch commanded our beſt tears to flow.
Yet ſoft, ye Maids! preſs the green turf with heed,
Where hapleſs Genius lies by Pride oppreſt;
Nor hail yon pow’rful Wretch who urg’d the deed,
But leave to Heav’n his cold ungentle breaſt.
Here ſtrew your flow’rs—here plant the earlieſt roſe Primroſe.
That grew unknown near Clifton’s green-clad hill:
Her languid hue ſhall cank’ring Grief diſcloſe;
Her fall—the mind with juſt reflection fill.
Now reſt, too hapleſs Chatterton, whoſe ſtrain
My boſom warms while ſinging Bawdin’s fate;
Yet ſhalt thou live! nor ſhall my ſong be vain
That dares not thine, but dares to imitate.
Absence, A Juvenile Piece.
Why droop my thoughts inactive, calm and low?
Or why this languor on my ſinking mind?
Deaf, when from converſe trifling accents flow;
I wander penſive, but no joy can find.
Ah! why does Fate congenial ſpirits form,
Who ruſh to meet each other from the eye?
In vain does Sympathy each boſom warm,
For, oh! her tranſports are but born to die.
Bid Silence ſit upon the trembling tongue;
Yet ſhall the look pierce to the melting heart:
Till then unconſcious, whence the ſigh had ſprung;
Till then unconſcious, what could joy impart.
Ah, doubtful Joy! poor pleaſing pain at beſt,
When all our ſoft emotions ſwiftly riſe;
To aſk Expreſſion while the pang suppreſt,
To the fond heart ebbs back and ſilent dies.
Silence, mute bleſſing, covert of our woes,
Soft nurſe of dear Idea, near me ſtay;
To thy dark boſom ev’ry ſorrow flows,
On which the vulgar mind would furious prey.
Be ever mine; with thee I’ll gently rove
O’er Clifton’s native heights, or flow’ry plain:
And when cold Abſence deſert makes the Grove,
My Soul may languiſh, but thou ſtill ſhalt reign.
Hence, ye fair fools! who noiſe with nonſenſe join,
My ſpirit liſts not to your witleſs tale;
Nor will her long-lov’d Images reſign,
But ſilent bears them to the dewy vale.
Pure is that ſigh unwilLing breath’d in air,
When Hope denies and Abſence chills its flight;
When nought aſſists it but a true deſpair,
Ye Prudes, forgive the breaſt it renders light.
The Mind that’s form’d to Virtue, ſilent mourns
The object ſhe had dreſs’d in mental charms;
Yet ſcorns the wiſh with which that boſom burns,
Whom Love with wilder tumult ſtill alarms.
On being introduced to a Gentleman, who had laboured under an Affliction ſixteen Years.
Why mourns my ſoul thy cureleſs woe;
Why heaves my vain unwilling ſigh;
Why ſould my tear of anguiſh flow
For thee, whom Joy muſt ever fly?
I ſee thee ſtruggle to conceal
The inward pang with watchful care.
Ah, well thou know’ſt how few can feel,
How few dear ſympathy can ſhare.
Yet ſhall thy calmneſs teach my ſoul
Silent to bear her lot of pain;
And when tumultuous paſſions roll,
I’ll think on thee, lamented youth,
With thine compare each trivial ill;
Like thee repoſe on ſacred Truth,
And with thee own an heav’nly will.
What leſs ſupports thee?—What the boaſt
Of hoary ſelf-denying Sage,
To all but ſtoic wiſdom loſt,
He vainly fills the ſtudy’d page.
His ſtubborn ſoul reſiſts the plea
Of Mis’ry when ſhe owns her God:
Checking with pride the bending knee,
He feels, yet ſcorns th’ uplifted rod.
Hence, ſtern Philoſophy!—or turn
And ſee how Patience owns thy guiſe:
Here view a victim, taught to mourn,
Ere thy rough precept made him wiſe.
Then huſh thy ſounds of claſſic lore,
Where demonſtrations ſeldom join;
Religion boaſts a ſtronger pow’r,
Proving her ardours all divine.
When rack’d with pain, thro’ tedious nights,
The frame no balmy comfort ſhares;
Eſtrang’d from eaſe, or ſoft delights,
We wake to nurſe a brood of cares:
Much do we need a pitying friend,
To ſooth and ſhare diſtracted thought;
In whoſe ſoft breaſt the virtues blend,
To fill the ſympathetic draught.
Ah! wiſh too vain—yet ever new,
For where reſides the equal mind?
Ye ſons of woe, I aſk of you,
Where ſhall the wretch this comfort find?
Each born to bear his load of ill,
He weakly dares the ſurge of Fate;
Time ſwiftly does Life’s journal fill,
And trembling Sorrow ſeals his date.
Then where’s the bulwark of the ſoul,
When cloſe beſieg’d by troops of woe;
Who ſhall her horrid band controul,
Or turn aſide the deſtin’d blow?
Exulting Faith! Heav’n’s ſtrongeſt child,
Shall, in her arms, thy ſpirit bear;
While ſoothing Hope, with accent mild,
Firſt chides, then dries the fruitleſs tear.
Yet calmly ſuffer—quickly flies
Time’s ſhuttle on, for thee and me.
Reflect: like us the monarch dies;
Like him we ſhare Heav’ns grand decree.
On the Remembrance of a Mother.
Still wilt thou hang upon my joyleſs ſoul
That claſps thy dear impreſſion;—who ſhall prove
Thou art not borne beyond the gloomy grave,
When thou art ever living to my mind?
Ah, yet be with me, kind inſtructive ſhade,
And ſooth the mis’ries of ſucceſſive hours;
Rove with me through the vale; paint the ſad ſcene
When dreary Winter ſits upon the world.
Chilling creative pow’r, ſuch cruel TimeY That 162 Y1v 162
That robb’d me of a mother. Painful thought!
With what reluctance did my ſoul diſcern
Thy faculties decline; thine eye, thine ear,
Thy long-try’d mem’ry, ſentimental pow’rs,
All ſunk in calm gradation, while the ſigh
Stole in ſoft ſilence from my youthful heart.
Mine was th’ improving melancholy taſk,
To guide with penſive care thy feeble foot
Down life’s deſcent, tho’ I with horror ſaw
The grave that op’d beneath. Ye giddy minds,
Who place the eſſence of fallacious joy
In gaudy pomp, to you it is deny’d
To feel with pining Age, or ſooth the pangs
Which Mem’ry leaves behind of jocund Youth.
Why paſs ye by the venerable head,
Grown white with age and ſorrow? Why deſpiſe,
In flippant mirth, the period ye muſt find,
With all its cold companions? Hard the heart
Who ſmiles at hoary weakneſs; baſe the ſoul
Who ſcornful throws at dear declining Age
Her weak petitions. Think, my youthful friends,
That Time, to purity attunes the thought,
Robs the warm breaſt of paſſion, points the ſoul
To her laſt refuge, bids her hate the day
When Pleaſure met her on the ſilken wing,
That droops beneath Remembrance. Oh, beware,
Impetuous youth, and taſte the draught of joy,
With Meditation ſitting on the cup.
Yet will I hold thee, kind lamented ſhade,
That whiſper’ſt o’er the grave: there didſt thou ſink,Y2 And 164 Y2v 164
And there I’ll follow thee; but while I tread,
In penſive mood, the tedious round of life,
Let Fancy bring thee to my humble hearth.
There, hear unſeen, my blooming boys repeat
Thy name half-broken, with unconſcious ſighs,
While thy firm precepts vibrate in their ear.
Tranſporting Thought, preſerve the pleaſing view!
Tho’ Reaſon flies the ſcene for colder ſhades
Of rigid demonſtration, which, more rough
Than frowning Alps, o’er-ſhadows warmer joy.
How oft, with thee, when life’s keen tempeſt howl’d
Around our heads, did I contented ſit,
Drinking the wiſer accents of thy tongue,
Liſtleſs of threat’ning ill! My tender eye
Was fix’d on thine, inquiſitively ſad,8 Whilſt 165 Y3r 165
Whilſt thine was dim with ſorrow; yet thy ſoul
Betray’d no innate weakneſs, but reſolv’d
To tread thy ſojourn calm and undiſmay’d:
Thy fortitude threw on my weaker cheek
Confuſion’s tinge; even now I faintly feel,
Thus wanting thee, wrapt in whoſe fost’ring wing,
I found a ſhelter from inclement ſkies.
Now who ſhall ſhield me, who direct the ſtorm,
When mental conflicts rend my ſuff’ring ſoul,
Hurling her far from ever-gentle Peace!
Ah, unavailing queſtion! Fancy paints
A Mother’s frown on her denying brow,
That bids me reſt on virtures all my own.
To the Right Honourable the Earl of Bristol, &c;
Bristol, my ſoul hangs back on thee, and breathes
Her ſorrows o’er the paſt; yet while I droop,
Thy gentle voice ſounds in each paſſing hour,
Till Melancholy lull’d, gives tranſient eaſe.
Ah, who ſhall ſit on Meditation’s height,
With ſtoic firmneſs, when the piercing ſhriekOf 167 Y4r 167
Of Agony is heard? In vain we boaſt
A fortitude of ſoul, in vain we turn
From ſad obtruding Mem’ry. Oh, my friend!
Thine are the stores of ev’ry claſſic ſage,
Thine ev’ry virtue which the mind can own,
When strong Reſolve would fix—but all is weak,
Oppos’d to latent Woe; yet ſhall my ſoul
Sing ever-mournful notes o’er Mis’ry’s ſtream,
Frighting ſoft Peace? No, Bristol’s arm has borne
My ſpirit from the ſcene, placing it high
On Hope’s unmeaſur’d height; and here I’ll ſtand
Till Time ſhall roll his thouſand worlds, in rage,
Down vaſt Eternity: in that loud hour,
When Nature throws her dark foundations up
To meet the liquid ſkies, thy form rever’d
Shall ſtrike my grateful ſoul; no livid glare,7 Mingled 168 Y4v 168
Mingled convulſion, element unhing’d,
Swift-falling orb, when old Creation reels,
Shall hide thee from my view; of eſſence form’d,
More pure than ether in its fineſt ſphere.
I then may hail thee; but till then accept
The language faint of an untutor’d mind,
Whose pow’rs have found their beſt ſupport in thee.