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Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf
Turn'd her stretch'd neck and form'd your tender
So taught of Jove e'en the fell savage fed
Your sacred infancies, your virtues, toils,
The conquests, glories, of th' Ausonian state,
Wrapp'd in their secret seeds. Each kindred soul,
Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts,
Her cots arise,
And little Rome appears.
Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls,
Green rushes spread the roofs; and here and there
Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave.
Elate with joy Etruscan Tiber views
Her spreading scenes enamelling his waves,
Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds,
And gathering swains; and rolls his yellow car
To Neptune's court with more majestic train.
Her speedy growth alarm'd the states around,
Jealous; yet soon, by wondrous virtue won,
From the plow
They sink into her bosom.
Rose her dictators; fought, o'ercame, return'd
Yes, to the plow return'd, and hail'd their peers;
For then no private pomp, no household state,
The public only swell'd the generous breast.
Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung?
Dentatus' scars, or Mutius' flaming hand?
How Manlius sav'd the Capitol? the choice
Of steady Regulus? As yet they stood,
Simple of life; as yet seducing wealth
Was unexplor'd, and shame of poverty
Yet unimagin'd.-Shine not all the fields
With various fruitage? murmur not the brooks
Along the flowery valleys? They, content,
Feasted at Nature's hand, indelicate,
Blithe, in their easy taste; and only sought
To know their duties; that their only strife,
Their generous strife, and greatly to perform.
They through all shapes of peril and of pain,
Intent on honor, dar'd in thickest death
To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quell'd,
Nor Thrasymene, nor Canna's bloody field,
Their dauntless courage; storming Hannibal
In vain the thunder of the battle roll'd,
The thunder of the battle they return'd
Back on his Punic shores; till Carthage fell,
And danger fled afar. The city gleam'd
With precious spoils: alas, prosperity!
Ah, baneful state! yet ebb'd not all their strength
In soft luxurious pleasures; proud desire
Of boundless sway, and feverish thirst of gold,
Rous'd them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
Torn from her joys, in vain with languid arm
Half-rais'd her rusty shield; nor could avail
The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart;
Nor yet the ear of that fam'd British chief,
Which seven brave years, beneath the doubtful wing
Of Victory, dreadful roll'd its griding wheels
Over the bloody war: the Roman arms
Triumph'd, till Fame was silent to their foes.
And now the world unrival'd they enjoy'd
In proud security: the crested helm,
The plated greave and corslet hung unbrac'd;
Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding shield,
But on the glittering trophy to the wind.
Dissolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie,
Till every sun annoys, and every wind
Has chilling force, and every rain offends:
For now the frame no more is girt with strength
Masculine, nor in lustiness of heart
Laughs at the winter storm, and summer-beam,
Superior to their rage: enfeebling vice
Withers each nerve, and opens every pore
To painful feeling: flowery bowers they seek
(As ether prompts, as the sick sense approves)
Or cool Nymphean grots; or tepid baths
(Taught by the soft Ionians); they, along
The lawny vale, of every beauteous stone,
Pile in the roseate air with fond expense:
Through silver channels glide the vagrant waves,
And fall on silver beds crystalline down,
Melodious murmuring; while Luxury
Over their naked limbs with wanton hand
Sheds roses, odors, sheds unheeded bane.
Swift is the flight of wealth; unnumber'd wants,
Brood of voluptuousness, cry out aloud
Necessity, and seek the splendid bribe.
The citron board, the bowl emboss'd with gems,
And tender foliage wildly wreath'd around
Of seeming ivy, by that artful hand,
Corinthian Thericles; whate'er is known
Of rarest acquisition; Tyrian garbs,
Neptunian Albion's high testaceous food,
And flavor'd Chian wines with incense fum'd
To slake patrician thirst; for these, their rights
In the vile streets they prostitute to sale,
Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws,
Is there none,
Their native glorious freedom.
Is there no villain, that will bind the neck
Stretch'd to the yoke? they come; the market throngs
But who has most by fraud or force amass'd?
Who most can charm corruption with his doles ?
He be the monarch of the state; and lo!
Didius, vile usurer, through the crowd he mounts,
Beneath his feet the Roman eagle cowers,
And the red arrows fill his grasp uncouth.
O Britons, O my countrymen, beware;
Gird, gird your hearts; the Romans once were free,
Were brave, were virtuous.-Tyranny, howe'er,
Deign'd to walk forth awhile in pageant state,
And with licentious pleasures fed the rout,
The thoughtless many to the wanton sound
Of fifes and drums they danc'd, or in the shade
Sung Cesar, great and terrible in war,
Immortal Cæsar! Lo, a god, a god,
He cleaves the yielding skies! Cæsar meanwhile
Gathers the ocean pebbles; or the gnat
Enrag'd pursues; or at his lonely meal
Starves a wide province; tastes, dislikes, and flings
To dogs and sycophants. A god, a god!
The flowery shades and shrines obscene return.
But see along the north the tempests swell
O'er the rough Alps, and darken all their snows!
Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreaded names,
Rush as the breach of waters, whelming all
Their domes, their villas; down the festive piles,
Down fall their Parian porches, gilded baths,
And roll before the storm in clouds of dust.
Vain end of human strength, of human skill,
Conquest, and triumph, and domain, and pomp,
And ease, and luxury! O Luxury,
Bane of elated life, of affluent states,
What dreary change, what ruin is not thine?
How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind!
To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave
How dost thou lure the fortunate and great!
Dreadful attraction! while behind thee gapes
Th' unfathomable gulf where Asher lies
O'erwhelm'd, forgotten; and high-boasting Cham;
And Elam's haughty pomp; and beauteous Greece;
And the great queen of Earth, imperial Rome.
* Didius Julianus, who bought the empire.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE, a popular and agreeable the life which he invariably pursued, and which poet, was born at Hales-Owen, Shropshire, in 1714. consisted in improving the picturesque beauties of His father was an uneducated gentleman farmer, the Leasowes, exercising his pen in casual effusions who cultivated an estate of his own, called the Lea- of verse and prose, and cultivating such society as Sowes. William, after passing through other in- lay within his reach. The fame of the Leasowes struction, was removed to that of a clergyman at was widely spread by an elaborate description of Solihull, from whom he acquired a fund of classical Dodsley's, which drew multitudes of visitors to the literature, together with a taste for the best English place; and the house being originally only a farm, writers. In 1732 he was entered of Pembroke Col- became inadequate to his grounds, and required enlege, Oxford, where he formed one of a set of young largement. Hence he lay continually under the men who met in the evenings at one another's cham- pressure of narrow circumstances, which preyed bers, and read English works in polite literature. upon his spirits, and rendered him by no means a He also began to exercise his poetical talent upon happy inhabitant of the little Eden he had created. some light topics; but coming to the possession of Gray, from the perusal of his letters, deduces the his paternal property, with some augmentation, he following, perhaps too satirical, account. "Poor indulged himself in rural retirement, and forgetting man! he was always wishing for money, for fame, his calls to college residence, he took up his abode and other distinctions; and his whole philosophy at a house of his own, and commenced gentleman. consisted in living against his will in retirement, In 1737 he printed anonymously a small volume of and in a place which his taste had adorned, but juvenile poems, which was little noticed. His first which he only enjoyed when people of note came to visit to London, in 1740, introduced him to the ac-see and commend it." quaintance of Dodsley, who printed his "Judgment Shenstone died of a fever in February, 1763, in of Hercules," dedicated to his Hagley neighbor, Mr. his fiftieth year, and was interred in the church(afterwards Lord) Lyttleton. It was followed by a yard of Hales-Owen. Monuments to his memory work written before it, "The School-mistress," a piece in Spenser's style and stanza, the heroine of which was a village dame, supposed to have given him his first instruction. The vein of benevolence and good sense, and the touches of the pathetic, by which this performance is characterized, render it extremely pleasing, and perhaps place it at the head of his compositions.
After amusing himself with a few rambles to places of public resort, Shenstone now sat down to
were erected by several persons who loved the man, and esteemed his poetry. Of the latter, the general opinion is now nearly uniform. It is regarded as commonly correct, elegant, melodious, and tender in sentiment, and often pleasing and natural in description, but verging to the languid and feeble. His prose writings, published in a separate volume, display good sense and cultivated taste, and sometimes contain new and acute observations on mankind.
Auditæ voces, vagitus et ingens,
Infantumque animæ flentes in limine primo.
What particulars in Spenser were imagined most
proper for the author's imitation on this occasion,
are his language, his simplicity, his manner of
description, and a peculiar tenderness of senti-
ment remarkable throughout his works.
АH me! full sorely is my heart forlorn,
To think how modest Worth neglected lies,
While partial Fame doth with her blast adorn
Such deeds alone, as pride and pomp disguise;
Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise :
Lend me thy clarion, goddess! let me try
To sound the praise of Merit, ere it dies,
Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,
Lost in the dreary shades of dull Obscurity.
In every village mark'd with little spire.
Embower'd in trees, and hardly known to Fame
There dwells in lowly shed, and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we School-mistress name;
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame;
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
Aw'd by the power of this relentless dame;
And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair, or task unconn'd, are sorely shent.
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
Which Learning near her little dome did stowe,
Whilom a twig of small regard to see,
Though now so wide its waving branches flow;
And work the simple vassal's mickle woe;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs shudder'd, and their pulse beat
And as they look'd they found their horror grew, And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view.
So have I seen (who has not, may conceive)
A lifeless phantom near a garden plac'd;
So doth it wanton birds of peace bereave,
Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast;
They start, they stare, they wheel, they look
Sad servitude! such comfortless annoy
May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste!
Ne superstition clog his dance of joy,
No vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
On which the tribe their gambols do display;
And at the door imprisoning-board is seen,
Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray;
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!
The noises intermix'd, which thence resound,
Do Learning's little tenement betray;
Where sits the dame, disguis'd in look profound,
And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel
Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, Emblem right meet of decency does yield: Her apron dy'd in grain, as blue, I trow, As is the hare-bell that adorns the field: And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwin'd, With dark distrust, and sad repentance fill'd: And stedfast hate, and sharp affliction join'd, And fury uncontrol'd, and chastisement unkind.
Few but have kenn'd, in semblance meet portray'd,
The childish faces of old Eol's train; Libs, Notus, Auster: these in frowns array'd, How then would fare or Earth, or Sky, or Main, Were the stern god to give his slaves the rein? And were not she rebellious breasts to quell, And were not she her statutes to maintain, The cot no more, I ween, were deem'd the cell, Where comely peace of mind, and decent order dwell.
A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown; A russet kirtle fenc'd the nipping air; 'Twas simple russet, but it was her own; 'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair! "Twas her own labor did the fleece prepare; And, sooth to say, her pupils, rang'd around, Through pious awe, did term it passing rare; For they in gaping wonderment abound, And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.
Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth, Ne pompous title did debauch her ear; Goody, good-woman, gossip, n'aunt, forsooth, Or dame, the sole additions she did hear; Yet these she challeng'd, these she held right dear: Ne would esteem him act as mought behove, Who should not honor'd eld with these revere: For never title yet so mean could prove, But there was eke a mind which did that title love.
One ancient hen she took delight to feed, The plodding pattern of the busy dame; Which, ever and anon, impell'd by need, Into her school, begirt with chickens, came! Such favor did her past deportment claim: And, if Neglect had lavish'd on the ground Fragment of bread, she would collect the same, For well she knew, and quaintly could expound. What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.
Herbs too she knew, and well of each could speak That in her garden sipp'd the silvery dew; Where no vain flower disclos'd a gaudy streak; But herbs for use, and physic, not a few, Of grey renown, within those borders grew: The tufted basil, pun-provoking thyme, Fresh baum, and marigold of cheerful hue; The lowly gill, that never dares to climb; And more I fain would sing, disdaining here to rhyme
Yet euphrasy may not be left unsung, That gives dim eyes to wander leagues around; And pungent radish, biting infant's tongue; And plantain ribb'd, that heals the reaper's wound; And marjoram sweet, in shepherd's posie found; And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom Shall be, erewhile, in arid bundles bound, To lurk amidst the labors of her loom, And crown her kerchiefs clean, with mickle rare perfume.
And here trim rosemarine, that whilom crown'd
The daintiest garden of the proudest peer;
Ere, driven from its envied site, it found
A sacred shelter for its branches here;
Where edg'd with gold its glittering skirts appear,
Oh wassal days! O customs meet and well!
Ere this was banish'd from his lofty sphere:
Simplicity then sought this humble cell,
Nor ever would she more with thane and lordling
Here oft the dame, on Sabbath's decent eve, Hymned such psalms as Sternhold forth did mete, If winter 't were, she to her hearth did cleave, But in her garden found a summer-seat; Sweet melody! to hear her then repeat How Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king, While taunting foemen did a song entreat, All, for the nonce, untuning every string, Uphung their useless lyres-small heart had they to sing.
For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore, And pass'd much time in truly virtuous deed; And in those elfins' ears, would oft deplore The times, when Truth by Popish rage did bleed; And tortious death was true Devotion's meed; And simple Faith in iron chains did mourn, That nould on wooden image place her creed; And lawny saints in smouldering flames did burn: Ah! dearest Lord, forefend, thilk days should e'er
In elbow-chair, like that of Scottish stem
By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defac'd,
In which, when he receives his diadem,
Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is plac'd,
The matron sate; and some with rank she grac'd,
(The source of children's and of courtiers' pride!)
Redress'd affronts, for vile affronts there pass'd;
And warn'd them not the fretful to deride,
But love each other dear, whatever them betide.
Right well she knew each temper to descry;
To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise;
Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And some entice with pittance small of praise,
And other some with baleful sprig she 'frays:
E'en absent, she the reins of power doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways:
Forewarn'd, if little bird their pranks behold,
"Twill whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.
Lo now with state she utters the command!
Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair;
Their books of stature small they take in hand,
Which with pellucid horn secured are,
To save from finger wet the letters fair:
The work so gay that on their back is seen,
St. George's high achievements does declare;
On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been,
Kens the forth-coming rod, unpleasing sight, I ween!
Ah luckless he, and born beneath the beam
Of evil star! it irks me whilst I write :
As erst the bard* by Mulla's silver stream,
Oft, as he told of deadly dolorous plight,
Sigh'd as he sung, and did in tears indite.
For brandishing the rod, she doth begin
To loose the brogues, the stripling's late delight!
And down they drop; appears his dainty skin,
Fair as the furry-coat of whitest ermilin.
O ruthful scene! when from a nook obscure,
His little sister doth his peril see:
All playful as she sate, she grows demure;
She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee:
She meditates a prayer to set him free:
Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny
(If gentle pardon could with dames agree)
To her sad grief that swells in either eye,
And wings her so that all for pity she could die.
No longer can she now her shrieks command;
And hardly she forbears, through awful fear,
To rushen forth, and, with presumptuous hand,
To stay harsh Justice in its mid career.
On thee she calls, on thee her parent dear!
(Ah! too remote to ward the shameful blow!)
She sees no kind domestic visage near,
And soon a flood of tears begins to flow;
And gives a loose at last to unavailing woe.
But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace?
Or what device his loud laments explain?
The form uncouth of his disguised face?
The pallid hue that dyes his looks amain?
The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain?
When he, in abject wise, implores the dame,
Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain;
Or when from high she levels well her aim,
And, through the thatch, his cries each falling stroke
The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay,
Attend, and con their tasks with mickle care:
By turns, astonied, every twig survey,
And, from their fellow's hateful wounds, beware;
Knowing, I wist, how each the same may share;
Till fear has taught them a performance meet,
And to the well-known chest the dame repair;
Whence oft with sugar'd cates she doth them greet,
And ginger-bread y-rare; now certes, doubly sweet!
See to their seats they hie with merry glee,
And in beseemly order sitten there;
All but the wight of bum y-galled, he
Abhorreth bench, and stool, and form, and chair;
(This hand in mouth y-fix'd, that rends his hair ;)
And eke with snubs profound, and heaving breast,
Convulsions intermitting! does declare
His grievous wrong; his dame's unjust behest;
And scorns her offer'd love, and shuns to be caress'd.
His face besprent with liquid crystal shines,
His blooming face that seems a purple flower,
Which low to earth its drooping head declines,
All smear'd and sullied by a vernal shower.
O the hard bosoms of despotic power!
All, all, but she, the author of his shame,
All, all, but she, regret this mournful hour:
Yet hence the youth, and hence the flower shall
If so I deem aright, transcending worth and fame.
Behind some door, in melancholy thought,
Mindless of food, he, dreary caitiff! pines,
Ne for his fellows' joyaunce careth aught,
But to the wind all merriment resigns;
And deems it shame, if he to peace inclines:
And many a sullen look askance is sent,
Which for his dame's annoyance he designs;
And still the more to pleasure him she's bent,
The more doth he, perverse, her havior past resent.
Ah me! how much I fear lest pride it be!
But if that pride it be, which thus inspires,
Beware, ye dames, with nice discernment see,
Ye quench not too the sparks of nobler fires :
Ah! better far than all the Muses' lyres,
All coward arts, is Valor's generous heat;
The firm fixt breast which fit and right requires,
Like Vernon's patriot soul! more justly great
Than Craft that pimps for ill, or flowery false Deceit.
Yet nurs'd with skill, what dazzling fruits appear!
E'en now sagacious Foresight points to show
A little bench of heedless bishops here,
And there a chancellor in embryo,
Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so,
As Milton, Shakspeare, names that ne'er shall die!
Though now he crawl along the ground so low,
Nor weeting how the Muse should soar on high,
Wisheth, poor starveling elf! his paper kite may fly
And this perhaps, who, censuring the design,
Low lays the house which that of cards doth
Shall Dennis be! if rigid Fate incline,
And many an epic to his rage shall yield;
And many a poet quit th' Aonian field;
And, sour'd by age, profound he shall appear,
As he who now with 'sdainful fury thrill'd
Surveys mine work; and levels many a sneer,
And furls his wrinkly front, and cries, "What stuff
is here ?"
But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle skie,
And Liberty unbars her prison-door;
And like a rushing torrent out they fly,
And now the grassy cirque had cover'd o'er
With boisterous revel-rout and wild uproar;
A thousand ways in wanton rings they run,
Heaven shield their short-liv'd pastime, I im-
For well may Freedom erst so dearly won,
Appear to British elf more gladsome than the Sun.
Enjoy, poor imps! enjoy your sportive trade,
And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers;
For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid,
For never may ye taste more careless hours
In knightly castles, or in ladies' bowers.
O vain to seek delight in earthly thing!
But most in courts where proud Ambition towers;
Deluded wight! who weens fair Peace can spring
Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king.
See in each sprite some various bent appear!
These rudely carol most incondite lay;
Describing the sorrow of an ingenuous mind, on the melancholy event of a licentious amour.
WHY mourns my friend? why weeps his downeast
That eye where mirth, where fancy us'd to shine? Thy cheerful meads reprove that swelling sigh; Spring ne'er enamel'd fairer meads than thine. Art thou not lodg'd in Fortune's warm embrace? Wert thou not form'd by Nature's partial care? Blest in thy song, and blest in every grace
That wins the friend, or that enchants the fair?
Damon," said he, "thy partial praise restrain;
Alas! his very praise awakes my pain,
Not Damon's friendship can my peace restore;
And my poor wounded bosom bleeds the more. "For oh! that Nature on my birth had frown'd, Or Fortune fix'd me to some lowly cell;
Those sauntering on the green, with jocund leer Then had my bosom 'scap'd this fatal wound,
Salute the stranger passing on his way;
Some builden fragile tenements of clay;
Some to the standing lake their courses bend,
With pebbles smooth at duck and drake to play;
Thilk to the huxter's savory cottage tend,
In pastry kings and queens th' allotted mite to
Nor had I bid these vernal sweets farewell.
"But led by Fortune's hand, her darling child,
My youth her vain licentious bliss admir'd:
In Fortune's train the syren Flattery smil'd,
And rashly hallow'd all her queen inspir'd.
"Of folly studious, e'en of vices vain,
Ah vices! gilded by the rich and gay!
I chas'd the guileless daughters of the plain,
Nor dropp'd the chase, till Jessy was my prey.
"Poor artless maid! to stain thy spotless name,
Expense, and art, and toil, united strove ;
To lure a breast that felt the purest flame,
Sustain'd by virtue, but betray'd by love.
"School'd in the science of love's mazy wiles,
I cloth'd each feature with affected scorn;
I spoke of jealous doubts, and fickle smiles,
And, feigning, left her anxious and forlorn.
"Then, while the fancied rage alarm'd her care,
Warm to deny, and zealous to disprove;
I bade my words their wonted softness wear,
And seiz'd the minute of returning love.
"To thee, my Damon, dare I paint the rest?
Will yet thy love a candid ear incline?
Assur'd that virtue, by misfortune prest,
Feels not the sharpness of a pang like mine.
'Nine envious moons matur'd her growing shame,
When, scorn'd of virtue, stigmatiz'd by fame,
Erewhile to flaunt it in the face of day;
Low at my feet desponding Jessy lay.
Admir'd Salopia! that with venial pride
Eyes her bright form in Severn's ambient wave,
Fam'd for her loyal cares in perils tried,
Her daughters lovely, and her striplings brave:
Ah! 'midst the rest, may flowers adorn his grave...
Whose heart did first these dulcet cates display!
A motive fair to Learning's imps he gave,
Who cheerless o'er her darkling region stray;
Till Reason's morn arise, and light them on their
‘Henry,' she said, 'by thy dear form subdu'd,
See the sad relics of a nymph undone!
I find, I find this rising sob renew'd:
I sigh in shades, and sicken at the Sun.
"Amid the dreary gloom of night, I cry,
When will the morn's once pleasing scenes return?
Yet what can morn's returning ray supply,
But foes that triumph, or but friends that mourn'