« ZurückWeiter »
Know, ye were form’d to range yon azure field, ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A LADY. In yon ethereal founts of bliss to lave :
Force then, secure in Faith's protecting shield,
The sting from Death, the vict'ry from the Grare It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dullness steep Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
Go, soothe your souls in sickness, grief, or pain, Yes, **** is dead. Attend the strain,
With the sad solace of elernal sleep. Daughters of Albion! Ye that, light as air,
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are, So oft have tript in her fantastic train,
More than those preachers of your fav’rite creed With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair :
Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war, For she was fair beyond your brightest bloom;
Who form the phalanx, bid the battle bleed; (This envy owns, since now her bloom is ficd;)
Nor wish for more: who conquer, but to die. Fair as the forms, that, wove in fancy's loom,
Hear, Folly, hear, and triumph in the tale : Float in light vision round the poet's head.
Like you, they reason; not, like you, enjoy Whene'er with soft serenity she smil'd,
The breeze of bliss, that fills your siiken sail: Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise,
On Pleasure's glitt'ring stream ye gaily steer How sweetly mutable, how brightly wild,
Your litile course to cold oblivion's shore: The liquid lustre darted from her eyes !
They dare the storm, and, through th' inclement year, Each look, each motion, wak'd a new-born grace,
Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's ruar. That o'er her form its transient glory cast:
Is it for glory? that just Fate denies. Some lovelier wonder soon usurp'd the place,
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the last.
Ere from her trump the hear'n-breath'd accents rise That bell again! it tells us what she is:
That lift the hero from the fighting crowd. On what she was, no more the strain prolong :
Is it his grasp of empire to extend ? Luxuriant fancy, pause : an hour like this
To curb the fury of insulting foes ? Demands the tribute of a serious song,
Ambition, cease: the idle contest end : Maria claims it from that sable bier, Where cold and wan the slumberer rests her head; And why must murder'd myriads lose their all,
'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose. In still small whispers to reflection's ear, She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead.
(If life be all,) why desolation lower,
With famish'd frown, on this affrighted ball, Oh catch the awful notes, and lift them loud;
That thou may'st flame the meteor of an hour! Proclaim the theme, by sage, by fool rever'd:
Go wiser ye, that flutter life away, Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud!
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high; 'Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard.
Weave the light dance, with festive freedom gay, Yes, ye shall hear, and tremble as ye hear, While, high with health. your hearts uxulting leap; Yet know, vain sceptics, know, th' Almighty mind,
And live your moment, since the next ye die. Evin in the midst of Pleasure's mad career, The mental monitor shall wake and weep.
Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire,
Bade his free soul, by earth nor time confind For say, than ****'s propitious star,
To Heav'n, to immortality aspire. What brighter planet on your births arose :
Nor shall the pile of hope, his mercy rear'd, Or gave of Fortune's gifts an ampler share,
By vain philosophy be e'er destroy'd : In life to lavish, or by death to lose !
Eternity, by all or wish'd or fear'd,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd.
The wintry storm that sweeps you to the tomb.
EPITAPH ON MRS. MASON.
IN THE CATHEDRAL OF BRISTOL.
Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear: Each fond delusion from her soul to steal ;
Take that best gift which Hear'n so lately gave Teach her from folly peaceably to part,
To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care And wean her from a world she lov'd so well. Her faded form ; she bow'd to taste the wave, Say, are ye sure his mercy shall extend
And died. Does youth, does beauty, read the line? To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh:
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm? Make then, while yet ye may, your God, your friend, Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine :
And learn with equal ease to sleep or die! Ev’n from the grave thou shalt have power to Nor think the Muse, whose sober vice ye hear,
charm. Contracts with bigot frown her sullen brow; Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee; Casts round Religion's orb the mists of fear,
Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move; Or shades with horrors, what with smiles should And if so fair, from vanity as free; glow.
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love No; she would warm you with seraphic fire, Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die, Heirs as ye are of Heav'n's eternal day;
('Twas ev'n to thee) yet the dread path once trod Would bid you boldly to that Heav'n aspire, Heav'n lifts its everlasting portals high,
Not sink and slumber in your cells of clay. And bids “ the pure iu heart behold their God."
William COWPER, a poet of distinguished and Olney in Buckinghamshire, which was thenceforth original genius, was born in 1731, at Great Berk- the principal place of Cowper's residence. At hampstead in Hertfordshire. His father, the rector Olney he contracted a close friendship with the of the parish, was John Cowper, D. D., nephew of Rev. Mr. Newton, then minister there, and since Lord Chancellor Cowper. The subject of this me- rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, whose relimorial was educated at Westminster school, where gious opinions were in unison with his own.
To a he acquired the classical knowledge and correctness collection of hymns published by him, Cowper conof taste for which it is celebrated, but without any tributed a considerable number of his own composi. portion of the confident and unđaunted spirit which tion. He first became known to the public as a is supposed to be one of the most valuable acquisi- poet by a volume printed in 1782, the contents of tions derived from the great schools, to those who which, if they did not at once place him high in the are to push their way in the world. On the con- scale of poetic excellence, sufficiently established his trary, it appears from his poem entitled “ Tirocini-claim to originality. Its topics are, “ Table Talk," um," that the impressions made upon his mind from “ Error,” “Truth,” « Expostulation," " Hope,” “Char. what he witnessed in this place, were such as gave ity," “ Conversation," and " Retirement," all treated him a permanent dislike to the system of public upon religious principles, and not without a consideducation. Soon after his leaving Westminster, he erable tinge of that rigor and austerity which bewas articled to a solicitor in London for three years; longed to his system. These pieces are written in but so far from studying the law, he spent the great- rhymed heroics, which he commonly manages with est part of his time with a relation, where he and little grace, or attention to melody. The style, though the future Lord Chancellor (Lord Thurlow) spent often prosaic, is never fat or insipid ; and sometimes their time, according to his own expression, “ in gig- the true poet breaks through, in a vein of lively degling, and making giggle.” At the expiration of his scription or bold figure. time with the solicitor, he took chambers in the If this volume excited but little of the public atTemple, but his time was still little employed on tention, his next volume, published in 1785, introthe law, and was rather engaged in classical pur- duced his name to all the lovers of poetry, and gave suits, in which Coleman, Bonnel Thornton, and him at least an equality of reputation with any of Lloyd, seem to have been his principal associates. his contemporaries. It consists of a poem in six
Cowper's spirits were naturally weak; and when books, entitled “The Task,” alluding to the injunchis friends had procured him a nomination to the tion of a lady, to write a piece in blank verse, for offices of reading-clerk and clerk of the Private the subject of which she gave him The Sofa. It sets Committees in the House of Lords, he shrunk with out, indeed, with some sportive discussion of this such terror from the idea of making his appearance topic; but soon falls into a serious strain of rural before the most august assembly in the nation, that description, intermixed with moral sentiments and after a violent struggle with himself, he resigned his portraitures, which is preserved through the six intended employment, and with it all his prospects books, freely ranging from thought to thought with in life. In fact, he became completely deranged; no perceptible method. But as the whole poem will and in this situation was placed, in December, 1763, here be found, it is unnecessary to enter into particuabout the 320 year of his age, with Dr. Cotton, an lars. Another piece, entitled “ Tirocinium, or a Re. amiable and worthy physician at St. Alban's. This view of Schools," a work replete with striking obagitation of his mind is placed by some who have servation, is added to the preceding; and several mentioned it to the account of a deep consideration other pieces gleaned from his various writings will of his state in a religious view, in which the terrors be found in the collection. of eternal judgment so much overpowered his For the purpose of losing in employment the disfaculties, that he remained seven months in mo- tressing ideas which were ever apt to recur, he next mentary expectation of being plunged into final undertook the real task of 'translating into blank misery. Mr. Johnson, however, a near relation, has verse the whole of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. This taken pains to prove to demonstration, that these work has much merit of execution, and is certainly views of his condition were so far from producing a far more exact representation of the ancient poet such an effect, that they ought to be regarded as his than Pope's ornamental version ; but where simplisole consolation. It appears, however, that his mind city of matter in the original is not relieved by the had acquired such an indelible tinge of melancholy, force of sonorous diction, the poverty of English that his whole successive life was passed with little blank verse has scarcely been able to prevent it from more than intervals of comfort between long parox- sinking into mere prose. Various other translations ysms of settled despondency.
denoted his necessity of seeking employment; but After a residence of a year and a half with Dr. nothing was capable of durably relieving his mind Cotton, he spent part of his time at the house of from the horrible impressions it had undergone. He his relation, Earl Cowper, and part at Huntingdon, passed some of his latter years under the affection. with his intimate friend, the Rev. Mr. Unwin. The ate care of a relation at East Dereham, in Norfolk, death of the latter caused his widow to remove to where he died on April 25th, 1800.
WHEN the British warrior-queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods, Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods, Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief; Ev'ry burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.
"Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 'Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
" Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she has spilt; Perish, hopeless and abhorr'd,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
“ Rome, for empire far renown'd,
Tramples on a thousand states; Soon her pride shall kiss the ground
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates !
· Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
Harmony the path to fame.
“ Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land, Arm'd with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command. " Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway; Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they."
Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines,
And hang their horrors in the neighb'ring skies,
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve )
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honor draws,
Fast by the stream, that bounds your just domain And tells you where ye have a right to reign, A nation dwells, not envious of your throne, Studious of peace, their neighbors, and their own. Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue Their only crime, vicinity to you! The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad, Through the ripe harvest lies their destin'd road; At every step beneath their feet they tread The life of multitudes, a nation's bread! Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress Before them, and behind a wilderness. Famine, and Pestilence, her first-born son, Attend to finish what the sword begun; And echoing praises, such as fiends might eam, And Folly pays, resound at your return.
A calm succeeds--but Pleniy, with her train Of heart-felt joys, succeeds not soon again, And years of pining indigence must show What scourges are the gods that rule below.
Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees, (Such is his thirst of opulence and ease.)
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
, Rebuilds the tow'rs, that smuk'd upon the plain, And the Sun gilds the shining spires again.
Increasing commerce and reviving art
And the sad lesson must be learn'd once more,
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire, Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow; Rush'd to battle, fought, and died ;
Dying hurl'd them at the foe.
" Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heav'n awards the vengeance due; Empire is on us bestow'd,
Shame and ruin wait for you."
THERE was a time when Ætna's silent fire
THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN ANN BODHAM.
What are ye, monarchs, laurel'd heroes, say, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, No crested warrior dips his plume in blood ; That thou might'st know me safe and warmly laid ; Where Pow'r secures what Industry has won; Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, Where to succeed is not to he undone;
The biscuit, or confectionary plum; A land, that distant tyrants hate in vain,
The fragrant waters on roy cheeks bestow'd
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Ne'er roughen’d by those cataracts and breaks,
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Could Time, his flight revers'd, restore the hours Voice only fails, else how distinct they say, When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flow'rs, “Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!" The violet, the pink, and jessamine, The meek intelligence of those dear eyes I prick'd them into paper with a pin, (Blest be the art that can immortalize,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while, The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim
Wouldst sofily speak, and stroke my head, and smile;) To quench it,) here shines on me still the same. Could those few pleasant days again appear, Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here? O welcome guest, though unexpected here ! I would not trust my heart—the dear delight Who bidd'st me honor with an artless song, Seems so to be desir'd, perhaps I might. — Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
But no—what here we call our life is such, I will obey, not willingly alone,
So little to be lov’d, and thou so much, But gladly, as the precept were her own :
That I should ill requite thee to constrain And, while that face renews my filial grief, Thy unbound spirit into bonds again. Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief,
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
(The storins all weather’d and the ocean cross'd) A momentary dream that thou art she.
Shoots into port at some well-haven'd isle, My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead, Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?
There sits quiescent on the floods, that show Hoverd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Her beauteous form reflected clear below, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun ? While airs impregnated with incense play Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss ; Around her, fanning light her streamers gay ; Perhaps a lear, if souls can weep in bliss- So thou, with sails how swift! hast reach'd the shore, Ah, that maternal smile! it answers-Yes. " Where tempests never beat, nor billows roar, I heard the bell tolld on thy burial day,
And thy lov'd consort on the dang'rous tide I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away, Of life long since has anchor'd by thy side. And, turning from my nurs'ry window, drew
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest, A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu!
Always from port withheld, always distress'd— But was it such ?-It was.—Where thou art gone, Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-toss'd, Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. Sails ripp'd, seams op'ning wide, and compass lost, May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore, And day by day some current's thwarting force The parting word shall pass my lips no more! Sets me more distant from a prosp'rous course. Thy maidens, griev'd themselves at my concern, Yet O the thought, that thou art safe, and he ! Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me. Whal ardently I wish’d, I long believ'd,
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth And, disappointed still, was still deceiv'd.
From loins enthron'd, and rulers of the Earth ; By expectation ev'ry day beguilid,
But higher far my proud pretensions riseDupe of tomorrow even from a child.
The son of parents pass'd into the skies. Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went And now, farewell—Time unrevok'd has run Till, all my stock of infant-sorrow spent,
His wonted course, yet what I wish'd is done. I learn’d at last submission to my lot,
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain, But, though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot.
I seem t' have liv'd my childhood o'er again ; Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, To have renew'd the joys that once were mine, Children not thine have trod my nurs'ry floor; Without the sin of violating thine ; And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way,
And, while the wings of Fancy still are free, And I can view this mimic show of thee, Time has but half succeeded in his theft Thyself remov'd, thy pow'r to soothe me left.
But will sincerity suffice?
And must be made the basis;
All shining in their places.
A fretful temper will divide
By ceaseless sharp corrosion ;
At one immense explosion.
What virtue, or what mental grace, But men unqualified and base
Will boast it their possession ? Profusion apes the noble part Of liberality of heart,
And dullness, of discretion. If every polish'd gem we find Illuminating heart or mind,
Provoke to imitation ;
Or rather constellation.
A real and a sound one;
And dream that he had found one.
In vain the talkative unite
The secret just committed,
And by themselves outwitted.
How bright soe'er the prospect seems,
If envy chance to creep in;
But not a friend worth keeping.
As envy pines at good possess'd,
On good, that seems approaching; And, if success his steps attend, Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.
Hence authors of illustrious name, Unless belied by common fame,
Are sadly prone to quarrel, To deem the wit a friend displays A tax upon their own just praise,
And pluck each other's laurel.
A man renown'd for repartee
With friendship's finest feeling; Will thrust a dagger at your breast, And say he wounded you in jest,
By way of balm for healing.
Candid, and generous, and just,
An error soon corrected
Is most to be suspected ?
And taken trash for treasure,
A mere Ulopian pleasure.
Nor is it wise complaining,
We sought without attaining.
Or mean self-love erected; Nor such as may awhile subsist, Between the sot and sensualist,
For vícious ends connected. Who seek a friend should come dispos'd, T' exhibit in full bloom disclos'd
The graces and the beauties,
And constantly supported :
Our own as much distorted.
Whoever keeps an open ear
The trumpet of contention ; Aspersion is the babbler's trade, To listen is to lend him aid,
And rush into dissension.
A friendship, that in frequent fits
The sparks of disputation,
The thought of conflagration.
Some fickle creatures boast a soul
Their humor yet so various
Their love is so precarious.