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POEMS

OF

RO B ERT LLO Y D.

THE AUTHOR'S APOLOGY. My works are advertis'd for sale,

And censures fly as thick as hail; While my poor scheme of publication Supplies the dearth of conversation.

“What will the world say?"--That's your cry. Who is the world? and what am I?

Once, but, thank Heaven, those days are o'er,
And persecution reigns no more,
One man, one hardy man alone,
Usurp'd the critic's vacant throne,
And thence with neither taste nor wit,
By powerful catcall from the pit,
Knock'd farce, and play, and actor down.
Who pass'd the sentence then?--the town.
So now each upstart puny elf
Talks of the world, and means himself.

Yet in the circle there are those
Who hurt e'en more than open foes:
Whose friendship serves the talkipg turn,
Just simmers to a kind concern,
And with a wond'rous soft expression:
Expatiates upon indiscretion;
Flies from the poems to the man,
And gratifies the favourite plan
To pull down other's reputation,
And build their own on that foundation.

The scholar grave, of taste discerning,
Who lives on credit for his learning,
And has no better claim to wit
Than carping at what others writ,
With pitying kindness, friendly fear,
Whispers conjectures in your ear.
"I'm sorry-and be's much to blame
He might have publish'd but his name!
The thing might please a few, no doubt,
As handed privately about,
It might amuse a friend or two,
Some partial friend like me and you;
But when it comes to press and print
You'll find, I fear, but little in't.
He stands upon a dangerous brink
Who totters o'er the sea of ink,
Where reputation runs aground,
The author cast away, and drown'd.

“And then-t was wilful and absurd, (So well approv'd, so well preferr'd).

Abruptly thus a place to quit
A place which most his genius hit,
The theatre for Latin wit!
With critics round him chaste and terse,
To give a plaudit to his verse!”

Latin, I grant, shows college breeding,
And some school common-place of reading;
But has in moderns small pretension
To real wit or strong invention.
The excellence you critics praise
Hangs on a curious choice of phrase;
Which pick'd and chosen bere and there,
From prose or verse no matter where,
Jumbled together in a dish,
Like Spanish olio, fowl, flesh, fish,
You set the classic hodge-podge on
For pedant wits to feed upon.
Your would-be genii vainly seek
fame for their Latin, verse, or Greek;
Who would for that be most admir'd
Which blockheads may, and have acquir'd.
A mere mechanical connection
Of favourite words, bare collection
Of phrases,-- where the labour'd cento
Presents you with a dull memento,
How Virgil, Horace, Ovid join,
And club together half a line.
These only strain their motley wits
In gathering patches, shreds, and bits,
To wrap their barren fancies in,
And make a classic Harlequin.

-Were I at once impowerd to show
My utmost vengeance on my foe,
To punish with extremest rigour,
I could inflict no penance bigger
Than using him as learning's tool
To make him usher of a school.
For, not to dwell upon the toil
Of working on a barren soil,
And lab'ring with incessant pains
To cultivate a blockhead's brains,
The duties there but ill befit
The love of letters, arts, or wit.
For whosoe'er, though slightly, sips,
Their grateful flavour with his lips,
Will find it leave a smatch behind,
Shall sink so deeply in the mind,
It never thence can be eras'de
But, rising up, you call it taste.

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'T were foolish for a drudge to choose

Still let the graceful foliage spread A gusto which he cannot use.

Its greenest honours round their head, Better discard the idle whim,

Blest if the Muses' hand entwine What's be to taste? or taste to him?

A sprig at least to circle uine! For me, it hurts me to the soul

Come,--I adinit, you tax me right. To brook confinement or controul;

Prudence, 't is true, was out of sight, Still to be pinion'd down to teach

And you may whisper all you meet, The syntax and the parts of speech;

The man was vague and indiscreet. Or, what perhaps is drudging worse,

Yet tell me, while you censure me, The links, and joints, and rules of verse;

Are you from errour sound and free, To deal out authors by retail,

Say, does your breast no bias hide, Like penny pots of Oxford ale;

Whose influence draws the mind aside? -Oh! 'Tis a service irksome more

All have their hobby horse you see, T'han tugging at the slavish oar.

From Tristram down to you and me. Yet such his task, a dismal truth,

Ambition, splendour, may be thine; Who watches o'er the bent of youth;

Ease, indolence, perhaps are mine. And while, a paltry stipend earning,

Though prudence, and our nature's pride He sows the richest seeds of learning,

May wish our weaknesses to hide, And tills their minds with proper care,

And set their hedges up before 'em, And sees them their due produce bear,

Some sprouts will branch and straggle o'er 'em. No joys, alas! his toil beguile,

Strive, fight against her how you will, His own lies fallow all the while,

Nature will be the mistress still, “ Yet still he's in the road," you say,

And though you curb with double rein, “ Of learning."—Why, perhaps, he may.

She'll run away with us again. But turns like horses in a mill,

But let a man of parts be wrong, Not getting on, nor standing still:

'Tis triumph to the leaden throng, For little way bis learning reaches,

The fools shall cackle out reproof, Who reads no more than what he teaches.

The very ass shall raise his hoof; “ Yet you can send advent'rous youth,

And he who holds in his possession,
In search of letters, taste, and truth,

The single virtue of discretion,
Who ride the highway road to knowledge Who knows no overflow of spirit,
Through the plain turnpikes of a college.” Whose want of passions is his merit,
True.-Like way-posts, we serve to show

Whom wit and taste and judgment flies,
The road which travellers should go;

Shall shake his noddle, and seem wise.
Who jog along in easy pace,
Secure of coming to the place,
Yet find, return whene'er they will,

THE ACTOR.
The post, and its direction still:
Which stands an useful unthank'd guide,

ADDRESSED TO BONNEL THORNTON, ESQ.
To many a passenger beside.
"Tis hard to carve for others meat,

Acting, dear Thornton, its perfection draws, And not have time one's self to eat.

From no observance of mechanic laws: Though, be it always understood,

No settled maxims of a fav'rite stage, Our appetites are full as good.

No rules deliver'd down from age to age, “ But there have been, and proofs appear, Let players nicely mark them as they will, Who bore this load from year to year;

Can e'er entail hereditary skill. Whose claim to letters, parts and wit,

If, ʼmongst the bumble hearers of the pit, The world bas ne'er disputed yet.

Some curious vet'ran critic chance to sit, Whether the flowing mirth prevail

Is he pleas'd more because 't was acted so In Wesley's song, or humorous tale;

By Booth and Cibber thirty years ago? Or happier Bourne's' expression please

The mind recalls an object held more dear, With graceful turns of classic ease;

And hates the copy, that it comes so near. Or Oxford's well-read poet sings

Why lov'd he Wilks's air, Booth's nervous tone Pathetic to the ear of kings:

In them 't was natural, 't was all their own. These have indulg'd the Muses' fight,

A Garrick's genius must our wonder raise, Nor lost their time nor credit by't;

But gives his mimic no reflected praise. Nor suffer'd Fancy's dreams to prey

Thrice happy genius, whose unrival'd name On the due business of the day.

Shall live for ever in the voice of Fame! Verse was to them a recreation

'Tis thine to lead with more than magic skill, Us'd by way of relaxation.”

The train of captive passions at thy will; Your instances are fair and true,

To bid the bursting tear spontaneous flow And genius I respect with you.

In the sweet sense of sympathetic woe: I envy none their honest praise;

Through ev'ry vein I feel a chillness creep,
I seek to blast no scbolar's bays:

When horrours such as thine have murder'd sleep;
And at the old man's look and frantic stare

'Tis Lear alarms me, for I see him there. Samuel Wesley, and Vincent Bourne, both Nor yet confin'd to tragic walks alone, ushers of Westminster-school, and poets, although The comic Muse too claims thee for her own. of very unequal merit. Bourne excelled in Latir With each delightful requisite to please,

Taste, spirit, judgment, elegance, and ease,

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Familiar Nature forms thy only rule,

No pleasing pow'rs distortions e'er express, From Ranger's rake to Drugger's vacant fool. And nicer judgment always loaths excess. With powers so pliant, and so various blest, In sock or buskin, who o'erleaps the bounds, That what we see the last, we like the best. Disgusts our reason, and the taste confuunds, Not idly pleas'd at judgment's dear expense,

Of all the evils which the stage molest, But burst outrageous with the laugh of sense. hate your fool who overacts his jest ; Perfection's top, with weary toil and pain,

Who murders what the poet finely writ, 'Tis genius only that can hope to gain.

And, like a bungler, haggles all his wit, The play'r's profession (though I hate the phrase, With shrug, and grin, and gesture out of place, 'Tis so mechanic in these modern days)

And writes a foolish comment with his face. Lies not in trick, or attitude, or start,

Old Jonson once, though Cibber's perter vein' Nature's true knowledge is the only art.

But meanly groupes him with a numerous train, The st,ong-felt passion bolts into his face,

With steady face, and sober hum'rous mien, The mind untouch'd, what is it but grimace! Fillid the strong outlines of the comic scave, To this one standard make your just appeal, What was writ down, with decent utt'rance spoke, Here lies the golden secret; learn to feel,

Betray'd no symptom of the conscious joke; Or fool, or monarch, happy, or distrest,

The very man in look, in voice, in air, No actor pleases that is not possess'n.

And though upon the stage, appeard no play'r. Once on the stage, in Rome's declining days, The word and action should conjointly suit, When Christians were the subject of their plays, But acting words is labour too minute, E’er Persecution dropp'd her iron rod,

Grimace will ever lead the judgment wrong; And men still wag'd an impious war with God, While sober humour marks th' impression strong. An actor flourish'd of no vulgar fame,

Her proper traits the fixt attention hit, Nature's disciple, and Genest his name.

And bring me closer to the poet's wit; A noble object for his skill he chose,

With her delighted o'er each scene I go, A martyr dying 'midst insulting foes.

Well-pleas'd, and not asham'd of being so, Resign'd with patience to religion's laws,

But let the generous actor still forbear Yet braving monarchs in his Saviour's cause. To copy features with a mimic's care! Fiil'd with th' idea of the sacred part,

'Tis a poor skill which ev'ry fool can reach, He felt a zeal beyond the reach of art,

A vile stage-custom, honourd in the breach. While look and voice, and gesture, all exprest

Worse as more close, the disingenuous art A kindred ardour in the player's breast;

But shows the wanton looseness of the heart. Till as the flame through all his bosom ran,

When I behold a wretch, of talents mean, He lost the actor, and commenc'd the man; Drag private foibles on the public scene, Profest the faith; his pagan gods denied,

Forsaking Nature's fair and open road And what he acted then, he after died.

To mark some whim, some strange peculiar mode, The player's province they but vainly try, [eye. Fird with disgust I loath his servile plan, Who want these pow'rs, deportment, voice, and Despise the mimic, and abhor the man. The critic sight 't is only grace can please,

Go to the lame, to hospitals repair, No figure charms us if it has not ease.

And hunt for humour in distortions there! There are, who think the stature all in all, Fill up the measure of the motley whim Nor like the hero, if he is not tall.

With shrug, wink, snuffle, and convnlsive limb; The feeling sense all other want supplies, Then shame at once, to please a trifling age, I rate no actor's merit from his size.

Good sense, good manners, virtue, and the stage! Superior height requires superior grace,

'Tis not enough the voice be sound and clear, And what's a giant with a vacant face?

'Tis inodulation that must charm the ear. smoan, Theatric monarchs, in their tragic gait,

When desperate heroines grieve with tedious Affect to mark the solemn pace of state.

And whine their sorrows in a see-saw tone, One foot put forward in position strong,

The same soft sounds of unimpassion'd woes The other, like its vassal, dragg'd along.

Can only make the yawning hearers doze. So grave each motion, so exact and slow,

The voice all modes of passion can express, Like wooden monarchs at a puppet show.

That marks the proper word with proper stress, The mien delights us that has native grace, But none emphatic can that actor call, But affectation ill supplies its place,

Who lays an equal emphasis on all. Unskilful actors, like your mimic apes,

Some o'er the tongue the labour'd measures roll Will writhe their bodies in a thousand shapes; Slow and delib'rate as the parting toil, However foreign from the poet's art,

Point ev'ry stop, mark ev'ry pause so strong, No tragic hero but admires a start.

Their words, like stage processions, stalk alon. What though unfeeling of the nervous line, All affectation but creates disgust, Who but allows his attitude is fine?

And e'en in speaking we may seem too just. While a whole minute equipois'd he stands,

Nor proper, Thornton, can those sounds appear Till Praise dismiss him with her echoing hands! Which bring not numbers to thy nicer ear; Resolv'd, though Nature hate the tedious pause, In vain for them the pleasing measure flows, By perseverance to extort applause.

Whose recitation runs it all to prose; When Romeo sorrowing at his Juliet's doom, Repeating what the poet sets not down, With eager madness bursts the canvas tomb, The verb disjointing from its friendly noun, The sudden whirl, stretch'd leg, and lifted staff, While pause, and break, and repetition join Which please the vulgar, make the critic laugh. To make a discord in each tuneful line.

To paint the passion's force, and mark it well, The proper action Nature's self will tell;

· See Cibber's Apology, 8vo. 1750.

Some placid natures fill th'allotted scene

If Belvidera her lov'd loss deplore, With lifeless drone, insipid and serene;

Why for twin spectres bursts the yawning floor? While others thunder ev'ry couplet o'er,

When with disorder'd starts, and horrid cries, And almost crack your ears with rant and roar, She paints the murder'd forms before her eyes,

More nature oft and finer strokes are shown, And still pursues them with a frantic stare, In the low whisper than tempestuous tone. ”T is pregnant madness brings the visions there, And Hamlet's hollow voice and fixt amaze More instant borrour would enforce the scene, More powerful terrour to the mind conveys, If all her shudd'rings were at shapes unseen. Than he, who, swol'n with big impetuous rage, Poet and actor thus, with blended skill, Bullies the bulky phantom off the stage.

Mould all our passions to their instant will; He, who in earnest studies o'er his part, 'Tis thus, when feeling Garrick treads the stage, Will find true nature cling about his heart. (The speaking comment of his Shakespear's page) The modes of grief are not included all

Oft as I drink the words with greedy ears, In the white handkerchief and mournful drawl; I shake with horrour, or dissolve with tears. A single look more marks th' internal woe,

O, ne'er may Folly seize the throne of Taste, Than all the windings of the lengthen'd Oh. Nor Dulluess lay the realms of Genius waste! Upu, the face the quick sensation flies,

No bouncing crackers are the thund'rer's fire, And darts its meaning from the speaking eyes; No tumbler float upon the bending wire! Love, transport, madness, anger, scorn, despair, More natural uses to the stage belong, And all the passions, all the soul is there. Than tumblers, monsters, pantomime, or song.

In vain Ophelia gives her flowrets round, For other purpose was that spot design'd: And with her straws fantastic strews the ground, To purge the passions, and reform the mind, In vain now sings, now heaves the desp'rate sigh, To give to Nature all the force of art, If phrenzy sit not in the troubled eye.

And while it charms the ear to mend the heart. In Cibber's look commanding sorrows speak, Thornton, to thee, I dare with truth commend, And call the tear fast trick’ling down my cheek. The decent stage as Virtue's natural friend.

There is a fault which stirs the critic's rage; Though oft debas'd with scenes profane and loose, A want of due attention on the stage.

No reason weighs against its proper use. I have seen actors, and admir'd ones too, (cue; Though the lewd priest his sacred function shame, Whose tongues wound up set forward from their Religion's perfect law is still the same. In their own speech who wbine, or roar away, Shall they, who trace the passions from their Yet seem unmov'd at what the rest may say;

rise, Whose eyes and thoughts on diff'rent objects Show Scorn her features, her own image Vice, roam,

Who teach the mind its proper force to scan, Until the prompter's voice recall them home. And hold the faithful mirror up to man, Divest yourself of hearers, if you can,

Shall their profession e'er provoke disdain, And strive to speak, and be the very man. Who stand the foremost in the moral train, Why should the well-bred actor wish to know Wbo lend reflection all the grace of art, Who sits above to night, or who below?

And strike the precept home upon the heart? So, 'mid th’ harmonious tones of grief or rage, Yet, hapless artist ! though thy skill can raise Italian squallers oft disgrace the stage;

The burstiog peal of universal praise, When, with a simp'ring leer, and bow profound, Though at thy beck Applause delighted stands, The squeaking Cyrus greets the boxes round; And lifts, Briareus like, her hundred hands, Or proud Mandane, of imperial race,

Know, Fame awards thee but a partial breath! Familiar drops a curt'sie to her grace.

Not all thy talents brave the stroke of Death. To suit the dress deniauds the actor's art, Poets to ages yet unborn appeal, Yet there are those who over-dress the part. And latest times th' eternal nature feel. To some prescriptive right gives settled things, Though blended here the praise of bard and play'r, Black wigs to murd'rers, feather'd hats to kings. While more than half becomes the actors share, But Michael Cassio might be drunk enough, Relentless Death untwists the mingled fame, Though all his features were not grim'd with snuff

. And sinks the player in the poet's name. Why should Pol Peachum shine in satin clothes? The pliant muscles of the various face, Why ev'ry devil dance in scarlet hose?

The mien that gave each sentence strength and But in stage-customs what offends me most

grace, Is the slip-door, and slowly-rising ghost.

The tuneful voice, the eye that spoke the mind, Tell me, nor count the question too severe,

Are gone, nor leave a single trace behind.
Why need the dismal powder'd forms appear?
When chilling horrours shake the affrighted

king,
And Guilt torments bim with her scorpion sting;

THE POETRY PROFESSORS. When keenest feelings at his bosom pull, Old England has not lost her pray'r, And Fancy tells him that the seat is full;

And George, (thank Heav'n!) has got an heir. Why need the ghost usurp the monarch's place, A royal babe, a prince of Wales. To frighten children with his mealy face? -Poets ! I pity all your nailsThe king alone should form the phantom there, What reams of paper will be spoild! And talk and tremble at the vacant chair:. What graduses be daily soil'd

By inky fingers, greasy thumbs,

Tiunting the word that never comes ! 2 This has been attempted by Mr. Kemble, but Now academics pump their wits, mot much to the satisfaction of ihe audience. C. And lash in vain their lazy tits;

In vain they whip, and slash, and spur,

To cramp, demolish, and dispirit, The callous jades will never stir;

Each true begotten child of merit; Nor can they reach Parnassus' hill,

Censors, who, in the day's broad light, Try every method which they will.

Punish the vice they act at night; Nay, should the tits get on for once,

Whose charity with self begins, Each rider is so grave a dunce,

Nor covers others' venial sins; That, as I've heard good judges say,

But that their feet may safely tread, 'Tis ten to one they'd lose their way;

Take up hypocrisy instead, Though not one wit bestrides the back

As knowing that must always hide Of useful drudge, ycleped hack,

A multitude of sins beside; But fine bred things of mettled blood,

Whose rusty wit is at a stand, Pick'd from Apollo's royal stud.

Without a freshman at their hand; Greek, Roman, pay Arabian steeds,

(Whose service must of course create Or those our mother country breeds;

The just return of sev'n-fold hate) Some ride ye in, and ride ye out,

Lord! that such good and useful men And to come home go round about,

Should ever turn to books agen. Nor on the green swerd, nor the road,

Yet matter must be gravely plann'il, And that I think they call an Ode.

And syllables on fingers scann'd, Somne take the pleasant country air,

And racking pangs rend lab'ring head, And smack their whips and drive a pair,

Till lady Muse is brought to-bed : Each horse with bells which clink and chime, What bunting, changing, toiling, sweating, And so they march--and that is rhyme.

To bring the usual epithet in! Some copy with prodigious skill

Where the crampt measure kindly shows The figures of a buttery-bill,

It will be verse, but should be prose. Which, with great folks of erudition,

So, when it's neither light nor dark, Shall pass for Coptic or Phænician,

To'prentice spruce, or lawyer's clerk, While some, as patriot love prevails,

The nymph, who takes her nightly stand, To compliment a prince of Wales,

At some sly corner in the Strand, Salute the royal babe in Welsh,

Plump in the chest, tight in the boddice. And send forth gutturals like a belch.

Seems to the eye a perfect goddess; What pretty things imagination

But canvass'd more minuteiy o'er, Will fritter out in adulation!

Turns out an old, stale, batter'd whore The pagan gods shall visit Earth,

Yet must these sons of gowned ease, To triumph in a Christian's birth.

Proud of the plumage of degrees, While classic poets, pure and chaste,

Forsake their apathy a while, Of trim and academic taste,

To figure in the Roman stile, Shall lug them in by head and shoulders,

And offer incense at the shrine To be or speakers, or beholders.

Of Latin poetry divine. Mars shall present him with a lance,

Upon a tirone the goddess sits, To humble Spain and conquer France;

Surrounded by her bulky wits; The Graces, buxom, blithe, and gay,

Fabricius, Cooper, Calepine, Shall at his cradle dance the hay;

Ainsworthius, Faber, Constantine; And Venus, with her train of lores,

And he, who like Dodona spoke, Siiall bring a thousand pair of doves

De Sacra Quercu, Holyoake; To bill, to coo, to whine, to squeak,

These are her counsellors of state, Through all the dialects of Greek.

Men of much words, and wits of weight; How many swains of classic breed,

Here Gradus, full of phrases clever, Shall deftly tune their oaten reed,

Lord of her treasury for ever, And bring their Doric nymphs to town,

With liberal hand his bounty deals ; To sing their measures up and down,

Sir Cento keeper of the seals. In notes alternate clear and sweet,

Next to the person of the queen, Like ballad-singers in a street.

Old madam Prosody is seen; While those who grasp at reputation,

Talking incessant, although dumb, From imitating imitation,

Upon her fingers to her thumb. Shall hunt each cranny, nook, and creek,

And all around her portraits hung For precious fragments in the Greek,

Of heroes in the Latin tongue; And rob the spital, and the waste,

Italian, English, German, French, For sense, and sentiment, and taste.

Who most laboriously entrench What Latin hodze-podge, Grecian hash, In deep parade of language dead, With Hebrew roots, and English trasli,

What would not in their own be read, Shail academic cooks produce

Without impeachment of that taste, For present show and future use!

Which Latin idiom turns to chaste. Fellows! who've soak'd away their knowledge, Santolius here, whose flippant joke, lo sleepy residence at college;

Sought refuge in a Roman cloak: Whose lives are like a stagnant pool,

With dull Commirius at his side, Muddy and placid, dull and cool;

In all the pomp of jesuit pride. Miére drinking, eating; eating, sirinking;

Menage, the pedant, figur'd there, With no impertinence of thinking;

A trifler with a solemn air: Who lack no farther erudition,

And there in loose, unseenly view, Than just to set an imposition

The graceless, easy Loveling to).

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