Page images

High rais'd in solemn theatre around,
Leans the huge elephant, wisest of brutes!
O truly wise! with gentle might endow'd,
Though powerful not destructive! here he sees
Revolving ages sweep the changeful earth,
And empires rise and fall; regardless he
Of what the never-resting race of men
Project: thrice happy! could he 'scape their guile,
Who mine, from cruel avarice, his steps,
Or with his tow'ry grandeur swell their state,
The pride of kings! or else his strength pervert,
And bid him rage amid the mortal fray,
Astonish'd at the madness of mankind.

Wide o'er the winding umbrage of the floods,
Like vivid blossoms glowing from afar,
Thick swarm the brighter birds! for nature's hand,
That with a sportive vanity has deck'd
The plumy nations, there her gayest hues
Profusely pours. But if she bids them shine,
Array'd in all the beauteous beams of day,
Yet, frugal still, she humbles them in song.
Nor envy we the gaudy robes they lent
Proud Montezuma's realm, whose legions cast
A boundless radiance waving on the sun,
While Philomel is ours; while in our shades,
Through the soft silence of the list'ning night,
The sober-suited songstress trills her lay.

[blocks in formation]

Lo! the green serpent, from his dark abode, Which ev'n imagination fears to tread, At noon forth issuing, gathers up his train In orbs immense: then darting out anew, Seeks the refreshing fount, by which diffus'd He throws his folds: and while with threat'ning And deathful jaws erect the monster curls [tongue His flaming crest, all other thirst appall'd Or shiv'ring flies, or check'd, at distance stands, Nor dares approach. But still more direful he, The small close-lurking minister of fate, Whose high-concocted venom through the veins A rapid lightning darts, arresting swift The vital current. Form'd to humble man, This child of vengeful nature! there sublim'd To fearless lust of blood, the savage race Roam, licens'd by the shading hour of guilt And foul misdeed, when the pure day has shut His sacred eye. The tyger, darting fierce, Impetuous on the prey his glance has doom'd; The lively-shining leopard speckled o'er With many a spot, the beauty of the waste; And, scorning all the taming arts of man, The keen hyena, fellest of the fell. These rushing from th' inhospitable woods Of Mauritania, or the tufted isles That verdant rise amid the Lybian wild, Innum'rous glare around their shaggy king, Majestic, stalking o'er the printed sand; And with imperious and repeated roars Demand their fated food. The fearful flocks Crowd near the guardian swain; the nobler herds, Where round their lordly bull in rural ease They ruminating lie, with horror hear

The coming rage. Th' awaken'd village starts,
And to her fluttering breast the mother strains
Her thoughtless infant. From the pirate's den,
Or stern Morocco's tyrant fang escap'd,
The wretch half wishes for his bonds again;
While, uproar all, the wilderness resounds
From Atlas eastward to the frighted Nile.

Unhappy he who from the first of joys,
Society, cut off, is left alone

Amid this world of death. Day after day
Sad on the jutting eminence he sits,
And views the main that ever toils below,
Still fondly forming in the farthest verge,
Where the round ether mixes with the wave,
Ships dim-discover'd dropping from the clouds:
At evening to the setting sun he turns

A mournful eye, and down his dying heart
Sinks helpless, while the wonted roar is up,
And hiss continual through the tedious night.

Nor stop the terror of these regions here.
Commission'd demons oft, angels of wrath,
Let loose the raging elements. Breath'd hot
From all the boundless furnace of the sky,
And the wide-glittering waste of burning sand,
A suffocating wind the pilgrim smites
With instant death. Patient of thirst and toil,
Son of the desert! ev'n the camel feels
Shot through his wither'd heart the fiery blast.
Or from the black-red ether, bursting broad,
Sallies the sudden whirlwind. Straight the sands,
Commov'd around, in gath'ring eddies play;
Nearer and nearer still they dark'ning come,
Till with the gen'ral all-involving storm
Swept up, the whole continuous wilds arise;
And by their noonday fount dejected thrown,
Or sunk at night in sad disastrous sleep,
Beneath descending hills the caravan

Is buried deep. In Cairo's crowded streets
Th' impatient merchant, wond'ring, waits in vain;
And Mecca saddens at the long delay.

But chief at sea, whose ev'ry flexile wave
Obeys the blast, the aerial tumult swells.
In the dread ocean, undulating wide
Beneath the radiant line that girts the globe,
The circling Typhon, whirl'd from point to point,
Exhausting all the rage of all the sky,
And dire Ecnephia reign. Amid the heav'ns,
Falsely serene, deep in a cloudy speck
Compress'd, the mighty tempest brooding dwells,
Of no regard save to the skilful eye:
Fiery and foul, the small prognostic hangs
Aloft, or on the promontory's brow
Musters its force: a faint deceitful calm,
A flutt'ring gale, the demon sends before,
To tempt the spreading sail: then down at once,
Precipitant, descends a mingled mass

Of roaring winds, and flame, and rushing floods.
In wild amazement fix'd the sailor stands.
Art is too slow; by rapid fate oppress'd,
His broad-wing'd vessel drinks the whelming tide,
Hid in the bosom of the black abyss.

With such mad seas the daring Gama fought
For many a day and many a dreadful night,
Incessant lab'ring round the stormy Cape,
By bold ambition led, and bolder thirst
Of gold: for then from ancient gloom emerg'd
The rising world of trade: the genius then
Of navigation, that in hopeless sloth
Had slumber'd on the vast Atlantic deep
For idle ages, starting, heard at last
The Lusitanian Prince, who, heav'n-inspir'd,
To love of useful glory rous'd mankind,
And in unbounded commerce mix'd the world.
Increasing still the terrors of these storms,
His jaws horrific arm'd with threefold fate,
Here dwells the direful shark. Lur'd by the scent
Of steaming crowds, of rank disease, and death,
Behold! he rushing cuts the briny flood,
Swift as the gale can bear the ship along,
And from the partners of that cruel trade
Which spoils unhappy Guinea of her sons,
Demands his share of prey; demands themselves.
The stormy fates descend: one death involves
Tyrants and slaves; when straight their mangled
Crashing at once, he dyes the purple seas
With gore, and riots in the vengeful meal.


When o'er this world, by equinoctial rains
Flooded immense, looks out the joyless sun,
And draws the copious steam from swampy fens,
Where putrefaction into life ferments,
And breathes destructive myriads; or from woods,
Impenetrable shades, recesses foul,

In vapours rank and blue corruption wrapp'd,
Whose gloomy horrors yet no desperate foot
Has ever dar'd to pierce; then, wasteful, forth
Walks the dire pow'r of pestilent disease.
A thousand hideous fiends her course attend,
Sick nature blasting, and to heartless woe
And feeble desolation casting down
The tow'ring hopes and all the pride of man;
Such as of late at Carthagena quench'd
The British fire. You, gallant Vernon! saw
The miserable scene; you, pitying, saw
To infant-weakness sunk the warrior's arm;
Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form,
The lip pale-quiv'ring, and the beamless eye
No more with ardour bright: you heard the groans
Of agonizing ships from shore to shore;
Heard nightly plung'd amid the sullen waves
The frequent corse, while on each other fix'd,
In sad presage, the blank assistants seem'd,
Silent to ask whom fate would next demand.


Close in the covert of an hazel copse, Where winded into pleasing solitudes Runs out the rambling dale, young Damon sat, Pensive, and pierc'd with love's delightful pangs: There to the stream that down the distant rocks Hoarse murm'ring fell, and plaintive breeze that Among the bending willows, falsely he [play'd Of Musidora's cruelty complain'd.

She felt his flame; but deep within her breast,

In bashful coyness or in maiden pride,
The soft return conceal'd, save when it stole
In side-long glances from her downcast eye,
Or from her swelling soul in stifled sighs.
Touch'd by the scene, no stranger to his vows,
He fram'd a melting lay to try her heart,
And if an infant passion struggled there,
To call that passion forth. Thrice happy swain!
A lucky chance, that oft' decides the fate
Of mighty monarchs, then decided thine:
For, lo! conducted by the laughing loves,
This cool retreat his Musidora sought:
Warm in her cheek the sultry season glow'd,
And rob'd in loose array, she came to bathe
Her fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.
What shall he do? In sweet confusion lost,
And dubious flutt'rings, he awhile remain'd:
A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,

A delicate refinement, known to few,
Perplex'd his breast, and urg'd him to retire;
But love forbade. Ye prudes in virtue! say,
Say, ye severest! what would you have done?
Mean-time this fairer nymph than ever bless'd
Arcadian stream, with timid eye around
The banks surveying, stripp'd her beauteous limbs,
To taste the lucid coolness of the flood.
Ah then! not Paris on the piny top
Of Ida panted stronger, when aside
The rival goddesses the veil divine

Cast unconfin'd, and gave him all their charms,
Than, Damon, thou, as from her snowy leg
And slender foot th' inverted silk she drew:
As the soft touch dissolv'd the virgin zone,
And through the parting robe the alternate breast,
With youth wild-throbbing, on thy lawless gaze
In full luxuriance rose. But, desp'rate youth!
How durst thou risk the soul-distracting view,
As from her naked limbs, of glowing white,
Harmonious swell'd by nature's finest hand,
In folds loose-floating fell the fainter lawn,
And fair-expos'd she stood, shrunk from herself,
With fancy blushing, at the doubtful breeze
Alarm'd, and starting like the fearful fawn?
Then to the flood she rush'd; the parted flood
Its lovely guest with closing waves receiv'd,
And ev'ry beauty soft'ning, ev'ry grace
Flushing anew, a mellow lustre shed:
As shines the lily through the crystal mild,
Or as the rose amid the morning dew,
Fresh from Aurora's hand, more sweetly glows.
While thus she wanton'd, now beneath the wave
But ill conceal'd, and now with streaming locks,
That half-embraced her in a humid veil,
Rising again, the latent Damon drew
Such madd'ning draughts of beauty to the soul,
As for awhile o'erwhelm'd his raptur'd thought
With luxury too daring. Check'd at last
By love's respectful modesty, he deem'd
The theft profane, if aught profane to love
Can e'er be deem'd; and struggling from the shade,
With headlong hurry fled; but first these lines,
Trac'd by his ready pencil on the bank,

With trembling hand he threw. "Bathe on, my fair!
Yet unbeheld save by the sacred eye
Of faithful love. I go to guard thy haunt,
To keep from thy recess each vagrant fool,

And each licentious eye." With wild surprise,
As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
A stupid moment motionless she stood:
So stands the statue that enchants the world;
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast,
The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
Recovering, swift she flew to find those robes
Which blissful Eden knew not; and, array'd
In careless haste, th' alarming paper snatch'd:
But when her Damon's well known hand she saw,
Her terrors vanish'd, and a softer train
Of mix'd emotions, hard to be describ'd,
Her sudden bosom seiz'd: shame void of guilt,
The charming blush of innocence, esteem
And admiration of her lover's flame,
By modesty exalted; even a sense
Of self-approving beauty stole across
Her busy thought. At length a tender calm
Hush'd by degrees the tumult of her soul,
And on the spreading beech, that o'er the stream
Incumbent hung, she with the sylvan pen
Of rural lovers this confession carv'd,

Which soon her Damon kiss'd with weeping joy:
"Dear youth! sole judge of what these verses mean,
By fortune too much favour'd, but by love,
Alas! not favour'd less, be still, as now,
Discreet: the time may come you need not fly."


Poor is the triumph o'er the timid hare! Scar'd from the corn, and now to some lone seat Retir'd: the rushy fen; the ragged furze Stretch'd o'er the stony heath; the stubble chapp'd; The thistly lawn; the thick entangl'd broom; Of the same friendly hue the wither'd fern; The fallow ground laid open to the sun Concoctive; and the nodding sandy bank, Hung o'er the mazes of the mountain brook. Vain is her best precaution, though she sits Conceal'd with folded ears; unsleeping eyes, By nature rais'd to take th' horizon in; And head couch'd close betwixt her hairy feet, In act to spring away. The scented dew Betrays her early labyrinth; and deep, In scatter'd sullen op'nings, far behind, With ev'ry breeze she hears the coming storm: But nearer, and more frequent, as it loads The sighing gale, she springs amaz'd, and all The savage soul of game is up at once: The pack full op'ning, various; the shrill horn Resounded from the hills; the neighing steed, Wild for the chase; and the loud hunter's shout; O'er a weak, harmless, flying creature, all Mix'd in mad tumult and discordant joy! The stag, too, singled from the herd, where long He rang'd the branching monarch of the shades, Before the tempest drives. At first in speed He sprightly puts his faith; and rous'd by fear,

Gives all his swift aerial soul to flight. Against the breeze he darts, that way the more To leave the less'ning murd'rous cry behind: Deception short! though fleeter than the winds Blown o'er the keen-air'd mountains by the north, He bursts the thickets, glances through the glades, And plunges deep into the wildest wood; If slow, yet sure, adhesive to the track Hot-steaming, up behind him come again Th' inhuman rout, and from the shady depth Expel him, circling through his ev'ry shift. He sweeps the forest oft, and sobbing sees The glades mild op'ning to the golden day; Where in kind contest with his butting friends He wont to struggle, or his loves enjoy. Oft in the full-descending flood he tries To lose the scent, and lave his burning sides; Oft seeks the herd: the watchful herd alarm'd, With selfish care avoid a brother's woe. What shall he do? His once-so-vivid nerves, So full of buoyant spirit, now no more Inspire the course, but fainting breathless toil, Sick, seizes on his heart: he stands at bay, And puts his last weak refuge in despair. The big round tears run down his dappled face; He groans in anguish, while the growling pack, Blood-happy, hang at his fair jutting chest, And mark his beauteous chequer'd sides with gore.


But first the fuel'd chimney blazes wide; The tankards foam; and the strong table groans Beneath the smoking sirloin, stretch'd immense From side to side, in which with desp'rate knife They deep incision make, and talk the while Of England's glory, ne'er to be defac'd While hence they borrow vigour; or amain Into the pasty plung'd, at intervals, If stomach keen can intervals allow, Relating all the glories of the chase. Then sated hunger bids his brother thirst Produce the mighty bowl; the mighty bowl, Swell'd high with fiery juice, steams lib'ral round A potent gale, delicious as the breath Of Maia to the love-sick shepherdess, On violets diffus'd, while soft she hears Her panting shepherd stealing to her arms. Nor wanting is the brown October, drawn Mature and perfect from his dark retreat Of thirty years: and now his honest front Flames in the light refulgent, not afraid Ev'n with the vineyard's best produce to vie. To cheat the thirsty moments, whist awhile Walks his dull round beneath a cloud of smoke, Wreath'd fragrant from the pipe; or the quick dice, In thunder leaping from the box, awake The sounding gammon; while romp-loving miss Is haul'd about in gallantry robust.

At last these puling idlenesses laid Aside, frequent and full the dry divan Close in firm circle, and set ardent in For serious drinking. Nor evasion sly,

Nor sober shift is to the puking wretch
Indulg'd apart; but earnest brimming bowls
Lave ev'ry soul, the table floating round,
And pavement, faithless to the fuddled foot.
Thus as they swim in mutual swill, the talk,
Vociferous at once from twenty tongues,
Reels fast from theme to theme; from horses, hounds,
To church or mistress, politics or ghost,
In endless mazes intricate perplex'd.
Meantime with sudden interruption loud

Th' impatient catch bursts from the joyous heart;
That moment touch'd is ev'ry kindred soul,
And, op'ning in a full-mouth'd cry of joy,
The laugh, the slap, the jocund curse, go round;
While from their slumbers shook, the kennell'd

Mix in the music of the day again.

As when the tempest, that has vex'd the deep
The dark night long, with fainter murmurs falls,
So, gradual, sinks their mirth. Their feeble tongues,
Unable to take up the cumberous word,
Lie quite dissolv'd. Before their maudlin eyes,
Seen dim and blue the double tapers dance,
Like the sun wading through the misty sky;
Then sliding soft they drop. Confus'd above
Glasses and bottles, pipes and gazetteers,
As if the table ev'n itself was drunk,
Lie a wet broken scene; and wide below
Is heap'd the social slaughter; where astride
The lubber pow'r in filthy triumph sits
Slumb'rous, inclining still from side to side,
And steeps them drench'd in potent sleep till morn.
Perhaps some doctor of tremendous paunch,
Awful and deep, a black abyss of drink!
Outlives them all, and from his bury'd flock
Retiring full of rumination sad,

Laments the weakness of these latter times.


Now, by the cool declining year condens'd, Descend the copious exhalations check'd As up the middle sky unseen they stole, And roll the doubling fogs around the hill. No more the mountain, horrid, vast, sublime, Who pours a sweep of rivers from his sides, And high between contending kingdoms rears The rocky long division, fills the view With great variety; but in a night Of gath❜ring vapour from the baffled sense Sinks dark and dreary; thence expanding far, The huge dusk gradual swallows up the plain: Vanish the woods; the dim-seen river seems Sullen and slow to roll the misty wave. Ev'n in the height of noon oppress'd the sun Sheds weak and blunt his wide-refracted ray, Whence glaring oft with many a broaden'd orb He frights the nations. Indistinct on earth, Seen through the turbid air, beyond the life Objects appear, and wilder'd o'er the waste The shepherd stalks gigantic: till at last Wreath'd dun around in deeper circles still Successive closing, sits the gen'ral fog

Unbounded o'er the world, and, mingling thick, A formless gray confusion covers all.


Oh! knew he but his happiness, of men
The happiest he, who, far from public rage,
Deep in the vale with a choice few retir'd,
Drinks the pure pleasures of the rural life. [gate
What though the dome be wanting, whose proud
Each morning vomits out the sneaking crowd
Of flatt'rers false, and in their turn abus'd?
Vile intercourse! What though the glitt'ring robe,
Of ev'ry hue reflected light can give,

Or floating loose, or stiff with massy gold;
The pride and gaze of fools! oppress him not?
What though from utmost land and sea purvey'd,
For him each rarer tributary life

Bleeds not, and his insatiate table heaps
With luxury and death? What though his bowl
Flames not with costly juice, nor sunk in beds,
Oft of gay care, he tosses out the night,
Or melts the thoughtless hours in idle state?
What though he knows not those fantastic joys
That still amuse the wanton, still deceive,
A face of pleasure, but a heart of pain,
Their hollow moments undelighted all?
Sure peace is his; a solid life, estrang'd
To disappointment and fallacious hope:
Rich in content, in nature's bounty rich,
In herbs and fruits, whatever greens the spring,
When heav'n descends in show'rs, or bends the

When summer reddens, and when autumn beams,
Or in the wintry glebe whatever lies

Conceal'd, and fattens with the richest sap,
These are not wanting; nor the milky drove,
Luxuriant, spread o'er all the lowing vale;
Nor bleating mountains; nor the chide of streams,
And hum of bees, inviting sleep sincere
Into the guiltless breast beneath the shade,
Or thrown at large amid the fragrant hay;
Nor aught besides of prospect, grove, or song,
Dim grottoes, gleaming lakes, and fountains clear.
Here, too, dwells simple truth, plain innocence,
Unsully'd beauty, sound unbroken youth,
Patient of labour, with a little pleas'd,
Health ever-blooming, unambitious toil,
Calm contemplation, and poetic ease.

The rage of nations, and the crush of states,
Move not the man who, from the world escap'd,
In still retreats and flow'ry solitudes

To nature's voice attends, from month to month,
And day to day, through the revolving year;
Admiring sees her in her ev'ry shape,
Feels all her sweet emotions at his heart,
Takes what she lib'ral gives, nor thinks of more.
He when young spring protrudes the bursting gems,
Marks the first bud, and sucks the healthful gale
Into his freshen'd soul; her genial hours
He full enjoys, and not a beauty blows,
And not an op'ning blossom breathes in vain.



As I stroll the city, oft I

See a building large and lofty,

Not a bow-shot from the college;

Half the globe from sense and knowledge:
By the prudent architect,
Plac'd against the church direct,
Making good thy grandame's jest,
"Near the church"-you know the rest.
Tell us, what the pile contains?
Many a head that holds no brains.
These demoniacs let me dub
With the name of Legion-club.
Such assemblies, you might swear,
Meet when butchers bait a bear;
Such a noise, and such haranguing,
When a brother thief is hanging:
Such a rout and such a rabble
Run to hear Jack-pudding gabble;
Such a crowd their ordure throws
On a far less villain's nose.

Could I from the building's top
Hear the rattling thunder drop,
While the devil upon the roof
(If the devil be thunder-proof)
Should with poker fiery red
Crack the stones, and melt the lead;
Drive them down on every skull,
While the den of thieves is full;
Quite destroy the harpies' nest:
How might then our isle be blest!
For divines allow that God
Sometimes makes the devil his rod;
And the gospel will inform us,
He can punish sins enormous.

Yet should Swift endow the schools,
For his lunatics and fools,
With a rood or two of land,
I allow the pile may stand.
You perhaps will ask me, Why so?
But it is with this proviso:
Since the house is like to last,
Let the royal grant be pass'd,
That the club have right to dwell
Each within his proper cell,
With a passage left to creep in,
And a hole above for peeping.
Let them when they once get in,
Sell the nation for a pin;
While they sit a-picking straws,
Let them rave at making laws;
While they never hold their tongue,
Let them dabble in their dung:
Let them form a grand committee,
How to plague and starve the city:
Let them stare, and storm, and frown,
When they see a clergy gown;
Let them, ere they crack a louse,
Call for th' orders of the house;

Let them, with their gosling quills,
Scribble senseless heads of bills.

We may, while they strain their throats,
Wipe our a-s with their votes.

Let Sir Tom, that rampant ass,
Stuff his guts with flax and grass;
But, before the priest he fleeces,
Tear the bible all to pieces:
At the parsons, Tom, halloo, boy,
Worthy offspring of a shoe-boy,
Footman, traitor, vile seducer,
Perjur'd rebel, brib'd accuser,
Lay thy paltry privilege aside,
Sprung from papists, and a regicide;
Fall a-working like a mole,
Raise the dirt about your hole.

Come, assist me, Muse obedient!
Let us try some new expedient;
Shift the scene for half an hour,
Time and place are in thy power.
Thither, gentle Muse, conduct me;
I shall ask, and you instruct me.
See, the Muse unbars the gate!
Hark, the monkeys, how they prate!
All ye gods who rule the soul!
Styx, through hell whose waters roll!
Let me be allow'd to tell
What I heard in yonder hell.

Near the door an entrance gapes,
Crowded round with antic shapes,
Poverty, and grief, and care,
Causeless joy, and true despair;
Discord, periwigg'd with snakes,
See the dreadful strides she takes!
By this odious crew beset,

I began to rage and fret,
And resolv'd to break their pates,
Ere we enter'd at the gates;
Had not Clio in the nick

Whisper'd me," Lay down your stick."
What, said I, is this the mad-house?
These, she answer'd, are but shadows,
Phantoms bodiless and vain,
Empty visions of the brain.

In the porch Briareus stands,
Shows a bribe in all his hands;
Briareus the secretary,

But we mortals call him Carey.
When the rogues their country fleece,
They may hope for pence a-piece.

Clio, who had been so wise
To put on a fool's disguise,
To bespeak some approbation,
And be thought a near relation,
When she saw three hundred brutes
All involv'd in wild disputes,
Roaring till their lungs were spent,
Privilege of Parliament:
Now a new misfortune feels,
Dreading to be laid by th' heels.
Never durst the Muse before

Enter that infernal door.

« PreviousContinue »