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Or in any terms relate
Half my love, or half my hate :
For I hate, yet love thee, so,
That, whichever thing I show,
The plain truth will seem to be
A constrained hyperbole,
And the passion to proceed
More from a mistress than a weed.
Sooty retainer to the vine,
Bacchus' black servant, negro fine;
Sorcerer, that mak'st us dote upon
Thy begrimed complexion,
And, for thy pernicious sake,
More and greater oaths to break
Than reclaimed lovers take
'Gainst women: thou thy siege dost lay
Much too in the female way,
While thou suck'st the lab'ring breath
Faster than kisses, or than death.
Thou in such a cloud dost bind us, That our worst foes cannot find us, And ill fortune, that would thwart us, Shoots at rovers, shooting at us; While each man, through thy height'ning steam, Does like a smoking Etna seem, And all about us does express, (Fancy and wit in richest dress,) A Sicilian fruitfulness.
Thou through such a mist dost shew us,
That our best friends do not know us,
And, for those allowed features,
Due to reasonable creatures,
Liken'st us to fell chimeras,
Monsters that, who see us, fear as ; .
Worse than Cerberus or Gorgon,
Or, who first loved a cloud, Ixion.
Bacchus we know, and we allow
His tipsy rites. But what art thou,
That but by reflex canst show
What his deity can do,
As the false Egyptian spell
Aped the true Hebrew miracle ?
Some few vapours thou mayst raise,
The weak brain may serve to amaze,
But to the reins and nobler heart,
Canst nor life nor heat impart.
Brother of Bacchus, later born,
The old world was sure forlorn,
Wanting thee, that aidest more
The god's victories than before
All his panthers, and the brawls
Of his piping Bacchanals.
These, as stale, we disallow,
Or judge of thee meant: only thou
His true Indian conquest art;
And, for ivy round his dart,
The reformed god now weaves
A finer thyrsus of thy leaves.
Scent to match thy rich perfume
Chemic art did ne'er presume;
Through her quaint alembic strain,
None so sov'reign to the brain :
Nature, that did in thee excel,
Framed again no second smell.
Roses, violets, but toys
For the smaller sort of boys,
Or for greener damsels meant;
Thou art the only manly scent,
Stinking'st of the stinking kind,
Filth of the mouth, and fog of the mind,
Africa, that brags her foison,
Breeds no such prodigious poison;
Henbane, nightshade, both together,
Plant divine, of rarest virtue; ,
Blisters on the tongue would hurt you..
'Twas but in a sort I blamed thee;
None e'er prospered who defamed thee;
Irony all, and feigned abuse,
Such as perplexed lovers use
At a need, when, in despair
To paint forth their fairest fair,
Or in part but to express
That exceeding comeliness
Which their fancies doth so strike,
They borrow language of dislike;
And, instead of Dearest Miss,
Jewel, Honey, Sweetheart, Bliss,
And those forms of old admiring,
Call her Cockatrice and Siren,
Basilisk, and all that's evil,
Witch, Hyena, Mermaid, Deyil,
Ethiop, Wench, and Blackamoor,
Monkey, Ape, and twenty more ;
Friendly Trait’ress, loving Foe-
Not that she is truly so,
But no other way they know
A contentment to express,
Borders so upon excess,
That they do not rightly wot
Whether it be pain or not.
Or, as men, constrained to part
With what is nearest to their heart,
While their sorrow's at the height,
Lose discrimination quite,
And their hasty wrath let fall,
To appease their frantic gall,
On the darling thing whatever,
Whence they feel it death to sever,
Though it be, as they, perforce,
Guiltless of the sad divorce.
For I must (nor let it grieve thee,
Friendliest of plants, that I must) leave thee;
For thy sake, Tobacco, I
Would do anything but die,
And but seek to extend my days
Long enough to sing thy praise.
But as she, who once hath been
A king's consort, is a queen
Ever after, nor will bate
Any tittle of her state,
Though a widow, or divorced,
So I, from thy converse forced,
The old name and style retain,
A right Katherine of Spain ;
And a seat, too, 'mongst the joys
Of the blest Tobacco Boys;
Where, though I, by sour physician,
Am debarred the full fruition
Of thy favours, I may catch
Some collateral sweets, and snatch
Sidelong odours, that give life
Like glances from a neighbour's wife ;
And still live in the bye-places
And the suburbs of thy graces;
And in thy borders take delight,
An unconquered Canaanite.
298.—THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD.
JOHN FORSTER. [. THE Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith; a Biography; in Four Books,' has recently been written by John Forster, “ of the
Inner Temple, Barrister, Author of the Lives of · Statesmen of the Commonwealth.'” Mr. Forster has lighted up the authentic narrative of a literary life with the brilliant hues of taste and imagination; and, what is a higher thing, he has told the story of the errors, the sorrows, the endurance, and the success, of one of the most delightful of our “ best authors," with an earnest vindication of simplicity of character, and a deep sympathy with the struggles of talent, which ought to make every reader of this Life more just, tolerant, and loving to his fellows. Amongst the sound criticism of this volume we find the following sensible estimate of Goldsmith's immortal novel.]
Every one is familiar with the Vicar of Wakefield. We read it in youth and in age. We return to it, as Walter Scott has said, again and again; and we bless the memory of an author who contrives so well to reconcilo us to human nature. With its ease of style, its turns of thought so whimsical yet wise, and the humour and wit which sparkle freshly through its narrative, we have all of us profitably amused the idle or the vacant hour; from year to year we have had its tender or mirthful incidents, its forms so homely in their beauty, its pathos and its comedy, given back to us from the canvas of our Wilkies, Newtons, and Stothards, our Leslies, Maclises, and Mulreadys : but not in those graces of style, or even in that home-cherished gallery of familiar faces, can the secret of its extraordinary fascination be said to consist. It lies nearer the heart. A something which has found its way there; which, while it amused, has made us happier; which, gently inweaving itself with our habits of thought, has increased our good humour and charity; which, insensibly it may be, has corrected wilful impatiences of temper, and made the world's daily accidents easier and kinder to us all; somewhat thus should be expressed, I think, the charm of the Vicar of Wakefield. It is our first pure example of the simple domestic novel. Though wide as it was various, and most minutely as well as broadly marked with passion, incident, and character, the field selected by Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett for the exercise of their genius and display of their powers, had hardly included this. Nor is it likely that Goldsmith would himself have chosen it, if his leading object had been to write a book. Rather as a refuge from the writing of books was this book undertaken. Simple to very baldness are the materials employed. But he threw into the midst of them his own nature; his actual experience; the suffering, discipline, and sweet