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I know your works; in vain you would conceal
Your dull indifference, and your languid zeal;
Or throw aside the form, and show the cheat,
Or let devotion raise a vital heat.
As water which is free from each excess
Breaks from the bosom which it did oppress;
My vengeance shall your lifeless forms explore,
And from my mouth the nauseous draught shall pour.
As, when distraction seizes on the brain,
The beggar with imagin'd wealth is vain ;
His treasures flow, and plenty crowns his board,
He sees his servants, and he seems a lord ;
Naked, the purple vestments seem to wear,
And every want is fled, and every fear;
So, in the garments of affected pride,
The poor and naked hypocrite is hid:
Blind to himself, his fancy gilds the stains
Which strike with horror, when his reason reigns.

To me thy poverty and wants impart,
My golden furniture shall grace thy heart:
Nor snow can rival the celestial vest
In which thy naked spirit shall be dress'd;
Where every virtue shall attract the eye,
And all the sister graces of the sky.
Blind as thou art, my salve can give thee light,

pour the heavenly object on thy sight. Repent, and kindle up a vigorous zeal, Believe my mercy when my rod you feel.

See where I stand, and wait your open breast,
Not once invited, but a pleading guest !
Happy the man who hears the welcome sound,
The king shall enter; and, the table crown'd,
Celestial dainties shall regale his mind;
The food ambrosia, and the wine refin'd.
Though vile the man, with freedom I will sup,
The broken bread bestow, and purple cup.
Soft on his ear my milky speech shall flow,
As gentle showers, or drops of heavenly dew.
Who gives his lord a kind reception here
Shall, rapt to paradise, the bridal supper share.
The christian hero, seated on a throne,
Shall reign with me, and triumph in a crown.
My sufferings gave the empire of the skies,

And with the gods unite in praise.
The coolness of the rural scenes,
The smiling flowers and evergreens,
And sportful dances, all inspire
My soul with more than vulgar fire.
If sweet Euterpe give her flute,
And Polyhymnia lend her lute-
If you the deathless bays bestow,
And by applauses make them grow,
Toward the stars my winged fame
Shall fly, and strike the heavenly frame.


The earliest mention of this person is in the memoirs of Franklin, who describes him as one of his youthful associates in Philadelphia, “ingenuous and shrewd, genteel in his address, extremely eloquent, and the most agreeable speaker he ever met with.” Ralph had, at this early period of his life shown his inclination for poetry by the production of several small pieces, and was so bent upon the pursuit, that he was disposed to abandon his occupation and devote himself wholly to the muses. Full of the lofty anticipations and the confidence of youth, he dreamed of nothing but success, and imagined both fame and fortune to be within his reach. Franklin and his other friends endeavored to cure him of his poetical passion, by assuring him that he had no genius for the business, and would do much better to stick to his trade; but the effect of these representations was totally destroyed by the following incident. Franklin and Ralph, with two other young men, named Watson and Osborne, had agreed each to write a portion of verses for mutual remark, criticism, and correction, by way of amusement and the improvement of their style. Franklin having little inclination for the business, neglected his, and agreed to offer Ralph's performance as his own, in aid of a design of this last to secure the approbation of Osborne, Ralph imagining that Osborne depreciated his talents from personal envy alone. The stratagem succeeded to his wish. Osborne and the other commended the piece in the highest terms, and Ralph had the satisfaction of hearing his verses receive the warm admiration of the person who had been the foremost to deny his poetical talent. He made known the trick, enjoyed his triumph, and was fixed in his determination to become a poet.

Shortly after this, Franklin embarked for England, and Ralph accompanied him on his voyage with the ostensible purpose of establishing himself in the mercantile commission business, but as Franklin afterwards learnt, to get away from his wife, with whose parents he had fallen out. On their arrival in London, Ralph and Franklin lived together in the strictest intimacy. Ralph met some of his relations, but none of them were able to assist him, and his money being gone he began to look about for employment. Thinking himself possessed of talents for the stage, he resolved to turn actor, but the person to whom he applied succeeded in persuading him that he had no prospect of success in such a line. He then proposed to a London bookseller to write a weekly paper in the manner of the Spectator, but without any better result. He next tried to procure employment as a copyist, of the lawyers and stationers about the Temple, in which attempt he likewise failed. Finally he succeeded in obtaining the care of a school in a small village in Berkshire, but continuing to indulge in his dreams of future greatness, he resolved upon a precaution that his exercise of what he considered so ignoble an office should not be known afterward; and therefore changed his name, and as Franklin remarks, did him the honor to assume his. He continued to correspond with Franklin at London, and sent him fragments of an epic poem he was composing, for his criticism and correction. Franklin lent him this assistance, but accompanied his good offices with the advice to give up his literary pursuits, and seconded his entreaties by transmitting him a part of one of Young's satires upon the folly of cultivating the muses with a hope of rising in the world. This had no effect; he kept on writing his poem, and sent it piece after piece by the post.

Sometime after, a breach occurred between him and Franklin, the occasion of which is related in the memoirs of the latter. No further particulars are known of him except that he became a political writer, and was patronized by some distinguished persons in public affairs.

He wrote a poem called Sawney, very abusive, according to Warburton, of Swift, Gay, and Pope, for which he was put into the Dunciad. Another poem of his, entitled “Night,” is mentioned in the notes to Pope. We have never seen either of these perform


The work which he wrote upon his first arrival in England, and got Franklin to correct for him, was probably Zeuma, or the Love of Liberty, printed in London in 1729. This is an heroic poem in three books in blank verse, which celebrates the resistance of a fabulous South American chieftain against the Spanish invaders. The story has little merit on the score of invention, and is executed in a style sufficiently negligent. Warburton vilifies Ralph as a person totally illiterate, and we should judge by this production of his early years, that he had not formed his taste by a very careful study. Still there is something of a poetical spirit about him.



BEYOND the vast Peruvian realms, whose wealth
Supports the Iberian throne, and freights whole fleets
To Europe's hostile strand; a wond’rous ridge
Of cumb’rous hills, vast, huge, and piled abrupt,
Ascend above the clouds, and bound the view
From sky to sky ; aloft bleak winter holds
Eternal reign, and from the mountain's brow,
All cover'd o'er with ice, and white with snow,
Looks hideous down, breathes out his chilling gales,
And the sad wand'rer freezes to the ground,
A ghastly statue, with the dread of death,
Still graved upon his face ; sometimes he bids
The whirlwinds roar, and with destruction wing'd

Impels it on the realms below, and oft,
Assembling clouds on clouds, draws o'er the world
A midnight darkness; and with sudden gush
Pours down the rain in dreadful showers, and drowns
The hope of harvest on the field. Where ends
This rocky chain, succeeds a dreary length
Of barren sands, torn up by every wind,
And rolld in heaps, like the vex'd billows
On the stormy main: around, a frightful, wild,
And horrid prospect, tires the lab'ring eye
In gazing for its end. No vernal green
E’er cheers the yellow waste ; no bubbling spring
Its cooling azure rolls along; no rains,
Nor kindly dews refresh the burning soil :
But nature looks as crumbled into dust;
And ruin, sole possessor of the void.
Yet on the sterile desert's utmost

And the rude mountain's skirt, the Spaniards found
A land of plenty, where enlivening Spring
And fruitful Autumn, with alternate change,
Rejoiced the year; where wealth immense (the hope
And end of all their execrable deeds,)
Was found in earth's dark womb, and every joy
Invited their abode. Such Peru was ;
And when, subjected to their arms, its tribes
Became the vassals of their power, athwart
This ridge of mountains they pursued
Their way to conquest, and in Chili's realms,
Resolved to fix their arbitrary rule,
Though death in all its horrid forms opposed
Their common toil, and not a soul return'd
In safety from the war. There Zeuma reign'd,
A prince, who in the opening bloom of youth,
Preferr'd his country's welfare to his own.


Once, as with ardent zeal he urged the chase, And press’d, with matchless swiftness, to secure His frighted prey, through the thick wood, from far He spied, low-bending o’er the limpid stream, An aged hermit ; who seem'd wrapp'd in thought And solitary muse; behind him, arch'd By nature in the hollow rock, appear'a A gloomy cave, o'ergrown with moss, his calm Abode; above, with difficult ascent, Arose the hill, with vivid verdure crown'd; Around, the forest spread its grateful shade,



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