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My translation of Vida's Art of Poetry having been more favourably received than I had reason to expect, has encouraged me to publish this little miscellany of poems and select translations. I shall neither embarrass myself nor my reader with apologies concerning this collection; for whether it is a good one or a bad one, all excuses are unnecessary in one case, and offered in vain in the other.


An author of a miscellany has a better chance of pleasing the world, than he who writes on a single subject; and I have sometimes known a bad, or (which is still worse) an indifferent poet, meet with tolerable success; which has been owing more to the variety of subjects, than his happiness in treating them.

I am scusible the men of wit and pleasure will be disgusted to find so great a part of this collection consist of sacred poetry; but I assure these gentlemen, whatever they shall be pleased to object, that I shall never be ashamed of employing my talents (such as they are) in the service of my Maker; that it would look indecent in one of my profession, not to spend as much time on the psalms of David, as the hymns of Callimachus; and farther, that if those beautiful pieces of divine poetry had been written by Callimachus, or any heathen author, they might have possibly vouchsafed them a reading even in my translation.

But I will not trespass further on my reader's patience in prose, since I shall have occasion enough for it, as well as for his good-nature, in the following verses; concerning which I must acquaint bim, that some of them were written several years since, and that I have precisely observed the rule of our great master Horace--Nonumque prematur in annum. But I may say more justly than Mr. Prior said of himself in the like case, that I have observed the letter, more than the spirit of the precept.

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FORGIVE th' ambitious fondness of a friend,
For such thy worth, 'tis glory to commend;
To thee, from judgment, such applause is due,
I praise myself while I am praising you;
As he who bears the lighted torch, receives
Himself assistance from the light he gives.

So much you please, so vast is my delight, Thy, ev'n thy fancy cannot reach its height. In vain I strive to make the transport known, No language can describe it but thy own. Could'st thou thy genius pour into my heart, Thy copious fancy, thy engaging heart, Thy vigorous thoughts, thy manly flow of sense, Thy strong and glowing paint of eloquence; Then should'st thou well conceive that happiness, Which I alone can feel, and you express.

In scenes which thy invention sets to view, Forgive me, friend, if I lose sight of you; I see with how much spirit Homer thought, With how much judgment cooler Virgil wrote; In every line, in every word you speak, I read the Roman and confess the Greek; Forgetting thee, my soul with rapture swell'd, Cries out, "How much the ancient bards excell'd!" But when thy just translations introduce To nearer converse any Latian Muse, The several beauties you so well express, I lose the Roman in the British dress! Sweetly deceiv'd, the ancients I contemn, And with mistaken zeal to thee exclaim, (By so much nature, so much art betray'd) "What vast improvements have our moderns


How vain and unsuccessful seems the toil, To raise such precious fruits in foreign soil: They mourn, transplanted to another coast, Their beauties languid, and their flavour lost! But such thy art, the ripening colours glow As pure as those their native suns bestow; Not an insipid beauty only yield, But breathe the odours of Ausonia's field. Such is the genuine flavour, it belies Their stranger soil, and unacquainted skies.

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Vida no more the long oblivion fears, Which hid his virtues through a length of years; Ally'd to thee, he lives again; thy rhymes Shall friendly hand him down to latest times; Shall do his injur'd reputation right, While in thy work with such success unite His strength of judgment, and his charms of speech, That precepts please, and music seems to teach. Lest unimprov'd I seem to read thee o'er, Th' unhallow'd rapture I indulge no more; By thee instructed, I the task forsake, Nor for chaste love, the lust of verse mistake; Thy works that rais'd this frenzy in my soul, Shall teach the giddy tumult to control: Warm'd as I am with every Muse's charms, Since the coy virgins fly my eager arms, I'll quit the work, throw by my strong desire, And from thy praise reluctantly retire.

G. Ridley.



FORGIVE me, sir, if I approve

The judgment of your friend, Who chose this token of his love From Virgil's tomb to send.

You, who the Mantuan poet dress
In purest English lays,
Who all his soul and flame express,
May justly claim his bays.

Those bays, which, water'd by your hand,
From Vida's spring shall rise,
And, with fresh verdure crown'd, withstand
The lightning of the skies.

Let hence your emulation fir'd

His matchless strains pursue, As, from Achilles' tomb inspir'd, The youth a rival grew.

See Mr. Pitts translation of Vida.

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WHILE with your Dodington retir'd you sit,
Charm'd with his flowing Burgundy and wit;
By turns relieving with the circling draught,
Each pause of chat, and interval of thought:
Or through the well-glaz'd tube, from business
Draw the rich spirit of the Indian weed;
Or bid your eyes o'er Vanbrugh's models roam,
And trace in miniature the future dome
(While busy fancy with imagin'd power
Builds up the work of ages in an hour);
Or, lost in thought, contemplative you rove,
Through opening vistas, and the shady grove;
Where a new Eden in the wilds is found,
And all the seasons in a spot of ground:
There, if you exercise your tragic rage,
To bring some hero on the British stage;
Whose cause the audience with applause will crown,
And make his triumphs or his tears their own :
Throw by the bold design; and paint no more
Imagin'd chiefs, and monarchs of an hour;
From fabled worthies, call thy Muse to sing
Of real wonders, and Britannia's king.


Oh! had'st thou seen him, when the gathering Fill'd up proud Sarum's wide-extended plain ! Then, when he stoop'd from awful majesty, Put on the man, and laid the sovereign by; When the glad nations saw their king appear, Begirt with armies, and the pride of war; More pleas'd his people's longing eyes to bless, He look'd, and breath'd benevolence and peace: When in his hand Britannia's awful lord, Held forth the olive, while he grasp'd the sword. So Jove, though arm'd to blast the Titan's pride, With all his burning thunders at his side, Fram'd, while he terrify'd the distant foe, His scheme of blessings for the world below.

This hadst thou seen, thy willing Muse would raise
Her strongest wing, to reach her sovereign's praise.
To what bold heights our daring hopes may climb?
The theme so great! the poet so sublime!
I saw him, Young, and to these ravish'd eyes,
Ev'n now his godlike figure seems to rise:
Mild, yet majestic, was the monarch's mien,
Lovely though great, and awful though serene,
(More than a coin or picture can unfold;
Too faint the colours, and too base the gold!)
At the blest sight, transported and amaz'd,
One universal shout the thousands rais'd,
And crowds on crowds grew loyal as they gaz'd.
His foes (if any) own'd the monarch's cause,
And chang'd their groundless clamours to applause;
Ev'n giddy Faction hail'd the glorious day,
And wondering Envy look'd her rage away.
As Ceres o'er the globe her chariot drew,
And harvests ripen'd where the goddess flew ;
So, where his gracious footsteps he inclin'd,
Peace flew before, and Plenty march'd behind.
Where wild affiction rages, he appears
To wipe the widow's and the orphan's tears:
The sons of misery before him bow,
And for their merit only plead their woe.
So well he loves the public liberty,
His mercy sets the private captive free.
Soon as our royal angel came in view,
The prisons burst, the starting hinges flew ;
The dungeons open'd, and resign'd their prey,
To joy, to life, to freedom, and the day:
The chains drop off; the grateful captives rear
Their hands unmanacled in praise and prayer.
Had thus victorious Cæsar sought to please,
And rul'd the vanquish'd world with arts like these;
The generous Brutus had not scorn'd to bend,
But sunk the rigid patriot in the friend;
Nor to that bold excess of virtue ran,

To stab the monarch, where he lov'd the man.
And Cato, reconcil'd, had ne'er disdain'd
To live a subject, where a Brunswick reign'd.
But I detain your nobler Muse too long,
From the great theme, that mocks my humble


A theme that asks a Virgil, or a Young




Ye angels, come without delay; Britannia's genius, come away. Descend, ye spirits of the sky; Stand, all ye winged guardians, by; Your golden pinions kindly spread, And watch round Carolina's bed: Here fix your residence on Earth, To hasten on the glorious birth; Her fainting spirits to supply, Catch all the zephyrs as they fly. Oh! succour nature in the strife, And gently hold her up in life; Nor let her hence too soon remove, To join your sacred choirs above: But live, Britannia to adorn With kings and princes yet unborn.

Ye angels, come without delay; Britannia's genius, come away.

Assuage her pains, and Albion's fears,
For Albion's life depends on her's.
Oh then! to save her from despair,
Lean down, and listen to her prayer.
Crown all her tortures with delight,
And call th' auspicious babe to light.
We hope from your propitious care,
All that is brave, or all that's fair.
A youth, to match his sire in arms;
Or nymph, to match her mother's charms;
A youth, who over kings shall reign,
Or nymph, whom kings shall court in vain.
From far the royal slaves shall come,
And wait from him or her their doom;
To each their different suits shall move,
And pay their homage, or their love.

Ye angels, come without delay; Britannia's genius, come away. When the soft powers of sleep subdue Those eyes, that shine as bright as you; With scenes of bliss, transporting themes! Prompt and inspire her golden dreams : Let visionary blessings rise, And swim before her closing eyes. The sense of torture to subdue, Set Britain's happiness to view; That sight her spirits will sustain, And give her pleasure from her pain.

Ye angels, come without delay; Britannia's genius, come away,

Come, and rejoice; th' important hour
Is past, and all our fears are o'er ;
See! every trace of anguish flies,
While in her lap the infant lies,
Her pain by sudden joy beguil'd,
She hangs in rapture o'er the child,
Her eyes o'er every feature run,
The father's beauties and her own.
There, pleas'd her image to survey,
She melts in tenderness away;
Smiles o'er the babe, nor smiles in vain,
The babe returns th' auspicious smile again.

Ye angels, come without delay; Britannia's genius, come away.

Turn Heaven's eternal volume o'er,
And look for this distinguish'd hour;
Consult the page of Britain's state,
Before you close the books of Fate:
Then tell us what you there have seen,
What cras from this birth begin,
What years from this blest hour must run,
As bright and lasting as the Sun.
Far from the ken of mortal sight,
These secrets are involv'd in night:
The blessings which this birth pursue,
Are only known to Heaven and you.




WHEN Nassau ey'd his native coasts no more,
And first discern'd fair Albion's whitening shore;
In that blest moment, while the friendly gales
Wait on his course, and stretch the swelling sails,
The deeps divide; and, as the waves unclose,
The genius of the British ocean rose.
Loose to the wind his sea-green mantle flow'd,
And in his eyes unusual pleasure glow'd.
Awile he paus'd, to mark on Nassau's face
The well-known features of the godlike race;
Whose swords were sacred to the generous cause
Of truth, religion, liberty, and laws :
Then spoke; the winds a still attention keep,
And awful silence hush'd the murmuring deep:

"Proceed, great prince, to our lov'd coast repair,
Where Anna shines the fairest of the fair:
For thy distinguish'd bed the Fates ordain
The royal maid, whom kings might court in vain;
The royal maid, in whom the Graces join'd [mind.
Her mother's awful charms, and more than female
The merits of thy race, the vast arrear
That Britain owes, shall all be paid in her;
In her be paid the debt for laws restor❜d,
For England sav'd by William's righteous sword.
Immortal William!-At thy sacred name
My hearts beats quick, and owns its ancient flame.
Still must I call to mind the glorious day,
When through these floods the hero plough'd his
To free Britannia from the tyrant's chain, [way,
And bid the prostrate nations rise again.
Well-pleas'd I saw his fluttering streamers fly,
And the full sails that hid the distant sky.
High on the gilded stern, majestic rode
The world's great patriot, like a guardian god.
This trident aw'd the tumults of the sea,
And bade the winds the hero's nod obey:
Fond of the task, with this officious hand
I push'd the sacred vessel to the land;
The land of Liberty, by Rome enslav'd;
He came, he saw, he vanquish'd, and he sav'd.
"O may that hero, and thy Anna's sire
To noblest deeds thy generous bosom fire,
And with their bright transmissive virtues grace
The great descendants of thy princely race!

'Originally printed in the Epithalamia Oxoniensia, Oxonii, 1734, in the name of Mr. Spence; but now reclaimed as Mr. Pitt's on the authority of Bishop Lowth. N.

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