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And every where huge cover'd tables stood, With wines high-flavour'd and rich viands crown'd;
Whatever sprightly juice or tasteful food On the green bosom of this Earth are found, And all old Ocean genders in his round: Some hand unseen these silently display'd, Ev'n undemanded by a sign or sound; You need but wish, and, instantly obey'd, Fair-rang'd the dishes rose, and thick the glasses play'd.
Here freedom reign'd, without the least alloy; Nor gossip's tale, nor ancient maiden's gall, Nor saintly spleen durst murmur at our joy, And with envenom'd tongue our pleasures pall. For why? there was but one great rule for all, To wit, that each should work his own desire, And eat, drink, study, sleep, as it may fall, Or melt the time in love, or wake the lyre, And carol what, unbid, the Muses might inspire. The rooms with costly tapestry were hung, Where was inwoven many a gentle tale; Such as of old the rural poets sung, Or of Arcadian or Sicilian vale: Reclining lovers, in the lonely dale, Pour'd forth at large the sweetly-tortur'd heart; Or, sighing tender passion, swell'd the gale, And taught charm'd echo to resound their smart; While flocks, woods, streams, around, repose and peace impart.
Those pleas'd the most, where, by a cunning Depainted was the patriarchal age; [hand, What time Dan Abraham left the Chaldee land, And pastur'd on from verdant stage to stage, Where fields and fountains fresh could best engage.
Toil was not then. Of nothing took they heed, But with wild beasts the sylvan war to wage, And o'er vast plains their herds and flocks to feed : Blest sons of Nature they ! true golden age indeed!
Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.
At distance rising oft by small degrees, Nearer and nearer came, till o'er the trees It hung, and breath'd such soul-dissolving airs, As did, alas! with soft perdition please: Entangled deep in its enchanting snares, The listening heart forgot all duties and all cares.
A certain music, never known before, Here lull'd the pensive melancholy mind; Full easily obtain'd. Behoves no more, But sidelong, to the gently-waving wind, To lay the well-tun'd instrument reclin'd; From which, with airy flying fingers light, Beyond each mortal touch the most refin'd, The god of winds drew sounds of deep delight: Whence, with just cause, the harp of Eolus it hight.
Ah me! what hand can touch the string so fine!
Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
And now a graver sacred strain they stole, As when seraphic hands an hymn impart, Wild-warbling Nature all above the reach of Art! Such the gay splendour, the luxurious state, Of caliphs old, who on the Tigris' shore, In mighty Bagdat, populous and great, Held their bright court, where was of ladies store; And verse, love, music, still the garland wore: When sleep was coy, the bard in waiting there, Cheer'd the lone midnight with the Muse's love: Composing music bade his dreams be fair, And music lent new gladness to the morning air.
Near the pavilions where we slept, still ran Soft-tinkling streams, and dashing waters fell, And sobbing breezes sigh'd, and oft began (So work'd the wizard) wintery storms to swell, As Heaven and Earth they would together mell: At doors and windows, threatening, seem'd to The demons of the tempest, growling fell, [call Yet the least entrance found they none at all; Whence sweeter grew our sleep, secure in massy
And hither Morpheus, sent his kindest dreams, Raising a world of gayer tinct and grace; O'er which were shadowy cast Elysian gleams, That play'd, in waving lights, from place to And shed a roseate smile on Nature's face. [place, Not Titian's pencil e'er could so array, So fierce with clouds the pure ethereal space; Ne could it e'er such melting forms display, As loose on flowery beds all languishingly lay."
No, fair illusions! artful phantoms, no! My Muse will not attempt your fairy-land: She has no colours that like you can glow: To catch your vivid scenes too gross her hand. But sure it is, was ne'er a subtler band Than these same guileful angel-seeming sprights, Who thus in dreams, voluptuous, soft, and bland, Pour'd all th' Arabian Heaven upon her nights, And bless'd them oft besides with more refin'd de
They were in sooth a most enchanting train, Ev'n feigning virtue; skilful to unite With evil good, and strew with pleasure pain. But for those fiends, whom blood and broils delight; Who hurl the wretch, as if to Hell outright, Down, down black gulfs, where sullen waters sleep, Or hold him clambering all the fearful night On beetling cliffs, or pent in ruins deep: They, till due time should serve, were bid far hence to keep.
Ye guardian spirits, to whom man is dear,
And fill with pious awe and joy-mixt woe the heart.
Or are you sportive-Bid the morn of youth
To cares estrang'd, and manhood's thorny ways. What transport, to retrace our boyish plays, Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supply'd ; The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze Of the wild brooks!-But fondly wandering wide, My Muse, resume the task that yet doth thee abide.
One great amusement of our household was,
Run bustling to and fro with foolisn haste,
"Of vanity the mirror" this was call'd. Here you a muckworm of the town inight see, At his dull desk, amid his legers stall'd, Eat up with carking care and penurie; Most like to carcase parch'd on gallow-tree. "6 A penny saved is a penny got," Firm to this scoundrel maxim keepeth he, Ne of its rigour will he bate a jot, Till it has quench'd his fire, and banished his pot. Straight from the filth of this low grub, behold! Comes fluttering forth a gaudy spendthrift heir, All glossy gay, enamel'd all with gold, The silly tenant of the summer-air, In folly lost, of nothing takes he care; Pimps, lawyers, stewards, harlots, flatterers vile, And thieving tradesmen him among them share : His father's ghost from limbo-lake, the while, Sees this, which more damnation doth upon him pile.
This globe pourtray'd the race of learned men, Still at their books, and turning o'er the page. Backwards and forwards: oft they snatch the pen, As if inspir'd, and in a Thespian rage; Then write, and blot, as would your ruth engage. Why, authors, all this scragl and scribbling sore? To lose the present, gain the future age, Praised to be when you can hear no more, [store. And much enrich'd with fame, when useless worldly
Then would a splendid city rise to view,
A neighbour's fortune, fame, or peace to blight, And make new tiresome parties for the coming night.
The puzzling sons of party next appear'd, In dark cabals and nightly juntos met; [rear'd And now they whisper'd close, now shrugging Th' important shoulder; then, as if to get New light, their twinkling cyes were inward set. No sooner Lucifer recals affairs, Than forth they various rush in mighty fret; When, lo! push'd up to power, and crown'd their cares, [stairs. In comes another sett, and kicketh them down
But what most show'd the vanity of life, Was to behold the nations all on fire, In cruel broils engag'd, and deadly strife: Most Christian kings, inflam'd by black desire, With honourable ruffians in their hire, Cause war to rage, and blood around to pour : Of this sad work when each begins to tire, They sit them down just where they were before, Till for new scenes of woc peace shall their force restore.
To number up the thousands dwelling here, An useless were, and eke an endless task; From kings, and those who at the helm appear, To gypsies brown in summer-glades who bask. Yea many a man perdie I could unmask, Whose desk and table make a solemn show, With tape-ty'd trash, and suits of fools that ask For place or pension laid in decent row; [moe. But these 1 passen by, with nameless numbers Of all the gentle tenants of the place, There was a man of special grave remark : A certain tender gloom o'erspread his face, Pensive, not sad, in thought involv'd, not dark, As soot this man could sing as morning-lark, And teach the noblest morals of the heart: But these his talents were youried stark; Of the fine stores he nothing would impart, Which or boon Nature gave, or Nature-painting Art.
To noontide shades incontinent he ran,
Sauntering and slow. So had he passed many a day!
And markt the clouds that drove before the wind,
With him was sometimes join'd, in silent walk, (Profoundly silent, for they never spoke) One shyer still, who quite detested talk: Oft, stung by spleen, at once away he broke, To groves of pine, and broad o'ershadowing oak; There, inly thrill'd, he wander'd all alone, And on himself his pensive fury wroke, Ne ever utter'd word, save when first shone The glittering star of eve-" Thank Heaven! the day is done."
Here lurk'd a wretch, who had not crept abroad
nook, We drove the villain out for fitter lair to look.
One day there chaune'd into these halls to rove A joyous youth, who took you at first sight; Him the wild wave of pleasure hither drove, Before the sprightly tempest tossing light: Certes, he was a most engaging wight, Of social glee, and wit humane though keen, Turning the night to day and day to night: For him the merry bells had rung, I ween, If in this nook of quiet bells had ever been.
But not ev'n pleasure to excess is good:
Who, whilst he staid, kept in a gay uproar Our madden'd castle all, th' abode of sleep no more.
As when in prime of June a burnish'd fly, [along,
Then out again he flies, to wing his mazy round.
Here whilom ligg'd th' Esopus' of the age; But call'd by Fame, in soul yppricked deep, A noble pride restor'd him to the stage, And rous'd him like a giant from his sleep. Ev'n from his slumbers we advantage reap: With double force th' enliven'd scene he wakes, Yet quits not Nature's bounds. He knows to keep Each due decorum: now the heart he shakes, And now with well-urg'd sense th' enlighten'd judgment takes.
A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems; 2 Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain, On virtue still, and Nature's pleasing themes, Pour'd forth his unpremeditated strain : The world forsaking with a calm disdain Here laugh'd he careless in his easy seat; Here quaff'd encircled with the joyous train, Oft moralizing sage; his ditty sweet He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.
1 Mr. Quin.
This character of Mr. Thomson was written by lord Lyttelton.
Full oft by holy feet our ground was tro, Of clerks good plenty here you mote espy. A little, round, fat, oily man of God, Was one I chiefly mark'd among the fry: He had a roguish twinkle in his eye, And shone all glittering with ungodly dew, If a tight damsel chaunc'd to trippen by; Which when observ'd, he shrunk into his mew, And straight would recollect his piety anew.
Nor be forgot a tribe, who minded nought
Their oracles break forth mysterious as of old.
Here languid Beauty kept her pale fac'd court: Bevies of dainty dames, of high degree, From every quarter hither made resort; Where, from gross mortal care and business free, They lay, pour'd out in ease and luxury. Or should they a vain show of work assume, Alas! and well-a-day! what can it be? To knot, to twist, to range the vernal bloom; But far is cast the distaff, spinning-wheel, and loom.
Their only labour was to kill the time;
Where hours on hours they sighing lie reclin'd, And court the vapoury god soft-breathing in the wind.
Now must I mark the villainy we found, But, ah! too late, as shall eftsoons be shown. A place here was, deep, dreary, under ground; Where still our inmates, when unpleasing grown, Diseas'd and loathsome, privily were thrown, Far from the light of Heaven, they languish'd Unpity'd uttering many a bitter groan; [there, For of these wretches taken was no care: [were. Fierce fiends, and hags of Hell, their only nurses
Alas! the change! from scenes of joy and rest, To this dark den, where Sickness toss'd alway. Here Lethargy, with deadly sleep opprest, Stretch'd on his back, a mighty lubbard, lay, Heaving his sides, and snored night and day; To stir him from his traunce it was not eath, And his half-open'd eyne he shut straightway: He led, I wot, the softest way to death, And taught withouten pain and strife to yield the breath.
Of limbs enormous, but withal unsound,
For still he drank, and yet he still was dry,
Nor would he scorn to stoop from high pursuits Of heavenly Truth, and practise what she taught. Vain is the tree of knowledge without fruits. Sometimes in hand the spade or plough he caught, Forth-calling all with which boon Earth is fraught; Sometimes he ply'd the strong mechanic tool, Or rear'd the fabric from the finest draught; And oft he put himself to Neptune's school, Fighting with winds and waves on the vext ocean pool.
To solace then these rougher toils, he try'd To touch the kindling canvass into life; With Nature his creating pencil vy'd, With Nature joyous at the mimic strife: Or, to such shapes as grac'd Pygmalion's wife, He hew'd the marble; or, with varied fire, He rous'd the trumpet and the martial fife, Or bade the lute sweet tenderness inspire, [lyre. Or verses fram'd that well might wake Apollo's
Accomplish'd thus he from the woods issued, Full of great aims, and bent on bold emprize; The work, which long he in his breast had brew'd, Now to perform he ardent did devise; To wit, a barbarous world to civilize. Earth was till then a boundless forest wild; Nought to be seen but savage wood, and skies; No cities nourish'd arts, no culture smail'd, No government, no laws, no gentle manners mild.
A ragged wight, the worst of brates, was man ; On his own wretched kind he, ruthless, prey'd : The strongest still the weakest over-ran; In every country mighty robbers sway'd, And guile and ruffian force were all their trade. Life was a scene of rapine, want, and woe; Which this brave knight, in noble anger, made To swear, he would the rascal rout o'erthrow, For, by the powers divine, it should no morc be so!
It would exceed the purport of my song, To say how this best Sun from orient climes Came beaming life and beauty all along, Before him chasing indolence and crimes. Still as he pass'd, the nations he sublimes, And calls forth arts and virtues with his ray: Then Egypt, Greece, and Rome, their golden Successive had; but now in ruins grey [times, They lie, to slavish sloth and tyranny a prey.
To crown his toils, sir Industry then spread
They lodg'd at large, and liv'd at Nature's cost;
Here, by degrees, his master-work arose,
Fair queen of arts! from Heaven itself who came,
He lik'd the soil, he lik'd the clement skies, He lik'd the verdant hills and flowery plains. "Be this my great, my chosen isle," he cries, "This, whilst my labours Liberty sustains, This queen of Ocean all assault disdains. Nor lik'd he less the genius of the land, To freedom apt and persevering pains, Mild to obey, and generous to command, Temper'd by forming Heaven with kindest, firmest hand."
But now, alas! we live too late in time: Our patrons now ev'n grudge that little claim, Except to such as sleek the soothing rhyme; And yet, forsooth, they wear Mæcenas' name, Poor sons of puft up vanity, not fame. Unbroken spirits, cheer! still, still remains Th' eternal patron, Liberty; whose flame, While she protects, inspires the noblest strains. The best, and sweetest far, are toil-created gains. When as the knight had fram'd, in Britain-land A matchless form of glorious government, In which the sovereign laws alone command, Laws 'stablish'd by the public free consent, Whose majesty is to the sceptre lent; When this great plan, with each dependent art, Was settled firm, and to his heart's conteut. Then sought he from the toilsome scene to part, And let life's vacant eve breathe quiet through the heart
For this he chose a farm in Deva's vale,
His days, the days of unstain'd nature, roll'd. Replete with peace and joy, like patriarchs of old.