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And some delight to me the while,
Good God! how sweet are all things here ! Though nature now does weep in rain,
How beautiful the fields appear! To think that I have seen her smile,
How cleanly do we feed and lie! And haply may I do again.
Lord ! what good hours do we keep ! If the all-ruling Power please
How quietly we sleep!
What peace, what unanimity!
How innocent from the lewd fashion,
Is all our business, all our recreation !
Oh, how happy here's our leisure ! Perhaps a week, wherein to try
Oh, how innocent our pleasure ! What the best master's hand can do
() ye valleys! O ye mountains ! With the most deadly killing fly.
Oye groves, and crystal fountains !
How I love, at liberty,
By turns to come and visit ye!
Dear Solitude, the soul's best friend,
That man acquainted with himself dost make,
And all his Maker's wonders to intend,
With thee I here converse at will,
And would be glad to do so still,
For it is thou alone that keep'st the soul awake. To make the preying trout our prey; And think ourselves, in such an hour,
How calm and quiet a delight Happier than those, though not so high,
Is it, alone, Who, like leviathans, devour
To read, and meditate, and write, Of meaner men the smaller fry.
By none offended, and offending none!
To walk, ride, sit, or sleep at one's own ense, This, my best friend, at my poor home,
And, pleasing a man's self, none other to displease, Shall be our pastime and our theme ; But then-should you not deign to come,
O my beloved nymph, fair Dove, You make all this a flattering dream.
Princess of rivers, how I love
Upon thy flowery banks to lie, [A Welsh Guide.)
And view thy silver stream,
When gilded by a summer's beam! (From · A Voyage to Ireland.']
And in it all thy wanton fry, The sun in the morning disclosed his light,
Playing at liberty;
And with my angle, upon them With complexion as ruddy as mine over night ;
The all of treachery And o'er th' eastern mountains peeping up's head,
I ever learn’d, industriously to try! The casement being open, espied me in bed ; With his rays he so tickled my lids, I awaked, Such streams Rome's yellow Tiber cannot show; And was half asham’d, for I found myself naked; The Iberian Tagus, or Ligurian Po, But up I soon start, and was dress'd in a trice,
The Maese, the Danube, and the Rhine,
And Loire's pure streams yet too polluted are
The rapid Garonne and the winding Seine
Are both too mean,
Beloved Dove, with thee
Nay, Tame and Isis, when conjoin'd, submit,
O my beloved rocks, that rise
To awe the earth and brave the skies, His neck was a helve, and his head was a mall;
From some aspiring mountain's crown, For his colour, my pains and your trouble I'll spare,
How dearly do I love, For the creature was wholly denuded of hair;
Giddy with pleasure, to look down ; And, except for two things, as bare as my nail,
And, from the vales, to view the noble heights above! A tuft of a mane, and a sprig of a tail ;
O my beloved caves ! from dog-star's heat, Now, such as the beast was, even such was the rider,
the rider | And all anxieties, my safe retreat ; With a hend like a nutmeg, and legs like a spider;
What safety, privacy, what true delight, A voice like a cricket, a look like a rat,
In the artificial night, The brains of a goose, and the heart of a cat;
Your gloomy entrails make, Ey'n euch was my guide and his beast; let them pass,
Have I taken, do I take ! The one for a horse, and the other an ass.
How oft, when grief has made me fly,
To hide me from society,
E'en of my dearest friends, have I,
In your recesses' friendly shade,
All my sorrows open laid,
And my most secret woes intrusted to your privacy ! We never meet again;
Lord ! would men let me alone, Here I can eat, and sleep, and pray,
What an over-happy one And do more good in one short day
Should I think myself to be ; Than he who his whole age out-wears
Might I in this desert place Upon the most conspicuous theatres,
(Which most men in discourse disgrace) Where nought but vanity and vice appears.
Live but undisturb'd and free!
Here, in this despis'd recess,
Immodest words admit of no defence, Would I, maugre winter's cold,
For want of decency is want of sense. And the summer's worst excess,
What moderate fop would rake the park or stews, Try to live out to sixty full years old ;
Who among troops of faultless nymphs may choose ? And, all the while,
Variety of such, then, is to be found; Without an envious eye
Take then a subject proper to expound, On any thriving under fortune's smile,
But moral, great, and worth a poet's voice, Contented live, and then contented die.
For men of sense despise a trivial choice :
And such applause it must expect to ineet,
As would some painter busy in a street
To copy bulls and bears, and every sign The reign of Charles II. was a period fraught with | That calls the staring sots to nasty wine. evil and danger to all the sober restraints, the de- Yet 'tis not all to have a subject good; cencies, and home-bred virtues of domestic life. It must delight us when 'tis understood. Poetry suffered in the general deterioration, and He that brings fulsome objects to my view Pope has said, that
(As many old have done, and many new), In all Charles's days
With nauseous images my fancy fills,
And all goes down like oxymel of squills.
Instruct the listening world how Maro sings
[Caution against False Pride.] and commotion. Roscommon, dreading the result,
On sure foundations let your fabric rise, ared to retire to Rome, saying - It was best to And with attractive majesty surprise ; sit near the chimney when the chamber smoked.'
Not by affected meretricious arts, An attack of gout prevented the poet's departure, But strict harmonious symmetry of parts : and he died in 1684. 'At the moment in which he
Which through the whole insensibly must pass expired,' says Johnson, 'he uttered, with an energy
With vital heat, to animate the mass. of voice that expressed the most fervent devotion,
A pure, an active, an auspicious flame, two lines of his own version of “ Dies Iræ"
And bright as heaven, from whence the blessing came.
But few--O few! souls pre-ordain'd by fate,
The race of gods have reach'd that envied height.
No rebel Titan's sacrilegious crime, The only work of Roscommon's which may be said
y be said | By heaping hills on hills, can hither climb: to elevate him above mediocrity, is his “Essay on The grisly ferryman of hell denied Translated Verse,' in which he inculcates in didactic | Æneas entrance, till he knew his guide. poetry the rational principles of translation pre- How justly then will impious mortals fall, viously laid down by Cowley and Denham. It was Whose pride would soar to heaven without a call, published in 1681 ; and it is worthy of remark, that Pride (of all others the most dangerous fault) Roscommon notices the sixth book of Paradise Proceeds from want of sense, or want of thought. Lost' (published only four years before) for its sub-The men who labour and digest things most, limity. Dryden has heaped on Roscommon the Will be much apter to despond than boast; most lavish praise, and Pope has said that 'every For if your author be profoundly good, author's merit was his own. Posterity has not 'Twill cost you dear before he's understood. confirmed these judgments. Roscommon stands on How many ages since has Virgil writ! the same ground with Denham-elegant and sen- How few are they who understand him yet! sible, but cold and unimpassioned. We shall sub- Approach his altars with religious fear; join a few passages from his · Essay on Translated No vulgar deity inhabits there. Verse:
Heaven shakes not more at Jove's imperial nod
Than poets should before their Mantuan god. [The Modest Muse.)
Hail mighty Maro ! may that sacred name
Kindle my breast with thy celestial flame, With how much ease is a young maid betray'd
Sublime ideas and apt words infuse; How nice the reputation of the maid !
The Muse instructs my voice, and thou inspire the Your early kind paternal care appears
(An Author must Peel what he Writes.)
I pity, from my soul, unhappy men, No wanton sound offend her virgin ear.
Compell’d by want to prostitute the pen ; Secure from foolish pride's affected state,
Who must, like lawyers, either starve or plead, And specious flattery's more pernicious bait;
And follow, right or wrong, where guineas lead! Habitual innocence adorns her thoughts ;
But you, Pompilian, wealthy pamper'd heirs, But your neglect must answer for her faults. | Who to your country owe your swords and cares ;
Let no vain hope your easy mind seduce,
Prostrate my contrite heart I rend, For rich ill poets are without excuse ;
My God, my Father, and my Friend, "Tis very dangerous tampering with the Muse;
Do not forsake me in my end ! The profit's small, and you have much to lose;
Well may they curse their second breath, For though true wit adorns your birth or place,
Who rise to a reviving death. Degenerate lines degrade the attainted race.
Thou great Creator of mankind,
Let guilty man compassion find !
EARL OF ROCHESTER.
| JOHN WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER (1647-1680), And panting, Lo, the god, the god! she cries :
is known principally from his having (to use the With words not hers, and more than human sound. figurative language of Johnson) 'blazed out his She makes th' obedient ghosts peep trembling through
youth and his health in lavish voluptuousness,' and the ground.
died from physical exhaustion and decay at the age But though we must obey when heaven commands,
of thirty-three. Like most of the courtiers of the And man in vain the sacred call withstands,
day, Rochester travelled in France and Italy. He Beware what spirit rages in your breast;
was at sea with the Earl of Sandwich and Sir Ed. For ten inspir'd, ten thousand are possessid:
ward Spragge, and distinguished himself for bravery. Thus make the proper use of each extreme,
In the heat of an engagement, he went to carry a And write with fury, but correct with phlegm.
message in an open boat amidst a storm of shot. As when the cheerful hours too freely pass,
This manliness of character forsook Rochester in And sparkling wine smiles in the tempting glass, England, for he was accused of betraying cowardice Your pulse advises, and begins to beat
| in street quarrels, and he refused to fight with the Through every swelling vein a loud retreat:
Duke of Buckingham. In the profligate court of So when a Muse propitiously invites,
Charles, Rochester was the most profligate; his Improve her favours, and indulge her flights ; intrigues, his low amours and disguises, his erecting But when you find that vigorous heat abate,
| a stage and playing the mountebank on Tower-hill. Leave off, and for another summons wait.
and his having been five years in a state of inebriety, Before the radiant sun, a glimmering lamp,
are circumstances well-known and partly admitted Adulterate measures to the sterling stamp
by himself. It is remarkable, however, that his Appear not meaner than mere human lines,
domestic letters, which were published a few years Compar'd with those whose inspiration shines : ago, show him in a totally different light- tender, These nervous, bold; those languid and remiss; playful, and alive to all the affections of a husband, There, cold salutes; but here, a lover's kiss.
a father, and a son.' His repentance itself says Thus have I seen a rapid headlong tide,
something for the natural character of the unforWith foaming waves the passive Saone divide, tunate profligate. To judge from the memoir left Whose lazy waters without motion lay,
by Dr Burnet, who was his lordship's spiritual guide While he with eager force urg'd his impetuous way! on his deathbed, it was sincere and unreserved. We
may, therefore, with some confidence, set down On the Day of Judgment.
Rochester as one of those whose vices are less the [Version of the Dies Iræ.']
effect of an inborn tendency, than of external cor
rupting circumstances. It may fairly be said of That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
him, Nothing in his life became him like the leavShall the whole world in ashes lay,
ing it.' His poems consist of slight effusions, thrown As David and the Sibyls say.
off without labour. Many of them are so very licen
tious as to be unfit for publication ; but in one of What horror will invade the mind,
these, he has given in one line a happy character of When the strict Judge, who would be kind,
Charles II.Shall have few venial faults to find !
A merry monarch, scandalous, and poor. The last loud trumpet's wondrous sound, His songs are sweet and musical. Rochester wrote Shall through the rending tombs rebound, a poem Upon Nothing, which is merely a string of And wake the nations under ground.
puns and conceits. It opens, however, with a fine Nature and Death shall, with surprise,
imageBehold the pale offender rise,
Nothing ! thou elder brother ev'n to shade,
That hadst a being ere the world was made, And view the Judge with conscious eyes.
And, well fix'd, art alone of ending not afraid. Then shall, with universal dread, The sacred mystic book be read,
Song. To try the living and the dead.
While on those lovely looks I gaze, The Judge ascends his awful throne ;
To see a wretch pursuing, He makes each secret sin be known,
In raptures of a bless'd amaze, And all with shame confess their own.
His pleasing happy ruin ;
'Tis not for pity that I move; O then, what interest shall I make
His fate is too aspiring, To save my last important stake,
Whose heart, broke with a load of love, When the most just have cause to quake!
Dies wishing and admiring. Thou mighty formidable King,
But if this murder you'd forego, Thou mercy's unexhausted spring,
Your slave from death removing, Some comfortable pity bring!
Let me your art of charming know,
Or learn you mine of loving. Forget not what my ransom cost,
But whether life or death betide, Nor let my dear-bought soul be lost
In love 'tis equal measure; In storms of guilty terror tost.
The victor lives with empty pride,
The vanquish'd die with pleasure.
Adderbury, send me word, and let him stay till I
send for him. Pray, let Ned come up to town; I have I cannot change as others do,
a little business with him, and he shall be back in a Though you unjustly scorn ;
week. Since that poor swain that sighs for you,
Wonder not that I have not written to you all this • For you alone was born.
while, for it was hard for me to know what to write upon No, Phillis, no ; your heart to move
several accounts; but in this I will only desire you A surer way I'll try;
not to be too much amazed at the thoughts my mother And, to revenge my slighted love,
has of you, since, being mere imaginations, they will Will still love on, will still love on, and die. | as easily vanish, as they were groundlessly erected ; When kill'd with grief Amyntas lies,
for my own part, I will make it my endeavour they And you to mind shall call
may. What you desired of me in your other letter, The sighs that now unpitied rise,
shall punctually have performed. You must, I think, The tears that vainly fall;
obey my mother in her commands to wait on her at That welcome hour that ends this smart
Aylesbury, as I told you in my last letter. I am very Will then begin your pain,
dúll at this time, and therefore think it pity in this For such a faithful tender heart
humour to testify myself to you any farther; only,
dear wife, I am your humble servant-ROCHESTER Can never break, can never break in vain.
Run away like a rascal, without taking leave, dear
wife ; it is an unpolite way of proceeding, which a Song.
modest man ought to be ashamed of. I have left you Too late, alas ! I must confess,
a prey to your own imaginations, amongst my relations You need not arts to move me;
-the worst of damnations; but there will come an Such charms by nature you possess,
hour of deliverance, till when, may my mother be 'Twere madness not to love you.
merciful to you; so I commit you to what shall ensue, Then spare a heart you may surprise,
woman to woman, wife to mother, in hopes of a future
appearance in glory. The small share I could spare And give my tongue the glory To boast, though my unfaithful eyes
you out of my pocket, I have sent as a debt to Mrs
Rowse. Within a week or ten days I will return you Betray a tender story.
more : pray write as often as you have leisure to your
Remember me to Nan and my Lord Wilmot. My dear mistress has a heart
You must present my service to my cousins. I in. Soft as those kind looks she gave me,
tend to be at the wedding of my niece Ellen, if I When, with love's resistless art,
hear of it. Excuse my ill paper, and very ill man. And her eyes, she did enslave me.
ners to my mother; they are both the best the place But her constancy's so weak,
and age could afford. She's so wild and apt to wander,
My Wife—The difficulties of pleasing your lady. That my jealous heart would break.
ship do increase so fast upon me, and are grown so Should we live one day asunder.
numerous, that, to a man less resolved than myself
never to give it over, it would appear a madness ever Melting joys about her move,
to attempt it more; but through your frailties inine Killing pleasures, wounding blisses ;
ought not to multiply; you may, therefore, secure She can dress her eyes in love,
yourself that it will not be easy for you to put me out And her lips can warm with kisses.
of my constant resolutions to satisfy you in all I can. Angels listen when she speaks ;
I confess there is nothing will so much contribute to She's my delight, all mankind's wonder;
my assistance in this as your dealing freely with me; But my jealous heart would break,
for since you have thought it a wise thing to trust me Should we live one day asunder.
less and have reserves, it has been out of my power
to make the best of my proceedings effectual to what A few specimens of Rochester's letters to his wife
I intended them. At a distance, I am likeliest to learn and son are subjoined:
your mind, for you have not a very obliging way of I am very glad to hear news from you, and I think I delivering it by word of mouth; if, therefore, you will it very good when I hear you are well; pray be pleased let me know the particulars in which I may be useful to send me word what you are apt to be pleased with, to you, I will show my readiness as to my own part; that I may show you how good à husband I can be; and if I fail of the success I wish, it shall not be the I would not have you so formal as to judge of the fault of-Your humble servant, ROCHESTER, kindness of a letter by the length of it, but believe of I intend to be at Adderbury sometime next week. everything that it is as you would have it.
"Tis not an easy thing to be entirely happy; but to I hope, Charles, when you receive this, and know be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure that I have sent this gentleman to be your tutor, you of happiness. I say not this to put you in mind of will be very glad to see I take such care of you, and being kind to me; you have practised that so long, be very grateful, which is best shown in being obedient that I have a joyful confidence you will never forget and diligent. You are now grown big enough to be it; but to show that I myself have a sense of what a man, and you can be wise enough; for the way to the methods of my life seemed so utterly to contradict, be truly wise is to serve God, learn your book, and I must not be too wise about my own follies, or else this observe the instructions of your parents first, and next letter had been a book dedicated to you, and published your tutor, to whom I have entirely resigned you for to the world. It will be more pertinent to tell you, this seven years, and according as you employ that that very shortly the king goes to Newmarket, and time, you are to be happy or unhappy for ever ; but I then I shall wait on you at Adderbury ; in the mean have so good an opinion of you, that I am glad to time, think of anything you would have me do, and think you will never deceive me; dear child, learn I shall thank you for the occasion of pleasing you. your book and be obedient, and you shall see what a
Mr Morgan I have sent in this errand, because he father I will be to you. You shall want no pleasure plays the rogue here in town so extremely, that he is while you are good, and that you may be so are my not to be endured; pray, if he behaves himself so at constant prayers.
Charles, I take it very kindly that you write me
Song. (though seldom), and wish heartily you would behave yourself so as that I might show how much I love you
Love still has something of the sea, without being ashamed. Obedience to your grand
From whence his mother rose; mother, and those who instruct you in good things, is No time his slaves from doubt can free, the way to make you happy here and for ever. Avoid
Nor give their thoughts repose. idleness, scorn lying, and God will bless you.
They are becalm'd in clearest days,
And in rough weather toss'd;
They wither under cold delays,
Or are in tempests lost.
One while they seem to touch the port, brightest satellites of the court of Charles II.-as
Then straight into the main witty and gallant as Rochester, as fine a poet, and a
Some angry wind, in cruel sport, better man. He was the son of a Kentish baronet,
The vessel drives again. Sir John Sedley of Aylesford. The Restoration
At first disdain and pride they fear, drew him to London, and he became such a favourite
Which, if they chance to 'scape, for his taste and accomplishments, that Charles
Rivals and falschood soon appear is said to have asked him if he had not obtained from Nature a patent to be Apollo's viceroy. His
In a more cruel shape. estate, his time, and morals, were squandered away
By such decrees to joy they come, at court; but latterly the poet redeemed himself, be
And are so long withstood; came a constant attender of parliament, in which he So slowly they receive the sun, had a seat, opposed the arbitrary measures of James
It hardly does them good. II., and assisted to bring about the Revolution. 'Tis cruel to prolong a pain ; James had seduced Sedley's daughter, and created
And to defer a joy, her Countess of Dorchester--a circumstance which
Believe me, gentle Celemene, probably quickened the poet's zeal against the court.
Offends the winged boy. *I hate ingratitude,' said the witty Sedley; and as the king has made my daughter a countess, I will
A hundred thousand oaths your fears endeavour to make his daughter a queen'-alluding
Perhaps would not remove; to the Princess Mary, married to the Prince of
And if I gaz'd a thousand years, Orange. Sir Charles wrote plays and poems, which
I could not deeper love. were extravagantly praised by his contemporaries. Buckingham eulogised the witchcraft of Sedley, and Rochester spoke of his gentle prevailing art.' His Phillis, men say that all my vows songs are light and graceful, with a more studied
Are to thy fortune paid ; and felicitous diction than is seen in most of the Alas! my heart he little knows, court poets. One of the finest, * Ah! Chloris, could
Who thinks my love a trade. I now but sit.' has been often printed as the compo
Were I of all these woods the lord, sition of the Scottish patriot, Duncan Forbes of
One berry from thy hand Culloden, Lord President of the court of session :
More real pleasure would afford the verses occur in Sedley's play, The Mulberry Garden. Sedley's conversation was highly prized,
Than all my large command. and he lived on, delighting all his friends, till past
My humble love has learn'd to live his sixtieth year. As he says of one of his own
On what the nicest maid, heroines, he
Without a conscious blush, may give
Beneath the myrtle shade.
DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE.
MARGARET, DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE, who died in
1673, was distinguished for her faithful attachment As unconcern'd as when
to her lord in his long exile during the time of the Your infant beauty could beget
commonwealth, and for her indefatigable pursuit of No happiness or pain.
literature. She was the daughter of Sir Charles When I this dawning did admire,
Lucas, and one of the maids of honour to Henrietta And praised the coming day,
Maria. Having accompanied the queen to France, I little thought the rising fire
she met with the Marquis of Newcastle, and was Would take my rest away.
married to him at Paris in 1645. The marquis took Your charms in harmless childhood lay up his residence at Antwerp, till the troubles were Like metals in a mine;
over, and there his lady wrote and published (1653) Age from no face takes more away,
a volume, entitled Poems and Fancies. The marquis Than youth conceal'd in thine.
assisted her in her compositions, a circumstance But as your charms insensibly
which Horace Walpole has ridiculed in his Royal To their perfection prest,
and Noble Authors ;' and so indefatigable were the So love as unperceiv'd did fly,
noble pair, that they filled nearly twelve volumes, And center'd in my breast.
folio, with plays, poems, orations, philosophical disMy passion with your beauty grew,
courses, &c. On the restoration of Charles II., the While Cupid at my heart,
marquis and his lady returned to England. The picStill as his mother favour'd you,
ture of domestic happiness and devoted loyalty preThrew a new flaming dart.
sented by the life of these personages, creates a strong Each gloried in their wanton part;
prepossession in favour of the poetry of the duchess. To make a lover, he
She had invention, knowledge, and imagination, but Employ'd the utmost of his art
wanted energy and taste. The Pastime and RecreaTo make a beauty, she. | tion of the Queen of Fairies in Fairy Land is her