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When Rupert bold, of well achieved renown,
Stain'd all the fame his former prowess won.
But for its ancient use no more employd,
Its walls all moulder'd and its gates destroy'd ;
In history's roll it still a shade retains,
Though of the fortress scarce a stone remains.
Eager at length I strain each aching limb,
And breathless now the mountain's summit climb.
Here does attention her fixed gaze renew,
And of the city takes a nearer view.
The yellow Avon, creeping at my side,
In sullen billows rolls a muddy tide;
No sportive Naiads on her streams are seen,
No cheerful pastimes deck the gloomy scene;
Fixed in a stupor by the cheerless plain,
For fairy flights the fancy toils in vain :
For though her waves, by commerce richly blest,
Roll to her shores the treasures of the west,
Though her broad banks trade's busy aspect wears,
She seems unconscious of the wealth she bears.
Near to her banks, and under Brandon's hill,
There wanders Jacob's ever murm’ring rill,
That pouring forth a never-failing stream,
To the dim eye restores the steady beam.
Here too (alas! though tott'ring now with age)
Stands our deserted, solitary stage,
Where oft our Powell, Nature's genuine son,
With tragic tones the fix'd attention won :
Fierce from his lips his angry accents fly,
Fierce as the blast that tears the northern sky;
Like snows that trickle down hot Ætna's steep,
His passion melts the soul, and makes us weep :
But oh! how soft his tender accents move-
Soft as the cooings of the turtle's love-
Soft as the breath of morn in bloom of spring,
Dropping a lucid tear on zephyr's wing:
O'er Shakespeare's varied scenes he wandered wide,
In Macbeth's form all human pow'r defied;
In shapeless Richard's dark and fierce disguise,
In dreams he saw the murdered train arise ;
Then what convulsions shook his trembling breast,
And strew'd with pointed thorns his bed of rest !
But fate has snatch'd thee-early was thy doom,
How soon enclosed within the silent tomb!
No more our raptur'd eyes shall meet thy form,
No more thy melting tones our bosoms warm.
Without thy pow'rful aid, the languid stage
No more can please at once and mend the age.
Yes, thou art gone! and thy beloved remains
Yon sacred old cathedral wall contains;
There does the muffled bell our grief reveal,
And solemn organs swell the mournful peal ;
Whilst hallow'd dirges fill the holy shrine,
Deserved tribute to such worth as thine,
No more at Clifton's scenes my strains o'erflow,
For the Muse, drooping at this tale of woe,
Slackens the strings of her enamour'd lyre,
The flood of gushing grief puts out her fire :
Else would she sing the deeds of other times,
Of saints and heroes sung in monkish rhymes ;
Else would her soaring fancy burn to stray,
And through the cloister'd aisle would take her way,
Where sleep, (ah! mingling with the common dust)
The sacred bodies of the brave and just.
But vain the attempt to scan that holy lore,
These soft'ning sighs forbid the Muse to soar.
So treading back the steps I just ow trod,
Mournful and sad I seek my lone abode.
BY A BOOKSELLER'S JOURNEYMAN.*
VERSED by experience in the subtle art,
The myst'ries of a title I impart:
Teach the young author how to please the town,
And make the heavy drug of rhyme go down.
Since Curl, immortal never-dying name!
A double pica in the book of fame,
By various arts did various dunces prop,
And tickled every fancy to his shop:
Who can, like Pottinger, ensure a book?
Who judges with the solid taste of Cooke?
• Copied from a MS. of Chatterton.
Villains exalted in the midway sky,
Shall live again to drain your purses dry:
Nor yet unrivalled they: see Baldwin comes,
Rich in inventions, patents, cuts, and hums :
The honourable Boswell writes, 'tis true,
What else can Paoli's supporter do.
The trading wits endeavour to attain,
Like booksellers, the world's first idol-gain :
For this they puff the heavy Goldsmith's line,
And hail his sentiment, though trite, divine;
For this the patriotic bard complains,
And Bingley binds poor liberty in chains :
For this was every reader's faith deceived,
And Edmunds swore what nobody believed :
For this the wits in close disguises fight;
For this the varying politicians write ;
For this each month new magazines are sold,
With dullness fill’d and transcripts of the old.
The Town and Country struck a lucky hit,
Was novel, sentimental, full of wit :
A ping her walk the same success to find,
The Court and City hobbles far behind :
Sons of Apollo learn : merit's no more
Than a good frontispiece to grace the door :
The author who invents a title well,
Will always find his cover'd dullness sell :
Flexney and every bookseller will buy,
Bound in neat calf, the work will never die.
WRITTEN BY CHATTERTON, TO A LADY IN BRISTOL..
To use a worn-out simile,
From flower to flower the busy bee
With anxious labour flies,
Alike from scents which give distaste,
By Fancy as disgusting plac'd,
Repletes his useful thighs.
Nor does his vicious taste prefer
The fopling of some gay parterre,
The mimicry of art!
But round the meadow-violet dwells,
Nature replenishing his cells,
Does ampler stores impart.
So I a humble-dumble drone,
Anxious and restless when alone,
Seek comfort in the fair ;
And featur'd up in tenfold brass,
A rhyming, staring, am'rous ass,
To you address my prayer.
• From a copy given by Chatterton to Mr. H. Kater, ef Bristol.