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FRAGMENT.

Far from the reach of critics and reviews,
Brush up thy pinions and ascend, my muse!
Of conversation sing an ample theme,
And drink the tea of Heliconian stream.
Hail, matchless linguist ! prating Delia, hail !
When scandal's best materials, hacknied, fail,
Thy quick invention lends a quick supply,
And all thy talk is one continued lie.
Know, thou eternal babbler, that my song
Could shew a line as venom'd as thy tongue.
In pity to thy sex I cease to write
Of London journeys and the marriage-night.
The conversation with which taverns ring
Descends below my satire's soaring sting.
Upon his elbow throne great Maro sits,
Revered at Forster's by the would-be wits ;
Delib'rately the studied jest he breaks,
And long and loud the polish'd table shakes ;
Retail'd in every brothel-house in town,
Each dancing booby vends it as his own.
Upon the emptied jelly-glass reclined,
The laughing Maro gathers up his wind;
The tail-bud 'prentice rubs bis hands and grins,
Ready to laugh before the tale begins :

To talk of freedom, politics, and Bute,
And knotty arguments in law confute,
I leave to blockheads, for such things design'd,
Be it my task divine to ease the mind.

“ To-morrow," says a Church-of-England Priest,
“ Is of good St. Epiphany the feast.
“ It nothing matters whether he or she,
“ But be all servants from their labour free."
The laugh begins with Maro, and goes round,
And the dry jest is very witty found ;
In every corner of the room are seen
Round altars covered with eternal green,
Piled high with offerings to the Goddess Fame,
Which mortals, chronicles, and journals name;
Where in strange jumble flesh and spirit lie,
And illustration sees a jest-book nigh:
Anti-venereal med'cine cheek-by-jowl
With Whitfield's famous physic for the soul;
The patriot Wilkes's ever-famed essay,
With Bute and justice in the self-same lay:
Which of the two deserved (ye casuists tell)
The conflagrations of a hangman's hell?

The clock strikes eight; the taper dully shines ; Farewell, my muse, nor think of further lines : Nine leaves, and in two hours, or something odd, Shut up the book,—it is enough by G-d!

28th Oct.

Sage Gloster's Bishop sits supine between
His fiery floggers, and a cure for spleen ;
The son of flame, enthusiastic Law,
Displays his bigot blade and thunders raw,
Unconscious of his neighbours, some vile plays
Directing-posts to Beelzebub's highways ;
Fools are philosophers in Jones's line,
And, bound in gold and scarlet, Dodsleys shine;
These are the various offerings Fame requires,
For ever rising to her shrines in spires;
Hence all Avaro's politics are drain'd,
And Evelina's general scandal's gain'd.

Where Satan's temple rears its lofty head,
And muddy torrents wash their shrinking bed ;
Where the stupendous sons of commerce meet,
Sometimes to scold indeed, but oft to eat ;
Where frugal Cambria all her poultry gives,
And where th' insatiate Messalina lives,
A mighty fabric opens to the sight:
With four large columns, five large windows dight;
With four small portals,—'tis with much ado
A common-council lady can pass through:
Here Hare first teaches supple limbs to bend,
And faults of nature never fails to mend.

Here conversation takes a nobler flight,
For nature leads the theme, and all is right;

1

The little god of love improves discourse,
And sage discretion finds his thunder hoarse;
About the flame the gilded trifles play,
Till, lost in forge unknown, they melt away;
And, cherishing the passion in the mind,
Their each idea's brighten'd and refined.

Ye painted guardians of the lovely fair,
Who spread the saffron bloom, and tinge the hair ;
Whose deep invention first found out the art
Of making rapture glow in every part;
Of wounding by each varied attitude-
Sure 'twas a thought divinity endued.

ELEGY

# ON THE DEATH OF MR. PHILLIPS.

Assist me, powers of Heaven ! what do I hear?
Surprise and horror check the burning tear.
Is Phillips dead, and is my friend no more!
Gone like the sand divested from the shore !
And is he gone?-_Can then the nine refuse
To sing with gratitude a favour'd muse.

ELEGY.

No more I hail the morning's golden gleam,
No more the wonders of the view I sing;
Friendship requires a melancholy theme,
At her command the awful lyre I string!

* This Elegy on the death of Thomas Phillips seems to have cost Chatterton some labour. Not satisfied with a first attempt, he set to work two or three months after his original effusion, and coined his grief afresh. Southey was not aware of this till after the ruder draught was printed. The second copy had found its way by some means into the hands of the late eccentric Thomas Hill, the friend and companion of all the present, and too many of the departed race of literary men. Through his medium it reached the Laureate, who printed it in the same volume with the older copy, with the following explanatory note :-"As this latter Elegy contained seven or eight new stanzas, besides many verbal alterations, instead of cancelling the old, it was deemed proper to let it remain, and to print the corrected copy also, by which the reader will be pleased in tracing Chatterton's various emendations.” In the present edition the corrected copy only is retained : the emendations referred to may be noted from the variations subjoined in the margin.-ED.

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