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With awful silence stalk'd before the gate,
But when he saw the trophies of his fate,
High on a column rais'd against the door,
And his rich chariot still deform'd with gore,
He starts with horrour back; ev'n Jove's command
Could scarce control him, nor the vital wand.
"Twas now the solemn day, when Jove, array'd
In all his thunders, grasp'd the Theban maid:
Then took from blasted Semele her load,
And in himself conceiv'd the future god.
For this the Thebans revel'd in delight,
And gave to play and luxury the night;
A national debauch! confus'd they lie
Stretch'd o'er the fields, their canopy the sky.
The sprightly trumpets sound, the timbrels play,
And wake with sacred harmony the day.
The matron's breast the gracious power inspires
With milder raptures, and with softer fires.
So the Bistonian race, a madding train,
Exult and revel on the Thracian plain;
With milk their bloody banquets they allay,
Or from the lion rend his panting prey:
On some abandon'd savage fiercely fly,
Seize, tear, devour, and think it luxury.
But if the rising fumes of wine conspire
To warm their rage, and fan the brutal fire,
Then scenes of horrour are their dear delight,
They whirl the goblets, and provoke the fight:
Then on the slain the revel is renew'd
And all the horrid banquet floats in blood.
And now the winged Hermes from on high
Shot in deep silence from the dusky sky;
Then hover'd o'er the Theban tyrant's head,
As stretch'd at ease he prest his gorgeous bed:
Where labour'd tapestry from side to side,
Glow'd with rich figures, and Assyrian pride.
Oh! the precarious terms of human state!
How blind is man! how thoughtless of his fate;
See! through his limbs the dews of slumber creep,
Sunk as he lies, in luxury and sleep.
The reverend shade commission'd from above,
Hastes to fulfil the high behests of Jove:
Like blind Tiresias to the bed he came,
In form, in habit, and in voice the same.
Pale, as before, the phantom still appear'd,
Down his wan bosom flow'd a length of beard;
His head an imitated fillet wore,
His hand a wreath of peaceful olive bore:
With this he touch'd the sleeping monarch's breast,
And in his own, the voice of Fate, exprest.
"Then canst thou sleep, to thoughtless rest resign'd?
And drive thy brother's image from thy mind?
Yon gathering storm demands thy timely care,
See! how it rolls this way the tide of war.
When o'er the seas the sweeping whirlwinds fly,
And roar from every quarter of the sky;
The pilot, in despair the ship to save,
Gives up the helm, a sport to every wave:
Such is thy errour, and thy fate the same
(For know, I speak the common voice of Fame.)
Proud in his new alliances, from far
Against thy realm he meditates the war;
Big with ambitious hopes to reign alone,
And swell unrival'd on the Theban throne.
New signs and fatal prodigies inspire
His mad ambition, with his boasted sire;
And Argos' ample realms in dower bestow'd,
And Tydeus reeking from his brother's blood,
League and conspire to raise him to the throne,
And make his tedious banishment thy own.
For this, with pity touch'd, almighty Jove,
The sire of gods, dispatch'd me from above.
Be still a monarch; let him swell in vain
With a gay prospect of a fancy'd reign:
Still let him hope by fraud, or by the sword,
To bumble Thebes beneath a foreign lord."
Thus the majestic ghost; but erc he fled, He pluck'd the wreaths and fillets from his head. For now the sickening stars were chas'd away, And Heaven's immortal coursers breath'd the day. Awful to sight confest the grandsire stood, Bared his wide wound, and all his bosom show'd, Then dash'd the sleeping monarch with his blood.
With a distracted air, and sudden spring, Starts from his broken sleep the trembling king. Shakes off amaz'd th' imaginary gore, While fancy paints the scene he saw before: Deep in his soul his grandsire's image wrought, And all his brother rose in every thought
So while the toils are spread, and from behind The hunter's shouts come thickening in the wind; The tiger starts from sleep the war to wage, Collects his powers, and rouses all his rage: Sternly he grinds his fangs, he weighs his might, And whets his dreadful talons for the fight; Then to his young he bears his foe away, His foe at once the chaser and the prey, Thus on his brother he in every thought, Waged future wars, and battles yet unfought.
THE DEATH OF A YOUNG GENTLEMAN.
WITH joy, blest youth, we saw thee reach thy goal;
Fair was thy frame, and beautiful thy soul;"
The Graces and the Muses came combin❜d,
These to adorn the body, those the mind;
"Twas there we saw the softest manners meet,
Truth, sweetness, judgment, innocence, and wit.
So form'd, he flew his race; 'twas quickly won;
'Twas but a step, and finish'd when begun.
Nature herself surpris'd would add no more,
His life complete in all its parts before ;
But his few years with pleasing wonder told,
By virtues, not by days; and thought him old.
So far beyond his age those virtues ran,
That in a boy she found him more than man.
For years let wretches importune the skies,
Till, at the long expense of anguish wise,
They live, to count their days by miseries.
Those win the prize, who soonest run the race,
And life burns brightest in the shortest space.
So to the convex-glass embody'd run,
Drawn to a point, the glories of the Sun;
At once the gathering beams intensely glow,
And through the streighten'd circle fiercely flow:
In one strong flaine conspire the blended rays,
Run to a fire, and crowd into a blaze.
FROM A GREEK ODE OF MR. MASTER'S, FORMERLY OF
No more of earthly subjects sing,
To Heaven, my Muse aspire;
To raise the song, charge every string,
And strike the living lyre,
Begin; in lofty numbers show
Th' Eternal King's unfathom'd love,
Who reigns' the sovereign God above,
And suffers on the cross below.
Prodigious pile of wonders! rais'd too high
For the dim ken of frail mortality.
What numbers shall I bring along!
From whence shall I begin the song?
The mighty mystery I'll sing inspir'd
Beyond the reach of human wisdom wrought,
Beyond the compass of an angel's thought,
How by the rage of man his God expir'd.
I'll make the trackless depths of mercy known,
How to redeem his foe God rendered up his Son;
I'll raise my voice to tell mankind
The victor's conquest o'er his doom,
How in the grave he lay confin'd,
To seal more sure the ravenous tomb.
Three days th' infernal empire to subdue,
He pass'd triumphant through the coasts of woe;
With his own dart the tyrant Death he slew,
And led Hell captive through her realms below.
A mingled sound from Calvary I hear,
And the loud tumult thickens on my ear,
The shouts of murderers that insult the slain,
The voice of torment and the shrieks of pain.
I cast my eyes with horrour up
To the curst mountain's guilty top;
See there! whom hanging in the midst I view !
Ah! how unlike the other two!
I see him high above his foes,
And gently bending from the wood
His head in pity down to those
Whose guilt conspires to shed his blood.
His wide-extended arms I see,
Transfix'd with nails, and fasten'd to the tree.
Man! senseless man! canst thou look on?
Nor make thy Saviour's pains thy own.
The rage of all thy grief exert,
Rend thy garments and thy heart:
Beat thy breast, and grovel low,
Beneath the burden of thy woe;
Bleed through thy bowels, tear thy hairs,
Breathe gales of sighs, and weep a flood of tears.
Behold thy king with purple cover'd round,
Not in the Tyrian tinctures dy'd,
Nor dipt in poison of Sidonian pride, [wound.
But in his own rich blood that streams from every
Dost thou not see the thorny circle red?
The guilty wreath that blushes round his head?
And with what rage the bloody scourge apply'd,
Curls round his limbs, and ploughs into his side?
At such a sight let all thy anguish rise,
Break up, break up the fountains of thy eyes.
Here bid thy tears in gushing torrents flow,
Indulge thy grief, and give a loose to woe.
Weep from thy soul, till Earth be drown'd, Weep, till thy sorrows drench the ground. Canst thou, ungrateful man! his torments see, Nor drop a tear for him, who pours his blood for thee?
ON THE KING'S RETURN, IN THE YEAR 1720.
RETURN, auspicious prince, again, Nor let Britannia mourn in vain ;
Too long, too long, has she deplor'd Her absent father and her lord.
To bend her gracious monarch's mind,
She sends her sighs in every wind:
Can Britain's prayer be thrown aside?
And that the first he e'er deny'd!
Yet, mighty prince, vouchsafe to smile, Return and bless our longing isle; Though fond Germania begs thy stay, And courts thee from our eyes away.
Though Belgia would our king detain, We know she begs and pleads in vain ; We know our gracious king prefers Britannia's happiness to hers.
And lo! to save us from despair,
At length he listens to our prayer.
Dejected Albion's vows he hears,
And hastes to dry her falling tears.
He hears his anxious people pray,
And loudly call their king away,
Once more their longing eyes to bless,
And guard their freedom and their peace.
They know, while Brunswick fills the throne,
The seasons glide with pleasure on;
The British suns improve their rays,
Adorn, and beautify the days.
But see the royal vessel flies,
Lessening to Belgia's weeping eyes:
She proudly sails for Albion's shores,
Guard her, ye gods, with all your powers.
O sea, bid every wave subside, And teach allegiance to thy tide; Thy billows in subjection keep, And own the monarch of the deep.
Old Thames can scarce his joys sustain,
But runs down headlong to the main,
His mighty master to descry,
And leaves his spacious channel dry.
Augusta's sons from either hand
Pour forth, and darken all the strand;
Their eyes pursue the royal barge,
Which now resigns her sacred charge.
Th' unruly transport shakes the shore,
And drowns the feeble cannon's roar ;
The nations in the sight rejoice,
And send their souls in every voice.
But now amidst the loud applause,
With shame the conscious Muse withdraws;
Nor can her voice be heard amidst the throng,
The theme so lofty, and so low the song.
ON THE MASQUERADES.
Si Natura negat, facit indignatio versum. WELL-we have reach'd the precipice at last; The present age of vice obscures the past. Our dull forefathers were content to stay, Nor sinn'd till Nature pointed out the way: No arts they practis'd to forestall delight, But stopp'd, to wait the calls of appetite.
Their top-debauches were at best precise, An unimprov'd simplicity of vice.
But this blest age has found a fairer road, And left the paths their ancestors have trod. Nay, we could wear (our taste so very nice is) Their old cast-fashions sooner than their vices. Whoring till now a common trade has been, But masquerades refine upon the sin: An higher Taste to wickedness impart, And second Nature with the helps of art. New ways and means to pleasure we devise, Since pleasure looks the lovelier in disguise. The stealth and frolic give a smarter gust, Add wit to vice, and eloquence to lust.
In vam the modish evil to redress,
At once conspire the pulpit and the press :
Our priests and poets preach and write in vain ;
All satire's lost both sacred and profane.
So many various changes to impart,
Would tire an Ovid's or a Proteus' art;
Where lost in one promiscuous whim we see,
Sex, age, condition, quality, degree.
Where the facetious crowd themselves lay down,
And take up every person but their own.
Fools, dukes, rakes, cardinals, fops, Indian queens,
Belles in tye-wigs, and lords in harlequins;
Troops of right-honourable porters come, [room:
And garter'd small-coal-merchants crowd the
Valets adorn'd with coronets appear,
Lacqueys of state, and footmen with a star:
Sailors of quality with judges mix,
And chimney-sweepers drive their coach and six.
Statesmen so us'd at court the mask to wear,
With less, disguise assume the vizor here.
Officious Heydegger deceives our eyes,
For his own person is his best disguise:
And half the reigning toasts of equal grace,
Trust to the natural vizor of the face.
Idiots turn conjurers, and courtiers clowns;
And sultans drop their handkerchiefs to nuns.
Starch'd quakers glare in furbelows and silk;
Beaux deal in sprats, and dutchesses cry milk.
But guard thy fancy, Muse, nor stain thy pen With the lewd joys of this fantastic scene; Where sexes blend in one confus'd intrigue, Where the girls ravish, and the men grow big: Nor credit what the idle world has said, Of lawyers forc'd, and judges brought to bed: Or that to belles their brothers breathe their vows, Or husbands through mistake gallant a spouse. Such dire disasters, and a numerous throng Of like enormities, require the song: But the chaste Muse, with blushes cover'd o'er, Retires confus'd, and will reveal no more.
How are deluded human kind
By empty shows betray'd?
In all their hopes and schemes they find
A nothing or a shade.
The prospects of a truncheon cast The soldier on the wars; Dismist with shatter'd limbs at last, Brats, poverty, and scars.
Survey each part, examine every side,
Where she's secure, and where unfortify'd.
In faithful lines her history declare,
And trace the causes of her civil war ;
Your pen no partial prejudices sway,
But truth decides, and virtue wins the day. [pass,
Through what gay fields and flowery scenes we
Where fancy sports, and fiction leads the chase?
Where life, as through her various acts she tends,
Like other comedies, in marriage ends.
What Muse but yours so justly could display
Th' embattled passions marshal'd in array ?
Bid the rang'd appetites in order move,
Give lust a figure, and a shape to love?
To airy notions solid forms dispense,
And make our thoughts the images of sense?
Discover all the rational machine,
And show the movements, springs, and wheels
But Hymen waves his torch, all discords cease;
All parley, drop their arms, and sue for peace.
Soon as the signal flames, they quit the tight,
For all at first but differ'd to unite.
From every part the lines in order move,
And sweetly centre in the point of love.
WHAT man, what hero will you raise,
By the shrill pipe, or deeper lyre?
What god, O Clio, will you praise,
And teach the echoes to admire ?
Amidst the shades of Helicon,
Cold Hæmus' tops, or Pindus' head, Whence the glad forests hasten'd down,
And danc'd as tuneful Orpheus play'd. Taught by the Muse, he stopp'd the fall
Of rapid floods, and charm'd the wind; The listening oaks obey'd the call,
And left their wondering hills behind. Whom should I first record, but Jove,
Whose sway extends o'er sea and land, The king of men and gods above,
Who holds the seasons in command ?
The Muse Alcides shall resound;
The twins of Leda shall succeed;
This for the standing fight renown'd,
And that for managing the steed,
Whose star shines innocently still;
The clouds disperse, the tempests cease,
The waves obedient to their will,
Sink down, and hush their rage to peace.
To rival Jove, shall none aspire,
None shall to equal glory rise; But Pallas claims beneath her sire, The second honours of the skies.
To thee, O Bacchus, great in war,
To Dian will I strike the string,
Of Phoebus wounding from afar,
In numbers like his own I'll sing.
Next shall I Numa's pious reign,
Or thine, Romulus, relate:
Or Rome by Brutus freed again,
Or haughty Cato's glorious fate?
Like trees, Marcellus' glory grows,
With an insensible advance;
The Julian star, like Cynthia, glows,
Who leads the planetary dance.
The Fates, O sire of human race,
Let blockheads to the musty schools repair,
And poach for morals and the passions there,
Where Virtue, like a dwarf in giant's arms,
Cumber'd with words, and manacled in terms,
Serves to amuse the philosophic fool,
By method dry, and regularly dull.
Who sees thy lines so visibly express
The soul herself in such a pleasing dress,
May from thy labours be convinc'd and taught,
How Spencer would have sung, and Plato thought. Or mighty Parthia dreads his name,
Entrust great Cæsar to thy care,
Give him to hold thy second place,
And reign thy sole vicegerent here.
And whether India he shall tame,
Or to his chains the Seres doom;
And bows her haughty neck to Rome.
While on our groves thy bolts are hurl'd,
And thy loud car shakes Heaven above,
THE TWELFTH ODE OF THE FIRST BOOK He shall with justice awe the world,
To none inferior but to Jove.
Or dwell on noble Paulus' fame?
Too lavish of the patriot's blood?
Or Regulus' immortal name,
Too obstinately just and good?
These with Camillus brave and bold,
And other chiefs of matchless might,
Rome's virtuous poverty of old,
Severely season'd to the fight.
THE TWENTY-SECOND ODE OF THE
FIRST BOOK OF HORACE.
THE man unsully'd with a crime,
Disdains the pangs of fear,
He scorns to dip the poison'd shaft,
Or poise the glittering spear.
Nor with the loaded quiver goes
To take the dreadful field:
His solid virtue is his helm,
And innocence his shield.
In vain the fam'd Hydaspes' tides
Obstruct and bar the road,
He smiles on danger, and enjoys
The roarings of the flood.
All climes are native, and forgets
Th' extremes of heats and frosts,
The Scythian Caucasus grows warm,
And cool the Libyan coasts..
For while I wander'd through the woods,
And rang'd the lonely grove,
Lost and bewilder'd in the songs
And pleasing cares of love;
A wolf beheld me from afar,
Of monstrous bulk and might; But, naked as I was, he fled And trembled at the sight.
A beast so huge, nor Daunia's grove,
Nor Afric ever view'd,
Though nurst by her, the lion reigns
The monarch of the wood.
Expose me in those horrid climes,
Where not a gentle breeze
Revives the vegetable race,
Or cheers the drooping trees: Where on the world's remotest verge Th' unactive seasons lie,
And not one genial ray unbinds
The rigour of the sky :
On that unhabitable shore,
Expose me all alone,
Where I may view without a shade,
The culminating Sun.
Beneath th' equator, or the pole,
In safety could I rove, And in a thousand different climes Could live for her I love.
A PROLOGUE FOR THE STROLLERS.
GENTEELS, of old pert prologues led the way,
To guide, defend, and usher in the play,
As powder'd footmen run before the coach,
And thunder at the door my lord's approach.
But though they speak your entertainment near,
Most prologues speed like other bills of fare;
Seldom the languid stomach they excite,
And oftner pall, than raise the appetite.
As for the play-'tis hardly worth our care,
The prologue craves your mercy for the player;
That is, your money-for by Jove I swear,
White gloves and lodging are confounded dear.
Since here are none but friends, the truth to own,
Hasp'd in a coach our company came down,
But I most shrewdly fear we shall depart,
Ev'n in our old original, a cart.
With pride inverted, and fantastic power, We strut the fancy'd monarchs of an hour; While duns our emperors and heroes fear, And Cleomenes' starves in earnest here: The mightiest kings and queens we keep in pay, Support their pomp on eighteen-pence a day. Great Cyrus for a dram has pawn'd his coat, And all our Cæsars can't command a groat; Our Scipios, Hannibals, and Pompeys break, And Cleopatra shifts but once a week.
To aggravate the case we have not one, Of all the new refinements of the town: No moving statues, no lewd harlequins, No pasteboard-players, no heroes in machines; No rosin to flash lightning-twould exhaust us, To buy a devil and a Doctor Faustus. No windmills, dragons, millers, conjurers, To exercise your eyes, and spare your ears; No paper-seas, no thunder from the skies, No witches to descend, no stage to rise; Scarce one for us the actors-we can set Nothing before you but mere sense and wit.
'The Spartan Hero, a tragedy, by Mr. Dryden.