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While thus I write, vast shoals of critics come,
And on my verse pronounce their saucy doom ;
The muse, like some bright country virgin, shows
Fall'n by mishap among a knot of beaux;
They, in their lewd and fashionable prate,
Rally her dress, her language, and her gait;
Spend their base coin before the bashful maid,
Current like copper, and as often paid :
She, who on shady banks has joy'd to sleep;
Near better animals, her father's sheep:
Shamed and amazed, beholds the chattering throng,
To think what cattle she is got among;
But with the odious smell and sight annoy'd,
In haste she does th' offensive herd avoid.*
'Tis time to bid my friend a long farewell, ,
The Muse retreats far in yon crystal cell;
Faint inspiration sickens as she flies,
Like distant echo spent, the spirit dies.
In this descending sheet you'll haply find
Some short refreshment for your weary mind,
Nought it contains is common or unclean,
And once drawn up, is ne'er let down again.
OCCASIONED BY SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE'S
LATE ILLNESS AND RECOVERY.
WRITTEN IN DECEMBER 1693. STRANGE to conceive, how the same objects
Whether in time, Deduction's broken chain
Meets, and salutes her sister link again;
Or hunted Fancy, by a circling flight,
Comes back with joy to its own seat at night;
Or whether dead Imagination's ghost
Oft hovers where alive it haunted most;
Or if Thought's rolling globe, her circle run,
Turns up old objects to the soul her sun;
Or loves the muse to walk with conscious pride
O'er the glad scene whence first she rose a bride:
Be what it will ; late near yon whisp’ring stream,
Where her own Temple was her darling theme;
There first the visionary sound was heard,
When to poetic view the Muse appear'd.
Such seem'd her eyes, as when an evening ray
Gives glad farewell to a tempestuous day;
Weak is the beam to dry up nature's tears,
Still ev'ry tree the pendent sorrow wears';
Such are the smiles where drops of crystal show
Approaching joy at strife with parting woe.
As when to scare th’ ungrateful or the proud
Tempests long frown, and thunder threatens loud,
Till the blest sun to give kind dawn of grace
Darts weeping beams across Heaven's wat’ry face;
When soon the peaceful bow unstring'd is shown,
A sign God's dart is shot, and wrath o'erblown ;
Such to unhallowed sight the Muse divine
Might seem, when first she rais'd her eyes to mine.
What mortal change does in thy face appear,
Lost youth, she cried, since first I met thee here!
With how undecent clouds are overcast
Thy looks, when every cause of grief is past !
Unworthy the glad tidings which I bring,
Listen while the Muse thus teaches thee to sing:
As parent earth, burst by imprison’d winds, Scatters strange agues o’er men's sickly minds, And shakes the atheist's knees ; such ghastly fear Late I beheld on every face appear ; Mild Dorothea,* peaceful, wise, and great, Trembling beheld the doubtful hand of fate; Mild Dorothea, whom we both have long Not dared to injure with our lowly song; Sprung from a better world, and chosen then The best companion for the best of men : As some fair pile, yet spared by zeal and
rage Lives pious witness of a better age; So men may see what once was woman kind, In the fair shrine of Dorothea's mind. You that would grief describe, come here and
trace Its wat’ry footsteps in Dorinda's face: Grief from Dorinda's face does ne'er depart Further than its own palace in her heart: Ah, since our fears are fled, this insolent expel, At least confine the tyrant to his cell. And if so black the cloud, that Heaven's bright
queen Shrouds her'still beams; how should the stars be
Thus when Dorinda wept, joy ev'ry face forsook,
And grief flung sables on each menial look ;
The humble tribe mourn’d for the quick’ning soul,
That furnish’dspirit and motion through the whole;
So would earth's face turn pale, and life decay,
Should Heaven suspend to act but for a day;
So nature's crazed convulsions make us dread
That time is sick, or the world's mind is dead. -
* Sister to Sir William Temple. S.
Take, youth, these thoughts, large matter to employ
The fancy furnish'd by returning joy ;
And to mistaken man these truths rehearse,
Who dare revile the integrity of verse:
Ah fav’rite youth, how happy is thy lot !
But I'm deceiv'd, or thou regard'st me not;
Speak, for I wait thy answer, and expect
Thy just submission for this bold neglect.
Unknown the forms we the high-priesthood use
At the divine appearance of the muse,
Which to divulge might shake profane belief,
And tell the irreligion of my grief;
Grief that excused the tribute of my knees,
And shaped my passion in such words as these.
Malignant goddess ! bane to my repose,
Thou universal cause of all my woes;
Say whence it comes that thou art grown of latę
A poor amusement for my scorn and hate;
The malice thou inspir'st I never fai!
On thee to wreak the tribute when I rail;
Fool's commonplace thou art, their weak enscon-
Th’appeal of dulness in the last resort :
Heaven with a parent's eye regarding earth,
Deals out to man the planet of his birth :
But sees thy meteor blaze about me shine,
And passing o'er, mistakes thee still for mine :
Ah, should I tell a secret yet unknown,
That thou ne'er hadst a being of thy own,
But a wild form dependent on the brain,
Scattring loose features o'er the optic vein;
Troubling the crystal fountain of the sight,
Which darts on poet's eyes a trembling light;
Kindled while reason sleeps, but quickly flies,
Like antic shapes in dreams, from waking eyes :
In sum, a glitt’ring voice, a painted name,
A walking vapour, like thy sister fame.
But if thou bee'st what thy mad vot’ries prate,
A female pow'r, loose govern'd thoughts create ;
Why near the dregs of youth perversely wilt thou
stay, So highly courted by the brisk and gay? Wert thou right woman, thou shouldst scorn to
look On an abandon'd wretch by hopes forsook; Forsook by hopes, ill fortune's last relief, Assign’d for life to unremitting grief ; For, let Heaven's wrath enlarge these weary days, If hope e'er dawns the smallest of its rays. Time o'er the happy takes so swift a flight, And treads so soft, so easy, and so light, That we the wretched, creeping far behind, Can scarce th' impression of his footsteps find; Smooth as that airy nymph so subtly born With inoffensive feet o’er standing corn ; Which bow'd by ev’ning breeze with bending stalks, Salutes the weary trav’ller as he walks ; But o'er th' afflicted with a heavy pace Sweeps the broad sithe, and tramples on his face. Down falls the summer's pride, and sadly shows Nature's bare visage furrow'd as he mows : See, Muse, what havoc in these looks appear, These are the tyrant's trophies of a year; Șince hope his last and greatest foe is fled, Despair and he lodge ever in its stead;