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While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold,
Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threat'ning o'er her slow decay.
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No fav'ring muse her morning dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestick life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus, grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Your's is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
"Tis your's to crown desert-beyond the grave.
THE GOOD-NATUR'D MAN, 1769.
PREST by the load of life, the weary mind
Surveys the gen'ral toil of human kind,
With cool submission joins the labʼring train,
And social sorrow loses half its pain:
Our anxious bard without complaint may share
This bustling season's epidemick care;
Like Cæsar's pilot dignify'd by Fate,
Tost in one common storm with all the great;
Distrest alike the statesman and the wit,
When one a Borough courts, and one the Pit.
The busy candidates for pow'r and fame
Have hopes, and fears, and wishes, just the same;
Disabled both to combat or to fly,
Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply. Uncheck'd on both loud rabbles vent their rage, As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
For that blest year when all that vote may rail;
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night when all that hate may hiss.
"This day the powder'd curls and golden coat,'
Says swelling Crispin, " beg'd a cobler's vote."
"This night our wit," the pert apprentice cries,
"Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies."
The great, 'tis true, can charm th' electing tribe;
The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe.
Yet, judg'd by those whose voices ne'er were sold,
He feels no want of ill-persuading gold;
But, confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trusts without fear to merit and to you.
THIS night presents a play which public rage,
Or right or wrong, once hooted from the stage.f
From zeal or malice, now no more we dread,
For English vengeance wars not with the dead.
A gen'rous foe regards with pitying eye
The man whom fate has laid where all must lie.
To wit reviving from its author's dust
Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just.
For no renew'd hostilities invade
Th' oblivious grave's inviolable shade.
* Performed at Covent-Garden theatre in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, a widow of Hugh Kelly, Esq. (the author of the play) and her children.
+Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.
Let one great payment ev'ry claim appease,
And him, who cannot hurt, allow to please;
To please by scenes unconscious of offence,
By harmless merriment, or useful sense.
Where aught of bright or fair the piece displays,
Approve it only-'tis too late to praise.
If want of skill or want of care appear,
Forbear to hiss-the poet cannot hear.
By all like him must praise and blame be found,
At best a fleeting gleam, or empty sound.
Yet then shall calm reflection bless the night,
When liberal pity dignify'd delight;
When Pleasure fir'd her torch at Virtue's flame,
And Mirth was Bounty with an humbler name.
STERN Winter now, by Spring repress'd,
Forbears the long continued strife;
And Nature on her naked breast
Delights to catch the gales of life.
Now o'er the rural kingdom roves
Soft pleasure with the laughing train,
Love warbles in the vocal groves,
And vegetation plants the plain.
Unhappy! whom to beds of pain,
Arthritic tyranny consigns;
Whom smiling nature courts in vain,
Though rapture sings and beauty shines.
Yet though my limbs disease invades,
Her wings Imagination tries,
And bears me to the peaceful shades,
Where's humble turrets rise.
Here stop, my soul, thy rapid flight,
Nor from the pleasing groves depart,
*The author being ill of the gout.
Where first great nature charm'd my sight,
Where wisdom first inform'd my heart.
Here let me through the vales pursue
A guide a father-and a friend,
Once more great Nature's works renew,
Once more on Wisdom's voice attend.
From false caresses, causeless strife,
Wild hope, vain fear, alike remov'd;
Here let me learn the use of life,
When best enjoy'd-when most improv'd. Teach me, thou venerable bower,
Cool meditation's quiet seat,
The gen'rous scorn of venal power,
The silent grandeur of retreat.
When pride by guilt to greatness climbs,
Or raging factions rush to war,
Here let me learn to shun the crimes
I can't prevent, and will not share.
But lest I fall by subtler foes,
Bright Wisdom, teach me Curio's art,
The swelling passions to compose,
And quell the rebels of the heart.
O PHOEBUS! down the western sky,
Far hence diffuse thy burning ray,
Thy light to distant worlds supply,
And wake them to the cares of day.
Come, gentle Eve, the friend of care,
Come, Cynthia, lovely queen of night!
Refresh me with a cooling air,
And cheer me with a lambent light.
Lay me, where o'er the verdant ground
Her living carpet Nature spreads;
Where the green bower, with roses crown'd,
In showers its fragrant foliage sheds;
Improve the peaceful hour with wine,
Let musick die along the grove;
Around the bowl let myrtles twine,
And ev'ry strain be tun'd to love.
Come, Stella, queen of all my heart!
Come, born to fill its vast desires!
Thy looks perpetual joys impart,
Thy voice perpetual love inspires.
Whilst all my wish and thine complete,
By turns we languish and we burn,
Let sighing gales our sighs repeat,
Our murmurs-murmuring brooks return. Let me when nature calls to rest,
And blushing skies the morn foretell, Sink on the down of Stella's breast, And bid the waking world farewell.
ALAS! with swift and silent pace,
Impatient time rolls on the year;
The seasons change, and nature's face
Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.
'Twas Spring, 'twas Summer, all was gay,
Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;
The flowers of Spring are swept away,
And Summer-fruits desert the bough.
The verdant leaves that play'd on high,
And wanton'd on the western breeze,
Now trod in dust neglected lie,
As Boreas strips the bending trees.
The fields that wav'd with golden grain,
As russet heaths, are wild and bare;
Not moist with dew, but drench'd with rain,
Nor health, nor pleasure, wanders there.
No more, while through the midnight shade,
Beneath the moon's pale orb I stray,