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TO MR. ROWE’S JANE SHORE.
DESIGNED FOR MRS. OLDFIELD. PRODIGIOUS this! the frail one of our play From her own sex should mercy find to-day! You might have held the pretty head aside, Peeped in your fans, been serious, thus, and cried, “The play may pass—but that strange creature, Shore, I can't-indeed now—I so hate a wJust as a blockhead rubs his thoughtless skull, And thanks his stars he was not born a fool; So from a sister sinner you shall hear, “How strangely you expose yourself, my dear!” But let me die, all raillery apart, Our sex are still forgiving at their heart; And, did not wicked custom so contrive, We'd be the best good-natured things alive.
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, That virtuous ladies envy while they rail ; Such rage without betrays the fire within ; In some close corner of the soul, they sin; Still hoarding up, most scandalously nice, Amidst their virtues a reserve of vice. The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns, Scolds with her maid, or with her chaplain crams. Would you enjoy soft nights and solid dinners ? Faith, gallants, board with saints, and bed with sin
In days of old, they pardoned breach of vows,
Stern Cato's self was no relentless spouse ;
Plu-Plutarch, what's his name that writes his life?
Tells us, that Cato dearly loved his wife :
Yet if a friend, a night or so should need her,
He'd recommend her as a special breeder.
To lend a wife, few here would scruple make,
But pray, which of you all would take her back?
Though with the stoic chief our stage may ring,
The stoic husband was the glorious thing.
The man had courage, was a sage, 'tis true,
And loved his country-but what's that to you?
Those strange examples ne'er were made to fit ye
But the kind cuckold might instruct the city :
There, many an honest man may copy Cato,
Who ne'er saw naked sword, or looked in Plato.
If, after all, you think it a disgrace,
That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face ;
To see a piece of failing flesh and blood,
In all the rest so impudently good;
Faith, let the modest matrons of the town
Come here in crowds and stare the 3 down
Non injussa cano: te nostræ, Vare, myricæ,
Te Nemus omne canet; nec Phæbo gratior ulla est
Quam sibi quæ Vari præscripsit pagina nomen.
Virg. Ecl. vi. 10-12.
There is a local tradition that Pope composed this poem, sitting under a beech tree in the forest. The original tree having decayed, Lady Gower had a memorial carved upon the back of another immediately adjoining : “Here Pope sang.” The marks were visible in 1806, but were fast wearing out.
This poem was written at two different times: the first part of it, which relates to the country, in the year 1704, at the same time with the Pastorals: the latter part was not added till the year 1713, in which it was published.
Thy forests, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the monarch's and the muse's seats,
Invite my lays. Be present, sylvan maids!
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.?
Granville commands; your aid, O muses, bring!
What muse for Granville can refuse to sing ?
The groves of Eden, vanished now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water seem to strive again;
i Originally thus:
Chaste goddess of the woods,
Nymphs of the vales and Naiads of the floods,
Lead me through circling bow'rs and glimm'ring glades,
Unlock your springs.-Pope.
2 George Granville, Lord Lansdown, though praised as a poet by
Dryden, Addison, Bolingbroke, and Pope, was but a feeble imitator of
Wäller. His “ Progress of beauty,” and his “Essay on Unnatural
Flights in Poetry," were considered his best pieces. He was Secretary
of War, 1710, Controller and Treasurer to the Household, and a mem.
ber of Queen Anne's Privy Council. He was created a peer 1711. On
the accession of George I. he was seized as a suspected person and con-
fined in the tower. Lord Lansdown was a man worthy of being a
poet's friend, as he was a lover and patron of literature, a patriot, and
in all respects a noble gentleman,
Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequered scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
There, interspersed in lawns and opening glades,
Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend:
There wrapt in clouds the bluish hills ascend.
Even the wild heath displays her purple dyes.'
And ’midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That crowned with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his tow’ring height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all these gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crowned, .
Here blushing Flora paints th' enamelled ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell, a STUART reigns.
Not thus the land appeared in ages past,
A dreary desert, and a gloomy waste,
To savage beasts and savage laws a prey.?
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claimed the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods:
Cities laid waste, they stormed the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves):
What could be free, when lawless beasts obeyed,
And ev’n the elements a tyrant swayed ?
In vain kind seasons swelled the teeming grain,
Soft show'rs distilled, and suns grew warm in vain;
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And famished dies amidst his ripened fields.
What wonder then, a beast or subject slain?
Were equal crimes in a despotic reign ?
Both doomed alike, for sportive tyrants bled,
But while the subject starved, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chase began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
Our haughty Norman boasts that barb’rous name,
And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
The fields are ravished” from th' industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from gods their fanes:
The levelled towns with weeds lie covered o'er;
The hollow winds through naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twined;
O’er heaps of ruin stalked the stately hind;
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred choirs.
Awed by his nobles, by his commons curst,
The oppressor ruled tyrannic where he durst,
. Stretched o'er the poor and church his iron rod,
· And served alike his vassals and his God.
Whom ev'n the Saxon spared and bloody Dane,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man who spacious regions gave
A waste for beasts, himself denied a grave!"
Stretched on the lawn his second hopes survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey;
i No wonder savages or subjects slain
But subjects starved while savages were fed. It was originally thus, but the word savages is not properly applied to beasts, but to men; which occasioned the alteration.--Pope.
2 Alluding to the destruction made in the New Forest, and the tyrannies exercised there by William I.-Pope. 3 Translation from
Templa adimit divis, fora civibus, arva colonis. An old monkish writer, I forget who.- Pope.
4 Just as the body of William the Conqueror was goin og to be lowered into the grave, a voice cried aloud, "I forbid his interment. When William was only Duke of Normandy he seized this piece of land from my father, without making a recompense, which I now demand.” Prince Henry, who was present, spoke to the man, who was now only an armourer, and agreed to give him a hundred crowns for his father's burial place.
5 His second hope was Richard, his second son, gored by a stag in the New Forest.