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But few-0 few! souls free-ordain'd by fate,
The race of gods have reach'd that envied height
No rebel Titan's sacrilegious crime,
By heaping hills on hills, can hither climb:
The grisly ferryman of hell denied
How few are they who understand him yet!
Heaven shakes not more at Jove's imperial nod
Sublime ideas and apt words infuse:
The Muse instructs my voice, and thou inspire the Muse.
ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
That day of wrath, that dreadful day.
What horror will invade the mind,
The last loud trumpet's wondrous sound,
Nature and Death shall, with surprise,
And view the Judge with conscious eyes.
Then shall, with universal dread,
The Judge ascends his awful throne;
He makes each secret sin be known,
O then, what interest shall I make
To save my last important stake,
When the most just have cause to quake?
Thou mighty formidable King,
Thou mercy's unexhausted spring,
Some comfortable pity bring.
Forget not what my ransom cost,
Prostrate my contrite heart I rend,
My God, my Father, and my Friend,
Do not forsake me in my end!
Well may they curse their second breath,
Who rise to a reviving death.
Thou great Creator of mankind,
Let guilty man compassion find.
CHARLES SACKVILLE, Earl of Dorset, was a direct descendant from Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, and was born on the twenty-fourth of January, 1637. He received his education under the guidance and instruction of a private tutor, after which he travelled upon the continent, passing most of his time in Italy, whence he returned to England just before the Restoration. He soon after entered the House of Commons, where he might have shone conspicuously, had he devoted himself to the politics of the times; but he unfortunately lived in an age when pleasure was more in fashion than business, and he applied his talents rather to looks, conversation, gallantry, and the fashionable excesses of Charles's court, than to the more important pursuits of a statesman. In the first Dutch war, he went a volunteer under the Duke of York; and the night before the naval engagement, in which Opdam, the Dutch admiral, was, with all his crew, blown up, he wrote a song, which is his best composition, and which Prior pronounced, 'one of the prettiest songs that ever was made.' On his return from the war, Dorset was made a lord of the bedchamber to Charles the Second; and on account of his rare accomplishments and distinguished politeness, was frequently, sent by that monarch, on embassies of compliment into France. When William and Mary came into power, Dorset was made lord chamberlain of the household; and as his office obliged him to take the king's pension from Dryden, it is said that he allowed him an equivalent out of his own estate.
Dorset was a very liberal patron of the wits of that age, and took great pleasure in promoting their interest. He introduced Butler's 'Hudibras' to the notice of the court, was consulted by Waller, and almost idolized by Dryden. Hospitable, generous, and refined, we need not wonder at the incense which was heaped upon him by his contemporaries. His works are trifling, a few satires and songs making up the catalogue. They are eloquent, and sometimes forcible; but when a man like Prior writes of them, that there is a lustre In his verses like that of the sun in Claude Lorraine's landscapes,' it is impossible not to be struck with that gross adulation of rank and fashion which disgraced the literature of the age. Dorset died at Bath, on the nineteenth of January, 1706, in his seventieth year. To the following song we have already alluded, and we introduce it as his best performance :
(Written at sea, 1665, the night before an engagement in the first Dutch war.)
To all you ladies now at land,
We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
How hard it is to write;
The Muses now, and Neptune too,
We must implore to write to you.
For though the Muses should prove kind,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Then, if we write not by each post,
Our tears we'll send a speedier way;
The king with wonder and surprise,
But let him know it is our tears
Should foggy Opdam chance to know
Our sad and dismal story,
The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe.
And quit their fort at Goree :
For what resistance can they find
From men who 've left their hearts behind?
With a fa, &c.
Let wind and weather do its worst,
Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapour, Spaniards curse,
No sorrow we shall find:
'Tis then no matter how things go,
Or who's our friend, or who 's our foe.
To pass our tedious hours away,
We throw a merry main;
Or else at serious ombre play;
But why should we in vain
Each other's ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you.
But now our fears tempestuous grow,
Sit careless at a play:
Perhaps permit some happier man
When any mournful tune you hear,
As if it sigh'd with each man's care
For being so remote:
Think then how often love we've made
In justice, you can not refuse
To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honour lose
Our certain happiness :
All those designs are but to prove
And now we've told you all our loves,
In hopes this declaration moves
Some pity for our tears;
Let's hear of no inconstancy,
We have too much of that at sea.
With a fa la, la, la, la.
Sir CHARLES SEDLEY, one of the brightest satellites of the court of Charles the Second, was the son of Sir John Sedley, and was born at Aylesford, Kent, in 1639. At seventeen years of age he became a fellow-commoner of Wadham College, Oxford; but becoming dissatisfied with college life, he retired, after passing a year or two at his studies, without a degree, to his native county, where he remained, apparently unoccupied, until the Restoration. As soon, however, as that important event occurred he went to London in order to join the general jubilee; and at once commenced wit, courtier, poet, and gallant. He was so much admired for his taste and elegance, that he became a kind of oracle among the poets; and no performance was either applauded or condemned till Sir Charles Sedley had given judgment upon it. His popularity and influence induced the king to ask him, jestingly, if he had not obtained from Nature a patent to be Apollo's viceroy?
Sedley's career at court was, for some years, brilliant almost without a parallel; but it cost him the sacrifice of his estate, his time, and his morals.
In more advanced years, however, he thoroughly reformed; obtained a seat in parliament, and actively assisted to bring about the Revolution. King James had had an intrigue with Sedley's daughter, and created her Countess of Dorchester-a circumstance which greatly exasperated the poet against the court. 'I hate ingratitude,' said he, and as the king has made my daughter a countess, I will endeavor to make his daughter a queen'alluding to the Princess Mary, wife of the Prince of Orange. Sedley's conversation was highly prized, and he lived to delight his friends with it till nearly the sixty-third year of his age. His death occurred in 1701.
Sir Charles Sedley was a much more voluminous writer than any other of his noble contemporary wits. His works comprise two octavo volumes, and consist of plays, translations, songs, and occasional poems. His songs are light and graceful, with a more studied and felicitous diction than is seen in any other of the court poets. One of his best, Ah, Chloris! could I now but sit,' is found in his play, The Mulberry Garden, and has often been published as the composition of the Scottish patriot, Duncan Forbes, of Culloden. It is as follows:
Ah, Chloris! could I now but sit
As unconcern'd as when
Your infant beauty could beget
No happiness or pain.
When I this dawning did admire,
I little thought the rising fire
Your charms in harmless childhood lay
Like metals in a mine;
Age from no face takes more away,
Than youth conceal'd in thine.
But as your charms insensibly
To their perfection prest,
So love as unperceiv'd did fly,
My passion with your beauty grew-
Still as his mother favour'd you,
Threw a new flaming dart.
Each gloried in their wanton part;
To make a lover, he
Employ'd the utmost of his art
To make a beauty, she.
JOHN WILMOT, Earl of Rochester, was the son of Henry, Earl of Rochester, and was born on the ninth of April, 1647. He was educated in classical literature at Burford free-school, and there acquired the Latin language to such perfection, that till his death he retained the keenest relish for its