« ZurückWeiter »
Phoebus for this would change his Delphic grote,
Juno her Samos, and his Ida fove.
Olympic games no longer should delight,
But neighb'ring plains afford a nobler fight.
Where England's great Æneas standing by,
Impatient youths on winged coursers fly:
Urg'd by his presence they outstrip the wind
Involv'd in smoke, and leave the Muse behind.
But fee! once more returns the rival train,
And now they stretch, now bending loose the rein,
And fears and hopes beat high in ev'ry vein,
'Till one (long since successful in the field)
Exerts that strength he first with art conceal'd;
Then swift as light'ning darted through the skies,
Springs forward to the goal, and bears away the prize.
By arts like these all other palms are won,
They end with glory, who with caution run.
We neither write, nor act, what long can last,
When the first heat fees all'our vigour past ;
But, jaded, both their short-liv'd mettle lofe,
The furious statesman, and the fiery Muse.
· The contest ended, night with gloomy face
O'erspreads the heav'n; and now with equal pace
The victor, and the vanquish'd, quit the place :
Sleep's friendly office is to all the same,
His conquest he forgets, and they their shame.
Next morning, ere the sun with fickly ray O'er doubtful shades maintains the dawning day, 3
The sprightly horn proclaims fome danger near,
And hounds, harmonious to the sportsman's ear,
With deep-mouth'd notes rouse up the trembling deer.
Startled he leaps afide, and liftning round,
This way and that explores the hostile sound,
Arm'd for that fight, which he declines with shame,
Too fond of life, too negligent of fame;
For Nature, to display her various art,
Had fortify'd his head, but not his heart :
Those spears, which useless on his front appear'a,
else had been ador'd and fear'd.
But honours disproportion'd are a load,
Grandeur a specious curse, when ill bestow'd.
Thus void of hope, and panting with surprize, In vain he'd combat, and as vainly flies. Of paths mysterious whether to pursue The scented track informs the lab’ring crew: With speed redoubled, they the hint embrace, Whilft animating music warms the chace: Flush'd are their hopes, and with one gen'ral cry They echo thro' the woods, and found their conqueft nighs. Not so the prey; he now for safety bends From enemies profess’d, to faithless friends, Who to the wretched own no shelter due, But fly more swiftly than his foes pursue. This last disgrace with indignation fires Fiis drooping soul, and gen’rous rage inspires;
By all forsaken, he resolves at length
remains of wafted strength;
With looks and mien majestic ftands at bay,
And whets his horns for the approaching fray :
Too late alas! for, the first charge begun,
Soon he repents what cowardice had done,
Owns the mistake of his o'er-hafty flight,
And aukwardly maintains a languid fight;
Here, and there, aiming a successless blow,
And only seems to nod upon the foe.
So coward princes, who at war’s alarm
Start from their greatness, and themselves difarm,
With recollected forces strive in vain
Their empire, or their honour, to regain,
And turn to rally on some distant plain,
Whilst the fierce conqu’ror bravely urges on,
Improves th' advantage, and ascends the throne.
Forgive, great Denham, that in abject verse,
What richly thou adorn'ft, I thus rehearse.
Thy noble chace all others does exceed,
In artful fury, and well-temper'd speed.
We read with pleasure, imitate with pain,
Where faney fires, and judgment holds the rein.
Goddess, proceed; and as to relicks found
Altars we raise, and consecrate the ground,
Pay thou thy homage to an aged seat,
Small in itself, but in its owner great ;
Where Chaucer (sacred name!) whole years employ'd,
Coy Nature courted, and at length enjoy'd;
Mov'd at his suit, the naked goddess came,
Reveal'd her charms, and recompens'd his flame.
Rome's pious king with like success retir’d,
And taught his people, what his Nymph inspir’d.
Hence flow descriptions regularly fine,
And beauties such as never can decline :
Each lively image makes the reader start,
And poetry invades the painter's art.
This Dryden faw, and with his wonted fate
(Rich in himself) endeavour'd to translate ;
Took wond'rous pains to do the author wrong,
And set to modern tune his ancient song.
Cadence, and sound, which we so prize, and use,
Ill suit the majesty of Chaucer's Muse;
His language only can his thoughts express,
Old honest Clytus scorns the Persian dress.
In raptures loud I would thy praises tell,
And on th’ inspiring theme for ever dwell,
Did not the maid, whose wond'rous beauty seen,
Infam'd great Henry, and incens'd his queen,
With pleasing forrow move me to survey
A neighb'ring structure, aweful in decay,
For ever sacred, and in ruin blest,
Which heretofore contain'd that lovely guest.
Admiring strangers, who attentive come
To learn the tale of this romantic dome,
By faithful monuments instructed, view
(Tho' time should spare) what civil rage can do.
Where landskips once, in rich apartments high,
Through various prospects led the wand'ring eye:
Where painted rivers flow'd through flow'ry meads,
And hoary mountains rear'd their aweful heads :
Or where by hands of curious virgins wrought,
In rich array embroider'd heroes fought:
Now hemloek thrives, and weeds of pow'rful charms
O’er ragged walls extend their baleful arms.
Monsters obscene their pois'nous roots invade,
And bloated pant beneath the gloomy shade.
Thus noblest buildings are with ease effac’d,
And what's well wrote alone, will always laft.
Ev'n Vanbrugh's frame, that does so brightly shine
In rules exact, and greatness of design,
Would fall a victim to devouring age,
Had not that hand, which built, adorn’d the stage.
Wit fo refin'd without the poet's pain,
Such artful scenes in such a flowing vein,
O’er latest æras deathless will prevail,
When Doric and Corinthian orders fail;
When each proud pyramid its height foregoes,
And finks beneath the bafe on which it rose.
Ye British fair, whose names but mention'd, give
Worth to the tale, and make the