Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Wrapt in the gloomy storm, or rob'd in light,
His weïr'd fifter or his fairy sprite ;
Boldly o'er-Icaping, in the great design,
The bounds of nature with a guide divine.
Let Milton's self, conductor of thy way,
Lead thy congenial spirit to pourtray,
In colours like his verse, sublimely strong,
The scenes that blaze in his immortal song.
See MICHAEL, drawn by many a skilful hand,
As suits the leader of the seraph-band !
But oh! how poor the prostrate satan lies,
With bestial form debasʼd and goatish eyes !
How chang'd from him who leads the dire debate,
Fearless, though fallen, and in ruin great!
Let thy bold pencil more sublimely true,
Present his 'arch-apostate to our view;
In worthier semblance of infernal pow'r,
And proudly standing like a Itately tow'r;
While his infernal mandate bids awake
His legions, flumbering on the burning lake.
Or paint him falling from the realms of bliss,
Hurl'd in combustion to the deep abyss !
In light terrific let the fath display
His pride still proof against Almighty fway:
Tho? vanquilh'd yet immortal, let his eye :
The lightning's blaze, the thunder's boit defy,
And, still with looks of execration, dare
To face the horrors of the last despair.
To these great lords of fancy's wide domain,
That o'er the human soul unquestion'd reign;
To their superior guidance be consign'd

Thy rival pencil and congenial mind!"
Of the Miscellaneous Pieces, the Ode inscribed to
John Howard, Esq. presents us with these exquisite
lines in praise of Benevolence :

Sweet is the joy when science Alings

Her light on philosophic thought;
When genius, with keen ardour, springs
To clasp the lovely truth he sought:

Sweet

Sweet is the joy when rapture's fire
Flows from the spirit of the lyre ;
When liberty and virtue roll

Spring-tides of fancy o'er the poet's soul,
That waft his flying bark thro' seas above the pole.
Sweet the delight when the gall’d heart

Feels confolation's lenient hand;
Bind up the wound from fortune's dart,

With friendship's life-lupporting band!
And sweeter ftill, and far above
These fainter joys, when purest love
The foul his willing captive keeps!
When he in bliss thc melting spirit steeps,
Who drops delicious tears, and wonders that he

weeps!
But not the brightest joy which arts

In floods of mental light bestow;
Nor wliat friendship's zeal imparts,

Bleft antidote of birterest woe!
Nor those that love's sweet hours dispense,
Can equal the extatic sense,
When, swelling to a fond excess,
The grateful praises of reliev'd distress
Re-echoed thro' the heart, the soul of BOUNTY

bless! Nor shall we omit to introduce, in this place, the following little piece, in which there is much playful pleasantry. We must, however, beg the young reader to recollect, that Mr. Gibbon was the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that the Eagle was borne in the Roman standard, and that this noble aniinal was the bird of Jove. A CARD OF INVITATION TO MR. GIBBON, AT

BRIGHTHELMSTONE, 1781.
An English sparrow, pert and free,
Who chirps beneath his native tree,

Hearing

Ee 3

Hearing the Roman Eagle's pear,
And feeling more respect than fear;
Thus, with united love and awe,
Invites him to his shed of Araw.
Tho' he's but a twittering (parrow,
The field he hops in rather narrow;
When nobler plumes attract his view,
He ever pays them homage due;
And looks with reverential wonder
On him whose talons bear the thunder.
Nor could the jack-daws e'er inveigle
His voice to vilify the eagle;
Tho' issuing from those holy tow'rs,
In which they build their warmest bow'rs;
Their fovereign's haunt they Nily search,
In hopes to find him on his perch;
(For PINDAR says, beside his God,
The thunder bearing bird will nod)
Then peeping round his still retreat,
They pick from underneath his feet
Some molted feather he lets fall,
And swear he cannot fly at all.
Lord of the sky! whose pounce can tear
These croakers that infeft the air,
Trust him the Sparrow loves to fug
The praise of thy Imperial wing!
He thinks thou'lt deem him on his word
An honest, tho' familiar bird ;
And hopes thou soon wilt condescend
To look upon thy little friend;
That he may boaft around his grove,

A visit from the BIRD OF Jove.” The second volume includes his Esay on History, in Three Epiftles to Edrvard Gibbon, Esq. which was made public in 1780, and met with liberal approbation. HISTORIANS, ancient and modern, are here delineared with a masterly hand-RAPIN and HUME are thus well described ;

Nor

Nor shalt thou want, Rapin, thy well-carn’d praise,
The sage POLYBIUS thou, of modern days !
Thy (word, thy pen, have both thy name endear’d,
This join'd our arms, and that our story clear'd:
Thy foreign hand discharg'd the historian's trust,
Unsway'd by party and to freedom juft.
To letter'd fame we own thy just pretence,
From patient labour and from candid sense.
Yet public favour, ever hard to fix,
Flew from thy page as heavy and prolix:
For, soon emerging from the fophift's school,
With spirit eager, and with judgment cool;
With subtle ikill to steal upon applause,
And give false vigour to the weaker cause;
To paint a fpecious scene with nicest art,
Retouch the whole and varnish every part;
Graceful in style, in argument acute,
Matter of every trick in keen dispute !
With these strong powers to form a winning tale,
And hide deceit in moderation's veil ;
High on the pinnacle of fashion plac'd,
HUME shone the idol of historic taste.
Already pierc'd by freedom's searching rays,
· The waxen fabric of his fame decays.
Think not, keen spirit! that these hands presume
To tear each leaf of laurel from thy tomb.
These hands! which, if a heart of human frame
Could stoop to harbour that ungenerous aim,
Would shield thy grave, and give, with guardian care,
Each type of eloquence to fourish there!
But public love commands the painful talk
From the pretended sage to strip the mask ;
When his false tongue, averse to FREEDOM's cause,
Profanes the spirit of her ancient laws.
As Asia's foothing opiate drugs by stealth
Shake ev'ry Nacken'd nerve, and sap the health;
Thy writings thus, with noxious charms refin'd,
Seeming to soothe its ills, unnerve the mind;
While the keen cunning of thy hand pretends
To ftrike alone at party's abject ends

Our

Our hearts more free from faction's weeds we feel,
But they have lost the flower of patriot zeal!
Wild as thy feeble metaphyfic page,
Thy history rambles into sceptic rage:
Whose giddy and fantastic dreams abuse

A HAMPDEN's virtue and a SHAKESPEARE's mufc.” Mr. Hayley's next performance occupying the third volume, is--An Esay on Epic Poetry, in Five Epistles to the Reverend MR. MASON, where he sketches, in a very pleasing manner, the charms of genuine poetry. We must not trace him through all his meanderings. But we cannot deny a place to his de. lineation of Milton, our favourite poet :

A part, and on a sacred hill retir'd,
Beyond all mortal inspiration fir’d,
The mighty Milton fits-an hoit around
Of lift'ning angels guard the holy ground;
Amaz'd, they see a human form afpirc
To grasp, with daring hand, a seraph's lyre,
Inly irradiate with celestial beams,
Attempt those high, those soul-subduing themes;
(Which humbler devizens of heaven decline)
And celebrate, with fanctity divine,
The Narry field, from warring angels won,
And God triumphant in his victor son !
Nor less the wonder and the sweet delight,
His milder scenes and softer notes excite;
When, at his bidding, Eden's blooming grove
Breathes the rich Tweets of innocence and love.
With such pure joy as our forefather knew,
When Raphael, heav'nly guest, first met his vicw,
And our glad fire, within his blissful bow'r,
Drank the pure converse of th' ethereal power;
Round the bleft bard his raptur'd audience throng,

And fuel their souls imparadis'd in song !" The fourth volume of Mr. Hayley's works is entirely filled with notes on the preceding essay. In. deed notes are affixed of confiderable length to each of * his Esays, replete with information. They thew a

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »