« ZurückWeiter »
That crown the solitary dome, arise ;
of sunk magnificence! a blended scene While from the topmost turret the slow clock, of moles, fanes, arches, domes, and palaces, Far heard along th' inhospitable wastes,
Where, with his brother Horror, Ruin sits. With sad-returning chime awakes new grief; O come then, Melancholy, queen of thought! Ev'n he far happier seems than is the proud, O come with saintly look, and stedfast step, The potent satrap, whom he left behind
From forth thy cave embower'd with mournful yew 'Mid Moscow's golden palaces, to drown
Where ever to the curfew's solemn sound In ease and luxury the laughing hours.
List'ning thou sitt'st, and with thy cypress bind Illustrious objects strike the gazer's mind Thy votary's hair, and seal him for thy son. With feeble bliss, and but allure the sight,
But never let Euphrosyné beguile Nor rouse with impulse quick th' unfeeling heart. With toys of wanton mirth my fixed mind, Thus seen by shepherds from Hymettus' brow, Nor in my path her primrose-garland cast. What dædal landscapes smile! here palmy groves, Though 'mid her train the dimpled Hebe bare Resounding once with Plato's voice, arise,
Her rosy bosom to th' enamour'd view; Amid whose umbrage green her silver head Though Venus, mother of the Smiles and Loves, Th’unfading olive lists: here vine-clad hills And Bacchus, ivy-crown'd, in citron-bow'r Lay forth their purple store, and sunny vales With her on nectar-streaming fruitage feast : In prospect vast their level laps expand,
What though 'tis hers to calm the low'ring skies, Amid whose beauties glistering Athens tow'rs. And at her presence mild th' embauiled clouds Though through the blissful scenes llissus roll Disperse in air, and o'er the face of Heav'n His sage-inspiring flood, whose winding marge New day diffusive gleam at her approach ? The thick-wove laurel shades; though roseate Morn Yet are these joys that Melancholy gives, Pour all her splendors on th' empurpled scene;
Than all her witless revels happier far; Yet feels the hoary herinit truer joys,
These deep-felt joys, by Contemplation taught. As from the cliff, that o'er his cavern hangs,
Then ever, beauteous Contemplation, hail! He views the piles of fallin Persepolis
From thee began, auspicious maid, my song, In deep arrangement hide the darksome plain. With thee shall end ; for thou art fairer far Unbounded waste! the mould'ring obelisk Than are the nymphs of Cirrha's mossy grot; Here, like a blasted oak, ascends the clouds; To lostier rapture thou canst wake the thought Here Parian domes their vaulted halls disclose Than all the fabling poet's boasted pow'rs. Horrid with thorn, where lurks th' unpitying thies, Hail, queen divine! whom, as tradition tells, Whence flits the twilight-loving bat at eve, Once in his evening walk a Druid found, And the deaf adder wreathes her spotted train, Far in a hollow gladc of Mona's woods ; The dwellings once of elegance and art.
And piteous bore with hospitable hand Here temples rise, amid whose hallow'd bounds To the close shelter of his oaken bow'r. Spires the black pine, while through the naked street, There soon the sage admiring mark'd the dawn Once haunt of tradeful merchants, springs the grass : Of solemn musing in your pensive thought; Here columns heap'd on prostrate columns, torn For when a smiling babe, you lov'd to lie From their firm base, increase the mould'ring mass. Oft deeply list’ning to the rapid roar Far as the sight can pierce, appear the spoils Of wood-hung Meinai, stream of Druids old.
WILLIAM Mason, a poet of some distinction, born/ verse, made its appearance, of which the fuurth and in 1725, was the son of a clergyman, who held the concluding book was printed in 1781. Its purpose living of Hull. He was admitted first of St. John's was to recommend the modern system of natural or College, and afterwards of Pembroke College, Cam- landscape gardening, to which the author adheres bridge, of the latter of which he was elected Fel- with the rigor of exclusive taste. The versification low in 1747. He entered into holy orders in 1754, is formed upon the best models, and the description, and, by the favor of the Earl of Holderness, was in many parts, is rich and vivid; but a general air presented to the valuable rectory of Ashton, York- of stiffness prevented it from attaining any conshire, and became Chaplain to His Majesty. Some siderable share of popularity. Some of his following poems which he printed gave him reputation, which poetic pieces express his liberal sentiments on politireceived a great accession from his dramatic poem cal subjects; and when the late Mr. Pitt came into of " Elfrida." By this piece, and his “ Caractacus," power, being then the friend of a free constitution, which followed, it was his aim to attempt the resto- Mason addressed him in an “ Ode," containing many ration of the ancient Greek chorus in tragedy; but patriotic and manly ideas. But being struck with this is so evidently an appendage of the infant and alarm at the unhappy events of the French revoluimperfect state of the drama, that a pedantic at- tion, one of his latest pieces was a “ Palinody to tachment to the ancients could alone suggest its re- Liberty.” He likewise revived, in an improved vival. In 1756, he published a small collection of form, and published, Du Fresnoy's Latin poem on “Odes," which were generally considered as display. the Art of Painting, enriching it with additions furing more of the artificial mechanism of poetry, than nished by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and with a metrical of its genuine spirit. This was not the case with version. Few have been better executed than this. his “Elegies,” published in 1763, which, abating which unites to great beauties of language a correct some superfluity of ornament, are in general marked representation of the original. His tribute to the with the simplicity of languago proper to this spe- memory of Gray, being an edition of his poems
, cies of composition, and breathe noble sentiments of with some additions, and Memoirs of his Life and freedom and virtue. A collection of all his poems Writings, was favorably received by the public. which he thought worthy of preserving, was pub- Mason died in April, 1797, at the age of seventy: lished in 1764, and afterwards went through several two, in consequence of a mortification produced by editions. He had married an amiable lady, who a hurt in his leg. A tablet has been placed to his died of a consumption in 1767, and was buried in memory in Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey
. the cathedral of Bristol, under a monument, on His character in private life was exemplary for which are inscribed some very tender and beautiful worth and active benevolence, though not without lines, by her husband.
a degree of stateliness and assumed superiority of In 1772, the first book of Mason's “ English Gar- manner. len," a didactic and descriptive poem, in blank
ODE TO MEMORY.
MOTHER of Wisdom! thou, whose sway
Accept this votive verse. Thy reign
Nor place can fix, nor power restrain.
The senses thee spontaneous serve,
That wake, and thrill through ev'ry nerve.
Else vainly sweet yon woodbine shade
Vainly, the cygnet spread her downy plume,
But swift to thee, alive and warm,
Devolves each tributary charm :
While every flower in Fancy's clime,
of old heroic time,
Hail, Mem'ry! hail. Behold, I lead
'To that high shrine the sacred maid:
She comes, and lo, thy realms expand'
Full in the midst, and o'er thy num'rous train
As now o'er this lone beach I stray, Displays the awful wonders of her reign.
Thy fav’rite swain' oft stole along, There thron'd supreme in native state,
And artless wove his Dorian lay,
Far from the busy throng.
Soon these responsive shores forgot to ring,
See, visionary suns arise
Pointed with satire's keenest steel,
The shafts of wit he darts around ;
Ev'nt mitred dullness learns to feel, Through shadowy brakes light glance the sparkling beams :
And shrinks beneath the wound. While, near the secret moss-grown cave,
In awful poverty his honest Muse That stands beside the crystal wave,
Walks fortlı vindictive through a venal land : Sweet Echo, rising from her rocky bed,
In vain corruption sheds her golden dews, Mimics the feather'd chorus o'er her head.
In vain oppression lifts her iron hand;
He scorns them both, and, arm'd with truth alone, Rise, hallow'd Milton! rise, and say,
Bids lust and folly tremble on the throne.
Behold, like him, immortal maid,
The Muses' vestal fires I bring :
Here, at thy feet, the sparks I spread: Exild the sov'reign lamp of light;
Propitious wave thy wing,
And fan them to that dazzling blaze of song,
But, hark! methinks I hear her hallow'd tongue!
In distant trills it echoes o'er the tide ;
Now meets mine ear with warbles wildly free,
As swells the lark's meridian ecstasy.
· Fond youth! to Marvell's patriot same, Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side;
Thy humble breast must ne'er aspire. The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly; Yet nourish still the lambent flame; The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;
Still strike thy blameless lyre :
Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd. And all the vernal sweets thy vacant youth
Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace, To arts like these devote thy tuneful toil,
And meet its fair reward in D'Arcy's smile.
Thy sick’ning soul; at that sad hour,
Thy duteous sorrows shower:
At that sad hour, when all thy hopes decline ;
When pining Care leads on her pallid train,
And sees thee, like the weak and widow'd vine,
And raise with friendship's arm thy drooping head
That bloom'd those vocal shades among,
Where never flatt'ry dar'd to tread, While the hush'd breeze its last weak whisper blows,
Or interest's servile throng; And lulls old Humber to his deep repose.
Receive, thou favor'd son, at my command,
And keep with sacred care, for D'Arcy's brow: Come to thy vot’ry's ardent prayer,
Tell him, 'twas wove by my immortal hand, In all thy graceful plainness drest:
I breath'd on every flower a purer glow; No knot confines thy waving hair,
Say, for thy sake, I send the gift divine
To him, who calls thee his, yet makes thee mine."
* Andrew Marvell, born at Kingston-upon-Hull in the
† See The Rehearsal Transposed, and an account of Thou scatter’st blessings round with lavish hand,
the effect of that satire, in the Biographia Britannica, As Spring with careless fragrance fills the land.
Know, yc were form'd to range yon azure field, ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A LADY. In yon ethereal founts of bliss to lave:
Force then, secure in Faith's protecting shield, The midnight clock has tollid; and hark, the bell of death beats slow! heard ye the note profound? Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
The sting from Death, the vict'ry from the Grare It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dullness steep Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
Go, soothe your souls in sickness, grief, or pain, Yes, **** is dead. Allend the strain,
With the sad solace of eternal sleep.
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav'rite creed For she was fair beyond your brightest bloom;
Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war,
Who form the phalanx, bid the batile bleed; (This envy owns, since now her bloom is fled ;)
Nor wish for more: who conquer, but to die. Fair as the forms, that, wove in fancy's loom,
Hear, Folly, hear, and triumph in the tale: Float in light vision round the poet's head.
Like you, they reason; not, like you, enjoy Whene'er with soft serenity she smil'd,
The breeze of bliss, that fills your silken sail: Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise,
On Pleasure's glittring stream ye gaily steer
Your little course to cold oblivion's shore:
They dare the storm, and, through th’inclement year That o'er her form its transient glory cast:
Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's roar. Some lovelier wonder soon usurp'd the place,
Is it for glory? that just Fate denies.
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the last. That bell again! it tells us what she is:
Ere from her trump the heav'n-breath'd accents rise
That lift the hero from the fighting crowd.
Is it his grasp of empire to extend ?
To curb the fury of insulting foes?
Ambition, cease: the idle contest end : Maria claims it from that sable bier, Where cold and wan the slumberer rests her head; And why must murder'd myriads lose their all,
"Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose. In still small whispers to reflection's ear, She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead.
(If life be all,) why desolation lower, Oh catch the awful notes, and lift them loud ;
With famish'd frown, on this affrighted ball,
That thou may'st flame the meteor of an hour ? Proclaim the theme, by sage, by fool rever'd:
Go wiser ye, that flutter life away, Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud!
Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high; 'Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard.
Weave the light dance, with festive freedom gay, Yes, ye shall hear, and tremble as ye hear, While, high with health, your hearts uxulting leap; Yet know, rain sceptics, know, th' Almighty mind,
And live your moment, since the next ye die. Ev'n in the midst of Pleasure's mad career, The mental monitor shall wake and weep.
Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire,
Bade his free soul, by earth nor time confin'd
To Heav'n, to immortality aspire.
Nor shall the pile of hope, his mercy rear'd, Or gave of Fortune's gifts an ampler share,
By vain philosophy be e'er destroy'd :
Eternity, by all or wish'd or fear'd,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd.
The wintry storm that sweeps you to the tomb.
EPITAPH ON MRS. MASON.
IN THE CATHEDRAL OF BRISTOL.
Take, holy earth! all shat my soul holds dear: Each fond delusion from her soul to steal ; Take that best gift which Heav'n so lately gare Teach her from folly peaceably to part,
To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care And wean her from a world she lov'd so well. Her faded form; she bow'd to taste the wave, Say, are ye sure his mercy shall extend
And died. Does youth, does beauty, read the line ! To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh :
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm? Make then, while yet ye may, your God, your friend, Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine :
And learn with equal ease to sleep or die! Ev’n from the grave thou shalt have power to Nor think the Muse, whose sober vuice ye hear,
charm. Contracts with bigot frown her sullen brow; Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee; Casts round Religion's orb the mists of fear,
Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move ; Or shades with horrors, what with smiles should And if so fair, from vanity as free; glow.
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love No; she would warm you with seraphic fire, Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die, Heirs as ye are of Heav'n's eternal day ;
("Twas ev'n to thee) yet the dread path once trod Would bid you boldly to that Heav'n aspire, Heav'n lists its everlasting portals high,
Not sink and slumber in your cells of clay. And bids “ the pure in heart behold their God."
WILLIAM COW PER.
WILLIAM Cowper, a poet of distinguished and Olney in Buckinghamshire, which was thenceforth original genius, was born in 1731, at Great Berk- the principal place of Cowper's residence. At hampstead in Hertfordshire. His father, the rector Olney he contracted a close friendship with the of the parish, was John Cowper, D. D., nephew of Rev. Mr. Newton, then minister there, and since Lord Chancellor Cowper. The subject of this me. rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, whose reli. morial was educated at Westminster school, where gious opinions were in unison with his own. To a he acquired the classical knowledge and correctness collection of hymns published by him, Cowper conof taste for which it is celebrated, but without any tributed a considerable number of his own composi. portion of the confident and undaunted spirit which tion. He first became known to the public as a is supposed to be one of the most valuable acquisi- poet by a volume printed in 1782, the contents of tions derived from the great schools, to those who which, if they did not at once place him high in the are to push their way in the world. On the con- scale of poetic excellence, sufficiently established his trary, it appears from his poem entitled " Tirocini- claim to originality. Jis topics are, “ Table Talk,” um,” that the impressions made upon his mind from “ Error," «Truth," " Expostulation," “ Hope,” “Char what he witnessed in this place, were such as gave ity,” “Conversation,” and “ Retirement," all treated him a permanent dislike 10 the system of public upon religious principles, and not without a consideducation. Soon after his leaving Westminster, he erable tinge of that rigor and austerity which be. was articled to a solicitor in London for three years; Jonged to his system. These pieces are written in but so far from studying the law, he spent the great- rhymed heroics, which he commonly manages with est part of his time with a relation, where he and little grace, or attention to melody. The style, though the future Lord Chancellor (Lord Thurlow) spent often prosaic, is never fat or insipid ; and sometimes their time, according to his own expression, " in gig- the true poet breaks through, in a vein of lively degling, and making giggle.” At the expiration of his scription or bold figure. time with the solicitor, he took chambers in the If this volume excited but little of the public at. Temple, but his time was still liule employed on tention, his next volume, published in 1785, introthe law, and was rather engaged in classical pur- duced his name to all the lovers of poetry, and gave suits, in which Coleman, Bonnel Thornton, and him at least an equality of reputation with any of Lloyd, seem to have been his principal associates. his contemporaries. It consists of a poem in six
Cowper's spirits were naturally weak; and when books, entitled “The Task," alluding to the injunc his friends had procured him a nomination to the tion of a lady, to write a piece in blank verse, for offices of reading-clerk and clerk of the Private the subject of which she gave him The Sofa. It sets Committees in the House of Lords, he shrunk with out, indeed, with some sportive discussion of this such terror from the idea of making his appearance topic; but soon falls into a serious strain of rural before the most august assembly in the nation, that description, intermixed with moral sentiments and after a violent struggle with himself, he resigned his portraitures, which is preserved through the six intended employment, and with it all his prospects books, freely ranging from thought to thought with in life. In fact, he became completely deranged; no perceptible method. But as the whole poem will and in this situation was placed, in December, 1763, here be found, it is unnecessary to enter into particu. about the 320 year of his age, with Dr. Cotton, an lars. Another piece, entitled “Tirocinium, or a Re. amiable and worthy physician at St. Alban's. This view of Schools," a work replete with striking obagitation of his mind is placed by some who have servation, is added to the preceding; and several mentioned it to the account of a deep consideration other pieces gleaned from his various writings will of his state in a religious view, in which the terrors be found in the collection. of eternal judgment so much overpowered his For the purpose of losing in employment the disfaculties, that he remained seven months in mo- tressing ideas which were ever apt to recur, he next mentary expectation of being piunged into final undertook the real task of translating into blank misery. Mr. Johnson, however, a near relation, has verse the whole of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. This taken pains to prove to demonstration, that these work has much merit of execution, and is certainly views of his condition were so far from producing a far more exact representation of the ancient poes such an effect, that they ought to be regarded as his than Pope's ornamental version ; but where simpli. sole consolation. It appears, however, that his mind city of matter in the original is not relieved by the had acquired such an indelible tinge of melancholy, force of sonorous diction, the poverty of English that his whole successive life was passed with little blank verse has scarcely been able to prevent it from more than intervals of comfort between long paror- sinking into mere prose. Various other translations ysms of settled despondency.
denoted his necessity of seeking employment; but After a residence of a year and a half with Dr. nothing was capable of durably relieving his mind Cotton, he spent part of his time at the house of from the horrible impressions it had undergone. He his relation, Earl Cowper, and part at Huntingdon, passed some of his latter years under the affection. with his intimate friend, the Rev. Mr. Unwin. The ate care of a relation at East Dereham in Norfolk, death of the laiter caused his widow to remove to where he died on April 25th, 1800.