« ZurückWeiter »
MR. Addison's Cato.
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart;
To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live o'er each scene and be what they behold:
For this the tragic Muse first trod the stage, 5
Commanding tears to stream through every age;
Tyrants no more their savage nature kept,
And foes to virtue wonder'd how they wept.
Our author shuns by vulgar springs to move
The hero's glory, or the virgin's love; 10
In pitying love we but our weakness show,
And wild ambition well deserves its woe.
Here tears shall flow from a more generous cause,
Such tears as patriots shed for dyinglaws:
He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise, IS
And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes.
Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws,
What Plato thought, and godlike Cato was:
No common object to your sight displays,
But what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys, 20
A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
And greatly falling with a falling state.
While Cato gives his little senate laws,
What bosom beats not in his country's cause?
Who sees him act, but envies every deed? 25
Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?
Ev'n when proud Ca»sar, 'midst triumphal cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Show'd Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state; 30
As her dead father's reverend image past,
The pomp was darken'd and the day o'ercast;
The triumph ceas'd, tears gush'd from every eye;
The world's great victor pass'd unheeded by;
Her last good man dejected Rome ador'd, 35
And honour'd Caesar's less than Cato's sword.
Britons! attend: be worth like this approv'd, And shew you have the virtue to be mov'd. With honest scorn the first-fam'd Cato view'd Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subdued: 40 Your scene precariously subsists too long On French translation and Italian song. Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage, Be justly warm'd with our own native rage: Such plays alone should win a British ear, 45 As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
TO A PLAY FOR MR. DENNIs's BENEFIT, IN 1733,
When he was old, blind, and in great distress, a little
As when that hero, who, in each campaign,
Had brav'd the Goth, and many a Vandal slain,
Lay fortune-struck, a spectacle of woe!
Wept by each friend, forgiv'n by every foe;
Was there a generous, a reflecting mind, S
But pitied Belisarius, old and blind?
Was there a chief but melted at the sight?
A common soldier but who clubb'd his mite?
Such, such emotions should in Britons rise,
When press'd by want and weakness Dennis lies; 10
Dennis! who long had warr'd with modern Huns,
Their quibbles routed, and defied iheir puns;
A desperate bulwark, sturdy, firm, and fierce,
Against the Gothic sons of frozen verse:
How chang'd from him who made the boxes groan,
And shook the stage with thunders all his own! 16
Stood up to dash each vain pretender's hope,
Maul the French tyrant, or pull down the Pope!
If there's a Briton then, true bred and born,
MR. ROWE'S JANE SHORE.
Prodigious this! the frail one of our play
I can't—indeed now—I so hate a whore—"
There are, 'tis true, who tell another tale, IS
That virtuous ladies envy while they rail;
The godly dame, who fleshly failings damns,
Well, if our author in the wife offends, 25
He has a husband that will make amends:
Plu—Plutarch, what's his name, that writes his life?
If, after all, you think it a disgrace, 44
That Edward's miss thus perks it in your face;
ON RECEIVING FROM
THE LADY FRANCES SHIRLEY,
A STANDISU AND TWO PENS*.
^ Es, I beheld th' Athenian Queen
• These lines were occasioned by the poet's being threatened vitk a prosecution in the House of Lords, for writing the Epilogue to the Stt tires.
VOL. II. M
"Secure the radiant weapons wield; 5
This golden lance shall guard desert,
Aw'd, on my bended kneea I fell,
Receiv'd the weapons of the sky, 10
And dipp'd them in the sable well,
The fount of fame or infamy.
"What well? what weapon?'' Flavia cries,
"A standish, steel, and golden pen!
It came from Bertrand's, not the skies; \S
I gave it you to write again.
"But, friend! take heed whom you attack;
You'll bring a House (I mean of Peers)
Red, blue, and green, nay, white and black,
L** and all about your ears. 20
"You'd write as smooth again on glass,
"Athenian Queen! and sober charms! 25
I tell ye, fool! there's nothing in't:
"Come, if you'll be a quiet soul,
That dares tell neither truth nor lies, 30
I'll list you in the harmless roll
Of those that sing of these poor eyes."
BY A PERSON OF QUALITY.
Fluttering spread thy purple pinions,