« ZurückWeiter »
My translation of Vida's Art of Poetry having been more favourably received than I had reason to expect, has encouraged me to publish this little miscellany of poems and select translations. I shall neither embarrass myself nor my reader with apologies concerning this collection ; for whether it is a good one or a bad one, all excuses are unnecessary in one case, and oflered in vain in the other.
An author of a miscellany has a better chance of pleasing the world, than be who writes on a single subject ; and I have sometimes known a bad, or (which is still worse) an indifferent poet, meet with tolerable success; which lias been owing more to the variety of subjects, than liis happiness in treating them.
I ain sensible the men of wit and pleasure will be disgusted to find so great a part of this collection consist of sacred poetry ; but I assure these gentlemen, whatever they shall be pleased to object, that I shall never be ashamed of employing my talents (such as they are) in the service of my Maker; that it would look indecent in one of my profession, not to spend as much time on the psalms of David, as the hymns of Callimachus; and farther, that if those beautiful pieces of divine poetry had been written by Callimachus, or any heathen author, they might have possibly vouchsafed them a reading even in my translation.
But I will not trespass further on my reader's patience in prose, since I shall have occasion enough for it, as well as for his good-nature, in the following verses ; concerning which I must acquaint bim, that some of them were written several years since, and that I have precisely observed the rule of our great master Horace--Nonumqne prematur in annum. But I may say more justly than Mr. Prior said of himself in the like case, that I have observed tiie letter, more than the spirit of the precept.
TESTIMONIES OF AUTHORS.
Vida no more the long oblivion fears,
Ally'd to thee, he lives again; thy rhymes
Shall friendly hand him down to latest times ; Forgive th' ambitious fondness of a friend,
Shall do his injur'd reputation right, For such thy worth, 'tis glory to commend;
While in thy work with such success unite To thee, from judgment, such applause is due,
Ilis strength of judgment, and his charms of speech, I praise myself while I ain praising you;
That precepts please, and music seems to teach. As he who bears the lighted torch, receives
Lest unimprov'd I seein to read thee o'er, Himself assistance from the light he gives.
Th’ unhallow'd rapture I indulge no more; So much you please, so vast is my delight,
By thee instructed, I the task forsake, Thy, ev'n thy fancy cannot reach its height.
Nor for chaste love, the lust of verse mistake ; In vain I strive to make the transport known,
Thy works that rais'd this frenzy in my soul, No language can describe it but thy own.
Shall teach the giddy tumult to control : Could'st thou thy genius pour into my heart,
Warm'd as I am with every Muse's charms, Thy copious fancy, thy engaging heart,
Since the coy virgins fly my eager arms, Thy rigorous thoughts, thy manly flow of sense,
I'll quit the work', throw by my strong desire, Thy strong and glowing paint of eloquence;
And from thy praise reluctantly retire.
DR. COBDEN TO MR. PITT. In every line, in every word you speak,
ON HIS HAVING A BAY LEAF SENT HIM FROM VIRGIL'S I read the Roman and confess the Greek; Forgetting thee, my soul with rapture swellid, Cries out,“ How much the ancient bards excell?d !” | Forgive me, sir, if I approve But when thy just translations introduce
The ju:Igment of your friend, To nearer converse any Latian Muse,
Who chose this token of his love
From Virgil's tomb to send.
You, who the Mantuan poet dress
In purest English lays, (By so much nature, so much art betray'd)
Who all his soul and flame express, “ What vast improvements have our moderns May justly claim his bays. made !"
Those bays, which, water'd by your hand, How vain and unsuccessful seems the toil,
From Vida's spring shall rise,
And, with fresh verdure crown'd, withstand
The lightning of the skies.
His matchless strains pursue, Not an insipid beauty only yield,
As, from Achilles' tomb inspir'd,
The youth a rival grew.
"See Mr. Pitts translation of Vida.
AN EPISTLE TO
This hadst thou seen, thy willing Muse would raise
To what bold heights our daring hopes may climb?
The theme so great ! the poet so sublime !
I saw him, Young, and to these ravish'd eyes,
Ev'n now his godlike figure seems to rise : - ON THE REVIEW AT SARUM,
Mild, yet majestic, was the monarch's mien, 1722.
Lovely though great, and awful though serene,
(More than a coin or picture can unfold; Wie with your Dodington retir'd you sit, Too faint the colours, and too base the gold !) Charm'd with his flowing Burgundy and wit; At the blest sight, transported and amaz'd, By turns relieving with the circling draught, One universal shout the thousands rais'd, Each pause of chat, and interval of thought : And crowds on crowds grew loyal as they gaz'd. Or through the well-glaz'd tube, from business His foes (if any) own'd the monarch's cause, Draw the rich spirit of the Indian weed; (freed, And chang'd their groundless clamours to applause; Or bid your eyes o'er Vanbrugh's models roam, Ev'n giddy Faction haild the glorious day, And trace in miniature the future dome
And wondering Envy look'd her rage away. (While busy fancy with imagin'd power
As Ceres q'er the globe her chariot drew, Builds up the work of ages in an hour);
And harvests ripen'd where the goddess flew ; Or, lost in thought, contemplative you rove, So, where his gracious footsteps he inclin'd, Through opening vistas, and the shady grove; Peace flew before, and Plenty march'd behind. Where a new Eden in the wilds is found,
Where wild affliction rages, he appears And all the seasons in a spot of ground :
To wipe the widow's and the orphan's tears : There, if you exercise your tragic rage,
The sons of misery before himn bow, To bring some hero on the British stage;
And for their merit only plead their woe. Whose cause the audience with applause will crown, So well he loves the public liberty, And make his triumphs or his tears their own : His mercy sets the private captive free. Throw by the bold design; and paint no more Soon as our royal angel came in view, Imagin'd chiefs, and monarchs of an hour; The prisons burst, the starting hinges flew; From fabled worthies, call thy Muse to sing The dungeons open'd, and resign'd their prey, Of real wonders, and Britannia's king. (train To joy, to life, to freedom, and the day:
Oh! had'st thou seen him, when the gathering The chains drop off; the grateful captives rear Fill'd up proud Sarum's wide-extended plain! Their hands unmanacled in praise and prayer. Then, when he stoop'd from awful majesty, Had thus victorious Cæsar sought to please, Put on the man, and laid the sovereign by; And rul’d the vanquish'd world with arts like these; When the glad nations saw their king appear, The generous Brutus had not scorn'd to bend, Begirt with armies, and the pride of war; But sunk the rigid patriot in the friend ; More pleas'd his people's longing eyes to bless,
Nor to that bold excess of virtue ran, He look'd, and breath'd benevolence and peace: To stab the monarch, where he lov'd the man. When in his hand Britannia's awful lord,
And Cato, reconcild, had ne'er disdain'd Held forth the olive, while he grasp'd the sword. To live a subject, where a Brunswick reign'd. So Jove, though arm'd to blast the Titan's pride, But I detain your nobler Muse too long, With all his burning thunders at his side,
From the great thema, that mocks my humble Fram'd, while he terrify'd the distant foe,
song, His scheme of blessings for the world below. A theme that asks a Virgil, or a Young.
ON THE APPROACHING
Turn Heaven's eternal volume o'er,
And look for this distinguish'd hour;
Consult the page of Britain's state,
Before you elose the books of Fate :
What cras from this birth begin,
What years from this blest hour must run,
As bright and lasting as the Sun.
Far from the ken of mortal sight, Stand, all ye winged guardians, by;
These secrets are involv'd in night: Your golden pinions kindly spread,
The blessings which this birth pursue,
Are only known to Heaven and you.
MARRIAGE OF THE PRINCE OF ORANGE,
AND THE PRINCESS ROYAL OF ENGLAND!,' But live, Britannia to adorn
When Nassau ey'd his native coasts no more, With kings and princes yet unborn.
And first discern'd fair Albion's whitening shore; Ye angels, come without delay;
In that blest moment, while the friendly gales Britannia's genius, come away.
Wait on his course, and stretch the swelling sails, Assuage her pains, and Albion's fears,
The deeps divide; and, as the waves unclose, For Albion's life depends on her's.
The genius of the British ocean rose. Oh then! to save her from despair,
Loose to the wind his sea-green mantle flow'd, Lean down, and listen to her prayer.
And in his eyes unusual pleasure glow'd. Crown all her tortures with delight,
Awile he paus'd, to mark on Nassau's face And call th' auspicious babe to light.
The well-known features of the godlike race; We hope from your propitious care,
Whose swords were sacred to the generous cause All that is brave, or all that's fair.
Of truth, religion, liberty, and laws : A youth, to match his sire in arms;
Then spoke; the winds a still attention keep, Or nymph, to match her mother's charms;
And awful silence hush'd the murmuring deep: A youth, who over kings shall reign,
“ Proceed, great prince, to our lov'd coast repair, Or nymph, whom kings shall court in vain.
Where Anna shines the fairest of the fair: Froin far the royal slaves shall come,
For thy distinguish'd bed the Fates ordain And wait from him or her their doom;
The royal maid, whom kings might court in rain; To each their different suits shall move,
The royal maid, in whom the Graces join'd (mind. And pay their homage, or their love.
Her mother's awful charms, and more than female
The merits of thy race, the vast arrear
That Britain owes, shall all be paid in her ;
In her be paid the debt for laws restor'd,
For England sav'd by William's righteous sword. Those eyes, that shine as bright as you;
Immortal William ! -At thy sacred name With scenes of bliss, transporting themes !
My hearts beats quick, and owns its ancient fame Prompt and inspire her golden dreams :
Still must I call to mind the glorious day, Let visionary blessings rise,
When through these floods the hero plough'd his And swim before her closing eyes.
To free Britannia from the tyrant's chain, (way, The sense of torture to subdue,
And bid the prostrate nations rise again. Set Britain's happiness to view ;
Well-pleas'd I saw his fluttering streamers fly, That sight her spirits will sustain,
And the full sails that hid the distant sky.
High on the gilded stern, majestic rode
The world's great patriot, like a guardian god.
This trident aw'd the tumults of the sea,
And bade the winds the hero's nod obey : Come, and rejoice; th' important hour
Fond of the task, with this officious hand Is past, and all our fears are o'er ;
I push'd the sacred vessel to the land;
The land of Liberty, by Rome enslar'd;
He came, he saw, he vanquish'd, and he sav'd.
“ O may that hero, and thy Anna's sire She hangs in rapture o'er the child,
To noblest deeds thy generous bosom fire,
And with their bright transmissive virtues grace There, pleas'd her image to survey,
The great descendants of thy princely race! She melts in tenderness away; Smiles o'er the babe, nor smiles in vain,
Originally printed in the Epithalamia OxoThe babe returns th' auspicious smile again.
njensia, Oxonii, 1734, in the name of Mr. Spence; Ye angels, come without delay;
but now reclaimed as Mr. Pitt's on the authority of Britannia's genius, come away.
Bishop Lowth. N.