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Nor shall thy song, old Thames! forbear to shine, At once the subject and the song divine.
Peace, sung by thee, shall please ev'n Britons more
Than all their shouts for victory before.
Oh! could Britannia imitate thy stream,
The world should tremble at her awful name:
From various springs divided waters glide,
In different colours roll a different tide,
Murmur along their crooked banks awhile,
At once they murmur, and enrich the isle;
A while distinct through many channels run,
But meet at last, and sweetly flow in one;
There joy to lose their long-distinguish'd names,
And make one glorious and immortal Thames.
TO MR. POPE,
BY GEORGE LORD LYTTELTON.
From Rome, 1730.
IMMORTAL bard! for whom each Muse has wave
The fairest garlands of the' Aonian grove;
Preserv'd, our drooping genius to restore,
When Addison and Congreve are no more;
After so many stars extinct in night,
The darken'd ages last remaining light!
To thee, from Latian realms this verse is writ,
Inspir'd by memory of ancient wit,
For now no more these climes their influence boast,
Fall'n is their glory, and their virtue lost;
From tyrants, and from priests, the Muses fly,
Daughters of Reason and of Liberty.
Nor Baiæ now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
Nor on the banks of Nar, or Mincia rove;
To Thames's flowery borders they retire,
And kindle in thy breast the Roman fire.
So in the shades, where cheer'd with summer rays
Melodious linnets warbled sprightly lays,
Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
Of gloomy winter's unauspicious reign,
No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful silence saddens all the grove.
Unhappy Italy! whose alter'd state
Has felt the worst severity of fate:
Not that barbarian hands her fasces broke,
And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
Nor that her palaces to earth are thrown,
Her cities desert, and her fields unsown;
But that her ancient spirit is decay'd,
That sacred Wisdom from her bounds is fled,
That there the source of science flows no more,
Whence its rich streams supplied the world before.
Illustrious names! that once in Latium shin'd,
Born to instruct, and to command mankind;
Chiefs, by whose virtue mighty Rome was rais'd,
And poets, who those chiefs sublimely prais'd!
Oft I the traces you have left explore,
Your ashes visit, and your urns adore;
Oft kiss, with lips devout, some mouldering stone,
With ivy's venerable shade o'ergrown ;
Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to see,
Than all the pomp of modern luxury.
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flowers I strow'd, While with the' inspiring Muse my bosom glow'd, Crown'd with eternal bays my ravish'd eyes Beheld the poet's awful form arise :—
'Stranger,' he said, 'whose pious hand has paid
These grateful rites to my attentive shade,
When thou shalt breathe thy happy native air,
To POPE this message from his master bear:
"Great Bard, whose numbers I myself inspire,
To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,
If high exalted on the throne of wit,
Near me and Homer thou aspire to sit,
No more let meaner satire dim the rays,
That flow majestic from thy nobler bays;
In all the flowery paths of Pindus stray,
But shun that thorny, that unpleasing way;
Nor, when each soft engaging Muse is thine,
Address the least attractive of the Nine.
Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise
A lasting column to thy country's praise,
To sing the land, which yet alone can boast
That liberty corrupted Rome has lost;
Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid,
And plants her palm beneath the olive's shade.
Such was the theme for which my lyre I strung,
Such was the people whose exploits I sung;
Brave, yet refin'd, for arms and arts renown'd,
With different bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd,
Dauntless opposers of tyrannic sway,
But pleas'd, a mild Augustus to obey.
If these commands submissive thou receive,
Immortal and unblam'd thy name shall live:
Envy to black Cocytus shall retire,
And howl with furies, in tormenting fire;
Approving Time shall consecrate thy lays,
And join the patriot's to the poet's praise."
TO MR. POPE,
ON THE PUBLISHING HIS WORKS.
By Simon Harcourt.
He comes, he comes! bid every bard prepare
The song of triumph, and attend his car.
Great Sheffield's Muse the long procession heads,
And throws a lustre o'er the pomp she leads,
First gives the palm she fir'd him to obtain,
Crowns his gay brow, and shows him how to reign.
Thus young Alcides, by old Chiron taught,
Was form'd for all the miracles he wrought:
Thus Chiron did the youth he taught applaud,
Pleas'd to behold the earnest of a god. [joice!
But hark! what shouts, what gathering crowds re-
Unstain'd their praise by any venal voice,
Such as the' ambitious vainly think their due,
When prostitutes or needy flatterers sue,
And see the chief! before him laurels borne ;
Trophies from undeserving temples torn ;
Here Rage, enchain'd, reluctant raves, and there
Pale Envy dumb and sickening with despair;
Prone to the earth she bends her loathing eye,
Weak to support the blaze of majesty.
But what are they that turn the sacred page?
Three lovely virgins, and of equal age!
Intent they read, and all enamour'd seem,
As he that met his likeness in the stream:
The Graces these; and see how they contend,
Who most shall praise, who best shall recommend.
The chariot now the painful steep ascends, The pæans cease, thy glorious labour ends. Here fix'd, the bright eternal temple stands, Its prospect an unbounded view commands: Say, wondrous youth, what column wilt thou choose, What laurel'd arch for thy triumphant Muse? Though each great ancient court thee to his shrine, Though every laurel through the dome be thine, (From the proud epic, down to those that shade The gentler brow of the soft Lesbian maid) Go to the good and just, an awful train, Thy soul's delight and glory of the fane: While through the earth thy dear remembrance flies, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.'