Oldalképek
PDF

when on his couch he sinks at length to rest,
Those by his counsel saved, his power redress'd,
Those by the World shunn'd ever as unblest,
At whom the rich man's dog growls from the gate,
But whom he sought out, sitting desolate,
Come and stand round—the widow with her child,
As when she first forgot her tears and smiled!
They, who watch by him, see not; but he sees,
sees and exults—Were ever dreams like these?
They, who watch by him, hear not; but he hears,
And Earth recedes, and Heaven itself appears!

Tis past! That hand we grasp'd, alas, in vain!
Nor shall we look upon his face again!
But to his closing eyes, for all were there,
Nothing was wanting; and, through many a year,
we shall remember with a fond delight
the words so precious which we heard to-night;
His parting, though awhile our sorrow flows,
Like setting suns or music at the close !

Then was the drama ended. Not till then, so full of chance and change the lives of men, could we pronounce him happy. Then secure From pain, from grief, and all that we endure, he slept in peace—say rather soard to Heaven, Upborne from Earth by Him to whom 'tis given In his right hand to hold the golden key That opes the portals of Eternity. —when by a good man's grave I muse alone, Methinks an angel sits upon the stone; Like those of old, on that thrice-hallow'd night, who sate and watch'd in raiment heavenly-bright; And, with a voice inspiring joy, not fear, says, pointing upward, that he is not here, That he is risen!

But the day is spent;

And stars are kindling in the firmament,
To us how silent—though like ours perchance
Busy and full of life and circumstance;
where some the paths of Wealth and Power pursue,
of Pleasure some, of Happiness a few; -
And, as the sun goes round—a sun not ours-
While from her lap another Nature showers
Gifs of her own, some from the crowd retire,
think on themselves, within, without inquire;
At distance dwell on all that passes there,
All that their world reveals of good and fair;
And, as they wander, picturing things, like me,
Not as they are, but as they ought to be:
Trace out the Journey through their little Day,
And fondly dream an idle hour away.

NOTES.

Note 1, page 11, col. 2. Our pathway leads but to a precipice. See Bossuet, Sermon sur la Resurrection.

Note 2, page 11, col. 2. We fly; no resting for the foot we find. - I have considered," says Solomon, “all the works that are under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” But who believes it, till Death tells

to know himself. He tells the proud and insolent, that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant. He takes the account of the rich man, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see therein their deformity; and they acknowledge it. O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world have flattered, thou only hast cast out and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet. RALEIGH. Note 3, page 11, col. 2. Through the dim curtains of Futurity. Fancy can hardly forbear to conjecture with what temper Milton surveyed the silent progress of his work, and marked his reputation stealing its way in a kind of subterraneous current through fear and silence. I cannot but conceive him calm and confident, little disappointed, not at all dejected, relying on his own merit with steady consciousness, and waiting, without impatience, the vicissitudes of opinion, and the im: partiality of a future generation—Johnson.

After line 57, col. 2, in the MS. O'er place and time we triumph; on we go, Ranging in thought the realms above, below; Yet, ah, how little of ourselves we know ! And why the heartbeats on, or how the brain says to the foot, ‘Now move, now rest again.' From age to age we search, and search in vain. Note 4, page 12, col. 1. like the stone That sheds awhile a lustre all its own. See “Observations on a diamond that shines in the dark.”—Boyle's Works, i, 789.

Note 5, page 12, col. 1.
schooled and trained up to Wisdom from his birth.

Cicero, in his Essay De Senectute, has drawn his images from the better walks of life; and Shakspeare, in his seven Ages, has done so too. But Shakspeare treats his subject satirically; Cicero as a Philosopher. In the venerable portrait of Cato we discover no traces of “the lean and slippered pantaloon." - Every object has a bright and a dark side; and I have endeavored to look at things as Cicero has done. By some however I may be thought to have followed too much my own dream of happiness; and in such a dream indeed I have often passed a solitary hour. it was castle-building once; now it is no longer so. But whoever would try to realize it, would not perhaps repent of his endeavor.

Note 6, page 12, col. 1. The hour arrives, the moment wished and feared. A Persian Poet has left us a beautiful thought on this subject, which the reader, if he has not met with it, will be glad to know, and, if he has, to remember. Thee on thy mother's knces, a new-born child, In tears we saw, when all around theo smiled. solve, that, sinking in thy last long sleep. Smiles may be thine, when all around thee weep. For my version I am in a great mea" indebted

# us? It is Death alone that can suddenly make man

to Sir William Jones. 25

Note 7, page 12, col. 2. “These are my Jewels'." The anecdote here alluded to, is related by Valerius Maximus, lib. iv, c. 4. Note 8, page 12, col. 2. “Suffer these little ones to come to me!” In our early Youth, while yet we live only among those we love, we love without restraint, and our hearts overflow in every look, word, and action. But when we enter the world and are repulsed by strangers, forgotten by friends, we grow more and more timid in our approaches even to those we love best. How delightful to us then are the little caresses of children! All sincerity, all affection, they fly into our arms; and then, and then only, we feel our first confidence, our first pleasure.

Note 9, page 12, col. 2. —he reveres The brow engraven with the Thoughts of Years. This is a law of Nature. Age was anciently synonymous with power; and we may always observe that the old are held in more or less honor as men are more or less virtuous. “Shame,” says Homer, “bids the youth beware how he accosts the man of many years.” “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of an old man.”—Leviticus. Among us, says a philosophical historian, and wherever birth and possessions give rank and authority, the young and the profligate are seen continually above the old and the worthy: there Age can never find its due respect. But among many of the ancient nations it was otherwise; and they reaped the benefit of it. “Rien ne maintient plus les moeurs qu'une extrême subordination des jeunes gens envers les vieillards. Les uns et les autres seront contenus, ceuxlă par le respect qu'ils auront pour les vieillards, et ceux-ci par le respect qu'ils auront poureux-mêmes.” Montesquiru. Note 10, page 12, col. 2. Like Her most gentle, most unfortunate. Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the Household, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phaedo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some Gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me, “I wist, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato.”—Roger Ascham. Note 11, page 12, col. 2. Then is the Age of Admiration.— Dante in his old age was pointed out to Petrarch when a boy; and Dryden to Pope. Who does not wish that Dante and Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid them, and foreseen the greatness of their young admirers? Note 12, page 13, col. 1.

Scenes such as Milton sought, but sought in vain.

visit Sicily and Greece, when hearing of the troubles in England, he thought it proper to hasten home.

Note 13, page 13, col. 1. And Milton's self. I began thus far to assent... to an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labor and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life), joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something, so written, to after times, as they should not willingly let it die—Milton

Note 14, page 13, col. 1. 't was at matin-time. Love and devotion are said to be nearly allied. Boccaccio fell in love at Naples in the church of St. Lorenzo; as Petrarch had done at Avignon in the church of St. Clair.

Note 15, page 13, col. 2. Lovely before, oh, say how lovely now!

Is it not true, that the young not only appear to be but really are, most beautiful in the presence of those they love? It calls forth all their beauty.

Note 16, page 13, col. 2.

And feeling hearts—touch them but rightly—pour A thousand melodies unheard before: Xenophon has left us a delightful instance of conjugal affection. The king of Armenia not fulfilling his engagement, Cyrus entered the country, and, having taken him and all his family prisoners, ordered them instantly before him. Armenian, said he, you are free; for you are now sensible of your error. And what will you give me, if I restore your wife to you?—All that I am able. What, if I restore your children?—All that I am able. And you, Tigranes, said he, turning to the son, What would you do, to save your wife from servitude Now Tigranes was but lately married, and had a great love for his wife. Cyrus, he replied, to save her from servitude, I would willingly lay down my life. Let each have his own again, said Cyrus; and when he was departed, one spoke of his clemency; and another of his valor; and another of his beauty, and the graces of his person. Upon which, Tigranes asked his wife, if she thought him handsome. Really, said she, I did not look at him.—At whom then did you look —At him who said he would lay down his life for me.—Cyropardia, l. iii. Note 17, page 14, col. 2. He goes, and Night comes as it never came :

These circumstances, as well as some others that follow, are happily, as far as they regard England, of an ancient date. To us the miseries inflicted by a foreign invader are now known only by description. Many generations have passed away since our countrywomen saw the smoke of an enemy's camp.

But the same passions are always at work everywhere, and their effects are always nearly the same; though the circumstances that attend them are infinitely various.

Note 18, page 15, col. 1. That House with many a funeral-garland hung.

He had arrived at Naples; and was preparing to

A custom in some of our country-churches.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Note 19, page 15, col. 1.
Soon through the gadding vine, etc.

An English breakfast; which may well excite in others what in Rousseau continued through life, un goit rif pour les déjeńnés. C'est le tems de la journée oil nous sommes les plus tranquilles, oil nous causons le plus à notre aise.

The luxuries here mentioned, familiar to us as they now are, were almost unknown before the Revolution.

Note 20, page 15, col. 2.
Like Hampden struggling in his Country's cause.

Zeuxis is said to have drawn his Helen from an assemblage of the most beautiful women; and many a writer of fiction, in forming a life to his mind, has recourse to the brightest moments in the lives of others.

I may be suspected of having done so here, and of having designed, as it were, from living models; but by making an allusion now and then to those who have really lived, I thought I should give something of interest to the picture, as well as better illustrate my meaning.

Note 21, page 15, col. 2.
On through that gate misnamed.

Traitor's gate, the water-gate in the Tower of

London.
Note 22, page 15, col. 2.
Then to the place of trial.

This very slight sketch of Civil Dissension is taken from our own annals; but, for an obvious reason, not from those of our own Age.

The persons here immediately alluded to lived more than a hundred years ago, in a reign which Blackstone has justly represented as wicked, sanguinary, and turbulent; but such times have always afforded the most signal instances of heroic courage and ardent affection.

Great reverses, like theirs, lay open the human heart. They occur indeed but seldom ; yet all men are liable to them; all, when they occur to others, make them more or less their own ; and, were we to describe our condition to an inhabitant of some other planet, could we omit what forms so striking a circumstance in human life?

Note 23, page 15, col. 2.

and alone. In the reign of William the Third, the law was

altered. A prisoner, prosecuted for high treason,

may now make his full defence by counsel.

Note 24, page 15, col. 2.

Like that sweet Saint who sate by Russel's side Under the Judgment-seat.

Lord Russel. May I have somebody to write, to assist my memory?

Mr. Attorney-General. Yes, a Servant.

Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall assist you in writing anything you please for you.

Lord Russel. My Wife is here, my Lord, to do it—State Trials, ii.

Note 25, page 15, col. 2. Her glory now, as ever her delight.

Epaminondas, after his victory at Leuctra, rejoiced most of all at the pleasure which it would give his father and mother; and who would not have envied them their feelings?

Cornelia was called at Rome the Mother-in-law of Scipio. “When,” said she to her sons, “shall I be called the mother of the Gracchio"

Note 26, page 16, col. 1. Lo, on his back a Son brings in his Sire.

An act of filial piety represented on the coins of Catana, a Greek city, some remains of which are still to be seen at the foot of mount AEtna. The story is told of two brothers, who in this manner saved both their parents. The place from which they escaped was long called the field of the pious; and public games were annually held there to commemorate the event.

Note 27, page 16, col. 2. Oh thou, all-eloquent, whose mighty mind.

Cicero. It is remarkable that, among the comforts of Old Age, he has not mentioned those arising from the society of women and children. Perhaps the husband of Terentia and “the father of Marcus felt something on the subject, of which he was willing to spare himself the recollection.”

Before I conclude, I would say something in favor of the old-fashioned triplet, which I have here ventured to use so often. Dryden seems to have delighted in it, and in many of his most admired poems has used it much oftener than I have done, as for instance in the Hind and Panther," and in Theodore and Honoria, where he introduces it three, four, and even five times in succession.

If I have erred anywhere in the structure of my verse from a desire to follow yet earlier and higher examples, I rely on the sorgiveness of those in whose ear the music of our old versification is still sounding.

1 Pope used to mention this poem as the most correct specimen of Dryden's versification. It was indeed written when he had completely formed his manner, and may be supposed to exhibit, negligence excepted, his deliberate and ultimate scheme of metre.--Johnson. 27

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

PREFACE. EveRy reader turns with pleasure to those passages of Horace, and Pope, and Boileau, which describe how they lived and where they dwelt; and which, being interspersed among their satirical writings, derive a secret and irresistible grace from the contrast, and are admirable examples of what in Painting is termed repose. We have admittance to Horace at all hours. We enjoy the company and conversation at his table; and his suppers, like Plato's, “non solum in praesentia, sed etiam postero die jucundae sunt.” But when we look round as we sit there, we find ourselves in a Sabine farm, and not in a Roman villa. His windows have every charm of prospect; but his furniture might have descended from Cincinnatus; and gems, and pictures, and old marbles, are mentioned by him more than once with a seeming indifference. His English Imitator thought and felt, perhaps, more correctly on the subject; and embellished his garden and grotto with great industry and success. But to these alone he solicits our notice. On the ornaments of his house he is silent; and he appears to have reserved all the minuter touches of his pencil for the library, the chapel, and the banqueting-room of Timon. “Le savoir de notre siècle,” says Rousseau, “tend beaucoup plus a détruire qu'à édifier. On censure d'un ton de maitre; pour proposer, il en saut prendre unautre.” It is the design of this Epistle to illustrate the virtue of True Taste; and to show how little she requires to secure, not only the comforts, but even the elegancies of life. True Taste is an excellent Economist. She confines her choice to few objects, and delights in producing great effects by small means: while False Taste is for ever sighing after the new and the rare; and reminds us, in her works, of the Scholar of Apelles, who, not being able to paint his Helen beautiful, determined to make her fine.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Attracts the eye to exercise the mind.

Point out the green lane rough with fern and flowers, The shelter'd gate that opens to my field, And the white front through mingling elms reveal’d In vain, alas, a village-friend invites To simple comforts, and domestic rites, When the gay months of Carnival resume Their annual round of glitter and perfume; When London hails thee to its splendid mart, Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art; And, lo, majestic as thy manly song, Flows the full tide of human life along. Still must my partial pencil love to dwell On the home-prospects of my hermit-cell; The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green, Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses secn; And the brown pathway, that, with careless flow. Sinks, and is lost among the trees below. Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive) Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live. Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass (1) Browsing the hedge by fits the pannier'd ass; The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight, Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight; And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid, With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade. Far to the south a mountain-vale retires, Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires: Its upland-lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung, Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung : And through the various year, the various day, (2) What scenes of glory burst, and melt away! When April-verdure springs in Grosvenor-square And the furr'd Beauty comes to winter there, She bids old Nature mar the plan no more; Yet still the seasons circle as before. Ah, still as soon the young Aurora plays, Though moons and flambeaux trail their broadest blaze, As soon the sky-lark pours his matin-song, Though evening lingers at the mask so long. There let her strike with momentary ray, As tapers shine their little lives away; There let her practise from herself to steal, And look the happiness she does not feel; The ready smile and bidden blush employ At Faro-routs that dazzle to destroy: Fan with affected ease the essenced air, And lisp of fashions with unmeaning stare. Be thine to meditate a humbler flight, When morning fills the fields with rosy light; Be thine to blend, nor thine a vulgar aim, Repose with dignity, with quiet fame. Here no state-chambers in long line unfold, Bright with broad mirrors, rough with fretted gold, Yet modest ornament, with use combined,

Small change of scene, small space his home requires, (3) Who leads a life of satisfied desires.

What though no marble breathes, no canvas glows, From every point a ray of genius flows! (4) Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill, That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will; And cheaply circulates, through distant climes, The fairest relics of the purest times. Here from the mould to conscious being start Those finer forms, the miracles of art; Here chosen gems, imprest on sulphur, shine, That slept for ages in a second mine; And here the faithful graver dares to trace A Michael's grandeur, and a Raphael's grace! Thy Gallery, Florence, gilds my humble walls, And my low roof the Vatican recalls!

[blocks in formation]

When from his classic dreams the student steals,”
Amid the buzz of crowds, the whirl of wheels,
To muse unnoticed—while around him press
The meteor-forms of equipage and dress;
Alone, in wonder lost, he seems to stand
A very stranger in his native land!
And (though perchance of current coin possest,
And modern phrase by living lips exprest)
Like those blest Youths, (10) forgive the fabling page,
Whose blameless lives deceived a twilight age,
Spent in sweet slumbers; till the miner's spade
Unclosed the cavern, and the morning play'd.
Ah! what their strange surprise, their wild delight!
New arts of life, new manners meet their sight!
In a new world they wake, as from the dead;
Yet doubt the trance dissolved, the vision fled!
O come, and, rich in intellectual wealth,
Blend thought with exercise, with knowledge health!
Long, in this shelter'd scene of letter'd talk,
With sober step repeat the pensive walk;
Nor scorn, when graver triflings fail to please,
The cheap amusements of a mind at ease;
Here every care in sweet oblivion cast,
And many an idle hour—not idly pass'd. '
No tuneful echoes, ambush'd at my gate,
Catch the blest accents of the wise and great. (11)
Vain of its various page, no Album breathes
The sigh that Friendship or the Muse bequeaths.
Yet some good Genii o'er my hearth preside,
Oft the far friend, with secret spell, to guide;
And there I trace, when the grey evening lours,
A silent chronicle of happier hours!

When Christmas revels in a world of snow, And bids her berries blush, her carols flow; His spangling shower when Frost the wizard flings Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings, O'er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves, And gems with icicles the sheltering eves; —Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues, What time the sun the yellow crocus wooes, Screened from the arrowy North; and duly hies • To meet the morning-rumor as it flies; To range the murmuring market-place, and view The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew.

When Spring bursts forth in blossoms through the

vale,

And her wild music triumphs on the gale,
Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile;"
Oft in my porch the listless noon beguile, -
Framing loose numbers, till declining day
Through the green trellis shoots a crimson ray;
Till the West-wind leads on the twilight hours,
And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »