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Her gifts despis'd, Corruption blush'd and fled,
And Fame pursu'd him where Conviction led.
Age call'd, at length, his active mind to rest,
With honour sated, and with cares opprest;
To letter'd ease retir'd, and honest mirth,
To rural grandeur and domestick worth:
Delighted still to please mankind, or mend,
The patriot's fire yet sparkled in the friend.
Calm Conscience, then, his former life survey'd,
And recollected toils endear'd the shade,
Till Nature call'd him to the gen'ral doom,
And Virtue's sorrow dignified his tomb.
TO MISS HICKMAN,*
PLAYING ON THE SPINET.
BRIGHT Stella, form'd for universal reign,
Too well you know to keep the slaves you gain;
When in your eyes resistless lightnings play,
Aw'd into love our conquer'd hearts obey,
And yield reluctant to despotic sway:
But when your musick soothes the raging pain,
We bid propitious Heav'n prolong your reign,
We bless the tyrant, and we hug the chain.
When old Timotheus struck the vocal string,
Ambition's fury fir'd the Grecian king:
Unbounded projects lab'ring in his mind,
He pants for room in one poor world confin'd.
Thus wak'd to rage, by musick's dreadful pow'r,
He bids the sword destroy, the flame devour.
Had Stella's gentle touches mov'd the lyre,
Soon had the monarch felt a nobler fire;
No more delighted with destructive war,
Ambitious only now to please the fair;
Resign'd his thirst of empire to her charms,
And found a thousand worlds in Stella's arms.
These lines, which have been communicated by Dr. Turton, son to Mrs. Turton, the lady to whom they are addressed by her maiden name of Hickman, must have been written at least as early as 1734, as that was the year of her marriage: at how much earlier a period of Dr. Johnson's life they may have been written, is not known.
PARAPHRASE OF PROVERBS, CHAP. VI.
VERSES 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
"Go to the Ant, thou Sluggard."*
TURN on the prudent ant thy heedful eyes,
Observe her labours, sluggard, and be wise:
No stern command, no monitory voice,
Prescribes her duties, or directs her choice;
Yet, timely provident, she hastes away,
To snatch the blessings of the plenteous day;
When fruitful summer loads the teeming plain,
She crops the harvest, and she stores the grain.
How long shall Sloth usurp thy useless hours,
Unnerve thy vigour, and enchain thy pow'rs?
While artful shades thy downy couch inclose,
And soft solicitation courts repose.
Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight,
Year chases year with unremitted flight,
Till want now following, fraudulent and slow
Shall spring to seize thee like an ambush'd foe.
HORACE, LIB. IV. ODE VII. TRANSLATED.
THE Snow, dissolv'd, no more is seen,
The fields and woods, behold! are green;
The changing year renews the plain,
The rivers know their banks again;
The sprightly nymph and naked grace
The mazy dance together trace;
The changing year's successive plan
Proclaims mortality to man;
Rough winter's blasts to spring give way,
Spring yields to summer's sov'reign ray;
Then summer sinks in autumn's reign,
And winter chills the world again;
In Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies, but now printed from the original in Dr. Johnson's own hand-writing.
Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man when once he lies
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is nought but ashes and a shade.
Who knows if Jove, who counts our score,
Will toss us in a morning more?
What with your friend you nobly share,
At least you rescue from your heir.
Not you, Torquatus, boast of Rome,
When Minos once has fix'd your doom,
Or eloquence, or splendid birth,
Or virtue, shall restore to earth.
Hippolytus, unjustly slain,
Diana calls to life in vain ;
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of Hell that hold his friend.
The following TRANSLATIONS, PARODIES, and BURLESQUE VERSES, most of them extempore, are taken from ANECDOTES of Dr. JOHNSON, published by Mrs. Piozzi.
ANACREON, ODE IX.
LOVELY Courier of the sky,
Whence and whither dost thou fly?
Scatt'ring, as thy pinions play,
Liquid fragrance all the way:
Is it business? is it love?
tell me, gentle dove.
Soft Anacreon's vows I bear,
Vows to Myrtale the fair;
Grac'd with all that charms the heart,
Blushing nature, smiling art.
Venus, courted by an ode,
On the bard her dove bestow'd:
Vested with a master's right,
Now Anacreon rules my flight;
His the letters that you see,
Weighty charge, consign'd to me:
Think not yet my service hard,
Joyless task without reward;
Smiling at my master's gates,
Freedom my return awaits;
But the lib'ral grant in vain
Tempts me to be wild again.
Can a prudent dove decline
Blissful bondage such as mine?
Over hills and fields to roam,
Fortune's guest without a home
Under leaves to hide one's head,
Slightly shelter'd, coarsely fed:
Now my better lot bestows
Sweet repast and soft repose;
Now the gen'rous bowl I sip
As it leaves Anacreon's lip:
Void of care, and free from dread,
From his fingers snatch his bread;
Then, with luscious plenty gay,
Round his chamber dance and play;
Or from wine, as courage springs,
O'er his face extend my wings;
And when feast and frolick tire,
Drop asleep upon his lyre.
This is all, be quick and go,
More than all thou canst not know
Let me now my pinions ply,
I have chatter'd like a pye.
WRITTEN IN RIDICULE OF CERTAIN POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1777.
WHERESOE'ER I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong;
Phrase that time hath flung away,
Uncouth words in disarray,
Trick'd in antique ruff and bonnet,
Ode, and elegy, and sonnet.
FROM THE MEDEA OF EURIPIDES.
ERR shall they not, who resolute explore
Times gloomy backward with judicious eyes;
And, scanning right the practices of yore,
Shall deem our hoar progenitors unwise.
They to the dome where Smoke with curling play
Announc'd the dinner to the regions round,
Summon'd the singer blythe, and harper gay,
And aided wine with dulcet-streaming sound.
The better use of notes, or sweet or shrill,
By quiv'ring string or modulated wind; Trumpet or lyre-to their harsh bosoms chill
Admission ne'er had sought, or could not find. Oh! send them to the sullen mansions dun,
Her baleful eyes where Sorrow rolls around; Where gloom-enamour'd Mischief loves to dwell,
And Murder, all blood-bolter'd, schemes the wound.
When cates luxuriant pile the spacious dish,
And purple nectar glads the festive hour; The guest, without a want, without a wish, Can yield no room to musick's soothing pow'r.