« PreviousContinue »
TO MR. HOBBES.
That all the wardrobe of rich Eloquence Vast bodies of philosophy
Could have afforded half enough,
Of bright, of new, and lasting stuff,
To cloathe the mighty limbs of thy gigantic Sense, Or bodies by art fashioned ;
Thy solid reason, like the shield from Heaven I never yet the living soul could see,
To the Trojan hero given, But in thy books and thee!
Too strong to take a mark from any mortal dart,
Yet shines with gold and gems in every part, 'Tis only God can know Whether the fair idea thou dost show
And wonders on it grav'd by the learn'd hand of Agree entirely with his own or no.
A shield that gives delight
[Art! This I dare boldly tell,
Ev'n to the enemies' sight, 'Tis so like truth, 'twill serve our turn as well.
Then, when they're sure to lose the combat by't. Just, as in Nature, thy proportions be,
Nor can the snow, which now cold Age does shed As full of concord their variety,
Upon thy reverend head, As firm the parts upon their centre rest,
Quench or allay the noble fires within ; And all so solid are, that they, at least
But all which thou hast been, As much as Nature, emptiness detest.
And all that youth can be thou 'rt yet!
So fully still dost thou
Enjoy the manhood and the bloom of Wit,
And all the natural heat, but not the fever too! Saw his own country's short-liv'd leopard slain;
So contraries on Etna's top conspire;
Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks out fire! Mecca itself, in spite of Mahomet, possest,
A secure peace the faithful neighbours keep;
Th' embolden'd snow next to the flame does sleep! And, chac'd by a wild deluge from the East,
And if we weigh, like thee, His monarchy new planted in the West.
Nature and causes, we shall see But, as in time each great imperial race
That thus it needs must be Degenerates, and gives some new one place:
To things immortal, Time can do so wrong, So did this noble empire waste,
And that which never is to die, for ever must be Sunk by degrees from glories past, And in the school-men's hands it perish'd quite at
young. Then nought but words it grew, [last:
And those all barbarous too:
Hoc quoque fatale est sic ipsum expendero The fields, which answer'd well the ancients'
STRANGE and unnatural! let's stay and see Spent and out-worn, return no barvest now; In barren age wild and unglorious lie,
This pageant of a prodigy. And boast of past fertility,
Lo, of themselves th’enliven'd Chess-men move! The poor relief of present poverty.
Lo, the unbred, ill-organ'd pieces prove Food and fruit we now must want,
As full of art and industry, Unless new lands we plant.
Of courage and of policy,
(we! We break-up tombs with sacrilegious hands;
As we ourselves, who think there's nothing wise but Old rubbish we remove ;
Here a proud Pawn I admire, To walk in ruins, like vain ghosts, we love,
That, still advancing higher, And with fond divining wands
At top of all became We search among the dead
Another thing and name; For treasures buried;
Here I'm amaz'd at th' actions of a Knignt, Whilst still the liberal Earth does hold
That does bold wonders in the fight; So many virgin-mines of undiscover'd gold.
Here I the losing party blame,
For those false moves that break the game, The Baltic, Euxine, and the Caspian,
That to their grave, the bag, the conquer'd And slender-limb'd Mediterranean,
pieces bring, Seern narrow creeks to thee, and only fit And, above all, th' ill-conduct of the Mated For the poor wretched fisher-boats of wit:
king. Thy nebler vessel the vast ocean tries, And nothing sees but seas and skies,
“Whate'er these seem, whate'er philosophy Till unknown regions it descries,
And sense or reasou tell,” said I, Thou great Columbus of the golden lands of new
“ These things bave life, election, liberty; philosophies !
'Tis their own wisdom moulds their state, Thy task was harder much than his;
Their faults and virtues make their fate. For thy learn'd America is
They do, they do," said I ; but straight, Not only found-out first by thee,
Lo! from my enlighten'd eyes the mists and And rudely left to future industry ;
shadows fell, But thy eloquence and thy wit,
That hinder spirits from being visible ;
With man, alas! no otherwise it proves;
An unseen hand makes all their moves; (Nor, being my own self so poor,
And some are great, and some are small, Could comprebend so vast a store)
Some climb to good, some from good-fòrtune fall;
Some wise-men, and some fools, we call; But as her beams reflected pass Figures, alas ! of speech, for Destiny plays us Through our own Nature or Ill-custom's glass: all.
As 'tis no wonder, so, Me from the womb the midwife Muse did take:
If with dejected eye She cut my navel, wash'd me, and mine head
In standing pools we seek the sky, With her own hands she fashioned ;
That stars, so high above, should seem to us below. She did a covenant with me make, (spake : Can we stand by and see And circumcis'd my tender soul, and thus she Our mother robb’d, and bound, and ravish'd be, “ Thou of my church shalt be;
Yet not to her assistance stir, Hate and renounce,” said she,
[me. Pleas'd with the strength and beauty of the ra“Wealth, honour, pleasures, all the world, for Or shall we fear to kill bim, if before (visher ? Thou neither great at court, nor in the war,
The cancell'd name of friend he bore? Nor at th' exchange, shalt be, nor at the wrang- Ingrateful Brutus do they call ? ling bar:
Ingrateful Cæsar, who could Rome enthrall! Content thyself with the small barren praise, An act more barbarous and unnatural That neglected verse does raise.”
(In th’ exact balance of true virtue try'd) She spake, and all my years to come
Than his successor Nero's parricide!
There 's none but Brutus could deserve Their several ways of life let others chuse,
That all men else should wish to serve, Their several pleasures let them use,
And Cæsar's usurp'd place to him should proficr; But I was born for love, and for a Muse.
None can deserve 't but he who would refuse the With Fate what boots it to contend?
offer. Such I began, such am, and so must end.
Il Fate assum'd a body thee t'affright, The star that did my being frame,
And wrap'd itself i'th'terrours of the night : Was but a lambent flame,
“I'll meet thee at Philippi," said the sprite; And some small light it did dispense,
“I'll meet thee there,” saidst thou, But neither heat nor influence.
With such a voice, and such a brow,
Let all her gifts the portion be [thee. Goes out when spirits appear in sight.
One would have thought 't had heard the morn. Fraud, Extortion, Calumny,
ing crow, Murder, Infidelity,
Or seen her well-appointed star
Come marching up the eastern hill afar.
Nor durst it in Philippi's field appear, As all th' inspired tuneful men,
But, unseen, attack'd thee there: And all thy great forefathers, were, from Homer Had it presum'd in any shape thee to oppose, down to Ben.
Thou would'st bave forc'd it back upon thy foes :
Or slain 't, like Cæsar, though it be
A conqueror and a monarch mightier far than he. Excellent Brutus ! of all human race
What joy can human things to us afford,
When we see perish thus, by odd events, The best, till Nature was improv'd by Grace;
III men, and wretched accidents, [sword? Till men above themselves Faith raised more
The best cause and best man that ever drew a Than Reason above beasts before.
When we see Virtue was thy life's centre, and from thence
The false Octavius and wild Antony,
God-like Brutus! conquer thee?
What can we say, but thine own tragic wordAnd all the parts upon it lean'd so easily,
That Virtue, which had worship'd been by thee
As the most solid good, and greatest deity, Obey'd the mighty force so willingly, ''hat none could discord or disorder see
By this fatal proof became
An idol only, and a name.
Hold, noble Brutus! and restrain And the whole no more mov'd, than the whole
The bold voice of thy generous disdain : world, could be.
These mighty gulphs are yet
Too deep for all thy judgment and thy wit. From thy strict rule some think that thou didst The time's set forth already which shall quell swerve
Stiff Reason, when it offers to rebel; (Mistaken, honest men !) in Cæsar's blood;
Which these great secrets shall unseal, What mercy could the tyrant's life deserve
And new pbilosophies reveal: From him, who kill'd himself rather than serve ?
A few years more, so soon hadst thou not dy'd, Th'heroic exaltations of good
Would have confounded human Virtue's pride, Are so far from understood,
And show'd thee a God crucify’d. We count i hem vice: alas ! our sight's so ill, That things which swiftest move seem to stand TO DR. SCARBOROUGH. We look not upon Virtue in her height, still : On her supreme idea, brave and bright, How long, alas! has our mad nation been, In the original light;
Of epidemic war the tragic scene,
When Slaughter all the while
Who, whilst thy wondrous skill in plants they see, Seem'd, like its sea, embracing round the isle, Fear lest the tree of life should be found out by With tempests, and red waves, noise, and af
And thy well-travell'd knowledge, too, does give Albion no more, nor to be nam'd from white ! No less account of th' empire sensitive; What province or what city did it spare ?
Chiefly of man, whose body is
That active soul's metropolis.
As the great artist in his sphere of glass
So thou know'st all so well that is done within, At the same time let loose Diseases' rage
As if some living crystal man thou ’dst seen.
Nor does this science make thy crown alone,
But whole Apollo is thine own;
His gentler arts, belov'd in vain by me,
From the physician's frequent malady, By wondrous art, and by successful care,
Fantastic incivility : The ruins of a civil war thou dost alone repair !
There are who all their patients' chagrin bave, The inundations of all liquid pain,
As if they took each morn worse potions than they
And this great race of learning thou hast run,
Ere that of life be half yet done;
Thou see'st thyself still fresh and strong,
And like t enjoy thy conquests long.
The first fam'd aphorism thy great master spoke,
Did he lire now he would revoke,
And better things of man report;
For thou dost make life long, and art but short.
As certainly as I;
And all thy noble reparations sink (tality.
Let's e’en compound, and for the present live, Oppressed Nature's necessary course
'Tis all the ready-money Fate can give; It stops in vain ; like Moses, thou
Unbend sometimes thy restless care, Strik'st but the rock, and straight the waters And let thy friends so happy be freely flow.
Tenjoy at once their health and thee :
Some hours, at least, to thine own pleasures spare: The Indian son of Lust (that foul disease Since the whole stock may soon exhausted be, Which did on this bis new-found world but la'ely Bestow 't not all in charity. Yet since a tyranny has planted here, (seize, Let Nature and let Art do what they please, As wide and cruel as the Spaniard there) When all 's done, life is an incurable disease.
Is so quite rooted out by thee,
That thy patients seem to be
LIFE AND FAME.
other! If thou but succour the besieged heart,
What's somebody, or nobody?
We no such pice distinction woven see,
As 'tis “ to be," or not to be." What need there here repeated be'by me
Dream of a shadow! a reflection made
From the false glories of the gay reflected bow,
Is a more solid thiog than thou.
, which dost proudly rise
Up betwixt two eternities !
Yet canst nor wave nor wind sustain,
But, broken and o'erwhelm'd, the endless oceans Dost all the powers and several portions know,
Ourselves then to survive?
That Nothing, man's no wit!
Some with vast costly tombs would purchase it, Through several orbs which one fair planet bear, And by the prvofs of death pretend to live. Where I behold distinctly, as I pass,
“ Here lies the great"-false Marble ! where? The hints of Galileo's glass, Nothing but small and sordid dust lies there.
I touch at last the spangled sphere : Some build enormous mountain-palaces,
Here all th' extended sky The fools and architects to please;
Is but one galaxy, A lasting life in well-hewn stone they rear:
"Tis all so bright and gay, So he, who on th' Egyptain shore
And the joint eyes of night make up a perfect Was slain so many hundred years before,
day. Lives still, (oh ! life most happy and most dear! Where am I now? Angels, and God is here; Oh! life that epicures envy to hear !)
An unexhausted ocean of delight Lives in the dropping ruins of his amphitheatre. Swallows my senses quite, His father-in-law an higher place does claim
And drowns all what, or how, or where! In the seraphic entity of Fame;
Not Paul, who first did thither pass, He, since that toy his death, [breath. And this great world's Columbus was, Does fill all mouths, and breathes in all men's The tyrannous pleasure could express, 'Tis true, the two immortal syllables remain; Oh, 'tis too much for man! but let it ne'er be But, oh, ye learned men! explain
less! What essence, what existence, this,
The mighty Elijah mounted so on high, What substance, whatsubsistence, what hypostasis, That second man who leap'd the ditch where all In six poor letters is!
The rest of mankind fall, In those alone dues the great Cæsar live,
And went not downwards to the sky ! 'Tis all the conquer'd world could give.
With much of pomp and show We poets, madder yet than all,
(As conquering kings in triumph go) With a refin'd fantastic vanity,
Did he to Heaven approach, Think we not only have, but give, eternity.
And wondrous was his way, and wondrous was hit Pain would I see that prodigal,
coach. Who his to morrow would bestow, Por all old Homer's life, e'er since he dy'd tin 'Twas gaudy all ; and rich in every part now |
Of essences, of gems; and spirit of gold
Was its substantial mould,
Drawn forth by chymic angels' art.
Here with moon-beams 'twas silver'd bright,
There double-gilt with the Sun's light; I LEAVE mortality, and things below;
And mystic shapes cut round in it, I have no time in compliments to waste;
Figures that did transcend a vulgar angel's wito Farewell to ye all in haste,
The horses were of temper'd lightning made, For I am call'd to go.
Of all that in Heaven's beauteous pastures feed A whirlwind bears up my dull feet,
The noblest, sprightful'st breed; Th' officious clouds beneath them meet;
And flaming manes their necks array'd: And lo ! I mount, and lo!
They all were shod with diamond, How small the biggest parts of Earth's proud title Not such as here are found, show !
But such light solid ones as shine Where shall I find the noble British land ?
On the transparent rocks o' th' Heaven crystal.
line, Loll at last a northern speck espy, Which in the sea does lie,
Thus mounted the great prophet to the skies; And seems a grain o'th' sand!
Astonish'd men, who oft had seen stars fall,
Or that which so they call,
Wonder'd from hence to see one rise
The soft clouds melted him away; (Oh irony of words !) do call Great Britanie? The snow and frosts which in it lay
Awhile the sacred footsteps bore; I pass by th' arched magazines which hold
The wheels and horses' hoofs hizz'd as they past Th 'eternal stores of frost, and rain, and snow;
He past by th’ Moon and planets, and did fright
All the worlds there which at this meteor gaz'do
And their astrologers amaz'd
With th' unexampled sight.
But where he stopp'd will ne'er be know, play.
Till phenix Nature, aged grown,
To a better thing do aspire, Now into a gentle sea of rolling flame
And mount herself, like him, to eternity in fire l'a plung'd, and still mount higher there,
As flames mount up through air:
So perfect, yet so tame,
TO THE NEW YEAR.
Great Janus! (who dost,sure,my mysteries vies hen, when I was of late a wretchod mortal lover. I With all thine eyes, yet think'st them all too fcu
If thy fore-face do see
With thine old year its voyage take, (find, To the grave's fruitful womb,
That nothing here can truly claim: Alas! what need I thus to pray?
This wretched inn, where we scarce stay to bait, Th' old avaricious Year,
We call our dwelling-place; Whether I would or no, will bear
We call one step a race : At least a part of me away:
But angels, in their full enlighten'd state,
Though never any where they stay, [Hours, Who all the nonsense of our language see;
Who speak things, and our words, their ill-
When we, by a foolish figure, say, All the good wine of life our drunken youth
“ Behold an old man dead !”' then they devours;
Speak properly, and cry, “ Behold a man-child Sourness and lees, which to the bottom sink,
born !” Remain for latter years to drink;
My eyes are open'd, and I see Until, some one offended with the taste,
Through the transparent fallacy : The vessel breaks, and out the wretched relics run
Because we seem wiscly to talk at last.
Like men of business; and for business walk If then, young Year ! thou needst must come,
From place to place, (For in Time's fruitful womb
And mighty voyages we take,
And mighty journeys seem to make,
O’er sea and land, the little point that has na Chuse thy attendants well; for 'tis not thee
space : We fear, but 'tis thy company :
Because we fight, and battles gain; Let neither Loss of Friends, or Fame, or Liberty, Some captives call, and say,“the rest are slain:" Nor pining Sickness, nor tormenting Pain, Because we heap up yellow earth, and so Nor Sadness, nor uncleanly Poverty,
Rich, valiant, wise, and virtuous, seem to grow:
Because we draw a long nobility
From hieroglyphic proofs of heraldry,
And impudently talk of a posterity, Nay, if thou lov'st me, gentle Year!
And, like Egyptian chroniclers, Let not so much as Love be there;
Who write of twenty thousand years,
With mararedies make th' account,
That siugle time might to a sum amount :
We grow at last by custom to believe,
That really we live:
Whilst all these shadows, that for things we
take, Such love I mean, alone,
Are but the empty dreams which in Death's sleep As by thy cruel predecessors has been shown;
we make, Por, though l’ave too much cause to doubtit, But these fantastic errours of our dream I fain would try for once if life can live with- Lead is to solid wrong; out it.
We pray God our friends' torments to prolong, Into the future times why do we pry,
And wish uncharitably for them And seek to antedate our misery?
To be as long a dying as Methusalem. Like jealous men, why are we longing still The ripend soul longs from his prison to come; To see the thing which only seeing makes an ill ? But we would seal, and sow up, if we could, the 'Tis well the face is veild; for 'twere a sight
womb: That would ev'n happiest men affright; We seek to close and plaister up by art And something still they'd spy that would destroy the cracks and breaches of the extended shell, The past and present joy.
And in that narrow cell
Would rudely force to dwell
The noble vigorous bird already wing'd to parte
Awake, and with attention hear,
To what from God, 1, his loud prophet, tell.