Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

The promis'd seat of empire shall again
Cover the mountain, and command the plain;
And, from thy race distinguish'd, one shall spring,
Greater in act than victor, more than king
In dignity and power, sent down from heaven,
To succour Earth. To him, To him, 'tis given,
Passion, and care, and anguish, to destroy.
Through him, soft peace, and plenitude of joy,
Perpetual o'er the world redeem'd shall flow
No more may man inquire, nor angel know.

;

""

"Now, Solomon! remembering who thou art, Act through thy remnant life the decent part. Go forth be strong: with patience and with care Perform, and suffer: to thyself severe, Gracious to others, thy desires suppress'd, Diffus'd thy virtues; first of men! be best. Thy sum of duty let two words contain; (0 may they graven in thy heart remain!) Be humble, and be just.' The angel said :With upward speed his agile wings he spread; Whilst on the holy ground I prostrate lay, By various doubts impell'd, or to obey, Or to object; at length (my mournful look Heaven-ward erect) determin'd, thus I spoke : Supreme, all-wise, eternal Potentate!, Sole Author, sole Disposer of our fate! Enthron'd in light and immortality, Whom no man fully sees, and none can see! Original of beings! Power divine! Since that I live, and that I think, is thine! Benign Creator! let thy plastic hand Dispose its own effect; let thy command Restore, Great Father! thy instructed son; And in my act may thy great will be done!"

[ocr errors]

THE THIEF AND THE CORDELIER,

A BALLAD:

To the Tune of King John and the Abbot of Canterbury.
WHO has e'er been at Paris, must needs know the
Grève,

The fatal retreat of th' unfortunate brave;
Where Honour and Justice most oddly contribute
To ease heroes' pains by a halter and gibbet.
Derry down, down, hey derry down.

There Death breaks the shackles which Force had put on, [begun; And the hangman completes what the judge but There the squire of the pad, and the knight of the post, [no more crost. Find their pains no more balk'd, and their hopes Derry down, &c.

Great claims are there made, and great secrets are known; [own. And the king, and the law, and the thief, has his But my hearers cry out, "What a deuce dost thou ail?

Cut off thy reflections, and give us thy tale." Derry down, &c.

scene,

The squire, whose good grace was to open the [begin: Seem'd not in great haste that the show should Now fitted the halter, now travers'd the cart, And often took leave, but was loth to depart. Derry down, &c.

"Twas there then, in civil respect to harsh laws, And for want of false witness to back a bad cause, A Norman, though late, was obliged to appear; And who to assist, but a grave Cordelier!

Derry down, &c.

"What frightens you thus, my good son?" says the priest:

"You murder'd, are sorry, and have been confest." "O father! my sorrow will scarce save my bacon; For twas not that I murder'd, but that I was taken." Derry down, &c.

"Pough! pr'ythee ne'er trouble thy head with such fancies:

Rely on the aid you shall have from Saint Francis : If the money you promis'd be brought to the chest, You have only to die: let the church do the rest. Derry down, &c.

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

That, thrown again upon the coast
Where first my shipwreck'd heart was lost,
I may once more repeat my pain;
Once more in dying notes complain
Of slighted vows, and cold disdain.

THE GARLAND.

THE pride of every grove I chose,
The violet sweet and lily fair,
The dappled pink, and blushing rose
To deck my charming Chloe's hair.

At morn the nymph vouchsaf'd to place Upon her brow the various wreath; The flowers less blooming than her face, The scent less fragrant than her breath.

The flowers she wore along the day:

And every nymph and shepherd said, That in her hair they look'd more gay

Than glowing in their native bed.

Undrest at evening, when she found

Their odours lost, their colours past; She chang'd her look, and on the ground Her garland and her eye she cast.

That eye dropt sense distinct and clear,
As any Muse's tongue could speak,
When from its lid a pearly tear

Ran trickling down her beauteous cheek.

Dissembling what I knew too well,

"My love, my life," said I, "explain This change of humour: pr'ythee tell:

That falling tear-what does it mean?"

She sigh'd; she smil'd; and, to the flowers
Pointing, the lovely moralist said:
"See, friend, in some few fleeting hours,
See yonder, what a change is made!

"Ah, me! the blooming pride of May, And that of Beauty, are but one: At morn both flourish bright and gay;

Both fade at evening, pale, and gone.

"At dawn poor Stella danc'd and sung; The amorous youth around her bow'd: At night her fatal knell was rung;

I saw, and kiss'd her in her shroud.

"Such as she is, who died to-day;

Such I, alas! may be to-morrow : Go, Damon, bid thy Muse display

The justice of thy Chloe's sorrow."

AN ENGLISH PADLOCK. MISS Danaë, when fair and young, (As Horace has divinely sung,) Could not be kept from Jove's embrace By doors of steel, and walls of brass.

The reason of the thing is clear,
Would Jove the naked truth aver.
Cupid was with him of the party,
And show'd himself sincere and hearty;
For, give that whipster but his errand,
He takes my lord chief justice' warrant :
Dauntless as Death, away he walks;
Breaks the doors open, snaps the locks;
Searches the parlour, chamber, study;
Nor stops till he has culprit's body.

"Since this has been authentic truth,
By age deliver'd down to youth;
Tell us, mistaken husband, tell us,
Why so mysterious, why so jealous?
Does the restraint, the bolt, the bar,
Make us less curious, her less fair?
The spy, which does this treasure keep,
Does she ne'er say her prayers, nor sleep?
Does she to no excess incline?
Does she fly music, mirth, and wine?
Or have not gold and flattery power
To purchase one unguarded hour?

"Your care does further yet extend:
That spy is guarded by your friend.-
But has this friend nor eye nor heart?
May he not feel the cruel dart,
Which, soon or late, all mortals feel?
May he not, with too tender zeal,
Give the fair prisoner cause to see,
How much he wishes she were free?
May he not craftily infer

The rules of friendship too severe,
Which chain him to a hated trust;
Which make him wretched, to be just?
And may not she, this darling she,

Youthful and healthy, flesh and blood, Easy with him, ill us'd by thee,

Allow this logic to be good?"

"Sir, will your questions never end? I trust to neither spy nor friend. In short, I keep her from the sight Of every human face."-"She'll write.' "From pen and paper she's debarr'd.". "Has she a bodkin and a card?

She'll prick her mind."-" She will, you say:
But how shall she that mind convey?
I keep her in one room: I lock it:
The key, (look here,) is in this pocket.”.
"The key-hole, is that left ?" -"Most cer-
tain."
"She'll thrust her letter through, sir Martin.”.
"Dear, angry friend, what must be done?
"Is there no way?"-"There is but one.
Send her abroad: and let her see,
That all this mingled mass, which she,
Being forbidden, longs to know,
Is a dull farce, an empty show,
Powder, and pocket-glass, and beau;
A staple of romance and lies,
False tears and real perjuries:
Where sighs and looks are bought and sold,
And love is made but to be told:
Where the fat bawd and lavish heir
The spoils of ruin'd beauty share;
And youth, seduc'd from friends and fame,
Must give up age to want and shame.
Let her behold the frantic scene,
The women wretched, false the men :
And when, these certain ills to shun,
She would to thy embraces run;

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

283

JOHN GAY.

some South-sea stock presented to him by secretary Craggs, raised his hopes of fortune at one time to a considerable height; but the loss of the whole of this stock affected him so deeply as to throw him into a dangerous degree of languor, for his recovery from which he made trial of the air of Hampstead. He then wrote a tragedy called "The Captives," which was acted with applause; and in 1726, he

JOHN OHN GAY, a well-known poet, was born at or near Barnstaple, in Devonshire, in 1688. After an education at the free-school of Barnstaple, he was sent to London, where he was put apprentice to a silkmercer. A few years of negligent attendance on the duties of such a station procured him a separation by agreement from his master; and he not long afterwards addicted himself to poetical composition, of which the first-fruits were his "Rural Sports," pub-composed the work by which he is best known, his lished in 1711, and dedicated to Pope, then first rising "Fables," written professedly for the young Duke to fame. In the following year, Gay, who possessed of Cumberland, and dedicated to him. In the manmuch sweetness of disposition, but was indolent and ner of narration there is considerable ease, together improvident, accepted an offer from the Duchess of with much lively and natural painting, but they will Monmouth to reside with her as her secretary. He hardly stand in competition with the French fables had leisure enough in this employment to produce of La Fontaine. Gay naturally expected a handin the same year his poem of " Trivia, or the Art of some reward for his trouble; but upon the accession Walking the Streets of London," which proved one of George II. nothing better was offered him than of the most entertaining of its class. It was much the post of gentleman-usher to the young Princess admired; and displayed in a striking manner that Louisa, which he regarded rather as an indignity talent for the description of external objects which than a favour, and accordingly declined. peculiarly characterised the author.

In 1714, he made his appearance from the press on a singular occasion. Pope and Ambrose Philips had a dispute about the respective merits of their pastorals; upon which, Gay, in order to serve the cause of his friend, undertook to compose a set of pastorals, in which the manners of the country should be exhibited in their natural coarseness, with a view of proving, by a sort of caricature, the absurdity of Philips's system. The offer was accepted; and Gay, who entitled his work "The Shepherd's Week," went through the usual topics of a set of pastorals in a parody, which is often extremely humorous. But the effect was in one respect different from his intended purpose; for his pictures of rural life were so extremely natural and amusing, and intermixed with circumstances so beautiful and touching, that his pastorals proved the most popular works of the kind in the language. This performance was dedicated to Lord Bolingbroke; and at this period Gay seems to have obtained a large share of the favour of the Tory party then in power. He was afterwards nominated secretary to the Earl of Clarendon, in his embassy to the court of Hanover; but the death of Queen Anne recalled him from his situation, and he was advised by his friends not to neglect the opportunity afforded him to ingratiate himself with the new family. He accordingly wrote a poetical epistle upon the arrival of the Princess of Wales, which compliment procured him the honour of the attendance of the prince and princess at the exhibition of a new dramatic piece.

Gay had now many friends, as well among persons of rank, as among his brother-poets; but little was yet done to raise him to a state of independence. A subscription to a collection of his poems published in 1720, cleared him a thousand pounds; and

The time, however, arrived when he had little occasion for the arts of a courtier to acquire a degree of public applause greater than he had hitherto experienced. In 1727, his famous " Beggar's Opera" was acted at Lincolns-inn-fields, after having been refused at Drury-lane. To the plan of burlesquing the Italian operas by songs adapted to the most familiar tunes, he added much political satire de rived from his formet disappointments; and the result was a composition unique in its kind, of which the success could not with any certainty be foreseen. "It will either (said Congreve) take greatly, or be damned confoundedly." Its fate was for some time in suspense; at length it struck the nerve of public taste, and received unbounded applause. It ran through sixty-three successive representations in the metropolis, and was performed a proportional number of times at all the provincial theatres. Its songs were all learned by heart, and its actors were raised to the summit of theatric fame. This success, indeed, seems to indicate a coarseness in the national taste which could be delighted with the repetition of popular ballad-tunes, as well as a fondness for the delineation of scenes of vice and vulgarity. Gay himself was charged with the mischiefs he had thus, perhaps unintentionally, occasioned; and if the Beggar's Opera delighted the stage, it encountered more serious censure in graver places than has been bestowed on almost any other dramatic piece. By making a highwayman the hero, he has incurred the odium of rendering the character of a freebooter an object of popular ambition; and, by furnishing his personages with a plea for their dishonesty diawn from the universal depravity of mankind, he has been accused of sapping the foundations of all social morality. The author wrote a second part of this work, entitled "Polly, but the Lord Cham

« ZurückWeiter »