Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

endeavour to dissuade the duke of Marlborough from making this general offer, and inform him what he was sure the elector would ask: that he was of a rigid temper, and would not brook the refusal, if that should happen to be the case?

“ Did the pensioner offer to come into the queen's measures, if she would assure them she had no private treaty with France? If she would give them (the Dutch) a share in the Assiento Contract, and the south-sea ship, and send an ambassador to relieve the earl of Strafford, who had shocked them par ses manieres dures et hautaines."

FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

LORD HERVEY ON MR. POPE.

MR. OLDSCHOOL,

The sarcasms of Pope against lord Hervey are in every body's hands; and from them we are led to suppose, that lord Hervey was a flippant, flimsy versifier, who penned smooth rhymes for the amusement of the wits of quality, without sense, or poetry, or force. “Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day." But Pope, an unprincipled, malicious calumniator of talents of every description, himself ignorant of every thing but the knack of smooth versification, sometimes indeed, though rarely, illumined by the beams of true poetry, could not but have felt the following biting satire, by lord Hervey, which I fancy will be new to many of your readers.

T.C. Carlisle,

[ocr errors]

TO THE IMITATOR OF THE SATIRE OF THE SECOND BOOK OF KORACE.

In two large columns on the motley page,
Where Roman wit is striped with English rage;
Where ribaldry to satire makes pretence,
And modern scandal rolls with ancient sense;
Whilst on one side, we see how Horace thought,
And on the other, how he never wrote;
Who can believe who reads the bad and good,
That the dull copiest better understood

That spirit he attempts to imitate,
Than heretofore that Greek he did translate?
There is as just an image of his pen,
As thou thyself art of the sons of men!
Where our own species in burlesque we trace
A sign-post likeness of the noble race,
That is at once resemblance and disgrace!
Horace can laugh, is delicate, is clear;
You only coarsely rail, or darkly sneer.
His style is elegant, his diction pure,
Whilst none thy crabbed numbers can endure
Hard as thy heart, and as thy birth obscure!
If he have thorns, they all on roses grow;
Thine, like rude thistles and mean brambles show.
With this exception, that though rank the soil,
Weeds as they are, they seem produced by toil.
Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen:
Thine is an oyster-knife that hacks and hews,
The rage, but not the talent, of abuse,
And is in hate, what love is in the stews.
'Tis the gross lust of hate, that still annoys
Without distinction, as gross love enjoys.
Neither to folly or to vice confined,
The object of thy spleen is human kind:
It preys on all who yield or who resist-
To thee, 'tis provocation to exist!
*But if thou seest a great and generous heart,
Thy bow is doubly bent to force a dart.
Not only justice vainly we demand;
But even benefits can't rein thy hand.
To this or that alike in vain we trust,
Nor find thee less ungrateful than unjust.
Not even youth and beauty can control
The universal rancour of thy soul!
Charms that might soften Superstition's rage,
Might humble Pride, or thaw the ice of Age;
But how shouldst thou by Beauty's power be moved,
No more for loving made than to be loved?
fIt was the equity of righteous Heaven,
That such a soul to such a form was given,
And shows the uniformity of fate,
'That one so odious should be born to hate!
When God created thee, one would believe
He said the same as to the snake of Eve:
“ To human race antipathy declare,

'Twixt them and thee be universal war;" VOL 11.

3 V

But oh! the sequel of the sentence dread,
And whilst you bruise their heel, beware your head.
Nor think thy weakness shall be thy defence,
(The female scold's protection in offence)
Sure 'tis as fair to beat who cannot fight,
As 'tis to libel those who cannot write:
And if thou draw'st thy pen to aid the law,
Others a cudgel or a rod may draw.
If none with vengeance yet thy crimes pursue,
Or give thy manifold affronts their due;
If limbs unbroken, skin without a stain,
Unwhipped, unblanketed, unkicked, unslain,
That liitle wretched carcase you retain,
The reason is not

the world wants eyes;
But thou’rt so mean, they see and they despise.
When fretful porcupines, with rancorous will,
From mounted backs shoot forth a harmless quill,
Cool the spectators stand, and all the while
Upon the angry little monster smile.
Thus 'tis with thee: whilst impotently safe,
You strike unwounding, we unhurt can laugh.
Who but must laugh, this bully when he sees?
A puny insect, shivering at each breeze.
One over-matched by every blast of wind,
Insulting and provoking all mankind.
Is this the thing to keep the world in awe?
To make those tremble who escape the law?
Is this the ridicule to live so long?
The deathless satire and immortal song?
No: like thyself, blown praise thy scandal flies,
And, as we're told of wasps, it stings and dies.
If none then yet return th' intended blow,
You all your safety to your dulness owe.
But whilst that armour thy poor corpse defends,
'Twill make thy readers few as are thy friends.
Those who thy nature loathed, but loved thy art,
Who liked thy head, but yet abhorred thy heart,
Chose thee to read, but never to converse,
And scorned in prose him whom they praised in verse;
Even they shall now their partial error see,
Shall shun thy writings like thy company;
And to thy books shall ope their eyes no more,
Than to thy person they would ope their door.
Nor thou the justice of the world disown,
That leaves thee thus an outcast and alone;
For though in law, to murder be to kill,
In equity, the murder's in the will.

Then whilst with coward-hand you stab a name,
And try at least t' assassinate our fame,
Like the first base assassin's be thy lot,
Ne'er be thyself forgiven or forgot;
But as thou hat'st, be hated by mankind,
And with the emblem of thy crooked mind
Marked on thy front, like Cain, by God's own hand,
Wander, like him, accursed through the land.

I do not recollect any specimen of poetical asperity superior to these severe verses of lord Hervey; an antagonist by no means worthy of being treated so slightingly as Pope affects to treat him. They are certainly superior to Churchill's Epistle to Hogarth. At the reference • lord Hervey alludes to "Taste," an epistle. At † the passage brings to my mind the following very bitter epigram.

Quand l'Eternal non sans remords,
De la Caumont eut fait le corps,
Sentant qu'une ame raisonable
Ne pourroit sans des affreux degouts
Habiter un corps semblable
Il en fit le pri'son d'un diable;
Et c'est le plus damnè de tous!

NOTES OF A DESULTORY READER-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

That stumbling block of philosophy, the reconcilement of evil with the omnipotence and benevolence of the Deity, is made use of by Lucretius, for the purpose of sustaining his comfortless hypothesis, that man and his concerns, instead of being the care of a divine intelligence, are merely the sport of a blind and capricious destiny

Cum jam per terras frondent atque omnia forent,
Aut nimiis torret fervoribus Ethereus Sol,
Aut subiti perimunt imbres, gelidique pruinæ,
Flabraque ventorum violenti turbine vexant,

Cur anni tempora morbos
Adportant? quare mors immatura vagatur?

These are a few of his lines on the subject; and, as for want of the book, I cannot say, “take them in the words of Creech," with Mr. Pope, I thus endeavour to give them in my own:

Oft when creative Spring renews the shade,
And Nature smiles in cheering blooms array'd,
Th’ætherial sun with scorching fervoar reigns,
Or sudden torrents drown the verdant plains;
Or blighting frosts the ripening fruit deform,
Or swift they're shatter'd by the wasting storm:
Contagious seasons taint the breathing world,

And Death's fell darts are immaturely hurl'd. But besides the dreary effects of this opinion upon the mind of him who entertains it, its mischievous influence on society, is forcibly illustrated in the Anti-Lucretius of the Abbe de Polignac, written in Latin, verse. From a translation of it in the Gentle. man's Magazine, I select a few passages in answer to this deplorable doctrine, which flourished during the progress of the French revolution, and which, though at present diseountenanced through policy, there is too much reason to fear, the still perturbed state of the civilized world, fertile in examples of depressed virtue and triumphant guilt, has a tendency to nourish and inculcate.

Who'er shall drink these poisons from thy springs,
Self-guided, prone to interdicted things,
Hot in tumultuous youth, and fierce of soul,
Devoid of fear, and scorning Heaven's control,
Will deem it best bis moments to employ,
In filling ev'ry wanton wish with joy;
Will hold that all who crowd life's busy scene,
When dead, shall be as if they ne'er had been,
That chance of all things is the womb and grave,
That while we live, no terrors should enslave:
Then naught in aid of shame and fear can awe,
'Tis guiltless liberty to trample law,
'Tis more, 'tis duty, sin a sanction gains,
And now no crime but honesty remains.

Owing probably to the reporters of parliamentary eloquence, substituting from memory the substance instead of the words of

« ZurückWeiter »