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E PIS S T LE To the Right Honourable CHARLES Lord HALIFAX.
To you, my Lord, my Muse her tribute pays
Of various verse, in various rude essays; To
you, The first address’d her early voice,
By inclination led, and fix'd by choice;
To you, on whose indulgence the depends,
Her few collected lays she now commends.
By no one measure bound, her nuinbers range,
And, unresolv'd in choice, delight in change;
Her fongs to no diftinguith'd fame afpire,
For, now, she tries the reed, anon, attempts the lyre;
In high Parnassus she no birthright claims,
Nor drinks deep draughts of Heliconian streams;
Yet near the sacred mount the loves to rove,
Visits the springs, and hovers round the grove.
She knows what dangers wait too bold a fight,
And fears to fall from an Icarian height:
Yet, fhe admires the wing that safely suars,
At distance follows, and its track adores.
She knows what room, what force, the fwan requires,
Whose towering head above the clouds aspires,
And knows as well, it is your lowest praise,
Such hcights to reach with equal strength and ease.
O had your genius been to leisure born,
And not more bound to aid us, than adorn!
Albion in verse with ancient Greece had vy’d,
And gain'd alone a fame, which, there, seven states divide.
But such, ev'n suchörenown, too dear had cost,
Had we the patriot in the poet lost.
A true poetic state we had deplor'd,
Had not your ministry our coin restor’d.
But still, my Lord, though your exalted name
Stands foremost in the faireit lift of Fame,
Though your ambition ends in public good
(A virtue lineal to your house and blood):
Yet think not meanly of your other praise,
Nor slight the trophies which the Muses raise.
How oft, a patriot's best-laid schemes we find
By Party cross’d, or Faćtion undermin'd!
If he succeed, he undergoes this lot,
The good receiv'd, the giver is forgot.
But honours which from verse their source derive,
Shall both surmount Detraction, and survive:
And Poets have unquestion'd right to claim ;
If not the greatest, the most lafting name.
« Infandum, regina, jubes renovare dolorem.” Virg,
A L E X IS, ME N A L CA S.
BEHOLD, Alexis, see this gloomy shade,
Which seems alone for forrow's shelter made;
Where no glad beams of light can ever play,
But night fucceding night excludes the day;
Where never birds with harmony repair,
And lightsome notes, to checr the dusky air.
To welcome day, or bid the Sun farewell,
By morning lark, or evening Philomel.
No violet here, nor daisy, e'er was seen;
No sweetly-budding flower, nor springing green:
For fragrant myrtle, and the blushing rose,
Here, baleful eugh with deadly cypress grows.
Here then, extended on this wither'd moss,
We'll lie, and thou shalt sing of Albion's loss,
Of Albion's loss, and of Pastora's death,
Begin thy mournful song, and raise thy tuneful breath.
Ả L E XI s.
Ah woe too great! Ah theme which far exceeds
The lowly lays of humble fhepherds reeds!
O could I sing in verse of equal strain
With the Scicilian bard, or Mantuan swain ;
Or melting words and moving numbers chuse,
Sweet as the British Colin's mourning Muse;
Could I, like him, in tuncful grief excel,
And mourn like Stella for her Astrofel;
Then might I raise my voice (secure of skill)
And with melodious woe the valleys fill;
The listening Echo on my song should wait,
And hollow rocks Pastora's name repeat;
Each whistling wind and murmuring ítream should tell
How lov'd she liv’d, and how lamented fell.
Wert thou with every bay and laurel crown'd, And high as Pan himself in song renown'd, Yet would not all thy art avail, to show Verse worthy of her name, or of our woe : But such true passion in thy face appears, In thy, pale lips, thick fighs, and gushing tears, Such tender sorrow in thy heart I read, As shall supply all skill, if not exceed. Then leave this common form of dumb distress, Each vulgar grief can fighs and tears express; In sweet complaining notes thy passion vent, And not in fighs, but words explaining highs, lament.
Wild be my words, Menalcas, wild my thought, Artless as nature's notes, in birds untaught; Boundless my verse, and roving be my strains, Various as flowers on unfrequented plains. And thou, Thalia, darling of my breast, By whom inspir'd, I sung at Comus' feast; While in a ring the jolly rural throng Have fat and smild to hear my chearful fong : Begone, with all thy mirth and sprightly lays, My pipe, no longer now thy power obeys; Learn to lament, my Muse, to weep, and mourn, Thy springing laurels all to cypress turn; Wound with thy dismal cries the tender air, And beat thy snowy breast, and rend thy yellow hair ; Far hence, in utmost wilds, thy dwelling chuse, Begone, Thalia; forrow is my Muse.
I mourn Pastora dead; let Albion mourn,
And fable clouds her chalky cliffs adorn. No more, these woods shall with her fight be blessed, Nor with her feet these Rowery plains be press’d; No more the winds shall with her treffes play, And from her balmy breath fteal sweets away; No more thcse rivers c!:carfully thall pass, Pleas'd to reflect the beautics of her face ; While on their banks the wondering flocks have stood, Greedy of fight, and negligent of food.
No more the nymplis thall with soft tales delight Iler cars, no more with cances plcasc hcr fight: