« ПредишнаНапред »
Some she does to Egyptian bondage draw,
Bids us make bricks, yet sends us to look out for straw:
Some she condemns for life to try
To dig the leaden mines of deep philosophy :
Me she has to the Muse's gallies tied,
In vain I strive to cross this spacious main,
In vain I tug and pull the oar,
And, when I almoft reach the fhore,
Straight the Muse turns the helm, and I launch out again:
And yet, to feed my pride,
Whene'er I mourn, stops my complaining breatli,
With promise of a mad reversion after death.
Then, Sir, accept this worthless verse,
The tribute of an humble Muse,
'Tis all the portion of my niggard stars ;
Nature the hidden spark did at my birth infufé,
And kindled first with indolence and ease;
And, since too oft' debauch'd by praise,
'Tis now grown an incurable difease :
In vain to quench this foolish fire I try
In wisdom and philosophy ;
In vain all wholesome herbs I low,
Where nought but weeds will grow.
Whate'er I plant (like corn on barren earth)
By an equivocal birth
Seeds, and runs up to poetry.
S when the deluge first began to fall,
That mighty ebb never to flow again
(When this huge body's moisture was fo great,
It quite o'ercame the vital heat);
That mountain, which was highest first of all,
Appear'd above the universal main,
To bless the primitive failor's weary fight!
And 'twas perhaps Parnassus, if in height
It be as great as 'tis in fame,
And nigh to Heaven as is its name :
So, after th' inundation of a war,
When Learning's little houfhold did embark
With her world's fruitful system in her sacred ark,
At the first ebb of noise and fears,
Philosophy's exalted head appears ;
And the Dove-Muse will now no longer stay,
But plumes her silver wings, and flies away ;
And now a laurel wreath she brings from far,
To crown the happy conqueror,
To Thew the flood begins to cease,
And brings the dear reward of victory and peace.
II. The eager Muse took wing upon the waves' decline,
When war her cloudy aspect just withdrew,
When the bright sun of peace began to shine, And for a while in heavenly contemplation fat
On the high top of peaceful Ararat ; And pluck'd a laurel branch (for laurel was the first that
grew, The first of plants after the thunder, storm, and rain);
And thence, with joyful niinble wing,
Flew dutifully back again,
And made an humble chaplet for the King *.
And the Dove-Muse is fled once more
(Glad of the victory, yet frighten’d at the war);
And now discovers from afar
A peaceful and a flourishing shore :
No sooner did she land
On the delightful ftrand,
Then straight she sees the country all around,
Where fatal Neptune rul’d erewhile,
Scatter'd with flowery vales, with fruitful gardens crown'd,
And many a pleasant wood ! As if the universal Nile
Had rather water'd it than drown'd :
It seems some floating piece of paradise,
Preserv'd by wonder from the flood,
Long wandering through the deep, as we are told
Fam'd Delos did of old,
* The Ode I writ to the King in Ireland. Swift. This cannot now be recovered.
And the transported Mufe imagin’d it
To be a fitter birth-place for the God of wit,
Or the much-talk'd oracular grove ;
When with amazing joy the hears
An unknown musick all around
Charming her greedy ears
With many a heavenly song
Of nature and of art, of deep philosophy and love,
Whilst angels tune the voice, and God inspires the tongue
In vain she catches at the empty sound,
In vain pursues the musick with her longing eye,
And courts the wanton echoes as they fly.
Pardon, ye great unknown, and far-exalted men,
The wild excursions of a youthful pen * ;
Forgive a young, and (almost) Virgin-Muse,
Whom blind and eager curiosity
(Yet curiosity, they say,
Is in her fex a crime needs no excuse)
Has forc'd to grope her uncouth way
After a mighty light that leads her wandering eye.-
No wonder then she quits the narrow path of sense
For a dear ramble through impertinence ;
Impertinence! the scurvy of mankind.
And all we fools, who are the greater part of it,,
Though we be of two different factions still,
Both the good-natur'd and the ill,
Yet wheresoe’er you look, you 'll always find
We join, like flies and wasps, in buzzing about wit.
* See Dr. Swift's very remarkable Letter to the Athes nian Society, in the Supplement to his Works.
In me, who am of the first sect of these,
All merit, that transcends the humble rules
Of my own dazzled scanty sense,
Begets a kinder folly and impertinence
Of admiration and of praise.
And our good brethren of the surly sect
Must e'en all herd us with their kindred fools :
For though, poffefs’d of present vogue, they 've made
Railing a rule of wit, and obloquy a trade ;
Yet the same want of brains produces each effect.
And you, whom Pluto’s helm does wisely shroud
From us the blind and thoughtless croud,
Like the fam'd hero in his mother's cloud,
Who both our follies and impertinences see,
Do laugh perhaps at theirs, and pity mine and me.
But censure 's to be understood
Th' authentic mark of the elect,
The public stamp Heaven fets on all that's great and good,
Our shallow search and judgement to direct.
The war methinks has made
Our wit and learning narrow as our trade ;
Instead of boldly sailing far, to buy
A stock of wisdom and philosophy,
We fondly stay at home, in fear
Of every censuring privateer ;
Forcing a wretched trade by beating down the sale,
And selling bafely by retail.
The wits, I mean the atheists of the
age, Who fain would rule the pulpit as they do the stage ;