Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

though among the follies of my life, building and planting have not been the least, and have cost me more than I have the conscience to own; yet they have been fully recompensed by the sweetness and satisfaction of this retreat, where, since my resolution taken of never entering again into any public employments, I have passed five years without ever going once to town, though I am almost within sight of it, and have a house there always ready to receive me. Nor has this been any sort of affectation, as some have thought it, but a mere want of desire or humour to make so small a remove; for when I am in this corner, I can truly say with Horace,

Me quoties reficit gelidus Digentia rivus,

Quid sentire putas, quid credis amice precare ?
Sit mihi quod nunc est etiam minus, ut mihi vivam,
Quod superest ævi, si quid superesse volent Dii.
Sit bona librorum, et provisa frugis in annum
Copia, ne dubiæ fuitem spe pendulus horæ,
Hoc satis est orasse Jovem qui donat et aufert.

“ Me when the cold Digentian stream revives,
What does my friend believe I think or ask?
Let me yet less possess, so I may live,
Whate'er my life remains, unto myself.
May I have books enough, and one year's store,
Not to depend upon each doubtful hour;,
This is enough of mighty Jove to pray,
Who, as he pleases, gives and takes away."

Sir William Temple has always been held in much esteem as a prose writer: but his claims to the distinction of a poet have been little noticed. Yet neither Nature nor Art had been niggardly in quali

[ocr errors]

fying him to excel in this high gift: as is proved by the following very pleasing and powerful poem, written with great vigour of sentiment, language, and versification. Many of the lines have the simple force of Dryden's last and best style: and some of them have the polish, and mellifluence of Pope.

The thorny paths of the Statesman, in which the succeeding twenty years were passed, probably extinguished as well the enthusiasm, as the literary habits of the Muse. Indeed the sober, moral, and practical style of his poetry, seerned to take that statesmanlike view of the national manners, which best fits a man to conduct public affairs with talent and wisdom.

Upon the Approach of the Shore at Harwich, in January, 1658.

Begun under the Mast.

“Welcome the fairest and the happiest Earth,

Seat of my hopes and pleasures, as my birth:
Mother of well-born souls, and fearless hearts,
In arms renown'd, and flourishing in arts.
The island of good nature, and good cheer,
That elsewhere only pass, inhabit here.
Region of Valour and of Beauty too;
Which shews, the brave are only fit to woo.
No child thou hast, ever approach'd thy shore,
That lov’d thee better, or esteem'd thee more.
Beaten with journeys, both of land and seas,
Wearied with care, the busy man's disease;
Pinch'd with the frost, and parched with the wind;
Giddy with rolling, and with fasting pin'd;
Sprighted and vex'd, that winds, and tides, and sands,
Should all conspire to cross such great commands,

As haste me home, with an account, that brings
The doom of kingdoms to the best of Kings:
Yet I respire at thy reviving sight,
Welcome as health, and cheerful as the light.
How I forget my anguish and my toils,
Charm'd at th' approach of thy delightful soils!
How, like a mother, thou hold'st out thy arms,
To save thy children from pursuing harms,
And open'st thy kind bosom, where they find
Safety from waves, and shelter from the wind:
Thy cliffs so stately, and so green thy hills,
This with respect, with hope the other fills
All that approach thee; who believe they find
A Spring for Winter, that they left behind.
Thy sweet inclosures, and thy scatter'd farms,
Shew thy secureness from thy neighbour's harms;
Their sheep in houses, and their men in towns,
Sleep only safe; thine rove about the downs,
And hills, and groves, and plains, and know no fear
Of foes, or wolves, or cold, throughout the year.
Their vast and frightful woods seem only made
To cover cruel deeds, and give a shade
To savage beasts, who on the weaker prey,
Or human savages more wild than they.
Thy pleasant thickets, and thy shady groves,
Only relieve the heats, and cover loves,
Shelt'ring no other thefts or cruelties,
But those of killing or beguiling eyes.
Their famish'd hinds, by cruel Lords enslav'd,
Ruin'd by taxes, and by soldiers brav'd,
Know no more ease than just what sleep can give;
Have no more heat and courage but to live:
Thy brawny clowns, and sturdy seamen, fed
With manly food, that their own fields have bred,
Safe in their laws, and easy in their rent,
Blest in their King, and in their state content;

When they are call'd away from herd and plough
To arms, will make all foreign forces bow;
And shew how much a lawful monarch saves,
When twenty subjects beat an hundred slaves.
Fortunate Island! if thou didst but know
How much thou do'st to Heaven and Nature owe!
And if thy honour were as good, as great
Thy forces, and as blest thy soil and seat:
But then with numbers thou would'st be o'er-run;
Strangers, to breathe thy air, their own would shun;
And of thy children, none abroad would roam,
But for the pleasure of returning home.
Come and embrace us in thy saving arms,
Command the waves to cease their rough alarms,
And guard us to thy port, that we may see
Thou art indeed the Emp'ress of the Sea.
So may thy ships about the ocean course,
And still increase in number and in force.
So may no storms ever infest thy shores,
But all the winds that blow encrease thy stores.
May never more contagious air arise,
To close so many of thy children's eyes;
But all about thee Health and Plenty vie, i
Which shall seem kindest to thee, Earth or Sky.
May no more fires be seen among thy towns,
But charitable beacons on thy downs,
Or else victorious bonfires in thy streets,
Kindled by winds that blow from off thy fleets.
May'st thou feel no more fits of factious rage,
But all distempers may thy Charles assuage,
With such a well-tun'd concord of his State,
As none but ill, and hated men, may hate.
And may'st thou from him endless monarchs see,
Whom thou may'st honour, who may honour thee.
May they be wise and good: thy happy seat,
And stores will never fail to make them great.

[ocr errors]

Continuation of a singular Character, described by himself. a

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

“A DREARY length of time has been endured, since I wrote my first letter to you. I know not if I have now the strength or spirits to tell you, what I then intended to communicate.

“The melancholy winter, which I passed after the event that I last related, I am unwilling to recall to my memory. As the first days of Spring reanimated Nature, my spirits revived a little in the common glow of life. I resolved to seek out Julia Bruce and her family, of whom I had for some months lost all trace.

“On horseback, with no attendant but my groom, I set out on a journey, which I determined should not end, till I had accomplished my object. I had a strong suspicion, that this interesting family were secluded in one of the numerous sea-bathing places on the English coast. I traversed day after day, and week after week, from the Eastern to the Western shore,

See N. VIII.

« ПредишнаНапред »