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An me! full sorely is my heart forlorn
To think how modest worth neglected lies;
While partial Fame doth with her blasts adorn
Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise ;
Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise.
Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try
To sound the praise of merit ere it dies,
Such as I oft have chanced to espy,
Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.
In every village mark'd with little spire
Embower'd in trees, and hardly known to fame,
There dwells, in lonely shed and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we schoolmistress name;
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame :
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
Awed by the power of this relentless dame;
And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair or task unconn'd are sorely shent.
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
Which Learning near her little dome did stow;
Whilome a twig of small regard to see,
Though now so wide its waving branches flow,
And work the simple vassals mickle woe;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs shudder'd and their pulse beat low;
And as they look'd they found their horror grew,
And shaped it into rods and tingled at the view.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
On which the tribe their gambols do display;
And at the door imprisoning board is seen,
Lest weakly wight of smaller size should stray;
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!
The noises intermix'd which thenee resound
Do Learning's little tenement betray;
Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound,
And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around.
SHENSTONE. From 1714 to 1763.
BLUE was her rocky shield, her piercing eye
Flush'd like the meteors of her native sky;
Her crest, high plumed, was rough with many a scar,
And o'er her helmet gleam'd the northern star.
The warrior youth appear'd of noble frame,
The hardy offspring of some Runic dame;
Loose o'er his shoulders hung the slacken'd bow,
Renown'd in song—the terror of the foe!
The sword, that oft the barbarous north defied,
The scourge of tyrants ! glitter'd by his side;
Clad in refulgent arms, in battle won,
The “ George” emblazon'd on his corslet sbone.
Fast by his side was seen a golden lyre,
Pregnant with numbers of eternal fire,
Whose strings unlock the witches' midnight spell,
Or waft rapt Fancy through the gulfs of hell.
Struck with contagion, kindling fancy hears
The songs of Heaven! the music of the spheres !
Borne on Newtonian wing, through air she flies,
Where other suns to other systems rise !
These front the scene conspicuous; overhead,
Albion's proud oak his filial branches spread;
While on the sea-beat shore obsequious stood,
Beneath their feet, the father of the flood;
Here, the bold native of her cliffs above,
Perch'd by the martial maid, the bird of Jove;
There, on the watch, sagacious of his prey,
With eyes of fire, an English mastiff lay.
Yonder fair Commerce stretch'd her winged sail,
Here frown'd the god that wakes the living gale.
High o'er the poop the fluttering winds unfurl'd
Th' imperial flag that rules the watery world :
Deep blushing armours all the tops invest,
And warlike trophies either quarter dress'd ;
Then tower'd the masts ; the canvas swellid on high ;
And waving streamers floated in the sky,
Thus the rich vessel moves in trim array,
Like some fair virgin on her bridal day;
Thus, like a swan, she cleaves the watery plain,
The pride and wonder of the Ægean main.
FALCONER. From 1730 to 1779.
He is the freeman, whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves beside. There's not a chain,
That hellish foes, confederate for his harm,
Can wind around him, but he casts it off,
With as much ease as Samson his green withes.
He looks abroad into the varied field
Of nature, and though poor, perhaps, compared
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery all his own.
His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers : his to enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel,
But who, with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And, smiling, say,-“ My Father made them all!”
Are they not his by a peculiar right,
And by an emphasis of interest his,
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love,
That plann'd, and built, and still upholds a world
So clothed with beauty for rebellious man ?
Yes—you may fill your garners, ye that reap
The loaded soil; and ye may waste much good
In senseless riot; but ye will not find,
In feast, or in the chase, in song or dance,
A liberty like his, who, unimpeach'd
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong,
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,
And has a richer use of yours than you.
He is, indeed, a freeman. Free, by birth,
Of no mean city: plann'd or e'er the hills
Were built, the fountains open’d, or the sea
With all his roaring multitude of waves.
COWPER. From 1731 to 1800,
The night was winter in his roughest mood;
The morning sharp and clear. But now, at noon,
Upon the southern side of the slant hills,
And where the woods fence off the northern blast,
The season smiles, resigning all its rage,
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
The dazzling splendour of the scene below.
Again the harmony comes o'er the vale ;
And through the trees I view the embattled tower,
Whence all the music : I again perceive
The soothing influence of the wafted strains,
And settle in soft musings as I tread
The walk, still verdant, under oaks and elms,
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade.
The roof, though moveable through all its length
As the wind sways it, has yet well sufficed,
And, intercepting in their silent fall
The frequent flakes, has kept a path for me.
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought.
The redbreast warbles still, but is content
With slender notes, and more than half suppress'd,
Pleased with his solitude, and flitting light
From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes
From many a twig the pendent drops of ice,
That tinkle in the wither'd leaves below.
Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft,
Charms more than silence. Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart
May give a useful lesson to the head,
And Learning wiser grow without his books.
“Ah! happy age,” the youthful poet sings, “When the free nations knew not laws nor kings; When all were blest to share a common store, And none were proud of wealth, for none were poor; No wars nor tumults vex'd each still domain, No thirst of empire, no desire of gain ; No proud great man, nor one who would be great,