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him those furious verses; to which Scrope made in reply an epigram, ending with these lines :
Thou canst hurt no man's fame with thy ill word;
Thy pen is full as harmless as thy sword.
Of the satire against Man, Rochester can only claim what remains when all Boileau's part is taken away.
In all his works there is sprightliness and vigour, and every where may be found tokens of a mind which study might have carried to excellence. What more can be expected from a life spent in ostentatious contempt of regularity, and ended before the abilities of many other men began to be displayed ?
: The late George Steevens, esq. made the selection of Rochester's Poems which appears in Dr. Johnson's edition; but Mr. Malone observes, that the same task had been performed in the early part of the last century by Jacob Tonson. C.
POEMA CL. V. JOANNIS PASSERATII,
REGII IN ACADEMIA PARISIENSI PROFESSORIS, AD ORNATISSIMUM
VIRUM ERRICUM MEMMIUM.
JAnus adest, festæ poscunt sua dona Kalendæ,
Munus abest festis quod possim offerre Kalendis.
Siccine Castalius nobis exaruit humor?
Usque aded ingenii nostri est exhausta facultas,
Immunem ut videat redeuntis janitor anni?
Quod nusquam est, potius nova per vestigia quæram.
Ecce autem partes dum sese versat in omnes
Invenit mea Musa nihil, ne despice munus.
Nam Nihil est gemmis, Nihil est pretiosius auro.
Huc animum, huc igitur vultus adverte benignos :
Res nova narratur quæ nulli audita priorum,
Ausonii et Graii dixerunt cætera vates,
Ausoniæ indictum Nihil est Græcæque Camænæ.
E cælo quacunque Ceres sua prospicit arva,
Aut genitor liquidis orbem complectitur ulnis
Oceanus, nihil interitus et originis expers.
Immortale nihil, NIHIL omni parte beatum.
Quòd si hinc majestas et vis divina probatur,
Num quid honore deûm, num quid dignabimur aris ?
Conspectu lucis nihil est jucundius almæ,
Vere NIHIL, NIHIL irriguo formosius horto,
Floridius pratis, Zephyri clementius aura;
In bello sanctum nihil est, Martisque tumultu :
Justum in pace NIHIL, NIHIL est in foedere tutum.
Felix cui niyil est, (fuerant hæc vota Tibullo)
Non timet insidias : fures, incendia temnit:
Solicitas sequitur nullo sub judice lites.
Ille ipse invictis qui subjicit omnia fatis
Zenonis sapiens, Nihil admiratur et optat.
Socraticique gregis fuit ista scientia quondam,
Scire nihil, studio cui nunc incumbitur uni.
Nec quicquam in ludo mavult didicisse juventus,
Ad magnas quia ducit opes, et culmen honorum.
Nosce nihil, nosces fertur quod Pythagoreæ
Grano hærere fabæ, cui vox adjuncta negantis.
Multi Mercurio freti duce viscera terræ
Pura liquefaciunt simul, et patrimonia miscent,
Arcano instantes operi, et carbonibus atris,
Qui tandem exhausti damnis, fractique labore,
Inveniunt atque inventum nihil usque requirunt,
Hoc dimetiri non ulla decempeda possit:
Nec numeret Libycæ numerum qui callet arenæ:
Et Phæbo ignotum nihil est, nihil altius astris.
Túque, tibi licet eximium sit mentis acumen,
Omnem in naturam penetrans, et in abdita rerum,
Pace tua, Memmi, nihil ignorare vidêris.
Sole tamen Nihil est, a puro clarius igne.
Tange Nihil, dicesque Nihil sine corpore tangi.
Cerne nihil, cerni dices nihil absque colore.
Surdum audit loquiturque nihil sine voce, volátque
Absque ope pennarum, et graditur sine cruribus ullis.
Absque loco motuque nihil per inane vagatur.
Humano generi utilius Niki, arte medendi.
Ne rhombos igitur, neu Thessala murmura tentet
Idalia vacuum trajectus arundine pectus,
Neu legat Idæo Dictæum in vertice gramen.
Vulneribus sævi nihil auxiliatur amoris.
Vexerit et quemvis trans mæstas portitor undas,
Ad superos imo nihil hunc revocabit ab orco.
Inferni nihil inflectit præcordia regis,
Parcarúmque colos, et inexorabile pensum.
Obruta Phlegræis campis Titania pubes
Fulmineo sensit Nihil esse potentius ictu :
Porrigitur magni nihil extra mænia mundi:
Diique nihil metuunt. Quid longo carmine plura
Commemorem ? Virtute nihil præstantius ipsa,
Splendidius nihil est; NIHIL est Jove denique majus.
Sed tempus finem argutis imponere nugis :
Ne tibi si multa laudem mea carmina charta,
De NIHILO NIHILI pariant fastidia versus.
Be, by my example, wise ;
Devouring flames require new fuod ;
Faith to pleasure sacrifice.
My heart's consum'd almost :
New fires must kindle in her blood,
Or mine go out, and that 's as good.
Silly swain, I'll have you know,
'Twas my practice long ago:
ALEXIS. Whilst you vainly thought me true,
Would'st live when love is lost?
I was false, in scorn of you.
Be dead before thy passion dies;
By my tears, my heart's disguise,
I thy love and thee despise.
For if thou should'st survive,
Womankind more joy discovers
What anguish would thy heart surprise,
To see her flames begin to rise, Making fools, than keeping lovers.
And thine no more alive?
There sighs not on the plain
So lost a swain as I;
Scorch'd up with love, froze with disdain,
Of killing sweetness I complain.
If 'tis Corinna, die.
Since first my dazzled eyes were thrown
On that bewitching face,
Like ruin'd birds robb'd of their young,
Lamenting, frighted, and undone,
I fly from place to place.
Fram'd by some cruel powers above,
So nice she is, and fair;
None from undoing can remove,
Since all, who are not blind, must love;
Who are not vain, despair.
Ungentle shepherd ! cease, for shame,
Which way can you pretend
To merit so divine a flame,
Who to dull life make a mean claim,
When love is at an end?
As trees are by their bark embrac'd,
Love to my soul doth cling;
When torn by the herd's greedy taste,
The injur'd plants feel they 're defac'd,
They wither in the spring.
My rifled love would soon retire,
Dissolving into air,
Should I that nymph cease to admire,
Bless'd in whose arms I will expire,
Or at her feet despair.
The gods no soover give a grace,
But, fond of their own art,
Severely jealous, ever place,
To guard the glories of a face,
A dragon in the heart.
Proud and ill-natur'd powers they are,
Who, peevish to mankind,
For their own honour's sake, with care
Make a sweet form divinely fair :
Then add a cruel mind.
STREPHON. Since she's insensible of love,
By Honour taught to hate ;
If we, forc'd by decrees above,
Must sensible to beauty prove,
How tyrannous is Fate!
I to the nymph have never nam'd
The cause of all my pain.
All things submit themselves to your command,
Fair Cælia, when it does not Love withstand :
The power it borrows from your eyes alone,
All but the god must yield to, who has none.
Were he not blind, such are the charms you have,
He'd quit his godhead to become your slaye:
Be proud to act a mortal hero's part,
And throw himself for fame on his own dart.
But Fate has otherwise dispos'd of things,
In different bands subjected slaves and kings:
Fetter'd in forms of royal state are they,
While we enjoy the freedom to obey.
That Fate, like you, resistless does ordain
To Love, that over Beauty he shall reign.
By harmony the universe does move,
And what is harinony but mutual love?
Who would resist an empire so divine,
Which universal Nature does enjoin?
See gentle brooks, how quietly they glide,
Kissing the rugged banks on either side ;
While in their crystal streams at once they show,
And with them feed the flowers which they bestow:
Though rudely throng'd by a too near embrace,
In gentle murmurs they keep on their pace
To the lov'd sea; for streams have their desires;
Cool as they are, they feel Love's powerful fires,
And with such passion, that if any force
Stop or molest them in their amorous course,
Such bashfulness may well be blam'd;
For, since to serve we 're not asham'd,
Why should she blush to reign?
But, if her hanghty heart despise
My humble proffer'd one,
The just compassion she denies,
I may obtain from others' eyes ;
Hers are not fair alone.