« ПредишнаНапред »
And with seraphic flame compassion blends.
LXXIX. At once, delighted, to their charge they fly;
Even so through Brentford town, a town of mnd, When, lo! a goodly hospital ascends,
An herd of brisly swine is prick'd along, In which they bade each lenient aid be nigh,
The filthy beasts, that never chew the cud, That could the sick-bed smoothe of that sad company.
Still grunt, and squeak, and sing their troublous LXXIII.
song, It was a worthy edifying sight,
And oft they plange themselves the mire among ; And gives to human kind peculiar grace,
But ay the ruthless driver goads them on, To see kind hands attending day and night,
And ay of barking dogs the bitter throng
Makes them renew their unmelodious moan;
Ne ever find they rest from their unresting tone.
THE HAPPY MAN.
He's not the Happy Man, to whom is given
A plenteous fortune by indulgent Heaven;
Whose gilded roofs on shining columns rise, Of those he rescu'd had from gaping hell,
And painted walls enchant the gazer's eyes; Then turn’d the knight, and to his hall again
Whose table flows with hospitable cheer, Soft-pacing, sought of Peace the mossy cell;
And all the various bounty of the year; Yet down his neeks, the gems of pity fell,
Whose valleys smile, whose gardens breathe the To see the helpless wretches that remain’d,
Spring, There left through delves and deserts dire to yell; Whose carved mountains bleat, and forests sing; Amaz'd, their looks with pale dismay were stain'd, For whom the cooling shade in Summer twines, And spreading wide their hands they meek repentance
While his full cellars give their generous wines ; feign'd.
From whose wide fields unbounded Autumn pours LXXV.
A golden tide into his swelling stores:
Whose Winter laughs; for whom the liberal gales But, ah ! their scorned day of grace was past;
Stretch the big sheet, and toiling commerce sails; For (horrible to te ll !) a desert wild
When yielding crowds attend, and pleasure serves ; Before them stretch'd, bare, comfortless, and vast,
While youth, and health, and vigour string his nerves. With gibbets, bon es, and carcasses defild.
Ev'n not all these, in one rich lot combin'd, There nor trim field nor lively culture smil'd ;
Can make the Happy Man without the mind ; Nor waving shade was seen, nor fountain fair;
Where Judgment sits clear-sighted, and surveys Bat sands abrupt on sands lay loosely pild,
The chain of Reason with unerring gaze; Through which they floundering toil'd with painful care
Where Fancy lives, and to the brightening eyes, Whilst Phæbus smote them sore, and fir'd the cloud
His fairer scenes, and bolder figures rise;
Where social Love exerts her soft commands,
And plays the passions with a tender hand,
Whence every virtue flows in rival strife,
And all the moral harmony of life.
Hard is the fate of him who loves,
Yet dares not tell his trembling pain, Gaunt Beggary, and Scorn, with many hell-hounds moe.
But to the sympathetic groves
But to the lonely listening plain.
Oh! wben she blesses next your shade,
Oh! when her footsteps next are seen Of morbid hue his features sunk and sad :
In flowry tracts along the mead, His hollow eyne shook forth a sickly light:
In fresher mazez o'er the green, And o'er his lank jaw-bone, in piteous plight,
Ye gentle spirits of the vale, His black rough beard was matted rank and vile;
To whom the tears of love are dear, Direful to see! an heart-appalling sight!
From dying lilies waft a gale, Meantime foul scurf and blotches him defile,
And sigh my sorrows in her ear.
O, tell her what she cannot blame,
Though fear my tongue must ever bind;
0, tell her that my virtuous flame The other was a fell despightful fiend!
Is as her spotless soul refin'd.
Not her own guardian angel eyes
With chaster tenderness his care, With nose uptarn’d, he always made a shew
Not purer her own wishes rise,
Nor holier her own sighs in prayer.
But if, at first, her virgin fear
Should start at love's suspected name,
With that of friendship soothe her ear* The north-east wind.
True love and friendship are the same.
HYMN ON SOLITUDE.
HAIL, mildly pleasing Solitude,
Companion of the wise and good,
But, from whose holy, piercing eye,
The herd of fools and villains fly.
Oh! how I love with thee to walk;
And listen to thy whisper'd talk,
Which innocence and truth imparts,
And melts the most obdurate hearts.
A thousand shapes you wear with ease,
And still in every shape you please.
Now wrapt in some mysterious dream,
A lone philosopher you seem;
Now quick from hill to vale you fly,
And now you sweep the vaulted sky;
A shepherd next, you haunt the plain,
And warble forth your oaten strain.
A lover now, with all the grace
Of that sweet passion in your face;
As, with her Musidora, she
(Her Musidora fond of thee)
Amid the long withdrawing vale,
Awakes the rivall'd nightingale.
Thine is the balmy breath of morn,
Just as the dew-bent rose is born;
And while meridian fervours beat,
Thine is the woodland dumb retreat ;
But chief, when evening scenes decay,
And the faint landscape swims away,
Thine is the doubtful soft decline,
And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train,
The virtues of the sage, and swain;
Plain Innocence, in white array'd,
Before thee lifts her fearless head:
Religion's beams around thee shine,
And cheer thy glooms with light divine :
About thee sports sweet Liberty;
And rapt Urania sings to thee.
O let me pierce thy secret cell!
When Meditation has her fill,
I just may cast my careless eyes
Where London's spiry turrets rise,
Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain,
Then shield me in the woods again.
TO THE REV. MR. MURDOCH,
RECTOR OF STRADDISHALL, IN SUFFOLK, 1738. Inhuman Fortune keeps her from my arms.
Thus safely low, my friend, thou canst not fall : You, happy birds! by Nature's simple laws
Here reigns a deep tranquillity o’er all ; Lead your soft lives, sustain'd by Nature's fare ; No noise, no care, no vanity, no strife; You dwell wherever roving fancy draws,
Men, woods, and fields, all breathe untroubled life. And love and song is all your pleasing care:
Then keep each passion down, however dear;
Trust me the tender are the most severe. But we, vain slaves of interest and of pride,
Guard, while 'tis thine, thy philosophic ease, Dare not be blest lest envious tongues should blame: And ask no joy but that of virtuous peace ; And hence, in vain I languish for my bride ;
That bids defiance to the storms of Fate, O mourn with me, sweet bird, my hapless flame. High bliss is only for a higher state.
THE LIFE OF THOMAS GRAY.
Thomas GRAY was born in Cornhill, in the city and having continued there some week3, returned to of London, on the 26th of December, 1716. His England in September, 1741. He appears, from his father, Philip Gray, was a money-scrivener ; but being letters published by Mr. Mason, to have paid the miof an indolent and profuse disposition, he rather di. nutest attention to every object worthy of notice minished than improved his paternal fortune. Our throughout the course of his travels. His descriptions Author received his classical education at Eton school, are lively and picturesque, and bear particular marks under Mr. Antrobus, his mother's brother, a man of of his genius and disposition. We admire the sublimity sound learning and refined taste, who directed his of his ideas when he ascends the stupendous heights nephew to those pursuits which laid the foundation of of the Alps, and are charmed with his display of bis future literary fame.
nature, decked in all the beauties of vegetation. InDuring his continuance at Eton, he contracted a deed, abundant information, as well as entertainment, friendship with Mr. Horace Walpole, well known for may be derived from his casual letters. bis knowledge of the fine arts; and Mr. Ricbard In about two months after his arrival in England, West, son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, a youth he lost his father, who, by an indiscreet profusion, had of very promising talents.
so impaired his fortune, as not to admit of his son's When he left Eton school, in 1734, he went to Cam prosecuting the study of the law with that degree of bridge, and entered a pensioner at Peterhouse, at the respectability which the nature of the profession rerecommendation of his uncle Antrobus, who had been quires, without becoming burthensome to his mother a fellow of that college. It is said, that from his and aunt. To obviate, therefore, their importunities effeminacy and fair complection, he acquired among on the subject, he went to Cambridge, and took his his fellow students, the appellation of Miss Gray, to bachelor's degree in civil law. which the delicacy of his manners seems not a little to Bat the inconveniencies and distress attached to a have contributed. Mr. Walpole was at that time a scanty fortune, were not the only ills our poet had to fellow-commoner of King's College, in the same Uni encounter at this time; he had not only lost the versity; a fortunate circumstance, which afforded friendship of Mr. Walpole abroad, but poor West, the Gray frequent opportunities of intercourse with his
partner of his heart, fell a victim to complicated malaHonourable Friend.
dies, brought on by family misfortunes, on the 1st of Mr. West went from Eton to Christ Church, Oxford ; June, 1742, at Pope's, a village in Hertfordshire, and in this state of separation, these two votaries of where he went for the benefit of the air. the Muses, whose dispositions were congenial, com The excessive degree in which his mind was agitated menced an epistolary correspondence, part of which for the loss of his friend, will best appear from the is published by Mr. Mason, a gentleman whose cha- following beautiful little sonnet: racter stands high in the republic of letters.
“ In vain to me the smiling mornings shine, Gray, having imbibed a taste for poetry, did not re
And redd’ning Phæbus lifts his golden fire: lish those abstruse studies which generally occupy the
The birds in vain their am'rous descant join, minds of students at college; and therefore, as he
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire ; found very little gratification from academical pursuits,
These ears, alas ! for other notes repine; he left Cambridge in 1738, and returned to London,
A different object do these eyes require; intending to apply himself to the study of the law; but this intention was soon laid aside, upon an invitation
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine,
And in my breast th' imperfect joys expire; given him by Mr. Walpole, to accompany him in his travels abroad; a situation highly preferable, in Gray's
Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men ; opinion, to the dry study of the law. They set out together for France, and visited most
The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;
To warn their little loves the birds complain: of the places worthy of notice in that country : from thence they proceeded to Italy, where an unfortunate
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear; dispute taking place between them, a separation en
And weep the more because I weep in vain." sued upon their arrival at Florence. Mr. Walpole, Mr. Gray now seems to have applied his mind very afterwards, with great candour and liberality, took sedulously to poetical composition: his Ode to Spring opon himself the blame of the quarrel; though, if we was written early in June to his friend Mr. West, beconsider the matter coolly and impartially, we may be fore he received the melancholy news of his death : induced to conclude that Gray, from a conscious supe how our poet's susceptible mind was affected by that riority of ability, might have claimed a deference to melancholy incident, is evidently demonstrated by his opinion and judgment, which his Honourable the lines quoted above; the impression, indeed, apFriend was not at that time disposed to admit: the pears to have been too deep to be soon effaced; and rapture, however, was very unpleasant to both parties. the tenor of the subjects which called for the exertions
Gray pursued his journey to Venice on an ceconomic of his poetical talents subsequent to the production of plan, suitable to the circumscribed state of his tinances, this Ode, corroborates that observation; these were his
Prospect of Eton, and his Ode to Adversity. It is Fierce nations own'd her unresisted might;
For ever gone
- yet still to fancy new, that pleasing retirement finished several of his most Her rapid wings the transient scene pursue, celebrated poems.
And bring the buried ages back to view. From thence he returned to Cambridge, which from High on her car, behold the grandam ride, this period was his chief residence during the re Like old Sesostris with barbaric pride; mainder of his lify. The conveniencies with which a
***** a team of harness'd monarchs bend. college life was attended to a person of his narrow fortune, and studious turn of mind, were more than a In 1744, he seems to have given up his attention to compensation for the dislike which, for several rea the Muses. Mr. Walpole, desirous of preserving sons, he bore to the place; but he was perfectly re what he had already written, as well as perpetuating conciled to his situation, on Mr. Mason's being the merit of their deceased friend West, endeavoured elected a fellow of Pembroke Hall; a circumstance to prevail with Gray, to whom he had previously which brought him a companion, who, during life, become reconciled, to publish his own poems, togeretained for him the highest degree of friendship and ther with those of West; but Gray declined it, conesteem.
ceiving their productions anited, would not suffice to In 1742, he was admitted to the degree of bachelor fill even a small volume. in the civil law, as appears from a letter written to In 1747, Gray became acquainted with Mr. Mason, his particular friend, Dr. Wharton, of Old Park, near then a scholar of St. John's College, and afterwards Durham, formerly fellow of Pembroke-Hall, Cam Fellow of Pembroke-Hall. Mr. Mason, who was a bridge, in which he ridicules, with much point and man of great learning and ingenuity, had written the humour, the follies and foibles, and the dulness and year before, his “ Monody on the death of Pope," formality, which prevailed in the university.
and his “Il Bellicoso,” and “ Il Pacifico;" and Gray In order to enrich his mind with the ideas of others, revised these pieces at the request of a friend. This he devoted a considerable portion of his time to the laid the foundation of a friendship that terminated but study of the best Greek authors; so that, in the with life: and Mr. Mason, after the death of Gray, course of six years, there were hardly any writers of testitied his regard for him, by superintending the eminence in that language whose works he had not publication of his works. only read, but thoroughly digested.
The same year he wrote a little Ode on the Death His attention however to the Greek classics did not of a favourite Cat of Mr. Walpole's, in which huwholly engross his time for he found leisure to ad mour and instruction are happily blended : but the vert, in a new sarcastical manner, to the ignorance following year he produced an effort of much more and dulness with which he was surrounded, though importance; the fragment of an Essay on the Alsituated in the centre of learning. There is only a liance of Education and Government. Its tendency fragment remaining of what he had written on this was to demonstrate the necessary concurrence of both subject, from which it may be inferred, that it was to form great and usefal men. It opens with the two intended as an Hymn to Ignorance. The fragment following similes. The exordium is rather uncommon; is wholly introductory ; yet many of the lines are so but he seems to have adopted it as a kind of clue to pointed in signification, and harmonious in versifi the subject he meant to pursue in the subsequent part cation, that they will be admitted by the admirers of
of the poem. verse, to display his poetica talents with more bril
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth, liancy than appears in many of his lyric productions. Whose barren bosom starves her gen'rous birth, Hail, horrors, hail! ye ever gloomy bowers,
Nor genial warmth nor genial juice retains, Ye gothic fanes, and antiquated towers !
Their roots to feed and fill their verdant veins; Where rushy Camus' slowly-winding food
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign, Perpetual draws his humid train of mud:
The soil, tho' fertile, will not teem in vain, Glad I revisit thy neglected reign:
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise, Oh, take me to thy peaceful shade again.
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies; But chiefly thee, whose influence, breath'd from high, So draw mankind in vain the vital airs, Augments the native darkness of the sky;
Unform’d, unfriended, by those kindly cares Ah, Ignorance! soft salutary power!
That health and vigour to the soul impart, Prostrate with filial reverence I adore.
Spread the young thought and warm the op'ning heart; Thrice hath Hyperion roll'd his annual race,
So fond instruction on the growing pow'rs Since weeping I forsook thy fond embrace.
Of Nature idly lavishes her stores, Oh, say, successful dost thou still oppose
If equal Justice, with unclouded face, Thy leaden ægis 'gainst our ancient foes ?
Smile not indulgent on the rising race, Stillstretch, tenacious of thy right divine,
And scatter with a free, tho’ frugal hand, The massy sceptre o'er thy slumbering line ?
Light golden show'rs of plenty o'er the land : And dews Lethean thro' the land dispense,
But Tyranny has fix'd her empire there, To steep in alumbers each benighted sense?
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear, If any spark of wit's delusive ray
And blast the blooming promise of the year. Break out, and flash a momentary day,
This spacious animated scene survey, With damp cold touch forbid it to aspire,
From where the rolling orb, that gives the day, And huddle up in fogs the dangerous fire.
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds Oh, say,-She hears me not, but, careless grown, To either pole and life's remotest bounds: Lethargic nods upon her ebon throne.
How rude soe'er th' exterior form we find, Goddess ! awake, arise: alas ! my fears!
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind, Can powers immortal feel the force of years ? Alike to all the kind, impartial Heav'n Not thus of old, with ensigns wide unfurld,
The sparks of truth and happiness has giv'n; She rode triumphant o'er the vanquish'd world : With sense to feel, with mem'ry to retain,
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain; If, with advent'rous oar and ready sail,
Or on frail floats to neighb'ring cities ride,
That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide ?
It is much to be lamented that our author did not
finish what he had so successfully, begun, as the frag. Say, then, thro' ages by what fate confin'd To different climes seem different souls assign'd?
ment is deemed superior to every thing in the same Here measur'd laws, and philosophic ease
style of writing which our language can boast. Fix and improve the polish'd arts of peace ;
In 1750, he put the finishing stroke to his Elegy Their Industry and Gain their vigils keep,
written in a Country Church-yard, which was comCommand the winds and tame th' unwilling deep ;.
municated first to his friend Mr. Walpole, and by Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail,
him to many persons of rank and distinction. This There languid Pleasure sighs in ev'ry gale.
beautiful production introduced the agthor to the Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar
favour of Lady Cobham, and gave occasion to a sin. Has Scythia breath'd the living cloud of war;
gular composition, called A Long Story: in which And where the deluge barst with sweepy sway,
various effusions of wit and humour are very happily Their arms, their kings, their gods, were roll'd away:
interspersed. As oft have issa'd, host impelling host,
The Elegy having found its way into the “ MagaThe blue-ey'd myriads from the Baltic coast :
gazine of Magazines," the author wrote to Mr. WalThe prostrate South to the destroyer yields
pole, requesting he would put it into the hands of Her boasted titles, and her golden fields :
Mr. Dodsley, and order him to print it immediately, With grim delight the brood of Winter view
in order to rescue it from the disgrace it might have A brighter day, and heav'ns of azure hue,
incurred by its appearance in a magazine. The Elegy Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
was the most popular of all our author's producAnd quaff the pendent vintage as it grows,
tions; it ran through eleven editions, and was trans
lated into Latin by Anstey and Roberts; and in the Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod, Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
same year a version of it was published by Lloyd.
Mr. Bentley, an eminent artist of that time, wishing While' European freedom still withstands
to decorate this elegant composition with every ornaTh' encroaching tide that drowns her less'ning lands, And sees far off, with an indignant groan,
ment of which it is so highly deserving, drew for it a
set of designs, as he also did for the rest of Gray's Her native plains and empires once her own?
productions, for which the artist was liberally repaid Can op'ner skies and sons of fiercer flame
by the author in some beautiful stanzas; but unforO'erpower the fire that animates our frame;
tunately no perfect copy of them remains. As lamps, that shed at eve a cheerful ray, Pade and expire beneath the eye of day?
It appears, by a letter of Dr. Wharton, that Gray
finished his Ode on the Progress of Poetry early in Need we the influence of the northern star
1755. The Bard also was begun about the same To string our nerves and steal our hearts to war. And where the face of Nature laughs around,
time; and the following beautiful fragment on the Must sick’ning virtue fly the tainted ground?
Pleasure arising from Vicissitude, the next year.
The merit of the two former pieces was not immeUnmanly thought! what seasons can control, What fancy'd zone can circumscribe the soul,
diately perceived, nor generally acknowledged. Gar. Who, conscious of the source from whence she springs, rick wrote a few lines in their praise. Lloyd and By Reason's light, or Resolution's wings,
Colman wrote, in concert, two Odes, to “ Oblivion” Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes
and “ Obscurity,” in which they were ridiculed with O'er Lybia's deserts, and thro' Zembla's snows?
much ingenuity. She bids each slumb'ring energy awake,
“ Now the golden mörn aloft Another touch, another temper take,
Waves her dew-bespangled wing, Saspends th' inferior laws that rule our clay;
With vermil cheek, and whisper soft,
She woos the tardy spring;
Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground, Not but the human fabric from the birth Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth ;
And lightly o'er the living scene
Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.
« New-born flocks, in rustio dance, An iron race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
Frisking ply their feeble feet; Poes to the gentler genius of the plain ;
Forgetful of their wintry trance, For where unweary'd sinews mast be found
The birds his presence greet: With side-long plough to quell the flinty ground,
But chief the sky-lark warbles high To turn the torrent's swift descending flood,
His trembling, thrilling ecstacy ; To brave the savage rushing from the wood,
And, less'ning from the dazzled sight,
Melts into air and liquid light.
“ Yesterday the sullen year The rough abode of Want and Liberty,
Saw the snowy whirlwind fly; (As lawless force from confidence will grow)
Mute was the music of the air,
The herd stood drooping by :
Their raptures now, that wildly flow,
No yesterday nor morrow know;
'Tis man alone that joy descries
With forward and reverted eyes.