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STELLA'S BIRTHDAY, MARCH 13, 1726

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An innocent and absent friend;
That courage which can make you just
To merit humbled in the dust;
The detestation you express
For vice in all its glittering dress;
That patience under torturing pain,
Where stubborn stoics would complain:
Must these like empty shadows pass,
Or forms reflected from a glass?
Or mere chimæras in the mind,
That fly and leave no marks behind ?
Does not the body thrive and grow
By food of twenty years ago ?
And, had it not been still supplied,
It must a thousand times have died.
Then who with reason can maintain
That no effects of food remain ?
And is not virtue in mankind
The nutriment that feeds the mind;
Upheld by each good action past,
And still continued by the last ?
Then, who with reason can pretend
That all effects of virtue end ?
Believe me, Stella, when you show
That true contempt for things below,
Nor prize your life for other ends
Than merely to oblige your friends;
Your former actions claim their part,
And join to fortify your heart.
For virtue in her daily race,
Like Janus, bears a double face;
Looks back with joy where she has gone,
And therefore goes with courage on.
She at your sickly couch will wait,
And guide you to a better state.

O then, whatever Heaven intends,
Take pity on your pitying friends!
Nor let your ills affect your mind,
To fancy they can be unkind.
Me, surely me, you ought to spare,
Who gladly would your suffering share,
Or give my scrap of life to you,
And think it far beneath your due;
You, to whose care so oft I owe
That I'm alive to tell you so.

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This day, whate'er the Fates decree,
Shall still be kept with joy by me.
This day then let us not be told
That you are sick, and I grown old;
Nor think on our approaching ills,
And talk of spectacles and pills.
To-morrow will be time enough
To hear such mortifying stuff.
Yet, since from reason may be brought
A better and more pleasing thought,
Which can in spite of all decays
Support a few remaining days,
From not the gravest of divines
Accept for once some serious lines.

Altho' we now can form no more
Long schemes of life, as heretofore;
Yet you, while time is running fast,
Can look with joy on what is past.

Were future happiness and pain
A mere contrivance of the brain,
As atheists argue, to entice
And fit their proselytes for vice,
(The only comfort they propose,
To have companions in their woes)
Grant this the case; yet sure 'tis hard
That virtue, styled its own reward
And by all sages understood
To be the chief of human good,
Should acting die, nor leave behind
Some lasting pleasure in the mind,
Which, by remembrance, will assuage
Grief, sickness, poverty, and age;
And strongly shoot a radiant dart
To shine thro' life's declining part.

Say, Stella, feel you no content,
Reflecting on a life well spent ?
Your skilful hand employ'd to save
Despairing wretches from the grave;
And then supporting with your store
Those whom you dragg'd from death before.
So Providence on mortals waits,
Preserving what it first creates.
Your generous boldness to defend

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But age has rusted what the poet writ,
Worn out his language, and obscured his wit;
In vain he jests in his unpolished strain,
And tries to make his readers laugh, in vain.

Old Spenser next, warmed with poetic rage,
In ancient tales amused a barbarous age;
An age that yet uncultivate and rude,
Where'er the poet's fancy led, pursued
Through pathless fields, and unfrequented foods,
To dens of dragons and enchanted woods.
But now the mystic tale, that pleased of yore,
Can charm an understanding age no more;
The long-spun allegories fulsome grow,
While the dull moral lies too plain below.
We view well-pleased at distance all the sights
Of arms and palfreys, battles, fields, and fights,
And damsels in distress, and courteous knights;
But when we look too near, the shades decay, 30
And all the pleasing landscape fades away.

Great Cowley then, a mighty genius, wrote, O’er-run with wit, and lavish of his thought: His turns too closely on the reader press; He more had pleased us, had he pleased us

less. One glittering thought no sooner strikes our eyes With silent wonder, but new wonders rise; As in the milky-way a shining white O'er-flows the heavens with one continued light, That not a single star can show his rays, Whilst jointly all promote the common blaze. Pardon, great poet, that I dare to name The unnumbered beauties of thy verse with blame; Thy fault is only wit in its excess, But wit like thine in any shape will please. What muse but thine can equal hints inspire, And fit the deep-mouthed Pindar to thy lyre; Pindar, whom others, in a laboured strain And forced expression, imitate in vain ? Well-pleased in thee he soars with new delight, 50 And plays in more unbounded verse, and takes a

nobler flight. Blest man! whose spotless life and charming

lays
Employed the tuneful prelate in thy praise:
Blest man! who now shalt be forever known
In Sprat's successful labours and thy own.

And Poverty looks cheerful in thy sight;
Thou mak'st the gloomy face of nature gay, 249
Giv'st beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the

day.
Thee, goddess, thee, Britannia's isle adores;
How has she oft exhausted all her stores,
How oft in fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought !
On foreign mountains may the sun refine
The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine;
With citron groves adorn a distant soil,
And the fat olive swell with floods of oil:
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies, 260
Nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine,
Though o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak moun-

tains smile. Others with towering piles may please the sight, And in their proud, aspiring domes delight; A nicer touch to the stretched canvas give, Or teach their animated rocks to live: 'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate, And hold in balance each contending state, 270 To threaten bold, presumptuous kings with war, And answer her afficted neighbours' prayer. The Dane and Swede, roused up by fierce alarms, Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms: Soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease, And all the northern world lies hushed in peace.

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The ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread Her thunder aimed at his aspiring head, And fain her godlike sons would disunite By foreign gold, or by domestic spite; 280 But strives in vain to conquer or divide, Whom Nassau's arms defend and counsels guide.

Fired with the name, which I so oft have found The distant climes and different tongues resound, I bridle in my struggling muse with pain, That longs to launch into a bolder strain.

But I've already troubled you too long, Nor dare attempt a more adventurous song. My humble verse demands a softer theme, A painted meadow, or a purling stream; 290 Unfit for heroes, whom immortal lays, And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, should praise.

FROM A LETTER TO THE RIGHT HON

OURABLE CHARLES LORD HALIFAX

FROM THE CAMPAIGN, A POEM TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH

O Liberty, thou goddess heavenly bright, Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight! Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,

245 And smiling Plenty leads thy wanton train; Eased of her load, Subjection grows more light,

But, O my muse, what numbers wilt thou To sing the furious troops in battle joined !

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748)

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

When the fierce North-wind with his airy forces
Rears up the Baltic to a foaming fury;
And the red lightning with a storm of hail comes

Rushing amain down;

How the poor sailors stand amazed and tremble, While the hoarse thunder, like a bloody trumpet, Roars a loud onset to the gaping waters,

Quick to devour them.

Methinks I hear the drum's tumultuous sound
The victor's shouts and dying groans confound,
The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies,
And all the thunder of the battle rise !
'Twas then great Marlborough's mighty soul was

proved.
That, in the shock of charging hosts unmoved,
Amidst confusion, horror, and despair, 281
Examined all the dreadful scenes of war;
In peaceful thought the field of death surveyed,
To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
Inspired repulsed battalions to engage,
And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
So when an angel by divine command
With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast; 290
And, pleased the Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.

But see the haughty household-troops advance! The dread of Europe, and the pride of France. The war's whole art each private soldier knows, And with a general's love of conquest glows; Proudly he marches on, and, void of fear, Laughs at the shaking of the British spear: Vain insolence! with native freedom brave, The meanest Briton scorns the highest slave. 300

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HYMN

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The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.
Th’ unwearied Sun from day to day
Does his Creator's power display;
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale;
And nightly to the listening Earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball;
What though no real voice nor sound
Amidst their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
Forever singing as they shine,
“The Hand that made us is divine."

Stop here, my fancy: (all away, ye horrid
Doleful ideas !) come, arise to Jesus,

30 How He sits God-like! and the saints around Him

Throned, yet adoring!

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AMBROSE PHILIPS (1675-1749)

TO MISS CHARLOTTE PULTENEY, IN HER

MOTHER'S ARMS

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Sleep, my babe; thy food and raiment,

House and home, thy friends provide; All without thy care or payment:

All thy wants are well supplied. How much better thou'rt attended

Than the Son of God could be, When from heaven He descended

And became a child like thee! Soft and easy is thy cradle:

Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay, When His birthplace was a stable

And His softest bed was hay.
Blessèd babe ! what glorious features

Spotless fair, divinely bright!
Must He dwell with brutal creatures ?

How could angels bear the sight?
Was there nothing but a manger

Cursèd sinners could afford
To receive the heavenly stranger?

Did they thus affront their Lord ?
Soft, my child: I did not chide thee,

Though my song might sound too hard; 'Tis thy mother sits beside thee,

And her arms shall be thy guard. Yet to read the shameful story

How the Jews abused their King, 30 How they served the Lord of Glory,

Makes me angry while I sing.
See the kinder shepherds round Him,

Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,

With His Virgin mother by. See the lovely babe a-dressing;

Lovely infant, how He smiled! When He wept, the mother's blessing

Soothed and hush'd the holy child.

Timely blossom, infant fair, Fondling of a happy pair, Every morn and every night Their solicitous delight; Sleeping, waking, still at ease, Pleasing, without skill to please; Little gossip, blithe and hale, Tattling many a broken tale, Singing many a tuneless song, Lavish of a heedless tongue. Simple maiden, void of art, Babbling out the very heart, Yet abandoned to thy will, Yet imagining no ill, Yet too innocent to blush; Like the linnet in the bush, To the mother-linnet's note Moduling her slender throat, Chirping forth thy pretty joys; Wanton in the change of toys, Like the linnet green, in May, Flitting to each bloomy spray; Wearied then, and glad of rest, Like the linnet in the nest. This thy present happy lot, This, in time, will be forgot; Other pleasures, other cares, * Ever-busy Time prepares; And thou shalt in thy daughter see This picture once resembled thee.

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JOHN PHILIPS (1676-1709)

FROM THE SPLENDID SHILLING

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Lo, He slumbers in His manger,

Where the horned oxen fed;
Peace, my darling; here's no danger,

Here's no ox anear thy bed.
'Twas to save thee, child, from dying,

Save my dear from burning flame, Bitter groans and endless crying,

That thy blest Redeemer came. May'st thou live to know and fear Him,

Trust and love Him all thy days; Then go dwell forever near Him,

See His face, and sing His praise !

Happy the man who, void of cares and strife,
In silken or in leathern purse retains
A Splendid Shilling. He nor hears with pain
New oysters cried, nor sighs for cheerful ale;
But with his friends, when nightly mists arise,
To Juniper's Magpie or Town-hall repairs:
Where, mindful of the nymph whose wanton eye
Transfixed his soul and kindled amorous flames,
Chloe or Phillis, he each circling glass
Wishes her health, and joy, and equal love.
Meanwhile he smokes, and laughs at merry tale
Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint.
But I, whom griping penury surrounds,
And hunger, sure attendant upon want,
With scanty ofsals, and small acid tiff,

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THOMAS PARNELL (1679-1718)

FROM A NIGHT-PIECE ON DEATH

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By the blue taper's trembling light,
No more I waste the wakeful night,
Intent with endless view to pore
The schoolmen and the sages o'er;
Their books from wisdom widely stray,
Or point at best the longest way.
I'll seek a readier path, and go
Where wisdom's surely taught below.

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Wretched repast! my meagre corps sustain:
Then solitary walk, or doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
Regale chilled fingers; or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polished jet,
Exhale mundungus, ill-perfuming scent:
Not blacker tube nor of a shorter size
Smokes Cambro-Briton, versed in pedigree,
Sprung from Cadwalador and Arthur, kings
Full famous in romantic tale, when he
O’er many a craggy hill and barren cliff,
Upon a cargo of famed Cestrian cheese,
High overshadowing rides, with a design
To vend his wares, or at th’ Arvonian mart,
Or Maridunum, or the ancient town

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Ycleped Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream
Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil !
Whence flows nectareous wines that well may

vie With Massic, Setin, or renowned Falern.

Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow With looks demure and silent pace, a dun, Horrible monster! hated by gods and men, To my aërial citadel ascends. With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate, With hideous accent thrice he calls; I know 40 The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound. What should I do? or whither turn? Amazed, Confounded, to the dark recess I fly Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect Thro' sudden fear: a chilly sweat bedews My shuddering limbs, and, wonderful to tell ! My tongue forgets her faculty of speech; So horrible he seems! His faded brow Entrench'd with many

a frown, and conic beard, And spreading band, admired by modern saints,

50 Disastrous acts forebode; in his right hand Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves, With characters and figures dire inscribed, Grievous to mortal eyes; ye gods, avert Such plagues from righteous men! Behind him

stalks Another monster, not unlike himself, Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar called A catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods With force incredible and magic charms First have endued: if he his ample palm 60 Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch Obsequious, as whilom knights were wont, To some enchanted castle is conveyed, Where gates impregnable and coercive chains In durance strict detain him till, in form Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.

How deep yon azure dyes the sky,
Where orbs of gold unnumber'd lie,
While through their ranks in silver pride
The nether crescent seems to glide!
The slumbering breeze forgets to breathe,
The lake is smooth and clear beneath,
Where once again the spangled show
Descends to meet our eyes below.
The grounds which on the right aspire,
In dimness from the view retire:
The left presents a place of graves,
Whose wall the silent water laves.
That steeple guides thy doubtful sight
Among the livid gleams of night.
There pass, with melancholy state,
By all the solemn heaps of fate,
And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable dead,
“Time was, like thee they life possest,
And time shall be, that thou shalt rest.”

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Those graves, with bending osier bound,
That nameless heave the crumbled ground, 30
Quick to the glancing thought disclose,
Where toil and poverty repose.
The Aat smooth stones that bear a name,
The chisel's slender help to fame,
(Which ere our set of friends decay
Their frequent steps may wear away;)
A middle race of mortals own,
Men, half ambitious, all unknown.
The marble tombs that rise on high,
Whose dead in vaulted arches lie,
Whose pillars swell with sculptur'd stones,
Arms, angels, epitaphs, and bones,
These, all the poor remains of state,
Adorn the rich, or praise the great;
Who while on earth in fame they live,
Are senseless of the fame they give.

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Ha! while I gaze, pale Cynthia fades, The bursting earth unveils the shades!

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