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O let me safely to the fair return,
Say, with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn!
O let me teach my heart to lose its fears,
Recalled by Wisdom's voice and Zara's tears!"
He said, and called on Heav'n to bless the day When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way. 1738 or 1739.
ADDRESSED TO SIR THOMAS HANMER ON HIS EDITION OF SHAKESPEAR'S WORKS
Each rising art by just gradation moves,
Toil builds on toil, and age on age improves;
The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage,
And graced with noblest pomp her earliest stage.
Preserved through time, the speaking scenes impart
Each changeful wish of Phædra's tortured heart;
Or paint the curse that marked the Theban's reign-
A bed incestuous, and a father slain.
With kind concern our pitying eyes o'erflow,
Trace the sad tale, and own another's woe.
To Rome removed, with wit secure to please,
The Comic Sisters kept their native ease;
With jealous fear declining Greece beheld
Her own Menander's art almost excelled.
But ev'ry Muse essayed to raise in vain
Some laboured rival of her tragic strain;
Ilissus' laurels, though transferred with toil,
Drooped their fair leaves, nor knew th' unfriendly soil.
As Arts expired, resistless Dulness rose;
Goths, priests, or Vandals-all were Learning's foes:
Till Julius first recalled each exiled maid,
And Cosmo owned them in th' Etrurian shade.
Then, deeply skilled in love's engaging theme,
The soft Provençal passed to Arno's stream;
With graceful ease the wanton lyre he strung,
Sweet flowed the lays-but love was all he sung;
The gay description could not fail to move,
For, led by nature, all are friends to love.
But Heav'n, still various in its works, decreed
The perfect boast of time should last succeed;
The beauteous union must appear, at length,
Of Tuscan fancy and Athenian strength;
One greater Muse Eliza's reign adorn,
And ev'n a Shakespear to her fame be born!
Yet, ah, so bright her morning's op'ning ray,
In vain our Britain hoped an equal day:
No second growth the western isle could bear,
At once exhausted with too rich a year.
Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part;
Nature in him was almost lost in art.
Of softer mould the gentle Fletcher came,
The next in order as the next in name:
With pleased attention, 'midst his scenes we find
Each glowing thought that warms the female mind;
Each melting sigh and ev'ry tender tear,
The lover's wishes and the virgin's fear.
His ev'ry strain the Smiles and Graces own,
But stronger Shakespear felt for man alone;
Drawn by his pen, our ruder passions stand
Th' unrivalled picture of his early hand.
With gradual steps and slow, exacter France
Saw Art's fair empire o'er her shores advance;
By length of toil a bright perfection knew,
Correctly bold, and just in all she drew:
Till late Corneille, with Lucan's spirit fired,
Breathed the free strain, as Rome and he inspired;
And classic judgment gained to sweet Racine
The temp'rate strength of Maro's chaster line.
But wilder far the British laurel spread,
And wreaths less artful crown our poet's head.
Yet he alone to ev'ry scene could give
Th' historian's truth, and bid the m
A SONG FROM SHAKESPEAR'S "CYMBELINE"
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
Each op'ning sweet of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear,
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove;
But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew.
The redbreast oft, at ev'ning hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss and gathered flow'rs,
To deck the ground where thou art laid.
When howling winds and beating rain
In tempests shake the sylvan cell,
Or 'midst the chase, on ev'ry plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell.
Each lonely scene shall thee restore;
For thee the tear be duly shed;
Beloved till life could charm no more,
And mourned till Pity's self be dead.
ODE TO FEAR
Thou to whom the world unknown,
With all its shadowy shapes, is shown;
Who see'st, appalled, th' unreal scene,
While Fancy lifts the veil between;
Ah Fear! ah frantic Fear!
I see, I see thee near!
I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
Like thee I start, like thee disordered fly,
For, lo, what monsters in thy train appear!
Danger, whose limbs of giant mould
What mortal eye can fixed behold?
Who stalks his round, an hideous form,
Howling amidst the midnight storm,
Or throws him on the ridgy steep
Of some loose hanging rock to sleep.
And with him thousand phantoms joined,
Who prompt to deeds accursed the mind;
And those, the fiends who, near allied,
O'er Nature's wounds and wrecks preside,
Whilst Vengeance, in the lurid air,
Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare;
On whom that rav'ning brood of Fate,
Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait.
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?
In earliest Greece to thee, with partial choice,
The grief-full Muse addrest her infant tongue;
The maids and matrons on her awful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.
Yet he, the bard who first invoked thy name,
Disdained in Marathon its pow'r to feel;
For not alone he nursed the poet's flame,
But reached from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
But who is he whom later garlands grace,
Who left a while o'er Hybla's dews to rove,
With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace,
Where thou and Furies shared the baleful grove?
Wrapt in thy cloudy veil, th' incestuous queen
Sighed the sad call her son and husband heard, When once alone it broke the silent scene,
And he, the wretch of Thebes, no more appeared.
O Fear, I know thee by my throbbing heart;
Thy with'ring pow'r inspired each mournful line; Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part,
Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine!
Thou who such weary lengths hast passed,
Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph, at last?
Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell,
Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell?
Or in some hollowed seat,
'Gainst which the big waves beat,
Hear drowning seamen's cries, in tempests brought?
Dark pow'r, with shudd'ring, meek, submitted thought
Be mine to read the visions old
Which thy awak'ning bards have told,
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true!
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'erawed,
In that thrice-hallowed eve abroad
When ghosts, as cottage maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt, from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!
O thou whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakespear's breast,
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke,
Hither again thy fury deal!
Teach me but once like him to feel,
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!
O thou by Nature taught
To breathe her genuine thought,
In numbers warmly pure and sweetly strong;
Who first, on mountains wild,
In Fancy, loveliest child,
Thy babe or Pleasure's, nursed the pow'rs of song!
Thou who with hermit heart
Disdain'st the wealth of art,
And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall;