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The honoured prophet, that of old
Used Heaven's high counsels to unfold,
Did, more than courier angels, greet
The crows, that brought him bread and meat.
WRITTEN UNDER THE NAME OF PETER DRAKE, A
FISHERMAN OF BRENTFORD.
Scilicet hic possis curvo dignoscere rectum,
Atque inter silvas Academi quærere verum.
Our wits Apollo's influence beg,
The Grotto makes them all with egg :
Finding this chalkstone in my nest,
I strain, and lay among the rest.
ADIEU awhile, forsaken flood,
To ramble in the Delian wood,
the god my well-meant song May not my subject's merit wrong.
Say, father Thames, whose gentle pace
Gives leave to view what beauties grace
Your flowery banks, if you
The much sung Grotto of the queen.
Contemplative, forget awhile
Oxonian towers, and Windsor's pile,
And Wolsey's pride 2 (his greatest guilt)
And what great William since has built;
And flowing fast by Richmond scenes,
(Honour'd retreat of two great queens) 3
From Sion-House, whose proud survey
Brow-beats your flood, look 'cross the way,
And view, from highest swell of tide,
The milder scenes of Surrey side.
Though yet no palace grace the shore, To lodge that pair you should adore; Nor abbeys, great in ruin, rise, Royal equivalents for vice; Behold a Grot, in Delphic grove, The Graces' and the Muses' love. (O, might our Laureate study here, How would he hail his new-born year!) A temple from vain glories free, Whose goddess is Philosophy, Whose sides such licensed idols crown As superstition would pull down; The only pilgrimage I know, That men of sense would choose to go: Which sweet abode, her wisest choice, Urania cheers with heavenly voice, While all the Virtues gather round, To see her consecrate the ground. If thou, the god with wingèd feet, In council talk of this retreat, And jealous gods resentment show At altars raised to men below; Tell those proud lords of heaven, 'tis fit Their house our heroes should admit; While each exists, as poets sing, A lazy lewd immortal thing, They must (or grow in disrepute) With earth's first commoners recruit. Sion-House is now a seat belonging to the Duke of Northumberlau.!
Needless it is in terms unskill'd
To praise whatever Boyle' shall build;
Needless it is the busts to name
Of men, monopolists of fame.
Four chiefs adorn the modest stone,2
For virtue as for learning known;
The thinking sculpture helps to raise
Deep thoughts, the genii of the place:
To the mind's ear, and inward sight,
Their silence speaks, and shade gives light:
While insects from the threshold preach,
And minds disposed to musing teach:
Proud of strong limbs and painted hues,
They perish by the slightest bruise;
Or maladies, begun within,
Destroy more slow life’s frail machine;
From maggot-youth through change of state
They feel like us the turns of Fate;
Some, born to creep, have lived to fly,
And change earth-cells for dwellings high;
And some that did their six wings keep,
Before they died been forced to creep.
They politics like ours profess,
The greater prey upon the less:
Some strain on foot huge loads to bring;
Some toil incessant on the wing;
And in their different ways explore
Wise sense of want by future store;
Nor from their vigorous schemes desist
"Till death, and then are never miss'd.
Some frolic, toil, marry, increase,
Are sick and well, have war and peace,
And, broke with age, in half a day
Yield to successors, and away. .
Let not profane this sacred place,
Hypocrisy with Janus' face;
Or Pomp, mixed state of pride and care;
Court kindness, Falsehood's polished ware;
Scandal disguised in Friendship’s veil,
That tells, unask'd, th' injurious tale;
Or art polític, which allows
The Jesuit-remedy for vows;
Or priest perfuming crowned head,
'Till in a swoon Truth lies for dead;
Or tawdry critic, who perceives
which plain proportion gives,
And more than lineaments divine
Admires the gilding of the shrine;
Or that self-haunting spectre Spleen,
In thickest fog the clearest seen;
Or Prophecy, which dreams a lie,
That fools believe and knaves apply;
Or frolic Mirth, profanely loud,
And happy only in a crowd;
Or Melancholy's pensive gloom,
Proxy in Contemplation's room.
O Delia, when I touch this string,
To thee my Muse directs her wing.
Unspotted fair, with downcast look
Mind not so much the murmuring brook;
Nor fixed in thought, with footsteps slow
Through cypress alleys cherish woe:
I see the soul in pensive fit,
And moping like sick linnet sit,
With dewy eye and moulting wing,
Unperched, averse to fly or sing;
I see the favourite curls begin
(Disused,to toilet discipline,)
To quit their post, lose their smart air,
And grow again like common hair ;
And tears, which frequent kerchiefs dry,
Raise a red circle round the eye;
And by this bur about the moon,
Conjecture more ill weather soon.
Love not so much the doleful knell,
And news the boding night-birds tell;
Nor watch the wainscot's hollow blow;
And hens portentous when they crow;
Nor sleepless mind the death-watch beat;
In taper find no winding sheet;
Nor in burnt coal a coffin see,
Though thrown at others, meant for thee;
Or when the coruscation gleams,
Find out not first the bloody streams;
Nor in impress'd remembrance keep
Grim tapestry figures wrought in sleep;
Nor rise to see in antique hall
The moonlight monsters on the wall,
And shadowy spectres darkly pass
Trailing their sables o'er the grass.
Let vice and guilt act how they please
In souls, their conquered provinces;
By Heaven's just charter it appears,
Virtue's exempt from quart’ring fears.
Shall then armed fancies fiercely dress'd
Live at discretion in your breast?
Be wise, and panic fright disdain,