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Must I praise her melody?
Let her sing of love and ine.
If she choose another theme,
I'd rather hear a peacock scream,
Must I, with attentive eye,
Watch her heaving bosom sigh?
I will do so, when I see
That heaving bosom sigh for me
None but bigots will in vain
Adore a heav'n they cannot gain.
If I must religious prove
To the mighty God of Love,
Sure I am it is but fair
He, at least, should hear my prayer.
But, by each joy of his I've known,
And all I yet shall make my own,
Never will I, with humble speech,
Pray to a heav'n I cannot reach.”
DRY BE THAT TEAR.
DRY be that tear, my gentlest love,
Be hush'd that struggling sigh,
Nor seasons, day, nor fate shall prove
More fix'd, more true than I.
Hush'd be that sigh, be dry that tear,
Cease boding doubt, cease anxious fear.
Dry be that tear.
Ask'st thou how long my love will stay,
When all that's new is past?
How long, ah, Delia, can I say
How long my life will last ?
Dry be that tear, be hush'd that sigh,
At least I'll love thee till I die.
Hush'd be that sigh.
And does that thought affect thee too,
The thought of Sylvio's death,
That he who only breath'd for you,
Must yield that faithful breath?
Hush'd be that sigh, be dry that tear,
Nor let us lose our Heaven here.
Dry be that tear.
There is in the second stanza here a close resemblance to
TO THE RECORDING ANGEL-CLIO'S REQUEST.
523 one of the madrigals of Montreuil, a French poet, to whom Sir John Moore was indebted for the point of his well-known verses, “ If in that breast, so good so pure."* Mr. Sheridan, however, knew nothing of French, and neglected every opportunity of learning it, till, by a very natural process, his ignorance of the language grew into hatred of it. Besides, we have the immediate source from which he derived the thought of this stanza, in one of the Essays of Hume, who, being a reader of foreign literature, most probably found it in Montreuil.t
TO THE RECORDING ANGEL CHERUB of heaven, that from thy secret stand
Dost note the follies of each mortal here,
Oh, if Eliza's steps employ thy hand,
Blot the sad legend with a mortal tear.
Nor, when she errs, through passion's wild extreme,
Mark then her course, nor heed each trifling wrong ;
Nor when her sad attachment is her theme,
Note down the transports of her erring tongue.
But when she sighs for sorrows not her own,
Let that dear sigh to Mercy's cause be given;
And bear that tear to her Creator's throne,
Which glistens in the eye upraised to Heaven I
EXTRACTS FROM “CLIO'S REQUEST.” PUBLISHED IN 1771, DESCRIBING SEVERAL OF THE BEAUTIES
BUT, hark did not our bard repeat
The love-born name of M-rg-r-t2-1
• “ The grief, that on my quiet preys,
That rends my heart and checks my tongue
I fear will last me all my days,
And feel it will not last me long."
It is thus in Montreuil :-
“ C'est un mal que j'aurai tout le tems de ma vie ;
Mais je ne l'aurai pas long-tems.”. + Or in an Italian song of Menage, from which Montreuil, who was ac customed to such thefts, most probably stole it. The point in the Italian is, as far as I can remember it, expressed thus :
“ In van, o Filli, tu chiedi
Se lungamente durera l'ardore
Chi lo potrebbe dire ?
Incerta, o Filli, e l'ora del morire. " 1 Lady Margaret Fordyce.
Attention seizes every ear;
We pant for the description here:
If ever dulness left thy brow,
“ Pindar," we say, “'twill leave thee now."
But oh! old Dulness' son anointed
His mother never disappointed !
And here we all were left to seek
A dimple in F-rd-ce's cheek !
And could you really discover,
In gazing those sweet beauties over,
No other charm, no winning grace,
Adorning either mind or face,
But one poor dimple, to express
The quintessence of loveliness ?
....Mark'd you her cheek of rosy hue ?
Mark'd you her eye of sparkling blue ?
That eye, in liquid circles moving;
That cheek abash'd at Man's approving;
The one, Love's arrows darting round;
The other, blushing at the wound:
Did she not speak, did she not move,
Now Pallas-now the Queen of Love !
We see the Dame, in rustic pride,
A bunch of keys to grace her side,
Stalking across the well-swept entry,
To hold her council in the pantry;
Or, with prophetic soul, foretelling
The peas will boil well by the shelling;
Or, bustling in her private closet,
Prepare her lord his morning posset;
And while the hallow'd mixture thickens,
Signing death-warrants for the chickens :
Else, greatly pensive, poring o'er
Accounts her cook hath thumb'd before ;
One eye cast up upon that great book,
Yclep'd The Family Receipt Book ;
By which she's rul'd in all her courses,
From stewing figs to drenching horses.
— Then pans and pickling skillets rise,
In dreadful lustre, to our eyes,
With store of sweetmeats, rang'd in order,
And potted nothings on the border ;
While salves and caudle-cups between,
With squalling children, close the scene.
O ! should your genius ever rise,
And make you Laureate in the skies,
I'd hold my life, in twenty years,
You'd spoil the music of the spheres.
-Nay, should the rapture-breathing Nine
In one celestial concert join,
Their sovereign's power to rehearse,
-Were you to furnish men with verse,
By Jove, I'd fly the heavenly throng,
Tho' Phæbus play'd and Linley sung.
SHERIDAN'S VERS DE SOCIETE. In what are called Vers de Société, or drawing-room verses, he took great delight ; and there remain among his papers several sketches of these trifles. Mr. Moore once heard him repeat, in a ball-room, some verses which he had written on Waltzing, and of which he has given us the following :"With tranquil step, and timid downcast glance,
Behold the well-pair'd couple now advance.
In such sweet posture our first Parents mov'd,
While, hand in hand, through Eden's bowers they rov'd.
Ere yet the Devil, with promise foul and false,
Turn'd their poor heads and taught them how to Walse.
One hand grasps hers, the other holds her hip-
For so the Law's laid down by Baron Trip."* He had a sort of hereditary fancy for difficult trifling in poetry ;—particularly for that sort which consists in rhyming to the same word through a long string of couplets, till every rhyme that the language supplies for it is exhausted. The following are specimens from a poem of this kind, which he wrote on the loss of a lady's trunk :
This gentleman, whose name suits so aptly as a legal authority on the subject of Waltzing, was, at the time these verses were written, well known in the dancing circles.
(To Anne.) Have you heard, my dear Anne, how my spirits are sunk? Have you heard of the cause? Oh, the loss of my Trunk! For exertion or firmness I've never yet slunk ; But my fortitude's gone with the loss of my Trunk! Stout Lucy, my maid, is a damsel of spunk; Yet she weeps night and day for the loss of my Trunk ! I'd better turn nun, and coquet with a monk; For with whom can I flirt without aid from my Trunk ?
Accurs'd be the thief, the old rascally hunks,
Who rifles the fair, and lays hands on their Trunks !
He who robs the King's stores of the least bit of junk,
Is hang'd-while he's safe, who has plunder'd my Trunk !
There's a phrase amongst lawyers, when nund's put for tunc;
But, tunc and nunc both, must I grieve for my Trunk /
Huge leaves of that great commentator, old Brunck,
Perhaps was the paper that lin'd my poor Trunk !
But my rhymes are all out!—for I dare not use st–k ;*
'Twould shock Sheridan more than the loss of my Trunk !
From another of these trifles, (which, no doubt, produced much gaiety at the breakfast-table,) the following extracts will be sufficient :
Muse, assist me to complain,
While I grieve for Lady Jane.
I ne'er was in so sad a vein,
Deserted now by Lady Jane.
Lord Petre's house was built by Payne-
No mortal architect made Jane.
If hearts had windows, through the pane
Of mine you'd see sweet Lady Jane.
At breakfast I could scarce refrain
From tears at missing lovely Jane ;
Nine rolls I eat, in hopes to gain
The roll that might have fall’n to Jane, &
• He had a particular horror of this word.