페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Which better than the tongue imparts
The feelings of impassion'd hearts.
Blest if my sighs and tears but prove
The winds and waves that waft to love
Can true affection cease to fear?
Poor is the joy, not worth a tear.
Did passion ever know content ?
How weak the passion words can paint.
Then let my sighs and tears but prove
The winds and waves that waft to love.
The Cyprian bird with plaintive moan
Thus makes her faithful passion known.
So Zephyrus breathes on Flora's bowers,
And charms with sighs the Queen of flowers;
Then let my sighs and tears but prove
The winds and waves that waft to love.

EPILOGUE TO HANNAH MORE'S PLAY, THE

FATAL FALSEHOOD.

SPOKEN BY MR. LEE LEWIS.

UNHAND me, gentlemen, by heaven, I say,
I'll make a ghost of him who bars my way.

(Behind the scenes.)
Forth let me come-a Poetaster true,
As lean as Envy, and as baneful too;
On the dull audience let me vent my rage,
Or drive these female scribblers from the stage:
For scene or history, we've none but these,
The law of Liberty and Wit they seize,
In Tragic—Comic-Pastoral—they dare to please.

bard must surely burst with spite,
To find that women with such fame can write :
But, oh, your partial favour is the cause,
Who feed their follies with such full applause ;
Yet still our tribe shall seek to blast their fame,
And ridicule each fair pretender's aim ;
Where the dull duties of domestic life,
Wage with the Muse's toils eternal strife.
What motley cares Corilla's mind perplex,
Whom maids and metaphors conspire to vex!

Each puny

In studious déshabille behold her site
A letter'd gossip and a housewife wit ;
At once invoking, though for different views,
Her gods, her cook, her milliner, and muse.
Round her strew'd room, a frippery chaos lies,
A chequer'd wreck of notable and wise.
Bills, books, caps, couplets, combs, a varied mass,
Uppress the toilet and obscure the glass ;
Unfinished here an epigram is laid,
And there a inantua-maker's bill unpaid.
There new born plays foretaste the town's applause,
There dormant patterns pine for future gauze.
A moral essay now is all her care,
A satire next, and then a bill of fare.
A scene she now projects, and now a dish,
Here Act the first, and here “Remove with Fish."
Now, while this eye in a fine frenzy rolls,
That soberly casts up a bill for coals ;
Black pins and daggers in one leaf she sticks,
And tears, and threads, and bowls, and thimbles mix.
Sappho, 'tis true long versed in epic song,
For years esteemed all household studies wrong;
When dire mishap, through neither shame nor sin,
Sappho herself, and not her Muse, lies in.
The virgin Nine in terror fly the bower,
And matron Juno claims despotic power;
Soon gothic hags the classic pile o'erturn,
A caudle-cup supplants the sacred urn,
Nor books nor implements escape their rage,
They spike the inkstand and they rend the page;
Poems and plays one barbarous fate partake,
Ovid and Plautus suffer at the stake,
And Aristotle's only saved-to wrap plumcake.
Yet, shall a woman tempt the tragic scene?
And dare--but hold-I must repress my spleen;
I see your hearts are pledged to her applause,
While Shakespeare's spirit seems to aid her cause ;
Well pleased to aid-since o'er his sacred bier
A female hand did ample trophies rear,
And gave the greenest laurel that is worshipped there

TO LAURA.

NEAR Avon's ridgy bank there grows

A willow of no vulgar size, That tree first heard

poor

Silvio's woes,
And heard how bright were Laura's eyes,
Its boughs were shade from heat or show'r,

Its roots a moss-grown seat became;
Its leaves would strew the maiden's bow'r,

Its bark was shatter'd with her name !
Once on a blossom-crowned day
Of mirth-inspiring May
Silvio, beneath this willow's sober shade
In sullen contemplation laid,
Did mock the meadow's flowery pride,

Rail'd at the dance and sportive ring;
The tabor's call he did deride,

And said, It was not Spring. He scorn'd the sky of azure blue,

He scorn'd whate'er could mirth bespeak; He chid the beam that drank the dew,

And chid the gale that fann'd his glowing check, Unpaid the season's wonted lay, For still he sigh’d, and said it was not May. " Ah, why should the glittering stream

Reflect thus delusive the scene? Ah, why does a rosy-ting'd beam,

Thus vainly enamel the green ? To me nor joy nor light they bring, I tell thee, Phæbus, 'tis not Spring. « Sweet tut'ress of music and love,

Sweet bird, if 'tis thee that I hear,
Why left you so early the grove,

To lavish your melody here ?
Cease, then, mistaken thus to sing,
Sweet nightingale ! it is not Spring.
“ The gale courts my locks but to tease,

And, Zephyr, I call'd not on thee;
Thy fragrance no longer can please,

Then rob not the blossoms for me : But hence unload thy balmy wing, Believe me, Zephyr, 'tis not Spring.

“ Yet the lily has drank of the show'r,

And the rose 'gins to peep on the day ;
And yon bee seems to search for a flow'r,

As busy as if it were May :-
In vain, thou senseless flutt'ring thing,
My heart informs me, 'tis not Spring.
May pois'd her roseate wings, for she had heard

The mourner, as she passed the vales along;
And, silencing her own indignant bird,
She thus reprov'd poor

Silvio's song.
“ How false is the sight of a lover;
How ready his spleen to discover

What reason would never allow !
Why, Silvio, my sunshine and showers,
My blossoms, my birds, and my flow'rs,

Were never more perfect than now.
“ The water's reflection is true,
The green is enamell’d to view,

And Philomel sings on the spray ;
The gale is the breathing of Spring,
'Tis fragrance it bears on its wing,

And the bee is assur'd it is May.”
“Pardon (said Silvio with a gushing tear),
'Tis Spring, sweet nymph, but Laura is not here."

In sending these verses to Mrs. Sheridan, who was on a visit to her father and mother at Bath, Sheridan had also written her a description of some splendid party, at which he had lately been present, where all the finest women of the world of fashion were assembled. · His praises of their beauty, as well as his account of their flattering attentions to himself, awakened a feeling of, at least, poetical jealousy in Mrs. Sheridan, which she expressed in the following answer to his verses—taking occasion, at the same time, to pay some generous compliments to the most brilliant among his new fashionable friends. Though her verses are of that kind which we read more with interest than admiration, they have quite enough of talent for the gentle themes to which she aspired ; and there is, besides, a charm about them, as coming from Mrs. Sheridan, to which far better poetry could not pretend.

TO SILVIO.

Soft flow'd the lay by Avon's sedgy side,

While o'er its streams the drooping willow hung,
Beneath whose shadow Silvio fondly tried

To check the opening roses as they sprung.
In vain he bade them cease to court the gale,

That wanton'd balmy on the zephyr's wing;
In vain, when Philomel renew'd her tale,

He chid her song, and said, “ It was not Spring."
For still they bloom'd, though Silvio's heart was sad,

Nor did sweet Philomel neglect to sing ;
The zephyrs scorn'd them not, though Silvio had,

For love and nature told them was Spring

*

To other scenes doth Silvio now repair,

To nobler themes his daring Muse aspires;
Around him throng the gay, the young, the fair,

His lively wit the list’ning crowd admires.
And see, where radiant Beauty smiling stands,

With gentle voice and soft beseeching eyes,
To gain the laurel from his willing hands,

Her every art the fond enchantress tries.
What various charms the admiring youth surround,

How shall he sing, or how attempt to praise ?
So lovely all-where shall the bard be found,

Who can to one alone attune his lays ?
Behold with graceful step and smile serene,

Majestic Stella* moves to claim the prize ;
“ 'Tis thine," he cries, "for thou art Beauty's queen."

Mistaken youth ! and see'st thou Myra'st eyes?
With beaming lustre see they dart at thee;

Ah ! dread their vengeance-yet withhold thy hand-
That deep'ning blush upbraids thy rash decree;

Hers is the wreath-obey the just demand. Mr. Moore says, according to the Key which had been given him, the name of Stella was meant to designate the Duchess of Rutland.

+ The Duchess of Devonshire.

« 이전계속 »