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• O let me, let an hapless wretch depart,
• Unwept, unnotic'd, to the filent grave ! « And may the thousand pangs
that rive my heart, My spotted soul from endiefs mis’ry fave !
• Long were to tell the story of shame!'
As from her dying lips these accents fell, Convulfive fighs dissolv’d her tender frame,
And her soul fled—whither, ah! who can tell?
E NOWN'D Britannia! lov'd parental land,
Regard thy welfare with a watchful eye: Whene'er the weight of Want's afflicting hand
Wakes o'er thy vales the poor's persuasive cry;
When slaves in office freemen's rights withstand,
When wealth enormous sets th' oppressor high, And bribes thy ductile senators command;
Then mourn--for then thy fate approacheth nigh.
Not from perfidious Gaul, or haughty Spain,
Nor all the neighbouring nations of the main,
Tho' leagu'd in war tremendous round thy hore;
But from thyself thy ruin must proceed :
Nor boast thy power; for know, it is decreed, Thy freedom gone, thy power shall be no more.
Consult the blue expanse on high,
The blush that paints the morning sky,
The cloud that nimbly rides ;
The orbs that mark with lustre bright
The spangled mantle of the night,
Who there supreme resides.
Question the gaudy flowers around,
That scent the air, or paint the ground,
Whose influence they obey;
Whose hand imparts the various dyes,
At whose command they bud and rise,
At whose command decay.
Say ye, on down, or mountain fteep,
That stately tread, or lowly creep;
And ye aërial throng,
That chear the woodland scene and fields
With vocal strains; whose bounty yields,
Or sustenance or song ?
Who, in the ocean's waste domain,
The tenants of the wat'ry plain
With liberal hand supplies ?
The floods in icy fetters binds,
Smoothes the rough surge, and lulls the winds,
Or bids the tempeft rise?
Nature, in ev'ry mystick scene
Declares a plastick Author's reign;
Above the morning's wings,
Beyond the sea's remoteft tides,
Beneath the Dædal earth, resides
Th' Almighty King of kings.
That, down from Chaucer's days to Dryden's times,
Have spent their noble rage in British rhymes ;
Without more preface, writ in formal length,
To speak the undertaker's want of strength,
I'll try to make their sev'ral beauties known,
And shew their verses worth, tho' not my own.
Long had our dull forefathers flept supine,
Nor felt the raptures of the tuneful Nine,
Till Chaucer first, a merry bard, arose,
And many a story told in rhyme and profe;
has rufted what the poet writ,
Worn out his language, and obscur’d his wit;
In vain he jefts in his unpolish'd ftrain,
And tries to make his readers laugh in vain.
Old Spenser next, warm’d with poetick rage,
In ancient tales amus'd a barb'rous age;
An age that, yet uncultivate and rude,
Where'er the poet's fancy led, pursu'd,
Thro' pathless fields and unfrequented foods,
To dens of dragons and enchanted woods.
But now the mystick tale, that pleas'd of yore,
Can charm an understanding age no more;
The long-spun allegories fulsome grow,
While the dull moral lies too plain below.
Afterwards Dr. Sacheverell,
We view, well pleas'd, at distance all the fights
Of arms and palfries, battles, fields, and fights,
And damsels in distress, and courteous knights ;
But when we look too near the fades decay,
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 pleas'd us, had he pleas'd us lefs.
One glitt'ring thought no sooner strikes our eyes
With silent wonder, but new wonders rife;
As in the Milky-way a shining white
O'erflows the heav'ns with one continu'd light,
That not a single star can fhew his rays,
Whilft jointly all promote the common blaze.
Pardon, great poet! that I dare to name
Th’unnumber'd beauties of thy verse with blame :
Thy fault is only wit in it's excefs;
But wit like thine in any fhape will pleafe.
What Muse but thine can equal hints inspire,
And fit the deep-mouth'd Pindar to thy lyre?
Pindar! whom others, in a labour'd strain,
And forc'd expression, imitate in vain ?
Well pleas'd in thee he foars with new delight,
And plays in more unbounded verse, and takes a nobler flight.
Bless'd man! whose spotless life and charming lays
Employ'd the tuneful prelate in thy praise ;
Bless'd man! who now shall be for ever known,
In Sprat's successful labours, and thy own.
But Milton next, with high and haughty stalks,
Unfetter'd, in majestick numbers walks :
No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,
Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage.
See! see! he upward springs; and, tow'ring high,
Spurns the dull province of mortality;