« PreviousContinue »
Resentment vanish’d, where he came,
And law-suits fled before his name;
The old esteem'd, the young caress'd him,
And all the smiling village bless'd him.
Within bis Castle's Gothic gate,
Sate Plenty, and old-fashion'd State;
Scarce Prudence could his bounties stint; -
Such characters are out of print.
O! would kind Heav'n, the age to mend,
A new edition of them send,
Before our tottering Castles fall,
And swarming Nabobs seize on all !
Some little whims he had, 'tis true,
But they were harmless, and were few ;
He dreaded nought like alteration,
Improvement still was innovation ;
He said, when any change was brewing,
Reform was a fine name for ruin *;
This maxim firmly he would hold,
“ That always must be good that's old.”
The acts which dignify the day
He thought portended its decay:
Nay, fear'd 'twould show a falling State,
If STERNHOLD should give way to TaTE.
The Church's downfall he predicted,
Were modern tunes not interdicted :
He scorn'd them all, but crown’d with palm
The man who set the hundredth Psalm.
Of moderate parts, of moderate wit,
But parts for life and business fit,
Whate'er the theme, he did not fail
At Popery and the French to rail ;
And started wide, with fond digression,
To praise the Protestant succession.
Of Blackstone he had read a part,
And all BURN'S JUSTICE knew by heart.
He thought man's life too short to waste
On idle things callid wit and taste.
In books, that he might lose no minute,
His very verse had business in it.
He ne'er had heard of Bards of GREECE,
But had read half of Dyer's FLEECE.
His sphere of knowledge still was wider,
His Georgics, “ Philips upon Cider.”
He could produce, in proper place,
Three apt quotations from “ The Chase *;"
And in the hall, from day to day,
Old Isaac WALTON's Angler lay.
This good and venerable knight
One daughter had, his soul's delight:
For charms, no mortal could resist her,
She smil'd like Hebe's youngest sister :
Her life, as lovely as her face,
Each duty mark'd with every grace;
Her native sense improv'd by reading,
Her native sweetness by good breeding :
She had perus’d each choicer sage
Of ancient date, or later age;
But her best knowledge still she found
On Sacred, not on Classic ground;
'Twas thence her noblest stores she drew,
And well she practis’d what she knew.
Led by Simplicity divine,
She pleas’d and never tried to shine;
She gave to chance each unschool'd feature,
And left her cause to Sense and Nature.
The Sire of Florio, ere he died,
Decreed fair Celia Florio's bride:
Bade him his latest wish attend,
And win the daughter of his friend; .
When the last rites to him were paid,
He charg'd him to address the maid:
Sir GILBERT's heart the wish approv'd,
For much his ancient friend he lov’d.
Six rapid months like lightning fly,
And the last grey was now thrown by;
Florio, reluctant, calls to mind
The orders of a Sire too kind :
Yet go he must; he must fulfil
The hard conditions of the will ;
Go, at that precious hour of prime,
Go, at that swarming, bustling time,
When the full town to joy invites,
Distracted with its own delights;
When Pleasure pours from her full urn
Each tiresome transport in its turn;
When Dissipation’s altars blaze,
And men run mad a thousand ways;
When, on his tablets, there were found
Engagements for full six weeks round:
Must leave, with grief and desperation,
Three packs of cards of invitation,
And all the ravishing delights
Of slavish days, and sleepless nights.
Ye Nymphs, whom tyrant Power drags down,
With hand despotic, from the town,
When Almack's doors wide open stand,
And the gay partner's offer'd hand
Courts to the dance; when steaming rooms,
Fetid with unguents and perfumes,
Invite you to the mobs polite
Of three sure balls in one short night;
You may conceive what Florio felt,
And sympathetically melt;
You may conceive the hardship dire,
To lawns and woodlands to retire,
When, freed from Winter's icy chain,
Glad Nature revels on the plain;
When blushing Spring leads on the hours,
And May is prodigal of flow'rs ;
When Passion warbles through the grove,
And all is song, and all is love;
When new-born breezes sweep the vale,
And health adds fragrance to the gale.
Sıx bays, unconscious of their weight,
Soon lodg’d him at Sir GILBERT's gate;
His trusty Swiss, who flew still faster,
Announc'd th' arrival of his master:
So loud the rap which shook the door,
The hall re-echo'd to the roar:
Since first the Castle walls were rear'd,
So dread a sound had ne'er been heard :
The din alarm'd the frighten’d deer,
Who in a corner slunk for fear;
The Butler thought 'twas beat of drum;
The Steward swore the French were come:
It ting'd with red poor Florio's face;
He thought himself in Portland Place.
Short joy! he enter'd, and the gate
Clos'd on him with its pond'rous weight.
Who like Sir GILBERT now was blest ?
With rapture he embrac'd his guest.
Fair Celia blush'd, and Florio utter'd
Half sentences, or rather mutter'd
Disjointed words — as, “honour! pleasure !
“ Kind! vastly good, Ma'am! beyond measure:”
Tame expletives, with which dull Fashion
Fills vacancies of sense and passion.