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Here builds the wood-lark, here the faithful dove
Laments his lost, or wooes his living love.
Secure from harm is ev'ry hallow'd nest,
The spot is sacred where true lovers rest.
To guard the Rock from each malignant sprite,
A troop of guardian spirits watch by night;
Aloft in air each takes his little stand,
The neighbouring hill is hence call’d Fairy Land.*
* By contraction, Failand, a hill well known in Somersetshire; not far from this is The Bleeding Rock, from which constantly issues a crimson current. A desire to account for this appearance gave rise to a whimsical conversation, which produced these slight verses.
FROM H. M. AT BRISTOL, TO DRAGON,
MB. GABRICK'S HOCSE-DOG, AT HAMPTON.
DRAGON! since lyrics are the mode,
To thee I dedicate my Ode,
And reason good I plead :
Are those who cannot write, to blame
To draw their hopes of future fame,
From those who cannot read ?
O could I, like that nameless wight*,
Find the choice minute when to write,
The mollia tempora fandi!
Like his, my muse should learn to whistle
A true Heroical Epistle,
In strains which never can die.
Father of lyrics, tuneful HORACE!
Can thy great shade do nothing for us
To mend the British lyre?
Our luckless Bards have broke the strings,
Seiz'd the scar'd muses, pluck'd their wings,
And put out all their fire. +
* See the admirable Epistle to Sir WiLLIAM CHAMBERS.
+ A profusion of Odes had appeared about this time, wt strikingly violated all the rules of Lirical composition.
Dragon! thou tyrant of the yard,
Great namesake of that furious guard
That watch'd the fruits Hesperian!
Thy choicer treasures safely keep,
Nor snatch one moment's guilty sleep,
O Dragon! change with me thy fate,
To me give up thy place and state,
And I will give thee mine :
I, left to think, and thou to feed !
My mind enlarg’d, thy body freed,
How blest my lot and thine !
Then shalt thou scent the rich regale
Of turtle and diluting ale,
Nay, share the sav'ry bit ;
And see, what thou hast never seen,
For thou hast but at Hampton been,
A feast devoid of wit.
Oft shalt thou snuff the smoaking venison,
Devour'd, alone, by hungry denizen,
So fresh, thou'lt long to tear it ;
Though Flaccus * tells a diff'rent tale
Of social souls who chose it stale,
Because their friends should share it.
And then on me what joys would wait,
Were I the guardian of thy gate,
How useless bolt and latch!
How vain were locks, and bars how vain,
To shield from harm the household train
Whom I, from love, would watch !
Not that 'twould crown with joy my life,
That BowDEN *, or that Bowden's wife,
Brought me my daily pickings :
Though she, accelerating Fate,
Decrees the scanty mortal date
Of turkeys and of chickens.
Though fir'd with innocent ambition,
Bowden, great Nature's rhetorician,
More flow’rs than BURKE produces;
And though he's skill'd more roots to find,
Than ever stock'd an Hebrew's mind,
And better knows their uses.
I'd get my master's ways by rote,
Ne'er would I bark at ragged coat,
Nor tear the tatter'd sinner;
Like him, I'd love the dog of merit,
Caress the cur of broken spirit,
And give them all a dinner.
• The Gardener and Poultry Woman at Hampton,
Nor let me pair his blue-ey'd Dame
With Venus' or Minerva's name,
One warrior, one coquet ;
No; Pallas and the Queen of Beauty
Shunn'd, or betray'd that nuptial duty,
Which she so high has set.
Whene'er I heard the rattling coach
Proclaim their long-desir'd approach,
How would I haste to greet 'em !
Nor ever feel I wore a chain,
Till, starting, I perceiv'd with pain
I could not fly to meet 'em.
The master loves his sylvan shades,
Here, with the nine melodious maids,
His choicest hours are spent :
Yet I shall hear some witling cry,
(Such witling from my presence fly !)
“ GARRICK will soon repent : *
XV. 66 Again you'll see him, never fear : 66 Some half-a-dozen times a year
• He still will charm the age; 6 Accustom'd long to be admir’d, • Of shades and streams he'll soon be tir’d,
“ And languish for the stage.”
* Mr. Garrick had just made his honourable retreat from the stage.