« PreviousContinue »
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield
Right well she knew each temper to descry, Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwined, To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise ; With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled ; Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined, And some entice with pittance small of praise; And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind. And other some with baleful sprig she 'frays : A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown;
Even absent, she the reins of power doth hold, A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air;
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways; 'Twas simple russet, but it was her own;
Forewarned, if little bird their pranks behold, 'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair!
'Twill whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold. 'Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare ;
Lo! now with state she utters her command; And, sooth to say, her pupils ranged around,
Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair, Through pious awe, did term it passing rare; Their books of stature small they take in hand, For they in gaping wonderment abound,
Which with pellucid horn secured are, And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on
To save from finger wet the letters fair: ground.
The work so gay, that on their back is seen, Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,
St George's high achievements does declare; Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been, Goody, good woman, gossip, n'aunt, forsooth,
Kens the forthcoming rod-unpleasing sight, I ween! Or dame, the sole additions she did hear; Yet these she challenged, these she held right dear;
Ah! luckless he, and born beneath the beam Ne would esteem him act as mought behove,
Of evil star! it irks me whilst I write; Who should not honoured eld with these revere;
As erst the bard by Mulla's silver stream, * For never title yet so mean could prove,
Oft, as he told of deadly dolorous plight, But there was eke a mind which did that title love.
Sighed as he sung, and did in tears indite;
For brandishing the rod, she doth begin One ancient hen she took delight to feed,
To loose the brogues, the stripling's late delight; The plodding pattern of the busy dame;
And down they drop; appears his dainty skin, Which, ever and anon, impelled by need,
Fair as the furry coat of whitest ermilin.
O ruthful scene! when, from a nook obscure,
His little sister doth his peril see, Fragment of bread, she would collect the same; All playful as she sat, she grows demure ; For well she knew, and quaintly could expound,
She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee; What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she She meditates a prayer to set him free; found.
Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny
(If gentle pardon could with dames agree) Herbs, too, she knew, and well of each could speak, To her sad grief that swells in either eye, That in her garden sipped the silvery dew; And wrings her so that all for pity she could die. Where no vain flower disclosed a gaudy streak, But herbs for use and physic, not a few,
No longer can she now her shrieks command; Of gray renown, within those borders grew :
And hardly she forbears, through awful fear, The tufted basil, pun-provoking thyme,
To rushen forth, and, with presumptuous hand, Fresh balm, and marigold of cheerful hue:
To stay harsh justice in its mid career. The lowly gill, that never dares to climb;
On thee she calls, on thee her parent dear; And more I fain would sing, disdaining here to rhyme. (Ah! too remote to ward the shameful blow!)
She sees no kind domestic visage near,
And soon a flood of tears begins to flow,
But, ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace? Sweet melody! to hear her then repeat
Or what device his loud laments explainHow Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king,
The form uncouth of his disguised faceWhile taunting foemen did a song entreat,
The pallid hue that dyes his looks amainAll, for the nonce, untuning every string,
The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain? Uphung their useless lyres-small heart had they to When he, in abject wise, implores the dame, sing.
Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain ; For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore,
Or when from high she levels well her aim, And passed much time in truly virtuous deed;
And, through the thatch, his cries each falling stroke
And like a rushing torrent out they fly;
Heaven shield their short-lived pastimes I implore; In elbow-chair (like that of Scottish stem,
For well may freedom erst so dearly won By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced,
Appear to British elf more gladsome than the sun. In which, when he receives his diadem,
Enjoy, poor imps ! enjoy your sportive trade, Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is placed)
And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers ; The matron sat; and some with rank she graced, For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid, (The source of children's and of courtiers' pride!)
Oh never may ye taste more careless hours
In knightly castles or in ladies' bowers.
Oh vain to seek delight in earthly thing!
Deluded wight! who weens fair peace can spring Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king.
See in each sprite some various bent appear !
Thilk to the huxter's savoury cottage tend,
Here as each season yields a different store,
O may no wight e'er penniless come there,
See, cherries here, ere cherries yet abound,
Whose honoured names* the inventive city own, Rendering through Britain's isle Salopia's praises
known. Admired Salopia ! that with venial pride Eyes her bright form in Severn's ambient wave, Famed for her loyal cares in perils tried, Her daughters lovely, and her striplings brave : Ah! midst the rest, may flowers adorn his grave Whose art did first these dulcet cates display! A motive fair to learning's imps he gave,
Who cheerless o'er her darkling region stray; Till reason's morn arise, and light them on their way.
But why do I languish in vain ?
Why wander thus pensively here! Oh! why did I come from the plain,
Where I fed on the smiles of my dear! They tell me, my favourite maid,
The pride of that valley, is flown; Alas! where with her I have strayed,
I could wander with pleasure alone. When forced the fair nymph to forego,
What anguish I felt at my heart: Yet I thought—but it might not be so
'Twas with pain that she saw me departe She gazed as I slowly withdrew,
My path I could hardly discern; So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return. The pilgrim that journies all day
To visit some far distant shrine, If he bear but a relic away,
Is happy, nor heard to repine. Thus widely removed from the fair,
Where my vows, my devotion, I owe; Soft hope is the relic I bear,
And my solace, wherever I go.
A Pastoral Ballad, in Four Parts—1743.
• Arbusta humilesque myrica.'-VIRG.
Ye shepherds, so cheerful and gay,
Whose flocks never carelessly roam; Should Corydon's happen to stray,
Oh! call the poor wanderers home. Allow me to muse and to sigh,
Nor talk of the change that ye find; None once was so watchful as I;
I have left my dear Phyllis behind. Now I know what it is to have strove
With the torture of doubt and desire; What it is to admire and to love,
And to leave her we love and admire. Ah ! lead forth my flock in the morn,
And the damps of each evening repel ; Alas ! I am faint and forlorn
I have bade my dear Phyllis farewell.
I never onca dreamt of my vine;
If I knew of a kid that was mine.
Beyond all that had pleased me before ; But now they are past, and I sigh, And I grieve that I prized them no more.
* Shrewsbury Cakes.
My banks they are furnished with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep; My grottos are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white over with sheep. I seldom have met with a loss,
Such health do my fountains bestow; My fountains, all bordered with moss,
Where the harebells and violets grow. Not a pine in my grove is there seen,
But with tendrils of woodbine is bound; Not a beech's more beautiful green,
But a sweetbrier entwines it around. Not my fields in the prime of the year
More charms than my cattle unfold;
But it glitters with fishes of gold.
To the bower I have laboured to rear;
But I hasted and planted it there. O how sudden the jessamine strove
With the lilac to render it gay ! Already it calls for my love
o prune the wild branches away. From the plains, from the woodlands, and groves,
What strains of wild melody flow!
From thickets of roses that blow!
Each bird shall harmoniously join
As-she may not be fond to resign. I have found out a gift for my fair,
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed; But let me that plunder forbear,
She will say, 'twas a barbarous deed. A For he ne'er could be true, she averred,
Who could rob a poor bird of his young; And I loved her the more when I heard
Such tenderness fall from her tongue.
How that pity was due to a dove;
Let his crook be with hyacinths bound,
So Phyllis the trophy despise : Let his forehead with laurels be crowned,
So they shine not in Phyllis's eyes. The language that flows from the heart,
Is a stranger to Paridel's tongue; Yet may she beware of his art,
Or sure I must envy the song.
But her words such a pleasure convey,
So much I her accents adore,
Methinks I should love her the more.
Unmoved, when her Corydon sighs ? Will a nymph that is fond of the plain,
These plains and this valley despise ? Dear regions of silence and shade!
Soft scenes of contentment and ease ! Where I could have pleasingly strayed,
If aught in her absence could please. But where does my Phyllida stray?
And where are her grots and her bowers ? Are the groves and the valleys as gay,
And the shepherds as gentle as ours ! The groves may perhaps be as fair,
And the face of the valleys as fine; The swains may in manners compare,
But their love is not equal to mine.
Why will you my passion reprove!
Why term it a folly to grieve?
She is fairer than you can believe.
With her wit she engages the free, With her modesty pleases the grave;
She is every way pleasing to me.
Come and join in my amorous lays ;
That will sing but a song in her praise. When he sings, may the nymphs of the town
Come trooping, and listen the while; Nay, on him let not Phyllida frown,
But I cannot allow her to smile. For when Paridel tries in the dance
Any favour with Phyllis to find, O how, with one trivial glance,
Might she ruin the peace of my mind! In ringlets he dresses his hair,
And his crook is bestudded around; And his pipe-oh my Phyllis, beware
Of a magic there is in the sound. 'Tis his with mock passion to glow,
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold “How her face is as bright as the snow,
And her bosom, be sure, is as cold. How the nightingales labour the strain,
With the notes of his chariner to vie ; How they vary their accents in vain,
Repine at her triumphs, and die.'
And pillages every sweet ;
He throws it at Phyllis's feet.
More sweet than the jessamine's flower !
What is eglantine after a shower? Then the lily no longer is white,
Then the rose is deprived of its bloom, Then the violets die with despite,
And the woodbines give up their perfume.' Thus glide the soft numbers along,
And he fancies no shepherd his peer; Yet I never should envy the song,
Were not Pbyllis to lend it an ear.
IV. DISAPPOINTMENT. Ye shepherds, give ear to my lay,
And take no more heed of my sheep : They have nothing to do but to stray ;
I have nothing to do but to weep. Yet do not my folly reprove;
She was fair, and my passion begun; She smiled, and I could not but love;
She is faithless, and I am undone. Perhaps I was void of all thought:
Perhaps it was plain to foresee, That a nymph so complete would be sought
By a swain more engaging than me. Ah ! love every hope can inspire;
It banishes wisdom the while; And the lip of the nymph we admire
Seems for ever adorned with a smile. She is faithless, and I am undone;
Ye that witness the woes I endure, Let reason instruct you to shun
What it cannot instruct you to cure. Beware how you loiter in vain
Amid nymphs of a higher degree : It is not for me to explain
How fair and how fickle they be. Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes? When I cannot endure to forget
The glance that undid my repose. Yet time may diminish the pain:
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree, Which I reared for her pleasure in vain,
In time may have comfort for me. The sweets of a dew-sprinkled rose,
The sound of a murmuring stream, The peace which from solitude flows,
Henceforth shall be Corydon's theme. High transports are shown to the sight,
But we are not to find them our own;
As I with my Phyllis had known.
To your deepest recesses I fly ;
I would vanish from every eye.
With the same sad complaint it begun; How she smiled, and I could not but love;
Was faithless, and I am undone !
Song.—Jemmy Dawson.* Come listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear; Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor will you blush to shed a tear.
* Captain James Dawson, the amiable and unfortunate suy. ject of these stanzas, was one of the eight officers belonging to the Manchester regiment of volunteers, in the service of the young chevalier, who were hanged, drawn, and quartered, on Kennington-Common in 1746.
And thou, dear Kitty, peerless maid,
The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retired ;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expired.
Though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due ;
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, and so true.
[Written at an Inn at Henley.]
To thee, fair Freedom, I retire
From flattery, cards, and dice, and din ;
Nor art thou found in mansions higher
Than the low cot or humble inn.
'Tis here with boundless power I reign,
And every health which I begin
Converts dull port to bright champagne :
Such freedom crowns it at an inn.
I fly from pomp, I fly from plate,
I fly from falsehood's specious grin ;
Freedom I love, and form I hate,
And choose my lodgings at an inn.
Here, waiter ! take my sordid ore,
Which lackeys else might hope to win ;
It buys what courts have not in store,
It buys me freedom at an inn.
Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have boen,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn.
My orisons should never close.
DAVID MALLET, author of some beautiful ballad
stanzas, and some florid unimpassioned poems in And every tender babe I bore
blank verse, was a successful but unprincipled liteShould learn to lisp the giver's name.
rary adventurer. He praised and courted Pope But though, dear youth, thou shouldst be dragged while living, and, after experiencing his kindness, To yonder ignominious tree,
traduced his memory when dead. He earned a disThou shalt not want a faithful friend
graceful pension by contributing to the death of a To share thy bitter fate with thee.
brave naval officer, Admiral Byng, who fell a victim
to the clamour of faction ; and by various other acts O then her mourning.coach was called,
of his life, he evinced that self-aggrandisement was The sledge moved slowly on before ; Though borne in her triumphal car,
his only steady and ruling passion. When JohnShe had not loved her favourite more.
son, therefore, states that Mallet was the only Scot
whom Scotchmen did not commend, he pays a comShe followed him, prepared to view
pliment to the virtue and integrity of the natives of The terrible behests of law ;
Scotland. The original name of the poet was MalAnd the last scene of Jemmy's woes
loch, which, after his removal to London, and his With calm and steadfast eye she saw.
intimacy with the great, he changed to Mallet, as Distorted was that blooming face,
more easily pronounced by the English. His father Which she had fondly loved so long ;
kept a small inn at Crieff, Perthshire, where David And stifled was that tuneful breath,
was born about the year 1700. He attended AberWhich in her praise had sweetly sung:
deen college, and was afterwards received, though
without salary, as tutor in the family of Mr Home And severed was that beauteous neck,
of Dreghorn, near Edinburgh. He next obtained a Round which her arms had fondly closed ; similar situation, but with a salary of £30 per anAnd mangled was that beauteous breast,
mum, in the family of the Duke of Montrose. In On which her love-sick head reposed :
1723, he went to London with the duke's family, And ravished was that constant heart,
and next year his ballad of William and Margaret She did to every heart prefer ;
appeared in Hill's periodical, · The Plain Dealer. He For though it could its king forget,
soon numbered among his friends Young, Pope, and 'Twas true and loyal still to her.
other eminent persons, to whom his assiduous atten
tions, his agreeable manners, and literary taste, Amid those unrelenting flames
rendered his society acceptable. In 1733 he pubShe bore this constant heart to see ;
lished a satire on Bentley, inscribed to Pope, enBut when 'twas mouldered into dust,
titled Verbal Criticism, in which he characterises the Now, now, she cried, I follow thee.
venerable scholar as
In error obstinate, in wrangling loud,
For trifles cager, positive, and proud ;
Deep in the darkness of dull authors bred,
With all their refuse lumbered in his head.
Mallet was appointed under secretary to the Prince and Margaret,' which, written at the age of twentyof Wales, with a salary of £200 per annum ; and, in three, afforded high hopes of ultimate excellence. conjunction with Thomson, he produced, in 1740, the The simplicity, here remarkable, he seems to have Masque of Alfred, in honour of the birth-day of the thrown aside when he assumed the airs and dress of Princess Augusta. Afortunate second marriage a man of taste and fashion. All critics, from Dr (nothing is known of his first) brought to the poet Percy downwards, have united in considering ‘Wila fortune of £10,000. The lady was daughter of liam and Margaret' one of the finest compositions of Lord Carlisle's steward. Both Mallet and his wife the kind in our language. Sir Walter Scott conprofessed to be deists, and the lady is said to have ceived that Mallet had imitated an old Scottish tale surprised some of her friends by commencing her to be found in Allan Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscelarguments with—Sir, we deists.' When Gibbon lany,' beginning, the historian was dismissed from his college at Oxford for embracing popery, he took refuge in
There came a ghost to Margaret's door. Mallet's house, and was rather scandalised, he says, The resemblance is striking. Mallet confessed only than reclaimed, by the philosophy of his host. (in a note to his ballad) to the following verse in Wilkes mentions that the vain and fantastic wife of Fletcher's 'Knight of the Burning Pestle :? Mallet one day lamented to a lady that her husband suffered in reputation by his name being so often
When it was grown to dark midnight, confounded with that of Smollett; the lady wittily
And all were fast asleep, answered, “Madam, there is a short remedy ; let
In came Margaret's grimly ghost, your husband keep his own name.' To gratify Lord
And stood at William's feet. Bolingbroke, Mallet, in his preface to the Patriot In the first printed copies of Mallet's ballad, the two King,' heaped abuse on the memory of Pope, and first lines were nearly the same as the aboveBolingbroke rewarded him by bequeathing to him the whole of his works and manuscripts. When
When all was wrapt in dark midnight, the government became unpopular by the defeat at
And all were fast asleep. Minorca, he was employed to defend them, and He improved the rhyme by the change; but beautiunder the signature of a Plain Man, he published ful as the idea is of night and morning meeting, it an address imputing cowardice to the admiral of may be questioned whether there is not more of the fleet. He succeeded : Byng was shot, and Mallet superstitious awe and affecting simplicity in the old Fas pensioned. On the death of the Duchess of Marl- words. borough, it was found that she had left £1000 to Glover, author of " Leonidas,' and Mallet, jointly, on condition that they should draw up from the
William and Margaret. family papers a life of the great duke. Glover, in
'Twas at the silent solemn hour, | dignant at a stipulation in the will, that the memoir
When night and morning meet; was to be submitted before publication to the Earl
In glided Margaret's grimly ghost, of Chesterfield, and being a high-spirited man, de
And stood at William's feet. volved the whole on Mallet, who also received a pension from the second Duke of Marlborough, to Her face was like an April morn stimulate his industry. He pretended to be busy Clad in a wintry cloud; with the work, and in the dedication to a small col- And clay-cold was her lily hand
lection of his poems published in 1762, he stated That held her sable shroud. | that he hoped soon to present his grace with some
So shall the fairest face appear thing more solid in the life of the first Duke of Marlborough. Mallet had received the solid money,
When youth and years are flown :
Such is the robe that kings must wear, and cared for nothing else. On his death, it was
When death has reft their crown. found that not a single line of the memoir had been written. In his latter days the poet held the lucra- Her bloom was like the springing flower, tive situation of Keeper of the Book of Entries for That sips the silver dew; the port of London. He died April 21, 1765.
The rose was budded in her cheek, Mallet wrote some theatrical pieces, which, though Just opening to the view. partially successful on their representation, are now utterly forgotten. Gibbon anticipated, that, if ever
But love had, like the canker-worm, his friend should attain poetic fame, it would be
Consumed her early prime; acquired by his poem of Amyntor and Theodora.
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek
She died before her time. This
, the longest of his poetical works, is a tale in blank verse, the scene of which is laid in the solitary
Awake! she cried, thy true love calls, island of St Kilda, whither one of his characters, Come from her midnight grave: Aurelius, had fled to avoid the religious perse
Now let thy pity hear the maid cutions under Charles II. Some highly-wrought
Thy love refused to save. descriptions of marine scenery, storms, and shipwreck, with a few touches of natural pathos and This is the dark and dreary hour affection, constitute the chief characteristics of the When injured ghosts complain; poem. The whole, however, even the very names When yawning graves give up their dead, in such a locality, has an air of improbability and
To haunt the faithless swain. extravagance. Another work of the same kind, but
Bethink thee, William, of thy fault, inferior in execution, is his poem The Excursion, written in imitation of the style of Thomson's
Thy pledge and broken oath !
And give me back my maiden-vow,
And give me back my troth.