Page images

Crics Ardelph, since I sce this hour? | But Birtha's cheeks a sweeter dye,
Yes-Birtha shall be thine.'

A brighter crimson flush'd.
A little transient gleam of red

The priest in milk-white vestments clad, Shot faintly o'er her face,

Perform’d the mystic rite;
And ev'ry trembling feature spread Lore lit the hallow'd torch that led
With sweet disorder'd grace.

To Hymen's chaste delight..
The tender father kindly smil'd

How feeble language were to speak With fulness of content ;

Th’immeasurable joy, And fondly ey'd his darling child,

That fir'd Sir Eldred's ardent cheek, Who, bashtul, blush'd consent,

And triumph'd in his eye! () then to paint the vast delight

Sir Ardolph's pleasure stood confest,
That fill'd Sir Eldred's heart,

A pleasure all his own;
To tell the transports of the knight, , The guarded pleasure of a breast
Would nock the Muse's art.

Which many a grief had known,
But ev'ry kind and gracious soul,

'Twas such a sober sense of joy Where gentle passions dwell,

As angels well might keep; Will better far conceive the whole,

A joy chastis'd by piety,
Than any muse can tell,

Ajoy prepard to weep.
The more the knight his Birtha knew, To recollect her scatter'd thought,
The more he priz'd the maid;

And shun the noon-tide hour,
Some worth each day produc'd to view, The lovely bride in secret sought
Some grace each hour betray’d.

The coolness of her bower. The virgin too was fond to charm

Long she remain'd—th'enamour'd knight, The dear accomplish'd youth;

Impatient at her stay;
His single breast she strove to warm, And all unfit to taste delight
And crown'd with love, his truth,

When Birtha was away ;
Unlike the dames of modern days,

Betakes him to the secret bower; Who general homage claim;

His footsteps softly move; Who court the universal gaze,

Impell’d by ev'ry tender power, And pant for public fame,

He steals upon his love. Then beauty but on merit smil'd,

(), horror! horror! blasting sight! Nor were her chaste smiles sold;

He sees his Birtha's charms, No venal father gave his child,

Reclin'd with melting, fond delight,
For grandeur, or for gold.

Within a stranger's arms.
The ardour of young Eldred's flame Wild frenzy fires his frantic hand,
But ill could brook delay,

Distracted at the sight,
And oft he press'd the maid to name He flies to where the lovers stand;
A speedy nuptial day.

And stabs the stranger knight.
The fond impatience of his breast

• Die, traitor, die ! thy guilty flames 'Twas all in vain to hide,

Demand th' avenging steel!'But she his eager suit rer est

• It is my brother,' she exclaims ! With modest maiden pride.

"'Tis Edwy-Oh farewell !' * When oft Sir Eldred press'd the day An aged peasant; Edwy's guide, Which was to crown his truth,

The good old Ardolph sought ; The thoughtful sire would sigh and say, He told him that his bosom's pride, 'O happy state of youth !

His Edwy, he had brought. It little rocks the woes which wait

O how the father's feelings melt! To scare its dreams of joy ;

How faint and how revive ! Nor thinks to-morrow's alter'd fate

Just so the Hebrew patriarch felt,
Mav all those dreams destroy.

To find his son alive.
And though the flatterer Hope deceives, Let me behold my darling's face,
And painted prospects shows;

And bless him ere I die !'
Yet man, still cheated, still believes, Then with a swift and vigorous pace,
Till death the bright scene close.

He to the bower did hie :
So look'd my bride, so sweetly mild, () sad reverse !-Sunk on the ground
On me her beauty's slave;'

His slaughter'd son he view'd ;
But whilst she look'd, and whilst she smil'd | And dying Birtha, close he found,
She sunk into the grave.

In brother's blood imbru’d. Yet, () forgive an old man's care,

Cold, speechless, senseless, Eldred near, Forgive a father's zeal;

Gaz'd on the deed he'd done; Who fondly loves must greatly fear, Like the blank statue of Despair, ! Who fears must greatly feel,

Or Madness grav'd in stone,
Once more in soft and sacred bands The father saw—so Jephthah stood,
Shall Love and Hymen meet;

So turn'd his wo-fraught eye,
To-morrow shall unite your hands, When the dear, destin'd child he view'd
And-be your bliss complete !'

| His zeal had doom'd to die. The rising sun inflam'd the sky,

He look'd the wo he could not speak, The golden orient blush'd;

| And on the pale corse prest

His wan discolour'd, dying cheek, | Yet heaven's decrees are just and wise,
And silent, sunk to rest.

And man is born to bear: .
Then Birtha faintly rais'd her eye,

Joy is the portion of the skies, Which long had ceas'd to stream,

Bencath them all is care, On Eldred fix'd, with many a sigh,

Yet blame not heav'n ; 'tis erring man, Its dim departing beam.

Who mars his own best joys;
The cold, cold dews of hastening death, Whose passions uncontrollid, the plan
Upon her pale face stand ;

Of promis'd bliss destroy's,
And quick and short her failing breath, Had Eldred paur'd before the blow,
And tremulous her hand,

His hand had never err'd ;
The cold, cold dews of hastening death, What guilt, what complicated wo,
The dim departing eye,

His soul had then been spard !
The quiv'ring hand, the short quick breath, The deadliest wounds with which we bleed,
He view'd-and did not die.

Our crimes inflict alone; He saw her spirit mount in air,

Man's mercies from God's hand proceed, Its kindred skies to seek !

His miseries from his own.
His heart its anguish could not bear,
And yet it would not break.

• In the celebrated picture of the sacrifice of IphigeThe mournful muse forbears to tell

mia, Timanthes having exhausted every image of grief How wretched Eldred died ;

in tbe bystanders, threw a veil over the face of the faShe draws the Grecian* painter's veil,

Ther, whose sorrow he was utterly unable to express.

Plin. book xxxv. The vast distress to hide.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

WERE beauteous Belmont rears her mo-, Was wont to visit Belmont's blooming plains. dest brow

Who has not heard how Polydore could To view Sabrina's silver wave below,

throw Liv'd young lanthe, fair as beauty's queen; Th’unerring dart to wound the flying doe? She reign'd unrivall'd in the sylvan scene; How leave the swiftest at the race behind, Hers every charm of symmetry and grace, How mount the courser, and outstrip the Which aids the triumph of the fairest face; wind? With all that softer elegance of mind, | With melting sweetness, or with magic fire, By genius heighten'd, and by taste refin'd. Breathe the soft flute, or sweep the wellYet early was she doom'd the child of care, strung lyre? For hapless love subdu'd th’ill-fated fair, From that fam'd lyre no vulgar music Ab! what avails each captivating grace,

I sprung, The form enchanting, or the fairest face? The Graces tun'd it, and Apollo strung. Or what each beauty of the heav'n-born Apollo too was once a shepherd swain, mind,

| And fed the flock, and grac'd the rustic The soul superior, or the taste refin'd?

plain : Beauty but serves destruction to insure, He taught what charms to rural life belong, And sense to feel the pang it cannot cure. The social sweetness, and the sylvan song; Each neighb'ring youth aspir'd to gain He taught fair Wisdom in her grove to her hand,

woo, And many a suitor came from many a land: Her joys how precious, and her wants how But all in vain each neighb'ring youth as few ! pir'd,

The savage herds in mute attention stood, And distant suitors all in vain admir'd. And ravish'd Echo fill'd the vocal wood; Averse to hear, yet fearful to offend, The sacred sisters, stooping from their The lover she refus'd she made a friend : sphere, Her meek rejection wore so mild a face, Forgot their golden harps, intent to hear; More like acceptance seem'd it, than dis-Till Heaven the scene survey'd with jealous

grace. Young Polydore, the pride of rural swains, / And Jove, in envy, call'd him to the skics.

[ocr errors]

Young Polydore was rich in large do- | And now the crimson of her cheek grew mains,

- pale ; In smiling pastures, and in flow'ry plains; The lily there in faded beauty shows With these, he boasted each exterior charm, Its sickly empire o'er the vanquish'd rose, To win the prudent, and the cold to warm ; Dovouring Sorrow marks her for his prey, The fairest semblance of desert he bore, And, slow and certain, mines his silent way. And each fictitious mark of goodness wore ; Yet, as apace her ebbing life declin'd, Could act the tenderness he never felt, Increasing strength sustain'd her firmer In sorrow soften, and in anguish melt. | mind, The sigh elaborate, the fraudful tear, I O had my heart been hard as his,' she The joy dissembled, and the well feign'd cried, fear,

1 * An hapless victim thus I had not died : All these were his; and his each treach'rous If there be gods, and gods there surely are, art,

Insulted virtue doubtless is their care. That steals the guileless and unpractis'd Then hasten, righteous Powers; my tedious heart.

fate, Too soon he heard of fair Ianthe's fame, Shorten my woes, and end my mortal date : 'Twas each enamour'd shepherd's fav’rite Quick let your power transform this failing theme;

frame, Return'd the rising, and the setting sun, Let me be any thing but what I am ! The shepherd's fav’rite theme was never And since the cruel woes I'm doom'd to feel, done.

Proceed, alas ! from having lov'd too well : They prais'd her wit, her worth, her shape, Grant me some form where love can have her air !

no part, And even inferior beauties own'd her fair. No human weakness reach my guarded Such sweet perfection all his wonder mo-l.. heart ; ved:

Where no soft touch of passion can be felt, He saw, admired, nay, fancied that he No fond affection this weak bosom melt, loved :

If Pity has not left your blest abodes, But Polydore no gen'rous passion knew, Change me to flinty adamant, ye gods ! Lost to all truth in feigning to be true. To hardest rock, or monumental stone, No lasting tenderness could warm a heart, So may I know no more the pangs I've Too vain to feel, too selfish to impart.

known; Cold as the snows of Rhodope descend, So shall I thus no farther torments prove, And with the chilling wave of Hebrus blend; Nor taunting rivals say she died for love : So cold the breast where Vanity presides, For sure, if aught can aggravate our wo, And the whole subject soul absorbs and 'Tis the feign'd pity of a prosp'rous foe.' guides.

Thus pray'd the nymph, and strait the Too well he knew to make his conquest

Pow'rs addrest, sure,

Accord the weeping suppliant's sad request, Win her soft heart, yet kecp his own secure. Then strange to tell? if rural folks say So oft he told the well-imagin'd tale,

true, So oft he swore-how should he not pre- Toharden'd rock the stiffning damsel grew; vail ?

No more her shapeless features can be The well-imagin'd tale the nymph believ'd; known, Too unsuspecting not to be deceiv’d: Stone is her body, and her limbs are stone ; She lov'd the youth, she thought herself be- The growing rock invades her beauteous lov'd,

face, Nor blush'd to praise whom every maid ap- And quickly petrifies each living grace; prov'd.

The stone, her stature nor her shape retains, The conquest once achiev'd, the brightest The nymph is vanish'd, but the rock refair,

mains. When conquer'd, was no longer worth his No vestige now of human shape appears, care :

No cheeks for blushes, and no eyes for tears; When to the world her passion he could Yet-strange the marvels poets can impast! prove,

Unchang’d, unchill'd, remaiu'd the glowing Vain of his pow'r, he jested at her love.

heart; The perjur'd youth, from sad lanthe far Its vital spirits destin'd still to keep, To win fresh triumphs, wages cruel war. It scorn'd to mingle with the marble heap. With other nymphs behold the wand'rer When babbling Fame the wondrous tirove,

dings bore, And tell the story of Ianthe's love ;

Grief seiz'd the soul of perjur'd Polydore; He mocks her easy faith, insults her wo, And now the falsehood of his soul appears, Nor pities tears himself had taught to flow. And now his broken vows assail his ears. To sad Ianthe soon the tale was borne, Appallid his smitten fancy seems to view How Polydore to treach'ry added scorn. The nymph so lovely, and the friend so true, And now her eyes' soft radiance 'gan to For since her absence, all the virgin train,

His admiration sought to win in vain,


Though not to keep him ev'n Ianthe knew, The swains who false, from those who conFrom vanity alone his falsehood grew :

stant are; U let the youthful heart, thus warn’d, be- When ghosts in clanking chains the churchware,

yard walk, Of vanity, how deep, how wide the snare; And to the wond'ring ear of fancy talk : That half the mischiefs youth and beauty When the scar'd maid steals trembling thro' know,

the grove, From Vanity's exhaustiess fountain flow. To kiss the grave of him who died for love; Now deep remorse deprives his soul of When, with long watchings, Care at length rest :

opprest, And deep compunction wounds his guilty Steals broken pauses of uncertain rest ; breast:

Nay, Grief short snatches of repose can Then to the fatal spot in haste he flew,

take, Eager some vestige of the maid to view; And nothing but Despair is quite awake; The shapeless rock he mark'd, but found) Then, at that hour, so still, so full of fear, no trace

When all things horrible to thought appear, Of lost lanthe's form, Ianthe's face. Is perjur'd Polydore observ'd to rove He fix'd his streaming eyes upon the stone, A ghastly spectre through the gloomy grove; "And take sweet maid, he cried, 'my par- Then to the rock, the Bleeding-rock repair, ting groan;

Where, sadly sighing it dissolves to air. Since we are doom'd thus terribly to part, I Still when the hours of solemn rites return, No other nymph shall ever share my heart; The village train in sad procession mourn; Thus only I'm absolv'd'-he rashly cried, Pluck ev'ry weed which might the spot disThen plung'd a deadly poniard in' his side ! |

I grace, Fainting, the steel he grasp'd, and as he fell And plant the fairest field-flow'rs in their The weapon pierc'd the rock he lov'd sol. place. well;

Around no noxious plant, or flow'ret grows, The guiltless steel assail'd the living part, But the first daffodil, and earliest rose; And stabb'd the vital, vulnerable heart. The snow-drop spreads its whitest bosom And though the rocky mass was pale before, Behold it ting'd with ruddy streams of gose! And golden cowslips grace the vernal year: The life-blood issuing from the wounded Here the pale primrose takes a fairer hue, stone,

And ev'ry violet boasts a brighter blue. Blends with the crimson current of his own; Here builds the wood-lark, here the faithFrom Polydore's fresh wound it flow'd in ful dove part,

Laments his lost, or woos his living love. Bat Chief emitted from Ianthe's heart. Secure from harm is ev'ry hallow'd nest, And though revolving ages since have past, The spot is sacred where true lovers rest, The meeting torrents undiminish'd last; To guard the rock from each malignant Still gushes out the sanguine stream amain, sprite, The standing wonder of the stranger swain. A troop of guardian spirits watch by night;

Now once a year, so rustic records tell, Aloft in air each takes his little stand, When o'er the heath resounds the midnight The neighb'ring hill is hence call'd Fairy bell;

Land, *
On eve of midsummer, that foe to sleep,
What time young maids their annual vigils

* By contraction, Failand, a hill well known in Somer

a setsbire : not far from this is The Bleeding Rock, from The tell-tale shrub, * fresh gather'd to de

which constantly issues a crimson current. A desire to

account for this appearance, gave rise to a whimsical clare

conversation, which produced these slight verses. Midsummer-men, consulted as oracular by village maids





I. DRAGON! since lyrics are the mode, Find the choice minute when to write,
To thee I dedicate my ode,

The mollia tempora fandi !
And reason good 'I plead:

Like his, my muse should learn to whistle Are those who cannot write, to blame A true heroical epistle, . To draw their hopes of future fame, 1 In strains which never can die. From those who cannot read ?

III. Father of lyrics, tuneful Horace ! II. O could I, like that nameless wight,* Can thy great shade do nothing for us

To mend the British lyre ? " See the admirable epistle to sir William Chambers. TOur luckless bards have broke the strings,

Seiz'd the scar'd muses, pluck'd their wings, Nor tear the tatter'd sinner;
And put out all their fire. *

Like him I'd love the dog of merit
IV. Dragon ! thou tyrant of the yard, Carcss the cur of broken spirit,
Great namesake of that furious guard

And give them all a dinner, That watch'd the fruits Hesperian! (XII, Nor let me pair his blue-ey'd dame Thy choicer treasures safely keep,

With Venus' or Minerva's name, Nor snatch one moment's guilty sleep, One warrior, one coquet ; Fidelity's criterion.

No; Pallas and the queen of Beauty
V, O Dragon ! change with me thy fate, Shunn’d, or betray'd that nuptial duty,
To give me up thy place and state,

Which she so high has set.
And I will give thee mine :

XIII, Whene'er I heard the rattling coach 1, left to think, and thou to feed !

Proclaim their long-desir'd approach,
My mind enlarg'd, thy body freed,

How would I haste to greet 'em !
How blest my lot and thine!

Nor ever feel I wore a chain,
VI. Then shalt thou scent the rich regale |Till, starting, I perceiv'd with pain
Of turtle and diluting ale,

I could not fly to meet 'em !
Nay, share the sav'ry bit;

XIV. The master loves his sylvan shades,
And see, what thou hast never seen, Here, with the nine melodious maids,
For thou hast but at Hampton been,

His choicest hours are spent :
A feast devoid of wit.

Yet shall I hear some wittling cry,
VII, Oft shalt thou snuff the smoking veni-|(Such wittling from my presence ily!)
son, .

“Garrick will soon repent : Devour'd alone, by hungry denizen, XV. *Again you'll see him, never fear; So fresh, thoul't long to tear it;

Some half a dozen times a year Though Flaccust tells a diff'rent tale

He still will charm the age; Of social souls who chose it stale,

Accustom'd long to be admir'd, Because their friends should share it. Of shades and streams he'll soon be tir'd, VIII. And then on me what joys would

n me what iovs would! And languish for the stage.' - wait,

XVI. Peace? To his solitude he bears
Were I the guardian of thy gate,

The full-blown fame of thirty years;
How useless bolt and latch!

He bears a nation's praise :
How vain were locks, and bars how vain, He bears his lib'ral, polish'd mind,
To shield from harm the household train His worth, his wit, his sense refin'd;

Whom I, from love, would watch ! He bears his well-earn'd bays.
IX. Not that 'twould crown with joy my life, XVII. When warm admirers diop a tear
That Bowden, for that Bowden's wife,

Because this sun has left his sphere,
Brought me my naily pickings :

And set before his time;
Though she, accelerating fate,

I who have felt and lov’d his rays, Decrees the scanty moral date

What they condemn will loudly praise, Of turkeys and of chickens !

And call the deed sublime.
X. Though fir'd with innocent ambition, (XVIII. How wise long pamper'd with ap-
Bowden, great Nature's rhetorician,

More flow'rs than Burke produces ; To make a voluntary pause
And though he's skill'd more roots to find, And lay his laurels down !
Than ever stock'd an Hebrew's mind, Boldly repelling each strong claim,
And knows their various uses.

To dare assert to Wealth and Fame,
XI. I'd get my master's ways by rote,

• Enough of both I've known,' Ne'er would I bark at ragged coat,

XIX. How wise ! a short retreat to steal,

The vanity of life to feel, • A profusion of odes had appeared about this time, And from its cares to fly : which strikingly violated all the rules of lyrical compo-|To act one calm, domestic scene, sition.

Earth's bustle, and the grave between, + Hor. lib. ii. Sat. 2. The gardener and poultry woman at Hamplon. I

Retire, and learn to die !


ON THE REVEREND MR. PENROSE. I Domestic love may weep, and friendship

mourt). Thirty-two years Vicar of St. Gluvias, Corn

The path of duty still, untir'd, he trod, wall.

He walk'd in safety, for he walk'd with

God! If social manners, if the gentlest mind, When past the pow'r of precept and of If zeal for God, and love for human kind, pray'r,

[care ; If all the charities which life endear, Yet still his flock remain'd the shepherd's May claim affection, or demand a tear, Their wants still kindly watchful to supply, Then o'er Penrose's venerable urn

| He taught his best, last lesson, how to die!

« PreviousContinue »