James De-La-Cour.

A prospect of poetry, with other poems online

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HAT various ftyles to difPrent ftrains belong,
What time to rife or when to fink in fong j
To thee, beft judge of this refin'd delight,
O! born to genius, lo! the mufes write;
*Tis yours, my Lord, to bid each art excel.
And fmile on merit which you grace fo well;
To make mankind a nobler Brogliill fee, .-d
And find their long-loft Halifax in thee:
Few now remain to fay who fung before,

Parnel is dead and Addifon no more !

The few remaining time will fweep away,
And Pope and Swift muft fhortly follow Gay ;
Thefe only left of all the tuneful quire,
Garth, Steele, Rowe, Congrevc, Wychcrly and Prior;

B Thefe


Thefe only left, the world's great lofs declare.
And ferve to fhew us what thefe wonders were^
To you, my Lord, the mufes turn their eyes.
On Orrery the letter'd world relies;
Their antient honours let a Boyle reilore,
And be whate'er was Orrery before:
O ! chief in courts to lay the peer afide.
Weed vice from dignity, from titles pride.
Great without grandeur, generous without viewSj
For ever bounteous and yet ne'er profufe:
No lefs by nature noble than by name.
The bloom of breeding and the fiow'r of fame:
Approv'd a patron at thy natal hour;
Thiiik'ft thou to 'fcape the praifes in their pow'r?
Tho' from Britannia's ftrains and Albion's fliore,
You flee to dcferts* but to blaze the more;
They'll fearch you out, difcover where you fhine,
Publifa your worth, and frultrate your defign.

So in the gloom the diamond darts its light,
Tho' thick encircl'd v/ith furrounding night;
The kindling darknefs breaks before the ray.
And on the eye-ball burfts the brilliant day.

Sage Temple writes a fpark of native fire.
Excels whatever Icai-ning can acquire ;f
In poetry this obfervation's true,
Without fome genius fame will ne'er enfue;


* His Lordlhip coming into Ireland.
f Sir William Temple.


Such for a while may climb againft the hill.

But then like Syfiphus are falling ftill:

I own by reading we may feed the flame,

Bat firft mull have that heat from whence it came;

Elfe like diy pumps whofe fprings their moifture mourn.

We may pour in but will have no return;

To fuch, indeed, thofe rules are ill apply'd,

For fuch were never on the mufes fide.

Come then my friends, who like with me to rovej
The flow'ry mountain and the laurel grove,
Where god Apollo guards the limpid fount,
And the glad mufes climb the vocal mount;
You whom the voice invites to tafte their charms,
Whom verfe tranfports and tuneful fancy warms;
Before you prefs the fyrens to your heart,
Attend awhile the precepts I impart.

Firft let your judgment for your fancy chufc,"
Of all the nine the moft unblemifli'd mufej
Soft yet fublime, in love yet ftriclly coy,
Prone to be grave, yet not averfe to joy;
Where tafte and candour, wit and manners meet.
Bold without bombaft, daring but difcreet ;
'Correft with fpirit, muiical with fenfe.
Not apt to give, nor flow to take offence:
Firft to commend when others thoughts are fiiown,
But always laft deliglit'd with her own.

When this is done, let nature be your guide.
Rife in the fpring, or in thi river glide j

L 2 In


In every line confult her as you run.

And let her Naiades roll the river on:

Unlefs to pleafe our nice corrupted fenfe,

Art be called in and join'd with vaft expenfe^

Then rivers wonder thro' the vale no more,

But boil in pipes or fpout thro' figur'd ore;

The neighb'ring brooks their empty channels mourn;

That now enrich feme artificial urn.

Thus ever fuit your numbers to your theme^
And tune their cadence to the falling ftream;
Or fliould the falling ftream incline to love.
Let the words Aide and like its murmurs move;
Poor were the praife to paint the purling rill,
To make it mufic is the mufe's fliill;
Without her voice the fpring runs filent by,
Dumb are the waters and the verfes dry;
While chill'd with ice the cool waves creep alon^.
And all the fountain freezes in the fong.

But if a ftorm muft rattle thro' the ftrain.
Then let your lines grow black with gath'ring rain;
Thro' Jove's asrial hall loud thunders found,
And the big bolt roar thro' the dark profounds
But fhou'd the welkin brighten to the view,
The fun breaks out and gilds the ftyle anew;
Colour your clouds with a vermillion dye.
And let warm bluflies ftreak the weftern fliy;
•'Till evening {huts its fober fuited grey,
And draws her dappl'd curtains o'er the day.


Let Vefper then purfue the purple light,
And lead the tvvLikling glories of the night ;
The moon mult rife in filver o'er the (hades,
Stream thro' your pen and glance along the meads :
While Zephyr foftly whifpers in the lines,
And pearly dew In bright defcription (hiues;
The little warblers to the trees repair.
Sing in their fleep and dream away their care;
While clofing flow'rets nod their painted heads,
And fold themfelves to reft upon their rufy beds.

But if Aurora's fingers ftain tixe lay.
Let fancy wahen wilh the rifing day;
Let Sul's fierce courfers whirl the fiery tean-:,
And from their noftrils blow a flood of flame;
Be fultry noon in brighter yellow drefl,
And bend a rain-bow on her burning breaft ;
Let the rich dyes in changing colours flow,
And lofe themfelves in one poetic glow.

So the fair Indian crown its glofs aCumes,
Difpos'd in tufts of party-coluui'd plumes;
The tranfient tindlure drinks the neighb'ring hue,
As if from each the alternate colours grew,
Where ev'ry beauty's Ly a former made.
And lends a luftre to the following fliade.

Thus may a fimile come in with grace, '
And add new fpleadors to the fhow'ry piece;
Paint the proud arch fo lively to the fig1ii:>
That ev'r/ line refic6t5 a wat'ry light.



Hence to the garden fhould your fancy fly.
Let the tall tulip with your Iris vie ;
With a mixt glory crown its radiant head,
The brighteft yellow ting'd with ftreams of red:
Next let the lilly in your numbers blow,
And o'er its fweetnefs fiiake the downy fnow.
In the white garb of virtue let it rife.
And wave in verfe before the virgin's eyes ;
On tuneful feet let languid ivy crawl,
And in poetic meafure fcale the wallj
While the fharp fheers return a clipping found.
And the green leaves fall quiv'ring to the ground.

Here in the bow'r of beauty newly (horn,
Let fancy fit and fing how love was born ;
Wrapt up in rofes Zephyr found the child,
In Flora's cheek when firll the goddefs fmil'd ;
Nurft on the bofom of the beauteous fpring,
O'er her white breaft he fpread his purple iving.
On kiffes fed, and filver drops of dew,
The little wanton into Cupid grew ;
Then arm'd his hand with glitt'ring fparks of fire,
Aiid tipt his fhining' arrows with defire:
Hence joy arofe upon the wings of wind.
And hope prefents the lover always kind;
Defpair creates a rival for our fears,
And tender pity foftens into tears.



Obferve how Sappho paints the lover's pain,*
What various paflions animate her ftrain !
Her colour fades, flie faints in tender lays,
Her pulfe beats languid and her fenfe decays;
Then in a rapid tide of paflions toft,
Her weak tongue faulters and her voice is loflj
Again her foul revives, her breath returns,
Again (he Olivers, and again fhe burns :
Each reader's bofom feels her various care,
Warm'd by her flame or cliill'd by her defpair.

Toll as the fea, by paflions let the foul,
Like the brine fparkle, like the billows roll;
Then anger kindles in the warriors eyes.
And earth ufurps the thunder of the flcies;
See how they mount upon the groaning car.
Shake the long lance and o'ertake the war;
Aloft in air refounds the whirling thong,
The horfes fly, the chariot fmokes along;
The foaming courfers prefs upon their heels,
Back run the lines beneath the whirling wheels;
Fleeter than light they flafli along the fields,
And funs by thoufands blaze upon their fliields;
The twilled ferpents round their helmets roll'd,
Muft hifs in verfe and bite in buruifh'd gold:


• This lady, more remarkable for wit than beauty, was miftrefs
to Alcseus, yet fo cruel to her lover, that one day upon his faying
he had fomething to fay to her, but was afhamed to fpcak it, fiic
replied, that if it was fit for her to hear he would not be fo tedious
about it; they both flouriHied about the 44th Olyjrjpiad.

Mr. tltanyaii's liifLory of Greece.


The war brea^.s in — now millions are no more,
And a long groan purfues the gufhing gore:
Spears, darts and jav'lins launch along the iky.
Plunge into blood, or into rnivers fly:
Thus let your heroes rage, by Mars pofleft.
And feel an Iliad rifing in thy breaft;
But foon cement thofe wounds, let difcord ceafei
And warring worlds unite in friendly peace.

Hence founds in fofter notes muft learn to movej
And melting muhc rife the voice of love!
Let Tubai's lute in fl-nlful hands appear.
And pour new numbers on the lift'ning earj
"With the full organ let them fweetly fwell.
With the loud trumpet languifhingly fhrill:
Or in foft concord let the concert fuit,
The fprightly clarion with the Dorian flute:
Then wake to vocal airs the warbling wire.
Let the firings run beneath the poet's fu"e;
While forrow fighs, ah ! never let them cool.
But melt melodious on the foften'd foul:
So may the paffions wait upon your hand.
Move as you move, and aft as you command.

And here Arion's harp may fwell the ftrain.
Or fmooth your numbers as it fmooth'd the main j
When wond'ring firens to its founds advanc'd.
And bounding dolphins o'er the billows danc'd;
Admiring Tritons round the mufic play.
And angry feas in meafure roll a^i'ay:

A tide


A tide of rapture rofe as he requir'd.
White work'd the waves and foam'd as he infpir'J|
The billows beat upon the founding ftring.
And thro* the hollow harp the waters ring.

As on a moon-light night when Neptune calls,
His finny courfers from their coral Halls j
Prom fome white clift whofe brow reflects the dcepj
He leads them forth and bids the billows ileep;
The waves obey : fo ftill a filence reigns,
That not a wrinkle curls the wat'ry plains;
Xiike floating Mercury the waves appear,
And the fea whitens with a heav'n fo clear:
Before him Triton blows his twiil'd fhell.
And diHant fea-nymphs know the fignal well;
In long procefFion the Caerulean train.
With joy confefs the fov'reign of the main:
Such were the raptures of the fea-green race.
When fweet Arion crofs'd the wat'ry fpace;
When firft his fingers felt the mufic rife.
And mix'd in melody the feas and flcies.

On land Amphion fwells the magic fong,
And round his fingers moving mountains thron<y;
At ev'ry fh-oke he fees fair Thebes afpire.
Walls rife on walls and temples foaring higher:
At ev'ry flroke new wonders deck the ftrain.
The big creation of a poet's brain i

Hear how Tiraotheus wraps the foul in founds,
And drops the notes like balm upon her wounds;

C * The


The moulded meafures querulous decay,

'Till a fwift tremor fweeps the founds away;

By fweet degrees again they gather near.

Recover fafc and thunder on the ear;

Down the broad brafs his bold hands brufh the tone?>

The long ftring leaps and vibrates into groans j

JLet furious Saul be figur'd to thy mind.

So mad — as not to be by verfe corifin'd;

With mufic arm'd the fweet mufician Hands,

And o'er the golden cordage fpreads his hands j

The monarch's looks are fix'd upon the firings,

And his eyes languifh as young David fings;

His fury falls as that begins to rife.

And all his foul feems ftarting from his eyes I

But chief the mufic of the fpheres mull pleafe.

If founds celeilial warble in thy lays;

When the three Parc^, fate's fair offspring bom.

The world's great fpindle at its axle turn ;

Round which eight fpheres in beauteous order run>

And as they turn revolving time Is fpun;

Whofe motions all things upon earth ordain,

V/hence revolutions date their fickle reign ;

Thefe rob'd in white at equal diftance thron'd.

Sit o'er the fpheres and twirl the fpindle round,

On each of which a Siren loudly fings,

As from the wheel the fatal trhead fhe flings ;

The Parcae anfwer, in the quire agree,

And all thofe voices make one harmony.*


* This is an excellent allegory of Plato's, who would hereby
intimate that all things obey the divine law, and concur to pro-
duce thofc effeils which are coufeciuences of th« cayfcs God hz^
eftabliiUed. *


To Titian turn, to Raphael praifes give.
Hence pifture rofe and (hadows feem to live;
On Guide look, to Rubens rear thine eye.
Where each bold figure feems a llander by ;
Trophies and triumphs by Mantegna's hand*
In martial order on the canvas ftand ;
With hints of glory fire the warlike foul.
And bid like motions in our bofoms roll;
Here Verrio's colours glow expos'd to fight.
And flcy-dipt pencils ftream with liquid light;
Thy art, O KneUer! aflis a filler's praife.
So may thy paintings beautify my lays;
Whether young blufhes ripen in thy lines.
Or verdant landllcips wave in green defigas.
Thro* which the fun emerging from the main,
In floods of purple drowns the leafy fcene;
A mimic vifto flretches wide between,
Where gold appears diverfify'd with green ;
Shades rife on fiiades, on colours colours flow,
And tranfient fliadows undulate below.

So ,when Aurora mounts the rofy eaft.
And light's warm blufhes redden o'er her breafl;
A thoufand funs her orient rays unfold.
And ev'ry leaf is fprinki'd o'er withhold;
The glitt'ring fpangles burn the woodland fliade,
Tree, flreamand bufn in nature's gold array'd:

C 2 The

* Andrea Mintegna, born at Padua, cnno. 143 1, was admi-
rable for Hiftory-'jjainting and Pcrfpcdivc: the beft of hispicc?»
are thj triumphs of Julius Cwfar now at Hajf.pton-Couit,


The burniHi'd rills in fofter filver fiiow.
Arid dafh'd with purple glance their waves belowj
Ten thoufand rtiadows ficim the colour'd ftreamj
And o'er the filver flioots the crimfon gleamo

Next let Prometheus boaft his godlike art.
And let a wonder from his fingers ftart ;
An angel form! by ev'ry poet fung,
Love in her looks and mufic in her tongue.*

So when the fun with all enhv'ning ray.
On Memnon's lips hi ft ftrikes the golden dayj
The hard flint utters melancholy founds,
And from the ftone f'A^ect harinony rebounds.f

Before Lycippus' couvfer neighs the ileed,
And fond Pj'gmalion clafps his iv'ry maidj
Where Niobe, in beauteous forrow fiiown.
Melts into tears and hardens into ftone:
Befide his chiflel let mount Athos ftand,+
Heave into form and groan beneath his handj


* I mufl; beg leave here to diffent from the general opinion of
commentators, that it was a man Prometheus formed, for it was
undoubtedly a woman, in order to propagate his fpecies for the
future in a natural way.

f The ftatue of Memnon, fwi of Aurora, according to Hero-
dotus, was made of fione and not of brafs.

\ It was propofsd to Alexander the Great to turn mount Athos
into a ftatue of this monarch, with the ocean, in a bafon in one
band, asd a large city in the other.


Wliile on one fpacicus palm he pours the fea,
And his broad fingers form an ample bay ;
The other grafps a wide extended town,
Whofe regal walls un-number'd tuiTets crown :
Thus was the fon of earth fuppos'd to rife,
O'er-look the globe, and climb into the flcies.
To fcare the gods with his enormous height,
A fecond Titan foaring out of fight!

So near proud Rhodes, acrofs the founding maliij
The world's juft wonder brav'd the winds and rain.
While round his head the rattling tempells blow.
And wat'ry mountains break in foam below;
On Neptune's back the round Coloffus rides,
Deaf to the roarings of the wind and tides.

There Phidias bids the breathing ftatue move,
In living fculpture not unworthy Jove ;
From age to age Cleomenes fhall charm.
And his carv'd Venus future warriors warm,*
In fair proportion from beholders turn.
And o'er her cheek the blufhing marble burn.

See with Silenus youthful Bacchus vie.
And the flint fparkling in his jovial eye ;
Round his full temples grapes luxuriant fpread.
Vine-leaves and clufters dangle o'er his head:
On a tame tiger, taught his load to bear,
Ke rides in rock and lliakes his ivy fpear.


' The Venus of Mcdicis.


There good Aurelius almoll looks a groan?
And thunderbolts defcend in figur'd ftone;*
Great Alexander weeps his enfigns furl*d.
And bids his fire create another world.

Here let thy graver thro' rock diamond run,f
The heav'n-hued fapphire fparkle in the funj
The wounded ruby ope its bleeding vein.
And the red ftreams the virgin paper ftain;
Here link your jewels in a blazing Ilring,
Let the green em'rald look like fmiling fpring.
The yellow topaz boall a golden hue,
And flipp'ry agate fhine in veins of blue;
Let thefe in chryftal cafkets charm the light,
Terreftrial liars and children of the light !
Like the rich bow athwart th' aetherial plain,
That burns in Ihow'rs and lire imbibes from rain»

Now let your mufe to architefture change.
Plunge in the bath or thro' the palace range.
Heave the huge mole or bid the column rife,
Or point the obelilk to pierce the llcies;


* This curious piece of fculpture is on the pillar of the Em-
peror Antonine, one of the nobleft defigns in the world: it is the
iigure of Jupiter Piuvius raining on the fainting army of Marcus
Aurelius and thundering on that of his enemies: it was on this
cccafion that the Chriftian religion got the name of Fulminatrix.

f Thefe lines are to be underflood of antiques, arms and cy-
phers cut in precious {tones; Pyrgoteles a famous fculftoJ: hardly
graved on any thing elfe but je\Yels.


Palladio here maft think in ev'ry line,
And deep Vitruvius fcan the whole defign;
The works of Solomon and him of Tyre,*
Direft the plan and all your tafle infpire:
In due proportion ev'ry pillar rear,
Nor let the orders be confounded there ;
Where the Corinthian {lands in fiut'd rows,
Let not the martial Doric interpofe }
Nor where the Tufcan lifts th' imperial urn,+
Suffer the next Ionic ihaft to tiirn;:{:
But chief that chaos called Conipofite (hun,
Which begs from all and yet belongs to none.

So Babel's battlements began to rife.
Left earth below and labcur'd up the Trciesj
The mip^hty bulwark threaten'd heav'n's abode,
And bid the mounting world afcend to God :
And they had now been there- — but heav'n look'd down,
Their fltill's confounded and their tow'r o'erthrown ;
Tongues, pillars, orders to confufion turn,
And difappolnted mankind feem'd to mourn.


• Hiram.

I Trajan's pillar at Rome was the fiift of tnis order, the fpirc
cf which was appointed for the Emperor's aflies ; on this occaCon
the Romans difdaiaing to borrov/ from the Grecians invented
one of their own, from thence called the Tufcan or Rrman ordcf«
Evelin of Achi.

\ The famous Temple of Diana, at Ephefus, which toot up
aoo years in building, Vfn of this order. Vid. Pall-idioi


Here Egypt's pyramids muft heave fublimej
And blunt the teeth of all decaying time ;
Beneath vvhofe weight the burden'd earth muft groar*;
A pond'rous pile of monumental ftone :
Strong bars of adamant the marble lock.
And links of iron chain the folid rock ;
Beneath whofe fummit tow'ring eagles fly,
A pointed mountain ending in the fky.

Proud Babylon with brazen gates behold,
And proud Euphrates in her bofom roll'd;
Walls which Scmiramis with turrets crown'd.
And coloured brick with black bitumen bound ;
A fecond Eden here Nitrocris trod.
In penfile gardens worthy of a God ;
So grand the coftly ftrufture hung in air.
It feem'd not built, but firft created there:
Here trees and flow'rs in wat'ry figures rife.
And fruitage ripen nearer to the fliies ;
Fair fountains fall in filver ftreaming floods,
And artificial rainbows paint the clouds;
With various-colour'd light the water burn'd,
Againft the fun in artful arches turn'd ;
Nor were the golden pipes by Sirius dry'd.
The river ilill the water-works fupply'd.

Here let the boafter fall from man to beaft.
Eat grafs with brutes or on rude acorns feafl,
Driv'n from his throne in dens to pafa the day,
■To herd with wolves and howl the night away.


Jl prospect of poetry. t?

So wild Lycaon fled his own abode,*
Chang'd by the vengeance of an angry God,
On ftiaggy feet ran howling thro' the plain,
And mingl'd nightly with the prowling train.

Here let the mufe awhile delighted reft,
Plcas'd with the profpeft op'ning in her bieaft,
The wide horizon and the world furvey.
As thro' the walks her fancy loves to ftray.

Invention! ah how beautiful art thou!
I feel thy fudden infpiration now;
Thy whifpers prompt me, and the pleafing ftrife,
Of infant thought juft ftrug'ling into life;
The new-born offspring longs to try its feet.
And run thro' vcrfe with voluntary heat;
This was the nymph that did wife Numa plcaf.^ f-
And this the genius of great Socrates.

Like fome fmooth miiTor fee Euphrates glide,
Thro' Duras' plains and fpread his bofom wide;
On whofe broad furface wat'ry landflcips lie.
And bending willows fhade the downivard Hey;

D There

* The ftory of Lycaon may pofiibly be taken from Nebuchad-
nezzar, for priding hiiufclf in the grandeur of thofe gardens which
he caufed to be built for his Queen, who loved the profpe(5ls of
Media, he was in the fame place and moment changed into a
wild bead.

f iEgtria,


There floating forefls mixt with meadows move.

And the green glafs reflefts the flow'rs above j

Shepherds and fheep along the picture ftray,

And with the water feem to Aide away;

In the blue gleam the park and walls appear.

And gilded barges mixt with grazing deer;

The huntfman founds — the frighted fhadow flies.

Thro* flocks, greens, fhepherds, barges, hounds and fldefs

Thus in a room where light can only pafs.
Thro' the fmall circle of a convex glafs;
O'er the ftain'd flieet amufing fhadows Aide,
Clouds float in air and fiiips along the tide:
In rural poilure fields and oxen fhow.
Trees wave, ftreams run, and colour'd bloflbms glow.

'Tis thus when fpring's foft vernal blooms appear.
And throw a. glory round a youthful year;
Or fummer blazing o'er the heav'nly blue,
"When fwarming infefts dip their wings in dew:
In autumn too the fame mild fcene delights.
To view the vt'ater and enjoy the nights;
Nor lefs loud winter wilder blifs denies.
When Boreas bids the broad Euphrates rife ;
Then peaceful images amufe no more.
But thro' the bridge the founding furges roar,
Wide dafhing, foaming high, and tumbling to the fhore,
The diftant billow feems the heav'ns to lave,
And the horizon ftoops to drink the v/ave.



So the loud Euxine, whofe compulfive fway.
Ne'er yet knew ebb or fwift reflux of fea,
Rolls on eternal and direftly beats,
Againft black Bofphorus' tempeftuous ftreights;
The Dardanelles behold its low'ring front,
Gloom the Fropontis and the Heliefpont.

Now fwell your ftyle and let the flood conform.
To the rous'd tempeft; and the roaring ftorm ;
In verfe as rough let ev'ry torrent move,
Froth the vest waves and curl their heads above;
L.et the green tide turn white with abrupt fliock.
And break the fait furge on the rugged rock:
Not fo where mazy rills meand'ring fhine,
The running filver trickles thro* the line ;
In fmoother notes the whifp'ring waters purl.
The brook falls tuneful and the waves uncurl;
Hence images of difF'rent kinds abound.
In all the volubility of found,
Apply'd to fubjedls correfponding flow,
Some loudly rough and others fweetly low.
Hence various ftyles appear in war and peace.
And ev'ry ft.yle has its peculiar grace;
In ep cs here a hero ftrides away.
And there Amintor tunes his oaten lay;
While o'er the lawn the lambkins frifl< along,
And with their bleatings fill the rural fong;
Or when ftill cv'ning reddens o'er the flcy,
It bids her bluflies round the welkin fly;
In each foft cloud fome colour is exprefl:,
'Till with united glories burns the weft :

D 2 Then


Then fvvarm the flies, the tinfel'd people ruiij

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Online LibraryJames De-La-CourA prospect of poetry, with other poems → online text (page 1 of 5)