Hannah More.

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In either case your blame we justly raise.
In either lose, or ou^^ht to lose, your praise.
How dull, if tamely flows th* impassion*d strain !
If well — how bad to be the thing we feign ;
To fix the mimic scene upon the heart.
And keep the passion when we quit the part !

Such are the perils the dramatic muse.
In youthful bosoms, threatens to infuse !
Our timid author labours to impart
A less pernicious lesson to the heart ;
What though no charm of melody divine.
Smooth her round period, or adorn her line ;
Though her unpolished page in vain aspires
To emulate the graces she admires :
Though destitute of skill, her sole pretence
But aims at simple truth and common sense;
Yet shall her honest unassuming page
Tell that its author, in a modish age,
Preferred plain virtue to the boast of art,
Nor fixM one dangerous maxim on the heart
O if, to crown the efforts, she could find
They rooted but one error from one mind :
If in the bosom of ingenuous youth
They stamp'd one useful thought, one lasting

'Twould be a fairer tribute to her name.
Than loud applauses, or an empty fame.


Cuso&A, ( four young ladies of distinction,
Pastorklla, f in search of Happiness.
LAcrftimoA, J

Urania, an ancient shepherdess.
FLOBXLLAf a young shepherdess.

Scene — A Grwe*


CU, Weloome, ye bumble vales, ye flow*ry

Ye crystal fimntains, and ye silent glades !
From the gay misery of the thoiurhtless great,
The walks of folly, the disease of state ;
From scenes where daring Guilt triumphant

Its dark suspicions and its hoard of pains ;
Where Pleasure never comes without alloy,
And Art but thinly paints fallacious joy ;
Where Laughter loads the day, Excess the

And dull Satiety sucoeeds Delight;
Where midnight Vices their fell orgies keep,

And guilty revels scare the phantom Sleep;
Where Dissipation wears the name of Bliss ;
From these we fly in search of Happiness.
Euph, Not the tir'd pilgrim all his dangers

When he descries the long sought shrine at last
ETer felt a joy so pure as this nir field.
These peacefiil shades, and smiling vallies yield!
For, sure, these oaks, which old as Time appear,
Proclaim Urania's lonely dwellin|r near. -
Poet. How the description with the scene

Here towly thickets, there aspiring trees ;
The haxel copse exdnding nooo^ay's beam,
The tufted arbor, the pellucid stream ;
The bkxMning sweet-liriar, and the hawthorn

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The springing cowBlips, and the daisyM mead.
The wild luxuriance of the full blown fields,
Which Spring prepares, and laughing Summer
yields. *

Euph. Here simple Nature striked th* enrap.
tur'd eye
With charms, whicb wealth and art but ill sup-
ply »
The genuine graces, which withoui we find.
Display the beauty of the owner's mtiuf.
Lau. These embow'ring shades conceal the
Where sage Urania and her daughters dwell :
Florella too, if right we*ve heard the tale.
With them resides — the lily of the vale.
CZe. But soft ! what gentle female form apu
Which smiles of more than mortal beauty

Is it the guardian Genius of the grove 7
Or some uiir angel of the choirs above 7

Enter Florella, who speaks.

Whom do I see 7 ye beauteous virgins say
What chance conducts your steps mis lonely

way 7
Do you pursue some favourite lambkin strayM 7
Or do yon alders court you to their shade 7
Declare, fair strangers ! if aright I deem.
No rustic nympha of vulgar rank you seem.

Cle. No cooling shades allure our eager sight,
Nor lambkins lost, our searching steps invite.

Flo, Or is it, hap*]y, yonder branching vine.
Whose tendrils round our low roof cottage

Whose spreading height, with purple clustera

Attracts the gaze of ev*ry nymph around 7
Have these lone regions aught that charms be-
side 7
IToors are my shades, my flowVs, my fleecy

Euph, Florella ! our united thanks receive,
Sole proof of gratitude we have to give :
And since you deign to ask, O courteous fair !
The motive of our unremitting pare :
Know then, kind maid, our joint researches tend
To find that sovereign goodf of life, a friend;
From whom the wholesome counsel we may

How our young hearts may happiness obtain.
B^ Fancy's mimic pencil oft portray*d.
Still have we woo'd the visionary maid :
The lovely phantom mocks our etLfer eyes ;^
And still we chase, and stiU we miss the prize !
Cle, Long have we searchM throughout this

boonteous isle.
With constant ardour and with ceaselew toil ;
The varioos Tays of various life we*ve try'd ;
But still the bliss we seek has been deny*d.
We've sought in vain through ev'ry diff'rent

The murm'rinff poor, the discontented great
If Peace and Joy in palaces reside^
Or in obscurer liaunts delight to hide ;
If Happiness with worldly pleasures dwell*
Or shrouds her graces in the hermit's cell :
If Wit, if Science, teach the road to blisi.
Or torpid Dulness find the joys they miss ;
To learn this truth, wo 've bid a long adieu

To all the shadows blinded men pursue.
— We seek Urania ; whose sagacious mind
May lead our steps this latent good to find :
Her worth we emulate ; her virtues fire
Our ardent hearts to he what we admire :
For though with care she shuns the pabKc eye
Yet worth like Aers, unknown can never lie.

Lau, On such a fiiir and faultless mode
By Prudence guided, and by Virtue warm'd,
Perhaps Florella can direct our youth.
And point our footsteps to the paths of Truth.

Fhr, 111 would it suit my unezperienc'd age
In such important questions to engage.
Young as I am, unskilful to discern.
Nor fit to teach, who yet have much to learn.
But would you with maturer years advise,
And reap the counsel of the truly wise.
The dame in whom such worUi and wisdom

Dwells in the covert of yon green retreat :
All that the world calls great she once pcssess'd.
With wealth, with rank, her prosph'oas youth

was bicss'd.
In adverse fortune, now serene and gay,
* Who gave,' she said, * had right to take away.
Two lovely daughters bless her growing years.
And by their virtues, well repay her cares.
With them, beneath her shelt'ring wing I live.
And share the bounties she has still to |^ve ;
For Heav'n, who in its disnensations vnn'd
A narrow fortune to a noble mind,
Has bless'd the sage Urania with a heart
Which Wisdom's noblest treasures can impart
In Duty's active round each day is past.
As if she thought each day might prove her

Her labours for devotion best prepare.
And meek Devotion smooths the brow of caie.

Past Then lead, Florella, to that hnmUe shed,
Where Peace resides from court and cities fled .'



O Happiness, celestial fair,

Our earliest hope, our latest care,

O hear our fond request !
Vouchsafe, reluctant Nymph to tell
On what sweet spot thou lov'st to dwell*

And make us truly blest.


Amidst the walks of public lifb.
The toils of wealth, ambition's strife,

We lone have sought in vain ;
The crowded city's noisy din.
And all the busy haunts of men,

AfiSird but care and pain.


Pleas'd with the soft, the soothing pow'r
Of calm Reflection's silent hour,

Sequester'd dost thou dwell !
Where Care and Tumult ne'er intrude.
Dost thou reside with Solitude,

Thy humble vot'ries tell !


O Happiness, celestial fair.
Our earliest hope, our latest care !
Let OS not sue in vain S

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D deign to hear oar fond reqaest.

Gome take poseession of our breast.

And there fi>r ever reign.

[They retire.

Scene — TVie Grove.


8TLYIA {ringing,)


SwKET Sotitude, thou placid queen
Of modest air and brow serene !
*Tis thoa inspir'st the sage's themes ;
The poet's Tisionary dreams.

Parent of Virtoe, nurse of Thought !

• By thee were saints and patriarchs taught ;
Wisdom from thee her treasure drew,
And in thy lap fair Science grew !

Whate*er exalts, refines, and charms,
Invites to thought, to virtue warms ;
WhateVr is perfect,' fair, and ffood.
We owe to theo, sweet SoUtuife !

In these blest shades, O still maintain
Thy peaceful, unmolested reign !
Let no disordered ^oughtB intrude
On thy repose, sweet Solitude !

With thee the charowof life shall last.
Although its rosy bloom be past ;
Shall sUU endure when Time shall spread
His silver blossoms o*er my head*

No more with this vain world perplex*d.
Thou shalt prepare me for the next ;
The springs of life shall gently cease.
And angels point the way to peace.

Ura. Ye tender objects of maternal love
Ye dearest joys my widow *d heart can prove ;
Come taste the glories of the new-bom day.
And grateful homage to its Author pay !
O ! ever may this animating sight
Convey instruction while it sheds delight !
Does not that sun, whose cheering beams impart
Joy*s glad enioti<m8 to the pure m heart ; ,
Does not that vivid powV teach ev*ry mind
To be as warm, benevolent, and kind ;
To burn with unremitted ardour still.
Like him to execute their Maker's will ?
Then let us, Pow'r Supremo ! thy will adore,
Invoke thy mercies, and proclaim thy pow*r.
Shalt thoQ these benefits in vain bestow 7
Shall we forget the fountain whence they flow 7
Teach us through these to lift our hearts to

And in the gift the bounteous giver see.
To view Tl]^ as thou art, ail good and wise.
Nor let thy blessings hide Thee from our eyes.
From all obstructions clear our mental signt ;

* Pour on oar souls thy beatific light !
Teach us thy wond'rous goodness to revere.
With love to worship, and with rev'rence fear !
In the mild works of thy benignant hand.

As in the thunder of thy dread command.
In eomnxm objects we neglect thy pow'r.
While wonders shine in every plant and flow'r.
—Tell me, my first, my last, my darling care.

If you this mom have rais'd your hearts i

pray'r 7
Say did you rise from the sweet bed of rest.
Your God unprais'd, his holy name unblest 7

SyL Our hearts with gratitude and reverenc
By those pure precepts you have ever taught ;
By your example more than precept strong
Of pray'r and prabe have tun'd their mstin song

Elix, With ever new delight, we now attend
The counsels of our fond mate^al friend.

Enter Florxlla, with Euphxua, Clxora, Pas


Flo, (aeide to the Uidies) See how the goodly
damcy with pious art,
Makes each event a lesson to the heart !
Observe the duteous list'ners how they stand .
Improvement and delight go hand in hand.

Ura, But where's florella 7

Flor, Here's the happy she.
Whom Heav'n most fovour'd when it gave her

Ura, But who are these, in whose attractive
So sweetly blended, ev'ry grace is seen
Speak, my Florella ! say the cause why here
These beauteous damsels on our plains appear 7

Flor. Invited hither by Urania's fame.
To seek her friendship, to these shades thef

Straying alone at morning's earliest dawn,
I met them wand'ring on the distant lawn.
Their courteous manners soon engag'd my love :
I've brought them here your sage advice to

Ura, Tell me, ye gentle nymphs ! the reason
tell, •

Which brings such guests to grace my lowly
cell 7
My pow'r of serving, though indeed but small,
Such as it is, you may command it all.

Cle, Your counsel, your advice, is all we ask
And for Urania that 's no irksome task.
'Tis Happiness we seek : O deign to tell
Where the coy fugitive delights to dwell I

Ura, Ah, rather say where you have sought
this ffuest.
This lovely inmate of the virtuous breast 7
Declare the various methods you've essay'd
To court and win the bright celestial maid.
But first, though harsh the task, each beauteous

Her ruling passion must with tmth declare.
From evil habits own'd, from faults confoss'd,
Alone we trace the secrets of the breast

Euph, Bred in the regal splendours of a court.
Where pleasures, dress'd in every shape, resort,
I try'd the pow'r of pomp and costly glare.
Nor e'er found room for thought, or timo for

In dififrent follies ev'ry hour I spent ;
I shunn'd Reflection, yet I sought Content
My hours were shar'd betwixt the park and play
And music serv'd to waste the tedious day ;
Yet sofUst airs no more with joy I heard,
If any sweeter warbler was preforr'd ;
The dance succeeded, and, succeeding, tir'd.
If some more graceful dancer were admir'd
No sounds but flatt'r f ever sooth'djqiy ear .

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Unjrentle troths I knew not how to bear.
The anxious day induc*d the sleepless night,
And my vex*d spirit never knew delight :
Coy Pleasure mockM me with delusive charms.
Still the thin shadow fled my clasping arms :

Or if some actual joy I seem'd to taste.
Another's pleasure laid my blessings waste :
One trulh I proved, that lurking Envy hides

In ev'ry heart where Vanity presides,
A fairer &ce would rob my soul of rest,
And fix a scorpion in my wounded breast
Or, if my elegance of form prevailM
And haply her inferior graces failM :
Yet still some cause of wretchedness I found.
Some barbed shaft my shattered peace to wound.
Perhaps her gay attire exceeded mine —
When she was finer, how could I be fine 1

SyL Pardon my interruption, beauteous maid 1
Can truth liave prompted what you just have

What ! can the poor pre-eminence of dress
G«ase the pain*d heart, or give it happiness 7
Or can you think your robes, though rich and

Possess intrinsic value more than mine ?

Ura, So close our nature is to vice allied.
Our very comforts are the source of pride ;
And dress, so much corruption reigns within,
Is both the consequence and cause of sin.

CU. Of Happiness unfbund I too complain,
Sought in a different path, but sought in rain !
I sighM for fhme, I lanp^uishM for renown,
I would be flatter*d, prais*d, admir'd and known.
On daring wing my mountain spirit soared.
And Science through her boundless fields ex-

plor'd :
I scom*d the sslique laws of pedant schools,
Which chain our genius down by tast^ess rules,
I longed to burst these female bonds, which

My sex in awe, by vanity impell*d :
To boast each various faculty of mind,
Thy mces. Pope! with Johnson's learning

joinM :
Like Swifl with strongly pointed ridicule.
To brand the villain, and abash the fool :
To judge with taste, with spirit to compose.
Now mount in epic, now descend to prose ;
To join, like Burke, the beauteous and sublime.
Or build, with Milton's art, • the lofty rhyme :'
Through Fancy's fields I rang'd ; 1 strove to

Melmoth's chaste style, and Prior's easy wit :
Thy classic graces, Mason, to display,
And court tl^ Muse of Elegy with Gray :
I rav'd of Shakspeare's flame and Dryden's Kige,
And ev'ry charm of Otway's melting page.
I talk'd by rote the jargon of the schools,
Of critic kws, and Aristotle's rules ;
Of passion, sentiment, and style, and grace.
And unities of action, time, and place.
The daily duties of my life forgot.
To study fiction, incident, and plot :
Howe'er the conduct of my life might err.
Still my dramatic plans were regular.

Ura. Who aims at ev'ry science, soon will

The field how vast, how limited the mind !

Cle. Abstruser studies soon my fancy caught,
^e poet in th' astronomer forgot :

The schoolmen's systems now my &» a cm
ploy'd, 1^ ^otd

Their crystal Spheres, their Atoms and thcu
Newton and Halley all my soul inspired,
And numbers less than calculations fir'd ;
Descartes and Euclid, shar'd my varying breast,
And plans and problems all my soul possess'd.
Less pleas'd to sing inspiring Fhoebus' ray
Than mark the flaming comet's devious way.
The pole moon dancing on the silver stream.
And the mild lustre ofner trembling beam.
No more could charm my philosophic pride.
Which sought her influence on the flowing tido.
No more ideal beauties fir'd my thought.
Which only facts and demonstrations sought
Let common e^es, I said, with transport view
The earth's bright verdure, or the heav'n's soft

False is the pleasure, the delight is vain.
Colours exist but in the vulgar brain.
I now with Locke trod metaphysic soil.
Now chas'd coy Nature through the tracts d

To win the wreath of Fame, by Science twin'd
More than the love of science fir'd my mind.
I seized on Learning's superficial part.
And title page and index got by heart ;
Some learn'd authority I still would bring
To grace my talk and prove — the plainest thing
This the chief transport I from science drew.
That all might know^ow much Cleora knew.
Not love, but wonder, I aspir'd to raise.
And miss'd afiection, while I grasp'd at praise
Past, To me, no joys could pomp or fame
Far softer thoughts iXMsess'd my virgin heart
No prudent parent form'd my ductile youth,
Nor led my footsteps in the paths of truth.
Left to myself to cultivate my mind.
Pernicious novels their soft entrance find ;
Their pois'nous influence led my mind astray ;
I sigh'd for something, what, I could not say.
I fancy'd virtues which wer^ never seen.
And dy'd for heroes who have never been *
I sicken'd with disgust at sober sense.
And loath'd the pleasures worth and truth dis-
I scorn'd the manners of the world I saw ;
My guide was fiction, and romance my law.
Distemper'd thoughts my wand'ring fancv fill.
Each wind a zephyr, and each broMC a rill ;
I found adventures in each common tole,^
And talk'd and sigh'd to ev'ry passing gale ;
Convers'd with echoes, woods, and shades, and

Cascades and grottos, fields and streams and

Retirement, more than crowds, had learn'd t«

please ;
For treach'rous Leisure feeds the soft disease.
There, plastic Fancy ever moulds at will
Th' obedient image with a dang'rous skill ;
The charming fiction with alluring art.
Awakes the passions, and infects ue heart
A fancy 'd heroine, an ideal wife ;
I loathVl the offices of real life.
These all were dull and tame, I long'd to prove
The gen'rous ardours of upoqual love :
Some marvel still my wayward heax;^ roost

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Or pnnoe, or peaflmnt, esch had charms alike :

Whate'er inverted nature, costom, law,

With joy I courted, and with transport saw.

In the doll walk of Virtuous quiet round,

No aliment my ferer'd fancy found ;

Each doty to perform observant still

Bat tboee which God and Natore bade me fill.

EUxa {Th Urania.) O save me from the er-
rors of deceit.
And all the dangers wealth and beauty meet

Past. Reason perverted. Fancy on her throne.
My soul to ail my sex*s softness prone ;
I neither spoke nor lookM as mortal ought;
To sense abandon*d, and by Folly taught :
A victim to Imagination's sway,
Which stole my health, and rest, afld peace

Profbesions, void of meaning, I reoeiv*d.
And still I ibund them fal8^ - and still believM :
Imagin*d all who courted me, approvM ;
Who prais*d, esteem*d me ; and who flatter*d,

Fondly I hop*d (now vain those hopes appear)
Each man was faithful, and each maid sincere.
Still Disappointment mock*d the ling'ring day ;
StiU new-born wishes led my soul astray.

When in the rolling year no joy I find,
I trust the next, the next will sure be kind.
The next fallacious as the last appears.
And sends me on to still remoter years.
They come, they promise — bnt forget to give :
I live not, but I stiil intend to live.

At length, deceivM in all my schemes of bliss.
I joinM Uiese three in search of Happiness.

Eliza. Is this the world of which we want a
Are these the beings who are callM polite ?

Sylvia, If so, oh gracious Heav'n, hear Syl-
via's prayer :
Preserve me still in humble virtue here !
Far from such baneful pleasures may I live.
And keep, O'k'eep me, from the taint they give !

Late. No bve of fame my torpid bosom warms.
No Fancy soothes me, and no pleasure charms !
Fet still remote from happiness I stray.
No guiding star illumes my trackless way,
My mind, nor wit misleads nor passion goads,
But the dire rust of indolence corrodes ;
This eatinr canker, with malignant stealth.
Destroys the vital pow'rs of moral health.

Till now, I Ve slept on Life's tumultuous tide.
No principle of action for my ^uide.
From ignorance my chief misrortunes flow;
I never wish'd to learn, or car*d to know.
With ev'ry folly slow-pac'd Time beguil'd :
In size a woman, but m soul a child.
In slothful ease my moments crept away.
And busy trifles filled the tedious day ;
I Uv'd extempore, as Fancy fir'd.
As chance directed, or caprice inspir*d :
T<K indolent to think, too weak to choose,
Too soft to blame, too gentle to refuse;
My character was stajnp*d from those around :
The figures they, my mind the simple ground.
Fashion, with monstrous 'forms, the canvass

Tin nothing of my genuine self remain*d ;
My pliant soul from chance receivM its bent.
And neither good perfbrm*d, nor evil meant
From right to wrong, from vice to virtue thrown,

No character possessing of its own.
To shun fatigue I made my only law ;
Yet ev'ry night ray wasted spirits saw.
No plan e*er mark*d the duties of the day,
Which stole in tasteless apathy away :
No energy infbrm'd my languid mind
No joy the idle e'er must hope to find.
Weak indecision all my actions sway'd ;
The day was lost before the choice was made.
Though more to foHy than to ^uilt inclin'd,
A drear vacuity poesess'd my nund ;
Too old with infant sports to be amus'd,
Uilfit for converse, and to books unns'd.
The wise avoided me, they eould not hear
My senseless prattle with a patient ear.
I sought retreat, but found, with strange sor

Retreat is pleasant only to Che wise ;
The crowded world by vacant minds is sought.
Because it saves th' expense and pain of thought

Disgusted, restless, ev'ry plan amiss,
I come with these in search of Happiness.

Urania, O happy they fi)r whom, in early age,
Enlight'ning Knowledge spreads her letter'd

Teaches each headstrong passion to control.
And pours her lib'ral lesson on the soul !
Ideas grow fVom books their nat'ral food.
As aliment is chanff'd to vital blood.
Though faithless I^rtune strip her vot'rr bare.
Though Malice haunt him, and though Envy

Nor Time, nor Chance, nor Want, can e'er de-
This soul.felt solace, and this bosom joy !

Cleora, We thus united by one common fate,
Each discontent with her present state.
One common scheme pursue; resolv'd to know
If Happiness can e'er be found below.

Urania, Your candour, beauteous damsels, I

Your foibles pity, and your merits bve.
But ere I say the methods you must try
To gain the glorious prize kr which you sigh,
Your fainting strength and spirits must be

With a plain meal, by Temperance prepar'd.

Fiorella, No luxury our humble board attends.
But Love and Concord are its smiling friends.'

Hail artless Simplicity beautiful maid.
In the genuine attractions of Nature array 'd
Let the rich and the proud, and the gay and the

Still laugh at the graces that move in thy train.
No charm in thy modest allurements they
The pleasures they follow a sling leave behind
Can criminal passion enrapture the breast
Like Virtue, with Peace and Serenity blest?
O would you Simplicity's precepts attend.
Like us, with delight at her altar you'd bend ;
The pleasures she yields would with joy be cm

You'd practise fVora virtue and love them from






The lionet enchants at the boshes ajnong ;
fhoagh cheap the musician, yet sweet is the

We catch the soil warbling in air as it floats,
And with ecstacj hangon the ravishing notes.

Our water is drawn from the clearest ofsprings.
And our food, nor disease nor satietj brings ;
Our mornings are cbeerfbl, our labours are blest,
Our ev'nings are pleasant, our nights crown*d
with rest

From our culture yon garden its omamcLt
And we catch at the hint for impronng our

minds ;
To live to some purpose we constantly try.
And we mark by our actions the days as they

Since such are the joys that Simplicity jrields.
We may well be content with our woods and

our fields :
How useless to us then, ye great, were your

When without it we purchase both pleasure and

[They retire into the cottage.

Scene — A rural entertainment.


Florella (ftngv.)


While Beauty and Pleasure are now in their

And Folly and Fashion expect our whole time.

Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 22 of 135)