Hannah More.

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He thought the world to him was known.
Whereas he only knew the town ;
In men this blunder still you find.
All think their little set — mankind.

Tho* high renown the youth had gain*d,
No flarrant crimes his life had stained,
No tocM of falsehood, slave of passion.
But spoilt by custom, and the FAsmoir.
Tho* known among a certain set.
He did not like to be in debt ;
He Bhudder*d at the dicer's box,
Nor thought it very heterodox.
That tradesmen should be sometimes paid.
And bargains kept as well as made.
His growing credit as a sinner.
Was that he lik*d to spoil a dinner ;
Made pleasure and ma!de business wait.
And still, by system, came too late ;
Yet, 'twas a hopefU indication.
On which to forund a reputation ;
. Small habits well pur^uM betimes,
May reach the dignity of crimes.
And vrho a juster claim preferr*d.
Than one who always broke bis word !

His mornings were not spent in vice,
*Twa8 lounginff, sauntering, eating ice :
Walk up and £>wn St James*s.stre6t,
Full fifty times the youth you*d meet :
He hated cards, detested drmkin^.
But stroll'd to shun the toil of thmking ;
*Twas doin^ nothinff was his curse,
U there a vice can ^ague us worse 7
The wretch who digs the mine for bread.
Or ploughs, that others may be fbd,
Feels less &tigued than that decreed
• To him who cannot think, or read.
Not all the peril of temptations.
Not all the conflict of the passions,
Can quen<jh the spark of glory's flame,
Or quite extinguish virtne^s name ;
Like the true taste fi>r genuine saunter,
Like sloth, the sonl*s most dire enchanter.
The actife fires that stir the breast,
Her poppies charm to &tal rest.
They rule in short and quick succession,
9at sunm keeps one long, fast possession ;



Ambition's reign is quickly clos*d,
Th' usurper rage is soon deposM ;
Intemperance, where there's no temptatioB,
Makes voluntary abdication ;
Of other tyrants short the strife,
But Indolence is king for life.
The despot twists with soft control.
Eternal fetters round the soul.

Yet tho' so polish'd Floaio's breeding,
Think him not ignorant of reading ;
For he to keep him from the vapours,
Subscrib'd at Hooeham's, saw the papers
Was deep in poet's corner wit ;
Knew what was in Italics writ ;
Explain'd fictitious names at will,
E^ach gutted syllable could fill ;
There oft, in paragraphs, his name
Gave symptom sweet of srowing fame ,
Tho* yet they only serv'd to hint
That Florio lov'd to see in print,
Hiff ample buckles' alter'd shape.
His buUons chang'd, his varying cape.
And many a standard phrase was his
Might rival 6ers, or banish quix ;
The man who grasps this young renown^
And early starts for Fashion's crown ;
In time that glorious prize may wield.
Which clubs, and ev'n Newmarket yield.
He studied while he dress'd, for true 'tis.
He read compendiums^ extracUy heautiest
Abreges^ dictionariea, recueila,
Mercures^ joumauXf extracts, md fetiittef ,
No work in substance now is follow'd,
The chemic extract only's swallow'd.
He likM those lU/jrary cooks
Who skim the cream of other's books ,
And ruin half an author's graces,
Bv plucking bon-mots from their places
He wonders any writing sells,
But these spic'd mushrooms and morells
His palate these alone can touch.
Where every mouthfbl is bonne louche.
Some phrase, that with the public took.
Was all he read of any book ;
For plan, detail, arrangement, system.
He let them go, and never miss'd 'em.
Of each new play he saw a part.
And all the anas had by heart ;
He found whatever they produce
Is fit for oonversation.use ;
Learning so ready for display,
A page would prime him for a day ',
They cram not with a mass of knowledge,
With smacks of toil, and smells of coUege.
Which in the memory useless lies.
Or only makes men — good and wise.
This might have merit once indeed,
But now for other ends we read.

A firiend he had, Bxllario hight,
A reasoning, reading, learned wight ,
At least, with men of Florio's breeding
He was a prodigy of reading.
He knew each stale and vapid lie
In tomes of French philosophy ;
And then, we fairly may presume,
From Ptrrbo down to David Hume,
*Twere diflicult to single out
A man more full of shallow doubt;
He knew the little sceptic prattle,
The sopdist's paltry arts or battle.

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TalkM grayelj ofth* Atomic dance,

Of mom fitnoM, fate, and chance;

Admir*d the system of Lucarnus,

Whote matchless Terse makes nonsense spe-

cioas!
To thb his doctrine owes its merits.
Like poisonous reptiles kept in spirits.
Tho* sceptics doll his scheme rehearse.
Who have not souls to taste his verse.

Bklljuiio fbonds his reputation
On dry stole jokes, about creation ;
Would prove, by argument circuitous.
The combination was fortuitous.
Swore priests' whole trade was to deceiye,
And prey on bigots who believe ;
With bitter ridicule could jeer,
And had the true free-thinking sneer.
Grave arguments he had in store.
Which have been answerM o*er and o'er ;
knd us*d, with wond'rous penetration
Tho trite, old trick of false citation ;
From ancient authors fond to quote
A^irase or thought they never wrote.

tfpon his high^ shelf there stood
' The classics neatly cut in wood ;
And in a more commodious station,
Tou found them in a French translation :
He swears, tis from the Greek he quotes,
But keeps the French — just for the notes.
He worshipped certain modem names
Who history write in epigrams.
In pointed periods, shining phrases.
And all the small poetic daisies,
Which crowd the pert and florid style,
Where fiict is drofit to raise a smile ;
Where notes indecent or profane
Serve to raise doubts, but not explain .
Where aO is spangle, glitter, show.
And truth is overlaid below :
Arts scom'd by History's sober muse,
Arts CLAanfDON disdain'd to use.
Whate'er the subject of debate,
Twas larded still with sceptic prate ;
Begin whatever theme you will.
In unbelief he lands you still ;
The good, with shame I speak it, feel
Not half this proselyting zeal:
While cold their master's cause to own
Content to to to heaven alone ;
The infidel In liberal trim.
Would carry aU the world with him :
Would treat his wife, friend, kindred, nation.
Mankind — ^with what ! Annihilation.

Tho' Fu>aio did not quite believe him.
Re thought, why should a friend deceive him T
Much as he prix'd Bkllakio's wit.
He liked not all his notions yet ;
He thought him charming, pleasant, odd.
But hop'd one might believe in God ;
Yet such the charms that grac'd his tongue,
He knew not how to think him wrong.
Tho* Floeio tried a thousand ways,
TVuth's insuppressive torch would blaze ;
Where once her flame has burnt, I doubt
If ever it go fairly out

Yet, under great Bellario's care,
He gain'd each day a better air ;
With many a leader of renown.
Deep in tba leamin|r of the town,
Who never other science knew,



But what from that prime source they drew ;

Pleas'd, to the opera they repair.

To get recruits of knowledge there ;

Myuology gain at a glance.

And learn the classics from a dance :

In Ovro they ne'er car'd a groat.

How far*d the vepfrous Akoonaut ;

Yet charm'd they see Mkdki rise

On fiery dragons to the skies.

For Dido,* tho' they never knew her

As Maro's magic pencil drew her.

Faithful and fond, and broken-hearted.

Her pious vagabond departed ;

Yet, for DmoNK how they roar

And Cara ! Cara ! loud encore.

One taste, Bellario's soul possess'd
The master passion of his breast ;
It was not one of those frail joys,
Which, by possession, quickly cloys
This bliss was solid, constant, true,
'Twas action, and *twv passion too
For tho' the business might be finish'd ,
The pleasure scarcely vtss diminish'd ;
Did he ride out, or sit, or walk.
He liv'd it o'er ag;ain in talk ;
Prolong'd the fbgitive delight.
In words by da^, in dreams by night,
'Twas eating did his soul allure,
A deep, keen, modish epicure ;
Tho' once this name, as I opine.
Meant not such men as live to dine ;
Yet all our modem wits assure us.
That's all they know of Epicurus:
They fondly iancy, that repletion
Was the eUef good of that fam'd Grrecian.
To live in gardens full of flowers,
And talk iTiiloaophy in bowers,
Or, in the covert of a wood.
To descant on the mnereign good,
Might be the notion of their founder,
But they have notions vastly sounder ; .
Their Iralder standards they erect.
To form a more substantisi sect;

Old EncuRus would not own 'em,
A dinner is their mmmum bonum.
More like you'll find such sparks as these.
To EnouRUs* deities ;
Like them they mix not with afiairs.
But loll and laugh at human cares.
To beaux this difierenoe is allow'd,
They choose a sofa for a cloud ;
Bellario had embrac'd with glee,
This practical philosophy.

Young Florio's father had a friend.
And ne'er did heaven a worthier send ;
A cheerful knight of good estate.
Whose heart was warm, whose bounty great
, Where'er his wide protection spread.
The sick were cheer'd, the hungry fed ;
Resentment yanish'd where he came ; *

And lawsuits fled before his name ;
The old esteem'd, the young carese'd him.
And all the smiling riUa^^ bless'd him.
Within his castle's Gothic gate.
Sat Plenty, and old-fashioned state :
Scarce Prudence could his bounties stint;—
Such characters are out of print ;
O ! would kind heav'n, the age to mend,

* Mti«€ and Dido v;ere tbe two reifoing cperas s
thistima.



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A new edition of them send,
Before our tottering castles fall.
And swarming nabobs seize on all !

Some little whims he had. His true,
But they were harmless, and were few ;
He dreaded nought like alteration,
Improvement still was innovation ;
He said, when any change was brewing,
Reform was a hne name for ruin ;'»
This maxim firmly he would hold,
• That always must be good that*s old.'
The acts which dignify the day
He thought portended its decay :
And fear'd twould show a falling state.
If Sternhold should rive way to Tati.
The church's downfall he predicted.
Were modem tunes not interdicted ;
He scorn'd them all, but crown'd with palm
The man who set the hundredth psalm.

Of moderate parts, of moderate wit,
But parts for lifb and business fit :
Whatever the theme ; he did not fail,
At popery and the French to rail ;
And started wide, with fond digression
To praise the protestant succession.
Of Blackstonk he had read a part,
And all Born's Justice knew by heart
He thought man's life too short to waste
On idle things callM wit and taste.
In books that he might lose no minute.
His very verse had business in it.
He ne'er had heard of bards of Greece,
But had read half of Dyer's Fleece.
His sphere of knowledge still was wider.
His Georgics, • Philips upon cider :'
He could produce in proper place,
rhree apt quotations from the * Chaae,'f
ILnd in the hall, from day to day.
Did Isaac Walton's Angler lay.

This good and venerable knight
Dne daughter had, his soul's delight :
For face no mortal could resist her,
JShe smil'd like Hebe's youngest sister ;
Her life, as lovely as her face,
E^ch duty mark'd with every grace ;
Her native sense improv'd by reading,
Her native sweetness by ^ood-breeding :
Bhe had perus'd each choicer sage
Of ancient date, or later age ;
But her best knowledge still she found
On sacred, not on classic ground ;
Twas thence her noblest stores she drew.
And well she practis'd what she knew.
Led by Simplicity divine.
She pleas'd, and never tried to shine ;
She gave to chance each unschool'd feature,
And left her cause to sense and nature.

The sire of Florio, ere he died,
Decreed fair Ckua Florio's bride
Bade him his latest wish attend.
And win the daughter of his friend :
When the last rites to him were paid.
He charg'd him to address the maid ;
Sir Gilbert's heart the wish approv'd
For much his ancient friend he loy'd.

Six rapid months like lightning fly,

♦ Tliose linpa were WTittfu many yfiari before the
Prcncli revolution had in a manner realized Sir Oil-
btrVs idea of reform.

t A poem by Mr. Somerrilte



And the last gray was now thrown bj»
Florio reluctant, calls to mind
The orders of a sire too kind *
Yet so he must ; he must fulfil
The hard conditions of the will:
Go, at that precious hour of prime.
Go, at that swarming, bustling time.
When the full town to joy invites.
Distracted with its own delights ;
When Pleasure pours from her full urn«
Each tiresome transport in its turn ;
When Dissipation's altars blaze.
And men run mad a thousand ways ;
When, on his tablets, there were round
Engagements for fuh six weeks round ;
Must leave, with grief and desperation*
Three packs of cards of invitation.
And all the ravishing delights
Of slavish days, and sleepless nights.

Ye nymphs, whom tyrant Power drags dowi<
With hand despotic from the town.
When Almack's doors wide open stand.
And the gay partner's ofifer'd hand
Courts to the dance ; when steaming roomi»
Fetid with ungents and perfumes.
Invite you to the mobs polite
Of three sure balls in one short night
You may conceive what Florio felt.
And sympathetically melt ;
You may conceive the hardship dire
To lawns and woodlands to retire.
When, freed from Winter's icy chain,
Glad Nature revels on the plain ;
When blushing Spring leads on the Hoort*
And May is prodigal of flow'rs ;
When Fashion warbles thro' the grove.
And all is song, and all is love ;
When new-born breezes sweep the vale.
And Health adds fragrance to the gale.



PART II.

Six bays unconscious of their weight,
Sooh lodg'd him at Sir Gilbert's gate •
His trusty Swiss, who flew still faster,
Announc'd th' arrival of his master :
So loud the rap which shook the door,'
The hall re-echo'd to the roar ;
Since first the castle walls were rear'd
So dread a sound had ne'er been heard ',
The din alarm'd the frirhten'd deer,
Who in a corner slunk n>r fear ,
The butler thought 'twas beat of drum.
The steward swore the French were come »
It ting'd with red poor Florio's face,
He thought himself in Portland-place.
Short joy ! he enter'd, and the gate
Clos'd on him with its ponderous weight
Who, like Sir Gilbert, now was blest?
With rapture he erabrac'd his guest
Fair Ceua blush'd, and Florio utter'd
Half sentences, or rather rautter'd
Disjointed words — as, * honour ! pleasure .
* Kind ! — vastly good, ma'am ! — beyond me*

sure:
Tame expletives, with which dull fashion
Fills vacancies of sense and passion
Yet, tho' disciple of cold art,
Florio soon found he had a heart ;



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He taw ; and bat that admiration
Had been too active, too like passion ;
Or had he been to Ton less true,
Copid had shot him thro* and thro* ;
But, vainly speeds the surest dart.
Where FiiSHiON^s mail defends the heart ;
The shaft her cold repulsion found,
And fell without the pow*r to wound :
For Fashion, with a raother^s joj,
Dipp*d in her lake the darling bo^ ;
That lake, whose chilling waves impart
The gift to freeze the warmest heart :
Yet guarded as he was with phlegm.
With such deliffht he ej*d the dame,
Found his cold heart to melt before her,
And felt so ready to adore her ;
That Fasoios feared her son would yield.
And flew to snatch him from the field ;
0*er his toach*d heart her egis threw.
The goddess mother straight he knew ;
Her power he own*d, she saw and smiled.
And claimM the triumph of her child.

Celu a table still supplied.
Which modbh luxury mig^^t deride :
A modest feast the hope conveys.
The master eats on other days ;
While gorgeous banquets oft bespeak
A hungry household all the week.
A decent elegance was there,
And Plenty with her liberal air.
But vulgar Plenty gave offence.
And shockM poor Fix>rio*s nicer sense ;
Patient he yielded to his fate.
When good Sir GiurcaT piPd his plate ;
He bow*d submissive, made no question,
Bat that Hwas sovereign for digestion ;
But, sucn was bis unlucky whim.
Plain meats would ne*er agree with him ;
Yet fcignM to praise the Gothic treat,
And, if he ate not. seem*d to eat

In sleep sad Florio liopM to find,
The pleasures he had left behind.
He dreamt, and lo I to charm his eyes.
The fiirm of Wbltjk* seem*d to rise ;
The gracious vision wav*d his wand.
And banquets sprung to Florio^s band ;
Th* imaginary savours j-ose
In tempting odours to his nose.
.V bell, not Fancy^s false creation.
Gives joyful ^ note of preparation :*
He starts, he wakes, the bell he hears ;
Alas ! it rings for morning pray'rs.

But how to spend next tedious morning.
Was past his possible discerning ;
Uuable to amuse himself
He tumbled every well- ranged shelf;
This book was dull, and that was wise,
And thb was monstrous as to size.
With eager ioy he gobbled down
Whate*er related to the town ;
Whate*er look'd small, whate*er lookM new
Half.bound, or stitchM in pink or blue ;
Old play.bills, Astlet*s last year*s feats,
And Opera disputes in sheets.
As thcac dear records meet his eyes.
Ghosts of departed pleasures rise;
He lays the book upon the shelf.
And leaves the day to spend itselfl

To cheat the tedious hours, whene'er
* A celebrated cook and confectioner.



He sallied forth to take the air.
His sympathetic ponies knew
Which way their lord's affections drew ,
And, every time he went abroad.
Sought of themselves the London road ;
He ask*d each mile of every clown.
How far they reckonM it to town 7
And still his nimble spirits rise.
Whilst thither he directs his eyes ;
But when his coursers back he guides
The sinking mercury quick sulfides.

A week he had resolvM to stay
But found a week in every day ;
Yet if the gentle maid was by,
Faint pleasure glistenM in his eye ;
Whene'er she spoke, attention hung
On the mild accents of her tongue ; ^
But when no more the room she grac'd*
The slight impression was effaced.
Whene'er Sir GiLBEar's sporting guests
Retailed old news, or older iests,
Florio, quite calm, and debonair.
Still humm'd a new Italian air ;
He did not even feign to hear 'em.
But plainly showM he could not bear *em.

Celu perceived his secret thouffhts,
But like the youth with all his faiUts ;
Yet 'twas unlike, she sofUy said.
The tales ot love which she had read,
Where heroes vow'd, and sigh'd, and knel -
Nay, 'twas unlike the love she felt ;
Tho' when her sire the youth would blame.
She clear'd his but suspected fame,
Ventur'd to hope, with fault'ring tongue,
* He would reform — he was but young ;'
Confess'd his manners wrong in part,
' But then — he had so good a heart !*
She sunk each fault, each virtue rais'd.
And still where truth permitted, prais'd.
His interest farther to secure.
She prais'd his bounty to the poor
For, votary as he was of art.
He had a kind and melting heart ;
Tho', with a smile, he us'd to own
He had no tiine to feel in town ;
Not that he blush'd to show compassion,*'
It chanc'd that year to be the fashion.
And equally the modish tribe.
To clubs or hospitals subscribe.

At length, to wake ambition's flame,
A letter from Bellario came ;
Announcing the supreme delight,'
Preparing ror a certain night.
By Flavia fair, return'd from France,
Who took him captive at a glance :
The invitations all were given !
Five hundred cards I — a little heaven !
A dinner first — he would present him.
And nothinpf, nothing must prevent him.
Whoever wish'd a noble air.
Must gain it b^ an entree there ;
Of all the gk)rios of the town,
'Twas tlie first passport to renown^
Then ridicul'd his rural schemes,
His pastoral shades, and purling streams ;
Sneer'd at his present brilliant life,
His polish'd sire, and high-bred wife
Thus, doubly to inflame, he tried.
His curiosity and pride.

The youth, with agitated heart.



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Prepar*a directly to depart ;

But, bound in honour to obey

His father at no distant day;

He promisM soon to hasten down,

Tho* business callM him now to town ;

Then faintly hints a cold proposal— r

But leaves it to the knight*s disposal —

StammerM half words of love and duty,

ind mutter'd much of—* worth and beauty ;*

Something of passion then he dropt,

* And hop*d his ardour* — Here he stopt ;

For some remains of native truth

FlushM in his face, and check'd the youth ;

Yet still th* ambiguous suffusion,

Might pass for arUess love's confiision.

The doating father thought 'twas strange.

But fknoied men like times might change ;

Yet own*d, nor could he check his tongue,

It was not so when he was young.

That was the reign of love he swore.

Whose halcyon days are now no more.

In that blest age, for honour fam*d.
Love paid the homage Virtue claimed ;
Not that insipid, dandling Cupid,
With heart so hard, and air so stupid.
Who coldljr courts the charms which lie
In Affectation's halfdos'd e^e.
Love then was honest, genuine passiao.
And manly gallantry the fashion ;
Yet pure as ardent was the flame
Excited by the beauteous dame ;
Hope could subsist on slender bounties.
And suitors ^allop'd o'er two counties,
The ball's fair partner to behold.
Or humbly hope — she caught no cold.

But mark how much Love's annals mend .
Should beauty's goddess now descend ;
On some adventure should she come.
To grace a modish drawing-room ;
Spite of her form and heavenly air.
What beau would hand her to a chair ?
Vain were that grace, which to her son,
Disclos'd what Beauty had not done :
Vain were that motion which betra^'d,
The goddess was no earth-born maid ;
If noxious Faro's baleful spright.
With rites infernal rul'd the ni^ht.
The group absorb'd in play and pelf,
Vkicus might call her doves herself.

As Florid pass'd the castle-gate.
His spirits seem to lose their weight ;
He feasts his lately vacant mind
With all the joys he hopes to find ;
Yet on whate'er his fancy broods.
The form of Cklia still intrudes ;
Whatever other sound he hears,
The voice of Celia fills his ears ;
Howe'er his random thoughts might fly.
Her graces dance before his eye ;
Nor was the obtrusive vision o'er.
E'en when be reach'd Bellario's door.
The friends embrac'd with warm delight.
And Flavu's praises crown'd the night

Soon dawn'd the day which was to show,
Glad Flo^io what was heaven below.
Flavia, admir'd wherever known,
Th' acknowledg'd empress of bon-ton ;
O'er FAsmoN's wayward kincfdom reigns,
And holds Bellario in her chains ;
•/:uicas her powers ; a wit by day.



By night unmatch'd for lucky play.

The &ttering, fashionable tribe.

Each stray bon-mot to her ascribe |

And all her * little senate' own

She made the best charade in town ;

Her midnight suppers always drew

Whate'er was fine, whate'er was new ;

There ofl the brightest fame you'd see

The victim of a repartee ;

For Slander's priestess still supplies

The SPOTLESS for the sacrifice.

None at her polish'd table sit,

But who aspire to modish wit ,

The peraiflage^ th' unfeeling jeer.

The civil, grave, ironic sneer ;

The laugh which more than censure woundi

Which, more than argument, confounds.

There the fair deed, which would engage

The wonder of a nobler age.

With unbelieving scorn is heard.

Or still to selfish ends refer'd ;

If in the deed no flaw they find,

To some base motive 'tis assion'd

When Malice long» to throw her dart,

But finds no vulnerable part.

Because the Virtues all defond.

At every pass, their guarded friend ;

Then by one slight insinuation.

One scarce perceiv'd exaggeration;

Sly Ridicule, with half a word.

Can ^ her stigma of— absurd;

Nor care, nor skill, extracts the dart.

With which she stabs the feeling heart ;

Her cruel caustics inly pain.

And soars indelible remain.

Supreme in wit, supreme in play,
Despotic Flavia all obey ;
Small were her natural charms of face,
Till heighten'd with each foreign grace :
But what subdued Bellario's soul
Beyond Philosophy's control.
Her constant table was as fine
As if ten rajahs were to dine ;
She every day produc'd such fish as
Would gratify the nice Apicius,
Or realue what we think fabulous
P th' bill of fare of Hkuooabalus.
Yet still the natural taste was cheated,
*Twas delug'd in some sauce one hated
*Twas sauce! 'twas sweetmeat! *twas confoction'.
All poignancy ! and all perfection !
Rich entremets, whose name none knows,
Ragouttf tourteSf tendron$, fricandeus,
O' th' hogs of Epicurus' sty ;
Yet all 80 foreign and so fine,
'Twas easier to admire, than dine.
O ! if the muse had power to tell
Each dish, no muse nas power to spell
Great f^dess of the French Cutttne '
Not with imhallow'd hands I mean
To violate thy secret shade,



Online LibraryHannah MoreThe complete works of Hannah More → online text (page 4 of 135)