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The Poetical Works of Addison; Gay's Fables; and Somerville's Chase With Memoirs and Critical Dissertations, by the Rev. George Gilfillan online

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That makes even rules a noble poetry:
Rules, whose deep sense and heavenly numbers show
_110
The best of critics, and of poets too.
Nor, Denham, must we e'er forget thy strains,
While Cooper's Hill commands the neighbouring plains.
But see where artful Dryden next appears,
Grown old in rhyme, but charming even in years.
Great Dryden next, whose tuneful Muse affords
The sweetest numbers, and the fittest words.
Whether in comic sounds or tragic airs
She forms her voice, she moves our smiles or tears.
If satire or heroic strains she writes,
_120
Her hero pleases and her satire bites.
From her no harsh unartful numbers fall,
She wears all dresses, and she charms in all.
How might we fear our English poetry,
That long has flourished, should decay with thee;
Did not the Muses' other hope appear,
Harmonious Congreve, and forbid our fear:
Congreve! whose fancy's unexhausted store
Has given already much, and promised more.
Congreve shall still preserve thy fame alive,
_130
And Dryden's Muse shall in his friend survive.
I'm tired with rhyming, and would fain give o'er,
But justice still demands one labour more:
The noble Montague remains unnamed,
For wit, for humour, and for judgment famed;
To Dorset he directs his artful Muse,
In numbers such as Dorset's self might use.
How negligently graceful he unreins
His verse, and writes in loose familiar strains!
How Nassau's godlike acts adorn his lines,
_140
And all the hero in full glory shines!
We see his army set in just array,
And Boyne's dyed waves run purple to the sea.
Nor Simois choked with men, and arms, and blood;
Nor rapid Xanthus' celebrated flood,
Shall longer be the poet's highest themes,
Though gods and heroes fought promiscuous in their streams.
But now, to Nassau's secret councils raised,
He aids the hero, whom before he praised.
I've done at length; and now, dear friend, receive
_150
The last poor present that my Muse can give.
I leave the arts of poetry and verse
To them that practise them with more success.
Of greater truths I'll now prepare to tell,
And so at once, dear friend and Muse, farewell.


A LETTER FROM ITALY,

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES LORD HALIFAX, IN THE YEAR 1701.

Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
Magna virûm! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes.
VIRG., Geor. ii.

While you, my lord, the rural shades admire,
And from Britannia's public posts retire,
Nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
For their advantage sacrifice your ease;
Me into foreign realms my fate conveys,
Through nations fruitful of immortal lays,
Where the soft season and inviting clime
Conspire to trouble your repose with rhyme.
For wheresoe'er I turn my ravished eyes,
Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise,
_10
Poetic fields encompass me around
And still I seem to tread on classic ground;
For here the Muse so oft her harp has strung,
That not a mountain rears its head unsung,
Renowned in verse each shady thicket grows,
And every stream in heavenly numbers flows.
How am I pleased to search the hills and woods
For rising springs and celebrated floods!
To view the Nar, tumultuous in his course,
And trace the smooth Clitumnus to his source,
_20
To see the Mincio draw his watery store
Through the long windings of a fruitful shore,
And hoary Albula's infected tide
O'er the warm bed of smoking sulphur glide.
Fired with a thousand raptures I survey
Eridanus[5] through flowery meadows stray,
The king of floods! that, rolling o'er the plains,
The towering Alps of half their moisture drains,
And proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows,
Distributes wealth and plenty where he flows.
_30
Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng
I look for streams immortalised in song,
That lost in silence and oblivion lie,
(Dumb are their fountains and their channels dry,)
Yet run for ever by the Muse's skill,
And in the smooth description murmur still.
Sometimes to gentle Tiber I retire,
And the famed river's empty shores admire,
That, destitute of strength, derives its course
From thrifty urns and an unfruitful source,
_40
Yet sung so often in poetic lays,
With scorn the Danube and the Nile surveys;
So high the deathless Muse exalts her theme!
Such was the Boyne, a poor inglorious stream,
That in Hibernian vales obscurely stray'd,
And unobserved in wild meanders play'd;
Till by your lines and Nassau's sword renowned,
Its rising billows through the world resound,
Where'er the hero's godlike acts can pierce,
Or where the fame of an immortal verse.
_50
Oh could the Muse my ravished breast inspire
With warmth like yours, and raise an equal fire,
Unnumbered beauties in my verse should shine,
And Virgil's Italy should yield to mine!
See how the golden groves around me smile,
That shun the coast of Britain's stormy isle,
Or when transplanted and preserved with care,
Curse the cold clime, and starve in northern air.
Here kindly warmth their mounting juice ferments
To nobler tastes, and more exalted scents:
_60
Even the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom,
And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Bear me, some god, to Baia's gentle seats,
Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats;
Where western gales eternally reside,
And all the seasons lavish all their pride:
Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rise,
And the whole year in gay confusion lies.
Immortal glories in my mind revive,
And in my soul a thousand passions strive,
_70
When Rome's exalted beauties I descry
Magnificent in piles of ruin lie.
An amphitheatre's amazing height
Here fills my eye with terror and delight,
That on its public shows unpeopled Rome,
And held uncrowded nations in its womb;
Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies;
And here the proud triumphal arches rise,
Where the old Romans' deathless acts displayed,
Their base, degenerate progeny upbraid:
_80
Whole rivers here forsake the fields below,
And wondering at their height through airy channels flow.
Still to new scenes my wandering Muse retires,
And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires;
Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown,
And softened into flesh the rugged stone.
In solemn silence, a majestic band,
Heroes, and gods, and Roman consuls stand;
Stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown,
And emperors in Parian marble frown;
_90
While the bright dames, to whom they humble sued,
Still show the charms that their proud hearts subdued.
Fain would I Raphæl's godlike art rehearse,
And show the immortal labours in my verse,
Where from the mingled strength of shade and light
A new creation rises to my sight,
Such heavenly figures from his pencil flow,
So warm with life his blended colours glow.
From theme to theme with secret pleasure toss'd,
Amidst the soft variety I'm lost:
_100
Here pleasing airs my ravish'd soul confound
With circling notes and labyrinths of sound;
Here domes and temples rise in distant views,
And opening palaces invite my Muse.
How has kind Heaven adorned the happy land,
And scattered blessings with a wasteful hand!
But what avail her unexhausted stores,
Her blooming mountains and her sunny shores,
With all the gifts that heaven and earth impart,
The smiles of nature, and the charms of art,
_110
While proud oppression in her valleys reigns,
And tyranny usurps her happy plains?
The poor inhabitant beholds in vain
The reddening orange and the swelling grain:
Joyless he sees the growing oils and wines,
And in the myrtle's fragrant shade repines:
Starves, in the midst of nature's bounty curs'd,
And in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst.
O Liberty, thou goddess heavenly bright,
_120
Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight!
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling plenty leads thy wanton train;
Eased of her load, subjection grows more light,
And poverty looks cheerful in thy sight;
Thou mak'st the gloomy face of nature gay,
Giv'st beauty to the sun, and pleasure to the day.
Thee, goddess, thee, Britannia's isle adores;
How has she oft exhausted all her stores,
How oft in fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought!
_130
On foreign mountains may the sun refine
The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine,
With citron groves adorn a distant soil,
And the fat olive swell with floods of oil:
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine,
Though o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
_140
Others with towering piles may please the sight,
And in their proud aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretched canvas give,
Or teach their animated rocks to live:
'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbours' prayer.
The Dane and Swede, roused up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms:
_150
Soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hushed in peace.
The ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread
Her thunder aimed at his aspiring head,
And fain her godlike sons would disunite
By foreign gold, or by domestic spite;
But strives in vain to conquer or divide,
Whom Nassau's arms defend and counsels guide.
Fired with the name, which I so oft have found
The distant climes and different tongues resound,
_160
I bridle in my struggling Muse with pain,
That longs to launch into a bolder strain.
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more adventurous song.
My humble verse demands a softer theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling stream;
Unfit for heroes, whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, should praise.



MILTON'S STYLE IMITATED,

IN A TRANSLATION OF A STORY OUT OF THE THIRD ÆNEID.

Lost in the gloomy horror of the night,
We struck upon the coast where Ætna lies,
Horrid and waste, its entrails fraught with fire,
That now casts out dark fumes and pitchy clouds,
Vast showers of ashes hovering in the smoke;
Now belches molten stones and ruddy flame,
Incensed, or tears up mountains by the roots,
Or slings a broken rock aloft in air.
The bottom works with smothered fire involved
In pestilential vapours, stench, and smoke.
_10
'Tis said, that thunder-struck Enceladus
Groveling beneath the incumbent mountain's weight,
Lies stretched supine, eternal prey of flames;
And, when he heaves against the burning load,
Reluctant, to invert his broiling limbs,
A sudden earthquake shoots through all the isle,
And Ætna thunders dreadful under-ground,
Then pours out smoke in wreathing curls convolved,
And shades the sun's bright orb, and blots out day.
Here in the shelter of the woods we lodged,
_20
And frighted heard strange sounds and dismal yells,
Nor saw from whence they came; for all the night
A murky storm deep lowering o'er our heads
Hung imminent, that with impervious gloom
Opposed itself to Cynthia's silver ray,
And shaded all beneath. But now the sun
With orient beams had chased the dewy night
From earth and heaven; all nature stood disclosed:
When, looking on the neighbouring woods, we saw
The ghastly visage of a man unknown,
_30
An uncouth feature, meagre, pale, and wild;
Affliction's foul and terrible dismay
Sat in his looks, his face, impaired and worn
With marks of famine, speaking sore distress;
His locks were tangled, and his shaggy beard
Matted with filth; in all things else a Greek.
He first advanced in haste; but, when he saw
Trojans and Trojan arms, in mid career
Stopp'd short, he back recoiled as one surprised:
But soon recovering speed he ran, he flew
Precipitant, and thus with piteous cries
_40
Our ears assailed: 'By heaven's eternal fires,
By every god that sits enthroned on high,
By this good light, relieve a wretch forlorn,
And bear me hence to any distant shore,
So I may shun this savage race accursed.
'Tis true I fought among the Greeks that late
With sword and fire o'erturned Neptunian Troy
And laid the labours of the gods in dust;
For which, if so the sad offence deserves,
_50
Plunged in the deep, for ever let me lie
Whelmed under seas; if death must be my doom,
Let man inflict it, and I die well-pleased.'
He ended here, and now profuse to tears
In suppliant mood fell prostrate at our feet:
We bade him speak from whence and what he was,
And how by stress of fortune sunk thus low;
Anchises too, with friendly aspect mild,
Gave him his hand, sure pledge of amity;
When, thus encouraged, he began his tale.
_60
'I'm one,' says he, 'of poor descent; my name
Is Achæmenides, my country Greece;
Ulysses' sad compeer, who, whilst he fled
The raging Cyclops, left me here behind,
Disconsolate, forlorn; within the cave
He left me, giant Polypheme's dark cave;
A dungeon wide and horrible, the walls
On all sides furred with mouldy damps, and hung
With clots of ropy gore, and human limbs,
His dire repast: himself of mighty size,
_70
Hoarse in his voice, and in his visage grim,
Intractable, that riots on the flesh
Of mortal men, and swills the vital blood.
Him did I see snatch up with horrid grasp
Two sprawling Greeks, in either hand a man;
I saw him when with huge, tempestuous sway
He dashed and broke them on the grundsil edge;
The pavement swam in blood, the walls around
Were spattered o'er with brains. He lapp'd the blood,
And chewed the tender flesh still warm with life,
_80
That swelled and heaved itself amidst his teeth
As sensible of pain. Not less meanwhile
Our chief, incensed and studious of revenge,
Plots his destruction, which he thus effects.
The giant, gorged with flesh, and wine, and blood,
Lay stretched at length and snoring in his den,
Belching raw gobbets from his maw, o'ercharged
With purple wine and cruddled gore confused.
We gathered round, and to his single eye,
The single eye that in his forehead glared
_90
Like a full moon, or a broad burnished shield,
A forky staff we dexterously applied,
Which, in the spacious socket turning round,
Scooped out the big round jelly from its orb.
But let me not thus interpose delays;
Fly, mortals, fly this cursed, detested race:
A hundred of the same stupendous size,
A hundred Cyclops live among the hills,
Gigantic brotherhood, that stalk along
With horrid strides o'er the high mountains' tops,
_100
Enormous in their gait; I oft have heard
Their voice and tread, oft seen them as they passed,
Sculking and cowering down, half dead with fear.
Thrice has the moon washed all her orb in light,
Thrice travelled o'er, in her obscure sojourn,
The realms of night inglorious, since I've lived
Amidst these woods, gleaning from thorns and shrubs
A wretched sustenance.' As thus he spoke,
We saw descending from a neighbouring hill
Blind Polypheme; by weary steps and slow
_110
The groping giant with a trunk of pine
Explored his way; around, his woolly flocks
Attended grazing; to the well-known shore
He bent his course, and on the margin stood,
A hideous monster, terrible, deformed;
Full in the midst of his high front there gaped
The spacious hollow where his eye-ball rolled,
A ghastly orifice: he rinsed the wound,
And washed away the strings and clotted blood
That caked within; then, stalking through the deep,
_120
He fords the ocean, while the topmost wave
Scarce reaches up his middle side; we stood
Amazed, be sure; a sudden horror chill
Ran through each nerve, and thrilled in every vein,
Till, using all the force of winds and oars,
We sped away; he heard us in our course,
And with his outstretched arms around him groped,
But finding nought within his reach, he raised
Such hideous shouts that all the ocean shook.
Even Italy, though many a league remote,
_130
In distant echoes answered; Ætna roared,
Through all its inmost winding caverns roared.
Roused with the sound, the mighty family
Of one-eyed brothers hasten to the shore,
And gather round the bellowing Polypheme,
A dire assembly: we with eager haste
Work every one, and from afar behold
A host of giants covering all the shore.
So stands a forest tall of mountain oaks
Advanced to mighty growth: the traveller
_140
Hears from the humble valley where he rides
The hollow murmurs of the winds that blow
Amidst the boughs, and at the distance sees
The shady tops of trees unnumbered rise,
A stately prospect, waving in the clouds.


THE CAMPAIGN, A POEM.

TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH.

Rhení pæator et Istri.
Omnis in hoc uno variis discordia cessit
Ordinibus; læctatur eques, plauditque senator,
Votaque patricio certant plebeia favori.
CLAUD. DE LAUD. STILIC.

Esse aliquam in terris gentem quæ suâ impensâ, suo labore ac periculo
bella gerat pro libertate aliorum. Nec hoc finitimis, aut propinquæ
vicinitatis hominibus, aut terris continenti junctis præstet. Maria
trajiciat: ne quod toto orbe terrarum injustum imperium sit, et ubique
jus, fas, lex, potentissima sint.
LIV. HIST. lib. 36.

While crowds of princes your deserts proclaim,
Proud in their number to enrol your name;
While emperors to you commit their cause,
And Anna's praises crown the vast applause;
Accept, great leader, what the Muse recites,
That in ambitious verse attempts your fights.
Fired and transported with a theme so new,
Ten thousand wonders opening to my view
Shine forth at once; sieges and storms appear,
And wars and conquests fill the important year,
_10
Rivers of blood I see, and hills of slain,
An Iliad rising out of one campaign.
The haughty Gaul beheld, with towering pride,
His ancient bounds enlarged on every side,
Pirene's lofty barriers were subdued,
And in the midst of his wide empire stood;
Ausonia's states, the victor to restrain,
Opposed their Alps and Apennines in vain,
Nor found themselves, with strength of rocks immured,
Behind their everlasting hills secured;
_20
The rising Danube its long race began,
And half its course through the new conquests ran;
Amazed and anxious for her sovereign's fates,
Germania trembled through a hundred states;
Great Leopold himself was seized with fear;
He gazed around, but saw no succour near;
He gazed, and half abandoned to despair
His hopes on Heaven, and confidence in prayer.
To Britain's queen the nations turn their eyes,
On her resolves the Western world relies,
_30
Confiding still, amidst its dire alarms,
In Anna's councils and in Churchill's arms.
Thrice happy Britain, from the kingdoms rent,
To sit the guardian of the continent!
That sees her bravest son advanced so high,
And flourishing so near her prince's eye;
Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's sport,
Or from the crimes or follies of a court;
On the firm basis of desert they rise,
From long-tried, faith, and friendship's holy ties:
_40
Their sovereign's well-distinguished smiles they share,
Her ornaments in peace, her strength in war;
The nation thanks them with a public voice,
By showers of blessings Heaven approves their choice;
Envy itself is dumb, in wonder lost,
And factions strive who shall applaud them most.
Soon as soft vernal breezes warm the sky,
Britannia's colours in the zephyrs fly;
Her chief already has his march begun,
Crossing the provinces himself had won,
_50
Till the Moselle, appearing from afar,
Retards the progress of the moving war.
Delightful stream, had Nature bid her fall
In distant climes, far from the perjured Gaul;
But now a purchase to the sword she lies,
Her harvests for uncertain owners rise,
Each vineyard doubtful of its master grows,
And to the victor's bowl each vintage flows.
The discontented shades of slaughtered hosts,
That wandered on her banks, her heroes' ghosts,
_60
Hoped, when they saw Britannia's arms appear,
The vengeance due to their great deaths was near.
Our godlike leader, ere the stream he passed,
The mighty scheme of all his labours cast,
Forming the wondrous year within his thought;
His bosom glowed with battles yet unfought.
The long, laborious march he first surveys,
And joins the distant Danube to the Mæse,
Between whose floods such pathless forests grow,
Such mountains rise, so many rivers flow:
_70
The toil looks lovely in the hero's eyes,
And danger serves but to enhance the prize.
Big with the fate of Europe, he renews
His dreadful course, and the proud foe pursues:
Infected by the burning Scorpion's heat,
The sultry gales round his chafed temples beat,
Till on the borders of the Maine he finds
Defensive shadows and refreshing winds.
Our British youth, with inborn freedom bold,
Unnumbered scenes of servitude behold,
_80
Nations of slaves, with tyranny debased,
(Their Maker's image more than half defaced,)
Hourly instructed, as they urge their toil,
To prize their queen, and love their native soil.
Still to the rising sun they take their way
Through clouds of dust, and gain upon the clay;
When now the Neckar on its friendly coast
With cooling streams revives the fainting host,
That cheerfully its labours past forgets,
The midnight watches, and the noonday heats.
_90
O'er prostrate towns and palaces they pass,
(Now covered o'er with weeds and hid in grass,)
Breathing revenge; whilst anger and disdain
Fire every breast, and boil in every vein:
Here shattered walls, like broken rocks, from far
Rise up in hideous views, the guilt of war,
Whilst here the vine o'er hills of ruin climbs,
Industrious to conceal great Bourbon's crimes,
At length the fame of England's hero drew,
Eugenio to the glorious interview.
_100
Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn;
A sudden friendship, while with stretched-out rays
They meet each other, mingling blaze with blaze.
Polished in courts, and hardened in the field,
Renowned for conquest, and in council skilled,
Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood:
Lodged in the soul, with virtue overruled,
Inflamed by reason, and by reason cooled,
_110
In hours of peace content to be unknown,
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual friendship joined,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of humankind.
Britannia's graceful sons appear in arms,
Her harassed troops the hero's presence warms,
Whilst the high hills and rivers all around
With thundering peals of British shouts resound:
Doubling their speed, they march with fresh delight,
Eager for glory, and require the fight.
_120
So the staunch hound the trembling deer pursues,
And smells his footsteps in the tainted dews,
The tedious track unravelling by degrees:
But when the scent comes warm in every breeze,
Fired at the near approach, he shoots away
On his full stretch, and bears upon his prey.
The march concludes, the various realms are past,
The immortal Schellenberg appears at last:
Like hills the aspiring ramparts rise on high,
Like valleys at their feet the trenches lie;
_130
Batteries on batteries guard each fatal pass,
Threatening destruction; rows of hollow brass,
Tube behind tube, the dreadful entrance keep,
Whilst in their wombs ten thousand thunders sleep:
Great Churchill owns, charmed with the glorious sight,
His march o'erpaid by such a promised fight.
The western sun now shot a feeble ray,
And faintly scattered the remains of day;
Evening approached; but, oh! what hosts of foes
Were never to behold that evening close!
_140



Online LibraryUnknownThe Poetical Works of Addison; Gay's Fables; and Somerville's Chase With Memoirs and Critical Dissertations, by the Rev. George Gilfillan → online text (page 5 of 25)