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Scottish Scenery and Music.
[From 'Hame Content, a Satire."]
The Arno and the Tiber lang
Hae run fell clear in Roman sang;
But, save the reverence o' schools,
They're baith but lifeless, dowie pools.
Dought they compare wi' bonnie Tweed,
As clear as ony lammer bead?
Or are their shores mair sweet and gay
Than Fortha's haughs or banks o' Tay?
Though there the herds can jink the showers
'Mang thriving vines and myrtle bowers,
And blaw the reed to kittle strains,
While echo's tongue commends their pains;
Like ours, they canna warm the heart
Wi' simple saft bewitching art.
On Leader haughs and Yarrow braes,
Arcadian herds wad tyne their lays,
To hear the mair melodious sounds
That live on our poetic grounds.
Come, Fancy! come, and let us tread
The simmer's flowery velvet bed,
And a' your springs delightful lowse
On Tweeda's bank or Cowdenknowes.
Though cholic or the heart-scad teaze us;
Or ony inward dwaam should seize us;
It masters a' sic fell diseases
That would ye spulzie,
And brings them to a canny crisis
Wi' little tulzie.
Were't no for it, the bonnie lasses
Wad glower nae mair in keekin'-glasses;
And soon tyne dint o' a' the graces
That aft conveen
In gleefu' looks, and bonnie faces, To catch our een.
The fairest, then, might die a maid, And Cupid quit his shootin' trade; For wha, through clarty masquerade, Could then discover Whether the features under shade Were worth a lover?
As simmer rains bring simmer flowers,
And leaves to cleed the birken bowers,
Sae beauty gets by cauler showers
Sae rich a bloom,
As for estate, or heavy dowers,
Aft stands in room.
What maks Auld Reekie's dames sae fair?
It canna be the halesome air;
But cauler burn, beyond compare,
The best o' onie,
That gars them a' sic graces skair,
And blink sae bonnie.
On May-day, in a fairy ring,
We've seen them round St Anthon's spring,
Frae grass the cauler dew-draps wring
To weet their cen,
And water, clear as crystal spring,
To synd them clean.
Oh may they still pursue the way
To look sae feat, sae clean, sae gay!
Then shall their beauties glance like May;
And, like her, be
The goddess of the vocal spray,
The Muse and me.
[4 Sunday in Edinburgh.]
[From Auld Reekie.']
On Sunday, here, an altered scene
O' men and manners meets our cen.
Ane wad maist trow, some people chose
To change their faces wi' their clo'es,
And fain wad gar ilk neibour think
They thirst for guidness as for drink;
But there's an unco dearth o'
That has nae mansion but the face,
And never can obtain a part
In benmost corner o' the heart.
Why should religion mak us sad,
If good frae virtue's to be had?
Na: rather gleefu' turn your face,
Forsake hypocrisy, grimace;
And never hae it understood
You fleg mankind frae being good.
In afternoon, a' brawly buskit,
The joes and lasses loe to frisk it.
Some tak a great delight to place
The modest bon-grace owre the face;
Though you may see, if so inclined,
The turning o' the leg behind.
Now, Comely-Garden and the Park
Refresh them, after forenoon's wark:
1 St Anthony's Well, a beautiful small spring, on Arthur's Seat, near Edinburgh. Thither it is still the practice of young Edinburgh maidens to resort on May-day.
Newhaven, Leith, or Canonmills,
Supply them in their Sunday's gills;
Where writers aften spend their pence,
To stock their heads wi' drink and sense.
While danderin cits delight to stray
To Castlehill or public way,
Where they nae other purpose mean,
Than that fool cause o' being seen,
Let me to Arthur's Seat pursue,
Where bonnie pastures meet the view,
And mony a wild-lorn scene accrues,
Befitting Willie Shakspeare's muse.
If Fancy there would join the thrang,
The desert rocks and hills amang,
To echoes we should lilt and play,
And gie to mirth the live-lang day.
Or should some cankered biting shower
The day and a' her sweets deflower,
To Holyrood-house let me stray,
And gie to musing a' the day;
Lamenting what auld Scotland knew,
Bein days for ever frae her view.
O Hamilton, for shame! the Muse
Would pay to thee her couthy vows,
Gin ye wad tent the humble strain,
And gie's our dignity again!
For, oh, wae's me! the thistle springs
In domicile o' ancient kings,
Without a patriot to regret
Our palace and our ancient state.
MISCELLANEOUS POEMS OF THE PERIOD 1727-1780 Ad Amicos.
[By Richard West-written at the age of twenty. This amiable poet died in his twenty-sixth year, 1742.]
Yes, happy youths, on Camus' sedgy side,
You feel each joy that friendship can divide;
Each realm of science and of art explore,
And with the ancient blend the modern lore.
Studious alone to learn whate'er may tend
To raise the genius, or the heart to mend ;
Now pleased along the cloistered walk you rove,
And trace the verdant mazes of the grove,
Where social oft, and oft alone, ye choose,
To catch the zephyr, and to court the muse.
Meantime at me (while all devoid of art
These lines give back the image of my heart),
At me the power that comes or soon or late,
Or aims, or seems to aim, the dart of fate;
From you remote, methinks, alone I stand,
Like some sad exile in a desert land;
Around no friends their lenient care to join
In mutual warmth, and mix their hearts with mine.
Or real pains, or those which fancy raise,
For ever blot the sunshine of my days;
To sickness still, and still to grief a prey,
Health turns from me her rosy face away.
Just Heaven! what sin ere life begins to bloom,
Devotes my head untimely to the tomb?
Did e'er this hand against a brother's life
Drug the dire bowl, or point the murderous knife!
Did e'er this tongue the slanderer's tale proclaim,
Or madly violate my Maker's name?
Did e'er this heart betray a friend or foe,
Or know a thought but all the world might know!
As yet just started from the lists of time,
My growing years have scarcely told their prime;
Useless, as yet, through life I've idly run,
No pleasures tasted, and few duties done.
Ah, who, ere autumn's mellowing suns appear,
Would pluck the promise of the vernal year;
Or, ere the grapes their purple hue betray,
Tear the crude cluster from the mourning spray?
Stern power of fate, whose ebon sceptre rules
The Stygian deserts and Cimmerian pools,
Forbear, nor rashly smite my youthful heart,
A victim yet unworthy of thy dart;
Ah, stay till age shall blast my withering face,
Shake in my head, and falter in my pace;
Then aim the shaft, then meditate the blow,
And to the dead my willing shade shall go.
How weak is man to reason's judging eye! Born in this moment, in the next we die; Part mortal clay, and part ethereal fire, Too proud to creep, too humble to aspire. In vain our plans of happiness we raise, Pain is our lot, and patience is our praise; Wealth, lineage, honours, conquest, or a throne, Are what the wise would fear to call their own. Health is at best a vain precarious thing, And fair-faced youth is ever on the wing; 'Tis like the stream beside whose watery bed, Some blooming plant exalts his flowery head; Nursed by the wave the spreading branches rise, Shade all the ground and flourish to the skies; The waves the while beneath in secret flow, And undermine the hollow bank below; Wide and more wide the waters urge their way, Bare all the roots, and on their fibres prey. Too late the plant bewails his foolish pride, And sinks, untimely, in the whelming tide.
But why repine? Does life deserve my sigh; Few will lament my loss whene'er I die." For those the wretches I despise or hate, I neither envy nor regard their fate.
For me, whene'er all-conquering death shall spread His wings around my unrepining head,
I care not; though this face be seen no more,
The world will pass as cheerful as before;
Bright as before the day-star will appear,
The fields as verdant, and the skies as clear;
Nor storms nor comets will my doom declare,
Nor signs on earth nor portents in the air;
Unknown and silent will depart my breath,
Nor nature e'er take notice of my death.
Yet some there are (ere spent my vital days)
Within whose breasts my tomb I wish to raise.
Loved in my life, lamented in my end,
Their praise would crown me as their precepts mend:
To them may these fond lines my name endear,
Not from the Poet but the Friend sincere.
[The following and subsequent poems are by John Byrom, a native of Manchester. He was well educated, but declined to take advantage of an offered fellowship in the university of Cambridge, from a dislike to the clerical profession, and endeavoured to make a livelihood by teaching short-hand writing in London. Ultimately, he succeeded to some property, and came to the close of his days in affluence (1763), aged 72. The Phoebe of his poetry was a daughter of the celebrated Bentley.]
I am content, I do not care,
Wag as it will the world for me; When fuss and fret was all my fare, It got no ground as I could see: So when away my caring went, I counted cost, and was content.
With more of thanks and less of thought,
I strive to make my matters meet; To seek what ancient sages sought,
Physic and food in sour and sweet:
To take what passes in good part,
And keep the hiccups from the heart.
With good and gentle humoured hearts,
I choose to chat where'er I come,
Whate'er the subject be that starts;
But if I get among the glum,
I hold my tongue to tell the truth,
And keep my breath to cool my broth.
For chance or change of peace or pain,
For fortune's favour or her frown,
For lack or glut, for loss or gain,
I never dodge, nor up nor down:
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or tack about with equal trim.
Of ups and downs, of ins and outs,
Of they're i' the wrong, and we're i' the right,
I shun the rancours and the routs;
And wishing well to every wight,
Whatever turn the matter takes,
I deem it all but ducks and drakes.
With whom I feast I do not fawn,
Nor if the folks should flout me, faint;
If wonted welcome be withdrawn,
I cook no kind of a complaint:
With none disposed to disagree,
But like them best who best like me.
Not that I rate myself the rule
How all my betters should behave;
But fame shall find me no man's fool,
Nor to a set of men a slave:
I love a friendship free and frank,
And hate to hang upon a hank.
Fond of a true and trusty tie,
I never loose where'er I link;
Though if a business budges by,
I talk thereon just as I think;
My word, my work, my heart, my hand,
Still on a side together stand.
If names or notions make a noise,
Whatever hap the question hath,
The point impartially I poise,
And read or write, but without wrath;
* One poem, entitled Careless Content, is so perfectly in the manner of Elizabeth's age, that we can hardly believe it to be an imitation, but are almost disposed to think that Byrom had
transcribed it from some old author.-SOUTHEY.
For should I burn, or break my brains,
Pray, who will pay me for my pains ?
I love my neighbour as myself,
Myself like him too, by his leave;
Nor to his pleasure, power, or pelf,
Came I to crouch, as I conceive:
Dame Nature doubtless has designed
A man the monarch of his mind.
Now taste and try this temper, sirs,
Mood it and brood it in your breast;
Or if ye ween, for worldly stirs,
That man does right to mar his rest,
Let me be deft, and debonair,
I am content, I do not care.
My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent,
When Phoebe went with me wherever I went;
Ten thousand sweet pleasures I felt in my breast:
Sure never fond shepherd like Colin was blest!
But now she is gone, and has left me behind,
What a marvellous change on a sudden I find!
When things were as fine as could possibly be,
I thought 'twas the Spring; but alas! it was she.
Sweet music went with us both all the wood through, The lark, linnet, throstle, and nightingale too; Winds over us whispered, flocks by us did bleat, And chirp went the grasshopper under our feet. But now she is absent, though still they sing on, The woods are but lonely, the melody's gone:
Her voice in the concert, as now I have found, Gave every thing else its agreeable sound.
Rose, what is become of thy delicate hue? And where is the violet's beautiful blue? Does ought of its sweetness the blossom beguile? That meadow, those daisies, why do they not smile? Ah! rivals, I see what it was that you drest, And made yourselves fine for-a place in her breast: You put on your colours to pleasure her eye, To be plucked by her hand, on her bosom to die.
How slowly Time creeps till my Phoebe return! While amidst the soft zephyr's cool breezes I burn: Methinks, if I knew whereabouts he would tread, I could breathe on his wings, and 'twould melt down the lead.
Fly swifter, ye minutes, bring hither my dear,
And rest so much longer for't when she is here.
Ah Colin! old Time is full of delay,
Nor will budge one foot faster for all thou canst say.
Will no pitying power, that hears me complain,
Or cure my disquiet, or soften my pain?
To be cured, thou must, Colin, thy passion remove;
But what swain is so silly to live without love!
No, deity, bid the dear nymph to return,
For ne'er was poor shepherd so sadly forlorn.
Ah! what shall I do? I shall die with despair;
Take heed, all ye swains, how ye part with your fair.
[Ode to a Tobacco Pipe.]
[One of six imitations of English poets, written on the subject of tobacco, by Isaac Hawkins Browne, a gentleman of fortune, born 1705, died 1760. The present poem is the
tion of Ambrose Philips.]
Little tube of mighty power,
Charmer of an idle hour,
Object of my warm desire,
Lip of wax and eye of fire;
And thy snowy taper waist,
With my finger gently braced;
And thy pretty swelling crest,
With my little stopper prest;
And the sweetest bliss of blisses,
Breathing from thy balmy kisses.
Happy thrice, and thrice again,
Happiest he of happy men;
Who when again the night returns,
When again the taper burns,
When again the cricket's gay
(Little cricket full of play),
Can afford his tube to feed
With the fragrant Indian weed:
Pleasure for a nose divine,
Incense of the god of wine.
Happy thrice, and thrice again,
Happiest he of happy men.
The tragic drama of this period bore the impress of the French school, in which cold correctness or turgid declamation was more regarded than the natural delineation of character and the fire of genius. One improvement was the complete separation of tragedy and comedy. Otway and Southerne had marred the effect of some of their most pathetic and imita-impressive dramas, by the intermixture of farcical
and licentious scenes and characters, but they were the last who committed this incongruity. Public taste had become more critical, aided perhaps by the papers of Addison in the 'Spectator,' and other essayists, as well as by the general diffusion of literature and knowledge. Great names were now enlisted in the service of the stage. Fashion and interest combined to draw forth dramatic talent. A writer for the stage, it has been justly remarked, like the public orator, has the gratification of witnessing his own triumphs; of seeing in the plaudits, tears, or smiles of delighted spectators, the strongest testimony to his own powers.' The publication of his play may also insure him the fame and profit of authorship. If successful on the stage, the remuneration was then considerable. Authors were generally allowed the profits of three nights' performances; and Goldsmith, we find, thus derived between four and five hundred pounds by She Stoops to Conquer. The genius of Garrick may also be considered as lending fresh attraction and popularity to the stage. Authors were ambitious of fame as well as profit by the exertions of an actor so well fitted to portray the various passions and emotions of human nature, and who partially succeeded in recalling the English taste to the genius of Shakspeare.
[Song-Away! let nought to Love Displeasing."]
Away! let nought to love displeasing,
My Winifreda, move your care;
Let nought delay the heavenly blessing,
Nor squeamish pride, nor gloomy fear.
What though no grants of royal donors,
With pompous titles grace our blood;
We'll shine in more substantial honours,
And, to be noble, we'll be good.
Our name while virtue thus we tender,
Will sweetly sound where'er 'tis spoke; And all the great ones, they shall wonder How they respect such little folk. *This beautiful piece has been erroneously ascribed to John Gilbert Cooper, author of a volume of poems, and sorne prose
works, who died in 1769.
What though, from fortune's lavish bounty,
No mighty treasures we possess
We'll find, within our pittance, plenty,
And be content without excess.
Still shall each kind returning season
Sufficient for our wishes give;
For we will live a life of reason,
And that's the only life to live.
Through youth and age, in love excelling,
We'll hand in hand together tread;
Sweet-smiling peace shall crown our dwelling,
And babes, sweet-smiling babes, our bed.
How should I love the pretty creatures,
While round my knees they fondly clung!
To see them look their mother's features,
To hear them lisp their mother's tongue!
And when with envy Time transported,
Shall think to rob us of our joys;
You'll in your girls again be courted,
And I'll go wooing in my boys.
One of the most successful and conspicuous of the tragic dramatists was the author of the 'Night Thoughts,' who, before he entered the church, produced three tragedies, all having one peculiarity, that they ended in suicide. The Revenge, still a popular acting play, contains, amidst some rant and hyperbole, passages of strong passion and eloquent declamation. Like Othello, "The Revenge' is founded on jealousy, and the principal character, Zanga, is a Moor. The latter, son of the Moorish king Abdallah, is taken prisoner after a conquest by the Spaniards, in which his father fell, and is condemned to servitude by Don Alonzo. In revenge, he sows the seeds of jealousy in the mind of his