Category Archives: Poems

John Pomfret, “A Pastoral Essay on the Death of Queen Mary, Anno, 1694″

JOHN POMFRET

 “A Pastoral Essay on the Death of Queen Mary, Anno, 1694”

 

As gentle STREPHON to his Fold convey’d
A wand’ring Lamb, which from the Flocks had stray’d
Beneath a mournful Cypress Shade, he found
COSMELIA weeping on the dewy Ground.
Amaz’d with eager Haste, he ran to know                                               5
The fatal Cause of her intemp’rate Woe;
And clasping her to his impatient Breast,
In these soft Words his tender Care exprest

STREPHON.

Why mourns my dear COSMELIA, why appears
My Life, my Soul, dissolv’d in briny Tears?                                               10
Has some fierce Tyger thy lov’d Heifer slain,
While I was wand’ring on the neighb’ring Plain?
Or has some greedy Wolf devour’d thy Sheep?
What sad Misfortune makes COSMELIA weep?
Speak, that I may prevent thy Grief’s Increase;                                       15
Partake thy Sorrows, or restore thy Peace.

COSMELIA.

Do you not hear from far that mournful Bell?
‘Tis for —– I cannot the sad Tydings tell.
O, whither are my fainting Spirits fled!
‘Tis for CAELESTIA—STREPHON, O, —she’s dead!                                    20
The brightest Nymph, the Princess of the Plain,
By an untimely Dart, untimely slain.

STREPHON.

Dead! ‘tis impossible. She cannot die,
She’s too Divine, too much a Deity:
‘Tis a false Rumour some ill Swains have spread,                                     25
Who wish perhaps the good CAELESTIA dead.

COSMELIA.

Ah! No, the Truth in ev’ry Face appears,
For ev’ry Face you meet’s o’erflow’d with Tears.
Trembling, and pale, I ran thro’ all the Plain,
From Flock to Flock, and ask’d of ev’ry Swain;                                            30
But each, scarce lifting his dejected Head,
Cry’d O, COSMELIA! O, CAELESTIA dead!

STREPHON.

Something was meant by that ill-boading Croak
Of the prophetick Raven from the Oak,
Which strait by Lightning was in Shivers broke:                                          35
But we our Mischief feel, before we see,
Seiz’d and o’erwhelm’d at once with Misery.

COSMELIA.

Since then we have no Trophies to bestow,
No pompous Things to make a glorious Show,
(For all the Tribute a poor Swain can bring,                                                  40
In Rural Numbers, is to mourn and sing;)
Let us beneath the gloomy Shade rehearse
CAELESTIA’s sacred Praise in no less sacred Verse.

STREPHON.

CAELESTIA dead! then ‘tis in vain to live:
What’s all the Comfort that these Plains can give                                        45
Since she, by whose bright Influence alone
Our Flocks increas’d, and we rejoic’d, is gone.
Since she, who round such Beams of Goodness spread
As gave new Life to ev’ry Swain, is dead.

COSMELIA.

In vain we wish for the delightful Spring.                                                 50
What Joys can flow’ry May, or April bring,
When she, for whom spacious Plains were spread
With early Flow’rs, and cheerful Greens, is dead?
In vain did courtly DAMON warm the Earth,
To give to Summer Fruits a Winter Birth.                                                        55
In vain we Autumn wait, which crowns the Fields
With wealthy Crops, and various Plenty yields:
Since that fair Nymph, for whom the boundless Store
Of Nature was preserv’d, is now no more.

STREPHON.

Farewel for ever then to all that’s gay:                                                       60
You will forget to sing, and I to play.
No more with cheerful Songs in cooling Bow’rs
Shall we consume the pleasurable Hours.
All Joys are banish’d, all Delights are fled,
Ne’er to return, now fair CAELESTIA’s dead.                                                     65

COSMELIA.

If e’er I sing, they shall be mournful Lays
Of great CAELESTIA’s Name, CAELESTIA’s Praise:
How good she was, how generous, how wise!
How beautiful her Shape, how bright her Eyes!
How charming all, how she was ador’d,                                                             70
Alive; when dead, how much her loss deplor’d!
A noble Theme, and able to inspire
The humblest Muse with the sublimest Fire.
And since we do of such a Princess sing,
Let ours ascend upon a stronger Wing;                                                             75
And while we do the lofty Numbers join,
Her Name will make their Harmony Divine.
Raise then thy tuneful Voice, and be the Song
Sweet as her Temper, as her Virtue strong.

STREPHON.

When her great Lord to foreign Wars was gone,                                       80
And left CAELESTIA here to rule alone,
With how serene a Brow, how void of Fear
When Storms arose, did she the Vessel steer?
And, when the Raging of the Waves did cease,
How gentle was her Sway in times of Peace?                                                     85
Justice and Mercy did their Beams unite,
And round her Temples spread a glorious Light.
So quick she eas’d the Wrongs of ev’ry Swain,
She hardly gave them Leisure to complain.
Impatient to reward, but slow to draw                                                                 90
Th’ avenging Sword of necessary Law:
Like Heav’n, she took no pleasure to destroy:
With Grief she punish’d, and she sav’d with Joy.

COSMELIA.

When God-like BELLEGER from War’s Alarms
Return’d in Triumph to CAELESTIA’s Arms,                                                         95
She met her Hero with a full Desire,
But chaste as Light, and vigorous as Fire:
Such mutual Flames, so equally Divine,
Did in each Breast with such a Lustre shine,
His could not seem the greater, her’s the less:                                                  100
Both were immense, for both were in Excess.

STREPHON.

O, God-like Princess! O, thrice-happy Swains!
While she presided o’er the fruitful Plains;
While she for ever ravish’d from our Eyes,
To mingle with her Kindred of the skies,                                                             105
Did for your Peace her constant Thoughts employ;
The Nymph’s good Angel, and the Shepherd’s Joy.

COSMELIA.

All that was Noble beautify’d her Mind;
There Wisdom sat, with solid Reason join’d;
There too did Piety, and Greatness wait,                                                            110
Meekness on Grandeur, Modesty on State:
Humble amidst the Splendors of a Throne;
Plac’d above all, and yet despising none.
And when a Crown was forc’d on her by Fate,
She with some pain submitted to be Great.                                                       115

STREPHON.

Her pious Soul with Emulation strove
To gain the mighty PAN’s important Love:
To whose mysterious Rites she always came,
With such an active, so intense a Flame,
The Duties of Religion seem’d to be                                                                     120
Not more her Care, than her Felicity.

COSMELIA.

Virtue unmixt, without the least Allay,
Pure as the Light of a Celestial Ray,
Commanded all the Motions of the Soul,
With such a soft, but absolute Controul,                                                             125
That as she knew what best great PAN would please,
She still perform’d it with the greatest Ease.
Him for her high Exemplar she design’d,
Like him, benevolent to all Mankind.
Her Foes she pity’d, not desir’d their Blood,                                                       130
And to revenge their Crimes, she did them good:
Nay, all Affronts, so unconcern’d she bore,
(Maugre that violent Temptation, Pow’r,)
As if she thought it vulgar to resent,
Or wish’d Forgiveness their worst Punishment.                                                135

STREPHON.

Next mighty PAN, was her illustrious Lord,
His high Vicegerent, sacredly ador’d:
Him with such Piety and Zeal she lov’d,
The noble Passion ev’ry Hour improv’d.
Till it ascended to that glorious Height,                                                              140
‘Twas next, (if only next) to infinite.
This made her so entire a Duty pay,
She grew at last impatient to obey,
And met his Wishes with as prompt a Zeal,
As an Archangel his Creator’s Will.                                                                       145

COSMELIA.

Mature for Heav’n, the fatal Mandate came,
With it, a Chariot of Etherial Flame,
In which, Elijah like, she pass’d the Spheres;
Brought Joy to Heav’n, but left the World in Tears.

STREPHON.

Methinks I see her on the Plains of Light,                                                     150
All Glorious, all incomparably Bright!
While the immortal Minds around her gaze
On the excessive Splendour of her Rays,
And scarce believe a human Soul could be
Endow’d with such a stupendous Majesty.                                                           155

COSMELIA.

Who can lament too much? O, who can mourn
Enough o’er beautiful CAELESTIA’s Urn!
So great a Loss as this deserves Excess
Of Sorrow; all’s too little, that is less.
But to supply the Universal Woe,                                                                           160
Tears from all Eyes, without Cessation flow:
All that have pow’r to weep, or voice to groan,
With throbbing Breast CAELESTIA’s fate bemoan:
While Marble Rocks the common Griefs partake,
And eccho back those Cries they cannot make.                                                   165

STREPHON.

Weep then (once fruitful) Vales, and spring with Yew;
Ye thirsty barren Mountains, weep with Dew.
Let ev’ry Flow’r on this extended Plain
Not droop, but shrink into its Womb again,
Ne’er to receive anew its yearly Birth;                                                                     170
Let ev’ry thing that’s grateful, leave the Earth:
Let mournful Cypress, with each noxious Weed,
And baneful Venoms in their place succeed.
Ye purling quer’lous Brooks, o’ercharg’d with Grief
Haste swiftly to the Sea for more Relief;
Then tiding back, each to his sacred Head,                                                            175
Tell your astonish’d Springs, CAELESTIA’s dead:

COSMELIA.

Well have you sung, in an exalted Strain,
The fairest Nymph e’er grac’d the British Plain.
Who knows but some officious Angel may
Your grateful Numbers to her Ears convey:                                                           180
That she may smile upon us, from above,
And bless our mournful Plains with Peace and Love.

STREPHON.

But see, our Flocks do to their Folds repair,
For Night with sable Clouds obscures the Air,
Cold Damps descend from the unwholesome Sky,                                              185
And Safety bids us to our Cottage fly.
Tho’ with each Morn our Sorrows will return,
Each Ev’n, like Nightingales, we’ll sing and mourn,
Till Death conveys Us to the peaceful Urn.

NOTES:

Strephon Stock pastoral name for a shepherd; Fold “A pen or enclosure for domestic animals, esp. sheep” (OED).

3 Cypress “A well-known coniferous tree…often regarded as symbolic of mourning” (OED).

4   Cosmelia Pastoral name for a woman.

20 Caelestia Pomfret’s poetical name for Queen Mary II, from “Caelestis” which means sky or heavenly (A Latin Dictionary).

20-22 “she’s dead!…untimely slain” Queen Mary II died on 28 December 1694 from smallpox.

25 Swains “Countrymen” (OED).

41 Rural Numbers That is, rural poetry.

54 Damon Stock pastoral name.

80 to foreign Wars was gone William III, Mary’s husband, was often gone handling affairs on the continent and left Mary to rule alone (Encyclopedia Britannica).

94 Belleger Pomfret’s poetical name for William III; in modern Dutch the word translates as “investor;” from War’s Alarms William III fought and squashed a Jacobite rebellion on the continent, and participated in the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697) against Louis XIV of France (Encyclopedia Britannica).

114-15 when a Crown was forced on her…submitted to be Great The Glorious Revolution of 1688 deposed James II, Mary’s father. As a result of her supporting her husband William invading England, Mary and her father were estranged (Encyclopedia Britannica).

117 Pan The god of nature.

121 Felicity Happiness (OED).

133 Maugre “To defy, oppose” (OED).

137 Vicegerent “A person appointed by a king or other ruler to act in his place or exercise certain of his administrative functions” (OED).

145 Archangel “An angel of the highest rank” (OED).

148 Elijah A prophet who defended the worship of the Jewish God; in 2 Kings 2:1-11, Elijah is transported to heaven by a whirlwind.

166 Yew An ancient tree common in England; often planted in churchyards and symbolic of funerary and death.

Source: Poems upon Several Occasions, 7th edition (London, 1727), p. 48. [Hathi Trust]

Edited by Ceneca Jackson

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Lennox, “A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

CHARLOTTE LENNOX

“A Pastoral, from the Song of Solomon”

 

OH! tell me, thou who all my Soul inspires,
Source of my Joys, and Partner of my Fires,
By what clear Stream, or nigh what flow’ry Mead
Thy tender Flocks with wanton Pleasure feed:
Where does my Dear, my lovely Wand’rer stray;                                       5
Tell me, and guide my weary Steps that Way.

In vain I trace the Plains, each winding Grove;
No Swain directs me to my absent Love:
Close in the Covert of some Shade he lyes;
Some envious Shade conceals him from my Eyes:                                    10
Bear then my soft Complainings to his Ear;
Ye whis’pring Winds, let him my Accents hear;
The well-known Sounds will wake the lingering Swain,
And bring him panting to my Arms again.

Alas! not yet my cruel Love returns:                                                        15
I rave; my Breast with jealous Fury burns:
Cold Tremblings seize on ev’ry vital Part;
The Blood runs freezing to my panting Heart;
Dim Shadows swim before my closing Sight,
And my griev’d Soul prepares to take its Flight.                                            20

Hark; what sweet Accents breaks the ambient Air;
Sure ’tis my Love’s melodious Voice I hear:
Now to my Arms my charming Shepherd flies;
Heaven to my Arms, and Transport to my Eyes,
Oh! on thy panting Breast let me recline,                                                      25
And let thy folding Arms around me twine;
With Vows of Love my anxious Fears controul,
And whisper Ease to my distracted Soul.

Arise, my Love, the Enslaver cries,
My beauteous Maid, my lovely Fair, arise;                                                     30
For lo, the Rain is o’er, the Winter’s past,
And balmy Sweets perfume the southern Blast,
Like thee, all Nature smiles; the Fields around,
Are with a new returning Verdure crown’d:
Hark what sweet Musick fills the vocal Grove;                                               35
Each feather’d Songster tunes its Notes to Love:
What Odours do these op’ning Buds exhale,
Yet cannot o’er thy greater Sweets prevail,
Or their enchanting Beauties thine excell.
That Lilly shines but with a borrow’d Grace,                                                  40
And Roses blush to emulate thy Face;
Nor can the Violet’s admired Dye
Match the bright Azure of thy shining Eye;
See where you tread, fresh blooming Flowers arise,
New Charms appear where’er you turn your Eyes;                                       45
For thee the Streams in softer Murmurs flow;
For thee sweet Airs the whisp’ring Zephirs blow;
For thee the Cedars form a grateful Shade,
And brighter Colours paint th’ enamell’d Mead:
Oh! come then thro’ these sweet Meanders stray;                                         50
Arise, my Love; my fair One, come away.

Yes, dearest Object of my soft Desire,
Thou sweet Inspirer of my endless Fire;
With thee I’ll trace the Groves, each winding Mead,
And follow where thy charming Footsteps lead:                                            55
Yet let me view thee; on that lovely Face
Let me with fond extatic Rapture gaze;
Let thy Voice charm me with its Magick Sound,
And my fond Soul with thrilling Pleasure wound;
For sweet’s thy Beauties to my ravish’d Sight,                                                60
And thy dear Voice my list’ning Ears delight.

See on that Couch, with Nature’s Bounties spread,
At Ease reclin’d, my lovely Shepherd’s laid:
What Beauties in that smiling Form appear;
How soft, how mild, how more than heavenly fair.                                        65
Ye tender Virgins, awful Silence keep;
Ye sighing Gales prolong his balmy Sleep:
Thou sleep’st, my Love; but still thy waking Heart
Bears in my soft Inquietudes a Part.
My Image every present with thee seems,                                                        70
Haunts all thy Slumbers, and informs thy Dreams,
In ev’ry Wish, in ev’ry Thought I’m thine;
And oh! be thou for ever, ever mine.

Behold, he wakes, and here with Transport flies;
What streaming Glories sparkle from his Eyes:                                                75
Oh, turn them from me, hide their beauteous Beams;
The Sun with less refulgent Brightness gleams:
Do not such sweet, such magick Rays dispence,
Like pow’rful Sweets they overcome my Sense;
Oh, set me, as a Seal upon thy Heart,                                                                80
Mark’d for my own, I claim the smallest Part;
Shou’dst Thou (but sure the wounding Thought is vain)
For any other lovely Maid complain;
Take from me, Heav’n, the fleeting Breath you gave,
For Love’s as strong as Death, and pow’rful as the Grave.                              85

NOTES:

Title Song of Solomon A Biblical reference; “This book has no theology — it is devoted instead to a single subject, the love and passion between woman and man” (Carl W. Ernest, Interpreting the Songs of Songs: The Paradox of Spiritual and Sensual Love,” UNC Chapel Hill (http://www.unc.edu/%7Ecernst/sosintro.htm).

4 wanton Undisciplined, ungoverned; unmanageable, rebellious” (OED).

8 Swain “A country gallant or lover; a lover, wooer, sweetheart, esp. in pastoral poetry” (OED).

21 Hark “To give ear or listen to; to hearken to, hear with active attention” (OED).

34 Verdure “The fresh green colour characteristic of flourishing vegetation; greenness, viridity” (OED).

47 Zephirs “A soft mild gentle wind or breeze” (OED).

49 Meanders “To follow a winding course” (OED).

57 Rapture “A state, condition, or fit of intense delight or enthusiasm” (OED).

67 Gales “A gentle breeze” (OED).

69 Inquietudes “The fact or condition of being inquieted or having one’s quiet disturbed; disturbance” (OED).

77 refulgent “Shining with, or reflecting, a brilliant light; radiant, resplendent; gleaming, lustrous” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a Young Lady (London, 1747), pp.1-6. [Google Books]

Edited by Sydney Brunner

Frances Maria Cowper, “My Retired Hours”

FRANCES MARIA COWPER

 “My Retired Hours”

 

Ye gentle days that once were mine,
In every charm of life array’d,
No more awaken my regret,
No more my settled peace invade.

Fresh hope of permanent delight                                                  5
My meditating thoughts pursue;
Nor can the charms of time or sense
Obscure the bright, the heavenly view.

My convert heart delights to muse
On fallen man’s deliv’rance found,                                          10
The sacrifice, the cleansing blood,
That for his bleeding guilt aton’d:

Of man’s estate in Paradise,
Of endless mercy’s wide display,
Of cov’nant love, and Gospel grace,                                                 15
That point to Heaven th’ unerring way:

Such themes as these, in early years,
My secret hours have oft inspir’d,
My infant hands with wonder rais’d,
My infant heart with rapture fir’d.                                              20

Witness ye saints invisible,
Ye guests unseen, whose guardian care
Preserves the soul from threat’ning ill,
And wafts to Heaven the pious tear:

Witness—for ye have oft beheld—                                                      25
How (for superior joys design’d)
My humble steps retirement sought,
Leaving the busy world behind:

How, in the sweet sequester’d shade,
Where ——’s fair meand’ring flood                                             30
Pours its rich streams around the plains,
And gurgles near the favourite wood,

At morn, at noon, at dewy eve,
Oft by the moon’s soft-glancing ray,
In search of Wisdom’s rare delights                                                     35
My feet unwearied lov’d to stray.

And are those transitory hours,
So sweet to my remembrance, gone?
Sunk in the deep abyss of time,
Beyond the reach of fancy flown?                                                 40

Ye swift-wing’d messengers, farewell,
And all the pleasures that ye gave;
Sweet earnest of unfading joys
That wait my soul beyond the grave.

Loos’d from the vexing world below,                                                    45
O! when shall I to these attain?
When to that blissful region go,
That yields no sorrow, tear, or pain?

There shall my disencumber’d soul
Distinctly view the grand design                                                     50
Of each mysterious providence,
The gracious plan of love divine.

How dim foe’er the eye of sense,
How faint foe’er each mental power,
There we shall trace Omniscience,                                                         55
And all his sov’reign will explore;

Companioning with angels bright,
Perhaps with kindred spirits join’d,
Adore the self-existent God,
That brought salvation to mankind.                                               60

Delightful Theme of endless bliss!
How little know the world of Thee!
Only the pilgrim hasting on,
And panting for eternity.

He joyful views, with steady eye,                                                             65
Where faithful labourers abide;
Beholds the glittering gates on high,
On golden hinges opening wide.

There all his thoughts and wishes tend,
Anxious he marks the heavenly road,                                            70
Compassionates the senseless world,
And languishes—to be with God;

To see the “very Paschal Lamb,”
In everlasting bliss enthron’d,
And mingle with those blessed saints,                                                   75
That live with endless glory crown’d.

O! how with “ever-tuned harps”
They sing “the Lamb’s mysterious song;”
Myriads of cherubs catch the sound,
Echoing from each celestial tongue.                                               80

Celestial tongues alone can reach
The height of that celestial strain,
Their tongues alone who see his face,
And with the Lamb for ever reign.

Unwearied through eternity,                                                                    85
Their pleasing toil they still pursue,
And spread around th’ ethereal space
The glorious theme, for ever new.

NOTES:

 10 fallen man’s Adam, Eve, and their descendants, humanity after the transition from innocent obedience to God in the garden of Eden to guilt, disobedience, and sin; humanity that is viewed as naturally sinful and in need of salvation; deliv’rance Giving over into the possession or power of another, in particular reference to God, or an act of God whereby he rescues his people from danger or damnation (Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (EDT), pp. 434-436; 330-331).

11 sacrifice Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and forgiveness of humanity’s sinfulness (EDT, pp. 113-114).

12 bleeding guilt Mortal sin, damnation; aton’d “To bargain for exemption” (Johnson), here a reference to Christians’ reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ (EDT, pp. 113-114).

13 estate “Circumstances in general; conditions of life; possibly also in reference to possessions in land, rank, or quality” (Johnson).

15 cov’nant “A contract between two parties” (Johnson), usually an agreement between God and his people, in which God makes promises to his people and, in return, requires certain types of conduct from them (EDT, pp. 299-301).

15 Gospel The records of Jesus Christ’s life and teachings in the first four books of the new testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

19 infant “Immature, in a state of initial imperfection” (Johnson); also possibly referencing the spiritual rebirth of baptism (EDT, pp. 129-131).

20 rapture “Ecstasy, mental transportation to a sublime realm, a vigorous passion,” particularly of the faith in God (Johnson).

25 oft Often.

26 design’d “To devote intentionally” (Johnson).

27 retirement “Private way of life, state of being withdrawn” (Johnson).

41 swift-wing’d messengers Angels.

53 foe-er Forever.

53 eye of sense “Perception by intellect” (Johnson).

63 pilgrim “A traveler, wanderer, particularly one who travels on a religious account” (Johnson).

67 glittering gates The entrance to heaven.

71 Compassionates “Pity” (Johnson).

73 Paschal Lamb A lamb with particular ritual significance, which the Israelites were commanded to eat as a part of the Passover celebration; the Paschal Lamb symbolized Christ, “the Lamb of God,” who redeemed the world by the shedding of his blood (EDT, pp. 893-895).

77 ever-tuned harps Possibly an allusion to John Milton’s Paradise Lost and his descriptions of angels, particularly when the angels celebrate God’s decision to allow his son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice himself for mankind (Book III, line 366).

78 the Lamb’s mysterious song Referencing a song of triumph over Babylon, which represented sin and idolatry; the biblical triumph over Babylon symbolizes a triumph over sin.

79 cherubs Angels who support the rule of God, especially connected with the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden (EDT, pp. 60-61).

 SOURCE: Original Poems, on Various Occasions (London, 1792), pp. 15-19. [Google Books]

 Edited by Momo Wang

 

 

Frances Maria Cowper, religious verse, meditation, virtue, the sublime, ballad stanzas

Richard Cumberland, “Epilogue. [To The Battle of Hastings.] Spoken by Miss Younge”

RICHARD CUMBERLAND

“Epilogue. [To The Battle of Hastings.] Spoken by Miss Younge”

 

From ancient Thespis to the present age,
The world have oft been term’d a public stage;
A thread-bare metaphor, which in its time
Hath patch’d much prose, and heel-piec’d many a rhime:
Ev’n the grave pulpit sometimes deigns to use                                        5
The emphatic terms of the proscribed muse;
Calls birth our entry, death our exit calls,
And at life’s close exclaims – the curtain falls;
And so concludes upon the drama’s plan,
That fretting, strutting, short-hour actor, man;                                        10
Are we all actors then? – yes, all from Adam.
And actresses? – I apprehend so, madam:
Some fill their cast with grace, others with none;
Some are shov’d off the stage, and some shov’d on;
Some good, some bad, still we all act a part,                                             15
Whilst we disguise the language of the heart.
Nature’s plain taste provides a simple treat,
But art, the cook, steps in and mars the meat.
The comic blade makes ridicule his test,
And on his tomb proclaims that life’s a jest.                                                20
The swaggering braggart, in true tragic’s cast,
Bellows blank verse and daggers to the last.
Whilst clubs of neutral petit maitres boast
A kind of opera company at most;
Whose dress, air, action, all is imitation,                                                      25
A poor, insipid, servile, French translation;
Whose tame dull scene glides uniform along,
In comi – farci – pastoral – sing – song –
‘Till all awaken’d by the rattling die,
Club wits, and make – a modern tragedy;                                                    30
A tragedy, alas! good friends, look round,
What have we left to tread but tragic ground?
Four authors leagu’d to shake the human soul,
Unsheath the dagger, and infuse the bowl;
At length descending to the least, and last,                                                 35
We hope the terror of the time is past;
Full fated now with battle, blood, and murder,
England is conquer’d – fate can reach no futher;
Bid then the weeping Pleiads dry their eyes,
And turn to happier scenes and brighter skies.                                          40

NOTES:

Title The Battle of Hastings A 1778 play by Richard Cumberland portraying the October 1066 battle over the disputed succession to the British throne after the death of King Edward in January 1066; Miss Younge Elizabeth Younge (1740-1797), a popular actress of the late-century period, best known for her Shakespearean roles.

1 Thespis “The traditional father of Greek tragedy” (OED).

6 proscribed muse That is, a forbidden poet; possibly alluding to Shakespeare, given the clear verbal echoes of Macbeth (V.ii.24-28) at line 10.

11 Adam First human in biblical account of the creation of world (OCB).

21 Braggart “One who brags too much” (OED).

33 Four authors Likely a reference to Harold Godwinson, Tostig Godwinson, Harald Hardrada, and William I, who all made claims to the throne after the death of King Edward in January 1066.

38 England is conquer’d Reference to the Norman victory in the Battle of Hastings, and subsequent rule of Britain by William I (c. 1028-1087), reigned from 1066.

39 Pleiades “In Greek mythology, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione” (OED).

SOURCE: The London Magazine (February 1778), pp. 89-90. [Google Books]

Edited by J. John Storost

Anonymous, “The Rise of Tea”

ANONYMOUS

 “The Rise of Tea”

 

Think not, ye fair, deceiv’d by poet’s lays,
Cupid in sloth inglorious melts his days;
Think not enchain’d on Chloe’s breast he lies,
Or bathes himself in Delia’s languid eyes;
Now here, now there, the wanton wanderer roves                              5
O’er Belgia’s waters, or Italia’s groves;
Now soothes the hearts of Gallia’s silken swains,
Now fires the tawny youth on Java’s plains.
As o’er luxurious China’s fields he sails,
Upborn by lovers sighs, and balmy gales,                                              10
Deep in the bosom of a fragrant glade,
Where pines, slow-moving, form’d a dancing shade,
Where Zephyr stole the rose’s rich perfume,
And wakeful almonds shook their snowy bloom,
Crown’d with rough thickets rose a moss-grown cave,                       15
Whose tinkling sides pour down a sparkling wave:
Unwilling to desert its native groves,
The ling’ring stream in flow’ry lab’rinths roves;
The god of love feeds his insatiate sight,
Slow wave his loose wings, and retard his flight.                                  20
But say, what soft confusion seiz’d thy breast,
What heaving sighs thy instant flame confest,
When Thea broke from Morpheus’ dewy arms,
Rose from the grot, and blaz’d in all her charms?
Its swelling orb no hoop enormous spread,                                           25
Like magic sphere to guard the tim’rous maid;
No torturing stays the yielding waist confin’d,
A bliss for lover’s arms alone design’d;
Her hair, by no malicious art repress’d
Play’d in the wind, and wanton’d o’e her breast.                                   30
Jove grew a swan to press the Spartan fair:
What form to taste those charms would Cupid wear?
Quick thro’ the sounding grove the god descends,
Quick at her feet the sighing suppliant bends.
Can you be deaf when Syren passion sues?                                           35
Or how can beauty fly, when love pursues?
No more he seeks the Cyprian’s smoaking fanes,
Or sips rich nectar in celestial plains;
In Thea’s heart a flame more pleasing glows,
And from her lips more luscious nectar flows.                                       40
Venus, indignant, saw her power decay,
And rush’d impetuous through the realms of day:
Thus dost thou guard thy once-lov’d parent’s throne
Shall then the rebel power my power disown?
See! where the fatal cause of my disgrace                                               45
(Each hateful beauty glowing in her face)
Insulting stands!—–There let her fixt remain,
Nor be the anger of a goddess vain.
To kneel to sue she strove, unhappy maid!
In vain, her stiffening knees refuse their aid:                                          50
Her arms she lifts with pain, in wild surprize
She starts to see a verdant branch arise:
O Love! she try’d to say, thy Thea aid,
Her ruddy lips the envious leaves invade:
Yet then, just sinking from his tortur’d view,                                           55
Her swimming eyes languish’d a last adieu.
Venus triumphant, with a scornful smile,
Points to the tree, and seeks the Cyprian isle.
Her mark’d the goddess with indignant eyes,
And grief and rage, alternate tyrants, rise.                                               60
Then sighing o’er the vegetable fair,
Yet still, he said, thou claim’st thy Cupid’s care!
Her arts no more shall Cytherea prove,
But own my Thea aids the cause of love.
To the free isle, I’ll give thy rights divine,                                                  65
To nymphs, whose charms alone can equal thine,
For thee the toiling sons of Ind’ shall drain
The honey’d sponge, which swells the leafy cane:
The gentle Naiads to thy shrine shall bring
The limpid treasures of the crystal spring;                                               70
Thy verdant bloom shall stain the glowing stream,
Diffusing fragrance in the quivering stream;
Around thy painted altar’s brittle pride
Shall dimpled smiles and sleek-brow’d health preside,
Whilst white-rob’d nymphs display each milder grace,                          75
The morning dream just glowing on each face.
With joy I see, in ages yet unborn,
Thy votaries the British isle adorn.
With joy I see enamour’d youths despise
The goblet’s lustre for the fair one’s eyes:                                                  80
Till rosy Bacchus shall his wreaths resign,
And Love and Thea triumph o’er the vine.

NOTES:

2 Cupid, The roman god of love, son of Venus goddess of love. His Greek name is Eros (OED).

 6 Belgia Belgium; Italia Italy.

 7 Gallia France.

 12 Zephyr God of the west wind, often associated with summer and sweetness (OED).

 23 Thea The nymph personification of tea; Morpheus God of sleep (OED).

 31 Jove, Jupiter, king of the gods and god of the heavens. He is also remembered as Zeus, his name among the Greeks (OED); a swan to press the Spartan fair Leda of Sparta, who was raped by Zeus in the form of a swan, giving birth to Helen of Troy, famous for her role in the Iliad (Encyclopedia Britannica).

 35 Syren Enchanting woman-bird hybrid that appears in the Odyssey. They are known for their song that can enchant any man, creating a deadly love that causes sailors to dash their ships against rocks pursuing them (OED).

 37 the Cyprian An epithet for Aphrodite/Venus; fanes “Temples” (OED).

 38 Nectar The drink of the gods. Related to Ambrosia, another drink of the gods. This could possibly refer to both the nectar of the gods, and the nectar of flowering plants (OED).

 41 Venus Goddess of love, mother of Cupid, also called Aphrodite among the Greeks. She is storied to be a jealous deity who lashes out against women who are called more beautiful than her, such as Psyche legendary wife of Cupid (OED).

 63 Cytherea Another name for Venus. This name refers to the Greek island Cythera, which like Cyprus was significant to the worship of Venus (OED).

 67 Ind’ An “earlier name for the country now called India” (OED).

 69 Naiad A water nymph (OED).

 81 Bacchus Roman god of wine and revelry (OED).

Source: The Annual Register (1761), pp. 261-262.

Edited by Daniel Chiu

John Bennet, “The Fortune-Teller”

JOHN BENNET

“The Fortune-Teller”

 

One Whitsuntide, when merry glee
Proclaim’d each blooming rustic free;
When nymphs and swains, in circling bands,
At sound of tabor join’d their hands
In nimble dance, with sprightly mien,                                                                                    5
Beneath the bower on the green:
Methought the golden age reviv’d,
So harmless were the sports contriv’d.

But ah! how soon the scene was chang’d,
When from these rural joys they rang’d.                                                                               10
For at the place th’ Egyptian crew
Came for lucrative interview;
Among the tribe a buxom lass,
Who daily wonders brought to pass.
Yet pedling first was their pretence,                                                                                       15
To learn if any had the sense
Their hocus pocus to elude,
If not to tell the multitude;
One of their tribe, both deaf and dumb,
Reveal’d past, present, and to come.                                                                                      20

The scheme succeeds; such numbers flock,
Made Christian-Faith a laughing stock!
Made it appear that Satan hath
His eye fix’d on implicit faith.
Now to his oracle they press,                                                                                                   25
And hope in vain for happiness.

The Sybil seated in grimace,
Her vot’ries come with anxious-face;
They write the sum of their demand,
And wishing at her alter stand.                                                                                                30
One for a husband gives her fee,
Who’s soon to be the happy she;
Not so another can be blest,
Till two long years have broke her rest;
But still a second fee retains,                                                                                                   35
And years to months a change regains:
She threatens some and some collogues,
And proves too many w—s and r—s.

She to the matrimonial slate
In order reads their certain fate;                                                                                              40
Bids the dull husband straight provide
For th’ issue of his teeming bride:
Assures the barren of success,
That children shall their ages bless.

A brother seeks a brother lost,                                                                                         45
In prison strong confin’d and crost;
But tho’ he roams on foreign strand,
He soon shall see his native land.

Another offers at her shrine,
Who’s promis’d treasures from the mine:                                                                              50
Could but his partner have such bliss,
Her pilfer’d goods she would not miss.

A mother ardently requires
An answer kind to her desires:
A long-lost daughter was the theme,                                                                                       55
And she receives a golden dream.

Good God! that mortals e’er should strive
In hidden secrets thus to dive:
Would they regard thy sacred text,
Impostors could not have pretext                                                                                            60
Unwary people to delude,
Or on thy attributes intrude.

They still kept on their impious trade,
And ev’ry day fresh vot’ries made;
Till vengeance bid Astrea rise:                                                                                                   65
Despair then seiz’d their baleful eyes.
Their utmost skill now at the stake,
The deaf and dumb could hear and speak,
And from her shrine in haste withdrew;
Shame and confusion with her flew.                                                                                        70

Demetrius found his gains were gone;
Diana fled; her witchcrafts done.
He then betray’d one of the crew,
The darling pelf yet still his view.
Virtue rejoic’d to see the stroke,                                                                                               75
That vice itself the charm had broke:
Astrea’s orders were obey’d,
And th’ hag to prison was convey’d.

Th’ infernal tribe now sad distrest,
Detractor’s council was a jest;                                                                                                   80
Who finding that fair virtue’s cause
Was well defended by just laws;
To give such vile adherents play,
His canker’d heart no more could say;
Thus added to lost reason, loss of pay.                                                                                   85

NOTES:

1 Whitsuntide “The church season of Pentecost,” a festival occurring on the seventh Sunday after Easter in the Christian tradition (OED).

2 rustic “A person living in the countryside; a peasant” (OED).

3 nymph “A beautiful young woman” (OED); swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

4 tabor A drum (OED).

5 mien “The look … manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood, etc.” (OED).

6 bower “A place closed in or overarched with branches of trees, shrubs, or other plants (OED).

11 place “Woodstock” [Author’s Note].

27 Sybil “A prophetess; a fortune-teller, a witch” (OED).

28 vot’ries “A devout worshipper” (OED).

37 collogues “To prevail upon or influence … to coax” (OED).

38 w–s and r–s Likely to be understood as “whores and rogues.”

42 teeming “Child-bearing” (OED).

46 crost “Thwarted” (OED).

52 pilfer’d “Stolen” (OED).

65 Astrea Astraea, Greek goddess of justice (Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, 52).

66 baleful “Unhappy … miserable” (OED).

71 Demetrius A biblical figure who falsely worshipped the Roman goddess Diana, causing him to incite a riot against the Apostle Paul (OCB).

72 Diana Roman goddess of hunting, wilderness, and animals (Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, 52).

74 pelf “Stolen good[s]” (OED).

84 canker’d “Infected with evil; corrupt, depraved (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1774), pp. 17-22. [Google Books]

Edited by Alex Pittel

 

John Gay, “The Shepherd’s Week IV. Thursday; or, the Spell”

JOHN GAY

 “The Shepherd’s Week IV. Thursday; or, the Spell

 

Hobnelia, seated in a dreary vale,
In pensive mood rehears’d her piteous tale,
Her piteous tale the winds in sighs bemoan,
And pining echo answers groan for groan.
I rue the day, a rueful day I trow,                                                                  5
The woful day, a day indeed of woe!
When Lubberkin to town his cattle drove,
A maiden fine bedight he hapt to love;
The maiden fine bedight his love retains,
And for the village he forsakes the plains.                                                    10
Return, my Lubberkin, these ditties hear;
Spells will I try, and spells shall ease my care.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
When first the year, I heard the cuckow sing,                                              15
And call with welcome note the budding spring,
I straitway set a running with such haste,
Deb’rah that won the smock scarce ran so fast.
‘Till spent for lack of breath, quite weary grown,
Upon a rising bank I sat adown,                                                                     20
Then doff’d my shoe, and by my troth, I swear,
There I spy’d this yellow frizled hair,
As like to Lubberkin’s in curl and hue,
As if upon his comely pate it grew.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,                                         25
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
At eve last Midsummer no sleep I sought,
But to the field a bag of hemp-seed brought,
I scatter’d round the seed on ev’ry side,
And three times in a trembling accent cry’d,                                                  30
This hemp-seed with my virgin hand I sow,
Who shall my true-love be, the crop shall mow.
I strait look’d back, and if my eyes speak truth,
With his keen scythe behind me came the youth.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,                                          35
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
Last Valentine, the day when birds of kind.
Their paramours with mutual chirpings find;
I rearly rose, just at the break of the day,
Before the sun had chas’d the stars away;                                                     40
A-field I went, amid the morning dew
To milk my kine (for so should huswives do)
Thee first I spy’d, and the first swain we see,
In spite of fortune shall our true-love be;
See, Lubberkin, each bird his partner take,                                                     45
And canst thou then thy sweetheart dear forsake?
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
Last May-day fair I search’d to find a snail
That might my secret lover’s name reveal;                                                     50
Upon a gooseberry-bush a snail I found,
For always snails near sweetest fruit abound.
I seiz’d the vermine, home I quickly sped,
And on the hearth the milk-white embers spread.
Slow crawl’d the snail, and if I right can spell,                                                 55
In the soft ashes mark’d a curious L:
Oh, may this wondrous omen lucky prove!
For L is found in Lubberkin and Love.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                      60
Two hazel-nuts I threw into the flame,
And to each nut I gave a sweet-heart’s name.
This with the loudest bounce me sore amaz’d,
That in a flame of brightest colour blaz’d.
As blaz’d the nut so may thy passion grow,                                                      65
For ‘twas thy nut that did so brightly glow.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As peascods once I pluck’d, I chanc’d to see
One that was closely fill’d with three times three,                                          70
Which when I crop’d I safely home convey’d,
And o’er the door the spell in secret laid,
My wheel I turn’d, and sung a ballad new,
While from the spindle I the fleeces drew;
The latch mov’d up, when who shou’d first come in,                                     75
But in his proper person,--Lubberkin.
I broke my yarn surpriz’d the sight to see,
Sure sign that he would break his word with me.
Eftsoons I join’d it with my wonted slight,
So may again his love with mine unite!                                                             80
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This Lady-fly I take from off the grass,
Whose spotted back might scarlet red surpass.
Fly, Lady-Bird, North, South, or East or West,                                                      85
Fly where the Man is found that I love best.
He leaves my hand, see to the West he’s flown,
To call my true-love from the faithless town.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                       90
This mellow pippin, which I pare around,
My shepherd’s name shall flourish on the ground.
I fling th’unbroken paring o’er my head,
Upon the grass a perfect L is read;
Yet on my heart a fairer L is seen                                                                       95
Than what the paring marks upon the green.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
This pippin shall another tryal make,
See from the core two kernels brown I take;                                                    100
This on my check for Lubberkin is worn,
And Boobyclod on t’other side is born.
But Boobyclod soon drops upon the ground,
A certain token that his love’s unsound,
While Lubberkin sticks firmly to the last                                                             105
Oh were his Lips to mine but join’d so fast!
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As Lubberkin once slept beneath a Tree
I twitch’d his dangling garter from his knee;                                                     110
He wist not when the hempen string I drew,
Now mine I quickly doff of inkle blue;
Together fast I tye the garters twain,
And while I knit the knot repeat his strain.
Three times a true-love’s knot I tye secure,                                                            115
Firm be the knot, firm may his love endure.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.
As I was wont, I trudg’d last market-day
To town, with new-laid eggs preserv’d in hay.                                                   120
I made my market long before ‘twas night,
My purse grew heavy and my basket light.
Strait to the ‘pothecary’s shop I went,
And in love-powder all my mony spent;
Behap what will, next Sunday after prayers,                                                       125
When to the ale-house Lubberkin repairs,
These golden flies into his mug I’ll throw,
And soon the swain with fervent love shall glow.
With my sharp heel I three times mark the ground,
And turn me thrice around, around, around.                                                         130
But hold–our Light-foot barks, and cocks his ears,
O’er yonder stile see Lubberkin appears.
He comes, he comes, Hobnelia’s not bewray’d,
Nor shall she crown’d with willow die a maid.
He vows, he swears, he’ll give me a green gown,                                              135
Oh dear! I fall adown, adown, adown!

NOTES:

4 pining “The infliction or undergoing of physical or emotional pain” (OED).

5 trow “Belief; faith, trust” (OED).

8 bedight “To equip” (OED).

18 won the smock “Based on a superstition in eighteenth-century England that states if a young woman were to head into the fields early in the morning, she might hear the notes of a cuckoo. If a young woman were to succeed in hearing the notes of a cuckoo, she’s to take off her boot and look inside and find a hair the colour of the man they were to marry” (Charles Dickens, All The Year Round, 88).

21 doff’d   “To put off or take off from the body” (OED).

24 comely pate Beautiful head.

27 Midsummer “The day of the summer solstice (21 or 22 June), or the period around this” (OED).

28 hemp-seed   “The seed of an annual herbaceous plant” (OED).

43 swain “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd” (OED).

49 May-day fair “May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. May Day celebrations and festivities were once the highlight of the year in every town and village through Britain” (The Learn English Network).

69 peascodsThe pod or legume of the pea plant” (OED).

79 EftsoonsA second time, again” (OED).

91 pippin “A seed or pip of any of various fleshy fruits” (OED).

111 wist Knew (OED).

123 ‘pothecary’s shop A contraction of “apothecary” meaning “a store or shop of non-perishable commodities, spices, drugs, comfits, preserves” (OED).

134 crown’d with willow “Taken as a symbol of grief for unrequited love or the loss of a mate” (OED). The use of willow as a symbol of grief appears in Psalm 137 and influenced the custom of wearing a cap or crown made of willow twigs to communicate the grief suffered by forsaken lovers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. (Paul Kendall, Trees for Life, 1).

135 green gown The Bride in Jan Van Eyck’s fifteenth-century painting, “Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride,” wears green as a symbol of her fertility while slouching in imitation of pregnancy, indicating her willingness to bear children. A green gown was the best choice for a bride’s gown because of its early symbolism (John Gage, Color and Culture, 1993).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1720), pp. 101-108.

 Edited by Imani Muhammad

Samuel Johnson, “Autumn. An Ode”

SAMUEL JOHNSON

 “Autumn. An Ode”

 

Alas! with swift and silent pace,
Impatient time rolls on the year;
The seasons change, and nature’s face
Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

‘Twas Spring, ’twas Summer, all was gay,                                                                              5
Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;
The flowers of Spring are swept away,
And Summer fruits desert the bough.

The verdant leaves that play’d on high,
And wanton’d on the western breeze,                                                                           10
Now trod in dust neglected lie,
As Boreas strips the bending trees.

The fields that wav’d with golden grain,
As russet heaths are wild and bare;
Not moist with dew, but drench’d in rain,                                                                             15
Nor health, nor pleasure wanders there.

No more while thro the midnight shade,
Beneath the moon’s pale orb I stray,
Soft pleasing woes my heart invade,
As Progne pours the melting lay.                                                                                      20

From this capricious clime she soars,
O! would some god but wings supply!
To where each morn the Spring restores,
Companion of her flight I’d fly.

Vain wish! me fate compels to bear                                                                                          25
The downward season’s iron reign,
Compels to breathe polluted air,
And shiver on a blasted plain.

What bliss to life can Autumn yield,
If glooms, and showers, and storms prevail;                                                                    30
And Ceres flies the naked field,
And flowers, and fruits, and Phoebus fail?

Oh! what remains, what lingers yet,
To cheer me in the darkening hour?
The grape remains! the friend of wit,                                                                                        35
In love, and mirth, of mighty power.

Haste – press the clusters, fill the bowl;
Apollo! shoot thy parting ray:
This gives the sunshine of the soul,
This god of health, and verse, and day.                                                                              40

Still – still the jocund strain shall flow,
The pulse with vigorous rapture beat;
My Stella with new charms shall glow,
And every bliss in wine shall meet.

NOTES:

8 bough “One of the larger limbs or offshoots of a tree, a main branch; but also applied to a smaller branch” (OED).

10 wanton’d “To move nimbly, and irregularly” (Johnson).

11 trod “Tread, footprint, track, trace” (OED).

12 Boreas “The north-wind” (OED).

 14 russett “A subdued reddish-brown colour; a shade of this” (OED).

 20 Progne “ (A name for) the swallow (frequently treated poetically as a variety of songbird)” (OED).

31 Ceres In Roman religion, goddess of agriculture and goddess of the growth of food plants (Encyclopædia Britannica).

 32 Phoebus “Apollo as the god of light or of the sun; the sun personified” (OED).

36 mirth “Often used of religious joy and heavenly bliss” (OED).

 38 Apollo Olympian god of prophecy and oracles, music, song and poetry, archery, healing, plague and disease, and the protection of the young.

41 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

 Source: The Poetical Works Of Samuel Johnson (London, 1789), pp. 158-160. [Google Books]

 Edited by Robert Mezian

 

 

 

Rev. Henry Harrington the Younger, “The Hermite’s Addresse to Youth”

[REV. HENRY HARINGTON THE YOUNGER]

 “The HERMITE’S ADDRESSE to YOUTH”

 

Say, gentle youth, that tread’st untouch’d with care,
Where nature hath so guerdon’d Bathe’s gay scene;
Fedde with the songe that daunceth in the aire;
Midst faireste wealth of Flora’s Magazine;
Hathe eye or eare yet founde thine steppes to blesse,                                              5
That gem of life, yclep’d True Happiness?

With beautie restes she not; – nor woos to lighte
Her hallow’d taper at proud honour’s flame;
Nor Circe’s cuppe doth crown; nor come in flighte
Upon th’ Icarian wing of bablinge fame;                                                                                10
Not shrine of golde dothe this fair sainte embower,
She glides from Heav’n, but not in Danae’s shower.

Go blossome, wanton in suche joyous aire,
But ah! – eft soone thy buxome blaste is o’er!
When the sleek pate shall grow far ‘bove its haire,                                                               15
And creeping age shall reape this piteous lore;
To broode o’re follie, and with me confesse,
“Earthe’s flattringe dainties prove but sweete distresse.”
THE OLDE HERMITE

NOTES:

 Author Rev. Henry Harington the Younger “This poem was popular enough to be twice reprinted in the Gentleman’s Magazine and elsewhere before appearing in the Monthly Magazine as late as 1822. It was reprinted in Pearch’s Supplement to Dodsley’s Collection (1770) with two poems from the Nugae Antiquae (1769) edited by…Henry Harington the Younger. They are all in the same stanza, and were likely composed by the young Harington, or by his father” (Radcliffe, English Poetry 1579-1830: Spenser and the Tradition).

2 guerdon’d “To reward, recompense” (OED); Bathe The resort city of Bath, famous for its natural beauty and social scene.

3 Fedde “Fed” (OED).

4 Flora’s Magazine A reference to the natural world. “Flora” was the Roman Goddess of flowers and spring, and “magazine” is “a place where goods are kept in store; a storehouse for goods or merchandise; a warehouse or depot” (OED).

6 yclep’d “Called” (OED).

9 Circe “In Greek legend, a sorceress, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and of the ocean nymph Perse” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

10 Icarian “Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Icarus, fabled, in escaping from Crete, to have flown so high that the sun melted the wax with which his artificial wings were fastened on, so that he fell into the Aegean sea: hence, applied to ambitious or presumptuous acts which end in failure or ruin” (OED).

12 Danae’s shower “In Greek legend, the daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos. After an oracle warned her father that she would bear a son by whom he would be slain he confined Danae in a tower. Zeus visited her in the form of a shower of gold, and she gave birth to Perseus” (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia).

14 eft “A second time, again; back”(OED); Buxome “Blithe, gladsome, bright, lively” (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine (August, 1768) p. 392.

 Edited by Steve Weber

 

 

Phillis Wheatley, “On Virtue”

PHILLIS WHEATLEY

 “On Virtue”

 

O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound.                                                        5
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.
Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss.                                                       10

Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,
And lead celestial Chastity along;
Lo! Now her sacred retinue descends,
Array’d in glory from the orbs above.
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!                                                                 15
O leave me not to the false joys of time!
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
To give me an higher appellation still,
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay                                                                          20
O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day!

NOTES

7 Virtue “A quality of people, divine beings” (OED).

9 fain “Glad, rejoiced, well-pleased” (OED).

11 pinions “The wing of a bird in flight” (OED).

12 Chastity “Purity from unlawful sexual intercourse; continence” (OED).

18 Greatness “Innate nobility or dignity,…grandeur” (OED); Goodness “The quality of being morally good; virtue; worthiness” (OED).

21 Cherubs Angels.

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pg. 13-14. [Archive.org]

Edited by Joseph R. Adams