“Written from Dublin to a Lady in the Country”
A Wretch in smoaky Dublin pent,
Who rarely sees the Firmament,
You graciously invite, to view
The Sun’s enliv’ning Rays with you;
To change the Town for flow’ry Meads, 5
And sing beneath the sylvan Shades.
YOU’RE kind in vain —It will not be —
Retirement was deny’d to me;
Doom’d by inexorable Fate,
To pass thro’ crouded Scenes I hate. 10
O with what Joy could I survey
The rising, glorious source of Day!
Attend the Shepherd’s fleecy Care
Transported with the vernal Air;
Behold the Meadow’s painted Pride, 15
Or see the limped Waters glide;
Survey the distant, shaded Hills,
And, penfive, hear the murm’ring Rills,
THRO’ your Versailles with Pleasure rove,
Admire the Gardens, and the Grove; 20
See Nature’s bounteous Hand adorn
The blushing Peach, and the blooming Thorn;
Beheld the Birds distend their Throats,
And hear their wild, melodious Notes,
DELIGHTED, thro’ your Pastures roam, 25
Or see the Kine come lowing home;
Whose od’rous Breaths a Joy impart,
That sooths the Sense, and glads the Heart;
With pleasure view the frothing Pails
And silent hear the creaking Rails; 30
See whistling Hinds attend their Ploughs,
Who never hear of broken Vows;
Where no Ambition to be great,
E’er taught the Nymph, or Swain, Deceit.
THUS thro’ the Day, delighted run; 35
Then raptur’d view the setting Sun;
The rich, diffusive God behold,
On distant Mountains pouring Gold,
Gilding the beauteous, rising Spire,
While Crystal Windows glow with Fire; 40
Gaze, till he quit the Western Skies,
And long to see his Sister rise;
Prefer the silent, Silver moon
To the too radiant, noisy Noon.
OR Northward turn, with new Delight, 45
To mark what Triumphs wait the Night;
When Shepherds think the Heav’ns foreshow
Some dire Commotions here below;
When Light the human Form assumes,
And Champions meet with nodding Plumes, 50
With Silver Streamers, wide unfurl’d
And gleaming Spears amaze the World.
THENCE to the higher Heav’ns I soar,
And the great Architect adore ;
Behold what Worlds are hung in Air, 55
And view ten thousand Empires there;
Then prostate to Jehovah fall,
Who into Being spake them all.
1 pent “Another term for ‘pent-up’” (OED).
2 Firmament “The heavens or the sky” (OED).
6 Sylvan “Consisting of or associated with woods; wooded” (OED).
9 inexorable “Impossible to stop or prevent” (OED).
14 vernal “Of, in, or appropriate to spring” (OED).
19 Versailles A royal palace that began construction in 1661 and completed in 1715. It was the palace of the French monarch Louis XIV and it was a symbol of absolute monarchy.
26 Kine “Cows collectively” (OED).
31 Hinds Farm laborers.
34 Swain “A country youth” (OED).
51 unfurl’d “Make or become spread out from a rolled or folded state, especially in order to be open to the wind.” (OED)
57 Jehovah “A form of the Hebrew name of God used in some translations of the Bible” (OED).
Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 101-104.
Edited by Natasha Forsberg