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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

Mary Leapor, “A Summer’s Wish”

MARY LEAPOR

“A Summer’s Wish”

 

My Guardian, bear me on thy downy Wing
To some cool Shade where infant Flow’rs spring;
Where on the Trees sweet Hony-suckles blow,
And ruddy Daisies paint the Ground below :
Where the shrill Linnet charms the solemn Shade,                                         5
And Zephyrs pant along the cooler Glade,
Or shake the Bull-rush by a River Side,
While the gay Sun-beams sparkle on the Tide:
O for some Grot whose rustick Sides declare,
Ease, and not Splendor, was the Builder’s Care;                                               10
Where Roses spread their unaffected Charms,
And the curl’d Vine extends their clasping Arms;
Where happy Silence lulls the quiet Soul,
And makes it calm as Summer Waters roll.
Here let me learn to check each growing Ill,                                                       15
And bring to Reason disobedient Will;
To watch this incoherent Breast, and find
What fav’rite Passions rule the giddy Mind.

Here no Reproaches grate the wounded Ear;
We see delighted, and transported hear,                                                            20
While the glad Warblers wanton round the Trees,
And the still Waters catch the dying Breeze,
Grief waits without, and melancholy Gloom:
Come, cheerful Hope, and fill the vacant Room;
Come ev’ry Thought, which Virtue gave to please;                                            25
Come smiling Health with thy Companion Ease:
Let these, and all that Virtue’s self attends,
Bless the still Hours of my gentle Friends:
Peace to my Foes, if any such there be,
And gracious Heav’n give Repose to me.                                                             30

NOTES:

1 downy “Covered in fine, soft hair or feathers” (OED).

5 Linnet “A common and well-known song-bird” (OED).

6 Zephyrs Gentle breezes.

7 Bull-rush “A tall reed-like water plant with strap-like leaves and a dark brown velvety cylindrical head of numerous tiny flowers” (OED).

30 Repose “Give rest to” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1748), p. 21. [Google Books]

Edited by Krishna Manne

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

 

 

Mary Leapor, “The Beauties of the Spring”

MARY LEAPOR

“The Beauties of the Spring”

 

Hail happy Shades, and hail thou cheerful Plain,
Where Peace and Pleasure unmolested reign;
And the cool Rivers murmur as they flow:
See yellow Crowfoots deck the gaudy Hills,                          5
While the faint Primrose loves the purling Rills:
Sagacious Bees their Labours now renew,
Hum round the Blossoms, and extract their Dew:
In their Liv’ries the green Woods appear,
And smiling Nature decks the Infant Year;                             10
See yon proud Elm that shines in borrow’d Charms,
While the curl’d Woodbines deck her aged Arms.

When the streak’d East receives a lighter Gray,
And Larks prepare to meet the early Day;
Through the glad bowers the shrill Anthems run,                   15
While the Groves glitter to the rising Sun:
Then Phillis hastens to her darling Cow,
Whose shining Tresses wanton on her Brow,
While to her Cheek enliv’ning Colours fly,
And Health and Pleasure sparkle in her Eye.                          20
Unspoil’d by Riches, nor with Knowledge vain,
Contented Cymon whistles o’er the Plain;
His Flock dismisses from the nightly Fold,
Observes their Health, and fees their Number told.
Pleas’d with its Being, see the nimble Fawn                           25
Sports in the Grove, or wantons o’er the Lawn,
While the pleas’d Coursers frolick out the Day,
And the dull Ox affects unwieldy Play.

Then haste, my Friend, to yonder Sylvan Bowers,
Where Peace and Silence crown the blissful Hours;               30
In those still Groves no martial Clamours sound;
No streaming Purple stains the guiltless Ground;
But fairer Scenes our ravish’d Eyes employ,
Give a soft Pleasure, and quiet Joy;
Grief flies from hence, and wasting Cares subside,                35
While wing’d with Mirth the laughing Minutes glide.
See, my fair Friend, the painted Shrubs are gay,
And round thy Head ambrosial Odours play;
At Sight of thee the swelling Buds expand,
And op’ning Roses seem to court thy Hand;                          40
Hark, the shrill Linnet charms the distant Plain,
And Philomel replies with softer Strain;
See those bright Lilies shine with milky Hue,
And those Fair Cowslips drop with balmy Dew;
To thee, my fair, the cheerful Linnet sings,                             45
And Philomela warbles o’er the Springs;
For thee those Lilies paint the fertile Ground,
And those fair Cowslips are with Nectar crown’d;
Here let us rest to shun the scorching Ray,
While curling Zephyrs in the Branches play.                           50
In these calm Shades no ghastly Woe appears,
No Cries of Wretches stun our frighted Ears;
Here no gloss’d Hate, no sainted Wolves are seen,
Nor busy Faces throng the peaceful Green;
But Fear and Sorrow leave the careful Breast,                        55
And the glad Soul sinks happily to Rest.

NOTES:

5  Crowfoot  “A name for various species of Ranunculus or Buttercup” (OED).

6  Primrose  “An early flowering European primula” (OED).

11  yon  “A demonstrative word used in concord with a noun to indicate a person or thing” (OED).

12  Woodbines  Name for a climbing plant.

14  Larks  “A name generally used for any bird in the family of alaudidae” (OED).

18  Tresses  Braids on a woman.

22  Cymon  A swain, or young man.

 25  nimble  Quick.

27 Coursers  Horses.

29  Sylvan  “Consisting of or formed by woods or trees” (OED).

32 Purple A reference to blood.

42  Philomel  “A poetic/literary name for the nightingale” (OED).

50  Zephyrs  God of the west wind.

Source: Poems Upon Several Occasions (London, 1748), p. 15. [Google Books]

 Edited by Samantha Yankiling

Mary Barber, “Written from Dublin to a Lady in the Country”

[MARY BARBER]

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.

NOTES:

 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

Anonymous, “The Snail’s Apologist. An Heroi-Comic Ode from the French”

ANONYMOUS

The SNAIL’s APOLOGIST. An Heroi-Comic ODE from the French.”

What seas of blood! what heaps of dead!
What horrid scenes around are spread!
Murder and carnage rush to light,
Tumultuous from the realms of night;
One wide destruction covers all,                                                              5
The virtuous with the vicious fall;
Amidst a throng of guilty ghosts
That crowd the Styx on Pluto’s coasts,
I see (or do my senses fail?)
Untimely slain, the gentle snail.                                                              10
Say whence thy claim, presumptuous man!
To bound their life’s contracted span?
Have they from thee receiv’d their breath?
Hast thou a right to give them death?
I know what vain pretence is made,                                                       15
Thou sayst that rapine is their trade.
What rapine—? is not yonder tree
Their country? falsely claim’d by thee!
What if the foliage fade and fall,
Their own, that fragrant foliage all.                                                        20
Born where yon peach nutrition draws,
The snail is ign’rant of thy laws;
Kind nature’s voice the peach bestows,
Kind nature’s voice alone he knows.
Contented with his humble lot,                                                              25
He plunders none, he riots not;
Cease then an hasty fate to give,
And since he only eats to live,
Indulge him in the green retreat,
And let, ah! let him live to eat.                                                               30
With martial ardour dost thou glow?
Up, seek and charge an equal foe;
Against the gnat the war declare,
And hunt him thro’ the fields of air;
Let hostile wasps provoke thy rage,                                                     35
And, foe to sloth, the drone engage;
The gorgeous moth, the dragon’s dread,
Destroy them, and bestride the dead;
Strike home, nor let thy vengeance fail,
’Tis due to these, but spare the snail.                                                  40
Alcides thus, in days of yore,
Bade monsters vex the world no more;
And by thy valour’s equal deed,
Be later times from monsters freed;
Thro’ dangers press, pursue the fight,                                                 45
The threaten’d wound, inflicted, slight.
As fairest flow’rs of sharpest thorn,
Of baffled danger, glory’s born,
Hence demi-gods and heroes claim
Proud statues in the shrine of Fame.                                                   50

NOTES:

8 Styx on Pluto’s coasts Pluto is another name for Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld. “Pluto’s coasts” refers here to the banks of the river Styx, the river of the Underworld (Oxford Reference).

16 rapine “The act or practice of seizing and taking away by force the property of others; plunder, pillage, robbery” (OED).

36 drone “The male of the honey-bee. It is a non-worker, its function being to impregnante the queen-bee” (OED).

37 dragon’s “A fly so called” [Author’s note].

41 Alcides thus…no more An alternative name for Heracles, a divine hero from Greek mythology known for battling against monsters of the Underworld.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 18 (August 1748), p. 375.

Edited by Daniel Bresnahan

“Posthumus,” “The Partridges: an elegy”

“Posthumus”

 “The Partridges: an elegy. Written on the 31st of August, 1788”

 Ill-Fated birds, for whom I raise the strain,
To tell my lively sorrow for your fates;
Ye little know, ere morn shall gild the plain,
What drear destruction all your race awaits.

While innocently basking in the ray,                                                          5
That throws the lengthen’d shadows o’er the lawn,
Unconscious you behold the parting day,
Nor feel a fear to meet the morrow’s dawn.

Could man like you thus wait the ills of life,
Nor e’er anticipate misfortune’s blow,                                              10
He’d shun a complicated load of strife,
Greater than real evils can bestow.

Ev’n now the sportsman, anxious for his fame,
Prepares the tube so fatal to your race;
He pants already for the glorious game,                                                  15
And checks the lingering hours’ tardy pace.

Raptur’d he’ll hie him, at the dawn of day,
With treacherous caution tread your haunts around,
Exulting rout his poor defenceless prey,
Then bring the fluttering victims to the ground.                             20

Yes! while he gives the meditated blow,
And sees around the struggling covey bleed,
His iron heart a barbarous joy shall know,
And plume itself upon the bloody deed.

For shame! Can men who boast a polish’d mind,                                  25
And feelings too, these savage pastimes court?
In such inhuman acts a pleasure find,
And call the cruel desolation—sport?

Thousands that graze the fields must daily bleed,
Necessity compels—for man they die                                             30
But no excuse necessity can plead,
To kill those harmless tenants of the sky.

By heaven privileg’d they build the nest,
They take the common bounty nature yields,
No property with vicious force molest,                                                   35
But pick the refuse of the open fields.

Then why, if God this privilege has given,
Should we pervert great nature’s bounteous plan?
For happiness is sure the end of heaven,
As well to bird and insect as to man.                                               40

Like us they move within their narrow sphere,
Each various passion of the mind confess;
And joy and sorrow, love and hope and fear,
Alternate pain them, and alternate bless.

Yes! they can pine in grief—with rapture glow                                       45
Their little hearts, to every feeling true:
Like us conceive affection, and the blow
That kills the offspring, wounds the mother too.

Then bid your breasts for nobler pastimes burn!
Let not such cruelty your actions stain!                                           50
Humanity should teach mankind to spurn
The pleasures purchas’d by another’s pain.

 NOTES:

 Author   “POSTHUMUS” appears at the conclusion of the poem followed by “Canterbury.” “POSTHUMUS” is most likely the author’s pseudonym, while “Canterbury” is most likely where the author had lived.

 1   raise the strain Here the phrase means something like “write this poem.” Possibly also an allusion to the hymn “Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” by St. John Damascus.

 17 hie “To cause to hasten; to hasten, urge on, bring quickly” (OED).

 19 rout “Of a person: to cry out; to roar, bellow, to shout” (OED).

22 covey “A brood or hatch of partridges; a family of partridges keeping together during the first season” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 63 (February 1788), p. 824.

 Edited by Amanda Boyer

Anonymous, “Ode on the month of May, after the manner of Hagedorn”

ANONYMOUS

“ODE on the month of MAY, after the manner of HAGEDORN, Book III. p. 146”

“Der nachtigall reitzende lieder”

 THY notes, sweet bird, resounding thro’ the grove,
Proclaim the joyful hours of spring and love.
The lark ascending hails the new-born day,
The feather’d choir now join in vocal lay,
To celebrate great Nature’s holiday;                                                                         5
The swan majestic, with her downy throng,
Now seek the clear translucent wave that flows the woods among.

In pleasant green the earth, with flowers attri’d
Calls forth the nymphs and swains by love inspir’d;
To share the pleasures bounteous Nature yields,                                                  10
The merry sparrow ranges thro’ the fields;
In gentle strains the soft lamenting dove
Bemoans the absence of his wedded love.
From forth his orient bed, in splendour bright,
The God of Day pursues the shades of night;                                                         15
Driving far off each noxious influence:
Prolific beam! thy genial powers dispense,
That every flower, enliven’d by thy ray,
May spread their glories to the face of day.

Mild Zephyr, long estrang’d from Flora’s bed,                                                         20
Impatient seeks the variegated maid,
And wooes her mid enamell’d shades and bowers,
Fost’ring their offspring bright of new-born flowers;
Their odours shed a grateful scent around,
Nor e’er did jealousy their loves confound.                                                             25

Winter’s cold haggard form now disappears,
In foliage green each tree new livery wears,
And every flower awaken’d rears its head;
The gaudy may-bush, flutt’ring in the shade,
Boasts that this month for her alone was made.                                                   30
From rocks stupendous living water flow,
Refreshing thirsty glades, and fields, and woods below.
To thee, fair month, I consecrate the verse,
Pleas’d while thy bounteous gift I thus rehearse;
And ye, thrice happy swains, who now enjoy                                                         35
These temperate blessings with no mix’d alloy,
In you the simple and serene we own,
And learn to fly the vices of the Town!

NOTES:

 Title The subtitle alludes to Friedrich Von Hagedorn (1708-1754), a famous German poet. This poem is modeled after his poem titled “Der Mai” found in the book Oden und Lieder, 3 vol. (1742–52; “Odes and Songs”). This poem begins with the line “Der nachtigall reitzende lieder” which translates as “the nightingale singing softly” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

5 Nature’s holiday Springtime.

15 God of Day The sun.

9 Nymphs “Any of a class of semi-divine spirits, imagined as taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc., and often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a particular god” (OED).

20 Zephyr, long estrang’d from Flora’s bed Zephyr is a Greek god of the west wind who is married to Flora. She is a nymph to spring time and flowers. He is the messenger of spring.

29 may-bush “The hawthorn tree, Crataegus monogyna; a branch of this. Also: a construction of hawthorn branches” (OED).

33 consecrate “Dedicated to a sacred purpose; made sacred; hallowed, sanctified” (OED).

36 alloy  “To qualify or diminish (a pleasure, feeling, etc.) by the admixture of something unpleasant; to contaminate or adulterate” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (May, 1786), p. 428.

 Edited by Lauren Page