Tag Archives: nature

Mary Darwall, “To my Garden”

[MARY DARWALL]

“To my Garden”

Fair Abode of Rural Ease,
Scene of Beauty, and of Peace!
When with anxious Care opprest,
Charm, O! charm my Soul to rest!
In thy Walks I musing trace                                               5
Youthful Flora’s various Race;
In thy fragrant Shades reclin’d,
Soothe with Song my vacant Mind.
When the God of Verse and Day,
Lends the Western World his Ray;                                   10
While the Virgin Queen of Night,
Sheds around her Silver Light;
While Favonius breathes a Gale,
Sweet as o’er Sabea’s Vale;
Here retir’d, in artless Lays,                                              15
Nature’s Daughter sings her Praise.
While the blushing Rose-bud vies
With the fring’d Carnation’s Dyes;
While chaste Daphne’s Branches twine
With the balmy Eglantine;                                                 20
Beauty’s Pow’rs my Mind inspire,
Bolder now I strike the Lyre.
But the trembling Strings rebound,
“Sweet Philander!” Darling Sound!
Not the friendly Western Gales                                         25
Dancing o’er the verdant Vales,
Nor the Black-bird’s Evening Strains,
Soothe the Breast where Cupid reigns.
Flora’s Charms no more I view;
No more the Heav’n’s etherial Blue;                                  30
Unheeded Philomel complains;
In vain fair Cynthia gilds the Plains:
Beauty fades, and Pleasure’s flown—
My Mind contemplates him alone.

NOTES:

6  Flora  The Roman “goddess of the flowering of plants” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

9  God of Verse and Day  Apollo, god of the sun and poetry (Encyclopedia Britannica).

11  Virgin Queen of Night  Diana, Roman goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and later the moon after connections were made between her and the Greek goddess Artemis (Encyclopedia Britannica).

13  Favonius  Roman god of the west wind, also known as Zephyrus in the Greek tradition, who kissed a nymph named Chloris and turned her into Flora (Encyclopedia Britannica).

14  Sabea  Pre-Islamic Southwestern Arabia (Encyclopedia Britannica).

16  Nature’s Daughter  Persephone, queen of the underworld and daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of agriculture (Encyclopedia Britannica).

19  Daphne’s Branches A reference to a laurel tree; according to Greek mythology, Daphne asked her father to turn her into a laurel tree in order to escape Apollo’s advances (Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

20  Eglantine  Small, prickly wild rose with fragrant foliage and numerous small pink flowers (Encyclopedia Britannica).

28  Cupid  The Roman god of “love in all its varieties” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

30  etherial  Archaic spelling of “ethereal,” “heavenly, celestial” (OED).

31  Philomel  Also known as “Philomela;” here the mythological personification of the nightingale.

32  Cynthia  “A poetic name for the Moon personified as a goddess” (OED).

Source: Original Poems on Several Occasions.  By Miss Whateley (London 1764), pp. 98-99. [Google Books]

Edited by Jordie Palmer

James Beattie, “The Hermit”

JAMES BEATTIE

“The HERMIT”

At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still,
And mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
When nought but the torrent is heard on the hill,
And nought but the nightingale’s song in the grove:
’Twas then, by the cave of the mountain afar,                                               5
A Hermit his song of the night thus began;
No more with himself or with nature at war,
He thought as a Sage, while he felt as a Man.

“Ah, why thus abandon’d to darkness and woe,
Why thus, lonely Philomel, flows thy sad strain?                                            10
For Spring shall return, and a lover bestow,
And thy bosom no trace of misfortune retain.
Yet, if pity inspire thee, ah cease not thy lay!
Mourn, sweetest Complainer, Man calls thee to mourn:
O soothe him, whose pleasures like thine pass away—                               15
Full quickly they pass,—but they never return.

Now gliding remote, on the verge of the sky,
The Moon half extinguish’d her crescent displays:
But lately I mark’d, when majestie on high
She shone, and the planets were lost in her blaze.                                        20
Roll on, thou fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again.—
But Man’s faded glory no change shall renew.
Ah fool! to exult in a glory so vain!

‘Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more;                                              25
I mourn, but, ye woodlands, I mourn not for you;
For morn is approaching, your charms to restore,
Perfumed with fresh fragrance, and glittering with dew.
Nor yet for the ravage of winter I mourn;
Kind Nature the embryo blossom will save.—                                                 30
But when shall Spring visit the mouldering urn!
O when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!”

“‘Twas thus, by the glare of false Science betray’d,
That leads, to bewilder; and dazzles, to blind,
My thoughts wont to roam, from shade onward to shade,                           35
Destruction before me, and sorrow behind.’
“O pity, great Father of light,” then I cry’d,
“Thy creature who fain would not wander from Thee!
Lo, humbled in dust, I relinquish my pride:
From doubt and from darkness thou only canst free.”                                   40

‘And darkness and doubt are now flying away.
No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn.
So breaks on the traveller, faint, and astray,
The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn.
See Truth, Love and Mercy, in triumph descending,                                         45
And Nature all glowing in Eden’s first bloom!
On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
And Beauty Immortal awakes from the tomb.’

NOTES:

Title Hermit “A solitary; an anchoret; one who retires from society to contemplation and devotion” (Johnson).

8 Sage “A philosopher; a man of gravity and wisdom” (Johnson).

10 Philomel Also known as Philomela. Sister of Procne. She was raped by Procne’s husband Tereus. In his attempt to silence her Tereus cut out her tongue. She weaved the crime into a tapestry and sent it to her sister Procne who, as an act of revenge, killed her own son Itys and fed his remains to Tereus. Furious, Tereus chased the two women, but were turned into birds with Philomel becoming a nightingale (OCD).

31 mouldering “To decay; to rust; to crumble” (OED); urn “Earthenware or metal vessel used to preserve the ashes of the dead” (OED).

33 Science “Knowledge” (Johnson)

37 Father of light Referring to God “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (ESV Bible, James 1.17)

38 fain “Gladly, willingly, with pleasure” (OED).

42 conjecture “Guess; imperfect knowledge; preponderation of opinion without proof” (Johnson); forlorn “Deserted; destitute; forsaken; wretched; helpless; solitary” (Johnson).

44 effulgence “Lustre; brightness; clarity; splendor” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, 4th edition (London, 1780), pp. 77-78. [Google Books]

Edited by Noruel Manalili

William Dingley, “Upon a Bee Entomb’d in Amber”

[WILLIAM DINGLEY]

Upon a BEE Entomb’d in Amber.”

 

Behold this happy Insect’s Tomb,
Not sweet, but precious Honey-comb:
You’d think the Bee had brought it forth,
Alike in Colour, and in Worth.
Which to the view does represent,                                                     5
A Murderer, and Monument.
I thought ‘twas Niobe alone,
Whom Moisture harden’d into Stone:
But now the weeping Gem I see,
Transforms at once it self and Bee:                                                    10
Since to Beholders each does seem,
The Gem a Bee, the Bee a Gem.
The Pyramids in Egypt’s Land,
Astonishment from all command:
Yet, happy insect, happy thou,                                                             15
A lesser, but a better Show;
The Pyramids would envy me,
Should I be thus Entomb’d like thee.
Thou with Medusa may’st compare,
Whose Viperous enchanted Hair,                                                         20
Turn’d all Spectators into Stone,
Conquest and Trophy both in one;
But thou excellest her in this,
Thy self at once Medusa is,
Thy self the Metamorphosis.                                                                  25
Nature has chang’d her usual course,
But for the Better not the Worse;
While Jewels sprout from Poplar-Trees,
These bring forth Jewels, Jewels Bees.
Thus whilst the Bee through Amber shone,                                         30
With borrow’d Lustre, not her own,
The Sight so dazling did appear,
You’d think both Bees, both Jewels were.
The Golden Beast, like Bacchus Crown,
Translated to th’Ethereal Throne,                                                           35
Does, as it were, refin’d appear,
Transform’d from Gold into a Star:
Congeal’d it lies in sparkling Gem,
You’d swear ‘twas froze to Death in Flame.
Entangled there it self does shew,                                                         40
A Labyrinth, and Monster too.
What Freeman would not pay that Fee
Which Prisoners give for Liberty,
To share in this Captivity.
The little Debtor (she, you know,                                                   45
To Amber does this Yellow owe)
Thither as to her Prison came,
Her Debt and Prison both the same.
A worthy, honourable Cheat!
Whose very Fetters made her Great:                                                    50
For while she mute in Thraldome lies,
Her buzzing Fame much swifter flies.
Tho’ she confin’d, to us may seem,
Within the Limits of a Gem,
She’s in effect, by being thus,                                                                  55
Extended through the Universe:
And by her forc’d, yet willing stay,
Debar’d from Flying, flies away.
Whose Hive, not long since, Thatcht we saw,
Like Rome’s old Capitol, with Straw;                                                        60
She now in nobler Structure dwells,
Which Rome’s new Capitol excells.
Thou worthy Nurse of mighty Jove,
Supreme o’re all the Gods above;
Tell me, thou Insect, tell me why,                                                            65
When Harlots mounted to the Sky,
He did not thus thy Pains repay,
Deserving Heaven more than they?
But lo! I see thy proud Disdain
Has rendred Deifying vain.                                                                       70
So rich, so glorious they Attire,
A radiant, not a burning Fire;
That all those Lamps which grace the Sky,
Are seen Unenvy’d by thy Eye.
‘Twere Injury to fix thee there,                                                                 75
A brighter Constellation here.
Such is the dazling Garb she wears,
Such Honour from the Garb she bears,
That tho’ her Jove be cloath’d with Rays
Immortal, and immortal Praise;                                                               80
‘Tis doubtful which does most confer,
The Bee on Jove, or Jove on her:
While she her self does represent,
As if to give the God, she meant,
Honour, instead of Nutriment.                                                                 85
Proud Animal! ‘tis mere Self-love,
Which makes thee like Narcissus prove;
Who view’d, himself in Chrystal Streams,
And, as he view’d, thence gather’d Flames:
In liquid Gum you clearer shine,                                                               90
Others to Envy you incline,
Whilst you your self for Love repine.
True Looking-glass, wherein we view,
Not only Form, but Matter too.
The Eyes, which view this glorious Bee,                                                   95
Are held almost as fast as she:
For while they gaze, in one, they view
Artificer, and Image too.
‘Twas heedlessness this Artist taught,
Exact the Figure, yet not wrought;                                                             100
Whom like Sejanus here we see,
Too truly slain in Effigy.
Fair Phaethusa (Stories shew)
A Poplar-tree by Weeping grew;
Weeping (Oh! had it sooner came)                                                             105
Enough to quench her Brother’s Flame.
Hence first distill’d the precious Juice,
And Trees the Amber did produce;
From whence a three-fold Change we see,
From humane Shape sproughts up a Tree,                                               110
Thence came forth Gum, and thence a Bee.
A Bee, which thus you may divide,
Object of Pity, and of Pride:
It Sister does, and Brother seem,
It Weeps like her, it Shines like him;                                                           115
In both their Fates does Sympathize,
At once bewails the Dead, and Dies.
Virgin, too like the Crocodile!
Whose treach’rous Tears to Snares beguile,
Thy Weeping’s, by Experience known,                                                        120
More Envious now than Pitteous grown.
Thy Tears, which first made thee a Tree,
And now again transform the Bee,
Harden themselves, and that, like Thee.
See how from Good, ariseth Ill!                                                                    125
While they bewail the Slain, they Kill.
But why, against th’ industrious Bee,
Do Trees exert such Cruelty?
She little thinking e’re to yield,
Securely Plunder’d all the Field;                                                                    130
For which she now in Chains must stay,
Chains richer than her former Prey.
Flowers, too weak to captive Bees,
Assistance crave from neighbour Trees;
Till they that were opprest before,                                                              135
Retort the Dammage once they bore:
But Oh! tis thus, they add the more,
And, to deprive, increase the Store.
The cruel Nero, who (says Fame)
Rome doubly Dy’d in Blood and Flame,                                                       140
Erected no such noble Throne;
No, tho’ he built a Golden One,
As that wherein this Tyrant shone.
Most radiant, most illustrious Bee,
I’ll to the Phoenix liken thee,                                                                        145
In Death as rare, as bright as She;
Tho’ She to Phoebus owe his Night,
Extinguish’d by the Beams of Light;
Tho’ thou a distant Fate dost bear,
Drown’d in the Deluge of a Tear.                                                                150
Thy waxen Wings the Fate has fought,
Which those of Icarus once brought;
The cause whereby (as Stories tell)
So High he soar’d, so Deep he fell.
Yet thee much Happier I esteem,                                                              155
Not over-whelm’d, tho’ drown’d like him:
Thou more conspicuous dost appear
Than others above Water are,
Thy very Cov’ring makes thee clear.
Thou need’st not signalize thy Grave,                                                       160
With any specious Epitaph,
Thy Corps is so transparent seen
In Golden Characters within.
Thus Death, which never grants Reprieve,
Is here made Life’s Preservative.                                                               165
The dark Recesses of the Tomb,
Become a pleasant, lightsome Room.
Th’unnatural, but honest Grave,
From a Devourer, chang’d to save;
In Justice does its Debt repay,                                                                    170
And give the Life it takes away.
Thy Dipping Thetis has out-done,
Who strove to Eternize her Son;
Bathing him in the Stygian Lake,
That he might ne’re of Styx partake.                                                         175
Thou that effectually dost gain,
For which she Dipt, but dipt in vain.
The Bee with Hercules compare,
Her lustre may with Aeta’s share;
But not consume, not wasted be,                                                             180
And so gain Immortality.
Eternal Insect! who would grieve
To Dye like thee, like thee to Live?
Jove is a Mortal thought by some,
‘Cause ancient Creet can shew his Tomb;                                                185
Oh! were he Bury’d there like thee,
His Tomb would prove him Deity.

NOTES:

Title Amber “A yellowish translucent fossil resin. It is used for ornaments; burns with an agreeable odor; often entombs the bodies of insects” (OED).

7 Niobe In Greek mythology, her children were killed by Apollo and Artemis. She was so overwhelmed with grief that the gods turned her weeping form into a rock on Mount Sipylus (Encyclopædia Britannica).

11 Beholder “One who beholds, a watcher, looker on, spectator” (OED).

13 Pyramids in Egypt’s Land “Focal points of enormous funerary complexes constructed for the burials of Egyptian kings. In the classical tradition, pyramids have been constructed primarily as tombs, often in conscious emulation of Egyptian Precedent” (The Classical Tradition).

19 Medusa In Greek mythology, was changed by Athena to have snakes for hair and turn anyone who looked at her into stone (The Columbia Encyclopedia).

25 Metamorphosis “The action of process of changing in form, shape, or substance; transformation by supernatural means” (OED).

28 Jewels sprout from Poplar-Trees When Phaethon died, his sisters, the Heliades, wept and were turned into poplar trees and their tears into amber (Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

34 The Golden Beast The bee, but also an allusion to Midas, who was granted a wish from Bacchus to have everything he touches turn to gold (The Classical Tradition); Bacchus Also known as Dionysus in Greek mythology. The god of wine, mystic ecstasy, and the theater (The Classical Tradition).

35 Ethereal “Of or relating to heave, God, or the gods; heavenly, celestial” (OED).

41 Labyrinth, and Monster In Greek mythology, the monster is that of the Minotaur, composed of a man’s body and bull’s head, birthed from Pasiphae. The Labyrinth is the Cretan Labyrinth created by Daedalus to store the Minotaur in (Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

45 little Debtor The bee.

47 Thither “To or towards that place” (OED).

50 Fetters “A chain or shackle for the feet; a bond, shackle” (OED).

51 Thraldome “The state or condition of being a thrall; bondage, servitude; captivity” (OED).

59 Thatcht “Covered or roofed with thatch;” that is “straw, reeds, palm-leaves, etc., laid so as to protect from the weather” (OED).

62 new Capitol Possible reference to the reconstruction of the Capital building done by Michelangelo in the 16th century (The Columbia Encyclopedia).

63 Nurse In Greek mythology, Amaltheia was a she-goat who nursed an infant Zeus (Dictionary of Classical Mythology); Jove Another name for the supreme god of Roman mythology, Jupiter; also known as Zeus in Greek mythology. Determined course of human affairs and made known the future through signs in the heavens, flight of birds, and other means; lord of heaven and bringer of light (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable).

66 Harlots Likely a reference to Harpies; in Greek myth made of feathers, bronze, and flesh and had women’s faces, vulture’s bodies, and bronze talons (Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth).

87 Narcissus In Greek mythology, famously beautiful boy who fell in love with his own reflection in the water and thus died of his infatuation (The Classical Tradition).

92 repine “To feel or express discontent or dissatisfaction; to grumble, complain” (OED).

101 Sejanus Lucius Aelius Sejanus (20 BC-AD31), Roman soldier and statesman; according to Juvenal, after Sejanus’s fall from power and execution his statuary was destroyed (Satire 10).  Possibly also a reference to Senjanus His Fall (1603), a satirical tragedy by Ben Jonson. In the play, Sejanus is driven by extreme ambition and attempts to occupy the Roman throne, exploiting the emperor Tiberius, but is eventually torn to pieces by the Roman mob (The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English Literature).

102 slain in Effigy “A likeness, portrait, or image; to inflict upon an image the semblance of the punishment which the original is considered to have deserved” (OED).

103 Phaethusa In Greek mythology, one of Helio’s daughters born from his mistress Neaera (Dictionary of Classical Mythology). See note 28.

118 Crocodile The phrase “crocodile tears” is meant as false or hypocritical tears (A Dictionary of Literary Symbols). “Was said to weep, either to allure a man for the purpose of devouring him, or while devouring him” (OED).

139 Nero (37AD-86AD), Roman emperor who turned to debauchery, extravagance, and tyranny. During his reign, two-thirds of Rome was destroyed by fire (Chambers Biographical Dictionary).

142 Golden One Palace, also known as Domus Aurea, built by Nero after the fire. The palace was notoriously grand and novel (The Classical Tradition).

145 Phoenix “In classical mythology: a bird resembling an eagle but with sumptuous red and gold plumage, which was said to live for five or six hundred years before burning itself to ashes on a funeral pyre ignited by the sun and fanned by its own wings, only to rise from its ashes with renewed youth to live through another such cycle” (OED).

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

152 Icarus In Greek myth, was the son of Daedalus who invented wings made out of wax and feathers. Icarus flew with these wings towards the sun and the heat loosened the wax and caused him to fall and drown in the ocean (Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth).

161 specious “Fair or pleasing to the eye or sight; beautiful, handsome, lovely” (OED); Epitaph “An inscription upon a tomb; a brief composition characterizing a deceased person” (OED).

162 Corps Corpse.

172 Thetis Daughter of Nereus in Greek myth, was a beautiful sea-nymph who the Fates said would bear a son greater than his father (Bloomsbury Dictionary of Myth).

173 her Son The Greek hero, Achilles born from the sea-nymph Thetis and was half human from his father Peleus. Thetis tried to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx (Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

174 Stygian Lake “Pertaining to the river Styx” (OED).

175 Styx “A river of the lower world or Hades, over which the shades of the departed were ferried by Charon, and by which the gods swore their most solemn oaths” (OED).

180 Hercules “A celebrated hero of Greek and Roman mythology, who after death was ranked among the gods and received divine honors. He is represented as possessed of prodigious strength” (OED).

181 Aeta Archaic spelling of “Oeta” referring to Mt. Oeta in central Greece, the location of the funeral pyre for Heracles in Greek myth (also known as Hercules) (Dictionary of Classical Mythology).

185 Creet The Greek island, Crete.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions. Originals, and Translations ([London?], 1694), pp. 9-17. [Google Books]

Edited by Kasside Sahagun-Escalante

Elizabeth Carter, “Ode to Melancholy”

ELIZABETH CARTER

“Ode to Melancholy”

Alas Darkness my sole light, gloom
O fairer to me than any sunshine
Take me take me to dwell with you
Take me                           Sophocles.

 

Come Melancholy! silent Pow’r,
Companion of my lonely Hour,
To sober Thought confin’d:
Thou sweetly-sad ideal Guest,
In all thy soothing Charms confest,                                                                                 5
Indulge my pensive Mind.

No longer wildly hurried thro’
The Tides of Mirth, that ebb and flow,
In Folly’s noisy Stream:
I from the busy Croud retire,                                                                                            10
To court the Objects that inspire
Thy philosophic Dream.

Thro’ yon dark Grove of mournful Yews
With solitary Steps I muse,
By thy Direction led:                                                                                                   15
Here, cold to Pleasure’s tempting Forms,
Consociate with my Sister-worms,
And mingle with the Dead.

Ye Midnight Horrors! Awful Gloom!
Ye silent Regions of the Tomb,                                                                                          20
My future peaceful Bed:
Here shall my weary Eyes be clos’d,
And ev’ry Sorrow lie repos’d
In Death’s refreshing Shade.

Ye pale Inhabitants of Night,                                                                                              25
Before my intellectual Sight
In solemn Pomp ascend:
O tell how trifling now appears
The Train of idle Hopes and Fears
That varying Life attend.                                                                                              30

Ye faithless Idols of our Sense,
Here own how vain your fond Pretence,
Ye empty Names of Joy!
Your transient Forms like Shadows pass,
Frail Offspring of the magic Glass,                                                                                      35
Before the mental Eye.

The dazzling Colours, falsely bright,
Attract the gazing vulgar Sight
With superficial State:
Thro’ Reason’s clearer Optics view’d,                                                                                  40
How stript of all its Pomp, how rude
Appears the painted Cheat.

Can wild Ambition’s Tyrant Pow’r,
Or ill-got Wealth’s superfluous Store,
The Dread of Death controul?                                                                                      45
Can Pleasure’s more bewitching Charms
Avert, or sooth the dire Alarms
That shake the parting Soul?

Religion! Ere the Hand of Fate
Shall make Reflexion plead too late,                                                                                    50
My erring Senses teach,
Admist the flatt’ring Hopes of Youth,
To meditate the solemn Truth,
These awful Relics preach.

Thy penetrating Beams disperse                                                                                          55
The Mist of Error, whence our Fears
Derive their fatal Spring:
‘Tis thine the trembling Heart to warm,
And soften to an Angel Form
The pale terrific King.                                                                                                        60

When sunk by Guilt in sad Despair,
Repentance breathes her humble Pray’r,
And owns thy Threat’nings just:
Thy Voice the shudd’ring Suppliant chears,
With Mercy calms her tort’ring Fears,                                                                                    65
And lifts her from the Dust.

Sublim’d by thee, the Soul aspires
Beyond the Range of low Desires,
In nobler Views elate:
Unmov’d her destin’d Change surveys,                                                                                  70
And, arm’d by Faith, intrepid pays
The universal Debt.

In Death’s soft Slumber lull’d to Rest,
She sleeps, by smiling Visions blest,
That gently whisper Peace:                                                                                                75
‘Till the last Morn’s fair op’ning Ray
Unfolds the bright eternal Day
Of active Life and Bliss.

NOTES:

Epigraph These lines are from Sophocles’s play Ajax, ll. 394-97; translation mine.

3 sober “Serious; solemn; grave” (Johnson).

5 Charms “Enchantments” (OED).

8 Mirth “A diversion or entertainment” (OED).

9 Folly’s “Act of negligence or passion” (Johnson).

14 Yews “The tree of the dead. (…) The yew tree was sacred to Hecate, the Greek goddess associated with witchcraft, death, and necromancy; it was said to purify the dead as they entered Hades” (The Paris Review).

21 Bed “The grave” (OED).

27 Pomp “procession or sequence of things” (OED).

35 Glass Looking-glass.

41 Pomp “Splendor” (Johnson).

67 Sublim’d “To raise to an elevated sphere or exalted state” (OED).

72 universal Debt Original sin.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1776), pp. 79-83. [Google Books]

 Edited by Katarina Wagner

Martha Ferrar Peckard, “An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

[MARTHA FERRAR PECKARD]

“An Ode to Spring. By a Lady”

 Hail, genial goddess, bloomy spring!
Thy blest return, O! let me sing,
And aid my languid lays.
Let me not sink in sloth supine,
While all creation, at thy shrine                                          5
Its annual tribute pays.

Escap’d from Winter’s freezing pow’r,
Each blossom greets thee, and each flow’r,
While foremost of the train,
By nature (artless handmaid!) dreft,                                 10
The snow-drop comes in lilly’d vest,
Prophetic of thy reign.

The lark now strains his warbling throat,
And, with a loud and chearful note,
Calls Echo from her cell.                                                15
Be warn’d, ye fair, that listen round,
A beauteous nymph became a sound,
By having lov’d too well.

The bright-hair’d sun, with warmth divine,
Bids trees and shrubs before thy shrine                            20
Their infant buds display.
Again the streams refresh the plains,
Which winter bound in icy chains
And sparkling bless his ray!

Life- giving Zephyrs breathe around,                                   25
And insant glows th’ enamell’d ground.
With nature’s vary’d hues:
Not so returns our youth decay’d;
Alas! nor air, nor sun, nor shade,
The spring of life renews.                                             30

The sun’s too quick–revolving beam,
Dissolves at once the human dream,
And brings th’ appointed hour.
Too late we catch his parting ray,
And mourn the idly-wasted day                                          35
No longer in our power.

Then happiest he, whose lengthen’d sight,
Pursues by virtue’s steady light
A hope beyond the skies;
Where frowning winter ne’er shall come,                          40
But rosy spring for ever bloom,
And suns eternal rise!

NOTES:

Author  Attribution based on the poem’s appearance in Dodsley’s Collection of Poems by Several Hands in 1758 (5:332-4).  See Emily Lorraine de Montluzin, The Poetry of the Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1800): A Database of Titles, Authors, and First Lines.

 genial  “Literary (especially of air or climate), pleasantly mild, and warm” (OED).

languid lays  Weak verses.

supine  “Lying on one’s back, lying down” (OED).

11 snow-drop “A bulbous European plant which bears drooping white flowers during the late winter” (OED); lilly’d vest  Used here as an adjective, which means “purity and beauty” (OED).

13  lark  “A small ground-dwelling songbird with elongated hind claws and a song that is delivered on the wing, typically crested and with brown streaky plumage” (OED).

15  Echo  “Greek Mythology, a nymph deprived of speech by Hera in order to stop her chatter, and left able only to repeat what others had said. She also has a lovely sound” (OED).

 25  Zephyrs “Personification of the west wind” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 25 (1755), p. 37.

Edited by Nariman Ayesh

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