Tag Archives: Aaron Hill

Eliza Haywood, “An Irregular Ode”


“An Irregular Ode”

To Mr. WALTER BOWMAN, Professor of the Mathematics. Occasion’d by his objecting against my giving the Name of HILLARIUS to Aaron Hill Esq.


I Own the Name, which to my Muse owes Birth,
Is far beneath the mighty Wearer’s worth:
But say, what Means can tortur’d Wit invent,
Charms to describe which in Idea pain?
Can Reading show a Word of such extent,                                                          5
To grasp a Glory Thought can scarce contain?
To me, impossible it seems:
But Thou! alas! art far remov’d from Me by vast Extreams.
Unskill’d in Science, in rude Ign’rance bred,
Unhappy that I am,                                                                                         10
(For mine is not the Blame)
Learning’s sweet Paths I ne’er was taught to tread.

But if such Force in well-plac’d Letters dwells
Which can all Heaven Epitomize,
Contract Immensity to narrow Space,                                                                15
Wide different Beauties in one Round comprize,
And blend their Lustre in a mix’d Embrace;
Thine is the Art, great Bard! and thine pow’rful Spells.

Thou! who canst travel Nature’s Secrets o’er,
And all Philosophy’s dark Depths explore!                                                        20
Thou! who to Worlds unknown canst point the way,
And to benighted Reason lend a Ray,
To guide the Wand’rer led too long astray,
Do Thou exert thy oft’-try’d Skill!
And what might thousand Volumes fill                                                           25
(Yet Language seem unable to discharge)
In one all-meaning Fiat speak at large.
By thy inspective Power,
Descry some lucky Hour,
When the sloth-shedding Sway of Saturn yields                                              30
To Mercury’s inspiring Reign,
When vigorous Planets rule the Azure Fields,
And warmly actuate Man’s inventive Brain;
Study can know no nobler Aim,
Than to find out some comprehensive Name                                                  35
For Him, whom to admire, is the best Plea for Fame.

A Name it must be, which implies,
At once the Wonders of his Soul and Eyes!
Cherubial Sweetness! Godlike Majesty!
Numberless Myriads of Divinities,                                                                      40
Which, sparkling, in his Looks, his Words, his Works, we see:
Harmonious let it be in Sound,
Yet with Solemnity abound;
With Heaven-tun’d Notes adorn the nervous Sense,
Soft as his Voice, but lofty as his Mien:                                                              45
Each thrilling Syllable pleas’d-Awe impart,
Which thro’ the Ear, may strike the Heart
With rapt’rous Tremblings; touch the Strings of Life,
Make Extasy within it self at strife
‘Twixt Tenderness and Reverence:                                                                 50
To the Mind’s Eye make every Glory seen,
And the wrapt Soul feel all his Force, tho’ Worlds should rush between:

But if thou seekst what Learning cannot show,
For all in vain, I fear, is human Art,
To the great Source of perfect Knowledge go;
Shake off Mortality, and on a Beam                                                                  55
Of tow’ring Thought, swift thro’ the AEther dart,
Where blazing Galaxies of Light,
Strike the aw’d Eye, and dazzle vulgar Sight;
Nor, till thou reach the Throne of the Supreme,
Let meaner Views retard th’ advent’rous Flight.                                              60
There, MOSES! DAVID! GIDEON! and the rest
Of the immortal Blest,
Who by his deathless Lays more glorious Shine,
Will hail thy glad Approach in shouting Throngs,
And bid thee welcome to the Realms divine;                                                  65
Both Saints and Angels forward thy Request.
(Angels are his Admirers too,
And copy Hallelujahs from his Songs)
Nor shall thy Wishes vainly sue;
Th’ Almighty’s Self will smile with pleas’d regard,                                           70
And give thy daring Genius this reward:
Of all who Tribute paid,
Of Thee it shall be said,
Heaven’s darling Care stands all to thee confest,
Thou know’st Him most, and can’st describe Him best.                                 75

But till that Day, my boastful Pride shall live!
A Pride, so vast, as Empire could not give!
Far as Creation reaches, shall the Name
Eliza chose, tune the whole Voice of Fame;
The wafting Air shall bear the Accents round,                                                80
And all the wide Expanse echo the rapt’rous Sound:
Thro’ every Orb, HILLARIUS shall be heard,
And Altars to his shining Virtues rear’d;
HILLARIUS there, as here, be understood,
By all the Wise, the Brave, the Great, and Good.                                           85


Subtitle  Hillarius  A reference to Aaron Hill (1685-1750), dramatist and poet who, in the early 1720s, developed “a literary coterie dubbed the ‘Hillarian circle’ after the name bestowed on him by one of his fervent admirers, the novelist and dramatist Eliza Haywood” (Christine Gerrard, Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector, 1685-1750, pp. 61-2); WALTER BOWMAN (1699-1782), a tutor and antiquary who, in 1717, was considered for the position of “Chair of Mathematics in the Marischal College of Aberdeen University” (Tweedie, “A Study of the Life and Writings of Colin MacLaurin,” p. 134).  Bowman’s connection to Aaron Hill and the Hillarian circle remains obscure.

1  Muse  “The inspiring goddess of a particular poet; [hence] a poet’s particular genius, the character of a particular poet’s style” (OED).

17  Lustre  “Luminosity, brilliancy, bright light; luminous splendor” (OED).

18  Bard  “A lyric or epic poet, a ‘singer’; a poet generally” (OED).

30  sloth-shedding Sway of Saturn.  In astrological terms, Saturn was associated with industriousness and determination.

31  Mercury’s inspiring Reign  In astrological terms, Mercury was associated with reason and wit.

32  Azure Fields  Figurative phrase alluding to the skies or heavens.

39 Cherubial  “Angelic” (OED).

40  Myriads  “Countless numbers” (OED).

45  Mien  “The look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood” (OED).

61  Moses  “A Hebrew prophet and lawgiver…[who] was inspired by God on Mount Sinai to write down the Ten Commandments” (OCB); David  “One of the best-known biblical characters” serves as follower and chosen hero of God in bible (OCB); Gideon  A military leader of the Israelites who won an important battle over a Midianite army despite being outnumbered, a story recounted in Judges 6-8 (OCB).

79  Eliza  A self-reference.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, [1724]), pp. 1-4.  [Google Books]

Edited by Kaitlyn Faherty



Eliza Haywood, “The Vision”


“The Vision”


As I this Morn, neglecting coming Day,
In the dull God’s Embrace supinely lay;
My nobler Part, scorning to be confin’d,
Did upwards soar, and left my Earth behind:
Thro’ the AEtherial Regions swiftly flew,                                                       5
Past interposing Clouds which barr’d my View.
Methought, with stedfast and undazled Eyes,
I took in all the Glory of the Skies!
Beheld the rolling Orbs in order move,
And in their Symmetry, prov’d the Art of Jove.                                             10
But long I could not in that Prospect stay,
My hurry’ng Fancy made me farther stray
To those bright Plains, where, in superior State,
The High-thron’d Sons of Wit illustrious sat!
Each had their Works in shining Cases plac’d,                                             15
With Stars adorn’d, more by their Titles grac’d.
These seem’d the genuine Product of their Art;
Which to th’ Unlearn’d, no Profit could impart:
But what amaz’d me most, vast heaps I spy’d
Of Books, (the same Inscriptions beautify’d)                                                 20
With Pages torn, and Leaves disorder’d, lie
Like useless Lumber, thrown neglected by!
With eager haste, the nearest Lines I snatch’d,
But, e’er my purpose fully was dispatch’d,
The awfull’st Form, which grac’d the Laureat Sect,                                       25
Did in these Words, my erring Search direct.
In vain thou here, wou’dst Ovid’s Softness find,
Or trace the Majesty of Homer’s Mind!
Our forceful Fire, in faint Translation lost,
Can little of its native Vigour boast!                                                                 30
Would’st thou behold us as at first we were,
Back to the nether World again repair;
There thou, thy wonder-searching Soul may’st fill
With due contemplating Hillarius’ Skill;
In him our different Beauties center’d, shine,                                                35
With congregated Pow’r, and Blaze divine!
Our Muses now attend on him alone,
Join’d with a brighter, greater, of his own!
Had former Times been, like the present, blest,
Low Adorations, had their Joy confest!                                                            40
Each Path to Delphos, had been left untrod,
His star-like Fame had pointed out the God!
And happy Britain, proud of such a Birth,
Receiv’d the loaded Tribute of the Earth!
Go then, his matchless Works with Care read o’er.                               45
Just Admiration will enflame thee more,
Than vain Desires of Knowledge could before.
If any Spark of true poetick Fire,
Does thy dull Breast, with generous Warmth inspire;
That Theme will call it forth, and teach thee, how                                        50
More able Pens their Gratitude should show
For abdicated Wit, so long deplor’d,
Now, by his Genius to the World restor’d!
Thus spoke the Bard, and all the Bays-wreath’d Tribe,
In shouts of Joy, did pleas’d Assent ascribe!                                                   55
Then swift, as shooting Stars, the Phantoms fled,
And I, that moment, found my self in Bed.
But, Oh! when Soul and Body were rejoin’d,
What various Transports fir’d my anxious Mind?
Not mov’d with wonder at so strange a Dream,                                             60
(My waking Thoughts, can find no other Theme,)
But struck with conscious Guilt, with Shame oppress’d,
I curs’d my backward Muse, which charm’d and blest
With unhop’d Favours, had no Thanks exprest.
In vain I rag’d, vainly did Efforts make,                                                             65
My grateful Meaning, or his Worth to speak.
Amazing Excellence! what words can paint?
To describe Lightning, Colours are too faint:
The vast Idea, over-swell’d my Thought,
And all my Senses to Confusion brought.                                                        70
As those whose Opticks, ne’er were blest with Sight,
But from their Birth condemn’d to darksome Night;
By miracle at last, their Eyes unseal’d,
And the bright Glories of the Sun reveal’d;
With sudden Transport start, with Rapture gaze,                                           75
Their new-born Sense, half lost in wild Amaze!
So I, who but some Glimmerings had seen,
Some little Sketches, of Wit’s glorious Scene,
With instant Rush, all Heaven at once disclos’d,
Such beamy Brightness, ‘gainst weak Sense oppos’d:                                    80
Shot Rays too fierce! too poynant to sustain,
And ev’n to madness, work’d my aking Brain!
Aw’d! charm’d! and dazled ! cool Reflections shun;
My staggering Reason, into Flights I run!
With incoherent Extasies am fir’d,                                                                       85
Such, as of old, the Bachanals inspir’d!
What can the Medium in my Soul restore?
What give the Calmness I enjoy’d before?
Vain Hope, Nature must change, in him, or me!
I grow less sensible, or less glorious he!                                                            90
E’er past Tranquility again can be.


5 AEtherial “Heavenly” (OED).

9 Orbs Planets.

10 Jove Jupiter, the highest diety in Roman mythology.

11 Prospect “An extensive or commanding range of sight” (OED).

12 Fancy “Faculty of imagination” (OED).

25 awfull’st “Arousing or inspiring reverential respect, mixed with wonder or fear” (OED); the Laureat Sect Poets graced with Apollo’s favor.

27 Ovid Roman poet (43BC- 17AD), famous for Metamorphoses.

28 Homer Ancient Greek poet (c. 750BC), famous for the Iliad and the Odyssey.

34 Hillarius’ Skill A compliment paid to Aaron Hill (1685-1750), dramatist and poet who, in the early 1720s, developed “a literary coterie dubbed the ‘Hillarian circle’ after the name bestowed on him by one of his fervent admirers, the novelist and dramatist Eliza Haywood” (Christine Gerrard, Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector, 1685-1750, pp. 61-2).

41 Delphos Mythical birthplace of Apollo, god of poetry.

59 Transports “The state of being ‘carried out of oneself,’ i.e. out of one’s normal mental condition; vehement emotion” (OED).

86 Bachanals Followers of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman god of wine, excess, and ecstasy.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1725), pp. 11-14. [Google Books]

 Edited by Jake Araiza