Tag Archives: iambic pentameter

Frances Maria Cowper, “Love of Solitude”


“Love of Solitude”
Vanity of Worldly Pleasure


While others, lost in pleasure’s guilty round,
Blast the glad season of their fleeting youth,
Let me in solitary joys abound,
Fond of the paths of piety and truth:
Give me in Wisdom’s volume to descry                                              5
The mysteries of love and grace divine,
By Scripture taught, with penetrating eye
To scan the world aright, and to resign.

Deluded world! infatuated throng!
To spurn the treasure that no force destroys,                          10
Nor see the baneful weed that lurks among
The fairest bloom of your embitter’d joys.
Amid the clamours of the loudest mirth,
Thoughts in unwelcome guise will oft have part,
Will promp the wish, th’ involuntary sigh,                                          15
“And rouse reflection in the gayest heart.”

Bear me, ye guardians of the mind sincere,
To scenes sequester’d from the haunts of men;
The pensive soul with ev’ry grace prepare,
Sacred to Virtue and her blissful train:                                        20
With these conversing, and by these renew’d,
Ne’er shall I feel ambition’s lawless sway,
But in the paths my earliest steps pursu’d,
In search of Wisdom’s pleasures safely stray.

Come, holy Wisdom, fav’rite gift of God!                                             25
With thine attendant grace, Humility;
Descend, bright visitant! and make abode
Where museful Melancholy waits for thee.
Ah, what avails fair India’s shining store,
The purple treasures of the gorgeous East?                                30
What joy, to quit the charms of regal power,
To dwell with thee, thou soul-enlight’ning guest!

Not the attractive voice of worldly fame,
Nor syren sound of dullest flattery,
Could tempt my heart thy labours to disclaim,                                   35
Or slight the blessings that belong to thee.
How has my soul in secret wish preffer’d
The lonely walk and solitary shade,
The painted vanities of life abhorr’d,
And all the pageantry that pomp display’d!                                 40

Joyless the gilded equipage I view’d,
The dull variety of senseless show;
The world’s gay path without delight pursu’d,
Nor felt the transports that from grandeur flow.
Slave to the wretched world’s imposing forms,                                  45
See Sacharissa deck’d in gold brocade;
She owns that grandeur has no real charms,
And sighs for virtue in the sylvan shade.


28 museful ​”Absorbed in thought; thoughtful, pensive” (OED).

30purple “Characterized by richness or abundance; splendid, glorious” (OED).

34syren A​ Greek mythology creature that lured sailors to their deaths with its enchanting song.

46Sacharissa P​ossibly a reference to Lady Dorothy Sidney (1617-1684), the beloved “Sacharissa” of many love lyrics by Edmund Waller (1606-1687). In one portrait by Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), she appears as a finely dressed shepherdess.

Source: Original Poems, on Various Occasions. By a Lady (London 1792), pp.11-13.  [Google Books]

Edited by Grazzia Menendez

Thomas Tickell, “To the Earl of Warwick, on the Death of Mr. Addison”


“To the Earl of Warwick, on the Death of Mr. Addison”


IF, dumb too long, the drooping muse hath stay’d,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires!                                               5
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Can I forget the dismal night that gave
My soul’s best part for ever to the grave!                                       10
How silent did his old companions tread,
By mid-night lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Thro’ breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Thro’ rows of warriors, and thro’ walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;                                 15
The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
The duties by the lawn-rob’d prelate paid;
And the last words, that dust to dust convey’d!
While speechless o’er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend,                            20
Oh gone for ever, take this long adieu;
And sleep in peace, next thy lov’d Montagu.
To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,                               25
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e’er from me thy lov’d memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untun’d my tongue,                                  30
My grief be doubled from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastis’d by thee.
Oft let me range the gloomy isles alone
Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown,
Along the walls where spreading marbles show                           35
What worthies form the hallow’d mould below;
Proud names, who once the reigns of empire held;
In arms who triumph’d; or in arts excell’d;
Chiefs, grac’d with scars, and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;                              40
Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints who taught, and led, the way to heav’n;
Ne’er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
Nor e’er was to the bow’rs of bliss convey’d                                   45
A fairer spirit or more welcome shade,
In what new region, to the just assign’d,
What new employments please th’ unbody’d mind;
A winged virtue, through the ethereal sky
From world to world unweary’d does he fly?                                  50
Or curious trace the long laborious maze
Of heaven’s decrees, where wond’ring angels gaze?
Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell
How Michael battl’d, and the dragon fell;
Or mixt with milder cherubim, to glow                                             55
In hymns of love, not ill essay’d below?
Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
A task well suited to thy gentle mind?
Oh ! if sometimes thy spotless form descend;
To me, thy aid, thou guardian genius, lend!                                      60
When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisp’rings purer thoughts impart,
And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,                                 65
Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
That awful form, which, so ye heav’ns decree,
Must still be lov’d and still deplor’d by me;
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or rous’d by fancy, meets my waking eyes.                                        70
If business calls, or crowded courts invite;
Th’ unblemish’d statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to sooth my care;
I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove;                                                   75
His shape o’ertakes me in the lonely grove:
’Twas there of just and good he reason’d strong,
Clear’d some great truth, or rais’d some serious song:
There patient show’d us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;                                                  80
There taught us how to live; and, oh ! too high
The price for knowledge, taught us how to die.
Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Rear’d by bold chiefs of Warwick’s noble race.
Why, once so lov’d, when e’er thy bow’r appears,                              85
O’er my dim eye-balls glance the sudden tears!
How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks, and unpolluted air!
How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
Thy noon tide shadow, and thy ev’ning breeze!                                  90
His image thy forsaken bow’rs restore;
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
No more the summer in thy glooms allay’d,
Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-day shade.
From other ills, however fortune frown’d;                                    95
Some refuge in the muse’s art I found;
Reluctant now I toucht the trembling string
Bereft of him, who taught me how to sing;
And these sad accents, murmur’d o’er his urn,
Betray that absence, they attempt to mourn.                                    100
Oh! must I then, now fresh my bosom bleeds
And Craggs in death to Addison succeeds,
The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong;
And weep a second in th’ unfinish’d song!
These works divine, which on his death-bed laid                        105
To thee, O Craggs, th’ expiring sage convey’d,
Great, but ill omen’d monument of fame,
Nor he surviv’d to give, nor thou to claim.
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon ! thy coffin lies.                                          110
Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues: each others boast! farewel,
Farewel! whom join’d in fame in friendship try’d,
No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.


Title The Earl of Warwick Edward Rich, 7th Earl of Warwick (1698-1721), was a British aristocrat and the stepson of Joseph Addison. His early death makes him a relatively unknown historical figure. Warwick and Addison seem to have been estranged for some years preceding Addison’s death, at which point they reunited; Addison Joseph Addison (1672-1719), a leading periodical essayist, dramatist, and poet.

1 dumb Lacking the faculty of speech (OED).

15 knell “The sound made by a bell when struck or rung, esp. when rung slowly and solemnly (as) for a death or at a funeral” (OED).

16 peal “A stroke on or ringing of a bell as a call or summons, esp. to prayer or church” (OED).

17 lawn-rob’d prelate Lawn is an Italian fabric from which the sleeves of a bishop or archbishop’s robe were made (OED).

22 Montagu Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu (1638-1709), was an English noble and evidently a friend of Addison’s who had died a decade earlier.

30 lyre A plucked stringed musical instrument (OED).

32 mirth “Merriment, hilarity, laughter” (OED). 

35 marbles Presumably marble statues of statesmen. 

39 prodigal Extravagant.

45 bower “A dwelling, a habitation; esp. an ideal abode. Now chiefly poetic” (OED).

54 Michael battl’d, and the dragon fell An allusion to Revelation 12:7-8: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,/And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven”; battl’d Emended from “battel’d” in the copy text (printer’s error).

55 Cherubim Plural of cherub, a kind of angel.

70 fancy Creative imagination (OED).

74 Cato Addison wrote Cato, A Tragedy in 1712. It takes its name from Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95-46 BC), an ancient Roman orator, stoic philosopher, and senator known as Cato the Younger who committed suicide as his enemy, Julius Caesar, overthrew the Roman Republic. The play is a sober work on the value of individual liberty and republicanism.

80 censor A person who exercises supervision or judgement over the conduct or morals of others (OED).

98 Bereft Lacking.

102 Craggs James Craggs the Younger (1686-1721), an English statesman who died a few months before Addison.

SOURCE: The Works of the most celebrated Minor Poets. Volume the Second. Containing the Works of George Stepney, Esq; William Walsh, Esq; Thomas Tickell, Esq. (London, 1749), pp. 237-240. [ECCO]

Edited by John Lisovsky

George Campbell, “Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”


“Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”


Low sunk the sun, departing from the day,
His latest beams had ting’d the western clouds,
Ev’ning advanced, clad in sober grey,
And Night fast follow’d with her dusky shrouds.

Tir’d with its hurry and its bustling noise,                                                         5
I left the town, and, wand’ring thro’ the fields,
I taste the silent Ev’ning’s sober joys,
And all the pleasures which retirement yields.

The mournful Echoes rais’d their loudest voice,
And answer’d plaintive to the lover’s sigh:                                                10
Prophet of ills, the Owl, with horrid noise,
Scream’d at a distance in the gloomy sky.

The post-horn, sounding, echoes thro’ the air
At intervals I hear the horse’s tread:
His near approach, the growing sounds declare;                                             15
Far off I see him thro’ the dubious shade.

The rising Moon shot forth a glimm’ring ray,
And gave the nightly rider to the view;
Pensive and sad he pass’d along the way,
And all his horn was hung with sable hue.                                                 20

Stop! stop! I cri’d, and tell thy cause of wo,
Thou ne’er wast wont to shed the briny tear!
What now can make the copious torrents flow!
What sad, what mournful tidings dost thou bear?

Is HASTINGS now from accusation freed?                                                         25
Will we no more hear of his barb’rous rage?
Or PIT and FOX for ever now agreed?
Will their debates no longer fill the page?

Have Prussian wits exhausted all the store
Of anecdotes about their fav’rite king?                                                       30
Or, are the Dutch divisions now no more?
Will Birth-days not their annual tributes bring?

No, these, he said, are not the cause of grief;
‘Tis not for these I make such heavy moan:
O, what shall soothe my pain or bring relief?                                                    35
LUNARDI’S fam’d BALLOON, alas! is gone!

I heard him speak, and struck with sad surprise,
Declare, I said, how the mishap befel:
Afresh the torrents bursting from his eyes,
He, with a sigh, began the mournful tale!                                                  40

‘Twas where the TYNE rolls down in all his pride,
His limpid waters by NEWCASTLE flow,
Whose stately Turrets rise upon its side,
The fam’d BALLOON receiv’d a fatal blow!

‘Twas there the great LUNARDI, fam’d afar                                                      45
For airy journeys in the middle sky,
Perpar’d again to mount the floating Car,
And thro’ the clouds in upper regions fly.

The day approach’d, what multitudes attend!
They crowd the mountains and they fill the plain,                                  50
In hopes to see the wondrous man ascend;
But ah! they look, they wish, they hope in vain!

And now the great BALLOON began to fill;
Her buoyant sides rose bellowing in the air:
Th’ intrepid hero us’d his utmost skill;                                                              55
His hopes were rais’d on high and great his care.

Ah! silly mortals! what small hope of joy
Elates our heart, and swells our little mind!
How can a moment this fond hope destroy,
And leave a real, lasting grief behind?                                                       60

We truly thought he would have gone so far
As Earth’s attractions had not brought him down;
There got intelligence from ev’ry star,
And been our correspondent in the moon:

For now She, rising, floats about the ground,                                                   65
The cords are loos’d and all prepar’d for flight:
The Crowds, at awful distance, stand around,
And view the scene with wonder and delight.

But ah! what numbers can describe the shock!
Or how can language paint the sad surprise,                                            70
When from the vitriol sudden fire brake,
And the blue flame met the beholders eyes!

Water! they cri’d; but water there was none;
She, like an arrow, mounts, and cleaves the air:
LUNARDI saw his fam’d BALLOON was gone;                                                   75
Wild were his looks and frantic with despair!

Sure! sure! he cri’d, the elements are join’d
In close concert, to work my overthrow!
I float in water, and I’m toss’d with wind:
But the flame has struck the last, the fatal blow!                                      80

O fire! how fatal to BALLOON exploits!
Tytler may tell, LUNARDI too has known,
Who brav’d the greatest dangers in his flight;
But now his hopes of future glory’s gone.

He saw her rise, but could not bring her back;                                                  85
He saw her burst, ah! never to return!
The very heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black,
And Nature seem’d the mighty loss to mourn!

NEWCASTLE rais’d her voice in loud lament;
When Kelso heard, she echo’d back the strain;                                          90
Edina join’d in the same sad complaint;
And Glasgow mourn’d, but mourn’d, alas! in vain!

When thus he said, he spurr’d his weary steed,
Adieu! adieu! I must no longer stay!
Then took the road, and with redoubled speed,                                                95
Leaving me sad, he pass’d along the way.


Title  Lunardi  Vincenzo (Vincent) Lunardi (1754-1806), Italian diplomat and celebrated balloon aeronaut, active in Britain 1784-1787.

9  Echoes  The repetition of sound personified here by reference to the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book III, ll. 339-358).

13  post-horn  A valveless brass horn used by a post rider, messenger, or the guard of a mail coach “to announce arrival” (OED).

20  horn  A reference to the rider’s head.

25  HASTINGS  Warren Hastings (1732-1818), English statesman, served as Governor General of India from 1773-1784.  Facing increased scrutiny of his policies and conduct, and lack of political support at home, Hastings resigned his position and returned to England in June 1785.  He was arrested in May 1787 and charges against him were read in Parliament; these included his role in the judicial execution of Maharaja Nandakumar in 1775, and his martial efforts to control British interests in the territories of Bengal and Mysore (ODNB).

27  PIT and FOX  William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), Tory politician and statesman, served as Prime Minister of England from 1783-1801, and Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig politician and statesman, were arch political rivals.  Their frequent clashes in Parliament were a news staple of this period.

29-30  Prussian wits…their fav’rite king  A reference to the outpouring of praise and panegyric for Frederick the Great (1712-1786, King of Prussia from 1740) following his death on August 17, 1786.

31  Dutch divisions  A reference to the Patriot Revolt that caused a period of political instability in the Netherlands from 1780-1787.

41  TYNE  A major river in northeast England that divides the city of Newcastle from Gateshead.

43  stately Turrets  Probably a reference to the battlements of the Castle Keep, a medieval fortification on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

49  what multitudes attend  Contemporary accounts often mention the huge crowds drawn to Lunardi’s balloon launches.

67 awful  “Profoundly respectful or reverential” (OED).

69  numbers  Poetry.

71  vitriol  Sulfuric acid.

79  I float in water  Lunardi’s flight from Edinburgh on December 20, 1785 ended with a forced landing in the North Sea, where he was lucky to be rescued by a passing fishing boat (Lunardi, An Account of Five Aerial Voyages in Scotland [London, 1786], p. 101).

82  Tytler  James Tytler (1745-1804), a Scottish chemist and aeronaut, became the first person in Great Britain to ascend in a balloon on August 25, 1784, preceding Lunardi’s first flight in England by several weeks.

85-86  He saw her rise…never to return!  Lunardi’s attempted ascent from Newcastle on September 19, 1786 went horribly wrong.  Campbell’s description of the balloon’s loss matches the most detailed contemporary account published in The Yorkshire Magazine (vol. I, September 1786, pp. 287-88).  Curiously, however, Campbell chooses not to mention that one of the local men assisting Lunardi that day, “Mr. Ralph Heron,” became tangled in the ropes and was swept several hundred feet in the air.  He fell and subsequently died of his injuries.  It was this tragic accident (rather than the loss of his balloon) that effectively ended Lunardi’s career as an aeronaut in Britain.

87  heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black  The hydrogen gas produced by the chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and iron shavings was dark in color and, when released from the balloon due to tearing or accident, would create a black cloud.

90  Kelso  A market town in Scotland near the English border.  Lunardi made a successful ascent from Kelso on October 22, 1785 (Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits, vol. I, ed. Maidment [London and Glasgow, 1885], p. 65).

91  Edina  Edinburgh.  Lunardi made a total of three ascents from Edinburgh on October 5, 1785, December 20, 1785, and July 31, 1786.

92  Glasgow  Lunardi made two ascents from Glasgow on November 23 and December 5, 1785.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Kilmarnock, 1787), pp. 114-118. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas