Tag Archives: irregular ode

Christopher Smart, “A Noon-Piece; or, The Mowers at Dinner”


“A Noon-Piece; or, The Mowers at Dinner”


Jam pastor umbras cum grege languido,
Rivumque fessus quaerit, & horridi
Dumeta Silvani, caretque
Ripa vagis taciturna ventis.             HOR[ACE].

The Sun is now too radiant to behold,
And vehement he sheds his liquid Rays of Gold;
No cloud appears thro’ all the wide expanse;
And short, but yet distinct and clear,
To the wanton whistling air                                                         5
The mimic shadows dance.

Fat Mirth, and Gallantry the gay,
And romping Extasy ‘gin play.
Now Myriads of young Cupids rise,
And open all their joy-bright eyes,                                           10
Filling with infant prate the grove,
And lisp in sweetly-fault‘ring love.
In the middle of the ring,
Mad with May, and wild of wing,
Fire-ey’d Wantonness shall sing.                                              15

By the rivulet on the rushes,
Beneath a canopy of bushes,
Where the ever-faithful Tray,
Guards the dumplings and the whey,
Colin Clout and Yorkshire Will                                                 20
From the leathern bottle swill.

Their scythes upon the adverse bank
Glitter ‘mongst th’ entangled trees,
Where the hazles form a rank,
And court’sy to the courting breeze.                                             25

Ah! Harriot! sovereign mistress of my heart,
Could I thee to these meads decoy,
New grace to each fair object thou’dst impart,
And heighten ev’ry scene to perfect joy.

On a bank of fragrant thyme,                                                   30
Beneath yon stately, shadowy pine,
We’ll with the well-disguised hook
Cheat the tenants of the brook;
Or where coy Daphne’s thickest shade
Drives amorous Phoebus from the glade,                               35
There read Sydney’s high-wrought stories
Of ladies charms and heroes glories;
Thence fir’d, the sweet narration act,
And kiss the fiction into fact.

Or satiate with nature’s random scenes,                                           40
Let’s go to the gardens regulated greens,
Where taste and elegance command
Art to lend her daedal hand,
Where Flora’s flock, by nature wild,
To discipline are reconcil’d,                                                         45
And laws and order cultivate,
Quite civiliz’d into a state.

From the sun, and from the show’r,
Haste we to yon boxen bow’r,
Secluded from the teizing pry                                                    50
Of Argus’ curiosity:
There, while Phoebus’ golden mean,
The gay meridian is seen,
Ere decays the lamp of light,
And length’ning shades stretch out to night—-                         55

Seize, seize the hint—each hour improve
(This is morality in love)
Lend, lend thine hand—O let me view
Thy parting breasts, sweet avenue!
Then—then thy lips, the coral cell                                               60
Where all th’ ambrosial kisses dwell!
Thus we’ll each sultry noon employ
In day-dreams of exstatic joy.


Epigraph Horace, Odes, Book III, no. XXIX, lines 21-24. “Now the weary shepherd with his languid flock seeks the shade, and the river, and the thickets of rough Sylvanus; and the silent bank is free from the wandering winds.”  Translation by Christopher Smart, The Works of Horace Translated Literally into English Prose (London, 1755).

2 vehement “Of heat…intense, strong” (OED).

5 wanton “Free, unrestrained” (OED).

16 rivulet “A small river; a stream” (OED).

18 Tray “A utensil of the form of a flat board with a raised rim, or of a shallow box without a lid, made of wood, metal, or other material, of various sizes” (OED).

27 meads Meadows; decoy “To entice or allure” (OED).

34 Daphne “In Greek mythology, the personification of the laurel;” here a reference to laurel bushes (Britannica).

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

36 Sydney Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), courtier, statesman, soldier, poet; his long pastoral romance, Arcadia, was published in 1593 (Britannica).

43 daedal “Skilful, cunning to invent or fashion” (OED).

44 Flora “In Latin mythology, the goddess of flowers; hence, in modern poetical language, the personification of nature’s power in producing flowers” (OED).

51 Argus “A mythological person fabled to have had a hundred eyes,” hence an allusion to the prying eyes of the curious (OED).

60 coral Red.

61 ambrosial “Exceptionally sweet or delightful” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1752), pp. 9-12. [Google Books]

Edited by Ulises Canchola

Thomas Blacklock, “An Irregular Ode”



 Sent to a LADY on her Marriage-Day.



With all your wings, ye moments, fly,
And drive the tardy sun along;
Till that glad morn shall paint the sky,
Which wakes the muse, and claims the
raptur’d song.                                                                    5


See nature with our wishes join,
To aid the dear, the blest design;
See Time precipitate his way,
To bring th’ expected happy day;
See, the wish’d for dawn appears,                                                10
A more than wonted glow she wears:
Hark! Hymeneals sound;
Each muse awakes her softest lyre;
Each airy warbler swells the choir;
‘Tis music all around.                                                                15


Awake, ye nymphs,  the blushing bride,
T’eclipse Aurora’s rosy pride;
While virgin shame retards her way,
And Love, half-angry, chides her stay:
While hopes and fears alternate reign,                                           20
Intermingling bliss and pain;
O’er all her charms diffuse peculiar grace,
Pant in her shiv’ring heart, and vary in her face.


At length consent, reluctant fair,
To bless thy long-expecting lover’s eyes!                                 25
Too long his sighs are lost in air,
At length resign the bliss for which he dies:
The muses, prescient of your future joys,
Dilate my soul, and prompt the chearful lay;
While they, thro’ coming times, with glad surprize,                         30
The long successive brightning scenes survey.


Lo! to your sight a blooming offspring rise,
And add new ardour to the nuptial ties;
While in each form you both united shine;
Fresh honours wait your temples to adorn:                                      35
For you glad CERES fills the flowing horn,
And heav’n and fate to bless your days combine.


While life gives pleasure, life shall still remain,
Till death, with gentle hand, shall shut the pleasing
scene:                                                                                           40
Safe, sable guide to that celestial shore,
Where pleasure knows no end, and change is fear’d
no more!


8 precipitate “Relating to haste or speed” (OED).

12 Hymeneals Wedding hymns  (OED).

14 airy warbler A song bird (OED).

17 Aurora “Roman goddess of the dawn” (OED).

19 chides  “To compel”  (OED).

28 prescient “Having knowledge of the future” (OED).

33 ardour “Enthusiasm” (OED).

36 CERES “Roman goddess of the growth of food plants” (Britannica).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1754), pp. 51-53. [Google Books]

Edited by Kamaiya Brown-Simsisulu

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



John Ogilvie, “Ode to the Genius of Shakespear”


“Ode to the Genius of Shakespear”

I. 1

Rapt from the glance of mortal eye,
Say bursts thy Genius to the world of light?
Seeks it yon star-bespangled sky?
Or skims its fields with rapid flight?
Or mid’ yon plains where Fancy strays,                                            5
Courts it the balmy-breathing gale?
Or where the violet pale
Droops o’er the green-embroider’d stream;
Or where young Zephir stirs the rustling sprays,
Lyes all dissolv’d in fairy-dream.                                                        10
O’er yon bleak desart’s unfrequented round
See’st thou where Nature treads the deepening gloom,
Sits on yon hoary tow’r with ivy crown’d,
Or wildly wails o’er thy lamented tomb;
Hear’st thou the solemn music wind along?                                    15
Or thrills the warbling note in thy mellifluous song?

I. 2

Oft while on earth ‘twas thine to rove
Where’er the wild-eyed Goddess lov’d to roam,
To trace serene the gloomy grove,
Or haunt meek Quiet’s simple dome;                                              20
Still hovering round the Nine appear,
That pour the soul-transporting strain;
Join’d to the Loves’ gay train,
The loose-robed Graces crown’d with flow’rs,
The light-wing’d gales that lead the vernal year,                            25
And wake the rosy-featured Hours.
O’er all bright Fancy’s beamy radiance shone,
How flam’d thy bosom as her charms reveal!
Her fire-clad eye sublime, her starry zone,
Her tresses loose that wanton’d on the gale;                                 30
On Thee the Goddess fix’d her ardent look,
Then from her glowing lips these melting accents broke.

I. 3

“To Thee, my favourite son, belong
The lays that steal the listening hour;
To pour the rapture-darting song                                                   35
To paint gay Hope’s elysian bower.
From Nature’s hand to snatch the dart,
To cleave with pangs the bleeding heart;
Or lightly sweep the trembling string,
And call the Loves with purple wing                                              40
From the blue deep where they dwell
With Naiads in the pearly cell,
Soft on the sea-born Goddess gaze;
Or in the loose robe’s floating maze,
Dissolv’d in downy slumbers rest;                                                 45
Or flutter o’er her panting breast.
Or wild to melt the yielding soul,
Let Sorrow clad in sable stole
Slow to thy musing thought appear;
Or pensive Pity pale;                                                                         50
Or Love’s desponding tale
Call from th’ intender’d heart the sympathetic tear.”

II. 1

Say, whence the magic of thy mind?
Why thrills thy music on the springs of thought?
Why, at thy pencil’s touch refin’d                                                   55
Starts into life the glowing draught?
On yonder fairy carpet laid,
Where Beauty pours eternal bloom,
And Zephir breathes perfume;
There nightly to the tranced eye                                                     60
Profuse the radiant goddess stood display’d,
With all her smiling offspring nigh.
Sudden the mantling cliff, the arching wood,
The broidered mead, the landskip, and the grove,
Hills, vales, and sky-dipt seas, and torrents rude,                        65
Grots, rills and shades, and bowers that breath’d of love
All burst to sight!—while glancing on the view,
Titania’s sporting train brush’d lightly o’er the dew.

II. 2

The pale-eyed Genius of the shade
Led thy bold step to Prosper’s magic bower;                               70
Whose voice the howling winds obey’d,
Whose dark spell chain’d the rapid hour:
Then rose serene the sea-girt isle;
Gay scenes by Fancy’s touch refin’d
Glow’d to the musing mind:                                                            75
Such visions bless the hermit’s dream,
When hovering Angels prompt his placid smile,
Or paint some high ecstatic theme.
Then flam’d Miranda on th’ enraptur’d gaze,
Then fail’d bright Ariel on the bat’s fleet wing:                             80
Or starts the lift’ning throng in still amaze!
The wild note trembling on th’ aerial string!
The form in heav’n’s resplendent vesture gay
Floats on the mantling cloud, and pours the melting lay.

II. 3

O lay me near yon limpid stream,                                                  85
Whose murmur soothes the ear of Woe!
There in some sweet poetic dream
Let Fancy’s bright Elysium glow!
‘Tis done :—o’er all the blushing mead
The dark Wood shakes his cloudy head;                                      90
Below, the lily-fringed dale
Breathes its mild fragrance on the gale;
While in pastime all-unseen,
Titania robed in mantle green
Sports on the mossy bank :— her train                                        95
Skims light along the gleaming plain;
Or to the fluttering breeze unfold
The blue wing streak’d with beamy gold;
Its pinions opening to the light !—
Say, bursts the vision on my sight?                                                100
Ah, no! by Shakespear’s pencil drawn
The beauteous shapes appear;
While meek-eyed Cynthia near
Illumes with streamy ray the silver-mantled lawn.

III. 1

But hark! the Tempest howls afar!                                                 105
Bursts the loud whirlwind o’er the pathless waste!
What Cherub blows the trump of war?
What Demon rides the stormy blast?
Red from the lightning’s livid blaze,
The bleak heath rushes on the sight;                                             110
Then wrapt in sudden night
Dissolves.—But ah ! what kingly form
Roams the lone desart’s desolated maze!
Unaw’d! nor heeds the sweeping storm.
Ye pale-eyed Lightnings spare the cheek of Age!                          115
Vain wish ;—though Anguish heaves the bursting groan.
Deaf as the flint, the marble ear of Rage
Hears not the Mourner’s unavailing moan:
Heart-pierc’d he bleeds, and stung with wild despair
Bares his time-blasted head, and tears his silver hair.                 120

III. 2

Lo! on yon long-resounding shore,
Where the rock totters o’er the headlong deep;
What phantomes bathed in infant gore
Stand muttering on the dizzy steep!
Their murmur shakes the zephir’s wing!                                         125
The storm obeys their pow’rful spell;
See, from His gloomy cell
Fierce Winter starts! his scowling eye
Bloats the fair mantle of the breathing Spring,
And lowers along the ruffled sky.                                                     130
To the deep vault the yelling harpies run,
Its yawning mouth receives th’ infernal crew.
Dim thro’ the black gloom winks the glimmering sun,
And the pale furnace gleams with brimstone blue.
Hell howls: and fiends that join the dire acclaim                           135
Dance on the bubbling tide, and point the livid flame.

III. 3

But ah! on Sorrow’s cypress bough
Can Beauty breathe her genial bloom?
On Death’s cold cheek will Passion glow?
Or Music warble from the tomb?                                                     140
There sleeps the Bard, whose tuneful tongue
Pour’d the full stream of mazy song.
Young Spring with lip of ruby, here
Showers from her lap the blushing year;
While along the turf reclin’d,                                                             145
The loose wing swimming on the wind,
The Loves with forward gesture bold,
Sprinkle the sod with spangling gold;
And oft the blue-eyed Graces trim
Dance lightly round on downy limb;                                                150
Oft too, when Eve’ demure and still
Chequers the green dale’s purling rill,
Sweet Fancy pours the plaintive strain,
Or wrapt in soothing dream,
By Avon’s ruffled stream,                                                                   155
Hears the low-murmuring gale that dies along the plain.


3  yon  “That” (OED).
6  balmy-breathing gale  A warm, fragrant breeze.
9  Zephir  “The west wind; frequently personified” (OED).
13  hoary  “Ancient, venerable” (OED).
16  mellifluous “Pertaining to speech, words, or music; being sweet” (OED).
21  the Nine  The Muses.
30  wanton’d on the gale  Blowing about carelessly in the wind.
36  elysian bower  An ideal or happy abode (OED).
42  Naiads  “Water nymphs” (OED).
43  sea-born Goddess  “Venus” [Author’s note].
48  clad in sable stole  Dressed in mourning garments (OED).
51  desponding  “To lose heart or resolution; to become depressed or dejected in mind by loss of confidence or hope” (OED).
66  rills  Small streams (OED).
68  Titania  “The queen of the fairies in William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (written about 1595–96). Titania, who opposes her husband, Oberon, bears some resemblance to Hera of Greek mythology” (Britannica).
70  Prosper  Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
83  vesture  “All growth on land, except trees” (OED).
84  Floats on the mantling cloud  “Ariel: see the Tempest” [Author’s note].
91  dale  “A valley” (OED).
104  the silver-mantled lawn  “See the Midsummer Night’s Dream” [Author’s note].
110  heath  “Wilderness” (OED).
120  tears his silver hair  “Lear” [Author’s note].
122  totters  “As if about to collapse” (OED).
131  the yelling harpies run  “The Witches in Macbeth” [Author’s note].
151  Eve’  Evening.
153  plaintive  “Lamenting” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Subjects (London, 1762), pp. 8-15.  [Google Books]

Edited by Janice Rodriguez



Christopher Smart, “A Morning Piece, or, An Hymn for the Hay-Makers”


 “A Morning Piece, or, An Hymn for the Hay-Makers”


Quinetiam Gallum noctem explaudentibus alis
Auroram clara consuetum voce vocare.         LUCRET[IUS].

Brisk chaunticleer his mattins had begun,
And broke the silence of the night,
And thrice he call’d aloud the tardy sun,
And thrice he hail’d the dawn’s ambiguous light;
Back to their graves the fear-begotten phantoms run.                            5

Strong Labour got up with his pipe in his mouth,
And stoutly strode over the dale,
He lent new perfumes to breath of the south,
On his back hung his wallet and flail.
Behind him came Health from her cottage of thatch,                             10
Where never physician had lifted the latch.

First of the village Colin was awake,
And thus he sung, reclining on his rake.
Now the rural graces three
Dance beneath yon maple tree;                                                            15
First the vestal Virtue, known
By her adamantine zone;
Next to her in rosy pride,
Sweet Society, the bride;
Last Honesty, full seemly drest                                                              20
In her cleanly home-spun vest.
The abby bells in wak’ning rounds
The warning peal have giv’n;
And pious Gratitude resounds
Her morning hymn to heav’n.                                                                 25

All nature wakes—the birds unlock their throats,
And mock the shepherd’s rustic notes.
All alive o’er the lawn,
Full glad of the dawn,
The little lambkins play,                                                                         30
Sylvia and Sol arise,—and all is day—

Come, my mates, let us work,
And all hands to the fork,
While the Sun shines, our Hay-cocks to make,
So fine is the Day,                                                                                        35
And so fragrant the Hay,
That the Meadow’s as blithe as the Wake.

Our voices let’s raise
In Phoebus’s praise,
Inspir’d by so glorious a theme,                                                                        40
Our musical words
Shall be join’d by the birds,
And we’ll dance to the tune of the stream.


Epigraph  Quinetiam Gallum noctem explaudentibus alis/Auroram clara consuetum voce vocare  From Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book IV, ll. 714-715.  “For the Cock, that claps his Wings and drives away the Darkness, and by his clear Notes calls forth the Morning Light” (Guernier, and others, T. Lucretius Carus Of the Nature of Things, in Six Books [London, 1743], vol. 2, p. 63).

1  chaunticleer  Proverbial name for a rooster; mattins  “The service of morning prayer, especially in the Anglican Church compare evensong, vespers” (OED).

flail  “A tool that has a long handle with a stick swinging from it, used especially in the past to separate grains of wheat from their dry outer covering, by beating the wheat” (OED).

17  adamantine  “Rigidly firm: unyielding adamantine discipline” (OED).

23  peal  “A loud ringing of a bell or bells” (OED).

30  lambkins  “Young lambs”  (OED).

33  fork  Pitchfork.

37  blithe  “Cheerful” (OED); Wake “Rows of green damp grass”  (James Orchard Halliwell, Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, vol. 2 [London, 1872], p. 913)

39  Phoebus  “God identified with the sun” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1752), pp. 7-9.  [Google Books]

Edited by Mark Novak

Aphra Behn, “The Golden Age”


“The Golden Age”
A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French

Blest Age! when ev’ry Purling Stream
Ran undisturb’d and clear,
When no scorn’d Shepherds on your Banks were seen,
Tortur’d by Love, by Jealouise, or Fear;
When an Eternal Spring drest ev’ry Bough,                                                              5
And Blossoms fell, by new ones dispossest;
These their kind Shade affording all below;
And those a Bed where all below might rest.
The Groves appear’d all drest with Wreaths of Flowers,
And from their Leaves dropt Aromatick Showers,                                                   10
Whose fragrant Heads in Mystick Twines above,
Exchang’d their Sweets, and mix’d with thousand Kisses,
As if the willing Branches strove
To beautifie and shade the Grove
Where the young wanton Gods of Love                                                            15
Offer their Noblest Sacrifice of Blisses. 

Calm was the Air, no Winds blew fierce and loud,
The Skie was dark’ned with no sullen Cloud:
But all the Heav’ns laugh’d with continued Light,
And scatter’d round their Rays serenely bright.                                                        20
No other Murmurs fill’d the Ear
But what the Streams and Rivers purl’d
When Silver Waves o’er Shining Pebbles curl’d;
Or when young Zephirs fan’d the Gentle Breez,
Gathering fresh Sweets from Balmy Flow’rs and Trees,                                      25
Then bore ’em on their Wings to perfume all the Air:
While to their soft and tender Play,
The Gray-Plum’d Natives of the Shades
Unwearied sing till Love invades,
Then Bill, then sing agen, while Love and Musick makes the Day.                         30

The stubborn Plough had then,
Made no rude Rapes upon the Virgin Earth;
Who yielded of her own accord her plentious Birth,
Without the Aids of men;
As if within her Teeming Womb,                                                                            35
All Nature, and all Sexes lay,
Whence new Creations every day
Into the happy World did come:
The Roses fill’d with Morning Dew,
Bent down their loaded heads,                                                                            40
T’Adorn the careless Shepherds Grassy Beds
While still young opening Buds each moment grew
And as those withered, drest his shaded Couch a new;
Beneath who’s boughs the Snakes securely dwelt,
Not doing harm, nor harm from others felt;                                                             45
With whom the Nymphs did Innocently play,
No spightful Venom in the playful wantons lay;
But to the touch were Soft, and to the sight were Gay.

Then no rough sound of Wars Alarms,
Had taught the World the needless use of Arms:                                                     50
Monarchs were uncreated then,
Those Arbitrary Rulers over men;
Kings that made Laws, first broke ’em, and the Gods
By teaching us Religion first, first set the World at Odds:
Till then Ambition was not known,                                                                          55
That Poyson to Content, Bane to Repose;
Each Swain was Lord o’er his own will alone,
His Innocence Religion was, and Laws.
Nor needed any troublesome defence
Against his Neighbours Insolence.                                                                          60
Flocks, Herds, and every necessary good
Which bounteous Nature had design’d for Food,
Whose kind increase o’er spread the Meads and Plaines,
Was then a common Sacrifice to all th’ agreeing Swaines.

Right and Property were words since made,                                                            65
When Power taught Mankind to invade:
When Pride and Avarice became a Trade;
Carri’d on by discord, noise and wars,
For which they barter’d wounds and scarrs;
And to Inhaunce the Merchandize, miscall’d it Fame,                                                  70
And Rapes, Invasions, Tyrannies,
Was gaining of a Glorious Name:
Stiling their salvage slaughters, Victories;
Honour, the Error and the Cheat
Of the Ill-natur’d Bus’ey Great,                                                                                  75
Nonsence, invented by the Proud,
Fond Idol of the slavish Crowd,
Thou wert not known in those blest days
Thy Poyson was not mixt with our unbounded Joyes;
Then it was glory to pursue delight,                                                                            80
And that was lawful all, that Pleasure did invite,
Then ’twas the Amorous world injoy’d its Reign;
And Tyrant Honour strove t’usurp in Vain.

The flowry Meads the Rivers and the Groves,
Were fill’d with little Gay-wing’d Loves:                                                                      85
That ever smil’d and danc’d and Play’d,
And now the woods, and now the streames invade,
And where they came all things were gay and glad:
When in the Myrtle Groves the Lovers sat
Opprest with a too fervent heat;                                                                             90
A Thousand Cupids fann’d their wings aloft,
And through the Boughs the yielded Ayre would waft:
Whose parting Leaves discovered all below,
And every God his own soft power admir’d,
And smil’d and fann’d, and sometimes bent his Bow;                                             95
Where e’er he saw a Shepherd uninspir’d.
The Nymphs were free, no nice, no coy disdain,
Deny’d their Joyes, or gave the Lover pain;
The yielding Maid but kind Resistance makes:
Trembling and blushing are not marks of shame,                                                   100
But the Effect of kindling Flame:
Which from the sighing burning Swain she takes,
While she with tears all soft, and down-cast eyes,
Permits the Charming Conqueror to win the prize.

The Lovers thus, thus uncontroul’d did meet,                                                          105
Thus all their Joyes and Vows of Love repeat:
Joyes which were everlasting, ever new
And every Vow inviolably true:
Not kept in fear of Gods, no fond Religious cause,
Nor in Obedience to the duller Laws.                                                                        110
Those Fopperies of the Gown were then not known,
Those vain those Politick Curbs to keep man in,
Who by a fond mistake Created that a Sin;
Which freeborn we, by right of Nature claim our own.
Who but the Learned and dull moral Fool                                                                115
Could gravely have forseen, man ought to live by Rule?

Oh cursed Honour! thou who first didst damn,
A Woman to the sin of Shame;
Honour! that rob’st us of our Gust,
Honour! that hindred mankind first,                                                                      120
At Loves Eternal Spring to squench his amorous thirst.
Honour! who first taught lovely Eyes the art,
To wound, and not to cure to heart:
With Love to invite, but to forbid with Awe,
And to themselves prescribe a Cruel Law;                                                                125
To Veil ’em from the Lookers on,
When they are sure the slave’s undone,
And all the Charmingst part of Beauty hid;
Soft Looks, consenting Wishes, all deny’d.
It gathers up the flowing Hair,                                                                                 130
That loosely plaid with wanton Air.
The Envious Net, and stinted order hold,
The lovely Curls of Jet and shining Gold,
No more neglected on the Shoulders hurl’d:
Now drest to Tempt, not gratify the World,                                                                  135
Thou Miser Honour hord’st the sacred store,
And starv’st thy self to keep thy Votaries poor.

Honour! that put’st our words that should be free
Into a set Formality.
Thou base Debaucher of the generous heart,                                                             140
That teachest all our Looks and Actions Art;
What love design’d a sacred Gift,
What Nature made to be possest,
Mistaken Honour made a theft,
For Glorious Love should be confest:                                                                    145
For when confin’d, all the poor Lover gains,
Is broken Sighs, pale Looks, Complaints and Pains.
Thou Foe to Pleasure, Nature’s worst Disease,
Thou Tyrant over mighty Kings,
What mak’st thou here in Shepherds Cottages;                                                         150
Why troublest thou, the quiet Shades and Springs?
Be gone, and make thy Fam’d resort
To Princes Pallaces;
Go Deal and Chaffer in the Trading Court,
That busie Market for Phantastick Things;                                                                   155
Be gone and interrupt the short Retreat,
Of the Illustrious and the Great;
Go break the Politicians sleep,
Disturb the Gay Ambitious Fool,
That longs for Scepters, Crowns, and Rule,                                                         160
Which not his Title, nor his Wit can keep;
But let the humble honest Swain go on,
In the blest Paths of the first rate of man;
That nearest were to Gods Alli’d,
And form’d for love alone, disdain’d all other Pride.                                                   165

Be gone! and let the Golden age again,
Assume its Glorious Reign;
Let the young wishing Maid confess,
What all your Arts would keep conceal’d:
The Mystery will be reveal’d,                                                                                        170
And she in vain denies, whilst we can guess,
She only shows the Jilt to teach man how,
To turn the false Artillery on the Cunning Foe.
Thou empty Vision hence, be gone,
And let the peaceful Swain love on;                                                                      175
The swift pac’d hours of life soon steal away:
Stint not yee Gods his short liv’d Joy.
The Spring decays, but when the Winter’s gone,
The Trees and Flowers a new comes on
The Sun may set, but when the night is fled,                                                                180
And gloomy darkness does retire,
He rises from his Watry Bed:
All Glorious, Gay, all drest in Amorous Fire.
But Sylvia when your Beauties fade,
When the fresh Roses on your Cheeks shall die,                                                          185
Like Flowers that wither in the Shade,
Eternally they will forgotten lye,
And no kind Spring their sweetness will supply.
When Snow shall on those lovely Tresses lye
And your fair Eyes no more shall give us pain,                                                             190
But shoot their pointless Darts in vain.
What will your duller honour signifie?
Go boast it then! And see what numerous Store
Of Lovers, will your Ruin’d Shrine Adore.
Then let us Sylvia yet be wise,                                                                               195
And the Gay hasty minutes prize:
The Sun and Spring receive but our short Light,
Once sett, a sleep brings an Eternal Night.


24 Zephirs “The west wind, frequently personified” (OED).

25 Balmy “Delicately and deliciously fragrant” (OED).

30 Bill “To caress, make show of affection” (OED).

44 boughs Branches.

57 Swain “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd; a countryman, rustic” (OED).

63 Meads “Meadows” (OED).

70 Inhaunce “Enhance” (OED).

73 salvage One of several Anglo-Norman spellings for “savage” in use during this period (OED).

135 Miser “A person who hoards wealth and lives miserably in order to do so” (OED).

137 Votaries “A person who has made a particular vow” (OED).

140 Debaucher “A corrupter or seducer” (OED).

154 Chaffer “To bargain, haggle about terms or price” (OED).

160 Scepters “An ornamental rod…a symbol of regal authority” (OED).

SOURCE:  Mrs. A. Behn, Poems upon Several Occasions: with a Voyage to the Island of Love (London, 1684), pp. 1-12. [EBBO]

Edited by ENG 690 students (Fall 2020)




James Woodhouse, “Benevolence, An Ode”



Inscribed to my Friends


Let others boast Palladian skill
The sculptur’d dome to raise;
To scoop the vale, to swell the hill,
Or lead the smooth, meand’ring rill
In ever-varying maze;                                                                   5
To strike the lyre
With Homer’s fire,
Or Sappho’s tender art;
Or Handel’s notes with sweeter strains inspire,
O’er Phidia’s chissel to preside,                                                  10
Or Titian’s glowing pencil guide
Through ev’ry living part.

Ah! what avails it thus to shine,
By ev’ry art refin’d;
Except BENEVOLENCE combine                                                  15
To humanize the mind!
The Parian floor,
Or vivid cieling, fresco’d o’er,
With glaring charms the gazing eye may fire;
Yet may their lords, like statues cold,                                        20
Devoid of sympathy, behold
Fair worth with want repine,
Or indigence, expire;
Nor ever know the noblest use of gold.

‘Tis yours, with sympathetic breast,                                           25
To stop the rising sigh,
And wipe the tearful eye,
Nor let repining merit sue unblest;
This is a more applausive taste
Than spending wealth                                                            30
In gorgeous waste,
Or with dire luxury destroying health;
It sweetens life with ev’ry virtuous joy,
And wings the conscious hours with gladness as they fly.


Subtitle “His first two elegies being seen by some gentlemen and ladies in London in manuscript, they made a small subscription for him; and these were the friends he speaks of” [Author’s Note].

1 Palladian A reference to the neoclassical architectural movement inspired by the Italian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Palladian style was strongly based on symmetry and clarity and remained popular through the mid eighteenth century (Britannica).

7 Homer Greek poet, famously known for his epics The Iliad and The Odyssey.

8 Sappho “Greek lyric poet (c. 610-570 BCE) greatly admired in all ages for the beauty of her writing style” (Britannica).

9 Handel George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), “German-born English composer of the late Baroque era. He wrote the most famous of all oratorios, Messiah (1741)” (Britannica).

10 Phidia Greek sculptor (fl. c. 490-430 BCE), “artistic director of the Parthenon” and renowned for his colossal statues of Athena and Zeus (Britannica).

11 Titian Tiziano Vecellio (or Vecelli) (1488/90-1576) “The greatest Italian Renaissance painter of the Venetian school” (Britannica).

17 Parian floor The Greek island of Paros was known for its “fine white marble, prized in antiquity by sculptors” (OED).

18 cieling Alternate spelling of “ceiling,” noted in Johnson’s Dictionary; fresco’d “A kind of painting executed in water-colour on a wall, ceiling, etc. of which the mortar or plaster is not quite dry, so that the colours sink in and become more durable” (OED).

28 sue “To make one’s petition or appeal” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions, second edition (London, 1766), pp. 24-26.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Natalie Nunez

Richard Cumberland, “Envy”



Oh! never let me see that shape again!
Exile me rather to some savage den,
Far from the social haunts of men!
Horrible phantom! pale it was as death,
Consumption fed upon its meagre cheek,                           5
And ever as the fiend essay’d to speak,
Dreadfully steam’d its pestilential breath!
Fang’d like the wolf it was, and all agaunt,
And still it prowl’d around us and around,
Rolling its squinting eyes askaunt,                                                10
Wherever human happiness was found.

Furious thereat, the self-tormenting sprite
Drew forth an asp, and (terrible to sight)
To its left pap th’ envenom’d reptile prest,
Which gnaw’d and worm’d into its tortur’d breast.                     15
The desperate suicide, with pain,
Writh’d to and fro, and yell’d amain;
And then, with hollow dying cadence, cries—
“It is not of this asp that ENVY dies;
‘Tis not this reptile’s tooth that gives the smart;                           20
‘Tis others’ happiness that gnaws my heart.”


 6 essay’d Tried.

7 pestilential “Carrying pestilence or epidemic disease, esp. bubonic plague” (OED).

10 askaunt “With suspicion or mistrust” (OED).

12 sprite Spirit.

13 asp “A small, venomous, hooded serpent, found in Egypt and Lybia” (OED).

14 pap Breast (OED).

17 amain “With full force” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (August, 1791), p. 759.

Edited by Louise Noble

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


“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!


 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

Stephen Duck, “To Death. An Irregular Ode”


 “To DEATH. An Irregular ODE”


HAIL, formidable KING!
My Muse thy dreaded fame shall sing.
Why should old HOMER’S pompous lays
Immortalize ACHILLES’ Praise!
Or why should ADDISON’S harmonious Verse                                   5
Our MARLBRO’S nobler Deeds rehearse?
Alas! no more these Heroes shine;
Their Pow’r is all subdu’d by Thine.
Where are these mighty Leaders now,
Great POMPEY, CAESAR, and Young AMMON too,                            10
Who thought he drew immortal Breath ?
These bold ambitious Sons of MARS
Who dy’d the Globe with bloody Wars,
Are vanquish’d all by thee, victorious DEATH !


Ev’n while they liv’d, their Martial Hate                                                 15
But firmer fix’d thy Throne;
Nor, tho’ it hasten’d others Fate,
Could it delay their own.
Nor didst thou want their Rage to kill;
Thy own can execute thy Will;                                                          20
Whene’er thou dost exert thy Pow’r,
A Thousand morbid Troops thy Call obey;
Sometimes thy wasting Plagues devour,
And sweep whole realms away.
Now with contagious Biles the City mourns,                                         25
And now thy scorching Fever burns,
Or trembling Quartan chills;
Of Heat and Cold the dire extremes
Now freeze, now fire the Blood with Flames,
Till various Torment kills.                                                                  30


CONSUMPTIONS, and Rheumatic Pain,
And Apoplectic Fits, that rack the Brain;
Soul-panting Asthmas, Dropsy, and Catarrh,
Gout, Palsy, Lunacy and black Despair;
Pangs, that neglected Lovers feel;                                                     35
Corroding Jealousy, their earthly Hell,
Which makes the injur’d Woman wild;
And pow’rful Spleen that gets the Man with Child;
Physicians, surgeons, Bawds, and Whores, and Wine,
Are all obsequious servants of Thine;                                                         40
Nay, and RELIGION, too
When Hypocrites their interest pursue,
Or frantic Zeal inspires,
It calls for Racks, and Wheels, and Fires:
Then all our mystic Articles of Faith                                                             45
Instead of saving Life, become the Cause of DEATH.


GREAT MONARCH! how secure must be thy Crown,
When all these Things conspire to prop thy Throne?
Yet, in thy universal Reign,
Thou dost not use tyrannic Sway.                                                        50
Whate’er the Weak and Tim’rous say,
Who tremble at thy Frown;
Thou art propitious to our Pain,
And break’st the groaning Pris’ner’s Chain,
Which Tyranny put on.                                                                   55
In Thee the Lover quits his Care,
Nor longer courts the cruel Fair,
Her Coldness mourns no more:
In Thee Ambition ends it Race,
And finds at length the destin’d Place,                                                60
It ne’er could find before:
The Merchant too, who plows the Main,
In greedy Quest of Gain,
By Thee to happier Climes is brought,
Than those his wild, insatiate Av’rice sought.                                            65


PROPITIOUS Succourer of the Distrest,
Who often, by the Dead, dost make the Living blest !
How could profusive Heirs attend
Their Mistress, Bottle, Ball, and Play,
If timely Thou wert not their Friend,                                                    70
To snatch the scraping Sire away?
How would dull Poets weary Time
With their insipid Rhyme,
And teaze and tire the Reader’s Ears
With Party Feuds, and Paper Wars,                                                     75
If Thou, great Critic! didst not use
Thy Pow’r, to point a Period for their Muse?
The Bard, at thy decisive Will,
Discards his mercenary Quill,
Then all his mighty Volumes lie                                                           80
Hid in the peaceful Tomb of vast Obscurity.


I, like the rest, advance my Lays;
With uncouth Numbers, rumble forth a Song,
Sedately dull, to celebrate thy Praise;
And lash, and spur the heavy lab’ring Muse along:                                 85
But soon the fatal Time must come,
(Ordanin’d by Heav’n’s unerring Doom)
When Thou shalt cut the vital Thread,
And shove the verbal Embryos from my Head.
Thence, since I’m sure to meet my Fate,                                            90
How vain would Hope appear?
Since Fear cannot protract the Date,
How foolish ‘twere to fear?
I’ll strive, at least, to stand prepared,
Thy Summons to obey;                                                                  95
Nor would I think thy Sentence hard,
Nor wish, nor fear the Day;
But live in conscious Peace, and die without Dismay.


FALLACIOUS Reas’ners wrong Thee, when
They call the Laws severe.                                                                   100
Severe! to whom? To wicked Men:
Then let the Wicked fear.
Thou judgest all with equal Laws,
No venal Witness backs thy Cause,
NoNo Bribes to Thee are known;                                                105
If thy impartial Hand but strike,
The Prince and Peasant fall alike,
The Courtier and the Clown.
What tho’ a-while the Beggar groans,
While Kings enjoy their gilded Thrones?                                           110
What are Distinctions, Pomp, and Regal Train,
And Honours, got with Care, and kept with Pain?
One friendly Stroke of Thine sets level all again.
All earthly Grandeur must decline;
Nay, ev’n Great GEORGE’S Pow’r submit to Thine:                                  115
But thy Dominion shall endure,
Till PHOEBUS measures Time no more:
Then all shall be in dark Oblivion cast,
And ev’ry mortal Kingdom fall; but thine shall fall the last.


1 King King George II (1683-1760), reigned from 1727.

3 Homer (Precise birth/death unknown; estimated to be ~750BCE). Ancient classical Grecian poet, author of the epics The Iliad and The Odyssey

4 Achilles Highly-acclaimed and famous warrior from Greek mythos; central character of The Iliad.

5 Addison Joseph Addison (1672-1719), author and co-founder of The Spectator, and poet.

6 Marlboro John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722). English statesman whose lengthy career earned him extreme fame, power, and wealth.

10 Pompey (106 BC-48 BC) Supremely successful military general of Ancient Rome; Caesar Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC), prominent Roman statesman, prose author, and dictator. Assassinated by his own senators; Young Ammon Possibly refers to Molech, an ancient God worshipped by Phoenicians and Canaanites.

12 Mars Mars was a figure of meaningful conflict and male aggression in the Roman mythos.

27 Quartan A malarial fever that reoccurs every 72 hours.

33 Dropsy Medical condition where swelling of fluid beneath the skin causes great pain.

33 Catarrh A disorder of inflammation of mucous membranes in an airway or bodily cavity.

38 Spleen Most often used in this period to describe the nature of melancholy or hysterical affectation. But in this context, used to describe the surge of emotion that man feels towards women; ends in pregnancy.

39 Bawd A prostitute.

44 Racks, Wheels, Fires Refers to various methods of torture associated with religious inquisitions; the rack stretched an individual to dislocate/break limbs; the wheel was an actual wagon wheel that an individual was strapped to, then beaten. Fires could refer to a funeral pyre or burning at the stake.

45 Articles of Faith Refers to passages of the Bible that suggest death as a solution for sins.

62 Main Refers to the merchant “plowing” the main street of a city; a peddler seeking profit.

117 Phoebus Another name for Apollo, the god of the Sun in classical Greek mythology.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1738), pp. 99-104. [Google Books]

Edited by Spencer Lam