Tag Archives: panegyric

John Dryden, “To Henry Higden, Esq; On his Translation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal”


“To Henry Higden, Esq; On his Translation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal”


The Grecian wits, who satire first began,
Were pleasant pasquins on the life of man;
At mighty villains, who the state opprest,
They durst not rail, perhaps; they lash’d, at least,
And turn’d them out of office with a jest.                                             5
No fool could peep abroad, but ready stand
The drolls to clap a bauble in his hand.
Wise legislators never yet could draw
A fop within the of reach of common law;
For posture, dress, grimace and affectation,                                       10
Tho’ foes to sense, are harmless to the nation.
Our last redress is dint of verse to try,
And satire is our Court of Chancery.
This way took Horace to reform an age,
Not bad enough to need an author’s rage.                                           15
But yours, who liv’d in more degenerate times,
Was forc’d to fasten deep, and worry crimes.
Yet you, my friend, have temper’d him so well,
You make him smile in spite of all his zeal:
An art peculiar to yourself alone,                                                            20
To join the virtues of two styles in one.
Oh! were your author’s principle receiv’d,
Half of the lab’ring world would be reliev’d:
For not to wish is not to be deceiv’d.
Revenge wou’d into charity be chang’d,                                                   25
Because it costs too dear to be reveng’d:
It costs our quiet and content of mind,
And when ’tis compass’d, leaves a sting behind.
Suppose I had the better end o’ th’ staff,
Why should I help th’ ill-natur’d world to laugh?                                   30
‘Tis all alike to them, who get the day;
They love the spite and mischief of the fray.
No; I have cur’d myself of that disease;
Nor will I be provok’d, but when I please:
But let me half that cure to you restore;                                                 35
You give the salve, I laid it to the sore.
Our kind relief against a rainy day,
Beyond a tavern, or a tedious play,
We take your book, and laugh our spleen away.
If all your tribe, too studious of debate,                                                    40
Would cease false hopes and titles to create,
Led by the rare example you begun,
Clients would fail, and Lawyers be undone.


Title Henry Higden (fl. 1686-1693), poet, dramatist, translator; as a member of Middle Temple, he was also a barrister.  Dryden’s poem was one of three celebratory verses published in the front matter of Higden’s A Modern Essay on the Tenth Satyr of Juvenal (London, 1687); Juvenal (b. 55-60? CE, d. in or after 127 CE), the “most powerful of all Roman satiric poets” (Britannica).

1 Grecian wits The most well-known early Greek satirists included Aristophanes (446 BC-386 BC), and Lucian (c. 125-after 180).

2 pasquins Composers of “lampoons,” satirists (OED).

4 durst not That is, “dared” not (OED).

7 drolls “A funny or waggish fellow; a merry-andrew, buffoon, jester, humorist” (OED).

9 fop “A foolish person, a fool” (OED).

13 Court of Chancery  “Court of equity to provide remedies not obtainable in the courts of common law” (Britannica).

14 Horace (65 BC-8BC), “Latin lyric poet and satirist” (Britannica).

16 yours “Juvenal” [Publisher’s note].

32 fray “A disturbance, esp. one caused by fighting; a noisy quarrel, a brawl” (OED).

SOURCE: Original Poems, and Translations, in Two Volumes, vol. II (Edinburgh, 1776), pp. 215-16 [Google Books]

Edited by Ilya Varga

Matthew Prior, “Hymn to the Sun”


“Hymn to the Sun”

Set by Dr. PURCEL,
And Sung before their Majesties on New-Year’s Day, 1693/4.


Light of the World, and Ruler of the Year,
With happy Speed begin thy great Career;
And, as thou dost thy radiant Journeys run,
Through every distant Climate, own,
That in fair Albion thou hast seen                                                      5
The greatest Prince, the brightest Queen,
That ever sav’d a Land, or blest a Throne,
Since first thy Beams were spread, or Genial Power was known.

So may thy Godhead be confest,
So the returning Year be blest,                                                          10
As its Infant Months bestow
Springing Wreaths for William’s Brow;
As its Summers Youth shall shed
Eternal Sweets around Maria’s Head:
From the Blessings they bestow,                                                       15
Our Times are dated, and our AEra’s move;
They govern, and enlighten all below,
As Thou dost all above.

Let our Hero in the War
Active and fierce, like Thee, appear;                                                 20
Like Thee, great Son of Jove, like Thee,
When clad in rising Majesty
Thou marchest down o’er Delos Hills confest,
With all thy Arrows arm’d, in all thy Glory drest.
Like Thee, the Hero does his Arms imploy,                                            25
The raging Python to destroy,
And give the injur’d Nations Peace and Joy.

From fairest Years, and Times more happy Stores,
Gather all the smiling Hours;
Such as with friendly Care have guarded                                           30
Patriots and Kings in rightful Wars;
Such as with Conquest have rewarded
Triumphant Victors happy Cares;
Such as Story has recorded
Sacred to Nassau’s long Renown,                                                          35
For Countries sav’d, and Battels won.

March them again in fair Array,
And bid them form the happy Day,
The happy Day design’d to wait
On William’s Fame, and Europe’s Fate.                                                     40
Let the happy Day be crown’d
With great Event and fair Success;
No brighter in the Year be found,
But that which brings the Victor home in Peace.

Again Thy Godhead we implore,                                                          45
(Great in Wisdom as in Power,)
Again, for good Maria’s Sake, and ours,
Chuse out other smiling Hours;
Such as with joyous Wings have fled,
When happy Counsels were advising;                                            50
Such as have lucky Omens shed
O’er forming Laws, and Empires rising;
Such as many Courses ran,
Hand in Hand a goodly Train,
To bless the great Eliza’s Reign;                                                           55
And in the Typic Glory show,
What fuller Bliss Maria shall bestow.

As the solemn Hours advance,
Mingled send into the Dance,
Many fraught with all the Treasures,                                                 60
Which thy Eastern Travel views;
Many wing’d with all the Pleasures,
Man can ask, or Heav’n diffuse.
That great Maria all those Joys may know,
Which from her Cares upon her Subjects flow.                                  65

For Thy own Glory sing our Sov’raign’s Praise
(God of Verses and of Days,)
Let all Thy tuneful Sons adorn
Their lasting Work with William’s Name;
Let chosen Muses yet unborn                                                           70
Take great Maria for their future Theam:
Eternal Structures let Them raise,
On William’s and Maria’s Praise:
Nor want new Subject for the Song,
Nor fear they can exhaust the Store,                                          75
‘Till Nature’s Musick lyes unstrung;
‘Till thou great God shalt lose thy double Pow’r;
And touch thy Lyre, and shoot thy Beams no more.


 Subtitle Dr. PURCEL Henry Purcell (c.1659-1695), “English composer of the middle Baroque period, most remembered for his more than 100 songs” (Britannica); Their Majesties William and Mary, reigned jointly 1689-1694; after Mary’s death, William reigned alone until 1702 (Britannica).

 5 Albion  “The nation of Britain or England, often with reference to past times, or to a  romanticized concept of the nation” (OED).

8 Genial “Pleasantly warm or temperate” (OED).

21 Son of Jove Mars, the Roman god of war, son of Jupiter and Juno (OCD).

23 Delos Remote Greek island where Leto gave birth to Apollo (OCD).

26 Python A huge serpent in Greek mythology, slain by Apollo at Delphi (Britannica).

35 Nassau’s A reference to William III, whose Dutch title was Prince of Orange-Nassau (Britannica).

55 Eliza’s Reign Queen Elizabeth I, reigned 1558-1603.

60 fraught “Filled; equipped with” (OED).

70 Muses A reference to future poets.

78 Lyre “A musical instrument of ancient Greece” (Britannica).

 SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1709), pp. 39-43. [HathiTrust]

 Edited by Eric Sandoval




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



Matthew Pilkington, “The Progress of Musick in Ireland, to Mira”


“The Progress of Musick in Ireland, to Mira”

The poet in fact is taught by Love, even if he has no skill before.
Eurip[ides], Sthenoboea.

By thee enjoyn’d th’ obsequious Muse obeys,
Yet, trembling, dreads the Danger she surveys,
But vain are Infant Fears, I plead in vain,
The Task too Noble, too Sublime the Strain,
The Fancy’s wing’d, and springs to bolder Flights,                                                    5
When Beauty bids, and Harmony invites;
For each, our Passions pleasingly controuls;
Love’s but the purer Harmony of Souls:
Musick and Love the savage World refin’d,
Reform’d the Manners, while they rais’d the Mind,                                                  10
Gave Man a Foretaste of the Joys above;
For what is Heav’n but Harmony and Love?

Hibernia long beheld, with Sorrow fill’d,
Her Poets and her Sons in Arts unskill’d:
Sons! dead to Fame, nor comely to the Sight,                                                            15
Their Customs wild, their Manners unpolite;
Nor yet cou’d Musick boast persuasive Charms,
To tempt one sprightly Genius to her Arms:
The Muse, in mournful Pomp, laments her Case,
Pale Grief and Anguish painted in her Face;                                                               20
To lonely Woods retire the tuneful Throng,
Uncharm’d by Sound, and negligent of Song:
The silent Lark forgets to wake the Dawn
With early Song, suspended o’er the Lawn,
On Earth he Pines, and droops his useless Wings                                                      25
With dumb Concern, and neither Soars nor Sings.

At length a Swain, long tortur’d with Despair,
The Scorn of some inexorable Fair,
Haunted each Grove, each dark Retreat of Grief,
Bereft of Ease, and hopeless of Relief;                                                                          30
Nightly he heard sad Philomel complain,
And wish’d to copy so divine a Strain,
So clear, so soft the plaintive Warbler sung,
The Groves, and Hills with plaintive Echoes rung.
Her Notes so mournfully melodious flow,                                                                     35
They calm his Soul, and mitigate his Woe,
Distressful Passion both alike bewail,
He sighs his Grief, she chants her piteous Tale.

Fain would he Sing; his Voice was still supprest
By swelling Sighs, which struggled from his Breast.                                                     40
Despair, whose Sting can haughtiest Minds controul,
Unstrings his Nerves, and quite unmans his Soul,
Breathes a wild Horror into ev’ry Part,
Restrains his Tongue, and preys upon his Heart.

But near the Grove, where comfortless he lies,                                                    45
The spiky Reeds in waving Clusters rise,
He models one, and his Invention tires,
Varying its Form as Art or Chance inspires:
Then gives it Breath to sing: With gentle Mirth
It strikes the Ear, as conscious of its Birth.                                                                    50
With sharpen’d Steel he lanc’d its tender Skin,
In order rang’d the op’ning Wounds are seen,
Wounds! less than he receiv’d, with piercing Smart,
In that soft Instrument of Love, the Heart:
To these his active Fingers he applies,                                                                            55
Which bid the changing Musick fall, and rise,
While in the Road of Harmony they guide
Each infant Sound, and o’er the Notes preside.

But o’er his Airs a gloomy Sorrow hung;
For still he lov’d, and Love distress’d he sung,                                                                60
His Heart in ev’ry Accent seem’d to bleed,
And Grief harmonious trembled from the Reed.

And still the Tenor of Hibernian Strains,
Those pleasing Labours of enamour’d Swains,
From his a melancholly Turn receive,                                                                               65
The Airs are moving, and the Numbers grieve.

Musick thus wak’d to Life, fair Child of Love!
Time’s rip’ning Touch, and growing Arts improve,
While to the feeble Voice of slender Reeds,
The manlier Musick of the Fife succeeds.                                                                        70
Alike in Form, but of a larger Mold,
More durable its Frame, its Tone more bold;
Now lively Numbers, born on willing Gales,
Flow to the Hills, and echo in the Vales;
The rural Throng now chearful croud around,                                                               75
And catch, enamour’d, the inspiring Sound,
They walk and move with correspondent Mien,
And Dance exulting on the level Green:
No Secret now the raptur’d Heart conceals,
The conscious Maid her hidden Flame reveals                                                               80
In glowing Blushes on her Cheeks they rise,
Burst from her Tongue, and kindle in her Eyes.

But secret Pleasures once disclos’d to Sight,
Give Birth to fresh Successions of Delight.
On Objects new the restless Fancy strays,                                                                       85
And wantons in the search of nobler Lays.
Extended Strings at length Experience found,
Start at the Touch, and tremble into Sound;
Of which a Vocal Multitude conspire,
In shining Order plac’d to form the Lyre:                                                                          90
And thus the Strings, as in a Choir combin’d,
Have each their parts of Harmony assign’d:
Some heav’nly Sounds transportingly create,
Like Echo some the heav’nly Sounds repeat,
Those plac’d above, rejoyce in sprightly Tones,                                                               95
Below the rough, hoarse Base, responsive, Groans.

If the judicious Artist bids them Play,
The dancing Cords in Silver Sounds obey,
But struck with Hands unskill’d, they spring to War,
Hiss out their Rage, and in harsh Discords jar.                                                               100

Musick henceforward more Domestick grew,
Courts the throng Towns, and from the Plains withdrew:
The Vagrant Bard his circling Visits pays,
And charms the Villages with venal Lays.
The solemn Harp, beneath his Shoulder plac’d,                                                             105
With both his Arms is earnestly embrac’d,
Sweetly irregular, now swift, now slow,
With soft Variety his Numbers flow,
The shrill, the deep, the gentle, and the strong,
With pleasing Dissonance adorn his Song;                                                                      110
While thro’ the Cords his Hands unweary’d range,
The Musick changing as his Fingers change.

The Croud transported in Attention hung,
Their Breath in Silence sleeps upon the Tongue,
The Wheels forget to turn, the Labours cease,                                                                 115
And ev’ry Sound but Musick sinks to Peace.

So when the Thracian charm’d the Shades below,
And brought down Raptures to the Realms of Woe,
Despairing Ghosts from Labour stand releas’d,
Each Wheel, each Instrument of Torture ceas’d;                                                            120
The Furies drop their Whips, afflictive Pain
Suspends, with ghastly Smiles, her Iron Reign,
All Groans were still’d, all Sorrow lull’d to Rest,
And ev’ry Care was hush’d in ev’ry Breast.

Joy spreads her Wings o’er all the raptur’d Isle,                                                        125
And bids each Face be bright’ned to a Smile.
Now Nature, pleas’d, her Gifts profusely Pours,
To Paint the chearful Earth with od’rous Flow’rs,
So chang’d a Scene she wonders to survey,
And bids ev’n Things inanimate look Gay.                                                                        130

The Muses now from Albion’s Isle retreat,
And here with kind Indulgence fix their Seat:
Then Viner rose, with all their warmth inspir’d,
A Bard caress’d by all, by all admir’d;
He Choral strings, in sleepy Silence bound,                                                                      135
Touch’d into Voice, and waken’d into Sound;
Then taught those Sounds to flow with easy Art,
To wooe the Soul, and glide into the Heart,
In Notes, untry’d before, his Fancy dress’t,
And bid new transports rise in ev’ry Breast.                                                                     140

While round in Crouds the fair Creation stand,
The polish’d Viol trembling in his Hand,
While swift as Thought, from note to note he springs,
Flies o’er th’ unerring Tones, and sweeps the sounding Strings,
The Old, the Young, the Serious, and the Gay,                                                                 145
With ravish’d Ears devour the ’witching Lay;
The Lover’s Eyes now languishingly Roll,
And speak the Dictates of the raptur’d Soul;
Foes, in whose Breasts the wildest Passion strove,
Forget their Rage, and soften into Love:                                                                            150
The prideful Beauty, feels with new Surprize
Her Bosom swell, and wonders why she Sighs,
Each Passion acts as he affects the Heart,
And Nature answers ev’ry stroke of Art.

But now refin’d Hibernia’s ravish’d Throng,                                                               155
With wonder dwell on Nicholini’s Song,
Whose warbling Voice and tuneful Tongue dispence,
The blended harmony of Sound and Sense:
With these he knew the list’ning Soul to charm,
And ev’ry Torment of its Sting disarm,                                                                               160
Cou’d calm the harsh disturber Care, to ease,
With Fear delight us, and with Sorrow please;
Cou’d warm the kindling Soul with am’rous Fire,
And Raptures, which he never felt, inspire.

While Musick thus its native Beauty shows,                                                              165
And, from its living Spring delightful flows,
How does it raise! how gladden ev’ry Heart!
How far transcend the mimic Voice of Art!

So, when Belinda’s heav’nly Beauties stand,
Wrought into Life, by Kneller’s magic Hand,                                                                     170
Her Face, her Shape, have all that Art can give,
Start from the animated Paint, and Live;
But, when the real Nymph, divin’ly bright,
Array’d in native Lustre, strikes our Sight,
Some nameless transport in our Bosom plays,                                                               175
That Shade and Colour want the Force to raise.

Dubourg next sways the Soul with nicest Art,
And binds in airy Chains the captive Heart,
While from the vocal Strings, and shifting Bow,
At his nice Touch th’ obsequious Numbers flow.                                                            180
With easy toil he swells the Notes aloud,
Now on the Ear precipitant they croud,
Now, scarcely heard, they gradually decay,
And with melodious Cadence waste away,
While at his melting Falls, and dying Notes,                                                                    185
Around the Heart the liquid Rapture floats.

With martial Ardor if he boldly warms,
The animated Hero pants for Arms,
With guiltless Rage th’ impetuous Spirit glows,
And prostrates Legions of imagin’d Foes.                                                                         190

But, if to Mirth, a sprightly strain inclines,
With Humour fraught his quick’ning Genius shines,
Then, smiling Joys thro’ ev’ry Aspect fly,
Glow in the Lips, and wanton in the Eye.

Next Bocchi Reigns, whom Art and Nature grace                                                    195
To smooth the roughness of the sullen Base,
Directs his Notes distinct to rise or fall,
Tries ev’ry Tone to charm, and charms in all.

Th’ awaken’d Muse thus rises, thus refines,
Improves with Time, and in Perfection shines;                                                                200
The first rude Lays are now but meanly priz’d,
As rude, neglected, as untun’d, despis’d:
Dead—(in Esteem too dead) the Bards that sung,
The Fife neglected, and the Harp unstrung.

So when the Thrush exalts his chearful Throat,                                                       205
To glad the Fields with many an artless Note,
With rude Delight the List’ner’s Breast he warms,
Wild tho’ he sings, his sylvan Wildness charms;
But if the warbling Nightingale prepares
Her softer Voice, that melts with thrilling Airs,                                                                 210
The Winds are hush’d, still Silence reigns around,
And list’ning Echo dwells upon the Sound;
Harsh seem the Strains which gave Delight before,
And far excell’d, those Strains delight no more.

The pausing Muse now shuts her vent’rous Wings,                                                  215
And, anxious of Success, distrustful sings;
O! might her Lays to thy Esteem succeed,
For whom she tun’d her artless Voice and Reed,
Thy Smiles wou’d swell her Heart with honest Pride,
Approv’d by thee she scorns the World beside.                                                                220


Title  Mira  Laetitia Van Lewen (1709-1750) married Pilkington in 1725, noted for her exceptional singing voice.  Several other pieces in his Poems on Several Occasions are dedicated to her.

Epigraph  From Stheneboea, a play fragment by Euripides (c. 480-c. 406 BC), given in ancient Greek.  Translation from C. Collard, et al, eds., Euripides: Selected Fragmentary Plays (Liverpool UP, 2009), fragment 663, p. 88.

13  Hibernia  Ireland (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

31  Philomel  A nightingale (OED).

51  its  Emended from “it’s,” a printer’s error.

66  Numbers  “Verses” (OED).

70  Fife  “A small shrill-toned instrument of the flute kind” (OED).

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

103  Bard  Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738, also Terrence O’Carolan), blind Irish composer and harpist; renowned for his improvisational verse (Brittanica).

117  the Thracian charm’d the Shades below  A reference to Orpheus, mythological Greek poet and musician of Thracian origin.  After the death of his wife, Eurydice, at the suggestion of the gods, Orpheus descended to the underworld and charmed Hades and Persephone with his song (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

121  Furies  Also called Erinyes; Greek spirits of punishment, avenging wrongs done to kindred (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

131  Albion’s Isle  Britain (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

133  Viner  William Viner (1650-1716), English violinist, composer and Master of the State Music in Ireland from 1703 until his death (Dictionary of Irish Biography).

138  wooe  Alternate form of  “woo;” to court a person, typically a woman (OED).

156  Nicholini  Nicolo Grimaldi (1673-1732), Italian opera singer, alto castrato (The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music).

160  its  Emended from “it’s,” a printer’s error.

161  Care  “A burdened state of mind arising from fear, doubt or concern about anything” (OED).

169  Belinda  The main character in Alexander Pope’s popular mock-heroic poem The Rape of the Lock (1714); based on Arabella Fermor (1696-1737), who was renowned at the time for her beauty.

170  Kneller  Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), English portrait painter.  One of the three known portraits of Arabella Fermor is attributed to him.

177  Dubourg  Matthew Dubourg (1703-1767), English violinist, preternaturally gifted and was appointed Master of the State Music in Ireland in 1728, a position he held until his death (Dictionary of Irish Biography).

195  Bocchi  Lorenzo Bocchi (d. 1725), Italian cellist; he is believed to be responsible for introducing the cello to both Scotland and Ireland (R. Cowgill and P. Holman, eds., Music in the British Provinces, 1690-1914, p. 4).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (Dublin, 1730), pp. 3-25.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jerry Andersen

Mary Barber, “To Dr. Richard Helsham. Upon my Recovery from a dangerous Fit of Sickness”


“To Dr. Richard Helsham. Upon my Recovery from a dangerous Fit of Sickness

For fleeting Life recall’d, for Health restor’d,
Be first the God of Life and Health ador’d;
Whose boundless Mercy claims this Tribute due:
And next to Heav’n, I owe my Thanks to you;
To you, who feel the Ease your Med’cines give,                                 5
And, in reviving Patients, doubly live;
You, who from Nature’s Dictates never stray;
But wisely wait, till she points out the Way:
Where-e’er she leads, unerring, you pursue
Her mazy System, op’ning to your View.                                             10

In you reviv’d we RATCLIFF’S Genius see,
Heighten’d by Learning and Humanity.
With Ease all Nature’s Secrets you explore,
And to the noblest Heights of Science soar.
Your Thoughts, unbounded, travel with the Sun;                               15
And see attendant Worlds around him run;
Which trace their distant Courses thro’ the Sky,
Nor fly his Throne too far, nor press too nigh.
The wise and wond’rous Laws you clearly know,
Which rule those Worlds above, and this below.                                 20
The World of Life, which we obscurely see,
In all its Wonders, is survey’d by thee:
And thou in ev’ry Part canst something find,
To praise thy Maker, and to bless thy Kind:
Quick to discern, judicious to apply,                                                        25
Your Judgment clear, and piercing, as your Eye:
Ev’n Med’cines, in your wise Prescriptions, please;
And are no more the Patient’s worst Disease.
Goodness, and Skill, and Learning less than thine,
Rais’d AESCULAPIUS to the Realms divine.                                              30


Title Dr. Richard Helsham (1683-1738), Irish physician and natural philosopher; like Barber, he was also a member of Jonathan Swift’s Dublin circle.

11 RATCLIFF John Radcliffe (1650-1714), physician and politician, served as royal physician to William and Mary.

18 nigh “Close at hand, nearby” (OED).

25 judicious “Proceeding from or showing sound judgement; done with or marked by discretion, wisdom, or good sense” (OED).

30 AESCULAPIUS Greek god of medicine.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 30-31. [Google Books]

Edited by Ivan Li

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