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Can mis’ry bid th' imagination glow ? Or genius brighten ʼmidst domestic woe? To see desponding wretches round him pine, Horace had wept beneath the Alban vine. Sad sits the bard amidst his country's tears, And sighs, regardless of the wreaths he wears. Did ever Want and Famine sweetly fing? The fetter'd hand uncouthly strikes the string: Lo! stern Oppression lifts her iron rod, And Ruin waits th’imperious harpy's nod: Black Desolation, and destructive War, Rise at the signal, and attend her car. From the dire pomp th’affrighted shepherd Aies, And leaves his flock the rav'nous soldier's prize. Where now are all the nymphs that blest the plains ? Where the full chorus of contented swains ? The songs of love, of liberty and peace, Are heard no more ; the dance and tabor cease: To the soft oaten pipe, and past'ral reed, The din of arms, and clarion's blast succeed : Dire shapes appear in every op'ning glade ; And Furies howl where once the Muses stray'd ?
Is this the queen of realms, for arts renown'd ? This captive maid, that weeps upon the ground !
Alas ! how chang’d! - dejected and forlorn!
The mistress of the world become the scorn!
Around stand Rapine, Horror and Despair ;
And Ign’rance, dark ally of barb'rous War:
She, at th' usurping Vandal's dread command,
Displays her gloomy banner o'er the land :
Beneath its chilling shade neglected lies
Each sister Art; and unlamented dies.
Lo! Sculpture lets her useless chissel fall;
While on some ruin'd temple's broken wall
Sad Architecture sits; and sees with shame
Mif-shapen piles usurp her injur’d name :
Music and Verse, unhappy twins ! belong
To antique Masque, and weak unmanly Song:
The gath'ring deluge swells on every side,
And monkish Superstition swells the tide.
By the resiftless torrent overborn
Floats every Virtue, from its basis torn :
Fair Learning droops, the sick’ning Arts decay;
And every laurel fades, and every bay.
All is confus'd, no traces now are seen
To shew what wretched Italy has been.
Thus once Vesuvius, crown’d with circling wood, Parthenope, thy beauteous neighbour stood :
Perpetual Spring cloath'd the fair mountain's side ;
And what is now thy terror, was thy pride.
Sudden th' imprison’d Aames burst forth; and laid
On smoaky heaps each shrieking Dryad's shade:
Now deep in alhes sinks the myrtle bow'r,
O'er beds of flow'rs sulphureous torrents roar ;
And exild demi-gods their ruin'd seats deplore.
E ladies that live in the city or town,
Fair Winton or Alresford so fine and so gay;
And ye neat country lasses in clean linen gown,
As neat and as blithe and as pretty as they :
Come away strait to Ovington, for you
can't think What a charming new walk there is made on the Link.
Look how lovely the prospect, the meadows how green,
The fields and the woods, in the vale or the hill :
The trees, and the cottage that
peeps out between,
The clear stream that runs bubbling in many a rill,
That will show your fair face as you stand on the brink,
And murmurs most sweetly all under the Link.
How pleasant the morning, how clear the blue sky,
How pure the fresh air, and how healthy the place !
Your heart goes a pit-a-pat light as a fly,
And the blood circles briskly, and glows in your face:
Would you paint your fair cheeks with the rose and the
Throw your washes away, take a walk on the Link. (pink?
After dinner the 'squire ere the ladies retreat,
Marches off with some friends that will ply the brisk glass;
Gives us liquor enough, and a good pleasant seat,
And damns your fine taste, and your finical lass:
Al fresco, my lads, we'll carouse and we'll drink,
Take your bottle each man, and away to the Link.
Not so gentle Collin, whom love holds in thrall,
To Molly he steals all in silence away ;
And when nought can be heard but the rude water-fall,
And the woodbine breathes sweetest at close of the day,
He takes her soft hand, and he tips her the wink,
Come, my dear, let us take a cool walk on the Link.
But, Oye fair maidens, be sure have a care,
Nor lay yourselves open to love's cruel dart;
Of the hour and the place and the season beware,
And guard well each passage that leads to your heart ;
Sly Cupid will steal in at some little chink,
If you walk in the evening too late on the Link.
Ye poets so lofty, who love to retire
From the noise of the town to the stream and the wood;
Who in epics and tragics, with marvellous fire,
Utter sounds by mere mortals not well understood :
Here mouthe your loud strain, and here ply pen and ink,
Quit Parnassus and Pindus, and come to the Link.
And come you, who for thought are at little expence,
Who indite gentle pastoral, ballad, or fong;
You fee with smooth numbers, and not too much sense,
How the verfes run easy and glibly along;
And the rhime at the close how it falls with a clink,
So kind are the Muses that sport on the Link !