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That crown the solitary dome, arise ;
Of sunk magnificence! a blended scene While from the topmost turret the slow clock, Of moles, fanes, arches, domes, and palaces, Far heard along th' inhospitable wastes,
Where, with his brother Horrour, Ruin sits. With sad-returning chime awakes new grief; O come then, Melancholy, queen of thought ! Ev’n he far happier seems than is the proud, O come with saintly look, and stedfast step, "The potent satrap, whom he left behind
From forth thy cave embower'd with mournful yew, 'Mid Moscow's golden palaces, to drown
Where ever to the curfew's solemn sound In ease and luxury the laughing hours.
List'ning thou sitt'st, and with thy cypress bind Illustrious objects strike the gazer's mind Thy votary's hair, and seal him for thy son. With feeble bliss, and but allure the sight,
But never let Euphrosyne beguile Nor rouse with impulse quick th' unfeeling heart. With toys of wanton mirth my fixed mind, Thus seen by shepherds from Hymettus' brow, Nor in my path her primrose-garland cast. What dædal landscapes smile! here palmy groves, Though 'mid her train the dimpled Hebe bare Resounding once with Plato's voice, arise, Her rosy bosom to th' enamour'd view; Amid whose umbrage green her silver head
Though Venus, mother of the Smiles and Loves, Th' unfading olive lifts : here vine-clad hills And Bacchus, ivy-crown'd, in citron bow'r Lay forth their purple store, and sunny vales With her on nectar-streaming fruitage feast : In prospect vast their level laps expand,
What though 't is hers to calm the low'ring skies, Amid whose beauties glistering Athens tow'rs. And at her presence mild th' embattled clouds Though through the blissful scenes Ilissus roll Disperse in air, and o'er the face of Heav'n His sage.inspiring flood, whose winding marge New day diffusive gleam at her approach? The thick-wove laurel shades ; though roseate Morn Yet are these joys that Melancholy gives, Pour all her splendours on th' empurpled scene; Than all her witless revels happier far; Yet feels the hoary hermit truer joys,
These deep-felt joys, by Contemplation taught. As from the cliff, that o'er his cavern hangs,
Then ever, beauteous Contemplation, hail! He views the piles of fall’n Persepolis
From thee began, auspicious maid, my song, In deep arrangement hide the darksome plain, With thee shall end; for thou art fairer far Unbounded waste ! the mould'ring obelisk Than are the nymphs of Cirrha's mossy grot; Here, like a blasted oak, ascends the clouds ; To loftier rapture thou canst wake the thought, Here Parian domes their vaulted halls disclose Than all the fabling poet's boasted pow'rs. Horrid with thorn, where lurks th' unpitying thief, Hail, queen divine! whom, as tradition tells, Whence flits the twilight-loving bat at eve,
Once in his evening walk a Druid found, And the deaf adder wreathes her spotted train, Far in a hollow glade of Mona's woods; The dwellings once of elegance and art.
And piteous bore with hospitable hand Here temples rise, amid whose hallow'd bounds To the close shelter of his oaken bow'r. Spires the black pine, while through the naked street, There soon the sage admiring mark'd the dawn Once haunt of tradeful merchants, springs the grass : Of solemn musing in your pensive thought; Here columns heap'd on prostrate columns, torn For when a smiling babe, you lov'd to lie From their firm base, increase the mould'ring mass. Oft deeply list'ning to the rapid roar Par as the sight can pierce, appear the spoils Of wood-hung Meinai, stream of Druids old.
William Mason, a poet of some distinction, verse, made its appearance, of which the fourth and born in 1725, was the son of a clergyman, who held concluding book was printed in 1781. Its purthe living of Hull. He was admitted first of pose was to recommend the modern system of St. John's College, and afterwards of Pembroke natural or landscape gardening, to which the author College, Cambridge, of the latter of which he was adheres with the rigour of exclusive taste. The elected Fellow in 1747. He entered into holy versification is formed upon the best models, and orders in 1754, and, by the favour of the Earl of the description, in many parts, is rich and vivid; Holderness, was presented to the valuable rectory but a general air of stiffness prevented it from #of Aston, Yorkshire, and became Chaplain to taining any considerable share of popularity. Some His Majesty. Some poems which he printed gave of his following poetic pieces express his liberal him reputation, which received a great accession sentiments on political subjects; and when the from his dramatic poem of “ Elfrida." By this late Mr. Pitt came into power, being then the piece, and his “ Caractacus,” which followed, it friend of a free constitution, Mason addressed him was his aim to attempt the restoration of the ancient in an “ Ode," containing many patriotie and Greek chorus in tragedy; but this is so evidently manly ideas. But being struck with alarm at the an appendage of the infant and imperfect state of unhappy events of the French revolution, one of the drama, that a pedantic attachment to the ancients his latest pieces was a “ Palinody to Liberty." could alone suggest its revival. In 1756, he pub- He likewise revived, in an improved form, and lished a small collection of “ Odes,” which were published, Du Fresnoy's Latin poem on the Art generally considered as displaying more of the of Painting, enriching it with additions furnished artificial mechanism of poetry, than of its genuine by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and with a metrical ferspirit. This was not the case with his “ Elegies,” sion. Few have been better executed than this, published in 1763, which, abating some superfluity which unites to great beauties of language a correct of ornament, are in general marked with the sim- representation of the original. His tribute to the plicity of language proper to this species of com- memory of Gray, being an edition of his poems, position, and breathe noble sentiments of freedom with some additions, and Memoirs of his Life and and virtue. A collection of all his poems which Writings, was favourably received by the public. he thought worthy of preserving, was published in Mason died in April, 1797, at the age of seventy1764, and afterwards went through several editions, two, in consequence of a mortification produced by He had married an amiable lady, who died of a a hurt in his leg. A tablet has been placed to his consumption in 1767, and was buried in the cathe- memory in Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey. dral of Bristol, under a monument, on which are His character in private life was exemplary for inscribed some very tender and beautiful lines, by worth and active benevolence, though not without her husband.
a degree of stateliness and assumed superiority of In 1772, the first book of Mason's “ English manner. Garden," a didactic and descriptive poem, in blank
ODE TO MEMORY.
Mother of Wisdom ! thou, whose sway
Accept this votive verse. Thy reign
Nor place can fix, nor power restrain. All, all is thine. For thee the
eye, Rove through the realms of grace, and harmony:
The senses thee spontaneous serve,
That wake, and thrill through ev'ry nerve,
Else vainly sweet yon woodbine shade
Vainly, the cygnet spread her downy plume,
But swift to thee, alive and warm,
Devolves each tributary charm :
While every flower in Fancy's clime,
Each gem of old heroic time,
Hail, Mem’ry! hail. Behold, I lead
To that high shrine the sacred maid :
She comes, and lo, thy realms expand!
Full in the midst, and o'er thy num'rous train
As now o'er this lone beach I stray,
Tly fav’rite swain * oft stole along,
And artless wove his Dorian lay,
Far from the busy throng.
Soon these responsive shores forgot to ring,
See, visionary suns arise
Pointed with satire's keeneit steel,
The shafts of wit he darts around; 'Through sladowy brakes light glance the sparkling
Ev'n † mitred dulness learns to feel,
And shrinks beneath the wound.
In aweful poverty his honest Muse
Walks forth vindictive through a venal land :
In vain corruption sheds her golden dews, Mimics the feather'd chorus o'er her head.
In vain oppression lifts her iron hand;
He scorns them both, and, arm'd with truth alone,
Bids lust and folly tremble on the throne.
Behold, like him, immortal maid,
The Muses' vestal fires I bring :
Here, at thy feet, the sparks I spread :
Propitious wave thy wing,
And fan them to that dazzling blaze of song, Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse? What friends were thine, save Mem'ry and the Muse? But, hark, methinks I hear her hallow'd tongue !
Which glares tremendous on the sons of pride.
In distant trills it echoes o'er the tide ;
Now meets mine ear with warbles wildly free, Hence all thy classic wand'rings could explore,
As swells the lark's meridian ecstasy.
“ Fond youth! to Marvell's patriot fame, Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side;
Thy humble breast must ne'er aspire. The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly: Yet nourish still the lambent flame; The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;
Still strike thy blameless lyre : Were still thine own; thy ample mind Led by the moral Muse, securely rove;
Each charm receiv’d, retain’d, combin'd. And all the vernal sweets thy vacant youth And thence “ the nightly visitant,” that came Can cull from busy Fancy's fairy grove, To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame,
Oh hang their foliage round the fane of Truth: Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace, To arts like these devote thy tuneful toil,
That whilom shot from Nature's face, And meet its fair reward in D'Arcy's smile.
Thy sick’ning soul; at that sad hour,
Thy duteous sorrows shower :
At that sad hour, when all thy hopes decline ; ODE TO INDEPENDENCY. When pining Care leads on her pallid train, Here, on my native shore reclin'd,
And sees thee, like the weak, and widow'd vine, While silence rules this midnight hour,
Winding thy blasted tendrits o’er the plain. I woo thee, Goddess ! On my musing mind
At that sad hour shall D'Arcy lend his aid, Descend, propitious power!
And raise with friendship's arm thy drooping head And bid these ruffling gales of grief subside : Bid my calm’d soul with all thy influence shine;
“ This fragrant wreath, the Muses' meed,
That bloom'd those vocal shades among,
Where never flatt'ry dar'd to treau,
Or interest's servile throng ;
Receive, thou favour'd son, at iny command,
And keep with sacred care, for D'Arcy's brow : Come to thy vot'ry's ardent prayer,
Tell him, 't was wove by my immortal hand, In all thy graceful plainness drest :
I breath'd on every flower a purer glow; No knot confines thy waving hair,
Say, for thy sake, I send the gift divine No zone, thy floating vest ;
To brim, who calls thee his, yet makes thee mine." Unsullied honour decks thine open brow, And candour brightens in thy modest eye :
• Andrew Marvell, born at Kingston-upon-Hull Thy blush is warm content's ethereal glow; in the year 1620. Thy smile is peace; thy step is liberty :
+ See The Rehearsal transprosed, and an account 'Thou scatter'st blessings round with lavisli hand, of the effect of that satire, in the Biographiio BritanAs Spring with careless fragrance fills the landa nica, art. Marvell.
Know, ye were form'd to range yon azure field,
In yon ethereal founts of bliss to lave: ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A LADY. Force then, secure in Faith's protecting shield,
The sting from Death, the vict'ry from the Grave, The midnight clock has toll'd; and hark, the bell Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
Of death beats slow! heard ye the note profound ? Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dulness steep: It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Go soothe your souls in sickness, grief, or pain, Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
With the sad solace of eternal sleep. Yes * * * is dead. Attend the strain,
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are, Daughters of Albion! Ye that, light as air, More than those preachers of your far’rite creed, So oft have tript in her fantastic train,
Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war, With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair :
Who form the phalanx, bid the battle bleed; For she was fair beyond your brightest bloom ; Nor wish for more: who conquer, but to die.
(This envy owns, since now her bloom is fled ;) Hear, Folly, hear, and triumph in the tale : Fair as the forms, that, wove in fancy's loom, Like you, they reason ; not, like you, enjoy
Float in light vision round the poet's head. The breeze of bliss, that fills your silken sail : Whene'er with soft serenity she smil'd,
On Pleasure's glitt'ring stream ye gaily steer Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise, Your little course to cold oblivion's shore: How sweetly mutable, how brightly wild,
They dare the storm, and, through th'inclement year, The liquid lustre darted from her eyes!
Stem the rough surge, and brave the torrent's roar. Each look, each motion, wak'd a new-born grace, Is it for glory? that just Fate denies. That o'er her form its transient glory cast :
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Some lovelier wonder soon usurp'd the place, Ere from her trump the heav'n-breath'd accents rise,
Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the last. That lift the hero from the fighting crowd. That bell again! it tells us what she is :
Is it his grasp of empire to extend ? On what she was no more the strain prolong : To curb the fury of insulting foes? Luxuriant fancy, pause : an hour like this
Ambition, cease : the idle contest end : Demands the tribute of a serious song,
'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose. Maria claims it from that sable bier,
And why must murder'd myriads lose their all, Where cold and wan the slumberer rests her head; (If life be all,) why desolation lour, In still small whispers to reflection's ear,
With famish'd frown, on this affrighted ball, She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead. That thou may'st flame the meteor of an hour? Oh catch the aweful notes, and lift them loud; Go wiser ye, that flutter life away,
Proclaim the theme, by sage, by fool rever'd : Crown with the mantling juice the goblet high ; Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud! Weave the light dance, with festive freedom gay,
'Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard. And live your moment, since the next ye die. Yes, ye shall hear, and tremble as ye hear, Yet know, vain sceptics, know, th' Almighty mind,
While, high with health, your hearts exulting leap; Who breath'd on man a portion of his fire, Ev'n in the midst of Pleasure's mad career, Bade his free soul, by earth nor time confin'd The mental monitor shall wake and weep.
To Heav'n, to immortality aspire.
Nor shall the pile of hope, his mercy rear'd,
Shall be by all or suffer'd or enjoy'd.
Ye sip the nectar of each varying bloom : Nor fear, while basking in the beams of spring,
The wintry storm that sweeps you to the tomb.
EPITAPH ON MRS. MASON.
And menac'd oft, and oft withheld the blow : Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear: To give reflection time, with lenient art,
Take that best gift which Heav'n so lately gave : Each fond delusion from her soul to steal; To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care Teach her from folly peaceably to part,
Her faded form; she bow'd to taste the wave, And wean her from a world she lov'd so well. And died. Does youth, does beauty, read the line ? Say, are ye sure his mercy shall extend
Does sympathetic fear their breasts alarm? To you so long a span? Alas, ye sigh :
Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine: Make then, while yet ye may, your God, your friend, Ev'n from the grave thou shalt have power to And learn with equal ease to sleep or die !
charm. Nor think the Muse, whose sober voice ye hear, Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
Contracts with bigot frown her sullen brow; Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move; Casts round Religion's orb the mists of fear, (glow. And if so fair, from vanity as free;
Or shades with horrours, what with smiles should As firm in friendship, and as fond in love. No; she would warın you with seraphic fire, Tell them, though 't is an aweful thing to die, Heirs as ye are of Heav'n's eternal day;
('T was ev'n to thee) yet the dread path once trod, Would bid you boldly to that Heav'n aspire, Heav'n lifts its everlasting portals high,
Not sink and slumber in your cells of clay, And bids “ the pure in heart behold their God."
IN THE CATHEDRAL Or BRISTOL
William Cowper, a poet of distinguished and to Olney in Buckinghamshire, which was thenceoriginal genius, was born in 1731, at Great Berk- forth the principal place of Cowper's residence. At hampstead in Hertfordshire. His father, the rector Olney he contracted a close friendship with the of the parish, was John Cowper, D.D., nephew of Rev. Mr. Newton, then minister there, and since Lord-Chancellor Cowper. The subject of this rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, whose rememorial was educated at Westminster school, ligious opinions were in unison with his own. Το where he acquired the classical knowledge and cor- a collection of hymns published by him, Cowper rectness of taste for which it is celebrated, but with contributed a considerable number of his own comout any portion of the confident and undaunted position. He first became known to the public as spirit which is supposed to be one of the most a poet by a volume printed in 1782, the contents of valuable acquisitions derived from the great schools, which, if they did not at once place him high in the to those who are to push their way in the world. scale of poetic excellence, sufficiently established his On the contrary, it appears from his poem entitled claim to originality. Its topics are « Table Talk," “ Tirocinium,” that the impressions made upon his • Errour," « Truth,” “Expostulation,” “ Hope,” mind from what he witnessed in this place, were Charity,"
," “ Conversation,” and “ Retirement," such as gave him a permanent dislike to the system all treated upon religious principles, and not withof public education. Soon after his leaving West- out a considerable tinge of that rigour and austerity minster, he was articled to a solicitor in London which belonged to his system. These pieces are for three years; but so far from studying the law, written in rhymed heroics, which he commonly he spent the greatest part of his time with a relation, manages with little grace, or attention to melody. where he and the future Lord Chancellor (Lord The style, though often prosaic, is never flat or inThurlow) spent their time, according to his own sipid ; and sometimes the true poet breaks through, expression, “ in giggling, and making giggle.” in a vein of lively description or bold figure. At the expiration of his time with the solicitor, he If this volume excited but little of the public took chambers in the Temple, but his time was still attention, his next volume, published in 1785, inlittle employed on the law, and was rather engaged troduced his name to all the lovers of poetry, and in classical pursuits, in which Coleman, Bonnel gave him at least an equality of reputation with any
Thornton, and Lloyd, seem to have been his prin- of his contemporaries. It consists of a poem in six cipal associates.
books, entitled “ The Task," alluding to the inCowper's spirits were naturally weak; and when junction of a lady, to write a piece in blank verse, his friends had procured him a nomination to the for the subject of which she gave him The Sofa. offices of reading-clerk and clerk of the Private It sets out, indeed, with some sportive discussion of Committees in the House of Lords, he shrunk with this topic ; but soon falls into a serious strain of such terrour from the idea of making his appearance rural description, intermixed with moral sentiments before the most august assembly in the nation, that and portraitures, which is preserved through the six after a violent struggle with himself, he resigned his books, freely ranging from thought to thought with intended employment, and with it all his prospects no perceptible method.
But as the whole poem in life. In fact, he became completely deranged; will here be found, it is unnecessary to enter into and in this situation was placed, in December, 1763, particulars. Another piece, entitled “ Tirocinium, about the 32d year of his age, with Dr. Cotton, an or a Review of Schools,” a work replete with amiable and worthy physician at St. Alban's. This striking observation, is added to the preceding; and agitation of his mind is placed by some who have several other pieces gleaned from his various writings mentioned it to the account of a deep consideration will be found in the collection. of his state in a religious view, in which the terrours For the purpose of losing in employment the of eternal judgment so much overpowered his distressing ideas which were ever apt to recur, he faculties, that he remained seven months in moment next undertook the real task of translating into ary expectation of being plunged into final misery. blank verse the whole of Homer's Iliad and OdysMr. Johnson, however, a near relation, has taken sey. This work has much merit of execution, and pains to prove to demonstration, that these views of is certainly a far more exact representation of the his condition were so far from producing such an ancient poet than Pope's ornamental version; but effect, that they ought to be regarded as his sole where simplicity of matter in the original is not consolation. It appears, however, that his mind relieved by the force of sonorous diction, the poverty had acquired such an indelible tinge of melancholy, of English blank-verse has scarcely been able to prethat his whole successive life was passed with little vent it from sinking into mere prose. Various more than intervals of comfort between long pa- other translations denoted his necessity of seeking roxysms of settled despondency.
employment; but nothing was capable of durably After a residence of a year and a half with relieving his mind from the horrible impressions it Dr. Cotton, he spent part of his time at the house had undergone. He passed some of his latter of his relation, Earl Cowper, and part at Hunting- years under the affectionate care of a relation at don, with his intimate friend, the Rev. Mr. Unwin. East Derebam in Norfolk, where he died oo The death of the latter caused his widow to remove April 25th, 1800.