Page images

And so he did, and won it too,

For he got first to town;

Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
He did again get down.

Now let us sing, long live the king,
And Gilpin long live he;

And, when he next doth ride abroad,
May I be there to see!






purpose in these lays
Is to congratulate, and not to praise.
To give the creature the Creator's due
Were sin in me, and an offence to you.
From man to man, or e'en to woman paid,
Praise is the medium of a knavish trade,
A coin by craft for folly's use design'd,
Spurious, and only current with the blind.

The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
No traveller ever reach'd that bless'd abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in his road.
The World may dance along the flowery plain,
Cheer'd as they go by many a sprightly strain;
Where Nature has her mossy velvet spread,
With unshod feet they yet securely tread,
Admonish'd scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.

But he, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,

EPISTLE TO A LADY IN FRANCE. 221 In pity to the souls his grace design'd

To rescue from the ruins of mankind,

Call'd for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, Go, spend them in the vale of tears.'
O balmy gales of soul-reviving air!

O salutary streams, that murmur there!
These flowing from the fount of grace above,
Those breathed from lips of everlasting love.
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys;
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys;
An envious world will interpose its frown,
To mar delights superior to its own;
And many a pang, experienced still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin:
But ills of every shape and every name,
Transform'd to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.

Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste!
No shepherds' tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine-
So once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.




UNWIN, I should but ill repay

The kindness of a friend,

Whose worth deserves as warm a lay,

As ever friendship penn❜d,

Thy name omitted in a page,

That would reclaim a vicious age.


A union form'd, as mine with thee,
Not rashly, or in sport,

May be as fervent in degree,

And faithful in its sort,

And may as rich in comfort prove,
As that of true fraternal love.


The bud inserted in the rind,
The bud of peach or rose,

Adorns, though differing in its kind,
The stock whereon it grows,

With flower as sweet, or fruit as fair,
As if produced by Nature there.


Not rich, I render what I may,
I seize thy name in haste,
And place it in this first essay,

Lest this should prove the last.
'Tis where it should be-in a plan,
That holds in view the good of man.


The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,
Should be the poet's heart;
Affection lights a brighter flame
Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend,
I sink the poet in the friend.




THE history of the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair-a Volume.

In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such, as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.




Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa.-A schoolboy's ramble.-A walk in the country.-The scene described. Rural sounds as well as sights delightful.-Another walk. Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected.Colonnades commended.-Alcove, and the view from it.-The wilderness.-The grove.-The thresher.-The necessity and the benefits of exercise.-The works of nature superior to, and in some instances inimitable by, art.-The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure.-Change of scene sometimes expedient.-A common described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced.-Gipsies.-The blessings of civilized life. That state most favourable to virtue.-The South Sea islanders compassionated, but chiefly Omai.-His present state of mind supposed. Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities.-Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praises, but censured.-Fête champêtre.-The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.


I SING the Sofa. I, who lately sang

Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe
The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Escaped with pain from that adventurous flight,
Now seek repose upon an humbler theme;
The theme though humble, yet august and proud
The occasion-for the Fair commands the song.

Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use,
Save their own painted skins, our sires had none.
As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth,
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the gravelly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, reposed his wearied strength.
Those barbarous ages past, succeeded next
The birth-day of Invention: weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.

See Poems, pages 48, 79, 98.

« PreviousContinue »