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Title: Original sonnets on various subjects; and odes paraphrased from Horace

Author: Anna Seward

Release date: December 30, 2008 [eBook #27663]
Most recently updated: January 25, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Michael Roe and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This book was
produced from scanned images of public domain material
from the Google Print project.)





Entered at Stationers hall. [Pg i]



Come, bright Imagination

Come, bright Imagination come, relume
Thy orient lamp.

See Sonnet 1



1799. [Pg iii]


Whatever other excellence may be wanting in the ensuing Poems, they are, with only nine exceptions out of the hundred, strictly Sonnets. Those nine vary only from the rules of the legitimate Sonnet in that they rhime three, instead of four times in the first part. The pause is in them, as in the rest, variously placed through the course of the verses; and thus they bear no more resemblance than their associates, to those minute Elegies of twelve alternate rhimes, closing with a couplet, which assume the name of Sonnet, without any other resemblance to that order of Verse, except their limitation to fourteen lines. I never found the quadruple rhimes injurious to the general expression of the sense, but in the excepted instances. When it is considered how few they are in so large a number, I flatter myself the idea will vanish that our language is not capable of doing justice to the regular Sonnet.

From the Supplement to the Gentleman's Magazine for 1786, I shall insert Mr. White's definition of the nature and perfection [Pg iv] of this species of Verse, because I think it explains them with justness and precision.

“Little Elegies, consisting of four stanzas and a couplet, are no more Sonnets than they are Epic Poems. The Sonnet is of a particular and arbitrary construction; it partakes of the nature of Blank Verse, by the lines running into each other at proper intervals. Each line of the first eight, rhimes four times, and the order in which those rhimes should fall is decisive. For the ensuing six there is more licence; they may, or may not, at pleasure, close with a couplet.

“Of Milton's English Sonnets, only that to Oliver Cromwell ends with a couplet, but the single instance is a sufficient precedent; however, in three out of his five Italian ones, the concluding lines rhime to each other.

“The style of the Sonnet should be nervous, and, where the subject will with propriety bear elevation, sublime; with which, simplicity of language is by no means incompatible. If the subject is familiar and domestic, the style should, though affectionate, be nervous; though plain, be energetic. The great models of perfection, for the sublime and domestic Sonnet, are those of Milton's, ‘To the Soldier to spare his Dwelling-place,’ and ‘To Mr. Laurence.’ [Pg v]

“The Sonnet is certainly the most difficult species of poetic composition; but difficulty, well subdued, is excellence. Mrs. Smith says she has been told that the regular Sonnet suits not the nature or genius of our language. Surely this assertion cannot be demonstrated, and therefore was not worth attention.

“Out of eighteen English Sonnets, written by Milton, four are bad. The rest, though they are not free from certain hardnesses, have a pathos and greatness in their simplicity, sufficient to endear the legitimate Sonnet to every Reader of just taste. They possess a characteristic grace, which can never belong to three elegiac stanzas, closing with a couplet.”

I have pleasure in quoting the preceding Dissertation on the Sonnet, conscious that there is no order of Verse, upon which so much erroneous opinion has gone forth, and of whose beauties the merely common Reader is so insensible. But when the Author of this just Treatise says of the assertion, that the legitimate Sonnet suits not our language, “its truth cannot be demonstrated,” he should perhaps rather have observed, that its fallacy is proved by the great number of beautiful legitimate Sonnets, which adorn our National Poetry, not only by Milton, but by many of our modern Poets. [Pg vi]

Of the four of Milton's, justly disapproved by Mr. White, there is one evidently a burlesque, written in sport. It begins,

“A book was writ of late, call'd Tetrachordon.”

Doctor Johnson has the disingenuousness, in his Folio Dictionary, under the word Sonnet, to cite that Sonnet at full length, as a specimen of Milton's style in this kind of Poetry. Johnson disliked Sonnets, and he equally disliked Blank Verse, and Odes. It is in vain to combat the prejudice of splenetic aversion. The Sonnet is an highly valuable species of Verse; the best vehicle for a single detached thought, an elevated, or a tender sentiment, and for a succinct description. The compositions of that order now before the Reader, ensued from time to time, as various circumstances impressed the heart, or the imagination of their Author, and as the aweful, or lovely scenes of Nature, arrested, or allured her eye. [Pg vii]



Dear are the forceful energies of Song,
    For they do swell the spring-tide of the heart
    With rosier currents, and impel along
    The life-blood freely:—O! they can impart
Raptures ne'er dreamt of by the sordid throng
    Who barter human feeling at the mart
    Of pamper'd selfishness, and thus do wrong
    Imperial Nature of her prime desert.—
Seward! thy strains, beyond the critic-praise
    Which may to arduous skill its meed assign,
    Can the pure sympathies of spirit raise
To bright Imagination's throne divine;
    And proudly triumph, with a generous strife,
    O'er all the “flat realities of life.”

High Street, Marybone,
    Feb. 1, 1799.

[Pg ix]




Hear, honor'd Flaccus, from the vocal shades
Where with gay Prior, and thy [1]Teian Peer
Thou wanderest thro' the amaranthine glades,
While social joys the devious walk endear!

Or whether in the bright Elysian bowers,
Where the tall vine its lavish mantle spreads,
Thou crown'st the goblet with unfading flowers,
Sooth'd by the murmuring stream, that labors thro' the meads.

Hear, happy Bard!—to wake thy silent lyre
Our British Muse, our charming Seward, deigns!—
With more harmonious tones, more sportive fire
Beneath her hand arise the potent strains.

Then, as thou hear'st the sweet Enthusiast, own
Thy fancy's various florets look'd less gay
When kiss'd by bright Italia's ardent sun,
Than now their hues expand in Albion's milder ray!


1: Anacreon. [Pg 1]



When Life's realities the Soul perceives
    Vain, dull, perchance corrosive, if she glows
    With rising energy, and open throws
    The golden gates of Genius, she achieves
His fairy clime delighted, and receives
    In those gay paths, deck'd with the thornless rose,
    Blest compensation.—Lo! with alter'd brows
    Lours the false World, and the fine Spirit grieves;
No more young Hope tints with her light and bloom
    The darkening Scene.—Then to ourselves we say,
    Come, bright Imagination, come! relume
Thy orient lamp; with recompensing ray
    Shine on the Mind, and pierce its gathering gloom
    With all the fires of intellectual Day!
[Pg 4]


The Future, and its gifts, alone we prize,
    Few joys the Present brings, and those alloy'd;
    Th' expected fulness leaves an aching void;
    But Hope stands by, and lifts her sunny eyes
That gild the days to come.—She still relies
    The Phantom Happiness not thus shall glide
    Always from life.—Alas!—yet ill betide
    Austere Experience, when she coldly tries
In distant roses to discern the thorn!
    Ah! is it wise to anticipate our pain?
    Arriv'd, it then is soon enough to mourn.
Nor call the dear Consoler false and vain,
    When yet again, shining through april-tears,
    Those fair enlight'ning eyes beam on advancing Years.
[Pg 5]



From these wild heights, where oft the mists descend
    In rains, that shroud the sun, and chill the gale,
    Each transient, gleaming interval we hail,
    And rove the naked vallies, and extend
Our gaze around, where yon vast mountains blend
    With billowy clouds, that o'er their summits sail;
    Pondering, how little Nature's charms befriend
    The barren scene, monotonous, and pale.
Yet solemn when the darkening shadows fleet
    Successive o'er the wide and silent hills,
    Gilded by watry sun-beams, then we meet
Peculiar pomp of vision. Fancy thrills,
    And owns there is no scene so rude and bare,
    But Nature sheds or grace or grandeur there.
[Pg 6]



And now the youthful, gay, capricious Spring,
    Piercing her showery clouds with crystal light,
    And with their hues reflected streaking bright
    Her radiant bow, bids all her Warblers sing;
The Lark, shrill caroling on soaring wing;
    The lonely Thrush, in brake, with blossoms white,
    That tunes his pipe so loud; while, from the sight
    Coy bending their dropt heads, young Cowslips fling
Rich perfume o'er the fields.—It is the prime
    Of Hours that Beauty robes:—yet all they gild,
    Cheer, and delight in this their fragrant time,
For thy dear sake, to me less pleasure yield
    Than, veil'd in sleet, and rain, and hoary rime,
    Dim Winter's naked hedge and plashy field.

May 1770.

1: Afterwards Mrs. Edgeworth. [Pg 7]



Ah, thankless! canst thou envy him who gains
    The Stoic's cold and indurate repose?
    Thou! with thy lively sense of bliss and woes!—
    From a false balance of life's joys and pains
Thou deem'st him happy.—Plac'd 'mid fair domains,
    Where full the river down the valley flows,
    As wisely might'st thou wish thy home had rose
    On the parch'd surface of unwater'd plains,
For that, when long the heavy rain descends,
    Bursts over guardian banks their whelming tide!—
    Seldom the wild and wasteful Flood extends,
But, spreading plenty, verdure, beauty wide,
    The cool translucent Stream perpetual bends,
    And laughs the Vale as the bright waters glide.
[Pg 8]



In this chill morning of a wintry Spring
    I look into the gloom'd and rainy vale;
    The sullen clouds, the stormy winds assail,
    Lour on the fields, and with impetuous wing
Disturb the lake:—but Love and Memory cling
    To their known scene, in this cold influence pale;
    Yet priz'd, as when it bloom'd in Summer's gale,
    Ting'd by his setting sun.—When Sorrows fling,
Or slow Disease, thus, o'er some beauteous Form
    Their shadowy languors, Form, devoutly dear
    As thine to me, Honora, with more warm
And anxious gaze the eyes of Love sincere
    Bend on the charms, dim in their tintless snow,
    Than when with health's vermilion hues they glow.
[Pg 9]


By Derwent's rapid stream as oft I stray'd,
    With Infancy's light step and glances wild,
    And saw vast rocks, on steepy mountains pil'd,
    Frown o'er th' umbrageous glen; or pleas'd survey'd
The cloudy moonshine in the shadowy glade,
    Romantic Nature to th' enthusiast Child
    Grew dearer far than when serene she smil'd,
    In uncontrasted loveliness array'd.
But O! in every Scene, with sacred sway,
    Her graces fire me; from the bloom that spreads
    Resplendent in the lucid morn of May,
To the green light the little Glow-worm sheds
    On mossy banks, when midnight glooms prevail,
    And softest Silence broods o'er all the dale.
[Pg 10]



Short is the time the oldest Being lives,
    Nor has Longevity one hour to waste;
    Life's duties are proportion'd to the haste
    With which it fleets away;—each day receives
Its task, that if neglected, surely gives
    The morrow double toil.—Ye, who have pass'd
    In idle sport the days that fled so fast,
    Days, that nor Grief recalls, nor Care retrieves,
At length be wise, and think, that of the part
    Remaining in that vital period given,
How short the date, and at the prospect start,
Ere to the extremest verge your steps be driv'n!
    Nor let a moment unimprov'd depart,
    But view it as the latest trust of Heav'n!
[Pg 11]


Seek not, my Lesbia, the sequester'd dale,
    Or bear thou to its shades a tranquil heart;
    Since rankles most in solitude the smart
    Of injur'd charms and talents, when they fail
To meet their due regard;—nor e'en prevail
    Where most they wish to please:—Yet, since thy part
    Is large in Life's chief blessings, why desert
    Sullen the world?—Alas! how many wail
Dire loss of the best comforts Heaven can grant!
    While they the bitter tear in secret pour,
    Smote by the death of Friends, Disease, or Want,
Slight wrongs if thy self-valuing soul deplore,
    Thou but resemblest, in thy lonely haunt,
    Narcissus pining on the watry shore.
[Pg 12]



Honora, shou'd that cruel time arrive
    When 'gainst my truth thou should'st my errors poize,
    Scorning remembrance of our vanish'd joys;
    When for the love-warm looks, in which I live,
But cold respect must greet me, that shall give
    No tender glance, no kind regretful sighs;
    When thou shalt pass me with averted eyes,
    Feigning thou see'st me not, to sting, and grieve,
And sicken my sad heart, I cou'd not bear
    Such dire eclipse of thy soul-cheering rays;
    I cou'd not learn my struggling heart to tear
From thy lov'd form, that thro' my memory strays;
    Nor in the pale horizon of Despair
    Endure the wintry and the darken'd days.

April 1773.
[Pg 13]


How sweet to rove, from summer sun-beams veil'd,
    In gloomy dingles; or to trace the tide
    Of wandering brooks, their pebbly beds that chide;
    To feel the west-wind cool refreshment yield,
That comes soft creeping o'er the flowery field,
    And shadow'd waters; in whose bushy side
    The Mountain-Bees their fragrant treasure hide
    Murmuring; and sings the lonely Thrush conceal'd!—
Then, Ceremony, in thy gilded halls,
    Where forc'd and frivolous the themes arise,
    With bow and smile unmeaning, O! how palls
At thee, and thine, my sense!—how oft it sighs
    For leisure, wood-lanes, dells, and water-falls;
    And feels th' untemper'd heat of sultry skies!
[Pg 14]


Chill'd by unkind Honora's alter'd eye,
    “Why droops my heart with fruitless woes forlorn,”
    Thankless for much of good?—what thousands, born
    To ceaseless toil beneath this wintry sky,
Or to brave deathful Oceans surging high,
    Or fell Disease's fever'd rage to mourn,
    How blest to them wou'd seem my destiny!
    How dear the comforts my rash sorrows scorn!—
Affection is repaid by causeless hate!
    A plighted love is chang'd to cold disdain!
    Yet suffer not thy wrongs to shroud thy fate,
But turn, my Soul, to blessings which remain;
    And let this truth the wise resolve create,
    The Heart estranged no anguish can regain.

July 1773.
[Pg 15]


Thou child of Night, and Silence, balmy Sleep,
    Shed thy soft poppies on my aching brow!
    And charm to rest the thoughts of whence, or how
    Vanish'd that priz'd Affection, wont to keep
Each grief of mine from rankling into woe.
    Then stern Misfortune from her bended bow
    Loos'd the dire strings;—and Care, and anxious Dread
    From my cheer'd heart, on sullen pinion, fled.
But now, the spell dissolv'd, th' Enchantress gone,
    Ceaseless those cruel Fiends infest my day,
    And sunny hours but light them to their prey.
Then welcome Midnight shades, when thy wish'd boon
    May in oblivious dews my eye-lids steep,
    Thou Child of Night, and Silence, balmy Sleep!

July 1773.
[Pg 16]


Ingratitude, how deadly is thy smart
    Proceeding from the Form we fondly love!
    How light, compared, all other sorrows prove!
    Thou shed'st a Night of Woe, from whence depart
The gentle beams of Patience, that the heart
    'Mid lesser ills, illume.—Thy Victims rove
    Unquiet as the Ghost that haunts the Grove
    Where Murder spilt the life-blood.—O! thy dart
Kills more than Life,—e'en all that makes Life dear;
    Till we “the sensible of pain” wou'd change
    For Phrenzy, that defies the bitter tear;
Or wish, in kindred callousness, to range
    Where moon-ey'd Idiocy, with fallen lip,
    Drags the loose knee, and intermitting step.

July 1773.
[Pg 17]



The evening shines in May's luxuriant pride,
    And all the sunny hills at distance glow,
    And all the brooks, that thro' the valley flow,
    Seem liquid gold.—O! had my fate denied
Leisure, and power to taste the sweets that glide
    Thro' waken'd minds, as the soft seasons go
    On their still varying progress, for the woe
    My heart has felt, what balm had been supplied?
But where great Nature smiles, as here she smiles,
    'Mid verdant vales, and gently swelling hills,
    And glassy lakes, and mazy, murmuring rills,
And narrow wood-wild lanes, her spell beguiles
    Th' impatient sighs of Grief, and reconciles
    Poetic Minds to Life, with all her ills.

May 1774.
[Pg 18]



Apollo, at his crowded altars, tir'd
    Of Votaries, who for trite ideas thrown
    Into loose verse, assume, in lofty tone,
    The Poet's name, untaught, and uninspir'd,
Indignant struck the Lyre.—Straight it acquir'd
    New powers, and complicate. Then first was known
    The rigorous Sonnet, to be fram'd alone
    By duteous Bards, or by just Taste admir'd.—
Go, energetic Sonnet, go, he cried,
    And be the test of skill!—For rhymes that flow
    Regardless of thy rules, their destin'd guide,
Yet take thy name, ah! let the boasters know
    That with strict sway my jealous laws preside,
    While I no wreaths on rebel verse bestow.
[Pg 19]


Ah! why have I indulg'd my dazzled sight
    With scenes in Hope's delusive mirror shown?
    Scenes, that too seldom human Life has known
    In kind accomplishment;—but O! how bright
The rays, that gilded them with varied light
    Alternate! oft swift flashing on the boon
    That might at Fame's immortal shrine be won;
    Then shining soft on tender Love's delight.—
Now, with stern hand, Fate draws the sable veil
    O'er the frail glass!—Hope, as she turns away,
    The darken'd crystal drops.——Heavy and pale,
Rain-pouring clouds quench all the darts of day;
    Low mourns the wind along the gloomy dale,
    And tolls the Death-bell in the pausing gale.
[Pg 20]



Ceas'd is the rain; but heavy drops yet fall
    From the drench'd roof;—yet murmurs the sunk wind
    Round the dim hills; can yet a passage find
    Whistling thro' yon cleft rock, and ruin'd wall.
The swoln and angry torrents heard, appal,
    Tho' distant.—A few stars, emerging kind,
    Shed their green, trembling beams.—With lustre small,
    The moon, her swiftly-passing clouds behind,
Glides o'er that shaded hill.—Now blasts remove
    The shadowing clouds, and on the mountain's brow,
    Full-orb'd, she shines.—Half sunk within its cove
Heaves the lone boat, with gulphing sound;—and lo!
    Bright rolls the settling lake, and brimming rove
    The vale's blue rills, and glitter as they flow.
[Pg 21]


TO ——.

Farewell, false Friend!—our scenes of kindness close!
    To cordial looks, to sunny smiles farewell!
    To sweet consolings, that can grief expel,
    And every joy soft sympathy bestows!
For alter'd looks, where truth no longer glows,
    Thou hast prepar'd my heart;—and it was well
    To bid thy pen th' unlook'd for story tell,
    Falsehood avow'd, that shame, nor sorrow knows.—
O! when we meet,—(to meet we're destin'd, try
    To avoid it as thou may'st) on either brow,
    Nor in the stealing consciousness of eye,
Be seen the slightest trace of what, or how
    We once were to each other;—nor one sigh
    Flatter with weak regret a broken vow!
[Pg 22]



Ah! might I range each hallow'd bower and glade
    Musæus cultur'd, many a raptur'd sigh
    Wou'd that dear, local consciousness supply
    Beneath his willow, in the grotto's shade,
Whose roof his hand with ores and shells inlaid.
    How sweet to watch, with reverential eye,
    Thro' the sparr'd arch, the streams he oft survey'd,
    Thine, blue Thamésis, gently wandering by!
This is the Poet's triumph, and it towers
    O'er Life's pale ills, his consciousness of powers
    That lift his memory from Oblivion's gloom,
Secure a train of these heart-thrilling hours
    By his idea deck'd in rapture's bloom,
    For Spirits rightly touch'd, thro' ages yet to come.
[Pg 23]


Proud of our lyric Galaxy, I hear
    Of faded Genius with supreme disdain;
    As when we see the Miser bend insane
    O'er his full coffers, and in accents drear
Deplore imagin'd want;—and thus appear
    To me those moody Censors, who complain,
    As [1]Shaftsbury plain'd in a now boasted reign,
    That “Poesy had left our darken'd sphere.”
Whence may the present stupid dream be traced
    That now she shines not as in days foregone?
    Perchance neglected, often shine in waste
Her Lights, from number into confluence run,
    More than when thinly in th' horizon placed
    Each Orb shone separate, and appear'd a Sun.

1: Of the Poets, who were cotemporary with Lord Shaftsbury, Dryden, Cowley, Pope, Prior, Congreve, Gay, Addison, &c. in the Period which this Age styles Augustan, his Lordship speaks with sovereign scorn. In his Characteristics he, without making any exception, labors to prove, that the compositions of Dryden are uniformly contemptible. See his advice to an Author in the second Volume of the Characteristics, and also his miscellaneous reflections in the third Volume; “If,” says he to the authors, “your Poets are still to be Mr. Bayses, and your prose writers Sir Rogers, without offering at a better manner, must it follow that the manner is good, and the wit genuine?”

Thus it is that the jealousy People of literary fame often feel of each other, produces the foolish, and impolitic desire of decrying the general pretensions of the Age to Genius. Their narrow selfishness leads them to betray the common cause, which it is their true interest to support. They persuade the credulous Many, with whom envy of superior talents increases their willingness to despise, that Imagination is become enervated; designing, however, to have it understood, that in their individual instance exists the sole exception,

“For they wou'd each bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus.”
[Pg 24]



You, whose dull spirits feel not the fine glow
    Enthusiasm breathes, no more of light
    Perceive ye in rapt Poesy, tho' bright
    In Fancy's richest colouring, than can flow
From jewel'd treasures in the central night
    Of their deep caves.—You have no Sun to show
    Their inborn radiance pure.—Go, Snarlers, go;
    Nor your defects of feeling, and of sight,
To charge upon the Poet thus presume,
    Ye lightless minds, whate'er of title proud,
    Scholar, or Sage, or Critic, ye assume,
Arraigning his high claims with censure loud,
    Or sickly scorn; yours, yours is all the cloud,
    Gems cannot sparkle in the midnight Gloom.
[Pg 25]



Do I not tell thee surly Winter's flown,
    That the brook's verge is green;—and bid thee hear,
    In yon irriguous vale, the Blackbird clear,
    At measur'd intervals, with mellow tone,
Choiring [1]the hours of prime? and call thine ear
    To the gay viol dinning in the dale,
    With tabor loud, and bag-pipe's rustic drone
    To merry Shearer's dance;—or jest retail
From festal board, from choral roofs the song;
    And speak of Masque, or Pageant, to beguile
    The caustic memory of a cruel wrong?—
Thy lips acknowledge this a generous wile,
    And bid me still the effort kind prolong;
    But ah! they wear a cold and joyless smile.

1: “While Day arises, that sweet hour of prime.” Milton's Par. Lost. [Pg 26]



Behold the Day an image of the Year!
    The Year an image of our life's short span!
    Morn, like the Spring, with growing light began,
    Spring, like our Youth, with joy, and beauty fair;
Noon picturing Summer;—Summer's ardent sphere
    Manhood's gay portrait.—Eve, like Autumn, wan,
    Autumn resembling faded age in Man;
    Night, with its silence, and its darkness drear,
Emblem of Winter's frore and gloomy reign,
    When torpid lie the vegetative Powers;
    Winter, so shrunk, so cold, reminds us plain
Of the mute Grave, that o'er the dim Corse lours;
    There shall the Weary rest, nor ought remain
    To the pale Slumberer of Life's checker'd hours.
[Pg 27]



Fortunate Vale! exulting Hill! dear Plain!
    Where morn, and eve, my soul's fair Idol stray'd,
    While all your winds, that murmur'd thro' the glade,
    Stole her sweet breath; yet, yet your paths retain
Prints of her step, by fount, whose floods remain
    In depth unfathom'd; 'mid the rocks, that shade,
    With cavern'd arch, their sleep.—Ye streams, that play'd
    Around her limbs in Summer's ardent reign,
The soft resplendence of those azure eyes
    Ting'd ye with living light.—The envied claim
    These blest distinctions give, my lyre, my sighs,
My songs record; and, from their Poet's flame,
    Bid this wild Vale, its Rocks, and Streams arise,
    Associates still of their bright Mistress' fame.

1: This Sonnet is not a Translation or Paraphrase, but is written in the Character of Petrarch, and in imitation of his manner. [Pg 28]


O partial Memory! Years, that fled too fast,
    From thee in more than pristine beauty rise,
    Forgotten all the transient tears and sighs
    Somewhat that dimm'd their brightness! Thou hast chas'd
Each hovering mist from the soft Suns, that grac'd
    Our fresh, gay morn of Youth;—the Heart's high prize,
    Friendship,—and all that charm'd us in the eyes
    Of yet unutter'd Love.—So pleasures past,
That in thy crystal prism thus glow sublime,
    Beam on the gloom'd and disappointed Mind
    When Youth and Health, in the chill'd grasp of Time,
Shudder and fade;—and cypress buds we find
    Ordain'd Life's blighted roses to supply,
    While but reflected shine the golden lights of Joy.
[Pg 29]


See wither'd Winter, bending low his head;
    His ragged locks stiff with the hoary dew;
    His eyes, like frozen lakes, of livid hue;
    His train, a sable cloud, with murky red
Streak'd.—Ah! behold his nitrous breathings shed
    Petrific death!—Lean, wailful Birds pursue,
    On as he sweeps o'er the dun lonely moor,
    Amid the battling blast of all the Winds,
That, while their sleet the climbing Sailor blinds,
    Lash the white surges to the sounding shore.
    So com'st thou, Winter, finally to doom
The sinking year; and with thy ice-dropt sprays,
    Cypress and yew, engarland her pale tomb,
    Her vanish'd hopes, and aye-departed days.
[Pg 30]


O, Genius! does thy Sun-resembling beam
    To the internal eyes of Man display
    In clearer prospect, the momentous way
    That leads to peace? Do they not rather seem
Dazzled by lustres in continual stream,
    Till night they find in such excessive day?
    Art thou not prone, with too intense a ray,
    To gild the hope improbable, the dream
Of fancied good?—or bid the sigh upbraid
    Imaginary evils, and involve
    All real sorrow in a darker shade?
To fond credulity, to rash resolve
    Dost thou not prompt, till reason's sacred aid
    And fair discretion in thy fires dissolve?
[Pg 31]



If Genius has its danger, grief and pain,
    That Common-Sense escapes, yet who wou'd change
    The Powers, thro' Nature, and thro' Art that range,
    To keep the bounded, tho' more safe domain
Of moderate Intellect, where all we gain
    Is cold approvance? where the sweet, the strange,
    Soft, and sublime, in vivid interchange,
    Nor glad the spirit, nor enrich the brain.
Destructive shall we deem yon noon-tide blaze
    If transiently the eye, o'er-power'd, resign
    Distinct perception?—Shall we rather praise
The Moon's wan light?—with owlish choice incline
    That Common-Sense her lunar lamp shou'd raise
    Than that the solar fires of Genius shine?
[Pg 32]


That song again!—its sounds my bosom thrill,
    Breathe of past years, to all their joys allied;
    And, as the notes thro' my sooth'd spirits glide,
    Dear Recollection's choicest sweets distill,
Soft as the Morn's calm dew on yonder hill,
    When slants the Sun upon its grassy side,
    Tinging the brooks that many a mead divide
    With lines of gilded light; and blue, and still,
The distant lake stands gleaming in the vale.
    Sing, yet once more, that well-remember'd strain,
    Which oft made vocal every passing gale
In days long fled, in Pleasure's golden reign,
    The youth of chang'd Honora!—now it wears
    Her air—her smile—spells of the vanish'd years!
[Pg 33]



O, EVER DEAR! thy precious, vital powers
    Sink rapidly!—the long and dreary Night
    Brings scarce an hope that Morn's returning light
    Shall dawn for THEE!—In such terrific hours,
When yearning Fondness eagerly devours
    Each moment of protracted life, his flight
    The Rashly-Chosen of thy heart has ta'en
    Where dances, songs, and theatres invite.
Expiring Sweetness! with indignant pain
    I see him in the scenes where laughing glide
    Pleasure's light Forms;—see his eyes gaily glow,
Regardless of thy life's fast ebbing tide;
    I hear him, who shou'd droop in silent woe,
    Declaim on Actors, and on Taste decide!
[Pg 34]



Behold him now his genuine colours wear,
    That specious False-One, by whose cruel wiles
    I lost thy amity; saw thy dear smiles
    Eclips'd; those smiles, that us'd my heart to cheer,
Wak'd by thy grateful sense of many a year
    When rose thy youth, by Friendship's pleasing toils
    Cultur'd;—but DYING!—O! for ever fade
    The angry fires.—Each thought, that might upbraid
Thy broken faith, which yet my soul deplores,
    Now as eternally is past and gone
    As are the interesting, the happy hours,
Days, years, we shar'd together. They are flown!
    Yet long must I lament thy hapless doom,
    Thy lavish'd life and early-hasten'd tomb.
[Pg 35]


Last night her Form the hours of slumber bless'd
    Whose eyes illumin'd all my youthful years.—
    Spirit of dreams, at thy command appears
    Each airy Shape, that visiting our rest,
Dismays, perplexes, or delights the breast.
    My pensive heart this kind indulgence cheers;
    Bliss, in no waking moment now possess'd,
    Bliss, ask'd of thee with Memory's thrilling tears,
Nightly I cry, how oft, alas! in vain,
    Give, by thy powers, that airy Shapes controul,
    Honora to my visions!—ah! ordain
Her beauteous lip may wear the smile that stole,
    In years long fled, the sting from every pain!
    Show her sweet face, ah show it to my soul!

June 1780.
[Pg 36]


When Death, or adverse Fortune's ruthless gale,
    Tears our best hopes away, the wounded Heart
    Exhausted, leans on all that can impart
    The charm of Sympathy; her mutual wail
How soothing! never can her warm tears fail
    To balm our bleeding grief's severest smart;
    Nor wholly vain feign'd Pity's solemn art,
    Tho' we should penetrate her sable veil.
Concern, e'en known to be assum'd, our pains
    Respecting, kinder welcome far acquires
    Than cold Neglect, or Mirth that Grief profanes.
Thus each faint Glow-worm of the Night conspires,
    Gleaming along the moss'd and darken'd lanes,
    To cheer the Gloom with her unreal fires.

June 1780.
[Pg 37]



In April's gilded morn when south winds blow,
    And gently shake the hawthorn's silver crown,
    Wafting its scent the forest-glade adown,
    The dewy shelter of the bounding Doe,
Then, under trees, soft tufts of primrose show
    Their palely-yellowing flowers;—to the moist Sun
    Blue harebells peep, while cowslips stand unblown,
    Plighted to riper May;—and lavish flow
The Lark's loud carols in the wilds of air.
    O! not to Nature's glad Enthusiast cling
    Avarice, and pride.—Thro' her now blooming sphere
Charm'd as he roves, his thoughts enraptur'd spring
    To Him, who gives frail Man's appointed time
    These cheering hours of promise, and of prime.

April 29th, 1782.
[Pg 38]



Now on hills, rocks, and streams, and vales, and plains,
    Full looks the shining Day.—Our gardens wear
    The gorgeous robes of the consummate Year.
    With laugh, and shout, and song, stout Maids and Swains
Heap high the fragrant hay, as thro' rough lanes
    Rings the yet empty waggon.—See in air
    The pendent cherries, red with tempting stains,
    Gleam thro' their boughs.—Summer, thy bright career
Must slacken soon in Autumn's milder sway;
    Then thy now heapt and jocund meads shall stand
    Smooth,—vacant,—silent,—thro' th' exulting Land
As wave thy Rival's golden fields, and gay
    Her Reapers throng. She smiles, and binds the sheaves;
    Then bends her parting step o'er fall'n and rustling leaves.

June 27th, 1782.
[Pg 39]



Thro' changing Months a well-attemper'd Mind
    Welcomes their gentle or terrific pace.—
    When o'er retreating Autumn's golden grace
    Tempestuous Winter spreads in every wind
Naked asperity, our musings find
    Grandeur increasing, as the Glooms efface
    Variety and glow.—Each solemn trace
    Exalts the thoughts, from sensual joys refin'd.
Then blended in our rapt ideas rise
    The vanish'd charms, that summer-suns reveal,
    With all of desolation, that now lies
Dreary before us;—teach the Soul to feel
    Awe in the Present, pleasure in the Past,
    And to see vernal Morns in Hope's perspective cast.

October 27th, 1782.
[Pg 40]



If he whose bosom with no transport swells
    In vernal airs and hours commits the crime
    Of sullenness to Nature, 'gainst the Time,
    And its great Ruler, he alike rebels
Who seriousness and pious dread repels,
    And aweless gazes on the faded Clime,
    Dim in the gloom, and pale in the hoar rime
    That o'er the bleak and dreary prospect steals.—
Spring claims our tender, grateful, gay delight;
    Winter our sympathy and sacred fear;
    And sure the Hearts that pay not Pity's rite
O'er wide calamity; that careless hear
    Creation's wail, neglect, amid her blight,
    The solemn lesson of the ruin'd Year.

December 1st, 1782.
[Pg 41]



When mourn the dark Winds o'er the lonely plain,
    And from pale noon sinks, ere the fifth cold hour,
    The transient light, Imagination's power,
    With Knowledge, and with Science in her train,
Not unpropitious Hyems' icy reign
    Perceives; since in the deep and silent lour
    High themes the rapt concent'ring Thoughts explore,
    Freed from external Pleasure's glittering chain.
Then most the understanding's culture pays
    Luxuriant harvest, nor shall Folly bring
    Her aids obtrusive.—Then, with ardent gaze,
The Ingenious to their rich resources spring,
    While sullen Winter's dull imprisoning days
    Hang on the vacant mind with flagging wing.

Dec. 7th, 1782.
[Pg 42]



I love to rise ere gleams the tardy light,
    Winter's pale dawn;—and as warm fires illume,
    And cheerful tapers shine around the room,
    Thro' misty windows bend my musing sight
Where, round the dusky lawn, the mansions white,
    With shutters clos'd, peer faintly thro' the gloom,
    That slow recedes; while yon grey spires assume,
    Rising from their dark pile, an added height
By indistinctness given.—Then to decree
    The grateful thoughts to God, ere they unfold
    To Friendship, or the Muse, or seek with glee
Wisdom's rich page!—O, hours! more worth than gold,
    By whose blest use we lengthen Life, and free
    From drear decays of Age, outlive the Old!

Dec. 19th, 1782.

1: This Sonnet was written in an Apartment of the West Front of the Bishop's Palace at Lichfield, inhabited by the Author from her thirteenth year. It looks upon the Cathedral-Area, a green Lawn encircled by Prebendal Houses, which are white from being rough-cast. [Pg 43]



Since dark December shrouds the transient day,
    And stormy Winds are howling in their ire,
    Why com'st not THOU, who always can'st inspire
    The soul of cheerfulness, and best array
A sullen hour in smiles?—O haste to pay
    The cordial visit sullen hours require!—
    Around the circling walls a glowing fire
    Shines;—but it vainly shines in this delay
To blend thy spirit's warm Promethean light.
    Come then, at Science', and at Friendship's call,
    Their vow'd Disciple;—come, for they invite!
The social Powers without thee languish all.
    Come, that I may not hear the winds of Night,
    Nor count the heavy eave-drops as they fall.

Dec. 21st, 1782.
[Pg 44]


Lo! the Year's final Day!—Nature performs
    Its obsequies with darkness, wind, and rain;
    But Man is jocund.—Hark! th' exultant strain
    From towers and steeples drowns the wintry storms!
No village spire but to the cots and farms,
    Right merrily, its scant and tuneless peal
    Rings round!—Ah! joy ungrateful!—mirth insane!
    Wherefore the senseless triumph, ye, who feel
This annual portion of brief Life the while
    Depart for ever?—Brought it no dear hours
    Of health and night-rest?—none that saw the smile
On lips belov'd?—O! with as gentle powers
    Will the next pass?—Ye pause!—yet careless hear
    Strike these last Clocks, that knell th' expiring Year!

Dec. 31st, 1782.
[Pg 45]



My memory, long accustom'd to receive
    In deep-engraven lines, each varying trait
    Past Times and Seasons wore, can find no date
    Thro' many years, O! May, when thou hadst leave,
As now, of the great Sun, serene to weave
    Thy fragrant chaplets; in poetic state
    To call the jocund Hours on thee to wait,
    Bringing each day, at morn, at noon, at eve,
His mild illuminations.—Nymph, no more
    Is thine to mourn beneath the scanty shade
    Of half-blown foliage, shivering to deplore
Thy garlands immature, thy rites unpaid;
    Meads dropt with [1]gold again to thee belong,
    Soft gales, luxuriant bowers, and wood-land song.

1: Kingcups. [Pg 46]


Rapt Contemplation, bring thy waking dreams
    To this umbrageous vale at noon-tide hour,
    While full of thee seems every bending flower,
    Whose petals tremble o'er the shadow'd streams!
Give thou Honora's image, when her beams,
    Youth, beauty, kindness, shone;—what time she wore
    That smile, of gentle, yet resistless power
    To sooth each painful Passion's wild extremes.
Here shall no empty, vain Intruder chase,
    With idle converse, thy enchantment warm,
    That brings, in all its interest, all its grace,
The dear, persuasive, visionary Form.
    Can real Life a rival blessing boast
    When thou canst thus restore Honora early lost?
[Pg 47]


[1]From Possibility's dim chaos sprung,
    High o'er its gloom the Aërostatic Power
    Arose!—Exulting Nations hail'd the hour,
    Magnific boast of Science!—Loud they sung
Her victory o'er the element, that hung,
    Pressing to earth the Beings, who now soar
    Aerial heights;—but Wisdom bids explore
    This vaunted skill;—if, tides of air among,
We know to steer our bark.—Here Science finds
    Her buoyant hopes burst, like the bubble vain,
    Type of this art;—guilty, if still she blinds
The sense of Fear; persists thy flame to fan,
    Sky-vaulting Pride, that to the aweless winds
    Throws, for an idle Show, the Life of Man!

1: This Sonnet was written when the Balloon enthusiasm was at its height. [Pg 48]


Dark as the silent stream beneath the night,
    Thy funeral glides to Life's eternal home,
    Child of its narrow house!—how late the bloom,
    The facile smile, the soft eye's crystal light,
Each grace of Youth's gay morn, that charms our sight,
    Play'd o'er that Form!—now sunk in Death's cold gloom,
    Insensate! ghastly!—for the yawning tomb,
    Alas! fit Inmate.—Thus we mourn the blight
Of Virgin-Beauty, and endowments rare
    In their glad hours of promise.—O! when Age
    Drops, like the o'er-blown, faded rose, tho' dear
Its long known worth, no stormy sorrows rage;
    But swell when we behold, unsoil'd by time,
    Youth's broken Lily perished in its prime.
[Pg 49]



With lyre Orphean, see a Bard explore
    The central caverns of the mornless Night,
    Where never Muse perform'd harmonious rite
    Till now!—and lo! upon the sparry floor,
Advance, to welcome him, each Sister Power,
    Petra, stern Queen, Fossilia, cold and bright,
    And call their Gnomes, to marshal in his sight
    The gelid incrust, and the veined ore,
And flashing gem.—Then, while his songs pourtray
    The mystic virtues gold and gems acquire,
    With every charm that mineral scenes display,
Th' imperial Sisters praise the daring Lyre,
    And grateful hail its new and powerful lay,
    That seats them high amid the Muses' Choir.

1: Petra, and Fossilia, are Personifications of the first and last division of the Fossil Kingdom. The Author of this beautiful Poem supposes the Gnomes to be Spirits of the Mine, performing the behests of Petra and Fossilia, as the Sylphs, Gnomes, Salamanders, &c. appear as Handmaids of the Nymph of Botany in that exquisite sport of Imagination, the Botanic Garden. [Pg 50]


Now young-ey'd Spring, on gentle breezes borne,
    'Mid the deep woodlands, hills, and vales, and bowers,
    Unfolds her leaves, her blossoms, and her flowers,
    Pouring their soft luxuriance on the morn.
O! how unlike the wither'd, wan, forlorn,
    And limping Winter, that o'er russet moors,
    Grey ridgy fields, and ice-incrusted shores,
    Strays!—and commands his rising Winds to mourn.
Protracted Life, thou art ordain'd to wear
    A form like his; and, shou'd thy gifts be mine,
    I tremble lest a kindred influence drear
Steal on my mind;—but pious Hope benign,
    The Soul's bright day-spring, shall avert the fear,
    And gild Existence in her dim decline.
[Pg 51]



While with false pride, and narrow jealousy,
    Numbers reject each new expression, won,
    Perchance, from language richer than our own,
    O! with glad welcome may the Poet see
Extension's golden vantage! the decree
    Each way exclusive, scorn, and re-enthrone
    The obsolete, if strength, or grace of tone
    Or imagery await it, with a free,
And liberal daring!—For the Critic Train,
    Whose eyes severe our verbal stores review,
    Let the firm Bard require that they explain
Their cause of censure; then in balance true
    Weigh it; but smile at the objections vain
    Of sickly Spirits, hating for they do[1]!

1: The particle for is used in the same sense with because, by Shakespear, and Beaumont and Fletcher.

“But she, and I, were Creatures innocent,
Lov'd for we did.” Bea. and Fle. Two Noble Kinsmen.

    “——Nor must you think
I will your serious and great business scant
For she is with me.” Othello.

“They're jealous for they're jealous.” Othello.
[Pg 52]


In every breast Affection fires, there dwells
    A secret consciousness to what degree
    They are themselves belov'd.—We hourly see
    Th' involuntary proof, that either quells,
Or ought to quell false hopes,—or sets us free
    From pain'd distrust;—but, O, the misery!
    Weak Self-Delusion timidly repels
    The lights obtrusive—shrinks from all that tells
Unwelcome truths, and vainly seeks repose
    For startled Fondness, in the opiate balm,
    Of kind profession, tho', perchance, it flows
To hush Complaint—O! in Belief's clear calm,
    Or 'mid the lurid clouds of Doubt, we find
    Love rise the Sun, or Comet of the Mind.
[Pg 53]



Hope comes to Youth, gliding thro' azure skies
    With amaranth crown:—her full robe, snowy white,
    Floats on the gale, and our exulting sight
    Marks it afar.—From waning Life she flies,
Wrapt in a mist, covering her starry eyes
    With her fair hand.—But now, in floods of light,
    She meets thee, Sylvia, and with glances, bright
    As lucid streams, when Spring's clear mornings rise.
From Hymen's kindling torch, a yellow ray
    The shining texture of her spotless vest
    Gilds;—and the Month that gives the early day
The scent odōrous[1], and the carol blest,
    Pride of the rising Year, enamour'd May,
    Paints its redundant folds with florets gay.

1: Odōrous. Milton, in the Par. Lost, gives the lengthened and harmonious accent to that word, rather than the short, and common one, ōdorous:

    ——“the bright consummate flower
Spirit odōrous breathes.”
[Pg 54]


Long has the pall of Midnight quench'd the scene,
    And wrapt the hush'd horizon.—All around,
    In scatter'd huts, Labor, in sleep profound,
    Lies stretch'd, and rosy Innocence serene
Slumbers;—but creeps, with pale and starting mien,
    Benighted Superstition.—Fancy-found,
    The late self-slaughter'd Man, in earth yet green
    And festering, burst from his incumbent mound,
Roams!—and the Slave of Terror thinks he hears
    A mutter'd groan!—sees the sunk eye, that glares
    As shoots the Meteor.—But no more forlorn
He strays;—the Spectre sinks into his tomb!
    For now the jocund Herald of the Morn
    Claps his bold wings, and sounds along the gloom[1].

1: “It faded at the crowing of the cock.” Hamlet. [Pg 55]



The knell of Whitehead tolls!—his cares are past,
    The hapless tribute of his purchas'd lays,
    His servile, his Egyptian tasks of praise!—
    If not sublime his strains, Fame justly plac'd
Their power above their work.—Now, with wide gaze
Of much indignant wonder, she surveys
    To the life-labouring oar assiduous haste
    A glowing Bard, by every Muse embrac'd.—
O, Warton! chosen Priest of Phœbus' choir!
    Shall thy rapt song be venal? hymn the Throne,
    Whether its edicts just applause inspire,
Or Patriot Virtue view them with a frown?
    What needs for this the golden-stringed Lyre,
    The snowy Tunic, and the Sun-bright Zone[1]!

1: Ensigns of Apollo's Priesthood. [Pg 56]




Guard thou, my Son, the Helpless and the Poor,
    Nor in the chains of thine own indolence
    Slumber enervate, while the joys of sense
    Engross thee; and thou say'st, “I ask no more.”—
Wise Men the Shepherd's slumber will deplore
    When the rapacious Wolf has leapt the fence,
    And ranges thro' the fold.—My Son, dispense
    Those laws, that justice to the Wrong'd restore.—
The Common-Weal shou'd be the first pursuit
    Of the crown'd Warrior, for the royal brows
    The People first enwreath'd.—They are the Root,
The King the Tree. Aloft he spreads his boughs
    Glorious; but learn, impetuous Youth, at length,
    Trees from the Root alone derive their strength.
[Pg 57]



Loud blew the North thro' April's pallid days,
    Nor grass the field, nor leaves the grove obtains,
    Nor crystal sun-beams, nor the gilded rains,
    That bless the hours of promise, gently raise
Warmth in the blood, without that fiery blaze,
    Which makes it boil along the throbbing veins.—
    Albion, displeas'd, her own lov'd Spring surveys
    Passing, with volant step, o'er russet plains;
Sees her to Summer's fierce embraces speed,
    Pale, and unrobed.—Faithless! thou well may'st hide
    Close in his sultry breast thy recreant head,
That did'st, neglecting thy distinguish'd Isle,
    In Winter's icy arms so long abide,
    While Britain vainly languish'd for thy smile!
[Pg 58]



What bashful wildness in those crystal eyes,
    Fair Zillia!—Ah! more dear to Love the gaze
    That dwells upon its object, than the rays
    Of that vague glance, quick, as in summer skies
The lightning's lambent flash, when neither rise
    Thunder, nor storm.—I mark, while transport plays
    Warm in thy Lover's eye, what dread betrays
    Thy throbbing heart:—yet why from his soft sighs
Fleet'st thou so swift away?—like the young Hind[1],
    That bending stands the fountain's brim beside,
    When, with a sudden gust, the western wind
Rustles among the boughs that shade the tide:
    See, from the stream, innoxious and benign,
    Starting she bounds, with terror vain as thine!

1: “Vitas hinnuleo me similis Chloe.” Horace. [Pg 59]



In the chill silence of the winter eve,
    Thro' Lichfield's darken'd streets I bend my way
    By that sad mansion, where Nerina's Clay
    Awaits the Morning Knell;—and awed perceive,
In the late bridal chamber, the clear ray
    Of numerous lights; while o'er the ceiling stray
    Shadows of those who frequent pass beneath
    Round the pale Dead.—What sounds my senses grieve!
For now the busy hammer's stroke appals,
    That, “in dread note of preparation,” falls,
    Closing the sable lid!—With sighs I bear
These solemn warnings from the House of Woes;
    Pondering how late, for young Nerina, there,
    Joyous, the Love-illumin'd Morn arose.

1: In Lichfield Cathedral the funeral rites are performed early in the Morning. [Pg 60]


Not the slow Hearse, where nod the sable plumes,
    The Parian Statue, bending o'er the Urn,
    The dark robe floating, the dejection worn
    On the dropt eye, and lip no smile illumes;
Not all this pomp of sorrow, that presumes
    It pays Affection's debt, is due concern
    To the FOR EVER ABSENT, tho' it mourn
    Fashion's allotted time. If Time consumes,
While Life is ours, the precious vestal-flame
    Memory shou'd hourly feed;—if, thro' each day,
    She with whate'er we see, hear, think, or say,
Blend not the image of the vanish'd Frame,
    O! can the alien Heart expect to prove,
    In worlds of light and life, a reunited love!
[Pg 61]


passing her winters at Ethic House on the Coast of Scotland, with her Father, Lord Northesk, who retired thither after the death of his excellent Countess.


Lady, each soft effusion of thy mind,
    Flowing thro' thy free pen, shows thee endu'd
    With taste so just for all of wise, and good,
    As bids me hope thy spirit does not find,
Young as thou art, with solitude combin'd
    That wish of change, that irksome lassitude,
    Which often, thro' unvaried days, obtrude
    On Youth's rash bosom, dangerously inclin'd
To pant for more than peace.—Rich volumes yield
    Their soul-endowing wealth.—Beyond e'en these
    Shall consciousness of filial duty gild
The gloomy hours, when Winter's turbid Seas
    Roar round the rocks; when the dark Tempest lours,
    And mourn the Winds round Ethic's lonely towers.
[Pg 62]


Why view'st thou, Edwy, with disdainful mien
    The little Naiad of the Downton Wave?
    High 'mid the rocks, where her clear waters lave
    The circling, gloomy basin.—In such scene,
Silent, sequester'd, few demand, I ween,
    That last perfection Phidian chisels gave.
    Dimly the soft and musing Form is seen
    In the hush'd, shelly, shadowy, lone concave.—
As sleeps her pure, tho' darkling fountain there,
    I love to recollect her, stretch'd supine
    Upon its mossy brink, with pendent hair,
As dripping o'er the flood.—Ah! well combine
    Such gentle graces, modest, pensive, fair,
    To aid the magic of her watry shrine.

1: The above Sonnet was addressed to a Friend, who had fastidiously despised, because he did not think it exquisite sculpture, the Statue of a Water-Nymph in Mr. Knight's singular, and beautiful Cold Bath at Downton Castle near Ludlow. It rises amidst a Rotunda, formed by Rocks, and covered with shells, and fossils, in the highest elevation of that mountainous and romantic Scene. [Pg 63]



Disciple of the bright Aonian Maid
    In thy life's blossom, a resistless spell
    Amid the wild wood, and irriguous dell,
    O'er thymy hill, and thro' illumin'd glade,
Led thee, for her thy votive wreaths to braid,
    Where flaunts the musk-rose, and the azure bell
    Nods o'er loquacious brook, or silent well.—
    Thus woo'd her inspirations, their rapt aid
Liberal she gave; nor only thro' thy strain
    Breath'd their pure spirit, while her charms beguil'd
    The languid hours of Sorrow, and of Pain,
But when Youth's tide ran high, and tempting smil'd
    Circean Pleasure, rescuing did she stand,
    Broke the Enchantress' cup and snapt her wand.

1: Then of Sutton Coldfield. [Pg 64]


[1]Dim grows the vital flame in his dear breast
    From whom my life I drew;—and thrice has Spring
    Bloom'd; and fierce Winter thrice, on darken'd wing,
    Howl'd o'er the grey, waste fields, since he possess'd
Or strength of frame, or intellect.——Now bring
    Nor Morn, nor Eve, his cheerful steps, that press'd
    Thy pavement, Lichfield, in the spirit bless'd
    Of social gladness. They have fail'd, and cling
Feebly to the fix'd chair, no more to rise
    Elastic!—Ah! my heart forebodes that soon
    The FULL OF DAYS shall sleep;—nor Spring's soft sighs,
Nor Winter's blast awaken him!—Begun
    The twilight!—Night is long!—but o'er his eyes
    Life-weary slumbers weigh the pale lids down!

1: When this Sonnet was written, the Subject of it had languished three years beneath repeated paralytic strokes, which had greatly enfeebled his limbs, and impaired his understanding. Contrary to all expectation he survived three more years, subject, through their progress, to the same frequent and dreadful attacks, though in their intervals he was serene and apparently free from pain or sickness. [Pg 65]



Thy Genius, Colebrooke, faithless to his charge,
    Amid thy woods and vales, thy rocks and streams,
    Form'd for the Train that haunt poetic dreams,
    Naiads, and Nymphs,—now hears the toiling Barge
And the swart Cyclops ever-clanging forge
    Din in thy dells;—permits the dark-red gleams,
    From umber'd fires on all thy hills, the beams,
    Solar and pure, to shroud with columns large
Of black sulphureous smoke, that spread their veils
    Like funeral crape upon the sylvan robe
    Of thy romantic rocks, pollute thy gales,
And stain thy glassy floods;—while o'er the globe
    To spread thy stores metallic, this rude yell
    Drowns the wild woodland song, and breaks the Poet's spell.
[Pg 66]



Prais'd be the Poet, who the Sonnet's claim,
    Severest of the orders that belong
    Distinct and separate to the Delphic Song,
    Shall venerate, nor its appropriate name
Lawless assume. Peculiar is its frame,
    From him deriv'd, who shunn'd the City Throng,
    And warbled sweet thy rocks and streams among,
    Lonely Valclusa!—and that Heir of Fame,
Our greater Milton, hath, by many a lay
    Form'd on that arduous model, fully shown
    That English Verse may happily display
Those strict energic measures, which alone
    Deserve the name of Sonnet, and convey
    A grandeur, grace and spirit, all their own.
[Pg 67]



Marcellus, since the ardors of my strain
    To thy young eyes and kindling fancy, gleam
    With somewhat of the vivid hues, that stream
    From Poesy's bright orb, each envious stain
Shed by dull Critics, venal, vex'd and vain,
    Seems recompens'd at full;—and so wou'd seem
    Did not maturer Sons of Phœbus deem
    My verse Aonian.—Thou, in time, shalt gain,
Like them, amid the letter'd World, that sway
    Which makes encomium fame;—so thou adorn,
    Extend, refine and dignify thy lay,
And Indolence, and Syren Pleasure scorn;
    Then, at high noon, thy Genius shall display
    The splendors promis'd in its shining morn.
[Pg 68]


Nobly to scorn thy gilded veil to wear,
    Soft Simulation!—wisely to abstain
    From fostering Envy's asps;—to dash the bane
    Far from our hearts, which Hate, with frown severe,
Extends for those who wrong us;—to revere
    With soul, or grateful, or resign'd, the train
    Of mercies, and of trials, is to gain
    A quiet Conscience, best of blessings here!—
Calm Conscience is a land-encircled bay,
    On whose smooth surface Tempests never blow;
    Which shall the reflex of our life display
Unstain'd by crime, tho' gloom'd with transient woe;
    While the bright hopes of Heaven's eternal day
    Upon the fair and silent waters glow.
[Pg 69]



Cou'd aweful Johnson want poetic ear,
    Fancy, or judgment?—no! his splendid strain,
    In prose, or rhyme, confutes that plea.—The pain
    Which writh'd o'er Garrick's fortunes, shows us clear
Whence all his spleen to Genius.—Ill to bear
    A Friend's renown, that to his own must reign,
    Compar'd, a Meteor's evanescent train,
    To Jupiter's fix'd orb, proves that each sneer,
Subtle and fatal to poetic Sense,
    Did from insidious Envy meanly flow,
    Illumed with dazzling hues of eloquence,
And Sophist-Wit, that labor to o'er-throw
    Th' awards of Ages, and new laws dispense
    That lift the mean, and lay the MIGHTY low.

1: When Johnson's Idolaters are hard pressed concerning his injustice in those fallacious though able pages;—when they are reminded that he there tells us the perusal of Milton's Paradise Lost is a task, and never a pleasure;—reminded also of his avowed contempt of that exquisite Poem, the Lycidas;—of his declaration that Dryden's absurd Ode on the death of Mrs. Anne Killegrew, written in Cowley's worst manner, is the noblest Ode in this Language;—of his disdain of Gray as a lyric Poet; of the superior respect he pays to Yalden, Blackmore, and Pomfret;—When these things are urged, his Adorers seek to acquit him of wilful misrepresentation by alledging that he wanted ear for lyric numbers, and taste for the higher graces of Poetry:—but it is impossible so to believe, when we recollect that even his prose abounds with poetic efflorescence, metaphoric conception, and harmonious cadence, which in the highest degree adorn it, without diminishing its strength. We must look for the source of his injustice in the envy of his temper. When Garrick was named a Candidate for admission into the Literary Club, Dr. Johnson told Mr. Thrale he would black-ball him. “Who, Sir? Mr. Garrick! Companion of your Youth! your acknowledged Friend!” “Why, Sir, I love my little David better than any, or all of his Flatterers love him; but surely we ought to sit in a Society like ours, ‘unelbow'd by a Gamester, Pimp, or Player.” See Supplement to Dr. Johnson's Letters, published by Mrs. Piozzi. The blended hypocrisy and malice of this sally show the man. Johnson knew, at times, how to coax without sincerity as well as to abuse without justice. His seeming fondness for Mrs. C—— of Lichfield, on his visits to that City, and the contempt with which he spoke of her to her Townspeople, was another instance of the same nature. [Pg 70]



Well it becomes thee, Britain, to avow
    Johnson's high claims!—yet boasting that his fires
    Were of unclouded lustre, Truth retires
    Blushing, and Justice knits her solemn brow;
The eyes of Gratitude withdraw the glow
    His moral strain inspir'd.—Their zeal requires
    That thou should'st better guard the sacred Lyres,
    Sources of thy bright fame, than to bestow
Perfection's wreath on him, whose ruthless hand,
    Goaded by jealous rage, the laurels tore,
    That Justice, Truth, and Gratitude demand
Should deck those Lyres till Time shall be no more.—
    A radiant course did Johnson's Glory run,
    But large the spots that darken'd on its Sun.
[Pg 71]



Time, and thy charms, thou fanciest will redeem
    Yon aweless Libertine from rooted vice.
    Misleading thought! has he not paid the price,
    His taste for virtue?—Ah, the sensual stream
Has flow'd too long.—What charms can so entice,
    What frequent guilt so pall, as not to shame
    The rash belief, presumptuous and unwise,
    That crimes habitual will forsake the Frame?—
[1]Thus, on the river's bank, in fabled lore,
    The Rustic stands; sees the stream swiftly go,
    And thinks he soon shall find the gulph below
A channel dry, which he may safe pass o'er.—
    Vain hope!—it flows—and flows—and yet will flow,
    Volume decreaseless, to the FINAL HOUR.


“Rusticus exspectat dum defluit amnis: at ille
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.” Horace.

[Pg 72]



Yes, thou shalt smile again!—Time always heals
    In youth, the wounds of Sorrow.—O! survey
    Yon now subsided Deep, thro' Night a prey
    To warring Winds, and to their furious peals
Surging tumultuous!—yet, as in dismay,
    The settling Billows tremble.—Morning steals
    Grey on the rocks;—and soon, to pour the day
    From the streak'd east, the radiant Orb unveils
In all his pride of light.—Thus shall the glow
    Of beauty, health, and hope, by soft degrees
    Spread o'er thy breast; disperse these storms of woe;
Wake, with sweet pleasure's sense, the wish to please,
    Till from those eyes the wonted lustres flow,
    Bright as the Sun on calm'd and crystal Seas.
[Pg 73]



While Summer Roses all their glory yield
    To crown the Votary of Love and Joy,
    Misfortune's Victim hails, with many a sigh,
    Thee, scarlet Poppy of the pathless field,
Gaudy, yet wild and lone; no leaf to shield
    Thy flaccid vest, that, as the gale blows high,
    Flaps, and alternate folds around thy head.—
    So stands in the long grass a love-craz'd Maid,
Smiling aghast; while stream to every wind
    Her gairish ribbons, smear'd with dust and rain;
    But brain-sick visions cheat her tortur'd mind,
And bring false peace. Thus, lulling grief and pain,
    Kind dreams oblivious from thy juice proceed,
    Thou flimsy, shewy, melancholy weed.
[Pg 74]



Ah, hapless June! circles yon lunar Sphere
    Yet the dim Halo? whose cold powers ordain
    Long o'er these vales shou'd sweep, in misty train,
    The pale continuous showers, that sullying smear
Thy radiant lilies, towering on the plain;
    Bend low, with rivel'd leaves of canker'd stain,
    Thy drench'd and heavy rose.—Yet pledg'd and dear
    Fair Hope still holds the promise of the Year;
Suspends her anchor on the silver horn
    Of the next wexing Orb, tho', June, thy Day,
    Robb'd of its golden eve, and rosy morn,
And gloomy as the Winter's rigid sway,
    Leads sunless, lingering, disappointing Hours
    Thro' the song-silent glades and dropping bowers.
[Pg 75]



He who a tender long-lov'd Wife survives,
    Sees himself sunder'd from the only mind
    Whose hopes, and fears, and interests, were combin'd,
    And blended with his own.—No more she lives!
No more, alas! her death-numb'd ear receives
    His thoughts, that trace the Past, or anxious wind
    The Future's darkling maze!—His wish refin'd,
    The wish to please, exists no more, that gives
The will its energy, the nerves their tone!—
    He feels the texture of his quiet torn,
    And stopt the settled course that Action drew;
Life stands suspended—motionless—till thrown
    By outward causes, into channels new;—
    But, in the dread suspense, how sinks the Soul forlorn!
[Pg 76]


[1]In sultry noon when youthful Milton lay,
    Supinely stretch'd beneath the poplar shade,
    Lur'd by his Form, a fair Italian Maid
    Steals from her loitering chariot, to survey
The slumbering charms, that all her soul betray.
    Then, as coy fears th' admiring gaze upbraid,
    Starts;—and these lines, with hurried pen pourtray'd,
    Slides in his half-clos'd hand;—and speeds away.—
“Ye eyes, ye human stars!—if, thus conceal'd
    By Sleep's soft veil, ye agitate my heart,
    Ah! what had been its conflict if reveal'd
Your rays had shone!”—Bright Nymph, thy strains impart
    Hopes, that impel the graceful Bard to rove,
    Seeking thro' Tuscan Vales his visionary Love.

1: This romantic circumstance of our great Poet's juvenility was inserted, as a well known fact, in one of the General Evening Posts in the Spring 1789, and it was there supposed to have formed the first impulse of his Italian journey. [Pg 77]



He found her not;—yet much the Poet found,
    To swell Imagination's golden store,
    On Arno's bank, and on that bloomy shore,
    Warbling Parthenope; in the wide bound,
Where Rome's forlorn Campania stretches round
    Her ruin'd towers and temples;—classic lore
    Breathing sublimer spirit from the power
    Of local consciousness.—Thrice happy wound,
Given by his sleeping graces, as the Fair
    “Hung over them enamour'd,” the desire
    Thy fond result inspir'd, that wing'd him there,
Where breath'd each Roman and each Tuscan Lyre,
    Might haply fan the emulative flame,
    That rose o'er Dante's song, and rival'd Maro's fame.
[Pg 78]



Lo! modern Critics emulously dare
    Ape the great Despot; throw in pompous tone
    And massy words their true no meaning down!
    But while their envious eyes on Genius glare,
While axioms false assiduously they square
    In arrogant antithesis, a frown
    Lours on the brow of Justice, to disown
    The kindred malice with its mimic air.
Spirit of Common Sense[2]! must we endure
    The incrustation hard without the gem?
    Find in th' Anana's rind the wilding sour,
The Oak's rough knots on every Osier's stem?
    The dark contortions of the Sybil bear,
    Whose inspirations never meet our ear?

1: In jargon, like the following, copied from a Review, are the works of Genius perpetually criticized in our public Prints: “Passion has not sufficient coolness to pause for metaphor, nor has metaphor ardor enough to keep pace with passion.”—Nothing can be less true. Metaphoric strength of expression will burst even from vulgar and illiterate minds when they are agitated. It is a natural effort of roused sensibility in every gradation, from unlettered simplicity to the highest refinement. Passion has no occasion to pause for metaphors, they rush upon the mind which it has heated. Similies, it is true, are not natural to strong emotion. They are the result of spirits that are calm, and at leisure to compare.

2: This idea is from a speech of Mr. Burke's, recorded by Boswell. [Pg 79]


O! hast thou seen a vernal Morning bright
    Gem every bank and trembling leaf with dews,
    Tinging the green fields with her amber hues,
    Changing the leaden streams to lines of light?
Then seen dull Clouds, that shed untimely night,
    Roll envious on, and every ray suffuse,
    Till the chill'd Scenes their early beauty lose,
    And faint, and colourless, no more invite
The glistening gaze of Joy?—'Twas emblem just
    Of my youth's sun, on which deep shadows fell,
    Spread from the pall of Friends; and Grief's loud gust
Resistless, oft wou'd wasted tears compel:
    Yet let me hope, that on my darken'd days
    Science, and pious Trust, may shed pervading rays.
[Pg 80]


Sophia tempts me to her social walls,
    That 'mid the vast Metropolis arise,
    Where Splendor dazzles, and each Pleasure vies
    In soft allurement; and each Science calls
To philosophic Domes, harmonious Halls,
    And [1]storied Galleries. With duteous sighs,
    Filial and kind, and with averted eyes,
    I meet the gay temptation, as it falls
From a seducing pen.—Here—here I stay,
    Fix'd by Affection's power; nor entertain
    One latent wish, that might persuade to stray
From my ag'd Nurseling, in his life's dim wane;
    But, like the needle, by the magnet's sway,
    My constant, trembling residence maintain.

1: “And storied windows richly dight.”—Il Penseroso. [Pg 81]


While unsuspecting trust in all that wears
    Virtue's bright semblance, stimulates my heart
    To find its dearest pleasures in the part
    Taken in other's joys; yielding to theirs
Its own desires, each latent wish that bears
    The selfish stamp, O! let me shun the art
    Taught by smooth Flattery in her courtly mart,
    Where Simulation's studied smile ensnares!
Scorn that exterior varnish for the Mind,
    Which, while it polishes the manners, veils
    In showy clouds the soul.—E'en thus we find
Glass, o'er whose surface clear the pencil steals,
    Grown less transparent, tho' with colours gay,
    Sheds but the darken'd and ambiguous ray.
[Pg 82]


As lightens the brown Hill to vivid green
    When juvenescent April's showery Sun
    Looks on its side, with golden glance, at Noon;
    So on the gloom of Life's now faded scene
Shines the dear image of those days serene,
    From Memory's consecrated treasures won;
    The days that rose, ere youth, and years were flown,
    Soft as the morn of May;—and well I ween
If they had clouds, in Time's alembic clear
    They vanish'd all, and their gay vision glows
    In brightness unobscur'd; and now they wear
A more than pristine sunniness, which throws
    Those mild reflected lights that soften care,
    Loss of lov'd Friends, and all the train of Woes.
[Pg 83]



My Angel Sister, tho' thy lovely form
    Perish'd in Youth's gay morning, yet is mine
    This precious Ringlet!—still the soft hairs shine,
    Still glow the nut-brown tints, all bright and warm
With sunny gleam!—Alas! each kindred charm
    Vanish'd long since; deep in the silent shrine
    Wither'd to shapeless Dust!—and of their grace
    Memory alone retains the faithful trace.—
Dear Lock, had thy sweet Owner liv'd, ere now
    Time on her brow had faded thee!—My care
    Screen'd from the sun and dew thy golden glow;
And thus her early beauty dost thou wear,
    Thou all of that fair Frame my love cou'd save
    From the resistless ravage of the Grave!
[Pg 84]


From a riv'd Tree, that stands beside the grave
    Of the Self-slaughter'd, to the misty Moon
    Calls the complaining Owl in Night's pale noon;
    And from a hut, far on the hill, to rave
Is heard the angry Ban-Dog. With loud wave
    The rous'd and turbid River surges down,
    Swoln with the mountain-rains, and dimly shown
    Appals the Sense.—Yet see! from yonder cave,
Her shelter in the recent, stormy showers,
    With anxious brow, a fond expecting Maid
    Steals towards the flood!—Alas!—for now appears
Her Lover's vacant boat!—the broken oars
    Roll down the tide!—What images invade!
    Aghast she stands, the Statue of her fears!
[Pg 85]




Here, from laborious Art, proud Towns, ye rose!
    Here, in an instant, sunk!—nor ought remains
    Of all ye were!—on the wide, lonely plains
    Not e'en a stone, that might these words disclose,
“Here stood Catania;”—or whose surface shows
    That this was Syracuse:—but louring reigns
    A trackless DESOLATION.—Dim Domains!
    Pale, mournful Strand! how oft, with anxious throes,
Seek I sad relics, which no spot supplies!—
    A Silence—a fix'd Horror sears my soul,
    Arrests my foot!—Dread Doom of human crimes,
What art thou?—Ye o'erwhelmed Cities, rise!
    That your terrific skeletons may scowl
    Portentous warning to succeeding Times!
[Pg 86]


While one sere leaf, that parting Autumn gilds,
    Trembles upon the thin, and naked spray,
    November, dragging on his sunless day,
    Lours, cold and fallen, on the watry fields;
And Nature to the waste dominion yields,
    Stript her last robes, with gold and purple gay.—
    So droops my life, of your soft beams despoil'd,
    Youth, Health, and Hope, that long exulting smil'd;
And the wild carols, and the bloomy hues
    Of merry Spring-time, spruce on every plain
    Her half-blown bushes, moist with sunny rain,
More pensive thoughts in my sunk heart infuse
    Than Winter's grey, and desolate domain,
    Faded, like my lost Youth, that no bright Spring renews.
[Pg 87]



March, tho' the Hours of promise with bright ray
    May gild thy noons, yet, on wild pinion borne,
    Loud Winds more often rudely wake thy morn,
    And harshly hymn thy early-closing day.
Still the chill'd Earth wears, with her tresses shorn,
    Her bleak, grey garb:—yet not for this we mourn,
    Nor, as in Winter's more enduring sway,
    With festal viands, and Associates gay,
Arm 'gainst the Skies;—nor shun the piercing gale;
    But, with blue cheeks, and with disorder'd hair,
    Meet its rough breath;—and peep for primrose pale,
Or lurking violet, under hedges bare;
    And, thro' long evenings, from our Lares[1] claim
    The thrift of stinted grate, and sullen flame.

1: Lares, Hearth-Gods. [Pg 88]



Pride of Ierne's Sea-encircled bound,
    Rival of all Britannia's Naiads boast,
    Magnificent Killarney!—from thy coast
    Tho' mountains rise with noblest woods embrown'd;
Tho' ten-voiced Echos send the cannon's sound
    In thunders bursting the vast rocks around,
    Till startled Wonder and Delight exhaust
    In countless repercussion—Isles embost
Upon thy liquid glass; their bloomy veil
    Sorbus and ārbutus;—yet not for thee
    So keenly wakes our local ecstacy,
As o'er the narrow, barren, silent Dale,
    Where deeply sleeps, rude circling Rocks among,
    The Love-devoted Fount enamour'd Petrarch sung.

1: This Sonnet was written on having read a description of the Killarney Scenery immediately after that of the Vale of Vaucluse, uncultivated and comparatively desert as the latter has been through more than the present Century. [Pg 89]



Round Cleon's brow the Delphic laurels twine,
    And lo! the laurel decks Amanda's breast!
    Charm'd shall he mark its glossy branches shine
    On that contrasting snow; shall see express'd
Love's better omens, in the green hues dress'd
    Of this selected foliage.—Nymph, 't is thine
    The warning story on its leaves to find,
    Proud Daphne's fate, imprison'd in its rind,
And with its umbrage veil'd, great Phœbus' power
    Scorning, and bent, with feet of wind, to foil
    His swift pursuit, till on Thessalian shore
Shot into boughs, and rooted to the soil.—
    Thus warn'd, fair Maid, Apollo's ire to shun,
    Soon may his Spray's and Votary's lot be one.
[Pg 90]



The three following Sonnets are written in the character of Werter; the sentiments and images chiefly, but not intirely taken from one of his letters.

Up this bleak Hill, in wintry Night's dread hour,
    With mind congenial to the scene, I come!
    To see my Valley in the lunar gloom,
    To see it whelm'd.—Amid the cloudy lour
Gleams the cold Moon;—and shows the ruthless power
    Of yon swoln Floods, that white with turbid foam
    Roll o'er the fields;—and, billowy as they roam,
    Against the bushes beat!—A Vale no more,
A troubled Sea, toss'd by the furious Wind!—
    Alas! the wild and angry Waves efface
    Pathway, and hedge, and bank, and stile!—I find
But one wide waste of waters!—In controul
    Thus dire, to tides of Misery and Disgrace
    Love opes the flood-gates of my struggling Soul.
[Pg 91]



Yon late but gleaming Moon, in hoary light
    Shines out unveil'd, and on the cloud's dark fleece
    Rests;—but her strengthen'd beams appear to increase
    The wild disorder of this troubled Night.
Redoubling Echos seem yet more to excite
    The roaring Winds and Waters!—Ah! why cease
    Resolves, that promis'd everlasting peace,
    And drew my steps to this incumbent height?
I wish!—I shudder!—stretch my longing arms
    O'er the steep cliff!—My swelling spirits brave
    The leap, that quiets all these dire alarms,
And floats me tossing on the stormy wave!
    But Oh! what roots my feet?—what spells, what charms
    The daring purpose of my Soul enslave?
[Pg 92]



My hour is not yet come!—these burning eyes
    Have not yet look'd their last!—else, 'mid the roar
    Of this wild Storm, what gloomy joy to pour
    My freed, exhaling Soul!—sublime to rise,
Rend the conflicting clouds, inflame the skies,
    And lash the torrents!—Bending to explore
    Our evening seat, my straining eye once more
    Roves the wide watry Waste;—but nought descries
Save the pale Flood, o'erwhelming as it strays.
    Yet Oh! lest my remorseless Fate decree
    That all I love, with life's extinguish'd rays
Sink from my soul, to soothe this agony,
    To balm that life, whose loss may forfeit thee,
    Come dear remembrance of departed Days!
[Pg 93]


On the fleet streams, the Sun, that late arose,
    In amber radiance plays;—the tall young grass
    No foot hath bruis'd;—clear Morning, as I pass,
    Breathes the pure gale, that on the blossom blows;
And, as with gold yon green hill's summit glows,
    The lake inlays the vale with molten glass.—
    Now is the Year's soft youth;—yet me, alas!
    Cheers not as it was wont;—impending woes
Weigh on my heart;—the joys, that once were mine,
    Spring leads not back;—and those that yet remain
    Fade while she blooms.—Each hour more lovely shine
Her crystal beams, and feed her floral Train;
    But ah with pale, and waning fires, decline
    Those eyes, whose light my filial hopes sustain.
[Pg 94]


Behold that Tree, in Autumn's dim decay,
    Stript by the frequent, chill, and eddying Wind;
    Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find
    Lingering and trembling on the naked spray,
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirl'd away!
    Emblem, alas! too just, of Humankind!
    Vain Man expects longevity, design'd
    For few indeed; and their protracted day
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn?
    The blasts of Sickness, Care, and Grief appal,
    That laid the Friends in dust, whose natal morn
Rose near their own;—and solemn is the call;—
    Yet, like those weak, deserted leaves forlorn,
    Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!
[Pg 95]


Yon soft Star, peering o'er the sable cloud,
    Sheds its [1]green lustre thro' the darksome air.—
    Haply in that mild Planet's crystal sphere
    Live the freed Spirits, o'er whose timeless shroud
Swell'd my lone sighs, my tearful sorrows flow'd.
    They, of these long regrets perhaps aware,
    View them with pitying smiles.—O! then, if e'er
    Your guardian cares may be on me bestow'd,
For the pure friendship of our youthful days,
    Ere yet ye soar'd from earth, illume my heart,
    That roves bewilder'd in Dejection's night,
And lead it back to peace!—as now ye dart,
    From your pellucid mansion, the kind rays,
    That thro' misleading darkness stream so bright.

1: The lustre of the brightest of the Stars always appeared to me of a green hue; and they are so described by Ossian. [Pg 96]


All is not right with him, who ill sustains
    Retirement's silent hours.—Himself he flies,
    Perchance from that insipid equipoise,
    Which always with the hapless mind remains
That feels no native bias; never gains
    One energy of will, that does not rise
    From some external cause, to which he hies
    From his own blank inanity.—When reigns,
With a strong, cultur'd mind, this wretched hate
    To commune with himself, from thought that tells
    Of some lost joy, or dreaded stroke of Fate
He struggles to escape;—or sense that dwells
    On secret guilt towards God, or Man, with weight
    Thrice dire, the self-exiling flight impels.
[Pg 97]


On the damp margin of the sea-beat shore
    Lonely at eve to wander;—or reclin'd
    Beneath a rock, what time the rising wind
    Mourns o'er the waters, and, with solemn roar,
Vast billows into caverns surging pour,
    And back recede alternate; while combin'd
    Loud shriek the sea-fowls, harbingers assign'd,
    Clamorous and fearful, of the stormy hour;
To listen with deep thought those awful sounds;
    Gaze on the boiling, the tumultuous waste,
    Or promontory rude, or craggy mounds
Staying the furious main, delight has cast
    O'er my rapt spirit, and my thrilling heart,
    Dear as the softer joys green vales impart.
[Pg 98]


The breathing freshness of the shining Morn,
    Whose beams glance yellow on the distant fields,
    A sweet, unutterable pleasure yields
    To my dejected sense, that turns with scorn
From the light joys of Dissipation born.
    Sacred Remembrance all my bosom shields
    Against each glittering lance she gaily wields,
    Warring with fond Regrets, that silent mourn
The Heart's dear comforts lost.—But, Nature, thou,
    Thou art resistless still;—and yet I ween
    Thy present balmy gales, and vernal blow,
To Memory owe the magic of their scene;
    For with such fragrant breath, such orient rays,
    Shone the soft mornings of my youthful days.
[Pg 99]



Thou silent Door of our eternal sleep,
    Sickness, and pain, debility, and woes,
    All the dire train of ills Existence knows,
    Thou shuttest out FOR EVER!—Why then weep
This fix'd tranquillity,—so long!—so deep!
    In a dear Father's clay-cold Form?—where rose
    No energy, enlivening Health bestows,
    Thro' many a tedious year, that us'd to creep
In languid deprivation; while the flame
    Of intellect, resplendent once confess'd,
    Dark, and more dark, each passing day became.
Now that angelic lights the Soul invest,
    Calm let me yield to thee a joyless Frame,
    Thou silent Door of everlasting Rest.

Lichfield, March 1790.
[Pg 100]


Since my griev'd mind some energy regains,
    Industrious habits can, at times, repress
    The weight of filial woe, the deep distress
    Of life-long separation; yet its pains,
Oft do they throb along these fever'd veins.—
    My rest has lost its balm, the fond caress
    Wont the dear aged forehead to impress
    At midnight, as he slept;—nor now obtains
My uprising the blest news, that cou'd impart
    Joy to the morning, when its dawn had brought
    Some health to that weak Frame, o'er which my heart
With fearful fondness yearn'd, and anxious thought.—
    Time, and the Hope that robs the mortal Dart
    Of its fell sting, shall cheer me—as they ought.
[Pg 101]




Remorseless Winter! in thy iron reign
    Comes the loud whirlwind, on thy pinion borne;
    The long long night,—the tardy, leaden morn;
    The grey frost, riv'ling lane, and hill, and plain;
Chill silent snows, and heavy, pattering rain.
    These are thy known allies;—and Life forlorn,
    Yet patient, droops, nor breathes repinings vain;
    But now, Usurper, thou hast madly torn
From Summer's hand his stores of angry sway;
    His rattling thunders with thy winds unite,
    On thy pale snows those livid lightnings play,
That pour their deathful splendors o'er his night,
    To poise the pleasures of his golden day,
    Soft gales, blue skies, and long-protracted light.
[Pg 102]



Lyre of the Sonnet, that full many a time
    Amus'd my lassitude, and sooth'd my pains,
    When graver cares forbade the lengthen'd strains,
    To thy brief bound, and oft-returning chime
A long farewell!—the splendid forms of Rhyme
    When Grief in lonely orphanism reigns,
    Oppress the drooping Soul.—Death's dark domains
    Throw mournful shadows o'er the Aonian clime;
For in their silent bourne my filial bands
    Lie all dissolv'd;—and swiftly-wasting pour
    From my frail glass of life, health's sparkling sands.
Sleep then, my Lyre, thy tuneful tasks are o'er,
    Sleep! for my heart bereav'd, and listless hands
    Wake with rapt touch thy glowing strings no more!

Flower [Pg 103]



Translations scrupulously faithful are apt to be stiff, vapid and obscure, from the often irreconcilably different nature of languages, from local customs, and from allusions to circumstances over which time has drawn a veil. In attempting to put the most admired and interesting of Horace's Odes into English Verse, I have taken only the Poet's general idea, frequently expanding it, to elucidate the sense, and to bring the images more distinctly to the eye; induced by the hope of thus infusing into these Paraphrases the spirit of original composition. Neither have I scrupled to follow the example of Dryden and Pope, by sometimes adding ideas and imagery congenial to the subject, and thus to translate Horace like a Poet, rather than a Versifier.

The trust, whether partial or not, that it was in my power so to paraphrase the Odes of Horace, prompted the late Mr. Grove of Lichfield, and the late Mr. Dewes of Wellsburn in Warwickshire, to request that I would undertake the task respecting those whose subjects best pleased me. Not acquainted with each other, the coincidence of their opinion and request was flattering. They were extensively known to be Gentlemen of distinguished virtues, much classic erudition, and poetic taste;

“Blest with each talent, and each art to please,
And born to write, converse, and live at ease.”
[Pg 106]

Mr. Dewes was the highly esteemed Friend of Dr. Parr, Mr. Grove of Lord Sheffield. A beautiful epitaph in verse, written by Mr. Grove, on his beloved Wife, is one of the chief ornaments of Lichfield Cathedral.

The imitation of the Ode to Delius, applied to Mr. Erskine, was written since the lamented death of those Gentlemen, which happened in the meridian of their days. All the other Paraphrases had been submitted to their revision and correction, and had been honoured by their warm praise. That consciousness makes me indifferent to the expected cavils of illiberal criticism.

Men of letters have often observed to me, that in paraphrasing Horace, my sex would be an unpardonable crime with every Pedant, whether within, or without the pale of professional criticism. It is not in their power to speak or write more contemptuously of my Horatian Odes than the Critics of Dryden's and Pope's time, in the literary journals of that Period, wrote of their Translations from Homer, Virgil, Horace, Boccace, and Chaucer. Instances of that public abuse are triumphantly inserted by Warburton in his Edition of Pope's works. See Appendix to the Dunciad. It is re-published there, to justify some of the personal severities of Pope's celebrated Satire.

Most of the notes to the ensuing Paraphrases are addressed to their unlearned Readers, since no allusion can interest which is not perfectly comprehended. [Pg 107]





Mæcenas, from Etrurian Princes sprung,
    For whom my golden lyre I strung,
Friend, Patron, Guardian of its rising song,
    O mark the Youth, that towers along,
        With triumph in his air;
    Proud of Olympic dust, that soils
    His burning cheek and tangled hair!
Mark how he spreads the palm, that crown'd his toils!
    Each look the throbbing hope reveals
    That his fleet steeds and kindling wheels,
Swept round the skilfully-avoided goal,
Shall with illustrious Chiefs his echo'd name enrol.
[Pg 108]


    Who the civic crown obtains,
    Or bears into his granaries large
The plenteous tribute of the Libyan Plains;
Or he, who watches still a rural charge,
    O'er his own fields directs the plough,
    Sees his own fruitage load the bough;
These would'st thou tempt to brave the faithless main,
And tempt with regal wealth, thy effort should be vain.


The stormy South howls thro' the sullen cloud,
    Contending billows roar aloud!
The Merchant sees the gathering danger rise,
    And sends a thousand yearning sighs
        To his dear shelter'd home.—
    Its shades receive him;—but the tides
    Grow smooth;—the wild winds cease to roam;
And see!—his new-trimm'd vessel gaily rides!—
    Fir'd with the hope of wealth, once more
    He quits, so hardly gain'd, the shore;
Watches, with eager eye, th' unfurling sail,
Nor casts one look behind to the safe, sylvan vale.
[Pg 109]


    [1]The youth of gay, luxurious taste,
    Breaks, in the ārbutus' soft shade,
The precious day with interrupting feast;
Or quaffs, by some clear fountain in a glade,
    The mellow wine of ruby gleam,
    While in vain the purer stream
Courts him, as gently the green bank it laves,
To blend th' enfevering draught with its pellucid waves.


Th' uplifted trumpet, and the clarion, send,
    Confus'd, the mingled clang afar;
Lo! while the Matron's tender breast they rend,
    Her Soldier hails that din of war.—
        The wood-land Chase desired,
    Far other sounds the Hunter charms;
    By the enlivening shout inspired,
He breaks from his young Bride's encircling arms;
Nor heeds the morning's wintry gale,
    While his deep-mouth'd hounds inhale
The tainted breeze, or hold the stag at bay,
Or while, from his strong toils, the wild boar bursts away.
[Pg 110]


    [2]Thee bright Learning's ivy crown
    Exalts above a mortal fate;
Me shady Groves, light Nymphs, and Satyrs brown,
Raise o'er the Crowd, in sweet sequester'd state.
    And there is heard the Lesbian lute,
    And there Euterpe's Dorian flute;
But, should'st thou rank me with the lyric Choir,
To Glory's starry heights thy Poet would aspire.—

1: The Romans, in general, made no regular meal till the business of the day was over. They considered a mid-day feast as a mark of indolence and luxury.

2: “Diis miscent superis.] A manner of expression not unusual amongst the Greeks and Latins, for any eminent degree of happiness. Unless we adopt this explanation of the words, says Dacier, we shall make Horace guilty of a manifest contradiction, since a few lines farther he tells his Patron, that his suffrage, not the ivy crown is that, which will exalt him to the skies. The judicious emendation of the late Bishop of Chichester, who for Me doctarum, reads Te doctarum, removes all objection; and adds beauty to the Ode by the fine compliment it contains to Mæcenas.” Brom. Hor. [Pg 111]



Where roses flaunt beneath some pleasant cave,
    Too charming Pyrrha, what enamour'd Boy,
Whose shining locks the breathing odors lave,
    Woos thee, exulting in a transient joy?
For whom the simple band dost thou prepare,
That lightly fastens back thy golden hair?

Alas! how soon shall this devoted Youth
    Love's tyrant sway, and thy chang'd eyes deplore,
Indignant curse thy violated truth,
    And count each broken promise o'er and o'er,
Who hopes to meet, unconscious of thy wiles,
Looks ever vacant, ever facile smiles!

He, inexperienc'd Mariner! shall gaze
    In wild amazement on the stormy deep,
Recall the flattery of those sunny days,
    That lull'd each ruder wind to calmest sleep.
'T was then, with jocund hope, he spread the sail,
In rash dependence on the faithless gale.
[Pg 112]

Ah Wretch! to whom untried thou seemest fair!
    By me, who late thy halcyon surface sung,
    [1]The walls of Neptune's fane inscrib'd, declare
    That I have dank and dropping garments hung,
Devoted to the God, whose kind decree
Snatch'd me to shore, from an o'erwhelming sea.

1: Horace alludes to the custom of the Roman Mariners after a shipwreck—that of suspending their garments, which had been drenched in the storm, in the temple of Neptune, together with a votive tablet, on which the circumstances of the danger and escape, were painted. [Pg 113]



Be far-fam'd [2]Rhodes the theme of loftier strains,
Or [3]Mitylene, as their Bard decrees;
Or Ephesus, where great Diana reigns,
Or Corinth, towering 'twixt the rival seas;
Or Thebes, illustrious in thy birth divine,
Purpureal Bacchus;—or of Phœbus' shrine
[Pg 114] Delphos oracular; or warbling hail
Thessalian Tempe's flower-embroider'd vale.

The Art-crown'd City, chaste Minerva's pride,
There are, whose endless numbers have pourtray'd;
They, to each tree that spreads its branches wide,
Prefer the [4]tawny Olive's scanty shade.
Many, in Juno's honor, sing thy meads,
Green Argos, glorying in thy agile steeds;
Or opulent Mycene, whose proud fanes
The blood of murder'd Agamemnon stains.

Nor patient Lacedæmon wakes my lyre,
Who trains her Sons to all the Warrior's toil;
Nor me [5]Larissa's airy graces fire,
Tho' round her hills the golden vallies smile:
But my lov'd mansion, 'mid the circling wood,
On the green bank of clear Albūnea's flood,
Its walls resounding with the echo'd roar,
As Anio's torrents down the mountain pour.
[Pg 115]

Amid my blooming orchards pleas'd I rove,
Guiding the ductile course of murmuring rills;
Or mark the curtains of the sacred grove
Sink in the vales, or sweep along the hills.
[6]Ah Friend! if round my cell such graces shine,
The Palace of Tiburnian Shades is thine;
She every feature of the Scene commands,
And Empress of its varied beauty stands.

Tho' frequent mists the young Favonius shroud,
Bending his flagging wing with heavy rains,
Yet oft he chases every showery cloud,
Winnowing, with pinion light, th' aerial plains;
Ah! thus from thee let each dark vapor roll,
That rash Ambition gathers on the soul;
The jocund Pleasures in her absence rise,
Glow in the breast, and sparkle in the eyes.
[Pg 116]

And thou, Munatius, whether Fate ordain
The Camp thy home, with glancing javelins bright;
Or if the graces of that fair domain,
Umbrageous Tivoli, thy steps invite;
If trumpets sound the clang that Warriors love,
Or round thee trill the choirings of the grove,
In flowing bowls drown every vain regret,
Enjoy the Present, and the Past forget!

The walls of Salamis when Teucer fled,
Driven by a Parent's unrelenting frown,
Hope from his spirit chas'd each anxious dread,
While on his brow he bound the poplar crown;
In rich libation pour'd the generous wine,
Then bath'd his temples in the juice divine;
And thus, with gladden'd eye, and air sedate,
Address'd the drooping Followers of his fate.

“Wherever Destiny, a kinder friend
Than he who gave me birth, may point the way,
Thither resolv'd our duteous steps shall bend,
Nor know presaging fear, nor weak delay.
Doubt flies when Teucer leads, and cold despair,
In Teucer's auspices, shall melt to air;
[Pg 117] Phœbus ordains that, in more favoring skies,
Another prosp'rous Salamis shall rise.

“So much alike her fountains, fanes, and bowers,
That e'en her name shall dubious meaning bear;—
Then, my lov'd Friends, who oft, in darker hours,
Have shar'd with me a conflict more severe,
O! let us lose in wine our sorrow's weight,
And rise the masters of our future fate!
This night we revel in convivial ease,
To-morrow seek again the vast and pathless seas.”

1: He had twice been Consul; was of Brutus' and Cassius' party, but went over to Augustus, who received him with kind respect. However he revolted from him, persuaded by the Friends of Marc Antony, that the Battle of Actium would decree the Empire to that General. The event, so contrary, brought Munatius back to the feet of Augustus, but he was not received with former kindness, nor did he deserve it, and retired, chagrined, to his fine seat at Tivoli, in the wood of Tiburnus, so called from the neighbouring city, Tibur. There also, and near the falls of Tivoli, described at full in Mr. Gray's letters, Horace had a villa. The Poet, perceiving the spirits of Munatius dejected, writes this Ode to reconcile him to his destiny, and to inspire him with delight in the beautiful Scenery by which he was surrounded; insinuating, that should Augustus banish him, which was no improbable event, he ought not to despond, but to form his conduct upon the spirited example of Teucer; who, together with his Friends and Followers, was banished from his native City, Salamis, by his Father, because he had not revenged upon the Greeks the death of his Brother Ajax.—The disinterested design of this Ode, and the humane attention it pays to a disgraced Nobleman, are much to the Poet's honor, who was perhaps, in general, more disposed to gratulate the Powerful, than to sooth the Unfortunate.

2: Rhodes, the Capital of an Island of the same name in the Mediterranean, and famous for the Colossal Statue.

3: Mitylene, the chief City of Lesbos, praised by Cicero for its advantageous situation, elegant buildings, and fertile soil.

4: Tawny Olive. It was believed that Minerva presented the seed of the olive-tree to the Athenians.

5: Larissa, a beautiful City, upon one of the hills in Thessaly.

6: This surely must be the Poet's meaning in mentioning his own villa, when he is endeavouring to awaken in Munatius a taste for the surrounding beauties of his more magnificent seat. Commentators rationally conclude that some connecting lines have been lost from the latin of this Ode. It appears to me, that the idea which those dismembered lines conveyed, must necessarily have been the comparison added in the four ensuing lines, which makes the transition easy.



    O, Lydia! I conjure thee tell
Why, with persisting zeal, thou dost employ
    The strongest power of amorous spell
    On Sybaris, belov'd too well,
Wounding his fame amid voluptuous joy?
[Pg 118]

    Why shuns he now the noon-tide glare,
Inur'd to whirling dust, and scorching heat?
    Ceases the Warrior-vest to wear
    In which he us'd, with graceful air,
Aspiring Youths, all emulous, to meet?

    Why is it now no more his pride
To rein the ardent horse with agile arm?
    With new-strung sinews to divide
    The yellow Tyber's angry tide,
When the tempestuous showers its rage alarm?

    Why hates he, as the viper's gore,
The Wrestler's oil, that supples every vein?
    Why do we see his arms no more
    With livid bruises spotted o'er,
Of manly sports the honorable stain?

    'T was his to whirl, with matchless skill,
The glancing quoit, the certain javelin throw,
    While Crowds, with acclamations shrill,
    The lofty Circus joy'd to fill,
And all the honors of the Day bestow.
[Pg 119]

    Such fond seclusion why desire?—
Thus Thetis' care her blooming Son conceal'd,
    Ere yet commenc'd that Contest dire,
    When mournful gleam'd the funeral pyre,
Thro' ten long years, on Ilium's purpled field.

    In vain the female vest he wore,
That Love maternal might avert his fate;
    Lest his spear drink the Lycian gore,
    Lest sinking Troy his force deplore,
And Death with Glory meet him at her gate.



In dazzling whiteness, lo! Soracte towers,
As all the mountain were one heap of snow!
Rush from the loaded woods the glittering showers;
The frost-bound waters can no longer flow.
[Pg 120]

Let plenteous billets, on the glowing hearth,
Dissolve the ice-dart ere it reach thy veins;
Bring mellow wines to prompt convivial mirth,
Nor heed th' arrested streams, or slippery plains.

High Heaven, resistless in his varied sway,
Speaks!—The wild elements contend no more;
Nor then, from raging seas, the foamy spray
Climbs the dark rocks, or curls upon the shore.

And peaceful then yon aged ash shall stand;
In breathless calm the dusky cypress rise;
To-morrow's destiny the Gods command,
To-day is thine;—enjoy it, and be wise!

Youth's radiant tide too swiftly rolls away;
Now, in its flow, let pleasures round thee bloom;
Join the gay dance, awake the melting lay,
Ere hoary tresses blossom for the tomb!

Spears, and the Steed, in busy camps impel;
And, when the early darkness veils the groves,
Amid the leafless boughs let whispers steal,
While frolic Beauty seeks the near alcoves.
[Pg 121]

Soft as thy tip-toe steps the mazes rove,
A laugh, half-smother'd, thy pleas'd ear shall meet,
And, sportive in the charming wiles of love,
Betray the artifice of coy retreat;

And then the ring, or, from her snowy arm,
The promis'd bracelet may thy force employ;
Her feign'd reluctance, height'ning every charm,
Shall add new value to the ravish'd toy.

1: This Ode was probably written at the Country Seat of that Nobleman, near the mountain Soracte, in Tuscany, twenty-six miles from Rome.



Leuconoe, cease presumptuous to inquire
    Of grave Diviner, if successive years
Onward shall roll, ere yet the funeral pyre,
    For thee and me, the hand of Friendship rears!
Ah rather meet, with gay and vacant brow,
Whatever youth, and time, health, love, and fate allow;
[Pg 122]

If many winters on the naked trees
    Drop in our sight the paly wreaths of frost,
Or this for us the last, that from the seas
    Hurls the loud flood on the resounding coast.—
Short since thou know'st the longest vital line,
Nurse the near hope, and pour the rosy wine.

E'en while we speak our swiftly-passing Youth
    Stretches its wing to cold Oblivion's shore;
Then shall the Future terrify, or sooth,
    Whose secrets no vain foresight can explore?
The Morrow's faithless promise disavow,
And seize, thy only boast, the golden Now.



    What asks the Poet, when he pours
His first libation in the Delphic Bowers?
    Duteous before the altar standing,
    With lively hope his soul expanding,
O! what demands he, when the crimson wine
Flows sparkling from the vase, and laves the golden shrine?
[Pg 123]

    Not the rich and swelling grain
    That yellows o'er Sardinia's isle;
Nor snowy herds, slow winding thro' the plain,
When warm Calabria's rosy mornings smile;
    Nor gold, nor gems, that India yields,
    Nor yet those fair and fertile fields,
Which, thro' their flow'ry banks as calm he glides,
The silent [1]Liris' azure stream divides.

    Let those, for whom kind fortune still
Leads lavish tendrils o'er the sloping hill,
    Let such, with care their vineyard dressing,
    Their bursting grapes assiduous pressing,
Gather, self-gratulant, the costly store,
And of the future year propitious suns implore!

    May luscious wines, in cups of gold,
    Oft for the wealthy Merchant flow!
Nor let cold Thrift those plenteous draughts withhold
That prosperous Commerce shall again bestow.
    The flowing bowl he safely drains,
    Since every favouring God ordains
[Pg 124] That more than [2]once, within the circling year,
His prow shall o'er the smooth Atlantic steer.

    Me, let tawny olives feed!
Me, lenient mallows from the simple mead!
    Son of Latona, grant the blessing,
    That, a cloudless mind possessing,
And not infirm of frame, in soft decay,
Cheer'd by the breathing lyre, my life may pass away!

1: Liris—a beautiful river of remarkably placid current. It rises near Sora, a city of Latium, which it divides from Campania.

2: The Poet deems it a peculiar mark of the favor of the Deities when the Merchant is enabled safely to make repeated voyages in one year through hazardous seas.



Boy, not in these Autumnal bowers
Shalt thou the Persian Vest dispose,
Of artful fold, and rich brocade;
Nor tie in gaudy knots the sprays and flowers.
Ah! search not where the latest rose
Yet lingers in the sunny glade;
Plain be the vest, and simple be the braid!
[Pg 125] I charge thee with the myrtle wreath
Not one resplendent bloom entwine;
We both become that modest band,
As stretch'd my vineyard's ample shade beneath,
Jocund I quaff the rosy wine;
While near me thou shalt smiling stand,
And fill the sparkling cup with ready hand.



Dark in the Miser's chest, in hoarded heaps,
Can Gold, my Sallust, one true joy bestow,
Where sullen, dim, and valueless it sleeps,
Whose worth, whose charms, from circulation flow?
Ah! then it shines attractive on the thought,
Rises, with such resistless influence fraught
As puts to flight pale Fear, and Scruple cold,
Till Life, e'en Life itself, becomes less dear than Gold.
[Pg 126]

Rome, of this power aware, thy honor'd name
O Proculeius! ardently adores,
Since thou didst bid thy ruin'd Brothers claim
A filial right in all thy well-earn'd stores.—
To make the good deed deathless as the great,
Yet fearing for her plumes [1]Icarian fate,
This Record, Fame, of precious trust aware,
Shall long, on cautious wing, solicitously bear.

And thou, my Sallust, more complete thy sway,
Restraining the insatiate lust of gain,
Than should'st thou join, by Conquest's proud essay,
Iberian hills to Libya's sandy plain;
Than if the Carthage sultry Afric boasts,
With that which smiles on Europe's lovelier coasts,
Before the Roman arms, led on by thee,
Should bow the yielding head, the tributary knee.

See bloated Dropsy added strength acquire
As the parch'd lip the frequent draught obtains;
Indulgence feeds the never-quench'd desire,
That loaths the viand, and the goblet drains.
[Pg 127] Nor could exhausted floods the thirst subdue
Till that dire Cause, which spreads the livid hue
O'er the pale Form, with watry languor swell'd,
From the polluted veins, by medicine, be expell'd.

Virtue, whate'er the dazzled Vulgar dream,
Denies Phraätes, seated on thy throne,
Immortal Cyrus, Joy's internal gleam,
And thus she checks the Crowd's mistaken tone;
“He, only he, who, calmly passing by,
Not once shall turn the pure, unwishing eye
On heaps of massy gold, that near him glare,
My amaranthine wreath, my diadem shall wear.”

1: Penna metuente solvi must surely be allusive to the dissolving pinions of Icarus—and mean, that deeds of private generosity are apt to melt from the recollection of mankind; while those of what is called heroic exertion go down to Posterity. For this idea of the passage the Translator was indebted to a learned Friend.




Conscious the mortal stamp is on thy breast,
O, Erskine! still an equal mind maintain,
That wild Ambition ne'er may goad thy rest,
Nor Fortune's smile awake thy triumph vain,
[Pg 128]

Whether thro' toilsome tho' renowned years
'T is thine to trace the Law's perplexing maze,
Or win the SACRED SEALS, whose awful cares
To high decrees devote thy honor'd days.

Where silver'd Poplars with the stately Pines
Mix their thick branches in the summer sky,
And the cool stream, whose trembling surface shines,
Laboriously oblique, is hurrying by;

There let thy duteous Train the banquet bring,
In whose bright cups the liquid ruby flows,
As Life's warm season, on expanded wing,
Presents her too, too transitory rose;

While every Muse and Grace auspicious wait,
As erst thy Handmaids, when, with brow serene,
Gay thou didst rove where Buxton views elate
A golden Palace deck her savage scene[1].
[Pg 129]

At frequent periods woo th' inspiring Band
Before thy days their summer-course have run,
While, with clos'd shears, the fatal Sisters stand,
Nor aim to cut the brilliant thread they spun.

Precarious Tenant of that gay Retreat,
Fann'd by pure gales on Hampstead's airy downs,
Where filial troops for thee delighted wait,
And their fair Mother's smile thy banquet crowns!

Precarious Tenant!—shortly thou may'st leave
These, and propitious Fortune's golden hoard;
Then spare not thou the stores, that shall receive,
When set thy orb, a less illustrious Lord.

What can it then avail thee that thy pleas
Charm'd every ear with Tully's periods bland?
Or that the subject Passions they could seize,
And with the thunder of the Greek command?

What can it then avail thee that thy fame
Threw tenfold lustre on thy noble Line?
Since neither birth, nor self-won glory, claim
One hour's exemption from the sable shrine.
[Pg 130]

E'en now thy lot shakes in the Urn, whence Fate
Throws her pale edicts in reverseless doom!
Each issues in its turn, or soon, or late,
And lo! the great Man's prize!—a silent Tomb!

1: The Author had the pleasure of passing a fortnight with Mr. and Mrs. Erskine at Buxton in August 1796.



Barine, to thy always broken vows
    Were slightest punishment ordain'd;
        Hadst thou less charming been
By one grey hair upon thy polish'd brows;
    If but a single tooth were stain'd,
        A nail discolour'd seen,
Then might I nurse the hope that, faithful grown,
The Future might, at length, the guilty Past atone.

But ah! no sooner on that perjur'd head,
    With pomp, the votive wreaths are bound,
        In mockery of truth,
Than lovelier grace thy faithless beauties shed;
    Thou com'st, with new-born conquest crown'd,
        The care of all our Youth,
[Pg 131] Their public care;—and murmur'd praises rise
Where'er the beams are shot of those resistless eyes.

Thy Mother's buried dust;—the midnight train,
    Of silent stars,—the rolling spheres,
        Each God, that list'ning bows,
With thee it prospers, false-One! to profane.
    The Nymphs attend;—gay Venus hears,
        And all deride thy vows;
And Cupid whets afresh his burning darts
On the stone, moist with blood, that dropt from wounded hearts.

For thee our rising Youth to Manhood grow,
    Ordain'd thy powerful chains to wear;
        Nor do thy former Slaves
From the gay roof of their false Mistress go,
    Tho' sworn no more to linger there;
        Triumphant Beauty braves
The wise resolve;—and, ere they reach the door,
Fixes the faltering step to thy magnetic floor.
[Pg 132]

Thee the sage Matron fears, intent to warn
    Her Striplings;—thee the Miser dreads,
        And, of thy power aware,
Brides from the Fane with anxious sighs return,
    Lest the bright nets thy beauty spreads,
        Their plighted Lords ensnare,
Ere fades the marriage torch; nay even now,
While undispers'd the breath, that form'd the nuptial vow!
[Pg 133]



Not ceaseless falls the heavy shower
    That drenches deep the furrow'd lea;
Nor do continual tempests pour
    On the vex'd [2]Caspian's billowy sea;
Nor yet the ice, in silent horror, stands
Thro' all the passing months on pale [3]Armenia's Lands.
[Pg 134]

Fierce storms do not for ever bend
    The Mountain's vast and labouring oak,
Nor from the ash its foliage rend,
    With ruthless whirl, and widowing stroke;
But, Valgius, thou, with grief's eternal lays
Mournest thy vanish'd joys in Mystes' shorten'd days.

When [4]Vesper trembles in the west,
    Or flies before the orient sun,
Rise the lone sorrows of thy breast.—
    Not thus did aged Nestor shun
Consoling strains, nor always sought the tomb,
Where sunk his [5]filial Hopes, in life and glory's bloom.

Not thus, the lovely Troilus slain,
    His Parents wept the Princely Boy;
Nor thus his Sisters mourn'd, in vain,
    The blasted Flower of sinking Troy;
[Pg 135] Cease, then, thy fond complaints!—Augustus' fame,
The new Cesarian wreaths, let thy lov'd voice proclaim!

So shall the listening World be told
    [6]Medus, and cold Niphates guide,
With all their mighty Realms controul'd,
    Their late proud waves in narrower tide;
That in scant space their steeds the [7]Scythians rein,
Nor dare transgress the bounds our Victor Arms ordain.

1: This Ode is addressed to his Friend, an illustrious Roman, who had lost a beloved Son. The poetic literature of Titus Valgius is ascertained by the honourable mention made of him by Horace, in his Tenth Satire, Book the First. Valgius, like Sir Brooke Boothby, in these days, had poured forth a train of elegiac Sorrows over the blight of his filial hopes. Horace does not severely reprove these woes, he only wishes they may not be eternal, and that he will, at least, suspend them and share the public joy; for this Ode was composed while the splendid victories, which Augustus had obtained in the East, were recent.

2: The Caspian is a stormy and harbourless Sea—Yet the Poet observes that not even the Caspian is always tempestuous—insinuating, that inevitable as his grief must be for such a loss, it yet ought not to be incessant.

3: The coldness of Armenia is well known, surrounded as it is by the high mountains of Niphates, Taurus, Pariades, Antiaurus, and Ararat, which are always covered with snow.

4: Vesper—alike the Evening and Morning Star—appearing first and remaining last in the Horizon, it ushers in both the Evening and the Dawn. In the first instance it is called Vesper, or Hesperus, in the last Lucifer, or Phospher.

5: Filial Hopes. Antilochus, the Son of Nestor, observing his Father likely to fall in Battle, by the sword of his Adversary, threw himself between the Combatants, and thus sacrificed his own life to preserve that of his Parent.

6: By the Rivers Medus, and Niphates, are meant the Parthians, or Scythians, for they are the same people, and the Armenians. The River Tigris, rising in the cold Mountain, Niphates, Horace gives its name to the Stream, as he does that of Medus to the Euphrates, which Plato asserts to have been formerly so called. Uniting those Rivers in his verse, the Poet means to denote the Roman Conquest over two Enemies widely distant from each other.

7: The Scythians, or Parthians, were a warlike People, famous for their Equestrian prowess, for the speed of their horses, and for the unerring aim of their arrows, shot when flying on full speed. Augustus obliged their King, Phraätes, not only to restore the Roman Standards and Prisoners, taken many years before, but to withdraw his Troops from Armenia. [Pg 136]



Not always, dear Licinius, is it wise
On the main Sea to ply the daring Oar;
Nor is it safe, from dread of angry Skies,
Closely to press on the insidious Shore.
[Pg 137] To no excess discerning Spirits lean,
They feel the blessings of the golden mean;
They will not grovel in the squalid cell,
Nor seek in princely domes, with envied pomp, to dwell.

The pine, that lifts so high her stately boughs,
Writhes in the storms, and bends beneath their might,
Innoxious while the loudest tempest blows
O'er trees, that boast a less-aspiring height.
As the wild fury of the whirlwind pours,
With direst ruin fall the loftiest towers;
And 't is the mountain's summit that, oblique,
From the dense, lurid clouds, the baleful lightnings strike.

A mind well disciplin'd, when Sorrow lours,
Not sullenly excludes Hope's smiling rays;
Nor, when soft Pleasure boasts of lasting powers,
With boundless trust the Promiser surveys.
It is the same dread Jove, who thro' the sky
Hurls the loud storms, that darken as they fly;
[Pg 138] And whose benignant hand withdraws the gloom,
And spreads rekindling light, in all its living bloom.

To-day the Soul perceives a weight of woe;—
A brighter Morrow shall gay thoughts inspire.
Does [2]Phœbus always bend the vengeful bow?
Wakes he not often the harmonious lyre?
Be thou, when Danger scowls in every wave,
Watchful, collected, spirited, and brave;
But in the sunny sky, the flattering gales,
Contract, with steady hand, thy too expanded sails.

1: Licinius Murena was a Patrician of high rank, one of the Brothers of Proculeius, whose fraternal generosity is celebrated in the Ode to Sallust, the ninth of these Paraphrases. The property of Licinius had been confiscated for having borne arms against the second Triumvirate. Upon this confiscation Proculeius divided two thirds of that large fortune, with which the Emperor had rewarded his valor and fidelity in the royal cause, between Licinius, and his adopted Brother, Terentius, whose fortunes had suffered equal wreck on account of the Party he had taken. Horace wrote this Ode soon after the affectionate bounty of Proculeius had restored his Friend to affluence. It breathes a warning spirit towards that turbulent, and ambitious temper, which Horace perceived in this young Nobleman. The Poet, however, has used great address and delicacy, making the reflections not particular but general; and he guards against exciting the soreness People feel from reprehension for their prevailing fault, by censuring with equal freedom the opposite extreme. That kind caution insinuated in this Ode, proved eventually vain, as did also the generosity of the Emperor, who soon after permitted Licinius to be chosen Augur;—probably at the intercession of his Favorite Mæcenas, who had married Terentia, a Daughter of that House, and whom Horace calls Licinia in the Ode which is next paraphrased. Upon the election of Licinius to this post of honor, trust, and dignity, we perceive the spirits of Horace greatly elevated; probably as much from the pleasure he knew Mæcenas would take in the promotion of his Brother-in-law, as from the attachment himself bore to Licinius. A peculiar air of hilarity shines out in the Ode addressed to Telephus, written the evening on which this Licinius, then newly chosen Augur, gave his first supper to his Friends. The Reader will find it somewhat lavishly paraphrased in the course of this Selection. By the above Ode the Poet seems to have feared the seditious disposition of Licinius:—but when he afterwards strung his lyre to notes of triumph for the honors of his Friend, he little imagined that Friend would finally suffer death for ungratefully conspiring against the Monarch, who had so liberally overlooked his former enmity.

2: Epidemic Diseases were, by the Pagans, believed to be the effect of having offended Apollo. The arrows he shoots among the Greeks in the first Book of the Iliad, produce the Pestilence, which follows the rape of his Priest's Daughter, Chryseis. When we consider the dependence of the human constitution upon the temperate, or intemperate influence of the Sun, the avenging bow of Phœbus appears an obvious allegory;—and since it is in the hours of health that the fine Arts are sought and cultivated, the Sun, under the name of Phœbus, Apollo, &c. is with equal propriety of fable, supposed their Patron, as well as the Avenger of crimes by the infliction of diseases. [Pg 139]



Mæcenas, I conjure thee cease
    To wake my harp's enamour'd strings
To tones, that fright recumbent Peace,
    That Pleasure flies on rapid wings!
[Pg 140]

Slow conquest on Numantia's plain,
    Or Hannibal, that dauntless stood,
Tho' thrice he saw Ausonia's main
    Redden with Carthaginian blood;

The Lapithæ's remorseless pride,
    Hylæus' wild inebriate hours;
The Giants, who the Gods defied,
    And shook old Saturn's splendid towers;
[Pg 141]

These, dear Mæcenas, thou should'st paint,
    Each glory of thy Cæsar's reign,
In eloquence, that scorns restraint,
    And sweeter than the Poet's strain;

Show captive Kings, who from the fight
    Drag at his wheels their galling chain,
And the pale lip indignant bite
    With mutter'd vengeance, wild and vain.

Enraptur'd by Licinia's grace,
    My Muse would these high themes decline,
Charm'd that the heart, the form, the face
    Of matchless Excellence is thine.

Ah, happy Friend! for whom an eye,
    Of splendid, and resistless fire,
Lays all its pointed arrows by,
    For the mild gleams of soft desire!

With what gay spirit does she foil
    The Pedant's meditated hit!
What happy archness in her smile!
    What pointed meaning in her wit!
[Pg 142]

Her cheek how pure a crimson warms,
    When with the Nymphs, in circling line,
Bending she twines her snowy arms,
    And dances round Diana's shrine[2]!

Mæcenas, would'st not thou exchange
    The treasures gorgeous Persia pours,
The wealth of Phrygia's fertile range,
    Or warm Arabia's spicy shores,

For one light ringlet of the hair,
    Which shades thy sweet Licinia's face,
In that dear moment when the Fair,
    In flying from thy fond embrace,

Relenting turns her snowy neck,
    To meet thy kisses half their way,
Or when her feign'd resentments check
    The ardors thy warm lips convey?
[Pg 143]

While in her eyes the languid light
    Betrays a yielding wish to prove,
Amid her coy, yet playful flight,
    The pleasing force of fervent Love;

Or when, in gaily-frolic guise,
    She snatches her fair self the kiss,
E'en at the instant she denies
    Her Lover the requested bliss.

1: Of that artful caution, which marks the character of Horace, this Ode forms a striking instance. He declines the task appointed by his Patron, that of describing the Italian Wars, because he foresees that in its execution he must either disoblige the Emperor, and his Minister, by speaking too favorably of their Enemies, or offend some Friends, whom he yet retained amongst those, who had exerted themselves against the Cæsars. Horace endeavours to soften the effect of this non-compliance by a warm panegyric upon Licinia, the betrothed bride of Mæcenas. She is in other places called Terentia. Both these names have affinity to those of her Brothers, Licinius, afterwards Augur, and her adopted Brother, Terentius.

Horace mentions plainly the Numantian Wars, and those with Hannibal, but artfully speaks of those of Brutus, and Cassius, and of the Character of Antony, under fabulous denomination, sufficiently understood by Augustus, and his Minister. Dacier justly observes how easy it is to discern, that by the Lapithæ, and Giants, defeated by Hercules on the plains of Thessaly, the Poet means the Armies of Brutus, and Cassius, defeated by Augustus, almost in the same place, at the Battle of Philippi. He concludes also that by Hylæus is meant Mark Antony, who assumed the name of Bacchus, and ruined himself by his profligate passion for Cleopatra. Another Commentator observes, that as the Giants, and Lapithæ, are said to have made the Palace of Saturn shake, so also did Brutus, and Cassius, and afterwards Mark Antony, make all Italy tremble, and that it is Rome itself that Horace would have to be understood by the magnificent Palace of Saturn. Some Critics seek to destroy all the common sense, beauty, and character of this Ode, by denying the allegoric interpretation; and also by insisting that Licinia was the Poet's own Mistress, and not the mistress of his Patron. It had been absurd, and inconceivably unmeaning, if, when he was requested to sing the triumphs of Augustus in the Italian Wars, he should, during the brief mention of them, have adverted to old fables, uniting them, not as a simile, but in a line of continuation with the Numantian, and Carthaginian Wars; unless, beneath those fables, he shadowed forth the Roman Enemies of Augustus.

The idea that Licinia was the Mistress of Horace, has surely little foundation:—for it were strange indeed if he could take pleasure in describing amorous familiarities between Mæcenas, and the Person with whom himself was in love. One of these Critics alledges, as the reason why this Lady could not be the destined Bride of Mæcenas, that it would have been as indiscreet in him to have admitted Horace to be a witness of his passion for Licinia-Terentia, as it would have been impertinent in the Poet, to have invaded the privacies of his Patron. It is not necessary, from this Ode, to conclude that Horace had witnessed the tender scene he describes. He might, without any hazard of imputed impertinence, venture to paint, from his imagination, the innocently playful endearments of betrothed Lovers. The picture was much more likely to flatter than to disgust the gay, and gallant Mæcenas.

2: The Roman Ladies, according to ancient custom, danced with entwined arms, around the Altar of Diana, on the day of her Festival.



Alas! my Posthumus, the Years
    Unpausing glide away;
Nor suppliant hands, nor fervent prayers,
    Their fleeting pace delay;
Nor smooth the brow, when furrowing lines descend,
Nor from the stoop of Age the faltering Frame defend.
[Pg 144]

Time goads us on, relentless Sire!
    On to the shadowy Shape, that stands
Terrific on the funeral pyre,
    Waving the already kindled brands.—
Thou canst not slacken this reluctant speed,
Tho' still on Pluto's shrine thy Hecatomb should bleed.

Beyond the dim Lake's mournful flood,
    That skirts the verge of mortal light,
He chains the Forms, on earth that stood
    Proud, and gigantic in their might;
That gloomy Lake, o'er whose oblivious tide
Kings, Consuls, Pontiffs, Slaves, in ghastly silence glide.

In vain the bleeding field we shun,
    In vain the loud and whelming wave;
And, as autumnal winds come on,
    And wither'd leaves bestrew the cave,
Against their noxious blast, their sullen roar,
In vain we pile the hearth, in vain we close the door.
[Pg 145]

The universal lot ordains
    We seek the black Cocytus' stream,
That languid strays thro' dreary plains,
    Where cheerless fires perpetual gleam;
Where the fell Brides their fruitless toil bemoan,
And Sisyphus uprolls the still-returning stone.

Thy tender wife, thy large domain,
    Soon shalt thou quit, at Fate's command;
And of those various trees, that gain
    Their culture from thy fost'ring hand,
The Cypress only shall await thy doom,
Follow its short-liv'd Lord, and shade his lonely tomb!
[Pg 146]




Now had you drank cold Tanais' wave,
Whose streams the drear vale slowly lave,
    A barbarous Scythian's Bride,
Yet, Lyce, might you grieve to hear
Your Lover braves the winds severe,
    That pierce his aching side.

O listen to the howling groves,
That labour o'er your proud alcoves,
    And hear the jarring door!
Mark how the star, at eve that rose,
Has brightly glaz'd the settled snows,
    While every leaf is hoar!

Gay Venus hates this cold disdain;—
Cease then its rigors to maintain,
    That sprightly joys impede,
Lest the strain'd cord, with which you bind
The freedom of my amorous mind,
    In rapid whirl recede!
[Pg 147]

Born of a jocund Tuscan Sire,
Did he transmit his ardent fire
    That, like Ulysses' Queen,
His beauteous Daughter still should prove
Relentless to the sighs of Love,
    With frozen heart and mien?—

If nor blue cheek of shivering Swain,
Nor yet his richest gifts obtain
    Your smile, and soft'ning brow;
Nor if a faithless Husband's rage
For a gay Syren of the stage,
    And broken nuptial vow;

If weak e'en Jealousy should prove
To bend your heart to truer love,
    Yet pity these my pains,
O Nymph, than oaks more hard, and fierce
As snakes, that Afric's thickets pierce,
    Those terrors of the plains!

When heavy falls the pattering shower,
And streaming spouts their torrents pour
    Upon my shrinking head,
[Pg 148] Not always shall wild Love command
These limbs obsequiously to stand
    Beneath your dropping shed.



Nymph of the stream, whose source perpetual pours
    The living waters thro' the sparkling sand,
Cups of bright wine, enwreath'd with summer flowers,
    For rich libation, round thy brink shall stand,
When on the morrow, at thy Bard's decree,
A young and spotless Kid is sacrificed to thee.

He, while his brows the primal antlers swell,
    Conscious of strength, and gay of heart prepares
To meet the female, and the foe repel.—
    In vain he wishes, and in vain he dares!
His ardent blood thy pebbly bed shall stain,
Till each translucent wave flows crimson to the plain.
[Pg 149]

In vain shall Sirius shake his fiery hairs
    O'er thy pure flood, with waving poplars veil'd,
For thou, when most his sultry influence glares,
    Refreshing shade, and cooling draughts shalt yield
To all the flocks, that thro' the valley stray,
And to the wearied steers, unyok'd at closing day.

Now dear to Fame, sweet Fountain, shalt thou flow,
    Since to my lyre those breathing shades I sing
That crown the hollow rock's incumbent brow,
    From which thy soft, loquacious waters spring.
To vie with streams Aonian be thy pride,
As thro' Blandusia's Vale thy silver currents glide!

1: It was common with the Ancients to consecrate Fountains by a sacrifice, and vinous libations, poured from goblets crowned with flowers. Lively imaginations glow over the idea of such a beautiful ceremony. [Pg 150]



The number of the vanish'd years
    That mark each famous Grecian reign,
This night, my Telephus, appears
    Thy solemn pleasure to explain;
[Pg 151]

Or else assiduously to dwell,
    In conscious eloquence elate,
On those who conquer'd, those who fell
    At sacred Troy's devoted gate.

But at what price the cask, so rare,
    Of luscious chian may be ours,
Who shall the tepid baths prepare,
    And who shall strew the blooming flowers;

Beneath what roof we next salute,
    And when shall smile these gloomy skies,
Thy wondrous eloquence is mute,
    Nor here may graver topics rise.—

Fill a bright bumper,—to the Moon!
    She's new!—auspicious be her birth!
One to the Midnight!—'t is our noon
    Of jocund thought, and festal mirth!
[Pg 152]

And one to him, for whom the feasts
    This night are held with poignant [2]gust,
Murena, whom his Rome invests
    With solemn honors, sacred trust!

Kind omens shall his voice convey,
    That may each rising care beguile;
Propitious fled the Birds to-day?
    Will Love be ours, and Fortune smile?—

Arrange the cups of various size,
    The least containing bumpers three,
And nine the rest.—Come, no disguise!
    Nor yet constraint, the choice is free!

All but the Bard's—the bowl of nine
    He is, in duty, bound to fill;
The Muses number to decline
    Were treason at Aonia's hill.
[Pg 153]

For here the Sisters shall preside,
    So they allow us leave to laugh;
Unzon'd the Graces round us glide,
    While we the liquid ruby quaff.

Yet they, in kind and guardian care,
    Dreading left wild inebriate glee
With broils disturb our light career,
    Would stint us to their number, three.

Away ye Prudes!—the caution wise
    Becomes not this convivial hour,
That every dull restraint defies,
    And laughs at all their frigid power.—

Thou say'st I rave;—and true thou say'st,
    Nor must thou check the flowing vein,
For sprightly nonsense suits him best
    Whom grave reflection leads to pain.

Why mute the pipe's enlivening note?
    Why sleeps the charming lyre so long?
O! let their strains around us float,
    Mix'd with the sweet and jocund song!
[Pg 154]

And lavish be the roses strewn!
    Ye flutes, ye lyres, exulting breathe!
The festal Hour disdains to own
    The mournful note, the niggard wreath.

Old Lycon, with the venal Fair,
    Who courts yet hates his vile embrace,
Our lively strains shall muttering hear,
    While Envy pales each sullen face:

Thou, with thy dark luxuriant hair,
    Thou, Telephus, as Hesper bright,
Thou art accomplish'd Chloe's care,
    Whose glance is Love's delicious light.

Thy utmost wish the Fair-One crowns,
    And thy calm'd heart may well pursue
The paths of knowledge;—Lyce frowns,
    And I, distasteful, shun their view.

From themes, that wake the powers of mind,
    The wounded Spirit sick'ning turns;
To those be then this hour consign'd,
    That Mirth approves, tho' Wisdom spurns.
[Pg 155]

They shall disarm my Lyce's frown,
    The frolic jest, the lively strain,
In flowing bowls, shall gaily drown
    The memory of her cold disdain.

1: At the feast, held in honor of Licinius Murena having been chosen Augur, Horace endeavours to turn the conversation towards gayer subjects than Grecian Chronology, and the Trojan War, upon which his Friend Telephus had been declaiming; and for this purpose seems to have composed the ensuing Ode at table. It concludes with an hint, that the unpleasant state of the Poet's mind, respecting his then Mistress, incapacitates him for abstracted themes, which demand a serene and collected attention, alike inconsistent with the amorous discontent of the secret heart, and with the temporary exhilaration of the spirits, produced by the occasion on which they were met. This must surely be the meaning of Horace in this Ode, however obscurely expressed. People of sense do not, even in their gayest conversation, start from their subject to another of total inconnexion. When the latent meaning in the concluding verses is perspicuously paraphrased, it accounts for the Poet's preference at that period, of trifling to literary subjects. These slight, and often obscure allusions, closely, and what is called faithfully translated, give a wild and unmeaning air to the Odes of Horace, which destroys their interest with the unlearned admirers of Poetry. To give distinct shape and form to these embryo ideas, often capable of acquiring very interesting form and shape, is the aim of these Paraphrases.

Telephus, who was a Greek, appears to have been a Youth of noble birth—being mentioned as such in the Ode to Phyllis, which will be found farther on amongst these Paraphrases. From that to Lydia, so well known, and so often translated, we learn that he had a beautiful form, and was much admired by the Roman Ladies.

2: The Translator was doubtful about using that word, till she recollected it in the gravest of Pope's Poems,

“Destroy all creatures for thy sport and gust;
Then cry, If Man's unhappy God's unjust.” Essay on Man.




My Phidyle, retir'd in shady wild,
    If thou thy virgin hands shalt suppliant raise,
If primal fruits are on thy altars pil'd,
    And incense pure thy duteous care conveys,
To sooth the Lares, when the moon adorns,
With their first modest light, her taper horns;

And if we pierce the throat of infant swine,
    A frugal victim, not the baleful breath
Of the moist South shall blast our tender vine;
    Nor shall the lambs sink in untimely death
When the unwholesome gales of Autumn blow,
And shake the ripe fruit from the bending bough.
[Pg 156]

Let snowy Algidum's wide vallies feed,
    Beneath their stately holme, and spreading oak,
Or the rich herbage of Albania's mead,
    The Steer, whose blood on lofty Shrines shall smoke!
Red may it stain the Priest's uplifted knife,
And glut the higher Powers with costly life!

The rosemary and myrtle's simple crown
    Thou on our household Gods, with decent care
Art gently placing; and they will not frown;
    No stern demand is theirs, that we prepare
Rich Flocks, and Herds, at Duty's solemn call,
And, in the pomp of slaughter, bid them fall.

O! if an innocent hand approach the shrine,
    The little votive cake it humbly lays,
The crackling salt, that makes the altar shine,
    Flung on the cheerful sacrificial blaze,
To the mild Lares shall be grateful found
As the proud Steer, with all his garlands crown'd.
[Pg 157]



Not he, O Muse! whom thy auspicious eyes
    In his primeval hour beheld,
Shall victor in the Isthmian Contest rise;
    Nor o'er the long-resounding field
Impetuous steeds his kindling wheels shall roll,
Gay in th' Olympic Race, and foremost at the goal.

Nor in the Capitol, triumphant shown,
    The victor-laurel on his brow,
For Cities storm'd, and vaunting Kings o'erthrown;—
    But Tibur's streams, that warbling flow,
And groves of fragrant gloom, resound his strains,
Whose sweet Æolian grace high celebration gains.

Now that his name, her noblest Bards among,
    Th' imperial City loudly hails,
That proud distinction guards his rising song,
    When Envy's carping tongue assails;
In sullen silence now she hears his praise,
Nor sheds her canker'd spots upon his springing bays.
[Pg 158]

O Muse! who rulest each melodious lay
    That floats along the gilded shell,
Who the mute tenant of the watry way
    Canst teach, at pleasure, to excel
The softest note harmonious Sorrow brings,
When the expiring Swan her own sad requiem sings.

Thine be the praise, that pointing Romans guide
    The Stranger's eye, with proud desire
That well he note the Man, whom Crowds decide
    Should boldly string the Latian lyre.—
Ah! when I charm, if still to charm be mine,
Nymph of the warbling shell, be all the glory THINE!



The snows dissolve, the rains no more pollute,
Green are the sloping fields, and uplands wide,
And green the trees luxuriant tresses shoot,
And, in their daisied banks, the shrinking rivers glide.
[Pg 159]

Beauty, and Love, the blissful change have hail'd,
While, in smooth mazes, o'er the painted mead,
[1]Aglaia ventures, with her limbs unveil'd,
Light thro' the dance each Sister-Grace to lead.

But O! reflect, that Sport, and Beauty, wing
Th' unpausing Hour!—if Winter, cold and pale,
Flies from the soft, and violet-mantled Spring,
Summer, with sultry breath, absorbs the vernal gale.

Reflect, that Summer-glories pass away
When mellow Autumn shakes her golden sheaves;
While she, as Winter reassumes his sway,
Speeds, with disorder'd vest, thro' rustling leaves.

But a short space the Moon illumes the skies;
Yet she repairs her wanings, and again
Silvers the vault of Night;—but no supplies,
To feed their wasting fires, the lamps of Life obtain.
[Pg 160]

When our pale Form shall pensive vigils keep
Where Collins, Akenside, and Shenstone roam,
Or quiet with the Despot, Johnson, sleep,
In that murk cell, the Body's final home,

To senseless dust, and to a fleeting shade
Changes the life-warm Being!—Ah! who knows
If the next dawn our eye-lids may pervade?
Darken'd and seal'd, perchance, in long, and last repose!

When vivid Thought's unceasing force assails,
It shakes, from Life's frail glass, the ebbing sands;
Their course run out, ah! what to us avails
Our fame's high note, tho' swelling it expands!

Reflect, that each convivial joy we share
Amid encircling Friends, with grace benign,
Escapes the grasp of our rapacious Heir;—
Pile then the steaming board, and quaff the rosy wine!

Illustrious Hayley!—in that cruel hour,
When o'er thee Fate the sable flag shall wave,
Not thy keen wit, thy fancy's splendid power,
Knowledge, or worth, shall snatch thee from the grave.
[Pg 161]

Not to his Mason's grief, from Death's dim plains
Was honor'd Gray's departed form resign'd;
No tears dissolve the cold Lethean chains,
That, far from busy Life, the mortal semblance bind.

Then, for the bright creations of the brain,
O! do not thou from health's gay leisure turn,
Lest we, like tuneful Mason, sigh in vain,
And grasp a timeless, tho' a laurel'd Urn!

1: Aglaia, the eldest of the Graces.



O thou! exulting in the charms,
    Nature, with lavish bounty, showers,
When youth no more thy spirit warms,
And stealing age thy pride alarms,
    For fleeting graces, and for waning powers;

When all the shining locks, that now
    Adown those ivory shoulders bound,
With deaden'd colour shade thy brow,
And fall as from th' autumnal bough
    Leaves, that rude winds have scatter'd on the ground;
[Pg 162]

And on that cheek the tints, that shame
    May's orient light and Summer's rose,
Dim as yon taper's sullen flame,
Shall, in a dusky red, proclaim
    That not one hue in wonted lustre glows;

When wrinkles o'er Liguria's face
    Their daily strengthening furrows lead;
When faithful mirrors cease to place
In her charm'd sight each blooming grace,
    And will no more her heart's proud triumph feed;

Then the chang'd Maid, with secret shame,
    Shall thus the past, and present chide;
O! why, amid the loud acclaim,
That gave my rising charms to Fame,
    Swell'd this coy bosom with disdainful pride?

Or why, since now the wish to yield
    Steals pensive thro' each melting vein,
The ice dissolv'd, that scorn congeal'd,
And every tender thought reveal'd,
    Why, vanish'd Beauty, com'st not thou again?
[Pg 163]




Sweet Phyllis, leave thy quiet home,
For lo! the ides of April come!
    Then hasten to my bower;
A cask of rich Albanian wine,
In nine years mellowness, is mine,
    To glad the festal hour.

My garden-herbs, in fragrance warm,
Our various chaplets wait to form;
    My tender ivies grow,
That, twining in thy amber hair,
Add jocund spirit to thine air,
    And whiteness to thy brow.

My walls with silver vessels shine;
Chaste vervain decks the modest shrine,
    That longs with crimson stains
To see its foliage sprinkled o'er,
When the devoted Lamb shall pour
    The treasure of his veins.
[Pg 164]

The household Girls, and menial Boy,
From room to room assiduous fly,
    And busy hands extend;
Our numerous fires are quivering bright,
And, rolling from their pointed height,
    The dusky wreaths ascend[1].

Convivial rites, in mystic state,
Thou, lovely Nymph, shalt celebrate,
    And give the day to mirth
That this [2]Love-chosen month divides;
Since honor'd rose its blooming ides
    By dear Mæcenas' birth.

O! not to me my natal star
So sacred seems;—then, Nymph, prepare
    To grace its smiling dawn!
A wealthier Maid, in pleasing chains,
Illustrious [3]Telephus detains,
    From humble THEE withdrawn.
[Pg 165]

When Pride would daring hopes create,
Of Phaeton recall the fate,
    Consum'd in his career!
Let rash Bellerophon, who tried
The fiery Pegasus to guide,
    Awake thy prudent fear!

Thus warn'd, thy better interest know,
And cease those charming eyes to throw
    On Youths of high degree!
Come then, of all my Loves the last,
For, every other passion past,
    I only burn for thee!

Come, and with tuneful voice rehearse
The measures of thy Poet's verse
    And charm the list'ning Throng!
Believe me, Fairest, all our cares
Will soften at the melting airs
    That deck the lyric song.

1: The Romans made fires in the middle of their rooms, with an hole in the ceiling, to let out the smoke, which is described as rolling to the top of the House.

2: The feast of Venus was held by the Romans in April.

3: It is agreed that this is the same young Nobleman, to whom the Ode is addressed, on Licinius being appointed Augur, and which has been paraphrased in this Collection. [Pg 166]




Thrice happy he, whose life restores
    The pleasures pure of early times;
That ne'er, with anxious heart, explores
    The rugged heights Ambition climbs;
Exempt from all the din, the toil, the care,
That Cities for their busy Sons prepare;
    Fatigue, beneath the name of pleasure,
    Contentious law, usurious treasure,
A tedious mean attendance on the Great,
And emulation vain of all their pomp and state.
[Pg 167]


    Not his sound and balmy sleep
    The trumpet's martial warning breaks;
Nor the loud billows of the angry Deep,
When thro' the straining cords the Tempest shrieks;
    But the Morning's choral lay,
    Chanted wild from every spray.
Swift at the summons flies the wilder'd dream,
And up he springs alert, to meet the orient beam.
[Pg 168]


The vine-clad hill he lightly scales,
    Where [2]tall the frequent poplars rise,
From branch to branch assiduous trails
    The pendent clusters rich supplies;
And cautious prunes the weak, the useless shoot,
Engrafting healthier boughs, that promise fruit.—
    Then his arms serenely folding,
    And the smiling scene beholding,
Marks, as the fertile valley winds away,
His Flocks and lowing Herds, in ample numbers stray.
[Pg 169]


    Then to the warm bank below,
    Yellow with the morning-ray,
And sees his shelter'd hives in even row,
And hears their hum mix with the linnet's lay.
    Recent from the crystal springs
    Many a vessel pure he brings,
In them, from all the waxen cells to drain
The fragrant essence rich of flow'ry dale and plain.


On the river's shady side
    White his gather'd flock appears,
And, plung'd into the flashing tide,
    Their curl'd and snowy fleece he shears;
[Pg 170] But when, 'mid laughing fields diffusive spread,
Majestic Autumn rears her placid head,
    Wreath'd with wheaten garlands yellow,
    Bearing various fruitage mellow,
How gladly from the trees, that loaded stand,
Shakes he the ripen'd pears, engrafted by his hand.


    Or his swelling grapes, that vie
    With the fleece of Tyrian stain!
Such precious gifts his grateful cares supply
To thee, Protector of his wide domain,
    Bounteous Sylvanus!—and to thee,
    The garden's watchful Deity;
Beneath your favoring power he little cares
Who wields the Lictor's rod, or who the fasces bears.


In sultry noon's oppressive ray,
    Beneath the holme, of ample shade,
His listless limbs he loves to lay
    On herbage, matted in the glade;
Hears down the steeps the white rills dashing play,
Till under the long grass they purl away;
[Pg 171]     While, on wing of swift vibration,
    Murmuring range the honied nation,
And the sweet stock-dove, the thick boughs among,
His dewy slumber courts with her complaining song.


    Loud when wintry winds arise,
    And the feeble race appal,
While o'er the earth, from dim and thicken'd skies,
The flaky snows in white profusion fall,
    Then the sylvan chase he seeks;—
    Lo! furious from the thicket breaks
The gnashing Boar!—Flies he, or stands at bay,
Into the circling toils the staunch dogs drive the prey.


When thro' the clear, and sparkling air,
    Fleet the pointed darts of frost,
The filmy nets, now here, now there,
    For thievish birds, are lightly toss'd;
Or, plac'd with silent heed, the wily snares,
To lure the stranger-cranes, and timid hares.
    Rich viands they, whose pleasing flavor
    Crown his board, reward his labor.
[Pg 172] In those convivial hours the Heart forgets
Its vain tumultuous hopes, and all its fond regrets.


    These the pleasures unalloy'd,
    That brighten oft the rural scene;
But, if yet dearer joys supply the void,
That, even there, will sometimes intervene
    When days are cold, and nights are long,
    And business goes a little wrong,
Should an endearing faithful Wife be seen,
With the warm light of love she chases gloomy spleen.


As the Sabine Matron chaste,
    Active as th' Apulian Wife,
See she assumes, with cheerful haste,
    The pleasing cares of wedded life;
Draws the clean vestment o'er the little limbs,
And, when the tearful eye of passion swims,
    With mild authority commanding,
    Repressing ill, and good expanding,
Anxious she weeds the infant heart betimes,
Ere ill propension thrive, and ripen into crimes.
[Pg 173]


    Dusky grows the winter-eve,
    In hurdled cotes the flocks are penn'd;
Her vessels pure the frothing milk receive,
As from swell'd udders its full streams descend.
    Bright the crackling faggots blaze,
    While she strains the eager gaze,
O'er the dim vale to see her Husband come,
With tir'd, yet willing step, to his warm, happy home.


Her beating heart, and gladden'd eyes
    Perceive him ope the wicker gate;
And swift her busy hand supplies
    The flowing bowl, the steaming plate;
Her sparkling wine from their own vintage press'd;
From their own stores her grateful viand dress'd;
    Less welcome far the proud collation,
    Cull'd with painful preparation,
When earth, and air, and seas, have been explor'd
For those expensive meats, that pile the Consul's board.
[Pg 174]


    Not the shell-fish, pampering food!
    Of Lucrine's azure lake the boast;
Nor luscious product of the eastern flood,
Driven by the stormy winds upon our coast;
    Nor costly birds, that hither rove
    Natives of Ionian grove,
Can with more poignant zest his senses meet
Than the love-kneaded cates of this unpurchas'd treat.


    [3]To his border's guardian Power
    When he spreads the vernal feast.
Then bleeds the kid, in lucky hour,
    From the hungry wolf releas'd[4];
Then round the primal lamb's sweet flesh is seen
The crisp salubrious herbage of the green;
    And, from loaded boughs descending,
    Unctuous olives richly blending;—
These form the dainties of his festal day,
When every heart expands, and every face is gay.
[Pg 175]


    Circled by a jocund train,
    With joy the new-shorn Flock he hears
Come bleating homeward o'er the russet plain;
While slow, with languid neck, the weary Steers
    Th' inverted ploughshare drag along,
    Mindless of the Shepherd's song;
Then, round his smiling Household-Gods, surveys
A numerous, menial Group, the proof of prosperous days.


'T was thus, amidst his ill-got wealth,
    The Roman Usurer justly thought,
Resolv'd to purchase peace and health,
    And live, at length, as Nature taught;
No more with subtle avarice to lend,
Oppressive foe beneath the name of friend!
    Now grasping views, for once, rejected,
    He on the [5]Ides his sums collected,
But on the [6]Calends, lo! with anxious pain,
On the same interest vast, he sends them forth again.
[Pg 176]


    Thus can lust of gold controul,
    Tho' the Heart urge a wiser choice,
By force of habit lord it o'er the Soul,
And stifle e'en Conviction's powerful voice.
    See, with sighs the Miser yield
    The promis'd joys of wood, and field;
Against experienc'd disappointment, try
With Gold to purchase that, which Gold can never buy!

1: The Reader will remember, that in the course of these Paraphrases the design has been avowed of stretching the pictures of Horace upon a wider canvass, of filling up what are so often mere outlines. If learned eyes ever glance over this Ode, it is hoped they will not frown upon the many circumstances and reflections which have been added, upon a presumption, induced by the pleasing nature of the subject, since the Roman customs and manners are preserved with fidelity. Those customs and manners, resulting from their festal, gay, and picturesque Religion, cannot surely be presented without proving interesting. Yet, to create this interest, stronger and more circumstantial description seems required than can be found in Horace, if the Paraphraser may be allowed to judge of the poetic feelings of others by her own. It was doubtless sufficient for his contemporary Readers, and for those of some succeeding Generations, that he slightly alluded to events and ceremonies, which were familiar to their recollection. In our day more precision is demanded, at least by those who have poetic taste without knowledge of the dead languages, or intimacy with the national and domestic customs of that Time, and of that People. Also, to strengthen this necessary interest in the mind of the Reader, it must be eligible to infuse a more liberal portion of those sentiments and ideas, which speak to the Heart in every Age, and in every Climate.

To Scholars the fascinating music of the Latin tones and measures, and the elegance with which Horace knew to select, and to regulate them, recompense the obscurity which is so frequent in his allusions, and in the violence of his transitions from one subject to another, between which the line of connexion is with difficulty traced. What is called a faithful translation of these Odes cannot, therefore, be interesting to unlearned Lovers of Verse, how alive soever they may be to poetic beauty.—A literal translation in the plainest prose, will always shew the precise quantity of real poetic matter, contained in any Production, independent of the music of its intonation, and numbers, and the elegance of its style.—The prose translations of Horace' Odes evince that their merit does not consist in the plenitude of poetic matter, or essence, constituted by circumstances of startling interest, by exalted sentiment, impassioned complaint, or appeal, distinct and living imagery, happy apposite allusion, and sublime metaphor; but in certain elegant verbal felicities and general charm of style, produced by the force and sweetness of the Latin Language, subservient to the fine ear, the lively and exquisite taste of Horace. These are the graces which we find so apt to evaporate in Translation, while genuine POETIC MATTER, as defined above, is capable of being transfused into any other Language without losing a particle of its excellence, provided the Chemist, who undertakes the operation, has genius and skill. The more this POETIC MATTER in an Author abounds, the more close and faithful a Translator, who has judgment, may venture to render his version—but to transfuse merely verbal felicities into another Language is an attempt scarcely less fruitless than to clasp the Rainbow. A kindred nothingness, as to poetic value, ensues. There is, however, a considerable, though not abounding quantity of poetic matter, or essence in Horace; but it bears no proportion to the profusion of those evanescent glories, which will not bear the grasp of another Language. To give that essence in increased quantity, and in the freedom of unimitative numbers, is attempted in this selection. Dryden and Pope translated upon that plan, and hence their Paraphrases have the spirit of original Poems.

Ere this note closes, its Author desires to observe, that Painters cannot take a striking likeness of a face, in which there is no predominant feature, and the Poet can only make his image, or description, distinct, animated, and forcible, by bringing forward some characteristic trait of the object he is presenting.

When Horace says in this Ode, “How pleasing is it to see the well-fed sheep hastening home,” the observation is not picturesque, and therefore does not strongly impress the Imagination; but when he adds—“to see the weary Oxen dragging, with languid neck, the inverted Ploughshare,” he gives perhaps the most poetic feature in this Ode. Had he only said, “to see the Oxen returning from their labor,” his Oxen had been as much without character as his Sheep, and the sentence must have passed unimpressive over the mind of the Reader. It is the words—dragging, with languid neck, the inverted ploughshare, that makes the sentence Poetry, and empowers it to arrest and charm the fancy. Had Horace always written thus, undeviating fidelity had been the best aim of his Translator, and the sure way of rendering him delightful in every Language.

2: Dacier observes that Vines supported on the highest Trees produce Wines of the most exquisite flavor.

3: The feast of Terminus, one of the rural Gods, was held on the first of February, at which time, in those warm climates, the spring is very forward.

4: The Romans fancied that the struggle and terror of a kid on being seized by the Wolf, made its flesh more tender.

5: Ides, the middle of a month.

6: Calends, the beginning of the next month.



'T was night—the moon, upon her sapphire throne,
High o'er the waning stars serenely shone,
When thou, false Nymph, determin'd to prophane
Them, and each Power that rules the earth, and main,
As thy soft, snowy arms about me twin'd,
Close as round oaks the clasping ivies wind,
Swore, while the gaunt wolf shall infest the lea,
And red Orion vex the wintry sea,
[Pg 177] While gales shall fan Apollo's floating locks,
That shed their golden light o'er hills and rocks,
So long thy breast should burn with purest fires,
With mutual hopes, and with unchang'd desires.

    Perjur'd Neaēra! thou shalt one day prove
The worth, the vengeance of my slighted love;
For O! if Manhood steels, if Honor warms,
Horace shall fly, shall scorn thy faithless charms;
Seek some bright Maid, whose soul for him shall glow,
Nor art, nor pride, nor wandering wishes know.

    Then should'st thou languish, sigh, and weep once more,
And with new vows his injur'd heart implore,
Nor sighs, nor vows, nor tears shall he regard
Cold as the snow and as the marble hard.

    And THOU, triumphant Youth, so gay, so vain,
Proud of my fate, exulting in my pain,
Tho' on thy hills the plenteous Herd should feed,
And rich Pactolus roll along thy mead;
For thee tho' Science ope the varied store,
And Beauty on thy form its graces pour,
[Pg 178] Ere long shalt thou, while wrongs like these degrade,
Droop with my woes, and with my rage upbraid;
See on a Rival's brow thy garlands worn,
And, with her falsehood, bear my jocund scorn.




Where do ye rush, ye impious Trains,
    Why gleams afar the late-sheath'd sword?
Is it believ'd that Roman veins
    Their crimson tides have sparely pour'd?
Is not our scorn of safety, health, and ease,
Shewn by devasted climes, and blood-stain'd seas?

Those scowling brows, those lifted spears,
    Bend they against the threat'ning towers
Proud Carthage emulously rears?
    Or Britain's still unconquer'd shores?
That her fierce Sons, yet free from hostile sway,
May pass in chains along our Sacred Way?
[Pg 179]

No!—but that warring Parthia's curse
    May quickly blast these far-famed Walls;
Accomplish'd when, with direful force,
    By her own strength the City falls;
When Foes no more her might resistless feel,
But Roman bosoms bleed by Roman steel.

O! worse than Wolves, or Lions fierce,
    Who ne'er, like you, assault their kind!
By what wild phrenzy would ye pierce
    Each other's breast in fury blind?—
Silent, and pale ye stand, with conscious sighs,
Your struck soul louring in your down-cast eyes!

The blood our rising walls that stain'd,
    Shed by the [1]ruthless Fratricide,
High Heaven's avenging power ordain'd
    Should spread the rage of discord wide,
Bid kindred Blood in dread profusion flow
Thro' darken'd years of expiatory woe.

1: Romulus, who killed his Brother Remus, for ridiculing his Wall by leaping over it.