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Title: The Poems of Oliver Goldsmith

Author: Oliver Goldsmith

Editor: Robert Aris Willmott

Illustrator: Birket Foster, H. N. Humphreys and Edmund Evans

Release Date: August 17, 2015 [EBook #49723]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Chris Curnow, Charlie Howard, and the Online
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Oliver Goldsmith, the fifth child of Charles and Ann Goldsmith, was born at Pallas, a hamlet of the parish of Forney, county of Longford, Ireland, November 10th, 1728. His father, the “Preacher” of the “Deserted Village,” having been presented to the Rectory of Kilkenny-West, about the year 1730, removed his family to Lissoy, the “Auburn” of the Poet. The “modest mansion” is a ruin, or, by this time, has quite disappeared. His first schoolmaster is described, by one who remembered him, as a man “stern to view,” in whose “morning face” the disasters of the day might be easily read. Goldsmith made small progress under the ferule of Paddy Burns, and, after being for some time a pupil in the diocesan school of Elphin, he was placed with a competent teacher at Athlone, where he remained two years. He was then transferred to the care of Mr. Hughes, vicar of Shruel, who treated him with kindness, and whom he always mentioned with respect and gratitude. His eldest sister has given a specimen of her brother’s early and ready humour. A large company of young people had assembled in his uncle’s house, at Elphin, and Oliver, then nine years old, was desired to dance a hornpipe, under very unfavourable circumstances, for his figure was short and thick, and the marks of recent small-pox were still conspicuous. A young man, who played thex violin, compared him to Æsop dancing; but Oliver, stopping short in the performance, immediately disabled his satirist with a sharp epigram:—

“Our herald hath proclaim’d this saying,
See Æsop dancing, and his monkey playing.”

On the 11th of June, 1745, he was admitted a Sizar of Trinity College, Dublin—a fact which denoted a considerable proficiency in classical learning; but he was unfortunate in his tutor, who deserved, and has won, the title of “Savage;” and, perhaps, the promise of Oliver was blighted by his severity. He neglected his studies, and was seen “perpetually lounging about the college gates.” We find him elected, June 15th, 1747, to an Exhibition, on the foundation of Erasmus Smith, obtaining a premium at the Christmas examination, and, after a delay of two years, taking his Bachelor’s degree, February 27th, 1750. His father died in 1747, but he found a second parent in the Rev Thomas Contarine, who was descended from a noble ancestry in Venice, and had been a contemporary and friend of Berkeley. The relatives of the poet now advised him to “go into orders,” and yielding to the persuasion of Mr. Contarine, he presented himself before the Bishop of Elphin, and was rejected. Tradition ascribes the failure to his uncanonical costume, and the episcopal dislike of scarlet breeches.

His kind friends might now, as he afterwards wrote, be perfectly satisfied that he was undone; but they did not abandon him. He was enabled to proceed to Edinburgh, towards the end of 1752, where he attended the lectures of Monro and the other Medical Professors. Scotland did not please him. “Shall I tire you,” he wrote to a friend, “with a description of this unfruitful country, where I must lead you over their hills all brown with heath, or their valleys scarcely able to feed a rabbit? Man alone seems to be the only creature who has arrived to the natural size in this poor soil.”

His design of completing his studies at Leyden was nearly frustrated by an act of generous imprudence, from which two college friends set him free. From Leyden, in the April or Mayxi of 1754, he sent a letter to Mr. Contarine, containing an account of his journey, and some lively sketches of the “downright Hollander,” with lank hair, laced hat, no coat, and seven waistcoats, the lady with her portable stove, the lugubrious Harlequin, and the domestic interior, which reminded him of a magnificent Egyptian temple dedicated to an ox. He remained in Leyden nearly a year, deriving small benefit from the instruction of the Professors, who, with the exception of Gaubius, the teacher of Chemistry, were as indolent as himself. Meanwhile, the necessaries of life were costly, and the attractions of the gaming-table proved to be overpowering and ruinous. At length, having emptied his purse, and reduced his wardrobe to a single shirt, he boldly resolved to make the tour of Europe. This characteristic chapter of the Poet’s history is yet to be written, if his lost letters should ever be recovered. The interesting and copious narrative which he communicated to Dr. Radcliff is known to have been destroyed by fire.

He commenced his travels about February, 1755. “A good voice,” adopting his own account of an earlier adventurer, “and a trifling skill in music, were the only finances he had to support an undertaking so extensive.” Thus he journeyed, and at night sang at the doors of peasants’ houses, to get himself a lodging. Once or twice, he “attempted to play to people of fashion,” but they despised his performance, and never rewarded him even with a trifle. We are told by Bishop Percy, that he reached Padua, and visited all the northern parts of Italy, returning, on foot, through France, and landing at Dover, about the beginning of the war, in 1756. We may believe his own assurance, that he fought his way homewards, examining mankind with near eyes, and seeing both sides of the picture.

He appeared in London, without means or interest. England, he complained, was a country, where being born an Irishman was sufficient to keep a man unemployed. With much difficulty he obtained the situation of usher at a school. Johnson did not remember the occupation with a fiercer disgust; and the redolent French teacher, papering his curls at night, was a frequentxii spectre of his memory. A migration from the school-room to the chemist’s shop slightly improved his condition. Better days were coming. By the aid of an Edinburgh acquaintance, Dr. Sleigh, and other friends, he was “set up” as a practitioner at Bankside, Southwark, where, in his pleasant confession, he got plenty of patients, but no fees. A physician, Dr. Farr, who had known him in Scotland, thus describes his appearance:—“He called upon me one morning, before I was up, and, on entering the room, I recognized my old acquaintance, dressed in a rusty, full-trimmed black suit, with his pockets full of papers, which instantly reminded me of the poet in Garrick’s farce of ‘Lethe.’ On this occasion he read portions of a ‘Tragedy,’ and talked of a journey to decipher the inscriptions on the Written Mountains.” In later days, when writing an “Essay on the advantages to be derived from sending a judicious traveller into Asia,” Goldsmith professed to feel the difficulty of choosing a proper person for such an enterprise, and indicated the qualifications demanded:—“He should be a man of a philosophical turn, one apt to deduce consequences of general utility from particular occurrences—neither swollen with pride, nor hardened by prejudice—neither wedded to one particular system, nor instructed only in one particular science—neither wholly a botanist, nor wholly an antiquarian; his mind should be tinctured with miscellaneous knowledge, and his manners humanized by an intercourse with men. He should be, in some measure, an enthusiast to the design; fond of travelling, from a rapid imagination and an innate love of change; furnished with a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified at danger.”

With the year 1757, the prospects of Goldsmith brightened, and the papers which filled the pockets of the rusty black coat began to get abroad. He wrote several articles for the “Monthly Review,” translated the “Mémoires d’un Protestant,” and composed his “Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe.” The object of the work was special. He had obtained the appointment of physician to a factory on the coast of Coromandel, and was providing funds for the voyage. Axiii considerable sum was needed. The Company’s warrant cost ten pounds, and the passage and equipment required one hundred and thirty pounds in addition; but the emoluments were expected to be large. The salary was one hundred pounds; the average returns of the general practice amounted to a thousand; there was an opening for commercial enterprise, and invested money brought twenty per cent. These were flattering inducements; but time deadened their charm, and he shrank from so distant a banishment, and beginning life again at the age of thirty-one. Eight years of anxiety and trial had done their work on his face and temper. His picture of himself was most discouraging. He had “contracted a hesitating, disagreeable manner of speaking, and a visage that looked ill-nature itself.” Home news deepened his melancholy, for his mother was almost blind.

The “Enquiry” appeared, without the Author’s name, April, 1759—a small volume, price half-a-crown; and in the autumn of the same year, the commencement of a weekly paper, called “The Bee,” afforded him an opportunity of showing his skill as an Editor. His plan was to “rove from flower to flower, with seeming inattention, but concealed choice, expatiate over all the beauties of the season, and make his industry his amusement.” The “Bee” expired with its eighth number, but he was more successful in his next enterprise. To the “Public Ledger,” of which the first number appeared January 12th, 1760, Goldsmith contributed one hundred and twenty-three letters, which were afterwards collected as the “Citizen of the World.”

The last day of May, 1761, was memorable in his life, as witnessing the commencement of his intimacy with Johnson. His miscellaneous productions in 1762–4 included a “Life of Richard Nash, of Bath,” an “Introduction to Natural History,” an “Abridgment of Plutarch,” a “History of England,” and the “Traveller.” For the poem he received only twenty guineas, but the applause of its readers was loud and unanimous. “I was glad,” said Sir Joshua, “to hear Sir Charles Fox say it was one of the finest poems in the English language.” A fourth edition was required within eight months, and the Author lived to see the ninth. Inxiv 1764, he wrote the “Captivity,” for which the sum of ten guineas was paid by Dodsley.

Poetry kept him poor, and we still see him writing for bread in a garret, and expecting to be “dunned for a milk score.” However, he cleared and warmed the future with the hopefulness of his genial nature, and comforted himself by the recollection that while Addison wrote the “Campaign” in a third storey, he had only got to the second. Reckless improvidence multiplied his difficulties. “Those who knew him,” he told a correspondent, “knew his principles to differ from those of the rest of mankind, and while none regarded the interest of his friend more, none regarded his own less.”

Among his disappointments, at this period, are to be numbered an unsuccessful application for a Gresham Lectureship, and Garrick’s refusal of the “Good-Natured Man.” But Colman put the drama on the stage, January 29th, 1768, and the Professorship of Ancient History in the Royal Academy was agreeably bestowed. His “Roman History,” published in 1769, was received with favour; and in the May of 1770, the “Deserted Village” appeared.

In that year, Gray travelled through a part of England and South Wales, and Mr. Norton Nichols was with him at Malvern when he received the new poem, which he desired his friend to read to him. He listened with fixed attention, and soon exclaimed, “This man is a Poet.” In twelve days the poem was reprinted, and before the 5th of August the public admiration exhausted a fifth impression. His comedy, the “Mistakes of a Night” (represented March 15th, 1773), obtained a success, of its kind, not inferior. Johnson said that it answered the great end of a comedy—“making an audience merry.” For an impertinent letter in the “London Packet,” Goldsmith caned the editor; having found, was the remark of a friend, a new pleasure, for he believed that it was the “first time he had beat,” though “he may have been beaten before.”

I may add, that the Ballad of “Edwin and Angelina,” having been privately printed for the amusement of the Countess ofxv Northumberland, was inserted in the “Vicar of Wakefield,” when that charming fiction first came out, March 27th, 1766, to delight the young by its adventures, and the old by its wisdom. For two years the manuscript had lain in the desk of the Publisher, until the fame of the “Traveller” encouraged him to send it to the press.

He was now engaged in the compilation of the “History of the Earth and Animated Nature,” for which he was to receive eight hundred guineas; and about this time, according to Percy, he wrote “the ‘Haunch of Venison,’ ‘Retaliation,’ and some other little sportive sallies, which were not printed until after his death.” Mr. Peter Cunningham1 has, for the first time, related the true story of “Retaliation,” in the original words of Garrick:—A party of friends, at the St. James’s Coffee House, were diverting themselves with the peculiar oddities of Goldsmith, who insisted upon trying his epigrammatic powers with Garrick. Each was to write the other’s epitaph. Garrick immediately spoke the following lines:—

“Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness call’d Noll,
Who wrote like an angel, and talk’d like poor Poll.”

The company laughed, and Goldsmith grew serious; he went to work, and some weeks after produced “Retaliation,” which was not written in anger, but with the utmost good humour.

His path seemed now to be winding out of gloom into the full sunlight,—but, of a sudden, there rose up in it the “Shadow feared of man.” He was busy with projects, and had prepared a “Prospectus of an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Science,” when a complaint, from which he had previously suffered, returned with extreme severity. His unskilful treatment of the disorder was aggravated by the agitation of his mind, and he gradually sank, until Monday, April 4th, 1774, when death released him, in the forty-sixth year of his age. His remains were interred in the burial-ground of the Temple; Nollekens carved his profile in marble, and Johnson wrote a Latin inscription for the monument,xvi which was erected in the south transept of Westminster Abbey. The epitaph is thus given in English:—


Poet, Naturalist, and Historian,
who left scarcely any style of writing
and touched nothing that he did not adorn;
of all the passions,
whether smiles were to be moved,
or tears,
a powerful yet gentle master;
in genius, sublime, lively, versatile;
in style, elevated, clear, elegant—
the love of companions,
the fidelity of friends,
and the veneration of readers,
have by this monument honoured the memory.
He was born in Ireland,
at a place called Pallas,
[in the parish] of Forney, [and county] of Longford,
On the 29th Nov., 1731;2
educated at [the university of] Dublin;
and died in London,
4th April, 1774.

Goldsmith, in the judgment of a friendly, but severe observer, always seemed to do best that which he was doing. Does he write History? He tells shortly, and with a pleasing simplicity of narrative, all that we want to know. Does he write Essays? He clothes familiar wisdom with an easy and elegant diction, of which the real difficulty is only known by those who seek to obtain it. Does he write the story of Animated Nature? He makes it “amusing as a Persian tale.” Does he write a Novel? Dr. Primrose sits in our chimney-corner to celebrate his biographer. Does he write Comedy? Laughter “holds both its sides” at the Incendiary Letter to “Muster Croaker.” Does he write Poetry? The big tears on the rugged face of Johnsonxvii bear witness to its tenderness, dignity, and truth. The naturalness of the Author pervaded the Man. Whose vanity was so transparent, and yet so harmless? He honestly believed himself qualified to explore Asia, and would have undertaken to read, at sight, the Manuscripts of Mount Athos. His tailor’s bill is a commentary on his life. But under the bloom-coloured coat beat the large heart of a kindly and generous nature, throwing up the spontaneous and abundant fruitfulness of charity to the needy, and sympathy with all. Thieves had only to plunder a stranger, to make him a neighbour. In reading Goldsmith, or reading of him, the touch of nature changes us into his kindred, and we do not more admire the Writer, than we love the Brother.

St. Catherine’s,
September 15th, 1858.


1 Miscellaneous Prose Works of Goldsmith, vol. i., p. 79.

2 “The year of Dr. Goldsmith’s birth had been universally mistaken, till his family, some time after his death, furnished correct information of the circumstance.”—Percy.




The Traveller 1
The Deserted Village 29
The Hermit 57
The Captivity 67
The Haunch of Venison 85
Retaliation 91
The Double Transformation 99
The Gift to Iris 104
The Logicians Refuted 105
An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog 108
Threnodia Augustalis 110
A New Simile 122
On a Beautiful Youth struck Blind by Lightning 125
Stanzas on Woman 126
Translation from Scarròn 126
Stanzas on the Taking of Quebec 127
Epitaph on Edward Purdon 128xix
Translation of a South American Ode 128
Epitaph on Thomas Parnell 129
Description of an Author’s Bed-chamber 130
Song, from the Comedy of “She Stoops to Conquer” 131
Answer to an Invitation to Dinner. 133
Song, intended to have been sung in “She Stoops to Conquer” 135
From the Latin of Vida 135
An Elegy on Mrs. Mary Blaize 136
Answer to an Invitation to pass the Christmas at Barton 138
On Seeing a Lady Perform a Certain Character 141
Birds 142
Prologue written and spoken by the Poet Laberius 143
Prologue to “Zobeide” 144
Epilogue to “The Sister” 146
Epilogue intended for “She Stoops to Conquer” 148
Another Intended Epilogue 153
Epilogue to “She Stoops to Conquer” 155
Epilogue to “The Good-natured Man” 157
On the Death of the Right Hon. —— 159
Epilogue Written for Mr. Charles Lee Lewes 163




MILL AT LISSOY (Frontispiece).
Or where Campania’s plain forsaken lies 5
Bless’d that abode, where want and pain repair 6
Even now, where Alpine solitudes ascend 7
Ye lakes, whose vessels catch the busy gale 8
The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone 9
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave 10
While oft some temple’s mouldering tops between 12
In florid beauty groves and fields appear 13
A mistress or a saint in every grove 14xxi
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions tread 16
With patient angle trolls the finny deep 17
How often have I led thy sportive choir 18
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail 21
There gentle music melts on every spray 24
Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around 27
The never-failing brook, the busy mill 32
The shelter’d cot, the cultivated farm 33
And many a gambol frolick’d o’er the ground 34
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest 35
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew 37
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung 38
And fill’d each pause the nightingale had made 39
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn 40
The village preacher’s modest mansion rose 41
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride 42
At church, with meek and unaffected grace 43
Low lies that house, where nut-brown draughts inspir’d 45
No more the farmer’s news, the barber’s tale 45
Space for his lake, his park’s extended bounds 48
Where the poor houseless, shivering female lies 50
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn 51
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey 52
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green 53
And left a lover’s for a father’s arms 54xxii
Downward they move, a melancholy band 56
Then turn, to-night, and freely share whate’er my cell bestows 58
The hermit trimm’d his little fire, and cheer’d his pensive guest 61
And when, beside me in the dale; he caroll’d lays of love 64
Ye hills of Lebanon, with cedars crown’d 69
Fierce is the tempest rolling along the furrow’d main 74
As panting flies the hunted hind, where brooks refreshing stray 80
O Babylon! how art thou fall’n 83

The Ornamental Illustrations designed by H. Noel Humphreys1




Dear Sir,

I am sensible that the friendship between us can acquire no new force from the ceremonies of a dedication; and perhaps it demands an excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, which you decline giving with your own. But as a part of this poem was formerly written to you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with propriety, be only inscribed to you. It will also throw a light upon many parts of it, when the reader understands that it is addressed to a man who, despising fame and fortune, has retired early to happiness and obscurity with an income of forty pounds a year.

I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of your humble choice. You have entered upon a sacred office, where the harvest is great, and the labourers are but few; while you have left the field of ambition, where the labourers are many, and the harvest not worth carrying away. But of all kinds of ambition—what from the refinement of the times, from different systems of criticism, and from the divisions of party—that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest.

Poetry makes a principal amusement among unpolished nations; but in a country verging to the extremes of refinement, Painting and Music come in for a share. As these offer the feeble mind a less laborious entertainment, they at first rival Poetry, and at length supplant her: they engross all that favour once shown to her; and, though but younger sisters, seize upon the elder’s birthright.

Yet, however this art may be neglected by the powerful, it is still in greater danger from the mistaken efforts of the learned to improve it. What4 criticisms have we not heard of late in favour of blank verse and pindaric odes, choruses, anapests, and iambics, alliterative care and happy negligence! Every absurdity has now a champion to defend it; and as he is generally much in the wrong, so he has always much to say—for error is ever talkative.

But there is an enemy to this art still more dangerous; I mean party. Party entirely distorts the judgment and destroys the taste. When the mind is once infected with this disease, it can only find pleasure in what contributes to increase the distemper. Like the tiger, that seldom desists from pursuing man after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader who has once gratified his appetite with calumny, makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputation. Such readers generally admire some half-witted thing, who wants to be thought a bold man, having lost the character of a wise one. Him they dignify with the name of poet: his tawdry lampoons are called satires; his turbulence is said to be force, and his frenzy fire.

What reception a poem may find, which has neither abuse, party, nor blank verse to support it, I cannot tell; nor am I solicitous to know. My aims are right. Without espousing the cause of any party, I have attempted to moderate the rage of all. I have endeavoured to show that there may be equal happiness in states that are differently governed from our own; that every state has a particular principle of happiness; and that this principle in each may be carried to a mischievous excess. There are few can judge better than yourself how far these positions are illustrated in this poem.

I am, dear Sir,
Your most affectionate brother,
Oliver Goldsmith.


Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow—
Or by the lazy Scheldt, or wandering Po,
Or onward where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door,
6 Or where Campania’s plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies—
Where’er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravell’d, fondly turns to thee;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend:
Bless’d be that spot, where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil, and trim their evening fire;
Bless’d that abode, where want and pain repair,
And every stranger finds a ready chair;
Bless’d be those feasts, with simple plenty crown’d,
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail,
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale,
Or press the bashful stranger to his food,
And learn the luxury of doing good.


But me, not destin’d such delights to share,
My prime of life in wandering spent and care,
Impell’d with steps unceasing to pursue
Some fleeting good that mocks me with the view,
That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies—
My fortune leads to traverse realms alone,
And find no spot of all the world my own.
Even now, where Alpine solitudes ascend,
I sit me down a pensive hour to spend;
And plac’d on high, above the storms career,
Look downward where an hundred realms appear—
8 Lakes, forests, cities, plains extending wide,
The pomp of kings, the shepherd’s humbler pride.
When thus Creation’s charms around combine,
Amidst the store should thankless pride repine?
Say, should the philosophic mind disdain
That good which makes each humbler bosom vain?
Let school-taught pride dissemble all it can,
These little things are great to little man;
And wiser he whose sympathetic mind
Exults in all the good of all mankind.
Ye glittering towns with wealth and splendour crown’d,
Ye fields where summer spreads profusion round,
9 Ye lakes whose vessels catch the busy gale,
Ye bending swains that dress the flowery vale—
For me your tributary stores combine;
Creation’s heir, the world, the world is mine!
As some lone miser, visiting his store,
Bends at his treasure, counts, recounts it o’er—
Hoards after hoards his rising raptures fill,
Yet still he sighs, for hoards are wanting still—
Thus to my breast alternate passions rise,
Pleas’d with each good that Heaven to man supplies;
Yet oft a sigh prevails, and sorrows fall,
To see the hoard of human bliss so small;
And oft I wish, amidst the scene, to find
Some spot to real happiness consign’d,
Where my worn soul, each wandering hope at rest,
May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
10 The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own,
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro, panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks his gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot’s boast, where’er we roam,
His first, best country ever is at home;
And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind—
As different good, by art or nature given
To different nations, makes their blessings even.
Nature, a mother kind alike to all,
Still grants her bliss at labour’s earnest call:
With food as well the peasant is supplied
On Idria’s cliffs as Arno’s shelvy side;
And, though the rocky-crested summits frown,
These rocks, by custom, turn to beds of down.
From art, more various are the blessings sent—
Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content;
Yet these each other’s power so strong contest,
That either seems destructive of the rest:
Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails,
And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.
Hence every state, to one lov’d blessing prone,
Conforms and models life to that alone;
Each to the favourite happiness attends,
And spurns the plan that aims at other ends—
Till, carried to excess in each domain,
This favourite good begets peculiar pain.
But let us try these truths with closer eyes,
And trace them through the prospect as it lies:
Here, for a while my proper cares resign’d,
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind;
Like yon neglected shrub, at random cast,
That shades the steep, and sighs at every blast.
Far to the right, where Apennine ascends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends:
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain’s side.
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride,
12 While oft some temple’s mouldering tops between
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could Nature’s bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely bless’d.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground—
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year—
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky,
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die—
13 These, here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter’s toil;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand,
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows;
In florid beauty groves and fields appear—
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here!
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign;
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue—
And even in penance planning sins anew.
14 All evils here contaminate the mind,
That opulence departed leaves behind;
For wealth was theirs—nor far remov’d the date
When commerce proudly flourish’d through the state,
At her command the palace learn’d to rise,
Again the long-fall’n column sought the skies,
The canvas glow’d beyond even nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teem’d with human form;
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores display’d her sail,
While nought remain’d of all that riches gave,
But towns unmann’d, and lords without a slave—
15 And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
Yet, still the loss of wealth is here supplied
By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride:
From these the feeble heart and long-fall’n mind
An easy compensation seem to find.
Here may be seen, in bloodless pomp array’d,
The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade;
Processions form’d for piety and love—
A mistress or a saint in every grove:
By sports like these are all their cares beguil’d;
The sports of children satisfy the child.
Each nobler aim, repress’d by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind.
As in those domes, where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defac’d by time and tottering in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed;
And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
My soul, turn from them, turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display—
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword;
16 No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain’s breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant’s hut, his feasts though small,
He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed—
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal,
To make him loathe his vegetable meal—
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
17 Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep;
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the steep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children’s looks, that brighten at the blaze—
While his lov’d partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board:
And haply too some pilgrim, thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And even those ills, that round his mansion rise,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies:
18 Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother’s breast—
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind’s roar
But bind him to his native mountains more.
Such are the charms to barren states assign’d—
Their wants but few, their wishes all confin’d;
Yet let them only share the praises due,
If few their wants, their pleasures are but few;
For every want that stimulates the breast
Becomes a source of pleasure when redress’d.
Whence from such lands each pleasing science flies,
That first excites desire, and then supplies;
Unknown to them, when sensual pleasures cloy,
To fill the languid pause with finer joy;
Unknown those powers that raise the soul to flame,
Catch every nerve, and vibrate through the frame:
19 Their level life is but a smouldering fire,
Unquench’d by want, unfann’d by strong desire;
Unfit for raptures, or, if raptures cheer,
On some high festival of once a year,
In wild excess the vulgar breast takes fire,
Till, buried in debauch, the bliss expire.
But not their joys alone thus coarsely flow—
Their morals, like their pleasures, are but low;
For, as refinement stops, from sire to son
Unalter’d, unimprov’d, the manners run—
And love’s and friendship’s finely pointed dart
Fall blunted from each indurated heart.
Some sterner virtues o’er the mountain’s breast
May sit, like falcons cowering on the nest;
But all the gentler morals, such as play
Through life’s more cultur’d walks, and charm the way—
These, far dispers’d, on timorous pinions fly,
To sport and flutter in a kinder sky.
To kinder skies, where gentler manners reign,
I turn; and France displays her bright domain.
Gay sprightly land of mirth and social ease,
Pleas’d with thyself, whom all the world can please—
How often have I led thy sportive choir,
With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire,
Where shading elms along the margin grew,
And, freshen’d from the wave, the zephyr flew!
And haply, though my harsh touch, faltering still,
But mock’d all tune, and marr’d the dancers’ skill—
20 Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.
Alike all ages: dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
And the gay grandsire, skill’d in gestic lore,
Has frisk’d beneath the burden of threescore.
So bless’d a life these thoughtless realms display;
Thus idly busy rolls their world away.
Theirs are those arts that mind to mind endear,
For honour forms the social temper here:
Honour, that praise which real merit gains,
Or even imaginary worth obtains,
Here passes current—paid from hand to hand,
It shifts, in splendid traffic, round the land;
From courts to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise—
They please, are pleas’d, they give to get esteem,
Till, seeming bless’d, they grow to what they seem.
But while this softer art their bliss supplies,
It gives their follies also room to rise;
For praise too dearly lov’d, or warmly sought,
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought—
And the weak soul, within itself unbless’d,
Leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.
Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace;
21 Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a year:
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,
Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause.
To men of other minds my fancy flies,
Embosom’d in the deep where Holland lies.
Methinks her patient sons before me stand,
Where the broad ocean leans against the land;
And, sedulous to stop the coming tide,
Lift the tall rampire’s artificial pride.
22 Onward, methinks, and diligently slow,
The firm connected bulwark seems to grow,
Spreads its long arms amidst the watery roar,
Scoops out an empire, and usurps the shore—
While the pent ocean, rising o’er the pile,
Sees an amphibious world beneath him smile;
The slow canal, the yellow-blossom’d vale,
The willow-tufted bank, the gliding sail,
The crowded mart, the cultivated plain—
A new creation rescued from his reign.
Thus, while around the wave-subjected soil
Impels the native to repeated toil,
Industrious habits in each bosom reign,
And industry begets a love of gain.
Hence all the good from opulence that springs,
With all those ills superfluous treasure brings,
Are here display’d. Their much-lov’d wealth imparts
Convenience, plenty, elegance, and arts;
But view them closer, craft and fraud appear—
Even liberty itself is barter’d here.
At gold’s superior charms all freedom flies;
The needy sell it, and the rich man buys:
A land of tyrants, and a den of slaves,
Here wretches seek dishonourable graves;
And, calmly bent, to servitude conform,
Dull as their lakes that slumber in the storm.
Heavens! how unlike their Belgic sires of old—
Rough, poor, content, ungovernably bold,
23 War in each breast, and freedom on each brow;
How much unlike the sons of Britain now!
Fir’d at the sound, my genius spreads her wing,
And flies where Britain courts the western spring;
Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,
And brighter streams than fam’d Hydaspes glide.
There, all around, the gentlest breezes stray;
There gentle music melts on every spray;
Creation’s mildest charms are there combin’d;
Extremes are only in the master’s mind.
Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great.
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by,
Intent on high designs—a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashion’d, fresh from Nature’s hand,
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin’d right, above control;
While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man.
Thine, freedom, thine the blessings pictur’d here;
Thine are those charms that dazzle and endear;
Too bless’d indeed were such without alloy,
But, foster’d even by freedom, ills annoy.
That independence Britons prize too high
Keeps man from man, and breaks the social tie:
The self-dependent lordlings stand alone—
All claims that bind and sweeten life unknown.
24 Here, by the bonds of nature feebly held,
Minds combat minds, repelling and repell’d;
Ferments arise, imprison’d factions roar,
Repress’d ambition struggles round her shore—
Till, over-wrought, the general system feels
Its motions stopp’d, or frenzy fire the wheels.
Nor this the worst. As nature’s ties decay,
As duty, love, and honour fail to sway,
Fictitious bonds, the bonds of wealth and law,
Still gather strength, and force unwilling awe.
Hence all obedience bows to these alone,
And talent sinks, and merit weeps unknown;
Till time may come, when stripp’d of all her charms,
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms—
Where noble stems transmit the patriot flame,
Where kings have toil’d, and poets wrote for fame—
25 One sink of level avarice shall lie,
And scholars, soldiers, kings, unhonour’d die.
Yet think not, thus when freedom’s ills I state,
I mean to flatter kings, or court the great.
Ye powers of truth, that bid my soul aspire,
Far from my bosom drive the low desire;
And thou, fair freedom, taught alike to feel
The rabble’s rage, and tyrant’s angry steel—
Thou transitory flower, alike undone
By proud contempt, or favour’s fostering sun—
Still may thy blooms the changeful clime endure!
I only would repress them to secure;
For just experience tells, in every soil,
That those who think must govern those that toil—
And all that freedom’s highest aims can reach
Is but to lay proportion’d loads on each:
Hence, should one order disproportion’d grow,
Its double weight must ruin all below.
Oh, then, how blind to all that truth requires,
Who think it freedom when a part aspires!
Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when fast-approaching danger warms;
But, when contending chiefs blockade the throne,
Contracting regal power, to stretch their own—
When I behold a factious band agree
To call it freedom when themselves are free—
Each wanton judge new penal statutes draw,
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law—
26 The wealth of climes, where savage nations roam,
Pillag’d from slaves, to purchase slaves at home—
Fear, pity, justice, indignation start,
Tear off reserve, and bare my swelling heart;
Till, half a patriot, half a coward grown,
I fly from petty tyrants to the throne.
Yes, brother! curse with me that baleful hour,
When first ambition struck at regal power;
And thus, polluting honour in its source,
Gave wealth to sway the mind with double force.
Have we not seen, round Britain’s peopled shore,
Her useful sons exchang’d for useless ore?
Seen all her triumphs but destruction haste,
Like flaring tapers, brightening as they waste?
Seen opulence, her grandeur to maintain,
Lead stern depopulation in her train—
And over fields, where scatter’d hamlets rose,
In barren solitary pomp repose?
Have we not seen, at pleasure’s lordly call,
The smiling long-frequented village fall?—
Beheld the duteous son, the sire decay’d,
The modest matron, and the blushing maid,
Forc’d from their homes, a melancholy train,
To traverse climes beyond the western main—
Where wild Oswego spreads her swamps around,3
And Niagara stuns with thundering sound?


Even now, perhaps, as there some pilgrim strays
Through tangled forests, and through dangerous ways,
Where beasts with man divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murderous aim—
There, while above the giddy tempest flies,
And all around distressful yells arise—
The pensive exile, bending with his woe,
To stop too fearful, and too faint to go,
Casts a long look where England’s glories shine,
And bids his bosom sympathize with mine.
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
That bliss which only centres in the mind.
Why have I stray’d from pleasure and repose,
To seek a good each government bestows?
In every government, though terrors reign,
Though tyrant-kings or tyrant-laws restrain,
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,
Our own felicity we make or find:
28 With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy;
The lifted axe, the agonizing wheel,
Zeck’s iron crown, and Damiens’ bed of steel,4
To men remote from power but rarely known—
Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.


3 The Onandago, or Oneida, a lake of the State of New York, which extends westward about twenty miles, where its outlet, the river of Onandago, runs into Lake Ontario, at Oswego, a town with a population, in 1853, of above 5,000.

4 George and Luke Zeck headed an insurrection in Hungary, A.D. 1514, and George was punished by having a red-hot iron crown placed on his head. Robert François Damiens was an enthusiast who attempted to stab Louis XV. of France, Jan. 5, 1757. Being seized and examined, he said he did not intend to kill the king; and this statement was in some measure borne out by his knife having two blades, of which he used the shorter. He was condemned to be broken alive by horses, having been previously tortured.





Dear Sir,

I can have no expectation, in an address of this kind, either to add to your reputation or to establish my own. You can gain nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to excel; and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than you. Setting interest therefore aside, to which I never paid much attention, I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me to inscribe this poem to you.

How far you may be pleased with the versification and mere mechanical parts of this attempt, I do not pretend to inquire: but I know you will object—and indeed several of our best and wisest friends concur in the opinion—that the depopulation it deplores is nowhere to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet’s own imagination. To this I can scarce make any other answer, than that I sincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all possible pains in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I allege; and that all my views and inquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to display. But this is not the place to enter into an inquiry, whether the country be depopulating or not; the discussion would take up much room, and I should prove myself, at best, but an indifferent politician to tire the reader with a long preface, when I want his unfatigued attention to a long poem.

31 In regretting the depopulation of the country, I inveigh against the increase of our luxuries; and here also I expect the shout of modern politicians against me. For twenty or thirty years past, it has been the fashion to consider luxury as one of the greatest national advantages, and all the wisdom of antiquity, in that particular, as erroneous. Still, however, I must remain a professed ancient on that head, and continue to think those luxuries prejudicial to states, by which so many vices are introduced, and so many kingdoms have been undone. Indeed, so much has been poured out of late on the other side of the question, that, merely for the sake of novelty and variety, one would sometimes wish to be in the right.

I am, dear Sir,
Your sincere friend and ardent admirer,
Oliver Goldsmith.


Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer’d the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer’s lingering blooms delay’d—
33 Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please—
How often have I loiter’d o’er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear’d each scene;
How often have I paus’d on every charm—
The shelter’d cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topp’d the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn-bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made;
How often have I bless’d the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree—
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old survey’d,
34 And many a gambol frolick’d o’er the ground,
And sleights of art and feats of strength went round:
And still, as each repeated pleasure tir’d,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspir’d—
The dancing pair, that simply sought renown
By holding out to tire each other down,
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter titter’d round the place,
The bashful virgin’s side-long looks of love,
The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove.
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;
35 These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—but all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant’s hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green;
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain.
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But chok’d with sedges works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries;
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o’ertops the mouldering wall;
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler’s hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.


Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade—
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroy’d, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England’s griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain’d its man:
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life requir’d, but gave no more;
His best companions, innocence and health,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter’d; trade’s unfeeling train
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain:
Along the lawn, where scatter’d hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose;
And every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask’d but little room,
Those healthful sports that grac’d the peaceful scene,
Liv’d in each look, and brighten’d all the green—
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant’s power.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin’d grounds,
37 And, many a year elaps’d, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew—
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has given my share—
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life’s taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting, by repose.
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn’d skill—
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
And as an hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
38 I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return—and die at home at last.
O bless’d retirement, friend to life’s decline,
Retreats from care, that never must be mine!
How happy he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since ’tis hard to combat, learns to fly.
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
39 No surly porter stands, in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
But on he moves, to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue’s friend—
Bends to the grave with unperceiv’d decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way—
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening’s close
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose.
There as I pass’d, with careless steps and slow,
The mingled notes came soften’d from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that low’d to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog’s voice, that bay’d the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind—
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill’d each pause the nightingale had made.
40 But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
For all the bloomy flush of life is fled—
All but yon widow’d, solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
She, wretched matron, forc’d in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn—
41 She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain!
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil’d,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild,
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher’s modest mansion rose.
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year.
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e’er had chang’d, nor wish’d to change, his place;
Unpractis’d he to fawn, or seek for power
By doctrines fashion’d to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learn’d to prize—
More skill’d to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train;
He chid their wanderings, but reliev’d their pain;
The long-remember’d beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruin’d spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim’d kindred there, and had his claim allow’d;
42 The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talk’d the night away—
Wept o’er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder’d his crutch, and show’d how fields were won.
Pleas’d with his guests, the good man learn’d to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings lean’d to virtue’s side—
But in his duty, prompt at every call,
He watch’d and wept, he pray’d and felt for all;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledg’d offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allur’d to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain by turns dismay’d,
The reverend champion stood: at his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whisper’d praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorn’d the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail’d with double sway,
And fools who came to scoff remain’d to pray.
The service pass’d, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran;
Even children follow’d with endearing wile,
And pluck’d his gown, to share the good man’s smile:
His ready smile a parent’s warmth express’d,
Their welfare pleas’d him, and their cares distress’d.
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven:
As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm.
44 Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossom’d furze unprofitably gay—
There, in his noisy mansion, skill’d to rule,
The village master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to view;
I knew him well, and every truant knew:
Well had the boding tremblers learn’d to trace
The day’s disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laugh’d with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Convey’d the dismal tidings when he frown’d:
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declar’d how much he knew;
’Twas certain he could write, and cipher too,
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage—
And even the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson own’d his skill,
For even though vanquish’d, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amaz’d the gaping rustics rang’d around—
And still they gaz’d, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But pass’d is all his fame: the very spot,
Where many a time he triumph’d, is forgot.


Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspir’d,
Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retir’d,
Where village statesmen talk’d with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
46 Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place;
The whitewash’d wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnish’d clock that click’d behind the door—
The chest contriv’d a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day—
The pictures plac’d for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose—
The hearth, except when winter chill’d the day,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay—
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Rang’d o’er the chimney, glisten’d in a row.
Vain transitory splendours! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall?
Obscure it sinks; nor shall it more impart
An hour’s importance to the poor man’s heart:
Thither no more the peasant shall repair,
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer’s news, the barber’s tale,
No more the woodman’s ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be press’d,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessings of the lowly train—
47 To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway—
Lightly they frolic o’er the vacant mind,
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfin’d;
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth array’d,
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain—
And, even while fashion’s brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy.
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man’s joys increase, the poor’s decay—
’Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand
Between a splendid and a happy land.
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards even beyond the miser’s wish abound,
And rich men flock from all the world around;
Yet count our gains: this wealth is but a name,
That leaves our useful products still the same.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supplied—
Space for his lake, his park’s extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds;
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth
Has robb’d the neighbouring fields of half their growth;
48 His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green;
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies:
While thus the land adorn’d for pleasure—all
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female, unadorn’d and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights every borrow’d charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes—
But when those charms are pass’d, for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail—
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress.
Thus fares the land, by luxury betray’d:
In nature’s simplest charms at first array’d—
49 But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;
While, scourg’d by famine, from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band—
And while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms—a garden and a grave.
Where, then, ah! where shall poverty reside,
To ’scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common’s fenceless limits stray’d,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And even the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped—what waits him there?—
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combin’d
To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;
To see those joys the sons of pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow-creatures’ woe:
Here, while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here, while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here, richly deck’d, admits the gorgeous train—
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare:
Sure scenes like these no troubles e’er annoy;
Sure these denote one universal joy!
50 Are these thy serious thoughts?—ah! turn thine eyes,
Where the poor houseless shivering female lies:
She once, perhaps, in village plenty bless’d,
Has wept at tales of innocence distress’d—
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn,
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn;
Now lost to all—her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer’s door she lays her head—
And, pinch’d with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour,
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel, and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn! thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
Even now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men’s doors they ask a little bread.
Ah, no! to distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama5 murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charm’d before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day—
52 Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling—
Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance crown’d,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around—
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake—
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men, more murderous still than they—
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravag’d landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene—
The cooling brook, the grassy-vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only shelter’d thefts of harmless love.


Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom’d that parting day
That call’d them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure pass’d,
Hung round their bowers, and fondly look’d their last—
And took a long farewell, and wish’d in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main—
And shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Return’d and wept, and still return’d to weep.
The good old sire, the first, prepar’d to go,
To new-found worlds, and wept for others’ woe—
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wish’d for worlds beyond the grave;
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover’s for a father’s arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And bless’d the cot where every pleasure rose.
54 And kiss’d her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp’d them close, in sorrow doubly dear—
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief,
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury! thou curs’d by Heaven’s decree,
How ill exchang’d are things like these for thee;
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms by thee to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own;
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe—
55 Till sapp’d their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
Even now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land:
Down, where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move—a melancholy band—
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand;
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness are there—
And piety with wishes plac’d above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet poetry! thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade,
Unfit in these degenerate times of shame
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame—
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride—
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found’st me poor at first, and keep’st me so—
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel.
Thou nurse of every virtue—fare thee well.
Farewell! and oh! where’er thy voice be tried,
On Tornea’s cliffs, or Pambamarca’s side,6


Whether where equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of the inclement clime.
Aid slighted truth: with thy persuasive strain
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him that states, of native strength possess’d,
Though very poor, may still be very bless’d;
That trade’s proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour’d mole away—
While self-dependent power can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.7


5 The river Alatamaha, in the United States.

6 Tornea, a river of Sweden. Pambamarca, a mountain of Mexico.

7 The last four lines were written by Johnson.



[A correspondent of the St. James’s Chronicle having accused Goldsmith of imitating a ballad by Percy, he addressed the following letter to the Editor. In a later edition of the “Reliques,” Percy vindicated his friend from the charge, and said, “If there is any imitation in the case, they will be found both to be indebted to the beautiful old ballad, ‘Gentle Herdsman,’ which the Doctor had much admired in manuscript, and has finely improved.”

Sir,—A correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, I published some time ago, from one (the “Friar of Orders Gray”) by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy, some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me, with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspere into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing; and, were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.

I am, Sir, yours, &c.
Oliver Goldsmith.]


“Turn, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray;
“For here, forlorn and lost, I tread,
With fainting steps and slow—
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go.”
“Forbear, my son,” the hermit cries,
“To tempt the dangerous gloom;
For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
“Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still;
And, though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will.
“Then turn, to-night, and freely share
Whate’er my cell bestows—
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.
“No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn—
Taught by that Power who pities me,
I learn to pity them;
“But, from the mountain’s grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring—
A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring.
“Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong:
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.”
Soft as the dew from heaven descends,
His gentle accents fell;
The modest stranger lowly bends,
And follows to the cell.
Far, in a wilderness obscure,
The lonely mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighbouring poor,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir’d a master’s care;
The wicket, opening with a latch,
Receiv’d the harmless pair.
And now, when busy crowds retire
To take their evening rest,
The hermit trimm’d his little fire,
And cheer’d his pensive guest;
And spread his vegetable store,
And gaily press’d, and smil’d;
And, skill’d in legendary lore,
The lingering hours beguil’d.
Around, in sympathetic mirth,
Its tricks the kitten tries—
The cricket chirrups in the hearth,
The crackling faggot flies;


But nothing could a charm impart
To soothe the stranger’s woe—
For grief was heavy at his heart,
And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied—
With answering care opprest;
“And whence, unhappy youth,” he cried,
“The sorrows of thy breast?
“From better habitations spurn’d,
Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or grieve for friendship unreturn’d,
Or unregarded love?
“Alas! the joys that fortune brings
Are trifling, and decay—
And those who prize the paltry things,
More trifling still than they;
“And what is friendship but a name,
A charm that lulls to sleep—
A shade that follows wealth or fame,
And leaves the wretch to weep?
“And love is still an emptier sound,
The modern fair-one’s jest;
On earth unseen, or only found
To warm the turtle’s nest.
“For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,
And spurn the sex,” he said;
But while he spoke, a rising blush
His love-lorn guest betray’d:
Surpris’d, he sees new beauties rise
Swift mantling to the view—
Like colours o’er the morning skies,
As bright, as transient too.
The bashful look, the rising breast,
Alternate spread alarms:
The lovely stranger stands confest,
A maid in all her charms.
“And, ah! forgive a stranger rude,
A wretch forlorn,” she cried—
“Whose feet unhallow’d thus intrude
Where Heaven and you reside;
“But let a maid thy pity share,
Whom love has taught to stray—
Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
Companion of her way.
“My father liv’d beside the Tyne—
A wealthy lord was he;
And all his wealth was mark’d as mine:
He had but only me.
“To win me from his tender arms,
Unnumber’d suitors came;
Who prais’d me for imputed charms,
And felt or feign’d a flame.
“Each hour a mercenary crowd
With richest proffers strove;
Among the rest young Edwin bow’d—
But never talk’d of love.
“In humble, simplest habit clad,
No wealth nor power had he;
Wisdom and worth were all he had—
But these were all to me.
“And when, beside me in the dale,
He caroll’d lays of love,
His breath lent fragrance to the gale,
And music to the grove.
“The blossom opening to the day,
The dews of heaven refin’d,
Could nought of purity display
To emulate his mind.
“The dew, the blossom on the tree,
With charms inconstant shine;
Their charms were his; but, woe to me,
Their constancy was mine.
“For still I tried each fickle art,
Importunate and vain;
And while his passion touch’d my heart,
I triumph’d in his pain.
“Till, quite dejected with my scorn,
He left me to my pride;
And sought a solitude forlorn,
In secret, where he died.
“But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
And well my life shall pay;
I’ll seek the solitude he sought,
And stretch me where he lay;
“And there, forlorn, despairing, hid—
I’ll lay me down and die;
’Twas so for me that Edwin did,
And so for him will I.”
“Forbid it, Heaven!” the hermit cried,
And clasp’d her to his breast:
The wondering fair-one turn’d to chide—
’Twas Edwin’s self that press’d.
“Turn, Angelina! ever dear—
My charmer, turn to see
Thy own, thy long-lost Edwin here,
Restor’d to love and thee.
“Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
And every care resign;
And shall we never, never part,
My life—my all that’s mine!
“No; never from this hour to part,
We’ll live and love so true;
The sigh that rends thy constant heart,
Shall break thy Edwin’s too.”





Scene.The Banks of the River Euphrates, near Babylon.


Ye captive tribes, that hourly work and weep,
Where flows Euphrates, murmuring to the deep—
Suspend your woes awhile, the task suspend,
And turn to God, your Father and your Friend:
Insulted, chain’d, and all the world our foe,
Our God alone is all we boast below.
Our God is all we boast below,
To Him we turn our eyes;
And every added weight of woe
Shall make our homage rise:
And though no temple richly drest,
Nor sacrifice is here—
We’ll make His temple in our breast,
And offer up a tear.
That strain once more! it bids remembrance rise,
And brings my long-lost country to mine eyes.
Ye fields of Sharon, dress’d in flowery pride;
Ye plains, where Jordan rolls its glassy tide;
Ye hills of Lebanon, with cedars crown’d;
Ye Gilead groves, that fling perfumes around:
These hills how sweet! those plains how wondrous fair
But sweeter still, when Heaven was with us there!
O Memory! thou fond deceiver!
Still importunate and vain;
To former joys recurring ever,
And turning all the past to pain;
Thou, like the world, the oppress’d oppressing,
Thy smiles increase the wretch’s woe!
And he who wants each other blessing,
In thee must ever find a foe.


Yet, why repine? What, though by bonds confin’d,
Should bonds enslave the vigour of the mind?
Have we not cause for triumph, when we see
Ourselves alone from idol-worship free?
Are not, this very morn, those feasts begun,
Where prostrate error hails the rising sun?
Do not our tyrant lords this day ordain
For superstitious rites and mirth profane?
And should we mourn? Should coward Virtue fly,
When vaunting Folly lifts her head on high?
No! rather let us triumph still the more—
And as our fortune sinks, our spirits soar.
The triumphs that on vice attend
Shall ever in confusion end;
The good man suffers but to gain,
And every virtue springs from pain:
As aromatic plants bestow
No spicy fragrance while they grow;
But crush’d, or trodden to the ground,
Diffuse their balmy sweets around.
But, hush, my sons! our tyrant lords are near—
The sounds of barbarous pleasure strike mine ear;
Triumphant music floats along the vale—
Near, nearer still, it gathers on the gale:
The growing note their swift approach declares—
Desist, my sons, nor mix the strain with theirs.
Enter Chaldean Priests, attended.
Come on, my companions, the triumphs display,
Let rapture the minutes employ;
The sun calls us out on this festival day,
And our monarch partakes of the joy.
Like the sun, our great monarch all rapture supplies;
Both similar blessings bestow:
The sun with his splendour illumines the skies;
And our monarch enlivens below.
Haste, ye sprightly sons of pleasure;
Love presents the fairest treasure;
Leave all other sports for me.
Or rather, Love’s delights despising,
Haste to raptures ever rising;
Wine shall bless the brave and free.
Wine and beauty thus inviting,
Each to different joys exciting,
Whither shall my choice incline?
I’ll waste no longer thought in choosing,
But, neither love nor wine refusing,
I’ll make them both together mine.
But whence, when joy should brighten o’er the land,
This sullen gloom in Judah’s captive band?
72 Ye sons of Judah, why the lute unstrung?
Or why those harps on yonder willows hung?
Come, take the lyre, and pour the strain along,
The day demands it; sing us Sion’s song,
Dismiss your griefs, and join our tuneful choir;
For who like you can wake the sleeping lyre?
Chain’d as we are, the scorn of all mankind,
To want, to toil, and every ill consign’d—
Is this a time to bid us raise the strain,
Or mix in rites that Heaven regards with pain?
No, never! May this hand forget each art
That wakes to finest joys the human heart,
Ere I forget the land that gave me birth,
Or join to sounds profane its sacred mirth!
Rebellious slaves! if soft persuasion fail,
More formidable terrors shall prevail.
Why, let them come; one good remains to cheer—
We fear the Lord, and know no other fear.

[Exeunt Chaldeans.

Can chains or tortures bend the mind
On God’s supporting breast reclin’d?
Stand fast,—and let our tyrants see
That fortitude is victory.




O Peace of Mind, angelic guest!
Thou soft companion of the breast!
Dispense thy balmy store;
Wing all our thoughts to reach the skies,
Till earth, receding from our eyes,
Shall vanish as we soar.
No more! Too long has justice been delay’d—
The king’s commands must fully be obey’d;
Compliance with his will your peace secures—
Praise but our gods, and every good is yours.
But if, rebellious to his high command,
You spurn the favours offer’d at his hand—
Think, timely think, what ills remain behind;
Reflect, nor tempt to rage the royal mind.
Fierce is the tempest rolling
Along the furrow’d main,
And fierce the whirlwind howling,
O’er Afric’s sandy plain:
But storms that fly
To rend the sky,
Every ill presaging—
Less dreadful show
To world’s below,
Than angry monarch’s raging.


Ah, me! what angry terrors round us grow!
How shrinks my soul to meet the threaten’d blow!
Ye prophets, skill’d in Heaven’s eternal truth,
Forgive my sex’s fears, forgive my youth,
If shrinking thus, when frowning power appears,
I wish for life, and yield me to my fears.
Ah! let us one, one little hour obey;
To-morrow’s tears may wash the stain away.
The wretch condemn’d with life to part,
Still, still on hope relies;
And every pang that rends the heart,
Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the glimmering taper’s light,
Adorns and cheers the way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
Why this delay? At length for joy prepare;
I read your looks, and see compliance there.
Come on, and bid the warbling rapture rise,
Our monarch’s name the noblest theme supplies.
Begin, ye captive bands, and strike the lyre;
The time, the theme, the place, and all conspire.
See the ruddy morning smiling,
Hear the grove to bliss beguiling;
Zephyrs through the woodland playing,
Streams along the valley straying.
While these a constant revel keep,
Shall Reason only teach to weep?
Hence, intruder! we’ll pursue
Nature—a better guide than you.
Every moment, as it flows,
Some peculiar pleasure owes;
Come, then, providently wise,
Seize the debtor ere it flies.
Think not to-morrow can repay
The debt of pleasure lost to-day.
Alas! to-morrow’s richest store
Can but pay its proper score.
But, hush! see foremost of the captive choir,
The master-prophet grasps his full-ton’d lyre;
77 Mark where he sits, with executing art,
Feels for each tone, and speeds it to the heart.
See, how prophetic rapture fills his form,
Awful as clouds that nurse the growing storm!
And now his voice, accordant to the string,
Prepares our monarch’s victories to sing.
From north, from south, from east, from west,
Conspiring nations come;
Tremble, thou vice-polluted breast;
Blasphemers, all be dumb.
The tempest gathers all around—
On Babylon it lies;
Down with her! down—down to the ground:
She sinks, she groans, she dies.
Down with her, Lord, to lick the dust,
Before yon setting sun;
Serve her as she hath serv’d the just:
’Tis fix’d—it shall be done.
No more! when slaves thus insolent presume,
The king himself shall judge, and fix their doom.
Short-sighted wretches! have not you and all
Beheld our power in Zedekiah’s fall?
78 To yonder gloomy dungeon turn your eyes—
See, where dethron’d your captive monarch lies;
Depriv’d of sight, and rankling in his chain,
See where he mourns his friends and children slain.
Yet know, ye slaves, that still remain behind
More ponderous chains, and dungeons more confin’d.
Arise, All-potent Ruler, rise,
And vindicate thy people’s cause,—
Till every tongue, in every land,
Shall offer up unfeign’d applause.



Scene, as before.

Yes, my companions, Heaven’s decrees are past,
And our fix’d empire shall for ever last:
In vain the madd’ning prophet threatens woe—
In vain Rebellion aims her secret blow;
Still shall our name and growing power be spread,
And still our justice crush the traitor’s head.
Coeval with man
Our empire began,
And never shall fall,
Till ruin shakes all;
With the ruin of all,
Then shall Babylon fall.
’Tis thus that pride triumphant rears the head—
A little while, and all her power is fled.
But, ha! what means yon sadly plaintive train,
That onward slowly bends along the plain?
And now, behold, to yonder bank they bear
A pallid corse, and rest the body there.
Alas! too well mine eyes indignant trace
The last remains of Judah’s royal race:
Fall’n is our king, and all our fears are o’er;
Unhappy Zedekiah is no more.
Ye wretches who, by fortune’s hate,
In want and sorrow groan—
Come, ponder his severer fate,
And learn to bless your own.
Ye vain, whom youth and pleasure guide,
Awhile the bliss suspend;
Like yours, his life began in pride;
Like his, your lives may end.
Behold his wretched corse, with sorrow worn,
His squalid limbs by ponderous fetters torn;
Those eyeless orbs which shook with ghastly glare,
Those ill-becoming rags, that matted hair.
And shall not Heaven for this avenge the foe,
Grasp the red bolt, and lay the guilty low?
How long, how long, Almighty Lord of all,
Shall wrath vindictive threaten ere it fall!


As panting flies the hunted hind,
Where brooks refreshing stray;
And rivers through the valley wind,
That stop the hunter’s way:
Thus we, O Lord, alike distrest,
For streams of mercy long;
Streams which can cheer the sore-opprest,
And overwhelm the strong.
But, whence that shout? Good heavens! Amazement all!
See yonder tower just nodding to the fall:
Behold, an army covers all the ground;
’Tis Cyrus here that pours destruction round:
The ruin smokes, the torrent pours along—
How low the great, how feeble are the strong!
And now, behold, the battlements recline—
O God of hosts, the victory is Thine!
Down with her, Lord, to lick the dust—
Thy vengeance be begun;
Serve her as she hath serv’d the just:
And let Thy will be done.
All, all is lost! The Syrian army fails;
Cyrus, the conqueror of the world, prevails!
Save us, O Lord! to Thee, though late, we pray;
And give repentance but an hour’s delay.
Thrice happy, who in happy hour
To Heaven their praise bestow,
And own His all-consuming power
Before they feel the blow!
Now, now’s our time! ye wretches bold and blind,
Brave but to God, and cowards to mankind;
Ye seek in vain the Lord, unsought before—
Your wealth, your lives, your kingdom, are no more!
O Lucifer! thou son of morn,
Of Heaven alike and man the foe—
Heaven, men, and all,
Now press thy fall,
And sink thee lowest of the low.


O Babylon! how art thou fallen—
Thy fall more dreadful from delay!
Thy streets forlorn
To wilds shall turn,
Where toads shall pant, and vultures prey!
Such be her fate! But, hark! how from afar
The clarion’s note proclaims the finish’d war!
Cyrus, our great restorer, is at hand,
And this way leads his formidable band.
Now give your songs of Zion to the wind,
And hail the benefactor of mankind:
He comes, pursuant to Divine decree,
To chain the strong, and set the captive free.
Rise to raptures past expressing,
Sweeter from remember’d woes;
Cyrus comes, our wrongs redressing,
Comes to give the world repose.
Cyrus comes, the world redressing,
Love and pleasure in his train;
Comes to heighten every blessing,
Comes to soften every pain.
Hail to him, with mercy reigning,
Skill’d in every peaceful art;
Who, from bonds our limbs unchaining,
Only binds the willing heart.
But chief to Thee, our God, our Father, Friend,
Let praise be given to all eternity;
O Thou, without beginning, without end—
Let us, and all, begin and end in Thee!



Thanks, my lord, for your venison, for finer or fatter
Ne’er rang’d in a forest, or smok’d in a platter:
The haunch was a picture for painters to study—
The fat was so white, and the lean was so ruddy.
Though my stomach was sharp, I could scarce help regretting
To spoil such a delicate picture by eating:
I had thoughts in my chamber to place it in view,
To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtù;
As in some Irish houses, where things are so-so,
One gammon of bacon hangs up for a show;—
But, for eating a rasher of what they take pride in,
They’d as soon think of eating the pan it is fried in.
86 But hold—let me pause—Don’t I hear you pronounce
This tale of the bacon a damnable bounce?
Well, suppose it a bounce—sure a poet may try,
By a bounce now and then, to get courage to fly.
But, my lord, it’s no bounce: I protest in my turn,
It’s a truth—and your lordship may ask Mr. Byrne.8
To go on with my tale—as I gaz’d on the Haunch,
I thought of a friend that was trusty and staunch—
So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undrest,
To paint it, or eat it, just as he lik’d best.
Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose;
’Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Monroe’s9
But in parting with these I was puzzled again,
With the how, and the who, and the where, and the when:
There’s Coley,10 and Williams, and H——rth, and Hiff—
I think they love ven’son—I know they love beef;
There’s my countryman, Higgins—Oh! let him alone
For making a blunder, or picking a bone.
But, hang it—to poets, who seldom can eat,
Your very good mutton ’s a very good treat;
Such dainties to them, their health it might hurt,
It’s like sending them ruffles, when wanting a shirt.
While thus I debated, in reverie centred,
An acquaintance, a friend as he call’d himself, enter’d;
An under-bred, fine-spoken fellow was he,
And he smil’d as he look’d at the venison and me.
87 “What have we got here?—Why, this is good eating!
Your own, I suppose—or is it in waiting?”
“Why, whose should it be, sir?” cried I, with a flounce;
“I get these things often”—but that was a bounce:
“Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation,
Are pleas’d to be kind—but I hate ostentation.”
“If that be the case, then,” cried he, very gay,
“I’m glad I have taken this house in my way.
To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me:
No words—I insist on’t—precisely at three.
We’ll have Johnson, and Burke; all the wits will be there;
My acquaintance is slight, or I’d ask my Lord Clare.
And now that I think on’t, as I am a sinner!
We wanted this venison to make out the dinner.
What say you?—a pasty?—it shall, and it must;
And my wife, little Kitty, is famous for crust.
Here, porter!—this venison with me to Mile End;
No stirring, I beg—my dear friend—my dear friend!”
Thus snatching his hat, he brush’d off like the wind,
And the porter and eatables follow’d behind.
Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf,
And “nobody with me at sea but myself;”11
Though I could not help thinking my gentleman hasty,
Yet Johnson, and Burke, and a good venison pasty,
88 Were things that I never dislik’d in my life—
Though clogg’d with a coxcomb, and Kitty his wife;
So next day, in due splendour to make my approach,
I drove to his door in my own hackney-coach.
When come to the place where we all were to dine,
(A chair-lumber’d closet, just twelve feet by nine)—
My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb
With tidings that Johnson and Burke would not come;
“For I knew it,” he cried, “both eternally fail,
The one with his speeches, and t’ other with Thrale.
But no matter, I’ll warrant we’ll make up the party
With two full as clever, and ten times as hearty.
The one is a Scotchman, the other a Jew,
They ’re both of them merry, and authors, like you;
The one writes the Snarler, the other the Scourge;
Some think he writes Cinna—he owns to Panurge.”
While thus he describ’d them by trade and by name,
They enter’d, and dinner was serv’d as they came.
At the top a fried liver and bacon were seen,
At the bottom was tripe, in a swinging tureen;
At the sides there was spinach and pudding made hot;
In the middle a place where the pasty—was not.
Now, my lord, as for tripe, it’s my utter aversion,
And your bacon I hate like a Turk or a Persian;
So there I sat stuck like a horse in a pound,
While the bacon and liver went merrily round.
89 But what vex’d me most was that d—d Scottish rogue,
With his long-winded speeches, his smiles, and his brogue;
And, “Madam,” quoth he, “may this bit be my poison,
A prettier dinner I never set eyes on:
Pray a slice of your liver, though may I be curst,
But I’ve eat of your tripe till I’m ready to burst.”
“The tripe,” quoth the Jew, “if the truth I may speak,
I could dine on this tripe seven days in a week;
I like these here dinners so pretty and small—
But your friend there, the Doctor, eats nothing at all.”
“Oh, oh!” quoth my friend, “he’ll come on in a trice—
He’s keeping a corner for something that’s nice.
There’s a Pasty”—“A Pasty!” repeated the Jew;
“I don’t care if I keep a corner for ’t too.”
“What the De’il, mon, a Pasty!” re-echoed the Scot;
“Though splitting, I’ll still keep a corner for that.”
“We’ll all keep a corner,” the lady cried out;
“We’ll all keep a corner,” was echo’d about.
While thus we resolv’d, and the Pasty delay’d,
With looks that quite petrified, enter’d the maid;
A visage so sad, and so pale with affright,
Wak’d Priam, in drawing his curtains by night.
But we quickly found out—for who could mistake her?—
That she came with some terrible news from the baker:
And so it fell out; for that negligent sloven
Had shut out the Pasty on shutting his oven.
Sad Philomel thus—but let similes drop—
And now that I think on’t, the story may stop.
90 To be plain, my good lord, it’s but labour misplac’d,
To send such good verses to one of your taste.
You’ve got an odd something—a kind of discerning—
A relish—a taste—sicken’d over by learning;
At least, it’s your temper, as very well known,
That you think very slightly of all that’s your own;
So, perhaps, in your habits of thinking amiss,
You may make a mistake, and think slightly of this.


8 Lord Clare’s nephew.

9 Miss Dorothy Monroe.

10 Colman.

11 From a letter of the Duke of Cumberland.



Of old, when Scarròn12 his companions invited,
Each guest brought his dish, and the feast was united;
If our landlord supplies us with beef, and with fish,
Let each guest bring himself—and he brings the best dish;
Our Dean13 shall be venison, just fresh from the plains;
Our Burke14 shall be tongue, with a garnish of brains;
Our Will15 shall be wild-fowl, of excellent flavour;
And Dick16 with his pepper shall heighten their savour;
Our Cumberland’s17 sweet-bread its place shall obtain;
And Douglas18 is pudding, substantial and plain;
Our Garrick’s19 a salad, for in him we see
Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness agree;
To make out the dinner, full certain I am
That Ridge20 is anchovy, and Reynolds21 is lamb;
That Hickey’s22 a capon, and, by the same rule,
Magnanimous Goldsmith a gooseberry fool.
92 At a dinner so various, at such a repast,
Who’d not be a glutton, and stick to the last?
Here, waiter, more wine, let me sit while I’m able,
Till all my companions sink under the table;
Then, with chaos and blunders encircling my head,
Let me ponder, and tell what I think of the dead.
Here lies the good Dean, re-united to earth,
Who mix’d reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth;
If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt—
At least, in six weeks I could not find them out;
Yet some have declar’d, and it can’t be denied them,
That sly-boots was cursedly cunning to hide them.
Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such,
We scarcely can praise it, or blame it too much;
Who, born for the universe, narrow’d his mind,
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.
Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat
To persuade Tommy Townshend23 to lend him a vote;
Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
And thought of convincing, while they thought of dining:
Though equal to all things, for all things unfit:
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit;
For a patriot too cool; for a drudge disobedient;
And too fond of the right, to pursue the expedient.
In short, ’twas his fate, unemploy’d, or in place, sir,
To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor.
Here lies honest William, whose heart was a mint,
While the owner ne’er knew half the good that was in ’t;
The pupil of impulse, it forc’d him along,
His conduct still right, with his argument wrong;
Still aiming at honour, yet fearing to roam—
The coachman was tipsy, the chariot drove home;
Would you ask for his merits? alas! he had none;
What was good was spontaneous, his faults were his own.
Here lies honest Richard,24 whose fate I must sigh at;
Alas! that such frolic should now be so quiet!
What spirits were his! what wit and what whim!
Now breaking a jest—and now breaking a limb;
Now wrangling and grumbling to keep up the ball;
Now teasing and vexing—yet laughing at all!
In short, so provoking a devil was Dick,
That we wish’d him full ten times a day at Old Nick;
But, missing his mirth and agreeable vein,
As often we wish’d to have Dick back again.
Here Cumberland lies, having acted his parts,
The Terence of England, the mender of hearts;
A flattering painter, who made it his care
To draw men as they ought to be, not as they are.
His gallants are all faultless, his women divine,
And comedy wonders at being so fine!
Like a tragedy queen he has dizen’d her out,
Or rather like tragedy giving a rout.
94 His fools have their follies so lost in a crowd
Of virtues and feelings, that folly grows proud;
And coxcombs, alike in their failings alone,
Adopting his portraits, are pleas’d with their own.
Say, where has our poet this malady caught?
Or wherefore his characters thus without fault?
Say, was it that mainly directing his view
To find out men’s virtues, and finding them few,
Quite sick of pursuing each troublesome elf,
He grew lazy at last, and drew from himself?
Here Douglas25 retires from his toils to relax,
The scourge of impostors, the terror of quacks:
Come, all ye quack bards, and ye quacking divines—
Come, and dance on the spot where your tyrant reclines!
When satire and censure encircled his throne,
I fear’d for your safety, I fear’d for my own;
But now he is gone, and we want a detector,
Our Dodds26 shall be pious, our Kenricks27 shall lecture—
Macpherson28 write bombast, and call it a style—
Our Townshend make speeches, and I shall compile;
New Lauders and Bowers the Tweed shall cross over,
No countryman living their tricks to discover;
Detection her taper shall quench to a spark,
And Scotchman meet Scotchman, and cheat in the dark.
Here lies David Garrick—describe me, who can,
An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man:
As an actor, confess’d without rival to shine;
As a wit, if not first, in the very first line;
Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart,
The man had his failings—a dupe to his art.
Like an ill-judging beauty, his colours he spread,
And beplaster’d with rouge his own natural red.
On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;
’Twas only that when he was off he was acting.
With no reason on earth to go out of his way,
He turn’d and he varied full ten times a day;
Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick,
If they were not his own by finessing and trick:
He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack,
For he knew when he pleas’d he could whistle them back.
Of praise a mere glutton, he swallow’d what came,
And the puff of a dunce he mistook it for fame;
Till, his relish grown callous almost to disease,
Who pepper’d the highest was surest to please.
But let us be candid, and speak out our mind—
If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.
Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys,29 and Woodfalls30 so grave,
What a commerce was yours, while you got and you gave!
How did Grub Street re-echo the shouts that you rais’d,
While he was be-Roscius’d, and you were be-prais’d!
But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,
To act as an angel, and mix with the skies:
96 Those poets, who owe their best fame to his skill,
Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will;
Old Shakspere receive him with praise and with love,
And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.
Here Hickey reclines, a most blunt pleasant creature,
And slander itself must allow him good-nature;
He cherish’d his friend, and he relish’d a bumper;
Yet one fault he had, and that one was a thumper!
Perhaps you may ask, if the man was a miser?
I answer, no, no—for he always was wiser;
Too courteous, perhaps, or obligingly flat?
His very worst foe can’t accuse him of that;
Perhaps he confided in men as they go,
And so was too foolishly honest? Ah, no!
Then what was his failing? come, tell it, and burn ye!
He was—could he help it?—a special attorney.
Here Reynolds is laid; and, to tell you my mind,
He has not left a wiser or better behind:
His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;
His manners were gentle, complying, and bland;
Still born to improve us in every part—
His pencil our faces, his manners our heart:
To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,
When they judg’d without skill, he was still hard of hearing;
When they talk’d of their Raphaels, Coreggios, and stuff,
He shifted his trumpet,31 and only took snuff.


Here Whitefoord32 reclines, and deny it who can,
Though he merrily liv’d, he is now a grave man:
Rare compound of oddity, frolic, and fun—
Who relish’d a joke, and rejoic’d in a pun;
Whose temper was generous, open, sincere—
A stranger to flattery, a stranger to fear;
Who scatter’d around wit and humour at will;
Whose daily bon mots half a column might fill;
A Scotchman, from pride and from prejudice free;
A scholar, yet surely no pedant was he.
What pity, alas! that so liberal a mind
Should so long be to newspaper essays confin’d;
Who perhaps to the summit of science could soar,
Yet content “if the table he set in a roar;”—
Whose talents to fill any station were fit,
Yet happy if Woodfall33 confess’d him a wit.
Ye newspaper witlings! ye pert scribbling folks!
Who copied his squibs, and re-echoed his jokes:
Ye tame imitators, ye servile herd, come,
Still follow your master, and visit his tomb:
To deck it, bring with you festoons of the vine,
And copious libations bestow on his shrine;
Then strew all around it—you can do no less—
Cross-readings, Ship-news, and Mistakes of the Press.34
Merry Whitefoord, farewell! for thy sake I admit
That a Scot may have humour, I had almost said wit:
This debt to thy memory I cannot refuse—
“Thou best-humour’d man, with the worst-humour’d muse.”


12 Paul Scarròn, a popular French writer, who died in 1660.

13 Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry, in Ireland.

14 Edmund Burke.

15 Mr. William Burke, secretary to General Conway.

16 Mr. Richard Burke.

17 Richard Cumberland, author of “The West Indian,” and other dramatic pieces.

18 Dr. Douglas, Canon of Windsor, and Bishop of Salisbury.

19 David Garrick, the actor.

20 An Irish barrister.

21 Sir Joshua Reynolds.

22 An eminent attorney.

23 Thomas Townshend, Member for Whitchurch, afterwards Lord Sydney.

24 Richard Burke had broken a leg, about seven years before this poem was written.

25 Douglas had vindicated Milton from the insolence of Lauder, ingeniously refuted the cavils of Hume, and exposed Bower.

26 The Rev. Dr. Dodd.

27 Dr. Kenrick, who read lectures, under the title of “The School of Shakspere.”

28 James Macpherson, the translator of Ossian.

29 Hugh Kelly, author of “False Delicacy,” “School for Wives,” &c.

30 Mr. W. Woodfall, printer of the Morning Chronicle.

31 Sir Joshua Reynolds used an ear-trumpet in company.

32 Mr. Caleb Whitefoord, author of many humorous essays. He was so fond of punning, that Goldsmith used to say it was impossible to be in his company without being infected with the disorder.

33 Mr. H. S. Woodfall, printer of the Public Advertiser.

34 Mr. Whitefoord contributed papers on these subjects to the Public Advertiser.



Secluded from domestic strife,
Jack Book-Worm led a college life;
A fellowship at twenty-five
Made him the happiest man alive;
He drank his glass, and crack’d his joke,
And freshmen wonder’d as he spoke.
Such pleasures, unalloy’d with care,
Could any accident impair?
Could Cupid’s shaft at length transfix
Our swain, arriv’d at thirty-six?
Oh! had the Archer ne’er come down
To ravage in a country town;
100 Or Flavia been content to stop
At triumphs in a Fleet Street shop!
Oh! had her eyes forgot to blaze!
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze.
Oh!—but let exclamation cease;
Her presence banish’d all his peace!
So, with decorum all things carried,
Miss frown’d, and blush’d, and then was—married.
The honey-moon like lightning flew;
The second brought its transports, too;
A third, a fourth, were not amiss;
The fifth was friendship mix’d with bliss:
But when a twelvemonth pass’d away,
Jack found his goddess made of clay—
Found half the charms that deck’d her face
Arose from powder, shreds, or lace;
But still the worst remain’d behind—
That very face had robb’d her mind.
Skill’d in no other arts was she,
But dressing, patching, repartee;
And, just as humour rose or fell,
By turns a slattern or a belle.
’Tis true she dress’d with modern grace—
Half naked at a ball or race;
But when at home, at board or bed,
Five greasy night-caps wrapp’d her head.
Could so much beauty condescend
To be a dull domestic friend?
101 Could any curtain-lectures bring
To decency so fine thing?
In short—by night, ’twas fits or fretting;
By day, ’twas gadding or coquetting.
Fond to be seen, she kept a bevy
Of powder’d coxcombs at her levee;
The ’squire and captain took their stations,
And twenty other near relations.
Jack suck’d his pipe, and often broke
A sigh in suffocating smoke;
While all their hours were pass’d between
Insulting repartee or spleen.
Thus, as her faults each day were known,
He thinks her features coarser grown:
He fancies every vice she shows
Or thins her lip, or points her nose;
102 Whenever rage or envy rise,
How wide her mouth, how wild her eyes!
He knows not how, but so it is,
Her face is grown a knowing phiz—
And, though her fops are wondrous civil,
He thinks her ugly as the devil.
Now, to perplex the ravell’d noose,
As each a different way pursues—
While sullen or loquacious strife
Promis’d to hold them on for life—
That dire disease, whose ruthless power
Withers the beauty’s transient flower,
Lo! the small-pox, whose horrid glare
Levell’d its terrors at the fair;
And, rifling every youthful grace,
Left but the remnant of a face.
The glass, grown hateful to her sight,
Reflected now a—perfect fright.
Each former art she vainly tries,
To bring back lustre to her eyes;
In vain she tries her pastes and creams,
To smooth her skin, or hide its seams:
Her country beaux and city cousins,
Lovers no more, flew off by dozens;
The ’squire himself was seen to yield,
And even the captain quit the field.
Poor madam, now condemn’d to hack
The rest of life with anxious Jack,
103 Perceiving others fairly flown,
Attempted pleasing him alone.
Jack soon was dazzled to behold
Her present face surpass the old.
With modesty her cheeks are dy’d;
Humility displaces pride:
For tawdry finery is seen,
A person ever neatly clean:
No more presuming on her sway,
She learns good-nature every day:
Serenely gay, and strict in duty,
Jack finds his wife a—perfect beauty.




Say, cruel Iris, pretty rake,
Dear mercenary beauty,
What annual offering shall I make,
Expressive of my duty?
My heart, a victim to thine eyes,
Should I at once deliver—
Say, would the angry fair-one prize
The gift, who slights the giver?
A bill, a jewel, watch, or toy,
My rivals give; and let them:
If gems or gold impart a joy,
I’ll give them—when I get them.
I’ll give—but not the full-blown rose,
Or rose-bud, more in fashion—
Such short-liv’d offerings but disclose
A transitory passion—
I’ll give thee something yet unpaid,
Not less sincere than civil:
I’ll give thee—ah! too charming maid,
I’ll give thee to the devil!




Logicians have but ill defin’d
As rational, the human mind;
Reason, they say, belongs to man—
But let them prove it, if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglecius,35
By ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione præditum
But for my soul I cannot credit ’em:
And must in spite of them maintain
That man and all his ways are vain,
And that this boasted child of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature—
106 That instinct is a surer guide
Than reason—boasting mortals’ pride,
And that brute beasts are far before ’em:
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever knew an honest brute
At law his neighbour prosecute;
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery?
O’er plains they ramble unconfin’d,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals, and take their sport,
Nor know who’s in or out at court:
They never to the levee go,
To treat as dearest friend, a foe;
They never importune his Grace;
Nor ever cringe to men in place;
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for Bob;36
Fraught with invective they ne’er go
To folks at Paternoster Row:
No jugglers, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets, or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeds;
No single brute his fellow leads.
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others’ throats for pay.
Of beasts, it is confess’d, the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape:
107 Like man he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion;
But both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him, humbly cringing, wait
Upon the minister of state;
View him soon after to inferiors
Aping the conduct of superiors:
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care.
He in his turn finds imitators:
At court, the porters, lackeys, waiters,
Their masters’ manners still contract—
And footmen, lords and dukes can act.
Thus at the court, both great and small
Behave alike—for all ape all.


35 Smiglecius, a native of Poland, wrote a Treatise on Logic, which Goldsmith had probably seen at the University.

36 Sir Robert Walpole.



Good people of all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wondrous short,
It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there lived a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene’er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found:
As many dogs there be—
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.


This dog and man at first were friends;
But, when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad, and bit the man.
Around from all the neighbouring streets
The wondering neighbours ran;
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seem’d both sore and sad
To every christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.
But soon a wonder came to light,
That show’d the rogues they lied—
The man recover’d of the bite;
The dog it was that died.


37 “‘My brother Dick,’ cried Bill, my youngest, ‘is just gone out with sister Livy; but Mr. Williams has taught me two songs, and I’ll sing them for you, Papa. Which song do you choose, the Dying Swan, or the Elegy on the Mad Dog?’ ‘The Elegy, child, by all means,’ said I: ‘I never heard that yet.’”—Vicar of Wakefield, Chap. XVII.





Overture.A solemn dirge.

Arise, ye sons of worth, arise,
And waken every note of woe;
When truth and virtue reach the skies,
’Tis ours to weep the want below!
When truth and virtue reach the skies, &c.
Man Speaker.
The praise attending pomp and power,
The incense given to kings,
Are but the trappings of an hour—
Mere transitory things!
The base bestow them; but the good agree
To spurn the venal gifts as flattery.
But, when to pomp and power are join’d
An equal dignity of mind—
When titles are the smallest claim—
When wealth, and rank, and noble blood,
But aid the power of doing good—
Then all their trophies last; and flattery turns to fame.
Blest spirit thou, whose fame, just born to bloom,
Shall spread and flourish from the tomb,
How hast thou left mankind for heaven!
Even now reproach and faction mourn,
And, wondering how their rage was borne,
Request to be forgiven.
Alas! they never had thy hate;
Unmov’d, in conscious rectitude,
Thy towering mind self-centred stood,
Nor wanted man’s opinion to be great.
In vain, to charm thy ravish’d sight,
A thousand gifts would fortune send;
In vain, to drive thee from the right,
A thousand sorrows urg’d thy end:
Like some well-fashion’d arch thy patience stood,
And purchas’d strength from its increasing load.
112 Pain met thee like a friend that set thee free
Affliction still is virtue’s opportunity!
Song.—By a Man.
Virtue, on herself relying,
Every passion hush’d to rest,
Loses every pain in dying,
In the hope of being blest.
Every added pang she suffers,
Some increasing good bestows;
Every shock that malice offers,
Only rocks her to repose.
Woman Speaker.
Yet, ah! what terrors frown’d upon her fate—
Death, with its formidable band,
Fever and pain and pale consumptive care,
Determin’d took their stand:
Nor did the cruel ravagers design
To finish all their efforts at a blow;
But, mischievously slow,
They robb’d the relic and defac’d the shrine.
With unavailing grief,
Despairing of relief,
Her weeping children round
Beheld each hour
Death’s growing power,
And trembled as he frown’d.
113 As helpless friends, who view from shore
The labouring ship, and hear the tempest roar,
While winds and waves their wishes cross—
They stood, while hope and comfort fail,
Not to assist, but to bewail
The inevitable loss.
Relentless tyrant! at thy call
How do the good, the virtuous fall!
Truth, beauty, worth, and all that most engage,
But wake thy vengeance, and provoke thy rage.
Song.By a Man.
When vice my dart and scythe supply,
How great a king of terrors I!
If folly, fraud, your hearts engage,
Tremble, ye mortals, at my rage!
Fall, round me fall, ye little things;
Ye statesmen, warriors, poets, kings;
If virtue fail her counsel sage,
Tremble, ye mortals, at my rage!
Man Speaker.
Yet let that wisdom, urg’d by her example,
Teach us to estimate what all must suffer;
Let us prize death as the best gift of nature—
As a safe inn, where weary travellers,
When they have journey’d through a world of cares,
May put off life, and be at rest for ever.
114 Groans, weeping friends, indeed, and gloomy sables,
May oft distract us with their sad solemnity:
The preparation is the executioner.
Death, when unmask’d, shows me a friendly face,
And is a terror only at a distance;
For as the line of life conducts me on
To death’s great court, the prospect seems more fair:
’Tis Nature’s kind retreat, that’s always open
To take us in, when we have drain’d the cup
Of life, or worn our days to wretchedness.
In that secure, serene retreat,
Where all the humble, all the great,
Promiscuously recline;
Where, wildly huddled to the eye,
The beggar’s pouch and prince’s purple lie,
May every bliss be thine.
And, ah! blest spirit, wheresoe’er thy flight,
Through rolling worlds, or fields of liquid light,
May cherubs welcome their expected guest;
May saints with songs receive thee to their rest:
May peace, that claim’d while here thy warmest love—
May blissful, endless peace be thine above!
Song.—By a Woman.
Lovely, lasting peace below,
Comforter of every woe,
Heavenly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favourites of the sky—
115 Lovely, lasting peace appear;
This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden blest,
And man contains it in his breast.
Woman Speaker.
Our vows are heard! long, long to mortal eyes,
Her soul was fitting to its kindred skies:
Celestial-like her bounty fell,
Where modest want and patient sorrow dwell;
Want pass’d for merit at her door,
Unseen the modest were supplied;
Her constant pity fed the poor—
Then only poor, indeed, the day she died.
And, oh! for this, while sculpture decks thy shrine,
And art exhausts profusion round,
The tribute of a tear be mine,
A simple song, a sigh profound.
There Faith shall come, a pilgrim grey,39
To bless the tomb that wraps thy clay;
And calm Religion shall repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.
Truth, Fortitude, and Friendship shall agree
To blend their virtues, while they think of thee.
Let us, let all the world agree
To profit by resembling thee.




Man Speaker.
Fast by that shore where Thames’ translucent stream
Reflects new glories on his breast,
Where, splendid as the youthful poet’s dream,
He forms a scene beyond Elysium blest—
Where sculptur’d elegance and native grace
Unite to stamp the beauties of the place,
While sweetly blending still are seen
The wavy lawn, the sloping green—
While novelty, with cautious cunning,
Through every maze of fancy running,
From China borrows aid to deck the scene—
117 There, sorrowing by the river’s glassy bed,
Forlorn, a rural band complain’d,
All whom Augusta’s bounty fed,
All whom her clemency sustain’d;
The good old sire, unconscious of decay,
The modest matron, clad in home-spun grey,
The military boy, the orphan’d maid,
The shatter’d veteran, now first dismay’d:
These sadly join beside the murmuring deep;
And, as they view
The towers of Kew,
Call on their Mistress—now no more—and weep.
Ye shady walks, ye waving greens,
Ye nodding towers, ye fairy scenes—
Let all your echoes now deplore,
That she who form’d your beauties is no more!
Man Speaker.
First of the train, the patient rustic came,
Whose callous hand had form’d the scene,
Bending at once with sorrow and with age,
With many a tear and many a sigh between;
“And where,” he cried, “shall now my babes have bread,
Or how shall age support its feeble fire?
No lord will take me now, my vigour fled,
Nor can my strength perform what they require;
118 Each grudging master keeps the labourer bare—
A sleek and idle race is all their care.
My noble Mistress thought not so:
Her bounty, like the morning dew,
Unseen, though constant, us’d to flow;
And as my strength decay’d, her bounty grew.”
Woman Speaker.
In decent dress, and coarsely clean,
The pious matron next was seen—
Clasp’d in her hand a godly book was borne,
By use and daily meditation worn;
That decent dress, this holy guide,
Augusta’s care had well supplied.
“And, ah!” she cries, all woe-begone,
“What now remains for me?
Oh! where shall weeping want repair,
To ask for charity?
Too late in life for me to ask,
And shame prevents the deed;
And tardy, tardy are the times
To succour, should I need.
But all my wants, before I spoke,
Were to my Mistress known;
She still reliev’d, nor sought for praise,
Contented with her own.
But every day her name I’ll bless—
My morning prayer, my evening song;
I’ll praise her while my life shall last,
A life that cannot last me long.”
Song.—By a Woman.
Each day, each hour, her name I’ll bless,
My morning and my evening song;
And when in death my vows shall cease,
My children shall the note prolong.
Man Speaker.
The hardy veteran, after struck the sight,
Scarr’d, mangled, maim’d in every part;
Lopp’d of his limbs in many a gallant fight,
In nought entire—except his heart;
Mute for a while, and sullenly distrest,
At last the impetuous sorrow fir’d his breast:
“Wild is the whirlwind rolling
O’er Afric’s sandy plain,
And wild the tempest howling
Along the billow’d main;
But every danger felt before—
The raging deep, the whirlwind’s roar—
Less dreadful struck me with dismay,
Than what I feel this fatal day.
Oh! let me fly a land that spurns the brave—
Oswego’s dreary shores shall be my grave;
I’ll seek that less inhospitable coast,
And lay my body where my limbs were lost.”
Song.—By a Man.
Old Edward’s sons, unknown to yield,
Shall crowd from Crécy’s laurell’d field,
To do thy memory right;
120 For thine and Britain’s wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish the avenging fight.
Woman Speaker.
In innocence and youth complaining,
Next appear’d a lovely maid—
Affliction o’er each feature reigning,
Kindly came in beauty’s aid;
Every grace that grief dispenses,
Every glance that warms the soul,
In sweet succession charm’d the senses,
While pity harmoniz’d the whole.
“The garland of beauty”—’tis thus she would say—
“No more shall my crook or my temples adorn;
I’ll not wear a garland—Augusta’s away,
I’ll not wear a garland until she return.
“But, alas! that return I never shall see,
The echoes of Thames shall my sorrows proclaim;
There promis’d a lover to come—but, O me!
’Twas death—’twas the death of my Mistress that came.
“But ever, for ever, her image shall last,
I’ll strip all the spring of its earliest bloom;
On her grave shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the new-blossom’d thorn shall whiten her tomb.”
Song.By a Woman.—Pastorale.
With garlands of beauty the Queen of the May
No more will her crook or her temples adorn;
For who’d wear a garland when she is away,
When she is remov’d, and shall never return?
On the grave of Augusta these garlands be plac’d,
We’ll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom;
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the new-blossom’d thorn shall whiten her tomb.
Chorus.Altro modo.
On the grave of Augusta this garland be plac’d,
We’ll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom;
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the tears of her country shall water her tomb.40


38 Mother of King George III.; she died February 8th, 1772.

39 From Collins.

40 Advertisement prefixed to Threnodia Augustalis:—“The following may more properly be termed a compilation than a poem. It was prepared for the composer in little more than two days; and may therefore rather be considered as an industrious effort of gratitude, than of genius. In justice to the composer, it may likewise be right to inform the public, that the music was composed in a period of time equally short.”




Long had I sought in vain to find
A likeness for the scribbling kind—
The modern scribbling kind, who write
In wit, and sense, and nature’s spite—
Till reading, I forgot what day on,
A chapter out of Tooke’s Pantheon,41
I think I met with something there,
To suit my purpose to a hair.
But let us not proceed too furious:
First please to turn to god Mercurius:
You’ll find him pictur’d at full length,
In book the second, page the tenth.
The stress of all my proofs on him I lay;
And now proceed we to our simile.
Imprimis, pray observe his hat;
Wings upon either side—mark that.
Well! what is it from thence we gather?
Why, these denote a brain of feather.
A brain of feather! very right—
With wit that’s flighty, learning light,
Such as to modern bards decreed;
A just comparison—proceed.
In the next place, his feet peruse:
Wings grow again from both his shoes;
Design’d, no doubt, their part to bear,
And waft his godship through the air.
And here my simile unites—
For, in a modern poet’s flights,
I’m sure it may be justly said,
His feet are useful as his head.
Lastly, vouchsafe t’ observe his hand,
Fill’d with a snake-encircled wand,
By classic authors term’d Caduceus,
And highly fam’d for several uses:
To wit, most wondrously endued,
No poppy-water half so good;
For let folks only get a touch,
Its soporific virtue’s such,
Though ne’er so much awake before,
That quickly they begin to snore:
Add, too, what certain writers tell,
With this he drives men’s souls to hell.
Now to apply, begin we then;
His wand ’s a modern author’s pen;
The serpents round about it twin’d
Denote him of the reptile kind—
Denote the rage with which he writes,
His frothy slaver, venom’d bites.
An equal semblance still to keep,
Alike, too, both conduce to sleep—
This difference only, as the god
Drove souls to Tartarus with his rod,
With his goose-quill the scribbling elf,
Instead of others, damns himself.
And here my simile almost tript—
Yet grant a word by way of postscript.
Moreover, Mercury had a failing;
Well! what of that? out with it—stealing;
In which all modern bards agree,
Being each as great a thief as he.
But even this deity’s existence
Shall lend my simile assistance:
Our modern bards! why, what a-pox
Are they—but senseless stones and blocks?


41 A popular school-book, by Andrew Tooke, Head Master of the Charter-house.



Sure, ’twas by Providence design’d,
Rather in pity than in hate,
That he should be, like Cupid, blind,
To save him from Narcissus’ fate.



When lovely Woman stoops to folly,
And finds, too late, that men betray—
What charm can soothe her melancholy?
What art can wash her guilt away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom—is, to die.


Thus, when soft Love subdues the heart,
With smiling hopes and chilling fears,
The soul rejects the aid of art,
And speaks in moments more than years.



SEPTEMBER 13, 1759.

Amidst the clamour of exulting joys,
Which triumph forces from the patriot heart,
Grief dares to mingle her soul-piercing voice,
And quells the raptures which from pleasure start.
O Wolfe! to thee a streaming flood of woe
Sighing we pay, and think e’en conquest dear;
Quebec in vain shall teach our breasts to glow,
Whilst thy sad fate extorts the heart-wrung tear.
Alive, the foe thy dreadful vigour fled,
And saw thee fall with joy-pronouncing eyes:
Yet they shall know thou conquerest, though dead,
Since from thy tomb a thousand heroes rise.



Here lies poor Ned Purdon, from misery freed,
Who long was a booksellers’ hack;
He led such a damnable life in this world,
I don’t think he’ll wish to come back.


42 Edward Purdon was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; but having wasted his patrimony, he enlisted as a foot soldier. Growing tired of the army, he obtained his discharge, and became a scribbler in the newspapers. He translated Voltaire’s Henriade, and died in 1767.


In all my Enna’s beauties blest,
Amidst profusion still I pine;
For though she gives me up her breast,
Its panting tenant is not mine.



This tomb, inscrib’d to gentle Parnell’s name,
May speak our gratitude, but not his fame.
What heart but feels his sweetly-moral lay,
That leads to truth through pleasure’s flowery way!
Celestial themes confess’d his tuneful aid;
And Heaven, that lent him genius, was repaid.
Needless to him the tribute we bestow—
The transitory breath of fame below;
More lasting rapture from his works shall rise,
While converts thank their poet in the skies.



Where the Red Lion, flaring o’er the way,
Invites each passing stranger that can pay—
Where Calvert’s butt, and Parsons’ black champagne,
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury Lane—
There, in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,
The muse found Scroggen, stretch’d beneath a rug.
A window, patch’d with paper, lent a ray,
That dimly show’d the state in which he lay:
The sanded floor that grits beneath the tread;
The humid wall with paltry pictures spread;
The royal game of goose was there in view,
And the twelve rules the royal martyr drew;
The seasons, fram’d with listing, found a place,
And brave Prince William show’d his lamp-black face.43
The morn was cold—he views with keen desire
The rusty grate, unconscious of a fire;
With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scor’d,
And five crack’d tea-cups dress’d the chimney-board;
A night-cap deck’d his brows instead of bay,
A cap by night—a stocking all the day!


43 The Duke of Cumberland.



Scene.A Room in the Alehouse, “The Three Pigeons.”

Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsense, and learning—
Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
Gives genus a better discerning.
Let them brag of their heathenish gods—
Their Lethes, and Styxes, and Stygians;
Their Quis, and their Quæs, and their Quods:
They ’re all but a parcel of Pigeons.
To-roddle, to-roddle, to-rol.
When methodist preachers come down,
A-preaching that drinking is sinful,
I’ll wager the rascals a crown,
They always preach best with a skinful.
But when you come down with your pence,
For a slice of their scurvy religion,
I’ll leave it to all men of sense—
But you, my good friend, are the Pigeon.
To-roddle, &c.


Then, come, put the jorum about,
And let us be merry and clever;
Our hearts and our liquors are stout—
Here’s the “Three Jolly Pigeons” for ever!
Let some cry up woodcock or hare,
Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons;
But of all the gay birds in the air—
Here’s a health to the “Three Jolly Pigeons.”
To-roddle, &c.



“This is a poem! This is a copy of verses!”

Your mandate I got—
You may all go to pot:
Had your senses been right,
You’d have sent before night.
As I hope to be sav’d,
I put off being shav’d,
For I could not make bold,
While the matter was cold,
To meddle in suds,
Or to put on my duds.
So tell Horneck and Nesbitt,
And Baker and his bit,
And Kauffman beside,
And the Jessamy44 bride,
With the rest of the crew,
The Reynoldses two,
Little Comedy’s45 face,
And the Captain46 in lace.
—(By the by, you may tell him
I have something to sell him;
134 Of use, I insist,
When he comes to enlist.
Your worships must know,
That a few days ago
An order went out,
For the foot-guards so stout
To wear tails in high taste—
Twelve inches at least:
Now, I’ve got him a scale
To measure each tail;
To lengthen a short tail,
And a long one to curtail.)
Yet how can I, when vext,
Thus stray from my text!
Tell each other to rue
Your Devonshire crew.
For sending so late
To one of my state.
But ’tis Reynolds’s way,
From wisdom to stray,
And Angelica’s whim
To be frolick like him—
But, alas! your good worships, how could they be wiser,
When both have been spoil’d in to-day’s Advertiser?47

Oliver Goldsmith.


44 Miss Mary Horneck.

45 Miss Catherine Horneck, afterwards Mrs. Bunbury.

46 Ensign Horneck.

47 The allusion is to some complimentary verses, in the Advertiser, on Kauffman and Reynolds.



[Intended to have been sung in the comedy of “She Stoops to Conquer.” Adapted to the Irish air, “The Humours of Ballamaguiry.”]
Ah, me! when shall I marry me?
Lovers are plenty, but fail to relieve me;
He, fond youth, that could carry me,
Offers to love, but means to deceive me.
But I will rally, and combat the ruiner:
Not a look, not a smile, shall my passion discover;
She that gives all to the false one pursuing her,
Makes but a penitent—loses a lover.


Say, heavenly muse, their youthful frays rehearse;
Begin, ye daughters of immortal verse.
Exulting rocks have own’d the power of song,
And rivers listen’d as they flow’d along.


Good people all, with one accord,
Lament for Madam Blaize,
Who never wanted a good word—
From those who spoke her praise.
The needy seldom pass’d her door,
And always found her kind;
She freely lent to all the poor—
Who left a pledge behind.
She strove the neighbourhood to please,
With manners wondrous winning,
And never follow’d wicked ways—
Unless when she was sinning.
At church, in silks and satins new,
With hoop of monstrous size,
She never slumber’d in her pew—
But when she shut her eyes.
Her love was sought, I do aver,
By twenty beaux and more;
The king himself has follow’d her—
When she has walk’d before.
But now, her wealth and finery fled,
Her hangers-on cut short all;
The doctors found, when she was dead—
Her last disorder mortal.
Let us lament, in sorrow sore,
For Kent Street well may say,
That, had she liv’d a twelvemonth more—
She had not died to-day.



First, let me suppose, what may shortly be true,
The company set, and the word to be—loo;
All smirking, and pleasant, and big with adventure,
And ogling the stake which is fix’d in the centre.
Round and round go the cards, while I inwardly damn,
At never once finding a visit from Pam.
I lay down my stake, apparently cool,
While the harpies about me all pocket the pool;
I fret in my gizzard—yet, cautious and sly,
I wish all my friends may be bolder than I:
Yet still they sit snug; not a creature will aim,
By losing their money, to venture at fame.
’Tis in vain that at niggardly caution I scold,
’Tis in vain that I flatter the brave and the bold;
All play their own way, and they think me an ass:
“What does Mrs. Bunbury?” “I, sir? I pass.”
“Pray what does Miss Horneck? Take courage, come, do!”
“Who—I? Let me see, sir; why, I must pass, too.”
Mr. Bunbury frets, and I fret like the Devil,
To see them so cowardly, lucky, and civil;
139 Yet still I sit snug, and continue to sigh on,
Till, made by my losses as bold as a lion,
I venture at all, while my avarice regards
The whole pool as my own, “Come, give me five cards.”
“Well done!” cry the ladies; “ah! Doctor, that’s good—
The pool’s very rich. Ah! the Doctor is loo’d.”
Thus foil’d in my courage, on all sides perplext.
I ask for advice from the lady that’s next.
“Pray, Ma’am, be so good as to give your advice:
Don’t you think the best way is to venture for ’t twice?”
“I advise,” cries the lady, “to try it, I own—
Ah! the Doctor is loo’d: come, Doctor, put down.”
Thus playing and playing, I still grow more eager,
And so bold, and so bold, I’m at last a bold beggar,
Now, ladies, I ask—if law matters you ’re skill’d in,
Whether crimes such as yours should not come before Fielding?
For, giving advice that is not worth a straw,
May well be call’d picking of pockets in law;
And picking of pockets, with which I now charge ye,
Is, by Quinto Elizabeth—death without clergy.
What justice! when both to the Old Bailey brought;
By the gods! I’ll enjoy it, though ’tis but in thought,
Both are plac’d at the bar with all proper decorum,
With bunches of fennel and nosegays before ’em;
Both cover their faces with mobs and all that,
But the judge bids them, angrily, take off their hat.
When uncover’d, a buzz of inquiry runs round:
“Pray what are their crimes?” “They’ve been pilfering found.”
“But, pray, whom have they pilfer’d?” “A Doctor, I hear.”
“What, that solemn-fac’d, odd-looking man that stands near?”
140 “The same.” “What a pity! How does it surprise one:
Two handsomer culprits I never set eyes on!”
Then their friends all come round me, with cringing and leering,
To melt me to pity, and soften my swearing.
First, Sir Charlès advances, with phrases well strung:
“Consider, dear Doctor, the girls are but young.”
“The younger the worse,” I return him again;
“It shows that their habits are all dyed in grain.”
“But then they ’re so handsome; one’s bosom it grieves.”
“What signifies handsome, when people are thieves?”
“But where is your justice? their cases are hard.”
“What signifies justice? I want the reward.

“There’s the parish of Edmonton offers forty pounds—there’s the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch, offers forty pounds—there’s the parish of Tyburn offers forty pounds: I shall have all that, if I convict them.”

“But consider their case, it may yet be your own;
And see how they kneel: is your heart made of stone?”
This moves: so at last I agree to relent,
For ten pounds in hand, and ten pounds to be spent.

I challenge you all to answer this. I tell you, you cannot: it cuts deep. But now for the rest of the letter: and next—but I want room—so I believe I shall battle the rest out at Barton some day next week. I don’t value you all!

O. G.


48 To Mrs. Bunbury.



For you, bright fair, the Nine address their lays,
And tune my feeble voice to sing thy praise;
The heartfelt power of every charm divine,
Who can withstand their all-commanding shine?
See how she moves along with every grace,
While soul-brought tears steal down each shining face.
She speaks! ’tis rapture all, and nameless bliss;
Ye gods! what transport e’er compar’d to this?
As when, in Paphian groves, the Queen of Love
With fond complaint address’d the listening Jove—
’Twas joy and endless blisses all around,
And rocks forgot their hardness at the sound.
Then first, at last, even Jove was taken in,
And felt her charms, without disguise, within.



Chaste are their instincts, faithful is their fire,
No foreign beauty tempts to false desire;
The snow-white vesture, and the glittering crown,
The simple plumage, or the glossy down,
Prompt not their love: the patriot bird pursues
His well-acquainted tints, and kindred hues.
Hence, through their tribes no mix’d polluted flame,
No monster-breed to mark the groves with shame;
But the chaste blackbird, to its partner true,
Thinks black alone is beauty’s favourite hue;
The nightingale, with mutual passion blest,
Sings to its mate, and nightly charms the nest;
While the dark owl to court his partner flies,
And owns his offspring in their yellow eyes.49


49 From the Latin lines of Addison (Spectator, No. 412), who remarks:—“In birds, we often see the male determined in his courtship by the single grain, or tincture of a feather, and never discovering any charms but in the colour of its species.”



From the Latin, preserved by Macrobius.

What! no way left to shun th’ inglorious stage,
And save from infamy my sinking age?
Scarce half alive, opprest with many a year,
What, in the name of dotage, drives me here?
A time there was, when glory was my guide,
Nor force nor fraud could turn my steps aside;
Unaw’d by power, and unappall’d by fear,
With honest thrift I held my honour dear:
But this vile hour disperses all my store,
And all my hoard of honour is no more—
For, ah! too partial to my life’s decline,
Cæsar persuades—submission must be mine!
Him I obey, whom Heaven itself obeys;
Hopeless of pleasing, yet inclin’d to please.
Here, then, at once I welcome every shame,
And cancel at threescore a life of fame.
No more my titles shall my children tell—
The old buffoon will fit my name as well;
This day beyond its term my fate extends,
For life is ended when our honour ends.



Spoken by Mr. Quick.

In these bold times, when Learning’s sons explore
The distant climates, and the savage shore—
When wise Astonomers51 to India steer,
And quit for Venus many a brighter here—
While botanists,52 all cold to smiles and dimpling,
Forsake the fair, and patiently go simpling—
When every bosom swells with wondrous scenes,
Priests, cannibals, and hoity-toity queens——
Our bard into the general spirit enters,
And fits his little frigate for adventures.
With Scythian stores, and trinkets, deeply laden,
He this way steers his course, in hopes of trading—
Yet ere he lands, he’s ordered me before,
To make an observation on the shore.
Where are we driven? Our reckoning sure is lost!
This seems a barren and a dangerous coast.
145 Lord! what a sultry climate am I under!
Yon ill-foreboding cloud seems big with thunder—

[Upper gallery.

There mangroves spread, and larger than I’ve seen em—


Here trees of stately size, and turtles in ’em—


Here ill-conditioned oranges abound—


And apples [takes up one, and tastes it], bitter apples, strew the ground.
The place is uninhabited, I fear!
I heard a hissing—there are serpents here;
O, there the natives are—a dreadful race;
The men have tails, the women paint the face.
No doubt they ’re all barbarians—yes, ’tis so;
I’ll try to make palaver with them, though;
’Tis best, however, keeping at a distance.
Good savages, our Captain craves assistance;
Our ship’s well stor’d—in yonder creek we’ve laid her:
His honour is no mercenary trader:
This is his first adventure; lend him aid,
And we may chance to drive a thriving trade.
His goods, he hopes, are prime, and brought from far—
Equally fit for gallantry and war.
What! no reply to promises so ample?
I’d best step back, and order up a sample.


50 By Joseph Cradock.

51 Cook and Green.

52 Banks and Solander.



Spoken by Mrs. Bulkley.

What! five long acts—and all to make us wiser!
Our Authoress sure has wanted an adviser.
Had she consulted me, she should have made
Her moral play a speaking masquerade;
Warm’d up each bustling scene, and in her rage
Have emptied all the green-room on the stage:
My life on’t, this had kept her play from sinking,
Have pleas’d our eyes, and sav’d the pain of thinking.
Well, since she thus has shown her want of skill,
What if I give a masquerade?—I will.
But how? ay, there’s the rub! [pausing]—I’ve got my cue:
The world’s a masquerade! the maskers—you, you, you.

[To Boxes, Pit, and Gallery.

Lud! what a group the motley scene discloses—
False wits, false wives, false virgins, and false spouses!
Statesmen with bridles on; and, close beside them,
Patriots, in party-colour’d suits, that ride them.
147 There Hebes, turn’d of fifty, try once more
To raise a flame in Cupids of threescore.
These, in their turn, with appetites as keen,
Deserting fifty, fasten on fifteen.
Miss, not yet full fifteen, with fire uncommon,
Flings down her sampler, and takes up the woman;
The little urchin smiles, and spreads her lure,
And tries to kill, ere she’s got power to cure.
Thus ’tis with all—their chief and constant care
Is to seem everything but what they are.
Yon broad, bold, angry spark I fix my eye on,
Who seems to have robb’d his vizor from the lion;
Who frowns, and talks, and swears, with round parade,
Looking, as who should say, Dam’me! who’s afraid?


Strip but this vizor off, and sure I am
You’ll find his lionship a very lamb.
Yon politician, famous in debate,
Perhaps, to vulgar eyes, bestrides the state;
Yet, when he deigns his real shape to assume,
He turns old woman, and bestrides a broom.
Yon patriot, too, who presses on your sight,
And seems to every gazer all in white,
If with a bribe his candour you attack,
He bows, turns round, and whip—the man’s a black.
Yon critic, too—but whither do I run?
If I proceed, our bard will be undone!
Well, then, a truce, since she requests it too:
Do you spare her, and I’ll for once spare you.


53 Written by Mrs. Charlotte Lennox.



Enter Mrs. Bulkley, who curtsies very low, as beginning to speak; then enter Miss Catley, who stands full before her, and curtsies to the Audience.

Hold, Ma’am! your pardon. What’s your business here?
The Epilogue.
The Epilogue?
Yes, the Epilogue, my dear.
Sure you mistake, Ma’am. The Epilogue? I bring it.
Excuse me, Ma’am. The Author bid me sing it.
Ye beaux and belles, that form this splendid ring,
Suspend your conversation while I sing.
Why, sure the girl’s beside herself! an Epilogue of singing?
A hopeful end indeed to such a blest beginning!
Besides, a singer in a comic set!
Excuse me, Ma’am, I know the etiquette.
What if we leave it to the House?
The House!—Agreed.
And she, whose party’s largest, shall proceed.
And first, I hope, you’ll readily agree,
I’ve all the critics and the wits for me:
They, I am sure, will answer my commands;
Ye candid-judging few, hold up your hands;
What, no return? I find too late, I fear,
That modern judges seldom enter here.
I’m for a different set,—old men, whose trade is
Still to gallant and dangle with the ladies—
Who mump their passion, and who, grimly smiling,
Still thus address the fair, with voice beguiling:
Turn, my fairest, turn, if ever
Strephon caught thy ravish’d eye;
Pity take on your swain so clever,
Who without your aid must die.
Yes, I shall die, hu, hu, hu, hu,
Yes, I must die, ho, ho, ho, ho,
Da Capo.
Let all the old pay homage to your merit:
Give me the young, the gay, the men of spirit.
Ye travell’d tribe, ye maccaroni train,
Of French friseurs and nosegays justly vain,
Who take a trip to Paris once a year,
To dress and look like awkward Frenchmen here;
Lend me your hands.—O, fatal news to tell!
Their hands are only lent to the Heinel.54
Ay, take your travellers—travellers, indeed!
Give me the bonny Scot, that travels from the Tweed.
Where are the chiels? Ah! ah! I well discern
The smiling looks of each bewitching bairn.
Air.A bonnie young Lad is my Jockey.
I’ll sing to amuse you by night and by day,
And be unco merry when you are but gay;
When you with your bagpipes are ready to play,
My voice shall be ready to carol away,
With Sandie, and Sawnie, and Jockey,
With Sawnie, and Jarvie, and Jockey.
Ye gamesters, who, so eager in pursuit,
Make but of all your fortune one va toute:
Ye jockey tribe, whose stock of words are few—
“I hold the odds—done, done, with you, with you:”
Ye barristers, so fluent with grimace—
“My Lord, your Lordship misconceives the case:”
Doctors, who cough, and answer every misfortuner—
“I wish I’d been call’d in a little sooner:”
Assist my cause with hands and voices hearty;
Come, end the contest here, and aid my party.
Ye brave Irish lads, hark away to the crack,
Assist me, I pray, in this woful attack;
For sure I don’t wrong you, you seldom are slack,
When the ladies are calling, to blush and hang back;
For you ’re always polite and attentive,
Still to amuse us inventive,
And death is your only preventive:
Your hands and your voices for me.
Well, Madam, what if, after all this sparring,
We both agree, like friends, to end our jarring?
And, that our friendship may remain unbroken,
What if we leave the Epilogue unspoken?
And now, with late repentance,
Un-epilogu’d the Poet waits his sentence:
Condemn the stubborn fool who can’t submit
To thrive by flattery—though he starves by wit.



54 A popular dancer at the Opera House, in 1773.



To be spoken by Mrs. Bulkley.

There is a place—so Ariosto sings—
A treasury for lost and missing things;
Lost human wits have places there assign’d them—
And they who lose their senses, there may find them.
But where’s this place, this storehouse of the age?
The Moon, says he; but I affirm, the Stage—
At least, in many things, I think I see
His lunar and our mimic world agree:
Both shine at night—for, but at Foote’s alone.
We scarce exhibit till the sun goes down:
Both prone to change, no settled limits fix,
And sure the folks of both are lunatics.
But, in this parallel, my best pretence is,
That mortals visit both to find their senses:
To this strange spot, rakes, maccaronies, cits,
Come thronging to collect their scatter’d wits.
The gay coquette, who ogles all the day,
Comes here at night, and goes a prude away.
Hither the affected city dame advancing,
Who sighs for operas, and dotes on dancing,
154 Taught by our art her ridicule to pause on,
Quits the Ballet, and calls for Nancy Dawson.
The gamester, too, whose wit’s all high or low,
Oft risks his fortune on one desperate throw,
Comes here to saunter, having made his bets,
Finds his lost senses out, and pays his debts.
The Mohawk,55 too, with angry phrases stor’d—
As, “Dam’me, Sir!” and “Sir, I wear a sword!”—
Here lesson’d for a while, and hence retreating,
Goes out, affronts his man, and takes a beating.
Here come the sons of scandal and of news,
But find no sense—for they had none to lose.
Of all the tribes here wanting an adviser,
Our Author’s the least likely to grow wiser;
Has he not seen how you your favour place
On sentimental queens and lords in lace?
Without a star, a coronet, or garter,
How can the piece expect or hope for quarter?
No high-life scenes, no sentiment—the creature
Still stoops among the low to copy nature:
Yes, he’s far gone: and yet some pity fix;
The English laws forbid to punish lunatics.


55 The ruffian of the streets, in the 18th century.



Spoken by Mrs. Bulkley, in the character of Miss Hardcastle.

Well! having STOOPED TO CONQUER with success,
And gain’d a husband without aid from dress,—
Still, as a barmaid, I could wish it too,
As I have conquer’d him, to conquer you:
And let me say, for all your resolution,
That pretty barmaids have done execution.
Our life is all a play, compos’d to please;
“We have our exits and our entrances.”
The first Act shows the simple country maid,
Harmless and young, of everything afraid;
Blushes when hir’d, and with unmeaning action:
“I hopes as how to give you satisfaction.”
Her second Act displays a livelier scene,—
The unblushing barmaid of a country inn,
Who whisks about the house, at market caters,
Talks loud, coquets the guests, and scolds the waiters.
Next, the scene shifts to town, and there she soars,
The chop-house toast of ogling connoisseurs.
On ’squires and cits she there displays her arts,
And on the gridiron broils her lovers’ hearts—
156 And as she smiles, her triumphs to complete,
Even common-councilmen forget to eat.
The fourth Act shows her wedded to the ’squire,
And Madam now begins to hold it higher;
Pretends to taste, at operas cries caro,
And quits her Nancy Dawson for Che faro;
Dotes upon dancing, and in all her pride,
Swims round the room, the Heinel of Cheapside
Ogles and leers with artificial skill,
Till, having lost in age the power to kill,
She sits all night at cards, and ogles at spadille.
Such, through our lives the eventful history
The fifth and last Act still remains for me:
The barmaid now for your protection prays,
Turns female barrister, and pleads for Bayes.56


56 The name of “Bayes,” which Buckingham (1671) bestowed upon Dryden, became a synonyme for a dramatic critic.



As puffing quacks some caitiff wretch procure,
To swear the pill, or drop, has wrought a cure—
Thus, on the stage, our play-wrights still depend,
For epilogues and prologues, on some friend,
Who knows each art of coaxing up the town,
And make full many a bitter pill go down:
Conscious of this, our bard has gone about,
And teas’d each rhyming friend to help him out.
“An Epilogue—things can’t go on without it;
It could not fail, would you but set about it.”
“Young man,” cries one—a bard laid up in clover—
“Alas! young man, my writing days are over;
Let boys play tricks, and kick the straw; not I:
Your brother Doctor there, perhaps may try.”
“What, I? dear Sir,” the Doctor interposes;
“What, plant my thistle, Sir, among his roses!
No, no, I’ve other contests to maintain;
To-night I head our troops at Warwick Lane.58
158 Go, ask your Manager.” “Who? me? Your pardon;
These things are not our forte at Covent Garden.”59
Our Author’s friends, thus plac’d at happy distance,
Give him good words, indeed, but no assistance.
As some unhappy wight, at some new play,
At the pit door stands elbowing away;
While oft, with many a smile, and many a shrug,
He eyes the centre, where his friends sit snug;
His simpering friends, with pleasure in their eyes,
Sink as he sinks, and as he rises rise;
He nods, they nod; he cringes, they grimace;
But not a soul will budge to give him place.
Since, then, unhelp’d, our bard must now conform
“To ’bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,”
Blame where you must, be candid where you can,
And be each critic the Good-natured Man.


57 “The Author, in expectation of an Epilogue from a friend at Oxford, deferred writing one himself till the very last hour. What is here offered owes all its success to the graceful manner of the Actress who spoke it.”

58 Where the College of Physicians formerly stood.

59 Mr. B. Corney says:—“Colman, the manager of Covent Garden Theatre, had then written about ten prologues and epilogues: Garrick, the joint-patentee of Drury Lane Theatre, had written about sixty.”



Ye muses, pour the pitying tear,
For Pollio snatch’d away;
Oh! had he liv’d another year—
He had not died to-day.
Oh! were he born to bless mankind,
In virtuous times of yore,
Heroes themselves had fall’n behind—
Whene’er he went before.
How sad the groves and plains appear,
And sympathetic sheep;
Even pitying hills would drop a tear—
If hills could learn to weep.
His bounty in exalted strain
Each bard might well display,
Since none implor’d relief in vain—
That went reliev’d away.
And, hark! I hear the tuneful throng
His obsequies forbid;
He still shall live, shall live as long—
As ever dead man did.


60 A burlesque elegy.



To be spoken in the character of Harlequin, at his Benefit.

Hold! Prompter, hold! a word before your nonsense;
I’d speak a word or two, to ease my conscience.
My pride forbids it ever should be said,
My heels eclips’d the honours of my head;
That I found humour in a piebald vest,
Or ever thought that jumping was a jest.

[Takes off his mask.

Whence, and what art thou, visionary birth?
Nature disowns, and reason scorns thy mirth;
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps—
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How hast thou fill’d the scene with all thy brood
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursu’d!
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses;
Whose only plot it is to break our noses;
161 Whilst from below, the trap-door demons rise,
And from above, the dangling deities.
And shall I mix in this unhallow’d crew?
May rosin’d lightning blast me, if I do!61
No—I will act—I’ll vindicate the stage;
Shakspere himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Off! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns!
The madd’ning monarch revels in my veins!
Oh! for a Richard’s voice to catch the theme:
“Give me another horse! bind up my wounds—soft—’twas but a dream,”
Ay, ’twas but a dream—for now there’s no retreating;
If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating.
’Twas thus that Æsop’s stag—a creature blameless,
Yet something vain, like one that shall be nameless—
Once on the margin of a fountain stood,
And cavill’d at his image in the flood.
“The deuce confound,” he cries, “these drumstick shanks;
They neither have my gratitude nor thanks;
They ’re perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead!
But for a head—yes, yes, I have a head.
How piercing is that eye! how sleek that brow!
My horns!—I’m told horns are the fashion now.”
Whilst thus he spoke, astonish’d, to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntsmen drew;
“Hoicks! hark forward!” came thundering from behind;
He bounds aloft, outstrips the fleeting wind;
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze.
162 At length, his silly head, so priz’d before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore;
Whilst his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he saves himself—like me.

[Taking a jump through the stage door.


61 Stage-lightning.



Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

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