1 THY Park, Kimbolton! and surrounding shade,
2 For rural love and contemplation made,
3 Invite my song. Ye Sylvans! haunt your bowers!
4 Waft round your sweets! and open all your flowers!
5 And thou, who shut'st not to the suppliant's prayer,
6 Nor to the aid-imploring voice thine ear,
7 Do thou, O MANCHESTER! protect the song;
8 The Muse's care does to the learn'd belong:
9 Grateful alike Muse, Subject, Author, bow,
10 And hail the source whence all their pleasures flow.
11 These plains that annual pour their sweets for thee,
12 (Thanks to thy bounty) yield a part to me:
13 And Ease, fair Virtue's, and the Poet's friend,
14 Thro' your indulgence, on my steps attend.
15 Impervious to the sun's most potent ray
16 Yon lofty elms their arched heads display;
17 From far the traveller sees their summit rise,
18 Scarce half distinguish'd from the neighbouring skies;
19 But oft surveying as he onward goes,
20 Greener and fairer still the object grows;
21 Till underneath their shade, at ease reclin'd,
22 He leaves the labour of the day behind;[Page 66]
23 Soft breezes cool him from surrounding bowers,
24 And Nature bland her gay profusion pours.
25 So they who dauntless plow the dangerous main,
26 (What will not daring man attempt for gain?)
27 At early dawn, from top-mast-head espy
28 A rising vapour in the bordering sky;
29 Ere day's mid course, that vapour oft they find
30 A royal navy, hovering in the wind:
31 Yards, sails, and streamers crowd the whispering air,
32 And all the glories of the deep appear.
33 Nor less impervious that extended shade
34 By reverend oaks, the growth of ages, made;
35 Save where wide avenues that shade divide,
36 And shew the woodland in its utmost pride.
37 Here let the huntsman wind the echoing horn,
38 Cheer his swift steed, and wake the rosy morn;
39 Let dogs and men in noisy concert join,
40 And sportsmen call the harmony divine:
41 The Muse delights not, fond of pensive ease,
42 In dissipation, or pursuits like these.
43 And thou, sweet Thrush! prolong thy amorous tale,
44 Let thy love-burthen'd song delight the vale!
45 No leaden death I bring, no toils for thee,
46 Sing on, and soothe thy feather'd progeny.
47 Come! peaceful Precepts! of the Samian Sage,
48 Unbend the bow, and curb an iron age!
49 Whatever laws short-sighted man may make,
50 Who cannot give, can have no power to take:
51 He, and he only, who could life bestow,
52 May call his blessing from the realms below.
53 Let shaggy bears, that prowl Moscovia's shore,
54 Stain their fierce claws, or dip their tongue in gore;
55 This does not equal human beasts of prey,
56 What they for hunger, we for pleasure slay:
57 Nor is this thirst of blood to man confin'd;
58 See S— a savage of the fairer kind!
59 Pardon me, You! whose nobler tears can flow
60 For aught that suffers misery below;
61 Who shrink to rob the insect of its hour,
62 Or bruise its offspring in the opening flower:
63 Your form, your fears were by great Heaven design'd
64 At once to charm and humanize mankind.
65 When Nature fair from her Creator sprung,
66 And wondering angels hallelujahs sung,
67 The sylvan scene, blest seat! to man was given,
68 The richest bounty of indulgent Heaven.
69 To Peace then sacred be the shady grove!
70 Be there no murmurs heard — but those of love:
71 Love, fled from noise and cities, haunts the glade,
72 The falling fountains, and the silent shade,
73 Inspires each warbling songster in the bower,
74 Breathes in each gale, and blossoms in each flower.
75 When every object thus their charms combine,
76 What bosom can resist the power divine?
77 Too feeble that, which now the Muse inspires,
78 And, with her own, admits still warmer fires.
79 Here, here I felt the soft infection rise,
80 Pant at the breast, and languish in the eyes,
81 When Mira to my humble cot was led,
82 Love's willing victim, to an husband's bed;[Page 68]
83 And now still feel, in smoother channels, run
84 Those streams, that rapid passion first begun:
85 Esteem, affection, friendship ne'er decline:
86 Nor are her virtues less for being mine.
87 Let Rome her fetter'd monks to cells withdraw,
88 And force her own against great Nature's law:
89 Drag blooming virgins useless from mankind,
90 And give to lust, what was for love design'd:
91 'Tis mine to tread on Albion's blissful shore,
92 Where sinful celibacy binds no more.
93 Now sultry Phoebus, far from Thetis' bed
94 Darts his fierce rays resistless o'er my head.
95 Slow thro' you walk oft-winding let me rove,
96 And wander deep within the silent grove!
97 Or, if too potent there his beams invade,
98 O! let me tread those limes more cooling shade!
99 That shade which shall your kind protection gain,
100 And Brown himself provoke the axe in vain.
101 In milder climes, and blest with cloudless skies,
102 Let slender domes on hills unshelter'd rise,
103 Where constant seasons glad the neighbouring plains,
104 And Phoebus holds, not Phaëton, the reins.
105 But where loud waves oft vex the sea-girt shore,
106 And sudden tempests, unexpected, roar:
107 Where rough December, envious of her power,
108 From gentle May oft plucks the tender flower:
109 Where clearest morn to cloudy noon gives way,
110 And stormy eve excludes the hopeful day:
111 Where o'er the vast Atlantic vapours roll,
112 Or frozen sogs dark issue from the pole,[Page 69]
113 There the firm building asks the planter's aid,
114 "From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade."
115 In gardening great th' improvement of the age,
116 Clipt yews, cut out in Magogs, quit the stage;
117 Half murder'd hollies meet with one wound more,
118 And clasping ivy leaves the loaded door.
119 But yet the axe may drive the edge too far:
120 Brown not with Nature, yet with climes may war:
121 Use or convenience oft put in their claim,
122 "And rise to faults good judges dare not blame;"
123 Nor can true taste and elegance reside
124 Where order and gradation are deny'd.
125 By walls immur'd, or lost within a wood
126 The cloister'd mansions of our fathers stood:
127 They sought protection from the dog-star's heat,
128 And heard, tho' felt not, the rude tempest beat:
129 But damps pervaded oft the gloomy hall,
130 And green-grown mould defac'd the 'scutcheon'd wall.
131 Fond of extremes (and wiser sure than they!)
132 We drive walls, trees, damps, arms, and all away:
133 Yield still too far to every thing that's new,
134 Nor dare to keep the golden mean in view.
135 But see! the sun the steep of heaven descends,
136 And yon kind cloud her golden curtain lends:
137 Let me, ye Walks! your flowery maze pursue,
138 And on one plain the world's whole tribute view.
139 That tribute, Commerce, which we owe to thee,
140 As thou we owe to godlike Liberty.
141 Here spicy shrubs, the growth of Afric, bloom,
142 And ancient Asia breathes her sweet perfume:[Page 70]
143 Columbean wilds their later treasures yield,
144 And British roses crown the flowery field.
145 AUTHOR OF GOOD! how are thy blessings shed!
146 On man's, on thereby man's, much honour'd head!
147 From glowing India to the frozen pole,
148 Thy Providence supplies, protects the whole:
149 Nor are thy gifts at random thrown abroad,
150 Or undistinguish'd carelesly bestow'd;
151 For, whilst the whole in general blessings share,
152 Each part partakes thy more peculiar care:
153 Yon spreading fig, that first from India came,
154 Stretch'd broad her leaves to cool the sun-burnt dame:
155 Soft cypress rises on the Paphian plain,
156 To soothe the grief of some forsaken swain:
157 In cold Norwegia lofty pines arise,
158 A kind protection from the northern skies:
159 And various realms this one grand truth declare,
160 Who feels th' extremes of Nature, feels her care:
161 Ev'n winter stern, and angry tempests bring
162 Their secret treasures to the fruitful spring;
163 Pour fostering stores into the weary earth,
164 And call more gay reviving Nature forth.
165 Hail! youthful season! health-restoring Power!
166 That chear'st the waste, and cloath'st the roseat bower,
167 That bid'st gay Nature all her sweets display,
168 And on benighted nations pour the day:
169 For thee the roses bloom, the violets spread,
170 And yellow cowslips rear their bended head:
171 Brisk thro' the thicket trips the spotted fawn,
172 And sportive lambs bound wanton on the lawn:[Page 71]
173 Those oaks, the future sovereigns of the sea,
174 Stretch wide their boughs, and clothe their heads for thee.
175 Bloom fresh, ye sacred Guardians of our isle!
176 War's rage is o'er, and Peace now deigns to smile:
177 Here stand the graceful monarchs of the wood,
178 Nor unprovok'd attempt the swelling flood:
179 Remain secure as erst when Druids made
180 Their songs divine beneath your reverend shade:
181 But soon as jarring nations, faithless grown,
182 Enrich'd with trade and commerce not their own,
183 Shall basely strive those honours to obtain
184 By meanest arts, which courage sought in vain,
185 Then, then indignant quit the fertile shore,
186 And bid the deep assist your thunder's roar.
187 When hapless England felt a tyrant's sway,
188 And that fierce tyrant fell to lust a prey,
189 Here, fill'd with grief, an injur'd princessa
a Catherine of Spain, during the latter part of the time of the divorce, retired to Kimbolton Castle, where she died (it is supposed) of grief for the cruel treatment she received from Henry VIII. fled
190 From short-liv'd grandeur, and divided bed:
191 Oppression spread her horrors o'er the plain,
192 And all thy sweets, Kimbolton! bloom'd in vain.
193 For not the fragrant breath of rosy morn,
194 Nor tuneful lark on rising pinions borne,
195 Nor all the verdure of the blooming spiring,
196 Can to the broken heart lost pleasure bring.
197 In England then the sons of Freedom slept,
198 And drooping Virtue o'er their ashes wept:
199 In vain for right the royal stranger cry'd,
200 That right his slaves enjoy'd her lord deny'd:
201 Yon inmost grove oft heard her mournful tale,
202 Her sorrows spread along this silent vale;
203 Till Fate in pity call'd her to the shore,
204 Where lust and tyranny oppress no more.
205 Thrice happy change! where royal virtue griev'd,
206 The aged and the orphan are reliev'd;
207 And thankful widows crowd the open'd door,
208 Where weeping majesty complain'd before.
209 O Britons! (if to pagan powers ye bow)
210 Be smiling Liberty ador'd by you!
211 Where mad Oppression waves her iron wand,
212 There Truth and Justice quit the wasted land:
213 But where the people feel a father's sway,
214 (As Rome felt once, and Britain feels to-day)
215 There Justice equal with the Sovereign reigns,
216 And peace and plenty glads the smiling plains.
217 When they, who govern with the govern'd join,
218 And, without faction, all their force combine;
219 Not the loud cannon, nor the ocean's roar,
220 That beats with angry waves the sounding shore,
221 Can crush contending hosts, or awe them more.
222 Those laurels, Granby! that adorn thy brow,
223 Far from the muddy fount of faction grew;
224 Fair Union gently rear'd the parent tree,
225 That stretch'd so wide her boughs for Hawke and thee.
226 And thus united, subject of my lays!
227 Thy sons, Kimbolton! claim'd the patriot's praise,
228 Who left their fields to guard the the threat'ned shore,
229 Ere Eliot fought and Thurot was no more.
230 And tho' no annals to their race shall tell,
231 What numbers vanquish'd by their valour fell;
232 The soul resolv'd that waited firm the foe,
233 And in his bosom brav'd th' impending blow,
234 Or conquer'd for his native fields, or bled,
235 Tho' no green laurels shade his honour'd head.
236 But lo! my Muse! the humid drops descend,
237 And parting shepherds to the hamlets tend,
238 O! quit the task those beauties to display,
239 That fairer spring with each returning day!
240 So Reynolds thus, presuming on his art,
241 To trace those charms, my Lord! that win your heart,
242 Sees softer smiles whene'er he lifts his eye,
243 That bid him throw his baffled pencil by.