DRYADES: A POEM.
1 Forgive, ye Nereids, if I sing no more
2 Th'uncertain Sea, but choose the safer Shore,
3 And leave the restless Waves for constant Hills,
4 To sit on grassy Plots, or dream by little Rills.
5 The wanton Muse the meaner Thorn prefers
6 To Coral Twigs, and Amber's costly Tears;
7 Again I may, when tir'd of leavy Woods,
8 Haste to the Sea, and court the rolling Floods.
9 No lov'd Amusements here but soon will cloy,
10 The dearest Bliss becomes a worthless Toy,
11 And we must shift our Pleasures to enjoy.
12 Sick of the Town, I left the busy Place,
13 Where deep Concern broods on the thoughtful Face;
14 Where factious Cits with Nod, and roguish Leer,
15 Are whispering Nothing in attentive Ear;
16 Where Knaves strange Lyes invent, and Fools retail,
17 And home-made Treason find in Foreign Mail:[Page 2]
18 Falshoods their Credit gain, tho' ill-contriv'd,
19 And Scandals, oft disprov'd, are still reviv'd;
20 Imagin'd Ills in frightful Shapes appear,
21 While present Evils we with Patience bear;
22 Phantoms, and empty Forms are fear'd the most,
23 As those who scorn'd the Man, yet dread the Ghost.
24 No longer plagu'd with Faction, Spleen and Noise,
25 How was I bless'd, when first my ravish'd Eyes
26 Suck'd in the purer Day, and saw unclouded Skies?
27 How happy, when I view'd the calm Retreat,
28 And Groves o'er-look'd by Winchcomb's ancient Seat?
29 Here the smooth*
* A River in Berkshire. Kennet takes his doubtful Way,
30 In wanton Rounds the lingring Waters play,
31 And by their circling Streams prolong the grateful Stay.
32 Here good old Chaucer whilom chear'd the Vale,
33 And sootely sung, and told the jocund Tale.
34 Bright was the Moon, and her reflected Beams
35 Spangled the dewy Leaves with trembling Gleams;
36 While Stars, by conscious Twinklings, seem'd to know
37 What waking Lovers acted here below. [Page 3]
38 Careless I walk'd, where prowling Beasts had made
39 A Path, that led thro' a lone silent Glade.
40 The Moon, with doubtful Rays, deceiv'd the Sight,
41 And waving Boughs gave an uncertain Light.
42 When my chill'd Spirits sunk with sudden Fear,
43 And trembling Horror bid the Search forbear;
44 My heedless Steps had touch'd the hallow'd Ground,
45 Where airy Dæmons dance the wanton Round;
46 Where fairy Elves, and Mid-night Dryads meet,
47 And to the smiling Moon the Sylvan-Song repeat.
48 Tall rifted Oaks, and circling Elms had made
49 A Central void amidst surrounding Shade,
50 With hollow vaulted Cells, and rising Heaps
51 In which by Day the weary'd Badger sleeps.
52 Thick thorny Brakes grew round the lonesome Place,
53 And twining Boughs enclos'd the middle Space.
54 Here Dryads in nocturnal Revels join,
55 While Stars thro' shaking Leaves obscurely shine.
56 And here I saw (bless'd with a kinder Fate)
57 When in a beauteous Ring the Nymphs were sate.
58 Well-pleas'd the Elfins smil'd, but she, who guards
59 Pomaceous Fruits, and th'Orchet-Care rewards,
60 Down pensive lean'd her Head; no ruddy Streaks
61 Mixt with the languid Paleness of her Cheeks.
62 Cast on the Ground her wither'd Garland lay,
63 Whose shrivell'd Leaves seem'd conscious of Decay. [Page 4]
64 Thyrsis, that much-lov'd Youth, the Goddess mourn'd,
65 Thyrsis, who once Silurian Plains adorn'd;
66 The rural Pow'rs confess'd their meaner Lays,
67 When Thyrsis sung, and own'd his juster Praise;
68 He Ariconian Swains industrious taught
69 To strain rich Must, and press the racy Draught;
70 Since he is gone, the Trees are all decay'd,
71 With Moss bedight, and Blossoms ill-array'd.
72 The pensive Owner mourns the tedious Weeks,
73 And wants the gen'rous Bowl, that paints the flushing Cheeks.
74 Men led by Sense, and partial to themselves,
75 Nor roving Dæmons own, nor wandring Elves.
76 But who can know th'intelligible Race,
77 Or guess the Pow'rs that fill th'aerial Space!
78 Oft the tir'd Horse is forc'd to scour the Plain,
79 When Fairies ride fix'd in his twisted Mane.
80 And I, ye Gods, have wondrous Circles seen,
81 Where wanton Sprites in Mid-night Dance have been,
82 And press'd their rounding Steps on ev'ry new-mow'd Green.
83 Ye Dæmons, who in lonely Forrests rove,
84 And friendly Pow'rs, that human Arts improve,
85 Ye careful Genii, that o'er Men preside,
86 Direct their Counsels, and their Actions guide;[Page 5]
87 The grateful Muse shall your Assistance own,
88 And tell of heav'nly Forms, as yet unknown;
89 (Bless'd Beings, whom no earthly Fetters bind,
90 Nor to the pressing Weight of Clay confin'd!
91 Of un-mixt Æther form'd, their Beauty fears
92 No pale Disease, nor Change of coming Years.)
93 Be kind, ye Pow'rs, and tune my artless Tongue,
94 While I repeat the Dryads pleasing Song.
95 Nape began; A Nymph with careless Mien,
96 Clad like Autumnal Leaves in yellowish Green.
97 Her round plump Cheeks a deeper Purple dy'd,
98 Such as ripe Fruits boast on their Sunny Side.
99 A Wreath of platted Moss was round her Head,
100 Chearful she smiled, and thus the Elfin said:
101 Tall Sycamores the noisy Insects love,
102 And buzzing round the Leaves incessant move;
103 While the Day lasts, the worthless Creatures play,
104 And mourn the Ev'ning Dusk, and wing their silent Way.
105 But Forrest Nymphs prefer the peaceful Night,
106 When solemn Gloom, and dewy Seats invite.
107 While drowzy Man in Sleep unactive rests,
108 Not half so happy as the watchful Beasts,[Page 6]
109 Who silent leave their Dens, and secret Home,
110 And on the Prey intent thro' all the Forrest roam.
111 The raging Sun with his too scorching Beams,
112 Burns up the Herb, and lessens all the Streams;
113 But the kind Moon reflects a milder Ray,
114 And makes a Night more lovely than the Day;
115 Nor darts fierce Flames, but innocently Bright
116 Leaves all the Fire, and gives the purer Light;
117 No noisome Vapour, or dark Cloud exhales,
118 But gentle Drops, fresh Dews, and pleasing Gales.
119 So Woman is but rougher Man refin'd,
120 Has nought of him that's Fierce, but all that's Kind.
121 Now falling Drops like shining Pearls are seen,
122 And dewy Spangles hang on ev'ry Green.
123 Refreshing Moisture cools the thirsty Mead,
124 Extends the Stalk, and swells th'unfolded Seed;
125 Restores the Verdure of the tarnish'd Leaves,
126 And ev'ry gladsome Herb the rip'ning Juice receives.
127 Day alway is the same, but wanton Night
128 Boasts a more grateful Change of harmless Light.
129 Below the Glow-Worms wond'rous Orbs are seen,
130 That stud with burnish'd Gold the shaded Green.
131 These little wandring Comets never shed
132 Or baneful Ill, or dire Contagion spread;
133 Their shining Tails foretell no falling State,
134 Nor future Dearth, nor sad Disease create. [Page 7]
135 Bright lambent Flames, and kindled Vapours rise,
136 Sweep glaring thro' the Dusk, and strike the wond'ring Eyes.
137 In oblique Tracks the Meteors blaze around,
138 And skim the Surface of the marshy Ground,
139 Unseen by Day, when Tyrant-like the Sun
140 Envious admits no Splendor but his own.
141 The liquid Drops, that ooze from weeping Trees,
142 And sparkling Stones with Star-like Lustre please;
143 Ev'n sapless Wood improv'd by Age grows bright,
144 And what it wants in Moisture, gains in Light.
145 While ripen'd Fruits, and milder Seasons last,
146 And only empty Clouds the Skies o'er-cast,
147 Nymphs in lone Desarts chaunt the rural Lay,
148 Till the wing'd Hours bring on returning Day.
149 But when fierce wintry Storms the Forrest rend,
150 And rattling Hail, or fleecy Snows descend;
151 When conscious Birds, who know succeeding Times,
152 Haste from the Cold, and seek for milder Climes.
153 The Elfin Pow'rs (who can at Pleasure leave
154 Aerial Bodies, and new Forms receive)
155 Cast off their Vehicles, and freed from Sense,
156 Nor dread the Storms, nor Cold, when too intense.
157 The earthy Gnomes, and Fairy Elves are seen
158 Digging in lowest Mines with busy Men;[Page 8]
159 There labour on the fruitless Work intent,
160 While deeper Snows the wonted Dance prevent.
161 But foolish Swains the blooming Spring prefer,
162 And th'Infant Glory of the budding Year;
163 Nature, as yet, is but imperfect seen,
164 And her weak Products show a rawish Green:
165 The Flow'rs look gay, but lovely Autumn treats
166 With ripen'd Beauties, and substantial Sweets;
167 Nor wants its Flow'rs, while Poppies grace the Corn,
168 And azure Cups the waving Fields adorn.
169 Fruits lov'd by rustick Tastes, of pleasing Show,
170 On the wild Hedge, and scented Briar grow.
171 And yellow Leaves, the fairy Elfin's Bed,
172 Fly with the Wind, and on the Ground are spread.
173 The frisking Satyrs squeeze the cluster'd Grape,
174 And the chast Dryad fears the coming Rape.
175 Ripe mellow Heaps from ev'ry Tree are shook,
176 And bending Corn expects the sharpen'd Hook;
177 Soon will the nodding Sheaves be born away,
178 And the drawn Net inclose th'unguarded Prey.
179 The friendly Pow'rs, who lab'ring Peasants aid,
180 Nymphs, and light Fawns frequent the woody Shade;
181 But oft curs'd Fiends quit their infernal Home,
182 And (hated Guests) in gloomy Forrests roam,[Page 9]
183 With glaring Eyes affright the howling Beasts,
184 And little Birds shrink closer in their Nests.
185 Earth would be Heav'n, if we might here enjoy
186 Pleasures unmixt, and leave the base Alloy.
187 The greatest Good has its attending Ill,
188 And doubtful Bliss distracts th'uncertain Will.
189 So teeming Autumn boasts her luscious Fruits,
190 And Plants of grateful Taste, and healing Roots.
191 But ripens with like Care the growing Seeds
192 Of baneful Aconite, and noxious Weeds.
193 The deadly Night-shade wanton Youth deceives
194 With shining Berries, and with spreading Leaves;
195 Th'accursed Fruit invites with pleasing show
196 Fair as the Damscen, or the Sky-dy'd Sloe;
197 But ah! not rashly trust the tempting Ills;
198 Too well you know, that Beauty often kills:
199 Swift thro' the Bones the spreading Venom flies,
200 A deadly Sleep hangs on the closing Eyes,
201 And the lost Wretch at length in raging Frenzy dies.
202 Now round its Pole the spiral Hop entwists,
203 Like Thyrsi born by Bacchus ancient Priests.
204 The Husband Elm supports th'embracing Vines,
205 And round its Oak the Ivy closer twines.
206 To Bacchus Sacred all, and prone to Love,
207 They show what Fuel must the Flame improve;[Page 10]
208 Love, blind himself, the Mark would hardly know,
209 But Bacchus takes the Aim, and sets the Bow.
210 Autumnal Days a constant Medium boast,
211 Nor chap the Ground with Heat, nor dry with Frost.
212 Nature on all her finish'd Labour smiles,
213 And the glad Peasant reaps the grateful Spoils;
214 Winds shake the ripen'd Seeds on Parent Earth,
215 And thus impregnate for succeeding Birth.
216 The tufted God with future Harvest swells,
217 While weighty Seeds fall from their native Cells,
218 And near their Mother-Stem: but smaller Kinds
219 Far from their Homes are born by sweeping Winds;
220 The Atoms fly, wafted on ev'ry Breeze,
221 Hence mossy Threds enwrap the tallest Trees;
222 Herbs of strange Forms on highest Rocks are found,
223 And spreading Fern runs o'er the barren Ground.
224 But, Goddess, you neglect your wonted Care,
225 (While blighted Orchats mourn, the Nymphs despair;)
226 Nor love (as once) to see the handed Bowls,
227 When tipling Rusticks chear their droughty Souls,
228 And tread with faultring Steps th'unequal Ground,
229 While humble Cotts with wayward Mirth resound. [Page 11]
230 Succeeding Bards in rural Secrets skill'd,
231 Shall teach the Swain t'enrich the barren Field;
232 The Prophets Inspiration never ends,
233 But with a double Portion still descends.
234 Poets, like rightful Kings, can never dye,
235 Heav'ns Sacred Ointment will the Throne supply,
236 And Tityrus, when he draws his latest Breath,
237 Will to some Darling Youth the valu'd Pipe bequeath.
238 So tuneful Insects fed by Morning Dew,
239 Who in warm Meads the daily Song renew;
240 (True Poets they) laugh at approaching Want,
241 And careless sing, and mock the lab'ring Ant;
242 But soon bleak Colds the wanton Throng surprize,
243 And the whole Race (ah! too unpity'd) dies:
244 And yet returning Heat, and sultry Days,
245 Restore the Species, and new Songsters raise.
246 The Goddess will not long forget her Care,
247 But th'Orchat-loss with future Crops repair.
248 No more shall blasting Winds the Harvest grieve
249 Or blighted Buds autumnal Hopes deceive.
250 The Youth well-pleas'd will daily Thanks repeat,
251 While loaden Branches groan beneath their Weight. [Page 12]
252 As from salt Waves are drawn the sweeter Rains,
253 And chearful Streams, that swell the fatten'd Plains,
254 So from our Griefs succeeding Pleasures flow;
255 Grafted on Crabs the fairest Apples grow.
256 Bitters and Sweets in the same Cup are thrown,
257 And prickly'st Thistles have the softest Down.
258 Thus said the Nymph, and Psecas thus reply'd,
259 Psecas, who gives the Herbs their various Pride.
260 She Nature aids, and is the Sylvan Pow'r,
261 That shapes the Leaf, and paints the woody Flow'r.
262 She blanches Lillies to their lovely'st White,
263 Whose Skin-like Beauty pleases human Sight.
264 Hence the blue Vervains grace the humble Shade,
265 And drowzy Poppies are in Scarlet clad:
266 Unerring Forms the growing Plant receives,
267 She rounds the Stem, and points th'indented Leaves.
268 Who (said the Nymph) would sing of bleating Flocks,
269 Or hanging Goats that browze on craggy Rocks?
270 When ancient Bards have rifled all the Store,
271 And the drain'd Subject can afford no more.
272 Nor Cuddy now, nor Colin would engage;
273 Eclogue but ill becomes a warlike Age. [Page 13]
274 In ancient Times the Shepherd's Song would please,
275 When pious Kings enjoy'd the Shepherd's Ease,
276 And Monarchs sate beneath the shadowing Trees.
277 When those first happy'r Ages were no more,
278 But curs'd Ambition still increas'd with Pow'r;
279 When crowded Towns thin'd the deserted Plain,
280 And craving Passions a new Life began;
281 The peaceful Woods were not so soon forgot,
282 Th'uneasy Soul her wonted Pleasures sought:
283 Reason, when free, and undisturb'd, approves
284 The pleasing Pensiveness of thoughtful Groves:
285 Hence twisted Bowers, and cooling Grots were made
286 To imitate, at least, the rural Shade.
287 But Men by Furies urg'd, and curs'd by Fate,
288 All that is calm, and in-offensive hate;
289 Guilt must prevail, and Bloodshed never cease;
290 Nations are said to be undone by Peace.
291 Too well you know, who oft unseen repair
292 To whisp'ring Courts enwrapp'd in finest Air;
293 In Closets sit, and unsuspected hear
294 What the great Vulgar feign, and little fear.
295 By Night while Swains dream of successful Loves,
296 The Forrest-Genii wanton in their Groves,
297 And o'er the platted Heath the Fairy-Dæmon roves. [Page 14]
298 But, when gray Dawn awakes from pleasing Rest
299 The yawning Peasant, and disturbs the Beast,
300 Thro' Streets, and noisy Crowds they range unknown,
301 And mark the Conduct of the factious Town.
302 Britania's Sons, like those of monstrous Birth,
303 When Serpents Teeth were sown in furrow'd Earth;
304 Enflam'd with Rage, and prone to mutual Hate,
305 With baneful Strife distract th'endanger'd State.
306 War now commences in itself a Good;
307 Quacks know no other Cure but letting Blood,
308 Ev'n when th'expiring Wretch already faints,
309 And not a Lancet, but a Cordial wants.
310 Those who could wish all Temples shut beside,
311 Ne're think the Gates of Janus set too wide,
312 For endless Slaughter, as a Blessing pray,
313 Farewell the humble Muse, and Shepherds peaceful Lay.
314 She said, and all the Nymphs with Sorrow heard,
315 When clad in shining Robes, an heav'nly Form appear'd.
316 A leavy Crown adorn'd her radiant Head,
317 Majestick were her Looks, and thus the Elfin said:
318 Unbody'd Pow'rs are not confin'd to Floods,
319 To purling Riv'lets, or to shady Woods. [Page 15]
320 Kind Dæmons on ungrateful Man attend,
321 Observe their Steps, and watch the hated Fiend.
322 The same good Genii guard the harmless Sheep,
323 When weary'd Damon lies in thoughtless Sleep;
324 The same, whose Influence aids th'unsettled State,
325 And gladly hastens on the Work of Fate.
326 Rome's second King enjoy'd a Fairy Dame,
327 To lonely Woods the Royal Pupil came;
328 To Numa's Lessons, and the Elfin-Bride,
329 Rome all her Grandeur ow'd, and future Pride.
330 Bless'd Pow'rs, and Beings of the highest Rank,
331 Nor love the flowing Stream, nor flow'ry Bank.
332 Clad in Ætherial Light, the purer Mind
333 Scorns the base Earth, and was for Heav'n design'd.
334 Inferiour Orders have a meaner Home,
335 And here in Wilds, and woody Mazes roam.
336 To learned Magi we strange Spells impart,
337 Myst'ries disclose, and tell the secret Art.
338 With Sacred Miselto the Druids crown'd
339 Sung with the Nymphs, and danc'd the pleasing Round.
340 But vulgar Thoughts confound celestial Forms
341 With envious Fiends, who raise destructive Storms;
342 And harmless Elves that scuttle o'er the Plain,
343 Are rank'd with Furies doom'd to endless Pain.
344 Mortals to Earth, and mean Delights inclin'd,
345 No Pleasure in abstracted Notions find. [Page 16]
346 Unus'd to higher Truths will not believe
347 Ought can exist, but what their Eyes perceive;
348 Tho' to good Dæmons they their Safety owe,
349 Few are the Happy those, who their bless'd Guardians know.
350 But hear, ye Nymphs; indulge no causless Fears,
351 I know the lasting Joys of coming Years.
352 I, Britain's kind Egeria, will protect
353 The Loyal Patriot, and his Schemes direct.
354 All do not hate the Plain, nor fly the Woods;
355 Fields have their Lovers, and the Groves their Gods.
356 If Bolingbroke, and Oxford with a Smile
357 Reward the Song, nor scorn the meaner Style;
358 Each bleeding Tree shall tell the Shepherd's Flame,
359 And in its Wounds preserve the growing Name.
360 Swains to transmitted Pipes shall long succeed,
361 And sort with artful Hand th'unequal Reed.
362 The Birds on ev'ry Bough will list'ning throng,
363 And noisy, strive to drown the envy'd Song.
364 Echo to distant Rocks shall waft the Tale,
365 And reach with borrow'd Sounds the lowest Vale;
366 While the glad Lambs pursue the circling Round,
367 Frisk wanton, and o'er grassy Ridges bound.
368 Would He again the better Choice approve,
369 Who once of Henry sung, and Emma's Love;[Page 17]
370 Would he (a grateful Guest) to Woods repair,
371 And private Ease prefer to publick Care;
372 The Nymphs would learn his Song, their own forget,
373 And little Fawns the moving Tale repeat.
374 Peace from neglected Pipes will wipe the Dust,
375 When useless Arms are doom'd to eating Rust.
376 No dreaded Sounds shall scare the finny Race,
377 Or fright the Triton from his lov'd Embrace.
378 The busy Naiads cleanse polluted Floods,
379 And Nymphs frequent the long deserted Woods.
380 The River-Gods hug the declining Urn;
381 All to their Streams, or to their Shades return.
382 When Civil Wars disturb'd the Roman State,
383 And Brutus hasten'd on his juster Fate;
384 While false-nam'd Liberty, and doubtful Claim
385 Madded the World, and fann'd Alecto's Flame;
386 The Swain was injur'd, and his Song forgot,
387 And Tityrus only by his Flocks was sought.
388 But when Octavius had the Nations freed,
389 And ev'ry Realm its rightful Lord obey'd;
390 The God look'd down on the neglected Groves,
391 And deign'd to hear of Peace, and softer Loves;
392 Fields and their Owners were with Leisure bless'd,
393 And Mantua's Shepherd had his Wrongs redress'd. [Page 18]
394 So first the Mountain Tops are touch'd with Light,
395 And from the gloomy Vales the Swain invite;
396 While Mists below, and intervening Clouds
397 Cast a deep Dusk on all the frowning Woods.
398 The shaded Meadows view, with Envy, round
399 The distant Splendour of the rising Ground;
400 But soon the spreading Rays expanded move,
401 And streaming like a Deluge from above,
402 Sweep o'er the gladsome Field, and dart through ev'ry Grove.
403 By foreign Wars intestine Factions thrive,
404 The Dam destroy'd, the Imps not long survive;
405 Tumultuous Hurry an Advantage gives
406 Both to the little, and the greater Thieves.
407 A guilty Act is in Confusion hid,
408 When busy Times a nicer Search forbid;
409 So crafty Fish are of clear Streams afraid,
410 And hide in Eddies, which themselves have made.
411 Touch'd with the Rose the jetty Beetle dies,
412 And from the spicy Hills the Vultur flies;
413 So baser Souls abhor the Sweets of Peace,
414 Whose private Gains by publick Loss increase.
415 When noisy Storms pour on the dropping Leaves,
416 The pensive Lark retires, and silent grieves;[Page 19]
417 But chatt'ring Birds joy at th'expected Flood,
418 And with mixt Clamours watch the teeming Cloud;
419 For then (a grateful Prey) the horned Snail,
420 And Worms o'er moisten'd Clods their folding Bodies trail.
421 Designing Men the publick Welfare hate,
422 Who cannot rise but on a ruin'd State.
423 Base Souls will alway keep their native Stain,
424 And rooted Passions will th'Ascendant gain.
425 The Worm, when once become a spotted Fly,
426 And born on gawdy Wings it mounts on high,
427 Unchang'd admires the Ordure, whence it sprung,
428 And feeds with Pleasure on its native Dung.
429 But steddy Patriots will just Schemes pursue,
430 Nor fear the Rage of a discarded Few.
431 Who prone to causless Change unweary'd strive,
432 Old Crimes repeat, and baffled Plots revive.
433 Eternal Infamy rewards their Pains,
434 And tho' the Flames put out, the Stench remains.
435 What specious colour'd Fraud, or secret Snare
436 Can St. John's Prudence scape, or Oxford's Care?
437 Diseases oft prove fatal, when conceal'd,
438 But ripen'd Sores, if lanc'd, are soonest heal'd.
439 Slow Lentulus, and rash Cethegus joyn,
440 And with ambitious Catalin combine;[Page 20]
441 Wretches, who only in Destruction skill'd,
442 Try to pull down, what they could ne're rebuild;
443 But when intent to spring the sudden Mine,
444 One Cicero can blast the great Design.
445 So when black Storms cast up the boiling Deep,
446 And envious Winds disturb the Triton's Sleep;
447 The Shepherd, who the watry Conflict hears
448 Shudd'ring at distance, for his Pasture fears;
449 Thinks with himself, when will the Tumult cease,
450 Or what kind Pow'r can warring Floods appease?
451 But th'Ocean-Gods, rouz'd from their oozy Beds,
452 The Trident grasp, and nod their reedy Heads;
453 The Waves rebuk'd, fear to approach the Shore,
454 And all is hush'd, and Winds are heard no more.
455 Peace guides her Steps, as St. John leads the Way,
456 And all her little Loves around him play:
457 When he arriv'd, France (the first time) confess'd
458 Her Court eclips'd by a politer Guest;
459 Unwilling own'd Britannia has her Charms,
460 And is as strong in Eloquence, as Arms.
461 When St. John speaks, Who would refuse to hear?
462 Mars smooths his Brow, and Pallas drops her Spear.
463 A thousand Graces on his Lips are hung,
464 And Suada sips her Nectar from his Tongue. [Page 21]
465 When wild Suspicions cause distracting Hate,
466 And Party-Clamours sway in a Debate;
467 Such Eloquence the Tumult over-rules,
468 Like falling Drops it softens, and it cools;
469 It calms th'enrag'd, and draws the stubborn Minds,
470 And to th'unwilling Breast a Passage finds;
471 Nervous, yet smooth, the Heart it gently steals,
472 Like Wine it sparkles, but like Oil it heals.
473 He with his Country shares one common Fate,
474 All St. John love, but who Britannia hate.
475 Kennet of late neglects his broken Urn,
476 And St. John's Absence all the Dryads mourn.
477 Not Gallus once in Woods was so belov'd,
478 Whose luckless Flame the Nymphs to pity mov'd.
479 Heav'n has its chosen Favourites, and on those
480 With partial Hand its doubled Gifts bestows:
481 While common Souls, like coarser Stuffs laid by,
482 Are not prepar'd to take the brighter Dye.
483 The kingly Oaks engross the honey'd Dews,
484 Whose viscous Sweets the meaner Shrub refuse;
485 And ev'ry neighb'ring Tree neglected grieves,
486 But willing spreads in vain its tasteless Leaves.
487 St. John the Woods, and breezy Forrest loves,
488 Where Nature's Pride presuming Art reproves. [Page 22]
489 New Beauties show themselves to nearer Views,
490 And Themes untouch'd expect the skilful Muse;
491 The vegetable Worlds neglected lie,
492 And Flow'rs ungather'd fall, and nameless dye.
493 Thousands escape hid in the pressing Throng,
494 Unknown to Macer's, or to Cowley's Song.
495 You, Psecas, know, in seedy Labour skill'd,
496 What various Herbage fatten'd Pastures yield,
497 And what unnumber'd Kinds adorn the Field,
498 Whose fading Beauties pass without Regard,
499 While ev'ry drooping Herb upbraids th'ungrateful Bard.
500 What learned Song will Nature's Care impart,
501 By what kind Instinct, and unstudy'd Art,
502 The num'rous Natives of the shelt'ring Wood
503 Avoid their Dangers, or procure their Food?
504 What Verse has told, how smaller Rivals wage
505 Unequal War, and with the Toad engage?
506 They Argus-like are set around with Eyes,
507 And hung on silken Threds, the Foe surprize;
508 Spit on the poys'nous Wretch more deadly Bane,
509 Who deeply wounded, feels the raging Pain.
510 Swift up her pendant Web Arachne climbs,
511 While he scarce trails along his tortur'd Limbs;[Page 23]
512 But careful will the healing Plantain find,
513 (Plantain to undeserving Creatures kind)
514 Whose sov'reign Herb the venom'd Juice expells,
515 And now the bloated Wretch with innate Poyson swells.
516 Or how the speckled Snakes their Prey surprize,
517 And with hot Fennel rub their weaker Eyes;
518 They, when the Bloom of warmer Spring begins,
519 Cast off, as worn out Cloaths, their sloughy Skins;
520 With yearly Youth, returning Vigour bless'd,
521 Brandish the Tongue, and raise the azure Crest.
522 Ants prudent bite the Ends of hoarded Wheat,
523 Lest growing Seeds their future Hopes defeat;
524 And when they conscious scent the gath'ring Rains,
525 Draw down their windy Eggs, and pilfer'd Grains;
526 With Summer's Toil, and ready Viands fill
527 The deepest Caverns of their puny Hill;
528 There lie secure, and hug their treasur'd Goods,
529 And safe in labour'd Cells they mock the coming Floods.
530 A thousand Kinds unknown in Forrests breed,
531 And bite the Leaves, and notch the growing Weed;
532 Have each their several Laws, and settled States,
533 And constant Sympathies, and constant Hates;[Page 24]
534 Their changing Forms no artful Verse describes,
535 Or how fierce War destroys the wand'ring Tribes.
536 How prudent Nature feeds her various Young,
537 Has been (if not untold) at least unsung.
538 To th'Insect Race the Muse her Pain denies,
539 While prouder Men the little Ant despise.
540 But tho' the Bulky Kinds are easy known,
541 Yet Nature's Skill is most in Little shown;
542 Beside that Man by some kind Dæmon taught
543 Has Secrets found, that were of Old unsought.
544 Laborious Wights have wond'rous Opticks made,
545 Whose borrow'd Sight the curious Searcher aid,
546 And show, what Heav'n to common View denies
547 Strange puny Shapes, unknown to vulgar Eyes.
548 So shadowy Forms, and sportive Dæmons fly
549 Wafted on Winds, and not perceiv'd when nigh;
550 Unseen they sweep along the grassy Plains,
551 And unregarded scud before the whistling Swains.
552 But to those Seers in Northern Isles confin'd,
553 Inur'd to Cold, and harden'd by the Wind,
554 Th'indulgent Pow'rs have giv'n a second Sight,
555 That kens the airy Silph, and wand'ring Sprite.
556 No flitting Elf the subtle Eye escapes,
557 When wanton Genii sport in antick Shapes. [Page 25]
558 Men Nature in her secret Work behold,
559 Untwist her Fibres, and her Coats unfold;
560 With Pleasure trace the Threds of stringy Roots,
561 The various Textures of the ripening Fruits;
562 And Animals, that careless live at ease,
563 To whom the Leaves are Worlds, the Drops are Seas.
564 If to the finish'd Whole so little goes,
565 How small the Parts, that must that Whole compose!
566 Matter is infinite, and still descends:
567 Man cannot know where lessening Nature ends.
568 The azure Dye, which Plums in Autumn boast,
569 That handled fades, and at a Touch is lost,
570 (Of fairest Show) is all a living Heap;
571 And round their little World the lovely Monsters creep.
572 Who would on Colour dote, or pleasing Forms,
573 If Beauty, when discover'd, is but Worms?
574 When the warm Spring puts forth the op'ning Bud,
575 Th'awaken'd Insects find their ready Food;
576 But when the Summer Days dilate the Gem,
577 Stretch out the Leaves, and fix the growing Stem,
578 They dye unknown, and num'rous Kinds succeed,
579 That bask in Flow'rs, or eat the ranker Weed;
580 Wanton in sultry Heat, and keep their Place,
581 Till Autumn-Fruits produce a different Race. [Page 26]
582 But tho' a thousand Themes invite the Muse,
583 Yet Greater Subjects will from Mean excuse;
584 They claim the grateful Song, whose prudent Care
585 Has quench'd the wasting Flames of endless War.
586 One civil Rage alarm'd the trembling Woods,
587 And bursting Sulphur scar'd the Sylvan-Gods.
588 Wars fell'd the Trees, and spreading Havock made;
589 The Nymphs could hardly find a shelt'ring Shade.
590 Now, with less frightful Sounds the Fields are bless'd;
591 The Swains have Leisure, and the Land has Rest.
592 Faction (that Hydra) is no longer fear'd,
593 Her Heads are lopp'd, and all the Wounds are sear'd;
594 When innovating Schemes successful prove,
595 They do but fasten, what they would remove.
596 So restless Winds would fly without Restraint,
597 Sweep down the Corn, and bend the growing Plant;
598 But taller Trees withstand their giddy Haste,
599 And break the Fury of the coming Blast;
600 They angry tear the Leaves, and blight the Fruit,
601 But strengthen while they shake, and fix the spreading Root.
602 Be still, ye Aspin Boughs, nor restless scare,
603 With busy trembling Leaves, the list'ning Hare;[Page 27]
604 And cease, ye Insects, who, to Plants unkind,
605 Or gnaw the Root, or bite the softer Rind;
606 Silent attend, while I Britannia bless,
607 And sing the future Joys of lasting Peace.
608 Victoria long her fruitless Labour mourn'd;
609 Without Effect her annual Work return'd.
610 One Blow to Cæsar gave the destin'd Throne;
611 Philippi made the Roman Pow'r his own.
612 Swift as a Ray shot from the Rising Sun,
613 Pella's immortal Youth his Persia won.
614 But Conquest now is stopp'd by ev'ry Fort;
615 Bloodshed is cheap, and War becomes a Sport;
616 In vain the Captains fall, the Heroes bleed;
617 Fresh Victims to the Sacrifice succeed.
618 So doubtful Hills the weary'd Pilgrim sees,
619 And flatt'ring Prospects give a fancy'd Ease;
620 Delusive Hopes compell th'unwilling Feet
621 To climb th'Ascent, and pass the steepy Height:
622 That Summit gain'd, far distant Mountains rise,
623 Whose tow'ring Ridges meet the sorrowing Eyes,
624 And Pain renew'd, the wish'd-for Rest denies.
625 Ten Years could Hector coming Fate retard,
626 And from th'insulting Greek his Ilium guard. [Page 28]
627 Yet waving Heaps (as ancient Ballads tell)
628 The doubtful Ruins of Old Troy conceal;
629 Now ten Campagnes, and Battles yearly won,
630 Transfer no Kingdom, and no King dethrone.
631 But pitying ANNA ends the fruitless Toil,
632 Blood shall no more enrich the Flandrian Soil.
633 From Her the injur'd States expect Redress;
634 She, who maintain'd the War, must make the Peace.
635 She gives the Pow'r, whatever Side prevails,
636 Where-e're the Balance is, She holds the Scales.
637 To Her they all commit their Common Cause,
638 She sets their Limits, and confirms their Laws;
639 Portions divides, and gives to each his Share,
640 The Right of Birth, or the Reward of War.
641 All must the just impartial Hand acquit,
642 And those who causless murmur — will submit.
643 So when th'Almighty, with an awful Nod,
644 Made the rude Chaos own a greater God;
645 The blended Elements, that long had strove,
646 Would not so ready joyn in mutual Love:
647 But, first, the purer Parts their Places took,
648 And subtle Fire the meaner Mass forsook.
649 The War continu'd with the baser Kind,
650 While Seas were loth to be by Shores confin'd,
651 Or Earth to have the lowest Place assign'd. [Page 29]
652 ANNA has long enrich'd the Pow'rs ally'd,
653 Their Want of Treasure, and of Troops supply'd;
654 Yet they, as wrong'd, with awkward State complain,
655 Insatiate Thirst! and would new Empires gain.
656 So wanton Children sport in careless Play,
657 And slumb'ring lie, or toy the Hours away;
658 Heedless they live, nor sweat for daily Bread,
659 Yet cry, and murmur, if they are not fed.
660 The Belgick States forget their former Moan,
661 But swoln with bloated Pride, and Mighty grown,
662 New Conquests seek, and deem the Worlds their own.
663 Nor ravish'd Seas, nor India's spicy Plants
664 Content their Wishes, or suffice their Wants.
665 So when fierce Rains wash down the lessen'd Hills,
666 And redden'd Floods increase the swelling Rills;
667 The swift united Streams haste to the Plain,
668 And swampy Meads the gathering Waters drain:
669 Each neighb'ring Hill, and ev'ry rising Mound
670 Barrens itself t'enrich the lower Ground.
671 No Moisture can suffice th'insatiate Weeds,
672 Cresses, and filmy Rush, and flaggy Reeds. [Page 30]
673 Sunk in their Slime the marshy Vales below
674 Scorn those, to whom their Herbs such Rankness owe;
675 Their subject State they confident deny,
676 And lowest Fens will call themselves the High;
677 Cease, ye unthinking Hills, and strive no more
678 To swell th'ungrateful Bogs with a too lavish Store.
679 The Foreign Realms, whom Anna's Arms sustain'd,
680 Now boast of Pow'r, as they before complain'd.
681 So he who basely tempts the virtuous Dame,
682 In softer Words conceals the guilty Flame;
683 The trembling Suppliant her Resentment fears,
684 And adds to moving Words more moving Tears.
685 But if the Fair refuse with juster Pride
686 And prudent Scorn, what ought to be deny'd;
687 The Ravisher confess'd resumes the Sword,
688 And rudely threatens, whom he once ador'd.
689 But none will long the offer'd Peace refuse,
690 Lest what was conquer'd, they as certain lose.
691 In vain the hireling Troops their Courage boast,
692 Victoria sees not there her favourite Host.
693 The German Chief retir'd, nor could pursue
694 The well-laid Schemes his warlike Fancy drew.
695 Men cannot guess th'Events of future Time,
696 Ambition is the Growth of ev'ry Clime;[Page 31]
697 None can the Rise or Fall of Empires know,
698 Where Pow'r now ebbs, it may as sudden flow.
699 Gallia has oft, and oft has haughty Spain,
700 Indulg'd their Hopes of universal Reign,
701 And in revolving Years may oft again.
702 The Gods awhile seem to design no less,
703 And smiling, flatter Princes with Success.
704 By wond'rous Turns the heav'nly Pow'rs are known,
705 And baffled Schemes superiour Guidance own.
706 Heav'n has set Bounds to ev'ry rising State,
707 And Kingdoms have their Barriers fix'd by Fate.
708 An Infant will the Gallick Prince succeed,
709 The Sword is sheath'd; No more the Nations bleed.
710 That Kingdom hardly can itself defend,
711 Where Children reign, and factious Lords contend.
712 Once Gallia's Shore to Albion's Cliffs was joyn'd,
713 Till Seas grew rough, and Nereus was unkind;
714 Tho' lengthen'd Wars may a Distrust create,
715 And sow the spreading Seeds of vulgar Hate;
716 Again they may a stricter Union prove,
717 And join in mutual Aid, and mutual Love.
718 Nor shall the British Line Ensurance need,
719 Or Belgick Pow'rs determine, who succeed. [Page 32]
720 For Monarchy is Heaven's peculiar Care,
721 But Foreign Aid is worse than Civil War.
722 The promis'd Succour is an Handle made,
723 And a pretended Reason to invade;
724 When crafty Hengist with his Saxons came
725 T'assist the Isle, and fix the doubtful Claim;
726 The easy Britains the false Friend believ'd,
727 And with fond Joy the hostile Troops receiv'd.
728 But Druids taught by Nymphs repining sate,
729 And saw the coming Ills, and knew Britannia's Fate.
730 And now the British Fleets in Southern Seas,
731 With spreading Sails the wond'ring Nereids please.
732 In Havens erst unknown they proudly ride,
733 While the glad Tritons force the lazy Tide.
734 Toss'd with fresh Gales the wanton Streamers flow,
735 Nor dread the Storms above, nor Rocks below.
736 The Pow'rs protect, who rule the restless Sea,
737 And Winds themselves their Steerage will obey.
738 The Nymphs shall hide no more from human Sight,
739 But with their loveliest Forms the Bard invite.
740 Swift Fawns in open View shall scour the Plains,
741 And be, as once, familiar with the Swains.
742 The harmless Elves, in every Meadow seen,
743 Will dance at Mid-day on the public Green. [Page 33]
744 Pan, and the Shepherd-Youth shall loving sit
745 Beneath one Tree, and sport in rustick Wit;
746 In the same Shade alternate Songs repeat,
747 While Ægle helps the Maid to press the streaming Teat.
748 But now the Huntsman takes his usual Round,
749 While list'ning Foxes hear th'unwelcome Sound;
750 And early Peasants, who prevent the Day,
751 May hither Chance unweening guide their way;
752 For see — the grayish Edge of Dawn appears,
753 Night her Departure mourns in dewy Tears.
754 The Goblins vanish, and the Elfin Queen
755 Foregoes the Pleasures of the trampled Green.
756 Nature's unwilling to be rouz'd so soon,
757 And Earth looks Pale on the declining Moon;
758 The nimble Hours dress out th'impatient Sun,
759 While rising Fogs, and whisp'ring Gales fore-run.
760 The Bats (a doubtful Kind) begin their Sleep,
761 And to their Cells the darken'd Glow-Worms creep;
762 The coming Day the conscious Insects grieve,
763 And with slow Haste the grateful Herbage leave,
764 Wreath o'er the Grass, and the moist Path pursue,
765 Streaking with viscous Slime the shining Dew;
766 In some close Shade a friendly Covert find,
767 And Parent Earth receives the reptile Kind.
768 Guilt, and the Day disturb the wily Snakes,
769 And Urchins hide their Theft in thorny Brakes. [Page 34]
770 All fly the Sun, and seek a cool Retreat,
771 Nor envy buzzing Swarms, who joy in scorching Heat.
772 She said, and sudden all the Elfin Fair
773 Vanish'd unseen, and mixt with trackless Air.
774 But thou, O Wyndham, who dost not disdain
775 The Shepherd's Gift, nor scorn the rural Strain;
776 (Tho' to no pompous Sound the Ear inclines,
777 While the mean Sense is propt by stronger Lines)
778 Accept the Sylvan Song, —
779 With pleasing Look the fearful Bard receive;
780 You bad him first the humble Cottage leave;
781 Ready to praise, and willing to excuse,
782 You gave Assurance to the bashful Muse.
783 How would I now describe a gen'rous Mind
784 Improv'd by Study, and by Courts refin'd?
785 But you (ah! too resolv'd) will not allow
786 The Verse to tell, what Men already know;
787 Envy itself their Conduct must approve,
788 Whom the Prince honours, and the People love.
789 Tho' you (in this) unkind deny the Bard
790 The only Subject can his Pains reward,
791 You cannot make the tuneful Dryads cease,
792 For Goddesses will sing of whom they please;
793 Long will the grateful Woods your Name repeat,
794 And Wyndham be the Theme, when next the Dryads meet.