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Did't wake the hollow-whifp'ring breeze
O thou, with whom in cheerlefs cell,
Seem'd to uprear the mystic head,
And trace the gloom with ghoftly tread;
Horror! his foul was all thy own!"
The author was himself a descriptive poet of the first class. Mr. William Collins thought himself aimed at by this piece of ridicule. His odes had been just published; and the laft lines feemed to refer to a particular paffage in them.
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.
KNOW the thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be filent, and attend!)
I know a reasonable Woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a Friend.
Not warp'd by Paffion, aw'd by Rumour,
Not grave through Pride, or gay through Folly, An equal Mixture of good Humour,
And fenfible foft Melancholy.
"Has fhe no faults then (Envy fays) Sir?"
When all the World confpires to praise her,
VER. 1. I know the thing] Equal in elegance to any compliment that Waller has paid to Sacchariffa, especially the last stanza, and the answer to Envy. The Lady addreft was Mrs. Howard, of Marble-hill, bed-chamber woman to Queen Caroline, and afterwards. Countess of Suffolk.
ON HIS GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM,
MARBLES, SPARS, GEMMS, ORES, AND MINERALS.
HOU who fhalt ftop, where Thames' translucent
Shines a broad Mirror through the fhadowy Cave;
Approach. Great NATURE ftudiously behold!
After VER. 6. in the MS.
You fee that Ifland's wealth, where, only free,
i. e. Britain is the only place in the globe which feels not tyranny even to its very entrails.
On his Grotto] The improving and finishing his Grott was the favourite amusement of his declining years; and the beauty of his poetic genius, in the difpofition and ornaments of this romantic recefs, appears to as much advantage as in his best contrived
VER. 8. Eye the Mine]
"Aurum irrepertum, et fic melius fitum
HORAT. 1. 3. od. 3.
Approach: But awful! Lo! th' Aegerian Grott, 9
Let fuch, fuch only, tread this facred Floor,
VER. 11. Where British fighs from dying Wyndham ftole,] In his MS. it was thus:
To Wyndham's breast the patriot paffions stole,
which made the whole allude to a certain anecdote of not much confequence to any but the parties concerned.
VER. 9. Aegerian Grott,] These are two charming lines; but are blemished by two bad rhymes, Grott to Thought; fcarce excufable in fo short a poem, in which every syllable ought to be correct.
It is remarkable that Juvenal having mentioned this celebrated cave, takes occafion to inveigh against artificial grotto-work, and adulterating the fimple beauties of nature, in lines uncommonly poetical:
"In vallem Egeria defcendimus, et Speluncas
Diffimiles veris; quanto præftantius effet
Numen aquæ, viridi fi margine clauderet undas
Sat. iii. v. 17.
Milton, in an exquifite Latin poem, addreft to Salfillus, vol. ii. P 532. has beautifully feigned that Numa is ftill living in this dark. grove and grotto, in the perpetual enjoyment of his Ægeria.
TO MRS. M. B.
ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
H be thou bleft with all that Heav'n can send,
Not with thofe Toys the female world admire,
Let Joy or Eafe, let Affluence or Content, And the gay Confcience of a life well spent,
VER. 10. 'Tis but] Immediately after this line were these four
following, in the original:
"If there's no hope, with kind, tho' fainter ray,
If every page of life's long volume tell
The fame dull story, Mordaunt, thou didst well!"
Colonel Mordaunt, who deftroyed himself, though not under the preffure of any ill or misfortune.