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Let him alone, with what he made,
To toss and turn the world below; At his command the storms invade ;
The winds by his commission blow; Till with a nod he bids them cease, And then the calm returns, and all is peace.
To-morrow and her works defy,
Lay hold upon the present hour, And snatch the pleasures passing by,
To put them out of Fortune's power : Nor love, nor love's delights, disdain ; Whate'er thou gett'st to-day is gain.
Secure those golden early joys,
That youth unsour'd with sorrow bears,
With sickness and unwieldy years.
The appointed hour of promised bliss,
The pleasing whisper in the dark, The half unwilling willing kiss,
The laugh that guides thee to the mark, When the kind nymph would coyness feign, And hides but to be found again ; These, these are joys the gods for youth ordain.
SIR CHARLES SEDLEY.
BORN ABOUT 1639-DIED 1701.
This gentleman, one of the most witty and profligate of the
courtiers of Charles the Second, is best known as a dramatic writer. After spending a youth of folly and gaiety, he went into parliament, and became a man of business. His daughter was the mistress of the Duke of York, afterwards James II. At the accession of her royal lover she was created Countess of Dorchester. It does not appear that her father enjoyed her elevation. When Sedley was asked why he promoted the Revolution, which opened the way to the throne to the Princess Mary, the wife of William Prince of Orange, he replied, “ Gratitude to the King, who had made his daughter a Countess, made him do what he could to make her a Queen.”
Sedley is the writer of the well-known song, “Ah, Chloris! could I now but sit.”
TO A DEVOUT YOUNG LADY.
PHILLIS, this early zeal assuage !
You overact your part :
Gave heaven but half their heart.
till past the pleasure, ne'er
The devil at fifteen.
SONG IN BELLAMIRA.
Alas! our passions move ;
That like before we love.
You may be handsome and have wit,
Be secret and well-bred,
He only can succeed.
Of sighs, nor oaths, to make it known :
Lovers should use their love alone.
Into their very looks 'twill steal,
And he that most would hide his flame, Does in that case his pain reveal :
Silence itself can love proclaim.
BORN 1667-Died 1744.
The reputation of Swift as a poet is eclipsed by his fame as
a prose writer, and he is thus in some measure the martyr of his own popularity. Swift was the son of an English attorney; but he was born in Dublin, and was a posthumous child. By the kindness of an uncle, he was educated at the celebrated school of Kilkenny, and was afterwards sent to Trinity College, Dublin. On the death of his uncle, Swift found a patron in Sir William Temple, with whom he resided at Moor Park for two years, when some coldness arising he returned to Ireland, took orders, and obtained the prebend of Kilroot, in the diocese of Connor. Sir William soon missed his intelligent companion; and Swift, who never liked to reside in Ireland, was easily induced to return to Moor Park, on the promise of more lucrative English preferment. The accomplishment of this promise depended on King William, and was never fulfilled. On the death of his patron, Swift again returned to Ireland with Earl Berkeley, as his chaplain and private secretary. He had been promised a deanery; but received in its stead the living of Rathbeggin and Laracor in Meath. At this time came over from England, the lady whose history is so closely connected with his future life, the celebrated and unfortunate Stella. The name of this lady was Johnson; she was the daughter of the steward of Sir William Temple, and possessed a small independence. The conduct of Swift to this lady, who, according to his own showing, was handsome and amiable, and to whom he was through life strongly attached, is an anomaly in human affairs. She remained for her whole life in habits of the strictest intimacy and confidence with Swift, who jealously guarded her from every other connexion ; yet it is affirmed that they never met save in the presence of a third person ; and though he at last acceded to her wish for marriage, their marriage was never made public. One account states, that she declined the tardy justice of an acknowledgment offered only to sooth her deathbed ; and another, that, even while this idol of his affections lay at the point of death, he refused her request of being acknowledged as a wife. Swift, naturally ambi“ If,” says
tious, and possessed of great and ready talents as a partywriter, became closely connected with Mr Harley (afterwards Earl of Oxford) the Tory minister of Queen Anne. This occasioned long visits to London, during which he became intimate with Bolingbroke, Pope, Ar. buthnot, Addison, Gay, and that knot of illustrious men known under the general name of “The wits of Queen Anne's time.” During one of these residences in London, a young Irish lady of the name of Van Homrigh formed a violent passion for the Dean of St Patrick's, and ultimately became its victim. His indulgence or sufferance of her ill-placed tenderness is the more to be blamed, as he had not even the excuse of sharing it. Johnson, “ it be said that Swift should have checked a passion he never meant to gratify, recourse must be had to that extenuation which he so much despised, — Men are but men.'" This young lady, on coming to her fortune, pressed the Dean to marry her, ignorant or unwilling to believe in his attachment to Stella; or hoping that a passion for a younger, wealthier, and more beautiful rival might have effaced that early affection. When the truth burst upon her, she cancelled a will made in favour of Swift, left her money to a mere stranger, whom she ordered to publish a poem, in which the Dean, "for pastime, or to show his wit,” had paid her many poetical compliments, and vowed a strong poetical attachment. She died immediately afterwards. This affair occasioned, it may well be believed, deep distress to Stella, and also to the greater offender, Swift made a long distant tour; and his friends, who were all admirers of the pleasing and elegant woman who was the object of his eccentric tenderness, did what they could to comfort Stella under this singular calamity. From the death of Stella, or Mrs Johnson, which took place in 1724, Swift gradually declined. His life had lost its charm : “ he never," says Johnson,"mentioned her without a sigh.” His temper,