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Suck the moist soil, or slumber at their ease,
Rock'd by the restless brook, that draws aslope
Its humid train, and laves their dark abodes.
Where rages not Oppression? Where, alas!
Is Innocence secure? Rapine and Spoil
Haunt ev'n the lowest deeps; seas have their sharks,
Rivers and ponds inclose the ravenous pike;
He in his turn becomes a prey; on him
Th' amphibious otter feasts. Just is his fate
Deserv'd: but tyrants know no bounds; nor spears
That bristle on his back, defend the perch
From his wide greedy jaws; nor burnish'd mail
The yellow carp; nor all his arts can save
Th' insinuating eel, that hides his head
Beneath the slimy mud; nor yet escapes
The crimson-spotted trout, the river's pride,
And beauty of the stream. Without remorse,
This midnight pillager, ranging around,
Insatiate swallows all. The owner mourns
Th' unpeopled rivulet, and gladly hears
The huntsman's early call, and sees with joy
The jovial crew, that march upon its banks
In gay parade, with bearded lances arm'd.
The subtle spoiler, of the beaver kind,
Far off perhaps, where ancient alders shade
The deep still pool, within some hollow trunk
Contrives his wicker couch: whence he surveys
His long purlieu, lord of the stream, and all
The finny shoals his own. But you, brave youths,
Dispute the felon's claim; try every root,
And every reedy bank; encourage all
The busy spreading pack, that fearless plunge
Into the flood, and cross the rapid stream.
Bid rocks and caves, and each resounding shore,
Proclaim your bold defiance; loudly raise
Each cheering voice, till distant hills repeat
The triumphs of the vale. On the soft sand
See there his seal impress'd! and on that bank
Behold the glittering spoils, half-eaten fish,
Scales, fins, and bones, the leavings of his feast.
Ah! on that yielding sag-bed, see, once more
His seal I view. O'er yon dank rushy marsh
The sly goose-footed prowler bends his course,
And seeks the distant shallows. Huntsman, bring
Thy eager pack, and trail him to his couch.
Hark! the loud peal begins, the clamorous joy,
The gallant chiding, loads the trembling air.
Ye Naiads fair, who o'er these floods preside,
Raise up your dripping heads above the wave,
And hear our melody. Th' harmonious notes
Float with the stream; and every winding creek
And hollow rock, that o'er the dimpling flood
Nods pendent, still improve from shore to shore
Our sweet reiterated joys. What shouts!
What clamor loud! What gay heart-cheering sounds
Urge through the breathing brass their mazy way!
Nor quires of Tritons glad with sprightlier strains
The dancing billows, when proud Neptune rides
In triumph o'er the deep. How greedily
They snuff the fishy steam, that to each blade
Rank-scenting clings! See! how the morning dews
They sweep, that from their feet besprinkling drop
Dispers'd, and leave a track oblique behind.
Now on firm land they range; then in the flood
They plunge tumultuous; or through reedy pools
Rustling they work their way: no hole escapes
Their curious search. With quick sensation now
The fuming vapor stings; flutter their hearts,
And joy redoubled bursts from every mouth
In louder symphonies. Yon hollow trunk,
That with its hoary head incurv'd salutes
The passing wave, must be the tyrant's fort,
And dread abode. How these impatient climb,
While others at the root incessant bay!
They put him down. See, there he drives along!
Th' ascending bubbles mark his gloomy way.
Quick fix the nets, and cut off his retreat
Into the sheltering deeps. Ah! there he vents!
The pack plunge headlong, and protended spears
Menace destruction: while the troubled surge
Indignant foams, and all the scaly kind,
Affrighted, hide their heads. Wild tumult reigns,
And loud uproar. Ah, there once more he vents!
See, that bold hound has seiz'd him! down they sink,
Together lost: but soon shall he repent
His rash assault. See, there escap'd, he flies
Half-drown'd, and clambers up the slippery bank
With ooze and blood distain'd. Of all the brutes,
Whether by Nature form'd, or by long use,
This artful diver best can bear the want
Of vital air. Unequal is the fight,
Beneath the whelming element. Yet there
He lives not long; but respiration needs
At proper intervals. Again he vents;
Again the crowd attack. That spear has pierc'd
His neck; the crimson waves confess the wound.
Fixt is the bearded lance, unwelcome guest,
Where'er he flies; with him it sinks beneath,
With him it mounts; sure guide to every foe.
Inly he groans; nor can his tender wound
Bear the cold stream. Lo! to yon sedgy bank
He creeps disconsolate: his numerous foes
Surround him, hounds, and men. Pierc'd through
On pointed spears they lift him high in air;
Wriggling he hangs, and grins, and bites in vain:
Bid the loud horns, in gaily-warbling strains,
Proclaim the felon's fate; he dies, he dies.
Rejoice, ye scaly tribes, and leaping dance
Above the wave, in sign of liberty
Restor'd; the cruel tyrant is no more.
Rejoice secure and bless'd; did not as yet
Remain some of your own rapacious kind;
And man, fierce man, with all his various wiles.
O happy! if ye knew your happy state,
Ye rangers of the fields; whom Nature boon
Cheers with her smiles, and every element
Conspires to bless. What, if no heroes frown
From marble pedestals; nor Raphael's works,
Nor Titian's lively tints, adorn our walls?
Yet these the meanest of us may behold;
And at another's cost may feast at will
Our wondering eyes; what can the owner more?
But vain, alas! is wealth, not grac'd with power.
The flowery landscape, and the gilded dome,
And vistas opening to the wearied eye,
Through all his wide domain; the planted grove,
The shrubby wilderness, with its gay choir
Of warbling birds, can't lull to soft repose
Th' ambitious wretch, whose discontented soul
Is harrow'd day and night; he mourns, he pines,
Until his prince's favor makes him great.
See, there he comes, th' exalted idol comes!
The circle's form'd, and all his fawning slaves
Devoutly bow to earth; from every mouth
The nauseous flattery flows, which he returns
With promises, that die as soon as born.
Vile intercourse! where virtue has no place.
Frown but the monarch; all his glories fade ;
He mingles with the throng, outcast, undone,
The pageant of a day; without one friend
To soothe his tortur'd mind: all, all are fled.
For, though they bask'd in his meridian ray,
The insects vanish, as his beams decline.
Not such our friends; for here no dark design,
No wicked interest, bribes the venal heart;
But inclination to our bosom leads,
And weds them there for life; our social cups
Smile, as we smile; open, and unreserv'd,
We speak our inmost souls; good-humor, mirth,
Soft complaisance, and wit from malice free,
Smooth every brow, and glow on every cheek.
O happiness sincere! what wretch would groan
Beneath the galling load of power, or walk
Upon the slippery pavements of the great,
Who thus could reign, enenvied and secure!
Ye guardian powers who make mankind your care, Give me to know wise Nature's hidden depths, Trace each mysterious cause, with judgment read Th' expanded volume, and submiss adore That great creative Will, who at a word
Spoke forth the wondrous scene. But if my soul
To this gross clay confin'd flutters on Earth
With less ambitious wing; unskill'd to range
From orb to orb, where Newton leads the way;
And view with piercing eyes the grand machine,
Worlds above worlds; subservient to his voice,
Who, veil'd in clouded majesty, alone
Gives light to all; bids the great system move,
And changeful seasons in their turns advance,
Unmov'd, unchang'd, himself: yet this at least
Grant me propitious, an inglorious life,
Calm and serene, nor lost in false pursuits
Of wealth or honors; but enough to raise
My drooping friends, preventing modest Want
That dares not ask. And if, to crown my joys,
Ye grant me health, that, ruddy in my cheeks,
Blooms in my life's decline; fields, woods, and
Each towering hill, each humble vale below,
Shall hear my cheering voice, my hounds shall wake
The lazy Morn, and glad th' horizon round.
ALEXANDER POPE, an English poet of great emi- ample remuneration for his labor. This noble work nence, was born in London in 1688. His father, was published in separate volumes, each containwho appears to have acquired wealth by trade, was ing four books; and the produce of the subscripa Roman Catholic, and being disaffected to the tion enabled him to take that house at Twickpolitics of King William, he retired to Binfield, in enham which he made so famous by his residence Windsor Forest, where he purchased a small house and decorations. He brought hither his father and with some acres of land, and lived frugally upon mother; of whom the first parent died two years the fortune he had saved. Alexander, who was from afterwards. The second long survived, to be cominfancy of a delicate habit of body, after learning to forted by the truly filial attentions of her son. About read and write at home, was placed about his eighth this period he probably wrote his Epistle from year under the care of a Romish priest, who taught "Eloisa to Abelard," partly founded upon the exhim the rudiments of Latin and Greek. His nat- tant letters of these distinguished persons. He has ural fondness for books was indulged about this rendered this one of the most impressive poems of period by Ogilby's translation of Homer, and San- which love is the subject; as it is likewise the dy's of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which gave him most finished of all his works of equal length, in so much delight, that they may be said to have made him a poet. He pursued his studies under different priests, to whom he was consigned. At length he became the director of his own pursuits, the variety of which proved that he was by no means deficient in industry, though his reading was rather excursive than methodical. From his early years poetry was adopted by him as a profession, for his poetical reading was always accompanied with attempts at imitation or translation; and it may be affirmed that he rose at once almost to perfection in this walk. His manners and conversation were equally beyond his years; and it does not appear that he ever cultivated friendship with any one of his own age or condition.
point of language and versification. The exaggeration, however, which he has given to the most impassioned expressions of Eloisa, and his deviations from the true story, have been pointed out by Mr. Berrington in his lives of the two lovers.
During the years in which he was chiefly engaged with the Iliad, he published several occasional works, to which he usually prefixed very elegant prefaces; but the desire of farther emolument induced him to extend his translation to the Odyssey, in which task he engaged two inferior hands, whom he paid out of the produce of a new subscription. He himself, however, translated twelve books out of the twenty-four, with a happiness not inferior to his Iliad; and the transaction, conducted in a truly mercantile spirit, was the source of considerable profit to him. After the appearance of the Odyssey, Pope almost solely made himself known as a satirist and moralist. In 1728 he published the three first books of the "Dunciad," a kind of mock-heroic, the object of which was to
Pope's Pastorals were first printed in a volume of Tonson's Miscellanies in 1709, and were generally admired for the sweetness of the versification, and the lustre of the diction, though they betrayed a want of original observation, and an artificial cast of sentiment: in fact, they were any thing rather than real pastorals. In the mean time he was exer- overwhelm with indelible ridicule all his antagocising himself in compositions of a higher class; nists, together with some other authors whom spleen and by his "Essay on Criticism," published two or party led him to rank among the dunces, though years afterwards, he obtained a great accession of they had given him no personal offence. Notwithreputation, merited by the comprehension of thought, standing that the diction and versification of this the general good sense, and the frequent beauty of poem are labored with the greatest care, we shall illustration which it presents, though it displays borrow nothing from it. Its imagery is often exmany of the inaccuracies of a juvenile author. In tremely gross and offensive; and irritability, ill1712 his " Rape of the Lock," a mock-heroic, nature, and partiality, are so prominent through the made its first appearance, and conferred upon him whole, that whatever he gains as a poet he loses as the best title he possesses to the merit of invention. a man. He has, indeed, a claim to the character of The machinery of the Sylphs was afterwards added, a satirist in this production, but none at all to that an exquisite fancy-piece, wrought with unrivalled of a moralist.
skill and beauty. The "Temple of Fame," altered The other selected pieces, though not entirely from Chaucer, though partaking of the embarrass-free from the same defects, may yet be tolerated; ments of the original plan, has many passages which may rank with his happiest efforts.
and his noble work called the "Essay on Man," which may stand in the first class of ethical poems, In the year 1713, Pope issued proposals for pub- does not deviate from the style proper to its topic. lishing a translation of Homer's Iliad, the success This piece gave an example of the poet's extraor of which soon removed all doubt of its making an dinary power of managing argumentation in verse, accession to his reputation, whilst it afforded an and of compressing his thoughts into clauses of 2 E 2
the most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding tion of a Catholic friend, with the ceremonies of them into passages distinguished by every poetic that religion, he quietly expired on May 30th, 1744, ornament. The origin of this essay is, however, at the age of fifty-six. He was interred at Twickengenerally ascribed to Lord Bolingbroke, who was adopted by the author as his "guide, philosopher, and friend;" and there is little doubt that, with respect to mankind in general, Pope adopted, without always fully understanding, the system of Bolingbroke.
ham, where a monument was erected to his memory by the commentator and legatee of his writings, bishop Warburton.
Regarded as a poet, while it is allowed that Pope was deficient in invention, his other qualifications will scarcely be disputed; and it will generally be On his works in prose, among which a collection admitted that no English writer has carried to a of letters appears conspicuous, it is unnecessary here greater degree correctness of versification, strength to remark. His life was not prolonged to the period and splendor of diction, and the truly poetical of old age: an oppressive asthma indicated an early power of vivifying and adorning every subject that decline, and accumulated infirmities incapacitated he touched. The popularity of his productions has him from pursuing the plan he had formed for new been proved by their constituting a school of English works. After having complied, through the instiga-poetry, which in part continues to the present time.
WHAT dire offence from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing this verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This e'en Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t'assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage?
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
Sol through white curtains shot a timorous ray,
And ope'd those eyes that must eclipse the day:
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow prest,
Her guardian Sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
"Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head.
A youth more glittering than a birth-night beau
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say:
"Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vision touch thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught;
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel-powers,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heavenly flowers;
Hear, and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd;
What, though no credit doubting wits may give,
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky:
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead :
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And though she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip, with nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on Earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
Know farther yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some Sylph embrac'd :
For, spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treacherous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires!
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care:
These set the head, and those divide the hair;
"Tis but their Sylph, the wise celestials know, Though honor is the word with men below. Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
For life predestin'd to the Gnome's embrace.
These swell their prospects, and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain'd, and love denied:
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And in soft sounds, 'your grace' salutes their ear.
"Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
"Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,
Through all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from every part,
They shift the moving Toy-shop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call;
Oh, blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
"Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend;
But Heaven reveals not what, or how, or where.
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can:
Beware of all, but most beware of man!" [long,
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
"Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux ;
Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read,
But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores,
With head uncover'd, the cosmetic powers.
A heavenly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of Pride.
Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various offerings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face:
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
And Betty's prais'd for labors not her own.
Nor with more glories in th' ethereal plain,
The Sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver'd Thames.
Fair nymphs and well-dress'd youths around her
But every eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those:
Favors to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the Sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the Sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide :
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind,
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth ivory neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
With hairy springes we the birds betray;
Slight lines of hair surprise the finny prey;
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
And Beauty draws us with a single hair.
Th' adventurous baron the bright locks admir'd;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
For when success a lover's toil attends,
Few ask if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd
Propitious Heaven, and every power ador'd;
But chiefly Love-to Love an altar built,
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves,
And all the trophies of his former loves.
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The powers gave ear, and granted half his prayer;
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.
But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sunbeams trembling on the floating tides:
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And soften'd sounds along the waters die;
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gentle play,
Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay,
All but the Sylph-with careful thoughts opprest,
Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
He summons straight his denizens of air;
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aëreal whispers breathe,
That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the Sun their insect wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold;