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Unknown, unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threat'ning o'er her slow decay.
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No fav'ring Muse her morning dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus, grac'd with humble virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
'Tis yours to crown desert-beyond the grave.

PROLOGUE

TO THE COMEDY OF THE GOOD-NATURED MAN, 1769.

REST by the load of life, the weary mind Surveys the gen'ral toil of human kind, With cool submission joins the lab'ring train, And social sorrow loses half its pain: Our anxious bard without complaint may share This bustling season's epidemic care; Like Cæsar's pilot dignified by fate, Tost in one common storm with all the great; Distrest alike the statesman and the wit, When one a borough courts, and one the pit. The busy candidates for power and fame Have hopes, and fear, and wishes, just the same; Disabled both to combat or to fly,

From zeal or malice, now no more we dread,
For English vengeance wars not with the dead.
A generous foe regards with pitying eye
The man whom fate has laid where all must lie.

To wit reviving from its author's dust Be kind, ye judges, or at least be just. For no renew'd hostilities invade Th' oblivious grave's inviolable shade. Let one great payment every claim appease, And him, who cannot hurt, allow to please; To please by scenes unconscious of offence, By harmless merriment, or useful sense. Where aught of bright or fair the piece displays, Approve it only--'tis too late to praise. If want of skill or want of care appear, Forbear to hiss-the poet cannot hear. By all like him must praise and blame be found, At best a fleeting gleam, or empty sound. Yet then shall calm reflection bless the night, When liberal pity dignify'd delight; When pleasure fir'd her torch at virtue's flame, And mirth was bounty with an humbler name.

Must hear all taunts, and hear without reply.
Uncheck'd on both loud rabbles vent their rage,
As mongrels bay the lion in a cage.
Th' offended burgess hoards his angry tale,
For that blest year when all that vote may rail;
Their schemes of spite the poet's foes dismiss,
Till that glad night when all that hate may hiss.
"This day the powder'd curls and golden
coat,"

Says swelling Crispin, "begg'd a cobbler's vote.'
"This night our wit," the pert apprentice cries,
"Lies at my feet; I hiss him, and he dies."
The great, 'tis true, can charm the electing

SPRING,

AN ODE.

STERN Winter now by Spring repress'd, Forbears the long-continued strife; And Nature on her naked breast

Delights to catch the gales of life. Now o'er the rural kingdom roves

PROLOGUE

TO THE COMEDY OF A WORD TO THE WISE'.
SPOKEN BY MR. HULL.

THIS night presents a play which public rage,
Or right, or wrong, once hooted from the stage.

Soft pleasure with the laughing train, Love warbles in the vocal groves,

And vegetation plants the plain, Unhappy! whom to beds of pain,

1 Performed at CoventGarden theatre in 1777, for the benefit of Mrs. Kelly, widow of Hugh Kelly, esq. (the author of the play) and her children.

Arthritic tyranny consigus; Whom smiling Nature courts in vain, Though rapture sings and beauty shines. Yet though my limbs disease invades,

tribe;

The bard may supplicate, but cannot bribe;

Yet, judg'd by those whose voices ne'er were sold, Once more great Nature's works renew,

A guide-a father-and a friend,

He feels no want of ill-persuading gold;
But, confident of praise, if praise be due,
Trusts without fear to merit and to you.

Once more on Wisdom's voice attend.
From false caresses, causeless strife,

Wild hope, vain fear, alike remov'd; Here let me learn the use of life,

Upon the first representation of this play, 1770, a party assembled to damn it, and succeeded.

Her wings Imagination tries,
And bears me to the peaceful shades,
Where's humble turrets rise.

Here stop, my soul, thy rapid flight

Nor from the pleasing groves depart, Where first great Nature charm'd my sight, Where Wisdom first inform'd my heart. Here let me through the vales pursue

When best enjoy'd-when most improv'd. Teach me, thou venerable bower,

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MIDSUMMER,

AN ODE.

OPHOBUS! down the western sky,
Far hence diffuse thy burning ray,
Thy light to distant worlds supply,

And wake then to the cares of day.
Come, gentle Eve, the friend of care,

Come, Cynthia, lovely queen of night! Refresh me with a cooling air,

And cheer me with a lambent light. Lay me, where o'er the verdant ground

Her living carpet Nature spreads ; Where the green bower, with roses crown'd, In showers its fragrant foliage sheds; Improve the peaceful hour with wine,

Let music die along the grove; Around the bowl let myrtles twine,

And ev'ry strain be tun'd to love. Come, Stella, queen of all my heart!

Come, born to fill its vast desires! Thy looks perpetual joys impart,

Thy voice perpetual love inspires. Whilst all my wish and thine complete,

By turns we langu'sh and we burn, Let sighing gales our sighs repeat,

Our murmurs--murmuring brooks return. Let me when Nature calls to rest,

And blushing skies the morn foretel, Sink on the down of Stella's breast,

And bid the waking world farewell.

AUTUMN,

AN ODE.

ALAS! with swift and silent pace,

Impatient time rolls on the year; The seasons change, and Nature's face

Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe. 'Twas Spring, 'twas Summer, all was gay, Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow; The flowers of Spring are swept away,

And Summer-fruits desert the bough. The verdant leaves that play'd on high,

And wanton'd on the western breeze, Now trod in dust neglected lie,

As Boreas strips the bending trees. The fields that wav'd with golden grain,

As russet heaths, are wild and bare; Not moist with dew, but dreuch'd with rain,

Nor health, nor pleasure, wanders there. No more while through the midnight shade,

Beneath the Moon's pale orb I stray, Soft pleasing woes my heart invade,

As Progne pours the melting lay. From this capricious clime she soars,

Oh! would some god but wings supply! To where each morn the Spring restores, Companion of her flight I'd fly. Vain wish! me fate compels to bear

The downward season's iron reign, Compels to breathe polluted air,

And shiver on a blasted plain. What bliss to life can Autumn yield,

If glooms, and showers, and storms prevail; And Ceres flies the naked field,

And flowers, and fruits, and Phoebus fail?

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In groundless hope, and causeless fear,
Unhappy man! behold thy doom;
Still changing with the changeful year,
The slave of sunshine and of gloom.
Tir'd with vain joys, and false alarms,

With mental and corporeal strife,
Snatch me, my Stella, to thy arms,
And screen ine from the ills of life.

TO MISS ****

ON HER GIVING THE AUTHOR A GOLD AND SILK
NET-WORK PURSE OF HER OWN WEAVING'.
THOUGH gold and silk their charms unite
To make thy curious web delight,
In vain the varied work would shine;
If wrought by any hand but thine;
Thy hand, that knows the subtle art
To weave those nets that catch the heart.
Spread out by me, the roving coin
Thy nets may catch, but not confine;
Nor can I hope thy silken chain

The glitt❜ring vagrants shall restrain.
Why, Stella, was it then decreed
The heart once caught should ne'er be freed?

TO MISS *****

How passion's well-accorded strife
Gives all the harmony of life;
Thy pictures shall thy conduct frame,
Consistent still, though not the same;
Thy music teach the nobler art,
To tune the regulated heart.

ON HER PLAYING UPON THE HARPSICHORD

IN A

ROOM HUNG WITH FLOWER-PIECES OF HER OWN
PAINTING.

WHEN Stella strikes the tuneful string
In scenes of imitated spring,
Where beauty lavishes her powers
On beds of never-fading flowers,
And pleasure propagates around
Each charm of modulated sound;
Ah! think not, in the dangerous hour,
The nymph fictitious as the flower;
But shun, rash youth, the gay alcove,
Nor tempt the snares of wily love.

When charms thus press on ev'ry sense,
What thought of flight, or of defence?
Deceitful hope, and vain desire,
For ever flutter o'er her lyre,
Delighting as the youth draws nigh,
To point the glances of her eye,
And forming with unerring art
New chains to hold the captive heart.
But on those regions of delight
Might truth intrude with daring flight,
Could Stella, sprightly, fair, and young,
One moment hear the moral song,
Instruction with her flowers might spring,
And wisdom warble from her string.

Mark, when from thousand mingled dyes
Thou seest one pleasing form arise,
How active light, and thoughtful shade,
In greater scenes each other aid;
Mark, when the different notes agree
In friendly contrariety,

EVENING:

AN ODE.

TO STELLA.

EVENING now from purple wings
Sheds the grateful gifts she brings;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead,
Cooling breezes shake the reed;
Shake the reed, and curl the stream
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near the chequer'd, lonely grove,
Hears, and keeps thy secrets, Love.
Stella, thither let us stray,
Lightly o'er the dewy way.
Phoebus drives his burning car,
Hence, my lovely, Stella, far;
In his stead, the queen of night
Round us pours a lambent light;
Light that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow.
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Evening's silent hours employ,
Silence best, and conscious shades
Please the hearts that love invades,
Other pleasures give them pain,
Lovers all but love disdain.

1 Printed among Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies.

2 Printed among Mrs. Williams's Miscella

nies.

TO THE SAME.

WH
HETHER Stella's eyes are found
Fix'd on earth, or glancing round,
If her face with pleasure glow,
If she sigh at other's woe,
If her easy air express
Conscious worth, or soft distress,
Stella's eyes, and air, and face,
Charm with undiminish'd grace.

If on her we see display'd
Pendant gems, and rich brocade,
If her chintz with less expense
Flows in easy negligence;
Still she lights the conscious flame,
Still her charms appear the same;
If she strikes the vocal strings,
If she's silent, speaks, or sings,
If she sit, or if she move,
Still we love and still approve.

Vain the casual, transient glance,
Which alone can please by chance,
Beauty, which depends on art,
Changing with the changing heart,
Which demands the toilet's aid,
Pendent gems and rich brocade.
I those charms alone can prize
Which from constant nature rise,
Which nor circumstance, nor dress,
E'er can make, or more, or less.

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TO A FRIEND.

No
more thus brooding o'er yon heap,
With avarice painful vigils keep;
Still unenjoy'd the present store,
Still endless sighs are breath'd for more.
Oh! quit the shadow, catch the prize,
Which not all India's treasure buys!
To purchase Heaven has gold the power?
Can gold remove the mortal hour?
In life can love be bought with gold?
Are friendship's pleasures to be sold?
No-all that's worth a wish-a thought,
Fair virtue gives unbrib'd, unbought.
Cease then on trash thy hopes to bind,
Let nobler views engage thy mind.

With science tread the wond'rous way,
Or learn the Muses' moral lay;
In social hours indulge thy soul,
Where mirth and temperance mix the bowl!
To virtuous love resign thy breast,
And be, by blessing beauty-blest.

Thus taste the feast by Nature spread,
Ere youth and all its joys are fled;
Come taste with me the balm of life,
Secure from pomp, and wealth, and strife,
I boast whate'er for man was meant,
In health, and Stella, and content;
And scorn! oh! let that scorn be thine!
Mere things of clay that dig the mine.

STELLA IN MOURNING.

WHEN lately Stella's form display'd
The beauties of the gay brocade,
The nymphs, who found their power decline,
Proclaim'd her not so fair as fine.
"Fate! snatch away the bright disguise,
"And let the goddess trust her eyes."
Thus blindly pray'd the fretful fair,
And Fate malicious heard the pray'r;
But, brighten'd by the sable dress,
As virtue rises in distress,
Since Stella still extends her reign,
Ah! how shall envy sooth her pain?

Th' adoring youth and envious fair,
Henceforth shall form one common prayer:
And love and hate alike implore
The skies" That Stella mourn no more."

TO STELLA.

NOT the soft sighs of vernal gales,
The fragrance of the flowery vales,
The murmurs of the crystal rill,
The vocal grove, the verdant bill;
Not all their charms, though all unite,
Can touch my bosom with delight.

Not all the gems on India's shore,
Not all Peru's unbounded store,
Not all the power, nor all the fame,
That heroes, kings, or poets, claim;
Nor knowledge which the learn'd approve;
To form one wish my soul can move.

Yet Nature's charms allures my eyes,
And knowledge, wealth, and fame I prize;

Fame, wealth, and knowledge, I obtain,
Nor seek 1 Nature's charms in vain ;
In lovely Stella all combine;
And, lovely Stella! thou art mine.

VERSES.

WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF A GENTLEMAN TO
WHOM A LADY HAD GIVEN A SPRIG OF MYRTLE'.

WHAT hopes, what terrours, does thy gift create?
Ambiguous emblem of uncertain fate!
The myrtle (ensign of supreme command,
Consign'd by Venus to Melissa's hand)
Not less capricious than a reigning fair,
Oft favours, oft rejects, a lover's pray'r.
In myrtle shades oft sings the happy swain,
In myrtle shades despairing ghosts complain.
The myrtle crowns the happy lovers' heads,
Th' unhappy lovers graves the myrtle spreads.
Oh! then, the meaning of thy gift impart,
And ease the throbbings of an anxious heart.
Soon must this bough, as you shall fix its doom,
Adorn Philander's head, or grace his tomb.

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1 These verses were first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1768, p. 439, but were written many years earlier. Elegant as they are, Dr. Johnson assured me, they were composed in the short space of five minutes. N.

2 This lady was Bridget, third daughter of Philip Bacon, esq. of Ipswich, and relict of Philip Evers, esq. of that town. She became the second wife of sir Cordell Firebrace, the last baronet of that name (to whom she brought a fortune of 25,0001.), July 26, 1757. Being again left a widow in 1759, she was a third time married, April 7, 1762, to William Campbell, esq. uncle to the present duke of Argyle; and died July 3, 1782.

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