Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Loud was the noise, aghast was every guest.
The women shrieked, the men forsook the feast;
The hounds at nearer distance hoarsely bayed ;
The hunter close pursued the visionary maid ;
She rent the heaven with loud laments, imploring aid.

The gallants, to protect the lady's right,
Their falchions brandished at the grisly sprite;
High on his stirrups he provoked the fight.
Then on the crowd he cast a furious look,
And withered all their strength before he strook:

Back, on your lives ! let be,' said he, my prey,
And let my vengeance take the destined way:
Vain are your arms, and vainer your defence,
Against the eternal doom of Providence:
Mine is the ungrateful maid by Heaven designed:
Mercy she would not give, nor mercy shall she find.'
At this the former tale again he told
With thundering tone, and dreadful to behold:
Sunk were their hearts with horror of the crime,
Nor needed to be warned a second time,
But bore each other back : soine knew the face,
And all had heard the much-lamented case
Of him who fell for love, and this the fatal place.

And now the infernal minister advanced,
Seized the due victim, and with fury lanced
Her back, and, piercing through her inmost heart,
Drew backward, as before, the offending part.
The reeking entrails next he tore away,
And to his meagre mastiffs made a prey.
The pale assistants on each other stared,
With gaping mouths for issuing words prepared;
The still-born sounds upon the palate hung,
And died imperfect on the faltering tongue.
The fright was general; but the female band-
A helpless train--in more confusion stand :
With horror shuddering, on a heap they run,.
Sick at the sight of hateful justice done;.
For conscience rung the alarm, and made the case their own.

So, spread upon a lake with upward eye,
A plunp of fowl behold their foe on high ;
They close their trembling troop; and all attend
On whom the sousing eagle will descend.

But most the proud Honoria feared the event,
And thought to her alone the vision sent.
Her guilt presents to her distracted mind
Heaven's justice, Theodore's revengeful kind,
And the same fate to the same sin a: signed ;
Already sees herself the monster's prey,
And feels her heart and entrails torn away.
'Twas a mute scene of sorrow, mixed with fear;)
Still on the table lay the unfinished cheer:
The kuight and hungry mastiffs stood around;
The mangled dame lay breathless on the ground:
When on a sudden, re-inspired with breath,
Again she rose, again to suffer death;
Nor stayed the hell-hounds, nor the hunter stayed,
But followed, as before, the flying maid:
The avenger took from earth the avenging sword,
And mounting light as air, his sable steed he spurred:
The clouds dispelled, the sky resumed her light,
And Nature stood recovered of her fright.

But fear, the last of ills, remained behind,

[ocr errors]

And horror heavy sat on every mind.
Nor Theodore encouraged more his feast,
But sternly looked, as hatching in his breast
Some deep designs; which, when Honoria viewed,
The fresh'impulse her former fright renewed;
She thought herself the trembling dame who fled,
And him the grisly glost who spurred the infernal steed:
The more dismayed, for when the guests withdrew,
Their courteous host, saluting all the crew,
Regardless passed her o'er; nor graced with kind adieu ;
That sting infixed within her haughty mind
The downfall of her empire she divined,
And her proud heart with secret sorrow pined.
Home as they went, the sad discourse renewed,
Of the relentless dame to death pursued,
And of the sight obscene so lately viewed.
None dost arraign the righteous doom she bore;
Even they who pitied most, yet blamed her more ;
The parallel they needed not to name,
But in the dead they damned the living dame.

At every little noise she looked behind,
For still the knight was present to her mind :
And anxious oft she started on the way,
And thought the horseman-ghost came thundering for his prey.
Returned, she took her bed with little rest,
But in short slumbers dreamt the funeral feast :
Awaked, she turned her side, and slept again;
The same black vapours mounted in her brain,
And the same dreams returned with double pain.

Now forced to wake, because afraid to sleep,
Her blood all fevered, with a furious leap.
She sprung froin bed, distracted iv her mind,
And feared, at every step, a twitching sprite behind.
Darkling and desperate, with a staggering pace,
Of death afraid, and conscious of disgrace;
Fear, pride, remorse, at once her heart assailed;
Pride put remorse to flight, but fear prevailed.
Friday, the fatal day, when next it came,
Her soul forethought the fiend would change his game,
And her pursue, or Theodore be slain,
And two ghosts join their packs to hunt her o'er the plain.

This dreadful image so possessed her mind,
That, desperate any succour else to find,
She ceased all farthex hope ; and now began
To make reflection on the unhappy man,
Rich, brave, and young, who past expression loved ;
Proof to disdain, and not to be removed :
Of all the men respected and admired ;
Of all the dames, except herself, desired :
Why not of her? preferred above the rest
By him with knightly deeds, and open love professed ?
So had another been, where he his vows addressed.
This quelled her pride, yet other doubts remained,
That, once disdaining, she might be diedained.
The fear was just, but greater fear prevailed;
Fear of her life by hellish hounds assailed:
He took a lowering leave; but who can tell
What outward hate might inward love conceal ?
Her sex's arts she knew; and why not then
Might deep dissembling have a place in men ?
Her hope began to dawn; resolved to try,
She fixed on this her utmost remedy:

:

Death was behind, but hard it was to die.
'Twas time enough at last on death to call,
The precipice in sight, a shrub was all
That kindly stood betwixt to break the fatal fall.

One maid she had, beloved above the rest;
Secure of her, the secret she confessed ;
And now the cheerful light her fears dispelled;
She with 10 winding turns the truth concealed,
But put the woman off, and stood revealed :
With faults confessed, commissioned her to go,
If pity yet had place, and reconcile her foe;
The welcome message made, was soon received ;
'Twas what he wished, and hoped, but scarce believed;
Fate seemed a fair occasion to present;
He knew the sex, and feared she might repent,
Should he delay the moment of consent.
There yet remained to gain her friends (a care
The modesty of maidens well might spare);
But she with such a zeal the cause embraced
(As women, where they will, are all in haste),
The father, mother, and the kin beside,
Were overborne by fury of the tide ;
With full consent of all, she changed her state;
Resistless in her love, as in her hate.

By her example warned, the rest beware;
More easy, less i.nperious, were the fair;
And that one hunting, which the devil designed

For one fair female, lost him half the kind.
Enjoyment of the Present Hour.From the twenty-ninth ode of the

Third Book of Horace.
Enjoy the present smiling hour,
And put it out of Fortune's power :
The tide of business, like the running stream,
Is sometimes high and sometimes low,
A quiet ebb or a tempestuous flow,
And always in extreme.
Now with a noiseless gentle course
It keeps within the middle bed :
Anon it lifts aloft the head,
And bears down all before it with impetuous force;
And trunks of trees come rolling down;
Sheep and their folds together drown:
Both house and homestead into seas are borne;
And rocks are from their old foundations torn;
And woods, made thin with winds, their scattered honours mourno

/Happy the man, and happy he alone,

He who can call to-day his own:
He who, secure within, can say,
To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have lived to-day.
Be fair or foul, or rain or shine,
The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not heaven itself upon the past has power;
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hours
Fortune, that with malicious joy
Does man, her slave, oppress,
Proud of her office to destroy,
Is seldom pleased to bless :
Still various, and inconstant stille

But with an inclination to be ill,
Promotes, degrades, delights in strife,
And makes a lottery of life.
I can enjoy her while she's kind;
But when she dances in the wind,
And shakes her wings, and will not stay,
I puff the prostitute away :
The little or the much she gave is quietly resigned :
Content with poverty, my soul I arm ;
And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.

.9

What is it to me,
Who never sail in her up aithful sea,
If storms arise, and clouds grow black;
If the mast split, and threaten wreck ?
Then let the greedy merchant fear
For his ill-gotten gain ;
And pray to gods that will not hear,
While the debating winds and billows bear
His wealth into the main.
For me, secure from Fortune's blows,
Secure of what I cannot lose,
In my small pinnace I can sail,
Contemning all the blustering roar ;
And running with a merry gale,
With friendly stars my safety seek,
Within some little winding creek,
And see the storm ashore.

JOIN PHILIPS.

Southey has said that the age from Dryden to Pope is the worst age of Englishı poetry: In this interval - which was but shiort, fi r Dryden bore fruit io ile last, and Pope was early in blossomthere were about twenty poets, most of whom might be blotted from our literature, without being missed or regretied. The names of Smith, Duke, King, Sprat, llughes, Blackmore, Fenton, Yalden, Hammond, Savage, &c. have been preserved by Dr. Jounson, but they excite no poctical associations. Their works present a dead-level of lame and uninteresting mediocrity. The artificial taste introduced in the reign of Charles II. 1o the exclusion of the romantic spirit which animated the previous reign, sunk at last into a mere collocation of certain plırases and images, of whiih each repe ition was more weak than The last. Pope revived the national spirit hy his polished salire and splendid versification; but the true poetical feeling lay dorniunt vill Thomson's “Seasons! and Fercy's Reliques. of Ancient Poetry' spoke to the heart of the people, and recalled the public taste from art to nature

Of the artificial poets of this age, JOHN PHILIPS (1676–1708) eviuced considerable talent in lis“ Splenilid Shilling,' a parody on the style of Milton. He was the son of Dr. Philips, archdeacon of Salop. Philips wrote a poem on the victory of Blenheim (1705), and another on Cider, the laiter in iinitation of the Georgics. This was published in 1703, Tonsou the publisher purchasing the copyright for

forty guineas. Philips was an avowed imitator of Milton, but regretted that, like his own Abdiel, the great poet had not been faithful found

But he-however let the Muse abstain,
Nor blast his fame, from whom she learned to sing
In much inferior strains, grovelling beneath
Th’ Olympian hill, on plains and vales' intent-

Mean follower. The notion that Philips was able, by whatever he might writē, to blast the fame of Milton, is one of those preposterous conceits which even able men will sometimes entertain.

The Splendid Shilling.
Happy the man who, void of care and strife,
In silken or in leathern purse retains
A Splendid Shilling; he nor hears with pain
New oysters cried, nor sighs for cheerful ale;
But with his friends, when nightly mists arise,
To Juniper's Magpie or Town-hail (1) repairs;
Where, mindful of the nymph, whose wanton eye
Transfixed his soul, and kindled amorous flames,
Chloe or Phillis, he each circling glass
Wishes her health, and joy, and equal love.
Meanwhile he smokes, and laughs at merry tale,
Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint.
But I, whom griping penury surrounds,
And hunger, sure attendant upon want,
With scanty offals, and small acid tiff,
Wretched repast ! my meagre corpse sustain:
Then solitary walk, or doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
Regale chilled fingers ; or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polished jet,
Exhale mundungus, ill-perfuming scent:
Not blacker tube, nor of a shorter size,
Smokes Cambro-Briton-versed in pedigree,
Sprung from Cad wallader and Arthur, kings
Full famous in romantic tale-when he
O'er many a craggy hill and barren cliff,
Upon a cargo of famed Cestrian cheese,
High overshadowing rides, with a design
To vend his wares, or at the Avonian mart,
Or Mariduum, or the ancient town
Ycleped Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream
Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil !
Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vio
With Massic, Setin, or renowned Falern.

Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow
With looks demure, and silent pace, a dun,
Horrible moaster! hated by gods and men,
To my aerial citadel ascends:
With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate;
With hideous accent thrice he calls ; I know
The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound.
What should I do? or whither turn? Amazed,
Confounded, to the dark recess I fly
Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect

1 Two noted alehouses in Oxford, 1700.

« ZurückWeiter »