« AnteriorContinuar »
Oh, may once more the happy age appear,
When words were artless, and the thoughts sincere;
When gold and grandeur were unenvied things,
And courts less coveted than groves and springs.
Love then shall only mourn when truth complains,
And constancy feel transport in its chains;
Sighs with success their own soft anguish tell,
And eyes shall utter what the lips conceal;
Virtue again to its bright station climb,
And beauty fear no enemy but time;
The fair shall listen to desert alone,
And every Lucia find a Cato's son.
ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS OF WALES,
WITH THE TRAGEDY OF CATO, NOV. 1714.
THE muse that oft, with sacred raptures fired,
Has generous thoughts of liberty inspired,
And, boldly rising for Britannia's laws,
Engaged great Cato in her country's cause,1
On you submissive waits, with hopes assured,
By whom the mighty blessing stands secured,
And all the glories that our age adorn,
Are promised to a people yet unborn.
No longer shall the widowed land bemoan
A broken lineage, and a doubtful throne;
But boast her royal progeny's increase,
And count the pledges of her future peace.
1 Engaged great Cato in her country's cause.] Some little disingenuity has been charged on the author from this line (see Pope's Works, Ep. to Aug. v. 215, Mr. Warburton's edition,) nor can I wholly acquit him of it. The truth, however, seems to be this: Mr. A. had no party-views in composing this tragedy; and he was only solicitous (whatever his friends might be) to secure the suffrage of both parties, when it was brought on the stage. But the public would only see it in a political light: and was it to be wondered at, that a poet, in a dedication too, should take advantage of the general voice, to make a merit of his imputed patriotism, with the new family? How spotless must that muse be, that, in passing through a court, had only contracted this slight stain, even in the opinion of so severe a censor and casuist as Mr. Pope!
O, born to strengthen and to grace our isle!
While you, fair PRINCESS, in your offspring smile,
Supplying charms to the succeeding age,
Each heavenly daughter's triumphs we presage;
Already see the illustrious youths complain,
And pity monarchs doomed to sigh in vain.
Thou too, the darling of our fond desires,
Whom Albion, opening wide her arms, requires,
With manly valour and attractive air
Shalt quell the fierce and captivate the fair.
O England's younger hope! in whom conspire
The mother's sweetness and the father's fire!
For thee perhaps, ev'n now, of kingly race,
Some dawning beauty blooms in every grace,
Some Carolina, to heaven's dictates true,
Who, while the sceptred rivals vainly sue,
Thy inborn worth with conscious eyes shall see,
And slight the imperial diadem for thee.
Pleased with the prospect of successive reigns,
The tuneful tribe no more in daring strains
Shall vindicate, with pious fears opprest,
Endangered rights, and liberty distrest:
To milder sounds each muse shall tune the lyre,
And gratitude, and faith to kings inspire,
And filial love; bid impious discord cease,
And soothe the madding factions into peace;
Or rise ambitious in more lofty lays,
And teach the nation their new monarch's praise,
Describe his awful look and godlike mind,
And Cæsar's power with Cato's virtue joined.
Meanwhile, bright Princess, who, with graceful ease And native majesty, are formed to please, Behold those arts with a propitious eye, That suppliant to their great protectress fly! Then shall they triumph, and the British stage Improve her manners and refine her rage, More noble characters expose to view, And draw her finished heroines from you.
Nor you the kind indulgence will refuse, Skilled in the labours of the deathless muse : The deathless muse with undiminished rays Through distant times the lovely dame conveys:
To Gloriana Waller's harp was strung;
The queen still shines, because the poet sung.
Ev'n all those graces, in your frame combined,
The common fate of mortal charms may find,
(Content our short-lived praises to engage,
The joy and wonder of a single age,)
Unless some poet in a lasting song
To late posterity their fame prolong,
Instruct our sons the radiant form to prize,
And see your beauty with their fathers' eyes.
KNELLER, with silence and surprise
We see Britannia's monarch rise,
A godlike form, by thee displayed
In all the force of light and shade;
And, awed by thy delusive hand,
As in the presence-chamber stand.
The magic of thy art calls forth
His secret soul and hidden worth,
His probity and mildness shows,
His care of friends and scorn of foes:
In every stroke, in every line,
Does some exalted virtue shine,
And Albion's happiness we trace
Through all the features of his face.
Oh may I live to hail the day,
When the glad nation shall survey
Their sovereign, through his wide command,
Passing in progress o'er the land!
Each heart shall bend, and every voice
In loud applauding shouts rejoice,
Whilst all his gracious aspect praise,
And crowds grow loyal as they gaze.
This image on the medal placed,
With its bright round of titles graced,
And stampt on British coins, shall live,
To richest ores the value give,
Or, wrought within the curious mould,
Shape and adorn the running gold.
To bear this form, the genial sun
Has daily, since his course begun,
Rejoiced the metal to refine,
And ripened the Peruvian mine.
Thou, Kneller,1 long with noble pride,
The foremost of thy art, hast vied
With nature in a generous strife,
And touched the canvass into life.
Thy pencil has, by monarchs sought,
From reign to reign in ermine wrought,
And, in their robes of state arrayed,
The kings of half an age displayed.
Here swarthy Charles appears, and there
His brother with dejected air:
Triumphant Nassau here we find,
And with him bright Maria joined;
There Anna, great as when she sent
Her armies through the continent,
Ere yet her hero was disgraced:
Oh may famed Brunswick be the last,
(Though heaven should with my wish agree,
And long preserve thy art in thee,)
The last, the happiest British king,
Whom thou shalt paint, or I shall sing!
Wise Phidias, thus his skill to prove,
Through many a god advanced to Jove,
And taught the polished rocks to shine
With airs and lineaments divine;
Till Greece, amazed, and half afraid,
The assembled deities surveyed.
Great Pan, who wont to chase the fair,
And loved the spreading oak, was there;
1 Thou, Kneller.] If this little poem had begun here, and ended with "their king defied," it had been equal, or superior, to anything in any other poet, on the like occasion.
2 There never was anything happier than this whole illustration, nor more exquisitely expressed.
Old Saturn too, with up-cast eyes,
Beheld his abdicated skies;
And mighty Mars, for war renowned,
In adamantine armour frowned;
By him the childless goddess rose,
Minerva, studious to compose
Her twisted threads; the web she strung,
And o'er a loom of marble hung:
Thetis, the troubled ocean's queen,
Matched with a mortal, next was seen,
Reclining on a funeral urn,
Her short-lived darling son to mourn.
The last was he, whose thunder slew
The Titan race, a rebel crew,
That, from a hundred hills allied
In impious leagues, their king defied.
This wonder of the sculptor's hand
Produced, his art was at a stand:
For who would hope new fame to raise,
Or risk his well-established praise,
That, his high genius to approve,
Had drawn a GEORGE, or carved a Jove!
THE following Latin poems are, in their kind, excellent. They are the better worth reading, as they show with what care our young author had studied the prince of the Latin poets; and from what source he afterwards derived, what a certain writer calls, a little whimsically indeed, but, I think, not unhappily, his sweet Virgilian prose. This Virgilianism, if I may so speak, consists in opening a subject by degrees; in presenting it, first, in few and simple terms, and then enlarging and brightening it by a more distinct and exquisite expression, till the description becomes as it were full-blown, and is set before us in all its grace and beauty. With this gradual extension of a sentiment, or image, is joined an improvement in the rhythm. The ear is consulted, as well as the imagination; and the harmony of numbers keeps pace with the energy of expression. It is remarkable that Mr. Addison's studious imitation of Virgil's manner hurt his English poetry sometimes, though it always improved his English