Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

But not the brightest joy, which Arts, 1
In floods of mental light, billow;
Nor what firm iriendlhip's zeal imparts,
Blest antidote ot" bit erelt woe'
Nor those that Love's sweet hours dispense,
Can equal the ecstatic sense, .
When, swelling to a fond excess,
V The grateful praises of rcliev'd distress,

Re-echoed thro' the heart, the foul of Bounty bless.

PROLOGUE to the MINIATURE PICTURE.

Tf'ritien by Richard? Bkinsley Sheridan, Esq. Spoken Ij

Air. King.

1
1 HILL'D by rough gales, while yet reluctant May
j With-holds the beauties of the vernal day;
As some fond maid, whom matron frowns reprove,
Suspends the smile her heart devotes to love;
The season's pleasures too delay their hour,
And Winter revels with protracted pow'r:
Then blame not, Critics, if, thus late, we bring
A Winter's drama—but reproach -the Spring.
What prudent cit dares yet the season trust,
Balk in his whilky, and enjoy the dust?
Hors'd in Chenplide, scarce yet the gayer spark
Atchieves the Sunday triumph of the Park;
Scarce yet you fee him, dreading to be late,
Scour the New-road, and dath through Grosvenor-gate,
Anxious—-and fearful too—his steed to shew,
The ha> k'd Bucephalus of Rotten-row I
Careless he seems, yet, vigilantly sty,
"Woos the stray glance of Ladies pasting by,
While his oft' bee!) insidiously alide,
Provokes the caper wtich he seems to chide 1
Scarce rural Kensington due honour gains,
The vulgar verdure of her walk remains,
Where white-rob'd Milses amble two by two,
Nodding to booted beaux—' How do, how do?'
With generous questions that no answer wait,
'How vastly full! a'n't you come vastly late?
* Isn't it quite charming? When do you leave town?
'A'n't you quite tii'd? Pray, can we sot you down?'
These superb pleasures of a London May
Imperfect yet, we. hail the cold delay;
But if this plea's denied, in our excuse ~j

Another still remains you can't refuse; >

It is a Lady writes—and hark—a noble Muse. J Vol. XXIII. P But

[graphic]

But see a Critic- starting from his bench—

'A noble Author?' Yos, Sir; but the Play'* not French;

Yet if it were, no blame on us could fall;

For we, you know, must follow Fashion's call;

And true it is things lately were Rs Train

To woo the Gallic Muse at Drury-lane; >

Not to import a troop of foreign elves,

But treat you with French actors—in ourselves:

A friend we had, who vow'd he'd make us speak

Fure. flippant French,—by contact—in a week;

Told us 'twas time to study what was good,

Polish, .and leave off being understood,

That crouded audiences we thus might bring

To Monsieur Parsons and Chevalier King:

Or lhould the vulgars grumble now and then,

The prompter might translate—for country gentlemen.

Strait all subscrib'd—Kings, Gods, Mutes, Siuger, Actor,—

A Flanders figure-dancer our contractor.

But here, I grieve to own, tho't it be to you,

He acted—e'en as most contractors do;

Sold what be never dealt in, and th' amount

Being first ditcharg'd, submitted his account:

And what th' event? Their industry was such,

Dodd spoke good Flemish, Bannister bad Dutch.

Then the rogue told us, with insulting ease,

So it was foreign, it was sure to please:

Beaux, wits, applaud, as sailiion should command,'

And Misses laugh—to seem to understand—

So from each clime our foil may something gain;

Manhood frorn Rome, and sprightliness from Spain j

Some Russian Ruscius next delight the age,

And a Dutch Hcinel skate along the stage.

Exotic fopperies, hail! whose flatt'ring smile

Supplants the sterner virtues of our ille!

Thus, while with Chinese sirs and Indian pines

Our nurs'ries swarm, the Britilh oak declines:

Yet, vain our Mules fear—no foreign laws

We dread, while native beauty pleads our cause:

While you're to judge, whose smiles are honours higher

Than verse sliould gain, but where those eyes inspire.

But is the men presume your pow'r to awo,

Retort their churlish senatorial law;

This is your house.—and move—the gentlemen withdraw

Then you may vote, with envy never ceasing,

Your inilucuce has increas'd, and is increasing;

But there, I trust, the relolciion's finilh'd;

Sure none will far—it ought to be diminilh'd.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Cfmraders of Sallust and Livy. From Hatley's Essay on History.

BUT Rome's proud Genius, with exulting claim,
Points to her rivals of the Grecian name I
Sententious Sallust leads her lofty train;
Clear, tho' concise, elaborately plain,
Poising his scale of words with frugal care,
Klor leaving one superfluous atom there!
Yet well displaying, in a narrow space,
Truth's native strength, and Nature's easy grace j
Skill'd to detect, in tracing Action's course,
The hidden motive, and the human source.
His lucid brevity the palm has won.
By Rome's decision, from Olorus' Son.

Of mightier spirit, of majestic frame,
With powers proportions to the Roman frame,
When Rome's fierce Eagle his broad wings unfurl'd,
And fliadow'd with his plumes the subject world,
In bright pre-eminence, that Greece anight own,
Sublimer Livy claims ih' Historic throne;
With that rich Eloquence, whose golden light
Brings the full scene distinctly to the sight;
That Zeal for Truth, which Interest cannot bend,
That Fire, which Freedom ever gives her friend.
Immortal artist of a work supreme!
Delighted Rome beheld, with proud esteem,
Her own bright image, of colosi'al size,
From thy long toils in purest marble rife.
But envious Time, with a malignant stroke,
This sacred statue into fragments broke;
In Lethe's stream its nobler portions funk,
And left Futurity the wounded trunk.
Yet, like the matchless, mutilated frame,
To which great Angf.lo bequeath'd his name,
This glorious ruin, in whose strength we find
The splendid vigour of the Sculptor's mind,
In the fond eye of Admiration still
Rivals the siniih'd form* of modern skill.

[graphic]

On Biography and t/ie Charaflcr of Plutarch. From the fame'.

O BLEST Biography! thy charms of yore
Historic Truth to strong Affection boTe,
And fost'ring Virtue gave thee as thy dower,
Of both thy parents the attractive power;

P2 To

To win the heart, the wavering thought to fix.
And fond delight with wise instruction mix.
First of thy votaries, peerless, and alone,
Thy Plutarch sliines, by moral beauty known:
Enchanting Sage; whose living lessons teach,
What heights of Virtue human efforts reach.
Tho" oft thy Pen, eccentrically wild,
Ramble, in Learning's various maze beguil'd;
Tho' in thy Style no brilliant graces shine,
Nor the clear conduct of correct Design,
Thy every page is uniformly bright
With mild Philanthropy's diviner light.
Of gentlest manners, as of mind elate,
Thy happy Genius had the glorious fate
To regulate, with Wisdom's soft controul,
The strong ambition of a Trajan's soul.
But O! how rare benignant Virtue springs.
In the blank bosom of despotic kings!

Charadtr of FROiasAST. From t/te same.

YET Courtesy, with generous Valour join'd,
Fair Twins of Chivalry! rejoie'd to find
A faithful Chronicler in plain Froissaet;
As rich in honesty'as void of art. s

As the young Pealjnt, led by spirits keen
To some great city's gay and gorgeous scene,
Returning, with increase of proud delight,
Dwells on the various splendor of the sight j
And gives his title, tho' told in terms uncouth,
The charm of Nature, and the force of Truth,
Tho' rude engaging; such thy simple page
Seem?, O Froissart! to this enlighten'd age.
Proud of their spirit, in thy writings (hewn,
Fair Faith ami Honour mark thee for their ownj
Tho' oft the dupe of those delusive times,
Thy Genius, foster'd with romantic rhymes,
Appears to play the legendary Bard,
And trespass on the truth it meant to guard.
Still shall thy name, with lasting glory, stand
High on the list of that advent'rous band,
Who, bidding History speak a modern tongue*
From her cramp'd hand the Monkish fetters flung,
While yet deprese'd in Gothic niglit stie. lay,
Nor law th,' approaching dawn of Attic day.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][table][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »