« PreviousContinue »
O, Babylon, how art thou fallen!
Thy fall more dreadful from delay!
Thy streets forlorn,
To wilds shall turn,
Where toads shall pant and vultures prey.
Such be her fate! But listen! from afar
He comes pursuant to divine decree,
To chain the strong, and set the captive free.
Chorus of YOUTHS.
Rise to transports past expressing,
Chorus of VIRGINS.
Cyrus comes the world redressing,
Hail to him with mercy reigning,
But chief to Thee, our God, defender, friend,
[This poem was written in February, 1774, but was not published until after the author's decease. It arose not from a scene at the Literary Club in Gerrard-street, as sometimes said, but from a more miscellaneous meeting, consisting of a few of its members and their friends who assembled to dine at the St. James's Coffeehouse. Much mirth and convivial pleasantry appear to have resulted from their meetings. The late Sir George Beaumont mentioned that whatever was the dinner hour, whether in a private or public party, Goldsmith always came late and generally in a bustle. A peculiarity like this drew attention upon him at table, and became a source of banter to his companions. This led to further observation: his person, dialect, and manners, his genius mingled with peculiarities, his negligences and blunders, often no doubt the effect of abstraction, furnished a theme for jocular notice, too tempting to be lost by men drawn together to amuse and be amused; and the remark of some one, how he would be estimated by posterity, first gave rise to the idea of characterizing him by epitaphs. It does not appear that many were written, or none that deserved remembrance, except that by Garrick, of which the following is stated to be an exact copy:—
"Here lies Poet Goldsmith, for shortnes called Noll,
See Life, ch. xxi.]
OF old, when Scarron his companions invited,
* The master of the St. James's coffee-house, where the Poet, and the friends he has characterized in this poem, occasionally dined.
+ Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry in Ireland. [Afterwards Bishop of Killaloe, and in 1749 translated to the see of Limerick. He died at Wimbledon, in Surrey, June, 7, 1806, in his eightieth year.]
The Right Hon. Edmund Burke.
§ Mr. William Burke, late secretary to General Conway, member for Bedwin, and afterwards holding office in India.
Mr. Richard Burke, collector of Granada; afterwards Recorder of Bristol.
Richard Cumberland, Esq., author of the West-Indian, Fashionable Lover, the Brothers, Calvary, &c. &c.
** Dr. Douglas, canon of Windsor (now Bishop of Salisbury), an ingenious Scotch gentleman, who has no less distinguished himself as a citizen of the world, than a sound critic, in detecting several literary mistakes (or rather orgeries) of his countrymen; particularly Lauder on Milton, and Bower's History of the Popes. [He died in 1807.]