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On her shadow long and gay
Dauntless on his native sands
+ The red Dragon is the device of Cadwallader, which all his descendants bore on their banners.
THE DEATH OF HOEL.*
Had I but the torrent's might,
Too, too secure in youthful pride,
To Cattraeth’s vale in glittering row
* From the Welch of Aneurim, styled the Monarch of the Bards. He flourished about the time of Talliessin, A. D. 570. This Ode is extracted from the Gododin.
See Mr. Evans's Specimens, p. 71 and 73.
A LONG STORY.*
In Britain's isle, no matter where,
An ancient pile of building stands:f The Huntingdons and Hattons there
Employ'd the power of fairy hands.
To raise the ceilings fretted height,
Each pannel in achievements clothing, Rich windows that exclude the light,
And passages, that lead to nothing.
Full oft within the spacious walls,
When he had fifty winters o'er him, My grave Lord-Keeper led the brawls;ť
The seals and maces danc'd before him.
• Mr. Gray's Elegy in a Country Church Yard, before it appeared in print, was handed about in manuscript ; and amongst other eminent personages who saw and admired it, was the Lady Cobham, who resided at the Mansion-House, at Stoke-Pogeis. The performance induced her to wish for the author's acquaintance; and Lady Schaub and Miss Spred, then at her house, undertook to effect it. These two ladies waited upon the author at his aunt's solitary mansion, where he at that time resided; and not finding him at home, they left their siames and a billet. Mr. Gray, surprised at such a compliment, returned the visit. And as the beginning of this acquaintance wore a little of the face of romance, he soon after gave a fanciful and pleasant account of it in the following copy of verses, which he entitled, 6 A Long Story.'
+ The Mansion-House, at Stoke-Pogeis, then in the possession of Viscouniess Cobham. The house formerly belonged to the Earls of Huntingdon, and the family of Hation.
Sir Christopher Hatton, promoted by Queen Elizabeth for his graceful person and fine dancing.-Brawls were a sort of figure-dance, then in vogue.
His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green,
His high-crown'd hat, and satin doublet, Mov'd the stout heart of England's Queen,
Though Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it.
What, in the very first beginning !
Shame of the versifying tribe !
Can you do nothing but describe?
A house there is (and that's enough)
From whence one fatal morning issues A brace of warriors, not in buff,
But rustling in their silks and tissues.
The first came cap-a-pie from France,
Her conquering destiny fulfilling, Whom meaner beauties eye askance,
And vainly ape her art of killing.
The other Amazon kind heav'n
Had arm’d with spirit, wit, and satire : But Cobham had the polish giv'n,
And tipp'd her arrows with good-nature.
To celebrate her eyes, her air
Coarse panegyrics would but tease her, Melissa is her Nom de Guerre.
Alas, who would not wish to please her!
With bonnet blue and capuchine,
And aprons long, they hid their armour ;
In pity to the country farmer.
Fame, in the shape of Mr. P—,*
(By this time all the parish know it) Had told that thereabouts there lurk'd
A wicked imp, they call a Poet:
Who prowl'd the country far and near,
Bewitch'd the children of the peasants, Dried up the cows, and lam'd the deer,
And suck'd the eggs, and kill'd the pheasants.
My Lady heard their joint petition,
Swore by her coronet and ermine, She'd issue out her high commission
To rid the manor of such vermin.
The Heroines undertook the task,
Through lanes unknown, o'er stiles they ventur'd, Rapp'd at the door, nor stay'd to ask,
But bounce into the parlour enter'd.
The trembling family they daunt,
They Airt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle, Rummage his Mother, pinch his Aunt,
And up stairs in a whirlwind rattle:
Each hole snd cupboard they explore,
Each creek and cranny of his chamber, Run hurry-skurry round the floor,
And o'er the bed and tester clamber;
• The allusion here is to Mr. Robert Purt, a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge; who died of the small.pox, April, 1752, soon after the publication of the Poem. He was a neighbour of Mr. Gray's, when the latter resided at Stoke.