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IV.

Though in a bare and rugged way,
Through devious, lonely wilds I stray,
Thy bounty shall my wants beguile;
The barren wilderness shall smile,
With sudden green and herbage crown'd,
And streams shall murmur nil around.

ANNE FINCH, COUNTESS OF WINCHELSEA. Died 1720.

This lady was the daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, of Sidmonton, ia the county of Southampton, and was married to Heneage, Earl of Winchelsea. A collection of her poems was printed in 1713.

"It is remarkable,'1 says Wordsworth, "that excepting a passage or two in the Windsor Forest of Pope, and some delightful pictures in the poems of Lady Winchelsea, the poetry of the period intervening between the publication of the Paradise Lost and the Seasons, does not contain a single new image of external nature."

THE ATHEIST AND THE ACORN.

1 Methinks the world is oddly made,
And every thing's amiss,
A dull, presuming Atheist said,
As stretch'd he lay beneath a shade;
» And instanced it in this:

Behold, quoth he, that mighty thing,

A Pumpkin large and round,
Is held but by a little string,
Which upwards cannot make it spring,

Or bear it from the ground.

Whilst on this Oak a fruit so small,

So disproportion'd, grows;
That who with sense surveys this all,
This universal casual ball,

Its ill contrivance knows.

My better judgment would have hung

That weight upon a tree.
And left this mast, thus slightly strung,
'Mongst things which on the surface sprung

And small and feeble be.

No more the caviller could say,

Nor farther faults descry;
For, as he upwards gazing lay,
An Acorn, loosen'd from the stay,

Fell down upon his eye.

Th' ofi'endcd part with tears ran o'er,

As punish'd for the sin;
Fool! had that bough a pumpkiu bore
Thy whimsies must have work'd no ipore.

Nor skull had kept them in.

Life's Progress.

How gayly is at first begun

Our life's uncertain race!
Whilst yet that sprightly morning sun,
With which we just set out to run,

Enlightens all the place.

How smiling the world's prospect lies,

How tempting to go through!
Not Canaan to the prophet's eyes,
From Pisgah, with a sweet surpriso,

Did more inviting show.

How soft the first ideas prove,

Which wander through our minds! How full the joys, how free the love, Which does that early season move, As flowers the western winds 1

Our sighs are then but vernal air,

But April drops our tears,
Which swiftly passing, all grows fair,
Whilst beauty compensates our care,

And youth each vapor clears.

But, oh 1 too soon, alas 1 wo climb,

Scarce feeling, we ascend The gently-rising hill of Time, From whence with grief we see that prime

And all its sweetness end.

The die now cast, our station known,

Fond expectation past: The thorns which former days had sown, To crops of late repentance grown,

Through which we toil at last.

Whilst every care's a driving harm,

That helps to bear us down;
Which faded smiles no more can charm,
But every tear's a winter-storm,

And every look's a frown.

MATTHEW PRIOR. 1665—1721.

Or the parentage of Prior very little is known. He was nephew of the keeper of a tavern at Charing Cross, where he was found by the Earl of Dorset, and sent, at his expense, to be educated at Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship. By the same nobleman's influence, he went as secretary to the English ambassador at the Hague. In 1697 he was secretary of legation at the treaty of Ryswick, and the next year held the same office at the court of France. At fifty-three years of age he found himself, after all his important employments, with no other means of subsistence than his fellowship at Cambridge; but the publication of his poems by subscription, and the kindness of Lord Hasley, restored him to easy circumstances for the rest of his life. He died, after a lingering illness, in 1721, in the fifty-eighth year of his age.

« Prior," says Campbell, « was one of the last of the race of poets who relied for ornament on scholastic allusion and pagan machinery; but he used them like Swift, more in jest than earnest, and with good effect." His poetry has the qualities of ease, fluency, and correctness. We give one specimen:—

AN EPITAPH.

Interred beneath this marble stone

Lie sauntering Jack and idle Joan.

While rolling threescore years and one

Did round this globe their courses run,

If human things went ill or well,

If changing empires rose or fell,

The morning past, the evening came,

And found this couple still the same.

They walk'd, and eat, good folks: what then

Why then they walk'd and eat again:

They soundly slept the night away;

They did just nothing all the day:

Nor sister either had nor brother;

They seem'd just tallied for each other.

Their moral and economy
Most perfectly they made agree:
Each virtue kept its proper bound,
Nor trcspass'd on the other's ground.
Nor fame nor censure they regarded;
They neither punish'd nor rewarded.
He cared not what the footman did;
Her maids she neither praised nor chid:
So every servant took his course,
And, bad at first, they all grew worse.
Slothful disorder fill'd his stable,
And sluttish plenty deck'd her table.
Their beer was strong; their wine was port;
Their meal was large; their grace was short.
They gave the poor the remnant meat,
Just when it grew not fit to eat

They paid the church and parish rate,
And took, but read not, the receipt;
For which they claim'd their Sunday's due,
Of slumbering in an upper pew.

No man's defects sought they to know;
So never made themselves a foe.
No man's good deeds did they commend;
So never raised themselves a friend.
Nor cherish'd they relations poor,
That might decrease their present store;
Nor barn nor house did they repair,
That might oblige their future heir.

They neither added nor confounded;
They neither wanted nor abounded.
Nor tear nor smile did they employ
At news of public grief or joy.
When bells were rung and bonfires made,
If ask'd, they ne'er denied their aid:
Their jug was to the ringers carried,
Whoever either died or married.
Their billet at the fire was found,
Whoever was deposed or crown'd.

Nor good nor bad, nor fools nor wise;
They would not learn, nor could advise:
Without love, hatred, joy, or fear,
They led—a kind of—as it were:
Nor wish'd nor cared, nor laugh'd nor cried:
And so they lived, and so they died.

ESTHER VANHOMRIGH. Died 1721.

This accomplished female is the well-known "Vanessa" of Dean Swift While the following beautiful ode will give an idea of her refined tasto and highly cultivated mind, the cold, heartless manner in which he treated her, must ever remain as a blot upon his character.1

ODE TO SPRING.

Hail, blushing goddess, beauteous Spring!
Who, in thy jocund train, dost bring
Loves and graces, smiling hours,
Balmy breezes, fragrant flowers;
Come, with tints of roseate huo,
Nature's faded charms renew.

Yet why should I thy presence hail?
To me no more the breathing gale
Comes fraught with sweets, no more the rose
With such transcendent beauty blows,
As when Cadenus blest the scene,
And shared with me those joys serene.
When, unperceived, the lambent fire
Of friendship kindled new desire;
Still listening to his tuneful tongue,
The truths which angels might have sung

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Divine imprest their gentle sway,
And sweetly sto|f my soul away.
My guide, instructor, lover, friend,
Dear names, in one idea blend;
Oh! still conjoint, your incense rise,
And waft sweet odors to the skies.

LADY RACHEL RUSSELL. 1636—1723.

This most admirable woman was the wife of Lord William Russell, who was judicially murdered, on an alleged charge of treason, July 21, 1683. At the trial of her husband she accompanied him into court; and when he was inhumanly refused counsel, and allowed only an amanuensis, she stood forth as that assistant, and excited the deepest sympathy as well as admiration in all who beheld her. After sentence was pronounced against him, she promised him to take care of her own life, for the sake of his children,—a promise she religiously kept, though she survived him above forty years. "Her letters," says Burnett, » are written with an elegant simplicity, with truth and nature, whioh can flow only from the heart. The tenderness and constancy of her affection for her murdered lord, present an image to melt the souLv|

A collection of her letters between herself and her correspondents was pub lished in 1773. The following is

TO DR. FITZWILLIAM."

I need not tell you, good doctor, how little capable I have been of such an exercise as this. You will soon find how unfit I am still for it, since my yet disordered thoughts can offer me no other than such words as express the deepest sorrows, and confused as my yet amazed mind is. But such men as you, and particularly one so much my friend, will, I know, bear with my weakness, and compassionate my distress, as you have already done by your good letter and excellent prayer. I endeavor to make the best use I can of both; but I am so evil and unworthy a creature, that though I have desires, yet I have no dispositions, or worthiness, towards receiving comfort. You, that knew us both, and how we lived, must allow I have just cause to bewail my loss. I know it is common with others to lose a friend; but to have lived with such a one, it may be questioned how few can glory in the like happiness, so consequently lament the like loss. Who can but shrink at such a blow, till by the mighty aids of his Holy Spirit, we will let the gift of God, which he hath put into our hearts, interpose? That reason which sets a measure to our souls in prosperity, will then suggest many things which we have seen

1 "I have now before me a volume of letters by the widow of the beheaded Lord HuiaeU, which are full of the most moving and impressive eloquence."— Horace H'otjnie.

2 A divine for whom Lady Russell had a prcat esteem and friendship; he bad been chaplain to oer father, as he was afterwards to the Duke of York.

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