Page images

Ought that is great or good.-Hail, Cantium, hail !
Illustrious parent of the finest fruits !
Illustrious parent of the best of men !
For thee antiquity's thrice sacred springs,
Placidly stagnant, at their fountain-head
1 rashly dare to trouble, it from thence
I ought for thy atility can drain,
And in thy towns adopt the Ascræan muse.
Hail heroes ! hail invaluable gems !
Fav’rites of Heav'n, to whom the general doom
Is all remitted, who alone possess
Of Adam's sons fair Eden-rest ye here,
Nor seek an earthly good above the hop;
A good untasted by your ancient kings,
And to your very sires almost unknown.

In those blest days when great Eliza reign'd
O'er the adoring nation, when fair peace
O'erspread an upstain'd olive round the land,
Or laurell’d war did teach our winged fleets
To lord it o'er the world; when our brave sires
Drank valour from uncauponated beer;
The hop, before an interdicted plant,
Shunn'd like fell aconite, began to hang
Its folded floscles from the golden vine,
And bloom'd a shade to Cantium's


Delightsome, and in cheerful goblets laught
Potent, what time Aquarius' urn impends,
To kill the dulsome day; potent to quench
The Sirian ardour, and autumnal ills
To heal with mild potations, sweeter far
Than those which erst the subtile Hengist mix'd
Tenthral voluptuous Vortigern, He, with love
Emasculate, and wine, the toils of war

Neglected; and to dalliance vile and sloth
Emancipated, saw th’ encroaching Saxons
With unaffected eyes ; his hand which ought
T' have shook the spear of justice, soft and smooth
Play'd ravishing divisions on the lyre :
This Hengist mark'd, and,- for curs'd insolence
Soon fattens on impunity, and rises
Briareus from a dwarf,-fair Thanet gaind.
Nor stopt he here: but to immense attempts
Ambition, sky-aspiring, led him on
Adrentrous. He an only daughter rear'd,
Roxena, matehless maid ! nor rear'd in vain.
Her, eagle-ey'd callidity, deceit,
And fairy fiction, rais'd above her sex,
And furnish'd with a thousand various wiles,
Prepost'rous, more than female--wond'rous fair
She was, and docile, which her pious nurse
Observ'd, and early in each female fraud
Her 'gan initiate : well she knew to smile
Whene'er vexation gall'd her; did she weep?
T'was not sincere, the fountains of her eyes
Play'd artificial streams, yet so well forc'd,
They look'd like nature; for ev'n art to her
Was nat'ral, and contrarieties
Seem'd in Roxena congruous and allied.
Such was she when brisk Vortigern beheld,
Ill-fated prince! and lov'd her. She perceir'd,
Soon she perceiv'd her conquest: soon she told,
With basty joy transported, her old sire.
The Saxon inly smild, and to his isle
The willing youth invited: but first bade
The nymph prepare the potions; such as fire
The blood's meand'ring rivulets, and depress

To love the soul. Lo! at the noon of night,
Thrice Hecate invok'd the maid and thrice
The goddess stoop'd assent; forth from a cloud
She stoop'd, and gave the philters pow'r to charm.
These in a splendid cup of burnish'd gold
The lovely sorceress mix'd, and to the prince
Health, peace, and joy propin'd; but to herself
Mutter'd dire exorcisms, and wish'd effect
To the love-creating draught; Jowly she bow'd
Fawning insinuation bland, that might
Deceive Laertes' son; her lucid orbs
Shed copiously the oblique rays; her face
Like modest Luna's shone, but not so pale,
And with no borrow'd lustre; on her brow
Smild fallacy, while summoning each grace
Kneeling she gave the cup. The prince,--for who,
Who could have spurn'd a suppliant so divine?-
Drank eager, and in ecstasy devour'd
Th' ambrosial perturbation ; mad with love
He clasp'd her, and in hymeneal bands
At once the nymph demanded and obtain'd.
Now Hengist, all his ample wish fulfilled,
Exulted, and from Kent the uxorious prince
Exterminated, and usurp'd his seat.
Long did he reigo; but all-devouring time
Has raz'd his palace walls-perchance on them
Grows the green hop, and o'er his 'crumbled bust
In spiral twines ascends the scantile pole.
But how to plant, to dig, to dung, tổ weed ;-
Tasks humble but important, ask the muse.

Come, fair magician! sportive fancy, come!
With wildest imag'ry, thou child of thought,
From thy äerial citadel descend,

And, for thou canst, assist me. Bring with thee
Thy all-creative talisman; with thee
The active spir'ts ideal, tow'ring flights,
That hover o'er the muse-resounding groves,
And all thy colourings, all thy shapes display.
Thou, too, be here, experience! so shall I
My rules, nor in-low prose jejunely say,
Nor in smoth numbers musically err :
But vain is fancy, and experience vain,
If thou, O Hesiod, Virgil, of our land,
Or hear'st thou rather, Milton, bard divine,
Whose greatness who shall imitate, save thee?
If thou, O Philips ! fav'ring deigu'st to hear
Me, inexpert of verse; with gentle hand
Uprear th' unpinion'd muse, high on the top
Of that immeasurable mount, that far
Exceeds thine own Plinlimmon, where thou tunist
With Phæbus' self thy lyre. Give me to turn
Th' unwieldy subject with thy graceful ease,
Extol its baseness with thy art; but chief
Illumine, and invigorate with thy fire.

When Phoebus' looks through Aries on the spring,
And vernal flow'rs teem with the dulcet fruit,
Autumnal pride! delay not then thy sets
In Tellus facile bosom to depose
Timely; if thou art wise the bulkiest choose;
To every root three joints indulge, and form
The quincunx with well-regulated hills.
Soon from the dung-enriched earth, their heads
The young plants will uplift, their virgin arms
They 'll stretch, and marriageable claim the pole.
Nor frustrate thou their wishes, so thou may'st
Expect a hopeful issue, jolly mirth,

Sister of taleful Momus, tuneful song, And fat good-nature with her honest face. But yet in the novitiate of their love, And tenderness of youth, suffice small shoots Cut from the widow'd willow, nor provide Poles insurmountable as yet. 'Tis then, When twice bright Phoebus' vivifying ray, Twice the cold touch of winter's icy band, They've felt; 'tis then we fell sublimer props ; 'Tis then the sturdy woodman's axe from far Resounds, resounds, and hark! with hollow groans Down tumble the big trees, and rushing roll O'er the crush'd crackling brake, while in his cave Forlorn, dejected, midst the weeping Dryads Laments Sylvanus for his verdant care. The ash or willow for thy use select, Or storm-enduring chesnut; but the oak Unfit for this employ, for nobler ends Reserve untouch'd. She, when by time matur'd, Capacious of some British demigod, Vernon or Warren, shall with rapid wing Infuriate, like Jove's armour-bearing bird, Fly on thy foes; they, like the parted waves, Which to the brazen beak murmuring give way Amaz’d and roaring from the fight recede.In that sweet month, when to the list'ning swajos Fair Philomel sings love, and every cot With garlands blooms bedight, with bandage meet The tendrils bind, and to the tall role tie, Else soon,

too soon, their meretricious arms Round each ignoble clod they'll fold, and leave Averse the lordly prop. Thus, have I beard, Where there's no mutual tie, no strong connection

« PreviousContinue »