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MATTHEW GREEN..

BORN 1696.- DIED 1737.

Matthew GREEN was educated among the dissenters; but left them in disgust at their precision, probably without reverting to the mother church. All that we are told of him is, that he had a post at the custom-house, which he discharged with great fidelity, and died at a lodging in Nag's-head court, Gracechurch-street, aged forty-one. His strong powers of mind had received little advantage from education, and were occasionally subject to depression from hypochondria ; but his conversation is said to have abounded in wit and shrewdness. One day his friend Sylvanus Bevan complained to him that while he was bathing in the river he had been saluted by a waterman with the cry of Quaker Quirl,' and wondered how he should have been known to be a quaker without his clothes. Green replied, “ by your swimming against the stream.”

His poem, “the Spleen," was never published in his life-time,' Glover, his warm friend, presented it to the world after his death, and it is much to be regretted did not prefix any account of its interesting author. It was originally a very

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of verses, and was gradually and piecemeal increased. Pope speedily noticed its merit, Melmoth praised its strong

VOL. IV.

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originality in Fitzosborne's Letters, and Gray duly commended it in his correspondence with Lord Orford, when it appeared in Dodsley's collection. In that walk of poetry, where Fancy aspires no farther than to go hand in hand with common sense, its merit is certainly unrivalled.

FROM THE SPLEEN.

CONTENTMENT, parent of delight,
So much a stranger to our sight,
Say, goddess, in what happy place
Mortals behold thy blooming face;
Thy gracious auspices impart,
And for thy temple choose my heart.
They, whom thou deignest to inspire,
Thy science learn, to bound desire ;
By happy alchemy of mind
They turn to pleasure all they find;
They both disdain in outward mien
The grave and solemn garb of Spleen,
And meretricious arts of dress,
To feign a joy, and hide distress;
Unmov'd when the rude tempest blows,
Without an opiate they repose;
And cover'd by your shield, defy
The whizzing shafts, that round them fy:
Nor meddling with the god's affairs,
Concern themselves with distant cares;

But place their bliss in mental rest,
And feast upon the good possess’d.

Forc'd by soft violence of pray'r, The blithsome goddess soothes my care, I feel the deity inspire, And thus she models my desire. Two hundred pounds half-yearly paid, Annuity securely made, A farm some twenty miles from town, Small, tight, salubrious, and my own; Two maids, that never saw the town, A serving-man not quite a clown, A boy to help to tread the mow, And drive, while tother holds the plough; A chief, of temper form’d to please, Fit to converse, and keep the keys; And better to preserve the peace, Commission'd by the name of niece ; With understandings of a size To think their master very wise. May heav'n (it's all I wish for) send One genial room to treat a friend, Where decent cupboard, little plate, Display benevolence, not state. And may my humble dwelling stand Upon some chosen spot of land: A pond before full to the brim, Where cows may cool, and geese may swim; Behind, a green like velvet neat, Soft to the eye, and to the feet;

Where od'rous plants in evening fair
Breathe all around ambrosial air;
From Eurus, foe to kitchen ground,
Fenc'd by a slope with bushes crown'd,
Fit dwelling for the feather'd throng,
Who pay their quit-rents with a song ;
With op'ning views of hill and dale,
Which sense and fancy too regale,
Where the half-cirque, which vision bounds,
Like amphitheatre surrounds:
And woods impervious to the breeze,
Thick phalanx of embodied trees,
From bills through plains in dusk array
Extended far, repel the day.
Here stillness, height, and solemn shade
Invite, and contemplation aid :
Here nymphs from hollow oaks relate
The dark decrees and will of fate,
And dreams beneath the spreading beech
Inspire, and docile fancy teach ;
While soft as breezy breath of wind,
Impulses rustle through the mind :
Here dryads, scorning Phoebus' ray,
While Pan melodious pipes away,
In measur'd motions frisk about,
Till old Silenus puts them out.
There see the clover, pea, and bean,
Vie in variety of green;
Fresh pastures speckled o'er with sheep,
Brown fields their fallow sabbaths keep,

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Plump Ceres golden tresses wear,
And poppy top-knots deck her hair,
And silver streams through meadows stray,
And naiads on the margin play,
And lesser nymphs on side of hills
From plaything urns pour down the rills.

Thus shelter'd, free from care and strife,
May I enjoy a calm through life;
See faction, safe in low degree,
As men at land see storms at sea,
And laugh at miserable elves,
Not kind, so much as to themselves,
Curs'd with such souls of base alloy,
As can possess, but not enjoy;
Debarr'd the pleasure to impart
By av'rice, sphincter of the heart;
Who wealth, hard earn'd by guilty cares,
Bequeath untouch'd to thankless heirs.
May I, with look ungloom'd by guile,
And wearing virtue's liv'ry-smile,
Prone the distressed to relieve,
And little trespasses forgive,
With income not in fortune's pow'r,
And skill to make a busy hour,
With trips to town life to amuse,
To purchase books, and hear the news,
To see old friends, brush off the clown,
And quicken' taste at coming down,
Unhurt by sickness' blasting rage,
And slowly mellowing in age,

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