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O endless! thought divine!-Eternity,
Th' immortal soul shares but a part of thee;
For thou wert present when our life began,
When the warm dust shot up in breathing man.
Ah! what is life? with ills encompass'd round,
Amidst our hopes, Fate strikes the sudden wound:
To-day the statesman of new honour dreams,
To-morrow death destroys his airy schemes;
Is mouldy treasure in thy chest confin'd?
Think, all that treasure thou must leave behind;
Thy heir with smiles shall view thy blazon'd hearse,
And all thy hoards with lavish hand disperse.
Should certain fate th' impending blow delay,
Thy mirth will sicken, and thy bloom decay;
Then feeble age will all thy nerves disarm,
No more thy blood its narrow channels warm.
Who then would wish to stretch this narrow span,
To suffer life beyond the date of man?
The virtuous soul pursues a nobler aim, And life regards but as a fleeting dream: She longs to wake, and wishes to get free, To launch from earth into eternity. For while the boundless theme extends our thought, Ten thousand thousand rolling years are nought.
To SIR GODFREY KNELLER,
ON HIS PICTURE OF KING GEORGE I. (ADDISON.)
KNELLER, with silence and surprise
We see Britannia's Monarch rise,
A godlike form, by thee display'd
In all the force of light and shade;
And, aw'd by thy delusive hand,
As in the presence-chamber stand.
The magic of thy art calls forth
His secret soul and hidden worth,
His probity and mildness shows,
His care of friends, and scorn of foes:
In every stroke, and every line,
Does some exalted virtue shine,
And Albion's happiness we trace
Through all the features of his face.
O may I live to hail the day,
When the glad nation shall survey
Their Sov'reign, thro' his wide command,
Passing in progress o'er the land!
Each heart shall bend, and every voice
In loud applauding shouts rejoice,
Whilst all his gracious aspect praise,
And crowds grow loyal as they gaze.
The image on the medal placed,
With its bright round of titles graced,
And stampt on British coins shall live;
To richest ores the value give:
Or, wrought within the curious mould,
Shape and adorn the running gold.
To bear this form, the genial sun
Has daily, since his course begun,
Rejoic'd the metal to refine,
And ripen'd the Peruvian mine.
Thou, Kneller, long, with noble pride, The foremost of thy art, hast vy'd With nature in a generous strife, And touch'd the canvas into life. Thy pencil has, by monarchs sought, From reign to reign in ermine wrought, And in the robes of state array'd, The kings of half an age display'd. Here swarthy Charles appears, His Brother with dejected air: Triumphant Nassau here we find, And with him bright Maria join'd; There Anna, great as when she sent Her armies thro' the Continent, Ere yet her hero was disgrac'd: 0 may fam'd Brunswick be the last, (Tho' heaven should with my wish agree, And long preserve thy art in thee) The last, the happiest British king, Whom thou shalt paint, or I shall sing! Wise Phidias thus, his skill to prove, Thro' many a God advanc'd to Jove, And taught the polish'd rocks to shine With airs and lineaments divine; "Till Greece aniaz'd, and half afraid, Th' assembled deities survey'd.
Great Pan, who wont to chase the fair, And lov'd the spreading oak, was there:
Old Saturn too, with up-cast eyes,
Beheld his abdicated skies;
And mighty Mars, for war renown'd,
In adamantine armour frown'd;
By him the childless Goddess rose,
Minerva, studious to compose
Her twisted threads; the web she strung,
And o'er a loom of marble hung:
Thetis, the troubled ocean's queen,
Match'd with a mortal, next was seen,
Reclining on a funeral urn,
Her short-liv'd darling son to mourn.
The last was he, whose thunder slew
The Titan race, a rebel crew,
That from a hundred hills, ally'd
In impious leagues, their king defy'd.
This wonder of the sculptor's hand
Produc'd, his art was at a stand:
For who would hope new fame to raise,
Or risk his well-establish'd praise,
That, his high genius to approve,
Had drawn a George, or carv'd a Jove?
SILENT nymph, with curious eye!
Who the purple ev'ning lie
On the mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man,
Painting fair the form of things,
While the yellow linnet sings;
Or the tuneful nightingale
Charms the forest with her tale;
Come with all thy various hues,
Come and aid thy Sister-Muse:
Now while Phoebus riding high
Gives lustre to the land and sky!
Grongar Hill invites my song,
Draw the landscape bright and strong;
Grongar, in whose mossy cells
Sweetly-musing Quiet dwells;
Grongar, in whose silent shade,
For the modest Muses made,
Jo oft I have, the evening still,
At the fountain of a rill,
Sat upon a flow'ry bed,
With my hand beneath my head;
While stray'd my eyes o'er Towy's flood,
Over mead, and over wood,
From house to house, from hill to hill,
"Till Contemplation had her fill.
About his chequer'd sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottoes where I lay,
And vistoes shooting beams of day:
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal;
The mountains round, unhappy fate!
Sooner or later, of all height,
-Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise;
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads,
Still it widens, widens still,
And sinks the newly-risen hill.
Now, I gain the mountain's brow;
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapours intervene,
But the gay, the open scene,
Does the face of nature show,
In all the hues of heaven's bow!
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.
Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly tow'ring in the skies!
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires!
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain-heads!
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks!
Below me trees unnumber'd rise, Beautiful in various dyes: The gloomy pine, the poplar blue, The yellow beech, the sable yew, The slender fir, that taper grows, The sturdy oak, with broad spread boughs,
And beyond the purple grove,
Haunt of Phillis, queen of love!
Gaudy as the op'ning dawn,
Lies a long and level lawn,
On which a dark hill, steep and high,
Holds and charms the wand'ring eye;
Deep are his feet in Towy's flood,
His sides are cloath'd with waving wood,
And ancient towers crown his bro
That cast an awful look below;
Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps,
And with her arms from falling keeps;
So both a safety from the wind
On mutual dependence find.
'Tis now the raven's bleak abode
'Tis now th' apartment of the toad;
And there the fox securely feeds,
And there the pois'nous adder breeds,
Conceal'd in ruins, moss, and weeds:
While, ever and anon, there falls
Huge heaps of hoary moulder'd walls.
Yet time has been, that lifts the low,
And level lays the lofty brow,
Has seen this broken pile complete,
Big with the vanity of state;
But transient is the smile of fate!
A little rule, a little sway,
A sun-beam in a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and the grave.
And see the rivers how they run,
Through woods and meads, in shade and sun,
Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,
Wave succeeding wave, they go
A various journey to the deep,
Like human life to endless sleep!
Thus is nature's vesture wrought,
To instruct our wand'ring thought;
Thus she dresses green and gay,
To disperse our cares away.
Ever charming, ever new,
When will the landscape tire the view?
The fountain's fall, the river's flow,
The woody valleys, warm and low;