The poets say, when Orpheus wak'd his lyre The savage beasts wou'd round him list'ning stand, The tuneful beauties of his voice admire, And the soft touch of his harmonious hand. But had they heard a voice so sweet as thine, Did such soft strains their ravish'd senses bless, The heavenly music of the sacred Nine, And the fam'd Orpheus, wou'd have charm'd them less.
TO SAPPHO. Pr'ythee, poetic prude, give o'er Thy vestal airs; they'll cheat no more. Thy heart in each disguise we know; Thou'rt woman, and a frail one too. Thy eyes are honest, and reveal The native warmth thy arts conceal; And their fond languish what inspires But those internal hidden fires, Which the soft breath of love can raise Into a fierce and boundless blaze!
TO EMILIA, holding her fan before her face. By Phoebus scorch'd on Lybia's sands Lies poor expiring man, 'Till pitying Jove the clouds commands To interpose their rain: So to the bright Emilia's eyes, Unskreen'd, the gazers yield; But Pallas to this fan's disguise Transforms her guardian shield; In kind compassion spreads the shade Before that angel face; Too bright thy beauty, heavenly maid, In one unclouded blaze!
See how that rose contracts her sweets, And shyly turns her beauteous head! So my coy Fair my passion meets, And vainly lets my sorrows plead.
See how the roving bee incessant flies From flow'r to flow'r, and each new fragrance tries! Fantastic emblem of the lover's mind! To change, and dear variety, inclin'd.
A HYMN TO VENUS. Hail, daughter of immortal Jove, Celestial Venus, queen of love! Soft source of ev'ry pleasing woe, From whom our choicest blessings flow! Sweet troubler of the human heart! Each age, each sex, receives thy dart; Feels all thy fierce consuming fires, And melts in new unnam'd desires. Thee, goddess! thee, all hearts adore, And heav'n itself reveres thy pow'r. The awful fire of gods and men Submits to thy enchanting pain; And, tho' his thunders shake the world, Is by thy mightier sway controul'd. Touch'd by thy secret pow'rful charm, The frozen breast of age grows warm; The sweet intoxicating pain Glides swiftly through each icy vein; While love, and joy, and youth renew'd, With pleasing raptures fire the blood. Thou steal'st into the virgin-breast, A painful, soft, unusual guest! Hence the soft languish fills the eye, The glowing blush, the heaving sigh, The wish, by bashful fear restrain'd, The pleasing hope by love maintain'd, The thrilling pain, the lambent fire, The sweetly new, yet check'd desire. Thou in the hero's bosom glows, And velour first from love arose; Love, the reward and cause of strife! Gave ev'ry kindred passion life; Ambition's fever first inspires, And anger's fierce destructive fires Bids the warm heart with friendship glow, Or melt in pity's softer flow; In chains our boasted reason bind, And rule at will th'impassion'd mind.
I. Oppress'd with ev'ry anxious woe A mortal can sustain, While with the day my sorrows grow, And life wears out in pain; II. Where shall I ease, or comfort find, Oh! how relieve my care? What can preserve my tortur'd mind From sinking in despair? III. Thou canst, religion! whose bright beams O'er my benighted soul A smiling ray of comfort gleams, And all my fears controul. IV. From earth my boundless wishes soar, And thy bright tract pursue; The world's false joys can please no more, When heav'nly are in view. V. The frowns of partial fortune here The virtuous may despise; They're only happy who can fear, Not poverty, but vice.
On reading the Poems of a very young lady. As tender lambkins in the morn Of life, presage the future horn; So in Florella's early strains, Amaz'd, we read the lover's pains: Her heart too young by passion to be fir'd, Proves plainly that her poetry's inspir'd.
TO DEATH. An Irregular Ode. I. Oh Death! thou gentle end of human pain, Why is thy stroke so long delay'd; Why to a wretch, who breathes but to complain, Do'st thou refuse thy welcome aid? Still wilt thou fly the plaintive voice of woe, And where thou'rt dreaded only aim the blow? II. Oh leave, fantastic tyrant! leave The young, the gay, the happy, and the free; On them bestow a short reprieve, And bend thy fatal shafts at me: The beauteous bride, or blooming heir, Let thy resistless power spare; And aim at this grief-wounded heart, That springs half way to meet the welcome dart. III. Still must I view, with streaming eyes, Another, and another morn, arise? Are my days lengthen'd to prolong my pain? Enough of life's distress I've seen; A finish'd wretch in youth's first bloom, By early sorrow ripen'd for the tomb!
AN EVENING ODE. I. How swift the shades of ev'ning rise, And intercept the wand'ring sight; While still, with ardent gaze, my eyes Pursue the last faint streaks of light! II. Ah me! the still, the silent gloom, Adds greater force to my despair; With new disquiets fills my soul, And wakens every terror there. III. 'Tis now deep contemplation's hour; The soul on reason's wings may rise, All nature's boundless vast explore, And, soaring, pierce beyond the skies. IV. Ah! by what heavy clogs confin'd, Thus sinks my grov'ling thoughts to earth! Why can't my free capacious mind Trace the great source that gave it birth? V. Alas! no ray of beaming light In my afflicted breast is found; 'Tis one continued endless night, Dark as the awful gloom around.
TO FLAVIA. I. If, Flavia, in thy faultless form All that is heav'nly fair we find; If ev'ry grace conspires to charm, And speaks the beauties of thy mind: II. Why shouldst thou wonder, lovely maid, At the soft passions you inspire? Why those to hopeless love betray'd, Or these feel friendship's fire? III. Heedless, thy charming eyes enslave, Nor know the smiling deaths they dart; Nought can the wretched gazer save, Or rescue his devoted heart. IV. But, ah! to win the soul is more, And friendship's noble fires impart, The work of some diviner po'er, While reason wings th' unerring dart. V. Let thy adorers justly praise The wond'rous beauties of thy face; Extol thy charms a thousand ways, And with thy name their numbers grace. VI. Friendship a nobler theme shall find, And to the admiring world display The graces that adorn thy mind, A subject that will ne'er decay. VII. When thy bright eyes shall cease to wound, And age thy fading charms embrace; When in thy looks no trace is found, Of what the lovely Flavia was: VIII. The lasting beauties of thy mind The Muse in gentle strains shall sing; In thy fair soul new charms shall find, To raise her voice, and prune her wings.
On reading Hutchinson on the Passions. Thou who thro' Nature's various faults can rove, And show what springs the eager passions move; Teach us to combat anger, grief, and fear, Recal the sigh, and stop the falling tear. O! be thy soft philosophy address, To the untroubled ear, and tranquil breast: To these be all thy peaceful maxims taught, Who idly rove amidst a calm of thought; Whose souls by love or hate were ne'er possest, Who ne'er were wretched, and who ne'er were blest: Whose fainter wishes, pleasures, fears remain, Dreams but of bliss, and shadows but of pain; Serenely stupid. So some shallow stream Flows thro' the winding vallies still the same; Whom no rude wind can ever discompose, Who fears no winter rain, or falling snows; But slowly down its flow'ry border creeps, While the soft zephyr on its bosom sleeps. O! couldst thou teach the tortur'd soul to know, With patience, each extreme of human woe! To bear with ills, and unrepining prove The frowns of fortune, and the racks of love! Still shou'd my breast some quiet moments share, Still rise superior to each threat'ning care! Nor fear approaching ills, or distant woes, But in Philander's absence find repose.
TO DELIA. Inviting her to a retreat in the country. Now spring, returning, decks the year, With all that's lovely, all that's fair; The fields in lively green array'd, With deeper glooms the silent shade: Soft descend the gentle show'rs, And wake to life the springing flow'rs: Hence ambrosial sweets exhale, And various colors paint the vale; Refreshing airs the zephyrs blow, The streams with pleasing murmurs flow, While nightly, 'midst the silent plain, Thy fav'rite bird renews her strain. Come then, my Delia, come and share My joys, and breathe a purer air: Together let us range the plains, Among the rustick nymphs and swains; In rural dress, devoid of care, Give to the winds our flowing hair And round the meadows gaily roam; For youth does sober mirth become. Now, straining up yon airy height, We'll entertain the wand'ring sight With flow'ry fields, and waving woods, Hills and dales, and falling floods: Or, to relieve the searching eyes, See distant spires and temples rise. Come now, my Delia, let us rove Together thro' the mazy grove; Here, while with gentle pace we walk, Beguile the time with pleasing talk: Here show thy melting eloquence, Thy sprightly wit, thy manly sense; Thy virtuous notions, void of art; And, while you charm, correct the heart. Or now, together careless laid, Beneath a cypress' spreading shade, Our thoughts to heav'nly numbers raise, Repeating Pope's harmonious lays: Now Homer's awful leaves turn o'er, Or graver history explore; Or study Plato's sacred page, Uncommon to our sex and age. Now, wand'ring by the moon's pale light, Amidst the silent shades of night, Where, on the late deserted plains, A pleasing melancholy reigns; Softly thro' the rustling trees, Sobs the sweetly dying breeze; The echoes catch the plaintive sound, And gentle murmurs breathe around. Now sing, my friend, and let thy strain Recount the arts of faithless man: Thy notes, sweet Philomel shall join, And mix her soft complaints with thine. But raise, my Delia, raise thy song, To friendship nobler strains belong. O, sing its tender chaste desires, Its equal, pure, and lasting fires; Such as in thy bosom burns, Such as my fond soul returns. Friendship is but love refin'd, Not weakens, but exalts the mind; And when its sacred pow'r we prove, We guess how heav'nly spirits love.