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What felt the Gallic Traveller,
Horror! his soul was all thy own!" The author was himself a descriptive poet of the first class. Mr. William Collins thought himself aimed at by this piece of ridicule. His odes had been just published; and the last lines seemed to refer to a particular passage in them.
ON A CERTAIN LADY AT COURT.
I know the thing that's most uncommon;
(Envy be silent, and attend !) I know a reasonable Woman,
Handsome and witty, yet a Friend.
Nor warp'd by Passion, aw'd by Rumour,
Not grave through Pride, or gay through Folly, An equal Mixture of good Humour,
And sensible soft Melancholy.
“ Has she no faults then (Envy says) Sir ?”
Yes, she has one, I must aver ;
The Woman's deaf and does not hear.
NOTES. Ver. 1. I know the thing] Equal in elegance to any compliment that Waller has paid to Saccharissa, especially the last stanza, and the answer to Envy. The Lady addressed was Mrs. Howard, of Marble-hill, bed-chamber woman to Queen Caroline, and afterward Countess of Suffolk.
GROTTO AT TWICKENHAM,
. COMPOSID OF
MARBLES, SPARS, GEMS, ORES, AND MINERALS.
Thou who shalt stop, where Thames' translucent
wave Shines a broad Mirror through the shadowy Cave; Where ling’ring drops from min’ral Roofs distil, And pointed Crystals break the sparkling Rill, Unpolish'd Gems no ray on Pride bestow, And latent Metals innocently glow: Approach. Great NATURE studiously behold! And eye the Mine without a wish for Gold.
After Ver. 6 in the MS.
You see that Island's wealth, where, only free,
Earth to her entrails feels not Tyranny. i. e. Britain is the only place in the globe which feels not tyranny even to its very entrails. W.
On his Grotto] The improving and finishing his Grot was the favourite amusement of his declining years; and the beauty of his poetic genius, in the disposition and ornaments of this romantic recess, appears to as much advantage as in his best contrived poems. W. Ver. 8. eye the Mine]
“Aurum irrepertum, et sic melius situm
Horat. I. 3. od. 3.
Approach: But awful! Lo! th' Ægerian Grot, 9
VARIATIONS. Ver. 11. Where British sighs from dying Wyndham stole,] In his MS. it was thus :
To Wyndham's breast the patriot passions stole, which made the whole allude to a certain anecdote of not much consequence to any but the parties concerned. W.
Ver. 9. Ægerian Grot,] These are two charming lines; but are blemished by two bad rhymes, Grot to thought ; scarce excusable in so short a poem, in which every syllable ought to be correct.
It is remarkable that Juvenal having mentioned this celebrated cave, takes occasion to inveigh against artificial grotto-work, and adulterating the simple beauties of nature, in lines uncommonly poetical :
“ In vallem Ægeriæ descendimus, et Speluncas
Sat. üi. v. 17. Milton, in an exquisite Latin poem, addressed to Salsillus, vol. ii. p. 532. bas beautifully feigned that Numa is still living in this dark grove and grotto, in the perpetual enjoyment of his Ægeria.
TO MRS. M. B.
ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
Oh be thou blest with all that Heav'n can send, Long Health, long Youth, long Pleasure, and a
Friend : Not with those Toys the female world admire, Riches that vex, and Vanities that tire. With added years if Life bring nothing new, 5 But like a Sieve let ev'ry blessing through, Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o'er, And all we gain, some sad Reflection more; Is that a Birth-day? 'tis alas ! too clear, 'Tis but the Fun'ral of the former year.
Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content, And the gay Conscience of a life well spent, Calm ev'ry thought, inspirit ev'ry grace, Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
NOTES. Ver. 10. 'Tis but] Immediately after this line were these four following, in the original :
“ If there's no hope, with kind, tho' fainter ray,
The same dull story, Mordaunt, thou didst well !" Colonel Mordaunt, who destroyed himself, though not under the pressure of any ill or misfortune.