Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

15

Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a Pain, a Trouble, or a Fear;
Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy,
In some soft Dream, or Ecstacy of Joy,
Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the Tomb,
And wake to Raptures in a Life to come.

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 15. Originally thus in the MS.

And oh since Death must that fair frame destroy,
Die, by some sudden ecstacy of joy;
In some soft dream may thy mild soul remove,
And be thy latest gasp a sigh of love.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Resign't to live, prepar'd to die,
With not one sin, but Poetry,
This day Tom's fair account has run
(Without a blot) to eighty-one.
Kind Boyle, before his poet, lays
A table, with a cloth of bays;
And Ireland, mother of sweet singers,
Presents her harp still to his fingers.
The feast, his tow’ring genius marks
In yonder wild goose and the larks !

10

NOTES. Ver. 3. This day Tom's] This amiable writer lived the longest, and died one of the richest, of all our poets. In 1737, Mr. Gray, writing to a friend, says very agreeably, “We have here old Mr. Southern, who often comes to see us; he is now seventy-seven years old, and has almost wholly lost his memory ; but is as agreeable an old man as can be, at least I persuade myself so, when I look at him, and think of Isabella and Oroonoko." He was certainly a great master of the pathetic; and in the latter part of his life became sensible of the impropriety he had been guilty of in mixing Tragedy with Comedy. He was the first play-writer that had the benefit of a third night. He told Dryden that he once had cleared seven hundred pounds by one or his plays.

Ver. 6. A table,] Mr. Southern was invited to dine on his birthday with this nobleman (Lord Orrery), who had prepared for hiin the entertainment of which the bill of fare is here set down. W.

Ver. 8. Presents her harp] The harp is generally wove on the Irish linen; such as table cloths, &c. W.

The mushrooms shew his wit was sudden !
And for his judgment, lo a pudden!
Roast beef, tho' old, proclaims him stout,
And grace, altho' a bard devout.
May Tom, whom Heav'n sent down to raise
The price of prologues and of plays, 16
Be ev'ry birth-day more a winner,
Digest his thirty-thousandth dinner;
Walk to his grave without reproach,
And scorn a rascal and a coach.

20

NOTES. Ver. 16. The price of prologues and of plays,] This alludes to a story Mr. Southern told of Dryden, about the same time, to Mr. P. and Mr. W.-When Southern first wrote for the stage, Dryden was so famous for his prologues, that the players would act nothing without that decoration. His usual price till then had been four guineas; but when Southern came to him for the prologue he had bespoke, Dryden told him he must have six guineas for it; “which (said he) young man, is out of no disrespect to you, but the players have had my goods too cheap."- We now look upon these prologues with the same admiration that the virtuosi do on the apothecaries' pots painted by Raphael. W.

ROXANA, OR THE DRAWING-ROOM.

AN ECLOGUE.

Roxana from the court returning late, Sigh'd her soft sorrow at St. James's gate : Such heavy thoughts lay brooding in her breast; Not her own chairmen with more weight opprest: They curse the cruel weight they're doom'd to bear; She in more gentle sounds express'd her care.

Was it for this, that I these roses wear? For this, new-set the jewels for my hair? Ah Princess ! with what zeal have I pursu'd ? Almost forgot the duty of a prude. This King, I never could attend too soon; I miss'd my pray’rs, to get me dress’d by noon. For thee, ah! what for thee did I resign? My passions, pleasures, all that e'er was mine : I've sacrific'd both modesty and ease ; Left operas, and went to filthy plays : Double entendres shock'd my tender ear ; Yet even this, for thee, I chuse to bear : In glowing youth, when nature bids be gay, And ev'ry joy of life before me lay; By honour prompted, and by pride restrain'd, The pleasures of the young my soul disdain'd : Sermons I sought, and with a mien severe, Censur'd my neighbours, and said daily pray'r. Alas, how chang'd! with this same sermon-mien, The filthy What-d'ye-call-it--I have seen.

Ah, royal Princess! for whose sake I lost
The reputation, which so dear had cost;
I, who avoided ev'ry public place,
When bloom and beauty bid me shew my face,
Now near thee, constant, I each night abide,
With never-failing duty by my side;
Myself and daughters standing in a row,
To all the foreigners a goodly show.
Oft had your drawing-room been sadly thin,
And merchants' wives close by your side had been;
Had I not amply fill'd the empty place,
And sav'd your Highness from the dire disgrace:
Yet Cockatilla's artifice prevails,
When all my duty and my merit fails : .
That Cockatilla, whose deluding airs
Corrupts our virgins, and our youth insnares; ..
So sunk her character, and lost her fame, !
Scarce visited, before your Highness came;
Yet for the bed-chamber 'tis she you choose
Whilst zeal, and fame, and virtue you refuse.
Ah worthy choice; not one of all your train
Which censures blast not, or dishonours stain.
I know the court, with all its treach’rous wiles,
The false caresses, and undoing smiles.
Ah Princess ! learn'd in all the courtly arts,
To cheat our hopes, and yet to gain our hearts.

« НазадПродовжити »