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To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quivering lance.
On a rock, whose haughty brow Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood, Rob'd in the sable garb of woe, With haggard eyes the poet stood; Loose his beard, and hoary hair, Stream’d, like a meteor, to the troubled air) And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire, Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre. Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave, Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath! O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they weave, Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe; Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day, To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
Cold is Cadwallo's tongue, That hush'd the stormy main; Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed: Mountains, ye mourn in vain Modred, whose magic song Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-top'd head. On dreary Arvon's shore they lie, Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale: or far aloof th’ affrighted ravens sail: The fami-h'd eagle screams and passes by. Pear lost companions of my tuneful art, Dear as tae light that visits these sad eyes, Dear as thoe ruddy drops that warm my heart, Ye died amidst your dying country's cries. No more I weep. They do not sleep. On yonder cliffs, a griesly band, '*e them sit: they linger yet, Avengers of their native land: With me in dreadful harmony they join, Andweave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.”
“Weave the warp, and weave the woof, The winding-sheet of Edward's race: Give ample room, and verge enough, The characters of hell to trace. Mark the year, and mark the night, When Severn shall re-echo with affright [ring, The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that Shrieks of an agonizing king. She wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs **courge of Heaven. What terrors round him
Amazement in his van, with flight combin’d; *d sorrow's faded form, and solitude behind.
“Mighty victor, mighty Lord, Low on his funeral couch he lies! No pitying heart, no eye afford A tear to grace his obsequies! Is the sable warrior fled? Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born ? Bone to salute the rising morn. *ir laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
Thathush'd in grim repose,expects his eveningprey.
“Fill high the sparkling bowl, The rich repast prepare; Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast: Close by the regal chair Fell thirst and famine scowl A baleful smile upon their baffled guest. Heard ye the din of battle bray, Lance to lance, and horse to horse! Long years of havoc urge their destin’d course, And through the kindred squadrons mow their way. Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame, With many a foul and midnight murder fed, Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame, And spare the meek usurper's holy head. Above, below, the rose of snow, Twin'd with her blushing foe, we spread: The bristled boar in infant gore Wallows beneath the thorny shade. Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom, Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.
“Edward, lo! to sudden fate (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.) Half of thy heart we cousecrate. (The web is wove. The work is done.)” “Stay, oh stay: nor thus forlorn Leave me unbless'd, umpitied, here to mourn: In you bright track, that fires the western skies, They melt, they vanish from my eyes. But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll? Visions of glory, spare my aching sight! Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul! No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail. All-hail, ye genuine kings; Britannia's issue, hail!
* Girt with many a baron bold Subline their starry fronts they rear; And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old In bearded majesty, appear. In the midst a form divine ! Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line; Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face, Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace. What strings symphonious tremble in the air, What strains of vocal transport round her play ! Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear; They breathe a soul to animate thy clay. Bright rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings, Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-colour'd
“The verse adorn again Fierce war, and faithful love, And truth severe, by fairy fiction drest. In buskin'd measures move Pale grief, and pleasing pain, .
With horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
Gales from blooming Eden bear;
And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
That lost in long futurity expire.
Fond impious man, think'st thou, yon sanguine
Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day?
To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our fates assign.
Be thine despair, and scepter'd care;
To triumph, and to die, are mine.'
He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height
Deep in the roaring tide he plung'd to endless night.
Roscius deceas'd, each high aspiring play’r
Push'd all his interest for the vacant chair.
The buskin'd heroes of the mimic stage
No longer whine in love, and rant in rage;
The monarch quits his throne, and condescends
Humbly to court the favour of his friends; .
For pity's sake tells undeserv'd mishaps,
And their applause to gain, recounts his claps.
Thus the victorious chiefs of ancient Rome,
To win the mob, a suppliant's form assume,
In pompous strain fight o'er th' extinguish’d war,
And show where honour bled in ev'ry scar.
But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will best succeed who best can pay:
Those, who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
What can an actor give? In ev'ry age
Cash hath been rudely banish’d from the stage;
Monarchs themselves, to grief of ev'ry play’r,
Appear as often as their image there:
They can't, like candidate for other seat,
Pour seas of wine, and mountains raise of meat.
Wine! they could bribe you with the world as soon;
And of roast beef they only know the tune:
But what they have they give: could Clive do more,
Though for each million he had brought home
Shuter keeps open house at Southwark fair,
And hopes the friends of humour will be there;
In Smithfield, Yates prepares the rival treat
For those who laughter love instead of meat;
Foote, at old House, for even Foote will be
In self-conceit, an actor, bribes with tea;
Which Wilkinson at second hand receives,
And, at the New, pours water on the leaves.
The town divided, each runs several ways,
As passion, humour, interest, party sways.
Things of no moment, colour of the hair,
Shape of a leg, complexion brown or fair,
A dress well-chosen, or a patch misplac'd,
Conciliate favour, or create distaste.
From galleries loud peals of laughter roll,
And thunder Shuter's praises—he's so droll.
Embox'd, the ladies must have something smart.
Palmer! Oh! Palmer tops the jaunty part.
Seated in pit, the dwarf, with aching eyes,
Looks up, and vows that Barry's out of size;
Whilst to six feet the vigorous stripling grown,
Declares that Garrick is another Coan.
When place of judgment is by whim supply'd, And our opinions have their rise in pride; When, in discoursing on each mimic elf, We praise and censure with an eye to self; All must meet friends, and Ackman bids as fair In such a court as Garrick for the chair. At length agreed, all squabbles to decide, By some one judge the cause was to be try’d; But this their squabbles did afresh renew, Who should be judge in such a trial:—Who? For Johnson, some, but Johnson, it was fear'd, Would be too grave; and Sterne too gay appear'd: Others for Francklin voted; but 'twas known, He sicken'd at all triumphs but his own: For Colman many, but the peevish tongue Of prudent age found out that he was young: For Murphy some few pilfring wits declar'd, Whilst folly clapp'd her hands, and wisdom star'd. To mischief train'd, ev'n from his mother's womb, Grown old in fraud, though yet in manhood's bloom, Adopting arts by which gay villains rise, And reach the heights which honest men despise; Mute at the bar, and in the senate loud, Dull 'mongst the dullest, proudest of the proud; A pert, prim prater, of the northern race, Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face, Stood forth ;-and thrice he wav'd his lily hand— And thrice he twirl’d his eye—thrice strok'd his band.— “At friendship's call (thus of with trait’rous aim, Men void of faith usurp faith's sacred name) At friendship's call I come, by Murphy sent, Who thus by me developes his intent. But lest, transfus'd, the spirit should be lost, That spirit which in storms of rhetoric tost, Bounces about, and flies like bottled beer, In his own words his own intentions hear. “Thanks to my friends—But to vile fortunes born, No robes of fur these shoulders must adorn, Vain your applause, no aid from thence I draw, Vain all my wit, for what is wit in law? Twice (curs'd remembrance)! twice Istrove to gain Admittance 'mongst the law-instructed train, Who in the Temple and Gray's-inn prepare For clients wretched feet the legal snare: Dead to those arts which polish and refine, Deaf to all worth, because that worth was mine, Twice did those blockheads startle at my name, And foul rejection gave me up to shame. To laws and lawyers then I bid adieu, And plans of far more lib'ral note pursue. Who will may be a judge—my kindling breast Burns for that chair which Roscius once Possess'd,
Here give your votes, your int’rest here exert,
And let success for once attend desert.”
With sleek appearance, and with ambling pace,
And, type of vacant head, with vacant face,
The Proteus Hill put in his modest plea.—
“Let favour speak for others, worth for me."—
For who, like him, his various powers could call
Into so many shapes, and shine in all?
Who could so nobly grace the motley list,
Actor, inspector, doctor, botanist?
Knows any one so well—sure no one knows,
At once to play, prescribe, compound, compose?
Who can — But Woodward came, Hill slipp'd
Melting, like ghosts, before the rising day. [away,
with that low cunning, which in fools supplies,
And amply too, the place of being wise,
Which nature, kind, indulgent parent, gave
To qualify the blockhead for a knave; [charms,
With that smooth falsehood, whose appearance
And reason of each wholesome doubt disarms,
Which to the lowest depths of guile descends,
By vilest means pursues the vilest ends,
wears friendship's mask for purposes of spite,
Fawns in the day, and butchers in the night;
With that malignant envy, which turns pale,
And sickens, even if a friend prevail,
Which merit and success pursues with hate,
And damns the worth it cannot imitate;
With the cold caution of a coward's spleen,
which fears not guilt, but always seeks a screen; .
Which keeps this maxim ever in her view—
What's basely done, should be done safely too:
With that dull, rooted, callous impudence,
Which, dead to shame, and ev’ry nicer sense,
Ne'er blush'd, unless, in spreading vice's snares,
She blunder'd on some virtue unawares:
With all these blessings, which we seldom find
Lavish'd by nature on one happy mind;
A motley figure, of the fribble tribe,
Which heart can scarce conceive, or pen describe,
Came simp'ring on; to ascertain whose sex,
Twelve sage impanell'd matrons would perplex.
Nor male, nor female, neither, and yet both;
Of neuter gender, though of Irish growth;
A six foot suckling, mincing in its gait;
Affected, peevish, prim, and delicate;
Fearful it seem’d, though of athletic make,
Lest brutal breezes should too roughly shake
Its tender form, and savage motion spread
O'er its pale cheeks the horrid manly red.
Much did it talk, in its own pretty phrase,
Of genius and of taste, of play'rs and plays;
Much too of writings, which itself had wrote,
of special merit, though of little note;
For fate, in a strange humour, had decreed
That what it wrote, none but itself should read;
Much too it chatter'd of dramatic laws,
Misjudging critics, and misplac'd applause;
Then, with a self-complacent jutting air.
It smil'd, it smirk'd, it wriggled to the chair;
And, with an awkward briskness not its own,
Looking around, and perking on the throne,
Triumphant seem’d, when that strange savage dam.
Known but to few, or only known by name,
Plain common sense appear'd by nature there
Appointed, with plain truth, to guard the chair.
The pageant saw, and blasted with her frown,
To its first state of nothing melted down.
Nor shall the Muse (for even there the pride
Of this vain nothing shall be mortified)
Nor shall the Muse (should fate ordain her rhymes,
Fond, pleasing thought! to live in after times)
With such a trifler's name her pages blot;
Known be the character, the thing forgot;
Let it, to disappoint each future aim,
Live without sex, and die without a name !
Cold-blooded critics, by enervate sires
Scarce hammer'd out, when nature's feeble fires
Glimmer'd their last; whose sluggish blood, half
froze, [ne'er glows
Creeps lab'ring through the veins; whose bean
With fancy-kindled heat;-a servile race,
Who in mere want of fault all merit place;
Who blind obedience pay to ancient schools,
Bigots to Greece, and slaves to musty rules;
With solemn consequence declar'd that none
Could judge that cause but Sophocles alone.
Dupes to their fancied excellence, the crowd,
Obsequious to the sacred dictate, bow’d.
When from amidst the throng, a youth stoodfork.
Unknown his person, not unknown his worth;
His look bespoke applause ; alone he stood,
Alone he stemm'd the mighty critic flood.
He talk"d of ancients, as the man became
Who priz'd our own, but envied not their fame;
With noble rev'rence spoke of Greece and Rome,
And scorn'd to tear the laurel from the tomb.
“But more than just to other countries grown,
Must we turn base apostates to our own 2
Where do these words of Greece and Rome excel,
That England may not please the ear as well?
What mighty magic's in the place or air,
That all perfection needs must centre there :
In states, let strangers blindly be preferr'd;
In state of letters, merit should be heard.
Genius is of no country ; her pure ray
Spreads all abroad, as gen'ral as the day;
Foe to restraint, from place to place she flies,
And may hereafter een in Holland rise.
May not (to give a pleasing fancy scope.
And cheer a patriot heart with patriot hope)
May not some great extensive genius raise
The name of Britain 'bove Athenian praise;
And whilst brave thirst of fame his bosom warms,
Make England great in letters as in arms?
There may—there hath—and Shakspeare's Me"
Beyond the reach of Greece: with native fires
Mounting aloft, he wings his daring flight,
While Sophocles below stands trembling at ho
“Why should we then abroad for judges roam.
When abler judges we may find at home?
Happy in tragic and in comic pow'rs,
Have we not Shakspeare?—is not Jonson ours?
For them, your nat'ral judges, Britons, vote;
They'll judge like Britons, who like Britons wrote.”
He said, and conquer’d—Sense resum'd her
And disappointed pedants stalk'd away.
Shakspeare and Jonson, with deserv'd applause,
Joint-judges, were ordain'd to try the cause.
Meantime the stranger ev'ry voice employ'd,
To ask or tell his name—Who is it?—Lloyd.
Thus, when the aged friends of Job stood mute,
And, tamely prudent, gave up the dispute,
Elihu, with the decent warmth of youth,
Boldly stood forth the advocate of truth;
Confuted falsehood, and disabled pride,
Whilst baffled age stood snarling at his side.
The day of trial's fix’d, nor any fear
Lest day of trial should be put off here.
Causes but seldom for delay can call
In courts where forms are few, fees none at all.
The morning came, nor find I that the sun,
As he on other great events hath done,
Put on a brighter robe than what he wore
To go his journey in the day before.
Full in the centre of a spacious plain,
On plan entirely new, where nothing vain,
Nothing magnificent appear'd, but art
With decent modesty perform'd her part,
Rose a tribunal : from no other court
It borrow'd ornament, or sought support:
No juries here were pack'd to kill or clear,
No bribes were taken, nor oaths broken here;
No gownsmen, partial to a client's cause,
To their own purpose turn'd the pliant laws.
Each judge was true and steady to his trust,
As Mansfield wise, and as old Foster just.
In the first seat, in robe of various dyes,
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakspeare—In one hand a wand he bore,
For nighty wonders fam'd in days of yore;
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn'd, and own'd the master's skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look'd through nature at a single view:
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
And, passing nature's bounds, was something more.
Next Jonson sat, in ancient learning train'd,
IHis rigid judgment fancy's flights restrain'd,
Correctly pruu'd each wild luxuriant thought,
Mark'd out her course, nor spar'd a glorious fault.
The book of man he read with nicest art,
And ransack'd all the secrets of the heart;
Exerted penetration's utmost force,
And trac'd each passion to its proper source;
Then strongly mark'd, in liveliest colours drew,
And brought each foible forth to public view.
The coxcomb felt a lash in every word,
And fools, hung out, their brother fools deterr'd.
His comic humour kept the world in awe,
And laughter frighten’d folly more than law.
But, hark!—The trumpet sounds, the crowd gives way, And the procession comes in just array. Now should I, in some sweet poetic line, Offer up incense at Apollo's shrine; Invoke the Muse to quit her calm abode, And waken mem'ry with a sleeping ode. For how should mortal man, in mortal verse, Their titles, merits, or their names, rehearse 2 But give, kind dullness, memory and rhyme, We'll put off genius till another time. First, order came, with solemn step, and slow, In measur'd time his feet were taught to go. Behind, from time to time, he casts his eye, Lest this should quit his place, that step awry. Appearances to save his only care; So things seem right, no matter what they are. In him his parents saw themselves renew’d, Begotten by Sir Critic on Saint Prude. Then came drum, trumpet, hautboy, fiddle, flute; Next snuffer, sweeper, shifter, soldier, mute: Legions of angels all in white advance; Furies, all fire, come forward in a dance; Pantomine figures then are brought to view; Fools hand in hand with fools, go two by two. Next came the treasurer of either house; One with full purse, t'other with not a sous. Behind, a group of figures awe create, Set off with all th’ impertinence of state; By lace and feather consecrate to fame, Expletive kings, and queens without a name. Here Havard, all serene, in the same strains, Loves, hates, and rages, triumphs, and complains; His easy vacant face proclaim'd a heart Which could not feel emotions, nor impart. With him came mighty Davies. On my life, That Davies hath a very pretty wife: Statesmen all over:-In plots famous grown lHe mouths a sentence, as curs mouth a bone. Next Holland came.—With truly tragic stalk, He creeps, he flies—a hero should not walk. As if with heav'n he warr'd, his eager eyes Planted their batteries against the skies; Attitude, action, air, pause, start, sigh, groan, He borrow'd, and made use of as his own. By fortune thrown on any other stage, He might, perhaps, have pleas'd an easy age; But now appears a copy and no more, Of something better we have seen before. The actor who would build a solid fame, Must imitation's servile arts disclaim ; Act from himself, on his own bottom stand; I hate e'en Garrick thus at second-hand. Behind came King.—Bred up in modest lore, Bashful and young he sought Hibernia's shore; Hibernia, fam'd, 'bove ev'ry other grace, For matchless intrepidity of face. From her his features caught the gen’rous flame, And bid defiance to all sense of shame. Tutor’d by her all rivals to surpass, *Mongst Drury's sons he comes, and shines in Brass. Lo Yates!—Without the least finesse of art,