Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

The pleasing scene recalls my theme again,
And shows the madness of ambitious men,
Who, fond of bloodshed, draw the murdering sword,
And burn to give mankind a single lord.

The follies past are of a private kind;
Their sphere is small; their mischief is confin'd:
But daring men there are (Awake, my Muse,
And raise thy verse !) who bolder phrenzy choose ;
Who, stung by glory, rave, and bound away:
The world their field, and human kind their prey.

The Grecian chief, th' enthusiast of his pride,
With Rage and Terrour stalking by his side,
Raves round the globe; he soars into a god!
Stand fast, Olympus !" and sustain his nod.
The pest divine in horrid grandeur reigns,
And thrives on mankind's miseries and pains.
What slaughter'd hosts! what cities in a blaze !
What wasted countries ! and what crimson seas !
With orphans' tears his impious bowl o'erflows,
And cries of kingdoms lull him to repose.

And cannot thrice ten hundred years unpraise
The boisterous boy, and blast his guilty bays ?
Why want we then encomiums on the storm,
Or famine, or volcano ? They perform
Their mighty deeds; they, hero-like, can slay,
And spread their ample deserts in a day.
O great alliance! O divine renown!
With dearth, and pestilence, to share the crown.
When men extol a wild destroyer's name,
Earth's Builder and Prescrver they blaspheme.

One to destroy, is murder by the law;
And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe ;

To murder thousands, takes a specious name,
War’s glorious art, and gives immortal fame.

When, after battle, I the field have seen (men;
Spread o'er with ghastly shapes, which once were
A nation crush'd, a nation of the brave !
A realm of death! and on this side the grave !
Are there, said I, who from this sad survey,
This human chaos, carry smiles away?
How did my heart with indignation rise!
How honest nature swell'd into my eyes !
How was I shock'd to think the hero's trade
Of such materials, fame and triumph, made !

How guilty these! Yet not less guilty they, Who reach false glory by a smoother way; Who wrap destruction up in gentle words, And bows, and smiles, more fatal than their swords; Who stifle nature, and subsist on art; Who coin the face, and petrify the heart ; All real kindness for the show discard, As marble polish’d, and as marble hard ; Who do for gold what Christians do through grace, “ With open arms their enemies embrace ;" Who give a nod when broken hearts repine; • The thinnest food on which a wretch can dine :" Or, if they serve you, serve you disinclin'd, And, in their height of kindness, are unkind. Such courtiers were, and such again may be, Walpole, when men forget to copy thee.

Here cease, my Muse! the catalogue is writ; Nor one more candidate for fame admit, Though disappointed thousands justly blame Thy partial pen, and boast an equal claim:

Be this their comfort, fools, omitted here,
May furnish laughter for another year.
Then let Crispino, who was ne'er refus'd
The justice yet of being well abus’d,
With patience wait; and be content to reign
The pink of puppies in some future strain.

Some future strain, in which the Muse shall tell How science dwindles, and how volumes swell.

How commentators each dark passage shun, And hold their farthing candle to the Sun.

How tortur’d texts to speak our sense are made, And every vice is to the Scripture laid.

How misers squeeze a young voluptuous peer; His sins to Lucifer not half so dear.

How Versus is less qualified to steal
With sword and pistol, than with wax and seal.

How lawyers' fees to such excess are run,
That clients are redress'd till they 're undone.

How one man's anguish is another's sport; And e'en denials cost us dear at court.

How man eternally false judgments makes, And all his joys and sorrows are mistakes."

This swarm of themes that settles on my pen, Which I, like summer flies, shake off again, Let others sing; to whom my weak essay But sounds a prelude, and points out their prey : That duty done, I hasten to complete My own design, for Tonson 's at the gate.

The Love of Fame in its effect survey'd, The Muse has sung : be now the cause display'de Since so diffusive, and so wide its sway, What is this power, whom all mankind obey ?

[blocks in formation]

Shot from above, by Heaven's indulgence, came This generous ardour, this unconquer'd flame, To warm, to raise, to deify, mankind, Still burning brightest in the noblest mind. By large-soul'd men, for thirst of fame renown'd, Wise laws were fram'd, and sacred arts were found; Desire of praise first broke the patriot's rest ; And made a bulwark of the warrior's breast; It bids Argyll in fields and senate shine : What more can prove its origin divine ?

But oh! this passion planted in the soul,
On eagle's wings to mount her to the Pole,
The flaming minister of virtue meant,
Set up false gods, and wrong'd her high descent.

Ambition, hence, exerts a doubtful force,
Of blots, and beauties, an alternate source ;
Hence Gildon rails, that raven of the pit,
Who thrives upon the carcases of wit ;
And in art-loving Scarborough is seen
How kind a patron Pollia might have been.
Pursuit of fame with pedants fills our schools,
And into coxcombs burnishes our fools ;
Pursuit of fame makes solid learning bright,
And Newton lifts above a mortal height;
That key of Nature, by whose wit she clears
Her long, long secrets of five thousand years.

Would you then fully comprehend the whole, Why, and in what degrees, pride sways the soul ? (For, though in all, not equally she reigns) Awake to knowledge, and attend my

strains. Ye doctors ! hear the doctrine I disclose, As true, as if 't were writ in dullest prose;

[ocr errors]

As if a letter'd dunce had said, “ 'T is right,”
And imprimatur usher'd it to light.

Ambition, in the truly noble mind,
With sister Virtue is for ever join'd;
As in fam'd Lucrece, who, with equal dread,
From guilt and shame, by her last conduct, fled :
Her virtue long rebell’d in firm disdain,
And the sword pointed at her heart in vain ;
But, when the slave was threaten'd to be laid
Dead by her side, her Love of Fame obey'd.

In meaner minds Ambition works alone;
But with such art puts Virtue's aspect on,
That not more like in feature and in mien,
The God and mortal in the comic scene.
False Julius, ambush'd in this fair disguise,
Soon made the Roman liberties his prize.

No mask in basest minds Ambition wears,
But in full light pricks up her ass's ears :
All I have sung are instances of this,
And prove my theme unfolded not amiss.

Ye vain ! desist from your erroneous strife;
Be wise, and quit the false sublime of life.
The true ambition there alone resides,
Where justice vindicates, and wisdom guides ;
Where inward dignity joins outward state;
Our purpose good, as our achievement great ;
Where public blessings public praise attend;
Where glory is our motive, not our end.
Wouldst thou be fam’d? Have those high deeds
Brave men would act, though scandal should ensuc

[in view

* Amphitryon.

« AnteriorContinuar »