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Now flattering base, now giving secret
wounds : Or prowl in courts of law for human
prey, In venal senate thieve, or rob on broad
XIV. No cocks, with me, to rustic labour call, From village on to village sounding clear: To tardy swain no shrill-voiced matrons
squall; No dogs, no babes, no wives, to stun
your ear ; No hammers thump; no horrid black
smith sear; No noisy tradesman your sweet slumbers
start, With sounds that are a misery to hear : But all is calm, as would delight the
heart Of Sybarite of old, all nature, and all art.
Above the passions that this world de
forni, And torture man, a proud malignant
worm? But here, instead, soft gales of passion
play, And gently stir the heart, thereby to form
A quicker sense of joy; as breezes stray Across the enlivened skies, and make them still more gay.
XVII. The best of men have ever loved repose: They hate to mingle in the filthy fray; Where the soul sours, and gradual ran
cour grows, Imbittered more from peevish day to
day. Even those whom Fame has lent her
fairest ray, The most renowned of worthy wights of
yore, From a base world at least have stolen
away : So Scipio, to the soft Cumæan shore, Retiring, tasted joy he never knew before.
XVIII. But if a little exercise you choose, Some zest for ease, 'tis not forbidden
here. · Amid the groves you may indulge the
muse, Or tend the blooms, and deck the vernal
year ; Or softly stealing, with your watery gear, Along the brook, the crimson-spotted fry You may delude ; the whilst, amused,
gent ease, Good-natured lounging. sauntering up
and down : They who are pleased themselves must
always please ; On others' ways they never squint a
frown, Norheed what hapsin hamlet or in town: Thus, from the source of tender indo
lence, With milky blood the heart is overflown, Is soothed and sweetened by the social
sense ; For interest, envy, pride, and strife, are
XVI. What, what is virtue, but repose of mind, A pure ethereal calm, that knows no
storm ; Above the reach of wild ambition's wind,
Now the hoarse stream, and now the
zephyr's sigh, Attuned to the birds, and woodland melody.
XIX. Oh! grievous folly, to heap up estate, Losing the days you see beneath the
When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Then taking his black staff, he called
fate, And gives the untasted portion you have And roused himself as much as rouse himwon,
self he can. With ruthless toil, and many a wretch
The lad leaped lightly at his master's call. To those who mock you gone to Pluto's He was, to weet, a little roguish page, reign,
Save sleep and play who minded nought There with sad ghosts to pine, and at all, shadows dun :
Like most the untaught striplings of his But sure it is of vanities most vain,
age. To toil for what you here untoiling may This boy he kept each band to disengage, obtain."
Garters and buckles, task for him unfit, XX.
But ill-becoming his grave personage, He ceased. But still their trembling And which his portly paunch would not ears retained
permit, The deep vibrations of his 'witching song; So this same limber page to all perfor That, by a kind of magic power, con
XXIII. Toenterin, pell-mell, the listeningthrong.
Meantime the master-porter wide disHeaps poured on heaps, and yet they played slipped along,
Great store of caps, of slippers, and of In silent ease ; as when beneath the gowns; beam
Wherewith he those that entered in, Of summer-moons the distant woods arrayed among,
Loose, as the breeze that plays along Or by some flood all silvered with the the downs, gleam,
And waves the summer-woods when The soft-embodied says through airy portal evening frowns. stream,
Oh ! fair undress, best dress, it checks
But every flowing limb in pleasure [THE PORTER OF INDOLENCE.)
And heightens ease with grace. This Waked by the crowd, slow from his done, right fain bench arose
Sir porter sat him down, and turned to A comely full-spread porter, swollen sleep again.
with sleep ; His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect
RULE BRITANNIA. breathed repose ; And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep, When Britain first at Heaven's command, Ne could himself from ceaseless yawn- Arose from out the azure main, ing keep ;
This was the charter of the land, While o'er his eyes the drowsy liquor ran, And guardian angels sung the strain : Through which his half-waked soul Rule Britannia. Britannia rules the waves! would saintly peep,
Britons never shall be slaves.
1699--1746. The poem on which alone rest He was named after his grandfather, Blair's claims to rank as a poet, from who was chaplain to Charles I., and was its title The Grave, could hardly be destined for the ministry of the Church expected to yield other than a melan- of Scotland. Having completed his choly pleasure; and yet, like Gray's studies at the University of his native famous Elegy almost on the same sub- city, he travelled for some time on the ject, but published six years later, it Continent; and on his return was aphas been largely popular; though not pointed to the parish of Athelstaneford, nearly to the same extent, nor with the in East Lothian. His settlement took same permanence. Though somewhat | place in 1731 ; but The Grave must sermonizing in its tone, it contains have been mostly written before this, as many noble passages, and is perhaps he informs Dr Doddridge, with whom, the nearest approach to the style of and with Dr Isaac Watts, he correThomson's blank verse that we possess: sponded in 1742, as to its publication, a resemblance no doubt owing to its that the greater part of it was written being written immediately after the before his appointment to the ministry. Seasons. The style, however, is all Blair owed his introduction to his that it owes to Thomson.
two distinguished English corresponBlair was born in Edinburgh in 1699, dents to their mutual friend, his neighand was the son of the Rev. David bour, the celebrated Colonel Gardiner, Blair, one of the ministers of the city. whose death forms one of the most
touching incidents of the battle of Laden with heavier airs, from the low Prestonpans, and whose piety and vaults, valour are commemorated by his friend The mansions of the dead. Roused from Dr Doddridge.
their slumbers, The Grave was published in 1743,
In grim array the grisly spectres rise, and its author died in 1746, leaving a
Grin horrible, and, obstinately sullen,
Pass and repass, hushed as the foot of numerous family, one of whom became Lord President of the Court of Session, Again the screech-owl shrieks :-ungra
night. and the intimate friend of Sir Walter
cious sound! Scott. Blair's successor in Athelstane. I'll hear no more ; it makes one's blood ford was John Home, the author of
run chill. the tragedy of Douglas. The Grave is a poem of over 800
Oft, in the lone churchyard at night lines, in paragraphs whose illustrations have no necessary sequence, and may By glimpse of moonshine, chequering therefore be read in any order. The
through the trees, specimens given are in the order of the
The school-boy, with his satchel in his
hand, poem, though not consecutive; yet they Whistling aloud to bear his courage up, read almost as if they were. They have And lightly tripping o'er the long flat been selected as the best examples of the author's powers and style.
(With nettles skirted, and with moss
o'ergrown) THE GRAVE.
That tell in homely phrase who lie below:
Sudden he starts ! and hears, or thinks he [Specimens.)
The sound of something purring at his See yonder hallowed fane ! the pious heels : work
Full fast he flies, and dares not look beOf names once famed, now dubious or for- hind him, got,
Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows, And buried midst the wreck of things Who gather round, and wonder at the which were :
tale There lie interred the more illustrious dead. Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly, The wind is up : hark ! how it howls ! me- ! That walks at dead of night, or takes his thinks,
stand Till now, I never heard a sound so dreary: O'er some new-opened grave; and, Doors creak, and windows clap, and
strange to tell ! night's foul bird,
Evanishes at crowing of the cock. Rocked in the spire, screams loud : the gloomy aisles,
Invidious grave ! how dost thou rend Black plastered, and hung round with in sunder shreds of scutcheons
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made And tattered coats of arms, send back the one! sound,
Atie more stubborn far than nature's band. less on,
Friendship! mysterious cement of the And glittering in the sun ! Triumphant ensoul !
tries Sweet'ner of life ! and solder of society! Of conquerors and coronation pomps, I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts ot from me
people Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. Retard the unwieldy show; whilst from Oft have I proved the labours of thy love, the casements, And the warm efforts of thy gentle heart And houses tops, ranks behind ranks, Anxious to please. Oh! when my friend close wedged, and I
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why In some thick wood have wandered heed- this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcass Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down That's fallen into disgrace, and in the Upon the sloping cowslip-covered bank, nostril Where the pure limpid stream has slid Smells horrible ? Ye undertakers ! tell us, along
'Midst all the gorgeousfigures you exhibit, In grateful errors through the underwood Why is the principal concealed, for which Sweet-murmuring; methought the shrill- | You make this mighty stir ? 'Tis wisely tongued thrush
done : Mended his song of love; the sooty black- | What would offend the eye in a good picbird
ture, Mellowed his pipe, and softened every note; The painter casts discreetly into shades. The eglantine smelled sweeter, and the rose Assumed a dye more deep; whilst every
Beauty! thou pretty plaything! dear flower
deceit! Vied with its fellow-plant in luxury
That şteals so softly o'er the stripling's Of dress. O! then the longest summer's
And gives it a new pulse unknown before! Seemed too, too much in haste : still the The Grave discredits thee. Thy charms full heart
expunged, Had not imparted half : 'twas happiness Thy roses faded, and thy lilies soiled, Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed, | What hast thou more to boast of? Will Not to return, how painful the remem- thy lovers brance !
Flock round thee now, to gaze and do thee
homage? But see ! the well-plumed hearse comes Methinks I see thee with thy head low nodding on,
laid, Stately and slow ; and properly attended | Whilst, surfeited upon thy damask cheek, By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch The high-fed worm, in lazy volumes rolled, The sick man's door, and live upon the Riots unscared. For this was all thy caudead,
tion? By letting out their persons by the hour For this thy painful labours at thy glass To mimic sorrow when the heart's not T' improve those charms, and keep them sad.
in repair, How rich the trappings, now they're all For which the spoiler thanks thee not? unfurled,