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And cannot see, though few see better,
How I shall hammer out a letter.
First, for a thought-since all agree-
A thought-I have it-let me see-
'Tis gone again-plague on't! I thought
I had it--but I have it not.
Dame Gurton thus, and Hodge her son,
That useful thing, her needle, gone!
Rake well the cinders-sweep the floor,
And sift the dust behind the door;
While eager Hodge beholds the prize
In old grimalkin's glaring eyes:
And Gammer finds it, on her knees,
In every shining straw she sees.
This simile were apt enough;
But I've another, critic-proof!
The virtuoso thus, at noon,
Broiling beneath a July sun,
The gilded butterfly pursues,
O'er hedge and ditch, through gaps and mews;
And, after many a vain essay,
To captivate the tempting prey,
Gives him at length the lucky pat,
And has him safe beneath his hat:
Then lifts it gently from the ground;
But, ah! 'tis lost as soon as found;
Culprit his liberty regains,
Flits out of sight, and mocks his pains.
The sense was dark; 'twas therefore fit
With simile to illustrate it;
But as too much obscures the sight,
As often as too little light,
We have our similes cut short,
For matters of more grave import.
in the Spectator's time would have been called bamboozled.
That Matthew's numbers run with ease,
Each man of common sense agrees!
All men of common sense allow
That Robert's lines are easy too:
Where then the preference shall we place,
Or how do justice in this case?
Matthew (says Fame,) with endless pains
Smooth'd and refined the meanest strains;
Nor suffer'd one ill-chosen rhyme
To escape him at the idlest time;
And thus o'er all a lustre cast,
That while the language lives shall last.
A'nt please your ladyship (quoth I,)
For 'tis my business to reply;
Sure so much labor, so much toil,
Bespeak at least a stubborn soil:
Theirs be the laurel-weath decreed,
Who both write well, and write full speed!
Who throw their Helicon abou
As freely as a conduit spout!
Friend Robert, thus like chien savant
Lets fall a poem en passant,
Nor needs his genuine ore refine-
'Tis ready polish'd from the mine.
A TALE, FOUNDED ON A FACT,
WHICH HAPPENED IN JANUARY, 1779.
WHERE Humber pours his rich commercial stream
There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blas-
In subterraneous caves his life he led,
Black as the mine in which he wrought for bread.
When on a day, emerging from the deep,
A sabbath-day, (such sabbaths thousands keep!)
The wages of his weekly toil he bore
To buy a cock-whose blood might win him more;
As if the noblest of the feather'd kind
Were but for battle and for death design'd;
As if the consecrated hours were meant
For sport to minds on cruelty intent;
It chanced (such chances Providence obey)
He met a fellow laborer on the way,
Whose heart the same desires had once inflamed;
But now the savage temper was reclaim'd,
Persuasion on his lips had taken place;
For all plead well who plead the cause of grace.
His iron heart with scripture he assail'd,
Woo'd him to hear a sermon, and prevail'd.
His faithful bow the mighty preacher drew,
Swift as the lightning-glimpse the arrow flew.
He wept; he trembled: cast his eyes around,
To find a worse tha he; but none he found.
He felt his sins, and wonder'd he should feel.
Grace made the wound, and grace alone should
Now farewell oaths, and blasphemies, and lies!
He quits the sinner's for the martyr's prize.
That holy day was wash'd with many a tear,
Gilded with hope, yet shaded too by fear.
The next, his swarthy brethren of the mine
Learn'd, by his alter'd speech, the change divine!
Laugh'd when they should have wept, and swore
Was nigh when he would swear as fast as they.
"No," said the penitent, "such words shall share
This breath no more; devoted now to prayer.
O! if thou seest (thine eye the future sees)
That I shall yet again blaspheme like these;
Now strike me to the ground on which I kneel,
Ere yet this heart relapses into steel
Now take me to that heaven I once defied, Thy presence, thy embrace !"-He spoke, and died.
TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON, ON HIS RETURN FROM RAMSGATE.
THAT Ocean you have late survey'd,
Those rocks I too have seen;
But I, afflicted and dismay'd,
You, tranquil and serene.
You from the flood-controlling steep
Saw stretch'd before your view,
With conscious joy, the threatening deep,
No longer such to you.
To me the waves, that ceaseless broke
Upon the dangerous coast,
Hoarsely and ominously spoke
Of all my treasure lost.
Your sea of troubles you have past,
And found the peaceful shore;
I, tempest-toss'd, and wreck'd at last,
Come home to port no more.
WHAT is there in the vale of life
Half so delightful as a wife,
When friendship, love, and peace combine
To stamp the marriage-bond divine?
The stream of pure and genuine love
Derives its current from above;
And earth a second Eden shows
Where'er the healing water flows:
But ah, if from the dykes and drains
Of sensual nature's feverish veins,
Lust, like a lawless headstrong flood,
Impregnated with ooze and mud,
Descending fast on every side,
Once mingles with the sacred tide,
Farewell the soul-enlivening scene!
The banks that wore a smiling green,
With rank defilement overspread,
Bewail their flowery beauties dead.
The stream polluted, dark, and dull,
Diffused into a Stygian pool,
Through life's last melancholy years
Is fed with overflowing tears:
Complaints supply the zephyr's part,
And sighs that heave a breaking heart.
A POETICAL EPISTLE TO LADY
DEAR ANNA-between friend and friend
Prose answers every common end;
Serves, in a plain and homely way,
To express the occurrence of the day;
Our health, the weather, and the news;
What walks we take, what books we choose;
And all the floating thoughts we find
Upon the surface of the mind.
But when a poet takes the pen,
Far more alive than other men,
He feels a gentle tingling come
Down to his finger and his thumb,
Derived from nature's noblest part,
The centre of a glowing heart:
And this is what the world, who knows
No flights above the pitch of prose,