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The GROTTO.

Printed in the Year 1732, but never published.

Scilicet hic possis curvo dignoscere rectum,
Atque inter silvas Academi quaerere verum.
HOR.
Our wits Apollo's influence beg,
The Grotto makes them all with egg:
Finding this chalk-stone in my nest,
I strain, and lay among the rest.
1 ADIEU awhile, forsaken flood,
2 To ramble in the Delian wood,
3 And pray the God my well-meant song
4 May not my subject's merit wrong.
5 Say, father Thames, whose gentle pace
6 Gives leave to view what beauties grace
7 Your flow'ry banks, if you have seen
8 The much sung GROTTO of the queen.
9 Contemplative, forget awhile
10 Oxonian towers, and Windsor's pile,
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11 And Woolsey's pride (his greatest guilt)
12 And what great William since has built;
13 And flowing fast by Richmond scenes,
14 (Honour'd retreat of two great queens)
15 From Sion-house, whose proud survey
16 Brow-beats your flood, look cross the way,
17 And view, from highest swell of tide,
18 The milder scenes of Surry side.
19 Though yet no palace grace the shore,
20 To lodge that pair you shou'd adore;
21 Nor abbies, great in ruin, rise,
22 Royal equivalents for vice;
23 Behold a Grott, in Delphic grove,
24 The Graces' and the Muses' love.
25 (O might our laureat study here,
26 How would he hail his new-born year!)
27 A temple from vain glories free,
28 Whose goddess is Philosophy,
29 Whose sides such licens'd idols crown
30 As superstition wou'd pull down;
31 The only pilgrimage I know
32 That men of sense wou'd chuse to go:
33 Which sweet abode, her wisest choice,
34 Urania chears with heavenly voice,
35 While all the Virtues gather round,
36 To see her consecrate the ground.
37 If thou the God with winged feet,
38 In council talk of this retreat,
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39 And jealous gods resentment show
40 At altars rais'd to men below;
41 Tell those proud lords of heaven, 'tis fit
42 Their house our heroes should admit;
43 While each exists, as poets sing,
44 A lazy lewd immortal thing,
45 They must (or grow in disrepute)
46 With earth's first commoners recruit.
47 Needless it is in terms unskill'd
48 To praise whatever Boyle shall build;
49 Needless it is the busts to name
50 Of men, monopolists of fame;
51 Four chiefs adorn the modest stone,
52 For virtue as for learning known;
53 The thinking sculpture helps to raise
54 Deep thoughts, the genii of the place:
55 To the mind's ear, and inward sight,
56 Their silence speaks, and shade gives light:
57 While insects from the threshold preach,
58 And minds dispos'd to musing teach:
59 Proud of strong limbs and painted hues,
60 They perish by the slightest bruise;
61 Or maladies begun within,
62 Destroy more slow life's frail machine;
63 From maggot-youth thro' change of state
64 They feel like us the turns of Fate;
65 Some born to creep have liv'd to fly,
66 And change earth-cells for dwellings high;
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67 And some that did their six wings keep,
68 Before they dy'd been forc'd to creep.
69 They politics like ours profess,
70 The greater prey upon the less:
71 Some strain on foot huge loads to bring;
72 Some toil incessant on the wing;
73 And in their different ways explore
74 Wise sense of want by future store;
75 Nor from their vigorous schemes desist
76 Till death, and then are never mist.
77 Some frolick, toil, marry, increase,
78 Are sick and well, have war and peace,
79 And broke with age, in half a day
80 Yield to successors, and away.
81 Let not profane this sacred place,
82 Hyprocrisy with Janus' face;
83 Or pomp, mixt state of pride and care;
84 Court kindness, Falshood's polish'd ware;
85 Scandal disguis'd in Friendship's veil,
86 That tells, unask'd, th' injurious tale;
87 Or art politic, which allows
88 The jesuit-remedy for vows;
89 Or priest, perfuming crowned head,
90 Till in a swoon Truth lies for dead;
91 Or tawdry critic, who perceives
92 No grace, which plain proportion gives,
93 And more than lineaments divine
94 Admires the gilding of the shrine;
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95 Or that self-haunting spectre Spleen,
96 In thickest fog the clearest seen;
97 Or Prophecy, which dreams a lie,
98 That fools believe and knaves apply;
99 Or frolick Mirth profanely loud,
100 And happy only in a crowd;
101 Or Melancholy's pensive gloom,
102 Proxy in Contemplation's room.
103 O Delia, when I touch this string,
104 To thee my Muse directs her wing.
105 Unspotted fair, with downcast look
106 Mind not so much the murm'ring brook;
107 Nor fixt in thought, with footsteps slow
108 Through cypress allies cherish woe:
109 I see the soul in pensive fit,
110 And mopeing like sick linnet sit,
111 With dewy eye and moulting wing,
112 Unperch'd, averse to fly or sing;
113 I see the favourite curls begin
114 (Disus'd to toilet discipline,)
115 To quit their post, lose their smart air,
116 And grow again like common hair;
117 And tears, which frequent kerchiefs dry,
118 Raise a red circle round the eye;
119 And by this bur about the moon,
120 Conjecture more ill weather soon.
121 Love not so much the doleful knell;
122 And news the boding night-birds tell;
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123 Nor watch the wainscot's hollow blow;
124 And hens portentous when they crow;
125 Nor sleepless mind the death-watch beat;
126 In taper find no winding sheet;
127 Nor in burnt coal a coffin see,
128 Tho' thrown at others meant for thee:
129 Or when the coruscation gleams,
130 Find out not first the bloody streams;
131 Nor in imprest remembrance keep
132 Grim tap'stry figures wrought in sleep;
133 Nor rise to see in antique hall.
134 The moon-light monsters on the wall,
135 And shadowy spectres darkly pass
136 Trailing their sables o'er the grass.
137 Let vice and guilt act how they please
138 In souls, their conquer'd provinces;
139 By heaven's just charter it appears,
140 Virtue's exempt from quartering fears.
141 Shall then arm'd fancies fiercely drest,
142 Live at discretion in your breast?
143 Be wise, and pannic fright disdain,
144 As notions, meteors of the brain;
145 And sighs perform'd, illusive scene!
146 By magic lanthorn of the spleen.
147 Come here, from baleful cares releas'd,
148 With Virtue's ticket, to a feast,
149 Where decent mirth and wisdom join'd
150 In stewardship, regale the mind.
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151 Call back the Cupids to your eyes,
152 I see the godlings with surprize
153 Not knowing home in such a plight,
154 Fly to and fro, afraid to light. ā€”
155 Far from my theme, from method far,
156 Convey'd in Venus' flying car,
157 I go compell'd by feather'd steeds,
158 That scorn the rein when Delia leads.
159 No dawb of elegiac strain
160 These holy walls shall ever stain;
161 As spiders Irish wainscot flee,
162 Falshood with them shall disagree:
163 This floor let not the vulgar tread,
164 Who worship only what they dread;
165 Nor bigots who but one way see
166 Through blinkers of authority;
167 Nor they who its four saints defame
168 By making virtue but a name;
169 Nor abstract wit, (painful regale
170 To hunt the pig with slippery tail!)
171 Artists who richly chase their thought,
172 Gaudy without but hollow wrought,
173 And beat too thin, and tool'd too much
174 To bear the proof and standard touch;
175 Nor fops to guard this silvan ark
176 With necklace bells in treble bark;
177 Nor Cynics growl and fiercely paw,
178 The mastiffs of the moral law.
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179 Come Nymph with rural honours drest,
180 Virtue's exterior form confest,
181 With charms untarnish'd, innocence
182 Display, and Eden shall commence:
183 When thus you come in sober fit,
184 And wisdom is prefer'd to wit;
185 And looks diviner graces tell,
186 Which don't with giggling muscles dwell;
187 And beauty like the ray-clipt sun,
188 With bolder eye we look upon;
189 Learning shall with obsequious mien
190 Tell all the wonders she has seen;
191 Reason her logic armour quit,
192 And proof to mild persuasion fit;
193 Religion with free thought dispense,
194 And cease crusading against sense;
195 Philosophy and she embrace,
196 And their first league again take place;
197 And morals pure, in duty bound,
198 Nymph-like the sister chiefs surround;
199 Nature shall smile, and round this cell
200 The turf to your light pressure swell,
201 And knowing beauty by her shoe,
202 Well air its carpet from the dew.
203 The Oak, while you his umbrage deck
204 Lets fall his acorns in your neck:
205 Zephyr his civil kisses gives,
206 And plays with curls, instead of leaves:
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207 Birds, seeing you, believe it spring,
208 And during their vacation sing;
209 And flow'rs lean forward from their seats
210 To traffic in exchange of sweets;
211 And angels bearing wreaths descend,
212 Preferr'd as vergers to attend
213 This fane, whose deity intreats
214 The Fair to grace its upper seats.
215 O kindly view our letter'd strife,
216 And guard us through polemic life;
217 From poison vehicled in praise,
218 For satire's shots but slightly graze;
219 We claim your zeal, and find within,
220 Philosophy and you are kin.
221 What Virtue is we judge by you,
222 For actions right are beauteous too:
223 By tracing the sole female mind,
224 We best what is true Nature find:
225 Your vapours bred from fumes declare,
226 How streams create tempestuous air,
227 Till gushing tears and hasty rain
228 Make heaven and you serene again:
229 Our travels through the starry skies
230 Were first suggested by your eyes;
231 We by the interposing fan,
232 Learn how eclipses first began;
233 The vast ellipse from Scarbro's home,
234 Describes how blazing comets roam;
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235 The glowing colours of the cheek
236 Their origin from Phoebus speak;
237 Our watch how Luna strays above
238 Feels like the care of jealous love;
239 And all things we in science know
240 From your known love for riddles flow.
241 Father! forgive, thus far I stray,
242 Drawn by attraction from my way.
243 Mark next with awe, the foundress well
244 Who on these banks delights to dwell;
245 You on the terrass see her plain,
246 Move like Diana with her train.
247 If you then fairly speak your mind,
248 In wedlock since with Isis join'd,
249 You'll own, you never yet did see.
250 At least in such a high degree,
251 Greatness delighted to undress;
252 Science a scepter'd hand caress;
253 A queen the friends of freedom prize;
254 A woman wise men canonize.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): The GROTTO. Printed in the Year 1732, but never published.
    Author: Matthew Green
    Themes: architecture; buildings; retirement
    Genres:
    References: DMI 27711

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. V. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 159-168. 6v.: music; 8ā°. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.005) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.