To the Right Honourable GEORGE Lord LANSDOWN.
1 THY Forests, Windsor! and thy green Retreats,
2 At once the Monarch's and the Muse's Seats,
3 Invite my Lays. Be present, Sylvan Maids!
4 Unlock your Springs, and open all your Shades.
5 Granville commands: Your Aid O Muses bring!
6 What Muse for Granville can refuse to sing?
7 The Groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
8 Live in Description, and look green in Song:
9 These, were my Breast inspir'd with equal Flame,
10 Like them in Beauty, should be like in Fame.
11 Here Hills and Vales, the Woodland and the Plain,
12 Here Earth and Water seem to strive again,
13 Not Chaos-like together crush'd and bruis'd,
14 But as the World, harmoniously confus'd:
15 Where Order in Variety we see,
16 And where, tho' all things differ, all agree. [Page 2]
17 Here waving Groves a checquer'd Scene display,
18 And part admit and part exclude the Day;
19 As some coy Nymph her Lover's warm Address
20 Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
21 There, interspers'd in Lawns and opening Glades,
22 Thin Trees arise that shun each others Shades.
23 Here in full Light the russet Plains extend;
24 There wrapt in Clouds the blueish Hills ascend:
25 Ev'n the wild Heath displays her Purple Dies,
26 And 'midst the Desart fruitful Fields arise,
27 That crown'd with tufted Trees and springing Corn,
28 Like verdant Isles the sable Waste adorn.
29 Let India boast her Plants, nor envy we
30 The weeping Amber or the balmy Tree,
31 While by our Oaks the precious Loads are born,
32 And Realms commanded which those Trees adorn.
33 Not proud Olympus yields a nobler Sight,
34 Tho' Gods assembled grace his tow'ring Height,
35 Than what more humble Mountains offer here,
36 Where, in their Blessings, all those Gods appear.
37 See Pan with Flocks, with Fruits Pomona crown'd,
38 Here blushing Flora paints th' enamel'd Ground,
39 Here Ceres' Gifts in waving Prospect stand,
40 And nodding tempt the joyful Reaper's Hand,
41 Rich Industry sits smiling on the Plains,
42 And Peace and Plenty tell, a STUART reigns.
43 Not thus the Land appear'd in Ages past,
44 A dreary Desart and a gloomy Waste,
45 To Savage Beasts and*
* The Forest Laws. Savage Laws a Prey,
46 And Kings more furious and severe than they:
47 Who claim'd the Skies, dispeopled Air and Floods,
48 The lonely Lords of empty Wilds and Woods.
49 Cities laid waste, they storm'd the Dens and Caves
50 (For wiser Brutes were backward to be Slaves)
51 What could be free, when lawless Beasts obey'd,
52 And ev'n the Elements a Tyrant sway'd?
53 In vain kind Seasons swell'd the teeming Grain,
54 Soft Show'rs distill'd, and Suns grew warm in vain;
55 The Swain with Tears to Beasts his Labour yields,
56 And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd Fields.
57 No wonder Savages or Subjects slain
58 Were equal Crimes in a Despotick Reign;
59 Both doom'd alike for sportive Tyrants bled,
60 But Subjects starv'd while Savages were fed.
61 Proud Nimrod first the bloody Chace began,
62 A mighty Hunter, and his Prey was Man.
63 Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous Name,
64 And makes his trembling Slaves the Royal Game.
† Alluding to the New Forest, and the Tyrannies exercis'd there by William the First. Fields are ravish'd from th' industrious Swains,
66 From Men their Cities, and from Gods their Fanes:[Page 4]
67 The levell'd Towns with Weeds lie cover'd o'er,
68 The hollow Winds thro' naked Temples roar;
69 Round broken Columns clasping Ivy twin'd;
70 O'er Heaps of Ruins stalk'd the stately Hind;
71 The Fox obscene to gaping Tombs retires,
72 And Wolves with Howling fill the sacred Quires.
73 Aw'd by his Nobles, by his Commons curst,
74 Th' Oppressor rul'd Tyrannick where he durst,
75 Stretch'd o'er the Poor, and Church, his Iron Rod,
76 And treats alike his Vassals and his God.
77 Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Dane,
78 The wanton Victims of his Sport remain.
79 But see the Man who spacious Regions gave
80 A Waste for Beasts, himself deny'd a Grave!
81 Stretch'd on the Lawn his*
* Richard, second Son of William the Conqueror. second Hope survey,
82 At once the Chaser and at once the Prey.
83 Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly Dart,
84 Bleeds in the Forest, like a wounded Hart.
85 Succeeding Monarchs heard the Subjects Cries,
86 Nor saw displeas'd the peaceful Cottage rise.
87 Then gath'ring Flocks on unknown Mountains fed,
88 O'er sandy Wilds were yellow Harvests spread,
89 The Forests wonder'd at th' unusual Grain,
90 And secret Transports touch'd the conscious Swain.
91 Fair Liberty, Britannia's Goddess, rears
92 Her chearful Head, and leads the golden Years.
93 Ye vig'rous Swains! while Youth ferments your Blood,
94 And purer Spirits swell the sprightly Flood,
95 Now range the Hills, the thickest Woods beset,
96 Wind the shrill Horn, or spread the waving Net.
97 When milder Autumn Summer's Heat succeeds,
98 And in the new-shorn Field the Partridge feeds,
99 Before his Lord the ready Spaniel bounds,
100 Panting with Hope, he tries the furrow'd Grounds,
101 But when the tainted Gales the Game betray,
102 Couch'd close he lyes, and meditates the Prey;
103 Secure they trust th' unfaithful Field, beset,
104 Till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling Net.
105 Thus (if small Things we may with great compare)
106 When Albion sends her eager Sons to War,
107 Pleas'd, in the Gen'ral's Sight, the Host lye down
108 Sudden, before some unsuspecting Town,
109 The Young, the Old, one Instant makes our Prize,
110 And high in Air Britannia's Standard flies.
111 See! from the Brake the whirring Pheasant springs,
112 And mounts exulting on triumphant Wings;
113 Short is his Joy! he feels the fiery Wound,
114 Flutters in Blood, and panting beats the Ground.
115 Ah! what avail his glossie, varying Dyes,
116 His Purple Crest, and Scarlet-circled Eyes,[Page 6]
117 The vivid Green his shining Plumes unfold;
118 His painted Wings, and Breast that flames with Gold?
119 Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the Sky,
120 The Woods and Fields their pleasing Toils deny.
121 To Plains with well-breath'd Beagles we repair,
122 And trace the Mazes of the circling Hare.
123 (Beasts, taught by us, their Fellow Beasts pursue,
124 And learn of Man each other to undo.)
125 With slaught'ring Guns th' unweary'd Fowler roves,
126 When Frosts have whiten'd all the naked Groves;
127 Where Doves in Flocks the leafless Trees o'ershade,
128 And lonely Woodcocks haunt the watry Glade.
129 He lifts the Tube, and levels with his Eye;
130 Strait a short Thunder breaks the frozen Sky.
131 Oft, as in Airy Rings they skim the Heath,
132 The clam'rous Plovers feel the Leaden Death:
133 Oft as the mounting Larks their Notes prepare,
134 They fall, and leave their little Lives in Air.
135 In genial Spring, beneath the quiv'ring Shade
136 Where cooling Vapours breathe along the Mead,
137 The patient Fisher takes his silent Stand
138 Intent, his Angle trembling in his Hand;
139 With Looks unmov'd, he hopes the Scaly Breed,
140 And eyes the dancing Cork and bending Reed. [Page 7]
141 Our plenteous Streams a various Race supply;
142 The bright-ey'd Perch with Fins of Tyrian Dye,
143 The silver Eel, in shining Volumes roll'd,
144 The yellow Carp, in Scales bedrop'd with Gold,
145 Swift Trouts, diversify'd with Crimson Stains,
146 And Pykes, the Tyrants of the watry Plains.
147 Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery Car;
148 The Youth rush eager to the Sylvan War;
149 Swarm o'er the Lawns, the Forest Walks surround,
150 Rowze the fleet Hart, and chear the opening Hound.
151 Th' impatient Courser pants in ev'ry Vein,
152 And pawing, seems to beat the distant Plain,
153 Hills, Vales, and Floods appear already crost,
154 And ere he starts, a thousand Steps are lost.
155 See! the bold Youth strain up the threatning Steep,
156 Rush thro' the Thickets, down the Vallies sweep,
157 Hang o'er their Coursers Heads with eager Speed,
158 And Earth rolls back beneath the flying Steed.
159 Let old Arcadia boast her spacious Plain,
160 Th' Immortal Huntress, and her Virgin Train;
161 Nor envy Windsor! since thy Shades have seen
162 As bright a Goddess, and as chast a Queen;
163 Whose Care, like hers, protects the Sylvan Reign,
164 The Earth's fair Light, and Empress of the Main.
165 Here, as old Bards have sung, Diana stray'd
166 Bath'd in the Springs, or sought the cooling Shade;
167 Here arm'd with Silver Bows, in early Dawn,
168 Her buskin'd Virgins trac'd the Dewy Lawn.
169 Above the rest a rural Nymph was fam'd,
170 Thy Offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona nam'd,
171 (Lodona's Fate, in long Oblivion cast,
172 The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last)
173 Scarce could the Goddess from her Nymph be known,
174 But by the Crescent and the golden Zone,
175 She scorn'd the Praise of Beauty, and the Care;
176 A Belt her Waste, a Fillet binds her Hair,
177 A painted Quiver on her Shoulder sounds,
178 And with her Dart the flying Deer she wounds.
179 It chanc'd, as eager of the Chace the Maid
180 Beyond the Forest's verdant Limits stray'd,
181 Pan saw and lov'd, and furious with Desire
182 Pursu'd her Flight; her Flight increas'd his Fire.
183 Not half so swift the trembling Doves can fly,
184 When the fierce Eagle cleaves the liquid Sky;
185 Not half so swiftly the fierce Eagle moves,
186 When thro' the Clouds he drives the trembling Doves;
187 As from the God with fearful Speed she flew,
188 As did the God with equal Speed pursue.
189 Now fainting, sinking, pale, the Nymph appears;
190 Now close behind his sounding Steps she hears;[Page 9]
191 And now his Shadow reach'd her as she run,
192 (His Shadow lengthen'd by the setting Sun)
193 And now his shorter Breath with sultry Air
194 Pants on her Neck, and fans her parting Hair.
195 In vain on Father Thames she calls for Aid,
196 Nor could Diana help her injur'd Maid.
197 Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain;
198 "Ah Cynthia! ah — tho' banish'd from thy Train,
199 "Let me, O let me, to the Shades repair,
200 "My native Shades — there weep, and murmur there.
201 She said, and melting as in Tears she lay,
202 In a soft, silver Stream dissolv'd away.
203 The silver Stream her Virgin Coldness keeps,
204 For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps;
205 Still bears the*
* The River Loddon. Name the hapless Virgin bore,
206 And bathes the Forest where she rang'd before.
207 In her chast Current oft the Goddess laves,
208 And with Celestial Tears augments the Waves.
209 Oft in her Glass the musing Shepherd spies
210 The headlong Mountains and the downward Skies,
211 The watry Landskip of the pendant Woods,
212 And absent Trees that tremble in the Floods;
213 In the clear azure Gleam the Flocks are seen,
214 And floating Forests paint the Waves with Green.
215 Thro' the fair Scene rowl slow the lingring Streams,
216 Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
217 Thou too, great Father of the British Floods!
218 With joyful Pride survey'st our lofty Woods,
219 Where tow'ring Oaks their spreading Honours rear,
220 And future Navies on thy Banks appear.
221 Not Neptune's self from all his Floods receives
222 A wealthier Tribute, than to thine he gives.
223 No Seas so rich, so full no Streams appear,
224 No Lake so gentle, and no Spring so clear.
225 Not fabled Po more swells the Poets Lays,
226 While thro' the Skies his shining Current strays,
227 Than thine, which visits Windsor's fam'd Abodes,
228 To grace the Mansion of our earthly Gods.
229 Nor all his Stars a brighter Lustre show,
230 Than the fair Nymphs that gild thy Shore below:
231 Here Jove himself, subdu'd by Beauty still,
232 Might change Olympus for a nobler Hill.
233 Happy the Man whom this bright Court approves,
234 His Sov'reign favours, and his Country loves;
235 Happy next him who to these Shades retires,
236 Whom Nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires,
237 Whom humbler Joys of home-felt Quiet please,
238 Successive Study, Exercise and Ease.
239 He gathers Health from Herbs the Forest yields,
240 And of their fragrant Physick spoils the Fields:[Page 11]
241 With Chymic Art exalts the Min'ral Pow'rs,
242 And draws the Aromatick Souls of Flow'rs.
243 Now marks the Course of rolling Orbs on high;
244 O'er figur'd Worlds now travels with his Eye.
245 Of ancient Writ unlocks the learned Store,
246 Consults the Dead, and lives past Ages o'er.
247 Or wandring thoughtful in the silent Wood,
248 Attends the Duties of the Wise and Good,
249 T' observe a Mean, be to himself a Friend,
250 To follow Nature, and regard his End.
251 Or looks on Heav'n with more than mortal Eyes,
252 Bids his free Soul expatiate in the Skies,
253 Amidst her Kindred Stars familiar roam,
254 Survey the Region, and confess her Home!
255 Such was the Life great Scipio once admir'd,
256 Thus Atticus, and Trumbal thus retir'd
257 Ye sacred Nine! that all my Soul possess,
258 Whose Raptures fire me, and whose Visions bless,
259 Bear me, oh bear me to sequester'd Scenes
260 Of Bow'ry Mazes and surrounding Greens;
261 To Thames's Banks which fragrant Breezes fill,
262 Or where ye Muses sport on Cooper's Hill.
263 (On Cooper's Hill eternal Wreaths shall grow,
264 While lasts the Mountain, or while Thames shall flow)[Page 12]
265 I seem thro' consecrated Walks to rove,
266 And hear soft Musick dye along the Grove;
267 Led by the Sound I roam from Shade to Shade,
268 By God-like Poets Venerable made:
269 Here his first Lays Majestick Denham sung;
270 There the last Numbers flow'd from*
* Mr. Cowley died at Chertsey on the Borders of the Forest, and was from thence convey'd to West minster. Cowley's Tongue.
271 O early lost! what Tears the River shed
272 When the sad Pomp along his Banks was led?
273 His drooping Swans on ev'ry Note expire,
274 And on his Willows hung each Muse's Lyre.
275 Since Fate relentless stop'd their Heav'nly Voice,
276 No more the Forests ring, or Groves rejoice;
277 Who now shall charm the Shades where Cowley strung
278 His living Harp, and lofty Denham sung?
279 But hark! the Groves rejoice, the Forest rings!
280 Are these reviv'd? or is it Granville sings?
281 'Tis yours, my Lord, to bless our soft Retreats,
282 And call the Muses to their ancient Seats,
283 To paint anew the flow'ry Sylvan Scenes,
284 To crown the Forests with Immortal Greens,
285 Make Windsor Hills in lofty Numbers rise,
286 And lift her Turrets nearer to the Skies;
287 To sing those Honours you deserve to wear,
288 And add new Lustre to her Silver Star.
289 Here noble*
* Henry Howard E. of Surrey, one of the first Resiners of the English Poetry; famous in the Time of Henry the VIIIth for his Sonnets, the Scene of many of which is laid at Windsor. Surrey felt the sacred Rage,
290 Surrey, the Granville of a former Age:
291 Matchless his Pen, victorious was his Lance;
292 Bold in the Lists, and graceful in the Dance:
293 In the same Shades the Cupids tun'd his Lyre,
294 To the same Notes, of Love, and soft Desire:
295 Fair Geraldine, bright Object of his Vow,
296 Then fill'd the Groves, as heav'nly Myra now.
297 Oh wou'dst thou sing what Heroes Windsor bore,
298 What Kings first breath'd upon her winding Shore,
299 Or raise old Warriors whose ador'd Remains
300 In weeping Vaults her hallow'd Earth contains!
† Edward III. born here. Edward's Acts adorn the shining Page,
302 Stretch his long Triumphs down thro' ev'ry Age,
303 Draw Kings enchain'd; and Cressi's glorious Field,
304 The Lillies blazing on the Regal Shield.
305 Then, from her Roofs when Verrio's Colours fall,
306 And leave inanimate the naked Wall;
307 Still in thy Song shou'd vanquish'd France appear,
308 And bleed for ever under Britain's Spear.
309 Let softer Strains Ill-fated¶
¶ Henry VI. Henry mourn,
310 And Palms Eternal flourish round his Urn.[Page 14]
311 Here o'er the Martyr-King the Marble weeps,
312 And fast beside him, once-fear'd*
* Edward IV. Edward sleeps:
313 Whom not th' extended Albion could contain,
314 From old Belerium to the German Main,
315 The Grave unites; where ev'n the Great find Rest,
316 And blended lie th' Oppressor and th' Opprest!
317 Make sacred Charles's Tomb for ever known,
318 (Obscure the Place, and uninscrib'd the Stone)
319 Oh Fact accurst! What Tears has Albion shed,
320 Heav'ns! what new Wounds, and how her old have bled?
321 She saw her Sons with purple Deaths expire,
322 Her sacred Domes involv'd in rolling Fire.
323 A dreadful Series of Intestine Wars,
324 In glorious Triumphs, and dishonest Scars.
325 At length great ANNA said — Let Discord cease!
326 She said, the World obey'd, and all was Peace!
327 In that blest Moment, from his Oozy Bed
328 Old Father Thames advanc'd his rev'rend Head.
329 His Tresses dropt with Dews, and o'er the Stream
330 His shining Horns diffus'd a golden Gleam:
331 Grav'd on his Urn appear'd the Moon, that guides
332 His swelling Waters, and alternate Tydes;
333 The figur'd Streams in Waves of Silver roll'd,
334 And on their Banks Augusta rose in Gold. [Page 15]
335 Around his Throne the Sea-born Brothers stood,
336 That swell with Tributary Urns his Flood.
337 First the fam'd Authors of his ancient Name,
338 The winding Isis, and the fruitful Tame:
339 The Kennet swift, for silver Eels renown'd;
340 The Loddon slow, with verdant Alders crown'd:
341 Cole, whose clear Streams his flow'ry Islands lave;
342 And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky Wave:
343 The blue, transparent Vandalis appears;
344 The gulphy Lee his sedgy Tresses rears:
345 And sullen Mole, that hides his diving Flood;
346 And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish Blood.
347 High in the midst, upon his Urn reclin'd,
348 (His Sea-green Mantle waving with the Wind)
349 The God appear'd; he turn'd his azure Eyes
350 Where Windsor-Domes and pompous Turrets rise,
351 Then bow'd and spoke; the Winds forget to roar,
352 And the hush'd Waves glide softly to the Shore.
353 Hail Sacred Peace! hail long-expected Days,
354 Which Thames's Glory to the Stars shall raise!
355 Tho' Tyber's Streams immortal Rome behold,
356 Tho' foaming Hermus swells with Tydes of Gold,
357 From Heav'n it self tho' sev'nfold Nilus flows,
358 And Harvests on a hundred Realms bestows;[Page 16]
359 These now no more shall be the Muse's Themes,
360 Lost in my Fame, as in the Sea their Streams.
361 Let Volga's Banks with Iron Squadrons shine,
362 And Groves of Lances glitter on the Rhine,
363 Let barb'rous Ganges arm a servile Train;
364 Be mine the Blessings of a peaceful Reign.
365 No more my Sons shall dye with British Blood
366 Red Iber's Sands, or Ister's foaming Flood;
367 Safe on my Shore each unmolested Swain
368 Shall tend the Flocks, or reap the bearded Grain;
369 The shady Empire shall retain no Trace
370 Of War or Blood, but in the Sylvan Chace,
371 The Trumpets sleep, while chearful Horns are blown,
372 And Arms employ'd on Birds and Beasts alone.
373 Behold! th' ascending Villa's on my Side
374 Project long Shadows o'er the Chrystal Tyde.
375 Behold! Augusta's glitt'ring Spires increase,
376 And Temples rise, the beauteous Works of Peace.
377 I see, I see where two fair Cities bend
378 Their ample Bow, a new White-Hall ascend!
379 There mighty Nations shall inquire their Doom,
380 The World's great Oracle in Times to come;
381 There Kings shall sue, and suppliant States be seen
382 Once more to bend before a British QUEEN.
383 Thy Trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their Woods,
384 And half thy Forests rush into my Floods,[Page 17]
385 Bear Britain's Thunder, and her Cross display,
386 To the bright Regions of the rising Day;
387 Tempt Icy Seas, where scarce the Waters roll,
388 Where clearer Flames glow round the frozen Pole;
389 Or under Southern Skies exalt their Sails,
390 Led by new Stars, and born by spicy Gales!
391 For me the Balm shall bleed, and Amber flow,
392 The Coral redden, and the Ruby glow,
393 The Pearly Shell its lucid Globe infold,
394 And Phoebus warm the ripening Ore to Gold.
395 The Time shall come, when free as Seas or Wind
396 Unbounded Thames shall flow for all Mankind,
397 Whole Nations enter with each swelling Tyde,
398 And Oceans join whom they did first divide;
399 Earth's distant Ends our Glory shall behold,
400 And the new World launch forth to seek the Old.
401 Then Ships of uncouth Form shall stem the Tyde,
402 And Feather'd People crowd my wealthy Side,
403 While naked Youth and painted Chiefs admire
404 Our Speech, our Colour, and our strange Attire!
405 Oh stretch thy Reign, fair Peace! from Shore to Shore,
406 Till Conquest cease, and Slav'ry be no more:
407 Till the freed Indians in their native Groves
408 Reap their own Fruits, and woo their Sable Loves,
409 Peru once more a Race of Kings behold,
410 And other Mexico's be roof'd with Gold. [Page 18]
411 Exil'd by Thee from Earth to deepest Hell,
412 In Brazen Bonds shall barb'rous Discord dwell:
413 Gigantick Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
414 And mad Ambition, shall attend her there.
415 There purple Vengeance bath'd in Gore retires,
416 Her Weapons blunted, and extinct her Fires:
417 There hateful Envy her own Snakes shall feel,
418 And Persecution mourn her broken Wheel:
419 There Faction roars, Rebellion bites her Chain,
420 And gasping Furies thirst for Blood in vain.
421 Here cease thy Flight, nor with unhallow'd Lays
422 Touch the fair Fame of Albion's Golden Days.
423 The Thoughts of Gods let Granville's Verse recite,
424 And bring the Scenes of opening Fate to Light.
425 My humble Muse, in unambitious Strains,
426 Paints the green Forests and the flow'ry Plains,
427 Where Peace descending bids her Olives spring,
428 And scatters Blessings from her Dove-like Wing.
429 Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless Days,
430 Pleas'd in the silent Shade with empty Praise;
431 Enough for me, that to the listning Swains
432 First in these Fields I sung the Sylvan Strains.