« EdellinenJatka »
He was among the first to acknowledge the merit of Pope, and ushered in the publication of his “ Poems” with a reconimendatory Cory of Verfes, which received the praise, and excited the emulation of Harcourt, and other admirers of our English Honzer.
Great Sheffield's muse the long procellion heads,
Crowns his gay brow, and fews him how to reign. Pope hiniself appears to have valued this Copy of Verses very highly, though they are extremely feeble and prosaic, and spcaks of Sheffield's commendation as the consummation of his fame.
Muse! 'tis enough; at length thy labour ends;
And thou shalt live, for Buckingham commends, &c. Besides this professed testimony of his gratitude, Pope has incidentallò mentioned his obligations to him, in his poems, and embellished his Tragedy of Brutus with two choruses,
Of his other poetical pieces, the Flay on Poetry is the most distinguished. It seems to have been his favourite production; for he was all his life in proving it by successive revisals; so that there is scarcely any poem to be found of which the last editions differ niore from the first. It is fanked by Addison (Spectator, No. 253.) with Roscommon's " Essay on translated Verse," and Pope's Ellay on Criticism." Though the versification is careless, the sense is always clear, and the rules are commonly just, and often delivered with case, and sometimes with energy. It is justly ranked among our belt didactic poenis.
The Vision contains little invention, or propriety of sentiment. The Election of . Laureat is an imitation of Suckling's “ Session of the Poets," in which he has characterised the contemporary poets, with some humour and vivacity. His Odes are written with Pindaric liberty, but are languid and unharmonioue. His Transations are sufficiently licentious, but very deficient in animation and force, compared with the original. His Songs and amatory pieces are sometimes sprightly and elegant; but have neither gallantry nor tenderness.
“ I can recollect no performance of Buckingham,” fays Dr. Warton, " that stamps him a true genius; his reputation was owing to his rank. In reading his poems one is apt to exclaim with Pope,
What woful stuff this madrigal would be
How the wit brightens, how the style refines !" et It is certain," says Lord Orford, " that his Grace's compositions, in prose, have nothing ertraordinary in them; his poetry is most indifferent, and the greatett part of both is already, fallen into total neglect."
“ Criticism,” says Dr. Johnson, « discovers him to be a writer that sometimes glimmers, but farely shines, feebly laborious, and at best but pretry. His songs are upon common topics; he hopes, and grieves, and repents, and despairs, and rejoices, like any other maker of little fanzas : to be great he hardly tries, to be gay is hardly in his power.
« Of the Elay on Poetry, which Dryden has exalted so highly, it may be justly said that the precepts are judicious, sometimes new, and often happily expressed; but there are many weak lines, and some strange appearances of negligence; as, when he gives the laws of elegy, he infifts upon connection and coherence, without which, fays he,
'fis epigranı, 'tis point, 'tis what you will,
No Panegyric, nor a Cooper's Hill.
A faultless monster which the world ne'er faw. « Scaliger, in his poems, terms Virgil, Sine labe monftrum. Sheffield can scarcely be supposed to have read Scaliger's poetry ; perhaps he found the words in a quotation.
“ His verses are often insipid, but his memoirs are lively and agreeable; he had the perspicuity and elegance of an historian, but not the fire and fancy of a poet."
P 0 E M S.
Nec Phæbo gratior ulla eft
TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN SHEFFIELD, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE,
THESE, HIS MORE LASTING REMAINS,
(THE MONUMENT OF HIS MIND, AND MORE PERFECT IMAGE OF HIMSELF)
ARE HERE COLLECTED BY THE DIRECTION OT
CATHARINE HIS DUCHESS:
Desirous that his Ashes may be honoured, and his Fame and Merit committed to
the Test of Time, Truth, and Pofterity.
THE TEMPLE OF DEATH.
IN IMITATION OF THE FRENCH.
In those cold climates, where the sun appears
Poisons are all the plants that foil will bear,
age and pains, those evils man deplores, Whose aid so many lovers oft have found, Are rigid keepers of th' eternal doors;
With like success can ever heal my wound: All clad in mournful blacks, which fadly load Too weak the power of nature, or of art, The sacred walls of this obfcure abode;
Nothing but death can ease a broken heart : And tapers, of a pitchy substance made,
And that thou may'st behold my helpless state, With clouds of smoke increase the dismal shade. Learn the extremest rigour of my face. A monster void of reason and of sight
Amidst th' innumerable beauteous train, The goddess is, who fways this realm of night : Paris, the queen of cities, does contain, Her power extends o'er all things that have (The fairelt town, the largest, and the best) breath,
The fair Almeria shin'd above the rest A cruel tyrant, and her name is death.
From her bright eyes to feel a hopeless flame, The fairest object of our wondering eyes
Was of our youth the most ambitious aim; Was newly offer'd up her sacrifice;
Her chains were marks of honour to the brave; Th' adjoining places where the altar stood,
She made a prince whene'er she made a slave. Yet blushing with the fair Almeria's blood, Love, under whose tyrannic power I groan, When griev'd Orontes, whose unhappy flame Show'd me this beauty ere 'twas fully blown; Is known to all who e'er converse with fame, Her timorous charms, and her unpractis d look, His mind possess’d by fury and despair,
Their first assurance from my conquest took ; Within the sacred temple made this prayer : By wounding me, she learn'd the fatal art,
Great Deity! who in thy hands doft bear And the first sigh stie had was from my heart : Thät iron scepire which poor mortals fear; My eyes, with tears moistening her snowy arms, Who, wanting eyes thyself, respectest none, Render'd the tribute owing to her charms. And neither spar'st the laurel nor the crown! But, as I soonest of all mortals paid O thou, whom all mankind in vain withstand, My vows, and to her beauty alcars made; Each of whose blood must one day stain thy hand! So, among all those flaves that ligh'd in vain, thou, who every eye that fees the light
She thought me only worthy of my chain : Closest for ever in the shades of night!
Love's heavy burden my submissive heart Goddess, attend, and hearken to my grief,
Endur'd not long, before she bore her part; To which thy power alone can give relief.
My violent flame melted her frozen breast, Alas! I ask not to defer my fate,
And in fost sighs her pity the express'd ; But wish my hapless life a shorter date;
Her gentle voice allay'd my raging pains, And that the earth would in its bowels hide
And her fair hands sustain'd me in my chains; A wretch, whom Heaven invades on every side : Ev'n tears of pity waited on my nioan, That from the sight of day I could remove,
And tender looks were cast on me alone. And might have nothing left nie but my love. My hopes and dangers were less mine than hers, Thou only conforter of minds oppreft,
Those fill'd her soul with joys, and these with fears; The port where wearied fpirits are at reft ;
Our hearts, united, had the same delires, Conductor to Elyfiun, take my life,
And both alike burn'd with impatient fires. My breast I offer to thy sacred knife;
Too faithful memory! I give thee leave So just a grace refuse not, nor despise
Thy wretched master kindly to deceive; A willing, though a worthless facrifice.
Oh, make me not possessor of her charms, Others (their frail and mortal state forgot)
Let me not find her languish in my arms; Before thy altars are not to be brought
Past joys are now my fancy's mournful themes; Without constraint; the noise of dying rage; Make all my happy nights appear but dreams : Heaps of the flain of every sex and age,
Let not such bliss before my eyes be brought, The blade all reeking in the gore it shed,
O hide those scenes from my tormenting thought; With sever'd heads and arnis confus’dly spread; And in their place disdainful beauty show; The rapid flames of a perpetual fire,
If thou would'It not be cruel, make her so: The groans of wretches ready to expire :
And, something to abate my deep despair, This tragic scene in terror makes then live, O let her feem less gentle, or less fair. Till that is forc'd which they should srcely give; But I in vain flatter my wounded mind; Yielding unwillingly what Heaven will have, Never was nymph so lovely or so kind : Their fears eclipse the glory of their grave:
No cold repulses my desire supprest,
Of all the passions which mankind destroy,
Unnumber'd pleasures charm'd my sense, and they But against me thy strongest forces call,
Werc, as my love, without the least allay, And on my head let all the tempest fall;
As pure, alas! but not so sure to last, No mean retreat shall any weakness show,
T'or, like a pleasing dream, they are all past. But calmly I'll expect the fatal blow;
From heaven her beauties like fierce lightnings
[flame; My limbs not trembling, in my inind no fear, Plaints in my mouth, nor in my eyes a tear. Which break through darkness with a glorious Think not that time, our wonted fure relief, Awhile they shine, awhile our minds aniaze, That universal cure for every grief,
Our wondering eyes are dazzled with the blaze;
6 : M 8.
347 But thunder follows, whose resistless rage
Then feels my torment, and neglects her own, None can withstand, and nothing can assuage; While I am sensible of hers alone; And all that light which thofe bright flashes gave, Each does the other's burthen kindly bear, Serves only to conduct us to our grave.
I fear her death, and she bewails my fear; When I had just begun love's joys to taste, Though thus we suffer under fortune's darts, (Those full rewards for fears and dangers past) 'Tis only those of love which reach our hearts. A fever seiz'd her, and to nothing brought
Meanwhile the fever mocks at all our fears, The richest work that ever nature wrought. Grows by our fighs, and rages at our tears : All things below, alas! uncertain stand;
Those vain effects of our as vain desire, i The firmest rocks are fix'd upon the fand :
Like wind and oil, increase the fatal fire. Under this law both kings and kingdoms bend, Almeria then, feeling the destinies And no beginning is without an end.
About to faut her lips, and close her eyes; A sacrifice to time, fate dooms us all,
Weeping, in mine, fix'd her fair trembling hand, And at the tyrant's feet we daily fall :
And with these words I scarce could understand, Time, whose bold hand will bring alike to dust Her paflion in a dying voice express'd Mankind, and temples too in which they trust. Half, and her fighs, alas! made out the rest. Her wasted spirits now begin to faint,
'Tis past; this pang-Nature gives o'er the strife; Yet patience ties her tongue from all complaint, Thou must thy mistress lose, and I my life. And in her heart as in a fort remains;
[ die ; but, dying thine, the fates may prove But yields at last to her refiftless pains.
Their conquest over me, but not my love : Thus while the fever, amorous of his prey, Thy menory, my glory, and my pain, Through all her veins makes his delightful way, In spite of death itsell fall still remain. Her fate's like Semele's; the flancs destroy Deareft Orontes, my hard fate denies, That beauty they too eagerly enjoy.
That hope is the laft thing which in us dies : Her charming face is in its spring decay'd, From my griev'd breast all those soft thoughts are Pale grow the roses, and the blies fade;
fled, Her skin has lost that lustre which surpass'd And love survives it, though my hope is dead; The sun's, and well deserv'd as long to last: I yield my life, but keep my paflion yet, Her eyes, which us'd to pierce the hardest hearts, And can all thoughts, but of Orontes, quit. Are now difarm'd of all their flames and darts; My flame increases as my strength decays ; Those stars now heavily and flowly move;
Death, which puts out the light, the heat will raise: And fickness triumphs in the throne of love. That still remains, though I from hence remove; The fever every moment more prevails,
I lose my lover, but I keep my love. Its rage her body feels, and tongue bewails :
The fighs which sent forth that last tender word, She, whose disdain so many lovers prove,
Up tow'rds the heavens like a bright meteor soar'd; Sighs now for torment, as they figh for love, (air, And the kind nymph, not yet bereft of charms, And with loud cries, which rend the neighbouring Fell cold and breathiefs in her lover's arms. Wounds my fad heart, and weakens my despair. Goddess, who now my face hast understood, Both men and gods I charge now with my loss, Spare but my tears, and freely take my blood : And, wild with grief, ny thoughts each other cross, Here let me end the story of my cares; My heart and tongue labour in both extremes, My dismal grief enough the rett declares. This sends up humble prayers, while that blaf- | Judge thou by all this misery display'd, phemes:
Whether I ought not to implore thy aid : I ak their help, whofe malice I defy,
Thus to survive, reproaches on me draws; And mingle sacrilege with piety.
Never fad wishes had so just a cause. But, that which must yet more perplex my mind, Come then, my only hope; in every place To love her truly, I must seem unkind;
Thou visitelt, men tromble at thy face, So unconcern'd a face my sorrow wears,
And fear thy name : once let thy fatal hard I must restrain unruly floods of tears.
Fall on a swain that does the blow denaud. My eyes and tongue put on dissembling forms, Vouchsafe thy dart; I need noi one of those, I show a calmness in the midst of storms;
With which chou dost unwilling kings depose : I seem to hope when all my hopes are gone,
A welcome death the lightest wound can bringx And, almost dead with grief, discover none. And free a foul already in her wing. But who can long deceive a loving eye,
Without thy aid, moit miferable !
Must ever wish, yet not obtain to die.
ODE ON LOVE.
Let others fongs or farires write,
My muse a nobler cauic thall move, Shu reads her fate in my dejected face;
To found aloud che praise of love :
That gentle, yet refiftless heat,
Uncrown'd by thee, their ocher crowns are loads;
One beauty's smile their meancit courtier brings
Rather to picy than to envy kings;
For love, the timorous bashful maid
For love fhe overcomes her shame,
Yet, if but with a constant lover bleft,
It gives to pleasure, and then makes it last.
Defective both in nietal and in measure,
New charms in vain a lover's faith would prove; And now I find him all my ardour raise,
Hermits or bed.rid men they'll sooner move: His precepts to perform, as well as praisc.
But when by his chaste nymph embrac'd,
ELEGY TO THE DUCHESS OF R
Thou lovely slave to a rude husband's will,
For all that grief we see your mind endure,
Husbands like him we every where may see;
But where can we behold a wife like thee?
While to a tyrant you by fate are ty'd,
Worthy our grief! more worthy of our love!
You, while fo fair (do fortune what she please)
Cao be no more in pain than we at ease;
Unless, unsatisfied with all our vows,
Your vain ambition so unbounded grows,
That you repine a husband should escape
If so, alas! for all those charming powers,
Expect that birds should only lang to you,
And, as you walk, that ev'ry tree should how;
Expect those statues, as you pass, should burn; Reason, that rough and wrangling thing.
And that wi:h wonder nien should flatues turn;
Such beauty is enough to give things life,
But not to make a husband love his wife :
A husband, worse than ftatues, or than treos;
Colder than those, les, fenable than these.
Then from so dull a care your thoughts remove,
Unlufs to care fome doubtful lover's heart;