ARTHUR ONSLOW, ESQ.
This goodly frame what virtue so approves,
And testifies the pure etherial spirit
As mild Benevolence?
She with her sister Mercy still awaits
Beside th' eternal throne of Jove,
And measures forth with unwithdrawing hand
The blessings of the various year,
Sunshine or show'r, and chides the madding tempest.
With her the heaven-bred nymph meek Charity,
Shall fashion ONSLOW forth in fairest portrait;
And with recording care
Weave the fresh wreath that flow'ring virtue claims.
But oh, what muse shall join the band?
He long has sojourn'd in the sacred haunts,
And knows each whisp'ring grot and glade
Trod by Apollo, and the light-foot Graces.
How then shall awkward gratitude
And the presumption of untutor'd duty
Attune my numbers all too rude?
Little he recks the meed of such a song;
Yet will I stretch aloof,
And when I tell of Courtesy,
Of well-attemper'd Zeal,
Of awful Prudence soothing fell Contention,
Where shall the lineaments agree
But in thee, ONSLOW? You, your wonted leave
Indulge me, nor misdeem a Soldier's bold emprize;
Who in the dissonance of barb'rous war,
Long train'd, revisits oft the sacred treasures
Of antique memory;
Or where sage Pindar reins his fiery car,
Through the vast vault of heaven secure,
Or what the Attic muse that Homer fill'd,
Her other son, thy Milton taught,
Or range the flow'ry fields of gentle Spenser.
And ever as I go, allurements vain
Cherish a feeble fire, and feed my idle
Fancy: O cou'd I once
Charm to their melody my shrilling reeds!
To henrys and to
Dread names! I'd meditate the faithful song;
Or tell what time
Whilom the fairest daughter of old Ocean,
In loathly disarray, dull eyes,
And faded cheek, wept o'er her abject sons:
Till william, great deliverer,
Led on the comely train, gay Liberty,
Religion, matron staid,
With all her kindred goddesses;
Justice with steady brow,
Trim Plenty, laureat Peace, and green-hair'd Commerce,
In flowing vest of thousand hues.
Fain would I shadow out old Bourbon's pile
Tott'ring with doubtful weight, and threat'ning cumbrous fall;
Or trace our navy, where in tow'ring pride
O'er the wide-swelling waste it rolls avengeful.
As when collected clouds
Forth from the gloomy south in deep array,
Athwart the dark'ning landscape throng,
Fraught with loud storms, and thunder's dreadful peal,
At which the murd'rer stands aghast,
And wasting Riot ill dissembles terror.
How headlong Rhone and Ebro erst distain'd
With moorish carnage, quakes thro' all her branches!
Soon shall I greet the morn,
When, Europe sav'd,
Shall sound o'er Flandria's level field,
Familiar in domestic meriment;
Or by the jolly mariner
Be carol'd loud adown the echoing Danube.
The just memorial of fair deeds
Still flourishes, and like th' untainted soul
Blossoms in freshest age, above
The weary flesh, and envy's rankling wound.
Such after years mature
In full account shall be thy meed.
O! may your rising hope
Well principled in ev'ry virtue bloom!
Till a fresh-springing flock implore
With infant hands a grandsire's pow'rful pray'r,
Or round your honour'd couch their prattling sports persue.