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He thought it base for men in stations
To crowd the court with their relations:
His country was his dearest mother,
And every virtuous man his brother;
Through modesty, or awkward shame
(For which he owns himself to blame,)*
He found the wisest, man he could,
respect to friends or blood;
Nor never acts on private views,
When he hath liberty to choose.
The sharper swore he hated play,
Except to pass an hour away:
And well he might; for, to his cost,
By want of skill, he always lost:
He heard there was a club of cheats,
Who had contrivd a thousand feais;
Could change the stock, or cog. a die,
And thus deceive the sharpest eye:
Nor wonder how his fortune sunk,
His brothers fleece him when he's drunk.
I own the moral not exact;
Besides, the tale is false in fact;
And so absurd, that could I raise up
From fields Elysian, fabling Aesop,
I would accuse him to his face,
For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of every kind but ours
Well .comprehend their natural powers :
While we, whom reason ought to sway,
Mistake our talents every day.
The ass was never known so stupid
To act the part of Tray or Cupid;
Nor leaps upon his master's lap,
There to be 'stroak’d and fed with pap,
As Aesop would the world persuade;
He better understands his trade:
Nor comes, whene'er his lady whistles ;
But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is
A creature bipes et implumis;
Wherein the moralist design'd
compliment on human-kind;
For here he owns, that now and then
Beasts may degenerate into men.
B LA I R. ROSKAT Bx418 wurde im Anfang des verflossenen Jahrhunderts geboren, studierte zu Edinburgh, ging nachher auf Reisen, und wurde sodann im Jahre 1731 Prediger zu Athelstaneford in East-Lothian, wo er auch den übrigen Theil seiner Tage zubrachte. Ein Fieber endigte den 4ten Februar 1746, im 47sten Jahre seines Alters, sein Leben. ein Mann von feinen Sitten und ausgebreiteten Kenntnissen; dabei besass er eine ungeheuchelte Frömmigkeit, und war unermüdet in der Ausübung der Pflichten seines Berufs. Alles dies erwarb ihm die Hochachtung derer, welche ihn kannten, in einem hohen Grade. Was seine Gedichte betrifft, so sind uns davon nur zwei bekannt, nämlich' a Poem dedicated to the memory of the learned and eminent Mr. Law, und the Grave. Wiewohl das erstere viele schöne Stellen enthält, und von dichterischem Geiste zeugt, so steht es doch dem letztern in allem Betracht sehr nach; dieses ist es eigentlich, wodurch sich Blair einen Rang unter den klassischen Dichtern der Engländer erworben hat. It is a production of real genius, sagt ein Englischer Kunstrichter von demselben, and possesses a merit superior to many pieces of the first celebrity. Das Einzige, was an demselben Tadel verdient, ist der oft zu rasche Übergang des Dichters vom Ernsten und Pathetischen zur Ironie und Satire; jedoch diese Fehler werden durch die bei weitem grössern Schönheiten überwogen. Man findet das 768 Verse lange Original, nebst einigen biographischen Nachrichten von dem Verfasser, im gten Theil der Andersonschen Sammlung; wir cheilen aus demselben unsern Lesern die Stellen V. 112 bis 350 und 655 bis 768 mit. Eine, uns indessen nur dem Namen nech bekannte, Deutsche Übersetzung dieses Gedichts erschion unter dem TiLel: das Grab, aus dem Englischen des Robero Blair, Regensburg 1793, 8.
V. 112 - 350. Dull grave! – thou spoil'st the dance of youthful blood,
Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of minh,
And ev'ry smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the men of health
Complexionally pleasant? Where the droll,
Whose ev'ry look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And inade ev'n thick-lip'd musing melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware? Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them.
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth;
Who the tiara, at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe;
And cry'd, forsooth,, because his arm was hamper'd,
And had not room enough to do its work?
Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim,
And cram'd into a space we blush to name!
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone!
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar ? Pliant and powerless now
ew-born infant wound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife.
Mute, must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base -born crowd;
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the herald duly paid
In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruple;
Oh cruel irony! these come too late;
And only mock, whom they were meant to honour.
Surely, there's not a dungeon - slave that's bury'd
In the high - way, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pré-eminence of high descent,
Above the baser born, to rot in state.
But see! the well-plum'd herse comes nodding on,
Stately and slow; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour,
To mimic.sorrow, when the heart's not sad.
How rich the trappings! now they're all unfurld,
And glittering in the sun ;-triumphant entries
Qf conquerors, and coronation - pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard th' unwieldy show; whilst from the casements,
And houses tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg’d
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste,
Why this ado in earthing up a carcase
That's fall'n into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible? Ye undertakers, tell
'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceal'd, for which
You make this mighty stir? "Tis wisely done :
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The painter casts discreetly into' shades.
Proud lineage, now how little thou appear’st
Below the envy of the private man.
Honour, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee ev'n to death; nor there stops
Strange persecution! when the grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance.
Absurd to think to over - reach the grave,
And from the wreck of names to rescue ours !
The best concerted schemes men lay for fame
Die fast away: only theinselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurell'd bard,
These bold insurancers of deathless fame,
Supply their little feeble a.ds in vain.
The tapering pyramid, th' Egyptian's pride,
And wonder of the world, whose spiky top
Has wounded the thick cloud, and long-outliv'd
The' angry shaking of the winter's storm;
Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heaven,
Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years,
The mystic cone with hieroglyphics crusted,
At once gives way. Oh! lamentable sight:
The labour of whole ages lumbers down;
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle, but in vain
With all- subduing time: her cank’ring hand
Wiih calm delib'rate malice wasteth them:
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
The busto moulders, and the deep-cut marble,
Unsteady to the steel, give up its charge.
Ambition, half convicted of her folly,
Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale.
Here all the mighty troublers of the earth
Who swam to sov'reign rule through seas of blood;
Th' oppressive, sturdy, man - destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
And in a cruel wantonness of power
Thinn'd states of half their people, and gave up
To want the rest; now, like a storm that's spent,
Lie hush'd, and meanly sneak behind the covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the gen'ral scorn
That haunts and doggs them like an injur'd ghost
Implacable. Here too the petty tyrant, ,
Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd,
And, well for neighbouring grounds, of arm as short,
Who fix'd his iron talons on the poor,
And gripp'd them like some lordly beast of prey;
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of misery;
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature with his lord;)
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust, and calls the worm his kinsman;
Nor pleads his rank and birthright. Under ground
Precedency's a jest; vassal and lord,
Grossly familiar, side by side consume.