Content in pieces to be cut;
Tho’ sultry were the summer-skies,
Pleas’d between flannel I’d be put,
And after bath’d in jellied size.
Tho’ to be squeez’d and hang’d I
For thee, sweet girl! upon my word,
When the stout press had forc’d me flat,
I’d be suspended on a cord.
And then, when dried and fit for use,
Eliza! I would pray to thee,
If with thy pen thou would’st amuse,
That thou would’st deign to write on me.
Gad’s bud! how pleasant it would prove
Her pretty chit-chat to convey,
P’rhaps be the record of her love,
Told in some coy enchanting way.
Or, if her pencil she would try,
On me, oh! may she still imprint
Those forms that fix th’ admiring eye,
Each graceful line, each glowing tint!
Then shall I reason have to brag,
For thus, to high importance grown,
The world will see a simple rag
Become a treasure rarely known.
TO A PROMISING YOUNG ARTIST.
These bays be thine; and, tho’ not form’d
Clear as thy colour, faultless as thy line,
Yet shall the Muse essay, in humble verse,
Thy merits, lovely Painting! to rehearse.
As when the demon of the winter storm
Robs each sweet flow’ret of its beauteous form,
The Spirit of the stream, in crystal wave,
Sleeps whilst the chilling blasts above him rave,
Till the Sun spreads his animating fires,
And sullen Darkness from the scene retires,
Then mountain-nymphs discard their robes of snow,
And in green mantles smile in roseate glow,
And rivers, loosen’d from their icy chain,
Spread joy and richness thro’ the verdant plain,
Thus, in those climes where skies are ever fair,
Each infant Science breath’d a genial air,
Climes where the Earth her stores to all resign’d,
Nor left one selfish passion to the mind;
On her green lap the swain reclin’d his head,
And found his banquet where he found his bed.
Then Painting grew, and from the shades of flow’rs[A]
There first essay’d her imitative pow’rs,
When, urg’d by plunder, with the torrent’s might,
Nerv’d by the storm, and harden’d in the fight,
A race barbarian left their forests wild,
And sought the spot where Love and Learning smil’d.
By Taste unsoften’d, these relentless droves
Burst, fair Italia! thro’ thy sacred groves,
Laid ev’ry flow’r of Art and Fancy waste,
And pour’d a winter o’er the realms of Taste,
Each Science trembled at the ruffian sound,
Forsook her shades, and fled her classic ground;
The lofty column prostrate in the dust,
Defac’d the arch, o’erthrown the matchless bust;
The shatter’d fresco animates no more,
And ruthless winds thro’ clefted temples roar!
Florence beheld the scene with sad surprise,
And bade the prostrate pile in grandeur rise.