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Art. VIII. The Triumphs of Temper; a Poem, In Six Cantos,

By William Hayley, Esq. 4to. 68. sewed. Dodsley. 1781. TT seems to be a kind of duty,' says Mr. Hayley, incumbent I on those who devote themselves to poetry, to raise, if possible, the dignity of a declining art, by making it as beneficial to life and manners as the limits of composition, and the character of modern times, will allow.' In conformity with this sentiment, this gallant Writer has taken the field against the most formidable enemy of domestic quiet that ever embittered life or brutalized our manners. And were it not that spleen is the deaf adder that refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer, the victory would be decisive. But though it is to be feared her dia. bolical empire is too firmly established to be shaken by any ex. ertions short of miraculous, we are fully of opinion, that the poem before us, which is intended to promote the cultivation of good humour, will be of considerable service to society. Exclusive of that intellectual delight arising from the contemplation of works of ingenuity and taste, it is capable of being the source of ftill more lasting enjoyments, as it cannot fail of infusing some portion of that spirit which it recomiends, and, where good temper is permitted to exert itself, of improving inAuence into habit.

There is a novelty in the nature and conduct of this poem which, as it requires explanation, will be best done in the Au. thor's own words:

• The following produ&ion owes its existence to an incident in real lise, very similar to the principal action of the last Canto; but in forming the general plan of the work, it seemed to me absolutely necessary to introduce both the agency and the abode of Spleen, nota withstanding the difficulty and the hazard of attempting a subject so happily executed by the masterly pencil of Pope. I considered his Cave of Spleen as a most exquisite cabinet picure; and to avoid the servility of imitation, I determined to ketch the manfion of this gloomy Power on a much wider canvas: happy, indeed, if the judgment of the Public may enable me to exclaim, with the honest vanity of the painter, who compared his own works to the divine productions of Raphael,

E fon Pittore anch' 10! ! The celebrated Alessandro Tassoni, who is generally considered as the inventor of the modern Heroi.coinic Poetry, was so proud of having extended the limits of his art by a new kind of compofition, that he not only spoke of it with infinite exultation in one of his pri. vate letters, but even gave a MS. copy of his work to his native city of Modena, with an inscription, in which he styled it a new species of Poetry, invented by bimself.

A few partial friends have asserted, that the present performance has some degree of fimilar merit ; but as I apprehend all the novelty ic poflefies, may rather require an apology, than eatiile irs Author to

challenge challenge commendation, I shall explain how far the conduct of the Poem differs from the moft approved models in this mode of writing, and nightly mention the poetical effects, which such a variation appeared likely to produce. * • It is well known, that the favourite Poems, which blend the serious and the comic, represent their principal characters in a satirical point of view: it was the intention of Tafsoni (though prudence made him attempt to conceal it) to satirize a particular Italian noble. man, who happened to be the object of his resentment. Boileau opeply ridicoles the French Ecclesiastics in his Lutrin; Garth, our English Physicians, in his Dispensary; and the Rape of the Lock it. self, that most excellent and enchanting Poem, which I never con. template but with new idolatry, is denominated the best Satire extant, by the learned Dr. Warton, in bis very elegant and ingenious, but severe Essay on Pope : a sentence which seems to be confirmed by the Poet himself, in his letter to Mrs. Fermor, where he fays, “ The character of Belinda, as it is now managed, resembles you in nothing but in beauty.” Though I think, that no composition can furpass, or perhaps ever equal this most happy effort of Genius, as a sportive Satire, I imagined it might be possible to give a new Character to this mixed species of Poetry, and to render it by its object, though not in its execution, more noble than the moft beautiful and refined Satire can be. We have seen it carried to inimitable perfection, in the moft delicate raillery on Female Foibles :-it remained to be tried, if it might not allo aspire to delineate the more engaging features of Female Excellence. The idea appeared to me worth the experiment; for if it succeeded, it seemed to promise a double advan, tage; first, it would give an air of novelty to the Poem ; and, secondly, what I thought of much greater importance, it would render it more interesting to the heart. On these principles, I have endeavoured to paint Serena as a molt lovely, engaging, and accomplished character ; yet I hope the colouring is so faj:hfully copied from general Nature, that every man, who reads the Poem, may be happy enough to know many Fair ones, who resemble my Heroine.

* There is another point, in which I have also attempted to give this Poem an air of novelty ;, I mean, the manner of connecting the real and the vifionary scenes, which compose it; by shifting these in alternate Cantos, I hoped to make familiar Incident and allegorical Picture afford a strong relief to each other, and keep the attention of the Reader alive, by an appearance particularly diversified. I wished, indeed (but I fear moft ineffectually) for powers to unite some touches of the sportive wildness of Ariosto, and the more serious sublime painting of Dante, with some portion of the enchanting elegance, the refned imagination, and the moral graces of Pope ; and to do this, if poffible, without violating those rules of propriety, which Mr. Cam. bridge has illuftrated, by example as well as precept, in The Scrib, leriad, and in bis sensible Preface to that elegant and learned Poem.'

All that we shall add will be two extracts from the different parts of this exquisite and enchanting poem, which may serve as specimens of Mr. Hayley's talent at familiar Incident and allegorical picture :' D 4

6 YC

• Ye radiant Nymphs! whose opening eyes convey
Warmth to the world, and lustre to the day!
Think what o'ershadowing clouds may cross your brain,
Before those lovely lids thall close again!
What funds of Patience twelve long hours may ask,
When cold Discretion claims her daily call!
Ah think betimes! and, while your morning care
Sheds foreign odors o'er your fragrant hair,
Tinge your soft spirit with that mental sweet,
Which may not be exhal'd by Paffion's heat; .
But charm the sense, with undecaying power,
Thro' every chance of each diurnal hour!
0! might you all perceive your toilets crown'd
With such cosmetics as SERENA found!
For, to the warning vision fondly true,
Now the quick Fair one to the toilet flew :
Wich keen delight her ravith'd eye survey'd
The mystic ribband on her mirror laid:
Bright fhone the azure, as Aurora's car,
And every spangle seem'd a living star.
Wich sportive grace the smiling damsel prest

The guardian cincture to her snowy breast,
More lovely far than Juno, when she ftrove
To look mor lovely in the eyes of Jove;
And willing Venus lent her every power,
That sheds enchantment o'er the amorous hour :
For spells more porent on this band were thrown,
Than Venus boasted in her beauteous zone,
Her dazzling Cæstus could alone inspire
The sudden impulse of Mort-liv'd desire :
These finer threads with lafting charms are fraught,
Here lies the tender, but unchanging thought,
Silence, that wins, where eloquence is vain,
And Tones, that harmonize the mad'ning brain,
Soft Sighs, that Anger cannot hear, and live,
And Smiles, that tell, how fruly they forgive;
And lively Grace, whose gay diffusive light
Puts the black phantoms of the brain to flight,
Whose cheering powers thro' every period lat,
And make the present happy as the past.

Such secret charms this richer Zone posseft,
Whose flowers, now sparkling on SERENA's breast,
Give, tho' unseen those swelling orbs they bind,
Smiles to her face, and beauty to her mind :
For now, observant of the Sprite's beheft,
The Nymph conceals them by her upper veft ;
Safe lies the spell, po mortal may descry,
Not keen Penelope's all-piercing eye;
Who conftant, as the steps of morn advance,
Surveys the household with a searching glance,
And entering now, with all her usual care,
Reviews the chamber of the youthful Fair,


Beneath the pillow, not completely hid,

The Novel lay-She saw- The seiz’d-the chid:..
With rage and glee her glaring eyeballs flash,
Ah wicked age! she cries, ah filthy trash!
From the first page my juft abhorrence springs ;
For modern anecdotes are monstrous things :
Yet will I see what dangerous poisons Jurk,
To taint chy youth, in this licencious work.
She said : and rudely from the chamber rush'd,
Her pallid cheek with expectation Auth'd,
With ardent hope her eager spirit thook,
Vain hope! to banquet on a luscious book,
So if a Priest, of the Arabian sect,
In Turkish hands forbidden wine detect,
The sacred Moftulman, with pious din,
Arraigns the culprit, and proclaims the fin,
Curses with holy zeal th inflaming juice,

But curfing takes it for his secret ufe.' We shall next transport our Readers to the region of Senfibi. lity :

"As thus she spoke, she pois’d her airy feat
High o'er a plain exhaling every sweet ;
For round its precincts all the flowers that bloom
Filld the delicious air with rich perfume;
And in the midst a verdant throne appear'd,
In simplest form by graceful Fancy rear'd,
And deck'd with flowers; nor such whore fronting dyes
Strike with the strongest tint our dazzled eyes;
But those wild herbs that tendereft fibres bear,
And thun th' approaches of a damper air.
Here flood the lovely Ruler of the scene,
And Beauty, more than Pomp, announc'd the Queen,
The bending Snow-drop, and the Briar-rose,
The simple circle of her crown compose;' .
Roses of every hue her robe adorn,
Except th' insipid Rose without a thorn,
Thro? her thin vest her heighten'd beauties Thine ;
For earthly gauze was never half so fine.
Of that enchanting age her figure seems,
When smiling Nature with the vital beams
Of vivid Youth, and Pleasure's purple flame,
Gilds her accomplish'd work, the Female frame, .
With rich luxuriance tender, sweetly wild,
And just between the Woman and the Child.
Her fair left arm around a vase the flings,
From which the tender plant Mimosa springs :
Towards its leaves, o'er which the fondly bends,
The youthful Fair her vacant hand extends
With gentle motion, anxious to survey .
How far the feeling fibres own her sway:
The leaves, as conscious of their Queen's command, -
Successive fall at her approaching hand;

While her soft breaft with picy seems to pant,
And shrinks at every shrinking of the plant.

• Around their Sovereign, on the verdant ground,
Sweet airy Forms in myftic measures bound.
The mighty maser of the revel, Love,
In notes more foothing than his mother's Dove,
Prompts the soft ftrain that melting virgins ling,
Or sportive trips around the frolic ring,
Coupling, with radiant wreaths of lambent fire,
Fair Auttering Hope and rapturous Dehre.
Unnumber'd damseis different charms display,
Pensive with bliss, or in their pleasures gay;
And the wide prospect yields one touching fight
Of tender, yet divergfied delight.
But, the bright criomphs of their joy to check,
In the clear air there hangs a dulky speck ;
It swells—it spreads-and rapid, as it grows,
O'er the gay scene a chilling shadow throws.
The soft SERENA, who beheld its flight,
Suspects go evil from a cloud fo light;
For harmless round ber the thin vapours wreath,
Not hiding from her view the fcene beneath ;
But ah! too soon, with Pity's tender pain,
She saw its dire effect o'er all the plain :
Sudden from thence the sounds of Anguifh flow,
And Joy's sweet carols end in shrieks of woe : :
The wither'd flowers are fall’n, that bloom'd so fair,
And poison all the peftilential air.
From the rent earth dark Demons force their way,
And make the sportive revellers their prey,
Here gloomy Terror, with a shadowy rope,
Seems, like a Turkish Mate, to strangle Hope;
There jealous Fury drowns in blood the fire
That sparkled in the eye of young Desire;
And lifeless Love lets merciless Despair
From his crush'd frame his bleeding pinions tear.
But pangs more cruel, more intensely keen,
Wound and diftract their sympathetic Queen:
With fruitless tears Me o'er their misery bends;
From her sweet brow the thorny Rose the rends,
And, bow'd by Grief's insufferable weight,
Frantic the curses her immortal Aate :
The foft Serena, as this curse the hears,
Feels her bright eye suffus'd with kindred tears ;
And her kind breaft, where quick compassion swellid,
Shar'd in each bitter suffering the beheld.

• The guardian Power furvey'd her lovely grief,
And spoke in gentle terms of mild relief :
“ For this soft cribe thy heavielt fear dismiss,
“ And know their paios are transient as their bliss :
“ Rapture and Agony, in Nature's loom,
“ Have form'd the changing tissue of their doom ;

" Both

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