Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GROTTO; WRITTEN UNDER THE NAME OF PETER DRAKE, A FISHERMAN, by MATTHEW GREEN



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE GROTTO; WRITTEN UNDER THE NAME OF PETER DRAKE, A FISHERMAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Adieu awhile, forsaken flood
Last Line: A woman wise men canonize.
Subject(s): Buildings & Builders; Courts & Courtiers; Houses; Richmond Park, England; William Iii, King Of England (1650-1702); Royal Court Life; Royalty; Kings; Queens


Our wits Apollo's influence beg,
The Grotto makes them all with egg:
Finding this chalkstone in my nest,
I strain, and lay among the rest.

ADIEU awhile, forsaken flood,
To ramble in the Delian wood,
And pray the god my well-meant song
May not my subject's merit wrong.

Say, father Thames, whose gentle pace
Gives leave to view what beauties grace
Your flowery banks, if you have seen
The much sung Grotto of the queen.
Contemplative, forget awhile
Oxonian towers, and Windsor's pile,
And Wolsey's pride (his greatest guilt)
And what great William since has built;
And flowing fast by Richmond scenes,
(Honour'd retreat of two great queens)
From Sion-House, whose proud survey
Brow-beats your flood, look 'cross the way,
And view, from highest swell of tide,
The milder scenes of Surrey side.

Though yet no palace grace the shore,
To lodge that pair you should adore;
Nor abbeys, great in ruin, rise,
Royal equivalents for vice;
Behold a Grot, in Delphic grove,
The Graces' and the Muses' love.
(O, might our Laureate study here,
How would he hail his new-born year!)
A temple from vain glories free,
Whose goddess is Philosophy,
Whose sides such licensed idols crown
As superstition would pull down;
The only pilgrimage I know,
That men of sense would choose to go:
Which sweet abode, her wisest choice,
Urania cheers with heavenly voice,
While all the Virtues gather round,
To see her consecrate the ground.
If thou, the god with winged feet,
In council talk of this retreat,
And jealous gods resentment show
At altars raised to men below;
Tell those proud lords of heaven, 'tis fit
Their house our heroes should admit;
While each exists, as poets sing,
A lazy lewd immortal thing,
They must (or grow in disrepute)
With earth's first commoners recruit.

Needless it is in terms unskill'd
To praise whatever Boyle shall build;
Needless it is the busts to name
Of men, monopolists of fame.
Four chiefs adorn the modest stone,
For virtue as for learning known;
The thinking sculpture helps to raise
Deep thoughts, the genii of the place:
To the mind's ear, and inward sight,
Their silence speaks, and shade gives light:
While insects from the threshold preach,
And minds disposed to musing teach:
Proud of strong limbs and painted hues,
They perish by the slightest bruise;
Or maladies, begun within,
Destroy more slow life's frail machine;
From maggot-youth through change of state
They feel like us the turns of Fate;
Some, born to creep, have lived to fly,
And change earth-cells for dwellings high;
And some that did their six wings keep,
Before they died been forced to creep.
They politics like ours profess,
The greater prey upon the less:
Some strain on foot huge loads to bring;
Some toil incessant on the wing;
And in their different ways explore
Wise sense of want by future store;
Nor from their vigorous schemes desist
'Till death, and then are never miss'd.
Some frolic, toil, marry, increase,
Are sick and well, have war and peace,
And, broke with age, in half a day
Yield to successors, and away.

Let not profane this sacred place,
Hypocrisy with Janus' face;
Or Pomp, mixed state of pride and care;
Court kindness, Falsehood's polished ware;
Scandal disguised in Friendship's veil,
That tells, unasked, the injurious tale;
Or art politic, which allows
The Jesuit-remedy for vows;
Or priest perfuming crowned head,
'Till in a swoon Truth lies for dead;
Or tawdry critic, who perceives
No grace, which plain proportion gives,
And more than lineaments divine
Admires the gilding of the shrine;
Or that self-haunting spectre Spleen,
In thickest fog the clearest seen;
Or Prophecy, which dreams a lie,
That fools believe and knaves apply;
Or frolic Mirth, profanely loud,
And happy only in a crowd;
Or Melancholy's pensive gloom,
Proxy in Contemplation's room.

O Delia, when I touch this string,
To thee my Muse directs her wing.
Unspotted fair, with downcast look
Mind not so much the murmuring brook;
Nor fixed in thought, with footsteps slow
Through cypress alleys cherish woe:
I see the soul in pensive fit,
And moping like sick linnet sit,
With dewy eye and moulting wing,
Unperched, averse to fly or sing;
I see the favourite curls begin
(Disused to toilet discipline,)
To quit their post, lose their smart air,
And grow again like common hair;
And tears, which frequent kerchiefs dry,
Raise a red circle round the eye;
And by this bur about the moon,
Conjecture more ill weather soon.
Love not so much the doleful knell,
And news the boding night-birds tell;
Nor watch the wainscot's hollow blow;
And hens portentous when they crow;
Nor sleepless mind the death-watch beat;
In taper find no winding sheet;
Nor in burnt coal a coffin see,
Though thrown at others, meant for thee;
Or when the coruscation gleams,
Find out not first the bloody streams;
Nor in impress'd remembrance keep
Grim tapestry figures wrought in sleep;
Nor rise to see in antique hall
The moonlight monsters on the wall,
And shadowy spectres darkly pass
Trailing their sables o'er the grass.
Let vice and guilt act how they please
In souls, their conquered provinces;
By Heaven's just charter it appears,
Virtue's exempt from quartering fears.
Shall then armed fancies fiercely dress'd
Live at discretion in your breast?
Be wise, and panic fright disdain,
As notions, meteors of the brain;
And sights performed, illusive scene!
By magic lantern of the spleen.
Come here, from baleful cares released,
With Virtue's ticket, to a feast,
Where decent mirth and wisdom joined
In stewardship, regale the mind.
Call back the Cupids to your eyes;
I see the godlings with surprise,
Not knowing home in such a plight,
Fly to and fro, afraid to light.—

Far from my theme, from method far,
Conveyed in Venus' flying car,
I go compelled by feathered steeds,
That scorn the rein when Delia leads.

No daub of elegiac strain
These holy wars shall ever stain;
As spiders Irish wainscot flee,
Falsehood with them shall disagree:
This floor let not the vulgar tread,
Who worship only what they dread:
Nor bigots who but one way see
Through blinkers of authority;
Nor they who its four saints defame
By making virtue but a name;
Nor abstract wit, (painful regale
To hunt the pig with slippery tail!)
Artists who richly chase their thought,
Gaudy without, but hollow wrought,
And beat too thin, and tool'd too much
To bear the proof and standard touch;
Nor fops to guard this sylvan ark
With necklace bells in treble bark;
Nor Cynics growl and fiercely paw,
The mastiffs of the moral law.
Come, Nymph, with rural honours dress'd,
Virtue's exterior form confess'd,
With charms untarnished, innocence
Display, and Eden shall commence:
When thus you come in sober fit,
And wisdom is preferred to wit;
And looks diviner graces tell,
Which don't with giggling muscles dwell;
And beauty like the ray-clipt sun,
With bolder eye we look upon;
Learning shall with obsequious mien
Tell all the wonders she has seen;
Reason her logic armour quit,
And proof to mild persuasion fit;
Religion with free thought dispense,
And cease crusading against sense;
Philosophy and she embrace,
And their first league again take place;
And morals pure, in duty bound,
Nymph-like the sisters' chief surround:
Nature shall smile, and round this cell
The turf to your light pressure swell,
And knowing beauty by her shoe,
Well air its carpet from the dew.
The Oak, while you his umbrage deck,
Lets fall his acorns in your neck:
Zephyr his civil kisses gives,
And plays with curls, instead of leaves:
Birds, seeing you, believe it spring,
And during their vacation sing;
And flowers lean forward from their seats
To traffic in exchange of sweets;
And angels bearing wreaths descend,
Preferred as vergers to attend
This fane, whose deity entreats
The fair to grace its upper seats.

O kindly view our lettered strife,
And guard us through polemic life;
From poison vehicled in praise,
For satire's shots but slightly graze;
We claim your zeal, and find within,
Philosophy and you are kin.

What Virtue is we judge by you;
For actions right are beauteous too;
By tracing the sole female mind,
We best what is true Nature find:
Your vapours bred from fumes declare,
How steams create tempestuous air,
'Till gushing tears and hasty rain
Make heaven and you serene again:
Our travels through the starry skies
Were first suggested by your eyes;
We by the interposing fan,
Learn how eclipses first began;
The vast ellipse from Scarbro's home,
Describes how blazing comets roam;
The glowing colours of the cheek
Their origin from Phœbus speak;
Our watch how Luna strays above
Feels like the care of jealous love;
And all things we in science know
From your known love for riddles flow.

Father! forgive, thus far I stray,
Drawn by attraction from my way.
Mark next with awe, the foundress well
Who on these banks delights to dwell;
You on the terrace see her plain,
Move like Diana with her train.
If you then fairly speak your mind,
In wedlock since with Isis joined,
You'll own, you never yet did see,
At least in such a high degree,
Greatness delighted to undress;
Science a sceptred hand caress;
A queen the friends of freedom prize;
A woman wise men canonize.




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