TO CAROLINE Imitated from Horace Albi, nostrorum sermenum, candide judex, &c

TO
CAROLINE
Imitated from Horace
Albi, nostrorum sermenum, candide judex, &c [1] 

Oh thou! whose ever partial ear
Whate'er I write consents to hear,
Say what doth now thy thoughts engage?
The poet's, or historian's page?
Or doth thy comic pencil true,5
Exceed what Bunbury can do, [2] 
And by its ever charming power
Shew us the follies of the hour?
Or, wandring o'er the peaceful mead,
Dost thou thy vacant morning lead,10
Thro' those sweet woods, o'er that green sod
Which we so oft together trod?
There, while indulging graver thought,
Oh let thy friend be ne'er forgot;
For, in those hours of seeming rest,15
The active inmate of thy breast
Then most employ'd, then farthest flies
And brings the absent to thine eyes --
If bounteous Heav'n hath given to thee
A soul from furious passion free,20
A lovely form, a cheerful mind,
A ready wit and taste refind,
Fair culture hath adorn'd thy breast
And all thy native genius drest;
The anxious Mother's utmost prayer25
Can scarce exceed a lot so fair,
Thus blest with health, and easy grace,
Which mind can give the speaking face
While sprung from no ignoble line
Thy talents may conspicuous shine,30
Whom Fortune o'er the vulgar lifts,
Not wanting even her golden gifts,
And, what above them all I prize,
The art to enjoy, so rare, so wise!
Amid a world, where cares surround,35
And idle hopes, and fears abound,
Oh! let us pass our hours serene,
Free from desires, and free from spleen!
Enjoy the present, happy still,
Nor tremble at some latent ill;40
Tho' clouds obscure to-morrows sky
Yet shall the passing tempest fly,
Or we, from life already past,
Be shelter'd from the angry blast,
Then why to-day's bright beam deform,45
Thro' fear of some expected storm
Or pining o'er some absent joy
Thy present peace secure, destroy?
'Tis thus my friend I wish to live,
The tyrant Care I thus deceive;50
I scarcely hope, my fears are few,
And peace alone my views pursue.
Say canst thou too content embrace
A life with such a placid face
Or smiling on thy humbler friend,55
Sometimes with her thy soul unbend
When free thy breast from vain alarms,
And Hope itself but calmly charms.

Notes

[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "To Caroline Imitated from Horace Albi, nostrorum sermenum, candide judex, &c" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals) and is not dated in Verses. It presents a verse translation of Horace's Epistle 1.4 "Albi, nostrorum sermonum candide iudex" (“Albius, impartial critic of my conversations,” H. Rushton Fairclough translation), which addresses Tibullus as the sincerest judge of his satires and urges him to seize the day:

Albi, nostrorum sermonum candide iudex,
quid nunc te dicam facere in regione Pedana?
Scribere quod Cassi Parmensis opuscula uincat,
an tacitum siluas inter reptare salubris,
curantem quicquid dignum sapiente bonoque est?5
Non tu corpus eras sine pectore; di tibi formam,
di tibi diuitias dederunt artemque fruendi.
Quid uoueat dulci nutricula maius alumno,
qui sapere et fari possit quae sentiat, et cui
gratia, fama, ualetudo contingat abunde,10
et mundus uictus non deficiente crumina?
Inter spem curamque, timores inter et iras
omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum;
grata superueniet quae non sperabitur hora.
Me pinguem et nitidum bene curata cute uises,15
cum ridere uoles, Epicuri de grege porcum.
BACK

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: William Henry Bunbury (1750-1811) was well known for his caricatures. Caroline Hamilton was a gifted painter and occasional poet who often produced satirical work. BACK

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