MERIT. A POEM: INSCRIBED TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE PHILIP EARL OF CHESTERFIELD.

By Mr. HENRY JONES, Author of the Earl of Essex.

LONDON: Printed for R. and J. DODSLEY in Pall-mall; And SOLD by M. COOPER in Pater-noster-row. MDCCLIII.

MERIT. A POEM.

THOU, sacred Title to the Voice of Fame!
The Heroe's Passport;—nay the Coward's Claim;
The Patriot's high Pretence, the Villain's Boast,
The Churchman's deep Disguise, the Coxcomb's Toast;
[Page 4]The Fop's affected Mask, which Dullness gave,
A Vizor fitted for the Fool or Knave;
Courted by all Men, while by few possess'd,
And honour'd only, in the virtuous Breast;
Celestial Beam! that brightens all above,
And fills with Demi-gods the Court of Jove:
Immortal MERIT! to my Aid descend!
Let Fancy fire, let Truth my Verse attend!
On Truth's eternal Base, thy Trophies raise,
Let Honesty to Heaven exalt thy Praise;
Let Art, let Genius, on that Ground conspire;
Let gen'rous Pride the panting Bosom fire,
To mount to Glory, on the Heights of Fame,
And build, on Truth, an everlasting Name.
Where-e'er Creation's ample Round displays
Nature's vast Works, and Wisdom's wond'rous Ways;
[Page 5]Wide as the World's Expanse, the Bounds of Space,
Where various Forms are deck'd with various Grace;
Where-e'er the plastic Energy appears,
In Mites conspicuous, or th' extended Spheres;
Th' ambitious Soul, the searching Mind of Man,
Wou'd sketch the Parts, wou'd group the glorious Plan;
The reas'ning Insect swells with strong Desire,
And shares a Portion of Celestial Fire.
Those favour'd Few, in whom the Sparks divine,
By Heaven's inspiring Breath, are taught to shine;
Who trace the winding Tracts where Comets roll,
Who poize the Planets, and who grasp the Pole;
On NEWTON's Wings the Solar Walk survey,
Look down on Worlds, and lose this fading Day;
On Wisdom's Steps, to Wisdom's Fountain soar,
And, in th' Effect, th' eternal Cause adore.
Or stoop, with LOCKE, the Gleams of Thought to scan,
The Infant's dawning Ray, the Noon of Man;
Whose Logic Line the Depths of Reason found,
It's vast Expanse, it's close contracted Bound;
Whose guiding Hand th'ideal Blank explores,
And opens wide the Senses' various Doors,
Thro' which the thronging Thoughts their Passage find,
In social Tribes, and stock the peopled Mind;
Where Fancy, Judgment, Passion, soar so high,
That Wit and Arts, and Vanity supply.
Opinions, there, their hostile Schemes commence,
And wage an endless War with Truth and Sense.
What aweful Sage displays yon sacred Lore?
Behold him turn all Nature's Treasures o'er,
Disclose the Funds, whence Truths seraphic spring,
And reach his Maker on an Insect's Wing.
[Page 7]Behold him sink where Wisdom's Secrets sleep,
Or weigh the Winds, or sound th' unfathom'd Deep,
'Mid Coral Groves, and Gems of various Dyes,
Ten thousand Wonders op'ning to his Eyes;
Through Ocean, Earth, and Air, and Heav'n, pursue
The mystic Scale, and trace th' eternal Clue.
By Meekness rais'd, by Love of Truth inspir'd;
By Pride untouch'd, his raptur'd Soul aspir'd
He soar'd abstracted in his glorious Toil,
Gave Earth a guiding Star—and Heav'n a BOYLE!
To Names like these the World must Homage pay,
And Malice at their Feet her Vipers lay;
Detraction, dazzled at a Beam so bright,
Must drop her Gall, and sink to endless Night.
[Page 8]Triumphant Truth, on Virtue's Wings shall fly,
And Fame for ever soar, and Envy die.
What art Thou, say? whence doth thy Vigour spring?
What plumes, O Genius, thy seraphic Wing?
Extatic Vision op'ning to the View,
A thousand Transports, and for ever new.
Come, sacred Inmate, come, thou glorious Guest,
Take large Possession of my lab'ring Breast;
Fill all my Faculties with Warmth divine,
And let one Ray of STANHOPE's Flame be mine.
But, ah! a solemn Silence fills the Plain,
The Birds are dumb, Britannia sighs in vain;
Majestic Thames, his Murmurs heard no more,
Rolls listless now his Wave by Greenwich Shore:
The Muse, in vain, would court her STANHOPE's Ear;
In vain would Harmony sollicit there;
[Page 9]That sacred Passage to the Throne of Sense
Is barr'd by Fate, and Converse banish'd thence:
That sweet Exchange of Soul, by Reason made,
Enrich'd by Wisdom, and by Words convey'd;
Where freighted Thought her treasur'd Wealth bestows,
Where Fancy brightens, and where Friendship glows.
Behold each Muse her plaintive Lyre lay by,
The silent Graces must their Notes supply;
In mute Proportion's solitary Smile,
The story'd Canvas, and the Classic Pile.
The Clouds in Gold array'd, that Heav'n adorn,
The setting Evening, and the rising Morn;
With all that Vision to rich Fancy lends,
Must make my STANHOPE's widdow'd Soul amends.
Look down, ye Angels, that conduct the Spheres,
And fill, with Heavenly Notes, his raptur'd Ears!
[Page 10]Attune that social Inlet! heal that Mind!
'Tis Virtue's Wish, the Wish of Human Kind.
Rise, Inspiration! Goddess of those Cells
Where Fancy fledges, and where Genius dwells;
Reveal, at once, thy mystic Stores to Sight,
Thy World-creating Force, thy wond'rous Light,
Which lifts the Heart on Raptures all refin'd,
And leaves its mortal Dross far, far behind,
Those sordid Dregs that damp th' AEtherial Wing,
Which else above the Stars to Heav'n would spring;
Its native Home—from whence all MERITS flow,
That Angels love, and Mortals reach below:
The Patriot's stedfast Soul, his firm Design;
The Priest's unblemish'd Warmth, his Plan Divine;
The Lawyer's honest Heart, the titled Truth,
In 1 SINGLETON's Decline, in 2 CAUFIELD's Youth;
[Page 11]The polish'd Worth in 3 GREENVILL's Soul we find,
In 4 JOCELYN's Justice, and in 5 MOUNTNEY's Mind;
Where Station stoops to Friendship's holy Tie,
Where Friendship lifts that Station still more high.
Shall WALDEGRAVE's Worth adorn the grateful Line?
WALDEGRAVE, in Senates, form'd, and Courts, to shine.
Tho' rais'd by Virtue, Birth, and Pow'r, on high,
He stoops, still gracious, like the bending Sky;
To low Desert indulgent and serene,
Grace in his Smile, and Goodness in his Mien.
Distinguish'd Chief whom Britain plac'd so near
Her Hope, her Bliss, and all she holds most dear;
Her rising Glory, and her guiding Star;
In Peace her Pillar, and her Shield in War:
[Page 12]Illustrious Youth, in whose propitious Face,
The princely Virtues dawn of all thy Race;
Thy god-like Race, by Heav'n itself design'd,
The Friends of Freedom, Truth, and Human Kind.
I see the rising Years, in white Array,
At distant Periods, wait thy promis'd Sway:
Lo, Time exults; and in his joyful Train,
Behold the Blessings of a Brunswick's Reign!
See smiling Peace her Olive Branch extends,
See busy Commerce on her Step attends;
Her Flag aloft by Britain's Genius borne;
See wanton Plenty pour her teeming Horn;
See ruddy Health, with naked Bosom bound,
See warlike Vigour drink the martial Sound;
From Pole to Pole see GEORGE's Thunder fly,
Whilst Ocean's Trident at his Feet shall lie.
[Page 13]Now Taste shall thrive, now Arts sublime shall soar,
Now ev'ry Science teem with ev'ry Lore.
Proud Sculptors there eternal Trophies show,
See Painting here in Heavenly Visions glow;
Athens shall yield to Britain now the Prize,
And Rome, through Envy, turn aside her Eyes;
The World shall wonder, Gallia's self shall gaze,
And Lewis' less than GEORGE's glory praise.
True Heroes now and Patriots shall appear,
Like my TYRAWLEY lov'd, to Taste still dear,
One Hand the Pen, and one shall wield the Spear.
In 6 MELMOTH's Heart each social Virtue charms,
Each Grace still guides him, and each Muse still warms,
From his rich Pen the Roman Genius flows—
See Pliny's Soul through ev'ry Period glows:
[Page 14]See, Classic Beauties deck the polish'd Page,
Where Sense sublime, where brilliant Wit, engage
With soft Humanity, the ravish'd Mind:
In him, the Gems of Greece and Rome we find.
With native Beams, with added Lustre bright,
Immortal Tully next shall charm my Sight!
Come forth, great Sage, in all thy Pow'r confess'd,
By MELMOTH's Hand in English Splendor dress'd;
Come forth, at once, to charm me and surprize,
To fill my Soul, and bless my ravish'd Eyes!
'Tis done,—and yet thy Country still demands
A nobler Tribute at thy grateful Hands;
Enrich her Bosom from thy native Store,
Thy latent Treasures, and intrinsic Ore,
And, needless, toil in foreign Mines no more.
[Page 15]Thy 7 TILSON joys thy various Wreath to see;
Can I forget him; for he gave me thee?
Himself a Genius born aloft to shine,
Himself a Friend,—and let me call him mine.
With these, my 8 MORGAN, shall thy Merits stand—
Lo! Fame already bears thee in her Hand;
Already lifts thee to the public View,
And gives thy Genius and thy Worth their Due.
Thy Tully courts thee, in thy native Tongue,
Tully, whose God-like Flame thy Muse hath sung;
Whose Latian Lore thou long hast made thy own,
To thee, his secret Soul, his hidden Strength are known.
By him accomplish'd wage the vocal War,
And wield his Thunder at the l ostile Bar.
The Health-restoring Power that conquers Pain,
In 9 Barry's learned Breast, and Heart humane,
O'er Maladies malignant Strength prevails;
The Man oft cures us, when the Med'cine fails.
Wide is the Field where MERIT tries her Force,
Painful the Steeps, and various is the Course;
When Nature starting, in her Fervor prides,
When Glory goads us, and when Virtue guides.
The Mimic Arts at first from Heav'n we stole,
To fill the fairest Mansions of the Soul;
On them Ambition to her Throne ascends,
Whilst ev'ry Kindred Grace her Queen attends;
By Turns approach her, and by Turns retire:—
The Muse is oft'nest near—her Notes inspire
[Page 17]The noblest Passions to the noblest Ends;
For Verse and Virtue were of old good Friends.
Hail sacred Art, distinguish'd and divine,
The sweetest sounding Trump of Fame is thine;
Thine are the Wreaths which Time shall ne'er decay,
When breathing Brass, when Marble waste away:
Immortal Register of all that's great,
Above the Strokes of Chance, the Frowns of Fate;
With Nature born, descending from the Sky,
With Worlds coeval, nor with Worlds shall die;
For ever young, who Time himself shall tire,
And smile secure, amid the general Fire.
Great Queen of Harmony, who guides the Spheres,
Who weds the circling Orbs, who rules the Years;
Thy Magic sways the Mind, and charms the Thought,
And all the Soul's by thy Enchantment caught.
[Page 18]When Hope, when Fear, when Love, when Anguish stand,
And Terror takes her Tremor from thy Hand,
When Pity melts us at thy potent Call,
And, at thy Nod, the Passions rise and fall.
In OTWAY's Strains what Soul-felt Sorrows flow?
What pow'rful Pathos, and what various Woe?
Through each endearing Tie, each tender Breast,
The Wife, the Father, and the Friend distress'd;
Whilst each good Heart, by kindred Anguish wrung,
Throbs to the Transports of a BARRY's Tongue:
Whose Voice, whose Look, whose Air and Action join'd,
Rend the hard Heart, and melt the pitying Mind.
Behold Othello rage, by Frenzy fir'd,
When jealous Love, when Fiends, when Fate, conspir'd
To rack his tortur'd Thoughts, ten thousand Ways—
What dread Variety each Stroke displays!
[Page 19]Still to my Sight, in Fancy's Mirror seen,
With all the Energy of Voice and Mien,
Still BARRY's Force o'erwhelms my shrinking Heart;
And to Reflection's Eye still acts the Part.
In Jaffier next, behold him soar to Fame;
And next—let others speak th' applauded Name—
I blush to sing what his high Worth demands;
Yet ask a thousand Hearts, and Tongues, and Hands,
Whose loud Applauses reach'd the distant Spheres,
Or better thank'd him with their silent Tears.
In SHAKESPEAR's Scenes what Tempests tear the Heart?
How Nature trembles, and her Functions start;
The shrihking Spirits to their Source retire,
Or, furious, rush, and set the Soul on fire:
When Action animates the vast Design,
When Sound when Motion, swells the rapid Line;
[Page 20]When Nature's utmost Stretch, when Art conspire,
In GARRICK's wond'rous Force, in SHAKESPEAR's Fire,
Lo! Terror triumphs with each Grace combin'd,
And dread Astonishment usurps the Mind.
Each Look, each Gesture, and each Muscle speaks,
Each Limb, each Nerve, the fierce Infection takes;
The kindling Energy it's Force displays,
'Till all the Man is one continued Blaze.
To reach the Summit of the last Sublime,
The highest Cliff that human Strength can climb,
At once to reach it, and so well maintain,
Is yours, whilst others toil, and stretch, with Pain;
On Arts slow-dragging aukward Stilts to rise,
Your soaring Genius sweeps the vaulted Skies.
Whether the Buskin, or the Sock you wear,
As gay in Ranger, as distress'd in Lear;
[Page 21]In Drugger's Tremor, as in Hamlet's Fire;
The Protean Skill of Action we admire.
The Eagle thus that wheels aloft in Air,
Can sudden stoop, and truss the trembling Hare;
Play round the Rock, or skim the level Plain—
Then instant spring, and mount to Heav'n again.
The moral Character's the Test indeed,
Where Fame should triumph, and the Man succeed;
That glorious Attribute for Virtue calls,
And must be honbur'd when the Curtain falls;
When Death's dark Curtain drops its Shade between
The judging Audience, and the closing Scene:
When Time impartial scans the naked Cause,
When Truth shall give, or Censure, or Applause.
Come forth, my Friend, confess'd to public Sight,
And let us view thee, in this sacred Light.
[Page 22]How Malice can accuse! how Envy swell!
You stand convicted, Sir—for you excel:
That deadly Crime Desert must still endure—
Your Morals censur'd shall your Fame secure.
Your Morals too!—is that their desp'rate Aim?
What CA'NDISH loves—nor noble BOYLE can blame—
That aweful Censor both of Books and Men,
Whose Life's as faultless as his learned Pen;
To Truth attach'd, from servile Byas free,
Wou'd speak that Truth to Kings he speaks to me.
His Heart ingenuous as the Source of Day,
Heedless what Madmen dream, or Dunces say;
Collected, in his conscious Worth, withdraws,
And leaves, to Fools, the Squabble for Applause.
Go on, still envy'd let your Foes still gaze,
Whilst Britain gives you Wealth, and Europe Praise;
[Page 23]Be still applauded by the Wise and Great,
And make your Fortune, and your Fame, compleat:
Till sated with Renown, in Life's Decline,
Amid the Muses Shades, retir'd, you shine,
Shelter'd by Laurels, which your Worth has won,
Calm and serene, like CIBBER's setting Sun.
The END.

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