Magic Echoes, Fairy Rounds,
Beauties ev'ry where surprize:—
Sure this Spot dropt from the Skies!
The following Pages were writ in obedience to the Commands of a Nobleman, for whom the Author bears the greatest Reverence, and not to puff a Recess, which being the perpetual Resort of the Town, disdains all such mean Artifices. The poetical Parts were struck out, at Intervals, as the Author was in humour to rove about in, and survey the Beauties of the Spring-Gardens. Some may think him to have been an Enthusiast on those Occasions; and such, indeed, he is sensible he was, during the Moments in question, which were blissful Ones.
Page 15, Line 17, for Powers, read Bowers.
Page 19, Line 12, for as, read is.
Page 26, Line 22, for Alcinous', read Alcinous's
To the Right Honourable the Earl of ********* [Frederick Calvert, 6th Lord Baltimore
Your Lordship bestows a very unmerited Compliment upon me, when you are pleased to declare, that a Description, from my Hand, of the Spring-Gardens at Vaux-hall, would give as much Pleasure as the Sight of them. This, indeed, would have been no Compliment to your Lordship, had you now taken up the Pen, which, like Raphael's Pencil, throws a Grace round every Object. Perfectly acquainted as you (my Lord) are, with every Beauty among the Antients; and having been a curious Spectator of the most exquisite modern Performances of Art, as well as of the loveliest Scenes of Nature, in foreign Countries; a Picture from your Lordship, of this Elizium, would have inchanted every Reader; and transmitted it, in all its Charms, to late Posterity. [p.2] —But you are pleased to command a Description from me. I therefore must obey, tho' with all possible Diffidence; and, in return for your too favourable Opinion, will exert the utmost of my slender Abilities; and only wish, that these varying Scenes of elegant Delight, may not suffer greatly by my too faint Description of them.— Waving therefore all farther Apologies, I, with your Lordship's Leave, will enter upon my Draught.
To yon lessening Speck, on the Skirts of the Sky;
"To the Earth, where we'll visit Man's whimsical Race;
And rove, till we fix on some favourite Place;
On some Shade to which Nymphs, blest with Swains, shall retire,
Allur'd by the Charms of your Juice, and my Lyre:
For these, when united, must fondly controul,
The wav'ring Impulses of each human Soul."
Quickly range o'er this Ball; and, at last, gayly bend[p.4] To a Grove*, whose wing'd Choristers ravish the Ear;
When Apollo says, smiling, "We must pitch our Tent here:
For see how the Graces exult in yon Bower. —
By your Nectar, my Warbling, and their magic Power,
Sweetest Joys shall rise round, and pale Spleen mix with the Wind." —
They open'd the Scene, and inchanted Mankind.
*That of Vaux-hall Gardens
When treading, slow ,th'embower'd Walk,
We muse as in some verdant Isle,
Where Druids dream, and Echoes talk!
Softn'd, and dying in the Breeze:
Or, from the Lamps, see magic Light,
Dart like a Glory thro' the Trees.
Those envious Clouds which Beauty hide;
And round my Phyllis dart thy Light,
Whilst o'er Thames' silver Stream we glide.
In those dear Shades, where first she charm'd:
Give her, again, that killing Air
Which fondly all my Soul alarm'd.
Weeping to other Regions fly;
Sure not to view a sweeter Scene,
In thy bright Progress thro' the Sky.
See Orpheus, rising from th'Elysian Seats!
Lost to th'admiring World three thousand Years,
Beneath great Handel's Form he re-appears.
Sweetly this Miracle attracts the Eye: —
But hark! for o'er the Lyre his Fingers fly.
Thro' this inchanted Grove
I spy a HARPER playing,
All in his proud Alcove.
He'd tune up buxom Joan :—
But what was I admiring ?
Odzooks! a Man of Stone.
With Music, to improve the Bowl:
Where Art and Nature both combine
To raise the Mind, and glad the Soul.
Strike the Eye with sweet Surprize:—
Adam was not more inchanted
When he saw the Sun first rise.
Where fled Darius, half his Persians slain;
When Philip's Victor Son the Queens survey'd,
And weeping Sisygambis claim'd his Aid.
Where e're our Glances fall;
Here Colours, Life bestowing,
Bedeck this Greenwood-Hall.
There John his Doxy loves:
But my Delight's a Charmer,
Who steals a pair of Gloves.
To wander thro' its Fairy Rounds;
On Groops of gliding Beauties gaze,
And listen to the warbling Sounds!
If Chloe come, as Snow-Drops fair,
Her Presence will enrich the Scene,
And all Elysium open there.
What Scenes are these that glitter round.
Some Vision, sure, must bless my Eyes;
Or this must be inchanted Ground!
What Being did me here convey? —
This Secret, (lovely Nymphs!) unfold
In Whispers, as you round me stray.
Give Credit to the Grecian Song;
The vocal Grove, the Sybil Grot;
The Trees by Music drawn along.
The Banquet of the amorous Queen;*
When Cydnus Banks the World engross'd
Spectators of the dazzling Scene.
Again, in endless Praises run,
Tho' Lamps, on clust'ring Lamps increas'd
In Splendor emulate the Sun.
O whither shall I turn my Eye!
Each roving Faculty alarm'd,
In sweet Amaze enrapt I lie.
[p.17] These are the suppos'd Exclamations of a Person of Reading and Taste, on his first seeing Vaux-hall Gardens, in the manner above described. The Effect which those Beauties had, on the admiring, rude Colin, tho' different, seems altogether as natural:
Such Splendors round me shone,
Into a World I ventur'd
Where rose another Sun.
As Sky Lark's sweet I hear:
The Sounds I'm still enjoying;
They'll always sooth my Ear.
Observ'd the different Objects play?
A Statue, Tent, Alcove, or Tree,
Now seem to join, now break away.
For other Objects groop'd we view:
Wond'ring, from Scene to Scene we range,
Ever delightful! ever new!
In all the Pride of Nature gay;
Brought hither on Favonius' Wing,
To hail THEE Sovereign of the May.
Their Fragrance and resplendent Dyes.—
Protection on thy Bard bestow,
And bright, as they, his Lays shall rise.
Soon plaintive Nightingales we hear:
Next, rival Flutes melodious steal;
Next, the full Concert charms our Ear.
So sweetly in Confusion mix,
The various Sounds (by Turns) we praise,
And know not on which kind to fix.
How have I hail'd, (with Extasy!) my Lot,
When folding thee, from Bow'r to Bow'r we stray'd,
Whilst sportive Moon-Beams glitter'd thro' the Glade!
Or, darkling, sought the Glow-Worm's twinkling Ray!
Or listen'd to the Nightingale's fond Lay!
Thus blest, what Mortals cou'd with us compare,Eden this Spot, and we the happy PAIR!
Its gay Alcoves, and its harmonious Choir:
Its moss-grown Thickets, where the Sylvans sport;
And COMUS keeps, unseen by Man, his Court:
Leads up the giddy Train, with Chaplets crown'd,
Quaffing and tripping wildly, round and round:
Stopping at Intervals, his giddy Rout,
Envious, to view the harmless Joys without.
In the Grove at Vaux-hall, I, this Night, fix my Throne.
By my Courtiers hemm'd round; a broad Laugh on my Face,
The Hyp I'll dispel, and the Vapours I'll chace.
By an Ogle or Frown, in the Shape of a Dart,
Haste hither: —I'll save you from Rope or from Stream,
And cure you of Love as you'd wake from a Dream.
A sweet-sounding Name, and your Beauty's increase.
Past three or four Days, from this Spot I shall fly,
Then what wou'd you give, were blithe Comus but nigh?
Now wand'ring lonely, up and down,
The lofty Trees, which shade us round,
Waft us in Fancy far from Town.
And in some Monarch's Court we seem,
Such Crouds move round, so bright each Band:—
The whole is a delicious Dream!
Soft twinkling thro' the Trees;
As tho' 'twou'd please him highly,
To taste Delights like these.
To these fam'd Shades, which ev'ry Joy renew?
Where my fond trembling Heart first felt Alarms,
Struck with the Awful Lustre of thy Charms.
Must we no more with sweet Delusion stray,
Mid these gay Bow'rs, and their mix'd Charms survey?
The Bands of Nymphs and Swains; the proud Alcove;*
The winding Glade where Beauty us'd to rove.
Not see the Moon-Beams thro' the verdure play,
Till lost in Splendors that eclipse the Day:
Nor listen whilst sad Philomel complains,
Blending her tuneful Woe with sweeter Strains.—
'Tis done! —blest Scene! who can thy Beauties tell,
Nymphs, Swains, Bow'rs, Harmony:—a last farewell!
From Eden, view it with a watry Eye.
The Life of Bliss, which they no more must lead;
The baleful State, alas! for them decreed:
(Fatal Reverse!) their sorrowing Souls employ,
And, from their Breasts, shut ev'n a Glimpse of Joy.
The pensive Druids vocal Shades;
The Paphian Woods, th'Idalian Groves,
Where Dian' chid the laughing Loves;Alcinous' gay Retreats;
Enraptur'd Psyche's magic Seats:
The Paradise by Mahm't drawn,
Fade when your brighter Beauties dawn:
Ev'n fam'd Elizium yields to You.—
Adieu: delicious SPOT! —Adieu.
Improv'd by Music warbling thro' the Shade;
But, for the Serpent, did fam'd Eden seem,
(Sweet Fancy aiding the delicious Dream.)
The Serpent banish'd, justly 'tis design'd,
To charm an elegant and virtuous Mind.
Uncensur'd may take off her Glass:
And stray among Beaux without Fear,
No Snake lurking here in the Grass.
Where Mirth, Wit, and Innocence join'd;
The Swains thus discreetly were bold,
The Nymphs were thus prudently kind.
Why, as Ye pass, do Thousands bless? —
Your Temper sweet, Your Love of Arts;
Of Merit:—most if in Distress.
Proclaim a Heav'n-resembling Mind.
Princes whom the mild Virtues grace,
Must be the Darlings of Mankind.