Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Extracts from The Dispensary
By Sir Samuel Garth (1661–1719)
 
[Dr. Horoscope flies to consult Fortune at Teneriffe.]

THE WONDERING sage pursues his airy flight,
And braves the chill unwholesome damps of night:
He views the tracts where luminaries rove,
To settle seasons here, and fates above;
The bleak Arcturus still forbid the seas,        5
The stormy Kids, the weeping Hyades;
The shining lyre with strains attracting more
Heaven’s glittering mansions now than Hell’s before;
Glad Cassiopeia circling in the sky,
And each fair Churchill of the galaxy.        10
 
Aurora, on Etesian breezes borne,
With blushing lips breathes out the sprightly morn:
Each flower in dew their short-liv’d empire weeps,
And Cynthia with her lov’d Endymion sleeps.
As through the gloom the magus cuts his way        15
Imperfect objects tell the doubtful day:
Dim he discerns majestic Atlas rise,
And bend beneath the burden of the skies;
His towering brows aloft no tempests know,
Whilst lightning flies, and thunder rolls below.        20
Distant from hence beyond a waste of plains,
Proud Teneriff, his giant brother, reigns;
With breathing fire his pitchy nostrils glow,
As from his sides he shakes the fleecy snow.
Around this hoary prince, from watery beds,        25
His subject islands raise their verdant heads;
The waves so gently wash each rising hill,
The land seems floating, and the ocean still.
Eternal spring with smiling verdure here
Warms the mild air, and crowns the youthful year.        30
From crystal rocks transparent rivulets flow;
The tuberose ever breathes, and violets blow;
The vine undressed her swelling clusters bears,
The labouring hind the mellow olive cheers;
Blossoms and fruit at once the citron shows,        35
And, as she pays, discovers still she owes.
The orange to her sun her pride displays,
And gilds her fragrant apples with his rays.
No blasts e’er discompose the peaceful sky,
The springs but murmur and the winds but sigh.        40
The tuneful swans on gliding rivers float,
And warbling dirges die on every note.
Where Flora treads, her zephyr garlands flings,
And scatters odours from his purple wings;
Whilst birds from woodbine bowers and jasmine groves        45
Chant their glad nuptials, and unenvy’d loves.
Mild seasons, rising hills, and silent dales,
Cool grottos, silver brooks, and flowery vales,
Groves fill’d with balmy shrubs, in pomp appear,
And scent with gales of sweets the circling year.        50
These happy isles, where endless pleasures wait,
Are styl’d by tuneful bards—the Fortunate.
On high, where no hoarse winds nor clouds resort,
The hoodwink’d goddess keeps her partial court:
Upon a wheel of amethyst she sits,        55
Gives and resumes, and smiles and frowns by fits.
In this still labyrinth, around her lie
Spells, philters, globes, and schemes of palmistry:
A sigil in this hand the gipsy bears,
In th’ other a prophetic sieve and sheers.
*        *        *        *        *
        60
[Fortune speaks.]
‘’Tis I that give, so mighty is my power,
Faith to the Jew, complexion to the Moor,
I am the wretch’s wish, the rook’s pretence,
The sluggard’s ease, the coxcomb’s providence.
Sir Scrape-quill, once a supple smiling slave,        65
Looks lofty now, and insolently grave;
Builds, settles, purchases, and has each hour
Caps from the rich, and curses from the poor.
Spadillio, that at table serv’d of late,
Drinks rich tokay himself and eats in plate;        70
Has levees, villas, mistresses in store,
And owns the racers which he rubb’d before.
Souls heavenly born my faithless boons defy;
The brave is to himself a deity;
Though blest Astrea ’s gone, some soil remains        75
Where Fortune is the slave, and Merit reigns.
The Tiber boasts his Julian progeny,
Thames his Nassau, the Nile his Ptolemy.
Iberia, yet for future sway design’d,
Shall, for a Hesse, a greater Mordaunt find.        80
Thus Ariadne in proud triumph rode;
She lost a hero, and she found a god.
 
 
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