An Arthurian Miscellany at sacred-texts.com
MERLIN: A POEM
[pseudonym of Jane Brereton]
Humbly Inscribed ( Octob. 1735.) to
Her MAJESTY QUEEN GUARDIAN .
ILLUSTRIOUS QUEEN !
The loyal Zeal excuse,
The fond Ambition, of a British Muse ,
Who wou'd, in Merlin's Praise, attempt to soar;
And in his Cave, Your Patronage implore:
Protection seek, beneath Your Royal Name ;
And borrow Strength to rise, from Merlin's Fame.
When Sol to distant Climes had giv'n the Day,
And shone on ours, with pale reflected Ray;
When Night with solemn pace, advanc'd her Head,
And o'er the Hemisphere her Mantle spread;
Yet thro' the fable Gloom, those Orbs reveal'd,
Which in a Flood of Light, the Day conceal'd:
I, to a Summit, mus'd along, to see
Unnumber'd Suns , which croud the Galaxy.
But Merlin's Cave , had such Impressions made,
And Royal Honours, to his Mem'ry pay'd;
Pleas'd with Reflection, and involv'd in Thought;
Creative Fancy , soon this Vision wrought.
Then, lo! beneath a venerable Oak ,
Which oft repell'd the Tempest's furious stroke;
Whose spreading Arms, a wide Circumf'rence show,
And from whose Trunk, springs sacred Misseltoe :
Methought, I saw an awful Shade arise;
(Fit object only, for Poetick Eyes.)
The Form Majestick, and the Front serene;
Angles , and Circles , on his Robe were seen.
The Northern Crown 1 , around his Temples shone,
And the Celestial Signs adorn'd his Zone.
The British Harp , seem'd to support one Hand;
While t'other, gently wav'd the sacred Wand.
The Manes of great Merlin stood confess'd;
And my enraptur'd Fancy, thus address'd:
"Why will Melissa , Merlin's praise decline,
"Distinguish'd now, by Royal CAROLINE ?
"Believe not such , as wou'd asperse my Name;
"But trust those Authors , who defend my Fame.
"You, to the Royal Grotto , touch'd the Lyre,
"And durst in God-like Newton's Praise aspire.
"Why shou'd not British Merlin , grace thy Page,
"In Mathematicks , once esteem'd a Sage?
"A well-try'd Genius , cou'd transmit to Fame
"My honour'd Modern Cave , and Ancient Name :
"Might to my ROYAL GUEST , re-touch the String,
And as he 2 sung the Saint , the Prophet sing.
"But since the Cambrian Bards , neglect the Muse;
" Melissa's humbler Strains, I'll not refuse.
"SIX Centuries, twice told, are now compleat,
"Since Merlin liv'd on this terrestrial Seat.
"Knowledge appear'd, but dawning to my Sight;
"She blaz'd on Newton with Meridian Light.
"Yet the faint Glimm'rings, which my Genius taught,
"Beyond the ken, of human Art, were thought.
"What I by meer mechanick Pow'rs atchiev'd,
"Th' Effects of Magick , then, by most believ'd.
"To Stone-henge , let the Sons of Art, repair,
"And View the Wonders, I, erected There.
"Try, if their Skill improv'd, Mine, e'er can foil;
"Restore the Giants-Dance t' Hibernian Soil.
"Nor in Geometry , excell'd alone;
"But other Sciences to me were known.
"I study'd Nature , through her various Ways;
"And chaunted to this Harp, prophetick Lays.
"To Cader Ydris 3 oft, I took my Way;
"Rose with the Sun , toil'd up th' Ascent all Day;
"But scarce could reach, the Mountains tow'ring height,
"E'er Radiant Vesper , usher'd in the Night.
"The Summit gain'd, I sought with naked Eye,
"To penetrate, the Wonders of the Sky.
"No Telescopic Glass known in that Age,
"To assist the Optics of the curious Sage.
"Though lov'd Astronomy oft charm'd my Mind,
"I now erroneous, all my Notions fined.
"I thought bright Sol, around our Globe had run;
"Nor knew Earth's Motion, nor the central Sun .
"And had I known; cou'd I Belief have gain'd,
"When Ignorance, and Superstition reign'd?
'Unseen by me, Attraction's mighty Force,
"And how fierce Comets , run their stated Course;
"Surprizing Scenes! by Heav'n reserv'd in store,
"For its own Fav'rite Newton , to explore.
"With Faculties enlarg'd, He 's gone to prove
"The Laws, and Motions of yon Worlds above;
"And the vast Circuits of th'Expanse survey,
"View Solar Systems in the Milky Way .
"My Spirit too through Ether wings its Flight,
"Discov'ring Truths , deny'd my mortal Sight.
"Transported hovers, o'er my native Isle,
"Where Arts improve, and Peace and Plenty smile.
"But lo! Boötes drives his radiant Car,
"High on its Course, around the Polar Star ,
"And fiery Draco , drops his starry Crest;
"'Tis time, though shouldst indulge thy needful Rest.
"Yet stay, Melissa! ---try this fav'rite Lyre;
"And Merlin will the grateful Song inspire.
"To Learning' s Patroness , my Thanks convey;
"And humbly at her Feet, present thy Lay.
"Conscious, how mean, and how unskill'd thy Hand,
"I see thee tremble, at my kind Command.
"Let my Persuasion, once, thy Fears beguile;
"The gracious QUEEN , will condescend to smile.
"For Merlin 's sake, will give Melissa leave,
"To touch the Strings, in my much-honour'd Cave .
"And Wallia 's gen'rous Prince, will not disdain
"What I foretell; ---tho' low, thy Lyrick Strain.
1 A Constellation so call'd.
2 Author of the L EEK , presented to her Majesty.
3 A Mountain in Merionethshire , accounted by some the Highest in Britain ; as an Argument for which they alledge, it bears Variety of Alpine Plants.
Next: Excalibur, by Sallie Bridges