Constantinople

Original Text: 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Court Eclogs Written in the Year, 1716, ed. Robert Halsband (New York: New York Public Library, 1977): 53, 55, 57, 59, 61. PR 3604 C6 1977 Robarts Library
Written
January 1718
in the Chiosk at Pera
overlooking Constantinople
1Give me Great God (said I) a Little Farm
2in Summer shady, & in Winter warm
3where a cool spring gives birth to a clear brook
4by Nature slideing down a mossy Rock
5Not artfully in Leaden Pipes convey'd
6Or greatly falling in a forc'd Cascade
7Pure & unsully'd winding throu' ye Shade.
8All bounteous Heaven has added to my Praier
9a softer Climate and a purer Air.
10Our Frozen Isle now chilling Winter binds
11Deform'd by Rains, & rough wth blasting Winds
12ye wither'd Woods grown white wth hoary Frost
13by driving storms their scatter'd beautys lost
14The Trembling birds their leaveless coverts shun
15And seek in distant Climes a warmer Sun
16The Water Nymphs their silenced Urns deplore
17Even Thames benumb'd a River now no more
18The barren Meadows give no more delight
19by Glist'ning Snows made painfull to ye Sight.
20Here Summer reigns wth one Eternal Smile
21And double Harvests bless ye happy Soil.
22Fair, fertile Fields to warm Indulgent Heaven
23Has every Charm of every Season given!
24No Killing Cold deforms ye Beauteous Year
25The springing Flowers no coming Winter Fear
26But as ye Parent Rose decays & dies
27ye Infant Buds wth brighter Colours rise
28And with fresh sweets ye Mother-scent supplys
29Near them the Vi'let glows wth odours blest
30And blooms in more than Tyrian Purple drest
31The rich Jonquils their golden gleam display
32And shine in glorys emulateing day.
33These chearfull Groves their living Leaves retain
34The Streams still murmur undefil'd by Rain
35And growing Green adorns ye Fruitfull Plain
36The warbling Kind uninterrupted Sing,
37Warm'd wth Enjoyment of perpetual Spring.
38Here from my Window I at once survey
39The crouded City, & resounding Sea
40In distant Views see Assian Mountains rise
41And Lose their Snowy Summits in ye Skies.
42Above those Mountains high Olympus Tow'rs
43The Parliamental Seat of Heavenly Powers.
44New to ye Sight my ravish'd Eyes admire
45Each guilded Crescent & each Antique Spire
46The Fair Serail where sunk in Idle ease
47The Lazy Monarch melts his thoughtless days
48The Marble Mosques beneath whose Ample Domes
49Fierce Warlike Sultans sleep in peacefull Tombs
50Those lofty Structures once the Christian boast
51Their Names, their Honnours, & their Beautys lost
52Those Altars bright wth Gold, wth Sculpture grac'd
53By barbarous Zeal of savage Foes defac'd
54Convents where Emperors profess'd of old
55The Labour'd Pillars that their Triumphs told.
56Vain Monuments of Men that once were great!
57Sunk, undistinguish'd, by one Common Fate!
58How art thou falln Imperial City, Low!
59Where are thy Hopes of Roman Glory now?
60Where are thy Palaces by Prelates rais'd
61Where preistly Pomp in Purple Lustre blaz'd?
62So vast, that Youthfull Kings might there reside
63So Splendid; to content a Patriarchs pride
64Where Grecian Artists all their skill displayd
65Before ye happy Sciences decay'd;
66So vast, that Youthfull Kings might there reside
67So Splendid; to content a Patriarchs Pride;
68Convents where Emperors proffess'd of Old,
69The Labour'd Pillars that their Triumphs told,
70Vain Monuments of Men that once were great!
71Sunk, undistinguish'd in one common Fate!
72One Little Spot, the small Fenar contains,
73Of Greek Nobillity, the poor Remains,
74Where other Helens show like powerfull Charms
75As once engag'd the Warring World in Arms:
76Those Names that Roial Auncestry can boast
77In mean Mechanic Arts obscurely lost
78Those Eyes a second Homer might inspire,
79fix'd at the Loom, destroy their useless Fire.
80Greiv'd at a view which strikes vpon my Mind
81The short liv'd Vanity of Human kind
82In Gaudy Objects I indulge my Sight,
83And turn where Eastern Pomp gives gay delight.
84See; the vast Train in various Habits dress'd!
85By the Bright Seymetar and Sable Vest;
86The Vizier proud, distinguish'd o're the rest!
87Six slaves in gay Attire his Bridle hold;
88His Bridle rough with Gems, his Stirups Gold;
89His Snowy Steed adorn'd with lavish Pride
90Whole Troops of Soldiers mounted by his Side,
91These toss the Plumy Crest, Arabian Coursers guide.
92With awfull Duty all decline their Eyes,
93No bellowing Shouts of noisy Crouds arise;
94Silence in solemn State the march attends
95Till at the dread Divan the slow processions ends.
96Yet not these Objects all profusely Gay,
97The Gilded Navy that adorns the Sea,
98The riseing City in Confusion fair;
99Magnificently form'd irregular
100Where Woods and Palaces at once surprise
101Gardens, on Gardens, Domes on Domes arise
102And endless Beauties tire the wandering Eyes,
103So sooths my Wishes, or so charms my Mind,
104As this Retreat, secure from Human kind.
105No Knaves successfull Craft does Spleen excite
106No Coxcombs tawdry Splendour shocks my Sight;
107No Mob Alarm awakes my Female Fears,
108No unrewarded Merit asks my Tears;
109Nor Praise my Mind, nor Envy hurts my Ear,
110Even Fame it selfe can hardly reach me here,
111Impertinence with all her Tattling Train
112Fair-sounding Flatterys delicious Bane
113Censorious Folly; Noisy Party Rage;
114The Thousand with which she must engage
115Who dare have Virtue in a Vicious Age.
Publication Start Year: 
1747
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998-2000.