« PoprzedniaDalej »
consistency of character, and to a temperate enjoyment of the luxuries of opulence, the certainty that, notwithstanding all his cares and apprehensions, and consequent vacillation of conduct, neither these, nor the accumulation of riches, nor the orgies of voluptuousness, will protract the stroke of fate:
Æquam memento rebus in arduis
Seu moestus omni tempore vixeris,
Festos reclinatum bearis
Interiore notâ Falerni;
Quo pinus ingens albaque populus
Lympha fugax trepidare vivo:-
Divesne prisco natus ab Inacho,
Lib. ii. Od. 3.
With stedfast soul thy course maintain,
For, Dellius, death's sure lot is thine,
Court thee within the mossy bower,
Where the tall pine in stately rows,
With poplars, forms a friendly shade, Where the swift stream obliquely flows,
And, quivering, murmurs through the glade.—
Soon must thou quit thy dear-bought wood,
Thy stately mansion, to thine heir.
Though great thy wealth, renowned thy birth, Nor birth nor opulence can save.
Again, also, in the opening of the third book, with the view of enforcing the blessings of contentment, and whilst expatiating on the futility of honour, wealth, and fame, even when ob
tained without any sacrifice of integrity or subserviency to the follies of the great, he introduces the same awful and awakening imagery, pointing to the grave as hastening with equal if not more rapid strides, to entomb the rich as well as the poor, the lofty as well as the meek.
Est ut viro vir latius ordinet
Moribus hic, meliorque famâ
Omne capax movet urna nomen.
Lib. iii. Od. 1.
Some spread plantations o'er the earth, In wider range: some build their claim To public honours on illustrious birth; Some on the juster ground of well-earn'd fame.
On some a crowd of clients wait;
Yet, ah! stern fate, with equal doom,
Shakes in its ample urn the poor, the great,
Destin'd alike to fill the silent tomb.
But if it be necessary to awaken the unthinking from their dreams of pleasure, of ambition, and long life, by recalling to their heated imaginations how fragile and illusory are their views and hopes, and how soon to be terminated by the extinction of their being in this world, it is yet more essential that those who, void of all moral restraint, rush into the arms of vice to gratify their lusts, and add injustice, avarice, and oppression, to the caprices of folly and the pursuits of dissipation, should be reminded, if possible, in still stronger terms, of the inevitable hour which is hurrying forward to arrest their career. And this our poet has admirably done in numerous instances, and in none with more effect than in the following lines, where he presents us with a striking and pathetic sketch of the miseries resulting from the cupidity of the wealthy and unprincipled patrician.
Quid, quòd usque proximos
Revellis agri terminos, et ultra
Salis avarus? pellitur paternos
Et uxor et vir, sordidosque natos.
Nulla certior tamen
Rapacis Orci sede destinata
Aula divitem manet
Lib. ii. Od. 18.
What, though thy avarice burst each bound,
And drive the peasant from his only field,
Forced by stern power to seek some new abodes,
Their infant race, their lov'd paternal gods;
Rapacious death spreads wide his palace gate,
To none more certain than the wealthy great.
It is scarcely possible to read this representation of the despair of the exiled peasants, without being reminded of the yet more beautiful and affecting delineation of Goldsmith, who, whilst describing in his Deserted Village its helpless peasantry driven from their homes by the monopolizing spirit of the rich and rapa