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« The memory of the just is blessed, but the me

mory of the wicked shall rot.” – PROVERBS, ch. X. ver. 7.

The Argument. Solomon, again seeking happiness, inquires if wealth

and greatness can produce it; begins with the magnificence of gardens and buildings, the luxury of music and feasting; and proceeds to the hopes and desires of love. In two episodes are shown the follies and troubles of that passion. Solomon, still disappointed, falls under the temptations oi libertinism and idolatry ; recovers his thought ; reasons aright; and concludes, that, as to the pursuit of pleasure and sensual delight, All is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Try then, O man, the moments to deceive, That from the womb attend thee to the grave: For weary'd Nature find some apter scheme : Health be thy hope, and Pleasure be thy theme. From the perplexing and unequal ways, Where study brings thee ; from the endless maze, Which doubt persuades to run, forewarn’d, recede To the gay field and flowery path, that lead To jocund mirth, soft joy, and careless ease : Forsake what may instruct, for what may please ; Essay amusing art, and proud expense, And make thy reason subject to thy sense.

I commun'd thus : the power of wealth I try'd, And all the various luxe of costly pride; Artists and plans reliev'd my solemn hours ; I founded palaces, and planted bowers;

Birds, fishes, beasts, of each exotic kind,
I to the limits of my court confin’d;
To trees transferr'd I gave a second birth,
And bade a foreign shade grace Judah's earth ;
Fish-ponds were made, where former forests grew,
And hills were levell’d to extend the view;
Rivers diverted from their native course,
And bound with chains of artificial force,
From large cascades in pleasing tumult rolld,
Or rose through figur'd stone, or breathing gold;
From furthest Africa's tormented womb
The marble brought, erects the spacious dome,
Or forms the pillars long-extended rows,
On which the planted grove, the pensile garden,

The workmen here obey the master's call,
To gild the turret, and to paint the wall,
To mark the pavement there with various stone,
And on the jasper steps to rear the throne :
The spreading cedar, that an age had stood,
Supreme of trees, and mistress of the wood,
Cut down and carv'd, my shining roof adorns,
And Lebanon his ruin'd honour mourns.

A thousand artists show their cunning power,
To raise the wonders of the ivory tower.
A thousand maidens ply the purple loom,
To weave the bed, and deck the regal room;
Till Tyre confesses her exhausted store,
That on her coast the murex * is no more ;

* The murex is a shell-fish, of the liquor whereof a purple colour is made.

Till from the Parian isle, and Libya's coast,
The mountains grieve their hopes of marble lost;
And India's woods return their just complaint,
Their brood decay'd, and want of elephant.

My full design with vast expense achiev'd,
I came, beheld, admir'd, reflected, grievd;
I chid the folly of my thoughtless haste,
For, the work perfected, the joy was past.

To my new courts sad Thought did still repair,
And round my gilded roofs hung hovering Care.
In vain on silken beds I sought repose,
And restless oft from purple couches rose;
Vexatious Thought still found my flying mind
Nor bound by limits, nor to place confin'd;
Haunted my nights, and terrify'd my days ;
Stalk'd through my gardens, and pursued my ways,
Nor shut from artful bower, nor lost in winding


Yet take thy bent, my soul ; another sense
Indulge; add music to magnificence:
Essay if harmony may grief control,
Or power of sound prevail upon the soul.
Often our seers and poets have confest,
That music's force can tame the furious beast;
Can make the wolf, or foaming boar, restrain
His rage; the lion drop his crested mane,
Attentive to the song ; the lynx forget
His wrath to man, and lick the minstrel's feet.
Are we, alas ! 'less savage yet than these?
Else music, sure, may human cares appease.

I spake my purpose; and the cheerful choir
Parted their shares of harmony: the lyre

Soften'd the timbrel's noise; the trumpet's sound
Provok’d the Dorian flute (both sweeter found
When mix’d); the fife the viol's notes refin'd,
And every strength with every grace was join'd.
Each morn they wak'd me with a sprightly lay;
Of opening Heaven they sung and gladsome day.
Each evening their repeated skill express'd
Scenes of repose, and images of rest :
Yet still in vain; for music gather'd thought:
But how unequal the effects it brought !
The soft ideas of the cheerful note,
Lightly receiv'd, were easily forgot;
The solemn violence of the graver sound
Knew to strike deep, and leave a lasting wound.

And now reflecting, I with grief descry
The sickly lust of the fantastic eye ;
How the weak organ is with seeing cloy'd,
Flying ere night what it at noon enjoy'd.
And now (unhappy search of thought !) I found
The fickle ear soon glutted with the sound,
Condemn'd eternal changes to pursue,
Tir'd with the last, and eager of the new.

I bade the virgins and the youth advance, To temper music with the sprightly dance. In vain! too low the mimic motions seem; What takes our heart must merit our esteein. Nature, I thought, perform’d too mean a part, Forming her movements to the rules of art; And, vex’d, I found that the musician's hand Had o'er the dancer's mind too great command.

I drank; I lik’d it not ; 'twas rage, 'twas noise, An airy scene of transitory joys.

' In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
To the late revel, and protracted feast,
Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest;
And as, at dawn of morn, fair Reason's light
Broke through the fumes and phantoms of the night,
What had been said, I ask'd my soul, what done?
How flow'd our mirth, and whence the source begun.
Perhaps the jest that charm'd the sprightly crowd,
And made the jovial table laugh so loud,
To some false notion ow'd its poor pretence,
To an ambiguous word's perverted sense,
To a wild sonnet, or a wanton air,
Offence and torture to the sober ear :
Perhaps, alas ! the pleasing stream was brought
From this man's error, from another's fault;
From topics, which good-nature would forget,
And prudence mention with the last regret.

Add yet unnumber'd ills, that lie unseen
In the pernicious draught; the word obscene,
Or harsh, which, once elanc'd, must ever fly
Irrevocable; the too prompt reply,
Seed of severe distrust and fierce debate ;
What we should shun, and what we ought to hats..

Add too the blood impoverish'd, and the course Of health suppress’d, by wine's continual force.

Unhappy man! whom sorrow thus and rage
To different ills alternately engage;
Who drinks, alas! but to forget ; nor sees
That melancholy sloth, severe disease,
Memory confus'd, and interrupted thought,
Death's harbingers, lie latent in the draught ;

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