« PoprzedniaDalej »
By loss of all things, by all others sought,
ODE UPON LIBERTY.
FREEDOM with Virtue takes her scat; Her proper place, her only scene,
Is in the golden mean,
She lives not with the poor nor with the great.
And they're in Fortune's bridewell whipt
To the laborious task of bread; These are by various tyrants captive led. Now wild Ambition with imperious force Rides, reins, and spurs, them, like th' unruly horse;
And servile Avarice yokes them now,
Like toilsome oxen, to the plough;
From these insulting passions free,
And, whercsoe'er they stay, and wheresoe'er they go,
Impertinencies round them flow:
These are the small uneasy things
Which about greatness still are found,
And rather it molest than wound: Like gnats, which too much heat of summer brings; But cares do swarm there, too, and those have
stings: As, when the honey does too open lie,
A thousand wasps about it fly: Nor will the master even to share admit; The master stands aloof, and dares not taste of it.
T is morning: well; I fain would yet sleep on:
You cannot now; you must be gone
To court, or to the noisy hall:
The stream of business does begin,
Will they not suffer him to sleep r
And much of mirth and moderate wine.
Has such a freedom always given!
VOL. III. N
Why, mighty madman, what should hinder thee
In all the freeborn nations of the air,
Never did bird a spirit so mean and sordid bear,
As to exchange his native liberty
Of soaring boldly up into the sky,
His liberty to sing, to perch, or fly,
When and wherever he thought good, And all his innocent pleasures of the wood, For a more plentiful or constant food.
Nor ever did ambitious rage
Make him into a painted cage,
For honour and preferment, come.
Though men and angels fell!
To you is justly given;
To boast, that we look up to it. Ev'n to the universal tyrant, Love,
You homage pay but once a-year:
As his perpetual yoke to bear;
Whom human lordship does control;
Who from their birth corrupted were By bondage, and by man's example here,
He 's no small prince, who every day
Thus to himself can say: Now will I sleep, now eat, now sit, now walk, Now meditate alone, now with acquaintance talk; This I will do, here I will stay, Or, if my fancy call me away, My man and I will presently go ride (For yve, before, have nothing to provide, Nor, after, are to render an account) To Dover, Berwick, or the Cornish mount.
If thou but a short journey take,
As if thy last thou wert to make, Business must be dispatch'd, ere thou canst part,
Nor canst thou stir, unless there be
A hundred horse and men to wait on thee,
And many a mule, and many a cart;
What an unwieldy man thou art!
The Rhodian Colossus so
A journey, too, might go.
Where honour, or where conscience does not bind,
No other law shall shackle me;
Slave to myself I will not be,
By my own present mind.
Who by resolves and vows engag'd does stand
For days that yet belong to Fate,
Before it falls into his hand:
The bondman of the cloister so,
Not to enjoy, but debts to pay.
If life should a well-order'd poem be
(In which he only hits the white
Mine the Pindarick way I 'll make;
Nor seek transitions to depart,
Nor thorough lanes a compass take,