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And that, judicially withdrawn, disgrace,
Error, and darkness, occupy their place,
A world is up in arms, and thou, a spot
Not quickly found if negligently sought.
Thy soul as ample as thy bounds are small,
Endur'st the brunt, and dar’st defy them all :
And wilt thou join to this bold enterprise
A bolder still, a contest with the skies?
Remember, if He guard thee and secure,
Whoe'er assails thee, thy success is sure ;
But if he leave thee, though the skill and power
Of nations, sworn to spoil thee and devour,
Were all collected in thy single arm,
| And thou could'st laugh away the fear of harm,
That strength would fail, oppos'd against the push
And feeble onset of a pigmy rush.
Say not (and, if the thought of such defence Should spring within thy bosom, drive it thence) What nation amongst all my foes is free From crimes as base as any charg'd on me ? Their measure fill'd, they, too, shall pay the debt Which God, though long forborn, will not forget But know that wrath divine, when most severe, Makes justice still the guide of his career, And will not punish, in one mingled crowd, Them without light, and thee without a cloud.
Muse, hang this harp upon yon aged beech, Still murmuring with the solemn truths I teach ;
And, while, at intervals, a cold blast sings
Through the dry leaves, and pants upon the strings,
My soul shall sigh in secret, and lament
A nation scourg'd, yet tardy to repent.
I know the warning song is sung in vain ;
That few will hear, and fewer heed the strain :
But, if a sweeter voice, and one design'd
A blessing to my country and mankind,
Reclaim the wandering thousands, and bring home
A flock, so scatter'd, and so wont to roam,
Then place it once again between my knees ;
The sound of truth will then be sure to please :
And truth alone, where'er my life be cast,
In scenes of plenty or the pining waste,
Shall be my chosen theme, my glory to the last. )
-doceas itcr et sacra ostia pandas.
Virg. Æn. 6.
ASK what is human life-the sage replies,
With disappointment lowering in his eyes,
A painful passage o'er a restless flood,
A vain pursuit of fugitive false good,
A scene of fancied bliss and heart-felt care,
Closing, at last, in darkness and despair.
The poor, inur'd to drudgery and distress,
Act without aim, think little, and feel less,
And no where, but in feign'd Arcadian scenes,
Taste happiness, or know what pleasure means.
Riches are pass’d away from hand to hand,
As fortune, vice, or folly, may command.
As in a dance the pair that take the lead
Turn downward, and the lowest pair succeed,
So shifting and so various is the plan
By which Heaven rules the mix'd affairs of man :
Vicissitude wheels round the motley crowd,
The rich grow poor, the poor become purse-proud ;
Business is labour, and, man's weakness such,
Pleasure is labour too, and tires as much,
The very sense of it foregoes its use,
By repetition pall’d, by age obtuse.
Youth lost in dissipation, we deplore,
Through life's sad remnant, what no sighs restore ;
Our years, a fruitless race without a prize,
Too many, yet too few to make us wise.
Dangling his cane about, and taking snuff,
Lothario cries, What philosophic stuff
Oh, querulous and weak !--whose useless brain
Once thought of nothing, and now thinks in vain ;
Whose eye, reverted, weeps o'er all the past,
Whose prospect shews thee a disheartening waste;
Would age in thee resign his wintry reign,
And youth invigorate that frame again,
Renew'd desire would grace with other speech
Joys always priz'd—when plac'd within our reach.
For lift thy palsied head, shake off the gloom That overhang's the borders of thy tomb, See nature, gay as when she first begán, With smiles alluring her admirer, man ; She spreads the morning over eastern hills ; Earth glitters with the drops the night distils ; The sun, obedient, at her call appears, To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears ; Banks cloth'd with flowers, groves fill'd with sprichtiy
sounds, The yellow tilth, green meads, rocks, rising grounds, Streams edg'd with osiers, fattening every field Where'er they flow, now seen and now concerid; From the blue rim, where skies and mountains luuli, Down to the very turf beneath thy sect,
Ten thousand charms, that only fools despise,
Or pride can look at with indifferent eyes,
All speak one language, all with one sweet voice
Cry to her universal realm, Rejoice !
Man feels the spur of passions and desires,
And she gives largely more than he requires ;
Not that, his hours devoted all to care,
Hollow-ey'd abstinence, and lean despair,
The wretch may pine, while to his smell, taste, sight,
She holds a paradise of rich delight ;
But gently to rebuke his awkward fear,
To prove that what she gives she gives sincere,
To banish hesitation, and proclaim
His happiness, her dear, her only aim.
"Tis grave philosophy's absurdest dream,
That Heaven's intentions are not what they seem,
That only shadows are dispens'd below,
And earth has no reality but woe.
Thus things terrestrial wear a different hue,
As youth or age persuades ; and neither true :
So Flora's wreath through colour'd crystal seen,
The rose or lily appears blue or green,
But still th' imputed tints are those alone
The medium represents, and not their own.
To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undress'd,
To read the news, or fiddle, as seems best,
Till half the world comes rattling at his door,
To fill the dull vacuity till four;
And, just when evening turns the blue vault grey,
To spend two hours in dressing for the day ;