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When private greatness has possess'd
In place of public good his breast,
'Tis certain, and I'll prove it true,
That ev'ry mischief must ensue.
On some pretence a war is made, it
The citizen must change his trade ; .
His steers the husbandman unyokes,
The shepherd too must quit his flocks,
His harmless life and honest gain,
To rob, to murder, and be slain :
The fields, once fruitful, yield no more
Their yearly produce as before :
Each useful plant neglected dies,
While idle weeds licentious rise
Unnumber'd, to usurp the land
Where yellow harvests us'd to stand.
Lean famine soon in course-succeeds ;-
Diseases follow as she leads :
No infant bands at close of day
In ev'ry village sport and play:
The streets are throng'd with orphans dying
For want of bread, and widows erying:
Fierce rapine walks abroad unchain'd,
By civil order not restrain'd :
Without regard to right and wrong,
The weak are injur'd by the strong; data
The hungry mouth but rarely tastes beton
The fattning food which riot wastes;
All ties of conscience lose their force,
E'en sacred oaths grow words of course.
Or leave his pasture, or the woods,
With fishes to explore the floodi
(Man only acts, of ev'ry Greature, i jį • In opposition to his nature)
The happiness of human-kinek . .
Consists in rectitude of mind
A will subdu'd to reason's sway,. . .
And passions practis'd to obey; i
An open and a gen Tous heart,'
Refin’d from selfishness and art; . .
Patience which mocks at fortune's pow'r,
And wisdom never sad nor sour: .
In these consist our proper bliss ; ; is
Else Plato reasons much amiss : , .
But foolish mortals still pursue
False happiness in place of true;
Ambition serves us for a guide,
Or Lust, or Avarice, or Pride ;
While Reason no assent can gain,
And Revelation warns in vain.
Hence, thro' our lives, in every stage,
From infancy itself to age,
A happiness we toil to find, . .
Which still avoids us like the wind;
E'en when we think the prize our own; .
At once 'tis vanish’d, lost and gone..
You'll ask me, Why I thus rehearse ...
AH Epictetus in my verse ? '
And, if I fondly hope to please :
With dry reflections, such as these, ...,
So trite, so hackney'd and se stale?
I'll take the hint, and tell a tale ,
One ev'ning, as a simple Swain .
His flock attended on the plain, vi.
The shining Bow he chanc'd to spy, .
Which warns us when a show'r is nigh; ...)
With brightest rays it seem'd to glow, ist.
Its distance eighty yards or so.
This bumpkin had, it seems, been told ...
The story of the cup of gold,
Which fame reports is to be found
Just where the Rainbow meets the ground; A
He, therefore, felt a sudden itch
To seize the goblet, and be rich; si !
Hoping—yet hopes are oft but vain,
No more to toib thra' wind and rain, dit
But sit indulging by the fire, cui
'Midst ease and plenty, like a squire: . .)
He mark'd the very spot of land
On which the Rainbow seem'd to stand,
And, stepping forward at his leisure,
Expected to have found the treasure.
But, as he mor'd, the colour'd ray
Still chang’d its place, and slipt away,
As seeming his approach to shun; .
From walking, he began to run:
But all in vain, it still withdrew
As nimbly as he could pursue. . .
At last, thro' many a bøg and lake,
Rough craggy road, and thorny braką,
It lead the easy fool, till night weget' is on
Approach'd, then vanish'd in his sight,
And left him to compute his gains, . .
With nought but labour for his pains.'s.
A Youth, a pupil of the town, a...
Philosopher and Atheist grown, sodas
Benighted once upon the road, :..
Found out a Hermit's lone abode,
Whose hospitality in need
Reliev'd the trav'ller and his steed,
For both sufficiently were tir'd,
Well drench'd in ditches and bemir'd.
Hunger the first attention claims :
Upon the coals a rasher flames,
Dry crusts, and liquor something stale,
Were added to make up a meal ;
At which our trav'ller as he sat .. . :
By intervals began to chat, i
'Tis odd,' quoth he, to think what strains • Of folly govern some folks brains;
• What makes you chuse this wild abode ?
" You'll say, 'tis to converse with God.
• Alas ! I fear, 'tis all a whim;
* You never saw or spoke with him.
• They talk of Providence's pow'r,
* And say it rules us ev'ry hour:
To me all nature seems confusion,
* And such weak fancies mere delusion.
• Say, if it ruld and govern'd right,
Could there be such a thing as Night; . Which, when the sun has left the skies, * Puts all things in a deep disguise ? • If then a trav'ller chance to stray • The least step from the public way, . He's soon in endless mazes lost, ' As I have found it to my cost. • Besides, the gloom which nature wears • Assists imaginary fears • Of ghosts and goblins from the waves.
Of sulph'rous lakes and yawning graves; * All sprung from superstitious seed, Like other maxims of the creed.
For my part, I reject the tales • Which faith suggests when reason fails ;
And reason nothing understands • Unwarranted by eyes and hands. · These subtle essences, like wind, • Which some have dream'd of, and call mind, • It ne'er admits ; nor joins the lie · Which says men rot, but never die.