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In sooty corner? Why sweet Slumber wait
Th' hard pallet? Not because from haunt remote
Sequester'd in a dingle's bushy lap:
'Tis Labour sav'ry makes the peasant's fare,
And works out his repose: for Ease must ask
The leave of Diligence to be enjoy'd.
O! listen not to that enchantress Ease
With seeming smile; her palatable cup
By standing grows insipid; and beware
The bottom, for there's poison in the lees.
What health impair'd, and crowds inactive maim'd!
What daily martyrs to her sluggish cause!
Less strict devoir the Russ and Persian claim
Despotic; and as subjects long inur'd
To servile burden grow supine and tame,
So fares it with our sov'reign and her train.
What though with lure fallacious she pretend
From worldly bondage to set free, what gain
Her vot'ries? What avails from iron chains
Exempt, if rosy fetters bind as fast?
Bestir, and answer your creation's end.
Think we that man, with vig'rous pow'r endow'd
And room to stretch, was destin'd to sit still?
Sluggards are Nature's rebels, slight her laws,
Nor live up to the terms on which they hold
Their vital lease. Laborious terms and hard;
But such the tenure of our earthly state!
Riches and fame are Industry's reward;
The nimble runner courses Fortune down,
And then he banquets, for she feeds the bold...
Think what you owe your country, what yourself..
If Splendour charm not, yet avoid the Scorn,
That treads on lowly stations. Think of some
Assiduous booby mounting o'er your head,
And thence with saucy grandeur looking down:..
Think of (Reflection's stab!) the pitying friend
With shoulder shrugg'd and sorry. Think that Time
Has golden minutes, if discreetly seiz'd.
And if some sad example, indolent,
To warn and scare be wanting-think of me.
ELEGY TO A YOUNG NOBLEMAN LEAVING THE
ERE yet, ingenious Youth, thy steps retire
From Cam's smooth margin, and the peaceful vale, Where Science call'd thee to her studious quire,
And met thee musing in her cloisters pale;
O! let thy friend (and may he boast the name)
Breathe from his artles reed one parting lay!
A lay like this thy early virtues claim,
And this let voluntary Friendship pay.
Yet know, the time arrives, the dang'rous time,
When all those virtues op'ning now so fair,
Transplanted to the world's tempestuous clime,
Must learn each Passion's boist'rous breath to bear. There if Ambition, pestilent and pale,
Or Luxury should taint their vernal glow; If cold Self-int'rest, with her chilling gale,
Should blast th' unfolding blossoms ere they blow;
If mimic hues, by Art or Fashion spread,
Their genuine, simple colouring should supply;
O! with them may these laureate honours fade;
And with them, if it can, my friendship die.
And do not blame, if, though thyself inspire,
Cautious I strike the panegyric string;
The muse full oft pursues a meteor fire,
And, vainly vent'rous, soars on waxen wing.
Too actively awake at Friendship's voice,
The poet's bosom pours the fervent strain,
Till sad Reflection blames the hasty choice,
And oft invokes Oblivion's aid in vain.
Go then, my friend, nor let thy candid breast
Condemn me, if I check the plausive string;
Go to the wayward world; complete the rest ;
Be, what the purest, Muse would wish to sing,
Be still Thyself: that open path of Truth,
Which led thee here, let Manhood firm pursuit ; Retain the sweet simplicity of Youth,
And all thy virtue dictates dare to do.
Still scorn, with conscious pride, the mask of Art;
On Vice's front let fearful Caution low'r,
And teach the diffident, discreeter part
Of knaves that plot, and fools that fawn for pow'r.
So, round thy brow when Age's honours spread,
When Death's cold hand unstrings thy Mason's lyre,
When the green turf lies lightly on his head,
Thy worth shall some superior bard inspire;
He to the amplest bounds of Time's domain,
On Rapture's plume shall give thy name to fly;
For trust, with rev'rence trust this Sabine strain:
"The Muse forbids the virtuous Man to die."
ON THE MISERIES OF HUMAN LIFE.
AH! little think the gay licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, pow'r, and affluence surround;
They, who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth,
And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
Ah! little think they, while they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death,
And all the sad variety of pain:
How many sink in the devouring flood,
Or more devouring flame: how many bleed,
By shameful variance betwixt Man and Man:
How many pine in want, and dungeon glooms;
Shut from the common air, and common use
Of their own limbs: how many drink the cup
Of baleful Grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of Misery: sore pierc'd by wintry winds,
How many shrink into the sordid hut
Of cheerless Poverty: how many shake
With all the fiercer tortures of the mind,
Unbounded passion, madness, guilt, remorse •
Whence, tumbling headlong from the height of life,
They furnish matter for the tragic muse:
Ev'n in the vale, where Wisdom loves to dwell,
With Friendship, Peace, and Contemplation join'd;
How many, rack'd with honest passions, droop
In deep retir'd distress: how many stand
Around the deathbed of their dearest friends,
And point the parting anguish.-Thought fond man
Of these, and all the thousand nameless ills,
That one incessant struggle render life,
One scene of toil, of suff'ring, and of fate,
Vice in his high career would stand appall'd,
And heedless rambling Impulse learn to think
The conscious heart of Charity would warm,
And her wide wish Benevolence dilate;
The social tear would rise, the social sigh;
And into clear perfection, gradual bliss,
Refining still, the social passions work.
REFLECTIONS ON A FUTURE STATE.
'Tis done!-dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
And reigns tremendous o'er the conquer'd year.
How dead the vegetable kingdom lies!
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
His desolate domain. Behold, fond Man!
See here thy pictur'd life: pass some few years,
Thy flow'ring Spring, thy Summer's ardent strength,
Thy sober Autumn fading into age,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled
Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes
Of happiness? those longings after fame ?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days?
Those gay-spent festive nights? those veering thoughts,
Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life?
All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives,
Immortal never-failing friend of Man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see!
"Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth
Of heav'n, and earth! awak'ning Nature hears
The new-creating word, and starts to life,
In ev'ry heighten'd form, from pain and death
For ever free. The great eternal schenie
Involving all, and in a perfect whole
Uniting as the prospect wider spreads,
To Reason's eye refin'd clears up apace.
Ye vainly wise! ye blind presumptuous! now,
Confounded in the dust, adore that Pow'r,
And Wisdom oft arraign'd: see now the cause,
Why unassuming Worth in secret liv'd,
And died, neglected: why the good man's share
In life was gall and bitterness of soul:
Why the lone widow, and her orphans, pin'd
In starving solitude; while Luxury
In palaces lay straining her low thought,
To form unreal wants: why heav'n-born Truth,
And Moderation fair, wore the red marks
Of Superstition's scourge: why licens'd Pain,
That cruel spoiler, that embosom'd foc,
Imbitter'd all our bliss. Ye good distress'd!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life's pressure, yet bear up awhile,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deem'd Evil, is no more.
The storms of Wintry Time will quickly pass,
And one unbounded Spring encircle all.
BE wise to day; 'tis madness to defer:
Next day the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.