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As, waving fresh their gladsome wing, My weary soul they seem to soothe, And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace –
The captive linnet which enthrall ?
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply, 'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty :
And unknown regions dare descry:
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast : Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer, of vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play ;
how all around them wait The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train ! Ah, shew them where in ambush stand, To seize their prey, the murd'rous band !
Ah, tell them they are men !
These shall the fury-passions tear,
The vultures of the mind Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that skulks behind; Or pining Love shall waste their youth; Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart; And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high ;
And grinning Infamy.
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
Amid severest woe.
Lo! in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen — The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen!
Those in the deeper vitals rage :
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his sufferings : all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own. Yet, ah! why should they know their fate, Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies ?
Thought would destroy their paradise :
'Tis folly to be wise !
LIFE is a sea, where storms must rise ;
True — and this consequence you see, This world was ne'er design’d for thee. You're like a passenger below, That stays, perhaps, a night or so; But still his native country lies Beyond the bound'ries of the skies. Of Heaven ask virtue, wisdom, healthBut never let thy prayer be wealth. If food be thine (though little gold), And raiment to repel the cold Such as may nature's wants suffice, Not what from pride and folly rise ; If soft the motions of thy soul, And a calm conscience crowns the whole,Add but a friend to all this store, You can't in reason wish for more. And if kind Heav'n this comfort brings, "Tis more than Heav'n bestows on kings.