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Composed of whim and mirth and satire,
Without one drop of true good nature.
But trust me; 't is corrupted taste
To make so merry with the last,
When in that fatal word we find
Each foe to gayety combined.
Since parting then on Arno's shore
We part -- perhaps to meet no more,
Let these last lines some truths contain,
More clear than bright, less sweet than plain.
Thou first, to soothe whose feeling heart
The Muse bestowed her lenient art,
Accept her counsel, quit this coast
With only one short lustrum lost,
Nor longer let the tuneful strain
On foreign ears be poured in vain ;
The wreath which on thy brow should live,
Britannia's hand alone can give.
Meanwhile for Bertie* Fate prepares
A mingled wreath of joys and cares,
When politics and party-rage
Shall strive such talents to engage,
And call him to control the great,
And fix the nicely balanced state ;
Till charming Anna's gentler mind,
For storms of faction ne'er designed,
Shall think with pleasure on the times
When Arno listened to his rhymes,
And reckon among Heaven's best mercies
Our Piozzi's voice, and Parson's verses.
Thou, too, who oft has strung the lyre
To liveliest notes of gay desire,
No longer seek these scorching flames,
And trifle with Italian dames,
But haste to Britain's chaster isle,
Receive some fair one's virgin smile,
Accept her vows, reward her truth,
And guard from ills her artless youth.
Keep her from knowledge of the crimes
That taint the sweets of warmer climes,
But let her weaker bloom disclose
The beauties of a hothouse rose,
Whose leaves no insects ever haunted,
Whose perfume but to one is granted ;
Pleased with her partner to retire,
And cheer the safe domestic fire.
While I — who, half-amphibious grown,
Now scarce call any place my own
Will learn to view with eye serene
Life's empty plot and shifting scene,
And trusting still to Heaven's high care,
Fix my firm habitation there;
'T was thus the Grecian sage of old,
As by Herodotus we're told,
Accused by them who sat above,
As wanting in his country's love –
6 'Tis that,” cried he,“ which most I prize,”
And, pointing upwards, shewed the skies.
Or if to wiser Britain led,
Your vagrant feet desire to tread * See ante, p. 137. Moore has substituted Posterity for Society. His reports of conversations are both meagre and inaccurate. Thus (Vol. III. p. 196) he says : “In talking of letters being charged by weight, he (Canning) said the post-office once refused to carry a letter of Sir J. Cox Hippesley's, it was so dull.” Canning said “so heavy"; the letter being the worthy baronet's printed letter against Catholic Emancipation.
Oh! thou still sought by wealth and fame,
Dispenser of applause and blame:
While flatt'ry ever at thy side,
With slander can thy smiles divide;
Far from thy haunts, O let me stray,
But grant one friend to cheer my way,
Whose converse bland, whose music's art,
May cheer my soul, and heal my heart;
Let soft content our steps pursue,
And bliss eternal bound our view :
Power I'll resign, and pomp, and glee,
Thy best-loved sweets, Society
We were speaking the other day of the famous epigram in Ausonius :
“Infelix Dido, nulli bene nupta marito,
Hoc moriente fugis, hoc fugiente peris.”
Two lords, in vain, unlucky Dido tries,
One dead, she flies the land; one fled, she dies.*
“ Pauvre Didon ! on t'a réduite
De tes maris le triste sort;
L'un en mourant cause ta fuite,
L'autre en fuyant cause ta mort,"
is reckoned a beautiful version of this epigram.
There is, however, a very old passage in Davison, alluding to the same story : —