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Should sloth's unkindly fogs depress to earth Her tender blossom; choak the streams of life,. And blast her spring! Far otherwise design'd Almighty Wisdom; nature's happy cares Th' obedient heart far otherwise incline. Witness the sprightly joy when aught unknown Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active pow'r To brisker measures: witness the neglect Of all familiar prospects, tho' beheld With transport once; the fond attentive gaze Of young astonishment; the sober zeal Of age, commenting on prodigious things. For such the bounteous providence of heav'n, In every breast implanting this desire Of objects new and strange, to urge us on With unremitted labour to pursue Those sacred stores that wait the ripening soul, In truth's exhaustless bosom. What need words. To paint, its pow'r? For this, the daring youth: Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms, In foreign climes to rove; the pensive sage Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmful damp, Hangs o'er the sickly taper; and untir'd The virgin follows, with enchanted step, The mazes of some wild and wond'rous tale, From morn to eve; unmindful of her form, Unmindful of the happy dress that stole The wishes of the youth, when every maid With envy pin'd. Hence finally by night The village-matron, round the blazing hearth, Suspends the infant audience with her tales, Breathing astonishment! of witching rhimes, And evil spirits; of the death-bed call Of him who robb'd the widow, and devour'd The orphan's portion; of unquiet souls Ris'n from the grave to ease the heavy guilt Of deeds in life conceal'd; of shapes that walk At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave The torch of hell around the murd'rer's bed. At ev'ry solemn pause the crowd recoil Gazing each other speechless, and congeal'd With shiv'ring sighs: till eager for th' event, Around the beldame all erect they hang, Each trembling heart with grateful terrors quell'd
The PAIN arising from VIRTUOUS EMOTIONS attended with PLEASURE..
-BEHOLD the ways
Of heav'n's eternal destiny to man,
For ever just, benevolent and wise:
That VIRTUE's awful steps, howe'er pursu'd
By vexing fortune and intrusive PAIN,
Should ever be divided from her chaste,
Her fair attendant, PLEASURE.
Need I urge
Thy tardy thought through all the various roundi
Of this existence, that thy soft ning soul
At length may learn what energy the hand
Of virtue mingles in the bitter tide
Of passion swelling with distress and pain,
To mitigate the sharp with gracious drops
Of cordial pleasure ? Ask the faithful youth,
While the cold urn of her whom long he lov'
So often fills his. arms; so often draws
His lonely footsteps at the silent hour,
To pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
O! he will tell thee, that the wealth of worlds
Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
That sacred hour, when stealing from the noise
Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes
With virtue's kindest looks his aching breast,
And turns his tears to rapture!-Ask the crowd
Which flies impatient from the village walk
To climb the neighb'ring cliffs, when far below
The cruel winds have hurl'd upon the coast
Some helpless bark; while sacred pity melts.
The gen'ral eye, or terror's icy hand
Smites their distorted limbs and horrent hair 3
While every mother closer to her breast
Catches her child, and pointing where the waves
Foam thro' the shatter'd vessel, shrieks aloud,
As one poor wretch that spreads his piteous arms
For succour, swallow'd by the roaring surge,
As now another, dash'd against the rock,
Drops lifeless down: O deemest thou indeed
No kind endearment here by nature giv'n
To mutual terror and compassion's tears?
No sweetly-melting softness which attracts,
O'er all that edge of pain, the social pow'rs
To this their proper action and their end?
Ask thy own heart; when, at the midnight hour,
Slow thro' that studious gloom thy pausing eye,
Led by the glimm'ring taper, moves around
The sacred volumes of the dead, the songs
Of Grecian bards, and records writ by fame
For Grecian heroes, where the present pow'r
Of heav'n and earth surveys th' immortal page,
E'en as a father blessing, while he reads
The praises of his son; if then thy soul,
Spurning the yoke of these inglorious days,
Mix in their deeds, and kindle with their flame;
Say, when the prospect blackens on thy view,'
When, rooted from the base, heroic states
Mourn in the dust, and tremble at the frown
Of curst ambition;-when the pious band
Of youths that fought for freedom and their sires
Lie side by side in gore ;-when ruffian pride
Usurps the throne of justice, turns the pomp
Of public pow'r, the majesty of rule,
The sword, the laurel, and the purple robe,
To slavish empty pageants, to adorn
A tyrant's walk, and glitter in the eyes
.Of such as bow the knee; when honour'd urns
Of patriots and of chiefs, the awful bust
And storied arch, to glut the coward rage
Of regal envy, strew the public way
With hallow'd ruins ;-when the muse's haunt,.
The marble porch, where wisdom, wont to talk
With Socrates or Tully, hears no more,
Save the hoarse jargon of contentious monks,
Or female superstition's midnight pray'r ;--
When ruthless Rapine from the hand of Time
Tears the destroying scythe, with surer blow,
To sweep the works of glory from their base;
Till Desolation o'er the grass-grown street
Expands his raven wings, and up the wall,
Where senates once the pride of monarchs doom'd,
Hisses the gliding snake thro' hoary weeds
That clasp the mould'ring column; -- thus defac'd
Thus widely mournful, when the prospect thrills
Thy beating bosom, when the patriot's tear
Starts from thine eye, and thy extended arm
In fancy hurls the thunderbolt of Jove
To fire the impious wreath on Philip's brow,
Or dash Octavius from the trophied car ;-
Say, does thy secret soul repine to taste
The big distress? Or would'st thou then exchange
Those heart-ennobling sorrows, for the lot
Of him who sits amid the gaudy herd
Of mute barbarians bending to his nod,
And bears aloft his gold-invested front,
And says within himself, "I am a king,
"And wherefore should the clam'rous voice of woe
"Intrude upon mine ear?"-The baleful dregs
Of these late ages, this inglorious draught
Of servitude and folly, have not yet,
Blest be th' eternal Ruler of the world!
Defil'd to such a depth of sordid shame
The native honours of the human soul,
Nor so effac'd the image of its sire.
BEGIN with gentle toils; and, as your nerves
Grow firm, to hardier by just steps aspire.
The prudent, even in every moderate walk,
At first but saunter; and by slow degrees
Increase their pace. This doctrine of the wise
Well knows the master of the flying steed.
First from the goal the manag'd coarsers play
On bended reins: as yet the skilful youth
Repress their foamy pride; but every breath
The race grows warmer, and the tempest swells;
Till all the fiery mettle has its way,
And the thick thunder hurries o'er the plain.
When all at once from indolence to toil
You spring, the fibres by the hasty shock
Are tir'd and crack'd, before their unctuous coats,
Compress'd, can pour their lubricating balm,
Besides, collected in the passive veins,
Their purple mass a sudden torrent rolls,
O'erflows the heart, and deluges the lungs
With dangerous inundation: Oft the souree
Of fatal woes; a cough that foams with blood,
Asthma and feller peripneumony,
Or the slow minings of the hectic fire.
LESSONS of WISDOM.
How to live happiest; how avoid the pains,
The disappointments, and disgusts of those"
Who would in pleasure all their hours employ';
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Though old he still retain'd
His manly sense, and energy of mind.
"Virtuous and wise he was, but not severe ;
He still remember'd that he once was young;
His easy presence check'd no decent joy.
Him even the dissolute admir'd; for he
A graceful looseness when he pleas'd put on,
And laughing could instruct. Much had he read,
Much more had seen; he studied from the life,
And in th' original perus'd mankind.
Vers'd in the woes and vanities of life,
He pitied man: and much he pitied those
Whom falsely-smiling fate has curs'd with means
To dissipate their days in quest of joy.
Our aim is Happiness; 'tis yours, 'tis mine,
He said, 'tis the pursuit of all that live;
Yet few attain it, if twas e'er attain'd.
But they the widest wander from the mark,
Who thro' the flow'ry paths of saunt'ring joy
Seek this coy Goddess; that from stage to stage
Invites us still, but shifts as we pursue.
For, not to name the pains that pleasure brings.
To counterpoise itself, relentless Fate
Forbids that we through gay voluptuous wilds
Should ever roam: And were the Fates more kind,
Our narrow luxuries would soon be stale.
Were these exhaustless, Nature would grow sick,
And cloy'd with pleasure, squeamishly complain
That all was vanity, and life a dream.
Let nature rest: be busy for yourself,
And for your friend; be busy even in vain,
Rather than teaze her sated appetites.
The inflammation of the lungs.