« הקודםהמשך »
He tends the all-devouring flame,
And cities hardly boast a name:
Or wings the peftilential blast,
And lo! ten thousands breathe their last.
He speaks-obedient tempefts roar,
And guilty nations are no more:
He speaks-the fury, Discord, raves,
And sweeps whole armies to their graves :
Or Famine lifts her mildew'd hand,
And hunger howls thro' all the land.
« Oh! what a wretch is man!' I cry'd;
Expos'd to death on ev'ry fide! • And sure as born, to be undone
By evils which he cannot shun!
• Besides a thousand baits to fin,
• A thousand traitors lodg’d within !
! For soon as Vice assaults the heart,
« The rebels take the dæmon's part.'
I figh, my aching bosom bleeds ;
When straight the milder plan succeeds:
The lake of tears, the dreary shore,
The same as in the piece before.
But gleams of light are here display'd,
To chear the eye and gild the shade :
Affliction speaks a softer style,
And Disappointment wears a smile.
A group of virtues blossom near;
Their roots improve by ev'ry tear.
Here Patience, gentle maid ! is nigh,
To calm the storm, and wipe the eye ;
Hope acts the kind physician's part,
And warms the solitary heart :
Religion nobler comfort brings,
Disarms our griefs, or blunts their stings;
Points out the balance on the whole,
And Heav'n rewards the ftruggling foul.
But while these raptures I pursue, The Genius suddenly withdrew,
T's thought my visions are too grave * ;
A proof I'm no designing kuave.
Perhaps if int'reft held the scales,
I had devis'd quite diff'rent tales;
Had join'd the laughing, low buffoon,
And scribbled satire and lampoon;
Or ftirr'd each source of soft desire,
And fann'd the coals of wanton fire :
Then had my paltry visions fold,
Yes, all my dreams had turn'd to gold;
Had prov'd the darlings of the town,
And I-a poet of renown!
Let not my awful theme surprize;
Let no unmanly fears arise.
I wear no melancholy hue,
No wreaths of cypress or of yew.
The shroud, the coffin, pall, or hearse,
Shall ne'er deform my softer verse.
Let me consign the fun'ral plume,
The herald's paint, the sculptur'd tomb,
And all the solemn farce of graves,
To undertakers and their slaves.
You know, that moral writers say,
The world's a stage, and life a play:
That in this drama to succeed,
Requires much thought and toil, indeed!
* See the Monthly Review of new books, for February 1751.
There still remains one labour more,
Perhaps a greater than before.
Indulge the search, and you shall find
The harder task is still behind :
That harder task, to quit the stage
In early youth, or riper age ;
To leave the company and place,
With firmness, dignity, and grace.
Come, then, the closing scenes furvey,
'Tis the last act which crowns the play.
Do well this grand decisive part,
And gain the plaudit of your heart.
Few greatly live in Wisdom's eye-
But, oh! how few, who greatly die !
Who, when their days approach an end,
Can meet the foe, as friend meets friend,
Instructive heroes ! tell us whence
Your noble scorn of flesh and fenfe !
You part from all we prize fo dear,
Nor drop one soft, reluctant tear:
Part from those tender joys of life,
The friend, the parent, child, and wife.
Death's black and stormy gulph you brave,
And ride exulting on the wave;
Deem thrones but trifles all !-no more-
Nor send one wishful look to fhore.
For foreign ports, and lands unknown,
Thus the firm sailor leaves his own;
Obedient to the rifing gale,
Unmoors his bark, and fpreads his fail;
Defies the ocean, and the wind,
Nor mourns the joys he leaves behind.
Is Death a pow'rful monarch? True
Perhaps you dread the tyrant too!
Fear, like a fog, precludes the light,
Or swells the object to the fight.
Attend my visionary page,
And I'll disarm the tyrant's rage.
Come, let this ghaftly form appear,
He's not so terrible when near.
Distance deludes th' unwary eye,
So clouds seem monsters in the fky:
Hold frequent converse with him now,
He'll daily wear a milder brow.
Why is my theme with terror fraught?
Because you fhun the frequent thought.
Say, when the captive pard is nigh,
Whence thy pale cheek and frighted eye!
Say, why dismay'd thy manly breaft,
When the grim lion shakes his crest!
Because these savage fights are new ;
No keeper shudders at the view:
Keepers, accuftom'd to the scene,
Approach the dens with look serene;
Fearless their grilly charge explore,
And smile to hear the tyrants roar.
Aye-but to die! to bid adieu !
• An everlasting farewel too!
• Farewel to ev'ry joy around!
« Oh! the heart fickens at the found.',
Stay, strippling--thou art poorly taught
Joy, didst thou fay! discard the thought.
Joys are a rich celestial fruit,
And scorn a sublunary root:
What wears the face of joy below,
Is often found but splendid woe.
Joys here, like unsubstantial fame,
Are nothings with a pompous name;
Or else, like comets in the sphere,
Shine with destruction in their rear.
Passions, like clouds, obfcure the sight,
Hence mortals seldom judge aright.
The world's a harsh unfruitful foil,
Yet fill we hope, and still we toil ;
Deceive ourselves with wond'rous art,
And disappointment wrings the heart.
Thus when a mist collects around,
And hovers o'er a barren ground,
The poor deluded trav'ler spies
Imagin'd trees and ftructures rise;
But when the shrouded sun is clear,
The desart and the rocks appear.
• Ah--but when youthful blood runs high,
Sure 'tis a dreadful thing to die ! - To die! and what exalts the gloom, • I'm told, that man survives the tomb! • O! can the learned prelate find « What future scenes await the mind ! • Where wings the soul, dislodg'd from clay ! • Some courteous angel point the way!
That unknown somewhere in the skies,
Say, where that unknown fomewhere lies; • And kindly prove, when life is o'er, • That pains and sorrows are no more: • For doubtless dying is a curse, • If present ills be chang'd for worse.'
Hush, my young friend, forego the theme,
And listen to your poet's dream.
Ere while I took an ev'ning walk,
Honorio join'd in social talk.
Along the lawns the zephyrs sweep,
Each ruder wind was lulld asleep.
The sky, all beauteous to behold,
Was streak'd with azure, green, and gold ;
But tho' serenely soft and fair,
Fever hung brooding in the air ;
Then settled on Honorio's breast,
Which shudder'd at the fatal guest.