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Author of Good! to thee I turn :
Thy ever wakeful eye
Thy hand alone supply.
O let thy fear within me dwell,
Thy love my footsteps guide;
That fear all fears beside.
And O! by Error's force fubdu'd,
Since oft my stubborn will,
And grasps the specious ill ;
Not to my wish, but to my want,
Do thou thy gifts apply
What ill, tho' ak'd, deny."
AN ELEGIACK EPISTLE
TO A FRIEND.
BY MR. GAY *.
RIEND of my youth, shedd'st thou the pitying tear
O’er the fad reliques of my happier days? Of nature tender, as of soul sincere,
Pour'st thou for me the melancholy lays ?
Oh, truly faid !-the diftant landscape bright,
Whose vivid colours glitter'd on the eye, Is faded now, and sunk in shades of night,
As on some chilly eve the closing fow'rets die.
* Written when he laboured under a dejection of spirits.
Yet had I hop'd, when first, in happier times,
I trod the magick paths where Fancy led, The Mufe to foiter in more friendly climes,
Where never Mis’ry rear'd it's hated head.
How vain the thought ! hope after hope expires!
Friend after friend, joy after joy, is loft! My dearest wishes feed the fun’ral fires,
And life is purchas'd at too dear a coit!
Yet, could my heart the selfi ih comfort know,
That not alone I murmur and complain, Well might I find companions in my woes
All born to grief-the family of Pain!
Full well I know, in life's uncertain road,
The thorns of mis’ry are profusely fown; Full well I know, in this low vile abode,
Beneath the chast'ning rod what numbers groan.
Born to a happier state, how many pine
Beneath th'oppressor's pow'r-or feel the smart Of bitter want-or foreign evils join
To the fad fymptoms of a broken heart!
How many, fated from their birth to view
Misfortunes growing with their rip’ning years, The same sad track, thro' various scenes, pursue,
Still journeying onward thro' à vale of tears.
To them, alas ! what boots the light of heav'n,
While still new mis’ries mark their destin'd way; Whether to their unhappy lot be giv'n
Death's long fad night, or life's short busy day!
Me not such themes delight !-I more rejoice,
When chance fome happier, better change I see ; Tho' no such change await my luckless choice,
And mountains rise between my hopes and me.
For why hould he who roves the dreary waste,
Still joy on ev'ry fide to view the gloom? Or, when upon the couch of fickness plac’d,
Well pleas'd survey a hapless neighbour's tomb ?
If e'er a gleam of comfort glads my soul,
If e'er my brow to wonted smiles unbends ; 'Tis when the feeting minutes, as they roll,
Can add one gleam of pleasure to my friends!
E’en in these shades, the last retreat of grief,
Some transient blessings will that thought bestow; To Melancholy's self yield fome relief,
And ease the breast surcharg'd with mortal woe.
Long has my bark in rudeft tempeft tofs'd,
Buffetted seas, and stemm'd life's hostile wave ; Suffice it now, in all my wishes cross’d,
To seek a peaceful harbour in the grave.
And when that hour shall come, (as come it must,
Ere many moons their waning horns increase !) When this frail frame shall mix with kindred duft,
And all it's fond pursuits and troubles cease ;
When those black gates that ever' open stand,
Receive me on th' irremeable shore ;
And the dull jest, repeated, charms no more :
Then may my friend weep o'er the fun'ral hearse;
Then may his presence gild the awful gloom ; And his last tribute be some mournful verse,
To mark the spot that holds my filent tomb!
This, and no more-the rest let Heav'n provide:
To which, resign'd, I trust my weal or woe ; Assurd, howe'er it's justice shall decide,
To find nought worse than I have left below.
AIL, queen of thought sublime ! propitious Pow'r,
Led by the Moon, when at the midnight hour
Her pale rays tremble thro' the dusky gloom.
O bear me, goddess, to thy peaceful feat !
Whether to Hecla's cloud-wrapt brow convey'd, Or lodg'd where mountains screen thy deep retreat,
Or wand'ring wild thro’ Chili's boundless shade,
Say, rove thy steps o'er Libia's naked waste?
Or seek fome distant folitary shore ?
Do'st fit and hear the solemn thunder roar
Fix'd on some hanging rock's projected brow,
Hear'ít thou low murmurs from the distant dome? Or itray thy feet where pale dejected Woe
Pours her long wail from fome lamented tomb ?
Hark! yon deep echo strikes the trembling ear !
See Night's dun curtain wraps the darksome pole! O’er heav'n's blue arch yon rolling worlds appear,
And rouze to folemn thought th' aspiring foul.
O lead my steps beneath the moon’s dim ray,
Where Tadmor ftands all desart and alone!
Sounds thro' the night her long-resounding moan:
Or bear me far to yon bleak dismal plain,
Where fell-ey'd tygers, all athirst for blood, Howl to the defart while the horrid train
Roams o'er the wild where once great Babel stood :
That queen of nations ! whose superior call
Rouz'd the broad east, and bid her arms destroy ! When warm'd to mirth—let Judgment mark her fall,
And deep Reflection dash the lip of Joy.
Short is Ambition's gay, deceitful dream;
Though wreaths of blooming laurel bind her brow, Calm Thought difpels the visionary scheme,
And Time's cold breath diffolves the with’ring bough.
Slow as fomë miner saps th' aspiring tow'r,
When working secret with destructive aim : Unseen, unheard, thus moves the stealing hour,
But works the fall of empire, pomp, and name.
Then let thy pencil mark the traits of man ;
Full in the draught be keen-ey'd Hope pourtray'd : Let flutt'ring Cupids croud the growing plan ;
Then give one touch, and dash it deep with shade.