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To his young sense how various forms appear,
That strike his wonder, and excite his fear.
By his distortions he reveals his pains;
He by his tears, and by his fighs complains;
'Till time and use assist the infant wretch,
By broken words, and rudiments of speech,
His wants in plainer characters to show,
And paint more perfect figures of his woe ;
Condemn’d to sacrifice his childish years
To babling ignorance, and to empty fears ;
To pass the riper period of his age,
Acting his part upon a crowded stage;
To lasting toils expos’d, and endless cares,
To open dangers, and to secret snares;
To malice which the vengeful foe intends,
And the more dangerous love of seeming friends.
His deeds examin’d by the people's will,
Prone to forget the good, and blame the ill:
Or sadly censur'd in their curs’d debate,
Who, in the scorner's, or the judge's seat
Dare to condemn the virtue which they hate.
Or would he rather leave this frantic scene;
And trees and beasts prefer to courts and men ;
In the remotest wood and lonely grot
Certain to meet that worst of evils, thought;
Different Ideas to his memory brought:
Some intricate, as are the pathless woods;
Impetuous fome, as the descending floods:
With anxious doubts, with raging passions torn,
No sweet companion near, with whom to mourn ;
He hears the echoing rock returns his fighs;
And from himself the frighted hermit flies.
Thus, through what path foe'er of life we rove,
Rage companies our hate, and grief our love:
Vex'd with the present moment's heavy gloom,
Why seek we brightness from the years to come?
Disturb’d and broken like a fick man's sleop,
Our troubled thoughts to distant prospects leap :
Desirous still what Aies us to o'ertake:
For hope is but the dream of those that wake:
But, looking back, we see the dreadful train
Of woes, a-new which were we to sustain,
We should refuse to tread the path again.
Still adding grief, still counting from the first;
Judging the latest evils still the worst ;
And, sadly finding each progressive hour
Heighten their number, and augment their power:
'Till, by one countless sum of woes oppreft.
Hoary with cares, and ignorant of rest,
We find the vital springs relax'd and worn :
Compellid our common impotence to mourn,
Thus, thro' the round of age, to childhood we return;
Reflecting find, that naked from the womb
We yesterday came forth ; that in the tomb
Naked again we must to-morrow lie,
Born to lament, to labour, and to die.
Pass we the ills, which each man feels or dreads, The weight or fallen, or hanging o'er our heads; The bear, the lion, terrors of the plain, The sheepfold scatter'd, and the shepherd flain;
The frequent errors of the pathlefs wood,
The giddy precipice, and the dangerous flood:
The noisom peftilence, that in open war
Terrible, marches thro' the mid-day air,
And scatters death; the arrow that by night
Cuts the dank mist, and fatal wings its fight;
The billowing snow, and violence of the lower,
That from the hills disperse their dreadful store,
And o'er the vales collected ruin pour;
The worm that gnaws the ripening fruit, fad guest,
Canker or locuft hurtful to infest
The blade; while husks elude the tiller's care,
And eminence of want distinguishes the year.
Pass we the flow disease, and subtil pain,
Which our weak frame is destin'd to sustain;
The cruel ftone, with congregated war
Tearing his bloody way? the cold catarrh,
With frequent impulse, and continu'd strife,
Weakening the wasted feats ofisirksome life;
The gout's fierce rack, the burning fever's rage,
The sad experience of decay; and age,
Herself the forest ill; while death, and ease,
Oft and in vain invok’d, or to appease,
Or end the grief, with hasty wings recede
From the vext patient, and the fickly bed.
Nought shall it profit, that the charming fair,
Angelic, softest work of Heaven, draws near
To the cold faking paralytick hand,
Senseless of Beauty's touch, or Love's command,
Nor longer apt, or able to fulfill
The dictates of its feeble master's will.
Nought shall the psaltry, and the harp avail,
The pleasing song, or well repeated tale;
When the quick spirits their warm march forbear;
And numbing coldness has un brac'd the ear.
The verdant rising of the flowery hill,
The vale enamell’d, and the crystal rill,
The ocean rolling, and the shelly shore,
Beautiful objects, shall delight no more;
When the lax'd finews of the weaken’d eye
In watery damps, or dim suffufion lie.
Day follows night; the clouds return again
After the falling of the latter rain:
But to the aged-blind shall ne'er return
Grateful vicissitude: he still must mourn
The sun, and moon, and every ítarry light
Eclips’d to him, and loft in everlasting night.
Behold where Age's wretched victim lies:
See his head trembling, and his half-clos'd eyes:
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves :
To broken sleep his remnant sense he gives ;
And only by his pains, awaking, finds he lives;
Loos'd by devouring Time the silver cord
Dissever'd lies: unhonour'd from the board
The crystal urn, when broken, is thrown by;
And apter utenfils their place supply.
These things and thou must share one equal lot;
Die, and be loft, corrupt and be forgot;
While still another, and another race
Shall now supply, and now give up the place :
From earth all came, to earth must all return;
Frail as the cord and brittle as the urn.
But be the terror of these ills suppress’d:
And view we man with health and vigor bleft,
Home he returns with the declining fun,
His destin'd task of labour hardly done ;
Goes forth again with the ascending ray,
Again his travel for his bread to pay,
And find the ill sufficient to the day.
Haply at night he does with horror shun
A widow'd daughter, or a dying fon :
His neighbour's off-fpring he to-morrow sees;
And doubly feels his want in their increase:
The next day, and the next he must attend
His foe triumphant, or his buried friend,
act and turn of life he feels
Publick calamities, or houshold ills:
The due reward to just desert refus’d:
The trust betray'd, the nuptial bed abus'd:
The judge corrupt, the long depending cause,
And doubtful issue of misconstrued laws,
The crafty turns of a dishoneft ftate,
And violent will of the wrong-doing great:
The venom’d tongue injurious to his fame,
Which nor can wisdom shun, nor fair advice reclaim.
Efteem we these, my friends, event and chance, Produc'd as atoms form their fluttering dance?