« הקודםהמשך »
He hears the echoing rock returns his fighs ;
And from himfelf 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 prefent moment's heavy gloom,
Why feek we brightnefs from the years to come ?
Diflurb'd and broken like a fick man's fleep,
Our troubled thoughts to diftant profpe&ts leap :
Defirous ftill what flies us to o'ertake :
For hope is but the dream of thofe that wake:
But, looking back, we fee the dreadful train
Of woes, a-new which were we to fuftain, 3
We fhould refufè to tread the path again.
Still adding grief, ftill counting from the firft;
Judging the lateft evils ftill the worft ;
And, fadly finding each progreffive hour
Heighten their number, and augment their power :
*Till, by one countlefs fum of woes oppreft.
Hoary with cares, and ignorant of reft,
We find the vital fprings relax'd and worn :
Compellod our common impotence to mourn, }
Thus, thro' theround of age, tochildhood wereturn ;
Refie&ting find, that naked from the womb
We yefterday came forth ; that in the tomb
Naked again we muft to-morrow lie,
Born to lament, to labour, and to die.
Pafs 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 fhcepfold fcatter'd, and the fhepherd flain ;
The frequent errors of the pathlefs wood,
The giddy precipice, and the dangerous food:
The noifom peftilence, that in open war
Terrible, marches thro' the mid-day air,
And fcatters death ; the arrow that by night
Cuts the dank mift, and fatal wings its fiight;
The billowing fnow, and violence of the fhower, }
That from the hills difperfe their dreadful ftore,
And o'er the vales colle&ted ruin pour ; -
The worm that gnaws the ripening fruit, fad gueft,
Canker or locuft hurtful to infeft
The blade ; while hufks elude the tiller's care,
And eminence of want diftinguifhes the year.
Pafs we the flow difeafe, and fubtil pain,
Which our weak frame is deftin'd to fuftain ;
The cruel ftone, with congregated war
Tearing his bloody way ? the cold catarrh,
With frequent impulfe, and continu'd ftrife,
Weakening the wafted feats ofirkfome life ;
The gout's fierce rack, the burning fever's rage,
The fad experience of decay ; and age, -
Herfelf the foreft il! ; while death, and eafe,
Oft and in vain invok'd, or to appeafe,
Or end the grief, with hafty wings recede
From the vext patient, and the fickly bed.
Nought fhall it profit, that the charming fair,
Angelic, fofteft work of Heaven, draws mear
To the cold fhaking paralytick hand,
Senfelefs of Beauty's touch, or Love's command,
Nor longer apt, or able to fulfi11
The di&ates of its feeble mafter's will.
Nought fhall the pfaltry, and the harp avail,
The pleafing fong, or well repeated tale;
When the quick fpirits their warm march forbear;
And numbing coldnefs has unbrac'd the ear.
The verdant rifing of the flowery hill,
The vale enamell*d, and the cryftal rill,
The ocean rolling, and the fhelly fhore,
Beautiful obje&s, fhall delight no more;
When the lax'd finews of the weaken'd eye
In watery damps, or dim fufFufion lie.
Day follows night; the clouds return again
After the falling of the latter rain:
But to the aged-blind fhall ne'er return
Grateful viciffitude: he ftil1 muft mourn
The fun, and moon, and every ftarry light
Eclips'd to him, and loft in everlafting night.
Behold where Age's wretched vi&tim lies:
See his head trembling, and his half-clos'd eyes:
To broken fleep his remnant fenfe he gives;
And only by his pains, awaking, fimds he lives;
Loos'd by devouring Time the filver cord
Diffever'd lies: unhonour'd from the board
The cryftal urn, when broken, is thrown by ;
Amd apter utenfils their place fupply.
Thefe things and thou muft fhare one equal lot;
Die, and be loft, corrupt and be forgot;
Frequent for breath his panting bofom heaves: ?
While ftill another, and another race
Shall now fupply, . and now give up the place :
From earth all came, to earth muft all return ;
Frail as the cord and brittle as the urn.
But be the terror of thefe ills fupprefs'd :
And view we man with health and vigor bleft,
Home he returns with the declining fun,
His deftin'd tafk of labour hardly done ;
Goes forth again with the afcending ray,
Again his travel for his bread to pay, ?
And find the ill fufficient to the day.
Haply at night he does with horror fhun
A widow'd daughter, or a dying fon:
His neighbour's off-fpring he to-morrow fees;
And doubly feels his want in their increafe:
The next day, and the next he muft attend
His foe triumphant, or his buried friend.
In every a& and turn of life he feels
Publick calamities, or houfhold ills:
The due reward to juft defert refus'd:
'The truft betray'd, the nuptial bed abus'd:
The judge corrupt, the long depending caufe,
And doubtful iffue of mifconftrued laws,
The crafty turns of a difhoneft ftate,
And violent will of the wrong-doing great:
The venom'd tongue injurious to his fame,
Which nor can wifdom fhun, nor fair advice reclaim.
Efteem we thefe, my friends, event and chance,
Produc'd as atoms form their fiuttering dance ?
Or higher yet their effence may we draw
From deftin'd order, and eternal law ?
Again, my Mufe, the cruel doubt repeat:
Spring they, I fay, from accident, or fate ?
Yet fuch, we find, they are, as can controul
The fervile a&ions of our wavering foul ;
Can fright, can alter, or can chain the will ;
Their ills all built on life, that fundamental il1.
O fatal fearch! in which the labouring mind,
Still pref$'d with weight of woe, ftill hopes to find
A fhadow of delight, a dream of peace,
From years of pain, one moment of releafe ;
Hoping at leaft fhe may herfelf deceive,
Againft experience willing to believe, 3
Defirous to rejoice, condemn'd to grieve.
Happy the mortal man, who now at laft Has thro' this doleful vale of mifery paft; Who to his deftin'd flage has carry'd on The tedious load, and laid his burden down ; Whom the cut brafs, or wounded marble fhows Vi&or o'er Life, and all her train of woes. He happier yet, who, privileg'd by fate To fhorter labour, and a lighter weight, Receiv'd but yefterday the gift of breath, Order'd to-morrow to return to death. But O! beyond defcription happieft he, Who ne'er muft roll on Life's tumultuous fea; Who with blefs'd freedom from the general doom Exempt, muft never force the teeming womb, } Nor fee the fun, nor fink into the tomb.